The 27-year-old Gregorius has missed the entire season to date due to a strained right shoulder. Kozma was added to the Yankees’ roster to serve as a backup to Ronald Torreyes, who has been filling in at short, though Torreyes will now presumably slide into that utility role that Kozma had held. In 11 plate appearances with the Yanks, Kozma collected one hit and a walk. Well regarded for his defense at shortstop, Kozma is a career .221/.286/.290 hitter in 699 plate appearances — the vast majority of which came with the Cardinals from 2011-15.
Here’s the latest from the Bronx…
- In a Q&A with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Yankees GM Brian Cashman says that the franchise’s tendency to “cut corners” due to a constant need to contend has led to issues in developing starting pitchers. “Part of it is we can’t get out of our own way because we don’t have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else — whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene — we’re pulling them up before their development is finished.” The full interview is well worth a read in its entirety, as Cashman is very candid about such topics as his long career in the team’s front office, past and more recent transactions, and the Yankees’ current youth movement.
- Some in the Yankees organization aren’t pleased with how Didi Gregorius was deployed during the World Baseball Classic, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports, as this usage may have contributed to Gregorius’ shoulder injury. Gregorius was used mostly as a DH by the Netherlands and he was injured while making a throw as a second baseman, rather than his natural shortstop position. The Yankees were under the impression that Gregorius would see time rotating with Andrelton Simmons and Jonathan Schoop in the middle infield, though as Heyman notes, Simmons’ defensive wizardry made him the Netherlands’ logical starting shortstop.
- Chris Carter is having a very rough Spring Training, leading Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media to wonder if Carter would potentially become a roster drag for the Yankees. Carter was signed to provide a right-handed first base complement to Greg Bird, though since Bird is healthy and has been on fire in spring action, it would make sense that New York would want to give the youngster as much playing time as possible, even against southpaws to further his development. With Matt Holliday locked into the DH spot, Carter might not have much opportunity to shake off the rust once the season begins. Carter admitted to Kuty that the shift from being a regular to only getting part-time at-bats as a Yankee is “definitely an adjustment.”
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has been shut down from baseball activities for two weeks due to a shoulder strain, and thus will be placed on the 10-day DL to begin the season, manager Joe Girardi told reporters (including ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand and MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). The injury is serious enough that Gregorius could be sidelined for all of April, Girardi said, with Yankees GM Brian Cashman also estimating a rough timeframe of six weeks.
Gregorius suffered the injury playing for the Netherlands’ World Baseball Classic team during a Spring Training exhibition against the Diamondbacks. He hurt his shoulder while making a throw as part of turning a double play, with Girardi noting (as per Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald) that Gregorius was playing out of position as a second baseman; the Netherlands is deep at short with Andrelton Simmons and Xander Bogaerts also on the roster.
[updated Yankees roster at Roster Resource]
No replacement was named for Gregorius at short, though Girardi said that second baseman Starlin Castro — who was the Cubs’ regular shortstop before converting to second in 2015 — will see some time at his old position during Spring Training. Girardi noted that star prospect Gleyber Torres is not under consideration to fill Gregorius’ shoes. Ronald Torreyes, Ruben Tejada, Donovan Solano, Pete Kozma and Tyler Wade are all candidates to fill in at short or possibly second, should Castro end up moving positions. Torreyes is the only one of that group currently on the 40-man roster, however, so another move would have to be made to create space.
While New York has some middle infield depth on hand, losing Gregorius is certainly a significant blow. The 27-year-old has hit .270/.311/.409 over 1175 PA in his first two seasons as Derek Jeter’s heir apparent, showing some impressive pop last season with a career-high 20 home runs. Gregorius is still a below-average run creator for his career, though his offensive game has been aided by excellent skills on the basepaths (as per Fangraphs’ Baserunning metric). Defensively, Gregorius has had an up-and-down performance at shortstop over the last two seasons — he went from +5 Defensive Runs Saved and a +7.9 UZR/150 in 2015 to -9 DRS and a -3.4 UZR/150 last season.
The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures has come and gone, and there have been dozens of agreements broken throughout the league today. So many, in fact, that I’ve split the list up into a pair of league-specific posts to avoid having 100-something names in this list. You can see all the NL players here, and both of these will be updated as quickly as we’re able.
Many teams use the arbitration exchange as a hard deadline for negotiations on one-year deals — a “file and trial” approach which effectively means that once figures are exchanged, the only option they’ll pursue before a hearing is a multi-year deal. (The Mets and Orioles are both adopting that approach this year, and other teams to use that strategy in the past include Astros, Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, White Sox, Pirates, Reds and Nationals.)
The most significant arb agreements of the day have been snapped off into their own posts already. We’ll continue adding the smaller-scale agreements from the American League right here (all projections referenced are courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, and all arbitration agreements and filings can be monitored in MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker)…
- The Rangers have announced agreement on a deal to avoid arbitration with lefty Jake Diekman. With today’s deadline having passed, the sides did exchange figures — $3.1MM versus $1.9MM — but obviously were already nearing a number. The high-powered southpaw projected at $2.6MM, and will receive $2.55MM, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they’ve avoided arb with all eight of their eligible players, which includes Jean Segura (reported last night), Danny Valencia, Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin, Drew Smyly, James Paxton, Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent. Numbers aren’t all in yet, but Valencia took home $5.55MM, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (on Twitter). Martin will earn $4.85MM, per Heyman. They were projected at $5.3MM and $6.3MM, respectively. Meanwhile, Dyson gets $2.8MM, Heyman tweets, which lands just over his $2.5MM projection. Smyly will receive $6.85MM — right at his $6.9MM projection — while Scribner gets $907,500, per MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Paxton will land at $2.35MM and Vincent will receive $1.325MM, per Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter), both of which fall shy of their respective projections ($2.7MM and $1.5MM).
- Catcher Martin Maldonado will receive $1.725MM from the Angels, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). That’s just over his $1.6MM projection.
- The Tigers announced that they settled with third baseman Nick Castellanos. He projected at $2.8MM, but will receive $3MM, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
- Jeremy Jeffress and Jurickson Profar have each avoided arbitration with the Rangers, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegarm (via Twitter). Jeffress receives $2.1MM, while Profar will receive $1.005MM. Also of note, the Jeffress deal includes incentives that can add up to $250K in incentives, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). He’ll get $50K apiece upon reaching 55, 60, 65, and 70 innings. He had projected for a $2.9MM salary, but his legal issues late last year certainly dented his bargaining power.
- The Athletics have avoided arbitration with catcher/DH Stephen Vogt, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Vogt will receive $2.965MM, falling shy of his $3.7MM projection. Oakland has also reached agreement with starter Sonny Gray for $3.575MM, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter), which is just shy of his $3.7MM projection. Also, reliever Liam Hendriks has agreed to terms, per John Hickey of the Mercury News. He’ll get $1.1MM, per Heyman (via Twitter).
- Righty Adam Warren will get $2.29MM from the Yankees, per Baseball America’s Josh Norris (via Twitter). That’s just a shade under his $2.3MM projection. New York also announced deals with shortstop outfielder Aaron Hicks and lefty Tommy Layne, among other players whose arrangements were previously reported. Layne receives $1.075MM, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (via Twitter).
- The Orioles have avoided arbitration with second baseman Jonathan Schoop, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links). He’ll receive $3.475MM, just over his projection of $3.4MM.
- Adding to their previously reported deals, the Red Sox have announced agreement with all but two of their arb-eligible players. Salaries were reported by MLB.com’s Ian Browne for the players avoiding arb: shortstop Xander Bogaerts gets $4.5MM ($5.7MM projection), utilityman Brock Holt receives $1.95MM ($1.7MM projection), righty Joe Kelly will earn $2.8MM ($2.6MM projection), catcher Sandy Leon takes home $1.3MM (the same as his projection), lefty Robbie Ross gets $1.825MM (just $25K over his projection), and new righty Tyler Thornburg will earn $2.05MM (just under his $2.2MM projection).
- Two moreplayers have avoided arbitration with the White Sox, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (via Twitter). Among those not previously reported, starter Miguel Gonzalez gets $5.9MM and reliever Zach Putnam receives $1.175MM. That clearly indicates that Gonzalez and the Sox utilized his prior-years’ arb starting points, rather than his much lower earnings with the team last year. Putnam, meanwhile, had projected for $975K.
While the majority of the 156 players that filed for salary arbitration last week have agreed to terms with their teams, either on a one-year deal for 2016 or on an extension, the cases of more than 30 players remain unresolved. You can track the status of each case using MLBTR’s 2016 Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of all of today’s smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post (all referenced projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)…
- The Yankees and shortstop Didi Gregorius have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.425MM contract, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter). Gregorius, who qualified for Super Two status with two years, 159 days of big league service time, had been projected to receive a $2.1MM salary. He’ll clear that sum by a fair margin following a season that saw him produce a .265/.318/.370 batting line with nine home runs in his Yankees debut. Gregorius established new career-highs in virtually every category while also contributing strong defense. Though his Yankees career got off to a slow start when he slashed .221/.283/.297 through the end of May, Gregorius recovered with a solid .282/.332/.397 batting line across the season’s final four months. He’s controllable through the 2019 season via the arbitration process.
Presented below is the list of players who have qualified for Super Two status for arbitration purposes this year. (Service time in parentheses.) As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently tweeted, the service time cutoff is 2.130. You can find arbitration salary projections for these players right here.
- Dan Jennings, White Sox (2.171)
- George Kontos, Giants (2.171)
- Justin Grimm, Cubs (2.170)
- Arodys Vizcaino, Braves (2.168)
- Avisail Garcia, White Sox (2.167)
- Jurickson Profar, Rangers (2.167)
- Jedd Gyorko, Padres (2.164)
- Juan Lagares, Mets (2.160)
- Didi Gregorius, Yankees (2.159)
- Erasmo Ramirez, Rays (2.158)
- Chris Archer, Rays (2.156)
- Nolan Arenado, Rockies (2.155)
- Will Smith, Brewers (2.155)
- Jean Machi, Red Sox (2.154)
- Seth Maness, Cardinals (2.154)
- Scott Van Slyke, Dodgers (2.151)
- David Lough, Orioles (2.149)
- Chris Hatcher, Dodgers (2.146)
- Evan Scribner, Athletics (2.142)
- Nick Tepesch, Rangers (2.136)
- Zach Putnam, White Sox (2.135)
- Chris Withrow, Braves (2.132)
- Kole Calhoun, Angels (2.130)
- Jeff Manship, Indians (2.130)
- Anthony Rendon, Nationals (2.130)
Click here to read more about how the Super Two concept works. Note that, as the link shows, the originally projected service time cutoff moved down as things played out over the course of the season. That brought some notable names into early arbitration qualification — namely, Calhoun and Rendon — which could have a big impact on their earning power in potential extension scenarios.
It’s also important to bear in mind that several of the players listed above have already agreed to long-term extensions: Gyorko, Lagares, and Archer. Notably, the size of the guarantee provided by Archer’s contract is dependent upon his Super Two status. By reaching it (as had been expected), he keeps a $25.5MM overall guarantee. That total would have been reduced to $20MM otherwise.
That contract structure reflects the importance of reaching Super Two status. Doing so not only bumps a player’s salary a year early, but sets a higher floor for future paydays.
Here’s the latest from around the league as the evening winds down:
- Bryce Harper may be likely to enter free agency after the 2018 season, but Yankees fans shouldn’t start counting their chickens just yet. Bill Shaiken of the LA Times believes the Dodgers have a better chance to sign Harper. The Yankees roster is aging and none of their prospects are among Baseball America’s top 30. Meanwhile, the Dodgers may have a brighter future when Harper is a free agent. They have a young, talented active roster with Corey Seager and Julio Urias waiting in the minors. Harper could prove to be a valuable supplement to young assets like Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal. Of course, this all assumes the Nationals can’t manage an extension or that they won’t trade him to another team that can.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart “does not seem inclined” to trade for pitching at the trade deadline, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The club has plenty of young depth both in the majors and the minors, but Stewart wants to continue developing internally. Arizona is currently fourth in the NL West and 7.5 games behind the first place Dodgers. They’re also five games back in the Wild Card hunt. In my opinion, there will be more pressure to improve the rotation and bullpen if the club is within a few games of the plays at the deadline.
- Don’t expect the Phillies to sit on their veteran assets at the trade deadline, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Last July, the Phillies controversially opted to hold steady, but the club is now more thoroughly committed to rebuilding. Lawrence runs through possible destinations and hypothetical trade packages for the team’s remaining veterans. Interestingly, he believes the performance and complicated contracts of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz will make them harder to trade than Ryan Howard.
- The Yankees trade to acquire Didi Gregorius doesn’t look so bad after the Tigers optioned starter Shane Greene to Triple-A, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Greene began the season with a 0.39 ERA in three starts, but he has since allowed just under a run per inning. Of course, Gregorius has hardly lit the world on fire with a .228/.287/.298 line and 0.4 UZR. While it’s much too early to declare a winner of this modest trade, perhaps we should be looking at the Diamondbacks. They acquired Robbie Ray in the swap. Through three starts, he has a 1.53 ERA with 6.62 K/9 and 2.55 BB/9. Just don’t forget how Greene looked through three starts!
The Orioles have the No. 25 and No. 36 picks in the upcoming draft, and Baseball America’s John Manuel tells MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski he thinks high school pitching could be big for teams who pick in that range. Mike Nikorak (from Pennsylvania), Donny Everett (Tennessee) and Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson (both from Indiana) could all be possibilities at around that point in the draft. Injured pitchers Michael Matuella (Duke) and Nathan Kirby (University of Virginia) have connections to the Mid-Atlantic region and could also be possibilities. Here’s more from the AL East.
- Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion will receive 10-and-5 rights this summer, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The Athletics claimed Encarnacion following the 2010 season, but he became a free agent and re-signed with the Blue Jays a month later, so he will have had five years of uninterrupted service time with Toronto. 10-and-5 rights, of course, mean that a player has at least ten years of service overall and at least five with his current team. Players with such rights can block any trade.
- Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius have been awful this season, but the Yankees will likely stick with them for now, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, says he does not believe his client is likely to be released, and GM Brian Cashman has said he still likes Gregorius’ potential. Still, the pair has been disastrous so far — Drew is hitting .173/.238/.345 (although he hit two homers yesterday), and Gregorius has only been a bit better, at .229/.289/.299.
The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.
Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…
- The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
- Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
- Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza’s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
- Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
- Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
- It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
- The clause in Alex Guerrero’s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
- In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.
The Yankees are set to bring up second base prospect Jose Pirela, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen how the playing time will be sorted in the middle infield, but the club has received scant production to date at both second base (Stephen Drew and Gregorio Petit) and shortstop (Didi Gregorius). With the Yankees otherwise looking good atop the AL East, it is fair to wonder whether Pirela and/or Rob Refsnyder will get extended early looks to help inform the club’s decisionmaking over the summer.
Here’s more from the competitive AL East:
- Meanwhile, things are headed in quite a different direction at the keystone for the Blue Jays, who have received stunning production from offseason acquisition Devon Travis. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca explains, while Travis’s incredible start is obviously not sustainable, he has exhibited a series of skills — hitting the ball long and hard, and showing quality strike zone control — that bode well for his future. While Toronto obviously hoped he could become a long-term answer when it dealt for him, the club now has good reason to believe that he will be installed at second for years to come.
- Another infielder off to a surprisingly hot start is Jimmy Paredes of the Orioles. As Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes, the 26-year-old has traveled a long road through five organizations to get to this point. Still a work in progress in the field, Paredes has shown real promise at the plate this year. With Jonathan Schoop still working back from injury and Manny Machado having missed significant time in each of the last two seasons, Paredes could be an important piece for Baltimore if the team hopes to stay in the playoff hunt.
- Things have gotten bad in a hurry for the Red Sox, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford opines that losing Hanley Ramirez for any significant stretch would be a huge blow for Boston; while his injury does not appear to be as serious as it looked, any loss of production could be problematic in a tough division. Of course, the club has plenty of options in the outfield, and the bigger concern remains a rotation that has struggled badly. Though it is reasonable to hope that the results will begin to better match the underlying peripherals, Bradford says that the team does not have any obviously promising internal candidates to add quality innings in the near term.