The Padres reached a ten-year, $300MM deal with Manny Machado today, and MLBTR owner Tim Dierkes fielded many questions on that topic and others. Click here to read the transcript.
Saying that his side has “opened it up” in search of a dialogue this winter, Gennett says he has “heard absolutely nothing.” Previously, he and the club worked out a $9.775MM deal to cover his final season of arbitration eligibility. That’s a hefty sum, to be sure, but did fall shy of the $10.7MM that MLBTR projected.
Gennett made clear that his primary frustration isn’t the lack of a long-term deal so much as it is the club’s communication on the matter. “What I don’t like is when you’re told we’re going to have a talk and it doesn’t happen,” he said. GM Nick Krall declined to comment, citing club policy.
In the middle of the 2018 campaign, Gennett said he had reason to believe there was serious interest from the club in an extension. Things seemingly shifted this winter, though, for the Cincinnati native. President of baseball operations Dick Williams cast doubt on the possibility of a deal and Gennett even briefly popped up in trade rumors.
There’s still time for a change of course in camp, but there’s clearly no momentum toward an agreement at present. Gennett says he’s fine with the current arrangement from a financial perspective — “I’m only going to make more money going year-to-year than if I signed a long-term deal” — but would like to know what to anticipate from a personal perspective.
Looking at the subject from a roster-building perspective, it’s not too hard to see why the Reds might have hesitated. Gennett is still just 28 years of age and has now put up two-straight quality seasons, but he also has some platoon limitations and only lines up at second base defensively. While the plan is to put top prospect Nick Senzel at center field this spring, it’s also possible that he or another rising prospect could make for a compelling infield option in the relatively near term. With other needs already readily foreseeable next winter, locking into Gennett for significant money comes with some clear downside.
Dodgers legend Don Newcombe has died at 92 years of age, according to a team announcement. MLBTR extends its best wishes to his family and friends.
Newcombe was revered around the game as one of its greatest ambassadors. His connection with the Dodgers organization stretched back to his playing days alongside Jackie Robinson and other Brooklyn legends. It continued for decades thereafter, with Newcombe’s regal presence becoming a Dodger Stadium institution.
In his playing days, Newcombe exhibited immense talent and was at times among the very best players in the game. He was voted the National League Rookie of the Year in 1949 and received both the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards in 1956.
After emerging as a force on the mound, Newcombe lost two prime seasons to the Korean War and struggled a bit upon his return. But he rebounded to turn in his greatest-ever campaign in ’56, when he pitched to a 3.06 ERA in 268 innings. All told, Newcombe threw 2,154 2/3 innings of 3.56 ERA ball with the Dodgers, Reds, and Indians.
“Newk” was also an accomplished hitter, with a lifetime .271/.338/.367 batting line and 15 home runs in nearly a thousand MLB plate appearances. Remarkably, he even turned in part of a season as an outfielder/first baseman in Japan at the end of his career, slashing .262/.316/.473 and launching a dozen long balls in 301 plate appearances for the Chunichi Dragons.
Newcombe only spent a brief portion of his playing career in Los Angeles, as he was dealt to Cincinnati not long after the Dodgers completed their coast-to-coast move. After achieving sobriety, though, he returned to the L.A. organization, where he helped others battling substance abuse issues and — in the words of club president Stan Kasten — provided “endless advice and leadership” to Dodgers players.
Osich gives the O’s yet another lefty relief option. The 30-year-old will try to show that he can tap into his apparent upside. Osich has a big fastball and draws loads of grounders, but has struggled with control and carries a 5.01 ERA in 120 1/3 MLB innings.
As for Alberto, 26, he’ll either land back with the O’s as a non-roster player or move once again through the DFA process. He has turned in solid offensive numbers at the Triple-A level but hasn’t yet carried that over to the majors in limited opportunities.
12:58pm: There are some key elements of the deal still to be worked out, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). Notably, the sides have yet to hammer out terms on trade protection. That said, it seems the final pieces are not expected to pose an obstacle to the contract’s completion. Machado will receive the $300MM on a fairly evenly spread basis, with the opt-out chance midway through the deal.
11:27am: The Padres have agreed to terms on a free agent contract with star infielder Manny Machado, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). It’s a ten-year, $300MM deal for the MVP Sports Group client, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). The contract includes an opt-out after the fifth season, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
Nothing is formally concluded here, it bears noting. If nothing else, it seems a physical will still need to be completed. Padres chairman Ron Fowler says a deal is not complete, per Dennis Lin of The Athletic (via Twitter), saying the sides are “continuing discussions.” Of course, that hardly means there isn’t an agreement in principle on the key terms.
Certainly, the White Sox believe they’ve lost their primary winter target. VP Kenny Williams expressed shock in comments to reporters. “We could not go to that $300MM level,” he said (via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, Twitter links). Williams indicated that he had believed the South Siders were the high bidders, and he maintains “there was more potential for him to make more here than that reported deal.” It seems, though, that Machado preferred the greater guaranteed money and other elements of his new deal to the structure proposed by a White Sox organization that had rolled out quite a welcome mat, including the acquisition of Machado’s comrades Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay.
It’s a stunning result for the 26-year-old Machado, whose long-running open-market saga has coincided with that of fellow star Bryce Harper. It took some time, but Machado will still spend the bulk of Spring Training with his new teammates.
Last year, the Friars shocked the baseball world by outbidding the market for first baseman Eric Hosmer. Now, they’ve followed up that move with a much bigger commitment to an even better and younger player.
The move plainly sets the Padres organization on a course to compete in the near-term, though the investment will hopefully coincide with a rather lengthy competitive window. It’s reasonable to wonder, though, whether this move sets the stage for further action this winter. The Padres have a fairly crowded outfield group, a ton of top prospect talent, and clear room to improve the MLB pitching staff. They could consider pursuing the top remaining open-market pitchers (Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez) while revisiting trade talks on other starters.
[RELATED: MLBTR Free Agent Tracker]
It’s not hard to see how this signing could have a ripple effect in the market, with the potential for a highly intriguing late-spring reignition of the hot stove. If nothing else, there’s now a clear mark for Harper to try to top, with several teams potentially interested in landing him after missing on Machado.
The 10/300 price is precisely where many anticipated Machado landing at the outset of the market. It sets a free agent record in terms of total guarantee, at least before adjusting for inflation, though falls shy of Giancarlo Stanton’s extension and may soon be topped by Harper’s own deal.
Despite his excellence to this point of his career, and the promise of many more productive seasons to come, Machado entered the market with some questions. He raised eyebrows with some questionable acts and words during the postseason, leaving many fans — and perhaps some organizational leaders — with the sense that, as he himself put it, he’s “not the type of player that’s going to be ’Johnny Hustle.'”
Clearly, those oft-cited comments didn’t cost Machado a chance at a massive contract. He also picked up support of several former teammates and coaches, so it’s not as if there weren’t countervailing facts. Clearly, though, the ill-advised words didn’t help his cause. We’ll never know the full extent of the impact, but reduced interest from even a single potential suitor could have changed the way the market took shape. The Yankees never fully engaged despite making sense on paper, while it seems the Phillies passed on a chance to outbid the more budget-conscious Padres, though those and other organizations were surely weighing other factors as well.
In truth, the hustle chatter held such attention in no small part due to Machado’s otherwise mostly impeccable resume. He has topped 6 fWAR in three of the past four seasons, owing to a combination of outstanding glovework and well-rounded offensive production. Despite some knee issues earlier in his career, Machado has played all 162 games in two seasons (2015, 2018) and missed just 11 total contests in the two intervening campaigns.
Over his seven seasons in the majors, Machado carries a .282/.335/.487 batting line with 175 home runs. That perhaps understates his present ability with the bat, though, as Machado has posted 130+ wRC+ campaigns in three of the past four years and has hit between 33 and 37 long balls in all four seasons. He has also successfully honed his plate discipline over the years, setting career-best marks in 2018 with a 9.9% walk rate and 14.7% strikeout rate.
It’s a more interesting question on the defensive side of things. Machado had long graded as an outstanding defender at third base, but drew negative reviews upon shifting back to his native shortstop in 2018. Of course, the numbers reversed somewhat after he landed with the Dodgers in a mid-season trade, perhaps indicating that he still has the potential to handle short at an average or better clip if surrounded by the appropriate analytical resources and adjacent defenders.
Regardless, the plan seems to be for Machado to slide back to the hot corner in San Diego. The club has been searching for a piece there all winter long. Indications are that Luis Urias (with an assist from Greg Garcia) will keep the seat warm at shortstop while uber prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. finishes his development. Urias could ultimately slide back to second, though that position is occupied for the time being by veteran Ian Kinsler. Of course, as noted above, it still seems premature to guess at the overall roster picture, as the Padres could explore a nearly endless variety of complementary moves.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
One year after he went through free agency, Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer discussed his experience and the team’s intriguing pursuit of some new big-ticket items, as Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Public reports can capture elements of what’s going on behind the scenes, he says, “but at the end of the day you really just don’t know” until the ink dries. While he wasn’t able to help with an understanding of where the Friars stand in their pursuit of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, Hosmer did call it “exciting” and “motivating” to hear of the club’s efforts. “It just shows where this organization is at,” he said. “Where we’re at in the process right now, we’re trying to win baseball games.”
More from San Diego …
- Wil Myers is once again changing positions, this time heading to Padres camp as a left fielder, writes Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required). San Diego has put Myers on a defensive roller coaster since acquiring him, as he’s shifted from right field to center field, to first base, to left field, to third base and now back to left field. Myers expressed a comfort level he found in left field, and Lin spoke to first base coach Skip Schumaker and manager Andy Green about the now-28-year-old Myers’ work in the outfield. Schumaker praised Myers’ speed and ability to cut off balls headed down the line, preventing some extra bases, while Green more generally praised his ability to take to the new position. Myers rated quite well in left in a tiny sample of innings (+4 DRS, +3.4 UZR in 268 innings).
- Of course, Myers’s future with the Padres is still somewhat up in the air, Lin notes. The presence of Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Franchy Cordero, Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski in addition to Myers gives the Friars a glut of outfield options. Myers’s salary will jump to $20MM beginning next season. If the team manages to land Machado or Harper, it may increase the pressure to trim other salary commitments.
- The Padres will be without reliever Miguel Diaz for the first month of the season, as the right-hander sustained a lateral meniscus tear while throwing a bullpen session over the weekend, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). He’s slated to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury. Diaz, 24, has struggled through 60 1/3 innings with the Padres over the past two seasons, but he turned in a 2.35 ERA with better than a strikeout per inning and a 56.4 percent ground-ball rate in 65 innings of Double-A ball last year. Diaz has a pair of minor league options remaining, so he wasn’t a lock to make the team’s Opening Day bullpen anyhow. He’ll likely be a factor at some point in the 2019 campaign, though.
The Brewers and free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas have officially agreed to a one-year agreement. The Boras Corporation client will reportedly earn $10MM on the deal, which includes a $7MM salary in 2019 and $3MM buyout on a $11MM mutual option for 2020.
The 30-year-old Moustakas’ deal with the Brewers means he’ll wrap up a second straight lengthy stay in free-agent limbo. He first reached the open market last offseason and ended up going without a job until early March, when the Royals re-signed him to a contract worth a guaranteed $6.5MM. Kansas City was no doubt hoping to contend at the time, but it ended up as a bottom-feeding team, leading it to send Moustakas to Milwaukee in advance of the July trade deadline. As a Brewer, Moustakas hit .256/.326/.441, right in line with the .249/.309/.468 line he posted as a Royal last year. All told, Moustakas smacked 28 home runs, logged a 105 wRC+ and registered 2.4 fWAR over 635 trips to the plate.
Since his 2011 major league debut with the Royals, Moustakas has almost exclusively played third base, where he has accounted for nine runs saved and a plus-15.1 Ultimate Zone Rating. The hot corner is also the home of slugger Travis Shaw, who bumped over to second for the first time last season on the heels of the Moustakas acquisition. Now, the plan is for Moustakas to get a run at second base this spring, with the organization continuing to rely upon defensive positioning to help shoehorn both power hitters into the same unit. With those two, Jesus Aguilar at first base and Orlando Arcia at shortstop, the Brewers look to have a strong starting infield in place after falling just one win shy of reaching the World Series in 2018.
The Moustakas re-signing is the second major move for Milwaukee since last season ended. The club previously signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year contract, and with him and Moustakas in the fold for a full year, the Brewers may be serious NL contenders once again. The club finished seventh in the majors in position player fWAR last season despite receiving subpar production at second, where Shaw should take over in the wake of the Moustakas deal, and behind the plate. Of course, it’s up in the air whether the Brewers will be able to survive a second straight year without anything resembling a front-line starter, unless one of their in-house hurlers bursts on the scene.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Cardinals have shut down righty Carlos Martinez from throwing for two weeks, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch Twitter links). While there’s no concern of structural damage, the club believes that the hurler needs to build up shoulder strength.
Given the timing of the news, it seems reasonable to anticipate that Martinez will not be ready to join the rotation on Opening Day. There are indications the club may prefer to utilize him in a relief capacity, though even in that case it’d seem prudent to chart a conservative course. Beyond the immediate needs, the Cards have to protect their future investment in Martinez ($34.5MM over three years, plus two options).
Martinez, 27, has mostly been healthy and productive since joining the Cards’ rotation on a full-time basis in 2015. But he has dealt with some health issues in that time. Things came to a head last season, when shoulder troubles sidelined him for a stretch and forced him to return as a relief pitcher late in the season.
It’s hard to know just what to make of this latest news. Martinez could respond well to the strengthening program and jump right back into action. Then again, the shoulder is a complicated part of the body; uncertainty there is most unwelcome for any hurler. We’ll just have to see how Martinez progresses. For the Cards, the news represents an early test of the club’s pitching depth.
If the Braves are to repeat their 2018 division title, they’ll likely require significant contributions from some talented young players. Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the status of still-youthful lefty Luiz Gohara, who has shown immense ability but is now looking to reestablish himself after a difficult 2018 both on and off the field. Gohara is said not only to be in much-improved physical condition, carrying less weight and with a healthy shoulder, but also to possess a newfound focus on his craft.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- As part of an interesting look at what it’s like to sit and wait through a long stay on the open market, Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic drops a few nuggets regarding the Nationals and still-unsigned star free agent Bryce Harper. (Subscription link.) Word reached some in the organization recently that the club was “out of the running” to bring back Harper, per the report, though Ghiroli also cautions that there’s still nothing approaching certainty there. After all, Nats ownership and agent Scott Boras have a well-established knack for finding a way to line up on big contracts.
- Phillies righty Jerad Eickhoff is back on the bump in camp, making for a notable step in his comeback effort. As Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports, it was an emotional moment for the 28-year-old and others in he organization. Eickhoff still has quite a few tests ahead of him as he looks to put his finger troubles behind him. As Salisbury explains, there doesn’t seem to be a clear path right back into the Phillies rotation, but it’s also not hard to imagine Eickhoff forcing himself into the picture. There’s still some flexibility to work with as well, as Eickhoff could open the season on the DL and has an option year remaining.
- In other Phillies health news, second baseman Cesar Hernandez is coming back from a broken foot that he played through late last season, as Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Hernandez, who struggled after suffering the injury, now says that “it affected me in every single way.” The team was aware of the injury and did what it could to limit the strain; it was determined that Hernandez could play without risking further injury. Still, it’s not hard to imagine how it limited the switch-hitter, who saw his OPS fall by over 100 points from the first half of the season to the second. He was also just five-of-nine in stolen base attempts down the stretch. It’d be a nice boon for the 2019 Phils if Hernandez can get back to reaching base at the .370+ clip he carried in the two and a half seasons before his injury.
Angels owner Arte Moreno discussed a few topics of interest today, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register covered. Moreno spoke positively of his interactions with the city of Anaheim regarding the club’s ballpark, seemingly representing an improvement in relations. He also gave a vote of confidence to the Billy Eppler-led front office. Most interestingly, though, Moreno explained the organization’s approach to spending on player contracts. It’s not about staying beneath the luxury tax line, he said; rather, the organization budgets to “allocate about 50 percent of [its] revenue towards payroll.” Moreno also added that he “bust[s] through that every year,” so it seems there’s some flexibility. Generally, though, the position helps explain some of the team’s spending patterns — including its approach this winter. Moreno says there’s still cash available for mid-season additions. Meanwhile, it’s still tough to gauge whether there’s a realistic possibility of a new deal with the incomparable Mike Trout. As MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger writes, Trout declined to comment on the possibility of a new deal at all, while Moreno would do little more than reiterate that there is interest on the team’s behalf.
More from the American League:
- The Rangers are considering the possibility of pursuing extensions with several young players, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. At this point, though, it’s not clear that the team has engaged any agents. Neither is it evident which players might be approached. Sullivan tabs Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, and Jose Leclerc as the likeliest candidates. That would indeed seem to be a plausible trio. All have reasonable cases for significant money. Mazara is already into his arbitration years. Gallo and Leclerc have one more campaign to go, but each promises to accumulate the kinds of counting stats (home runs and saves, respectively) that pay well in arbitration.
- There’s little doubt that the Indians would love to find a way to extend star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has reportedly spurned record-setting offers in the past. He says he’s still happy for the time being to go year to year, as Zack Meisel of The Athletic tweets. Lindor says he “love[s] everything about Cleveland,” but right now is “focused on arbitration” (so far as contractual matters go). That’s working out just fine, as he took down a big $10.55MM first-year arb payday. Ultimately, Lindor says, he may consider a long-term deal, though he certainly did not sound as if that’s something he’s particularly keen to pursue. Per Lindor: “If the Indians come up with the right numbers and at some point it happens — which, I’m not even thinking about — we’ll see.”
- True, reports on conditioning entering camp are a tired trope. But given all the heartache over the years surrounding the physical form of Twins slugger Miguel Sano, it seems relevant that he’s said to be in the best shape of his life — or, at least, the best shape of his MLB career. As Dan Hayes of The Athletic writes (subscription link), Sano embarked upon a robust workout program this winter and seems to be in top form. Whether that extends to his productivity on the field remains to be seen, but it’s a positive start.