MLB Trade Rumors » » Los Angeles Dodgers 2017-12-15T01:48:37Z Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dodgers Still In Contact With Yu Darvish]]> 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z
  • The Dodgers are still in “active dialogue” with Yu Darvish, GM Farhan Zaidi told’s Ken Gurnick and other reporters.  Andrew Friedman said yesterday that the team was more focused on relievers than starters due to the number of depth rotation options already in the organization, though with Darvish’s market yet to fully develop, it only makes sense that L.A. would continue to check in with the ace righty.  In regards to the Dodgers’ bullpen search, Zaidi noted that the team is looking for value additions rather than at the top of the market.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dodgers Notes: Friedman, Payroll, Bullpen, Starters]]> 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z
  • It is “fair to say” that the Dodgers’ 2018 payroll will be lower than $237MM, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told’s Ken Gurnick and other media.  Exceeding that figure would balloon the team’s luxury tax rate to 95 percent and drop their position in the June amateur draft back by 10 spots.  Counting arbitration projections and money owed to players no longer on the roster, the Dodgers’ payroll stands at over $208MM for next season, so they do have some room to make upgrades though it seems unlikely that they’d take on any major salary commitments without first unloading some of their existing big contracts.
  • Also from Friedman, the Dodgers are prioritizing bullpen additions.  Starting pitching doesn’t seem to be a need, as Friedman likes their current rotation depth and wants to give younger pitchers “a soft landing spot in the big leagues to go through their acclimation process.  We have a talented enough group to ride that out a little bit.”  As Gurnick notes, this makes it seem unlikely that L.A. would re-sign Yu Darvish.  Of course, the Dodgers did make a push for one very notable starter in Shohei Ohtani, though that was a unique circumstance due to Ohtani’s minimal costs.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dodgers To Sign Former Braves Prospect Guillermo Zuniga]]> 2017-12-12T06:45:10Z 2017-12-12T06:45:10Z
  • The Dodgers have agreed to sign Colombian right-hander Guillermo Zuniga to a deal with a $205K bonus,’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter link).  Zuniga was one of the 12 former Braves prospects who were declared free agents in the wake of MLB’s investigation into signing improprieties within Atlanta’s front office.  Each of the other 29 teams received an extra $200K in international bonus pool funds to sign any of these players, so the Dodgers only slightly dipped into their pre-existing pool money for Zuniga.  The Braves originally signed Zuniga, 19, to a $350K bonus.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reactions To And Effects Of The Giancarlo Stanton Trade]]> 2017-12-10T03:52:12Z 2017-12-10T03:52:12Z The Yankees shook the baseball world early Saturday when they agreed to acquire 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. As you’d expect, the deal has elicited no shortage of media reactions, many of which we’ve rounded up here:

    • While the Los Angeles-born Stanton would have preferred to go to the Dodgers, they didn’t make an offer that “intrigued” the Marlins, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. Sending Stanton to the Dodgers would have required the Marlins to take on more bad contracts than they were “comfortable with,” according to Sherman, who reports that LA wanted Miami to accept one or both of Adrian Gonzalez or Scott Kazmir and absorb $30MM of Stanton’s contract. The Marlins found acquiring Starlin Castro from the Yankees much more appealing, as he’s someone they could slot in at second base or flip elsewhere.
    • The Dodgers’ wariness toward a more aggressive Stanton pursuit stemmed from the back-loaded nature of his 10-year, $295MM commitment, per Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required and recommended). If he doesn’t opt out of his contract after 2020, Stanton will rake in $96MM over the final three years of his pact, when he’ll be in his late 30s. The Yankees will be able to slot him in at designated hitter then if his work in the field sharply declines with age, whereas the Dodgers would have had to continue running him out as a defender.
    • Adding Stanton gives the Yankees as many as six major league-caliber outfielders, thereby making Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier potential trade candidates. The Yankees will work to rid themselves of Ellsbury, even if it means eating “a lot” of the $68.3MM left on his contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Ellsbury was reportedly uninterested in leaving the Yankees as of earlier this week, but that was before the acquisition of Stanton relegated him to the role of a fifth outfielder. While Ellsbury, who has a full no-trade clause, would be a salary dump, the 23-year-old Frazier would likely bring back a quality return – perhaps a starter, King suggests. Additionally, the Yankees “would certainly listen on offers” for third baseman Chase Headley, per King. Headley is entering the last year of his contract, in which he’ll make $13MM.
    • With new Marlins owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman on a mission to continue paring down payroll to the $90MM range, Castro looks like their most obvious trade chip, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. By parting with Castro – who has two years and $22MM left on his pact – and not taking back another guaranteed contract, Miami would still be about $15MM above its spending goal, Jackson notes. Further payroll slashing could come from deals involving some combination of Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. Moving Castro, Ozuna, Ziegler and Tazawa would likely obviate any need to trade Yelich, Jackson suggests.
    • Prior to the Yankees’ Stanton acquisition, they looked poised to go after Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper in free agency a year from now. That may be out the window now, leading Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post to posit that the trade probably helps the Nationals to some degree because it appears to erase a would-be Harper suitor. However, several other teams will make big offers to Harper, Janes points out, so retaining him on what should be a record contract still figures to be a tall order for the Nats.
    • Harper is among the losers in this trade, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic opines (subscription required and recommended). Unsurprisingly, Harper’s agent, the always colorful Scott Boras, disagrees. “A Bronx opera . . . The Three Tenors . . . Hal’s genius, vision,” Boras told Rosenthal via email, referencing Harper, Stanton, Aaron Judge and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. Boras added that the Harper-Stanton-Judge trio would be “a galaxy of international popularity” on the same team. While Boras clearly isn’t ruling out a Yankees-Harper union, Rosenthal sees Manny Machado as a more likely target for the club in free agency next year.
    • The fact that Stanton is set to join a Yankees team that was just one win from securing a World Series trip last season is a major blow to parity in the AL, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs argues. Cameron classifies the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox and Indians as potential “super teams” heading into next season, and the Angels could be on their way to the playoffs after winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. As impressive as those clubs look, there’s now less incentive for others to play for the last wild-card spot, Cameron contends, which could lead certain fringe teams to rebuild.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Free Agent Profile: Yu Darvish]]> 2017-12-09T05:11:28Z 2017-12-09T05:11:28Z Yu Darvish hits the open market as both the top free agent pitcher available and, in MLBTR’s view, the top free agent of the entire 2017-18 class.


    After seven years of stardom in Japan, Darvish came to North American baseball with great fanfare in the 2011-12 offseason, and he has since lived up to the hype.  In 832 1/3 Major League innings, Darvish has a 3.42 ERA, 11.04 K/9, 3.33 K/BB rate, and 19 fWAR, firmly establishing himself as a front-of-the-rotation arm.

    Yu DarvishTommy John surgery sidelined Darvish for all of 2015 and limited him to 100 1/3 innings in 2016, though he looked healthy in a full season of work last year plus an extended postseason run with the Dodgers.  Darvish tossed a combined 201 1/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs, the second-highest total of his MLB career.  Beyond just the workload, Darvish also set a new career best by averaging 94.2 mph on his fastball.

    It’s worth noting that Darvish’s numbers with the Rangers prior to his deadline trade to L.A. were somewhat below his usual standard, thanks in part to a career-high 1.3 HR/9.  While those home run issues continued after Darvish went from Texas to Los Angeles, he took quite well to pitching in the NL, posting better strikeout and walk rates as a Dodger than he did in 137 IP with the Rangers before the deal.  His cumulative 10.08 K/9 for the season was the lowest of his career, though Darvish balanced that minor dip in punchouts with a 2.8 BB/9, continuing his trend of exhibiting better control throughout his big league career.

    Since Darvish was dealt during the season, he wasn’t eligible for a qualifying offer, and thus a team doesn’t have to give up any draft picks or international bonus money in order to sign him.  This gives Darvish a slight edge over his top competition in free agency, as Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb all have QO compensation attached to their services.


    Beyond the obvious red flag of the Tommy John surgery, Darvish has made five other trips to the disabled list during his MLB career, ranging from minor neck and back stiffness to rather lengthier DL stints for elbow and shoulder issues.  Though Darvish just turned 31 last August, he has 2127 2/3 regular-season innings on his arm between both Japan and North America, not to mention extensive postseason work.  While he hasn’t really exhibited any signs of slowing down, it’s easy to see how a team could be worried about committing nine figures to Darvish into his mid-30’s.

    The spike in home runs allowed isn’t completely out of the blue (Darvish had a 14.4% homer rate in 2013), and clearly he was far from the only pitcher who ran into trouble with the long ball during a record-setting season for homers.  Darvish’s 33.1% hard-hit ball rate was also a career-high, however, and his curveball was a below-average pitch in 2017 after previously being one of the most devastating weapons in his seven-pitch arsenal.

    No discussion of Darvish is complete with mentioning his awful World Series performance, though that could just be chalked up to the Astros having his number.  Darvish was very effective in his two starts earlier in the playoffs, and given the small-sample size factor of all postseason numbers, it’s hard to imagine any team wouldn’t be eager to give Darvish the ball this October.


    Darvish has been dealing with the media spotlight since he was a teenager, rising from a highly-touted high school prospect into instant stardom with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.  His move to Major League Baseball drew intense interest from several teams, with the Rangers making the high bid (under the old posting system) of $51.7MM just for the rights to talk terms with Darvish, eventually signing him to a six-year, $56MM deal.


    While Darvish has drawn significant interest from at least six teams, there haven’t been too many rumblings about Darvish or other top free agent hurlers given that the Shohei Ohtani chase has so dominated the offseason pitching market.  Now that Ohtani has agreed to join the Angels, you can expect a least a few of the finalists in the Ohtani sweepstakes to turn their attention to Darvish, even though the veteran pitcher comes at a vastly higher price. Interest should be robust.

    The Cubs have already made one notable rotation signing in Tyler Chatwood, though adding Darvish would further bolster an already-strong rotation.  The Dodgers are also deep in pitching options, though they could explore a reunion with Darvish to guard against further rotation injuries.  A return to the Rangers doesn’t seem very likely, while San Diego, San Francisco or Seattle are also longer shots based on costs, though the Mariners seem to be taking such an aggressive approach to this offseason that they can’t be totally ruled out.

    Let’s not overlook the Angels themselves as possible candidates, as there has been some light speculation that Darvish and Ohtani could aim to be on the same team; the two are friends and Darvish is one of Ohtani’s idols.  Anaheim has some payroll room even after extending Justin Upton, and with Darvish added to the promising but injury-riddled rotation, the Halos could even look to trade one of their excess starters in their attempts to add second base help.

    The Twins and Cardinals have been linked to Darvish this winter, though St. Louis has already made one notable rotation addition and could be more focused on adding a big bat.  Minnesota is something of a surprise suitor for Darvish on paper, though the club has enough open payroll space in future seasons that signing Darvish is actually feasible.  (The Brewers are also a possible fit for the same reason.)  The Orioles and Phillies badly need arms but the former won’t meet Darvish’s price and the Phillies may be a year away from augmenting their rebuild with big-ticket free agents.  The Astros may prefer to earmark future money on extending their core players, though they make some sense for Darvish if they wanted to safeguard their rotation against Dallas Keuchel possibly leaving for free agency after 2018.

    Expected Contract

    MLBTR projected Darvish to land a six-year, $160MM contract this winter, which would work out to the fifth-highest average annual value given to any pitcher in baseball history.  It’s a big investment given Darvish’s age and the miles already on his arm, though it also looks to be market value for such an ace-level hurler that reaches free agency.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: 12/7/17]]> 2017-12-08T13:40:14Z 2017-12-08T04:38:17Z The market for Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has been stagnant for a few days now. That could change at any moment, if Stanton green-lights one of the deal structures currently in place. And we’ve heard there’s some anticipation of some kind of resolution by the end of the week. But the longer things drag out, the more time and space there is for the existing top suitors to waver — and, perhaps, for others to enter the picture more clearly. It’s still not evident how this will all turn out, but there are some hints that the situation is not necessarily nearing resolution:

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic offers an updated look at the market in a subscription piece, with some interesting tweaks on what has become the status quo. It’s well worth a full read. There seems to be a split of opinion among Rosenthal’s sources as to just where things stand with regard to the Giants and Cardinals, with some saying Stanton is disinclined to approve a trade to either organization and others insisting his “thinking is fluid.” Regardless, those two clubs likely won’t linger around waiting forever, particularly if they come to believe they aren’t going to be able to convince the star to approve a deal. Should that come to pass, says Rosenthal, the Fish will be in a tough spot. If there’s a way out (beyond hoping Stanton says yes to one of the existing suitors), it may come from engaging both the Dodgers and — yes — the Yankees, each of whom Rosenthal says are still “on the periphery.” And Rosenthal adds that Stanton is open to a move to the Bronx. Of course, both of those mega-market clubs are in the process of reining in long-burdened balance sheets; Rosenthal writes that Miami would need to hang onto some significant cash (or take on pricey veterans in return) to get something done and perhaps entice real prospect value.
    • Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio hears similarly to Rosenthal regarding the Los Angeles and New York organizations (via Twitter). And his colleague Craig Mish even suggests (links to Twitter) that Stanton has now given the Marlins more clarity than had previously been known, with a list of four teams to which he’d approve a deal. The Astros and Cubs — neither of whom have been linked substantially to Stanton — are said to be on this list along with the Dodgers and Yankees. While the Giants and Cardinals are not on this “preferred list,” as Mish terms it, Stanton was at least willing to hear their pitches. Ultimately, this leaves it unknown whether Stanton has been swayed in his initial thinking and does not really conflict with prior reporting that has indicated Stanton would maintain an open mind entering the process.
    • Jon Heyman of Fan Rag painted at least a somewhat different picture earlier today, writing that the Dodgers are a “long shot” for Stanton if a move is to happen in the near future, as their limited engagement to date would leave them with quite a bit of work to do to sort out an agreement. With some indication that Stanton could make some kind of decision on interest from the Giants and Cardinals by the end of the week, it does not seem as if the Dodgers are likely to swoop in — but, perhaps, could still enter the picture if Stanton declines to go to San Francisco or St. Louis. It’s worth noting, too, that Heyman recently broached the topic of the Yankees’ ongoing interest in Stanton.
    • Speaking of the Giants’ interest in Stanton, Heyman writes that chief executive officer Larry Baer was among those to meet with the reigning MLB home run king. The CEO was previously reported to have met with Ohtani, too, so he’s clearly getting involved personally in these highly significant decisions for the organization. Baer “loves” the reigning NL MVP, according to Heyman, who adds that a free-agent pursuit of J.D. Martinez is viewed as the Giants’ primary alternative to Stanton.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Expect Decision From Giancarlo Stanton By End Of Week]]> 2017-12-06T22:23:32Z 2017-12-06T22:05:28Z 4:05pm: John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Evans about the Giants’ recent meeting with Stanton. The GM states to Shea that Stanton “had a good feel for what he wanted to hear from us” and acknowledged that AT&T Park is one of his favorite places to play. Stanton was complimentary of the Giants’ fans and the way in which they support the team.

    Though the process has dragged on for quite some time now, Evans reminds of the human side of what is a life-altering decision for Stanton: “There’s a lot of personal factors people don’t know about. We don’t necessarily know those personal factors as well.” Evans also, once again, confirmed that the two sides did reach an agreement, with contingencies, one of which (of course) is Stanton waiving his no-trade clause.

    2:44pm: The Giants anticipate that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton will decide whether to waive his no-trade clause by the end of the week, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter), who does also note that the timeline is hardly set in stone.

    Pavlovic also notes that San Francisco views the Dodgers as a bigger “threat” to land Stanton, not the Cardinals — the other team that has been most involved in trade talks to this point. Along those same lines,’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Dodgers and Marlins were in contact as recently as Tuesday, though their Stanton discussions are still not advanced.

    Giants GM Bobby Evans also acknowledged earlier today that the organization had a sit-down with Stanton, in an interview with KNBR (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). He also said that the team did put the terms of a deal in place with Miami in advance. Evans’ surprisingly candid comments run counter to yesterday’s comments from Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, who said in an appearance on WINZ-AM radio (link via the Associated Press) that his team is still “gathering information” and that “anything up to this point has been speculation.”

    Whether or not a deal will come together in that time frame remains to be seen, of course. It’s conceivable that Stanton could simply decide he is not interested in waiving his no-trade clause at this point. But the report does hint that we could see resolution on the situation before the Winter Meetings, potentially freeing up other market movement — including the Marlins’ potential efforts to market other players and subsequent pivots to other targets for the Giants and Cardinals.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Has Completed In-Person Meetings With Prospective Teams]]> 2017-12-06T20:14:08Z 2017-12-06T20:14:17Z As young Japanese star Shohei Ohtani moves toward a decision on where he’ll sign, it seems he will sit down in person with representatives from each of the seven MLB organizations that have been selected to continue on in his unique posting/signing process. Those seven teams are the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Rangers, and Cubs. Ohtani will have to make his selection no later than December 22nd under the new posting rules established between Major League Baseball and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

    Those that wish to learn more about the exciting two-way performer may want to visit some of these prior posts:

    We’ll track the latest updates on meetings in this post:

    • The Padres met with Ohtani on Tuesday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. While that stage of the process is completed, the remaining steps and timeline are not yet known.

    Earlier Updates

    • Ohtani also held court with the Angels on Monday night, Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group reports, meaning that he held at least three meetings on each of the past two days.
    • The Mariners had their meeting with Ohtani this morning (Tuesday the 5th), Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Their delegation has yet to be identified. Likewise, the Cubs had a slot today, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link), with no other details known of their presentation.
    • Ohtani and his representatives also met with the Dodgers on Monday the 4th, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). Rosenthal notes that Ohtani’s camp is moving through the courtship process quickly and will have some days on which he meets with two prospective suitors in the same day.
    • Officials from the Rangers went to L.A. for their turn to pitch Ohtani, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with the meeting taking place on Tuesday evening. Texas has long coveted Ohtani, like many clubs, and sent GM Jon Daniels to Japan earlier this year as part of an early play to draw his interest. As Wilson notes, the organization has $3.53MM available in pool space for a bonus; while that may not be a very telling factor, it’s the most that any of the seven teams will be able to promise Ohtani.
    • The Giants are the first known team to have met with Ohtani, and perhaps also the first actually to do so. According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, the San Francisco organization sent representatives to meet with Ohtani and his representatives today (December 4). All of the team’s top brass was on hand, with CEO Larry Baer heading to Los Angeles along with president of baseball operations Brian Sabean, GM Bobby Evans, and skipper Bruce Bochy. And the Giants had at least one top player attend, with superstar catcher Buster Posey joining the delegation. Pavlovic has more details on the team’s longstanding interest in Ohtani and its plans for him in the event he signs there. While the team can’t offer DH at-bats, Bochy has indicated that Ohtani would stand to see time in the corner outfield. (You can find Pavlovic’s full article on that subject here.)
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Plans To Meet With Seven Teams]]> 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z 2017-12-04T13:34:05Z Shohei Ohtani has already narrowed his list of potential landing spots to seven team, according to multiple reporters (with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM the first to tweet the final seven). Only the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres, Mariners, Rangers and Cubs will receive meetings with Ohtani. While Ohtani has three weeks to negotiate with teams, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Ohtani could make a decision well before that point, noting that he could be introduced by his new club at next week’s Winter Meetings.

    Of the remaining teams in the fold, the Rangers still have the most money to offer Ohtani, at $3.535MM, though his signing bonus seems increasingly to be a secondary consideration in where he ultimately signs, especially after last week’s reports that Ohtani could top $20MM in annual earnings in marketing endorsements. Certainly, his list of finalists reflects a preference for West Coast teams and a proximity to Japan, though the presence of the Rangers and Cubs indicates that he’s not quite locked into that mindset just yet.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Marlins Agree To Framework Of Giancarlo Stanton Deals With Cards, Giants]]> 2017-12-04T04:14:42Z 2017-12-04T04:14:35Z 10:14pm: The 2-3 day timeline is “quite a hopeful estimate,” sources tell Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    5:47pm: The Stanton deal is expected to be wrapped up within the next 2-3 days, Craig Mish tweets.

    4:41pm: The Cardinals are offering to take on more of Stanton’s money than the Giants, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link).

    3:17pm: Neither the Cardinals nor Giants have set timetables for Stanton to make a decision, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

    1:58pm: The Marlins have agreed to the “general framework” of Giancarlo Stanton trades with both the Cardinals and the Giants, Jon Morosi of reports (Twitter links). Buster Olney of ESPN suggested earlier this week that was the case when the Stanton camp (him and agent Joel Wolfe) met with those clubs.

    Whether a deal ultimately occurs with the Cardinals or Giants will depend on Stanton’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause to join either club, which looks far from certain. In fact, Jim Bowden of SiriusXM tweets that the Dodgers are the only team he’d agree to waive his no-trade rights for as of now. Bowden adds that the Giants would have a better chance than the “long shot” Cardinals of landing the right fielder if the Dodgers were to pass on acquiring him. A Stanton trade is not expected to come together Sunday, per Mark Feinsand of (Twitter link).

    The 27-year-old Stanton is a Los Angeles native who grew up rooting for the Dodgers, so his desire to join them more than anyone else isn’t surprising, especially when you consider their on-field success. Having never even played for a .500 team, let alone gone to the playoffs, since making his major league debut in 2010, Stanton made it clear during this past season that he’s tired of losing and wants to compete for championships. Stanton would likely get his wish to play meaningful baseball into the fall with the Dodgers, who are fresh off a National League-winning campaign, but Morosi reported earlier Sunday that the big-spending club is wary of the luxury-tax implications that would come with reeling in the NL MVP.

    Stanton is due $295MM over the next decade, and while the Marlins could eat a large portion of that in order to maximize their return for the 59-home run man, Olney reported Saturday that Miami’s primary goal is to get Stanton’s money off the books. That would seemingly be a problem for the Dodgers, who will incur significant penalties if they run a mammoth payroll again in 2018. The Dodgers spent $237MM-plus in each of the past several seasons, and if it happens again next year, they’ll have to pay an extra 45 percent surcharge tax. Additionally, their top draft pick for 2018 (No. 30 overall) will drop 10 spots. Jason Martinez of MLBTR and Roster Resource currently estimates LA’s payroll for next season to open at $208MM-plus, but that’s obviously without factoring in Stanton or any other potential additions.

    Meanwhile, although the Giants are already near the $197MM luxury tax for 2018 (they have upward of $190MM in payroll commitments), they’re reportedly willing to take on the majority of Stanton’s money if he’d waive his NTC to go to San Francisco. The Cardinals have far less money on the books for next year ($127MM-plus), but it’s unclear how much of Stanton’s money they’d add in a trade. Of course, along with the cash left on his deal, Stanton’s ability to opt out of the pact after the 2020 season has added another complication to trade talks between the Marlins and other teams. Despite the roadblocks, though,  the cost-cutting Marlins are seemingly in position to ship out Stanton if he green lights a move to St. Louis or San Francisco.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 12/1/17]]> 2017-12-05T00:35:30Z 2017-12-02T01:05:54Z With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players set for 8pm tonight, there should be several agreements over the next few hours — particularly among players that were considered to be potential non-tender candidates. Many non-tender candidates will be presented with offers that are lower than what they’d project to earn via arbitration in a “take it or leave it” manner; some will agree to the lesser deal (as Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt did earlier this morning) while others will reject and likely hit the open market.

    Here’s today’s slate of players that have avoided the arb process and locked in at least a partial guarantee for the upcoming season (arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed, but each of these players will be guaranteed one sixth of the agreed-upon sum unless specifically negotiated otherwise). All projections are via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

    • The Padres announced that lefty Robbie Erlin has agreed to a contract for 2018. The 27-year-old missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and was projected to earn $700K through arbitration. Terms of his deal have not yet been reported.
    • The Braves appear to have agreed to terms with just-claimed righty Chase Whitley, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Whitley, who was projected to earn $1.0MM in his first season of arb eligibility, is said to be in line for an opportunity to work as a starter. It’s a split deal that would pay Whitley $800K in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
    • The Mariners agreed with Andrew Romine on a $1.05MM contract, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Romine, a versatile infielder, was claimed off waivers after the end of the 2017 season.
    • Outfielder Abraham Almonte has reached a deal to avoid arbitration with the Indians, per a club announcement. He had featured as a possible non-tender candidate but instead found common ground with the organization. Almonte, 28, slashed just .233/.314/.366 in his 195 trips to the plate in 2017. He had projected to earn a $1.1MM payday in his first season of arbitration eligibility but will take home $825K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
    • The Royals have agreed to terms with righty Mike Morin to avoid arbitration, the club announced. He’ll receive a split contract,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, with a $750K annual earning rate in the majors and $250K in the minors. Morin, who projected at $700K, drew a mention on MLBTR’s non-tender candidates list. Indeed, his contract reflects the middling season that he turned in. Morin allowed 16 earned runs in twenty MLB frames, though he was more effective at Triple-A.
    • Yimi Garcia and the Dodgers have avoided arbitration, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Garia projected to command only a $700K salary after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery; he’ll end up taking home $630K, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Now 27, Garcia had established himself as a significant member of the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2015, when he compiled a 3.34 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 56 2/3 innings. But injuries limited him in the ensuing season and ultimately culminated in a UCL replacement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Indians have agreed to a contract with righty Dan Otero. Otero will take home $1.3MM, per’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). He was projected to command $1.4MM. The 32-year-old Otero has been an unmitigated bargain for Cleveland over the past two years, turning in 130 2/3 total innings of 2.14 ERA pitching despite averaging just 6.5 K/9 in that span. Otero has succeeded with unfailing command (just 19 walks since joining the Indians) and a hefty groundball rate (over 60% in each of the past two seasons).
    • The Angels and righty Blake Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal that falls well shy of his $2.2MM projection, as FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report (via Twitter). Wood struggled mightily in Cincinnati before being picked up by the Halos late in the year and turning his season around a bit. In 17 innings with the Angels, he posted a 4.76 ERA with a much more promising 22-to-4 K/BB ratio. Heyman notes that he can earn up to $50K worth of incentives as well.
    • The White Sox announced that they’ve signed right-hander Danny Farquhar to a one-year deal worth $1.05MM — a pact that falls shy of his $1.5MM projection. In 49 1/3 innings between the Rays and ChiSox, the 30-year-old logged a 4.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 41.7 percent ground-ball rate.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Add Jesen Therrien, Travis Taijeron On Minor League Deals]]> 2017-11-30T04:42:39Z 2017-11-29T23:23:15Z
  • The Dodgers have signed right-hander Jesen Therrien and outfielder Travis Taijeron to minor league contracts. Therrien, who underwent Tommy John surgery late in the 2017 season, inked a two-year minor league pact due to the fact that he’ll spend the 2018 season rehabbing from surgery. Therrien, 24, obliterated minor league opponents in the Phillies’ system this season, as evidenced by a 1.41 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. In the Majors, he logged an 8.35 ERA on 24 hits and seven walks with just 10 strikeouts, though Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that his velocity dropped sharply in the Majors, quite possibly due to the effects of his ailing elbow. The 28-year-old Taijeron, a former Mets farmhand, mashed in the hitters’ haven of Las Vegas (.272/.383/.525, 25 homers, 32 doubles) but hit just .173/.271/.269 in 59 big league plate appearances in 2017. He’s a career .274/.382/.523 hitter in more than 1500 Triple-A PAs.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers, Pat Venditte Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2017-11-29T03:39:36Z 2017-11-29T03:30:50Z
  • The Dodgers have a minors pact with switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, as SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Venditte, 32, is a unique and perhaps under-appreciated artist who is able to create his own preferred platoon match-ups by pitching with both arms. He owns only a 4.97 ERA in his 50 2/3 MLB frames. But Venditte ran up 69 2/3 inning of 3.36 ERA ball with 8.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 at the Triple-A level last year with the Phillies organization.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-28T22:13:31Z 2017-11-28T22:13:43Z Though Shohei Ohtani has not even yet been officially posted — that’s expected as soon as Friday — the supreme young talent is drawing plenty of attention from MLB organizations. Those clubs received a memorandum over the weekend asking them to provide information to Ohtani and his representatives on a variety of subjects, which is only the beginning of a highly unusual and utterly fascinating recruitment process.

    Here’s the latest:

    • Though Ohtani is limited to a signing bonus and a minor league contract in coming to the Major Leagues, he stands to earn substantially more through marketing endorsements, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Marketing agents have predicted to Nightengale that between endorsements back in Japan and in the United States, Ohtani could command north of $20MM annually. That’d make him MLB’s highest-paid player in terms of off-the-field revenue.
    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke to agent Scott Boras (who was in the running to represent Ohtani before Ohtani signed CAA and Nez Balelo) as well as MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem about Ohtani’s earning capacity. Unsurprisingly, Boras offered sharp criticism of a system that won’t allow Ohtani to top a $3.535MM signing bonus at this point. “He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat,” said the always colorful Boras. “And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million.” Halem, as one would expect, wholly disagreed with Boras’ notions, pointing out that it was Ohtani who passed on the chance to sign with MLB clubs as an amateur out of high school, which could have jump-started his earning potential. And, it was Ohtani who asked to be posted as an amateur just two years before he could have been posted as a professional. The free column has quite a few quotes from both Boras and Halem on the matter and is well worth a full look.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Los Angeles Dodgers]]> 2017-11-28T23:51:55Z 2017-11-28T14:18:06Z MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here for the other entries in this series.

    Following a World Series loss to the Houston Astros, the Dodgers will enter the 2018 season with the majority of their core intact. The NL West division competition won’t figure to get any easier, however, and the organization’s payroll obligations already exceed the luxury tax threshold, which will make it more complicated to patch holes through free agency. The good news is that they enter the winter with wealth in another area … their deep farm system.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)

    Other Financial Obligations

    Free Agents

    [Los Angeles Dodgers Depth Chart | Los Angeles Dodgers Payroll Outlook]

    At the kickoff of last year’s offseason, reports surfaced that the Dodgers were under pressure from MLB to cut payroll, though CEO Stan Kasten insisted that it wasn’t a mandate. While there hasn’t been word of any similar pressure this winter, Los Angeles already has over $207MM in guaranteed commitments for 2018 before so much as even inquiring on any free agents. Forty million of those dollars are owed to a combination of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and a group of players who are no longer on the roster. While it’s probably not safe to expect the Dodgers to be stingy, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see them shy away from long-term, high-risk contracts, especially with some notable extension candidates making up the core of the MLB roster and another wave of talent budding in the upper minors.

    That minor-league system includes six players in MLB Pipeline’s top 100, four of whom are either at the Double-A or Triple-A level. Their top two prospects, Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo, could help at the major league level early in 2018. With that kind of farm system, it’s possible we could see the Dodgers swing a major trade. I already noted that they’d be an ideal fit in a hypothetical Marcell Ozuna trade with the Miami Marlins, and indeed it seems like they’re in play for Giancarlo Stanton to an extent as well (though certainly his contract is larger than anything it would take to sign any of this year’s free agents). On paper, it seems like Verdugo in particular would make the most sense as a trade chip, depending upon how the club views a deep set of outfielders, though it remains to be seen whether the Dodgers have any real interest in dealing him.

    Speaking of Stanton, the Dodgers appear to be one of the best fits for his services. Not only are they one of the few teams with both the prospects and financial muscle to lure the NL MVP from Miami, but they may have an added advantage considering Stanton is an L.A. native. In fact, recent reports indicate that he’d approve a trade to the Dodgers; if he truly wants to land there, and the team is at least willing to offer enough to force the Marlins’ hand, then this could be a match. But it’s not presently clear just how much interest the Dodgers have and whether Stanton would push hard to go to one specific team.

    The possibility of adding a big bat ties into a complicated picture on the position-player side. It seems probable that Gonzalez will take at least some of the time at first base to open the season, so as things stand currently, the Dodgers would enter 2018 with some combination of Chris Taylor, Cody BellingerYasiel Puig and Joc Pederson in the outfield, with Enrique Hernandez likely to fill a backup role and Andrew Toles as a sort of dark horse for playing time. Of course, Gonzalez faded badly in an injury-riddled 2017 season, ending with a shockingly poor .242/.287/.355 slash line in just 252 plate appearances last year. If he can’t rebound to some semblance of his former self, the Dodgers might ultimately opt to cut him loose (and eat his enormous salary) in order to move Bellinger back to first. This concern could lead to L.A. signing a platoon partner for Gonzalez at first, or adding a cheap right-handed outfield option to their roster. From my point of view, however, it doesn’t make much sense for the Dodgers to mess around with the middle- and lower-tier options at those positions. Their roster is already crowded with many players of that type, so it might not be worth sacrificing a roster spot to add another part-time bat to the mix.

    Logan Forsythe is currently listed at the top of the second base depth chart for the Dodgers, and it would be perfectly reasonable to open the season with him at the keystone. Justin Turner and Corey Seager are obvious locks for their positions, so it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers making any real changes to their infield. They could, however, explore some veteran backup options. It wouldn’t be a complete shock to see them re-sign Chase Utley. The Dodgers could probably use a lefty-hitting infielder, and the 39-year-old veteran fits the bill. Other options to hit from the left side include switch-hitters Erick Aybar and Jose Reyes, but the trade market could well hold more promising possibilities.

    The back end of Dodgers’ rotation for the past couple of seasons has been a patchwork quilt of oft-injured hurlers who provide solid value when healthy. But the front end is absolutely dynamite; legend Clayton Kershaw will once again be the team’s opening day starter, while Rich Hill and Alex Wood are locks for the number two and three spots. Beyond that, things get a little murkier. Kenta Maeda was a lights-out relief pitcher in the playoffs, and although he’ll probably open the season in the Dodgers’ rotation, they could also opt to use him once again as a relief ace. Buehler will contribute in some capacity this season, but I’d put my money on the Dodgers sending him to Triple-A to open 2018. Julio Urias will probably return from injury at some point as well, though that will be much later in the year and he’ll be nursed back to health with quite a lot of caution. Beyond that, whether they sign a free agent pitcher or employ a wait-and-see approach with their brittle rotation depth seems like a coin flip.

    If they do sign a free agent pitcher, a reunion with Yu Darvish seems plausible. Despite an implosion during the playoffs, Darvish was solid for the Dodgers overall and comes with an extensive track record of success. Beyond him, they could be in on Jake Arrieta, or attempt to trade for Chris Archer of the Rays or Michael Fulmer of the Tigers. With the kind of rotation depth the Dodgers have, it makes more sense for them to look at large upgrades rather than risky players like Andrew Cashner or Tyler Chatwood.

    The Dodgers bullpen is largely in good shape. Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow are set to depart as free agents, but the dominant Kenley Jansen remains under contract as the team’s closer. Luis Avilan, Tony Cingrani, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling and Josh Fields will all be back as well. Their rotation depth could bleed over into their bullpen, meaning one of Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu or Maeda could pitch in relief to start the season. With all this in mind, it seems as though the bullpen doesn’t need much help. It wouldn’t make much sense, then, to spend big money on Greg Holland or Wade Davis, but they’ll probably explore options from the next tier. A reunion with Morrow would make plenty of sense, and beyond him there are names like Bryan Shaw, Juan Nicasio and Mike Minor that could hold appeal.

    What stands out most about the Dodgers organization is its depth of resources and the multitude of ways in which it could combine them. The team could acquire a big name trade target by moving assets at the minor league level or in the majors (Pederson or Yasmani Grandal come to mind), or it could throw a wad of cash at a free agent. The Dodgers will probably make a push for Shohei Ohtani, and landing the two-way star would mean yet more possibilities for corresponding roster tweaks. At the end of the day, it seems likely that they’ll make at least one significant acquisition, and probably more than that. Under Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, the Dodgers have sought to build without simply relying on bringing in expensive veterans from outside the organization on long-term commitments. But after coming up just shy in the 2017 World Series following five-straight NL West titles, the desire to finally win it all could provide significant motivation to cash in financial and prospect capital and put a super team on the field.

    What route Dodgers end up taking this winter is anybody’s guess. But we can safely presume that they won’t have a quiet offseason. They have loads of options and they’ll be exploring all of them. I expect the name “Dodgers” to pop up often in trade and free agent rumors, and I expect them to be at the epicenter when the dominoes start to fall.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Monday]]> 2017-11-28T00:04:29Z 2017-11-27T20:49:58Z The Giancarlo Stanton trade saga has been one of the top storylines of the offseason, and there’s no end in sight at the time being. To date, the Cardinals and Giants have reportedly submitted formal offers, while the Dodgers and Red Sox have also been linked to the slugger.

    We’ll track today’s developments on the Stanton front right here:

    • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that other clubs have gotten the sense that there’ll be resolution on the Stanton talks one way or another by the time the Winter Meetings kick off on Dec. 10 (all Twitter links). That is to say, the Marlins will either have traded him by that point or interested parties will have exhausted their patience and begun to explore other possibilities on the trade and free-agent markets. Crasnick also notes that while the Cardinals and Giants are the most-cited suitors, there are other clubs that are in active pursuit of Stanton.

    Earlier Updates

    • Jon Morosi of reports that Stanton has given the Marlins a list of teams to which he’d accept a trade, and the Dodgers are among those teams (all links to Twitter). Per Morosi, the Dodgers and Marlins have discussed some Stanton trade scenarios, but the Giants and Cardinals have shown more focused interest in Stanton. Some teams interested in Stanton feel the Dodgers are his top choice, which could slow negotiations as Stanton could veto any deal until knowing for certain that the Dodgers don’t plan on making a move for him. At this point, however, Stanton has not rejected any trades, according to Morosi.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Adrian Gonzalez Has Full No-Trade Clause]]> 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z
  • Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has a full no-trade clause – not a partial NTC – agent Jim Boggs tells Cafardo. Regardless, coming off a back injury-shortened season in which he accounted for minus-1.1 fWAR in 252 plate appearances, finding a taker for Gonzalez, 35, figures to be a tall task for the Dodgers. LA may simply eat the $21.5MM Gonzalez is owed next season in order to jettison him, Cafardo suggests.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[What We Know About The Giancarlo Stanton Situation]]> 2017-11-25T03:37:39Z 2017-11-25T03:36:29Z As of Black Friday, the 2017 offseason has been astonishingly quiet. The trade and free agent market seems as though it’s being held up in large part by the situation surrounding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Once that massive domino falls, it’s possible we’ll see a flurry of free agent activity follow. In the meantime, however, Stanton rumors are a heavy focus of the baseball media cycle, and as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd pointed out in an in-depth piece earlier this month, his market is wide and complex. As we approach the weekend, here’s an overview of what we know about the Marlins’ attempt to deal their All-Star outfielder.

    He’s the best player available on the market- This may be redundant considering I already mentioned his brand new MVP award, but the subject is well worth its own spotlight. His .281/.376/.631 batting line is other worldly, and his 59 homers paced all of baseball in 2017. While his 6.9 fWAR only tied for fifth among all players in the majors, the rest of the top seven (Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout) won’t be available for teams to acquire in a trade. The top three free agents (Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer) aren’t anywhere near as valuable in terms of expected WAR output as Stanton.

    Teams perceive his remaining contract as close to market value- According to these three tweets from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, multiple teams told the Marlins that the remaining 10 years and $295MM left on Stanton’s contract are a pretty good estimate of what he’d earn on the open market, were he a free agent this offseason.

    He has a lot of power over his own fate- Not only does Stanton have a full no-trade clause in his contract, but he also has the ability to opt out after the 2020 season, at which point he’d leave 7 years and $218MM on the table in search of a new deal. The opt-out makes trading him even more complicated, as it caps the contract value upside for his would-be new team. Meanwhile, the full no-trade protection gives him enormous leverage in the process. Many teams would love to add Stanton to their lineup, and the Marlins are looking to shed payroll. Ultimately, this means the Fish may not end up being able to accept the best offer, and could have to simply settle for the proposal from the city Stanton wishes to play for most.

    The Marlins’ leverage over him is nonzero- While Stanton is a coveted asset and enjoys no-trade protection, he’s made it well-known that he isn’t interested in being around for a rebuild. The slugger’s desire to leave Miami could result in him approving a trade he’s not thrilled about just to play for a contender. On the other hand, it could also result in a tense game of chicken between Stanton and the Marlins to see who will bend first. Although the Marlins have a firm mission to shed payroll, they can do so in other ways; they don’t actually have to trade Stanton at all. And as much as Stanton wants to be traded, he might be willing to hold out for a team of his choice and risk staying put. The case is fascinating.

    Some evaluators believe the Marlins’ asking price is unrealistic- While Miami’s asking price isn’t entirely clear, it seems as though they’re looking for a team to pay all (or nearly all) of his salary while including prospects. This has led some to suggest that the Fish need a “reality check” in terms of their asking price. If the contract is indeed roughly market value, then it’s difficult to imagine that a team will give up good prospects for the privilege to pay Stanton his full dollar value over the course of the deal.

    He prefers to play near a coast- While this doesn’t seem to be a firm deal breaker, it complicates matters for teams like the Cardinals and Phillies, who have the payroll space and prospect depth to swing a trade for the prolific slugger.

    The Cardinals and Giants have made formal offers- The Giants were the first to officially submit a trade proposal, with the Cardinals following suit later that same week. This doesn’t mean the trade discussions are finished; those trades could still be tweaked or even scrapped entirely in favor of starting from scratch. But the fact that there are at least two offers on the table gives the Marlins some options to weigh for the time being. It’s not known what those offers are, however, though we do know that the Cardinals included Sandy Alcantara in their proposal. It’s equally uncertain whether Miami even takes those offers seriously.

    As many as eight teams are engaged in talks for him- While only six of those eight teams are thought to be serious pursuers, the fact that so many teams are showing strong interest bodes well for Miami and their power in negotiations. In addition to the Cardinals and Giants mentioned above, we know that the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox have had some level of dialogue with the Marlins. The Yankees, too, have reportedly done their due diligence, though it doesn’t sound as if they’re actively pursuing Stanton.


    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dodgers Release Jose Miguel Fernandez]]> 2017-11-23T23:39:48Z 2017-11-23T23:39:48Z The Dodgers have released infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez, as per the official transactions page for the Double-A Texas League (tip of the cap to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy).

    It was just last January that Fernandez signed a minor league deal with a $200K signing bonus, ending a rather prolonged stretch in free agency following the second baseman’s escape from Cuba in December 2015.  While Fernandez posted some very good batting numbers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional (.319/.403/.423 in 2580 career plate appearances), he also hadn’t played since 2014, which unsurprisingly led to some rust during showcase appearances for scouts.

    Still, there was some thought that L.A. had scored a bargain when they inked Fernandez, as he was seen by some as a player who was ready for a relatively quick promotion to the big leagues.  Indeed, his performance in 2017 seemingly did little to shake that assessment, as Fernandez hit .306/.366/.498 over 369 PA for Double-A Tulsa.  Fernandez continued to display good contact skills with just 33 strikeouts (against 24 walks), and he hit 16 homers at the Double-A level — a nice power increase considering he only hit 37 homers total in all his time in the Serie Nacional.

    Fernandez didn’t play after July 29 due to a DL stint, and unless that injury was something particularly serious, his release seems rather surprising.  Even if the Dodgers faced a roster crunch or simply didn’t see Fernandez as a long-term piece, one would think a trade would’ve come before an outright release (though the Dodgers might’ve quietly shopped him and found no takers).  Still, given the relatively low price Fernandez cost Los Angeles in the first place, the Dodgers might’ve felt they weren’t losing out on much by releasing him.

    The 29-year-old Fernandez now figures to get some attention on the free agent market, particularly from teams in need of middle infield help.  Fernandez has spent much of his career at second base, though he also has a handful of games at first base, third base and in left field.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Acquire Josh Ravin]]> 2017-11-21T03:46:51Z 2017-11-21T03:25:51Z 9:24pm: Ravin has now been dealt to the Braves in exchange for cash considerations, Shaikin tweets. He joins fellow reliever Grant Dayton in following executive Alex Anthopoulos from Los Angeles to Atlanta.

    7:31pm: The Dodgers have designated righty Josh Ravin for assignment, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times was among those to tweet. As he departs the 40-man, righties Trevor Oaks and Dennis Santana will join it.

    Ravin, 29, showed some big swing-and-miss potential after landing with the Dodgers but never fully caught on in the majors. A PED suspension and some injuries certainly had an impact. Ravin ultimately threw 16 2/3 frames in the bigs in 2017, allowing 12 earned runs with a 19:9 K/BB ratio. In 35 1/3 Triple-A innings, he pitched to a 4.33 ERA with 14.0 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Claim Grant Dayton]]> 2017-11-21T02:06:45Z 2017-11-21T01:29:45Z The Braves have claimed lefty Grant Dayton from the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times was among those to tweet. He underwent Tommy John surgery this August.

    Atlanta is also adding two lefties to its 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Adam McCreery and Ricardo Sanchez both had their contracts selected,’s Mark Bowman tweets.

    The addition of Dayton becomes the first acquisition for newly hired Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos, who is certainly quite familiar with the southpaw from his time in the Dodgers front office. Atlanta, evidently, can afford the greater patience — as well as the inconvenience of tying up a 40-man spot for part of the offseason — that comes with Dayton as he rehabs.

    Certainly, Dayton carries an intriguing background to his new organization. He seemingly came from nowhere to dominate down the stretch and become one of the Dodgers’ top relievers in 2016. But Dayton showed signs of trouble throughout the 2017 season and ultimately struggled to a 4.94 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 23 2/3 innings before going down with a UCL injury.

    Given the timing of the surgery, it’s fairly likely that Dayton won’t pitch in the majors in 2018. The Braves can, of course, add him to the 60-day DL to open the year, but will have to clog a 40-man spot in the meantime to maintain control rights.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers, Manny Banuelos Near Minor League Deal]]> 2017-11-18T03:37:51Z 2017-11-18T03:10:16Z
  • The Blue Jays announced last night that they’ve brought back former first-round pick Deck McGuire on a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Toronto selected McGuire, now 28 years of age, with the 10th overall pick back in 2010. The former Georgia Tech star tore through Class-A Advanced with the Jays but began to struggle upon reaching Double-A and was ultimately traded to the A’s for cash considerations in 2014. McGuire has since pitched in the upper levels of the Dodgers and Cardinals systems, and in 2017 he made his big league debut with the Reds after turning in a terrific season in Double-A. McGuire tossed 168 innings with a 2.79 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for Cincinnati’s Pensacola affiliate, and he impressed in a brief sample of MLB innings as well. Through 13 2/3 frames with the Reds, McGuire allowed four earned runs (2.63 ERA) on 10 hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts.
  • Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times tweets that the Dodgers are closing in on a minor league deal with left-hander Manny Banuelos. The 26-year-old Banuelos was once one of the most prized prospects in the Yankees’ farm system before elbow problems slowed his career. Banuelos had Tommy John surgery back in 2013 and has since undergone a second elbow operation to remove bone chips. His lone season with MLB experience came in 2015 when he tossed 26 1/3 innings with the Braves. Banuelos spent the 2017 season with the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate and struggled to a 4.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9 in 95 innings. It’s perhaps worth noting that he spent the bulk of 2017 as a reliever (nine starts, 30 relief outings) — his first career season working primarily out of the bullpen.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Wednesday]]> 2017-11-15T23:18:09Z 2017-11-15T23:17:56Z The Giancarlo Stanton rumor mill was churning yesterday as teams jockey for position with the Marlins — and, perhaps, with Stanton himself, who can veto any trade. At the end of the day, though, it seemed there was no greater clarity as to where he might be dealt and when a trade might go down.

    We’ll use this post to track any new developments today …

    •’s Jon Morosi reports that teams that have spoken to the Marlins have informed them that they feel the 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s deal is a rough approximation of his market value (all Twitter links). In other words, other clubs don’t perceive there to be much, if any, surplus value on Stanton’s deal. As such, the Marlins will have to pay down a notable portion of the deal to also extract premium prospects from a potential trade partner. One exec suggested that Miami would need to pay as much as $5MM annually in order to receive good prospect value. Morosi notes that the Cardinals and Marlins once again discussed trade concepts today.
    • The Marlins initiated a brief conversation with the Yankees regarding Stanton, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Yankees aren’t considered a serious suitor, though, and the Yankees simply said they’d be open to hearing what the Marlins had in mind, perhaps as a matter of sheer due diligence. Both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have publicly stated a desire to dip under the $197MM luxury tax barrier, and Stanton’s $25MM annual salary would obviously get in the way of that goal.

    Earlier Updates

    • Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says he has not yet spoken with Stanton, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was among those to report on Twitter“If there’s a reason to call him, I’ll call him,” said Jeter. The new Marlins boss did not commit to dealing Stanton and noted that such a move would be complicated, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But Jeter also suggested that the team cannot continue operating in the same manner financially as it did under prior ownership.
    • Of course, president of baseball operations Michael Hill sat down with Stanton and says he has a sense of what the slugger is interested in. He’s also running point on Stanton talks with other teams. Hill tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he is putting the onus on suitors to come forward with some information on what they are willing to do to land Stanton. “Until I know where you’re at on the contract, the money, all that stuff, I can’t engage,” Hill said of his rival executives.
    • Rosenthal said that eight teams had engaged on Stanton to this point. Six of those are fairly serious pursuers, according to a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
    • There’s “little momentum” regarding Stanton between the Dodgers and Marlins, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Of course, the most notable point at this stage seems to be that the Dodgers are involved at all. Los Angeles seems like a solid fit for Stanton, though it’s also not difficult to imagine the organization preferring not to tie up such a significant portion of its payroll in one contract.
    • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle ran down the latest on Stanton from the Giants’ perspective. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did the same with regard to the Cardinals. And’s Rob Bradford explained why he still thinks the Red Sox could be in Stanton (or another superstar hitter) despite some indications to the contrary.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Tried To Acquire Tommy Pham This Summer]]> 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z
  • The Cardinals are looking to trade multiple outfielders given their logjam of upper-level talent, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The PhilliesOrioles and Giants have had interest in some of the Cards’ outfielders in the past, Goold notes, adding that Randal Grichuk is the outfielder that “comes up the most often.” Goold also reports that the Dodgers tried to pry Tommy Pham away from the Cardinals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline but were unsuccessful in doing so. In addition to Grichuk and Pham, the Cards have Stephen Piscotty, Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez at the big league level. Beyond that, younger options include Harrison Bader, Magneuris Sierra, Randy Arozarena (who Goold profiles at the beginning of his column) and Tyler O’Neill.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-14T22:43:36Z 2017-11-14T22:43:35Z Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has already generated plenty of buzz at the GM Meetings. Perhaps that’s unsurprising, given that his massive contract represents a key factor in the Miami organization’s offseason — and those of the teams that will consider acquiring it. Given the unique circumstances at play, perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to be dealt at a relatively early stage.

    Here’s the latest:

    • The Dodgers are indeed in the mix for Stanton, tweets’s Mark Feinsand. To what extent Los Angeles is interested remains unclear, but the Dodgers certainly have the payroll capacity to take on the contract as well as the young talent in order to entice the Marlins to part with Stanton.
    • Stanton actually has not ruled out the Red Sox — or, it seems, any other organizations — according to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. While the slugger may have initial preferences, Drellich writes that he’s maintaining a “’completely’ open mind.” It’s ultimately not too surprising to hear some competing information flying about Stanton’s approach, for the reasons Goold explores in the below-linked piece. But if the slugger is indeed willing to entertain any possibilities, then that will presumably make for a more wide-open process — and keep things interesting right up to the point that Stanton weighs an actual opportunity t change teams, should it arise.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Giants have at times given signals of going big for Stanton (or another expensive player) or instead trying to stay under the luxury tax line. But it seems the organization is engaged with the Marlins in earnest. Per’s Joe Frisaro, via Twitter, the clubs are discussing Giants prospect Heliot Ramos as a possible element of a hypothetical return for Stanton. San Francisco is joined by at least three others in chasing the slugger at this point, he adds. (Those looking for subtle signals will also note that Giants GM Bobby Evans and Marlins president of baseball ops Michael Hill were spotted on a joint foyer foray this morning, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.)
    • Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, meanwhile, hears at least seven clubs have shown some level of interest in Stanton, noting that the Marlins front office is “encouraged” by the early dialogue. Front office sources from other organizations framed things a bit differently;’s Buster Olney tweets that there’s a perception that the Marlins are seeking a “shockingly high” package for the rights to pay Stanton at a premium rate, particularly since his deal includes an opt-out clause.
    • Importantly, per Heyman, Miami is said to be open to hanging on to some of Stanton’s contract. Additionally, the team is focused on achieving value rather than on getting young pitching, specifically.
    • Of course, Stanton’s own preferences hold the final say in any deal. While it’s far from certain, there are rumblings that Stanton is not inclined to approve a swap that would send him to the Cardinals or Red Sox, as Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reports. If nothing else, anything less than a full blessing from Stanton with regard to a given organization would likely complicate any effort to finalize a deal.
    • The no-trade clause obviously ties into the subject of leverage, which is a key issue for the Fish, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Since Miami would do well to keep its cards close to the vest with regard to Stanton’s preferences, the information flow is critical to the Marlins’ effort to maximize their return while finding a landing spot Stanton that will authorize.
    • While the Red Sox “may have checked in” on Stanton, they seem to be focused elsewhere. And the Dodgers haven’t engaged yet at all, Heyman adds. Both of those teams were highlighted by MLBTR as among the best fits on paper for the star slugger.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[How The Dodgers Could Pitch Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-11-14T13:38:00Z 2017-11-14T13:32:22Z
  • Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times discusses the Dodgers’ potential pitch for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. While Ohtani’s two-way aspirations may seemingly make him a better fit for a smaller-market team in the American League — an organization, that is, that’s more willing and better situated to allow him to attempt the difficult task of both pitching and hitting at the game’s highest level — Hernandez posits that the Dodgers can offer as much and more. The Los Angeles front office will no doubt cook up some interesting possibilities for maximizing Ohtani’s abilities, suggests Hernandez, with the club’s immense rotation depth helping to make it possible.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger Win Rookie Of The Year Awards]]> 2017-11-14T01:54:46Z 2017-11-14T01:54:46Z In news that won’t come as a surprise to many, Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers were named the rookies of the year in the American League and National League, respectively. Each received unanimous support from the voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

    Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox and Trey Mancini of the Orioles followed Judge in the A.L. ROY voting. The other finalists for the N.L. award were the Pirates’ Josh Bell and Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.

    Judge was as obvious a victor as you’ll ever see. The 25-year-old slugger swatted 52 home runs and posted a .284/.422/.627 batting line in 678 trips to the plate. That output was good enough to make him a finalist for the MVP award — the results haven’t yet been tabulated — and a shoe-in to be chosen as the top rookie.

    Over on the National League side, Bellinger was an easy choice for the hardwear after 548 plate appearances of .267/.352/.581 hitting to go with 39 dingers and ten steals. A 2013 fourth-round draftee, Bellinger only turned 22 in mid-July and opened the season at Triple-A, adding to the impressiveness of his accomplishment.

    Because he did not start the season in the big leagues, Bellinger will fall shy of a full season of MLB service. That means he won’t reach arbitration until 2020 (as a Super Two) and will be controlled via the arb process through 2023. Judge had already spent some time in the majors in 2016, so he’s set to reach the open market a year earlier, though he also won’t see an arbitration pay bump until 2020.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Willing To Entertain Offers On Zach Britton]]> 2017-11-13T23:56:45Z 2017-11-13T23:56:45Z The Orioles are willing to listen to trade scenarios involving closer Zach Britton, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. While prior signals were that the organization would hold on to the southpaw this winter, it seems there’s now at least some possibility of a swap coming together.

    Baltimore engaged in chatter involving Britton last summer and nearly dealt him to the Astros. But talks sputtered at the last minute and he ended up remaining on hand. MLBTR projects that Britton will earn a hefty $12.2MM in arbitration.

    As Heyman notes, the O’s could find it advantageous to reallocate that payroll space to a rotation that’s badly in need of attention. Plus, with Britton slated for free agency after the season, this would be an opportune time to cash him in for young talent.

    Houston is not presently among the organizations engaged on Britton, per the report. But the Dodgers and Cubs have already engaged in some chatter surrounding the 29-year-old hurler.

    It remains unclear just how strong the market will be for Britton. Prior to the 2017 season, he had established himself as one of the game’s most dominant relievers. But the campaign didn’t quite go as hoped, as he fell short of his own lofty standards while dealing with elbow issues.

    Britton ended the year with 37 1/3 innings of 2.89 ERA ball, posting 7.0 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 while inducing grounders on more than 70% of the balls put in play against him for the fourth-straight season. While his swinging-strike rate dropped off to 11.5% after topping out at 17.2% in 2016, Britton kept his monster sinker at over 96 mph and was obviously still able to use it to draw quite a few worm-burners.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Crasnick’s Latest: Stanton, Ohtani, JDM, Darvish, Royals, McCutchen]]> 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z In this year’s edition of his annual Hot Stove survey (an always-excellent read), ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick surveyed 40 front office execs and scouts from around the league on nine offseason issues as this week’s GM Meetings kick off. Among the topics discussed, at length, are the possibility of a Giancarlo Stanton trade (and his likeliest destination), where Japanese star Shohei Ohtani will land, how much J.D. Martinez can command in free agency, and whether Yu Darvish’s poor World Series showing hampered his free-agent stock. Crasnick also polled the 40 baseball ops/scouting minds on multiple groups of free agents and trade candidates, asking which will provide the most value and which are likeliest to be dealt.

    If you follow the offseason even loosely, you’ll want to be sure to read through the entire column, which is packed with quotes and insight from general managers, scouts and other front-office executives on the players in question and their potential landing spots. Some abbreviated highlights…

    • Three quarters of the respondents indicated that they expect Stanton to be traded this offseason, with nearly a third listing the Cardinals as the likeliest landing spot. The Giants were the second-most popular spot, though one scout tells Crasnick he has a difficult time envisioning that match, calling the Giants a “bottom-five farm system.” One respondent who felt Stanton would stay in Miami suggests to Crasnick that the Marlins may be underestimating just how much of the contract they’ll need to pay down.
    • The Yankees and Dodgers split the vote on the surveyed group’s likeliest destinations for Ohtani, with the Rangers not far behind. Several other clubs received a few votes, and four of the 40 respondents suggested that they believed Ohtani would remain with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2018. There’s still some work to be done with the league, the players’ union and Nippon Professional Baseball before the posting process can begin in earnest. The agreement between MLB and NPB on the current iteration of the posting system expired this offseason.
    • The Red Sox were the overwhelming favorite when it came to the question of Martinez’s next team, though expectations for his contract varied in size. One GM pegged Martinez at around six years and $140MM, Crasnick notes. Some execs felt he’d fall closer to Justin Upton’s $106MM guarantee.
    • Only three of the 40 respondents thought that Darvish’s pair of World Series meltdowns would have a substantial impact on his offseason earning capacity. Crasnick’s piece has plenty of insightful quotes on Darvish — more than any other player — from the scouts that were polled. An AL scout tells Crasnick that 15 years ago, the World Series might’ve hurt Darvish, but in a largely sabermetric environment, his late struggles are a “void blip in the radar.”
    • Crasnick also asked respondents which of the Royals’ big three free agents (Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain) would provide the best value on his next deal, which of Carlos Gomez or Carlos Gonzalez had a better chance of reestablishing himself as a star, and which major 2018-19 free agent among Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado is likeliest to be traded this winter. I found it somewhat of a surprise to see Hosmer as the decisive favorite in that Royals question, though many scouts praised his glovework despite poor reviews from defensive metrics. McCutchen, less surprisingly, was deemed likeliest of his trio to go, while Gonzalez topped Gomez handily in their own respective face-off.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On The Braves’ Front Office Search]]> 2017-11-13T04:14:53Z 2017-11-13T04:14:48Z 10:14pm: The Braves are moving on from Moore,’s Mark Bowman reports, as “hope evaporated this weekend” that Moore would be made available by the Royals.  In regards to Hart’s future, Bowman notes that since both Anthopoulos and Hendry are experienced general managers, either could take over the Braves’ baseball ops department should Hart no longer continue with the organization.  “The Braves likely will make a decision as soon as possible” about their new GM, and Anthopoulos looks like the favorite.

    7:39pm: Dayton Moore is still the Braves’ top choice to become the club’s new general manager, though if Atlanta isn’t able to get Moore away from the Royals, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is “the preferred Plan B” option.  Three sources paint Anthopoulos as the front-runner for the job, given that there still seems to be little traction to the idea of Moore leaving Kansas City for Atlanta.

    The situation is far from being finalized, however, due to the Braves holding out hope that Moore could still become available, Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into signing violations under former Braves GM John Coppolella, and the status of Braves president of baseball operations John Hart.  Sherman reports that Hart prefers Anthopoulos for the GM job, while club vice chairman John Schuerholz is thought to prefer former Cubs GM Jim Hendry.  Hart’s own contract with the Braves expired after the 2017 season, and it isn’t yet clear if he will remain atop Atlanta’s baseball ops pyramid or if the team could desire a clean slate with a new name in charge of the front office.  (In regards to Moore, he would reportedly want full control over the Braves’ operations if he were to join the organization.)

    Anthopoulos, 40, worked as Toronto’s GM for six seasons, building the nucleus that led the Jays to consecutive runs to the ALCS in 2015-16.  He somewhat surprisingly left the job after his contract was up after the 2015 season, however, the presence of new Jays president Mark Shapiro meant that Anthopoulos would’ve essentially been demoted to second-in-command on the team’s depth chart of baseball decision-makers.

    Anthopoulos has worked as the Dodgers’ VP of baseball operations since January 2016, and turned down offers from the Twins and Diamondbacks last year when the two clubs were in the midst of their own GM searches.  Family concerns were reportedly behind Anthopoulos’ decision to bow out of those searches, as he didn’t want to uproot his young children from the west coast so quickly.  As Sherman notes, however, the Braves’ job “is viewed as attractive” around baseball due to the team’s deep well of prospects, even despite the likelihood that MLB will level some type of punishment against the franchise.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Prospects Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> 2017-11-12T02:35:31Z 2017-11-11T22:22:57Z During the offseason, rumors about major league players dominate the headlines. Fans and analysts alike discuss potential landing spots for major league free agents and trade candidates. With so much of the focus on big name MLB players, the subject of which top prospects could change hands falls into the background.

    The players below are some of the most valuable trade assets in the game who have not yet lost their rookie eligibility. MLB Pipeline considers each of them to be among the top 25 prospects in baseball. They all play for teams that are firmly in “win now mode”. Indeed, all five of them belong to teams that finished with a top four record in baseball last season. It’s safe to say that, were they to dangle their respective prospects as trade bait, each of those teams could fill nearly any need on their big league roster.

    Victor Robles, OF (No. 2 Overall Prospect): Nationals

    The Nationals signed Victor Robles out of the Dominican Republic at age 16, and he’s met little resistance throughout his development. The Nats promoted him to the majors for the first time in September of 2017; he even made the club’s NLDS roster. In his 24 regular season at-bats, Robles managed six hits, including three for extra bases. The Nationals are in need of another starting pitcher, and the 20-year-old outfielder could easily bring back an elite arm. Washington’s outfield picture for 2018 seems reasonably clear, with Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper all under contract and Brian Goodwin as a solid fourth outfielder option. However, Robles is practically major league-ready right now, so it might not make much sense to trade him when he could easily contribute this season. eIt’s especially important to note that Eaton, Taylor and Harper all dealt with injuries last season. With that in mind, the Nationals might prefer to deal their second-best prospect, outfielder Juan Soto, instead.

    Kyle Tucker, OF (No. 7 Overall Prospect): Astros

    Houston took Tucker out of H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, FL with the fifth pick in the 2015 draft. The young outfielder proceeded to rocket through the club’s minor-league system, reaching the Double-A level midway through 2017. Tucker’s hit tool is one of the best among minor-leaguers, but the Astros already have other left-handed outfield options at the major league level. Josh Reddick and Derek Fisher both bat primarily from the left side, while George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick figure to be ahead of Tucker on the depth chart heading into 2018 as well. That’s not to say that Tucker isn’t more talented than those players, but it seems like a lot would have to happen for him to stumble into significant playing time next season. On the other hand, the Astros don’t have a clear hole on the major league roster outside of the bullpen, and Tucker is far too valuable to trade for a reliever. The organization has also reportedly been stingy about trading any of their top prospects lately, so perhaps it’s unlikely we’ll see him moved.

    Francisco Mejia, C (No. 13 Overall Prospect): Indians

    Mejia’s development has been a somewhat slow process; the Indians signed him out of the Dominican Republic all the way back in 2012. However, he’s vaulted up prospect lists after incredible success across the past two seasons, including a 50-game hit streak during the 2016 campaign. The best catching prospect in baseball is only 21 and has an elite hit tool from both sides of the plate. Cleveland decided to give him a bit of seasoning at the major league level this past September, which seems to imply that they think he could be close to MLB-ready. The Indians already have catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez under contract for the foreseeable future, so Mejia could be a good candidate to be exchanged for help at first base if Carlos Santana signs elsewhere. But the Indians are also testing Mejia out at third base in the Arizona Fall League, a position he could more easily claim on the Tribe’s roster at some point in 2018.

    Triston McKenzie, RHP (No. 20 Overall Prospect): Indians

    After McKenzie struck out 157 batters in 91 innings during his senior year in high school, Cleveland selected the right-hander in Competitive Balance Round A of the 2015 draft. The lanky 20-year-old stands at 6’5″ and throws his fastball in the low 90s, though most scouts believe he could pick up even more velocity as he grows stronger. McKenzie struck out double-digit batters in six different games at the High-A level in 2017, including a 14-strikeout effort on May 9th. Overall, the Royal Palm Beach High School product pitched to a 3.45 ERA (and a 2.67 FIP) while punching out 11.71 batters per nine innings. With the Tribe’s window of contention seemingly at its peak, and McKenzie highly unlikely to reach the majors in 2018, the righty could potentially end up being an excellent trade chip. Even if the young righty were MLB-ready, the Indians already have a stacked rotation that will include Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and two of Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger. McKenzie could be dangled for help at first base (should Santana depart), or elite bullpen help such as Brad Hand or Felipe Rivero.

    Alex Verdugo, OF (No. 23 Overall Prospect): Dodgers

    The Dodgers took Verdugo in the second round of the 2014 draft, and the left-handed outfielder has done well at every level of the minors. His power isn’t prolific and his speed is average, but his hit tool is excellent. Verdugo is patient at the plate and is great at hitting to the opposite field. While fellow Dodgers prospect Walker Buehler is excluded from this list due to his proximity to the majors and a fairly clear opening in LA’s rotation, Verdugo could be more of a luxury than a vital asset. Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig are set to man center field and right field, respectively, and it’s unclear whether the Dodgers are ready or willing to give up on Joc Pederson yet, especially following a strong postseason performance. Verdugo could potentially be used to land a strong second baseman. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that he could be used to acquire a more proven outfielder, either. Still, the Dodgers have four other top 100 prospects outside of Buehler and Verdugo. Even if they attempt to make a blockbuster trade during the offseason, they might prefer to move someone a bit further away from the majors.

    What do you think? Which of these top 25 prospects is most likely to be with another organization by the time spring training rolls around? (Poll link for app users)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Morrow Hopes To Re-Sign With Dodgers]]> 2017-11-10T01:49:27Z 2017-11-09T22:22:29Z
  • Right-hander Brandon Morrow also appeared on MLB Network Radio today, stating that “all things being equal,” he’d prefer to return to the Dodgers (Twitter link, with audio). Morrow specified that at age 33, he’d prefer to sign with a contending team, noting that he doesn’t necessarily care about pitching as a closer versus pitching in a setup capacity. Morrow raved about the young talent and clubhouse on the Dodgers, noting that the team is poised to be a contender for years to come — a highly appealing factor to him (and other free agents). Though perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into his comments, Morrow did note that “to be able to hopefully in that for three to four years … it’s definitely an attractive situation.” Morrow does indeed seem to have a strong case for a multi-year deal after a return to prominence in L.A. this past season. We pegged him for a three-year, $24MM contract on last week’s ranking of the game’s top 50 free agents.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 11/7/17]]> 2017-11-07T14:36:10Z 2017-11-07T14:36:10Z After a busy transactional day yesterday, let’s catch up on some of the latest minor moves:

    • Catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Alex Presley have elected free agency from the Tigers, Evan Woodberry of reports on Twitter. Each of the veterans was outrighted recently, though Woodberry hints that Detroit has interest in bringing both back on minors deals. Holaday will enter the pool of catchers that are looking for opportunities to compete for reserve jobs in camp. The 32-year-old Presley should also draw attention from other organizations; he turned in 264 plate appearances of .314/.354/.416 hitting in 2017.
    • The Rockies selected the contract of outfielder Noel Cuevas, per a club announcement. Acquired from the division-rival Dodgers in the trade that sent Juan Nicasio to Los Angeles, Cuevas blossomed at Triple-A Alburquerque in 2017. Across 528 plate appearances, he posted a .312/.353/.487 slash with 15 long balls and 16 steals.
    • Two players were also added to the Yankees 40-man roster, the club announced. Outfielder Jake Cave is one of them; the one-time Rule 5 pick won’t be eligible for the draft again this year. He turned in a compelling season in the upper minors, including a robust .324/.367/.554 batting line with 15 long balls in 297 Triple-A plate appearances. Joining him is righty Nick Rumbelow, who returned from Tommy John surgery with aplomb last year. Over 40 1/3 innings, he allowed just five earned runs on 21 hits while racking up a 45:11 K/BB ratio.
    • The Indians selected the contract of Eric Haase, per the transactions page. The 24-year-old backstop knocked around Double-A pitching to the tune of a .258/.349/.574 batting line and 26 homers through 381 plate appearances.
    • Cuban catcher Lorenzo Quintana is joining the Astros for a $200K bonus, per’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). The 28-year-old is not subject to international signing restrictions. Quintana was long one of the most productive receivers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, carrying a lifetime .310/.377/.438 batting line, but he last played there in the 2014-15 season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Outrighted: Twins, Phillies, Rays, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers, Pirates]]> 2017-11-07T07:21:15Z 2017-11-07T03:40:14Z A variety of teams cleared 40-man space today. Some of the moves are reflected elsewhere on the site, but we’ll round up the others right here:

    • The Twins have outrighted catcher Chris Gimenez and left Ryan O’Rourke, as’ Rhett Bollinger tweets. Gimenez could have been retained for a projected $1MM arbitration salary, but Minnesota elected not to commit that much cash (and a roster spot) despite Gimenez’s 225 plate appearances of roughly league-average hitting in 2017. He tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer that he’ll likely elect to return to the open market, but would be open to a return (links to Twitter). As for O’Rourke, he was said to be exploring ways of hastening his return from Tommy John surgery, but Minnesota isn’t willing to gamble on the lefty’s recovery at this time.
    • Infielder Pedro Florimon and righty Jesen Therrien are now free agents after being outrighted off of the Phillies 40-man, per a club announcement. The 30-year-old Florimon has made his way onto a major league roster in each of the past seven seasons, compiling a .209/.269/.308 slash in 791 plate appearances but providing enough with the glove to keep earning return trips. The 24-year-old Therrien was knocked around in 15 relief appearances for the Phils this year, but did turn in 57 1/3 frames of 1.41 ERA ball (with 10.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9) during his time in the upper minors.
    • The Rays outrighted catcher Curt Casali, outfielder Cesar Puello, and righty Shawn Tolleson, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Casali played a bigger role on the 2016 MLB outfit and posted only a .698 OPS at Triple-A. The 26-year-old Puello has bounced around of late and struggled in a brief go at the bigs, but did manage a productive .327/.377/.526 slash in 379 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors (none of which came with a Tampa Bay affiliate). Tolleson required Tommy John surgery in May, so he’ll likely be looking for an organization to rehab with.
    • Departing the Cardinals’ 40-man were infielder Alex Mejia and catcher Alberto Rosario, according to’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). Mejia struggled mightily in the bigs as a 26-year-old rookie, but slashed .291/.341/.413 in his 475 plate appearances in the upper minors. As for Rosario, who is thirty years of age, there just hasn’t been much opportunity for time behind the MLB plate.
    • Backstop Hector Sanchez and righty Tim Melville took free agency from the Padres after clearing outright waivers, per AJ Cassavell of (Twitter link). Sanchez, a 28-year-old switch-hitter who has seen action in each of the past seven MLB seasons, will surely be targeted as a depth acquisition by other organizations. Melville, who’s also 28, worked to a 2.95 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 76 1/3 Triple-A innings — his best results in the minors — but was bombed in brief MLB time.
    • The Dodgers outrighted first baseman/outfielder O’Koyea Dickson, as J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets. Dickson, 27, briefly touched the majors in 2017 but spent the bulk of his time at Triple-A for the third-straight season. After putting up big numbers there in 2016, Dickson managed a career-best 24 home runs over 458 plate appearances in his most recent campaign, but slipped to a .328 on-base percentage.
    • Finally, the Pirates outrighted lefty Dan Runzler,’s Adam Berry reports on Twitter. He’ll head back to free agency after refusing an assignment. Runzler, 32, made it back to the majors after a four-year absence, but only saw four innings in eight appearances. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA in 41 1/3 Triple-A innings, managing only 7.8 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 but also generating typically strong groundball numbers.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers To Exercise Club Option On Logan Forsythe]]> 2017-11-06T20:12:52Z 2017-11-06T19:49:24Z The Dodgers will exercise their $8.5MM club option over second baseman/third baseman Logan Forsythe, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Los Angeles had until 5pm ET today to decided between that sum and a $1MM buyout for the 30-year-old Forsythe.

    Forsythe didn’t have the season that the Dodgers envisioned when acquiring him from the Rays in exchange for touted pitching prospect Jose De Leon (though De Leon himself missed most of the season due to injury). In 439 plate appearances, Forsythe batted just .239/.351/.327 with six homers and 19 doubles — a far cry from the .273/.347/.444 slash he posted with the 2015-16 Rays. He did, however, hit left-handed pitching at a robust .290/.418/.452 clip in 153 plate appearances and turn in strong defensive work.

    Though he was primarily a second baseman with the Rays, Forsythe was used in a larger variety of roles with the Dodgers. In addition to 587 frames at second base (where he graded out at +5 Defensive Runs Saved and a +3.2 Ultimate Zone Rating), Forsythe saw 301 innings at third base (+4 DRS, +3.4 UZR)  and also made brief appearances at shortstop, first base and in the outfield corners. At the very least, he can serve as a versatile multi-position asset for the Dodgers in 2018, though his lack of a defined starting role could lead the Dodgers to also explore trades this offseason.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dodgers Decline Andre Ethier’s Option]]> 2017-11-05T23:10:15Z 2017-11-05T22:42:40Z The Dodgers have declined outfielder Andre Ethier’s $17.5MM club option for 2018 in favor of a $2.5MM buyout, Ken Gurnick of reports (on Twitter).

    Moving on from Ethier at that lofty price tag was an easy decision for the Dodgers, who saw the 35-year-old deal with significant injury issues over the past two seasons and combine for a mere 64 plate appearances. In 2017, back problems kept Ethier out until September and prevented him from contributing to the Dodgers’ fifth straight NL West-winning effort, but he was able to partake in his eighth postseason with the club. Ethier totaled 15 playoff plate appearances this season, including six in the Dodgers’ World Series loss to the Astros. In what is likely to go down as his final at-bat with the franchise, Ethier picked up a pinch-hit RBI single in LA’s 5-1 loss in Game 7 of the Fall Classic.

    Prior to the past two seasons, Ethier was a consistent offensive presence for the Dodgers. The 2003 second-round pick debuted in 2006 and proceeded to slash an impressive .286/.359/.464 with 159 home runs through the 2015 campaign. The success Ethier had early in his career led the Dodgers to sign him to his most recent deal, a five-year, $85MM extension, in June 2012.

    With his Dodgers tenure in the rearview, the lefty-swinging Ethier will head to the open market, though his age, recent health troubles and longstanding woes against same-handed pitchers will work against him in free agency. Still, Ethier was a terrific offensive player as recently as 2015, slashing .294/.366/.486 in 445 PAs, and could garner interest from teams looking for a designated hitter.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Poll: Will The Dodgers Trade Yasmani Grandal?]]> 2017-11-05T19:50:39Z 2017-11-05T19:37:09Z Yasmani Grandal has been among the best catchers in the majors during his three-year tenure with the Dodgers, but it’s possible he’ll don a different uniform next season. After the Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Astros on Wednesday, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported that the National League champions “may field offers for” Grandal this winter.

    While the Dodgers will again be on the shortlist of legitimate championship contenders entering 2018, Grandal’s age-29 season, there’s some logic to the team parting with him before then. He was barely a factor in this year’s playoffs, for one, thanks to the emergence of Austin Barnes as manager Dave Roberts’ preferred option at catcher. The 27-year-old Barnes somewhat quietly turned in an outstanding regular season in his first extensive big league action, though he accrued 220 fewer plate appearances than Grandal along the way (262 to 482). But Barnes logged nearly all of the action at backstop in the postseason, racking up 52 PAs to Grandal’s 11.

    Yasmani Grandal

    Given Barnes’ excellent 2017 production and long-term team control (he’s not even scheduled to reach arbitration until 2020), the Dodgers may regard him as their behind-the-plate solution for the foreseeable future. Grandal, on the other hand, only has a year of control left, in which he’ll earn a projected $7.7MM in arbitration. That shouldn’t be an unpalatable sum for the big-spending Dodgers if they expect Grandal to continue seeing significant playing time next season. If he really has fallen out of favor, though, a trade could be in the offing.

    In marketing Grandal, the Dodgers would be shopping a player who, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, has never been worse than an average major league hitter in any of his six seasons of action. The switch-hitting Grandal is coming off a year in which he registered a 102 wRC+, which was both above average for position players and especially for catchers, who posted a mean of 89. As effective as Grandal has been at the plate, there’s a case to be made that he has been even better behind it. Since debuting with the Padres in 2012, Grandal has been an elite pitch framer in each season, per both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner. Grandal also just wrapped up a third straight campaign in which he threw out more would-be base stealers (32 percent) than the typical catcher (27 percent).

    It’s clear that 2017 was a solid all-around year for Grandal, though it did see him experience a notable offensive dropoff compared to the previous season. Grandal performed at a personal-best level across 457 PAs in 2016, swatting 27 home runs and hitting .228/.339/.477 – good for a 121 wRC+. He fell to .247/.308/.459 with 22 HRs in 482 trips to the plate this past season, though, thanks in part to career-worst walk (8.3 percent), strikeout (27 percent), chase (31.6 percent) and swinging-strike (11.9 percent) rates. The walk and chase rates were particularly alarming, given the vastly superior numbers he recorded in those departments a year ago (14 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively).  And when Grandal did put the bat on the ball in 2017, it made far less impact than in 2016. According to Statcast (via Baseball Savant), Grandal’s average exit velocity tumbled from 91 mph to 87.9 mph, while his barrels per PA plummeted from 7.4 percent to 4.8 percent. As a result, his expected weighted on-base average cratered, going from to .363 to .288.

    Any team interested in acquiring Grandal would be aware of the fact that he wasn’t at his best in 2017, yet they still may regard him as a more appealing option than the top impending free agent catchers – Jonathan Lucroy, Welington Castillo (if he opts out of his contract with the Orioles) and Alex Avila – all of whom come with obvious flaws. At the same time, there appears to be a limited number of viable fits for Grandal. Non-contenders aren’t in position to surrender much for a player who will be a free agent in a year, which could leave playoff hopefuls like the Nationals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Angels and Orioles (unless they’re ready to hand the reins to prospect Chance Sisco) among the most logical potential suitors. But it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers helping the Nats, a fellow NL power, improve their dire situation behind the plate, and the same applies to the division-rival D-backs and Rockies. As American League teams, the Angels and Orioles seem like more realistic possibilities, but their thin farm systems could stand in the way if the Dodgers were to seek youth in return for Grandal.

    Should the Dodgers shop Grandal and fail to find an offer to their liking, retaining him wouldn’t exactly be a negative outcome. On paper, he and Barnes would continue to give the Dodgers an enviable backstop tandem in 2018, regardless of which of the two plays more, thereby increasing the team’s odds of winning a sixth straight NL West title.

    (Poll link for App users)

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Raul Ibanez Likely To Stay With Dodgers]]> 2017-11-04T16:19:46Z 2017-11-04T16:19:46Z The Phillies’ choice of Gabe Kapler as manager has drawn mixed reviews from around the game, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman writes, as Kapler’s unique approaches to baseball have brought him praise as an innovative thinker but also led to clashes with some players and personnel within the Dodgers organization.  It should be noted that this didn’t extend to Dodgers front office heads Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, both of whom are big fans of Kapler and made calls to the Mets and Phillies recommending him for their managerial openings.  The Dodgers themselves almost hired Kapler as manager two years ago, though the fact that some players reportedly lobbied the team to instead go with Dave Roberts also stands out as a possible red flag.  The article is well worth a full read to get a sense of the criticisms lobbied against Kapler, and why the Phillies’ hire “may be the biggest gamble of the winter.”


    • Raul Ibanez was seen as a potentially strong contender to become the Yankees’ next manager, though Ibanez reportedly likes his current position with the Dodgers (special advisor to Andrew Friedman) and doesn’t want to leave.  Yankees GM Brian Cashman reportedly has 20-25 names on his list of managerial candidates.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Zaidi On Replacing Kapler]]> 2017-11-01T17:15:03Z 2017-11-01T17:15:03Z Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi tells J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group that Gabe Kapler’s departure to become the Phillies’ new manager now leaves the Dodgers with the onerous task of finding a new person to fill the “toughest job in baseball.” Kapler spent three years as the Dodgers’ director of player development/farm director, and Hoornstra notes that the new ideas he brought to the table have helped the lay the foundation for the team’s current run of success. “You’ve got to be able to relate to a lot of different factions and constituents between the front office, the major league club, major league manager, coaches, players throughout the system, affiliates, minor league players, minor league coaches,” said Zaidi of the unique challenges the role presents. Per Zaidi, the team will be casting a “wide-open net,” and the search could take a few weeks. Hoornstra points out that Jeremy Zoll, Kapler’s top assistant who could have been a leading internal candidate, has already been scooped up by the Twins to serve as their farm director in 2018 and beyond.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Hire Gabe Kapler As Manager]]> 2017-10-30T20:41:59Z 2017-10-30T20:41:51Z OCT. 30, 3:41pm: The Phillies have announced that Kapler will indeed take over the dugout.

    7:30am: Kapler is indeed the Phillies’ choice to be their next manager, reports’s Todd Zolecki. He impressed in a second interview this past Friday, and an announcement could come on Monday, according to Zolecki.

    OCT. 29: The Phillies look to be close to naming Gabe Kapler as their next manager, as Jon Heyman and Robert Murray of FanRag Sports report that “barring something unforeseen,” Kapler is the team’s choice to replace Pete Mackanin.  An official announcement could come as early as Monday, or perhaps until after the World Series is over.

    Kapler and Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan were known to be the finalists for the job.  Former Red Sox manager John Farrell also known to be in the running if Philadelphia opted for a skipper with MLB experience.  It now seems, however, that the Phillies will go in the opposite direction with Kapler, who will be joining a Major League staff for the first time in any capacity.  He has worked as the Dodgers director of player development for the last three years, and Kapler’s dugout resume consists of managing the Red Sox A-ball affiliate in 2007 and coaching on Team Israel’s staff during the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

    Despite this relative lack of experience, however, Kapler has long been cited as a potential manager of the future, even dating back to his playing career as an outfielder with the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, Rockies and Brewers from 1998-2010 (he took a year off for that Single-A managing stint).  Kapler was seen as a strong contender for the Dodgers’ last managerial vacancy, and it was even seen as something of an upset when the team instead hired Dave Roberts.

    The Phillies were thought to be looking to hire a more analytically-minded manager, and Kapler would certainly fit that description.  Two years ago,’s Mark Saxon profiled Kapler’s full embrace of statistical analysis, physical and mental training methods in helping mold the Dodgers’ minor leaguers.  Kapler, 42, would be the latest in the game’s trend of younger managers not far removed from their playing days and without much formal managerial or even coaching experience.

    Assuming the hire is official, Kapler will take over a young Phillies team still in the midst of a rebuild, but already with some intriguing building block pieces on the roster.  Phils GM Matt Klentak surprised many when he removed Mackanin from the manager’s job to a front office position last month, though since Mackanin was already in place when Klentak became GM in October 2015, Klentak has now firmly put his own stamp on the manager’s job.  Klentak and Kapler have a past relationship, as Klentak was working in the Rockies’ baseball operations department in 2003 when Kapler was playing for the team.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brandon Morrow's Free Agent Case]]> 2017-10-30T12:24:50Z 2017-10-30T02:18:24Z Brandon Morrow has been a dominant force out of the Dodgers’ bullpen in both the regular season and postseason, though his injury history adds intrigue to his free agent case this winter, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman writes.  In a nod to Morrow’s arm health, the Dodgers were careful with the right-hander’s workload throughout the season, but the veteran has now become a workhorse in the playoffs, appearing in 11 of the team’s 12 postseason games.  Sherman thinks Ryan Madson’s three-year, $22MM deal from the 2015-16 offseason is a decent comparable to what Morrow could land in free agency; Madson missed all of 2012-14 before returning to post strong numbers for the 2015 Royals, paving the way for a nice free agent payday.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[World Series Notes: Morton, Morrow, Gurriel]]> 2017-10-29T12:51:17Z 2017-10-29T03:53:08Z It was only a few years ago that Astros right-hander Charlie Morton was a ground ball specialist in Pittsburgh, benefitting largely from an increase in shifts that was revolutionary at the time. Fast-forward to the present, and Morton is suddenly one of the hardest-throwing starters in the American League and mixes in his hammer curve to rack up the K’s. Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs leads us through the fascinating process in which Morton used PITCHf/x data to better understand his actual performance, figure out what he’s in control of, and use it to improve his results. After picking up close to 3MPH on his average fastball, Morton learned to trust his mechanics and began to throw his four-seamer up in the zone more often. Sawchik uses a great combination of quotes and charts to tell the story of how Morton managed a breakout age 33 season and was trusted with the ball in Game 4 of the World Series tonight. We highly recommend giving the piece a thorough read.

    A few other items from the 2017 World Series…

    • Anthony Slater of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) tells the story of Brandon Morrow, a reliever-turned-starter-turned-reliever-again from Rohnert Park, California. The fifth-overall pick in the 2006 draft was the second player in his draft class to debut in the majors (after 2016 ALCS MVP Andrew Miller), but seemed to be a relative letdown compared to some of the superstars drafted around him. His career nearly came to an end due to surgeries, but the Dodgers took a chance on him last offseason, signing him to a minor-league contract that included a spring training invite. 45 stellar regular-season appearances later, Morrow had earned a spot at the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen, thanks in part to a career-high 97.8 average fastball velocity that propelled him to a 10.31 K/9 mark and a 1.55 FIP. The 33-year-old will reach free agency after the World Series is over, and should be in line for a respectable payday.
    • Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times adds his own perspective to the Yuli Gurriel incident in which the Astros first baseman used a racial slur in reference to Darvish in Game 3. Interestingly, Hernandez (who was born to a Japanese mother) seems to suggest that perhaps the incident shouldn’t be viewed through an American lens, through which it potentially carries more weight than it would in Latin culture due to the events in US history over the past century. This doesn’t make it okay, Hernandez makes sure to mention, and the majority of people will agree that Gurriel’s behavior was offensive and insensitive. Hopefully the Cuban infielder has learned from the experience and will not repeat this mistake in the future.
    • Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports got a chance to speak with 7-year-old Hailey Dawson, the girl with a 3-D printed hand who threw out the first pitch in Game 4. While many readers may already know her story, the conversation between Dawson and Oz is well worth a read; the quotes and Oz’s descriptions really capture the emotion and excitement of a little girl who just two months ago got her prosthetic hand and dreams of throwing out a first pitch in all 30 ballparks.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Marlins, Nationals, Astros, Roberts/Hinch]]> 2017-10-28T15:06:16Z 2017-10-28T02:05:05Z Dan Greenlee will assume a role as Director of Player Personnel for the Marlins, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports points out that Greenlee is the second executive Derek Jeter has hired away from the Yankees in the past week; Gary Denbo was recently hired as the Vice President of Player Development and Scouting, and is widely credited with helping to turn around the Yankees’ farm system. Anderson also notes that Greenlee is an interesting baseball exec, having a background in law and journalism, and previously worked as a merger analyst for a media organization.

    A few more notes from around Major League Baseball on the night of Game 3…

    • The Nationals are likely to exceed the luxury tax threshold once again, says Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Between guaranteed salaries to ten players, arbitration projections, Matt Wieters’ player option and at least $500K owed to Adam Lind in the form of a buyout on his mutual option, Washington’s guaranteed payroll for 2018 will already top $168MM. That in and of itself doesn’t seem too scary, considering the luxury tax threshold sits at $197MM for the upcoming season. But unfortunately for the Nationals, it isn’t quite that simple. The competitive balance tax takes into account the average annual value of player contracts, and the Nats have worked a lot of deferred money into deals in recent years. According to Cot’s, their payroll is around $193MM for luxury tax purposes. The Nationals, who will be expected to pursue another NL East pennant, will almost certainly spend more than $4MM in free agency.
    • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN details the connection between Hurricane Harvey and the city’s passion for Astros baseball in 2017 in a very well-written editorial. The destruction Harvey left in its wake has had a direct correlation with the city’s inhabitants showing increased Houston pride. Indeed, residents have worn #HoustonStrong shirts to games and showed up to support their baseball team in droves. Crasnick details the efforts that the Astros organization made during the storm to give back to the city, including opening kitchens at Minute Maid Park and reaching out to little league teams whose equipment was destroyed by Harvey. The fans are paying the Astros back with incredible support during the postseason.
    • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Astros skipper A.J. Hinch are focused on trying to lead their respective teams to a World Series title. But as Kyle Glaser of Baseball America points out, this isn’t the first time these two men have been on opposing teams. The rivalry between these two skippers goes all the way back to their college days in the PAC-10. Hinch caught a no-hitter against Roberts and the Bruins on May 8th, 1994. However, Roberts managed to steal a base off Hinch at his first opportunity in the majors, during an August 24th, 1999 game between the Indians and the Athletics. Roberts jokingly considers the World Series a “rubber match” between the two.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rick Honeycutt Could Continue As Pitching Coach Beyond 2017]]> 2017-10-27T18:49:54Z 2017-10-27T18:49:54Z
  • It isn’t yet certain if longtime Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt will remain in his current job in 2018, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reports.  Honeycutt’s two-year contract is up after the World Series and, at the time of the contract’s signing, it was believed that Honeycutt would into a front office job at deal’s end.  GM Farhan Zaidi, however, said that “If there’s mutual interest in him continuing in this role, I wouldn’t rule it out,” noting that “We just want to leverage his expertise and experience however we can, with whatever [job] makes the most sense.”  Both Zaidi and Honeycutt said that no decisions would be made until after the season is over, with Honeycutt adding “I’m enjoying it as much this year as I ever have.  I still enjoy what I do.”
  • The Padres will move first base coach Johnny Washington to the assistant hitting coach role and outfield coach Jon Matthews has been reassigned to a new role, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Twitter links).  2017 was Washington’s only season as a first base coach; he spent the rest of his nine-year coaching career as a hitting coach at various levels of the Dodgers’ and Padres’ farm systems.  Lin notes that the Padres will fill their first base coaching vacancy from within the organization.
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