Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:17:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 Royals Release Abraham Almonte https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-designate-abraham-almonte-for-assignment.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-designate-abraham-almonte-for-assignment.html#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2018 17:35:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127560 July 19: Rather than place Almonte on outright waivers in an attempt to keep him in the organization for depth purposes, the Royals have simply released Almonte, per the team’s transactions log at MLB.com.

July 16: The Royals announced on Monday that they’ve designated outfielder Abraham Almonte for assignment. His roster spot will go to infielder/outfielder Rosell Herrera, who has been reinstated from the paternity list.

Almonte, 29, was claimed off waivers by the Royals back in the first week of the season but hasn’t produced in 151 plate appearances over the course of 50 games, batting just .179/.260/.284. Almonte has, at times in the past, been a plus defender and baserunner, but he’s been about a run below average in center field (per both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved) and has gone 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts this season.

The Royals will have a week to either trade, outright or release Almonte. He has enough service to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency, though he’d sacrifice the remainder of his $825K salary for the 2018 season by going that route, so it seems likely that he’ll remain in the organization if he clears waivers.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/18/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/minor-mlb-transactions-71818.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/minor-mlb-transactions-71818.html#comments Wed, 18 Jul 2018 15:40:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127662 Here are the latest minor moves from around the game, all via Matt Eddy of Baseball America unless otherwise noted:

  • A few right-handed hurlers with some MLB experience have found new homes. Casey Coleman has returned to the Cubs on a minors deal after opening the year in indy ball. He has appeared previously in parts of four MLB seasons and thrown 177 1/3 total frames at the game’s highest level, mostly for the Cubs. Coleman has a lifetime 5.72 ERA in the majors and hasn’t seen time there since 2014. Meanwhile, Mike Broadway will go to the Rays after being released by the Royals. The 31-year-old has struggled in the upper minors of late after making 25 appearances in the bigs with the Giants in 2015 and 2016.
  • Another righty, Jeff Ames, has been announced as the newest member of the Brewers organization. The 27-year-old was a sandwich-round selection in the 2011 draft but has yet to make it to the majors. He had worked to a 5.70 ERA with 12.9 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 over 23 2/3 Double-A innings this year in the Nationals organization.
  • Eddy lists a variety of players who were cut loose, none more prominent than infielder Alexi Amarista. The 29-year-old, a seven-year MLB veteran, had been with the Phillies but slashed just .238/.285/.288 in his 173 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Amarista has a lifetime 68 OPS+ in 702 games of MLB action, so the lack of offensive production is hardly a surprise. He’s obviously valued primarily for his glovework.
  • Also released were outfielder Rymer Liriano (Angels) and lefty Jairo Labourt (Tigers). Both were in the not-too-distant past considered intriguing enough players to make it into the majors and then bounce around a bit via waiver claims. Liriano had posted a robust .268/.343/.523 slash in his 65 games of action at Triple-A with the Halos organization. But he had not yet been given a shot at the big league level this year and will now go looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. The 24-year-old Labourt, on the other hand, only made it into five rookie ball games with the Chicago organization, recording 11 strikeouts over 5 2/3 one-hit innings but also issuing nine free passes and allowing six runs (three earned).
Red Sox, Braves Interested In Mike Moustakas https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/red-sox-braves-interested-in-mike-moustakas.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/red-sox-braves-interested-in-mike-moustakas.html#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 00:10:07 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127503 7:10pm: The Royals may have to wait until Manny Machado is traded before fully pursuing a Moustakas deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link).  Up to seven teams have been rumored to be involved in the Machado talks, and with some suitors already reportedly falling out of the running, it stands to reason that some of these teams could pivot to Moustakas.  The Braves, for instance, are also one of the clubs in on Machado.

4:00pm: The Royals are “more likely than not” to trade third baseman Mike Moustakas this month, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who lists the Red Sox and Braves as a pair of playoff contenders interested in acquiring him.

The Red Sox already boast the majors’ best record (68-30) and a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL East, even though they haven’t gotten great production from third baseman Rafael Devers. But the 21-year-old still has plenty of time to turn into a foundational piece for the Red Sox, and it may behoove them to find an upgrade in the meantime. With Boston pushing for its fourth World Series title since 2004, the lefty-swinging Moustakas would seemingly qualify, having slashed .250/.306/.469 with 19 home runs in 386 plate appearances, easily beating out Devers’ numbers (.241/.292/.424 with 14 HRs in 367 PAs). Of course, Moustakas’ production also hasn’t been all-world, as he has logged a 106 wRC+ to Devers’ 87 and has dropped off precipitously since a red-hot April.

The Braves haven’t come close to matching the Red Sox’s excellence this season, but they’re still 52-42 – in possession of a National League wild-card spot and within half a game of the NL East-leading Phillies. Their starting third baseman, Johan Camargo, has actually outdone Moustakas by wRC+ (109), having batted .247/.346/.426 with nine homers in 263 PAs. The switch-hitting Camargo is capable of playing shortstop, however, and could perhaps usurp the starting role from the light-hitting, righty-swinging Dansby Swanson or at least platoon with him.

After failing to encounter much interest in free agency last winter, the 29-year-old Moustakas wouldn’t represent a long-term acquisition for any club. Moustakas is owed the rest of a $5.5MM salary this season, and then his employer will have to decide whether to exercise a $15MM mutual option for 2019 or pay him a $1MM buyout.

Red Sox Could Have Interest In Merrifield https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/trade-chatter-britton-merrifield-mets-beltre-braves.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/trade-chatter-britton-merrifield-mets-beltre-braves.html#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 03:48:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127249
  • Heyman also notes that he’s heard the Red Sox mentioned in connection with Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield. The 29-year-old has reportedly drawn interest from the Phillies and from the Brewers already, and the Sox would be a logical addition to that market, depending on the status of Dustin Pedroia. As Heyman notes, Merrifield is particularly enticing for the Sox given his minimal salary and their proximity to the top tier of luxury tax penalization. He’s shown, too, that he can play a number of positions, which would make him ideal for a utility role if the Sox get everyone healthy. That said, there’s no characterization of particularly strong interest in the report, the Sox have a thin farm system, and the Royals are under no urgency to trade Merrifield, who is controlled through 2022. Bullpen help has been rumored to be Boston’s primary focus on the trade market so far.

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    Royals Place Ian Kennedy On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-place-ian-kennedy-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-place-ian-kennedy-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2018 14:39:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127127 The Royals announced this morning that righty Ian Kennedy is heading back to the 10-day disabled list. He had only just been activated to pitch yesterday, but left his outing after three frames.

    The team indicates that a left oblique strain is again to blame for the placement, though the outlook isn’t yet clear this time around. Kennedy only missed one start in his prior stint on the DL, so perhaps there’s hope that this is still a fairly minor ailment. It surely helps that the All-Star break is right around the corner.

    Of course, hitting the shelf now won’t do much for Kennedy’s prospects as a trade candidate. Truth be told, though, there was never much likelihood he’d be moved with a $16MM salary this year and $33MM left to go over the next two seasons.

    Since joining the Kansas City staff in the 2016 campaign, the now-33-year-old Kennedy has compiled 444 1/3 innings of 4.58 ERA ball. But the results have headed in the wrong direction of late, as he has allowed more than five earned per nine over the past two seasons, due in large part to allowing far too many home runs.

    Whit Merrifield Says He Hopes For Long-Term Deal With Royals https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/whit-merrifield-says-he-hopes-for-long-term-deal-with-royals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/whit-merrifield-says-he-hopes-for-long-term-deal-with-royals.html#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2018 17:49:24 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127061 Royals utilityman extraordinaire Whit Merrifield has been a bright spot on a struggling roster, playing his way into trade consideration. If he has his way, though, he’ll remain with the Kansas City organization on a long-term deal, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic reports (subscription link).

    Merrifield is an unusual player. Not only is he a late bloomer — the 29-year-old entered the current season with just 1.101 years on his service clock — but he has succeeded thus far in the majors with a still-evolving profile.

    Last year, he hit a surprising 19 home runs but registered only a .324 on-base percentage even with a lofty .288 batting average. Thus far in 2018, the power is down (five home runs, .427 SLG, .125 ISO) but Merrifield sports a .369 OBP. He has already drawn more walks (32) than he did in nearly twice the plate appearances in 2017 (29).

    Meanwhile, Merrifield has diversified his game on the defensive side. He has continued to grade out as a quality fielder at second. But he’s also holding his own in the outfield, with positive marks on his 102 innings in center field. Of course, Merrifield remains one of the game’s better baserunners, too.

    Clearly, the overall profile is rather compelling. I examined the case for a long-term arrangement with Merrifield earlier this year and he has only continued to impress. Despite the fact that the Royals are really only just now launching a rebuilding effort,  the team is hoping it’ll be a relatively quick turnaround, as evidenced by their prioritization of college arms in the recent amateur draft.

    If there’s a compelling case to be made for K.C. to do a deal, it’s that locking up Merrifield would not only ensconce him as part of a new roster core, but could also provide an opportunity to realize significant value. The control rights leave the team with leverage. And it certainly seems as if he’s keen to sign on for the long run.

    Indeed, per Dodd, Merrifield and his representatives sought to get talks started on an extension last winter. While that didn’t lead anywhere, he expressed an interest in revisiting talks — after the current season, at least. “Hopefully it’s something that could be possible down the road,” he says.

    What’s interesting about this dynamic is that it offers a tantalizing and clear alternative to the Royals as the summer trade period gets underway in earnest. The possibility of an affordable, long-term arrangement will surely be weighed as part of the decisionmaking when offers come in the door.

    Of course, the club already controls Merrifield for quite some time, and the limits of the arbitration process cap his potential earnings, so the possibility of a lengthier pact doesn’t drastically change the situation. But for an organization weighing how best to engineer a turnaround, and retain the goodwill it built with its fans over a multi-year run of contention, it’s a factor. The fact that Merrifield can play multiple positions makes it less likely that he’d get in the way of young talent, too.

    All that being said, there ought to be some interesting possibilities on the trade front, too — whether at the deadline or in the ensuing offseason. Merrifield would fit quite nicely on quite a few contending rosters. His cheap remaining seasons of control will have plenty of appeal, even if the true upside is discounted a bit by his age and (to a lesser extent) lack of a lengthy MLB track record, particularly given that he’s shown aptitude in multiple places on the diamond.

    Royals Release Justin Grimm https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-request-release-waivers-on-justin-grimm.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-request-release-waivers-on-justin-grimm.html#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2018 18:57:02 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126807 July 9: The Royals announced that Grimm has cleared release waivers and is now a free agent. He can sign with any club for only the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time spent in the minors, with the Royals on the hook for the remainder of his $1.25MM base salary.

    July 7: The Royals have requested unconditional release waivers on right-hander Justin Grimm, as Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star and other media members have reported.

    After being released by the Cubs in mid-March, Grimm caught on with the Royals just a few days later on a one-year, $1.25MM contract.  Between that salary and the $541K in termination pay owed to him by the Cubs, Grimm recouped much of the $2.2MM he was originally slated to receive this season after losing an arbitration hearing to Chicago earlier in the offseason.

    Unfortunately for Grimm, he simply never got things together with the Royals, posting a 13.50 ERA over 12 2/3 innings and recording more walks (14) than strikeouts (eight).  It has now been back-to-back rough seasons for Grimm, who had a 5.53 ERA for the Cubs last season thanks in large part to an ungainly 12 homers allowed over 55 1/3 innings.

    Grimm’s peripheral numbers were at least decent in 2017, whereas things have been pretty ugly across the board for him this season.  It’s fair to state that injuries have played a part in his struggles, as Grimm missed time with a back problem earlier this season and is currently on the Royals’ disabled list due to right shoulder impingement syndrome.

    Royals Scouting Yankees' Triple-A Club https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cubs-trade-rumors-ja-happ-blue-jays.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/cubs-trade-rumors-ja-happ-blue-jays.html#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2018 16:49:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126992
  • Aroldis Chapman will likely be dealing with his current left knee issue for the rest of the season, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said before yesterday’s game (link via George A. King III of the New York Post). Chapman has been playing through a minor bout of tedinitis in his left knee and was held out of yesterday’s game even when the Yankees found themselves with a late 2-1 lead. Boone explained that he wanted to stay away from Chapman and Dellin Betances, instead turning to David Robertson to nail down the save. With a doubleheader set for Monday, it makes some sense to give Chapman that extra day of rest. King also notes that the Reds, Rangers and Royals were all among the rebuilding teams scouting the Triple-A tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox’ top affiliates yesterday. Several contending clubs were on hand as well, though, including the Indians, Phillies and D-backs.
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    Royals Notes: Hammel, Cuthbert https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-notes-happ-yankees-royals-rays.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-notes-happ-yankees-royals-rays.html#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 20:19:57 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126895
  • The Royals have demoted right-hander Jason Hammel to the bullpen for the time being, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com was among those to tweet. Hammel had been slated to make his next start Wednesday, but Burch Smith will take his place. With the Royals in the midst of a rebuild and Hammel in the final guaranteed year of his contract, he could have emerged as a summer trade chip with a good showing in the season’s first few months. Instead, the once-competent Hammel has begun his age-35 season with a 6.16 ERA and his lowest K/9 (5.8) since 2011 over 102 1/3 innings. It’s the second disappointing campaign in a row for Hammel, who has combined for a 5.60 ERA across 280 2/3 frames since KC added him on a two-year, $16MM guarantee entering 2017. Hammel, to his credit, is taking his new role in stride, as he told Rustin Dodd of The Athletic (subscription required) and other reporters: “It’s a little slice of humble pie. But sometimes it’s necessary to reshape, reinvent, right the ship. I’ll go down and help out.”
  • One of Hammel’s Royals teammates, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, has been out for nearly two months with a lower back strain, and his return isn’t imminent. Cuthbert suffered a setback during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha, per Flanagan, who adds that the player “likely will be pulled off his rehab while they determine the next medical step.” That’s a discouraging development for both Cuthbert and Kansas City, the latter of which is in position to evaluate its young players. At 25, Cuthbert’s part of that group, though his production has been rather poor dating back to last season (.215/.278/.313 in 270 plate trips).
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    Royals Sign Dallas Beeler https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/minor-mlb-transactions-7818.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/minor-mlb-transactions-7818.html#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 19:05:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126947
  • The Royals have signed right-hander Dallas Beeler to a minor league contract and assigned him to their Double-A affiliate, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. The 29-year-old Beeler comes with a bit of major league experience, having pitched 19 1/3 innings for the Cubs from 2014-15. Beeler has mostly worked at the Triple-A level as a professional, combining for a 3.73 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 243 2/3 innings. He didn’t pitch for anyone last season, though, and then opened 2018 with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.
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    Royals Place Jakob Junis On DL, Select Glenn Sparkman https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-place-jakob-junis-on-dl-select-glenn-sparkman.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-place-jakob-junis-on-dl-select-glenn-sparkman.html#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 14:45:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126897 The Royals have placed right-hander Jakob Junis on the 10-day disabled list with low back inflammation, per Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star. Additonally, the club selected the contract of righty Glenn Sparkman from Triple-A Omaha, giving Kansas City a full 40-man roster.

    Junis had been scheduled to start the Royals’ game against the Red Sox on Sunday, but righty Heath Fillmyer will take the ball instead. Across 17 starts and 101 2/3 innings this season, the 25-year-old Junis has struggled to a 5.13 ERA/5.47 FIP, though he has managed 8.14 K/9 against 2.48 BB/9.

    Fillmyer, 24, is now set to make his first big league start. He joined the Royals in an offseason trade with the Athletics and has made his first three major league appearances this year, throwing nine innings of two-run ball out of KC’s bullpen. He hasn’t fared nearly that well in 13 Triple-A starts, though, with a 5.75 ERA/4.62 FIP in 67 1/3 frames.

    Sparkman is in position to see the second MLB action of his career. He tossed one inning in 2017 with the Blue Jays, who took him from the Royals in the 2016 Rule 5 draft but then returned him to Kansas City last July. The 26-year-old has divided this season between the minors’ two highest levels and combined for a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 1.1 BB/9 in 16 starts and 88 2/3 innings.

    Phillies Notes: Merrifield, Eickhoff, Int’l Scouting https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/phillies-notes-merrifield-eickhoff-intl-scouting.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/phillies-notes-merrifield-eickhoff-intl-scouting.html#comments Sat, 07 Jul 2018 21:56:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126825 Here’s the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love…

    • The Phillies have interest in Royals utilityman Whit Merrifield, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports.  Merrifield has mostly played second base in K.C. this season, though he has also seen time at first base, center field, and right field, plus he’s seen time in left field and third base in past seasons.  As Morosi notes, this makes him an ideal fit on a Phillies team that values multi-position players.  The Royals have already begun trading veterans prior to the deadline, though Merrifield would command a noteworthy price tag since he’s under team control through the 2022 season.
    • Jerad Eickhoff experienced more numbness in his fingers during a throwing session, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports (Twitter link), and is undergo more tests to try and determine the problem.  Eickhoff’s last set of examinations “ruled out a lot of bad stuff” in the words of Phillies GM Matt Klentak, though it obviously isn’t a good sign that Eickhoff’s problems are continuing after another month.  Eickhoff has yet to pitch this season, initially beginning the DL due to a lat strain before his rehab was shut down by the numbness issues.
    • The Phillies have put a lot of focus on expanding their international scouting operations, including going beyond the usual set of countries to find players, The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro writes (subscription required).  The piece includes a look at some of the international names in Philadelphia’s farm system, including Russian left-hander Anton Kuznetsov, New Zealander right-hander Kyle Glogoski, and Australian lefty Josh Tols.
    Royals Scouting Yankees' MLB And Minor League Rosters https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-east-notes-orioles-yankees-royals-loaisiga-hicks-morales.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/al-east-notes-orioles-yankees-royals-loaisiga-hicks-morales.html#comments Sat, 07 Jul 2018 20:00:50 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126802
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman “wouldn’t comment” to media (including the New York Post’s George A. King III) on a recent report from MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi about the Yankees’ interest in Mike Moustakas as a possible first base option.  King did note that the Royals recently had scouts watching not just the Yankees, but also New York’s Double-A and Triple-A teams as well, so Kansas City seems to be checking out both Major League and minor league players in the organization.  In terms of what the return could be on a potential Moustakas trade, King doubts that the Yankees would part with current first baseman Greg Bird for just two-plus months of Moustakas’ services.
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    Yankees, Others Reportedly Considering Moustakas As First Base Option https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/yankees-trade-rumors-mike-moustakas-first-base-royals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/yankees-trade-rumors-mike-moustakas-first-base-royals.html#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2018 13:57:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126675 Multiple teams, including the Yankees, have at least considered the notion of trading for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and shifting him across the diamond to first base, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports. It’s worth noting that there’s no indication from the report that the Yankees’ interest is especially serious or extends anywhere beyond internal discussions at this point.

    Moustakas, 29, stands out as one of the more obvious trade candidates in the league, given his standing as an impending free agent who is playing on an affordable contract (one year, $6.5MM) with a rebuilding Royals club that has already begun to trade away pieces (Kelvin Herrera, Jon Jay). He’s hitting .258/.312/.478 with 16 homers to this point in the 2018 season.

    Of course, it should be asked just how much of an upgrade Moustakas would even represent for the Yankees. Despite Greg Bird’s woeful .200 average, his .306 on-base percentage only narrowly trails Moustakas’ .312 mark. Bird walks at a substantially higher clip than Moustakas and has also been more prone to getting hit by pitches in recent seasons, though he’s also much more strikeout-prone (27.3 percent to Moustakas’ 14.9 percent). Bird has also hit for slightly more power, sporting a .219 isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) to Moustakas’ .214.

    There’s certainly an argument that moving Moustakas from the spacious Kauffman Stadium to Yankee Stadium and its notoriously short right-field porch would significantly boost his home run output. However, Moustakas’ lack of experience at first base, where he’s started just twice in his career, would likely result in a defensive downgrade over Bird.

    Beyond all of that are the simple facts that Moustakas hasn’t hit much since mid-May and has been sidelined by back spasms this week. While he got off to a blistering start, Moose is hitting just .212/.292/.384 with six home runs over his past 40 games. He’s swung a bit better in his past five games, but the .299/.331/.531 slash he boasted in mid-May is now a distant memory.

    Any trades the Yankees make, of course, need to be viewed through the lens of the competitive balance/luxury tax. New York was adamant about remaining under that $197MM threshold this past offseason and figures to stay on that same course on the summer trade market. The Yankees are roughly $16MM south of that line at this point, so it’s possible that they could add both Moustakas and a starting pitcher, which is rumored to be their top need. Depending on the specific rotation target, though, the Yankees may ask the opposing team to offset some of the financial load.

    Alternatively, Morosi suggests a scenario in which the Yankees would ask another club to take on the remainder of Neil Walker’s $4MM contract in trades, which would have a similar effect on their bottom-line as relates to the luxury tax but would also require an improved prospect package. Indeed, the surprisingly poor play of Walker, who’d been a consistently solid offensive performer over the past eight seasons, is a large part of the reason the Yankees even need to entertain somewhat outside-the-box thoughts like adding Moustakas as a first-base option. Walker missed much of Spring Training while trying to find a deal in free agency and has never gotten on track in 2018, batting just .188/.268/.259 through his first 190 trips to the plate as a Yankee.

    Ultimately, Moustakas doesn’t seem like a great fit for the Yankees or even a definitive upgrade over what Bird can bring to the table. The two have similar on-base and power numbers, with Bird representing a superior defensive option even if he’s more prone to strikeouts. Plus, if Bird’s .239 BABIP improves — which isn’t a given, considering his .251 career mark and extreme susceptibility to pull shifts in 2018 (56.9 percent pull rate) — he could even wind up with better OBP numbers than Moustakas.

    Still, the fact that clubs are considering Moustakas as a first base option is nonetheless of note, as it could open the door for him to land with a club that might not have initially looked to be a fit at first glance.

    Royals Claim Enny Romero https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-claim-enny-romero-waivers-pirates.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-claim-enny-romero-waivers-pirates.html#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2018 23:45:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126646 The Royals announced that they’ve claimed left-hander Enny Romero off waivers from the Pirates. Right-hander Blaine Boyer was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Romero.

    The 27-year-old Romero opened the season with the Nationals but was designated for assignment after just two innings of work. The Pirates plucked him off waivers but tried to designate him a second time just weeks later, but it turned out that Romero had an impingement in his left shoulder that resulted in him being placed on the disabled list. Upon sufficiently rehabbing the injury, Romero was activated and subsequently designated for assignment.

    Romero was among the harder-throwing lefty relievers in the league for the Nationals last season but saw his average fastball velocity drop from 98 mph in 2017 to 95.1 mph in 2018. That, granted, came in a small sample of six innings, but Romero’s velocity was never at this low of a point throughout the 2017 season. To this point in the year, he’s yielded five runs on a dozen hits and four walks with seven strikeouts in six innings.

    The 2017 season was a solid one for Romero, however, as he worked to a 3.56 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9 and a 39 percent ground-ball rate through 55 2/3 innings of relief. In 142 career innings at the MLB level, Romero has a 4.69 ERA with plenty of missed bats (9.7 K/9) but far too many walks (4.6 BB/9). Unlike many lefty relievers, Romero has been more effective against right-handed batters (.240/.325/.379) than he has against left-handed batters (.312/.392/.463).

    Romero entered the season with just over two years of Major League service time, so if he can turn things around in Kansas City, he’ll be a controllable bullpen piece for the Royals through the 2021 season. He’d be eligible for arbitration this winter. Romero is out of minor league options, however, so he’ll need to hold down a spot on the big league roster or else clear waivers before he can be sent to Triple-A.

    Royals Sign First-Rounder Brady Singer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-sign-first-rounder-brady-singer.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-sign-first-rounder-brady-singer.html#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2018 03:22:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126505 The Royals announced today that they have signed first round pick Brady Singer, as Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com first reported on Twitter. Kansas City will spend $4.25MM, well over the $3,349,300 slot value for the 18th overall selection, to land Singer.

    Singer will join teammate Jackson Kowar (who reportedly agreed to terms yesterday) in going from a powerhouse University of Florida staff into the K.C. system. The pair  drew ample attention in the run-up to the draft. Both pitchers ended up being among the first six college hurlers to leave the board. (UVA product Daniel Lynch went to the Royals one pick after Kowar, at #34.)

    Most draft pundits agreed that Singer was, at a minimum, among the twenty or so best prospects. But there was certainly a range of opinion as to just how rosy his future outlook is. MLB.com rated him second only to unquestioned top prospect Casey Mize among all draft-eligible players. ESPN.com’s Keith Law, meanwhile, had Singer at 21st on his board.

    The optimists argue that Singer has just about everything you could want in a pitching prospect, with a good frame and track record of durability combined with good command, oft-lauded competitiveness, and a projection of three quality pitches. On the other side, Law questions whether Singer will shake out in the rotation at the game’s highest level, citing concern with his delivery and ability to maintain his best stuff.

    The Royals obviously believe in Singer, who is the most visible member of the team’s draft class — the composition of which reflects a clear strategy to add advanced amateur arms to the system. All of the players the Royals selected in the first ten rounds of the draft are now under contract, as fourth-rounder Eric Cole has also agreed to terms.

    Royals Agree To Terms With 33rd Overall Pick Jackson Kowar https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-agree-to-terms-with-33rd-overall-pick-jackson-kowar.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/royals-agree-to-terms-with-33rd-overall-pick-jackson-kowar.html#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2018 01:12:05 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126418 Royals compensation choice Jackson Kowar has reportedly agreed to a $2,147,500 bonus. Rustin Dodd of The Athletic first tweeted the news, with MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan and Jim Callis (Twitter links) reporting the value.

    Though he was taken with the 33rd overall selection, Kowar ranked higher on many analysts’ boards. Indeed, the MLB.com team tabbed him as the 15th-best prospect available in the draft, with Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law also applying top-twenty grades.

    While he is already an accomplished college hurler who comfortably sits in the mid-nineties with his fastball, the University of Florida product is said still to possess some upside. If he can fill out his frame and develop a breaking ball to match his heater and change, Singer could one day turn into a high-quality rotation piece in Kansas City.

    Kowar’s bonus sits just over the slot value of $2,118,700. The signing leaves the K.C. organization with two remaining unsigned players from the first ten rounds: fourth-rounder Eric Cole, who just finished up playing in the College World Series with Arkansas, and Kowar’s rotation mate Brady Singer.

    Royals Sign 12th-Rounder Rylan Kaufman https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-63018.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-63018.html#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2018 01:08:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126182
  • The Royals have signed 12th-round pick Rylan Kaufman for a hefty $722.5K bonus, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (Twitter links).  Kaufman is an 18-year-old high school left-hander from Texas, and he stands 6’4″ and owns a fastball in the 92-93mph range.  Since Kaufman was picked beyond the 10th round, $597.5K of his bonus will be counted against Kansas City’s draft bonus pool.  While the Royals entered this year’s draft with the most pool space ($12,781,900) of any team, they already have over $7.6MM of those funds spent (hat tip to Clint Scoles of Baseball Prospectus) and still need to sign their three of their top seven picks.  Two of the unsigned players are Kansas City’s top two selections — 18th overall pick Brady Singer and 33rd overall pick Jackson Kowar.
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    Trade Notes: Moustakas, Merrifield, Duffy https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/rosenthals-latest-moustakas-merrifield-duffy-fulmer-drury.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/rosenthals-latest-moustakas-merrifield-duffy-fulmer-drury.html#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 14:18:22 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126151 The Cardinals have “renewed interest” in Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports in his latest notes column (subscription required).  It isn’t clear how seriously interested St. Louis is, however, and Rosenthal notes that adding Moustakas would lead to a crowded infield situation.  Matt Carpenter would have to be moved to either second base or first base, displacing either the light-hitting but defensively brilliant Kolten Wong, or the hard-hitting Jose Martinez and his sub-par first base glove.  One option could be to flip Martinez for some immediate help in another area, Rosenthal suggests, listing the Twins as a potential suitor for Martinez — Minnesota, of course, is a fringe contender at best right now, but Martinez would be a long-term piece at first base and DH.  On the other hand, Martinez has been perhaps the Cardinals’ best hitter this season and he is controllable through the 2022 season.  This is just one of many scenarios that could play out involving these players, of course, as the Cards (like every front office in the game) is weighing dozens of potential scenarios as we approach the trade deadline.  St. Louis still seems to be in the planning stages, as Rosenthal writes that the Cards “have yet to engage seriously on any one player.”


    • The Brewers were interested in Royals second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield this past offseason and are once again inquiring on his services.  The late-blooming Merrifield has continued to establish himself as a solid everyday player this season, batting .284/.358/.401 over 339 PA, plus 16 steals in 20 chances.  Second base has been a problem spot for Milwaukee, and while the Brewers recently acquired Brad Miller as infield depth, Merrifield would represent a more solid upgrade at the keystone.  Though the Brewers could also need rotation help, Rosenthal reports that they haven’t discussed Danny Duffy as part of their talks with Kansas City.
    Phillies, Royals Have Discussed Mike Moustakas https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/phillies-royals-have-discussed-mike-moustakas-trade-rumors.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/phillies-royals-have-discussed-mike-moustakas-trade-rumors.html#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 01:41:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126143 The Phillies and Royals have held at least preliminary trade talks involving Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The level of interest is not entirely apparent and there’s no indication at this point that the sides are nearing an agreement. But the K.C. scouting department is said to be taking a look at the Phillies system to identify targets.

    With a $5.5MM salary this year and $1MM buyout on a 2019 mutual option, Moustakas is an affordable target. Of course, that’s probably not the chief concern for the Phils, who have been much more willing to burn money than prospect capital of late. In recent years, the club has placed numerous hefty salaries onto its payroll, but in most cases hasn’t packaged significant young talent or taken on long-term financial commitments.

    The Philadelphia organization unquestionably has the assets to get Moustakas; what’s not yet clear is whether he’s really the player they want. Firmly in the picture in the National League East, the Phillies are said to be a possible pursuer of top summer trade candidate Manny Machado — a player they may also covet in free agency at season’s end. The club has also been connected to Rangers third bagger Adrian Beltre.

    Moustakas, 29, has trailed off at the plate of late after surging to open the year. Still, his .255/.310/.467 slash and 15 home runs through 332 plate appearances fall right in line with his composite work from the prior three campaigns. He has perhaps even been a bit unfortunate; while his .255 BABIP is in line with his unusually low career rate, Moustakas is credited by Statcast with a .383 xwOBA that greatly exceeds his .325 wOBA.

    There’s not much mystery at this point as to Moustakas’s profile. He’s got excellent power, middling on-base ability, and not-insignificant platoon splits (which have widened this year). Defensively, he has graded out as a positive this year, but he has mostly played within range of average over his career.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the deadline plays out for the Phillies. There are lots of possibilities, both at the hot corner and elsewhere on the roster. As Salisbury indicates, the team may well not show much interest in parting with top prospects to make deals. But few, if any, clubs in baseball can match the Phillies in near and long-term financial flexibility, opening numerous creative avenues to improve a roster that has already looked solid through the season’s halfway point.

    Royals Designate Ryan Goins For Assignment https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-designate-ryan-goins-for-assignment.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-designate-ryan-goins-for-assignment.html#comments Thu, 28 Jun 2018 18:10:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126022 The Royals have designated infielder Ryan Goins for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for Jorge Bonifacio, who has completed serving his 80-game PED suspension, the team told reporters Thursday (Twitter link via the Kansas City Star’s Maria Torres). Royals reporters indicated yesterday that Goins would be the likely roster casualty, with Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweeting at the time that Goins took some time after yesterday’s game to shake hands with all of his teammates and say his goodbyes.

    Goins, 30, landed with the Royals on a minor league deal after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays in the offseason. He spent parts of five seasons serving as a high-quality defender at both middle-infield positions for the Jays, but his work at the plate never matched the quality of his defense. That proved to be the case in Kansas City as well, where Goins received 120 plate appearances but batted just .226/.252/.313.

    Goins is a career .228/.274/.333 hitter, but Defensive Runs Saved pegs him at 25 runs above average at second base in 2093 career innings and five runs above average at shortstop in 1370 innings as a Major Leaguer. Goins also has experience at third base in addition to very brief cameos at first base and in the outfield corners. He’s out of minor league options, so any team that claims him or trades for him will need to carry him on the Major League roster or else try to immediately pass him through waivers themselves.

    Royals To Reinstate Jorge Bonifacio https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-reinstate-jorge-bonifacio-ped-suspension-ryan-goins-dfa.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-reinstate-jorge-bonifacio-ped-suspension-ryan-goins-dfa.html#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 22:17:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125987 The Royals will reinstate outfielder Jorge Bonifacio from the restricted list tomorrow, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. He’d been serving an 80-game PED suspension and will need to be added back to the 40-man and 25-man roster once activated. The corresponding move, according to Flanagan, will likely involve Ryan Goins. Indeed, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweets that Goins was “making the rounds” and shaking his teammates’ hands in the clubhouse after today’s game.

    Bonifacio, 25, will likely be given an opportunity to receive regular work in the outfield. The former top prospect had a solid debut in 2017, hitting .255/.320/.432 with 17 homers, 15 doubles and a triple in 422 plate appearances. He logged 743 innings in right field for Kansas City last season, plus another 57 in left and eight in center. Defensive Runs Saved (-3) and Outs Above Average (-4) both pegged him as a slightly below-average defender, while Ultimate Zone Rating (+1.1) viewed him a bit more favorably.

    Bonifacio has been able to begin gearing up for his return in the minors over the past two weeks, logging a dozen games with Triple-A Omaha and hitting quite well. Through 54 plate appearances, he’s batting .404/.481/.553 with five doubles and a triple.

    The suspension for Bonifacio will prove costly if he is ultimately able to cement himself as a big league regular. He didn’t accrue Major League service time for the 80 games he missed, and by the time he’ll be activated from the disabled list, there won’t be enough days remaining in the season for him to reach a second full year of MLB service. As such, the suspension will push his eligibility for both arbitration and free agency back by a full year. Bonifacio would have been arb-eligible following the 2019 season and qualified as a free agent following the 2022 season. Instead, he’ll now have to wait until after the 2020 season for arbitration and won’t be a free agent until the completion of the 2023 season.

    Goins, meanwhile, is out of minor league options, so the Royals can’t send him to the minors unless he first clears waivers. That makes it seem likely that he’ll be designated for assignment tomorrow, though the club could also opt to trade or release him as a means of opening a roster spot for Bonifacio. The 30-year-old Goins has given Kansas City has given the Royals quality defense through 224 innings at second base and has seen brief action at third base and shortstop as well. But, Goins has also struggled to the tune of a .226/.252/.313 batting line in 120 trips to the plate.

    D-Backs' Hazen On Lost Rule 5 Pitcher Brad Keller https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-notes-lester-degrom-keller-dietrich.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-notes-lester-degrom-keller-dietrich.html#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:28:09 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125950
  • The Diamondbacks seem to have whiffed on righty Brad Keller, who was lost to the Royals via the Rule 5 draft and has now thrown 48 innings of 2.25 ERA ball on the year. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic examines the topic from the perspective of the Arizona organization, noting that it seems the roster flexibility was there to protect Keller had the team made him a priority. GM Mike Hazen says that the Snakes liked the 22-year-old, but faced other considerations. “We made the conscious decision not to add him because of where he was in proximity to the major-league team, where we were in the cycle, what we wanted to use our 40-man spots for, we wanted to be aggressive in the offseason in claiming guys … that were closer to the big leagues in our mind,” Hazen explained.
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    Latest On Royals, Luke Heimlich https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-notes-july-2-class-draft-indians-pirates-royals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-notes-july-2-class-draft-indians-pirates-royals.html#comments Tue, 26 Jun 2018 22:12:03 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125886
  • Elsewhere, the status of Oregon State lefty Luke Heimlich remains uncertain as he participates in the finals of the College World Series. But Royals GM Dayton Moore had some noteworthy comments on the situation recently, leaving many to wonder if the Kansas City organization will make a move to add a player whose abilities aren’t questioned, but carries a highly controversial status as a convicted sexual offender. Indeed, Moore has already spoken on Heimlich quite a bit, as Rustin Dodd of The Athletic explains (subscription link). It’ll ultimately come down to an ownership call that has yet to be made, according to Dodd, who writes: “The Royals are not close to signing Heimlich, nor do they have any framework for a deal in place, according to a source familiar with the situation.” It’s hard to know just why the organization (or, perhaps, Moore personally) decided to air its feelings on this subject before reaching a decision. Now that he has, though, perhaps the public reaction will help inform the ultimate course of action.
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    Latest On Kelvin Herrera https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/heymans-latest-os-machado-dodgers-tribe-marlins-herrera-taillon.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/heymans-latest-os-machado-dodgers-tribe-marlins-herrera-taillon.html#comments Sun, 24 Jun 2018 23:37:52 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125775
  • The Braves were one of the teams interested in Kelvin Herrera before the Royals dealt the reliever to the Nationals.  Kansas City simply “saw the Nats as a better match” for a trade, and as Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos implied in a podcast appearance earlier this week, it seems like Atlanta wasn’t willing to meet the Royals’ asking price.  It remains to be seen how this decision could impact the NL East race, as the Braves not only saw Herrera join a division rival, but their own closer (Arodys Vizcaino) on the disabled list today.  Heyman does speculate about one silver lining for the Braves, however, as the fact that they’ve already had some talks with the Royals could help lay groundwork for a Mike Moustakas trade.  Overall, Heyman notes that the Braves would prefer to wait before making any big deals, as the team still isn’t quite sure what will end up being its biggest deadline need.

  • ]]>
    Royals Considering Signing Luke Heimlich https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-notes-as-bosox-canha-royals-heimlich-tigers-jays-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-notes-as-bosox-canha-royals-heimlich-tigers-jays-rangers.html#comments Sun, 24 Jun 2018 01:33:10 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125661
  • The Royals are considering a pursuit of controversial pitching prospect Luke Heimlich, GM Dayton Moore announced this week (via Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star). “We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Moore said of Heimlich, an undrafted free agent from Oregon State. Based solely on talent, the 22-year-old Heimlich was worthy of drafting – perhaps with a high selection. However, as a 15-year-old, he was convicted of molesting his 6-year-old niece. While Heimlich told Kurt Streeter of the New York Times last month that “nothing ever happened,” teams have still stayed away from adding him. Judging by the Royals’ interest, that may change, though Gregorian argues that they shouldn’t sign Heimlich. Moore, for his part, noted: “The easy thing is to wipe your hands of it and don’t even look into it or deal with it. We’re going to continue to look into it. I think that’s what good organizations do. I think that’s what good people do. And we try to be both.”
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    Royals Activate Lucas Duda https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-activate-lucas-duda.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-activate-lucas-duda.html#comments Sat, 23 Jun 2018 17:59:49 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125628 The Royals have activated first baseman Lucas Duda from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Paulo Orlando to Triple-A, tweets Rustin Dodd of The Athletic.

    Duda had been sidelined since May 14th due to plantar fasciitis. Although manager Ned Yost had initially given reporters a three-week stint as the high end for a DL stint, the recovery obviously took almost twice that long. The injury is often difficult to predict, of course; it’s affected other notable baseball players for unexpected lengths of time, including Albert Pujols, Corey Dickerson, and, recently, Jay Bruce.

    Regardless, today’s return gives Duda ample time to establish his value as a potential trade chip for the rebuilding Royals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July. After an injury-plagued second half in 2017, the long-time Mets slugger was only able to secure a one-year, $3.5MM pact with Kansas City. Even prior to this season’s injury, Duda hasn’t shown the same type of power output he managed across the 2014-2015 campaigns, when he mashed 57 homers and put up a .249/.350/.483 batting line. His walk rate this year is barely half of his career average, as well. If he can return to form, there are plenty of teams who would likely be interested in adding him for such a small salary.

    Notably, 26-year-old Hunter Dozier survived the roster crunch created by Duda’s reinstatement. Though he’s hit just .227/.281/.353 across 128 plate appearances and figures to see a dramatic reduction in his playing time, the team clearly favors him on the active roster over the 32-year-old Orlando, who’s made 907 trips to the plate for the Royals since debuting in 2015.

    Royals Trade Brandon Downes To Braves https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/twins-release-nick-buss.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/twins-release-nick-buss.html#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:58:20 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125563
  • The Royals’ Double-A affiliate announced yesterday that they’ve traded minor league outfielder Brandon Downes to the Braves. A return wasn’t specified, though presumably there’ll be cash or a player to be named later going back to the Kansas City organization to complete the deal. The 25-year-old Downes was Kansas City’s seventh-round pick in 2014 but entered the 2018 season with just five games played above Class-A Advanced. He’s hitting .198/.284/.365 in 111 PAs between Class-A Advanced and Double-A this season (including a 1-for-4 debut yesterday for Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate. Baseball America rated him as Kansas City’s No. 24 prospect four years ago, praising his solid-average speed and above-average power potential, though Downes has yet to deliver on that upside.
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    Royals Notes: Moustakas, Herrera, Escobar, Mondesi, Rebuild https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-rumors-mike-moustakas-salvador-perez.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-rumors-mike-moustakas-salvador-perez.html#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 03:03:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125528 Now that the Royals have traded Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals in a surprisingly early deal of significance, the organization’s focus is shifting to Mike Moustakas, it seems. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that Kansas City is now “looking to find takers” for the slugger, who burst out of the gates with a .301/.335/.569 slash through his first 194 plate appearances but has slumped to an ugly .219/.301/.375 batting line in the 146 PAs that have followed.

    Moustakas is earning $6.5MM in 2018 and is still owed about $3.53MM of that sum through season’s end. While his contract technically contains a mutual option for the 2019 season, there’s no reason to think it’ll be exercised by both parties. It’s exceedingly rare to see both sides exercise a mutual option, and if Moustakas ends up playing well enough that a club wants him at the $15MM value of that option, he’ll very likely feel emboldened to go seek a multi-year deal, knowing that he cannot be saddled with the burden of a qualifying offer for a second time.

    More out of Kansas City…

    • The Royals’ return in the Herrera trade — third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old righty Yohanse Morel — has been regarded by many pundits as light, but GM Dayton Moore explained some of his thinking in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). “The thing we knew about Perkins and Gutierrez is that they have a chance to be elite defenders,” Moore said of the two more advanced prospects he acquired. Moore said the team hopes to rebuild its roster around pitching and defense, and he likens the Herrera trade to the Zack Greinke blockbuster with the Brewers that brought Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to Kansas City. Moore says that the organization viewed Cain and Escobar similarly — unsure how much they’d hit but confident they’d be premier defenders.
    • The trade of Herrera and likely trade of Moustakas aren’t the only forward-looking moves in store for the Royals. Manager Ned Yost told reporters this week that Adalberto Mondesi will begin to start a game or two per week at shortstop in place of Alcides Escobar (link via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). Escobar will see some time at third base, second base and even in center field, while Mondesi will see some time at second base as well. The move will allow the team to evaluate Mondesi as a potential building block, and as Yost points out, it could be beneficial to Escobar as well. “He’s at a point in his career now where it will increase his value if he can play multiple positions, especially center field, third base, second base and shortstop as he can,” said Yost. Indeed, with Escobar hitting just .202/.251/.286 as an impending free agent, it’d behoove him to demonstrate defensive aptitude at a variety of positions.
    • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star takes an excellent look at the early stages of the Royals’ rebuild, noting that it seems the organization is aiming for a fairly accelerated timeline. As evidence, Mellinger points to the slew of college arms the Royals took near the top of the draft as well as the fact that they targeted fairly advanced, defensive-minded prospects rather than lower-level talents with higher ceilings but more risk in the Herrera deal. Mellinger writes that part of the reason that the Royals aren’t likely to be open to a Salvador Perez trade is that they could be hopeful of being competitive again by the 2020 season, when Perez will still be under contract and will still be just 30 years of age.
    Angels, Dodgers Pursued Kelvin Herrera Before Trade To Nationals https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/angels-dodgers-pursued-kelvin-herrera-before-trade-to-nationals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/angels-dodgers-pursued-kelvin-herrera-before-trade-to-nationals.html#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:05:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125356 The Angels and Dodgers were among the clubs that pursued reliever Kelvin Herrera before he was dealt yesterday from the Royals to the Nationals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (in an article and on Twitter). In fact, per the report, the two Los Angeles franchises were “in serious talks” about Herrera.

    That information is not only of historical interest. For one thing, it may hint something about the process the Royals undertook to move Herrera. The veteran reliever was among the most obvious and the best rental trade pieces in baseball. Most often, teams holding such an asset will take the decision until the deadline approaches, hoping that’s the best way to maximize their return.

    With multiple teams involved in serious talks, it seems that the Kansas City organization decided to oversee bidding in mid-June. Perhaps that was due to concern over what other relief arms might reach the market and/or a desire to minimize risk associated with a high-performing pitcher. It also may reflect a universe in which contenders see an advantage to moving aggressively.

    That’s all open to interpretation. What is clear, though, is that both L.A. clubs have an eye on bolstering their bullpens — and a willingness to do so by pursuing a pure rental asset. Presumably, they’ll be among the teams to pursue other such hurlers that come available over the coming weeks.

    According to Nightengale, the Halos in particular “remain immersed in talks with multiple teams for pitching.” That’s notable given the team’s recent fade and spate of injuries. There’s certainly still a path to the postseason, but it’ll take some internal improvements (including a return to health) and stumbles from one or more teams ahead in the standings. It seems, though, that the organization is willing to chase roster improvements even in this setting — a topic that Nightengale explores in greater length in the above-linked post.

    Nationals Acquire Kelvin Herrera https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-reportedly-nearing-acquisition-of-kelvin-herrera.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nationals-reportedly-nearing-acquisition-of-kelvin-herrera.html#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 23:49:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125320 The Nationals have officially struck a deal to acquire reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals, making for a fascinating early swap. Outfielder Blake Perkins, third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, and righty Yohanse Morel will head to Kansas City in return.

    This agreement represents a rare, mid-June strike of real consequence. We’ve already seen a few other notable trades this year, so it could be that the market as a whole will move quicker than usual — and much more rapidly than it did last year.

    Herrera checked in at the #2 spot on MLBTR’s initial list of the top fifty trade deadline candidates. Beyond his excellence on the mound, Herrera’s pending free-agent status for the cellar-dwelling Royals made a trade all but inevitable. He’s arguably the most significant player to have been dealt in the month of June in recent memory — a topic we examined just last week.

    The Nats will take over the $7,937,500 salary that Herrera is earning in his final season of arbitration eligibility. With 82 of the 186 service days on the MLB calendar already in the books, the Washington organization will be on the hook for something like $4.44MM.

    Certainly, the high-octane Herrera looks to be a key new piece for the Nats’ pen. This deal is the latest summer bullpen swap for the organization. Last year, the Nationals added Sean DoolittleRyan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler, the same three hurlers that make up the preferred late-inning unit on the current ballclub. In prior years, the team added Mark Melancon and Jonathan Papelbon. (The latter trade was the most regrettable of president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo’s tenure. Not only was Papelbon a disaster in the second season of his deal, but the team handed quality young righty Nick Pivetta to a division rival.)

    The 28-year-old Herrera will likely function in a set-up role in front of Doolittle, but skipper Dave Martinez will also have the choice to switch things up as match-ups dictate. Herrera has spent plenty of time as the K.C. closer and has loads of high-leverage postseason experience, so he ought to be able to function in any role that his new team prefers.

    Herrera still works at about 97 mph with his fastball, though he once averaged over 99. Notably, he’s also generating swinging strikes at a quality 14.4% rate, marking a return to form after a downturn last year. Unsurprisingly, then, the results have been excellent thus far in 2018. Herrera has allowed just three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings, racking up a stellar 22:2 K/BB ratio along the way. He’s not generating quite as many grounders as he has in years past, but has tamped down on the long ball somewhat and has obviously been exceptionally stingy with free passes.

    On the other side of this arrangement, the package features three interesting players that most prospect rankings did not grade among the very best in the Nats’ system. Clearly, though, the Royals felt the package was strong enough to warrant an early move. For the Nationals, shipping out that trio still leaves the club with the bulk of its highest-ranked prospects still available for the future — or, perhaps, for further deals this summer.

    Depending upon who you ask, Gutierrez and Perkins each rated just outside of or just within the ten best prospects on the Nationals farm. The former is a 23-year-old third baseman who has scuffled a bit in his first attempt at Double-A this year, but is regarded as a talented corner defender who possesses a quality hit tool and some power potential. Perkins, 21, has run into some troubles at the High-A level but has an interesting blend of speed, power, and plate discipline along with up-the-middle defensive ability in the outfield. As for Morel, a reputedly live-armed 17-year-old, he’ll represent a long-term wild card in this swap.

    Jon Heyman of Fan Rag first reported the deal (Twitter links), with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeting it was in place. Jon Morosi of MLB.com first reported the return (via Twitter).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Royals Place Jorge Soler On 10-Day DL, Promote Adalberto Mondesi, Select Wily Peralta’s Contract https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-place-jorge-soler-on-10-day-dl-promote-adalberto-mondesi-select-wily-peraltas-contract.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-place-jorge-soler-on-10-day-dl-promote-adalberto-mondesi-select-wily-peraltas-contract.html#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 15:20:10 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125188 The Royals announced a flurry of roster moves (Twitter links) this morning, including outfielder Jorge Soler’s official placement on the 10-day DL with a left toe fracture.  Left-hander Eric Skoglund was transferred to the 60-day DL, while infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow were optioned to Triple-A.  Joining the 25-man roster are infielder Adalberto Mondesi, outfielder Rosell Herrera, and righty Wily Peralta, as the Royals selected Peralta’s contract from Triple-A Omaha.

    [Updated Royals depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Soler is expected to miss at least six weeks of action with the injury, which was seemingly originally caused by a foul ball off his foot and then exacerbated when Soler was running on Friday night.  Soler’s production has cooled off following a huge opening six weeks, though he still had a .265/.354/.466 slash line and nine homers through 257 total plate appearances this season.  It seemed as though Soler was finally enjoying the breakout campaign long expected of him since his (not long ago) days as one of the game’s best prospects coming up in the Cubs farm system, though this DL stint is an unfortunate interruption to Soler’s season.

    Speaking of top prospects, the most noteworthy of Kansas City’s corresponding moves is the promotion of Mondesi, who is back in the majors for the first time in 2018.  Mondesi was a consensus top-40 prospect prior to the 2016 season, with Baseball Prospectus rating him as high as 16th on their list of baseball’s top 100 minor leaguers, though he has shown next to nothing at the plate in two brief stints in the Show.  Mondesi has just a .181/.226/.271 slash line over 209 career PA in the majors, though he has shown more composure as a hitter at the Triple-A level.  With the usual caveat that the Pacific Coast League is very hitter-friendly, Mondesi has hit .292/.328/.527 with 19 homers over 551 Triple-A plate appearances.

    Mondesi has already displayed excellent speed and strong defensive ability, so his prospect ceiling would only be further elevated if he can add value as a hitter.  He has mostly played shortstop in the minors with some time at second base, and with the Royals in rebuild mode, Mondesi could get an extended look at either position now that he’s back on the 25-man roster.  Whit Merrifield is certainly staying in the everyday lineup but can play other positions than second base, so Mondesi could displace Ryan Goins for regular time at the keystone, or potentially displace starting shortstop Alcides Escobar.  Manager Ned Yost told reporters (including The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd) that Mondesi will play four games a week for the time being, to keep Mondesi fresh after some injuries earlier in the season.

    Peralta signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract (with a $3MM club option for 2019) last winter, though he has yet to appear in a big league game for the Royals after being outrighted off the 40-man roster at the end of Spring Training.  Peralta has a 4.37 ERA over 35 innings at Triple-A, posting a strong 10.0 K/9 but a troubling 5.4 BB/9.  The hard-throwing veteran is looking to rebound after a very rough 2017 season that led his being outrighted off Milwaukee’s roster last summer.

    Rosenthal On Mike Moustakas' Trade Value https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/central-notes-moustakas-indians-cardinals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/central-notes-moustakas-indians-cardinals.html#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2018 02:29:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125158 Although Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is an obvious trade candidate, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears (video link) that he’s unlikely to bring back much in a deal at his current pace. As Rosenthal points out, Moustakas’ offensive output has faded as the season has progressed, and the lefty-swinger has struggled all year against same-handed pitchers, who have limited him to a .224/.253/.353 line. He’s also due around $3MM after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. All of those factors figure to harm Moustakas’ value, Rosenthal posits. After hitting .272/.314/.521 with 38 home runs in 598 plate appearances last year, Moustakas failed to generate much interest in free agency, leading him to re-sign with the Royals for a $6.5MM guarantee in early March. Three months later, he’s slashing an unremarkable .259/.314/.474 with 13 HRs through 296 trips to the plate.

    Jorge Soler Diagnosed With Fracture In Foot https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/jorge-soler-diagnosed-with-fracture-in-foot.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/jorge-soler-diagnosed-with-fracture-in-foot.html#comments Sat, 16 Jun 2018 22:18:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125087 SATURDAY: The Royals don’t expect Soler to require surgery, though he’s still likely to miss at least six weeks, per Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star (Twitter links).

    FRIDAY: Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metatarsal of his left foot, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic is among those to report on Twitter. He evidently suffered the injury while running after putting a ball in play tonight, having previously fouled a ball off the same area recently.

    The outlook on Soler isn’t clear just yet, of course, but this injury seems all but certain to cost him a decent bit of action. As Dodd notes, Jayson Werth missed nearly three months last year with a similar injury, though that’s not to say such an extended absence will be required in this case.

    It’s unfortunate timing for the 26-year-old Soler, who was in the midst of a strong season after a brutal 2017 campaign. Through 254 plate appearances entering play today, he carried a .268/.358/.473 slash with nine home runs.

    Needless to say, the Royals won’t be competitive this year, so it’s easy enough to weather the loss in that regard. And Soler wasn’t likely to feature as a trade candidate given his not-so-distant struggles and lengthy control rights.

    Still, it’s rough news for a team that’s looking to build a new core and a player who finally seemed to be reestablishing himself. And there are financial implications as well. As we explained recently, Soler may have had cause to consider opting into arbitration at season’s end, but it now seems much more likely that he will stick with the guarantee provided in the contract he signed with the Cubs after he departed his home nation of Cuba.

    Royals Select Brandon Maurer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-select-brandon-maurer.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-select-brandon-maurer.html#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2018 19:52:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125049 The Royals have selected the contract of righty Brandon Maurer, per a club announcement. He’ll take the place of fellow reliever Jason Adam, who was optioned to Triple-A.

    Maurer opened the year in the majors but was dropped from the 40-man after a brutal start to the season. His overall numbers at Omaha — 5.48 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 23 innings — really aren’t that intriguing. But the six-year MLB veteran has been better of late, Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star notes on Twitter.

    As for Adam, his first 15 1/3 MLB frames came with some ups and downs. He racked up 16 strikeouts against four walks, but also allowed six balls to leave the yard — accounting for most of the damage (eight earned runs) against him.

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:35:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124912 We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect. MLB.com’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
    Moore: No Regrets Over Manaea Trade https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-central-notes-zimmermann-mauer-royals-giolito.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-central-notes-zimmermann-mauer-royals-giolito.html#comments Tue, 12 Jun 2018 20:53:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124808
  • Giving up lefty Sean Manaea helped the Royals win a World Series, but his rise in Oakland has surely left some K.C. fans wondering what might have been. As Rustin Dodd of The Athletic writes in a subscription piece, though, GM Dayton Moore has no regrets whatsoever about how things turned out. He explains how it was that the club sent Manaea to the A’s for utility star Ben Zobrist, saying that “Billy Beane was persistent” while the Royals “weren’t going to be outbid” for a key asset after coming up just shy the season prior. Now, though, Moore says the goal is to create a broad-based array of talent that will allow the organization to “compete for a long time,” hopefully without pursuing such drastic, win-now swaps.
  • ]]>
    2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/mlb-rule-5-draft-update-june-2018.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/mlb-rule-5-draft-update-june-2018.html#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:14:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124748 When we last checked in on this year’s crop of Rule 5 players, there were a combined 11 players — six on active rosters and five on the Major League disabled list — still with their new organizations. That number has fallen to nine, with six players (albeit a different mix) still active in the Majors, plus another three hanging around on the DL. The number could shrink again in the near future, as several of the remaining Rule 5-ers are seldom used pieces, and at least two teams will soon likely have to make a call.

    Active Big Leaguers

    • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes has received only 38 plate appearances since our last Rule 5 roundup, hitting .211/.211/.342 in that span. He’s picked up a pair of triples and a double, his first extra-base hits in the Majors, but is hitting just .196/.196/.304 on the season as a whole. The Tigers barely use Reyes, outside of pinch-running and late-game defensive switches, but the longer they commit to hanging onto him, the less likely it becomes that they return him to Arizona. At this point, they’ve played more than a third of the season with an effective 24-man roster, so they seem likely to see this through.
    • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs, via trade w/ Reds): The 22-year-old Keller hasn’t picked up many strikeouts (5.9 K/9) and hasn’t displayed elite control (3.3 BB/9), but he’s sporting a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate in 35 innings for Kansas City — including three starts. He boasts a 2.31 ERA thus far in 2018, though his 0.26 HR/9 mark and 82.2 percent strand rate seem poised to regress. Nonetheless, he’s performed well enough to date that there’s no reason for the Royals to consider cutting ties.
    • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Smith, on the other hand, is a more complicated case for GM Dayton Moore and his staff. The 28-year-old is currently lugging a 6.49 ERA to the mound with him after surrendering 10 runs in his past 7 1/3 innings. Smith has racked up 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, but he’s also issued 18 walks and hit two batters. Beyond that, seven of the 26 hits he’s allowed with Kansas City have cleared the fence.
    • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo was one of four players in Spring Training with the Orioles who came with Rule 5 status, but he’s the last to remain on their MLB roster. (Anthony Santander, who missed much of last season due to injury, fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements last monthM and was optioned to Triple-A.) Araujo was torched for four runs last night, including a pair of homers, and he now has a 7.71 ERA in 28 innings with the O’s. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the fact that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, and to his credit, Araujo has punched out 29 hitters in his 28 frames (albeit against 18 walks and two hit batters). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote this morning that Araujo’s roster spot could be in jeopardy with Zach Britton coming off the disabled list.
    • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Texas stashed Tocci, 22, on the disabled list with a hip contusion for more than a month and rode his rehabilitation window as long as possible. Since being activated on June 2, Tocci hasn’t logged a single plate appearance. The Rangers’ season looks to be lost, so they may as well hang onto Tocci if they believe he has any shot at a future in the organization. He’s just 2-for-25 in 14 games this season and has struggled in Triple-A, but Tocci was productive for the Phillies’ Double-A club last season and hit well in Double-A during last month’s rehab assignment, too.
    • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez has allowed just 10 earned runs through 23 innings for a 3.91 ERA, but he’s also picked up just 10 strikeouts and yielded five homers. Hernandez, 23, has shown strong control (four walks), but he looks quite hittable through his brief run with Miami so far. As with each team listed in this section, though, they can certainly afford to hang onto him.

    On the Disabled List

    • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
    • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The Pirates picked up Burdi knowing he’d miss much of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’s yet to throw in the minors. That said, Burdi is a former supplemental-round pick who was selected toward the top of the draft thanks to an 80-grade heater that regularly touches triple digits. If he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, the Bucs will have a free look at a tantalizing power arm.
    • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): The Marlins placed Graves on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique strain back on Opening Day, so he’s yet to pitch in the Majors. He has, however, recovered to the point where he’s begun pitching on a minor league rehab assignment. The results haven’t been pretty. Graves has a 6.23 ERA with a 16-to-7 K/BB ratio and four hit batters in 17 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He’s also nearing the end of his 30-day rehab window. His first rehab appearance came back on May 17, so the Marlins have less than a week to determine whether to bring Graves up to the Majors or run him through waivers and offer him back to Oakland.

    Returned to Original Organization

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/10/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61018.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61018.html#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 03:30:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124690 Here are the latest notable signings from beyond the draft’s first round.  For more on these players, check out pre-draft rankings and scouting reports from MLB.com, Fangraphs, ESPN.com’s Keith Law, and Baseball America.

    Latest Signings

    • The Royals agreed to terms with 24 of their picks, The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd tweets.  Sandwich pick Daniel Lynch (34th overall, the compensation pick K.C. received when Eric Hosmer signed with the Padres) and second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan (58th) were the highest selections among the players signed.  No terms were announced, though MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan believes Lynch signed for close to the $2,066,700 slot value assigned to the 34th overall pick.  The 58th overall selection has a $1,168,300 slot price.  Lynch, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia, received rather varied grades in the rankings, earning high placements from Fangraphs (23rd) and Law (26th), while MLB.com (77th) and Baseball America (111th) were more pessimistic.  Bowlan, a right-hander from Tennessee, also had a wide range of opinions, with Law being the most bullish (69th) while BA only had Bowlan as the 230th-best prospect.

    Earlier Today

    • The Mariners have agreed to terms second-round pick Josh Stowers, MLB Trade Rumors has learned.  The deal is worth $1.1MM, slightly less than the $1,287,800 slot price attached to the 54th overall pick.  Stowers caught fire late in the college season, which apparently rose his stock enough in Seattle’s eyes to merit a selection that substantially outpaced his pre-draft rankings — Law and Fangraphs didn’t include Stowers in their top-100 and top-130 lists, respectively, while Baseball America (124th) and MLB.com (146th) also delivered modest evaluations.  The Louisville outfielder overcame his early-season struggles once he smoothed out his swing, and BA’s scouting report notes that “he doesn’t have one key carrying tool, but the sum of his parts gives him upside.”  Long-term questions remain about Stowers’ power and his ability to stick as a center fielder.
    • The Athletics have agreed to terms with 26 of their draft picks, as per a team press release.  The highest-selected of these players was second-rounder Jameson Hannah, a center fielder from Dallas Baptist University.  No financial terms were announced, though the 50th overall pick carries a $1,414,200 slot value.  Hannah was rated between 32nd (from MLB.com) and 60th (Fangraphs) in the prospect rankings, receiving praise for his excellent speed and strong contact at the plate.  Evaluators aren’t sure, however, whether Hannah’s contact skills will eventually lead to more power.  It’s worth noting that first-rounder Kyler Murray was not included in Oakland’s list of completed draft signings, as though the two sides reportedly agreed to terms earlier this week, though no official contract had been signed at the time.
    • The Angels announced that second-rounder Jeremiah Jackson has agreed to terms with the club.  Figures weren’t released; the 57th overall pick carries a slot value of $1,196,500.  Jackson ranked no lower than 57th (MLB.com) in the pre-draft listings, and he drew particularly strong praise from Keith Law, who ranked Jackson as the 23rd-best prospect and described him as “most promising [high school shortstop] in the class.”  Law believes Jackson is athletic enough to remain at shortstop, though others feel a move to second or third base is necessary down the road.  Jackson gained more notice for his bat, with a well-rounded hitting approach that will add some more power as he gets older.
    • The Marlins have agreed a deal with catcher Will Banfield, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  Banfield was the 69th overall pick, chosen in Competitive Balance Round B.  Heyman reports that the Georgia high schooler is expected to receive $1.8MM, which is more than double the $894.6K slot price of the 69th overall pick.  An outstanding defensive catcher, Banfield’s stock might have dropped a bit due to something of a down spring at the plate; MLB Pipline’s scouting report noted that dropping further than the second round could have led Banfield to attend Vanderbilt, so the Marlins may have had to pay that extra bonus money to convince Banfield to begin his pro career.  Banfield had solid placements in all four pre-draft rankings, finishing as high as 34th (MLB.com) and no lower than 68th (Fangraphs).
    Diamondbacks Acquire Jon Jay https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-jon-jay-diamondbacks.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-jon-jay-diamondbacks.html#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2018 02:41:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124329 9:41pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the D-backs are taking on the remainder of Jay’s salary and will be on the hook for any of the $1.5MM worth of incentives he unlocks. Jay reportedly receives $100K for every 25th plate appearance beginning at 250 plate appearances and escalating up through his 600th plate appearance of the year. He’s already at 266 PAs on the season.

    7:52pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve acquired outfielder Jon Jay from the Royals in exchange for minor league left-hander Gabe Speier and minor league right-hander Elvis Luciano. Infielder Kristopher Negron has been designated for assignment to clear roster space.

    Jon Jay | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Jay, 33, inked a one-year contract worth $3MM this offseason and is still owed about $1.86MM through season’s end. He’s gotten off to a nice start at the plate in his first year with Kansas City, hitting .307/.363/.374 with a homer, nine doubles, two triples and three steals on the year.

    That’s a fairly typical year at the plate for Jay, who has batted at least .291 and posted an OBP of at least .339 in four of the past five seasons. While he doesn’t provide much in the way of pop, he’ll give the Diamondbacks a high-average hitter with solid OBP skills who rarely strikes out and can handle all three outfield spots.

    For a team that currently strikes out at a 25 percent clip — fourth-highest in the Majors — Jay’s 14.7 percent punchout rate would seem to be particularly appealing. Beyond that, Jay has virtually no discernible platoon split, having hit lefties (.288/.361/.347) at a comparable rate to righties (.290/.354/.393) throughout his career.

    Jay will join an outfield mix that also includes David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings at the moment. Heading into the season, the outfield hardly looked to be a serious need for the D-backs, but they’ve since seen March acquisition Steven Souza hit the DL twice and are also without A.J. Pollock for upwards of two months due to an avulsion fracture in his thumb.

    While that has the makings of a potentially crowded outfield mix if everyone can get healthy, the D-backs will worry about that theoretical logjam down the line. For the time being, they’re taking a proactive approach to help stop the bleeding after a dreadful freefall that has seen their once-monstrous division lead whittled down to a half-game advantage over the Rockies.

    The price the D-backs paid for Jay appears modest, at best (as one might expect for a part-time outfielder on a modest contract). The 23-year-old Speier was a 19th-round pick by the Red Sox back in 2013 that has now been traded four times in his career. He went from Boston to Detroit in the Yoenis Cespedes/Rick Porcello blockbuster before next making his way to the Braves alongside Ian Krol in the trade that sent Cameron Maybin back to Detroit. Speier never threw a pitch in the Braves organization, though, as he was traded to the D-backs alongside Shelby Miller in the infamous Ender Inciarte/Dansby Swanson deal.

    For a player that’s bounced around so much, though, Speier has solid numbers in the minors. He’s currently in his second full season at the Double-A level and has thus far notched a tidy 3.03 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a whopping 60.5 percent ground-ball rate through 29 2/3 frames. In all, he has a 3.67 ERA in 112 2/3 innings at that level, though he’s yet to ascend to Triple-A and is not considered to be among Arizona’s top 30 farmhands.

    Luciano, then, may be the more notable of the pair of hurlers headed to Kansas City. MLB.com ranks him 26th among D-backs farmhands, while Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDainiel of Fangraphs noted in their rundown of the system that Luciano has a 55-grade curveball and a chance to start. Of course, at 18 years of age, he’s years away from even sniffing the big leagues.

    Luciano pitched in the Dominican Summer League and in Rookie ball last season, posting a combined 2.84 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com give him a chance to have three average or better offerings, highlighted by the aforementioned hook, but he’ll need quite a bit more development. Callis and Mayo, though, note that he has “plus mound presence and maturity” and was well-regarded by many in the D-backs organization.

    For the Royals, the trade of Jay figures to be the first of many in a long summer of rebuilding. Jay was among the many veterans on a contract set to expire after this season, and it’s likely that the Royals front office will field offers on everyone from high-profile rentals like Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas to veteran starters like Jason Hammel and even more controllable assets like Whit Merrifield. The rentals seem like virtual locks to go (Herrera and Moustakas, in particular), but GM Dayton Moore and his staff will undoubtedly carry an open mind as they entertain offers for nearly anyone on the roster.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Cafardo: Red Sox Among Teams "Watching" Kelvin Herrera https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-news-rumors-shields-herrera-red-sox-os-rangers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/al-news-rumors-shields-herrera-red-sox-os-rangers.html#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2018 00:35:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123925
  • Boston’s among the teams keeping an eye on Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. If acquired, the 28-year-old would return to a setup role with the Red Sox, thanks to the presence of closer Craig Kimbrel, and would further bolster a late-game mix that also includes Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes. Herrera, who’s in his last year of team control and making $7.94MM, has allowed just two earned runs and hasn’t issued a walk in 22 2/3 innings this season.
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    Royals Claim Rosell Herrera https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-claim-rosell-herrera.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-claim-rosell-herrera.html#comments Sat, 02 Jun 2018 19:36:02 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123883 The Royals have claimed utilityman Rosell Herrera off waivers from the Reds, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. Herrera was designated for assignment yesterday in order to make room for catcher Curt Casali on the Reds’ roster. In a corresponding move, righty Nate Karns has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

    Herrera was an international signing of the Rockies in July of 2009, and vaulted his way up the club’s prospect list over the next few years. At one point, a .343/.419/.515 in his age-20 minor league season earned him the number 86 spot on Baseball America’s top 100 overall prospects. He was highly regarded enough at one point to be added to the club’s roster in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

    However, after a pair of dismal seasons in High-A ball from 2014-2015, the Rockies released him and re-signed him to a new minors pact; that very same thing happened again the following season. From that point on, he never really made any headlines until being once again released by the Rockies this past offseason and subsequently re-signed by the Reds in a minor-league contract. Even the rebuilding Reds, however, didn’t consider him to be worth a roster spot after watching him strike out in five of his first 13 major league plate appearances, even after the young outfielder managed to slug .500 across nearly a hundred plate appearances at Triple-A.

    It’s easy to think, though, that he could find playing time with a Royals club that seems content to look for hidden gems in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process. Herrera is capable of playing both the infield and the outfield, so he could very well earn a major league look in Kansas City with a strong minors performance over an extended stretch.

    Mike Moustakas Thriving After Disappointing Free Agency https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/al-notes-ervin-lincecum-beltre-moustakas.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/al-notes-ervin-lincecum-beltre-moustakas.html#comments Tue, 29 May 2018 13:28:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123564
  • Rustin Dodd of The Athletic examines the aftermath of a disappointing free agency for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in an interesting subscription piece. It certainly seems that the veteran has adopted a rather sunny outlook, focusing on the many positives in his life rather than dwelling on the fact he was unable to secure yet more money over a longer term. As Dodd explores, that strikes a bit of a different note for a player noted for his fire. Some teammates feel the 29-year-old Moustakas was “screwed” in a funky market this winter, but it seems he’s making the best of the situation. Certainly, with a .275/.329/.502 slash through 228 plate appearances, he has done all he can to this point to set himself for a second crack at free agency.
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    Eric Skoglund To Miss Time With UCL Strain https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-donaldson-nats-f-vazquez-reddick-royals.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-donaldson-nats-f-vazquez-reddick-royals.html#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 20:14:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123475
  • Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund has a Grade 1 UCL strain and “will be out a while,” Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. Skoglund, 25, had been a fixture in KC’s rotation prior to the injury, though he struggled to a 6.70 ERA during that nine-start, 49 2/3-inning span.
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    Kelvin Herrera Could Be Sought-After Trade Chip https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/quick-hits-machado-cards-herrera-bumgarner-yu.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/quick-hits-machado-cards-herrera-bumgarner-yu.html#comments Sun, 27 May 2018 14:15:33 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123350
  • Royals closer Kelvin Herrera could emerge as one of the most sought-after players in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Olney observes. After an underwhelming 2017, Herrera’s amid an excellent start to the current campaign, and both that and the hard thrower’s impressive track record are among factors that should make him attractive around the league, Olney reasons. As an impending free agent on a rebuilding team, Herrera looks like a shoo-in to end up on the move, though Olney posits that KC would have leverage in trade talks because it could threaten to retain the 28-year-old and issue him a qualifying offer at season’s end.
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