5:03PM: The trade is official, as per a Dodgers press release.
If Baltimore does acquire Nuno, it would be the second trade involving the 29-year-old in the past three-plus months. The Dodgers previously sent catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Mariners in November for Nuno, who has three years of club control remaining and will make a paltry $1.125MM in 2017. The swingman would provide the Orioles someone with extensive experience as both a starter and reliever – something they lost when Vance Worley departed in free agency – and perhaps push out-of-options southpaw T.J. McFarland off their roster.
In stints with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and M’s, the soft-tossing Nuno has combined for 126 appearances (42 starts) of 4.02 ERA pitching with 7.38 K/9 against 2.32 BB/9. He has been particularly tough on left-handed hitters, having held them to a .217/.285/.356 line, while righties have slashed .270/.320/.479. Nuno’s currently coming off a two-year stretch in which he recorded a 3.66 ERA, 8.05 K/9 and 2.01 BB/9 over 147 2/3 innings, though he generated ground balls at just a 39.7 percent clip.
The Orioles will have to create 40-man roster space for Nuno, Encina notes, while Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tweets that dealing the pitcher will enable the Dodgers to open up a spot for newly signed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez. They’ll also pick up the 22-year-old Moseley, whom the Orioles selected in the eighth round of last June’s draft. Moseley disappointed in 2016 at Texas Tech, per Baseball America (subscription required/recommended), which lists a “power-reliever future” as the best-case scenario for the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder. Moseley debuted professionally at the High-A level last year and registered a 3.20 ERA, 8.24 K/9 and 4.12 BB/9 in 19 2/3 innings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Ace reliever Dellin Betances had more to say Sunday regarding his arbitration-related dispute with Yankees president Randy Levine, telling reporters – including George A. King III of the New York Post – that he has no regrets over comments he made Saturday. Betances added that he isn’t going to seek out Levine to potentially clear the air between the two. “I don’t feel I need to speak to him, I don’t know how [the Yankees] feel,’’ Betances said. “I am just going to try and prepare for the season and help the team as much as I can.’’ Further, on the heels of MLBPA executive Rick Shapiro calling Levine’s remarks “totally unprecedented” Saturday, union chief Tony Clark weighed in Sunday and referred to them as “unprofessional” (Twitter link via Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan).
More from around the majors:
- In an attempt to shorten games, MLB is interested in placing a runner on second at the beginning of extra innings, but that’s not something the players are ever going to sign off on, Clark told the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Clark actually laughed at the idea while shooting it down, but he did note that players are open to changing the intentional walk (Twitter links via Passan).
- While Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon’s name came up in trade rumors during the winter, GM Jeff Bridich didn’t show any interest in dealing him for anything but a massive return. Should a trade come together in the next two years, Blackmon’s final seasons of team control, it seems he’d understand. “I just think they value me pretty high, I guess, and that’s why nothing happened,” Blackmon told Thomas Harding of MLB.com. “I think that’s good. But it’s my opinion that if a deal had come along where they had gotten a deal worth more than what I was worth, then they would’ve made the deal. And I would expect that to happen.”
- Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber caught a bullpen session Friday for the first time since he tore multiple knee ligaments last April and informed Carrie Muskat of MLB.com on Sunday that he “loved it.” Schwarber realizes that he must “take it slow with the knee and the injury and everything like that,” though, and likely won’t do much catching this season with Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero on Chicago’s roster. “I’ve got to be ready at any time to come in late in the game from left field to maybe come catch and give those guys a blow,” Schwarber said. “It’s not like I’m going to be the everyday starter.”
- Although he emerged as the Rays’ best first base option last season, Brad Miller indicated Sunday that he’s on board with moving to second base this year to take over for the departed Logan Forsythe. “I’m not going to prepare for first at all this spring,” Miller told Bill Chastain of MLB.com. “Just try to get as many reps at second and short right now with the makeup of the team. Obviously, I know it’s a long year. I’ve been through changing positions before. So I understand.” After the Rays’ workout Sunday, manager Kevin Cash opined that Miller “looked outstanding” and was “really fundamentally sound.” The middle infield is nothing new for Miller, who has played 369 games at shortstop and 37 at the keystone. The results haven’t been pretty, however, as Miller has posted minus-27 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-12.3 Ultimate Zone Rating in nearly 3,300 combined innings at the two positions.
Whether the Cubs extend right-hander Jake Arrieta prior to free agency next winter will be up to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, chairman Tom Ricketts told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “They have the right perspective on what they have to put a great team on the field this year but have a longer term perspective in realizing decisions that affect this year might hurt us in a few years,” said Ricketts, who added that the reigning World Series champions will be “thoughtful and strategic” in deciding when to exceed the luxury-tax threshold. The Cubs spent past the mark for the first time last year, but they’re on track to avoid the penalty this season, estimates Jason Martinez of Roster Resource and MLBTR. Allowing Arrieta to walk in free agency next year would help the Cubs stay under the limit in 2018, too, though they’d also lose the 2015 NL Cy Young winner and one of the game’s top starters. It seems that will happen, however, as Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, could push for a $200MM-plus deal. In the meantime, Arrieta will make $15.6375M in his final year of team control.
More from the Senior Circuit:
- Before he accepted the Padres’ one-year, $3MM offer on Saturday, righty Jered Weaver drew interest from other teams, including the Reds, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Weaver, a California native who spent the first 11 years of his career in Anaheim, could have signed for more money had he left his home state, per Heyman. In Cincinnati, the 34-year-old Weaver likely would have joined Anthony DeSclafani, Scott Feldman and Brandon Finnegan as locks for the rotation.
- A pair of high-profile Mets took small but encouraging steps in their injury recoveries Sunday, manager Terry Collins announced (via MetsBlog). Third baseman David Wright threw for the first time since he underwent neck surgery last June, accumulating 30 tosses from 60 to 70 feet, and “felt good” (Twitter link via Matt Ehalt of The Record). Right-hander Zack Wheeler, meanwhile, threw his first bullpen session since he he felt “tenderness” in his surgically repaired elbow earlier this week and didn’t report any problems afterward. Wheeler didn’t pitch in the majors in either of the past two seasons – and totaled just one minor league inning, at the High-A level, in that time – on account of a 2015 Tommy John procedure. Health permitting, Wheeler could slot back into the Mets’ rotation this year, but assistant general manager John Ricco told MLB Network Radio on Sunday that it’s too early to determine whether they’ll use the soon-to-be 27-year-old as a starter or reliever (Twitter link).
- As of early January, the Nationals were prepared to begin extension talks with contract-year manager Dusty Baker. While it’s unclear if discussions have since begun, Baker indicated Sunday that he expects to hammer out an agreement with the club in the near future. “I’m very confident that we’ll get things worked out,” Baker told Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (Twitter link). “You’d like to do it sooner rather than later because I don’t want to be a distraction.” In 2016, Baker’s first season at the helm in D.C., the Nats improved from 83-79 to 95-67 en route to an NL East title, though they weren’t able to get past the Dodgers in the NLDS.
- While Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips claims he didn’t block the Reds’ initial attempt to trade him to Atlanta in November, members of the Cincy organization say otherwise, according to Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. However, those individuals have elected against going on the record to dispute Phillips’ account so as not to create a public rift with the longtime franchise cornerstone.
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson is likely to sit out the next two to three weeks on account of the right calf strain he suffered Friday, reports John Lott of The Athletic (Twitter link). The durable superstar hasn’t appeared in fewer than 155 games in any of the past four seasons and, barring a setback, it doesn’t appear this injury will affect his Opening Day availability.
Elsewhere in the AL…
- When first baseman Chris Carter was still unsigned at the end of January, his agent, Dave Stewart, suggested that the slugger would have to seriously consider signing in Japan. Carter ultimately didn’t have to take such a drastic measure, of course, as he inked a one-year deal with the Yankees earlier this month. Now, it doesn’t seem as though Japan was ever a legitimate possibility for Carter. The 2016 National League co-leader in home runs (41) told reporters – including Randy Miller of NJ.com – on Saturday that the notion of going to Japan was “probably not that real” and “was more just to cover all bases and check all options.” Carter did admit, however, that he “started getting antsy” when February rolled around and he didn’t have a contract. “It’s definitely a tough offseason this year, but it seems like the game is changing a little bit where there is more emphasis on complete players,” he stated.
- If Pablo Sandoval doesn’t reestablish himself as a capable third baseman this year, the Red Sox could eventually swing a trade for Todd Frazier of the White Sox, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Chicago will have paid more than half of Frazier’s $12.5MM salary by the trade deadline, which should make the 31-year-old an attractive target for Boston or other contenders, Cafardo observes. Given that the White Sox are amid a rebuild, it seems they’d prefer to ship out established veterans like Frazier sooner than later, as general manager Rick Hahn implied in an interview with MLBTR contributor Brett Ballantini earlier this week.
- The Yankees listened to offers for left fielder Brett Gardner over the winter, though no trade materialized. That surprised Gardner, who told Miller on Sunday that he expected a deal to occur. Considering Gardner’s a soon-to-be 34-year-old playing on a team that has committed itself to a youth movement, he could still end up on the move sometime soon. The careerlong Yankee addressed that, saying, “I guess on one hand obviously I don’t want to get traded, but on the other hand the fact that maybe some other teams have interest in me, I see that as a compliment.”
- White Sox center fielder Charlie Tilson suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and will cease impact activities for at least 10 days, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. If healthy, the 24-year-old Tilson figures to start in center this season for the Sox, who acquired him from the Cardinals last July for reliever Zach Duke. In his big league debut in August, Tilson tore his hamstring and missed the remainder of 2016 as a result.
“I feel great,” said Gagne. “It’s almost scary.”
Gagne, who will pitch for Canada in this year’s World Baseball Classic, told Gurnick he still features a fastball upward of 90 mph and a changeup. The right-hander has had throwing sessions with the Diamondbacks and Padres, per Gurnick, and is now serving as a guest pitching instructor with his longtime team, the Dodgers. Gagne threw in front of club president Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi on Sunday, tweets Gurnick, who notes that wasn’t an official tryout.
While Gagne’s latest major league action came back in 2008 as a member of the Brewers, with whom he scuffled (5.44 ERA, 6.13 FIP in 46 1/3 innings), he was once a dominant force in Los Angeles. Gagne was with the Dodgers between 1999-2006 and was at his best from 2002-04, when he converted a record 84 straight saves, earned three straight All-Star nods and won the National League Cy Young in 2003. During that 247-inning stretch, Gagne blew just one save in 153 attempts and posted a 1.79 ERA, 13.3 K/9 and 2.11 BB/9.
Gagne, who also pitched for the Rangers and Red Sox, combined for a 3.47 ERA, 10.04 K/9 and 3.16 BB/9 in 643 2/3 frames. He did appear in the Mitchell Report for using human growth hormone in 2004, though, and later claimed that 80 percent of his Dodgers teammates utilized performance-enhancing drugs.
SUNDAY: The Padres have announced Weaver’s signing. To make room for Weaver, the club has placed righty Colin Rea on the 60-day disabled list. Rea underwent Tommy John surgery in November and won’t pitch this year.
SATURDAY: The Padres have agreed to terms veteran righty Jered Weaver to a one-year deal, Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman tweets. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale was the first to tweet a deal was close. Weaver will receive $3MM, as Heyman tweets and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo confirms. Weaver can also receive a $250K assignment bonus. Weaver is a client of the Boras Corporation.
[Related: Updated San Diego Padres Depth Chart]
The Padres were repeatedly connected to Weaver this winter as the team aimed to remake its rotation. After parting ways with Andrew Cashner and James Shields in trades last season and then non-tendering Tyson Ross, the Padres’ starting pitching corps looked extremely thin. The team has since added veterans Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill to eat innings, and it appears Weaver will be another arm to add to that mix.
Weaver has pitched his entire career to this point a short drive up Interstate 5 in Anaheim, and his new deal with the Padres allows the Southern California native to stay in familiar environs. The 34-year-old has generally been a reliable workhorse throughout his career, but he’s undergone a long decline in the past several seasons that culminated in a very disappointing 2016 in which he posted a 5.06 ERA, 5.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 while averaging just 83 MPH with his fastball. ERA estimators suggested he was even worse than that 5.06 ERA suggested, with a 5.64 xFIP and 5.44 SIERA. His ground ball rate also continued to drop to just 28.8%, and he led the AL in home runs allowed, with 37. A big-league deal for him is a small coup for Boras at this point.
Even as Weaver’s velocity and strikeout rate have diminished in recent years, however, he still managed to pitch 178 innings last season, and his ability to take the ball has value. He could be an asset for a Padres staff that could struggle to get through games in 2017.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Diamondbacks have signed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league contract, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. De La Rosa, who will compete for a bullpen spot, will earn $2.25MM if he cracks the Diamondbacks’ roster. The TWC Sports client could make another $600K in relief incentives and, if he ends up in the D-backs’ rotation, $1MM in starter incentives (Twitter links).
After sitting on the open market for nearly four months, De La Rosa will remain in the National League West, where he spent the past nine seasons as a member of the Rockies. The 35-year-old was generally an effective starter during that 1,141-inning span, as he logged a 4.35 ERA, 7.77 K/9, 3.79 BB/9 and 48.1 percent ground-ball rate despite having to call hitter-friendly Coors Field home. While all of De La Rosa’s appearances as a Rockie from 2008-15 came as a starter, he wasn’t able to hold down his rotation spot for all of last season. All told, De La Rosa made three relief appearances in 27 games and struggled to a 5.51 ERA in 134 innings. He also posted his highest BB/9 (4.23) since 2008 and experienced a dip in velocity.
While last season wasn’t pretty overall for De La Rosa, there were encouraging signs, as FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron wrote last week. De La Rosa drew contact and swing rates in line with career norms, for one, and posted solid grounder and infield fly percentages (47.3 and 10.3, respectively). He also thrived during his short run as a reliever, as he recorded 24 outs on 26 batters faced and struck out 10 hitters without walking any in eight innings.
De La Rosa could now earn a place on a D-backs team whose bullpen was among the majors’ worst last year and has added a few other low-cost relievers this offseason. It should help De La Rosa’s cause that Arizona’s ’pen isn’t exactly teeming with proven lefties.
The Yankees and reliever Dellin Betances entered their arbitration hearing Friday in agreement that the right-hander should not be treated like a closer, a source told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, but they weren’t able to find common ground elsewhere. The club argued that Betances didn’t deserve more than the $3MM it had offered because, for one, he had lost a battle for the closer’s job to then-Yankee Andrew Miller in 2015, per the source. New York also pointed to Betances’ defensive woes – he committed three throwing errors and allowed a 100 percent success rate on 21 stolen base attempts last season – and even placed some blame on him for a decline in ticket sales in 2016.
After the Yankees traded Miller to Cleveland on July 31, Betances took over as the Bombers’ closer and followed a pristine August with a rough September. Betances allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits and eight walks over the final full month of the season, during which the Yankees went 14-14 and officially fell out of the playoff race. The Yankees argued that Betances’ problems down the stretch helped lead to losses, thereby aiding in their drop from first in American League ticket sales from 2002-15 to second a year ago. As preposterous as that sounds, the Yankees nonetheless managed to defeat Betances in the hearing.
The two sides’ dispute took a particularly ugly turn when team president Randy Levine sparked a war of words after the Yankees’ victory. Here’s more on their fight:
- Dating back to his breakout season in 2014, Betances has tossed 247 innings – at least 14 more than any other major league reliever. However, in light of Levine’s comments, Betances suggested Saturday that he might not be as willing to serve as a workhorse for the Yankees anymore. “Some of the stuff they said in that room, they value me as an eighth-inning guy. Is it selfish of me to say now, ‘Hey, guys, I just want to come in for the eighth inning with no runners on?’’’ Betances told reporters, including George A. King III of the New York Post. “That’s not the player I am. I go out there and try to battle with my teammates, but now you go in that room and you see some of that stuff, do you put yourself at risk at all times? It’s fair for me to say that.’’ One of Betances’ friends and teammates, left-hander C.C. Sabathia, chalked Betances’ comments up to the “heat of the moment,” telling King that the 28-year-old “is a smart kid and will be able to separate this and try to help this team win games.’’
- Given what transpired between the Yankees and Betances on Saturday, it’s time for Major League Baseball to at least change the arbitration process for relievers, opines FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Although the industry no longer regards saves as the end-all, be-all when valuing relievers, arbiters continue to place too much emphasis on the statistic. In addition to leading all relievers in innings since 2014, Betances is third in strikeout rate and fifth in ERA, yet one obvious reason he lost in arbitration is because he only has 22 career saves. Rosenthal proposes developing a statistical model to replace the current arbitration system, which features a panel of judges and has been in place since 1974, though he concedes that major changes probably aren’t coming.
- Nicolas Stellini of FanGraphs offers a sentiment similar to Rosenthal’s view, arguing that arbitration’s opinion of relievers is “bad for baseball” because it doesn’t properly reward great production from non-closers. Thus, elite setup men like Betances who aren’t on long-term deals have little incentive to overwork themselves before securing sizable paydays. As for Levine, Stellini observes that he “handicapped the franchise for no obvious gain.”
The past week’s original content from the MLBTR staff:
- MLBTR contributor Brett Ballantini (links here) had an extensive discussion with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn regarding the franchise’s decision to rebuild, its decline after a hot start in 2016 and the choice to replace former manager Robin Ventura with Rick Renteria, among other topics. Hahn also shared the rather amusing story of where he was when he found out about Chris Sale’s uniform-related tantrum last July.
- This year’s Camp Battles series kicked off with the Angels and Rockies (Jason Martinez covered the former, Jeff Todd the latter). Left field, closer and two starting rotation spots could be up for grab for the Halos. The Rockies, meanwhile, will stage competitions for catcher, closer and a place in their rotation.