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Zach McAllister Rumors
While Kris Bryant‘s situation is grabbing all of the headlines in Chicago (and nationally, for that matter), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports believes that another Chicago phenom — White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon — is making a strong case for the Opening Day roster as well. Morosi argues that the ChiSox are running out of reasons not to bring last year’s No. 3 overall pick north with the team, as the lefty has whiffed 19 hitters in 12 1/3 innings thus far and recently struck out nine of 16 Royals hitters in a four-inning effort. The Sox will need a pitching boost early in the season, he adds, with Chris Sale unavailable for Opening Day and veterans such as John Danks and Brad Penny struggling. Starting Rodon’s service clock early isn’t as problematic as it would be in the case of Bryant (or any position player), Morosi writes, because the Sox could use the All-Star break as a means of limiting his innings and also regaining enough service time to delay his free agency by a year. Rodon could strategically be optioned to Triple-A in advance of his final first-half start, then have his second-half debut delayed as late as possible.
- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters, including MLive.com’s James Schmehl, that there’s no competition for the closer job, which firmly belongs to Joe Nathan. The 40-year-old Nathan is coming off perhaps his worst season since becoming a closer and has struggled further this spring, while setup man Joakim Soria has been excellent, but no change is imminent. Soria spoke to Schmehl about pitching in a setup capacity and admitted that he’s “not excited” about not being a closer, though he added that pitching the eighth inning isn’t much different, and he’ll be happy pitching in any role. MLBTR will again be tracking all closer-related situations with our @Closernews Twitter account this season, for those who play fantasy baseball and want to stay current.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that while most believed Danny Salazar was capable of breaking camp in the Indians’ rotation, the right-hander has done nothing to deserve that spot and should be passed over for Zach McAllister, at least in the short term. McAllister is out of Minor League options and was believed to be ticketed for bullpen duty, but using him in the rotation early on would give Salazar some much-needed time to regroup at Triple-A. Manager Terry Francona voiced disappointment in Salazar’s spring thus far, Pluto writes, noting that his stuff is still electric, but the results and control haven’t been there.
- Non-roster invitee Shane Robinson has made a good impression on the Twins in camp thus far, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The 30-year-old Robinson is battling for an outfield job with the Twins and has batted .257/.333/.371 in 39 plate appearances. He’d likely only make the team in the event that both Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario were optioned to Triple-A, however, Berardino notes. Robinson tells Berardino that a number of teams called him once he became a Minor League free agent this winter, but a very candid 25-minute phone conversation with GM Terry Ryan and the Twins’ strong early interest led him to select Minnesota. The former Cardinal has an April 2 opt-out date and would earn $550K in the Majors, Berardino reports.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian and Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group cleared out their inbox this weekend answering readers’ questions about possible moves for the Indians this offseason. Here are the highlights:
- Bastian downplays a Nick Swisher-Ubaldo Jimenez swap of bad contracts. Cleveland could afford the move (Jimenez is due $38.75MM through 2017 while Swisher is owed $30MM through 2016 with a 2017 vesting option worth $14MM), but Bastian feels the odds of Swisher rebounding in 2015 is a better bet than three years of Jimenez.
- If the Indians are looking to shed a bad contract, Hoynes thinks Michael Bourn would be easier to trade, but adds that doesn’t mean Cleveland wants to deal him.
- Bastian and Hoynes both agree the Indians have interest in Justin Masterson on a one-year pillow contract, but feel the right-hander will find a multi-year pact elsewhere.
- Trading for Cole Hamels is an interesting thought, according to Bastian, because the left-hander is cheaper ($90MM through 2018) than the top free agent rotation arms on the market and the Indians have the type of prospects the Phillies covet. Ultimately, though, Bastian sees Hamels’ annual salary and the potential prospects lost will be too steep of a price for the franchise to pay.
- While noting manager Terry Francona’s penchant for strong bullpens, Hoynes doesn’t see the Indians investing in any of the high profile free agent relievers, especially with Zach McAllister waiting in the wings.
- Does Francona’s new contract extension contain the same opt-out clause allowing him to leave if President Mark Shapiro or GM Chris Antonetti are fired? Antonetti did not provide details when asked that question, but Hoynes imagines the opt-out provision is included in the extension.
- Bastian expects right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer to have break out seasons for the Indians in 2015.
Here are the latest minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Rockies have outrighted Pedro Hernandez to Triple-A, according to the MLB transactions page. The 25-year-old lefty made one start for Colorado before he was designated. As he has previously been outrighted, Hernandez will have the right to elect free agency.
- Reliever Jose De Paula has re-signed with the Giants on a minor league deal, per the MLB transactions page. The club had designated and then released him just days ago.
- The Nationals have released righty Josh Roenicke, according to the International League transactions page. Roenicke had spent at least some time in the big leagues for each of the prior six seasons, and logged 150 2/3 between 2012-13. But moving to the starting rotation for the first time as a professional has not resulted in high-level production at Triple-A this year; Roenicke has struggled to a 5.45 ERA through 79 1/3 frames (15 starts) with 4.2 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.
- Ryan Feierabend of the Rangers has accepted an outright assignment rather than electing free agency, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The left-hander made his way back to the bigs for the first time since 2008 with a Texas club that has cycled through more than its fair share of arms this year.
- The Royals outrighted Brett Hayes to Triple-A after the catcher cleared waivers, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). As the backup behind workhorse starter Salvador Perez, Hayes hasn’t seen much action this year, appearing in 27 games and posting a .362 OPS over only 53 PA.
- The Diamondbacks signed right-hander Graham Godfrey, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Godfrey posted a 5.09 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 46 innings with the A’s in 2011-12 and he spent last season pitching for the Red Sox and Pirates’ Triple-A affiliates.
- The Diamondbacks released first baseman Wagner Mateo earlier this week, according to the Pioneer League’s transactions page. Mateo originally signed a contract as a 16-year-old with the Cardinals worth a $3.1MM bonus in 2009 but St. Louis voided that deal after Mateo’s physical revealed apparent vision problems. Mateo signed a $512K contract with the D’Backs a year later and hit .230/.312/.349 over 802 pro plate appearances, never getting above the High-A ball level. He also posted an 8.87 ERA over 22 1/3 relief innings over the last two seasons.
- The Reds released right-hander Adam Russell last week, as announced via Twitter by their Triple-A Louisville affiliate. Russell posted a 3.95 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 1.46 K/BB rate over 86 2/3 relief innings with the White Sox, Padres and Rays from 2008-11, and he’s since toiled in the minors with four other organizations. He had a 4.33 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 1.79 K/BB in 35 1/3 IP this season with Louisville.
- Zach McAllister and Evan Scribner were both respectively optioned to Triple-A by the Indians and Athletics over the weekend. The two righties were both on optional assignment waivers after being designated off their team’s 25-man rosters (but not the 40-man rosters) on Friday, though they were procedural moves rather than traditional DFAs, and neither player was in any danger of being claimed by another club.
- To monitor players who have been properly designated for assignment, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, as a whopping 10 players currently reside in “DFA limbo.”
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Russell | Arizona Diamondbacks | Brett Hayes | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Graham Godfrey | Jose De Paula | Josh Roenicke | Kansas City Royals | Oakland Athletics | Pedro Hernandez | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Transactions | Wagner Mateo | Washington Nationals | Zach McAllister
McAllister has only been designated off the Tribe’s 25-man roster (he’s still on the 40-man) as, since McAllister debuted in the majors more than three years ago, he must be put on optional assignment waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A.
It’s been a tough year for McAllister, who missed over a month with a back injury and has posted a 5.91 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 2.08 K/BB rate in 14 starts for Cleveland. Looking at his advanced metrics, McAllister’s 4.04 FIP, 4.27 xFIP and 4.30 SIERA indicate that his real-world ERA has been unluckily inflated thanks to a .322 BABIP and only a 58.6% strand rate.
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan had dinner with principal owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson Friday night to discuss his future role with the franchise. Simpson called the meeting "productive" while Ryan remained silent until today when he released a statement through the team. "Over the last week, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and I have been in discussion and met in-person. The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward. I am very proud of what the Rangers have accomplished over the last several years, and I believe our preparations for upcoming season are what is important." Sources have told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Ryan could leave after he fulfills his two remaining team obligations: in San Antonio for the Rangers' two exhibition games there March 29-30 and in Houston during the Rangers' season-opening series against the Astros. In other news and notes from the American League:
- Rick Porcello became the first Tiger pitcher to pitch five innings this spring, allowing no runs on three hits while striking out four. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press tweets Porcello was happy to discuss his outing, but refused to comment on the many trade rumors surrounding him.
- J.A. Happ, also a subject of trade rumors, is frustrated by his role with the Blue Jays and sees himself as a Major League starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). Happ, as quoted by Chisholm on Twitter, realizes he is auditioning for other teams, "I know there are other people in the stands as well so I'm trying to just keep my routine and we'll see what happens."
- Indians manager Terry Francona has named Zach McAllister as the team's fourth starter, the Associated Press reports (via the Boston Herald). If the Indians choose to start Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Corey Kluber in the minors, the leading veteran candidates for the final spot are Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer who would put his money on Kazmir.
The Indians have been very busy during the first days of 2013 officially announcing the free agent signings of Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports the team will open the season with a payroll hovering around $66-68MM (not including the $2.75MM buyout of Travis Hafner's 2013 club option and the $3.5MM sent to the Reds in the Shin-Soo Choo trade). As a result, GM Chris Antonetti has said the team's financial resources have been exhausted. The lone remaining hole in the lineup is designated hitter. Bastian says the Tribe could rely on internal options like Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedroff, and Rule 5 selection Chris McGuiness. Even bringing back Hafner is a possibility according to Antonetti, "I think some of that is going to depend upon other opportunities for Travis and his thoughts on returning, as well as what opportunities we may have for him compared to other guys." Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more news and notes concerning the Indians:
- Hoynes adds Matt LaPorta to the list of in-house DH options, but says Antonetti could still sign a hitter or bring one in on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
- Hoynes thinks Delmon Young would look good as the Tribe's DH, but doesn't see it happening at this time because of his asking price and character issues.
- The Indians will still consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera or Chris Perez, but only if the return is comparable to what they received in the Choo deal.
- The starting rotation looks like Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Myers, and Zach McAllister. Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
- With the flush of spending of this season, does this put extra pressure on the front office to win now? Hoynes doesn't sense any panic in the hallways of power, especially since new manager Terry Francona can opt-out of his deal if certain members of management lose their jobs.
Some links for Saturday evening as the cold weather makes its way back to the Northeast..
- Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic that the team will "spend the money necessary to sign the players that are the best players out there when our turn comes," referring to the draft. The D'Backs hold two of the first seven picks after failing to sign sixth overall pick Barret Loux last year.
- Before landing with the Athletics on a minor league contract, Andy LaRoche drew interest from the Red Sox and Indians according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- Astros outfielder Hunter Pence tweeted that he found the arbitration process to be fascinating but is glad to have it in the rear view mirror. Earlier today, Pence won his arb case, meaning that he'll earn $6.9MM in 2011.
- The Diamondbacks' 2011 payroll should be in the low $60MM range, managing partner Ken Kendrick told Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (via Twitter).
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn't sound too upset about the status of his relationship with Michael Young in this tweet from Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.
- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is ready to embrace his new role in Chicago, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Former Yankees prospect Zach McAllister is looking forward to a new start with the Indians, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
The Indians have acquired pitcher Zach McAllister from the Yankees to complete the Austin Kearns deal, according to a team press release. The trade called for Cleveland to receive a player to be named later or cash.
McAllister, a native Midwesterner, has a 5.09 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate this season. He enjoyed a strong 2009 in Double-A Trenton, however, posting a 2.23 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
Heading into the season, Baseball America ranked the 6'5" righthander as the fifth-best prospect in the organization and the second-best pitcher behind the now-departed Arodys Vizcaino. According to their 2010 Prospect Handbook, he had the best control of any pitcher in the Yankees system but his slider is his only plus pitch.
7:31am: SI's Jon Heyman dished Yankees rumors in yesterday's column…
- The Yankees "made a big proposal" for Soria. With three club options, the 26-year-old righty is under team control through 2014. Had Soria not signed a team-friendly extension in May of 2008, he'd be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. The only blemish on his record was missing most of May last year with a sore shoulder. How do the Yankees and Royals match up? You'd expect Dayton Moore to pursue Montero or Austin Romine, though the Royals already have Billy Butler and Wil Myers in the organization.
- Heyman notes that the Yankees "have been in touch" with the Nationals about Adam Dunn, but "so far found the price prohibitive." With six days until the trade deadline, will Mike Rizzo drop the price on Dunn? Heyman also links the Yankees to familiar names Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, and Cody Ross.
- Heyman doesn't see the Yankees going after Roy Oswalt, but tweets that they like Ted Lilly. Teams like the Cubs and Astros have to hope the Diamondbacks' unimpressive return for Dan Haren doesn't have a ripple effect on their available starters.
- Heyman tweets that the Yankees' offer for Haren consisted of righties Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister plus one or two prospects. Baseball America viewed Nova and McAllister as future No. 4 types heading into the season.