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Yasmany Tomas Rumors
The Nationals haven’t managed to avoid the possibility of losing key members of their team due to free agency, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports. The Nats could be without Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond and Doug Fister after the season because they haven’t managed to sign those players to long-term deals that delay free agency. That might not be entirely their fault, Svrluga suggests — they tried to sign all three players. In the meantime, though, they have another wave of core players (Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon) to whom they could turn their attention. Strasburg, Harper and Rendon are all represented by Scott Boras, who does not generally like long-term deals for pre-free-agency players. Some of his clients, such as Jered Weaver and Carlos Gonzalez, have signed them, however. Here are more notes from the National League.
- Yunel Escobar wasn’t happy to have been traded away from the Rays to the Athletics and then from the Athletics to the Nationals, and he also wasn’t happy he’d have to move from shortstop to second base, the Post’s James Wagner writes. Escobar has changed his mind since then, however. “They’ve reached the playoffs two of the last three years,” says Escobar. “I want to help them win a World Series. If the missing piece is me playing second base, then I’m here for anything.” Escobar says certain aspects of playing second base, like turning double plays, are “confusing,” but says that he’ll improve that them with practice.
- Baseball is full of incredibly disappointing free-agent contracts, but Matt Holliday‘s current seven-year, $120MM deal with the Cardinals isn’t one of them, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “I really wanted it to work out great for both sides,” says Holliday. “A lot of times with a long-term contract, you hear ‘They hope to get a couple of good years out of it.’ My goal from the day I signed was to get to the end of the contract and have everybody feel really good about it.” Holliday’s defense has slipped since signing, but he’s maintained a high standard offensively, and with just two years (plus an option) left on the deal, it looks like the Cardinals are going to get more than their money’s worth.
- When Cuban righty Yoan Lopez signed with the Diamondbacks, he joined the organization he rooted for as a child, Carlos Torres Bujanda writes for Baseball America. “Since I was a kid, I followed the D-backs when Randy Johnson was on the team,” says Lopez. “To see the games or check the stats I had friends who worked in hotels with Internet access. They download the games so I can watch later, or see the numbers.” Lopez adds that he’s happy the Diamondbacks also signed another Cuban player this offseason, Yasmany Tomas.
Here’s the latest from around the AL Central…
- As far as Corey Kluber knows, his representatives haven’t had any talks with the Indians about an extension, the Cy Young Award winner told reporters (including Zack Meisel of the Northeast Ohio Media Group). “That’s not my job to worry about that,” Kluber said. “My job is to go out there and pitch. I have agents that can handle that stuff for me when the time comes. My job is to get prepared to play this season.” Kluber is one of the game’s best bargains, as he’ll pitch the 2015 season on a near-league minimum salary, though he’ll be in line for a large raise when he is arbitration-eligible next winter. Cleveland has him under team control through the 2018 campaign.
- The Twins were granted a fourth option year on Oswaldo Arcia, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, so they’re in no danger of losing the outfielder on the waiver wire if he can’t find a place on the Major League roster. Eduardo Nunez and Jordan Schafer are the only out-of-options players on the Minnesota roster.
- Tigers assistant GM Al Avila told Mlive.com’s James Schmehl that the club had interest in Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas and discussed the Tigers’ pursuit of the two high-profile Cuban free agents. Detroit checked in on Tomas though the club only had a moderate interest. “We liked him a little bit, but I’d say not to the same degree as Castillo,” Avila said. “We liked him. But, unlike Castillo, where we got involved in negotiations, we didn’t with Tomas. We didn’t see him as a fit.” While the Tigers progressed to the talking stages with Castillo, however, his price tag escalated beyond the team’s comfort zone.
- For more Detroit baseball news, check out this collection of Tigers Notes from earlier today.
DECEMBER 9TH, 12:50am: Tomas will receive a $14MM signing bonus, salaries of $2MM, $4MM, $6MM and $10MM, and a one-time player option for $15.5MM for 2019 and $17MM in 2020, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel reports (all Twitter links). Tomas can also receive up to $2MM in bonuses.
DECEMBER 8TH, 5:32pm: If Tomas opts out after the fourth year, Arizona will be able to make him a qualifying offer, a source tells Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
4:05pm: The D’Backs announced the signing via Twitter.
NOVEMBER 26TH: The Diamondbacks have reached agreement on a six-year, $68.5MM deal with Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The deal includes an opt-out that can be triggered after four seasons and is pending only a physical, per Sanchez.
The overall guarantee lands just a hair over the $68MM that the White Sox promised Jose Abreu last year. Given changes in the market in the interim — largely driven, perhaps, by Abreu’s own incredible success — that price tag may feel low at first glance. Indeed, much attention has been given to the idea that Tomas, with his prodigious power and youth, could not only beat the Rusney Castillo contract (seven years, $72.5MM) but also reach nine figures.
Of course, the opt-out will play an important role in assessing this deal’s true value, especially once it is learned how much of the guarantee falls under the contract’s last two years. The 4+2 opt-out structure means that Tomas could reach free agency before his age-28 season. If his bat lives up to the hype, he’ll have another shot at a massive payday at that point. But the client of Jay Alou Jr. will have to prove it on the field first.
As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes wrote in his profile of Tomas, the 70-grade raw power is the right-handed hitter’s calling card. His other tools appear largely to be average or slightly below, and it remains unclear precisely what position Tomas will play and how his defensive ability will shake out. Though considered mobile in relation to his hulking frame, Tomas has drawn some concerns about his body and overall conditioning.
For Arizona, joining Tomas with Mark Trumbo potentially sets up a roster with unmatched right-handed power at the outfield corners. Of course, he may well need to spend some time in the upper minors before ascending to the big league roster, though that is an assessment that can wait for the spring. Arizona can also field David Peralta in a corner spot, and his left-handed bat would provide a nice complement when Tomas does make it to the show.
This move, like the Jeremy Hellickson trade, does not necessarily tell us precisely what else the Diamondbacks might look to accomplish for 2015. While the team’s new leadership structure — chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, GM Dave Stewart, and senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson — has indicated that it intends to field a competitive team next year, that does not mean that every move will be of the win-now variety. Entering his second-to-last year of club control, Trumbo could still be a trade chip, as could catcher Miguel Montero or other veterans such as Cliff Pennington and Cody Ross.
The likeliest course, perhaps, is a continuation of what the team has done thus far. Adding pitching will undoubtedly remain a focus, with Arizona possibly looking to deal from its outfield and middle infield surplus as a means of doing so. Before accounting for Tomas and Hellickson, the team’s 2015 payroll was over $20MM shy of last year’s team-record (assuming that all arb-eligible players are tendered). But now there may not be a ton of room to add current-year spending, given reports that the team is expected to spend somewhat less than last year. Of course, Arizona does have some possible means of moving salary through trade and is carrying fairly minimal future obligations.
Photo courtesy of Alyson Boyer Rode.
The Diamondbacks officially announced today that Nationals special assistant Deric Ladnier has been hired as their new scouting director (Jon Heyman of CBS Sports previously reported that the move was likely). The 50-year-old Ladnier has worked in scouting and player development for 24 and was the Royals’ scouting director from 2000-08, during which time Kansas City drafted Zack Greinke, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Billy Butler, Danny Duffy and Jarrod Dyson.
Some more D-Backs notes on a day that saw them complete a significant three-team trade…
- The Diamondbacks will not trade Mark Trumbo, GM Dave Stewart plainly told reporters, including FOX Sports Arizona’s Jack Magruder today (Twitter link). Though some have speculated that the Yasmany Tomas signing opens the door for such a move (myself included), it appears the D-Backs are in no rush to sell low on Trumbo after a down season in 2014. Stewart added that the D-Backs are still looking for a left-handed power bat to sandwich between Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt in the team’s cleanup spot.
- One reason that the D-Backs feel they can keep Trumbo around without creating a logjam, manager Chip Hale told Magruder, is that their plan is to try Tomas out as a third baseman (Twitter link). While that may be alarming to many, Tomas has experience playing third base in Cuba and worked out for clubs at the position as well.
- The Reds, who are known to be seeking a left fielder, are interested in the Diamondbacks’ group of outfielders, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Former D-Backs GM Kevin Towers is now in Cincinnati’s front office Morosi notes, and David Peralta‘s name is one that has been mentioned internally. While it’s highly early for this type of speculation, a trade of Peralta to Cincinnati would allow the Snakes to play Tomas and Trumbo in the outfield corners, though that could have serious defensive downside, even with the excellent A.J. Pollock in center field. Peralta had a somewhat surprisingly strong rookie campaign despite the fact that he turned 27 years old in August. The D-Backs plucked him out of independent ball in 2013, and he batted .286/.320/.450 in 348 plate appearances in 2014.
The Phillies never made an offer for outfielder Yasmany Tomas, agent Jay Alou Jr. tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Alou said that the club was engaged throughout the process, but that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. gave the impression that he had to “clear salary” before he could put dollars on the table. “His hands were tied,” Alou said in reference to Amaro. For his part, Amaro said only that “it was clear the Diamondbacks valued him higher than we did.” The ownership group has not created any “impediments” to his baseball operations staff, he added.
More from the National League:
- With a line of quality pitchers queuing up behind Jon Lester and company, the Pirates are staying engaged with their own outgoing free agents, Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Dejan Kovacevic recently reported that the club hoped to return both hurlers, even after adding A.J. Burnett.
- Indeed, Pittsburgh is making clear to agents of other free agent starters that Liriano is their top priority on the rotation market, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports. Though the Bucs would stand to give up the sandwich pick they would receive were Liriano to sign elsewhere, he has been quite a valuable contributor to the team’s winning ways over the last two seasons.
- The Marlins are unlikely to lock down any new extensions before the Winter Meetings, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets, though that does not mean that the team is not making a legitimate effort to work out more deals. With offers on the table or soon to be delivered to several young players, the team appears to be making a push to follow the model that the Braves pursued last year.
- Bryce Harper and the Nationals are headed towards a grievance in December to resolve the long-lingering question whether his contract permits him to opt into arbitration, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. (To understand the background, read this post from last November.) Rosenthal wonders whether the Nats would be better served not fighting the point, if the club hopes to have a shot at extending Harper.
- As the Braves continue to weigh their trade options, the team is more likely to deal Justin Upton than to move both he and Evan Gattis, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. The team has still not ruled out a scenario in which both players are traded, though that would obviously create quite a void in the middle of the team’s lineup.
- Interestingly, the Braves had extended discussions earlier this offseason with the Astros about Gattis, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Atlanta wanted Houston to take a pairing of Gattis and the struggling B.J. Upton in a trade, but that involved too much payroll for the latter to stomach. The Braves expressed interest in both Dexter Fowler and Carlos Corporan in the talks. Rosenthal says that the original line of discussion faded, but that other talks involving Gattis could arise between the teams in the future.
The Mets have plenty of good pitching, but now isn’t the best time for them to try to trade it, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Not only are there still plenty of good, or even great, arms remaining on the free agent market, but there are also plenty of potential trade targets, including players like Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Kennedy. “[E]very organization now thinks it has pitching,” says an NL executive. “Maybe not as much as the Mets, but more than in the past. No one can find bats. I just think the teams with bats are king right now.” Here are more notes from the National League.
- On the flip side, Sherman writes, plenty of top hitters are already off the free agent market, so teams willing to trade batters could soon find good markets for them. That includes the Braves, who still have Justin Upton to deal, as well as the Cubs and Red Sox. The Cubs had today’s hitting-poor market in mind as they collected their terrific group of young hitters, an NL executive tells Sherman. “The Cubs used the fourth pick [in June’s draft] to pick a pure hitter [Kyle Schwarber] without a position at a time when they needed pitching badly, and they are in as deep on [19-year-old Cuban wunderkind] Yoan Moncada as any team,” says the executive. “That is not by accident.”
- What kind of player might new Diamondbacks signee Yasmany Tomas be next season? FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, writing for FOX Sports, looks at various scouting reports to compile a list of comparable players for Tomas. Sullivan suggests Tomas profiles as approximately a league-average player, with a bat similar to that of Yoenis Cespedes or Khris Davis. He might turn out to be Justin Upton if he’s a little better than anticipated, and Dayan Viciedo if he’s worse. At 24, though, Tomas could also continue to improve, and Sullivan suggests that as an average player, Tomas is more than worth the $68.5MM the Diamondbacks guaranteed him.
Braves outfielder Justin Upton is a hot commodity on the trade market, although the Braves are in no rush to move him, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. A deal involving Upton and top young Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker would appear to make sense, Heyman suggests. Walker was the key to a deal involving Upton between the Mariners and Diamondbacks two years ago, but Upton rejected the trade. Now, though, Upton doesn’t have the Mariners on his no-trade list. Last week, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted that Walker might be attainable in an Upton deal. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Cardinals can afford to wait to find pitching help, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “We have the opportunity to go with [Carlos] Martinez or [Marco] Gonzales and we like a lot the future they both have,” says GM John Mozeliak. “You don’t stop looking for ways to improve, but as far as options go we think we have five quality starters, at least, to go with.” Mozeliak also characterizes the team’s reported interest in Jon Lester as merely due diligence. He suggests, however, that it’s possible the Cardinals could add a starter later in the offseason.
- One potential addition for the Cards could be 1B/OF Kyle Blanks, who the Athletics designated for assignment in the wake of the Josh Donaldson trade, Goold tweets. The Cardinals could pair the righty-hitting Blanks with the lefty Matt Adams at first base.
- The Padres were aggressive in their pursuit of free agent Pablo Sandoval (who ultimately ended up with the Red Sox), but did not pursue Yasmany Tomas nearly as strongly, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. Padres GM A.J. Preller traveled to the Dominican Republic twice in pursuit of Tomas, but the team ultimately didn’t make an offer that was competitive enough. “As we went through the process, we felt comfortable with our evaluation and our offer,” Preller said. “There were no surprises at the end. We just weren’t able to connect.” With Sandoval and Tomas off the board, the Padres are likely to try to upgrade through trades.
The Diamondbacks won the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, signing the Cuban outfielder to a six-year, $68.5MM contract and drawing praise from some around the baseball world, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. One AL scout called the contract “a great deal,” since another AL scout told Piecoro that “most people thought it would cost between $80MM-$100MM” to sign Tomas. It’s possible that the Snakes were able to get a relative bargain, however, due to concerns that other teams had about Tomas’ defense and plate discipline, not to mention career numbers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional that fell well behind the totals posted by such stars as Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig.
MLBTR wishes all our readers a Happy Thanksgiving, and here are some items from around baseball to go with your pumpkin pie for dessert…
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Dejan Kovacevic of DKOnPittsburghSports.com that the team’s payroll “certainly can and I suspect will” top the $90MM mark in 2015. This works out to roughly $20MM in available funds by Kovacevic’s calculations, and “everything I’m hearing is that most, if not all, of that money will be committed to starting pitching,” with the Pirates hoping to re-sign both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.
- The Reds are looking for multiple “inexpensive Major League-ready players” in exchange for Jay Bruce, a rival scout familiar with the team’s demands told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Cincinnati is known to be listening to offers for Bruce, though it could just be a case of due diligence rather than a legitimate desire to deal the outfielder.
- The Rule 5 Draft is coming up on December 11, and Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper lists some of the intriguing names that are likely or unlikely be picked in two weeks’ time. BA’s Matt Eddy, meanwhile, examines some of the key statistics and factors that led several prospects to be added to team’s 40-man rosters in advance of the draft.
- Chris Capuano said “there’s a lot of truth to” rumors he is interested in pitching in Japan next season, the veteran lefty told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). “It piqued my interest back in 2006….we’re considering it,” Capuano said. The 36-year-old posted a 4.35 ERA, 2.47 K/BB and 7.5 K/9 over 97 1/3 IP in 2014, making 12 starts for the Yankees and 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox.
- The Mariners would be hard-pressed to deal starting pitching given their lack of rotation depth, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes, and thus a rumored Hisashi Iwakuma-for-Yoenis Cespedes deal doesn’t make much sense for the team.
- If GM Brian Cashman truly believes David Robertson “checks every box” for what’s expected from a Yankees closer, then the team should’ve re-signed Robertson by now, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News opines. The Robertson/Dellin Betances combo was a major strength for the Yankees last season, though Betances might not be ready to take over the closer’s role. Plus, as Feinsand argues, “who takes over the setup role if Betances moves to the ninth? Andrew Miller? Luke Gregerson? If you’re going to pay a free-agent reliever, why not spend on the one you’ve drafted and developed yourself?”
The Giants‘ pre-season efforts to extend Pablo Sandoval were more aggressive than had previously been known, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Before the season, San Francisco offered Sandoval a deal that would have added four years and a vesting option on top of his 2014 arbitration salary, potentially reaching $91.5MM over that six-year span. (That figure includes the option; the report does not indicate the precise guaranteed figure.) While that falls shy of what Sandoval ultimately achieved, of course, it certainly sounds like a competitive offer for the context in which it was made.
More from the National League;
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he was “not disappointed” to see Yasmany Tomas land with another club, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. Amaro did say that the Phils had “dialogue” yesterday with Tomas’s representatives, which would seem to indicate that the team had at least some involvement right down to the wire.
- Amaro went on to reject the concept that the team was focused on bolstering its lineup. “Who said we were looking for a power bat?” Amaro queried. “We have a long-term plan and the moves we make are based on that. We’re looking for pitching right now.”
- We’ve heard various reports of late suggesting that the Marlins are interested in adding a left-handed bat. One name to keep an eye on, per a report from Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, is Brandon Moss of the Athletics.
The Giants were the runners up in the pursuit of Yasmany Tomas, who earlier today reportedly agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks, according to a Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). For their $68.5MM, Arizona is getting a player with undeniable upside, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick writes after speaking with three scouting sources.
- The Padres are receiving a “ton of inquiries” on backstops Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, and Austin Hedges, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Each member of that trio has his own particular appeal, along with factors that hold down their trade value.
- In other Padres news, Rosenthal notes (Twitter links) that he has received additional confirmation that San Diego had engaged with talks on Matt Kemp with the Dodgers. He hastens to add that these discussions were not “that recent” and that nothing is close to getting done, as the Friars continue to turn over a number of rocks in search of upgrades after missing on Pablo Sandoval and Tomas. Los Angeles would presumably have interested in arms and catching were talks to move forward.
- The Giants will indeed seek to apply the money they hoped to spend on Sandoval or Tomas toward another top-end free agent, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported this morning (before the Tomas signing was reported). As reported yesterday, the club is opening a broad search for a way to bolster its roster, aided by a bloated purse from winning the team’s third World Series in five seasons.