Yasmani Grandal Rumors
9:46pm: Besides Braun and Rodriguez, "other major, major names" are also involved in the Biogenesis case, a source tells Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record (Twitter link).
6:56pm: Major League Baseball is planning to suspend at least 20 players connected to Biogenesis, the Miami clinic under investigation for supplying performance-enhancing drugs, reports T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish of ESPN's Outside The Lines. Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and begin naming players, with suspensions possibly following within two weeks.
The list of possible suspensions includes Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jhonny Peralta, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto, plus others who are named in documents that the ESPN team haven't had access to, or are known under code names.
MLB officials have also investigated a possible connection between Biogenesis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, as the spokeswoman for Cano's foundation (Sonia Cruz) has had her name appear in some clinic documents. Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez isn't expected to face suspension for his connection to Biogenesis since the products he obtained from the clinic weren't banned.
The league could look for a 100-game suspension (the penalty for second-time PED offenders) for Rodriguez, Braun and other first-time offenders since both the connection to Biogenesis and previous denials to MLB officials would serve as seperate offenses. It is unknown how MLB would deal with players like Cabrera or Colon who already have PED suspensions on their record, though these players probably wouldn't face a lifetime ban as three-time offenders -- their prior suspensions would likely count as their so-called "first strike," with this next violation putting them in line for 100-game suspensions as well.
Quinn/Gomez/Fish report that, as expected, the accused players will challenge any possible suspensions and it could be difficult for the league to obtain corroborating evidence in the appeals process beyond Bosch's testimony.
The Reds used only six starting pitchers last season -- an unheard of feat these days that serves as a testament to the quality and durability of their rotation. Todd Redmond was the only pitcher outside of the Reds' top five arms to make a start, and he made exactly one. Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Mat Latos combined to start the other 161 games. Each of those right-handers has been with the Reds organization since 2009 with the exception of Latos, who was acquired from the Padres in December 2011.
Latos never appeared on a Baseball America Top 100 list, but he wasted little time establishing himself as a front-line starter in San Diego. From 2010-11, he led the Padres staff by compiling 379 innings of 3.21 ERA ball with 8.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
Latos' name had scarcely appeared on the rumor mill prior to December 17, when Ken Rosenthal broke the news that he'd been traded to the Reds. Cincinnati wound up paying a hefty price for four years of Latos by dealing prospects Yonder Alonso (24 at the time), Yasmani Grandal (22) and Brad Boxberger (23) as well as starter Edinson Volquez to the Padres. Let's examine each player in the deal and see how this one looks today...
The Major League Side
- Mat Latos: Latos instantly became one of the Reds' top two starters alongside Johnny Cueto, and his first season didn't disappoint. Many questioned whether Latos, who is more of a fly-ball pitcher, could succeed in the confines of Great American Ball Park. Latos answered them by pitching to a 3.48 ERA in 209 1/3 innings. He whiffed 185 batters against just 64 walks and allowed homers at a league-average rate (1.07 HR/9). Latos was forced into action in Game 1 of the NLDS following an injury to Cueto and delivered four brilliant innings of relief, but he was unable to replicate that magic in his second appearance. So far this season, the former 11th round pick has a 1.83 ERA with 37 strikeouts and eight walks in 39 1/3 innings so far. He signed a two-year, $11.5MM contract in the offseason that bought out his first two years of arbitration. Assuming another successful two seasons, he'll likely earn well over $10MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility, although the Reds could pursue a long-term contract extension that would delay his free agency. Fangraphs pegs Latos' value to the Reds at 4.0 wins above replacement to this point.
- Yonder Alonso: Alonso was the No. 33 prospect in the game and the Reds' No. 3 prospect at the time of the deal, according to Baseball America. His first season with the Friars could be considered a disappointment by some due to his lack of power, but the former No. 7 overall pick was still an above-average bat (109 OPS+) thanks to a .278/.348/.393 batting line. He's already homered four times in 2013 after hitting just nine in 2012, so it seems that the alterations to Petco Park's dimensions and another year of experience have done the young slugger some good. Under team control through 2017, the Padres are counting on Alonso to be the first baseman for San Diego's next contending team. So much so, in fact, that they traded Anthony Rizzo less than a month after acquiring Alonso in the Latos deal.
- Yasmani Grandal: The No. 53 prospect in baseball and No. 4 in the Reds' system at the time of the deal (per BA), Grandal burst onto the scene as the Padres' everyday catcher last season. After raking to the tune of a .335/.443/.521 line in Triple-A, he hit .297/.394/.469 in 60 games for the Padres. That line would be impressive enough for any rookie, but it's particularly impressive for a catcher who spent half his time hitting at Petco Park. Of course, Grandal was slapped with a 50-game suspension this offseason due to an elevated testosterone level, so he has yet to join Alonso in the middle of the Pads' lineup.
- Edinson Volquez: Volquez's inclusion in the deal gave the Padres an experienced Major League arm to immediately fill Latos' void in their rotation. Volquez came with upside, as he was three years removed from a 3.9 WAR season. He didn't come close to that level, but he did provide 1.1 WAR by hurling 182 2/3 innings of 4.14 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 and a 50.6 percent ground-ball rate. He's been worse in 2013, though he did turn in a good start today. The 29-year-old Volquez, who was once traded for Josh Hamilton, will be eligible for free agency following the 2013 season.
The Prospect Side
- Brad Boxberger: Only Boxberger can still be considered a "prospect" in this deal, and that's a bit of a stretch as he appeared in 24 games for the Padres last season. He still has rookie eligibility, however, and was ranked 15th among Padres' prospects by BA and 18th by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Boxberger had a strong 2.60 ERA and 10.7 K/9 for the Padres in 2012, but he walked 18 batters in 27 2/3 innings and also hit two. BA writes that Boxberger's fastball sits 91-93 mph and tops out at 95 with hard cutting action. He favors his changeup heavily over his slider, and BA notes the Reds would like to see him incorporate the third pitch more often. Mayo feels that Boxberger has the stuff to eventually succeed as the Padres' closer, provided he can improve his command issues -- a feat which he did achieve in Triple-A last season (3.9 BB/9).
Overall, this trade has the makings of a win-win deal. Volquez has provided little value, but he was also the least significant part of the trade for the Padres, given his lack of team control. San Diego GM Josh Byrnes secured three prospects that he can control through at least the 2017 season in exchange for an established arm that will be in Cincinnati through the 2015 campaign. Based on the early results, Alonso and Grandal look like they will be mainstays in a rebuilding Padres lineup, and Boxberger has the chance to become at least a serviceable middle reliever with upside for more.
Latos has already played a role in giving Cincinnati one of Major League Baseball's best rotations, and given his age, he may have more to offer as his prime years set in. Reds GM Walt Jocketty couldn't have been thrilled about the concept of parting with Alonso and Grandal, but the Reds already had Joey Votto at first base and felt confident that Devin Mesoraco could become their everyday catcher. That hasn't happened yet, but Mesoraco is still just 24 years of age and catchers often take longer to develop offensively. Unlike some of the other trades I've examined in this series, both the Reds and Padres have plenty to feel good about following this swap.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal as been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a high testosterone level, the team announced.
"We were disappointed to learn of the suspension of Yasmani Grandal for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program," said the team in a statement. "We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outlined by Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement, we will not comment further on this matter.”
Grandal, 23, hit .297/.394/.469 with eight homers in 226 plate appearances for San Diego last season, his first taste of the big leagues. He was acquired from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade. Grandal was slated to be the team's starting catcher next year, potentially freeing Nick Hundley up for a trade. Those plans -- as well as a decision to potentially non-tender John Baker -- may have to change.
Forbes Magazine calculates the Yankees (unsurprisingly) as the most valuable franchise in baseball, worth an estimated $1.85 billion. The second-place team on the list are (somewhat surprisingly) the Dodgers at $1.4 billion, up nearly 75% in value from last year as Forbes predicts the team's forthcoming sale and new TV contract will return it to top-tier status. The Forbes list also reveals which teams lost value from last year and which didn't turn a profit in 2011, as well as looking at how cable TV deals are changing the economics of the game.
Some other news from around the majors...
- Yasmani Grandal is happy that Padres teammate and fellow catcher Nick Hundley received a contract extension but isn't worried that Hundley's deal impacts his own future with the club, reports Dan Hayes of the North County Times. "It doesn't matter if somebody got a deal or not. You never know what could happen," Grandal said. "They could get traded or you could get traded. I'm not only playing for one organization. I'm playing for the 29 others that are out there. That's one way I see it, and if it's not meant to be it's not meant to be. If I don't make it to the big leagues with this club I can make it with any other team."
- Hundley's reasonable contract could make him a strong trade candidate, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who the Padres could deal this summer if Grandal has a strong first half at Triple-A.
- Felix Hernandez says he is asked about his future with the Mariners in almost every interview, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, and joked he might hang a banner reading "I'm not going anywhere" over his locker.
- The Athletics are thus far very pleased with the four prospects (Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole and Derek Norris) they received from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, reports Jeff Fletcher for the Washington Times.
- Matthew Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Vernon Wells thinks the Blue Jays could make "exceptions" to their policy of not offering contracts longer than five years, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Ironically, Wells' seven-year, $126MM deal with Toronto in 2006 is no doubt a major reason why the current Jays management team has adopted this policy.
- Some newly-hired bench bosses make FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's annual list of managers on the hot seat, including Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine.
The Reds wanted to boost their rotation this winter and the club wasn't afraid to part with a great deal of talent in order to get their man in Mat Latos. The Reds acquired Latos from the Padres this afternoon for Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger.
Latos turned 24 just over a week ago, but already has more than two full seasons under his belt. From 2010-11, the right-hander accumulated a 3.21 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and a 43.7% groundball rate. Both FIP (3.09) and SIERA (3.33) like Latos quite a bit, and he's not arbitration eligible until after the 2012 season. The promising young hurler will pair with Johnny Cueto atop the Reds' rotation.
Alonso, who turns 25 early next season, turned heads with an explosive showing toward the tail end of 2011. He hit .330/.398/.545 down the stretch, albeit in a small sample size of 98 plate appearances. The Reds took Alonso seventh overall in the 2008 draft, and he's ranked in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects each of the past three seasons. He's trended in the wrong direction, however, ranking 35th, 45th, and 73rd, respectively, from 2009-2011. In 192 Triple-A plate appearances, he owns a .296/.364/.478 triple slash line.
It's unclear as of yet where the Padres view Alonso fitting in, as they also have Anthony Rizzo as a first base option. Rizzo, 22, is considerably younger than Alonso, so it's possible that his struggles in the Majors have the Friars convinced he could use a full season of work in Triple-A, or he himself could become a trade chip. San Diego could also slot Alonso into a corner outfield spot, although scouts agree he's better suited for first base.
Volquez, 28, broke out in his first year with the Reds in 2008 but has not enjoyed the same success since that season. Thanks to an elbow injury in 2009 and a 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs in 2010, the right-hander logged just 112.1 big league innings during that two-year span. Last season, Volquez turned in a 5.71 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 across 20 starts. Volquez is arbitration eligible for the second time and will be a free agent after the 2013 campaign.
Grandal, who turned 23 last month, shot up the charts this season by hitting .305/.401/.500 and reaching Triple-A as a 22-year-old. Baseball America ranked him fourth among Reds prospects heading into 2012, writing that he projects as an above average offensive catcher with solid defense. "He has a balanced approach, controls the strike zone and uses the entire field... [he] still has work to do on his receiving and could use a full year in Triple-A."While it's difficult to give up a catcher with that kind of minor league production, the Reds also have Devin Mesoraco, and likely felt they were dealing from a position of depth.
Boxberger ranked 10th on the Cincy farm, according to BA. He struggled with his command all season but still posted a 2.03 ERA in 62 minor league relief innings. He walked 4.1 per nine innings but posted a whopping 13.5 K/9. BA writes that if he can control his pitches like he did in the Arizona Fall League this year, he projects as a setup man and possibly a closer.
Photo courtesy of Tony Medina/Icon SMI.
The latest on several NL Central teams...
- The Reds are talking about a lot of trade possibilities and talking about a whole range of players, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. It is a possibility the Reds use Yonder Alonso as a trade piece to fix other needs, manager Dusty Baker told Jim Bowden on MLB Netowrk Radio. Baker indicated the Reds will keep prospects Yasmani Grandal and Devin Mesoraco, as well as star first baseman Joey Votto.
- The Reds outrighted lefty Jeremy Horst, dropping their 40-man roster count to 39, according toMLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Astros are letting teams know Carlos Lee is out there. Lee, 35, is owed $18.5MM for 2012 and has ten-and-five rights. A source close to the Astros' ownership tells Stark interim GM David Gottfried has autonomy to make trades this week.
- Speaking of mistakes from the 2006-07 offseason, the Cubs are getting a bit of interest in left fielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Soriano, 35, is owed $54MM through 2014 and has a full no-trade clause. I think the Cubs would have to eat over $40MM to move Soriano.
- World Series revenue is not a game-changer for the Cardinals, owner Bill DeWitt Jr. told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the team's payroll is expected to remain around $110MM. The Cardinals have about $80MM committed to eight players under contract for 2012.
- The Brewers are in on everyone at several positions, including shortstop and third base, but are not down the road at all on any of them, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. The Brewers are also known to be actively seeking relief help.
The Reds will sign first-round catcher Yasmani Grandal to a major league deal worth $2.99MM, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Jon Heyman of SI.com also hears that Grandal will sign for $2.9MM (Twitter link). The University of Miami product becomes the first 2010 draftee to sign a major league deal and will receive a 40-man roster spot.
Grandal, still just 21, played on the 2009 USA Baseball national team. The Red Sox drafted him in the 27th round of the 2007 draft, but he did not sign.
Links for Sunday, as Jeremy Hellickson aims for his third win in his third career start....
- Troy Glaus earned an additional $350K for making his 450th plate appearance last night, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Glaus will earn another $350K for his 500th plate appearance.
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tells us that the Orioles are unlikely to sign a pair of pitchers: sixth and seventh round picks Dixon Anderson and Matthew Bywater. The club is still working toward a deal with #3 overall pick Manny Machado, but expect to get a deal done.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (Twitter link) hears that, although a deal is unlikely, the Braves will probably "kick the tires" on Chone Figgins. Baker reported on Friday that Atlanta had yet to ask the Mariners about Figgins.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald argues that moving Jonathan Papelbon and making Daniel Bard the closer before 2012 would be a mistake for the Red Sox. In yesterday's MLBTR poll, only about 20% of you said the Sox should keep Papelbon past this season.
- The New York media is always tough on the Mets, but today's coverage seems especially harsh: Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News breaks down the ways in which the Mets have wasted the last four seasons, while the New York Post's Joel Sherman says the club's future doesn't look much better.
- Talking to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, Derrek Lee discusses his decision to veto a trade to the Angels.
- Jeremy Hermida tells Rob Bradford of WEEI that he was "kind of surprised" to be designated for assignment by the Red Sox.
- A couple updates on top draft picks: Reds' first-rounder Yasmani Grandal has already taken a physical, while the Pirates met with the agents for Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie for nearly seven hours yesterday. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have the details.
The Reds, who lead the NL Central by the slimmest of margins, are considering ways of improving the team now and in the future. Here's the latest:
- The team has not made progress with top pick Yasmani Grandal, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. GM Walt Jocketty predicts that "it'll probably go down to the wire." Click here to vote on which top draft picks will sign.
- The Reds have approached manager Dusty Baker about a possible extension according to Sheldon. Jocketty says he expects talks with Baker to pick up within a couple weeks.
- The club's front office has not yet discussed former Red Jose Guillen, who was just designated for assignment by the Royals, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
A few links to check out while we wait to see if the Rays can avoid falling out of first place for the first time in nearly two months...
- The Reds have made initial contact with the representatives for Yasmani Grandal according to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer. GM Walt Jocketty said they will continue talks this week with 2010's 12th overall draft pick.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier mentions that when Felix Doubront started for the Red Sox last night, he became the first Latin American player signed and developed by the Theo Epstein regime to reach the big league. ESPN's Jorge Arangure mentions (via Twitter) the Boston hasn't had a homegrown Latin American position player since the early 1990's.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Peter Gammons says (via Twitter) that only two teams were willing to take Manny Ramirez off Boston's hands two years ago even if they footed the bill: the Marlins and Dodgers. The Red Sox's requests for Mike Stanton and Andre Ethier were met with "no thank yous."
- MLB.com's Corey Brock, Brittany Ghiroli, and Gina Mizeli spoke to Oscar Salazar, who reflected on the trade that send him from the Orioles to the Padres last year.
- The Rockies will look at the middle infield market, but ESPN's Buster Olney tweets they're likely to just ride out Troy Tulowitzki's absence with what they have in house. He does however mention that Dan Uggla is one name to watch.
- Both Jhonny Peralta and Kerry Wood offered up the stock "it's out of my control" response when asked about the possibility of being traded, according to Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
- Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post says the idea of the Rockies' acquiring Cliff Lee is wishful thinking. The team would have to get back in the playoff race and show it can compete without Troy Tulowitzki before ownership would consider adding Lee's salary to the payroll.
- The Cardinals had interest in signing Ben Sheets this winter according to Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but the righthander's price was too high. “If he wants to prove his value here, we’d have interest,” said manager Tony La Russa. “It turns out he had value that wasn’t going to work.”