Houston Astros – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Wed, 18 Apr 2018 13:44:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Luhnow On Correa, Springer, Keuchel, Verlander https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/west-notes-astros-dodgers-as-giants-mariners.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/west-notes-astros-dodgers-as-giants-mariners.html#comments Sun, 15 Apr 2018 00:37:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120025 In a lengthy Q&A with Jim Bowden of The Athletic (subscription required), Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow touches on a slew of topics relating to the defending world champions, including the futures of shortstop Carlos Correa, center fielder George Springer, left-hander Dallas Keuchel and right-hander Justin Verlander. There’s no word on whether the Astros have begun extension talks with any of those players, but Luhnow would unsurprisingly like to retain each of them for the long haul. “If I could wave a magic wand and keep all three of those guys, plus others here for the foreseeable future and possibly for their entire careers, I would do it! It’s amazing to watch them,” he said of Correa, Springer and Keuchel. Luhnow added that he’d also like for Verlander to finish his career in Houston, which only has him under wraps through next season. Correa’s under control through 2021, meanwhile, and Springer isn’t slated to hit free agency until after the 2019 campaign. Keuchel could be gone sooner, though, as he’s scheduled to reach the open market next winter.

]]>
17
Astros Place Tony Sipp On Disabled List https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/al-west-notes-rangers-miranda-sipp-bedrosian.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/al-west-notes-rangers-miranda-sipp-bedrosian.html#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 02:53:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119692
  • The Astros announced today that they placed left-hander Tony Sipp on the 10-day DL and recalled righty James Hoyt from Triple-A in his place. (MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart first reported that Sipp would hit the DL.) With Sipp on the shelf, the Astros are going with an all-right-handed bullpen for the foreseeable future, though the ’Stros do have options in that regard if they decide to change course. Lefties Buddy Boshers and Reymin Guadan are both on the 40-man roster and both pitching for Triple-A Fresno.
  • ]]>
    16
    Details On The Astros' Interest In Jay Bruce https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/heymans-latest-harper-rangers-bruce-lagares-cosart.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/heymans-latest-harper-rangers-bruce-lagares-cosart.html#comments Sat, 07 Apr 2018 20:02:39 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119449
  • Heyman provides some new details on Jay Bruce’s free agent market, reporting that the Indians offered Bruce a two-year, $18MM deal while the Blue Jays discussed a one-year deal in the range of $5MM-$7MM.  It’s interesting to note that both teams ended up signing somewhat similar veteran left-handed bats for similar price points — Cleveland inked Yonder Alonso for two years and $16MM in guaranteed money, while Toronto signed Curtis Granderson to a one-year, $5MM deal.  The Jays didn’t actually make Bruce an offer, however, and neither did the Astros, though they also had some talks with Bruce about a two-year deal.  Heyman speculates that Houston may have been considering Bruce only if top prospect Derek Fisher was dealt, and thus the Astros’ interest waned since they were able to acquire Gerrit Cole without parting ways with the young outfielder.  As it turned out, Bruce ended up landing a three-year, $39MM deal to return to the Mets.

    [SOURCE LINK]
  • ]]>
    49
    Yuli Gurriel Could Return Tuesday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-mets-conforto-gurriel-e-jimenez-gamel.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/injury-notes-mets-conforto-gurriel-e-jimenez-gamel.html#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:39:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118967
  • Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com and other reporters Sunday that he expects first baseman Yuli Gurriel to make his 2018 debut on Tuesday. Gurriel has been recovering from surgery on his left hand since late February, and because he’s not on the DL, he has been able to serve his season-opening suspension at the same time. Major League Baseball gave Gurriel a five-game ban as a result of an insensitive gesture he directed at then-Dodger Yu Darvish during the World Series last year.
  • ]]>
    9
    Rusty Staub Passes Away https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/rusty-staub-passes-away.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/rusty-staub-passes-away.html#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:43:34 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118615 While baseball brims with excitement for the onset of the 2018 season, there’s also sad news for fans and industry folk alike to mourn on Thursday, as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that six-time All-Star Rusty Staub has passed away just days before what would have been his 74th birthday. Staub had previously survived a severe heart attack in 2015, but as Madden notes, he’d been in the hospital for the past eight weeks battling a blood infection and kidney failure before experiencing multiple organ failure.

    Staub spent nine of his 23 Major League seasons starring for the Mets, for whom he batted .276/.358/.419 in two separate stints, although his best seasons very arguably came with the Houston organization and the now-defunct Expos in his mid-20s. From 1967-71, Staub posted a terrific .302/.397/.472 slash with 94 homers — good for a 148 OPS+ and five consecutive trips to the Midsummer Classic.

    In all, Staub’s outstanding career drew to a close with 2,716 hits, 292 homers, 499 doubles, 47 triples, 1189 runs scored, 1466 RBIs and more walks (1255) than strikeouts (888). He batted .279/.362/.431 in 11,229 plate appearances across 23 seasons split between the Mets, Astros/Colt 45s, Expos, Tigers and Rangers.

    After his playing days, Staub set to work on helping those less fortunate than he’d been in life, establishing the Rusty Staub Foundation, whose mission to this day is to “give children the opportunity to live full, happy and productive lives and to give aid to the hungry.” Established in 1985, the RSF has established pantries around New York City and, to date, has raised more than $17MM for like-minded organizations, per the RSF’s web site. Staub also established the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, which, as Madden notes in his column, has raised more than $112MM in total contributions since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Madden’s column provides a terrific, heartfelt look at Staub’s legacy both on and off the field and stands as an excellent tribute to a beloved baseball figure.

    The Mets, for whom Staub suited up more than any team in his career, issued the following statement:

    “The Mets family suffered another loss earlier today when Daniel “Rusty” Staub passed away in a West Palm Beach Hospital after an illness. He was almost as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player, which spanned 23 seasons. There wasn’t a cause he didn’t champion. Rusty helped children, the poor, the elderly and then there was his pride and joy The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. A six-time All-Star, he is the only player in major league history to have collected at least 500 hits with four different teams. The entire Mets organization sends its deepest sympathy to his brother, Chuck, and sisters Sue Tully and Sally Johnson. He will be missed by everyone.”

    ]]>
    39
    Kyle Tucker To Open Season In Triple-A https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/brian-dozier-extension-talks-dead-twins-rumors.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/brian-dozier-extension-talks-dead-twins-rumors.html#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2018 02:28:39 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118589
  • Jake Kaplan of The Athletic tweets that Astros top prospect Kyle Tucker will open the season in Triple-A despite possessing only a half season’s worth of experience at the Double-A level. The former No. 5 overall draft pick looks to be on the fast track to the big leagues, having slashed .265/.325/.512 in 72 Double-A games as a 20-year-old last year in addition to a robust .409/.438/.818 slash in 48 spring plate appearances with the ’Stros this year. Tucker entered the year as a consensus top 20 overall prospect and is considered to be a key long-term cog for an already youthful Astros organization.
  • ]]>
    34
    Morosi: Astros More Willing To Trade McHugh Than Peacock https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-notes-betts-astros-tigers-angels.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-notes-betts-astros-tigers-angels.html#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2018 14:56:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118230
  • Astros right-handers Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock have come up as speculative trade pieces, and Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the team would be more open to moving the former than the latter. There’s nothing eye-opening about that, though, as McHugh is now working in a foreign role as a reliever after losing his rotation spot during the offseason. He’s also in a contract year, whereas Peacock – who was an elite swingman last season – is under Houston’s control through 2020.
  • ]]>
    36
    Astros Will Not Sign Jose Bautista https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-jepsen-mariners-pagan-bautista.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-jepsen-mariners-pagan-bautista.html#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:34:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117823
  • Contrary to some reports out of Mexico, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports (Twitter link) that the Astros aren’t signing Jose Bautista.  Given the Astros’ loaded roster, there wouldn’t have seemed to be much of a spot for the veteran slugger, particularly since he is coming off a sub-replacement level season in 2017.  There hasn’t been much in the way of concrete news about Bautista this winter, though the former Blue Jays slugger recently said he was still trying to find the best fit for he and his family amidst multiple Major League offers.
  • ]]>
    35
    Latest On Collin McHugh https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/heymans-latest-cobb-padres-orioles-mchugh-dodgers-ubaldo.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/heymans-latest-cobb-padres-orioles-mchugh-dodgers-ubaldo.html#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:41:02 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117799
  • Trade buzz continues to circle Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, as Heyman writes that McHugh “could be had in a trade,” as Houston has a surplus of rotation-worthy arms.  The Twins and Orioles were both linked to McHugh in rumors earlier this winter, though those teams are probably no longer in the running due to their subsequent pitching additions.  McHugh is owed $5MM this season and is under control through 2019 in his final arbitration-eligible season, making him a nice cost-effective addition for potential suitors.

    [SOURCE LINK]
  • ]]>
    45
    Yuli Gurriel Progressing In Recovery From Hand Surgery https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/west-notes-souza-lincecum-halos-carter-gurriel.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/west-notes-souza-lincecum-halos-carter-gurriel.html#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2018 03:32:09 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117684 Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. left the team’s game Wednesday with an apparent right shoulder injury, Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic reports. There’s no word on the severity yet, but the Diamondbacks are left to hope it’s nothing serious after acquiring Souza from the Rays last month. The 28-year-old Souza posted his best season in 2017, hitting .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs in 617 plate appearances en route to 3.7 fWAR. If healthy, he should help make up for the D-backs’ offseason loss of outfielder J.D. Martinez, who signed with the Red Sox.

    And now for the latest from the AL West…

    • Rangers reliever Tim Lincecum doesn’t expect to be ready for Opening Day, which he revealed Tuesday after throwing two innings of batting practice (via TR Sullivan of MLB.com). “Doesn’t look like it,” he said. “I still have some stuff to refine. I wasn’t extremely happy with the day. I was happy with the level of work. I’ve got a lot of refining to do.” Lincecum is only two weeks removed from signing with the Rangers, and he, of course, didn’t pitch competitively at all in 2017. Tuesday’s BP session was his second since joining the Rangers, and he’ll need at least one more before potentially pitching in a minor league game.
    • First baseman Chris Carter is unlikely to make the Angels, Maria Guardado of MLB.com writes. That’s not surprising, given that Carter’s a minor league signee who’s not on the Halos’ 40-man roster. Guardado notes that there’s no obvious path to playing time for Carter at first in Anaheim, which has Albert Pujols and Luis Valbuena. Plus, those two and Shohei Ohtani figure to be among their designated hitter options, taking away another potential route to the majors for Carter. The 31-year-old Carter will be able to refuse a minor league assignment if he doesn’t make the Halos, though he did spend a solid chunk of last season with the A’s Triple-A affiliate. That came just one year after the then-Brewer co-led the National League in home runs (41). Because of his dreadful 2017, which he began with the Yankees, Carter went unsigned until late February.
    • Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, on the shelf the past few weeks because of left hand surgery, is progressing in his recovery, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes. He’s still likely to begin the season on the disabled list, however, according to McTaggart, and then he’ll have to serve a five-game suspension for an insensitive gesture directed at then-Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in last year’s World Series. The Astros are likely to use Marwin Gonzalez at first in Gurriel’s absence, and J.D. Davis and Tyler White are currently fighting for a backup role. “It’s 1A and 1B, it’s not like one is separating themselves from the other. Eventually, we’ll have to make a decision,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Davis and White on Wednesday (via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle).
    ]]>
    27
    Astros Extend Jose Altuve https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-nearing-extension-with-jose-altuve.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-nearing-extension-with-jose-altuve.html#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2018 18:44:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117140 The Astros have officially struck a massive extension with star second baseman Jose Altuve. The deal, which includes a full no-trade clause, reportedly promises Altuve $151MM over five seasons.

    Altuve is already under contract through 2019, a season the Astros control through a $6.5MM club option under the incredibly team-friendly deal the sides struck back in 2013. Of course, at the time, the second baseman was nowhere near the top-line performer he is today. Altuve has since changed representation, joining the Boras Corporation.

    The new contract will begin at the conclusion of his existing deal, meaning the five-year term will begin with the 2020 campaign. This pact, then, will give Houston control over Altuve through the 2024 season, which will be his age-34 effort.

    Altuve receives $21MM in the form of a signing bonus, with $1MM due upon final approval of the contract, $10MM later this season and $10MM in 2019. The contract provides a $26MM annual salary in each of the five seasons. That rate can escalate in the final three years of the contract depending upon his performance in the MVP voting, with a $3MM bump for a first-place finish, a $2MM bump for a second-place showing, and $1MM if he comes in third, allowing for maximum increases of $3MM, $6MM, and then $9MM in the 2022-24 campaigns.

    Houston is wrapping up a historic season in which the organization broke through with a World Series title. Altuve was a central component of that undertaking. He qualified for his fourth-straight All-Star game, won his third batting title in four seasons, and capped things off by taking home honors as the Most Valuable Player in the American League.

    Despite his diminutive stature, Altuve has developed into an offensive force. He put up high-quality campaigns in 2014 and 2015 before going to another level over the past two seasons. Since the start of 2016, Altuve carries a .341/.403/.539 batting line with 48 home runs. He doesn’t walk all that much and has traded just a bit of his impeccable contact ability for some additional pop, but Altuve still maintained a quality K/BB ratio (12.7% strikeout rate vs. 8.8% walk rate) in 2017.

    That’s rare air for a middle infielder, making Altuve all the more valuable. While he has generally graded out as an average performer at second, there’s also value in his legs. He has already swipe 231 bags in his career and was credited with creating four runs on the bases in 2017 by Fangraphs’ BsR measure.

    The new contract rewards one of the game’s best players with a significant new payday, and does so two full seasons before he’d have reached the open market. As McTaggart notes, this will easily be the largest deal ever struck in team history, handily topping the $100MM Carlos Lee contract.

    Though the deal only covers five additional seasons, it does so at a top-level rate of pay. This contract is just the sixth in MLB history that includes an average annual value of over $30MM and is easily the largest extension for a second baseman cataloged in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker.

    MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart first reported the agreement. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted that the agreement was in place and reported the financial details in a series of tweets. Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported the no-trade clause on Twitter.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    ]]>
    209
    Offseason In Review: Houston Astros https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/offseason-in-review-houston-astros-10.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/offseason-in-review-houston-astros-10.html#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2018 03:21:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117002 This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Fresh off the Astros’ first-ever World Series-winning campaign, general manager Jeff Luhnow spent the winter supplementing an already strong pitching staff.

    Major League Signings

    Trades And Claims

    Extensions

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Astros 25-Man Roster & Minor League Depth Chart; Astros Payroll Overview

    Needs Addressed

    The Astros were one of the majors’ elite teams from the start of the regular season until the end in 2017, but they may not have been in position to hoist the trophy in November if not for a late-August trade with Detroit. In that deal, Luhnow shipped out multiple prospects for longtime Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who was utterly dominant in his first action as an Astro, with whom he combined for 36 2/3 innings of nine-run ball in playoff series wins over the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers.

    With Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh among Houston’s in-house starting options entering the offseason, Luhnow could have passed on adding any established starters during recent months. Instead, he revisited the trade route to pick up yet another high-profile option, Gerrit Cole, whom he acquired from the Pirates in January.

    In order to reel in the 27-year-old Cole and his two remaining seasons of affordable team control, the Astros surrendered a respectable package of young talent headlined by righty Joe Musgrove, who was a promising starter for them back in 2016 and a key part of their bullpen down the stretch in 2017. While it’s possible the Astros will come to miss Musgrove and the other players they parted with (righty Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin), they’re well positioned to move on without them.

    As mentioned earlier, there were several legitimate starting options on hand even before the Cole trade, so netting him should allow the Astros to maintain a deep staff in the near term even without Musgrove and Feliz. As opposed to earning starting jobs, Peacock (who was outstanding as both a starter and a reliever in 2017) and McHugh will be part of a righty-heavy relief corps that’s also set to include Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, newcomers Joe Smith and Hector Rondon, and Will Harris in prominent roles.

    Cole has been somewhat inconsistent since debuting with the Pirates in 2013, but the talent is immense, evidenced by both his draft pedigree (No. 1 in 2011) and overall production to date (3.50 ERA/3.27 FIP across 782 1/3 innings). At his best in Pittsburgh, the 2015 version of Cole pitched to a 2.60 ERA/2.66 FIP with 8.74 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 over 208 frames. Cole hasn’t been nearly that effective lately, though the flamethrower was still a mid-rotation workhorse in 2017. Cole logged career-worst numbers in the ERA (4.26) and FIP (4.08) departments a year ago, but he also ate 203 innings with strong strikeout (8.69 K/9) and walk (2.44) rates en route to 3.1 fWAR. That’s quality production, clearly.

    Now, as former FanGraphs writer Eno Sarris explained in January, Cole could be in the right place to harness his vast potential. Cole leaned too much on his fastball and wasn’t reliant enough on his breaking pitches during his Pirates tenure, Sarris observed. In Houston, though, he’s with a team that recorded the fourth-lowest fastball percentage and the fifth-highest slider/curveball rate in the league last season.

    No doubt, the Astros are banking on Cole at least delivering similar results as last year. Before they ended up with him, they considered the likes of Yu Darvish, Chris Archer and Shohei Ohtani. Darvish would’ve created a far bigger dent in the Astros’ payroll than Cole, though, having inked a six-year, $126MM deal with the Cubs; Archer remains with the Rays, because they understandably want a major haul for him; and you can’t fault the Astros for losing the Ohtani lottery, given that it featured just about every other major league team at one point. So, in Cole, the Astros have an affordable, arbitration-controlled piece who should help their cause for at least two years. Come 2019, the Astros could be without both Keuchel and Morton, two players who are slated to become free agents next winter. Cole’s presence should help protect against their possible departures.

    Joining Cole as new additions to Houston’s staff are Smith and Rondon, who each bring terrific major league track records on reasonable salaries. One could quibble with the fact that neither is a lefty, which the Astros could seemingly use. Houston was devoid of a shutdown southpaw throughout last season (neither holdover Tony Sipp nor the now-gone Francisco Liriano fit the bill), yet that didn’t stop the club from winning 101 games during the regular campaign before charging to a title in the fall. It helps when you’re righty relievers are capable of holding their own against left-handed hitters, as the Astros’ are. Their bullpen pieces held lefty-swingers to a .302 wOBA in 2017, and even though they’re righties, both Smith and Rondon could help in that regard. The 33-year-old Smith has held opposite-handed hitters to a .307 mark during his career, while Rondon, 30, has been even better at .287 (that figure ballooned to .346 last year, however).

    Long after he bolstered his team’s pitching staff, Luhnow secured arguably the Astros’ best player, second baseman Jose Altuve, to a franchise-record contract extension. Prior to last Friday, when he agreed to his new pact, Altuve was controllable through next season via the club-friendly extension he signed as a youthful, run-of-the-mill player in 2013. The 27-year-old Altuve has since blossomed into a bona fide superstar, having taken home the AL MVP in 2017 (a 7.5-fWAR showing), and will earn at a rate commensurate to that for the long haul.

    Altuve will be due a guaranteed $151MM over a five-year period beginning in 2020. He’s just the sixth player in league history to receive a deal worth $30MM per year, making his meteoric rise since he signed for just $15K in 2007 as a diminutive, anonymous Venezuelan prospect all the more incredible.

    Questions Remaining

    The Astros’ offense is the envy of the league, which it led in wRC+ (121) and runs (896) last season. That came without a full season from all-world shortstop Carlos Correa, whom a thumb injury limited to 109 games. He’s back, as are Altuve, Springer and Alex Bregman, to headline a seemingly relentless Houston attack. Still, the Astros at least showed some interest in upgrading their lineup over the winter. They considered making a run at then-Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who’d have given the Astros two reigning MVPs on one team, before the Yankees landed him and the majority of his $295MM contract. Additionally, Houston was in on Carlos Gonzalez, who ultimately re-signed with Colorado for $8MM.

    Either Stanton or CarGo would have given the Astros another starting outfielder to join Springer in center and Josh Reddick in right. Instead, once first baseman Yuli Gurriel returns from February hamate surgery, they’ll primarily turn to Marwin Gonzalez, who stunningly broke out with a 144 wRC+ last year. But Gonzalez is no sure thing to continue at anything resembling that pace, judging by both his league-average output (101 wRC+) from 2014-16 and Statcast data from 2017. Although Gonzalez managed a superb .387 wOBA in 2017, his xwOBA (.320) fell way short. Meanwhile, Gurriel wasn’t quite that fortunate, but his xwOBA (.327) still didn’t come close to his solid wOBA (.351).

    Both Gonzalez and Gurriel are candidates to take steps back offensively this year, then, while the Astros also seem to lack a high-end hitter at the DH spot. They’re in position to turn to backup catcher Evan Gattis, who was mediocre at the plate (105 wRC+) last year. The good news is that even that type of unspectacular production would easily outpace the now-retired Carlos Beltran’s output from last year. The revered Beltran was an important behind-the-scenes presence in Houston, but at the same time, he was one of the game’s worst DHs from a statistical standpoint.

    While Gattis isn’t a terrible choice to DH, there’s a case to be made that the Astros should have non-tendered him (he’s making $6.7MM) and sought an upgrade. A free agent like Logan Morrison may have made sense, for example, especially considering the Twins handed him a $6.5MM guarantee that’s lower than Gattis’ salary. Morrison would have helped balance out the Astros’ lineup a bit more, giving them four lefty-capable regulars instead of the three they’ll run out in 2018. Admittedly, though, the way free agency unfolded over the winter isn’t something anyone saw coming, so it came as a surprise that Morrison (and Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier, among others) signed such an affordable deal. If the Astros need a bat at the trade deadline, there ought to be some quality options at palatable prices.

    It’s fair to say that even if Gonzalez, Gurriel and Gattis are far from great this year, Houston will thrive at the plate because of its top-end talent. The Astros’ position players may not offer that type of brilliance defensively, though, as they’re returning largely the same group that ranked toward the bottom of the majors in the advanced metrics a season ago. The Astros are projected to be similarly woeful in the field this year, but they proved they could overcome that last season with a punishing offense and terrific pitching – both of which are again in place.

    Houston’s hurlers could have been throwing to a different primary catcher this year had the club signed free agent Jonathan Lucroy, whom it showed interest in over the winter (he went on to join the division-rival Athletics), or made the higher-impact move of acquiring the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto. The Astros and Marlins discussed Realmuto, who’s under control through 2020, and the former reportedly didn’t close the door on giving up premier outfield prospect Kyle Tucker for the backstop. Luhnow doesn’t sound like someone who’s going to trade Tucker, however, instead believing he could be a factor for the Astros as early as this year (and if Gonzalez and Derek Fisher are unsatisfactory in left, that could indeed happen). Regardless, Realmuto’s status will be worth monitoring during the season if the Astros’ combination of Brian McCann, Gattis and Max Stassi doesn’t suffice. McCann and Gattis will be free agents in a year, so acquiring Realmuto during the summer would give the Astros an immediate boost and obviate a need for next offseason in one fell swoop.

    As for the Astros’ pitching staff, which we’ve established is a deep and talented group, health is likely the main concern. Keuchel, McCullers and Morton haven’t been all that durable of late, McHugh missed most of last season and Cole is only two years removed from going to the disabled multiple times on account of elbow problems. All of that considered, it’s easy to see why Luhnow kept McHugh around as depth. Just about every team in the league would sign up for having the accomplished McHugh in its rotation, let alone as a sixth or seventh starter, which explains why he drew trade interest during the winter.

    Overview

    Thanks in part to Luhnow’s offseason maneuverings, the Astros will enter the new campaign as baseball’s best team, though that may have been true even if the GM didn’t make any notable winter moves. Talent-rich Houston is poised at least to win its second straight AL West title after lapping the field a year ago, and despite the offseason efforts of the majors’ other super-teams, the Astros should be seen as the favorites to end up again as the last club standing in the fall.

    What’s your take on the Astros’ winter?  (link for app users)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    ]]>
    12
    Examining Jose Altuve's Extension https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-iwakuma-bassitt-altuve.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-iwakuma-bassitt-altuve.html#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 03:44:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117365
  • Though Jose Altuve’s five-year, $151MM extension doesn’t begin until the 2020 season, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards believes the Astros aren’t facing too much risk in locking up the star second baseman.  Comparing the Altuve deal to other extensions of five-plus years for players who were at least two seasons away from free agency, Altuve is younger than three of the names cited (Miguel Cabrera, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard) and is coming off a much better platform year than Ryan Zimmerman when he inked his six-year, $100MM pact with the Nationals.  The best comp might actually be Joey Votto’s ten-year, $225MM extension from the Reds, though Houston’s commitment to Altuve was only half as long.  Since Altuve still projects to be an excellent player going forward, the extension also shouldn’t be considered a “gift” — as in, the Astros weren’t simply giving him a make-good deal since his original extension proved to be such an incredible bargain for the team.
  • ]]>
    23
    Tony Sipp Could Be Odd Man Out Of Houston's Bullpen https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-notes-ohtani-sipp-red-sox-rangers-jays.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-notes-ohtani-sipp-red-sox-rangers-jays.html#comments Sat, 17 Mar 2018 23:01:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117210
  • The Astros may head into the season with an all-righty bullpen, thanks to the struggles left-hander Tony Sipp has endured in recent years, Oliver Macklin of MLB.com relays. Sipp, whom the Astros re-signed to a three-year, $18MM deal heading into 2016, posted back-to-back subpar seasons entering this year and hasn’t fared well this spring. Manager A.J. Hinch conceded that going with an all-righty relief corps is “an option,” though he suggested he’d rather see Sipp rebound to his pre-2016 ways. Sipp, who’ll turn 35 in July, is due to earn $6MM in the final year of his contract.
  • ]]>
    76
    Poll: Grading the Jose Altuve Extension https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/poll-grading-the-jose-altuve-extension.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/poll-grading-the-jose-altuve-extension.html#comments Sat, 17 Mar 2018 21:53:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117193 Yesterday, it was reported that the Astros have agreed to a five-year, $151MM extension with Jose Altuve that’ll keep him in Houston through his age-34 season. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned yesterday, the deal will be by far the largest extension ever given to a second baseman, handily topping the $110MM given to Dustin Pedroia by the Red Sox in 2013.

    It’s also just the sixth deal in MLB history that comes with an average annual value greater than $30MM. A win above replacement is widely believed to be worth around $8MM, so it seems likely that Altuve could still provide the 4-ish WAR per year necessary to provide the Astros with surplus value on this new deal. Indeed, the reigning AL MVP and three-time batting champ has been worth 14.3 fWAR across the past two seasons alone.

    Of course, it’s not a given that Houston’s star second baseman can maintain that level of production through the age of 34. Although his strongest and most notable skill is his penchant for making good contact (with an astonishingly low swinging strike rate) and racking up hits, a large part of his value is tied up in his baserunning. Though last season Altuve stole 32 bases and managed a .339 BABIP on grounders, history says that his speed isn’t likely to stick around past age 30, at least not to that level.

    Even as his speed starts to go, however, contact ability and plate discipline (Altuve carries an incredible 10.7% career strikeout rate) are skills that typically tend to age well. And there’s something to be said for the Astros keeping the face of their franchise around through 2024.

    It’s not unreasonable to think that Altuve could have earned a larger guarantee if he’d waited to hit the free agent market following the 2019 season. But as with his first extension with the Astros, he’ll essentially sacrifice earnings upside for added financial security… and a whole lot of it, too. The contract ranks as the 31st-largest guarantee in MLB history. He’s now guaranteed life-changing money, with a chance to earn even more when he hits the free agent market again six and a half years from now.

    At this point, we want to know your opinion. What do you think of the second Altuve deal from the Astros’ perspective? (Poll link for app users)

    What about from Altuve’s perspective? (Poll link for app users)

    ]]>
    118
    Astros To Use Brad Peacock As Multi-Inning Reliever? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-jay-beltre-bush-rangers-peacock.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/al-west-notes-jay-beltre-bush-rangers-peacock.html#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:09:13 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116777
  • Brad Peacock may also be ticketed for a multi-inning relief role, as The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan writes that the Astros have used Peacock in two-inning stints in each of his three Spring Training appearances.  Houston places a high value on multi-inning relievers and could theoretically deploy several of their bullpen arms in that fashion, though Kaplan feels Chris Devenski could be in line for more one-inning outings after appearing to tire in the second half of the 2017 season.  Peacock has extra durability as a former starting pitcher and his stuff lends itself well to such a relief role.  He held hitters to just a .420 OPS during his first time through the lineup last season, easily the lowest OPS of any pitcher who made at least 20 starts.
  • ]]>
    27
    Astros Return Rule 5 Pick Anthony Gose To Rangers https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-return-rule-5-pick-anthony-gose-to-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-return-rule-5-pick-anthony-gose-to-rangers.html#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2018 19:26:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116591 The Rangers announced today that they received Rule 5 pick Anthony Gose back from the Astros and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. He’ll join the Rangers in big league camp as a non-roster player. The Astros reportedly placed the left-hander/outfielder on outright waivers earlier this week.

    Gose, a former big league outfielder, had been hoping to make a stacked Astros roster as a reliever. The former top outfield prospect converted to the mound last season after several years of difficulties at plate. Gose was a two-way star as an amateur but was drafted and developed solely as an outfielder. His arm strength from the outfield and his former pitching prowess have translated to the mound to an extent, as he’s reportedly been able to touch triple digits with his fastball.

    Gose pitched 10 2/3 innings in Class-A Advanced in the Rangers organization last season and posted a 14-to-6 K/BB ratio in that time. It’s possible that the Rangers will continue to give him a look on the mound, though the team’s exact plans for him remain unclear. Rangers EVP of communications John Blake referenced Gose as an outfielder/left-handed pitcher in announcing the move, so perhaps he’ll continue to work on both elements of his game.

    ]]>
    35
    Astros Renew Carlos Correa’s Contract At $1MM https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-renew-carlos-correas-contract-at-1mm.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-renew-carlos-correas-contract-at-1mm.html#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:10:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116520 The Astros have renewed the contract of star shortstop Carlos Correa at $1MM, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). That comes in just shy of the record for a pre-arbitration player, set by Kris Bryant last offseason when the Cubs agreed to a $1.05MM salary. Correa’s $1MM mark ties the previous record holder, Mike Trout, who earned $1MM in 2014 as a pre-arb player before agreeing to his $144MM contract extension the following offseason.

    It’s worth noting, though, that the Astros renewed Correa’s contract. That indicates that, in spite of the near-record-setting nature of Correa’s pre-arbitration salary, the two sides did not see eye to eye on his 2018 earnings. Teams can negotiate with their pre-arb players, and the two sides will often agree to terms on a salary — typically within the vicinity of the league minimum for most players but sometimes a few hundred thousand or so greater for higher-profile players that have not yet reached salary arbitration.

    However, if the two sides cannot agree to a negotiated salary, then the team can renew the player’s contract at any amount at or above the league minimum. In this instance, the fact that Correa’s contract was renewed could mean that he and his representatives at the Legacy Agency were hoping to set a new record and simply elected to let the team renew the contract.

    Certainly, though, it’s nothing new for this player and team. A renewal also occurred in each of the past two seasons. Most notably, the ’Stros gave Correa only the league-minimum salary for the 2017 campaign. Of course, there’s still no real indication whether the failure to agree could hint at underlying discord that might impact future contractual matters.

    The deal isn’t a straight MLB contract, it’s also worth noting, per a tweet from Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Houston elected instead to make it a split deal, providing a $267,500 rate of pay in the exceedingly unlikely event that Correa is optioned down. Clearly, as with Correa’s own decision not to agree to the offered amount, the sides have elected to stand on their rights — even if there’s no reasonably anticipated practical difference.

    ]]>
    73
    Astros Place Anthony Gose On Outright Waivers https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-place-anthony-gose-on-outright-waivers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/03/astros-place-anthony-gose-on-outright-waivers.html#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2018 23:55:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116325 The Astros have placed lefty Anthony Gose on outright waivers, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (Twitter link). That will ultimately open a 40-man spot, though it’s not clear whether the organization has immediate plans for utilizing it.

    Gose was taken in the Rule 5 draft back in December, meaning any claiming team would need to retain him on the active roster for all of 2018 in order to keep him permanently. Given his prior MLB experience as an outfielder, he would be arbitration-eligible after the season were that to occur.

    If Gose clears waivers, he’ll be offered back to the Rangers, who had signed him to a minors deal last fall. The Texas organization took a low-risk shot despite the fact that Gose had only previously thrown 10 2/3 High-A innings, over which he allowed nine earned runs and six walks but also recorded 14 strikeouts.

    Despite the limited track record, the 27-year-old Gose has shown a powerful throwing arm on the hill and could also bring value on the bases and in the outfield. But it seems his interesting time in Astros camp did not make the desired impression. Gose failed to record an out in his only Grapefruit League appearance, issuing walks to all three hitters he faced.

    ]]>
    46
    Yuli Gurriel To Undergo Hamate Surgery https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/yuli-gurriel-to-undergo-hamate-surgery.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/yuli-gurriel-to-undergo-hamate-surgery.html#comments Wed, 28 Feb 2018 14:34:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115976 Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel is undergoing surgery today to remove the hook of his left hamate bone, skipper A.J. Hinch told reporters including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).

    Houston GM Jeff Luhnow says the team expects to be without Gurriel for about five to six weeks, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (Twitter links). Clearly, then, the rehab period will delay Gurriel’s start to the 2018 season. In this case, says Luhnow, it was a years-old injury that only just became symptomatic.

    While injuries to the hamate — a hand bone near the wrist — are common for hitters, that doesn’t mean they aren’t reasonably significant. Those interested in learning more should check out this detailed examination of the subject from Michael Jong of SB Nation.

    That limited recovery time is obviously promising, though hamate injuries have a reputation for sapping a hitter’s power upon his return to action. This interesting look from of SB Nation’s Stuart Wallace suggests, though, that any shorter-term loss of pop does not generally turn into a long-term impediment.

    For the ’Stros, it’s perhaps at least preferable for the injury to occur now rather than during the season. Gurriel will still need to serve a five-game suspension, though the injury situation may allow the team to manage that more easily.

    Regardless of the specifics, Houston will have to create a fill-in plan. An open-market option seems unlikely with so many internal possibilities. Marwin Gonzalez could step in at first, with the team also giving some opportunities to Tyler WhiteA.J. Reed, or J.D. Davis.

    Though clearly the preference would be for the 33-year-old Gurriel to pick up where he left off in 2017, the Astros likely won’t mind the idea of getting a longer look at some of those players. And any hit to the team’s expectations will be minimal. While Gurriel produced a strong .299/.332/.486 slash line with 18 home runs last year, he’s not exactly a top-end hitter as a first baseman. (A third bagger by trade, Gurriel has been pushed to the other corner by Alex Bregman.)

    ]]>
    38
    Injury Notes: Gurriel, Frazier, Gausman, Stroman, Thornburg, Eaton https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/injury-notes-gurriel-frazier-gausman-stroman-thornburg-eaton.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/injury-notes-gurriel-frazier-gausman-stroman-thornburg-eaton.html#comments Tue, 27 Feb 2018 19:13:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115908 The Astros have shipped first baseman Yuli Gurriel to Houston so his injured hand can be evaluated, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). At this point, the situation is more or less a mystery, with no real indication how the issue arose or just what the club is concerned about. Clearly, though, the team’s training staff has found cause to get a closer look from a specialist.

    Here’s more on some injury situations from around the game:

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier has been diagnosed with a concussion, tweets MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Frazier made a leaping catch in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates and stumbled a bit before falling backwards and hitting his head against the base of the left-field wall (video link). Manager Aaron Boone said Frazier will be down for “a few days” and acknowledged the seemingly optimistic nature of that timeline. Frazier is far from a lock to make the Opening Day roster in New York with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Jacoby Ellsbury all on the roster, but he remains a key potential long-term piece for the Yanks.
    • It seems that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman has largely shaken off a home-plate collision yesterday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. The young starter, who is a key factor in the team’s hopes for the coming season, says he “feel[s] pretty good” on the whole despite slamming into Tigers youngster Jeimer Candelario. For the time being, at least, Gausman is expected to take the ball for his next scheduled spring outing.
    • The outlook is at least a bit more worrisome for Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, shoulder inflammation is holding Stroman back. Though he has already been cleared by an MRI of structural concerns, Stroman will rest up in hopes of moving past a problem that has evidently been going on for a few weeks. The key Jays hurler says he’s hoping to be fully ramped up for “the very beginning of the start of the season,” even if it’s not Opening Day, though surely the organization will proceed with caution.
    • The Red Sox will welcome reliever Tyler Thornburg back to the hill for the first time since he underwent surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. A bullpen session is just one of many steps back, of course, and Thornburg still has some hurdles to clear. He has yet to pitch competitively for the Boston organization (excepting brief spring action last year) since coming over in a trade in advance of the 2017 season.
    • Indications are that Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton is largely progressing well after a long layoff for a torn ACL. As Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes, though, Eaton has yet to appear in game action. That appears to be less a reflection of Eaton’s surgically repaired joint than it is a planned effort to build him up deliberately. “We’re going to take it and be methodical and do it right for the first time and make sure I’m overcooked, so to speak, before I go out there.” While it’s surely tempting to max out Eaton’s reps after a lost season, skipper Davey Martinez emphasized the primary goal is to have Eaton at full speed come Opening Day.
    • The rival Mets are reporting shoulder and back soreness for Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, respectively, but those don’t seem to be real concerns at this point, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports. However, the New York organization is likely to hold back first baseman Dominic Smith for a while after he was diagnosed with a strained quad. He already seemed to face a difficult task of cracking the Opening Day roster, so this setback is not likely to help the cause. (New reliever Anthony Swarzak just left his relief appearance with an apparent calf injury, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, though details are sparse at this time.)
    ]]>
    39
    Astros Prospect Forrest Whitley Suspended For 50 Games https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-prospect-forrest-whitley-suspended-for-50-games.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-prospect-forrest-whitley-suspended-for-50-games.html#comments Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:00:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115414 Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended for fifty games, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The ban is drug-related, per the report, though it is not clear just what improper substance Whitley was deemed to have used.

    Whitley, a 20-year-old right-hander, greatly elevated his stock in 2017. Indeed, many outlets now consider him one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball, with only the uniquely situated Shohei Ohtani drawing greater plaudits. Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN.com, and Fangraphs all rated Whitley within the top ten overall pre-MLB players in the game in their most recent rankings.

    Typically, fifty-game bans are handed out for drugs of abuse or amphetamines rather than performance-enhancing substances. In this case, Chuck Miketinac of FOX San Antonio says (Twitter link) a source told him that Whitley took an “unknown stimulant” to help keep him awake on a drive. The youngster intends to challenge the suspension, per that report. JJ Cooper of Baseball America notes (Twitter links) that the official release on the suspension does not follow the typical template utilized either for drugs of abuse or PED bans and also stands out because it does not state there was a positive test.

    Clearly, there’s still quite a lot that is not known about the situation. Whitley himself released a statement through his agent (via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, on Twitter) in which he accepted responsibility and apologized. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s disappointed in what has transpired but also says he believes Whitley will learn from the situation. (Video via Twitter, also from McTaggart.)

    Whitley, a 2016 first-rounder, reached the Double-A last year, compiling 92 1/3 innings of 2.83 ERA ball with 13.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 across three levels of the minors. He will be eligible to return around the end of May and will likely work out in the meantime at the organization’s spring facilities, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (Twitter links).

    ]]>
    150
    Injury May Have Decided Colin Moran's Astros Future https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/nl-central-notes-russell-cain-freese-moran.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/nl-central-notes-russell-cain-freese-moran.html#comments Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:00:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115057
  • Colin Moran suffered a concussion and a facial fracture after a fouling a ball into his left eye last July, and it is quite possible that the injury changed the course of the young infielder’s career.  Moran was dealt to the Pirates last month as part of the Gerrit Cole trade, and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Moran might still be an Astro today had he gotten a longer chance to perform last summer, rather than being sidelined just two games into a midseason call-up.  “I think he would have hit .300, I think he would have hit for power,” Luhnow said.  “We might not have traded him because we might have wanted to figure out a way to keep him on our club.”  Interestingly, it’s also possible to speculate that a healthy and productive Moran would’ve been traded from Houston much sooner, as Moran was reportedly involved in the Astros’ talks with the Orioles about Zach Britton at the July trade deadline (though an injured Houston pitching prospect was the primary reason the Britton deal was scuttled).
  • ]]>
    81
    Collin McHugh Wins Arbitration Hearing https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/collin-mchugh-wins-arbitration-hearing.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/collin-mchugh-wins-arbitration-hearing.html#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:50:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114814 Right-hander Collin McHugh won his arbitration hearing against the Astros, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (on Twitter). He’ll earn the $5MM salary that he filed as opposed to the $4.55MM sum that was submitted by the team (as can be seen in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker). McHugh, a client of Moye Sports Associates, receives a $1.15MM raise on last year’s $3.85MM salary after an injury-shortened 2017 campaign.

    The 30-year-old McHugh may have lost his rotation spot when the Astros acquired Gerrit Cole earlier this winter, but he’ll still work as a starter this spring. If each of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Cole, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton remain healthy, then McHugh could open the year as a well-compensated long reliever/spot starter. He’d also be the team’s first line of defense in the event of an injury to one of the top five starters.

    Of course, there’s also the possibility that McHugh opens the season in a rotation other than Houston’s. McHugh has seen his name pop up in trade rumors in recent weeks as clubs like the Orioles, Twins and Brewers continue to hunt for rotation upgrades before Opening Day.

    McHugh missed much of the 2017 season on the disabled list but worked to a 3.55 ERA with 8.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings when he was healthy enough to take the field. Since being acquired by the Astros, he’s logged a solid 3.70 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate through 606 1/3 innings (102 starts).

    ]]>
    7
    No Extension Talks Yet Between Astros, Dallas Keuchel https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/no-extension-talks-yet-between-astros-dallas-keuchel.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/no-extension-talks-yet-between-astros-dallas-keuchel.html#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 04:26:56 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114765 There have yet to be any extension negotiations between the Astros and Dallas Keuchel, the ace left-hander told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and other reporters today.  If a long-term deal is struck between the two sides, Keuchel said that it would have to happen by Opening Day — like most players, Keuchel doesn’t want to create a potential distraction for himself and his team by having talks drag into the season.

    Keuchel and the Astros did work out a $13.2MM salary for 2018, avoiding arbitration in the southpaw’s final year of arb eligibility.  He’ll hit free agency next winter going into his age-31 season and has already lined up some new representation, hiring the Boras Corporation last December.  While some high-profile Scott Boras clients (i.e. Stephen Strasburg, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gonzalez) have worked out major long-term extensions to stay with their teams, Boras generally advises his clients to test the open market, so it remains to be seen if a deal could be struck to keep Keuchel in Houston.  The lack of negotiations to this point shouldn’t be seen as a major red flag, as most teams usually wait until later in the spring to fully delve into extension talks with pending free agents.

    After winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015, Keuchel battled some injuries in both 2016 and 2017, posting a 3.79 ERA, 2.83 K/BB rate, 7.7 K/9 and a league-best 61.2% grounder rate over 313 2/3 IP in those two seasons.  That 3.79 ERA generally matched his ERA predictors in 2016-17, with the big swing in actual ERA (4.55 ERA in 2016, 2.90 ERA in 2017) likely due to a healthy difference in BABIP (.304 in 2016, .256 in 2017), which naturally has a big impact on a pitcher with so reliant on inducing ground balls.  His home run rate has steadily risen in each of the last three seasons, though Keuchel’s hard-hit ball rate also dropped back to his career average after a spike in 2016.

    The Astros’ trades for Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole created some speculation that the team was guarding itself against Keuchel’s possible departure, bolstering the rotation with two front-of-the-rotation arms that are under contract through at least the 2019 season.  Talks between Keuchel and the Astros, as well as any other negotiations between teams and impending free agents, will be particularly interesting to monitor this spring in the wake of this offseason’s unusual lack of free agent activity.  It could be that players are more open to extensions if they’re worried about being stuck without teams next winter, particularly since next year’s market will several huge stars (such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or Josh Donaldson) sure to soak up many of the available dollars.

    ]]>
    56
    Chris Devenski Switches Agencies https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/chris-devenski-switches-agencies.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/chris-devenski-switches-agencies.html#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 21:32:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114477 Astros right-hander Chris Devenski has changed his representation and is now a client of MVP Sports Group, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports on Twitter. The switch for the 27-year-old Devenski comes on the cusp of his final pre-arbitration season.

    Since making his debut in 2016, Devenski has been an incredible bargain for the Astros, having established himself as one of the game’s premier relievers. Across 110 appearances, including five starts, Devenski has racked up 189 innings of 2.38 ERA ball and posted 9.71 K/9 against 2.19 BB/9. Only one reliever, Brad Hand of the Padres, totaled more frames from the bullpen than Devenski’s 164 1/3 from 2016-17. He also ranked fifth among relievers in ERA (2.41), ninth in K/BB ratio (4.82) and 18th in infield fly rate (14 percent) during that span, thanks to a lethal fastball-slider-changeup combination.

    While Devenski isn’t a closer, which could tamp down his value in arbitration, his penchant for effectively eating innings and amassing holds will help his cause when he first goes through the process next year (barring an extension, of course). He’s coming off a year in which he tied for 11th in holds (24), which helped the Astros run away with the AL West en route to their first World Series title.

    ]]>
    23
    Orioles Interested In Collin McHugh https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/al-notes-orioles-mchugh-indians-brantley-white-sox.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/al-notes-orioles-mchugh-indians-brantley-white-sox.html#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 14:47:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114442 The Orioles have inquired about the availability of Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com hears. Although McHugh could be the odd man out of a loaded Houston rotation this year, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported earlier this week that the reigning champions aren’t in a rush to trade him. Nevertheless, with multiple holes in their rotation and a reported unwillingness to spend big to address their staff, it makes sense that the Orioles are interested in McHugh. After all, the 30-year-old has been a quality starter with the Astros since 2014 and is under arbitration control at affordable prices through 2019. He’ll earn in the neighborhood of $5MM this season.

    ]]>
    75
    Twins Interested In Collin McHugh https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/reactions-to-and-effects-of-the-yu-darvish-deal.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/reactions-to-and-effects-of-the-yu-darvish-deal.html#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 01:21:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114418
  • The small-market Twins aggressively went after Darvish this winter, even meeting with him in Texas at some point, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Their offer to Darvish was for at least five years and $100MM, according to Heyman (Twitter link). The Twins’ courtship of Darvish went for naught, though, perhaps thanks to their dislike for opt-out clauses and a wariness toward giving him a sixth year, writes Berardino, who adds that they could now look to top available starter Jake Arrieta. On the trade front, Rays righties Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi remain on Minnesota’s radar, relays Berardino, though he suggests the Twins would have to give up too much for the former. Meanwhile, Rosenthal reports that there’s a belief among rival executives the Twins could still add a starter via both free agency and the trade market. Along with Odorizzi, he lists free agent Alex Cobb and Astros righty Collin McHugh as hurlers who have drawn Minnesota’s interest.
  • ]]>
    201
    Marlins, Astros Discussing J.T. Realmuto https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/marlins-astros-discussing-j-t-realmuto.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/marlins-astros-discussing-j-t-realmuto.html#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 00:05:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114415 Count the reigning World Series champion Astros among the most serious suitors for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Houston and Miami have discussed the backstop, according to SiriusXM’s Craig Mish, who adds that the Marlins have requested high-end outfield prospect Kyle Tucker in return. The Astros haven’t ruled out dealing Tucker, Mish reports (Twitter link).

    Realmuto would be the second major trade acquisition of the winter for the Astros, who previously dipped into their pool of young talent to pick up right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Despite that move, the Astros’ farm system remains in the majors’ top 10, according to Baseball America, which regards the 21-year-old Tucker as their second-best prospect and the majors’ 15th-ranked farmhand. MLB.com (No. 8) FanGraphs (No. 10), Baseball Prospectus (No. 20) and ESPN’s Keith Law (No. 21) also think highly of the lefty-swinging Tucker, who ascended to the Double-A level in 2017 and slashed .265/.325/.512 across 318 plate appearances.

    Should the Marlins land Tucker, he’d become arguably the premier prospect in a system that has climbed from dead last to 19th in Baseball America’s rankings since the beginning of the offseason. Of course, the Marlins’ improved farm is the result of an aggressive major league teardown that has come during a payroll-slashing campaign by new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The Marlins have already dealt star outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, not to mention second baseman Dee Gordon, leaving Realmuto as the face of a team that seems unlikely to contend in the near future.

    The 26-year-old Realmuto, sensing Miami is more likely to compete for the No. 1 pick than a playoff berth in 2018, has made it known he’d like to follow Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna and Gordon out the door. Given that he wants to play for a contender, going to Houston would surely satisfy Realmuto, and it would give the club a potential long-term solution behind the plate. While the Astros got solid production from catchers Brian McCann and Evan Gattis in 2017, the two 30-somethings could become free agents next winter. Moreover, Gattis will primarily occupy the DH spot this year, leaving the unproven, out-of-options Max Stassi as the Astros’ projected No. 2 catcher.

    Unlike Stassi, Realmuto has done plenty to establish himself in the majors. He truly broke out in 2016 and has since accounted for 7.2 fWAR, trailing only the Giants’ Buster Posey and the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez in that category among catchers. Most of Realmuto’s value has come from his bat, as the righty-swinger combined for a quality .290/.337/.440 line across 1,124 plate appearances from 2016-17.

    While there have been questions about Realmuto’s defense (his reviews as a pitch framer have been mixed), both his bat and long-term affordability combine to make him extremely valuable, which has led to offseason interest from contenders such as the Astros and Nationals. Realmuto is set to play his first of three potential arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018, during which he’ll make a relatively modest $2.9MM.

    ]]>
    153
    Jake Odorizzi, Collin McHugh Reportedly Drawing Trade Interest https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/jake-odorizzi-collin-mchugh-rays-astros-trade-interest-rumors.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/jake-odorizzi-collin-mchugh-rays-astros-trade-interest-rumors.html#comments Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:38:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114268 Starters Jake Odorizzi of the Rays and Collin McHugh of the Astros continue to draw trade interest, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes, though he adds that neither is evidently close to being dealt.

    With all the top free agent starters still unsigned, some teams are surely still waiting to see whether they can land a bigger fish before turning to these sturdy hurlers. Still, both are certainly accomplished enough to believe that they could be targeted as more than mere fallback options.

    Odorizzi has not even yet turned 28 but already has compiled 705 1/3 innings of 3.83 ERA pitching in his career. On the other hand, he’s coming off of a homer-prone season in which he surrendered a personal-high 4.14 earned runs per nine. McHugh, 30, posted strong results last year after a somewhat tepid 2016 effort, but only after missing a major chunk of the season due to injury. He ended up posting a 3.55 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 63 1/3 frames over a dozen starts.

    Importantly, both Odorizzi and McHugh are still playing out their final two seasons of arbitration eligibility, making for a favorable financial situation. Their 2018 salaries remain unresolved, but neither will break the bank. As MLBTR’s 2018 MLB Arbitration Tracker shows, the former will play for somewhere at or between $6.3MM and $6.05MM while the latter will land in the range of $5MM and $4.55MM. In both cases, there’s no commitment for 2019; potential acquirers will no doubt value the chance to pick up what’s effectively a floating-price option for an added campaign.

    All things considered, it seems clear that there’s excess value in the rights to each player. Just how much — and how much it’ll fetch on the trade market — is an open question. As Rosenthal notes, both teams are looking for something in return in dangling these established starters.

    At the same time, of course, the Rays and ’Stros have reasons to move the players in question, largely due to the presence of other pitchers. In that regard, their availability has long been evident. Tampa Bay has long been said to be looking for ways to trim payroll and reallocate some resources; Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a few days ago that a trade is almost inevitable to take place at some point. In Houston’s case, the club simply doesn’t have an open rotation spot after dealing for Gerrit Cole earlier in the offseason.

    Rosenthal pegs the Orioles as a team with interest in Odorizzi and perhaps also McHugh. That’s not surprising, as Baltimore continues to hunt for multiple starters. The Twins have long been tied to Odorizzi, and Rosenthal suggests that remains the case. Previously, too, the Nationals have been connected to Odorizzi.

    It’s not difficult to imagine quite a few other organizations having interest in both of these starters, particularly when one considers what it might cost to acquire free agents such as Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and Andrew Cashner. Certainly, the ongoing availability of Odorizzi and McHugh could continue to weigh down interest in those open-market options to some extent.

    There are other plausible trade candidates that could factor in the overall picture, it’s worth bearing in mind. Beyond top targets such as Odorizzi’s teammate, Chris Archer, organizations looking for solid but affordable rotation pieces could try to acquire hurlers such as Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks, Dan Straily of the Marlins, or Danny Salazar of the Indians.

    ]]>
    99
    Astros Sign George Springer To Two-Year Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-george-springer-extension-two-years.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-george-springer-extension-two-years.html#comments Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:15:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114053 11:15:am: The Astros have announced the signing.

    8:48am: The Astros have agreed to a two-year, $24MM contract with outfielder George Springer, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Springer, a Super Two player who was in his second trip through the arbitration process, will earn $12MM in each year of the deal. Springer is represented by the Legacy Agency.

    George Springer | Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Springer and the Astros had yet to resolve their arbitration case and were scheduled to head to a hearing this month. He’d filed for a $10.5MM salary, while Houston had countered with a figure of $8.5MM (as shown in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker). Instead, the two-year pact will buy out Springer’s second and third years of arbitration eligibility, though he’ll have one remaining year of arbitration left upon completion of this deal given the aforementioned Super Two status.

    The 28-year-old Springer is coming off the finest season of his big league career to date, having posted a sensational .283/.367/.522 batting line with 34 homers and 29 doubles through 629 plate appearances. Springer logged a career-high 643 innings in center field this past season and graded well there per both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, although those two metrics, which are usually bullish on his corner-outfield work, didn’t regard his defense in right field very favorably in 2017. (With Josh Reddick, Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez all in the mix for corner outfield time in 2018, Springer figures to once again spend more time in center field than in right field this coming season.)

    Overall, Springer was a driving force not only behind the Astros’ romp of the American League West but the team’s first World Series championship in franchise history. Springer went 7-for-17 with a homer, two doubles and two walks in 19 ALDS plate appearances, and after an ice-cold ALCS showing against the Yankees, he laid waste to Dodgers pitching in the World Series en route to MVP honors. Springer belted five homers in seven games and hit .379/.471/1.000 through 34 PAs in the Fall Classic.

    Now that Springer has agreed to a two-year deal and Ken Giles has won his arbitration hearing, the Astros’ lone remaining arbitration case if that of Collin McHugh. The right-hander filed for a $5MM salary for the upcoming season, while the Astros countered with a $4.55MM sum.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    ]]>
    86
    Ken Giles Wins Arbitration Case Over Astros https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/ken-giles-wins-arbitration-case-over-astros.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/ken-giles-wins-arbitration-case-over-astros.html#comments Sat, 03 Feb 2018 18:38:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113946 Reliever Ken Giles has won his arbitration case against the Astros, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweets. The Astros filed at $4.2MM, but Giles will take home the $4.6MM that he and his agent filed for instead. That salary falls $400K shy of the $5MM projected by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz, and represents a raise of about $4MM in his first trip through the arbitration process.

    Though a bad taste may still linger in the mouths of Astros fans due to Giles’ poor postseason performance (11.74 ERA with 5 walks and 3 homers allowed in 7 2/3 innings), the fact remains that Houston’s 27-year-old closer has posted some eye-popping numbers across his first four seasons in the big leagues. Among qualifying relief pitchers, the right-hander ranks 7th in xFIP, 10th in K/9, 13th in ERA, and 16th in Win Probability Added since the start of the 2014 campaign. His 65 saves probably figured into his arbitration win as well.

    Giles was drafted by the Phillies back in 2011. The righty made his big-league debut on June 12th of 2014, allowing a home run to the first major-league hitter he faced but striking out the next in a game the Phillies would eventually win over the Padres. Following the 2015 season, the Astros acquired him (along with shortstop Jonathan Arauz) in a trade that brought back former number one overall pick Mark Appel, Vince Velasquez and three others. Since coming to Houston, Giles has struck out nearly 13 batters per nine innings thanks in part to a fastball that’s averaged a whopping 98.3 MPH during that time.

    ]]>
    50
    Astros, Giles Have Arbitration Hearing Today https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-rumors-ken-giles-arbitration-mariners-farm-system.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/astros-rumors-ken-giles-arbitration-mariners-farm-system.html#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 19:16:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113795 The Astros’ arbitration hearing with right-hander Ken Giles is taking place today in Phoenix, reports Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The team submitted a $4.2MM salary figure for Giles, who countered with a $4.6MM proposal. While the $400K difference between those sums will likely seem trivial to most fans, it’s worth remembering that the salary set today will impact the raises that Giles receives in his next two trips through the arb process. Furthermore, teams are ever cognizant of not inflating the future arbitration market by making too many concessions and often feel a responsibility to take a firm negotiation stance. I spoke with a few different assistant GMs and GMs on the matter a few years back in a lengthier exploration of arbitration from the team vantage point, for those interested in some of the intricacies of the process.

    ]]>
    40
    Mark Appel Stepping Away From Baseball https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/mark-appel-stepping-away-from-baseball.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/mark-appel-stepping-away-from-baseball.html#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:53:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113791 In a candid, must-read interview with Bleacher Report’s Joon Lee, former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel reveals that he’s stepping away from professional baseball at the age of 26. Appel didn’t use the word “retirement” and suggested that perhaps, somewhere down the line, he’d give baseball another shot. However, for the time being, he won’t be reporting to Spring Training with the Phillies (who will retain his rights, tweets Matt Gelb of The Athletic).

    “I’m 26, I have a Stanford degree, I have many interests beyond baseball, which I still love, but I have a lot of things I care about,” Appel tells Lee. “I enjoy challenging my mind. My last four years in baseball have challenged my mind.”

    Appel, clearly, has dealt with his share of disappointment in professional baseball. The former Stanford ace was twice projected to be the top overall pick in the draft, falling to the Pirates at No. 8 in 2012 and then ultimately being selected No. 1 overall by Houston the following year after returning to Stanford for his senior season. As Joon explores in detail, Appel posted respectable numbers in his debut season but never really hit his stride after the fact, struggling through injuries and oftentimes inexplicable ineffectiveness from 2014-17.

    Appel bluntly states that he was “maybe the worst pitcher in professional baseball” in 2014 and recalls a story where, after arguably the worst start of his career, frustration boiled over to the point that he destroyed a particle-board panel in the clubhouse by throwing upwards of 80 baseballs through it. (Appel purchased supplies to repair the damages at Home Depot out of his own pocket and handled the project himself the following day.) The right-hander obviously feels some disappointment about never reaching the Majors and says he would “absolutely” have loved to be pitching in the World Series alongside his friends and former Astros teammates.

    As Lee points out, if Appel never makes the decision to return to pro ball, he’d become just the third No. 1 overall pick ever to retire without logging a single game in the Majors. Appel is aware of that unflattering context but seems to be at peace with the fact.

    “I had high expectations,” says Appel, who is still rehabbing from his 2017 shoulder troubles. “I didn’t live up to those for a number of reasons. If you want to call me the biggest draft bust, you can call it that. … If I never get to the big leagues, will it be a disappointment? Yes and no. That was a goal and a dream I had at one point, but that’s with stipulations that I’m healthy, I’m happy and doing something I love. If I get to the big leagues, what’s so great about the big leagues if you’re in an isolated place, you’re hurt and you’re emotionally unhappy? How much is that worth to you?”

    For the time being, Appel says he’s planning on pursuing an internship and attending business school, perhaps at Stanford but also with several other prospective universities in mind. He speaks with a certain level of excitement about the opportunity to spend more time with friends and family, as well as the possibility of traveling. Perhaps most important of all, Appel sounds like a man with an unexpected and impressive level of perspective on the struggles he’s had in professional baseball: “Some people have real struggles. I played baseball. I thought I was going to be great, and I wasn’t.”

    ]]>
    115
    Jon Singleton Receives 100-Game Suspension https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/jon-singleton-receives-100-game-suspension.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/jon-singleton-receives-100-game-suspension.html#comments Tue, 23 Jan 2018 22:22:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113145 Astros minor league first baseman Jon Singleton has received a 100-game suspension after a third positive test for a drug of abuse, the league announced today. Right-hander Dean Deetz, also in the Astros system, has received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance (dehydrochlormethyltestosterone). As Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets, Deetz is ranked 22nd on BA’s unreleased ranking of the Astros’ top 30 prospects.

    It’s been nearly four years since the Astros signed the now-26-year-old Singleton to a five-year, $10MM contract extension before the former top prospect had played a single day in the Majors. Singleton, viewed as a potential everyday first baseman at that point, was widely panned for selling himself short, though it now looks as if he made the correct call in taking the money when presented with the opportunity.

    Singleton was called up to the Majors immediately upon signing the deal and homered in his big league debut, but that highlight proved to be one of the few he’d experience in the big leagues. The slugger went on to hit .168/.285/.335 with 13 homers in 362 plate appearances as a rookie, and he’s tallied just 58 plate appearances in the Majors since.

    Singleton spent the 2016 season in Triple-A and the 2017 season back in Double-A, narrowly keeping his average above the Mendoza Line but still showing some pop and a penchant for drawing walks. Singleton is owed $2MM on that contract in 2018, though, he will not be paid during the 100-game term of his suspension. Houston had already outrighted Singleton in the 2016-17 offseason, so his suspension won’t free up a spot on the 40-man roster.

    Deetz, 24, was Houston’s 11th-round pick back in 2011. He appeared in 25 games between the Astros’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last season, totaling 84 2/3 innings with a 4.25 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in that time. Unlike Singleton, he was on the Astros’ 40-man roster, so his placement on the restricted list will create an opening for Houston. Deetz has formally issued a statement denying any knowing use of a PED:

    “Let me say first and foremost that I have never knowingly taken a performance enhancing substance of any kind. I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity, or betray those who have supported me along the way, by trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage. As I explained to the arbitrator in my appeal, I have no idea how I could possibly have tested positive and although I am disappointed with the outcome, I will abide by his decision. I would like to apologize to my family, friends, the Houston Astros organization, coaches teammates and fans that have been impacted by this situation. I will continue working diligently to clear my name and, in the meantime, rebuild the trust of those who have been affected by this result.”

    ]]>
    150
    Astros Claim Buddy Boshers https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-claim-buddy-boshers-waivers-twins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-claim-buddy-boshers-waivers-twins.html#comments Mon, 22 Jan 2018 20:08:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113070 The Astros have claimed left-handed reliever Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins, per a team announcement from Houston. Boshers was designated for assignment by the Twins in order to clear a roster spot for Addison Reed. Boshers pushes Houston’s 40-man roster up to a count of 39.

    Set to turn 30 in May, Boshers parlayed a minor league deal with the Twins in the 2015-16 offseason into 71 innings of work and more than a year of service at the big league level. In parts of his two seasons with Minnesota, the southpaw turned in a 4.56 ERA. Boshers impressed with an 8.2 K/9 rate against 2.2 BB/9, but he’s also been somewhat homer-prone (1.3 HR/9). He’s also been clobbered by right-handed opponents in that time; while Boshers limited lefties to a lowly .231/.262/.345 batting line through 122 plate appearances, righties knocked him around at a .268/.330/.485 clip in 183 PAs.

    He’ll add some much-needed depth to the Astros from the left side, as Tony Sipp currently projects to be the only southpaw in Houston’s big league bullpen. Boshers has a minor league option remaining, so the Astros can freely send him to the minors even if he doesn’t break camp with the club. Other options on the 40-man include outfielder-turned-pitcher Anthony Gose (a Rule 5 pick) and Reymin Guduan.

    Certainly, there’s room for the Astros to further strengthen this area either on the trade or free-agent market before Opening Day. Tony Watson is the top lefty reliever remaining on the free-agent market, and he’s joined by the likes of Jorge De La Rosa, Fernando Abad, Xavier Cedeno and Kevin Siegrist (among others), as can be seen in MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker.

    ]]>
    19
    MLBTR Poll: Grading The Gerrit Cole Swap https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/mlbtr-poll-grading-the-gerrit-cole-swap.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/mlbtr-poll-grading-the-gerrit-cole-swap.html#comments Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:25:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112627 Gerrit Cole is a highly visible player — a former first overall pick who landed fourth in the National League Cy Young vote in 2015 — so it’s natural there will be strong opinions about the return he drew in the recent swap between the Pirates and Astros. We have already seen a variety of industry opinions pour in (see here, here, here, and here), but I thought it’d be worth taking the temperature of the MLBTR readership.

    There’s little reason to full describe the elements of the agreement. (MLBTR’s Conny Byrne discussed all relevant elements in detail in his post on the Cole trade.) But here’s a brief account for purposes of facilitating today’s poll:

    Astros receive:

    • 2 years of control over SP Gerrit Cole ($6.75MM for 2018; arbitration for 2019) — following aforementioned 2015 season, Cole was limited by injury in 2016 and pitched to a 4.26 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in a healthy 2017 season

    Pirates receive:

    • 4 years of control over RP Michael Feliz — carries 5.13 ERA (allowing 1.5 HR/9) through 121 MLB innings, but has averaged 12.8 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9
    • 5 years of control over SP/RP Joe Musgrove — former first-round pick has been tagged for a .288/.339/.506 slash and 5.37 ERA over 25 MLB starts, but worked to a 1.26 ERA with 39:6 K/BB ratio in 35 2/3 innings last year after moving to the bullpen
    • 6 years of control over 3B Colin Moran — former sixth overall draft pick slashed .308/.373/.543 with 18 home runs in 338 plate appearances at Triple-A last year, but has yet to receive significant time in the majors
    • 6 years of control over OF Jason Martin — 22-year-old reached Double-A for first time in 2017, slashing .273/.319/.483 with 11 home runs in 320 plate appearances

    Since there are two teams involved with their own set of needs, we’ll ask for grades from each organization’s perspective. For Pittsburgh, clearly, the move was designed to add multiple assets that can deliver value over a longer time frame. If even one of these players really succeeds, it could end up standing as a win. Also of note: the Bucs are said to have passed up a chance at gaining one higher-grade prospect (Clint Frazier of the Yankees) in order to add several contributors.

    (Poll link for app users.)

    On the Houston side, it’s all the more clear. The team resisted parting with its own blue-chip prospects, but gave a variety of useful pieces up to acquire just two seasons of Cole. If one views him as even a quality and durable mid-rotation starter, and does not think the assets parted with will come back to haunt the ’Stros, then this could be seen as a bargain. On the other hand, there are some questions surrounding Cole and it is not difficult to imagine one or more of the more controllable assets sent to Pittsburgh delivering greater value than will Cole’s final two arb years.

    (Poll link for app users.)

    ]]>
    129
    More Reaction & Fallout To The Gerrit Cole Trade https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/more-reaction-fallout-to-the-gerrit-cole-trade.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/more-reaction-fallout-to-the-gerrit-cole-trade.html#comments Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:26:56 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112544 The Astros and Pirates swung a major trade yesterday, with the World Series champions acquiring Gerrit Cole in exchange for a package of four players (Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, Jason Martin).  We’ve already published one batch of reactions to the deal, and now here are some additional details about the trade talks and further analysis about what this deal means for Houston, Pittsburgh, and other clubs…

    • The Astros were able to land Cole without giving up any of their top prospects, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Houston wasn’t willing to offer Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, or Yordan Alvarez.  Musgrove and Moran were seen as the top two pieces of the trade by the Pirates, and they pulled the trigger on the deal since Pittsburgh felt no other team was offering two top prospects of better quality in exchange for Cole.  Musgrove, Feliz, and Moran give the Bucs 15 years of controllable talent, which was also a factor in their decision.
    • Also from Crasnick, the Yankees were willing to include one of Clint Frazier or Chance Adams in a potential Cole trade, but not both.  New York was also intent on holding onto its top minor leaguers, as Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Justus Sheffield, and Estevan Florial were considered off-limits in trade talks.
    • The Yankees’ unwillingness to move its best prospects could be due to a belief that Yu Darvish could be signed for a “reasonable” price, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes.  This could be a contract in the range of five years and $80MM-90MM, which would represent a stunning discount from the six-year, $160MM deal MLBTR predicted for Darvish at the start of the offseason.  Even with the unprecedentedly slow nature of this winter’s free agent market, it’s hard to believe Darvish would settle for such a relatively small deal, especially with at least five other teams known to be vying for his services.  Harper also notes that even a five-year/$80MM pact would put the Yankees over the luxury tax limit, unless they were to move another big contract to create payroll space.
    • The Pirates’ return was “more one of quantity than of impact,” ESPN.com’s Keith Law writes, though Cole may only be “a soft upgrade” for the Astros rotation if he replicates his 2017 numbers.  Law feels that Cole’s 2016-17 performance curtailed some of his trade value, and while Houston is obviously hoping that Cole returns to his 2015 form, the trade also could’ve been a way of keeping him away from a chief AL rival like the Yankees.
    ]]>
    164
    Reactions To The Gerrit Cole Trade https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/reactions-to-the-gerrit-cole-trade.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/reactions-to-the-gerrit-cole-trade.html#comments Sun, 14 Jan 2018 02:16:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112498 The baseball world is still reeling from the big news earlier today regarding the Astros’ acquisition of Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Here are a few of the early takes…

    • What better place to start the Cole reactions than with that of Cole himself? The right-hander seems to be incredibly excited to join his new organization. “I’m ecstatic. I got the phone call not too long ago and I was shocked. I couldn’t have been more happy. I’m familiar with a few people on the organization and the team,” Cole said to reporters (hat tip to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart). Cole also used the words “flat-out elated” to describe the “unbelievable opportunity” (via Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In addition to his giddiness over his trade to the Astros, Cole also spoke highly of the Pirates organization and expressed a fondness for his years with the team.
    • Cole isn’t the only player expressing excitement about the trade, however. Many of his new teammates have reacted strongly on social media as well. New rotation mate Justin Verlander wrote a tweet with the hashtag #backtoback, while Alex Bregman simply tweeted a gif of himself screaming.
    • Grant Brisbee of sbnation.com notes that although the Astros are young and unburdened by large contracts, the team may have acquired Cole in part because they need to consider their window. Brisbee argues that “there isn’t a team in baseball that knows with metaphysical certitude how they’ll look in three years,” so it was beneficial for Houston to act now in order to create a superteam for 2018. While the notion that Cole’s presence makes the Astros a superteam is debatable, he notes that he may just be one of the best pitchers in baseball if last year’s spike in homers allowed turns out to be a fluke.
    • Pirates GM Neal Huntington describes the trade as “the balance of immediate and moderate and longer-term.” (hat tip to Liz Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). “We felt this was the right move to get these players that are major-league ready with 15 years contribution combined,” Huntington adds.
    • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow offers a timeline of events in reference to his team’s talks with the Pirates about Cole, via Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. Apparently, the two teams were in discussions about the righty as early as last July, but talks were shelved after they couldn’t reach an agreement. During the winter meetings, however, discussions picked up steam again, and after that the teams talked at least once a week until a deal was ultimately agreed upon this morning.
    ]]>
    109
    Astros Acquire Gerrit Cole https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-to-acquire-gerrit-cole-2.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-to-acquire-gerrit-cole-2.html#comments Sun, 14 Jan 2018 00:05:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112469 The Astros have acquired right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates for righties Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin, according to announcements from both teams.

    MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

    Houston and Pittsburgh nearly reached an agreement on a Cole trade earlier this week, but reports of a done deal proved premature. The two sides continued to negotiate, however, and have now come together on one of the most noteworthy trades of the offseason. Cole is the second potential front-end starter the Astros have acquired since last August, when they landed longtime Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who ultimately helped pitch them to their first-ever World Series title a couple months later.

    With Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh among their starters on hand, the Astros didn’t exactly have a desperate need for Cole heading into next season. But adding Cole should nonetheless increase their chances to finish atop the major league mountain again in 2018, and with two years of team control remaining, he figures to help their cause through 2019. Neither Keuchel nor Morton is under contract past 2018, which helps explains why the Astros have been in on Cole and other high-end starters this offseason. The Astros’ addition of Cole should affect top free agents like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, both of whom have been on their radar this winter, as it seems to remove a potential suitor for them.

    Cole, who settled on a $6.75MM salary for his penultimate year of arbitration control on Friday, is coming off a somewhat disappointing season. Although the 27-year-old racked up 203 innings and continued to serve as one of the majors’ hardest-throwing starters, a bloated home run-to-fly ball rate (15.9 percent, well above his career figure of 10.0) helped lead to a personal-worst 4.26 ERA/4.08 FIP.

    Given his down 2017, the Pirates weren’t in position to sell high on Cole. However, as a Scott Boras client nearing free agency, the low-payroll club knew its chances to extend him weren’t good. Consequently, the Bucs shopped Cole around the league – including to the Yankees, Twins and Cubs – before sending him to the Astros. Cole had been with the Pirates since they selected him first overall in the 2011 draft, and he looked like an ace with them at times after debuting in 2013. All told, Cole registered a 3.50 ERA/3.27 FIP with 8.44 K/9, 2.34 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent groundball rate across 782 1/3 innings in Pittsburgh.

    Parting with Cole could begin a rebuild for the Pirates, who finished under .500 for the second straight year in 2017. However, acquiring three major league-ready players for him in Musgrove, Moran and Feliz may also help them compete next season. The headliner is arguably the 25-year-old Musgrove, a former top 100 prospect who has worked as both a starter and reliever since debuting in 2016. While Musgrove scuffled as a starter last season, he was utterly dominant in his first big league action out of the bullpen. Moving to a relief role enabled Musgrove to ramp up his velocity, and it helped lead to a 1.44 ERA with just under nine strikeouts per nine and a paltry 1.44 BB/9 across 31 1/3 innings. It’s unclear whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever going forward, but with five years of control, the Pirates will have time to find an ideal role for him.

    Moran was a first-round pick of the Marlins in 2013 who topped out as Baseball America’s 61st-ranked prospect after that season, though he hasn’t seen much action in the majors to this point (37 plate appearances). And with the emergence of third baseman Alex Bregman, there simply wasn’t a path to playing time in Houston. The 25-year-old Moran held his own in 2017 at Triple-A – his second season at that level – with a .308/.373/.543 line in 338 PAs. Moran ranked as the Astros’ fifth-best prospect prior to the trade, according to MLB.com, which lauds “his pure left-handed swing and his ability to barrel balls easily while controlling the strike zone.” Defensively, Moran has the hands and arm to handle third, though he lacks range, per MLB.com.

    Feliz, 24, amassed significant experience out of the Astros’ bullpen over the previous two seasons, during which he combined to make 98 appearances and throw 121 innings. While Feliz brought high-90s heat, posted a sky-high 13.14 K/9 and a passable 3.5 BB/9 along the way, he only managed a 4.94 ERA – owing in part to a low groundball percentage (37.1 percent) and a lofty home run-to-fly ball rate (16.5 percent). ERA indicators have been bullish on Feliz, who owns a career 3.67 FIP and 3.17 xFIP. He comes with four years of control, including his final pre-arbitration season in 2018.

    Martin, an eighth-round pick in 2013, brings the least fanfare of anyone in this trade, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noting on Twitter that he may end up as a reserve outfielder down the line. MLB.com agrees that he won’t turn into a regular option in the corner outfield, though it rated Martin 15th in Houston’s system and suggested he has a chance to develop into a starting center fielder. The 22-year-old spent most of last season in Double-A, where he slashed .273/.319/.483 in 320 PAs.

    Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported the Astros would acquire Cole, and he added that the Pirates would receive Musgrove and Moran. Jon Heyman of FanRag reported the Pirates would get four total players. Rosenthal reported that Feliz and Martin were in the deal (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    ]]>
    381
    Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/arbitration-updates-11318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/arbitration-updates-11318.html#comments Sat, 13 Jan 2018 22:22:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112430 Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

    • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
    • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
    • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
    • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
    • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
    • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
    • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
    ]]>
    6
    Jeff Luhnow: "We're In A Good Spot Because We Don't Have To Do Anything" https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/al-notes-herrera-royals-astros-twins-rodney.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/al-notes-herrera-royals-astros-twins-rodney.html#comments Sat, 13 Jan 2018 21:11:31 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112453
  • Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters Saturday that he’s “very happy” with his current roster, one he thinks is capable of winning a second straight championship in 2018, and added that “we’re in a good spot because we don’t have to do anything.” Luhnow also noted that, although things have been slow to develop across the majors this offseason, free agents and possible trade acquisitions who would improve the Astros would still require “a significant investment.” It seemed earlier this week that Luhnow was set to make such an investment in Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole, but a deal still hasn’t materialized. Luhnow has addressed the Astros pitching in other ways this offseason, though, having added Joe Smith and Hector Rondon to their bullpen (Twitter video via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com).
  • ]]>
    31
    Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/unresolved-2018-arbitration-cases.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/unresolved-2018-arbitration-cases.html#comments Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:02:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112362 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.)

    ]]>
    60
    Astros Avoid Arbitration With Dallas Keuchel https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-avoid-arbitration-with-dallas-keuchel-2.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/astros-avoid-arbitration-with-dallas-keuchel-2.html#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:57:39 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112349 The Astros have settled with starter Dallas Keuchel, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle first tweeted. Keuchel will earn $13.2MM, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).

    Notably, the Astros have not been able to work out agreements wit a few other important players. Outfielder George Springer, reliever Ken Giles, and starter Collin McHugh will file figures, Kaplan tweets, though of course it’s still possible they will settle before going to a hearing.

    Keuchel, 30, posted a strong 2.90 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 on the year in 2017, though he was limited by injury to 145 2/3 innings. That tamped down on his earning power somewhat, though Keuchel still earns a healthy raise on his $9.15MM salary from 2017. He had been projected to earn $12.6MM by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz, but tops that figure by $600K.

    As things stand, this’ll be Keuchel’s final season in Houston. He’ll hit the open market after the 2018 campaign unless the sides are able to work out a longer-term agreement at some point.

    ]]>
    17
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/players-avoiding-arbitration-american-league.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/players-avoiding-arbitration-american-league.html#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:00:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112296 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 salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility. MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection), MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    ]]>
    10