Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat with host Jeff Todd.
Archives for August 2017
The Cardinals announced on Thursday that they’ve activated left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist from the 10-day disabled list and designated him for assignment. The 28-year-old had been on the disabled list due to a bout of left forearm tendinitis.
The 28-year-old Siegrist was one of the Cardinals’ top setup options in 2015-16 and appeared in a league-leading 81 games out of the St. Louis ’pen back in 2015. Over the 2015-16 seasons, he worked to a combined 2.44 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 over the life of 136 1/3 innings.
The 2017 campaign, though, has been another story entirely. Siegrist has been bothered by some health issues this year, and he’s posted a generally unappealing 4.98 ERA with a deteriorated (but still strong) 9.4 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9. Siegrist averaged 94 mph on his heater in that excellent 2015 season, but that average dipped down to 92 mph this season as he’s struggled to stay healthy.
That said, there’s a possibility that Siegrist could draw some quick trade interest if he’s deemed healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $1.635MM in 2017 and is controlled for another two years beyond the current campaign via arbitration. His sub-par results this year should act to suppress any raise he’d earn via that arbitration process, so he could be a perfectly affordable bullpen piece for a team next season, if not for the final month of the 2017 campaign.
2:04pm: The Astros actually claimed Maybin off revocable waivers, reports Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The Angels are simply letting go of the remainder of his $9MM salary — about $1.5MM — which Houston will absorb in the trade. There aren’t any other players changing hands.
1:37pm: The Astros have agreed to acquire outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Angels, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). The trade of Maybin comes in conjunction with the Halos’ reported blockbuster acquisition of Justin Upton from the Tigers.
Maybin will bring extra outfield depth to the Astros, though there’s no readily open everyday spot for him in an outfield currently comprised of Derek Fisher, George Springer and Josh Reddick. But, he’ll bring plenty of speed to the Astros’ roster as rosters are set to expand, giving the team a valuable pinch-running option as well as a potential right-handed complement to either Reddick or Fisher. It’s also worth noting that after a solid start to his big league career, Fisher has fallen into a prolonged slump, so Maybin will give the team another option in the outfield should Fisher continue to look overmatched.
Since coming over from the Tigers over the offseason, the 30-year-old has turned in 387 plate appearances of .235/.333/.351 hitting with six home runs and an AL-leading 29 stolen bases. While the overall batting output has been below the league average, Maybin has posted a boost in his walk rate (to 12.4%), is one of the games best baserunners, and has graded as an average or better fielder in left and center.
The Phillies announced that they’ve claimed right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pirates. Philadelphia designated first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
It’s a surprising move for the Phils: Nicasio is slated to reach free agency at season’s end; he’s owed another $600K or so through the end of the year; and Philadelphia clearly is not contending in 2017. It also seems unlikely Nicasio will be flipped via trade. (He was already claimed and pulled back from revocable trade waivers, and any deal would likely need to be struck by the end of the day — which represents the deadline for adding outside players with postseason eligibility.)
Perhaps the Phils simply are willing to pay for Nicasio to help win some close ballgames over the final month of the season, though at this point the team is in position to earn the top 2018 draft pick (with the worst record in baseball — which also gave them the top waiver position). It also won’t hurt to have a veteran in the bullpen with so many young pitchers on the rosters.
The cross-state rival Pirates, on the other hand, evidently saw an opportunity to save some payroll in what has turned into a lost season. GM Neal Huntington acknowledged as much, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (links to Twitter). Huntington also cited a desire not to “help a direct competitor” as well as to allow other hurlers a chance to pitch in the late innings.
There’s little doubt that many contenders would have liked a shot at adding Nicasio down the stretch. He has thrown sixty excellent innings this year, working to a 2.85 ERA with a 60:18 K/BB ratio. Odds are, Nicasio will step into a late-inning role for the Phillies. So long as he maintains something like his current trajectory, the 30-year-old will likely be in line for a strong, multi-year contract over the winter.
As for Stassi, the 27-year-old struggled in his first taste of the majors this year. Over 90 trips to the plate, he hit just .167/.278/.295 with a pair of long balls. He has also fallen off in the upper minors after two consecutive productive campaigns.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Dodgers will promote top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo to make his Major League debut, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. The 21-year-old will need to be added to the 40-man roster, though the Dodgers could create space for that move simply by moving lefty Grant Dayton to the 60-day DL. (Dayton had Tommy John surgery recently.)
Notably, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets that Joc Pederson will not immediately be called up when rosters expand tomorrow. Pederson, unlike Verdugo, will remain in Triple-A for the time being — likely until the minor league season comes to a close, according to Plunkett.
Verdugo is batting .314/.389/.436 with six homers and nine steals through 495 plate appearances in Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. He’s currently ranked as the game’s No. 22 prospect, per Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rated him 28th on their summer top 100, while Baseball America pegged him 35th.
The free report from Callis and Mayo praises the former second-round pick as an “extremely advanced hitter for his age,” noting that contact comes so easily for Verdugo that some wonder if it will cut into his walk rate. Verdugo uses the opposite field well and has average speed with the instincts to handle center field, the MLB.com duo adds.
Verdugo’s name has been oft-mentioned in trade rumors over the past year, though never in the sense that the Dodgers were shopping him or even willing to move him. To the contrary, teams such as the Twins, Tigers, Rangers and Orioles have all reportedly eyed Verdugo when marketing established veterans to the Dodgers, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his staff have steadfastly refused to make Verdugo available in talks.
Given the timing of his promotion, the earliest that Verdugo could qualify for arbitration would be upon completion of the 2020 season. He’s controllable through at least the 2023 season for the Dodgers, though those timelines could both be delayed if the team ultimately decides that Verdugo requires further minor league refinement and gives him some more work at Triple-A in 2018.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Yankees announced that they’ve acquired veteran catcher Erik Kratz from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.
The 37-year-old Kratz has spent parts of the past seven seasons in the Majors, logging a combined .200/.248/.362 batting line in 647 plate appearances as an up-and-down reserve option. He’s had a very nice year with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, however, posting a robust .270/.359/.472 slash with 13 homers in 324 plate appearances. Kratz has also thwarted 37 percent of stolen base attempts against him this season in Triple-A and posted characteristically solid framing marks (per Baseball Prospectus).
Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will remain the two primary catchers in the Bronx, but the addition of Kratz gives the Yankees a veteran option to serve as a third catcher down the stretch in September when rosters expand. Notably both Sanchez and Romine are facing potential suspensions following the Yankees’ recent brawl with the Tigers, so Kratz can help fill in during their absences as well.
The trade that would have sent Zach Britton from the Orioles to the Astros included third baseman Colin Moran, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, but medical issues ultimately sank the deal. Moran was already on the disabled list after having suffered a concussion and a facial fracture when he fouled a ball off his face in mid-July, per Heyman, but there were also medical issues with one of the prospects that would have gone to Baltimore. That issue was found as the O’s sifted through medical paperwork, and though Houston tried to resurrect the deal in the final hours leading up to the non-waiver deadline, the two sides were ultimately unable to find a common ground. None of Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, Francis Martes, Forrest Whitley or Yordan Alvarez were offered in either iteration of the deal, he adds.
- The Tigers are “disappointed” in Nick Castellanos’ defense at third base once again, as he’s taken a step back in that regard after seemingly making improvements in 2016. Heyman suggests that Castellanos may be available in trades this winter, and since he’s already cleared waivers, he could technically be moved anytime moving forward. (He wouldn’t be eligible for a postseason roster if he’s traded after today.) Heyman also notes that Ian Kinsler’s preference may be to play for a contender, and the Tigers will again field offers on him this winter after making an easy call to exercise his $10MM option.
- The Yankees aren’t currently planning on “chasing” Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out of the remaining three years on his deal, with one source telling Heyman that the Yanks wouldn’t offer anything beyond the $67MM he’s still guaranteed. Tanaka has a 3.79 ERA with 116-to-19 K/BB ratio in 99 2/3 innings since May 26 and a 3.32 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 since the calendar flipped to July. Heyman also notes that the Yankees could also be interested in retaining left-hander CC Sabathia on a one-year deal this offseason.
- Prior to trading Yu Darvish to the Dodgers, the Rangers “made clear” that they were “completely willing” to trade Darvish to the Astros. The Rangers, according to Heyman, asked for top-tier prospects from their division rivals, however, before ultimately landing on a package comprised largely of high-ceiling players in A-ball. Houston offered currently suspended (PEDs) top prospect David Paulino in a deal, and the two sides apparently never got especially close to reaching an agreement.
- Even with his recent struggles, Rockies closer Greg Holland still plans to decline his $15MM player option at season’s end in order to retest the free agent market. Holland looked unhittable for the season’s first two months before showing some red flags in June and July (as Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron recently pointed out). Those troublesome trends have caught up to Holland in August, as he’s been torched for 14 runs on 14 hits (four homers) and six walks with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings this month.
- Left-hander Matt Moore “sailed through” revocable trade waivers when the Giants put him through that process this month, per Heyman. Whether the Giants would want to or even be able to trade Moore is another question, but the possibility will be open through season’s end. Moore would have to be traded to a new team today in order to be eligible for that club’s postseason roster, though from a purely speculative standpoint, a non-contending club could look to buy low on Moore with an eye toward the 2018 campaign. The 28-year-old has struggled through the worst full season of his career in 2017, logging a dreadful 5.49 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 37.4 percent ground-ball rate in 154 innings of work. He’s been somewhat better since the All-Star break, but Moore’s stock is still at a low point. He has a $9MM option for the 2018 season and a $10MM option for 2019.
The Cardinals’ trade of right-hander Mike Leake didn’t go over well with his now-former teammates, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I said, ’Is this a joke?’ … It was shocking to all of us,” outfielder Tommy Pham tells Hummel, describing the moment he learned of the news. Right-hander Lance Lynn’s comments suggested a bit of frustration as well: “If you look at everything that’s happened so far, there’s been no acquisitions (by the Cardinals).”
Lynn also further addressed the lack of extension talks between the Cardinals and his agents. “I’m sure whenever the time comes — when the World Series is over and five days after, I’m sure somebody will talk to me,” said Lynn. “…They’ve had a whole season. Five days isn’t going to matter. But I just work here.” Cards fans will definitely want to check out the full column for more player quotes as well as notes on Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha.
A bit more out of St. Louis…
- The Cardinals have collected an abundance of outfield talent in the minors and could potentially trade from that depth this winter, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re not going to have enough room at the inn,” said president of baseball operations John Mozeliak of his organization’s outfield depth. “That is something we, as an organization, are going to have to take a very hard look at this offseason and decide what makes the most sense.” St. Louis was reportedly open to considering trades involving Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Their minor league ranks include Magneuris Sierra, Harrison Bader, recently acquired Tyler O’Neill, international signee/former Cuban pro Randy Arozarena as well as the much-improved Oscar Mercado, whose stock has risen considerably in 2017, Goold notes as part of his in-depth look at the team’s outfield stockpile. St. Louis is known to be seeking an impact bat for the middle of the lineup and, more speculatively speaking, could also pursue rotation help (especially if Lynn departs) and bullpen arms.
- Right-hander Luke Weaver has impressed the Cardinals this month and looks more and more like a long-term asset in St. Louis, writes MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. While he was initially stepping into the spot of the injured Wainwright, the trade of Leake now creates a potential long-term opening for Weaver, who has turned in 29 innings with a 2.48 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate. Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun sang Weaver’s praises when speaking with Langosch after facing him in two separate games this month. And, asked if Weaver will hold a rotation spot through season’s end, Cards skipper Mike Matheny replied, “There’s no reason he shouldn’t be here.”
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart won’t be going anywhere before season’s end, as he’s already been claimed and subsequently pulled off waivers this month, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. According to Heyman, the unnamed team that placed a claim on Cozart did so as a means of blocking him from other contenders.
The 32-year-old Cozart is a free agent following the season, meaning the only way that the Reds can receive compensation in the event of his departure on the open market would be to make a one-year qualifying offer to Cozart that would be worth a reported $18.1MM.
While Cozart isn’t exactly a household name and is a bit old relative to most first-time free agents, there’s nonetheless a pretty strong case that the Reds should go exactly that route. Cozart has long rated as a premium defensive shortstop, but he’s upped his power output over the past three seasons. And, in 2017, he’s taken his overall offensive game to new heights, turning in a superlative .309/.402/.556 batting line through 408 plate appearances. Even if Cozart were to accept a qualifying offer, his level of play in any of the past three seasons, on a per-game basis, would be well worth that commitment.
Of course, it’s also important to stress the “per-game basis” component of that line of thinking, as injuries have been a significant hindrance to Cozart since 2015. A torn knee ligament limited Cozart to just 53 games in what was shaping up to be a breakout 2015 season, and some September knee troubles prematurely ended his 2016 campaign as well. This year, Cozart’s knees have apparently held up just fine, but he’s still missed about a month of the year due to a pair of quadriceps injuries — one in each leg.
For all of the positives that Cozart brings to the table, his placement on the DL just prior to the non-waiver deadline (July 29) and the large number of contending clubs that already deploy high-quality shortstops combined to prevent the Reds from dealing him in July. That surplus of top-notch shortstops around the league could also impact Cozart’s market in free agency this winter. All of that will be part of the calculus for the Reds when determining whether to make a QO in the first place and for Cozart when determining his course of action.
From my vantage point, it’s well worth the risk for Cincinnati — a one-year deal for Cozart at that rate isn’t a bad outcome — but the rebuilding Reds may not wish to spend at that level to retain Cozart when the team has younger options it’d like to evaluate with those at-bats.
IMPACT ROSTER MOVES
- ATL: C Tyler Flowers (wrist contusion) placed on 10-Day DL; C David Freitas had contract purchased from minors; RP Jason Hursh recalled from minors as 26th man for double-header; RP Enrique Burgos designated for assignment. | Braves Depth Chart
- Kurt Suzuki was the catcher and batted 5th in game 1 of Wednesday’s double-header.
- Freitas was the catcher and batted 8th in game 2 of Wednesday’s double-header.
- CLE: SP Ryan Merritt recalled from minors; RP Dan Otero placed on Paternity Leave List; RP Shawn Armstrong recalled from minors as 26th man for double-header. | Indians Depth Chart
- LAD: 1B Cody Bellinger activated from 10-Day DL; C Kyle Farmer optioned to minors. | Dodgers Depth Chart
- Bellinger played 1B and batted 4th in Wednesday’s game.
- SEA: SP Mike Leake and approximately $17MM acquired from St. Louis Cardinals for SS Rayder Ascanio. | Mariners Depth Chart
- Leake is expected to join the team on Friday and make his Mariners’ debut over the weekend.
FUTURE EXPECTED MOVES
- ATL: RP Ian Krol and RP Luke Jackson are expected to be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. | Braves Depth Chart
- BOS: 2B Dustin Pedroia will likely be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to Ian Browne of MLB.com. | Red Sox Depth Chart
- CHC: SP Jon Lester will be activated from 10-Day DL on Saturday September 2nd, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. | Cubs Depth Chart
- CLE: SP Josh Tomlin will be activated from 10-Day DL on Sunday September 3rd, according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic. | Indians Depth Chart
- SEA: OF Jarrod Dyson will likely be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. | Mariners Depth Chart
- LAD: SP Clayton Kershaw will be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to the team. | Dodgers Depth Chart
- LAD: OF Andre Ethier will be activated from 60-Day DL, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com; SP Brock Stewart will be recalled from minors on Saturday September 2nd, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. | Dodgers Depth Chart
- LAD: SP Alex Wood will be activated from 10-Day DL on Sunday September 3rd, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. | Dodgers Depth Chart
- MIL: C Andrew Susac and RP/SP Brent Suter will likely be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.| Brewers Depth Chart
- MIL: SP Brandon Woodruff will be recalled from minors on Saturday September 2nd, according to the team. | Brewers Depth Chart
- NYM: SP Matt Harvey will likely be activated from 10-Day DL on Friday September 1st, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. | Mets Depth Chart
- STL: SP Jack Flaherty will have contract purchased from minors on Friday September 1st, according to the team. | Cardinals Depth Chart