Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:13:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reds Acquire, Extend Sonny Gray As Part Of Three-Team Trade Mon, 21 Jan 2019 22:15:18 +0000 After several days of reporting and speculation, right-hander Sonny Gray has officially been traded from the Yankees to the Reds and also agreed to a contract extension with Cincinnati. It’s a three-team deal that also involves the Mariners. Second base prospect Shed Long and a Competitive Balance Round A pick go from the Reds to the Yankees in exchange for Gray and left-hander Reiver Sanmartin. New York, in turn, has flipped Long directly to the Mariners in return for center field prospect Josh Stowers — the Mariners’ second-round pick in the 2018 draft.

Sonny Gray | Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As part of the trade, Gray has agreed to a new, three-year contract extension with the Reds that’ll span the 2020-22 seasons. He’ll earn $30.5MM over those three campaigns — that’s in addition to his $7.5MM salary for the 2019 season. Along with a $500K signing bonus, the deal reportedly promises $10MM in each of its three years and also comes with a $12MM club option for the 2023 season. There are $500K worth of incentives in each new season of the deal, with that value achievable in full at 190 innings pitched, and his annual salaries can grow based on performance escalators.

Cincinnati emerged as a front-runner to land Gray last Friday, and his addition will be the third such pickup of the Reds’ offseason, joining lefty Alex Wood and fellow righty Tanner Roark. That trio will be added to a new-look Cincinnati rotation that’s also projected to include holdovers Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani. It’s a group that should give the Reds a vastly more competitive outlook in 2019 while likely pushing names such as Robert Stephenson, Brandon Finnegan, Tyler Mahle, Jackson Stephens and others out of the Major League rotation mix and either into bullpen roles or back to the minors (Stephenson, it should be noted, is out of options).

A change of scenery for Gray, 29, only makes sense after he struggled profusely with the Yankees in 2018 — particularly when pitching at Yankee Stadium. Gray posted a ghastly 6.98 ERA at home in 2018 compared to a 3.17 ERA on the road, and while there’s surely more at play in those splits than the surface-level numbers exhibit, the contrast between the two numbers is unequivocally jarring.

The Reds quite likely found it encouraging that Gray’s velocity remained consistent with its previous levels (93.8 mph average fastball), that his swinging-strike rate remained north of 10 percent and that his ground-ball tendencies (50 percent) remained above the league average. Gray actually allowed home runs at his lowest rate since 2015 as well (0.97 HR/9; 13.3% HR/FB), despite pitching more than 40 percent of his innings at the homer-friendly Yankee Stadium. Of course, he’ll be moving to a similarly hitter-friendly setting in the form of Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, though the move to the National League should prove beneficial.

With the extension now in place, the trade of Gray differs starkly from Cincinnati’s acquisition of Wood and Roark, each of whom is a pure one-year rental. In essence, it’s a bet that the move into a lower-pressure setting could help Gray in a similar manner that Matt Harvey seemed to benefit following his own trade over from the Mets this past May. Gray, it should be noted, is not far removed from an extended run as a high-quality arm; the former No. 18 overall draft pick entered the 2018 season with a career 3.45 ERA in 770 1/3 innings, highlighted by an All-Star nod and a third-place Cy Young finish in 2015.

While it may be too much to expect for Gray to return to those lofty heights, he at the very least has the potential to help comprise a radically improved Reds rotation and gives the team some long-term stability a a time when many of the pitching prospects acquired over the course of Cincinnati’s rebuild have yet failed to pan out.

Cincinnati will also add a left-handed option to the middle levels of its farm system in the form of Sanmartin. While he wasn’t considered to be one of the organization’s top prospects, Sanmartin reached Double-A for the first time last season, at the age of 22, and pitched to an overall 2.81 ERA with a 58-to-4 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings between Class-A, Class-A Advanced and Double-A. New York originally acquired Sanmartin out of the Rangers organization in a swap that sent righty Ronald Herrera to Texas.

Long, meanwhile, will head to the Mariners in a surprise development and give Seattle a prospect that is not far from big league readiness. The 23-year-old Long was a 12th-round pick by the Reds back in 2013 but has vastly outperformed that draft billing, rising to the Double-A ranks and hitting at a .261/.353/.412 clip with a dozen homers and 19 stolen bases this past season. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs ranked Long seventh among Reds farmhands just last month, noting that the converted catcher still has some defensive question marks at second base. That said, he has the bat to profile as a regular there if he can improve his glovework, and if not, he could move to an outfield corner.

Stowers, in turn, is several years further from the point where he’d need to be added to the 40-man roster in New York. He went a round or two higher in the draft than many expected on the heels of a strong finish to his college season at Louisville, and it seems that given New York’s quick acquisition of him, the Mariners weren’t the only ones who hoped to snag him in the draft’s early rounds. The Yankees will also acquire a pick that is currently slotted in at No. 36 overall but could move a bit, depending on the outcome of the remaining free agents who rejected qualifying offers (and the subsequent draft pick compensation attached to them). The No. 36 slot last season came with a $1.967MM slot value, meaning the Yankees have likely added another $2MM+ to their bonus pool in the 2019 draft.

A trade of Gray has been expected since early in the offseason since Yankees general manager Brian Cashman openly spoke about his desire to find a change of scenery for Gray. Today’s swap gives the Yankees a rotation consisting of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia. With Gray no longer in the fold, the Yankees’ top depth options are Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa and Chance Adams. The organization likely hopes to have lefty Jordan Montgomery, who underwent Tommy John surgery early last summer, can return late in the 2019 season, though it certainly possesses ample rotation depth even if he’s shelved into the 2020 season.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Friday that the Reds were closing in on a deal to acquire Gray. Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweeted over the weekend that Long and the draft pick would likely be involved in the deal, if completed. Rosenthal first added that the trade could hinge on an extension. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported today that Gray had been traded, confirming Long’s inclusion and adding that he’d been flipped to Seattle for Stowers. Rosenthal reported the extension and the terms of Gray’s new contract, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today adding salary details. Bobby Nightengale Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer added Sanmartin’s inclusion in the swap.

Yankees, Reds “Finalizing” Sonny Gray Trade; Reds Trying To Extend Gray Mon, 21 Jan 2019 17:19:59 +0000 11:19am:’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the Yankees had offers from multiple teams they’d have accepted for Gray as of last Friday, so if talks with the Reds don’t pan out, those proposals could once again come into play.

Jan. 21, 10:08am: Heyman tweets that there’s some optimism from the Reds that they’ll be able to work out an extension before today’s window closes. However, if the extension doesn’t materialize (and, thus, the currently proposed trade does not go through), the Yankees may “look elsewhere” for a trade partner for Gray.

Jan. 20, 4:56pm: A resolution on a Yankees-Reds trade is not expected tonight, and a deadline on a 72-hour negotiation window between Gray and Cincy is sometime late on Monday, Rosenthal tweets.

11:03am:  The Reds are indeed attempting to extend Gray, according to Heyman, who adds the two teams have agreed on a trade package. But whether Gray gets an extension could affect the return for him.

10:37am: It’s possible the Reds are trying to sign Gray to an extension before acquiring him, Rosenthal tweets, though he notes a deal could come together either way.

Jan. 19, 6:08pm: The two sides are “finalizing” the deal, per Heyman, who reports the Yankees will likely receive Long and a draft pick. The Yankees could also land a third piece in the trade, Heyman suggests.

2:31pm: Per Heyman, the Reds would prefer not to include Stephenson in a deal for Gray, and talks now “center around” Long. Stephenson, 22, was the 11th overall selection in the 2015 draft, and has steadily progressed through the Cincinnati farm. In last month’s update, Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs projected the 6’4″ righty as an average regular, lauding his double-plus arm and 60 grade raw power. Long also projects as a regular, though perhaps not at second, where he has “below average hands” and “clunky footwork,” per Fangraphs’ scouting report.

Jan. 19, 9:02am: Expect Gray to be moved sometime this weekend, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The Reds and Yankees are inching closer to a deal, with two prospects and a draft pick the expected return for Gray. Long and Stephenson (currently the #6 and #7 prospects in the Reds system per are the prospects most likely to be headed to New York. It’s not a done deal, however, as the Giants, Brewers, and Braves are still part of the conversation.

Jan. 18, 4:55pm: There are other teams still involved, per Andy Martino of (Twitter link), including at least the Padres and Giants. There have been some discussions of three-team arrangements, Martino also notes.

Jan. 18, 2:33pm: The Reds are “making progress” in their talks with the Yankees regarding veteran righty Sonny Gray, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It emerged yesterday that the Yanks were nearing a deal involving the starter, though multiple organizations were still said to be involved in talks.

It seems fair now to assume that the Cincinnati club is emerging as a favorite, though it’s certainly too soon to rule out alternatives. The Reds have already added a pair of starters via trade in Tanner Roark and Alex Wood. Like those hurlers, Gray is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. He’ll earn $7.5MM after agreeing to terms with the Yankees, making him a bit less costly than the other two pitchers.

The potential return remains to be seen, and obviously hasn’t quite been nailed down. Jon Heyman of Fancred reports (Twitter links) that the organizations are still discussing different prospects — second baseman Shed Long and catcher Tyler Stephenson among them — while a draft pick could also be part of the return. (That would have to be the Reds’ 2019 competitive balance pick, which is a valuable sandwich-round selection currently slotted in at No. 36 overall.)

If they can wrap up an agreement, the Reds would certainly present quite a different rotation than the ones they have trotted out in recent years. Roark, Wood, and (hypothetically) Gray all have their warts, but each has found plenty of success in the majors. They’d likely join Anthony DeSclafani and hard-throwing Luis Castillo to round out the starting five under new manager David Bell.

It’s notable, of course, that none of Roark, Wood or Gray comes with control rights beyond the ’19 season. The same is also true of recently acquired outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. It’s possible that the Reds simply prefer one-year commitments at this time, which would allow them the chance to reevaluate their future needs after the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Reds Notes: Happ, Gray Mon, 21 Jan 2019 05:06:33 +0000
  • The Reds were willing to offer J.A. Happ a three-year contract and give him more in guaranteed money than the $34MM he received from the Yankees in a two-year deal (with a $17MM vesting option for 2021).  New York’s offer, however, included a higher average annual value than Cincinnati’s offer.  Rosenthal speculates that Happ could have based on his decision on a desire to return to a contender, or perhaps the fact that pitchers are generally wary of the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.
  • The Happ situation could be a reason the Reds are looking to work out an extension with Sonny Gray before acquiring him from the Yankees, a tactic that Rosenthal says has surprised some rival agents and executives.  While Gray’s success outside of Yankee Stadium has made him a popular bounce-back candidate on another team, Rosenthal wonders if the right-hander might want to lock in a multi-year payday now in the wake of his 2018 struggles.  Gray might welcome a chance to avoid a free agent market that has become less friendly to veterans, and Cincinnati offers him a familiar face in pitching coach Derek Johnson (Gray’s former coach at Vanderbilt).
  • Rosenthal’s piece also offers a broader overview of the Reds’ offseason, which has seen the club try to make significant upgrades even while still looking like postseason longshots in the competitive NL Central.  Cincinnati has been willing to trade some second-tier prospects to add established Major League players, while resisting moving any of its top minor league talents (such as Nick Senzel or Taylor Trammell).

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    Reds Could Look For Defensive Specialist In Center Field Mon, 21 Jan 2019 03:42:28 +0000
  • The Reds have been linked to the center field market since parting ways with Billy Hamilton, though Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link) suggests the team could like its internal options enough that “a late-inning defensive specialist” could be acquired.  None of Scott Schebler, Yasiel Puig, or Nick Senzel profile as anything more than an average defender in center, so it makes sense that the Reds could aim for a glove-first bench player that would allow the team to keep those bigger bats in the lineup for the bulk of a game.  A defensive specialist, additionally, would also come at a much lower cost than an everyday-type of center fielder.
  • The Dodgers announced their minor league coaching staffs earlier this week, including the item that former outfielder Jason Bourgeois was joining the staff of the team’s A-ball level Great Lakes Loons.  This would seem to indicate that Bourgeois is calling it a career after 19 professional seasons.  A second-round pick for the Rangers in the 2000 draft, Bourgeois appeared in 317 MLB games with the White Sox, Brewers, Astros, Royals, Rays, and Reds from 2008-15, hitting .253/.300/.326 over 761 career plate appearances.  Since last appearing in the Show, Bourgeois played for the White Sox and Diamondbacks at the Triple-A level, and he spent last season in the Mexican League.  We at MLBTR wish Bourgeois all the best in this next stage of his baseball career.
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    Red Sox, Reds Among Teams Interested In Shawn Kelley Sun, 20 Jan 2019 18:20:23 +0000 12:20pm: Kelley is drawing interest from roughly 10 teams, including the Reds, per Jon Heyman of Fancred.

    11:32am: The Red Sox and free-agent reliever Shawn Kelley “have been in contact,” Chris Cotillo of reports. Meanwhile, Boston is unlikely to sign either Sergio Romo or Adam Warren in free agency, Cotillo hears.

    With Joe Kelly having signed with the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel currently a free agent, acquiring bullpen help is likely the Red Sox’s top priority at the moment. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has suggested the reigning world champions aren’t going to splurge on a reliever, which means their union with Kimbrel could be over. Kelley would represent both a far more affordable but less exciting option, on the other hand, and could give the club a solid late-game arm for a low cost.

    While Kelley has experienced some down seasons during his career, the journeyman has typically performed well in recent years. In 2018, which he split between the Nationals and Athletics, Kelley overcame tumbling velocity to post a 2.94 ERA/3.71 FIP and register 9.18 K/9 against 2.02 BB/9 across 49 innings. He did log an unappealing groundball rate (30.2 percent), however, which has been the case throughout his career. Kelley also saw his Nats tenure end unceremoniously when the team designated him for assignment Aug. 1, a day after he allowed a home run and slammed his glove to the ground during a 25-4 loss to the Mets. Upon designating Kelley, general manager Mike Rizzo noted, “If you’re not in, you’re in the way.”

    Even though his Washington stint concluded in embarrassing fashion, Kelley was unfazed in Oakland, where he put up tremendous results in a 16 2/3-inning span. The Red Sox will hope for more of that from Kelley if they sign him, though they’re no doubt mindful it would be risky to count on the right-hander. After all, Kelley’s a soon-to-be 35-year-old with a pair of Tommy John surgeries under his belt, and he’s only two seasons removed from recording a hideous 7.27 ERA in 26 frames.

    Reds Pitcher Michael Lorenzen Preparing For Possible Outfield Role Sat, 19 Jan 2019 00:42:01 +0000 Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen is working out extensively as an outfielder this offseason in hopes of finding his way into an expanded, hybrid role in 2019, writes Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization appears to be open to the possibility of utilizing Lorenzen on the grass, though it’s as yet unclear how likely it is that he’ll ultimately do so in the regular season.

    Lorenzen, 27, pitched to a 3.11 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.67 HR/9 and a 50.2 percent ground-ball rate in 81 innings of relief last season. Lorenzen also emerged as a legitimate offensive weapon off the bench. A two-way star at Cal State Fullerton where he pitched and played center field, Lorenzen went 9-for-31 and belted four homers as a pinch-hitter for Cincinnati last season. That strong showing included an incredible run where he hit three pinch homers in a week’s time (video link), capped off by a grand slam.

    First and foremost, Lorenzen is an important set-up/swingman option for a Cincinnati club that’s hoping to make strides in the season to come. He has his hands full already. Despite missing nearly two months to open the 2018 season, he ended up throwing 81 innings in 45 appearances, including three starts at the tail end of the season.

    If Shohei Ohtani can do handle two-way duties, then perhaps Lorenzen should be given a shot. Stepping into the outfield defensively, though, would definitely represent a significant additional burden and avenue for risk. Ohtani did play the field in Japan, but was only utilized as a DH upon coming to the majors. That option isn’t available to the Reds, so they’ll need to put Lorenzen in the field at times if they want him to accrue any significant number of plate appearances.

    Ultimately, it’s not clear whether it will prove all that useful for the Reds to utilize Lorenzen as a part-time outfielder. Beyond concerns with the possible impact on his pitching, the club is already fairly deep in outfield options (Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Phil Ervin). And there’s good reason to be skeptical of how Lorenzen will fare if exposed to MLB pitching more regularly, though he has certainly shown enough to make it tantalizing to see more. It’s anyone’s guess how he’ll look defensively, though Lorenzen certainly seems athletic enough to handle himself just fine.

    It may be that the most sensible outcome, at least early on, would be to take advantage of the flexibility on a limited basis. There are all kinds of interesting game-situation strategies that new skipper David Bell might contemplate. If nothing else, Lorenzen could still see scattered pinch-hitting opportunities as he did last year. If it proves necessary, or Lorenzen proves worthy, then perhaps a few starts would even be appropriate.

    One thing that seems clear is that Lorenzen himself is on board with the possibility of a new job description. He spoke about his preparation in a recent appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link, with audio), voicing not only a willingness but an eagerness and desire for more time at the plate in 2019. Lorenzen joked that he’s “begged” the Reds for an expanded role and sounds energized by the possibility of getting some chances at the plate and in the field next season.

    Marty Brennaman To Retire Thu, 17 Jan 2019 02:17:41 +0000 Legendary Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman announced today that he’ll hang up his mic after the 2019 campaign, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer was among those to cover. It’ll be his 46th year in the booth, a remarkable run by any standard. Brennaman already received the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award way back in 2000, so it’s stating the obvious to call him an institution in Cincinnati. Fay honors his legacy in the above-linked piece, characterizing Brennaman as “a combination of celebrity and everyman.” As an acolyte of Vin Scully, I shared some admittedly sentimental words about the game when he wrapped up his remarkable career with the Dodgers. While I can’t add more that’s particular to Brennaman, there’s something universal in the idea I was trying to convey as it relates to long-tenured baseball announcers. MLBTR extends its best wishes to Brennaman as he prepares for one last 162-game run.

    Reds Sign Buddy Boshers, Felix Jorge Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:41:54 +0000 The Reds have landed some additional pitching depth, signing lefty Buddy Boshers and righty Felix Jorge to minors deals, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link) and’s Mark Sheldon (Twitter link). Both receive invitations to participate on the major-league side of spring camp.

    Boshers, 30, has thrown 86 1/3 total MLB frames over parts of three seasons, working to a 4.59 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. The reliever did not receive any chances last year at the game’s highest level, but did turn in strong results at Triple-A. Over 57 total innings, he worked to a 3.32 ERA while racking up 9.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9.

    As for Jorge, who turned 25 earlier this month, he has only received a brief taste of the majors. Unlike Boshers, most of his experience has come as a starting pitcher. In his most recent full season, 2017, Jorge turned in 149 innings of 3.68 ERA ball over stints at Double-A and Triple-A. He hasn’t shown much swing-and-miss ability in the upper minors, but has long been seen as a possible future MLB talent. Jorge ended up missing all of 2018 with a triceps injury, so he’ll first need to show he’s back at full health.

    Padres, Reds, Indians Have Discussed 3-Team Scenario Involving Corey Kluber Tue, 15 Jan 2019 02:11:04 +0000 The Padres, Reds, and Indians have engaged in discussions regarding a possible three-team trade scenario, according to Dennis Lin and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links).

    Precise permutations aren’t known, but the concept at play appears to be one that would send Cleveland ace Corey Kluber to Cincinnati via San Diego. Neither is it clear how serious talks are; Lin does emphasize, though, that no deal is close at present.

    It seems the driving force here is the Friars’ search for a third baseman — and their ongoing attempt to structure a significant deal that improves the MLB roster now without denting the future outlook. Having failed to line up in direct talks to this point, Lin suggests, GM A.J. Preller is attempting to piece together more complicated, three-team arrangements.

    While the Padres have long been said to be seeking quality MLB starting pitching, in addition to a hot corner upgrade, the report makes clear that they aren’t interested in acquiring Kluber for their own purposes. Though the outstanding righty certainly would be the ace the club would like to pick up, his relatively advanced age (33 in April) is a turnoff. And though his contract rights — $52.5MM over the next three years, the latter two via club option — remain quite appealing, it’s still a hefty payroll commitment for a traditionally low-budget org.

    Of course, that same essential description holds also for the Reds, another team that’s hoping to boost its immediate performance while maintaining its long-term vision for a young, sustainable core. The Cincy ballclub has long been said to have interest in Kluber, and may have a slightly different tolerance for the age risk that comes with him.

    Still, it’s no surprise to hear Lin reiterate that the club still isn’t terribly inclined to deal top prospect Nick Senzel to facilitate a deal. Senzel will not be parted with lightly, but indications are that he may ultimately be the object of the Padres’ fascination here. He’d more or less step right in at third base in San Diego and deliver a prized combination of youthful upside and affordable team control.

    That leads to the element of this concept that’s most curious of all. The budget-conscious Indians only embarked upon talks involving Kluber as part of an effort to trim some payroll and better situate their roster for the future — all without sacrificing a still-clear path to another AL Central crown. That entire undertaking makes the most sense if the club adds a player of Senzel’s ilk.

    Senzel would fit perfectly in Cleveland, where he could line up in the infield or outfield. (The Reds, of course, have considered utilizing him on the grass due to their own bumper crop of quality infielders.) Presumably, the Reds and Indians have already explored a Senzel-for-Kluber deal directly and failed to find common ground. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why the intermediary would be needed at all.

    If not Senzel, then what would the Indians want out of all this? There’d surely be some level of interest in some of the Padres’ young MLB assets, with outfielder Manuel Margot and catcher Austin Hedges looking to be hypothetical fits from an outside perspective. (Interestingly, those teams lined up last summer on a deal that sent Francisco Mejia — another theoretical match — to San Diego.) But it stands to reason that the Indians would no doubt also demand some top-end young talent to drive the deal. The San Diego farm is loaded, but its very best pieces (Fernando Tatis Jr., especially) may not be on offer.

    All said, it’s possible to imagine some permutations that might make sense for all involved, depending upon how the teams value the various potential pieces. But it’s an awfully tricky match. All three clubs are quite payroll sensitive. Of them, the Indians are clearly in the best position to win now, yet they’d be giving up the win-now piece. If there’s real substance to these discussions, or better still an eventual transaction, it’ll certainly represent a fascinating potential case study for understanding contemporary baseball decisionmaking.

    Pitching Market Rumors: Giants, Gray, Rangers, Allen, Scrabble Mon, 14 Jan 2019 23:21:25 +0000 The pitching market continues to proceed at a steady but unhurried pace, with today’s reunion between the Giants and Derek Holland marking the latest signing of note. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to cover the news from the team’s perspective. While the organization has undergone front office changes since Holland wrapped up a solid performance on a one-year deal in 2018, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi still made the call to bring back the southpaw. That was due in no small part to the club’s positive experience with him last year, both on and off the field. Zaidi emphasized that the team still wants to find more rotation depth this winter, though it’s far from clear that any further MLB signings will be pursued. It certainly seems possible that the club will add plausible rotation pieces via trade or on minor-league deals.

    Here’s the latest on the pitching market:

    • Talks surrounding Sonny Gray have “ramped up” since Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia was cleared to resume baseball activities last week, Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets. The Yankees are discussing Gray with six teams, including the Reds, per Heyman, though previous reports had indicated that Cincinnati’s interest had cooled off since adding Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. Gray agreed to a $7.5MM salary over the weekend, falling shy of MLBTR’s $9.1MM projection and perhaps making him a bit more appealing to clubs who’ve already added a fair bit of payroll this offseason.
    • The Rangers are maintaining interest in adding some free-agent arms to their bullpen and have been in recent contact with the representatives for right-handers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). However, the likelier route is that the Rangers will add multiple lower-cost relievers rather than one higher-end piece. Rosenthal adds Adam Warren to the list of potential Texas targets and notes that the Rangers are also still looking to add an infielder. Meanwhile, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Twins still have interest in Allen. Minnesota was connected to Allen earlier this winter and has since signed Blake Parker, though they’re still in the market for additional relief help. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey knows Allen quite well from his days in the Indians’ front office.
    • Free-agent lefty Marc Rzepczynski is hosting a showcase for big league teams tomorrow, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. The 33-year-old southpaw struggled tremendously in 2018 both at the Majors and in Triple-A, and he’ll look to audition for clubs on what figures to be a minor league deal with a chance to reestablish himself as a credible option. “Scrabble” has worked as a lefty specialist for the bulk of his career, as he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011 despite averaging 64 MLB appearances per season from 2012-17. In his career, he’s held lefties to an awful .225/.296/.305 batting line through 857 plate appearances.
    Would The Reds Pick Keuchel Or Pollock? Mon, 14 Jan 2019 01:52:44 +0000
  • If the Reds could only spend their money on either Dallas Keuchel or A.J. Pollock,’s Mark Sheldon feels the team would choose Keuchel, given the greater need for rotation help.  Both players have been linked to the Reds in hot stove rumors this winter, and while Cincinnati has made some notable additions (i.e. Alex Wood and Tanner Roark) to its starting five, it still lacks a top-of-the-rotation arm.  Without Pollock or another true center fielder, the Reds could at least make do at the position in the short term, using some combination of Scott Schebler, Yasiel Puig, and Nick Senzel between the corners.  In another question in Sheldon’s mailbag piece, he doesn’t feel Jesse Winker will be an option in center field due to Winker’s lack of range.
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    Latest On Padres’ Third Base, Outfield Situations Sun, 13 Jan 2019 00:53:31 +0000 Wil Myers was one of the Padres’ most popular options at third base last year, but it doesn’t appear he’ll factor in at the hot corner in 2019. On Saturday, Myers told reporters – including Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune and AJ Cassavell of –  that he’ll be a full-time outfielder next season.

    Of course, Myers’ shift back to the outfield will have ripple effects on the rest of the Padres’ position player group. Not only will it add to an outfield logjam – one that also includes Franchy Cordero, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski – but it’ll make it all the more important for San Diego to find a starting third baseman. The Padres have been prioritizing third this offseason, as Cassavell reported last month and as Acee further emphasizes.

    One potential third base target could be free agent Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer’s longtime Royals teammate, though Acee casts doubt on the Padres signing him. Meanwhile, they have “explored” trades for the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar (previously reported), the Reds’ Nick Senzel and the Cubs’ David Bote, according to Acee. Speculatively, both Andujar and Senzel may be unrealistic targets for the Padres (or just about anyone else), given their importance to their current teams. The 25-year-old Bote could be easier to land, on the other hand, as he’s stuck behind Kris Bryant in the Cubs’ pecking order at third base. An 18th-round pick of the Cubs in 2012, Bote debuted in the majors last season with a .239/.319/.408 line and six home runs over 210 plate appearances. He carries a much more imposing .281/.355/.502 slash and 15 HRs in 299 Triple-A PAs.

    Regardless of whom the Padres pick up to handle third in 2019, it doesn’t seem as if their entire contingent of outfielders will stick around for the foreseeable future. Except for Myers, the Padres could option anyone from the group to the minors. Nevertheless, the team’s “motivated” to part with at least one of its outfielders either prior to the season or before July’s trade deadline, Acee suggests. Should a trade happen, Cassavell contends one of Myers, Renfroe or Reyes would go, as they’re all relatively similar players. With a guaranteed $64MM coming his way over the next four seasons (including a $1MM buyout in lieu of a $20MM club option in 2023), Myers may be the most difficult of three to move. Indeed, as of last season and earlier this winter, trading Myers likely would have required San Diego to take on another team’s undesirable contract, Acee relays. So far, though, the Padres haven’t found a deal to their liking for the 28-year-old.

    Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Sat, 12 Jan 2019 18:15:47 +0000 The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed yesterday at 1pm ET, and there has been a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track those settlements from the National League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.

    It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.

    As always, all salary projections referenced within this post are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and we’ll also be updating our 2019 Arbitration Tracker throughout the day…

    Today’s Updates

    • Rounding out contract numbers for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dominic Leone will take home $1.26MM, Chasen Shreve will make $900K, and outfielder Marcell Ozuna will earn $12.25MM in his last season before free agency, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Ozuna has the most high-impact potential as he looks to rebound from a still-productive season in 2018 that saw his power output hindered at times by a balky shoulder. He still managed 23 home runs and a .280/.325/.433 slash line while playing just about every day outside of a 10-day DL stint late in August.
    • The Diamondbacks came to terms with a slew of players, per Feinsand (via Twitter), including Matt Andriese for $920K, Steven Souza Jr. for $4.125MM, shortstop Nick Ahmed for $3.6625MM, and potential closer Archie Bradley for $1.83MM.
    • The Rockies and starting pitcher Jon Gray have come to an agreement on a $2.935MM deal, per Feinsand (via Twitter). Gray had an up-and-down 2018 that is generally considered to be more promising than the optics of his 5.12 ERA make it seem.
    • The Pirates have come to terms on one-year deals with both of their arbitration eligible players, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Left fielder Corey Dickerson signs for $8.5MM, and reliever Keone Kela takes home $3.175MM. It’s a small arb class for the Pirates, whose list will grow next season as players like Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, and Joe Musgrove, among others, reach their first season of eligibility.
    • The Dodgers signed a couple of their remaining arbitration-eligible players yesterday, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links). Utility man Chris Taylor has a $3.5MM deal, while outfield Joc Pederson settled at $5MM.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Unresolved 2019 Arbitration Cases Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:15:14 +0000 Yesterday’s arbitration deadline wasn’t a firm date for agreeing to terms. Rather, it was the end of the period to negotiate before submitting numbers for possible hearings. Negotiations can continue thereafter, but teams and players will now have to defend their submission numbers if they can’t bridge the gap before a hearing. Baseball arb panels simply pick one side’s number; that aspect of the process is designed to force the parties to the bargaining table.

    [RELATED: MLBTR Arbitration Projections; MLBTR Arbitration Tracker]

    Here’s what we know thus far about the still-unresolved cases:

    Today’s Updates

    • The Yankees have yet to come to a deal with ace starter Luis Severino, and they may be heading to arbitration. The Yanks have submitted their bid at $4.4MM, while Severino has asked for $5.25MM, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Tommy Pham and the Rays have submitted their numbers for arbitration, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Pham filed at $4.1MM while the Rays submitted a bid of $3.5MM. Pham has had no problem expressing his honest opinion about the Rays fanbase of late, and it will be interesting to see if he gets an equal portion of honest feedback in return in his arbitration hearing.
    • The Oakland A’s and their closer Blake Treinen have both submitted their numbers, with the team coming in at $5.6MM while Treinen files for $6.4MM, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). It’s not a shock to see these sides far apart, given Treinen’s remarkable 2018 and how far above his usual standard of production last season’s numbers fell.
    • Washington Nationals filed at $1.725MM for newcomer Kyle Barraclough, who counters at $2MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). The former Marlin was acquired in an uncommonly early offseason trade that sent international bonus pool money the Marlins’ way.
    • The Diamondbacks have only one player they did not reach an agreement with, lefty reliever T.J. McFarland. The Dbacks submitted a bid of $1.275MM, while McFarland is asking for $1.675MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Alex Wood submitted $9.65MM for his 2019 salary, while his new club the Cincinnati Reds countered at $8.7MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Wood will be a free agent at season’s end.
    • The Detroit Tigers reached agreements with all of their arbitration eligible players except for right-handed starter Michael Fulmer. Fulmer comes in at $3.4MM with the team countering at $2.8MM, the difference being 600K, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Ryan Tepera has filed for $1.8MM while the Blue Jays submitted their bid at $1.525MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Tepera has been a reliable bullpen arm for the Jays through his first four seasons. He has two more seasons of arbitration remaining, set to reach free agency in advance of the 2022 season.
    • Reserve outfielder Michael A. Taylor and the Washington Nationals are a 250K apart, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Seems like a rather small sum to quibble over in the grand scheme of things, but every cent counts right now in Washington, it seems. Taylor submitted a bid of $3.5MM, with the Nats countering at $3.25MM.

    Earlier Updates

    • Rockies star Nolan Arenado is headed for a record arb salary, unsurprisingly. The question is by how much. He has filed at a whopping $30MM, with the club countering at $24MM, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Even the lower figure would represent a record. It doesn’t seem as if the sides will go to a high-stakes hearing on this one; Jeff Passan of tweets that the odds are good they’ll find common ground. MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz projected Arenado to earn $26.1MM, though he also explained that it’s not hard to see that number swaying in either direction based upon a close examination of the (few relevant) comps.
    • Despite a monster 2018 season, Phillies righty Aaron Nola isn’t seeking to set a record first-year arb starter salary. (That belongs to Dallas Keuchel, at $7.25MM, when he was coming off of a Cy Young season.) Nola did file at a hefty $6.75MM, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (via Twitter), while the club entered just $4.5MM. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. The Keuchel salary represented a sea change for young starters, but few others have tested the process since. MLBTR’s projection system spit out a $6.6MM figure for Nola.
    • Righty Gerrit Cole filed at $13.5MM, while the Astros countered at $11.425MM, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Teammates Carlos Correa and Chris Devenski have also yet to agree to terms. MLBTR projected Cole to earn $13.1MM in his final arb season, Correa to check in at $5.1MM in his first arb year, and Devenski to take home $1.4MM his first time through the process.
    • Indians righty Trevor Bauer is seeking a $13MM payday, while the club will argue instead for $11MM, per Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter). The Cleveland org has long utilized a file-and-trial approach on a case-by-case basis. It’s not totally clear whether that’ll be the approach here, but as Hoynes notes, the sides did go to a hearing already last year. (Bauer won.) MLBTR projected a $11.6MM payday; Swartz also explained why he thought the model was likely in the right ballpark for Bauer in a detailed post.
    • Passan provides a list of other players who have yet to agree to terms and who could therefore still end up before a panel. There are fifteen in total, including those already noted above as well as Kyle Barraclough and Michael Taylor (Nationals), Michael Fulmer (Tigers), T.J. McFarland (Diamondbacks), Tommy Pham (Rays), Luis Severino (Yankees), Ryan Tepera (Blue Jays), Blake Treinen (Athletics), and Alex Wood (Reds).
    Market Notes: Smith/Watson, Reds, White Sox, AGon Sat, 12 Jan 2019 07:06:28 +0000 Let’s catch up on a few market notes from around the game after a busy day on the arbitration front …

    • The Angels are evidently a team to watch on Giants southpaws Will Smith and Tony Watson, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that the teams “have been in constant contact this winter” regarding both pitchers (subscription link). It’s not surprising to see the Halos chasing lefties, as their current staff is quite thin in that area. Whether or not the club will offer up enough to entice the Giants remains to be seen. The San Francisco org is surely willing to deal either or both of these veteran relievers, each of whom is coming off of a strong season with an appealing contract situation, but there figures to be ample interest from other teams as well. With many of the best free agent relievers already off the board, now may be the time for new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to market his southpaws in earnest.
    • The Reds are still looking to add another starter, per’s Mark Sheldon. He ticks through some possibilities, though it’s not clear that any particular pitcher is especially likely at this point. Among the potential targets, the Reds are still pursuing Yankees starter Sonny Gray, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). While the New York club made clear at the outset of the winter that Gray was on the block, recent indications are that there’s some consideration of hanging on to him. If nothing else, the Yanks are still trying to get value back. Heyman says that GM Brian Cashman is asking for more than one pitching prospect in return. While it’s doubtful he expects to land a premium arm, the veteran exec is said to be seeking “multiple … upper level guys with a chance.”
    • Likewise, the White Sox are still interested in filling out their rotation, GM Rick Hahn told reporters including Bruce Levine of (Twitter link). While the veteran exec emphasized that the organization still sees Manny Banuelos and Dylan Covey as possibilities, he indicated that depth remains a consideration. Needless to say, neither of those pitchers has established himself as a reliable MLB starter to this point, so it’s unsurprising to hear that the South Siders are still flipping through some external targets.
    • Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is readying for a showcase in the coming days, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports on Twitter. He’s said to be in “excellent shape,” though teams will surely remain a bit skeptical after two consecutive unproductive campaigns. The 36-year-old Gonzalez was long one of the game’s most respected hitters, of course, but it’s tough to imagine him securing a MLB roster spot on the open market at this stage. Still, there should be some teams with bench bat needs that would be glad to give Gonzalez a shot to show what he’s got left in camp.