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Wil Myers Rumors
The already-stumbling Rays received bad news on the injury front today, as young outfielder Wil Myers will not even begin rehabbing a stress fracture in his right wrist for five or six weeks, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports (via Twitter). That sets Myers up to miss at least two months of action, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, which means he would likely not return until after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Tampa opened the day today carrying its highest-ever payroll and an American League-worst 23-35 record. Needless to say, the loss of Myers — in spite of his struggles to date in 2014 — will not help the team’s efforts to spark a turnaround. Myers, 23, took home A.L. Rookie of the Year honors last year after posting an outstanding .293/.354/.478 line with 13 home runs in just 373 plate appearances. But through 224 trips to the dish this time around, his triple-slash stood at just .227/.313/.354 and he had hit only five long balls.
C.C. Sabathia received a stem cell injection in his right knee last week and will be out of action until at least July, Yankees GM Brian Cashman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Cashman said he has checked in with teams about trade possibilities and while “nothing has materialized,” Cashman “will keep an eye out to see if something does.” Three-fifths of the Bombers’ regular rotation is currently injured, with Ivan Nova out for the season and Michael Pineda on the DL until mid-June at the earliest.
Here’s the latest from the Yankees and Mets in this roundup of Big Apple baseball news…
- Alex Rodriguez told advisers last summer that he was considering retirement rather than go through a lengthy battle with Major League Baseball over his record PED suspension, reports Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, Michael O’Keeffe, Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News. A-Rod was convinced to fight his suspension, however, after consulting with Desiree Perez, a New York nightclub manager affiliated with Jay Z and who also played a role in Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners. Rodriguez may have been motivated to listen to Perez in part because, as the article states, he would like to become a player agent, possibly with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency.
- Back when Wil Myers was still a Royals prospect, Kansas City offered him to the Mets for a trade package of Jonathan Niese and Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets. Myers, of course, ended up being the centerpiece of the five-player package the Royals sent to the Rays in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis. It’s an interesting what-if to ponder for both the Mets and Royals; Myers would’ve given the Amazins a cornerstone player in the outfield, but at the cost of two quality young arms. For K.C., Shields was the better win-now move, though he had only two years of team control and Davis has become a relief pitcher. Wheeler is controllable through the 2019 season while Niese’s five-year contract has club options that could’ve extended the deal through 2018.
- Also from Martino, he looks at some trade possibilities for the Yankees and Mets this summer. The Mets looked at LaTroy Hawkins, Fernando Rodney and Grant Balfour over the winter and could explore trading for veteran closer help, plus shortstop could still be a position the Mets are looking to upgrade. As for the Yankees, they could also use shortstop help but acquiring a big name could be awkward given the awkwardness of benching Derek Jeter during his final season. A move for Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius makes sense for both New York clubs.
- Particularly in the wake of the Sabathia news, the Yankees also need starting pitching. Martino writes that while the Yankees may not have the prospect depth to attract a major trade chip, their financial resources could help them take big contracts off the hands of losing teams. Possible trade candidates in this vein could be the Diamondbacks’ Bronson Arroyo or the Blue Jays’ Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey (if Toronto falls out of the race, that is).
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Paul Swydan criticizes both the Mets front office and manager Terry Collins for some transactions and personnel moves that Swydan feels “have left the Mets in an all-too-familiar middling position.”
The Rays officially announced their six-year, $25.5MM extension with Chris Archer in a press conference today. The right-hander told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Chastain) that the recent spate of pitching injuries around baseball influenced his decision to sign the contract. "I don't know if all the injuries — the head injuries, the concussions, the elbow injuries, some shoulder injuries — that have happened of late, I don't know if they've happened as a sign for me, but I took them as a sign for me, a sign of what's unknown," Archer said. "I sat down with my financial advisor. With this contract, I'm financially secure multiple times over again, through many generations. For me, that's all I ever wanted out of this game — to be personally secure and have my family members secure as well."
Here's some more from around the AL East…
- Alex Cobb and Wil Myers would seem to be the next logical extension candidates for the Rays, MLB.com's Adam Berry writes. Cobb said he would "plead the fifth" when asked if he'd been approached by the team about a multiyear deal, while Myers said that he's just focused on playing and will let his agent handle any contractual business. Berry's piece also contains several quotes from Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman about his team's strategy of locking up its young stars.
- The Rays have had nine players suspended for PED usage and 14 players suspended for drug-related offenses overall since 2012 , Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh notes. Tampa Bay leads all teams in both categories, and the recently-suspended Alex Colome is the only the latest of several of the Rays' top prospects to be hit with a suspension. Lindbergh, however, believes this current spate of issues is only a matter of "chance," as the franchise doesn't have a glaring suspension record before 2012.
- The Mets haven't discussed making a move for Eduardo Nunez, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and it's "too early to say if they will have interest" in signing the infielder to bolster their shortstop depth. The Yankees designated Nunez for assignment yesterday.
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star) that he isn't looking for external shortstop help with Jose Reyes on the DL. Jonathan Diaz is currently filling in at short, and Anthopoulos doesn't think Reyes' injury will keep him out for too long.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required) doesn't think the Blue Jays will contend this season and the club should deal some top stars in order to restock the farm system. Edwin Encarnacion headlines Bowden's list of Toronto's ten best trade candidates, which also includes possible trade suitors.
- In other AL East news, we posted a collection of Red Sox Notes earlier tonight.
Rays outfielder Wil Myers and Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez have respectively won the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards. The Baseball Writers Association of America announced both results today, with the full voting breakdowns available on the BBWAA's website.
Once promoted to the majors on June 16, Myers lived up to his lofty prospect status by hitting .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and 50 runs scored in 373 PA with the Rays. It could be argued that the Rays could've avoided the wild card game had they promoted Myers sooner, though holding him back until June will likely allow Tampa Bay to gain another year of control over Myers and keep him from reaching Super Two status. It could also be argued that the Royals would've been better served by keeping Myers rather than dealing him as part of the James Shields blockbuster last offseason, as fans and pundits could be debating the merits of that trade for years to come.
Myers earned 23 of 30 first-place votes from the writers, plus five second-place votes and one third-place vote. Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias finished second in the balloting with five first-place votes (plus 17 seconds and four thirds). Rays righty Chris Archer and Athletics righty Dan Straily each received one first place vote and finished third and fourth in the voting, respectively, while Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck finished fifth. Myers joins Evan Longoria and Jeremy Hellickson as Rays who have won Rookie Of The Year awards.
Though Fernandez was a consensus top-five prospect before the season and the 14th overall pick of the 2011 draft, the Marlins' decision to promote him to the majors was met with surprise given Fernandez's young age (20) and the fact that he has never pitched above the high-A ball level. The righty was more than prepared for the big leagues, however, posting a stunning 2.19 ERA over 28 starts, and recording 187 strikeouts against only 58 walks over 172 2/3 innings.
Fernandez is the second Cuban-born player to be named Rookie of the Year, after the Twins' Tony Oliva in 1964. Fernandez joins Chris Coghlan, Hanley Ramirez and Dontrelle Willis as the only Marlins to capture ROY honors.
Fernandez took 26 of 30 first-place votes and finished second on the other four ballots. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig received the other four first-place votes and 25 second-place votes to finish second in the voting, though he was also left off one ballot entirely. Cardinals righty Shelby Miller, Dodgers southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu and Braves righty Julio Teheran round out the top five in the NL voting.
According to a "60 Minutes" report, members of Alex Rodriguez's inner circle obtained unredacted Biogenesis documents in February and leaked the names of Ryan Braun, Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia (who was later cleared) to Yahoo Sports. Michael Radutzky of CBS News writes. Rodriguez talked to the media (including Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York) today and denied leaking the names of any fellow player, particularly his Yankee teammate Cervelli. The third baseman also warned that more details in the case would be made public in the coming days:
"You know, I've been a member of this union for 20 years, and it is important for all the guys to understand that my loyalty is to this union and it would never happen, it would never occur and it didn't happen. Let's make one thing clear: For the next seven weeks, it is going to be a very bumpy road. Every day expect a story like this, if not bigger."
Here are some more items from around the AL East…
- Given the uncertainty of Rodriguez's situation and Derek Jeter's health, the Yankees will need to explore alternatives at third base and shortstop this winter, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Under Sherman's scenario, Jeter would play half his games at shortstop and the rest at first base or as the Yankees' primary DH against right-handers.
- As least 12 teams project to be suitors for Jacoby Ellsbury this winter, Fangraphs' Paul Swydan writes. The Red Sox are one of those teams, as "GM Ben Cherington isn’t letting Ellsbury go without a fight," though Swydan notes that the Sox could be in a position crunch in left field (with Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes) if they re-sign both Ellsbury and Mike Napoli.
- The Rays still look like the winners of the Wil Myers/James Shields trade, despite the Royals' recent hot streak, Grantland's Rany Jazayerli opines.
- The hiring of Buck Showalter was the key move that turned the Orioles from also-rans into contenders, outfielder Adam Jones writes in a guest piece for Buster Olney's column (ESPN Insider subscription required).
With the Dodgers beginning a history-rich interleague series with the Yankees tomorrow in the Bronx, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal looks back at how Vin Scully was offered a chance to be the voice of the Yankees in 1964. Here are some more items revolving around the AL East…
- Brian Cashman expects to continue to be busy leading up to the trade deadline, the Yankees GM told reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) today. "I’m always open for business, if it feels like they’re incremental upgrades or significant ones," Cashman said. "Listen, because of the injuries that have hit us from the winter and March, we’ve been active and open to try to do something that would make sense for us. I think we’ve done a lot and we’re going to continue to try to do a lot."
- MLB.com's Ian Browne addresses a number of Red Sox trade deadline possibilities in a reader mailbag. Browne "highly doubts" that Jon Lester would be moved despite his current struggles, Stephen Drew could be brought back for next season depending on Will Middlebrooks' development and the Sox wouldn't have to give up much in a potential trade for Jonathan Papelbon though they would have to take on most of the remaining $33.6MM on Papelbon's contract.
- In another MLB.com fan mailbag piece, Bill Chastain looks at Wil Myers' callup to the Rays and how the heavily-touted prospect could fare in the Major Leagues.
- Orioles first round pick Hunter Harvey could come to terms with the club before their remaining two unsigned draftees from the first 10 rounds, a team source tells Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. It could take the O's right up until near the July 12 deadline to sign supplemental first-rounder Josh Hart.
The Rays have announced they will promote Wil Myers on Tuesday and he will join the team in Boston. Adam Berry of MLB.com first tweeted the news of the call up. The Rays will clear a spot on the 25-man roster by optioning Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham, but a corresponding 40-man roster move is not necessary since they had one opening.
Rays' Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link), Myers is "going to fit right in and help us win games." Friedman says Myers' recent hot streak (hitting .354 with ten home runs, and 32 RBI's in his last 32 games) "accelerated the conversation" about being promoted and what stood out to him was how well the 22-year-old has improved defensively. (Twitter links)
Myers will play regularly, mostly in right field, according to Friedman. Manager Joe Maddon concurred with his boss, as quoted by Smith, "He's going to play a lot. Of course you don't bring somebody like that up to sit around."
Myers is the consensus choice as the game's fourth-best prospect as ranked by ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required), Baseball America, and MLB.com. Law evaluates Myers as "a patient hitter who needs to work on bat control and might struggle to hit for average at first, producing via walks and power, with an eventual ceiling as a high-average, high-power player." Prior to the season, Baseball America wrote "Myers combines outstanding raw power with an advanced approach at the plate and excellent hand-eye coordination" and fits best defensively in right field. MLB.com says Myers "profiles as a run-producer in the middle of any big league lineup and he can drive the ball to all fields with the ability to leave the yard consistently."
Myers, hitting .286/.356/.520 in 289 plate appearances at Triple-A Durham after being removed prior to the third inning of the Bulls' game this afternoon, was the centerpiece of the James Shields-Wade Davis trade the Rays made with the Royals last December. The 2009 third-round draft pick will accrue 104 days of service time, if he remains with the Rays for the rest of the season, and is on the cusp of missing Super Two status based on the current projection. Nevertheless, the Rays will control Myers through the 2019 season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Earlier this weekend, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden suggested that the Rays would promote outfielder and top prospect Wil Myers sometime in the next 10 days. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin, though, says Myers wouldn't have a place to play. Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist have all performed well at the corner outfield spots for the Rays this year. The Rays could drop Luke Scott and create a rotation of players for the DH spot in order to clear space for Myers, but if they don't, Myers is a man without a position. Topkin also says that Rays manager Joe Maddon has not recently had discussions about Myers with executive vice president Andrew Friedman. The 22-year-old Myers was the key player acquired from the Royals in the James Shields trade last offseason. Myers is hitting .286/.359/.515 for Triple-A Durham. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- One reason for the Red Sox's success this year, as compared to last, is improvements in their advance scouting, says Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Manager John Farrell was hired earlier in the offseason than his predecessor, Bobby Valentine, had been, and so Farrell had a stronger pool of coaches from which to hire. Farrell and GM Ben Cherington both say interest in advance preparation was an important criterion as they hired their coaching staff. Brian Butterfield, the Sox's third base coach, prepares the team's infield shifts and is a key figure in the team's advance-scouting efforts.
- Veteran pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies in mid-May, does not enjoy relieving, Mike Still of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. "I signed here to be a starter," says Zambrano. "Last year was miserable when I went to the bullpen, I didn't enjoy it." Still notes, however, that Zambrano is willing to pitch in any role with the Phillies. Youngsters Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone have helped keep the Phillies' rotation steady in the absence of Roy Halladay, and the Phils also have a rehabbing John Lannan waiting in the wings. Their plans for Zambrano are unclear. Zambrano has a July 1 opt-out date.
The Rays are likely to promote Wil Myers in the next ten days, says ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). Myers has not yet appeared in the Majors. Myers, 22, is currently hitting .279/.354/.486 for Triple-A Durham. He is rated as the No. 4 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo. The cutoff point for Super Two eligibility is not entirely clear, but we're now at a point in the season where it's unlikely Myers would be eligible for Super Two status if he were to earn a callup and stick. Regardless, the Rays would maintain his rights through 2019. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- David Ortiz thought the Red Sox would sign Josh Hamilton this offseason, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. "I thought it was going to happen," says Ortiz. "It didn’t happen, but I thought it was going to happen. We let some guys go that was like $300 million, so I thought there was a chance." Bradford cites a source who says Hamilton and the Red Sox never came close to an agreement. Hamilton later signed with the Angels for five years and $125MM.
- Denard Span was surprised when the Twins traded him to the Nationals for Alex Meyer last offseason, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger reports (via Twitter). "I thought I was one of the cornerstones of the team. When I signed my contract, I thought I’d be there for five years," says Span, who's hitting .267/.318/.360 for the Nats this season.
- Brad Hawpe of the Angels is back in the big leagues after nearly two years away, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez notes. The Angels promoted Hawpe from Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday after he hit .305/.405/.504 in 131 at bats there. His last appearance in a big-league game was June 18, 2011 with the Padres. Hawpe says he had resigned himself to the idea that he might not play in the Majors again. "I was OK with it," he says. "I've had a bunch of good memories in this game. I've been very fortunate and blessed. It doesn't mean I wouldn't like to make some more memories, but I've been very blessed, and if that was the end of it, I was OK with it."
Several Rays players told MLBTR that the departure of mainstay James Shields in an offseason trade was easier to take than it might have been if the deal had happened in the middle of the year. That’s not the only way timing could play a significant role in determining how successful the transaction will become for Tampa Bay.
There’s always been judgment involved when a team calls up a prospect, like the four whom the Rays acquired as part of the Shields trade. Now, as teams try to balance their needs of the moment with worries about heading to arbitration a year too soon with a player they project as a star, there’s often a layer of decision-making that transcends on-field performance.
Rays manager Joe Maddon expressed confidence during spring training that the team’s front office would let baseball acumen alone determine when 22-year-old Wil Myers, the most coveted prospect in the Shields deal, makes his major league debut. Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman didn’t directly say whether that will be the case, but when MLBTR asked whether Maddon’s belief is correct, Friedman repeated comments he made recently to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com indicating that competitiveness and baseball readiness are his chief concerns.
“With any potential move there are a lot of factors to consider — the fit on our roster, what it means for our depth, and so on,” Friedman said. “We also have to be really mindful that our goal is to compete year in and year out in the toughest division in baseball with almost no margin for error. The AL East will expose very quickly any weaknesses that you have. So when we bring someone here, we need to feel that he’s ready to step in and help us win right away. As Joe has touched on already this spring, if we add someone who’s not ready, not only will it hurt the team but it can really set the player back as well.”
If Myers isn’t yet ready, it doesn’t seem like he’s far off. Last year the outfielder spent a third of the season at Double-A and the rest at Triple-A, and altogether he blasted 37 home runs with a slash line of .314/.387/.600. He opened the season as the No. 4 prospect on the Baseball America and MLB.com lists, though his 2013 performance has lacked sizzle so far. His OPS of .762 in 17 major league spring training games is similar to his .768 OPS in 10 games at Triple-A. Still, that’s significantly better than Tampa Bay’s AL-worst .569 OPS.
Ben Zobrist, one of the bright spots in the Rays lineup this year, told MLBTR he accepts the club’s decision to keep Myers on the farm for now.
“He’s going to be ready when he’s ready,” Zobrist said. “The organization’s going to make that decision. He’s obviously an exciting player. He’s done a lot of really good things so far in his minor league career, and I think if all goes well, he’s going to be an exciting player at the major league level, too, but he’s still got some seasoning to do, from their standpoint, and we’ll see what happens as the year goes on. But he’s definitely an exciting player to watch.”
Alex Cobb sympathizes with Myers. The right-handed starting pitcher improved his ERA each year in the minors after making his pro debut at rookie ball in 2006. As is often the case with young arms in the Rays organization, Cobb spent time at each level of the system, finally reaching the majors in 2011. Last season, at the age of 24, he made double-digit appearances in the big leagues for the first time. Still, Cobb came to embrace the club’s deliberate approach to call-ups, as he explained to MLBTR.
“I’ve been victim to it as much as guys in the past, but you understand it,” he said. “There’s pros and cons of being in this organization. That’s one of the minor cons of being a player in this organization. There are so many pros of just everyday life in and out of the clubhouse here. And so, when that does happen to you, you understand that you just have to pay your dues. Chris Archer’s going through it right now. It’s not a bad thing, once you’ve beaten that. It’s very discouraging while you’re going through it, and you try to put on as good a front as you can, but it is tough. But, going through it, it makes you a stronger person on and off the field. So, it’s only going to make you better between the ears when you get up here and finally do stick. You really do appreciate it.”
Cobb, who’ll be 30 by the time he’s eligible for free agency, certainly doesn’t hold any grudge against the organization for the pace of his ascent up the minor league ladder, and doesn’t think Myers or other prospects will, either.
“Initially, maybe, that’s their first instinct, is to get mad,” Cobb said. “But I think when your head cools down, you prevail from whatever the emotions you’re going through, and you realize that it’s a smart business decision. And it is, because from the outside looking in now, you realize how much they need to do those type of things to stay competitive. I think it’s become an understanding that now you pay your dues, and you do it, and you eventually become a better big leaguer for it, and you have a great career afterwards.”