As the final weeks of the offseason continue their slow creep towards Spring Training, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Royals, Chapman deal to be made official soon?
Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports that Aroldis Chapman’s physical with the Royals is expected to be completed this week. If it hasn’t already happened, it could be conducted as soon as today, and Chapman’s one-year contract with the Royals could be made official any day now. Chapman, who had been among the best closers in baseball for over a decade, has suffered a steep decline in recent years, culminating in a 2022 season that was his first below average year by ERA+. Kansas City is hoping for a return to form for the lefty flamethrower, whose fastball still played in the upper 90s with 81st percentile spin rate last season despite the diminished results.
2. After dealing Irvin, who remains for the A’s to shop?
Yesterday, the A’s dealt Cole Irvin to the Orioles, reinforcing the fact that virtually no one on the big league roster in Oakland is unavailable. With Irvin and catcher Sean Murphy both out the door, are there other moves left to make? The most obvious trade candidate would be Ramon Laureano, but the club is reportedly not pursuing a trade of their most established outfielder after a difficult 2022 season, perhaps in hopes that he can build his value back up during the 2023 campaign.
Right-hander Paul Blackburn and second baseman/outfielder Tony Kemp are the only two other arbitration-level players left on the roster, making each of them at least speculative candidates to be moved. Kemp, in particular, is set to become a free agent after the 2023 and could be interesting to clubs in need of middle infield help ahead of Opening Day. Looking elsewhere on the roster, both Seth Brown and A.J. Puk could make sense as trade candidates. Both players are set to be eligible for arbitration next offseason, as Irvin was, and each is coming off a strong season in 2022.
3. The rest of the Rays’ arb class
The Rays have more arbitration work left to do than any team in the league, as they exchanged figures with a whopping seven players two weeks ago. Most teams employ a “file and trial” approach, meaning that once figures are exchanged, talks on one-year contracts cease. Those clubs will typically remain open to discussing multi-year arrangements, however, which is what happened with the Rays and lefty Jeffrey Springs earlier this week. Spring agreed to a four-year, $31MM contract that buys out a pair of free-agent seasons.
That still leaves six pending cases for the Rays. Infielder Yandy Diaz (requested $6.3MM to the Rays’ $5.5MM), first baseman/outfielder Harold Ramirez ($2.2MM vs. $1.9MM), lefty Colin Poche ($1.3MM vs. $1.175MM), righty Pete Fairbanks ($1.9MM vs. $1.5MM), righty Ryan Thompson ($1.2MM vs. $1MM) and righty Jason Adam ($1.775MM vs. $1.55MM) all have unresolved arbitration situations. Arbitration hearings typically begin in February, so there’s still a bit of time for Tampa Bay to hammer out multi-year deals for any of these six. To be clear, that doesn’t necessarily mean a long-term extension like the one signed by Springs, either. It’s commonplace for teams and players to agree to contracts that buy out multiple arbitration seasons but don’t extend team control. We’ve already seen a few such instances this offseason, with Tomas Nido inking a two-year deal with the Mets and Austin Voth signing a for a year plus an option with the Orioles just yesterday.
Trading players before arbitration doesn’t even give you a competitive window. You know your franchise is screwed when you can’t even afford (or are willing to pay) for a player in arbitration.
deGrom Texas Ranger
They literally can’t pay anyone less than thr minimum they would likely renew Irvin’s salary at. They aren’t even saving $. Maybe, they miscalculated service time?
I disagree. Their payroll is about $75m which is higher than last year, they are coming close to a stadium resolution either way which will help with spending. Irvin was going to take a lot of innings away from the younger core prospects that they want to evaluate. He would have another 9-14 season and lose more trade value. Get what they can
They know that they won’t be competitive for 2+ years.
Why should anyone believe that the A’s ownership will be willing to spend if the stadium issue is resolved? $75M is substantially less than the revenue check they get from MLB each season for just fielding a team; much less any share of the luxury tax pie. The A’s ownership group is a disgrace.
Yea i have to agree with u. The mlb should have a floor and teams with revenue sharing should have to spend 20 mil or something over the dollars shared the season before. There is no reason an mlb team with 162 games/81 home should spend under the the nhl cap of 83 mil with literally half as many games. If the mlb really wants to have no floor teams under a dollar figure agould have there picks moved 5-10 slots back
@Murphy @ Poison
Even as an A’s fan I agree with this. Why on earth should other teams be subsiding teams (like my own) for them to tank and benefit from the higher draft picks? The MLBPA – for obvious reasons – would support a floor.
We are at best an embarrassment at present. At worst an anachronym..
I’m at the point of not bothering to fly across for my annual baseball trip because we’re a complete waste of time and money…..
I think they know it’s a fool’s errand to try to compete with the compiled talent given its potential peak compared to that of the Astros and Mariners (and really, Texas and Anaheim, too). I think the goal is to try to acquire high-upside prospects then trade ones and at a specific cut-off of arbitration time until they feel they have enough potential prospect talent to compete, which probably aligns with a possible Houston step back.
Maybe what’s left for the a’s is to shop for a few more fans!!!
I don’t see that happening with the Rays since outside of Diaz the differences are not that big.
Look, I know the A’s are the A’s, but you gotta figure a team-friendlyish deal could be had for Puk. He had a solid season, doesn’t has a sterling track record due to health, and could conceivably help whenever the next wave of prospects settles. Something that settles the arb years and possibly keeps them around with some sort of option over the first year or so of their respective FA years. I would think there is a very affordable option out there.
Not sure who I feel more bad for the A’s, or their loyal fans? Probably the fans. When is the move to Vegas for this franchise? No more jokes from me.
1. The Fans.
I was thinking the same thing about the fans. It must be hard to watch their team being disassembled like this. The Cubs did the same thing but at least they’re trying to rebuild this year. I don’t see any sign of that with the A’s.
@avenger65- If I’m the Cubs I’m definitely trying to contend this season for sure. If they fall out of contention they can trade Ian Happ and others at the deadline, and they should be able to get a lot back. The Cubbies have been doing very well acquiring prospects the past few years. I always root for my favorite NL team in the Central.
Bart Harley Jarvis
Careful where you tread, CaptainJudge99. The Yankees helped orchestrate the A’s moved out of Philadelphia to the city of the Yankees’ AAA team – Kansas City. And to show its gratitude, the Yankees were able to use the Kansas City A’s roster as a de facto AAA team for years. You can’t make this stuff up.
Since you have been paying attention you will probably already know that the Governor of Nevada recently stated there was no public money for a new baseball stadium.
They blew their wad with the Raiders and I’m fine with that.
Bart Harley Jarvis
That’s good news, @BleedGreen. The A’s need to stay put and work their stadium deal.
@Bart HarleyJarvis- I really truly hope you don’t feel that way. The A’s obviously can’t stay in Oakland. It’s Vegas or Nashville or bust.
Bart Harley Jarvis
I live in the Bay Area, and I hope the A’s stay. Call me a hopeless optimist.
I think most any team would want Puk in their bullpen. However, as a pre-arb player with a lot of control left, coming off a very good season and being a southpaw, I would expect the A’s to ask a lot for him. I just don’t see it happening. What am I missing here?
Given he’s a bullpen piece and they have a 0.0001% chance of winning the division for the next few seasons, they should just trade him at peak value, IMO.
Try hard Cubs fan 2
I Feel sorry for A’s fan,feels like John Fisher is trying to pull a Rachel Phelps,what a disgrace
Fisher is giving the finger to all MLB teams. He wants somebody to buy him a billion dollar stadium but no city has that type of money laying around. So now he decided to use the A’s as a investment by taking in millions and putting out nothing. He probably will make over $100 million with a low payroll while reaping a big fat MLB TV rights paycheck.
He’ll bank at least $100 million this year.
Consider, every team gets $60.1 million from the national tv contracts. Every team got $30 million from MLBAM.
That covers his payroll plus a cool $10 million or so for operating expenses.
Now it’s profit time.
Every team puts in 48% of their local revenue and takes an even 3.3% back. He’ll pocket about $120 million off this.
Every team also keeps 52% of their local revenue. He’ll also pocket this.
There was a time a team had to worry about attendance, concessions and ad revenue. The current revenue sharing, national TV contracts, and getting a large percent of local revenue from other markets means teams like the A’s can completely collapse and remain profitable as their franchise value increases. There’s only 30 MLB teams. They’re trophies for the rich. They increase in value regardless. What happens when an owner doesn’t have to worry about attendance? They don’t worry about attendance. They pocket the money. The fans suffer and the game suffers because it doesn’t grow.
A good friend grew up in Cleveland and moved away for work 20 years back. He was one of the many packing the Jake when they drew $3MM fans before the Dolan’s arrived. He still followed the then-Indians closely, even making sure to go to games when visiting family. He hasn’t been to a game in five years and only vaguely follows the team now. I asked him why, figuring life with his wife, kids and distance had distracted him. Nope. He said after the Indians made the World Series and the Dolan’s immediately began to cut payroll, he became disheartened. He had issues with them prior, but that was the final nail. They didn’t double down to get back, as we’ve seen with the Phillies this year, they instead cut back and focused on profits. Looking at attendance in Cleveland, it appears he’s not the only fan, or former fan, to do so. MLB empowers this and it hurts the overall game.
@LordD99- thank you for sharing all of this. It’s definitely interesting and it’s definitely something to think about. Wow have times changed!
Don’t forget the A’s share of mlb.tv with 50 million subscribers worldwide and mlb network.
Then there is the local tv deal which is more than $40 million per year.
Teams have more expenses than just payroll. That $10mm might cover the players travel and hotel costs, or maybe the utilities bill.
It’s sad that Fisher is not interested in selling, especially when you have someone like Joseph Lacob who wants to buy the team and would probably take the team out of the gutter where Fisher seems to prefer they stay
Fisher has never cared about baseball. He has not been seen at a A’s game in years. To Fisher its a profitable corporation that he can make a fortune from. 3 times local owners offered to buy the team and he refused to sell. With the weak commissioner in charge this problem will continue.
Fisher is a good example of why the Commissioner shouldn’t necessarily get final say. Lacomb had a deal to buy the team in place with Steven Schott and Bud Selig scuddled it in favor of selling the team to his former frat brother Lew Wolffe and Fisher. The 29 other owners should probably have more of a say to keep things like that from happening (because does anyone think the other owners would have allowed Jeffrey Lauria to wreck two teams without Selig’s approval?)
The Commissioner doesn’t have final say. The other owners do.
The Howard Terminal stadium is/was/going to be funded by the A’s at $500 million, plus the surrounding buildings/housing/retail/etc… if I remember correctly, they want Oakland to pay for infrastructure and change the tax district or something. It favors Fisher and his billionaire partners, but gotta give to get something.
Oakland can’t afford to lose the only major sports team willing to stay.
And there isn’t much revenue coming in, 8k in attendance is chump change.
Prior to the Howard Terminal, the A’s owners tried to work out a deal with the City to develop the current site and build a new ballpark.
I can fault the owners for pocketing revenue sharing money but the lack of a new stadium has more to do with Oakland’s bureaucracy than anything.
Seems like deals take forever to become official nowadays. Routine deals.
In the meantime there are guys who will be DFA’d who deserve enough respect to get the process started so they can find a new home.
Las Vegas informed Oakland in November that there is no public money available to build a baseball stadium in Vegas. So that deal is done unless the A’s are willing to bank. Roll the stadium themselves. Not likely for John Fisher. Regarding trades, Blackburn is the next to go. He is nowhere is good as that first half of 2022 that earn him an all star bid. If Oakland can get something for him now before he turns back into a pumpkin, they should do it.
That is what the Vegas fans do not understand he would have moved the A’s to Vegas last year if they would build him a stadium for free. Vegas blew too much money on giving the Raiders a free stadium. Blackburn is probably next to go. Followed by Kemp and Ramon.
A’s to Nashville then. One thing is certain though – they gone !
One thing certain is whoever gives Fisher the biggest amount of money gets the A’s in their city. If Vegas had the money they would already be gone.
It is sad the baseball has become woke. Chapman gets signed, Ozuna still has a job. In the NFL DeShawn Watson has a job. Trevor Bauer is a tool but deserves a shot. However, the woke mob will attack and cancel anyone who signs him. I wish the Cubs had the gonads to sign him. This just an opinion and yes I am not woke.
The term “woke” is used only by people who aren’t “woke”. Domestic violence and sexual assault are different categories bud. I hope Bauer gets a shot too but I wouldn’t blame these “woke” people for his lack of opportunities. There’s a stigma that comes with signing guys like him, ask Kaepernick.
And the opposite of woke is Unconscious, which Ray Epps no doubt is.
Maybe it is social justice. I miss the days when one could watch a game without social justice and politics. Sports is an outlet to relax and escape.
deGrom Texas Ranger
@Ray The term here is SJWs or feminists.
You mean when news was about what was happening around you not a 24/7 political opinion news show that blames all your problems on the current President and one political party. Love how that same news outlet says shut up and dribble the ball but is OK when Herschel walker runs for office and promote him all day long. Or how dare you kneel during the anthem but its OK to bash the president and protest at the capitol on a legal election..
Bart Harley Jarvis
Also, the term “woke” is used only by people who aren’t very intelligent. You know, the culture warriors worried about Dr. Seuss, M&Ms, Mr. Potato Head, etc.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Chapman got a very low guarantee. Talent should get paid, but it is what it is.
The opposite of woke is unconscious. So you are saying you are unconscious and totally unaware. Posting while sleeping. Ok. That explains your opinion.
The Yankees could take a flier on Blackburn, especially if German or Schmidty are dealt for Kepler as been discussed. But now with Montas hurting we probably need to keep both. I’d love to see Deivi Garcia get a shot to rebound from the last 2 seasons. He’s still on the 40 man. The bullpen probably is the best way for him lst. He definitely has the stuff to succeed.
For a team with what seems like a 5 year long fire-sale, the A’s farm is ranked poorly. The future is bleak in Oakland. Vegas would at least offer a more picturesque losing team.
the A’s new GM is terrible. Beane checked out 3 years ago. Instead of get quality prospects the only thing the A’s get is quantity prospects. Murphy trade was a good example of trading a top 10 catcher for 3 so so prospects that may never make it past AAA.
I know Cole Irvin is a 4 or 5 on most teams, and I know he doesn’t strikeout too many batters,but I’m surprised the A’s traded him, or I’m at least surprised they traded him this early. Irvin hasn’t even reached his first year of arbitration yet. In previous articles it has been mentioned that the athletics are hesitant to trade Laureano and he is actually making some money while Irvin is obviously making league minimum salary! I wouldn’t be too shocked if he saw in increase of performance kind of like Voth did when he came to Baltimore (although I know luck was certainly involved and Voth may very well regress.) The Orioles didn’t even give up any prospects that they will miss. Look, Irvin is no Pedro Martinez, but a pitcher who is just 28, making league minimum, under control for several years, and will give you 32 starts of league average pitching a year certainly has value.
To trade someone, another team has to value him at his current price. Baltimore made an offer the A’s liked for Irvin. Evidently hasn’t happened with Laureano, Blackburn or Kemp.
You don’t need a comma before the word either.
Motor City Beach Bum
How many times have the A’s been criticized for selling off pieces and then come back and made the playoffs for an extended period? In a few years we’ll all forget how we criticized them when they are back in the playoffs. And being promptly beaten out my my Tigers 😉