While Billy Hamilton’s name has been oft-mentioned in trade rumblings this offseason, a deal involving the Reds’ fleet-footed center fielder may not be all that likely, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. San Francisco’s acquisition of Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have much of an impact on the Giants’ chances of swinging a deal for Hamilton as they look to add a strong defender with their (limited) remaining financial resources. But, Buchanan reports after speaking with multiple sources, a deal was looking “unlikely” anyhow. Talks between the Giants and Reds regarding Hamilton have gone “dormant,” per Buchanan, adding that one source expects Hamilton to be in Cincinnati come Opening Day.
The Reds are amid “serious discussions” with free agent reliever David Hernandez, though an agreement isn’t imminent, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Cincy isn’t the only team after the right-handed Hernandez, per Buchanan, who notes that the Reds are also interested in other free agent relievers and aren’t necessarily limiting themselves to one-year deals as they look to improve their bullpen. On the heels of a strong 2017, Hernandez is seeking a multiyear pact, according to Buchanan. The recipient of a minor league contract last offseason, the 32-year-old Hernandez went on to toss 55 innings of 3.11 ERA ball and notch 8.51 K/9 against 1.47 BB/9 with the Angels and Diamondbacks.
We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)
Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)
- Mookie Betts, Red Sox: expected to go to hearing, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe; Betts filed at $10.5MM, Boston countered at $7.5MM (per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, via Twitter)
- George Springer, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Springer filed at $10.5MM, Houston countered at $8.5MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Ken Giles, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Giles filed at $4.6MM, Houston countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Collin McHugh, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); McHugh filed at $5.0MM, Houston countered at $4.55MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: Schoop filed at $9MM, Baltimore countered at $7.5MM (per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, via Twitter)
- Kevin Gausman, Orioles: Gausman filed at $6.225MM, Baltimore countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays: Stroman filed at $6.9MM, Toronto countered at $6.5MM (per Nightengale, via Twitter)
- Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays: Osuna filed at $5.8MM, Toronto countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jose Iglesias, Tigers: Iglesias filed at $6.8MM, Detroit countered at $5.6MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Avisail Garcia, White Sox: Garcia filed at $6.7MM, Chicago countered at $5.85MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Trevor Bauer, Indians: Bauer filed at $6.525MM, Cleveland countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jake Odorizzi, Rays: Odorizzi filed at $6.3MM, Tampa Bay countered at $6.05MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Adeiny Hechavarria, Rays: Hechavarria filed at $5.9MM, Tampa Bay countered at $5.35MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Scooter Gennett, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Gennett filed at $5.7MM, Cincinnati countered at $5.1MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Eugenio Suarez, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Suarez filed at $4.2MM, Cincinnati countered at $3.75MM (per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, via Twitter)
- Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks: Miller filed at $4.9MM, Arizona countered $4.7MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Kyle Gibson, Twins: Gibson filed at $4.55MM, Minnesota countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- J.T. Realmuto, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Realmuto filed at $3.5MM, Miami countered at 2.9MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Dan Straily, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Straily filed at $3.55MM, Miami countered at $3.37MM (per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, via Twitter)
- Justin Bour, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Bour filed at $3.4MM, Miami countered at $3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Brandon Maurer, Royals: have hit stalemate, per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com (via Twitter); Maurer filed at $3.5MM, Kansas City countered at $2.95MM (per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, via Twitter)
- Felipe Rivero, Pirates: Rivero filed at $2.9MM, Pittsburgh countered at $2.4MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Kendall Graveman, Athletics: Graveman filed at $2.6MM, Oakland countered at $2.36MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Justin Grimm, Cubs: Grimm filed at $2.475MM, Chicago countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Mike Foltynewicz, Braves: Foltynewicz filed at $2.3MM, Atlanta countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Zack Wheeler, Mets: Wheeler filed at $1.9MM, New York countered at $1.5MM (per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, via Twitter)
- Other tendered players who have not yet reportedly agreed to terms: Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox; Brad Hand, Padres
The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)
Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.
Onto today’s landslide of deals…
National League West
- The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
- Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
- The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
- The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
- The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.
National League Central
- All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweets. Marcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
- The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
- The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
- Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
- The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).
National League East
- The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
- The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
- The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection. Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
- Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
- The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
The Reds have signed righty Vance Worley to a minors deal that includes an invitation to the MLB side of Spring Training, per a club announcement. He’ll receive an opt-out opportunity at the end of camp and can earn a $1.5MM salary in the majors, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links).
Worley, 30, contributed 71 2/3 innings over a dozen starts and another dozen relief appearances last year for the Marlins. He ended the season with an unsightly 6.91 ERA, though his peripherals suggest there was some poor fortune baked into the results.
On the year, Worley managed 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and a 48.6% groundball rate — all numbers that land near his career averages. But he stranded just 64.5% of runners to reach against him and was tagged for a .378 batting average on balls in play. While that latter mark was deserved to an extent, it appears somewhat out of line given that Worley surrendered a .405 wOBA but carried a .364 xwOBA.
Of course, Worley enjoyed much better fortune in a 86 2/3-inning stint with the Orioles in 2016, when he managed a 3.53 ERA. As ever, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. All things considered, Worley has worked at or slightly above replacement level for the past several seasons.
Cincinnati is obviously looking primarily for solid veteran depth, while Worley is no doubt intrigued by the opportunity on a staff that has many options but few sure things. It’s conceivable that he could have a shot at breaking camp with the Reds either as a starter or a reliever.
We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.
There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.
- Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
- Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
- Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
- Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
- Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
- J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
- Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]
We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)
- Though the Reds continue to engage in discussions regarding center fielder Billy Hamilton, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that there’s one major potential roadblock. Club owner Bob Castellini is quite hesitant to part with Hamilton, it seems. While there’s no indication that the switch-hitting speed demon is completely off limits, the stance may make it harder to get a deal done.
- Right-hander Dylan Floro has agreed to a minor league deal with the Reds, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Floro was twice designated for assignment by the Cubs in 2017 and claimed off waivers by the Dodgers following that second DFA. However, the Dodgers designated him for assignment themselves just a few weeks later upon acquiring Curtis Granderson. Floro became a minor league free agent at season’s end and will bring to Cincinnati a career 5.11 ERA with a 20-to-7 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 MLB innings. In 242 2/3 innings of work in Triple-A, Floro has a 4.38 ERA with 5.9 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9. A ground-ball specialist, Floro has regularly posted ground-ball percentages in the upper 50s and low 60s throughout his minor league tenure and has a career 52.8 percent mark in his brief MLB tenure.
We’ll track the day’s minor moves in this post:
- The Reds have reached a minor league agreement with utilityman Phil Gosselin, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (Twitter link). The 29-year-old Gosselin divided last season between the Pirates and Rangers organizations, hitting an ugly .146/.180/.188 over a small sample of big league PAs (50). While Gosselin was also ineffective at the Triple-A level (.260/.299/.326 in 292 PAs), he’s not far removed from a useful two-year showing in the majors. From 2015-16, Gosselin combined for 1.4 fWAR on the strength of a .280/.340/.411 line in 358 trips to the plate with the Braves and Diamondbacks.
- The Phillies have agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, Cotillo tweets. Geltz worked exclusively with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017 and posted a 2.67 ERA, 9.67 K/9 against 4.00 BB/9 and a 37.1 percent groundball rate over 27 innings. The 30-year-old previously saw major league action with the Angels (2012) and Rays (2014-16). Across 104 1/3 big league frames, Geltz owns a 4.23 ERA to accompany 8.54 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 and a 28.8 percent grounder mark.
- Infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. is joining the Red Sox on a minor league deal, per Cotillo (Twitter link). De Jesus, 30, has past experience with the Boston organization, having been a member of it in 2012 and ’14. More recently, he spent last season with the Brewers’ Triple-A club and batted a robust .345/.407/.488 in 466 trips to the plate. He hasn’t been nearly as successful across 545 major league PAs with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Reds, having slashed .242/.303/.327.
- The Cardinals have added backstop Steven Baron on a minors pact, according to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). (As she also notes, and we covered previously, the club also added catcher Francisco Pena.) Baron, 27, was the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 draft, but he has never hit much at all in the minors and has only minimal MLB experience. Still, he’ll represent another upper-level depth option for the Cards, who’ll become his first organization other than the Mariners. Baron spent most of 2017 at Triple-A, where he slashed .256/.339/.329 in 187 plate appearances.
The Reds have already parted out most of the components of their most recently competitive roster. It seems the inclination now is to begin climbing the hill rather than continue to strip away veterans. That being said, this is a club that won just 68 games in 2017 and has shown no real indication of ramping up spending.
In short, the Reds are in no position to decline to consider trades involving shorter-term veteran assets. At the same time, indications are that they have fairly hefty asking prices affixed to some of their most notable trade pieces.
Two Years of Control
Billy Hamilton, CF (projected $5.0MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): The game’s preeminent burner, Hamilton has drawn a steady drumbeat of trade chatter all winter. Thus far, nothing has come together, but it still feels reasonably likely that another organization will make a significant enough offer to tempt the Reds. After all, though Hamilton has yet to show he can consistently reach base, his lofty baserunning and defensive value make him a highly useful player even if his career ceiling with the bat is still about twenty percent below league average. Dealing Hamilton would clear room in the outfield rotation for youngster Jesse Winker, who showed well in his 2017 debut.
Scooter Gennett, 2B (projected $6.1MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): The Cinci front office made good on its surprising claim of Gennett before the 2017 campaign. He rewarded the faith with 497 plate appearances of .295/.342/.531 hitting and 27 home runs — far and away his best full-season output. That said, Gennett has never hit lefties much and is generally graded as a below-average defender at second, limiting his value. There has been little reported interest to this point, though perhaps it still wouldn’t surprise if he ends up on the move.
Joey Votto, 1B ($157MM thru 2023; includes buyout on 2024 club option): Sure, he’s 34 years of age, but Votto has been the second-best hitter in baseball over the past three years. That makes the remainder of his massive extension seem quite a bit less onerous than might have been feared. Odds are, though, we won’t get a chance to see how the rest of the league values Votto. All indications are that Votto is not interested in waiving his full no-trade protection and the Reds seem happy to keep him around.
Raisel Iglesias, RP ($13.5MM thru 2020; may opt into arbitration; arb-eligible thru 2021); The Reds’ most obviously marketable player, Iglesias has blossomed into one of the game’s better young late-inning relievers. He’s capable of functioning as a traditional closer or multi-inning stopper. Though he’ll ultimately have a chance to boost his earnings by opting into arbitration, Iglesias remains a controllable bargain. While we analyzed his possible market earlier in the offseason, indications are that the Reds have advertised such a high and firm asking price that interested parties aren’t even coming onto the lot to kick the tires.
Eugenio Suarez, INF (projected $4.4MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): With three years of control remaining, the Reds don’t need to deal Suarez. But they could conceivably find it an opportune time to move the 26-year-old, who is fresh off of an excellent .260/.367/.461 campaign, with top prospect Nick Senzel nearing MLB readiness. That said, Suarez is capable of playing elsewhere in the infield, and it seems likelier that the Reds will explore a long-term contract than try to work out a deal for a player who could well be a key part of the organization’s next contender.
Tucker Barnhart, C ($16MM through 2021; includes buyout on 2022 club option): A quality defender who has increasingly shown he can hit at a useful rate, Barnhart only signed his contract in September. It’d rank as quite a surprise were he to be moved at this point.
Adam Duvall, OF (pre-arb eligible): Though he has swatted over thirty home runs in each of the past two seasons, Duvall has been a roughly league-average hitter due to his inability to get on base (career .296 OBP). That said, highly-rated glovework in the gives Duvall the profile of a solid average regular in the corner. There’d be interest if the Reds make him available, but it still seems likely he’ll be kept in the fold.
Scott Schebler, OF (pre-arb eligible): You can basically take exactly what was written about Duvall and apply it to Schebler. While the latter did not grade as a top-end right fielder in 2017, he did show he can palatably patrol center. With just 1.132 years of service to this point, though, Schebler is likely to remain in Cincinnati for the time being.
Anthony DeSclafani, SP (projected $1.1MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): Elbow troubles robbed all of 2017 from DeSclafani. He remains an exciting pitcher when healthy, and the Reds are all but certain to hold onto his upside this winter.
Brandon Finnegan, SP (pre-arb eligible): Similarly, Finnegan is coming off of a season in which entered with big expectations but managed only four outings. Cinci has little choice but to hope for better health. It’s worth noting, too, that other controllable starters — most notably, eye-opening 2017 debutante Luis Castillo — are likely to be kept in the stable.
Michael Lorenzen, RP (projected $1.4MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2021): Perhaps the Reds would at least listen to offers on Lorenzen, who did not produce results to match his big-time stuff in 2017. He’d surely draw interest after showing a personal-high 10.4% swinging-strike rate and strong 54.6% groundball rate in heavy usage (83 innings over seventy appearances). But for the Reds, the hope remains that he’ll join Iglesias to form a dominant late-inning duo. It’s even less likely that the club will end up dealing other relief assets, though perhaps there could be some interest in Wandy Peralta, who turned in a solid (if hardly dominant) rookie season.
Jose Peraza, INF (pre-arb eligible): Unless the Reds decide to give up on Peraza, he’ll remain on hand to fill out the infield. But the team is no doubt concerned with what it saw over his 518 plate appearances in 2017, as Peraza managed 23 stolen bases but otherwise produced a marginal .259/.297/.324 batting line.
Salary Dump Candidates
Homer Bailey, SP ($49MM through 2019; includes buyout of 2020 mutual option): If you’re looking for positives, you’d note that Bailey showed velocity in the range of his career peak (94 mph or so) over 91 frames in 2017 — his most extensive action since 2014. But he managed only a 6.43 ERA in that span, with just 6.6 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9. Given that the Reds have a need for innings, and no doubt still have some hope that Bailey will find his way, it seems likeliest this contract will remain on the books for the time being.
Devin Mesoraco, C ($13.125MM in 2018): Just as he was finally showing some signs of health and productivity with a .260/.345/.600 output last June, Mesoraco hit the DL with a shoulder strain. He scarcely hit at all upon returning and ended up suffering a season-ending foot fracture in mid-August. In the aggregate, the Reds have received virtually nothing for the $28MM they committed to Mesoraco via extension: he has provided just 271 plate appearances of 61 OPS+ hitting over the past three seasons. With nearly half of that outlay still left to be paid in the final year of the deal, it’s hard to see Mesoraco as anything but a potential salary dump candidate at this stage. In all likelihood, the Reds will carry him into the season and see what they can get — with the idea of a mid-season trade still carrying at least some potential for saving a bit of cash.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.