- Considering Buck Showalter’s contract is up at season’s end and the Orioles are beginning a full rebuild, the manager isn’t a lock to continue with the club into 2019. The O’s would be wise to re-sign Showalter, though, opines Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com, who argues that he’s the right fit for the franchise in its current state. And Showalter, even though he’s 62 years old, is “fully on board with the team’s new direction,” writes Dubroff.
- While Chris Sale won’t be activated from the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato) that the delay isn’t due to any setback with Sale’s shoulder. The team was simply lining up its rotation so that Sale wouldn’t be starting, and thus batting, during an interleague series in Philadelphia next week. The ace left-hander will likely make his return to start against the Orioles on August 11 or 12, Cora said.
- With the Orioles now in full rebuild mode, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko looks ahead to what the team might have in store for the offseason. The O’s could quite possibly continue to move veterans such as Mark Trumbo or Tim Beckham if any trade partners could be found, or potentially keep a familiar face around to serve as an experienced clubhouse voice on what is shaping up to be a much younger roster in 2019.
- It also remains to be seen if the Rule 5 Draft will continue to be a significant part of the Orioles’ offseason strategy. The O’s have put a notable focus on acquiring young talent via the Rule 5 Draft in recent years, including selecting three players last winter. One player the O’s considered but didn’t select last winter was left-hander Austin Davis, Kubatko reports. Davis has since made his MLB debut and posted some strong results (3.38 ERA, 4.33 K/BB rate, 26 strikeouts in 21 1/3 IP) out of the Phillies’ bullpen this season. Given that the Orioles and Phillies were heavily involved in trade talks for such players as Manny Machado and Adam Jones in the lead-up to the July 31 deadline, it’s fair to wonder if Baltimore again tried to acquire Davis as part of negotiations.
We’ll use this post to keep track of some minor transactions throughout the day…
- The Tigers have made their second minor deal of the day, this time acquiring righty Eric Villanueva from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations, Woodbery tweets. Villanueva, 20, had been with the Mets since they chose him out of Puerto Rico in the 30th round of the 2016 draft. During his time with the Mets, Villaneuva worked at the Rookie level and struggled to a 5.14 ERA with unsightly strikeout and walk rates (5.1 K/9, 11.2 BB/9) across 40 1/3 innings.
- The Yankees have acquired infielder Gio Urshela from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations; Conor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune was first to take note of the transaction, and the move has since been announced by both organizations. The Jays designated Urshela for assignment on June 26th, about seven weeks after they claimed him off waivers from the Indians. The 26-year-old is widely known for his highlight-reel defensive plays, although he’s also error-prone on the big stage; Urshela made four errors while with Cleveland during last year’s ALDS. His tepid bat has been what’s really held him back, though. Urshela’s career batting line is .225/.274/.315 across 499 plate appearances with Cleveland and Toronto.
- The Indians announced that they’ve traded right-hander George Kontos to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations; the Yankees in turn announced that the veteran has assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The 33-year-old has pitched in parts of every MLB season since 2011, though he’s never shuffled around the league quite this much. Kontos began 2018 with the Pirates before being shipped to Cleveland, and will now head to his third team of the year. He’s earned himself a 4.68 ERA across 25 innings thus far, and his FIP (5.93) suggests he’s been lucky to attain even that mediocre mark. However, if he can return to the form of the 3.12 ERA hurler he’s been across his career on average, he could yet prove a useful piece for the Bombers.
- The Tigers have acquired righty Christian Binford from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations, per Evan Woodbery of MLive. Across 12 appearances this season (seven starts) with the O’s Double-A affiliate, Binford has pitched to a 4.95 ERA. While he’s walked just 1.28 batters per nine innings, he’s only managed to strike out a measly 5.59. However, his 4.35 xFIP suggests that he’s been slightly unlucky in terms of fly balls going for home runs. While Binford has remained at Double-A all season, he’s seen time at the minors’ highest level in each of the past two years (while with the Royals organization). In fact, prior to this season, the 25-year-old had never known any other organization outside of Kansas City, who selected him in the 30th round of the 2011 draft.
The Yankees have been one of the most aggressive teams on the international free agent market for the past several seasons, and they’ve already put the considerable amount of international funds they acquired in trades with the Cardinals ($1MM) and the White Sox ($1.5MM); New York announced today that it has signed Cuban righty Osiel Rodriguez and Cuban shortstop Alexander Vargas. Rodriguez’s $600K signing had previously been reported, but MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (via Twitter) that the newly signed Vargas received a whopping $2.5MM bonus. Vargas, 16, ranked eighth on MLB.com’s rankings of this year’s international prospects, drawing praise for his range, arm and instincts both at shortstop and in center field.
A few more notes on the international market…
- Sanchez also recently took a lengthy look at the latest on the market for top outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa. While the Cuban-born star has yet to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, there’s a fair bit of intrigue as to where he’ll sign once eligible. Victor Victor and his younger brother, Victor Jr., are both training in the Dominican Republic at present, according to Sanchez, but there’s no indication that either has established residency in another a country — a requisite step before being declared a free agent by MLB. Sanchez runs through the teams that are plausible landing spots for the brothers and takes a look at their potential timelines to signing.
- Interestingly, Sanchez further notes that the Orioles and Marlins could be in line to make a significant play for Mesa (Twitter links). Both teams acquired international money prior to the non-waiver deadline and are interested in increasing their spending on the international front. The Orioles have a hefty $8.25MM they can offer, though it’s worth noting that GM Dan Duquette has suggested they could sign some international prospects as soon as this week (link via MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski). With the Mesas yet to reach free agency, that’d suggest that they’re not earmarking their entire pool one or both brothers. The Marlins, meanwhile, have $4.35MM to work with at present — the second-most of any team that is not limited to $300K signings. The Athletic’s Emily Waldon reported recently that the Orioles were working hard on a deal with the elder Mesa brother (Twitter link). MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr tweeted that the Marlins are indeed planning a run at him as well, though he added that the Orioles could be closer. Of course, no deal can be announced until the league declares the Mesa brothers to be free agents, and there’s no real way of knowing when that process will be complete.
This has been a trade-packed day across Major League Basbeall, meaning there are plenty of corresponding smaller moves that have been announced over the past couple of hours as teams make today’s agreed-upon deals official. Here’s a look at the DFAs, contract selections and other 40-man transactions that came along with today’s action…
- The Diamondbacks designated left-handed reliever Jorge De La Rosa to make room for newly added southpaw Jake Diekman, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. De La Rosa, a longtime Colorado starter who’s in his second season in Arizona, switched to a full-time relief role upon changing teams and hasn’t produced inspiring results. The 37-year-old has logged a 4.38 ERA/4.98 FIP with 7.51 K/9, 4.17 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings since joining the D-backs. On the bright side, De La Rosa has posted a 48 percent groundball rate and been tough on left-handed hitters. Considering he’s only owed the balance of a $2.25MM salary, perhaps a team will be interested in taking a flyer on De La Rosa.
- The Dodgers designated righty Ariel Hernandez for assignment to open a spot for John Axford, per the MLB.com transactions page. Hernandez, 26, scuffled through his first MLB action last year with the Reds and hasn’t made it back since. Over fifty frames this year in the upper minors, he’s carrying an appealing 2.52 ERA, but has also handed out 29 walks to go with his 49 strikeouts.
- The Indians announced that they’ve designated outfielder Johnny Field for assignment. His spot on the 40-man will go to newly acquired outfield prospect Oscar Mercado, whom Cleveland acquired in a rare all-prospects trade with the Cardinals (full details here). Field, 26, only recently landed with the Indians himself after spending most of the year (and his entire professional career to that point) with the Rays. Field posted a meager .213/.253/.373 batting line in his first 179 MLB plate appearances, all accumulated earlier this season.
- The Mets announced today that they’ve claimed infielder Jack Reinheimer, who was designated for assignment last week, off waivers from the Diamondbacks. A former fifth-round pick, Reinheimer received a cup of coffee with the D-Backs last year but hadn’t done much to force his way back to this point in 2018. In his fifty games at Triple-A, Reinheimer owns a .237/.312/.353 batting line. Additionally, outfielder Matt den Dekker cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Las Vegas. He’ll have the right to elect free agency now or at season’s end.
- Outfielder Isaac Galloway is on his way to the Majors to make his MLB debut with the Marlins, the club announced. It’s a long time coming for an eleven-year pro who has never before tasted the majors. Through 356 plate appearances this year at Triple-A, Galloway carries a .262/.315/.429 triple-slash.
- Galloway’s contract was selected following the trade of Cameron Maybin to the Mariners, who opened a spot for Maybin by moving right-hander Dan Altavilla from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in yet another 40-man move. Similarly, Cubs righty Justin Hancock was transferred to the 60-day disabled list in order to open a spot for Brandon Kintzler, who was acquired from the Nationals today.
- The Orioles are selecting the contract of right-handed reliever Cody Carroll, who will step into the roster spot of Kevin Gausman following today’s trade to Atlanta. Carroll landed with the Baltimore organization in the recent swap that sent reliever Zach Britton to the Yankees.
- First baseman Ryan O’Hearn had his contract selected by the Royals, per a team announcement. Infielder Cheslor Cuthbert moved to the 60-day DL to open a spot. It’s the first crack at the majors for O’Hearn, who’ll get the call despite tepid results (.232/.322/.391) this year at Triple-A.
- Righty Warwick Saupold cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A by the Tigers. The Aussie hurler threw 34 1/3 innings of 4.46 ERA ball this year in Detroit, but managed only 16 strikeouts and a 6.1% swinging-strike rate in that span.
3:39pm: The trade is official.
3:09pm: The Brewers and Orioles agreed to a last-minute deal that will send infielder Jonathan Schoop from Baltimore to Milwaukee just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). Right-handed pitching prospect Luis Ortiz is among the players going back to Baltimore in the deal, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link).
It’s no surprise that the Brewers made a move to upgrade at second base, and it’s one that could benefit the team beyond this season. After all, Schopp – who’s on an $8.5MM salary this season – has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining.
After breaking out in 2017 with a .293/.338/.503 line, 32 home runs and a 3.8 fWAR in 675 plate appearances, Schoop has taken steps backward this season. The 26-year-old has slashed a below-average .244/.273/.447 with .7 fWAR over 375 PAs, though he has gone on a home run-happy tear of late to raise his numbers to more respectable levels. Schoop now has 17 homers after mashing seven long balls since July 20.
While Schoop’s overall production has been pedestrian this year, it still easily outdoes the .231/.288/.351 showing Brewers second basemen have compiled in 736 PAs. That obviously wasn’t going to cut it for Milwaukee, which is currently in wild-card position and trails the NL Central-leading Cubs by a game. Villar was part of the problem over the past year and a half for the Brewers, with whom he had a great season in 2016. Now 27, Villar has scuffled to a .248/.302/.374 line with 17 HRs in 715 PAs dating back to 2017, essentially making him a replacement player, though he has stolen 37 bases in that span (including 14 on 16 tries this year). He’ll provide the rebuilding Orioles an immediate successor to Schoop and could be a multiyear piece for the club, which will owe him the rest of a $2.55MM salary in 2018 and could control him via arbitration through 2020.
For now in Milwaukee, Schoop will add to an already crowded infield picture. The team just reeled in third baseman Mike Moustakas last week, forcing Travis Shaw to second. Unlike Moustakas and Shaw, Schoop is a right-handed hitter, though all three have struggled against southpaw pitchers both this season and throughout their careers.
In addition to Villar, Baltimore picked up a pair of prospects who ranked in the top 15 of Milwaukee’s above-average system at MLB.com. Ortiz (No. 7) is a 22-year-old who has worked to a 3.71 ERA/3.85 FIP with 8.6 K/9, 2.38 BB/9 and a 48 percent groundball rate in 68 Double-A innings this season (16 appearances, 11 starts). Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com posit that Ortiz has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter.
As for Carmona (No. 14), the two prospect gurus write that he “has all the components needed to become an impactful player at the highest level.” Still just 18 years old, Carmona has hit .239/.298/.406 in 172 PAs at the Rookie level this season.
For Baltimore, the removal of Schoop from its roster is the latest significant move with the team in the early stages of a rebuild. The Orioles have also dealt shortstop Manny Machado, relievers Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day, and starter Kevin Gausman this month, thus revamping their roster in a last-place season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Orioles have announced a trade that will send right-handers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Braves. In return, the Baltimore organization will pick up a group of minor-leaguers — corner infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland, righty Evan Phillips, and lefty Bruce Zimmermann — along with $2.5MM of international bonus money.
In Gausman, the Braves land a starting pitcher they can control through the 2020 season. He’s earning $5.6MM this year and will be in line for raises via arbitration for the ensuing two campaigns.
Gausman, now 27, was drafted fourth overall by the Orioles out of Louisiana State back in 2012. He’s been a mainstay in the Orioles’ rotation since 2014, peaking with a 3.61 ERA in 30 starts in 2016. This year, he has a 4.43 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.52 HR/9, and 46.9% groundball rate in 124 innings. The longball has been an Achilles heel for Gausman, who has a 1.42 HR/9 over the last four seasons.
The upstart Braves are currently just a half game behind the Phillies in the NL East race, and sit the same distance from a Wild Card spot. They’ve got lefty Kolby Allard set to make his MLB debut in a spot start tonight against the Marlins. Otherwise, their rotation consists of Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Fried. Brandon McCarthy and Mike Soroka are currently on the DL. It’s unclear at present who will be bumped from the rotation for Gausman.
For the Orioles, Gausman is the first non-rental piece they’ve dealt since committing to a full rebuild with the trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers. He has since been followed out the door by Jonathan Schoop. Relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach have been traded since then as well.
In addition to recouping some prospect capital, those swaps have offloaded a huge amount of cash from the balance sheet this year. The inclusion of O’Day in this particular swap surely influenced the remainder of the return, as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a serious hamstring injury. The veteran reliever is owed $9MM this year and next. That’s not to say he won’t have a chance at becoming a useful member of the Braves’ pen next season.
Of the young players moving in this deal, only Encarnacion (#14) and Cumberland (#30) cracked the most recent top-30 list of Braves prospects from MLB.com. The 23-year-old Phillips is the only one of the players who has seen the majors. He has struggled in four outings this year, but has had a strong showing at Triple-A, with a 1.99 ERA and 13.1 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 over 40 2/3 innings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
2:54pm: Talks between the O’s and Brewers are “very serious,” per ESPN’s Buster Olney. Rosenthal tweets that the two sides are close to a deal.
1:40pm: Dan Connolly of The Athletic tweets that the Orioles and the other team involved in the deal are reviewing medical reports. Jones is not being traded in the deal, he adds.
1:28pm: Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that teams are “getting serious” with their offers on Gausman. He lists the Rockies, Braves and Brewers as teams in the mix. Crasnick tweets, meanwhile, that the Pirates are “out” on Gausman.
1:10pm: The Orioles are “closing in” on yet another deal with just under two hours until the non-waiver trade deadline, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
It’s not clear from the report who’ll be changing hands, though the O’s have already moved their biggest rental chips in the form of Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach. Adam Jones reportedly isn’t interested in waiving his 10-and-5 rights to approve a deal, which makes it tough to envision that he’s changing hands here.
Meanwhile, previous reports have suggested that the Orioles have not yet had their asking prices met on more controllable pieces like Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy or Mychal Givens. Speculating a bit, though, veteran infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia would be one rental piece that the O’s could conceivably deal to a contender in need of a righty bat off the bench.
Here are the latest rumors from around the game on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline:
- The Red Sox and Braves have each at least held talks with the Rangers on third baseman Adrian Beltre, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and Morosi. It’s not at all clear, though, that either club is going to push hard enough to get Texas to move the veteran. Indeed, talks with Atlanta may already have sputtered, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan tweets. He adds that there is some indication the Red Sox aren’t actually all that inclined to go after Beltre, so much as the future Hall of Famer likes the idea of going back to Boston, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears there’s not much of a connection between the clubs (Twitter link). In addition to other hurdles, Beltre’s no-trade rights present an obstacle. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that Beltre may not wish to go somewhere if he isn’t going to receive regular playing time. In any event, to this point, Beltre has not been presented with any possible trades to consider, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
- When it comes to rental outfielders, there aren’t a huge number of appealing options. But there are certainly some veterans drawing interest. The Yankees and Phillies have put out feelers on Curtis Granderson of the Blue Jays, per Morosi (Twitter link). Granderson isn’t the only notable name on the Phils’ radar, as Heyman connects the organization to the Mets and Jose Bautista, via Twitter. Meanwhile, the Marlins are still dangling outfielder Cameron Maybin, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). Among the clubs that are at least considering him are the Indians, Yankees, and Mariners.
- Some of the most interesting potential trade candidates, of course, won’t end up going anywhere. Indications are that some top hurlers will stay at home. It does not appear that any rivals have made a real push to force the Mets to part with righty Jacob deGrom, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (on Twitter). Despite “some late action” on Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino of SNY.tv tweets, it still seems there’s nothing brewing there. Meanwhile, the Orioles don’t appear to have been enthused with trade offers for top pitchers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (or their other controllable players), Heyman indicates in a tweet.
- The Pirates and Padres appear to have quite a lot to talk about, as Ken Rosenthal and Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic report (in a tweet) that the Pittsburgh organization has “aggressively pursued” pitching from San Diego. It’s not evident which hurler the Bucs are eyeing, though Rosenthal suggests that veteran Craig Stammen could be a sensible target. Stammen and Kirby Yates appear to be the likeliest remaining trade chips in the Padres’ pen, owing to their quality output and relatively short remaining control rights (one year and two years, respectively).
- While the present focus is on another member of the Rays pitching staff, reliever Sergio Romo is drawing quite a lot of looks, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Romo is affordable ($2.5MM salary), battle-tested in October, and still capable of getting outs in the majors at 35 years of age. Romo’s swinging-strike rate is down to 12.6%, his lowest since 2009, but he’s carrying a 3.69 ERA through 46 1/3 innings on the season.
- If you’re looking for more reading, check out the latest column from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. He runs through a variety of situations, including the Giants’ in-between position, the Twins’ struggles to market Brian Dozier, and more. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports also has quite a bit of chatter in his latest column, some of which we’ve already highlighted on the site. Among other items of interest, Passan checks in on the Brewers’ efforts to find a starter, suggesting they are a prime suitor for Zach Wheeler of the Mets.
With Brad Brach now on his way to Atlanta and Adam Jones seemingly unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights at present, the Orioles may turn to weighing offers on more controllable pieces, tweets Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic. Biertempfel suggests that the Pirates have been “chasing” right-hander Kevin Gausman and wonders if the club would try to expand talks to get the Orioles to somehow part with both Gausman and setup man Mychal Givens in what would then be a fairly substantial trade. There’s been no indication that the O’s are strongly considering moving either Gausman (controlled through 2020) or Dylan Bundy (2021) anyhow, and they’re reportedly loath to consider trades involving the controllable Givens, either. It’s not surprising to see the Bucs tied to affordable long-term pieces, though prying even one of those pieces, let alone two, would likely require a fairly substantial haul in return from Pittsburgh (or any other interested team).