Houston Astros – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-23T17:52:33Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Acquire Cionel Perez From Astros]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=349992 2021-01-23T17:41:54Z 2021-01-23T17:20:52Z The Reds have acquired left-hander Cionel Perez in a trade with the Astros, as officially announced on the Reds’ Twitter feed.  Houston will pick up minor league catcher Luke Berryhill in their end of the swap.

The move opens up a 40-man roster spot for the Astros, so the Michael Brantley signing could be officially announced at any moment.  For the second time in two days, the Reds picked up a reliever from a team looking to clear a 40-man spot, after Cincinnati acquired Hector Perez from the Blue Jays so Toronto could accommodate George Springer (whose deal is now official) on the roster.

Perez, 24, has pitched in each of the last three seasons, amassing a 5.74 ERA, 23.1K% and 10.3K-BB% over 26 2/3 career innings as a big leaguer.  Armed with a mid-90s fastball, Perez misses his fair share of bats but control has been an issue — particularly in 2020, when he issued six walks in just 6 1/3 innings of work.  He was a fairly high-profile international signing out of Cuba back in December 2016, but didn’t get much of a consistent look in Houston, as the Astros frequently shuttled Perez back and forth between their active roster and Triple-A (or to the alternate training site, in 2020).

While a small sample size, Perez has been significantly better against left-handed batters (.630 OPS in 39 PA) over his MLB career than against righty swingers (.825 OPS in 78 PA).  The three-batter rule will prevent the Reds from utilizing him as a true lefty specialist, but he does provide some southpaw depth for a Cincinnati team that is heavy in right-handed pitching.  Amir Garrett is the only other left-handed reliever on the Reds’ 40-man roster, so opportunity exists for Perez to win a job in Spring Training.

The Reds selected Berryhill in the 13th round of the 2019 draft.  A product of the University of South Carolina, Berryhill’s professional career thus far consists of only 32 Rookie League plate appearances in 2019, as the minor league shutdown last season kept Berryhill off the field.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[James Click On Rest Of Astros' Offseason]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=349472 2021-01-23T03:02:31Z 2021-01-23T02:15:04Z
  • Speaking with reporters Friday, Astros GM James Click suggested the team doesn’t expect to be that aggressive for the rest of the offseason, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets. The Astros agreed to re-sign outfielder Michael Brantley and reunited with catcher Jason Castro this week, but their roster took a hit with the loss of outfielder George Springer to the Blue Jays. Otherwise, the bullpen has come up as a potential area of the need for the team (it did address it by signing Ryne Stanek and Pedro Baez in free agency), but the Astros don’t necessarily feel a sense of urgency to address it further. It’s possible they will enter 2021 without someone who has extensive experience as a closer, per Click (via McTaggart).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Designate Humberto Castellanos]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=349411 2021-01-23T01:07:42Z 2021-01-23T00:51:07Z The Astros have designated right-hander Humberto Castellanos for assignment, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The move cleared space for just-signed catcher Jason Castro.

    Castellanos joined the Astros as a July 2 signing from Mexico in 2015. He debuted in rookie ball the next year and eventually climbed up the minor league ladder to the majors. Castellanos has pitched to an impressive 2.92 ERA in 216 minor league innings, also adding 205 strikeouts against just 46 walks.

    Unfortunately for Castellanos, the 22-year-old’s initial taste of MLB action last season didn’t go well. He yielded eight earned runs on 12 hits (including two homers) and five walks in 10 2/3 innings, though he did post 12 strikeouts.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Sign Jason Castro]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=347744 2021-01-22T23:08:07Z 2021-01-22T23:07:47Z JAN. 22: The Astros have announced the signing.

    JAN. 21, 8:42am: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the contract will guarantee Castro a total of $7MM. Castro can earn up to an additional $2MM based on time spent behind the plate in 2021, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

    8:25am: Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that Castro’s contract is actually a two-year deal.

    8:01am: The Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent backstop Jason Castro, Ken Rosenthal and Jake Kaplan of The Athletic report (via Twitter). The ISE Baseball client’s contract is pending a physical.

    Jason Castro | Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    The two sides were originally reported to be in talks late in December, but those negotiations slowed as Castro continued to survey the market. Along the way, the Cubs and the Tigers (managed by Castro’s former skipper, A.J. Hinch) emerged as potential alternatives. Now, however, a physical is all that stands in the way between Castro and a return to the organization that originally selected him with the No. 10 overall draft pick out of Stanford back in 2008.

    Castro, 33, has been away from the Astros for four seasons — most of that time spent with the Twins organization. Minnesota signed Castro to a three-year, $24.5MM contract after the 2017 season due largely to his superlative pitch-framing skills and his knack for drawing walks at the plate. He had a solid 2017 season as the Twins’ primary backstop but missed nearly all of the 2018 campaign due to meniscus surgery. He returned in 2019 to have another productive year while splitting time evenly with breakout catcher Mitch Garver.

    That strong showing from Garver in ’19 likely convinced the Twins they could move on, and Castro landed in Anaheim on a one-year deal with the Angels. He struggled at the plate in a tiny sample of 92 plate appearances between the Angels and the Padres, who acquired him prior to the Aug. 31 trade deadline this past summer.

    All in all, Castro has batted .224/.322/.389 in 848 plate appearances since leaving the Astros — numbers that fall roughly in line with his career .230/.312/.390 batting line. He’s unlikely to ever hit for a high average due to his strikeout tendencies, but Castro has a career 10.1 percent walk rate (11.7 percent over the past four years) and has a bit of pop in his bat (.164 ISO, 26 homers, 43 doubles from 2017-20).

    Defensive aptitude has been the driving factor behind Castro’s value in the market, though he’s been closer to average with the glove as he’s moved into his mid-30s and had to deal with the effects of that 2018 knee surgery. Castro has been just about average in terms of throwing out base thieves in the four years since leaving Houston, but his framing numbers have dropped off a bit, more recently, he’s struggled with regard to blocking pitches in the dirt. Of course, it’s also possible that as he further distances himself from that knee operation, he’ll regain some of his prior form.

    In his return to Houston, Castro figures to pair with the right-handed-hitting Martin Maldonado behind the dish, giving manager Dusty Baker the opportunity to play matchups with a pair of solid defenders. Kaplan tweets that a straight platoon isn’t likely — Maldonado will start more often — although at least from an offensive standpoint, such an idea wouldn’t be a bad one. Castro is a career .195/.262/.291 hitter against lefties but a much-improved .242/.328/.421 hitter against righties. Maldonado, meanwhile, carries a 33-point gap in his OPS against lefties over righties (and a nine-point gap in his wRC+). He’s just a .213/.288/.353 career hitter against righties.

    Houston may not generate huge offensive output from its pair of backstops. That’s true of most clubs throughout the league, however, and most pairings don’t have the sound defensive track records that both Castro and Maldonado possess. Besides — catchers, on the whole, have been about 10 to 15 percent worse than a league-average hitter over the past four years, so the ’Stros can certainly live with the level of offense provided by Castro and Maldonado if both play defense at their typically steady levels.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[George Springer Notes: Astros, Mets, Braves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=347966 2021-01-22T04:59:02Z 2021-01-22T04:59:53Z Outfielder George Springer, arguably the premier position player on this winter’s open market, came off the free-agent board when he agreed to a six-year, $150MM contract with the Blue Jays earlier this week. Unsurprisingly, though, other teams made a serious push to sign the three-time All-Star. The Astros were not one of those clubs, however, as Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle suggests they made no real attempt to re-sign Springer after he turned down their $18.9MM qualifying offer.

    The Mets, who were considered one of the front-runners to ink Springer during his stay on the market, offered a six-year deal worth $120MM to $125MM, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Springer would have made for yet another significant addition under new owner Steve Cohen, who has already overseen the acquisitions of Francisco Lindor, James McCann, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor May in the past couple months.

    Whether the Mets will continue shopping for a starting-caliber outfielder after falling short in the Springer derby remains to be seen, as they already have Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith as their top three right now. But Marcell Ozuna, who received interest from the Mets earlier this winter, remains available in free agency. The Mets have also discussed third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant with the Cubs, while Jackie Bradley Jr. leads the remaining class of free-agent center fielders in the wake of the Springer deal.

    One of the Mets’ NL East rivals – Atlanta – also vied for Springer, who would have replaced Ozuna in its outfield. The Braves were “in on Springer until the end,” David O’Brien of The Athletic writes. Ultimately, though, the Braves were unwilling to go to the lengths the Jays did to sign Springer. Indeed, it would have been out of the norm for general manager Alex Anthopoulos to make that type of commitment to a free agent, even though the Braves could use another established star in their outfield to team with Ronald Acuna Jr.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Carlos Correa: "I Would Love To Be An Astro For Life"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=348028 2021-01-22T03:51:27Z 2021-01-22T03:32:02Z The Astros suffered a major loss in free agency this week with the departure of outfielder George Springer, who agreed to sign with the Blue Jays. Next winter, they could see shortstop Carlos Correa follow Springer in exiting on the open market, though the 26-year-old told Astroline Radio (h/t: Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle) that he prefers to stick with the franchise for the long haul. “I love this organization. I love the Astros. I would love to be an Astro for life,” the one-time All-Star and former AL Rookie of the Year said. “I hope they’re on the same side I am. If they’re on the same side, I would love to be an Astro for the rest of my life.” For now, Correa and the Astros are gearing up for an arbitration hearing (he filed for a $12.5MM salary; they filed for $9.75MM), but he understands “it’s a business and you have to leave your feelings out of it.”

    • The Tigers have shown interest in free-agent utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. Signing with Detroit would reunite Gonzalez with new manager A.J. Hinch, who was the Astros’ skipper during part of Gonzalez’s time in Houston. Gonzalez had his best year in 2017 under Hinch, which was also a World Series-winning campaign for the Astros. The success Gonzalez had as an Astro led the Twins to sign him to a two-year, $21MM contract going into 2019, but the club didn’t get great value from that investment. The switch-hitting 31-year-old batted an underwhelming .248/.311/.387 in 662 plate appearances with Minnesota, though he did continue to provide defensive versatility. He saw at least some action at first, second, third, short and both outfield positions as a Twin.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros To Re-Sign Michael Brantley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=346809 2021-01-21T06:17:31Z 2021-01-21T06:17:55Z 3:34pm: It’s a done deal, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

    3:05pm: The Astros have reached a two-year, $32MM agreement with free-agent outfielder Michael Brantley, Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports. Brantley is a client of Excel Sports Management.

    That Brantley is returning to Houston is stunning, as just hours ago it appeared he would join friend and former Astros outfielder George Springer in Toronto. However, in the wake of reports suggesting Brantley would head north, a Toronto official shot down the notion that the club had a deal with him. The Blue Jays did indeed have interest in the 33-year-old Brantley, but they couldn’t close the deal for reasons that aren’t yet known. As a result, it appears Brantley will spend a third consecutive season with the Astros.

    This is the second straight two-year, $32MM contract Brantley, formerly with Cleveland, has inked with Houston. The previous deal worked out for both sides, as Brantley earned his fourth All-Star nod in 2019 and has combined for a stellar .309/.370/.497 line with 27 home runs over 824 plate appearances during his run with the Astros. Thanks to his continued success, MLBTR ranked Brantley as the game’s 13th-best free agent at the beginning of the offseason and predicted he would land a two-year, $28MM pact.

    With Brantley staying in Houston, the team has addressed a key need in its outfield, where it opened the offseason with major questions. The Astros were at risk of losing all of Brantley, Springer and Josh Reddick on the open market (Reddick is still a free agent). Now, though, they have two corner spots spoken for with Brantley and Kyle Tucker. It’s not yet clear who will replace Springer in center, and it’s certainly worth noting that Brantley may not be an optimal solution as an everyday outfielder anymore. Brantley has dealt with serious injuries in the past, and he missed time last year with a quad issue. When healthy, Brantley appeared in left field in just 19 of 46 games, spending the rest of his season at designated hitter. That spot won’t be available to Brantley on a regular basis in 2021 if offensive standout Yordan Alvarez returns to health after undergoing surgeries on both knees last August.

    Losing out on Brantley may be a significant disappointment for the Blue Jays, but they’re not devoid of talent in the outfield and at DH. Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Grichuk give the team a strong outfield quartet on paper, though adding Brantley obviously would have made the Jays even more formidable after they earned a playoff berth in 2020.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Notes: Hand, Jeffress]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=340300 2021-01-19T21:17:11Z 2021-01-19T21:17:11Z The Dodgers have been linked to free-agent lefty Brad Hand over the past week or so, but they’re more on the “periphery” of his market, writes Fansided’s Robert Murray. The Mets are still in talks with Hand and his representatives, while both the Astros and Blue Jays are also involved to varying extents. Reports that Hand was closing in on a deal with the Mets last week proved a bit premature, although it seems they’re still squarely in the mix for the former All-Star closer. As for the Dodgers, even if they’re not major players in the Hand market at the moment, Murray suggests they’d still like to add another reliever to the bullpen.

    • MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that Jeremy Jeffress is on the radar of several clubs, including the Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Nationals and Blue Jays. It’s a wide field, though the level of interest of each team surely varies. The 33-year-old Jeffress was dominant back in 2018 but hasn’t replicated that form since. He did post an aesthetically pleasing 1.54 ERA and 54.4 percent grounder rate in 23 1/3 innings with the Cubs last year, but the rest of his numbers were something of a mess. Jeffress’ 13.6 percent walk rate was his worst since establishing himself as a consistent presence in MLB bullpens, while his 19.3 percent strikeout rate was 10 percent lower than his 29.8 percent clip from that brilliant 2018 campaign. Last year also saw Jeffress post career-worsts in average fastball velocity (93.3 mph), average exit velocity (89.9 mph) and hard-hit rate (45.6 percent). If Jeffress can rediscover his ’18 form, he’d be a premium late-inning option, but last year’s ERA was propped up by a .161 average on balls in play that is miles south of his career .308 mark.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Astros Continuing Search For Bullpen Help]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=339319 2021-01-17T20:18:03Z 2021-01-17T20:18:03Z The Blue Jays continue to have interest in Michael Brantley, writes Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. Toronto’s top free agent outfield target remains George Springer, and Rosenthal floats the possibility of the Jays signing both players. Springer and Brantley have spent the past two seasons as teammates with the Astros, and Brantley is plenty familiar with Jays’ president/CEO Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins from their time in Cleveland. Signing both Springer and Brantley would make for a bit of an awkward fit on-paper, since Toronto already has a glut of corner outfield/designated hitter options. Nevertheless, doing so could free the Jays up to trade one of their young, in-house outfielders for rotation help, Rosenthal feels.

    • The Astros have signed Ryne Stanek and Pedro Báez this winter. Even still, they’d like to continue to add to their bullpen, ideally by acquiring a traditional closer, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. “It’s something that I think all of us would like to have, and it can certainly make you feel better about your bullpen than if you don’t have someone who maybe has done it in the past,” general manager James Click said of a set ninth inning option. “However, there are always guys who step up into that role every year. There are new closers every year, and our young talent on this roster did an impressive job last season in stepping up in some roles that, if we’re being honest, I don’t think that we thought that they might have been ready for, and our hand was forced because of a lot of different reasons.” As Click alluded to, Houston’s bullpen was decimated by injuries in 2020 and ranked just 24th league-wide with a 4.55 SIERA. One potential option is Brad Hand, with whom the club remains in contact, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Martín Pérez, Coliseum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=338945 2021-01-17T02:21:22Z 2021-01-17T02:21:22Z There was some heavy lifting done in the baseball world yesterday: it was arbitration filing day, as well as the opening of the international signing period. Today is a recovery day. Here’s the latest…

    • Before agreeing to terms with the Red Sox, southpaw Martín Pérez had no shortage of suitors. The Astros, Padres, Royals, White Sox, and Rays all showed interest in Pérez, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (via Twitter). The Padres and White Sox have generally set their sights a touch higher than Pérez, but there’s clearly some trust around the league in Perez’s ability to contribute to a playoff-caliber pitching staff.
    • The Oakland A’s have long faced questions about their ability to stay in Oakland because of stadium concerns. The Coliseum sits on land with split ownership between the A’s and the city of Oakland. The organization continues to look for a site to build a new stadium, but the city of Oakland has also received a number of offers for their portion of the Coliseum land. One of those offers comes from former Oakland pitcher Dave Stewart, per Susan Slusser and Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Stewart, an Oakland native, submitted a $115MM bid with plans to revitalize the area, whether or not the A’s continue to play there. The city of Oakland is reviewing all offers.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Tri-City ValleyCats File Lawsuit Against Astros, MLB]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=337345 2021-01-16T04:18:47Z 2021-01-16T04:18:47Z The Tri-City ValleyCats are suing the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball arising out of this offseason’s contraction of minor-league baseball, reports Daniel Kaplan of the Athletic. They become the second affiliate known to pursue legal action against their former parent club and the league; the Staten Island Yankees did the same in December.

    The ValleyCats are seeking at least $15MM in damages, Kaplan reports. The crux of the team’s claims is that they relied upon the now-expired affiliation agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in selling tickets and advertisement sponsorships, which lost value when the club lost its affiliation with Major League Baseball. The ValleyCats remain operational as a member of the MLB-partnered Frontier League but will no longer serve as a traditional minor-league affiliate.

    Tri-City’s complaint (more of which is available in Kaplan’s full piece) harshly criticizes MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “MLB’s intimidation tactics, which it used to pit MiLB teams against each other for the ‘privilege’ of not having their businesses destroyed, has gone on for years but was most vividly demonstrated by a May 2020 email in which Commissioner Rob Manfred emailed the ValleyCats’ owner condolences on the passing of his father, and then in the very same email, issued a veiled threat that any public statement made about MLB’s contraction efforts would be ‘unwise,” the ValleyCats alleged.

    Tri-City’s previous owner, Bill Gladstone, passed away due to complications from COVID-19 last spring, Kaplan notes, with Gladstone’s son Doug on the receiving end of the alleged correspondence from Manfred.

    It wouldn’t be surprising to see more teams that lost their affiliation follow the (Staten Island) Yankees’ and ValleyCats’ lead in bringing suit against their former parent clubs and MLB. The minor-league restructuring resulted in 40 teams losing their affiliation with Major League Baseball.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=337191 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

    We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

    I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

    Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

    Read more

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Notable International Signings: 1/15/21]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=337131 2021-01-15T17:35:00Z 2021-01-15T15:43:43Z The 2020-21 international signing period is officially underway, and though this signing period is open until Dec. 15, 2021, many of the big names have already signed. Teams have long since lined up deals with newly eligible teenage players, so the news today largely represents confirmation of what was anticipated. Still, it’s a day of no small moment, particularly for the young men embarking upon professional careers.

    Let’s round up some of the most notable signings of the day. Most of these agreements have been known for awhile, as both Baseball America’s Ben Badler (signings tracker; scouting links) and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter feed; rankings) have listed each club’s expected landing spot and approximate signing bonus on their rankings for months. You can find each team’s total bonus pool and other information on the process right here. Check the above links for further information and other signings. Despite today’s announcements, many of these deals won’t become official for even a couple of weeks, notes Sanchez. Here are a few key deals:

    • Yoelqui Céspedes, OF, White Sox: The half-brother of outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, the Cuban outfielder joins a strong international tradition in Chicago with the White Sox, who currently field Cuban stars such as reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu, centerfielder Luis Robert, and third baseman Yoan Moncada. MLB.com has Céspedes ranked as the top international prospect in this class thanks to being a “a five-tool player with above-average tools across the board.” Baseball America is slightly less bullish, putting him at No. 12 on their board, noting that the pandemic limited opportunities for scouting. The 23-year-old will be one of the older prospects from this class to sign, and though he has the ability to play center, Robert’s presence in Chicago means he is probably ticketed for right. The White Sox also signed Cuban hurler Norge Vera for $1.5MM. Vera came in at No. 15 on MLB.com’s rankings. Fangraphs has Cespedes as Chicago’s new No. 25 ranked prospect, and Vera at No. 14.
    • Armando Cruz, SS, Nationals: Cruz officially joined the Nationals today for the most money the Nationals have ever paid out to single player during the international signing period, with The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter) pegging the final number at $3.9MM. BA writes in their scouting report, “He’s a defensive wizard with phenomenal hands and a strong arm, combining the ability to make acrobatic, highlight plays along with the internal clock and game savvy well beyond his years.” The Nationals signed 11 international players in total, notes Ghiroli.
    • Pedro Leon, OF, Astros: Houston will pay $4MM to add MLB.com’s 7th-ranked international prospect to their system, per Sanchez. Baseball America has Leon as the top prospect of his class. Like Céspedes, the Cuban outfield is one of the older members of this class, but he brings plus speed, power, and the ability to stick in centerfield.
    • Manuel Beltre, SS, Blue Jays: The Blue Jays added perhaps the most advanced hitter of the class in Beltre. MLB.com has Beltre as the No. 24 ranked prospect in the class, signing for $2.6MM, though Shi Davidi of Sportnet.ca (via Twitter) pegs the final number to be closer to $2.35MM. The Dominican shortstop could ultimately end up at second base, Sanchez writes, but he has arm enough to stay at short.
    • Pedro Pineda, OF, Athletics: MLB Insider Jon Heyman (via Twitter) has Pineda signing with Oakland for less than $4MM, but the sum isn’t likely to fall far below that threshold. Baseball America has Pineda as the No. 11 ranked prospect in this class, writing, “Pineda is a strong, athletic, physical center fielder with a loud tool set and a power/speed threat. He has excellent speed, a fast bat and the power potential to hit 25-plus home runs.”

    Several other well-regarded prospects also secured bonuses of $2MM or more, with the specifics provided here by Sanchez:

    • Rays, $3MM, shortstop Carlos Colmenarez
    • Cubs, $3MM, shortstop, Cristian Hernandez
    • Pirates, $2.3MM, outfielder Shalin Polanco
    • Tigers, $2.95MM, shortstop Cristian Santana
    • Twins, $2.3MM, shortstop Danny De Andrada
    • Angels, $2MM, shortstop Denzer Guzman
    • Marlins, $3.5MM, shortstop Yiddi Cappe
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Soria, Zimmermann, Sale, Price, LeBlanc]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=335797 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z 2021-01-14T05:10:09Z It seems veteran hurler Joakim Soria is drawing quite a lot of interest from the American League West. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the AngelsAstrosAthletics, and Rangers are all pursuing Soria to some degree. Of course, most teams could stand to add an experienced late-inning reliever coming off of a quality season, so it stands to reason that just about every club in a competitive division would give a look. Soria, 36, registered a strong 2.82 ERA last year in Oakland, though that’s hardly a determinative measure on its own for a reliever in a shortened season. The well-traveled hurler managed only a 9.6% swinging-strike rate, his lowest in quite some time, and suddenly shifted to being a heavy flyball pitcher (though he wasn’t punished with many home runs in the short sample).

    More from the pitching market:

    • After wrapping up a greatly disappointing tenure with the Tigers, Jordan Zimmermann is taking quite a different free agent journey than his first one. It’s fair to wonder whether he’d consider retiring, but the 34-year-old tells MLB.com’s Jason Beck (Twitter link) that he’s instead preparing for another campaign. Zimmermann is sure to draw interest, but not on a guaranteed big-league pact. He has largely been ineffective since coming to Detroit five seasons back and is now also recovering from a forearm injury.
    • The Red Sox could soon get a good sense of the return timeline for star lefty Chris Sale. Per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter), Sale is expected to throw from a mound at some point in the next two weeks or so — if all goes as planned. It’s promising that he’s already nearing that milestone, having undergone his Tommy John procedure at the end of March of 2020. It is hard to imagine that Sale will be ready for the start of the season, but perhaps he could resume competitive pitching relatively early in the 2021 campaign.
    • Also on his way back is Sale’s former teammate David Price. He posted a video on Twitter showing that he’s hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. The Dodgers will surely be interested to see how the ball is coming out of the once-great lefty’s hand after a long respite. Price, who was acquired in a blockbuster nearly one year ago, has yet to take the ball with his new team. He opted out of the 2020 season.
    • Teams looking for a spot starter and long reliever will soon have another option to consider. Southpaw Wade LeBlanc is still plugging away despite suffering a tough elbow injury last year. Per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter link), LeBlanc is in good enough form that he’s now preparing for a showcase. LeBlanc posted a resurgent 2018 season but has struggled more recently, so he’s sure to land a non-guaranteed deal when he does sign.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros To Sign Pedro Baez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=335608 2021-01-14T01:27:39Z 2021-01-14T00:22:14Z 7:22pm: Baez is promised a total of $12.5MM, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter links). That includes a $500K signing bonus, successive salaries of $4.5MM and $5.5MM, and with a $2MM buyout of a $7.5MM club option.

    The pact also contains some other financial provisions. Baez could add up to $1MM to his 2022 salary depending upon how many innings he throws. He could boost the buyout to $2.5MM and the option price to $8MM through innings-pitched-based escalators.

    6:22pm: The deal includes an option for a third year, escalators and a buyout, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who tweets that the total value could range from $12MM to $14MM. It’s a team option, per Mark Berman of Fox 26.

    5:05pm: The Astros have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent reliever Pedro Baez, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports. Financial details aren’t yet known, and the deal is pending a physical. Baez is a Kelvin Nova client.

    The Astros are landing a proven late-game option in the right-handed Baez, who recorded a 3.03 ERA with a 25.3 percent strikeout rate and an 8.2 percent walk rate over 356 innings as a Dodger from 2014-20. Baez put up a 3.18 ERA during his last season with Los Angeles, though he notched a much less encouraging 4.98 SIERA along the way and easily registered career-worst numbers in average fastball velocity (94.4 mph), strikeout rate (18.6) and swinging-strike percentage (12.4). The year before that, Baez managed 96 mph velo, a strikeout percentage of 25.0 and a 15.0 percent swinging-strike rate.

    Addressing the relief corps has been a known point of emphasis this offseason for Astros general manager James Click, who signed former Ray and Marlin Ryne Stanek before agreeing to the Baez deal. The club was also in on Liam Hendriks before he agreed to a pact with the White Sox and has been linked to Brad Hand, Trevor Rosenthal and Alex Colome. Any of the latter three would seemingly be more impactful additions than Baez and Stanek, so the Astros may not be done trying to upgrade a bullpen that dealt with significant health issues in 2020 and finished a middle-of-the-pack 15th in the majors in ERA (4.39).

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