If there was any doubt as to the Red Sox’ desire to bring back Nathan Eovaldi after his strong run with the club late in 2018, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski put it to rest in comments today. As Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com was among those to report, Dombrowski confirmed that the organization has been engaged with Eovaldi’s camp this winter — though he also cautioned that “there’s a lot of interest” in the righty leaguewide. How far the Sox will go in the bidding remains to be seen, but Dombrowski said that Eovaldi is “a guy that we love.” With only a few major needs to be accounted for, the defending World Series champs seem a prime potential landing spot — as we predicted at the outset of the offseason.
Red Sox Rumors
It may take a three-year commitment to sign free-agent reliever David Robertson this offseason, but “the Red Sox are in for less,” a source tells George A. King III of the New York Post. Considering Robertson’s a Rhode Island resident who’d prefer to pitch in the Northeast, where he has spent most of his career, he looks like a logical fit for a Boston team which could lose Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly in free agency. However, if the Red Sox are only willing to hand Robertson a one- or two-year contract, a union between them and the longtime Yankee may not be in the cards.
After a busy day of arbitration decisions, it’s worth taking stock of some recent developments in the broader market. We’ve already touched upon some major storylines today, with looks at Patrick Corbin (link), Zack Greinke (link), and Carlos Carrasco (link). Here’s more …
- Though Corbin seems to be captivating the market at present, chatter on Nathan Eovaldi is also “heating up,” per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox and Astros are presently seen as prime contenders to land him. With the American League shaping up to be another clash of titans, those organizations are positioned t stake some dough on Eovaldi’s upside.
- The Yankees are a major player on Corbin, of course, but also some other arms — and not just as a backup plan. Indeed, per Jayson Stark of The Athletic (via Twitter), the club could even add another significant starter if it does get Corbin. That’d be quite a surprise, given that the team would appear to have a clear starting five if Corbin signs, but perhaps there’s a way to pull something off that would still make sense and leave the club with immense rotation depth.
- Meanwhile, southpaw J.A. Happ is said to have “ten teams chasing” him at this point, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. One of those is the Brewers, who’d presumably like to bolster their rotation but also don’t appear to have an immense amount of money to use. Of course, giving up on Jonathan Schoop clears a big piece of payroll, so long as the club finds a way to address its infield needs without using all the savings.
- There’s also a “strong” market for Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, Heyman tweets. Unsurprisingly, west coast clubs — the Dodgers, Padres, Giants, and Mariners, at least — appear to be lining up for the 27-year-old. It’s still hard to know what kind of salary and duration he’ll be able to command. But as this particular list of clubs shows, Kikuchi’s unusual youth will play a major role in his market by opening the door to quite a few organizations to pursue him.
- Elsewhere, the Yankees are still trying to offload an asset in Sonny Gray. Per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, with GM Brian Cashman saying he has discussed a multitude of different scenarios involving Gray, including some larger deals. That suggests that the Yanks are comfortable hanging onto Gray for a while as they sort through the possibilities, rather than putting him on the market and taking the best deal then available.
- Gray is as good as gone from the team’s perspective, but that’s clearly not the same situation for Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. The burly southpaw is reportedly on the table. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be priced at a level that will lead to a deal. Indeed one organizational source tells Heyman (Twitter link) they “don’t see [Bumgarner] going anywhere this winter.” Certainly, the Giants have little need to dump Bumgarner if they aren’t getting something worthwhile in return. Teams with interest, though, will remain wary of a big price for one season of a player with recent shoulder woes and some performance questions.
Tonight marks the deadline for MLB clubs to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. As such, there’ll be a slew of pre-tender agreements announced today — particularly for arbitration-eligible players who might have otherwise been non-tender candidates. As we saw yesterday (and frequently in previous seasons), players agreeing to terms before the tender deadline will often sign for less than they’re projected, as the alternative in some cases may simply be to be cut loose into a crowded free-agent market.
We’ll track today’s pre-tender agreements here, with all referenced projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz…
- Giants infielder Joe Panik settled at a $3.8MM price tag, per Heyman (via Twitter). That’ll represent a savings as against the $4.2MM projected salary. Many had wondered whether the new San Francisco front office would move on from Panik, who has one more year of arb eligibility remaining. Meanwhile, Heyman tweets that reliever Sam Dyson has agreed to a $5MM pact. That also comes in $400K below his projection.
- The Padres settled with righty Bryan Mitchell for $900K, Heyman tweets. Mitchell had been a non-tender candidate at a projected $1.2MM sum.
- Newly acquired first baseman C.J. Cron has agreed to a $4.8MM contract, the Twins announced. He projected to a $5.2MM salary; this becomes the latest of many indications of the unstable market position of defensively limited slugger types.
- The Indians have settled with righty Danny Salazar for $4.5MM, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets. He was projected at $5MM, with some wondering whether the Cleveland organization might non-tender him. The talented hurler missed the entire 2018 season. Meanwhile, righty Nick Goody is slated to earn $675K, Heyman tweets.
- Southpaw Jonny Venters avoided arb with the Braves, David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets. It’s a $2.25MM deal, sitting well over the $1.5MM projection, though certainly his unusual career path could have led to some additional arguments for a stronger raise.
- The Cardinals announced an agreement with lefty Chasen Shreve. Terms aren’t yet known. The 28-year-old had projected to take home $1.2MM for the 2019 campaign, but will settle at $900K per Heyman (via Twitter).
- Pirates righty Michael Feliz has avoided arbitration with the club, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic was among those to report on Twitter. Feliz projected at a $900K salary and will get $850K, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. It’s a split agreement that promises $375K in the minors, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter).
- Infielder Tyler Saladino has agreed to a $887,500 salary with the Brewers, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets. That comes in below the $1MM he projected to earn.
- The Athletics settled at $2.15MM with Liam Hendriks, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), all of which is guaranteed. That’s just where he projected ($2.1MM) on the heels of a fascinating 2018 season. Hendriks was dropped from the MLB roster in the middle of the season but returned late in the year in dominant fashion as the A’s “opener.”
- Lefty Sammy Solis agreed to terms with the Nationals to avoid arbitration, the club announced. He profiled as a potential non-tender candidate, so it seems likely the organization pushed to get something done before the deadline. Solis, who has an intriguing power arsenal but struggled through a homer-prone 2018, projected at $900K. He’ll earn $850K, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- The Athletics announced that they’ve agreed to a one-year deal with righty Ryan Dull in advance of tonight’s deadline. He’ll get $860K, Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets, which checks in pretty closely with his $900K projection. Dull, 29, posted a 4.26 ERA with 21 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 1/3 innings of relief in 2018.
- Heyman also tweets that the Padres and Greg Garcia, whom they claimed off waivers earlier this offseason, settled on a one-year deal worth $910K that aligns with his $900K projection. Garcia hit .221/.309/.304 in 208 plate appearances with St. Louis last season and is a career .248/.356/.339 hitter in 860 plate appearances.
- The Brewers and Hernan Perez avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.5MM, as first reported by Heyman. He’ll check in a bit shy of his $2.7MM projection but remain on hand as a versatile utility option in Milwaukee.
- Left-hander Tony Cingrani and the Dodgers avoided arb with a one-year deal worth $2.65MM. That checks in just south of the lefty’s $2.7MM projection. Cingrani turned in a brilliant 36-to-6 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings but was also tagged for a considerably less palatable 4.76 earned run average.
- The Red Sox announced that they’ve agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2019 season with right-hander Tyler Thornburg. They’ve also tendered contracts to the remainder of their arbitration-eligible players, though the terms of those deals will be negotiated in the coming weeks. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets that Thornburg will earn $1.75MM i 2019 and can earn another $400K via incentives. I’m told that includes $100K for reaching each of 45, 50, 55 and 60 appearances. Thornburg, 30, was roughed up to the tune of a 5.63 ERA in 24 innings for the Sox this season — his first action for Boston since being acquired prior to the 2017 season. His Boston tenure has been utterly derailed by thoracic outlet syndrome and the ensuing surgery. Thornburg was excellent for the 2016 Brewers, and Boston parted with Travis Shaw in order to acquire him, so the Sox will surely hope that a regular offseason of rest and further removing himself from TOS surgery will get the righty back on track. This will be Thornburg’s final season of club control. He’d been projected to earn $2.3MM.
Over the last few days, I have been discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. 2019 projections are available right here.
After the first year of arbitration, it is typical for arbitration salaries to be rewarded as raises on top of previous year’s salaries, based on platform year performances. That sets Mookie Betts up for quite a hefty salary in 2019, since he nearly had a record high $10.5 million salary last year and had quite an accomplished 2018 campaign.
Mookie Betts won the MVP Award with a .346 average and 32 home runs. Batting out of the leadoff spot, he only had 80 RBI, but entering arbitration with the MVP Award, my model projects him to get an $8.2 million raise and earn $18.7 million. That would easily set a record for second time eligible salaries (Ryan Howard got $15 million way back in 2009), but would fall short of the record raise for second time eligible players. Bryce Harper set the latter mark in 2017 with $8.63 million riase. Harper’s case was atypical, though, because it came following a two-year deal. Other than that, Betts is projected for the largest raise ever—which does make sense following an MVP season.
In the last decade, only two players have entered their second year of arbitration coming off an MVP season—Josh Donaldson in 2016 and Josh Hamilton way back in 2011. Not only is Hamilton a stale comp at this point, but both received multi-year deals that might make them less likely to be used as comparables. While Donaldson’s $7.35 million raise would therefore not typically be a useful comparable, both he and the Blue Jays filed numbers in a tight band ($7.05 million and $7.5 million) that were also quite close to the actual result. Given that the comp is a few years out of date, it seems reasonable for Betts to argue that the Donaldson salary point represents a clear floor. Since Donaldson hit .297 with 41 HR and 123 RBI, his performance was more power-centric. But it certainly suggests roughly an $8 million raise for a reigning MVP is close to the right price.
Betts also won the batting title, which also calls back to Charlie Blackmon and Dee Gordon in recent years. The latter had only four home runs in 2015, so he is a weak comparable. Blackmon is a little stronger since his 2016 numbers — .324/29/82 — delivered some of the punch that Betts did at .346/32/80. That earned him a $3.8 million raise, which was actually well shy of what the model predicted. If there’s any added boost for the batting title, then, it’s tough to gauge.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox can certainly try to point to the Blackmon comp if they want to hold Betts’ salary down, but the Donaldson raise seems like a more compelling precedent since he won the MVP Award. And it probably does not hurt Betts’s negotiating position that he scored a major win over the Sox last year in a hearing. All things considered, I suspect Betts will get a record raise and earn quite close to his 2019 projection.
As we kick off the seventh installment of this series, here are links to the previous team payroll projections:
If you have questions about financial information made available to the public and the assumptions used in this series, please refer to the Phillies piece linked above.
Today, we visit with the other Sox and reigning champions: the Boston Red Sox.
The most recent significant ownership change for the Red Sox saw John Henry, Tom Werner, and the New York Times (yes, that New York Times) purchase the club from the JRY Trust, established following the 1992 death of team owner Jean Yawkey, the widow of Tom Yawkey. The Times sold its interest in two separate sales in 2011 and 2012, leaving Henry and Werner as the primary owners and Henry alone as the face of ownership.
The baseball operations department underwent a massive shakeup late in the 2015 season with longtime contender builder Dave Dombrowski joining the fold as President of Baseball Operations with former general manager Ben Cherington stepping aside in a corresponding move. Dombrowski had previously assembled pennant winners in Miami (1997) and Detroit (2006, 2012) before his arrival in Beantown. Over his three seasons, the Red Sox have averaged 98 wins per year, recording at least 93 victories each season.
Before hitting the numbers, please recall that we use data from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, we’ll use average annual value (“AAV”) on historical deals but actual cash for 2019 and beyond, and deferrals will be reflected where appropriate. And, of course, the value of examining historical payrolls is twofold: they show us either what type of payroll a team’s market can support or how significantly a given ownership group is willing to spend. In the most useful cases, they show us both. We’ll focus on a 15-year span for the Red Sox, covering 2005-18 for historical data as a means to understanding year 15: 2019. We’ll also use Opening Day payrolls as those better approximate expected spending by ownership.
As a major franchise playing in a major city, it comes as no surprise that the Red Sox have spent and spent big year after year.
While Red Sox spending has always been significant, it took a notable jump following the only Yankees World Series win of the past 15 years as the 2010 Boston payroll increased a little over 38 percent from 2009. Since then, the Red Sox have remained near the top echelon of spenders.
That changed in 2018 as Boston blew away the competition financially, finishing the year as the only American League team to pay the luxury tax. The Red Sox made approximately $22 million in luxury tax payments from 2005-17, but they pushed the envelope in 2018, incurring a tax bill of at least $12.7 million and possibly more depending on the final calculation.
International spending has also been a hallmark of the franchise, as was blowing past slot recommendations for draft picks prior to the new rules that severely disincentivized the action. The Red Sox were responsible for arguably the most famous example of overspending international bonus pools under the previous system, throwing a $31.5 million bonus to Yoan Moncada, complete with a corresponding $31.5 million tax payment in February 2015.
The Red Sox also allocated a massive sum to the posting fee paid of $51,111,111.11 to the Seibu Lions in advance of the 2007 season for the rights to negotiate with starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Needless to say, Major League payroll has comprised only a significant portion of team spending, hardly the entirety of it.
Unlike some other teams in this series to date, the Red Sox have significant present and future guaranteed liabilities. Here are the guaranteed future dollars with club options highlighted in peach and the opt-out clause for J.D. Martinez that follows the 2019 season shown in light blue.
There is a lot to digest here.
The remaining four years and $127 million owed to David Price naturally jumps out. After a strong debut season, Price hasn’t delivered the ace-level production that the team hoped for when they signed him, but Red Sox fans enjoyed watching Price hoist the World Series trophy this fall after 26 solid postseason innings. He’s hardly an albatross, even if his contract doesn’t offer value at this point.
After a superstar offensive season, Martinez’s contract appears increasingly likely to be a two-year, $50 million deal instead of a five-year, $110 million pact as was guaranteed. If his 2019 is half as successful as his 2018, Martinez will opt out of the deal and pocket the $2.5 million buyout that comes along with the decision to do so. In the meantime, he’ll serve as an essential middle-of-the-order bat for the defending champions.
The remaining multi-year commitments go to players unlikely to help the next championship team in Boston. Pedroia has been a mainstay, but knee injuries may very well render him unable to return to form especially at 35. 2017 indicated that Vazquez had emerged as a defensive force with a palatable, if below average, offensive game at 27. 2018 indicated that 2017 was a mirage. It remains to be seen what value, if any, Boston will milk out of the remainder of Vazquez’s deal.
The remaining current players are all on one-year deals and they all figure to play a starting-level role for the team in 2018. Sale is a perennial Cy Young contender heading toward a record-breaking contract, Porcello won the award himself in 2016, and Moreland, Pearce, and Nunez all figure to get north of 400 plate appearances next year. The club features a ton of walk-year talent.
Of course, the future commitments to players aren’t limited to current Red Sox players by a long stretch. The team owes a staggering $47.5 million to released free agent flop Sandoval and Triple-A 30-year-old Castillo. Perhaps the club will find a taker for Castillo if he comes along with approximately $22 million, though it’s worth noting that he does not count against the Red Sox luxury tax payroll as long as he remains off of the team’s 40-man roster.
Finally, former stars Ramirez and Pedroia will receive just over $34 million between them into the middle of the next decade, a sum that is not insignificant but also doesn’t figure to move the needle much for the deep pockets in Boston. Those amounts have already been accounted for in regards to the luxury tax, so they won’t hurt Boston when making that calculation.
While the guarantees feature plenty of star power, there is no shortage of elite talent to be found among the arbitration eligible Red Sox. Here are their arbitration projections (salary projections by MLBTR and Matt Swartz):
Betts, Bogaerts, and Bradley have long formed a young core for the club. Bradley’s bat has been below average the last two seasons, but Betts and Bogaerts have both regularly combined strong offense and defense to be impact players. With two years of control remaining on Betts and Bradley and one on Bogaerts, the team will likely continue extension talks. Obviously they have not found common ground to date, and it’s not known whether the Red Sox will succeed in locking down any of the three.
Rodriguez has grown into an above-average starting pitcher, albeit one who routinely misses time with injury issues. He figures to hold a rotation job through the coming years.
The remaining arbitration eligible Red Sox primarily serve to complement the bevy of ultra-talented players listed above.
What Does Team Leadership Have to Say?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, not much to date. They’ve been busy winning the World Series and celebrating their newest championship. The most noteworthy disclosure came from Henry following the season when he noted that the team won’t push their payroll to the top luxury tax penalties every season, calling out 2018 as an exception where adding the missing piece was worth the extra expenditure.
Well this is a tricky one. The Red Sox are obviously massive spenders who routinely find themselves with one of the top five payrolls in the game. Generally speaking, that is expected to be a prerequisite for entering the fray for Harper and/or Machado.
However, Boston has already committed major dollars to its championship core — a core that will only get more expensive in the next two years — and it would seemingly require major roster reconstruction to fit either young star into their group. In the case of Machado, there would also have to be a resolution of the conflict dating back to his April 2017 takeout slide of Pedroia.
Then again, it’s the Boston Red Sox. They shouldn’t be fully counted out for any big-time talent.
In the end, I’ll say that they’re not players for Harper or Machado. It’s too tough to see the math work from my vantage point.
What Will the 2019 Payroll Be?
More than for any other team that we have examined to date, the luxury tax is going to be a major factor for the Red Sox this winter. If the team makes no additional moves, they’ll have a cash payroll of $214.2 million and a luxury tax payroll of $216.0 million, assuming that Castillo remains off of the 40-man roster and, thus, doesn’t count against their tax payroll. With the luxury tax line sitting at $206 million, it’s awfully difficult to see how Boston gets under the line without sacrificing a key contributor or two. That’s no way to defend a title.
Instead, I suspect that the Red Sox will try to minimize their tax bill and ensure that they avoid hitting the $246 million threshold at which point their top draft pick is dropped 10 spots. It seems overwhelmingly likely that they will incur the 12 percent surtax for exceeding $226 million in luxury tax payroll, but, again, I expect that they will avoid the 42.5 percent surtax for exceeding $246 million in luxury tax payroll.
Provided that they plan to leave a little space for in-season acquisitions, let’s peg them at a spending level that enables the club to replace Craig Kimbrel at the back of the bullpen without breaking the bank.
Projected 2019 Payroll: $230 million cash ($232 million luxury tax)
Projected 2019 Payroll Space: $15.8 million
The Mets have landed two new assistant general managers to serve under new baseball operations leader Brodie Van Wagenen. Allard Baird will become vice president and assistant GM of scouting and player development, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). And Adam Guttridge will step in as assistant GM of systematic development, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.
Baird comes over from the Red Sox, where he had been the senior VP of player personnel. He previously interviewed for the Mets’ GM opening back in 2010. The former Royals GM (Dayton Moore’s predecessor) recently turned 57 years of age.
Needless to say, having been in Boston dating back to the Theo Epstein regime, Baird is a respected veteran front office member. He got his start in a coaching and scouting capacity but moved into an upper-level role when he became the K.C. AGM back in 1998. His opinion has been an important one with the Red Sox; as the organization puts it in its own front office directory, Baird is (was) “a key voice on all player personnel decisions for the club.”
As for Guttridge, he’ll presumably be tasked with building out a top-of-the-line analytics unit in Queens. As Anthony Rieber of Newsday writes, the 33-year-old has an extensive background in statistical evaluation. He has most recently operated NEIFI Analytics, a company that sells its analysis to MLB clubs and bills itself as offering “a logically consistent and empirically validated view of the baseball landscape from the major leagues all the way down to the NCAA.”
These moves, taken together, represent notable additions for Van Wagenen. His top lieutenants would seem to be of particular importance given his own lack of experience working in (let alone running) a baseball ops department. It’s not yet full certain what other senior voices will remain on hand. Former GM Omar Minaya is expected to stay, but the fate of long-time AGM John Ricco has yet to be decided. Previously, J.P. Ricciardi departed the Mets organization.
The Indians’ rotation has come up in trade rumors over the past month, as Cleveland looks to manage a roster with multiple holes and a crowded payroll that is already at franchise-record levels. However, while Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have been speculative candidates to be moved, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that teams who’ve spoken to the Indians get the sense that Cleveland is more amenable to trading right-hander Trevor Bauer. Kluber is controlled through 2021, while Carrasco is locked into a club-friendly deal through the 2020 season. Bauer, though, is arbitration-eligible for another two seasons. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects him to earn $11.6MM in 2019 — a projection he explored at greater length earlier today. If the Indians are to move a starter, there’s some sense behind making it the one of their “big three” who has the shortest amount of team control and least cost certainty, though there’s still no indication that the team is aggressively shopping any of its starters. The ask on Bauer would figure to be huge — likely including pre-arbitration, MLB-ready help — given Bauer’s 2.21 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9 and 44.5 percent grounder rate in 175 1/3 innings in 2018.
Some more notes on the trade and free-agent markets…
- Mike Moustakas is “on the radar” for the Cardinals as they look for a corner infield bat, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. While Cards didn’t show much in the way of interest last winter, the absence of draft-pick compensation being attached to Moustakas is an important distinction that has them at least exploring the possibility this time around. Meanwhile, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Cards “made a competitive bid” for Josh Donaldson before the 32-year-old signed a one-year, $23MM contract with the Braves. There were similar reports about the Cardinals’ efforts to sign Jason Heyward and David Price, and the Cardinals also came up shy in their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton last year when the slugger wouldn’t waive his no-trade protection to approve a deal to St. Louis. Of course, Moustakas is not likely to generate the level of market interest that those players did.
- There has been quite a lot of chatter regarding Mariners infielder Robinson Cano since it emerged recently that the club would like to find a way to dump his contract, though it’s far from evident whether there’s a particularly realistic match to be found. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand says that some feel the M’s will find a taker, though he later added that Cano hasn’t yet been approached by the team about waiving his no-trade rights or about giving a list of destinations as to which he’d be amenable. (Twitter links.) One key factor in the Cano situation is the notion of the Mariners dealing star closer Edwin Diaz as a means of offloading the money owed Cano. There is indeed some willingness to do so on the part of the Seattle organization, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But it seems clubs with interest in Diaz aren’t necessarily amenable to taking on enough of the $120MM still owed to Cano to make it work. Sherman lists the Mets, Yankees, Braves, Phillies, and Red Sox as teams angling for Diaz, not all of which have any inclination to pick up Cano. That’s not surprising, as it’s an awfully steep dollar amount, even though the long-time star second baseman does still have value himself on the ballfield. That said, Diaz arguably could command something approaching that whopping sum in a hypothetical open-market scenario. After all, he stands out against any other potentially available relievers this winter for his excellence, age, and control. That makes this general structure at least somewhat plausible, though it’ll surely be quite complicated to pull something off.
- It seems the Mets have quite a few balls in the air at the moment as new GM Brodie Van Wagenen searches for a significant deal that will help jumpstart the franchise. Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link) and Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) each doused the flames of speculation involving the Mets as a possible match in a Cano swap. But that doesn’t mean the team didn’t explore the subject with the Mariners. SNY.tv’s Andy Martino suggested some possible scenarios involving Cano, though really the basic framework does not seem workable from the Seattle side. Martino says the clubs have batted around a concept in which Seattle would both pay about $50MM of Cano’s salary and take on more in return, such as through Jay Bruce’s $26MM contract, while sending Diaz or Mitch Haniger to New York. Trouble is, the implication there is that the Mets could buy one of those excellent young players for less than $50MM, which doesn’t seem like sufficient salary relief for the Mariners to justify the loss of such core talent.
- Meanwhile, the biggest name seemingly in play on the Mets’ side is Noah Syndergaard, the uber-talented but health-questionable young righty. The Padres have made clear they won’t part with top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., per Martino, which dovetails with expectations. While the report indicates that the teams have also discussed San Diego backstop Austin Hedges, he certainly does not profile as a centerpiece in a deal for Syndergaard. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription links) suggests the Rockies could be an under-the-radar suitor for Syndergaard, who’d turn their rotation into a potentially outstanding unit. Though the offense is surely the priority in Colorado, that can be addressed through relatively low-cost investments; adding Thor, meanwhile, is surely an intriguing thought.
This offseason has brought quite a lot of coaching turnover, yet we’ve not heard anything regarding Red Sox pitching guru Brian Bannister. That’s not only by design, but is included in his contract with the club, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes in an interesting look at a key figure in the Boston organization. It seems the Red Sox will continue to enjoy Bannister’s services for some time, even if other organizations might have loftier positions to offer.
Here are some of the latest coaching decisions from around the game …
- The Blue Jays have rounded out their coaching staff under new skipper Charlie Montoyo. Former Double-A manager John Schneider is heading up to the big club, though his precise role isn’t yet clear. Other recent hires include Mark Budzinski as first base coach and Shelley Duncan as field coordinator, as Robert Murray of The Athletic reported (Twitter links). The former comes from the Indians’ staff, while the latter had been managing on the Diamondbacks’ farm.
- Tim Laker has been announced as the new hitting coach of the Mariners. He had been in an assistant’s role with the Diamondbacks for the past two seasons. A former MLB backstop, Laker will be tasked with stepping into the shoes of the legendary Edgar Martinez, who shifted to a broader role as organizational hitting advisor.
- The Dodgers have decided to bring on Robert Van Scoyoc as their new hitting coach, according to Pedro Moura of The Athletic (via Twitter). He is also coming from the D-Backs organization. This’ll be Van Scoyoc’s first stint on a MLB staff, and it comes at just 32 years of age. He’s best known for helping to re-launch J.D. Martinez into stardom as a private hitting coach.
- Needless to say, the Diamondbacks have some holes to fill in this area. Eric Hinske will be part of the picture, as he is set to join the team as the assistant hitting coach, per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (via Twitter). He will work alongside recently hired hitting coach Darnell Coles. Hinske recently held the top hitting coach slot with the Angels and Cubs.
- In another hitting move, the assistant job of the Pirates will be handled by Jacob Cruz. The 45-year-old was most recently the minor-league hitting coordinator of the Cubs and previously worked in the Diamondbacks organization. A former big-league outfielder, Cruz is slated to pair with new hitting coach Rick Eckstein.
Tonight marks the deadline for players to be added to their respective organizations’ 40-man rosters. Over the nine hours, there’ll be a flurry of moves, ranging from minor trades (like the one the Indians and Rays made yesterday), waiver claims and players being designated for assignment or outrighted. Each will be made to clear room for players who need protection from this year’s Rule 5 Draft. As a reminder, players who signed at 18 years of age or younger and have five professional seasons are eligible, as are players who signed at 19 or older and have four professional seasons under their belts.
Here’s a rundown of players who’ve been added to their respective 40-man rosters (which will be updated throughout the day)…
- There are three additions for the Twins: outfielder LaMonte Wade and infielders Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez.
- The Giants announced that they have added a trio of righties: Melvin Adon, Sam Coonrod, and Logan Webb.
- Lefty Justin Steele is now a member of the Cubs’ 40-man, per an announcement.
- The Rangers announced that they are protecting veteran hurler Edinson Volquez, who’s returning from Tommy John surgery, along with outfielder Scott Heineman, righty Wei-Chieh Huang, and lefty Taylor Hearn.
- Righties Mitch Keller and JT Brubaker, infielder Cole Tucker, and outfielder Jason Martin are all joining the Pirates’ 40-man, per Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects (via Twitter).
- The Blue Jays will add righty Patrick Murphy to their 40-man, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). Toronto has announced his addition, along with those of fellow righties Trent Thornton, Yennsy Diaz, Hector Perez, and Jacob Waguespack.
- Three Indians players have been boosted up to the 40-man, the club announced: first baseman Bobby Bradley, southpaw Sam Hentges, and righty Jean Carlos Mejίa.
- Righty Joe Harvey is joining the Yankees’ MLB roster, the club announced.
- The Phillies have added shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa along with righties Edgar Garcia and Adonis Medina to the 40-man, per a club announcement.
- Former first-round draft pick Dillon Tate, a right-handed pitcher, was selected to the Orioles’ 40-man.