MLB Trade Rumors » » Arizona Diamondbacks 2018-01-16T17:12:36Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[The Factors In A Paul Goldschmidt Extension]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112552 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z
  • There hasn’t been as much talk about an eventual extension for Paul Goldschmidt as in past offseasons amongst Diamondbacks executives, which makes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonder if the team is “subtly preparing for the possibility of life without Goldschmidt.  Not that they’re expecting to move on; just that they might have to.”  Goldschmidt is slated to earn $11MM in 2018 and the D’Backs hold a $14.5MM club option for 2019 that seems like a lock to be exercised.  While the first baseman has posted superstar numbers over his career, Piecoro notes that the D’Backs will have to weigh the value of committing a huge salary to Goldschmidt in his age-32 season and beyond, especially when Zack Greinke is already taking up such a big chunk of Arizona’s payroll.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112430 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

    • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
    • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
    • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
    • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
    • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
    • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
    • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112362 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112260 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs, Patrick Corbin Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112191 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • D-backs lefty Patrick Corbin has signed a one-year contract for the 2018 season, the club announced tonight. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Corbin, who will be a free agent next season, will earn $7.5MM in his final season of arbitration. That comes in shy of his $8.3MM projection, though it’s nonetheless nearly twice what he made in 2017 ($3.95MM).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On J.D. Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112172 2018-01-11T16:31:02Z 2018-01-11T16:31:02Z It has been known for some time that the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez have ongoing interest, with Boston reportedly dangling a five-year offer. In the latest update, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes that “acquaintances” of the open market’s top slugger believe Martinez is willing to wait to get a six-year deal — even if it means allowing camp to open without a contract in place.

    Dollars remain uncertain, but Heyman provides some round numbers worth noting. Martinez is believed not only to be in search of six years, but at a premium rate of $30MM or more annually. To this point, the level of interest from teams is said to be “somewhere in the $120 million to $150 million range.”

    Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Martinez — who ranks second on the MLBTR list of the top 50 free agents — could land that sixth year, but at a $150MM total guarantee. We tabbed the Red Sox as the likeliest landing spot, with a variety of other teams standing as plausible alternatives.

    The 30-year-old Martinez has unquestionably established himself as a top-flight hitter, with a .300/.362/.574 output at the plate since the start of 2014. That said, he lags somewhat in his glovework and baserunning. Poor grades from defensive metrics improved somewhat in 2017, though UZR and DRS both pegged Martinez as below-average in right. And Fangraphs has graded him as a notably sub-par presence on the basepaths in each of the past two seasons.

    Despite his limitations, Martinez is understandably viewed as a top target. That status leaves significant leverage to work with for his agent, Scott Boras, who has frequently found big money late in the offseason. To date, Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce have each landed at or above MLBTR’s expectations with strong three-year deals, though neither broke through to earn the extra season they were seeking. Martinez and Boras evidently feel there’s still a possibility that they can convince a club to increase the commitment for a higher grade bat.

    Heyman’s report indicates that organizations beyond the Red Sox are still in the hunt, which may help explain why Martinez has not been willing to move off his bargaining position. As he has suggested previously, Heyman says at least one other team has put five years on the table. Whether or not that’s the incumbent Diamondbacks is not known, but the report suggests Arizona is a serious suitor.

    Still, all indications are that Boston is the most plausible fit. Reporters including Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford have examined things recently from the Sox’ perspective. The organization is obviously willing to plunk down some big cash for Martinez, but to this point has not been willing (or perhaps has not felt compelled) to promise another season. It also may still be factor that the Red Sox would plan to utilize Martinez primarily as a DH, while he’d prefer to play in the outfield.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration With Randall Delgado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112000 2018-01-09T22:31:16Z 2018-01-09T22:31:49Z Jan. 9: Delgado’s deal is worth $2.25MM, tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    Jan. 8: The Diamondbacks have agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with righty Randall Delgado, per a team announcement. Terms of the arrangement with the MVP Sports client were not announced.

    Entering his final season of arbitration eligibility, Delgado was projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2.5MM in 2018 salary. He had settled with the team for $1.775MM for the prior season.

    Originally acquired in the 2013 Justin Upton swap, Delgado did not stick in the Arizona rotation but has been a useful reliever over the past several seasons. Delgado’s background as a starter was put to good use by the Snakes in 2017, as the club frequently asked him to throw two or more innings and even gave him five starts, representing his most extensive rotation work since 2013.

    Delgado was thriving in a swingman role, as he ran up 62 innings of 3.05 ERA pitching before taking the ball on July 15th. Unfortunately, that appearance proved to be his last on the year; it left four earned runs on his balance sheet and Delgado nursing what turned out to be a season-ending flexor tendon injury.

    On the bright side, it seems the Diamondbacks have confidence that Delgado avoided a more serious ailment and will be back to full health for 2018. So long as he can build up to his usual form in camp, he’ll be expected to play a significant role in the Arizona relief corps for one more season before hitting the open market.

    Follow all of the year’s arb proceedings with MLBTR’s MLB arbitration tracker for 2018.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Diamondbacks' Interest In Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111856 2018-01-07T05:31:53Z 2018-01-07T05:31:53Z
  • The Diamondbacks “doubled back with renewed interest” in Orioles infielder Manny Machado, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. A deal is not imminent, though, as Kubatko notes that nobody has sent the pitching-needy Orioles an offer good enough to convince them to move Machado. As of December, Arizona reportedly wasn’t willing to part with third baseman Jake Lamb in a Machado package.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hazen Expects Additional Offseason Moves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111620 2018-01-05T20:37:30Z 2018-01-04T05:08:10Z
  • Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen tells Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that he doesn’t feel his offseason work is done yet. While Hazen states that there’s no signing or trade imminent, he also notes that he’s still actively exploring both markets and feels there’s room for additions to his Major League roster. Gilbert notes that multiple teams have approached the D-backs about lefty Patrick Corbin, who will be a free agent next winter and comes with a projected arbitration salary of $8.3MM. Moving Corbin or right-hander Zack Greinke would free up the D-backs to spend more on the free agent market. Gilbert notes that the Diamondbacks are keeping an eye out for a potential long-term option at catcher and is also on the lookout for depth in the outfield.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Hazen On D-Backs' Catching Situation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111540 2018-01-02T18:38:03Z 2018-01-02T05:41:37Z
  • The Diamondbacks’ catching unit is designed to “take care of the pitchers first and foremost,” GM Mike Hazen tells Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (in a post that covers that and four other key issues facing the club). Hazen says the team is comfortable with the current triumvirate, which consists of Jeff Mathis, Chris Herrmann, and John Ryan Murphy, even if it doesn’t figure to over much in the way of offensive firepower. Moving forward with a trio of options is a possibility again for the Snakes, says Hazen. There are several other outstanding roster questions, of course, which Gilbert breaks down.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs In Need Of Catching]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111475 2017-12-31T16:44:38Z 2017-12-31T16:44:38Z
  • While Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen has said that the team is comfortable deploying Chris Herrmann, Jeff Mathis, and John Ryan Murphy behind the plate, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert figures the team has to make an upgrade at catcher before the offseason is out.  The D’Backs are one of the few contenders with a glaring need at catcher, which in my opinion could leave them well-positioned to sign Jonathan Lucroy or Alex Avila on a relative bargain contract, given the two free agents’ relative lack of suitors.  With other needs around the diamond and little payroll space to work with, however, the Snakes still might not have enough to afford Lucroy or Avila at even a discounted price.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Have Some Interest In Christian Yelich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111375 2017-12-30T03:35:17Z 2017-12-30T02:53:55Z
  • Numerous teams are obviously preparing to pursue Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, who the Fish are reportedly increasingly willing to deal. Just how likely is a deal? Heyman cites a few sources who describe the situation as one in which the club is making Yelich and teammate J.T. Realmuto available in talks. Among the organizations with some level of interest in Yelich, per Heyman, are the DiamondbacksBraves, and Giants. No doubt there are plenty of others, too, that will line up for both players.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Is This The Diamondbacks' Best Chance To Deal Greinke?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111349 2017-12-29T04:39:44Z 2017-12-29T04:39:44Z “It’s possible this is the Diamondbacks’ last, best chance to get real value for [Zack] Greinke,” Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes in a piece detailing the team’s difficult position this winter.  With Greinke still owed $138.5MM through 2021 and taking up an inordinately large piece of Arizona’s payroll, the D’Backs are hard-pressed to to augment a roster that made a surprise run to the NLDS last year.  Dealing Greinke may be the better long-term move, though it would hurt the team’s chances of capitalizing on its sudden contender status.  Greinke had a down year in 2016 and just turned 34 in October, so it isn’t quite clear if his big 2017 season represented a return to form or perhaps a last hurrah before he begins to decline.  The Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies have all checked in on Greinke this winter, so there’s certainly interest if Greinke was made available, though GM Mike Hazen will have a tough needle to thread in finding an acceptable trade match in both salary coverage and MLB-ready talent coming back to Arizona.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hirano Discusses Move From NPB To MLB]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111232 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z New Diamondbacks reliever Yoshihisa Hirano, who has spent his entire pro career to date with the Orix Buffaloes in Nippon Professional Baseball, addressed the Japanese media following his completion of the contract and spoke about his jump from NPB to MLB (English link via the Kyodo News). Hirano said that the comfort he found using a Major League ball (rather than the slightly different NPB ball) during this year’s World Baseball Classic gave him confidence that he’d be able to pitch in MLB. As he became increasingly aware of MLB scouts attending his outings in Japan, he thought more and more about making the move. “Truthfully, if I hadn’t heard that I might not have been thinking of going,” said Hirano. The 33-year-old righty would relish the opportunity to square off against new Angels star Shohei Ohtani in the batter’s box, and the D-backs and Halos do have four interleague games. The Kyodo report notes that Hirano has faced Ohtani 15 times in Japan, allowing only an infield single.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Re-Sign Jake Buchanan]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111218 2017-12-27T00:50:47Z 2017-12-27T00:46:34Z The Diamondbacks have agreed to a minors pact with righty Jake Buchanan, per a club announcement. (H/t Chris Cotillo of SB Nation for the heads up.)

    Buchanan, 28, has seen time in each of the past four MLB campaigns, though he has made just 29 appearances in that span. In 64 2/3 total frames, Buchanan owns a 4.73 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

    In 2017, Buchanan opened at Triple-A with the Cubs, was claimed by the Reds, and ultimately took the ball a few times in the majors with Cincinnati. After being designated for assignment, he rejected an outright assignment and ultimately landed in the Arizona organization.

    Over 105 2/3 innings at the highest level of the minors in 2017, Buchanan carried a 4.51 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. That’s a close match for his overall numbers at Triple-A, where he has thrown over five hundred frames in six seasons, with a cumulative 4.39 ERA and 5.9 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yasmany Tomas Undergoes Another Core Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111141 2017-12-25T04:20:13Z 2017-12-25T04:18:30Z
  • Yasmany Tomas recently underwent a surgical procedure on his core area, this one to clean out scar tissue, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro reports.  This seems like a less-serious procedure than the core surgery that ended Tomas’ season back in August, as the Diamondbacks say the Cuban outfielder is expected to be ready by the beginning of Spring Training.  Tomas was bothered by the injury for much of last season, which contributed to his sub-par .241/.294/.464 slash line over just 180 PA.  He and the D’Backs are still hoping for a proper breakout campaign in his fourth MLB season, as Tomas is still owed $42.5MM through the 2020 season.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest on Gerrit Cole]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111057 2017-12-25T01:32:42Z 2017-12-25T01:31:14Z TODAY: Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar could be part of a hypothetical Yankees/Pirates trade for Cole, Kristie Ackert and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News report.  If those two prospects and Frazier are all included, that could mean the Pirates will also include Josh Harrison in the deal.  While the Yankees have also talked to the Diamondbacks about Patrick Corbin and the Tigers about Michael Fulmer, it seems as if Cole is New York’s preferred target of the three pitchers; Corbin is under control for just the 2018 season while Detroit is putting an enormous asking price on Fulmer’s services.

    SATURDAY: A trade of Gerrit Cole doesn’t appear to be imminent at this point, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter). Though it seemed at one point that talks between the Yankees and Pirates were picking up momentum, Crasnick says that multiple clubs have engaged with the Pirates since the winter meetings; the prospect of a Cole trade isn’t “Yankees or bust”.

    The Yankees don’t appear to have tunnel vision on a Cole deal, either. Though the Bronx Bombers are trying to net Pittsburgh’s prized right-hander with proposals centered around Clint FrazierBill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Bombers offered similar packages to the Rays and Tigers for Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer, respectively. From my perspective, it seems as though the Yankees may not be interested in Cole specifically, but rather could have a broader objective to move the 23-year-old Frazier in exchange for pitching help. Following the club’s acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it appears as though Frazier is destined to be a high-ceiling depth piece for the Yankees, whose outfield picture features Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Stanton, with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury also on the roster.

    In a brilliant piece for the New York Post, Joel Sherman points out that the Yankees can afford to be patient, as they did with Stanton this winter and Sonny Gray this summer. They’re not desperate for pitching right now, as their rotation is set to feature Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery. While each of those pitchers carries a question mark or two (or in Sherman’s words, “red flag possibilities”), the ballclub wouldn’t be chastised if it were to have these five in the rotation come Opening Day. Furthermore, top prospects Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield could reach the majors before long, with Adams being the more likely of the two to contribute in 2018.

    From the Pirates’ side, they don’t necessarily need another outfielder. However, it stands to reason that a trade of Cole could set off a domino effect that prompts Pittsburgh to sell off other pieces. As Brink states in a separate article (one that deals with the “what if” scenario of a Cole trade), trading the right-hander could act as “the first tug on the rope that raises the white flag on 2018.” In that case, they’d be highly likely to shop Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, and his hypothetical trade would mean that Frazier could suddenly become a useful piece.

    It’s unclear how serious the Pirates’ talks are with other potential suitors at this time, or even whether those clubs have made formal offers. Crasnick notes in his above tweet that a deal probably won’t come together before Christmas, but adds that trade talks could pick up again between then and New Year’s. It stands to reason that Pittsburgh could be patient for months, or even wait until the 2018 trade deadline to trade Cole (if they opt to move him at all). It will of course be far more evident how the Pirates’ playoff chances compare with those of the other NL Central clubs. However, there are plenty of reasons to move him now as well, including the high probability that clubs would be willing to pay more to have Cole for a full season, and the risk that the Yankees might acquire a different starter.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs Weren't Willing To Discuss Jake Lamb In Machado Talks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111014 2017-12-22T23:54:05Z 2017-12-22T21:44:57Z
  • The Diamondbacks reportedly had real interest in Orioles infielder Manny Machado, but Heyman says the Snakes were not willing to consider moving third bagger Jake Lamb in a deal. That’s not terribly surprising; after all, the 27-year-old Lamb has only just reached arbitration eligibility and posted consecutive solid campaigns in which he has maintained a composite .248/.345/.498 batting line. Though he’s clearly an inferior overall player to Machado, Lamb is the type of affordable, quality regular that a team with Arizona’s payroll can ill afford to part with.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Yoshihisa Hirano]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110958 2017-12-22T20:02:00Z 2017-12-22T19:46:59Z The Diamondbacks have dipped into the Japanese market in an effort to bolster their bullpen, announcing on Friday a two-year contract with right-handed reliever Yoshihisa Hirano. The deal will reportedly guarantee Hirano $6MM in total — $3MM annually plus another $1MM worth of available incentives each season. Left-hander Henry Owens was placed on outright waivers to clear room for Hirano, and he’s already been claimed by the division-rival Dodgers.

    Yoshihisa Hirano (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

    Hirano, 34 in March, has long been a dominant closer in Japan, amassing 143 saves with a 2.62 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 through 271 1/3 innings for the Orix Buffaloes from 2013-17. Because of his age and his professional experience in Nippon Professional Baseball, Hirano is exempt from both international bonus pools and the NPB/MLB posting system.

    The D-backs weren’t prominently linked to Hirano prior to the agreement, though he’d reportedly drawn interest from multiple MLB clubs, including the Dodgers, Tigers and Cardinals. Jim Allen of the Kyodo News tweets that in speaking to big league scouts at the Winter Meetings, there was a consensus that while Hirano’s velocity is down from its peak earlier in his career, his splitter will still play in the Majors. Meanwhile, the Arizona Repbulic’s Nick Piecoro tweets that scouts to whom he’s spoken peg Hirano’s velocity in the 90-94 mph range and also credit him with a plus splitter and good deception in his delivery.

    Fernando Rodney, who served as Arizona’s closer throughout the 2017 season, recently signed with the Twins, subtracting one late-inning arm from what was, on the whole, a generally successful group in 2017. Arizona also bid farewell to veteran lefty Jorge De La Rosa and righty J.J. Hoover this offseason, who soaked up a combined 92 2/3 innings out of the ’pen — further creating a a need to add some innings to the back of the relief corps.

    [Related: Updated Arizona Diamondbacks depth chart and payroll outlook]

    While it’s a stretch to assume that Hirano will simply be handed the closer’s role in Arizona right out of the gate, there’s no clear-cut ninth-inning presence for the Diamondbacks at present. Hirano will likely compete with Archie Bradley and others for that distinction this spring, and it’s not out of the question that he could find himself in save opportunities later in the year, even if he doesn’t win the job out of camp.

    The D-backs are already headed for a record payroll in 2018, though Hirano’s contract will only modestly bump the current $126MM projection ever so slightly north. That said, it doesn’t seem especially likely that they’ll be particularly aggressive spenders on the free-agent market between now and Opening Day.

    While they’re fresh off an NLDS appearance and are entering into the first season of a new television contract said to be worth more than one billion dollars, the D-backs aren’t merely setting a new record payroll — they’re shattering their previous high point. Arizona is on track for a near-$30MM payroll increase over its 2017 Opening Day mark and an increase of roughly $17MM over its previous franchise high. Arizona has only opened a season with a payroll north of $100MM once in its history (2014) and has averaged a $93MM Opening Day payroll over the past three seasons.

    Jim Allen of the Kyodo News first suggested that Hirano could be headed to the D-backs (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported there was an agreement in place and provided financial details (Twitter links). USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted that he’d get a multi-year deal and added the annual breakdown as well.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Claim Henry Owens]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111009 2017-12-22T19:45:38Z 2017-12-22T19:45:38Z The Dodgers announced on Friday that they’ve claimed left-hander Henry Owens off waivers from the Diamondbacks. Arizona had claimed Owens off outright waivers from the Red Sox earlier this winter.

    Owens was once considered to be one of the game’s best overall prospects. However, he’s managed just a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 85 big league innings and saw his control of the strike zone, which has long been an issue for him, utterly evaporate in 2017 when he walked 115 batters, hit 17 more and threw 17 wild pitches in 126 Triple-A innings this season.

    Owens has a minor league option remaining, so the Dodgers will have the luxury of being able to send him to the minors to attempt to get back on track if they wish, though the Triple-A Pacific Coast League isn’t exactly a friendly environment for a pitcher looking to refine his mechanics and reestablish his confidence. Nonetheless, Los Angeles has made a habit of collecting optionable players and leveraging the flexibility those assets provide, in conjunction with the shortened 10-day DL minimum, over the course of a full big league season.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Manny Machado Rumors: Monday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110619 2017-12-18T15:13:28Z 2017-12-18T14:57:42Z Just days after the Giancarlo Stanton trade saga came to an end, the Orioles reportedly made Manny Machado available and began asking teams around the league for offers on the 25-year-old superstar. Here’s the latest chatter on Machado as the Orioles field interest in the best player in recent franchise history…

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic takes a lengthy look at the market for Machado (subscription required and strongly recommended), reporting that trade offers from interested parties improved over the weekend and that a deal could happen this week. Specific details on each club’s offers, of course, aren’t fully known, though Rosenthal reports that the D-backs included young infielder Brandon Drury as part of their package. Rosenthal provides an overview of how seven Machado suitors could make a deal work, though he notes that there’s still a general doubt among his sources that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would green-light a deal sending Machado to the Yankees.
    • Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com paints a bit of a different picture regarding Angelos, writing that it’s possible Angelos could be swayed into approving a deal sending Machado the Bronx. Angelos, Connolly writes, solicits opinions from a wide array of trusted confidants and advisors — so many so that there are often conflicting opinions. A lack of consensus among that inner circle may have been what ultimately quashed this past July’s would-be Zach Britton trade to the Astros, per Connolly. However, Connolly hears that there’s a general sense within the organization that a deal will get done, and an organizational consensus could dissuade Angelos from interfering with any agreement, regardless of the trade partner in question. Within that same piece, Connolly also explores how the Machado situation could be slowing Baltimore’s other offseason endeavors.
    • The Cardinals have been oft-linked to Machado, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak implied in an appearance on KMOX Sports radio in St. Louis this morning that he’d have a hard time making a deal for Machado (Twitter link via KMOX’s Tom Ackerman). Said Mozeliak: “If you’re trading away two to three prospects that have a combined 18 years of control… for one [year]? That doesn’t sit well with me.” That, of course, doesn’t preclude a deal from coming together — Mozeliak did trade four pieces for two years of Marcell Ozuna — but it does seem to suggest that the Cards would have a hard time deciding to outbid the field to secure the rights to Machado’s 2018 season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110228 2017-12-17T15:10:42Z 2017-12-17T15:10:02Z SUNDAY: The White Sox and Diamondbacks had shown the most interest in Machado as of Saturday morning, Olney heard from AL sources.

    THURSDAY: Trade winds continue to swirl around Manny Machado, as the Orioles’ apparent willingness to consider dealing its star third baseman was one of the major storylines of the Winter Meetings.  The Orioles have received ten “legitimate offers” for Machado, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, though the quality of those offers and the number of teams involved may be hampered by Baltimore’s refusal to allow a 72-hour window for a new team to talk to Machado’s agents about a possible extension.

    The Cardinals didn’t make “a formal offer” due to that lack of negotiating period, and the White Sox (previously thought to have made the strongest of all the offers) apparently didn’t include any of their top prospects in their proposal, Nightengale reports.  Two executives said that Chicago made its offer with the belief that the Sox would only have Machado for the 2018 season.

    One major factor influencing talks is Baltimore owner Peter Angelos’ insistence that Machado not end up with the Yankees in 2018.  This naturally rules out a direct trade with New York, though Angelos also doesn’t want a scenario where Machado is dealt to a team that would flip him to the Yankees for prospects, be it before the July trade deadline or even later this offseason.  These parameters would seem to limit the Orioles’ list of potential trade partners to only contending teams, and maybe even to contenders that would seemingly have no chance of a midseason collapse and subsequent deadline fire sale (though obviously one can’t know for sure what would-be contenders could be in for a nightmare season, a la the 2017 Giants.)

    The White Sox aren’t expected to contend for even a couple of seasons yet, and thus would seem like potential candidates to deal Machado in order to further hasten their rebuild.  The Sox are apparently willing to address Angelos’ concerns, as Nightengale writes that “if the Orioles even wanted it in writing that they’d keep him around until at least mid-summer,” Chicago would be fine with that assurance.  This would be quite an unusual type of trade provisio, of course, and one that Angelos may still not be fine with if he wants to eliminate any chance of Machado wearing Yankee pinstripes in 2018.

    Beyond the teams already reported as having interest in Machado, the Diamondbacks are also in the mix, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets.  Arizona “checked in” on the Machado talks, though it isn’t clear if the D’Backs were just performing due diligence or if they were one of the clubs who made Baltimore an offer.  Machado would seem to be something of an unlikely fit for a D’Backs team that doesn’t have the payroll space to afford Machado’s $17.3 projected salary for 2018, though they could clear some of their own pricier arb-eligible players off the books by sending them back to the O’s.  Patrick Corbin, for instance, would be an upgrade for the Orioles’ rotation, while Jake Lamb would replace Machado at third base and give some much-needed left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup.

    MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently took a broad look at the Machado situation, gauging all 29 other teams by how plausible they seem as contenders to actually land the star infielder.  Needless to say, Angelos’ specifications would seem to narrow an already thin market, since there aren’t many teams willing to meet the Orioles’ big asking price (reportedly two controllable starting pitchers) for just a year of Machado’s services.  Adams listed both the White Sox and Diamondbacks as “out of the picture” candidates, so their chances of working out a deal could be even more remote given Angelos’ wariness of any “creative” follow-up trades a Machado suitor could make.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D’Backs Notes: Marte, Drury, Rodney]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110268 2017-12-15T06:15:08Z 2017-12-15T06:12:15Z The latest from the desert, as per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic

    • According to a source on a rival team, Ketel Marte is the only infielder that the Diamondbacks aren’t willing to consider in trade offers.  Splitting his first season with the D’Backs between Triple-A and the big leagues, Marte tore up minor league pitching and then hit .260/.345/.395 over 255 plate appearances for Arizona.  Marte, one of the key parts of Arizona’s big multi-player swap with the Mariners last year, is clearly seen as the shortstop of the future, plus he will be under team control through 2022 as a probable Super Two player.
    • The infielder drawing the most buzz may be Brandon Drury, who has received interest from more than a half-dozen teams.  The Yankees were reportedly talking about Drury and D’Backs starter Patrick Corbin during the Winter Meetings.
    • The D’Backs were linked to former closer Fernando Rodney on the rumor mill, though they didn’t make Rodney an offer before he agreed to join the Twins today.  Arizona still has offers out to multiple free agent relievers, GM Mike Hazen said on Monday.
    • In other Diamondbacks news from earlier today, the team checked in with the Orioles about Manny Machado…the Yankees discussed Jacoby Ellsbury with the D’Backs, who aren’t too keen on Ellsbury’s contract…three teams are interested in a Zack Greinke trade, though talks with a fourth club (the Rangers) have reportedly gone nowhere.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Three Teams Interested In Greinke; Rangers Talks "Mostly Dead"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110258 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z 2017-12-15T04:14:05Z
  • Talks between the Rangers and Diamondbacks regarding Zack Greinke are “mostly dead,” according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter).  Three other teams, however, have some interest.  The Phillies and Yankees have both reportedly checked in on Greinke, though it isn’t clear if either is one of the three teams Heyman references.  The D’Backs are willing to cover at least some of Greinke’s huge contract to facilitate a deal.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees, D'Backs Discussed Jacoby Ellsbury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110235 2017-12-15T01:48:37Z 2017-12-15T01:46:38Z Jacoby Ellsbury’s name was mentioned in trade talks between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty reports, and though “nothing is believed to be off the table,” Arizona didn’t have much interest in the veteran outfielder due to his big price tag.  Ellsbury is owed over $63.3MM through the 2020 season, plus a $5MM of $21MM club option for 2021.  He no longer has a starting job in the crowded New York outfield due to his underwhelming .261/.331/.372 slash line over the last three seasons, and it seems like the Yankees would surely have to eat some money to facilitate a trade, particularly with the D’Backs.  Ellsbury can also block any deal due to his no-trade clause, though he does own a home in Arizona and he has a past relationship with D’Backs GM Mike Hazen from their time in the Red Sox organization.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/14/17]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110061 2017-12-14T09:59:38Z 2017-12-14T09:59:38Z Here are a few recent minor moves that took place amidst the recent flurry of major league rumors and transactions…

    • A source tells MLBTR’s Jeff Todd that Felix Doubront has agreed to terms on a contract with the KBO’s Lotte Giants. Doubront hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015, though he did spend some time with the Triple-A affiliate of the A’s last season. His most successful MLB season came with the Red Sox in 2013, for whom he made 27 starts and two relief appearances spanning 162 1/3 innings. During that year, he compiled 139 strikeouts and pitched to a 4.32 ERA.
    • The Rangers have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-hander Zeke Spruill, TR Sullivan of MLB.com tweets. Spruill is best known as one of the five players the Diamondbacks acquired from the Braves in exchange for Justin Upton back in 2013. The sinkerballer pitched a handful of innings across a pair of seasons with Arizona during his MLB career, allowing 16 runs in 34 IP. He’s spent the past two years pitching in Korea.
    • Unsurprisingly, yet another international prospect has been signed by the Rangers. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reveals in a tweet that Texas has inked 16-year-old outfielder D’Vaughn Knowles to a deal for $500K. The Bahamian native will join Yenci Pena and Keithron Moss as international players to join the Rangers following Shohei Ohtani’s decision to sign with the Angels.
    • Outfielder Cesar Puello has signed with the Diamondbacks on a minors deal and will receive an invite to spring training (hat tip to Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com). Puello made his major league debut last season; the outfielder accrued 39 plate appearances between the Angels and Rays. While his results at the MLB level were rather pedestrian, the Dominican native showed some impressive upside with a .397/.440/.620 across 200 plate appearances at Triple-A Salt Lake, the highest level of the Angels’ farm system. It should be noted that the above slash line came with a .493 BABIP.
    • Tony Pena’s son Francisco Pena has earned a minor league pact with the Cardinals, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. He’ll serve as an addition to the Redbirds’ catching depth. Pena has made MLB appearances with the Royals and Orioles, garnering 14 hits in 60 plate appearances (including three home runs).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109922 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

    Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-Backs, Yankees Have Discussed Brandon Drury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109824 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • The Yankees have not only been in contact with the Diamondbacks about lefty Patrick Corbin, they’ve also discussed infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury in those talks, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman notes that multiple clubs have discussed Drury with the Snakes, but he’s a strong fit in the Bronx following trades of Chase Headley and Starlin Castro. The 25-year-old Drury has slashed .275/.323/.453 with 29 homers in 979 plate appearances across the past two seasons while playing second base, third base and left field. He’s controllable for another four seasons and won’t be arbitration-eligible until next winter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Rumors: Wednesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109802 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z We haven’t heard an immense amount of chatter to this point on J.D. Martinez, the top free agent slugger, but that could well change today. The power-hitting outfielder is set to appear at the Winter Meetings to sit down with a few possible suitors, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported (via Twitter) yesterday. Here’s the latest chatter:

    • We learned yesterday that the Red Sox will get face-to-face time with Martinez and agent Scott Boras, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted. Indeed, it seems that Martinez is a top priority for Boston, though adding him would presumably mean finding a deal for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
    • The Diamondbacks are also slated to meet with Martinez, who starred there after a midseason trade, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Whether the Arizona organization can find the cash to make that happen remains to be seen, but it does seem the club’s discussion of Zack Greinke in trades is likely related.
    • While the Giants are also a rumored suitor, though GM Bobby Evans would say only that the team will “maybe” be among those meeting with Martinez, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted yesterday. As Baggarly further explains, though, in a subscription piece, there are ongoing concerns internally that blowing past the luxury line would not be wise. Certainly, there’s no clear path to adding Martinez (or any other high-priced free agents) without doing so.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers Talking To D’Backs About Pitchers, Including Zack Greinke]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109722 2017-12-13T04:37:27Z 2017-12-13T04:36:00Z 10:36pm: The D’Backs are “showing no interest in a salary dump,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link), as the Rangers are offering only “marginal prospects” and they want Arizona to pay a portion of Greinke’s contract (perhaps in the form of Choo’s deal).

    8:19pm: Texas isn’t one of the 15 teams on Greinke’s no-trade list, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports (via Twitter).  Choo can also list 10 teams per season via his own no-trade clause, though it isn’t known if the D’Backs are included.

    7:41pm: The Rangers have been in discussions about the Diamondbacks about starting pitchers, with MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links) reporting that Zack Greinke’s name has been included in the talks.  There isn’t any sign that a trade is close to actually happening, though Sullivan says that the negotiations “are real and on-going.”

    According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link), the Rangers need Shin-Soo Choo to be involved in the deal as well, in order to help balance out the Greinke’s enormous contract.  Choo is owed $62MM through the 2020 season, while Greinke still has a whopping $138.5MM owed to him through the 2021 campaign.

    For a Rangers team in dire need of pitching help, they would seemingly be a great fit to absorb that extra money on Greinke’s deal while also unloading an extraneous piece in Choo.  The outfielder simply hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing that seven-year, $130MM with Texas in the 2013-14 offseason.  Choo has been worth only 5.1 fWAR over his first four years in Texas, with most of that total coming just in 2014 (3.6 fWAR), as he has battled injuries and become a defensive liability, though his run-creation numbers are still slightly above average.

    Depending on what else is involved in a potential trade, moving Greinke would essentially be something of a salary dump for the D’Backs.  Even though the ace righty is coming off an excellent season (rebounding nicely from a down year in 2016), Greinke simply accounts for such a giant portion of Arizona’s payroll that the team is hard-pressed to make many other moves, given that the Snakes are again expected to spend in the $115-$120MM range next year.  Greinke at least has much more trade value now than he did last winter in the wake of his tough 2016 campaign, though it would still be a tough blow for the D’Backs to lose their ace while still hoping to build on their NLDS appearance from a year ago.

    Since the two teams were engaging in talks on multiple starters, it’s fair to say that Patrick Corbin might be a more reasonable trade candidate that wouldn’t involve nearly the salary machinations of a Greinke/Choo deal.  Corbin is projected to earn $8.3MM in 2018, his final year of arbitration eligibility, so he’d also represent some significant payroll savings for Arizona if dealt.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals “Favorites” For Marcell Ozuna; Multiple Teams Pursuing Christian Yelich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109641 2017-12-12T21:26:45Z 2017-12-12T19:12:40Z There’s plenty of interest in the Marlins outfield even now that it no longer features Giancarlo Stanton. We have heard lots of chatter surrounding Marcell Ozuna already, and there’s yet more intriguing news now emerging on him and teammate Christian Yelich.

    The Cardinals are emerging as the favorites from a six to eight team field to land Ozuna, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Word emerged earlier today that the Cards have interest in sending multiple, controllable outfielders in order to acquire one premium asset, though it’s not yet clear that’s what’s under contemplation. The teams are surely already quite familiar with one another’s feelings on prospects after negotiating over Stanton. And Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who has long noted the Cards’ interest in Ozuna and Yelich, reported earlier today that the sides might also line up on reliever Brad Ziegler.

    Meanwhile, the Cardinals are also among ten or so teams that have inquired on Yelich, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter), reflecting longstanding interest that has been covered in recent weeks. The Braves and Diamondbacks are also in that grouping, he notes. Both of those teams make for interesting potential trade partners; in both cases, the interest is likely driven more by their views on Yelich than need, per se.

    Clearly, there’s an interesting interplay here between the markets of these two productive teammates. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes on Twitter, Yelich is considered the more desirable asset given his lengthy, team-friendly contract. His report suggests the Fish would prefer to make a deal for Ozuna first, as the organization has given indications it would like to try to find a way to retain Yelich. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out given the multi-faceted considerations at play.

    While he only has two years of control remaining and will play at a projected $10.9MM in 2018, Ozuna is fresh off of a monster 2017 season in which he blasted 37 home runs and slashed .312/.376/.548 over 679 plate appearances. That handily outpaced Yelich, whose own .282/.369/.439 batting line represented a step back from an outstanding 2016 season. Still, many around the game are enamored of Yelich’s bat as well as his overall game, so he’s plainly the more valuable trade piece in light of the fact that he can be controlled through 2022. (His contract promises just $44.5MM, including a buyout on a $15MM club option for that ’22 campaign.)

     

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Player Rumblings: Padres, Moose, Walker, Napoli, Cards, D-Backs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109616 2017-12-12T21:40:03Z 2017-12-12T18:49:37Z The Padres could play a major role in the market over the next few days, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes on Twitter. Indeed, the organization has already made one interesting move today. San Diego is looking around for a controllable shortstop and could conceivably match up with the Cubs, Passan suggests. (From an outside perspective, it seems ace reliever Brad Hand would be the most likely Padres piece to pique Chicago’s interest, but that’s just speculation.) Also, the team’s interest in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer is seemingly increasingly serious. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that the Friars are “strongly in [the] mix” for Hosmer, while Passan says the sides have gained “traction” in discussions.

    Here’s more from the position-player side of the market:

    • At this point, at least, the Braves are not engaged on the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). Atlanta does have interest in improving at the hot corner, but it seems that new GM Alex Anthopoulos is not all that intrigued by the powerful but OBP-challenged Moustakas. Of course, there’s still time for the market to develop.
    • Free agent second baseman Neil Walker is still looking for a four-year deal, according to Heyman (via Twitter). That seems like a lofty ask, though, for a 32-year-old player on a market full of possibilities at second. Walker has been a steady producer, to be sure, and finished with a strong .267/.409/.433 run with the Brewers, but with so many other options out there it seems more likely he’ll end up settling for a two or three-year guarantee.
    • The Mets have some interest in free agent Mike Napoli, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Indeed, the club’s new skipper, Mickey Callaway, has reached out to Napoli to discuss the possibility. (The two share a connection from the Indians.) Presumably, Napoli would share time with Dominic Smith at first base, with the organization arranging a natural platoon pairing and then allowing things to play out based upon performance.
    • As the Cardinals continue to seek ways to upgrade after missing on Giancarlo Stanton, they have been scanning the market for alternatives. The team’s preference, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, is to “turn two of their excess outfielders into one newcomer.” That would seemingly represent a fairly clean way to improve the roster, though of course it will likely also require a rather particular trade partner. It is not difficult to imagine such a team also wishing to receive a sweetener in exchange for giving up a premium asset for volume. There are plenty more details and quotes from the Cards front office in the post.
    • The Diamondbacks have been contacted by other organizations about the availability of their middle infielders, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Arizona certainly has quite some volume of MLB-level options up the middle, though it’s also not entirely clear at this point just which players (if any) have firmly secured places in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that market demand could help dictate the decisonmaking process, too, as the organization seeks ways to navigate a tricky payroll situation. Though none of the team’s top middle infielders are very costly, that very feature might allow the D-Backs to bring back equally affordable pieces that meet needs or perhaps structure a package deal to shed other salary. Chris Owings ($3.8MM arb projection) has only two years of control left, while Nick Ahmed ($1.1MM) has three and Daniel Descalso will hit the open market after earning $2MM in 2018. Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury are still shy of arbitration.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Rumblings: Brewers, Rays, Duffy, Nicasio, Arrieta]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109592 2017-12-12T17:59:15Z 2017-12-12T17:28:06Z Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:

    • The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
    • Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
    • Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per MLB.com’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
    • Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
    • The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
    • While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
    • For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Considering Michael Fulmer, Patrick Corbin In Trade Talks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109590 2017-12-12T15:42:48Z 2017-12-12T15:42:48Z The Yankees are among the teams with interest in Tigers righty Michael Fulmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). New York also has considered Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin, per the report.

    Clearly, the Yanks are interested in finding a rotation upgrade, as the club was also linked yesterday to Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Currently, the first four members of the staff seem set: Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. But the fifth slot is much less settled.

    [RELATED: Yankees, TigersDiamondbacks Depth Charts]

    While the Bronx powerhouse is still committed to remaining under the luxury tax line for 2018, the club obviously sees some ways to fit high-quality hurlers into the payroll. Of course, GM Brian Cashman is also reportedly looking into moving some existing salary to open yet more space.

    Fulmer and Corbin each represent quite different assets. There’s some reason to believe that either could be made available, but for differing reasons.

    With regard to Fulmer, he’s one of the most intriguing young starters in baseball. The 24-year-old is on track to qualify for Super Two status next year but won’t be a free agent until 2023. And he has already turned in 323 2/3 innings of 3.45 ERA pitching in his first two MLB seasons. While offseason surgery to deal with a nerve issue in his elbow may give some pause, that particular procedure does not seem to come with significant future concern. Accordingly, the asking price is expected to be astronomical, even if the Tigers will hear out teams with interest.

    As for Corbin, the D-Backs are in a tight payroll situation that will present challenges as they seek to return to the postseason. GM Mike Hazen indicates yesterday that a “creative” approach will be required, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert notes on Twitter. With Corbin projected by MLBTR to take home a $8.3MM payday via arbitration, he could be a useful trade piece, perhaps bringing back pieces that could fill other needs while also freeing up some spending money. The 28-year-old southpaw turned in a solid 2017 campaign, running up 189 2/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. While Arizona would surely prefer to retain Corbin, they have four other strong rotation pieces on hand along with a few internal candidates to battle for a spot.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Hazen: D'Backs Have Stayed In Touch With Fernando Rodney]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109564 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z 2017-12-12T11:00:34Z Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen told reporters (including the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) that his team has kept in touch with Fernando Rodney.  The veteran reliever was expected to personally attend the Winter Meetings to speak to clubs about a contract, though it isn’t known whether the D’Backs were one of those teams.  Rodney signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with Arizona last winter and turned into a bargain signing for the team, recording 39 saves to go along with a 4.23 ERA, 10.57 K/9 and 52.2% grounder rate.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[FA Rumors: LoMo, Rox, Hunter, Mets, Kintzler, Brewers, O’s, Tigers, Jays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109497 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z 2017-12-11T23:41:02Z The latest free agent rumors…

    • Contrary to a report from Sunday, the Rockies haven’t had any discussions about signing first baseman Logan Morrison, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
    • Reliever Tommy Hunter has emerged as a “prime target” for the Mets in their search for bullpen help, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). The 31-year-old right-hander was quietly excellent over 58 2/3 innings with the Rays in 2017, recording a 2.61 ERA and putting up 9.82 K/9 against 2.15 BB/9.
    • Count the Diamondbacks among those interested in reliever Brandon Kintzler, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who expects the former Twins closer to land a two-year deal. Kintzler suggested last month that his wife is rooting for him to sign with Arizona. The Twins continue to monitor him, and they’ve also checked in on almost every other available pitcher, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey revealed (Twitter link via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com).
    • Brewers GM David Stearns said Monday that he’s likely to “cross paths” at the Winter Meetings with the agents for second baseman Neil Walker and reliever Anthony Swarzak, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Walker and Swarzak ended last season with the Brewers after coming over in trades and performed quite well during their short stints in Milwaukee.
    • Although the Orioles badly need starters, they’re not inclined to dole out long deals. GM Dan Duquette suggested to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Monday that four- to five-year pacts for pitchers generally don’t work out well (Twitter link). On the other hand, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on re-signing righty Chris Tillman, who figures to be an affordable, short-term pickup after enduring a dreadful 2017 (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com).
    • As is the case with Baltimore, the Tigers are in the market for a starter who won’t require a long commitment, GM Al Avila informed reporters (via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, on Twitter). Detroit is open to reeling in another starter on a one-year deal to join the just-signed Mike Fiers.
    • The Blue Jays are engaging with multiple starters and relievers, GM Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters Monday. They “will most likely add an infielder,” too, and are looking at outfielders, Atkins said (Twitter link).
    • The Rangers are considering signing catcher Rene Rivera, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). The righty-hitting Rivera, who was with the Mets and Cubs last year, batted .252/.305/.431 in 237 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he caught an excellent 38 percent of would-be base stealers (10 percent above the league average) and, as has been the case for most of his career, held his own as a framer.
    • Right-hander Jesse Chavez appears likely to sign this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The 34-year-old Chavez spent last season with the Angels and posted an ugly 5.35 ERA across 138 innings and 38 appearances (21 starts), though he did log acceptable strikeout and walk rates (7.76 K/9, 2.93 BB/9).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Showing Reluctance To Spend]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109243 2017-12-10T18:40:35Z 2017-12-10T18:40:35Z
  • A lack of financial wiggle room could prevent the Diamondbacks from doing anything significant in free agency, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Arizona needs bullpen help, for instance, but several agents informed Piecoro that the club’s not showing much willingness to spend. The Diamondbacks “think they’re going to get by spending $5 million” total on bullpen upgrades, an agent for a second-tier reliever told Piecoro. In order to free up payroll space, the D-backs could deal left-hander Patrick Corbin and/or center fielder A.J. Pollock, Piecoro suggests. Both players are only under control for another year – MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects an $8.3.MM arbitration award for Corbin and an $8.5MM salary for Pollock.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Claim Henry Owens]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109034 2017-12-08T18:44:49Z 2017-12-08T18:39:10Z The Diamondbacks have claimed left-hander Henry Owens off waivers from the Red Sox, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported that Owens was on outright waivers earlier this week.

    The move will reunite Owens, 25, with Arizona general manager Mike Hazen, who was in the Red Sox organization (along with assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter) when Boston originally made Owens the 36th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

    Owens was once considered to be one of the game’s best overall prospects. However, he’s managed just a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 85 big league innings and saw his control of the strike zone, which has long been an issue for him, utterly evaporate in 2017 when he walked 115 batters, hit 17 more and threw 17 wild pitches in 126 Triple-A innings this season.

    Owens has a minor league option remaining, so the Diamondbacks will have the luxury of being able to send him to the minors to attempt to get back on track if they wish, though the Triple-A Pacific Coast League isn’t exactly a friendly environment for a pitcher looking to refine his mechanics and reestablish his confidence.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Re-Sign T.J. McFarland]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108857 2017-12-06T21:15:54Z 2017-12-06T21:13:33Z The Diamondbacks announced today that they have re-signed left-hander T.J. McFarland to a one-year deal. Arizona had non-tendered him last week, but he’ll return for a second season with the Snakes on an $850K base salary, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports (via Twitter). McFarland, an Octagon client, can also earn another $350K worth of incentives. He’d been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $1MM in arbitration, so the D-backs potentially saved a bit of cash with the move.

    The 28-year-old McFarland logged an unsightly 5.33 ERA with just 4.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 54 innings last season. But, he also racked up an impressive 67 percent ground-ball rate and held opposing lefties to a putrid .211/.256/.292 batting line in 80 plate appearances. Deployed in a more specialized role, there’s certainly the possibility that McFarland could deliver considerably better numbers in 2018.

    McFarland will also be eligible for arbitration in each of the next two offseasons, so the D-backs can control him all the way through the 2020 campaign if he can turn in improved results.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Free Agent Profile: J.D. Martinez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108585 2017-12-05T01:44:10Z 2017-12-05T01:44:10Z Despite not accumulating enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, J.D. Martinez hit the third-most home runs of any player in baseball. Make no mistake, he’ll be paid for his power this winter.

    Pros/Strengths

    Since his breakout season with the Tigers, Martinez has been an incredible power asset. Over the past four seasons, the outfielder is 10th in MLB with 128 homers, despite having the second-fewest plate appearances of any player in the top 20 in that category. During that time, Martinez trails only Mike Trout in slugging percentage. He also ranks within the top five in wOBA and wRC+ during that stretch, with an even .300 batting average and .362 OBP, so it’s not as if he’s an all-or-nothing presence at the plate.

    During the 2017 season, Martinez took his power to a new level. Across 489 plate appearances between the Tigers and the Diamondbacks, Martinez posted a whopping .690 slugging percentage, which would have led all of baseball by a full 59 points if he’d made enough trips to the plate to qualify for the slugging title. The power numbers he puts up are incredibly impressive and will motivate many teams to inquire on him.

    It’s not just his power numbers that stick out, however. Those figures are just one by-product of Martinez’ true greatest strength: quality of contact. His whopping 49% hard contact rate led all of baseball last season, and only Aaron Judge had more barrels per plate appearance.  His 208-foot average batted ball distance ranked 10th among hitters with at least 250 batted ball events. His 90.8 MPH average exit velocity ranked 12th, while his 97.2 MPH average exit velocity on fly balls ranked 6th.

    Cons/Weaknesses

    Though Martinez’ power is absolutely elite, he comes with a slew of weaknesses that hurt his value and build in a frightening amount of risk. It all starts with his health; Martinez has missed significant time with injuries in each of the past two seasons. In fact, the outfielder has only qualified for the batting title once in his career; teams will certainly be somewhat skeptical about his ability to produce at his 2017 clip over a full season in 2018, let alone in future years as he ages.

    One can’t completely ignore defense, either, and Martinez is a downright liability in the field. Fangraphs rated him the seventh-worst defensive player in baseball in 2017. His Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games was -14.8; that figure was the worst among all MLB outfielders. Defensive Runs Saved paints a slightly better picture, but his -5 DRS still ties him for 40th place out of 56 qualifying outfielders. If Martinez was even average defensively, he’d no doubt be one of the top ten most valuable players in baseball. As it stands, however, he’s outside the top 40 in WAR among hitters alone across a three-year sample size.

    There’s also plenty of swing-and-miss in Martinez’ game, although it may not be a chief concern in today’s environment. His 26.2% strikeout rate was the 41st-highest among 216 MLB players with at least 400 plate appearances last year. Part of this stems from his 71.2% contact rate, which put him in the bottom eighth of baseball players in that category. It’s worth noting that Martinez improved his walk rate dramatically this year as well; his 10.8% walk rate put him in the 30th percentile. All told, high strikeout totals aren’t entirely uncommon for power hitters, but Martinez does have some of the poorest plate discipline among the elite power threats in the game. If we isolate the top 30 players in slugging percentage this past season, Martinez has the 6th-highest strikeout rate and 12th-lowest walk rate in that group.

    The mediocre plate discipline is probably worth the trade-off for his avalanche of extra base hits, but it’s tough to know whether his swing will age well. Martinez and agent Scott Boras are reportedly seeking a contract above $200MM. While few in the industry think he’ll come close to that figure, the MLBTR team predicts he’ll earn something in the range of $150MM. If a win is worth roughly $9MM on the free agent market, one would think Martinez will need to provide somewhere close to 14 wins for his new team over the life of that contract, factoring in some inflation. Over the last century, only a handful of players have produced 14 WAR or more for their entire careers with a strikeout rate above 25% and a walk rate below 11%. Those players are Chris Davis, Ryan Howard, David Ross, Colby Rasmus and Melvin Upton Jr. None of them stands out as being particularly productive beyond his age 30 season. Of course, the game is trending in more of a strikeout-heavy direction these days, so perhaps that stat shouldn’t be observed with too much gravity.

    Those readers interested in “clutch” hitters should know that Martinez hasn’t been good in high leverage situations. Since his breakout began at the start of the 2014 season, Martinez ranks dead last among 289 qualifying hitters with a -4.30 clutch rating via Fangraphs.

    Background

    With the number 611 overall pick in the 2009 draft (20th round), the Houston Astros selected Martinez out of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He ascended quickly through the minor leagues, making his professional debut just two years later, performing as a roughly average major leaguer in half a season’s worth of at-bats. Things didn’t go well for Martinez across the next two seasons, however. He posted a .245/.295/.376 batting line from 2012-2013 and was ultimately released by Houston.

    Although his career seemed all but over after being cut by a then-cellar-dwelling Astros team, the Tigers nabbed Martinez, who had spend the offseason overhauling his swing. Early into the 2014 season, it became clear that Detroit had picked up a completely different player than the sub-replacement level outfielder who had struggled with the Astros. Martinez went on to put together a .318/.358/.553 slash line en route to 4.0 WAR and a 154 wRC+ that year, and has produced fantastic offensive numbers ever since.

    Market

    As a right-handed power hitter, Martinez would be a welcome asset to the middle of any MLB team’s batting order. However, his price tag will put him firmly out of reach for the majority of teams in smaller markets. Furthermore, the length of the contract he’ll command might give pause to NL teams, who could be concerned that his already-poor defense will decline further with age. While that certainly doesn’t eliminate NL clubs, it does mean that AL clubs (who could play him at DH in the latter years of the contract) might be willing to offer a longer deal. As MLBTR has already noted in our Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions article, the Red Sox are a very good fit. The piece also mentions the Cardinals and Giants as suitors. I’d add the Yankees and Rangers to that list as well, though both would likely need to do some creative financial work to make it possible. Perhaps a few other surprise bidders could emerge.

    Expected Contract

    The $200MM+ contract Boras is seeking for Martinez isn’t realistic. MLBTR’s initial projection of $150MM over six years is more plausible. However, it’s become evident by now that teams are willing to be patient and wait out the free agent market. Going into last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes had a similar four-year WAR output, was just a year older, and had fewer health questions; he signed a four-year, $110MM contract. Based on that, it might be safer to predict a five-year deal for Martinez. I’m going to forecast exactly that, at a $135MM guarantee.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108603 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, ESPN.com’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 Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi, MLB.com’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 NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty and MLB.com’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.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Taijuan Walker Switches Agencies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108530 2017-12-03T02:28:42Z 2017-12-03T02:28:42Z Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker has changed agencies and is now a client of Excel Sports Management, Robert Murray of FanRag reports (on Twitter).

    Still just 25, Walker debuted in the majors in 2011 as a highly touted prospect with the Mariners, who used a first-round pick on him the previous year. Walker didn’t quite live up to expectations during his time in Seattle, which dealt him to Arizona a year ago in a blockbuster that also featured Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Ketel Marte.

    In his first season in Arizona, Walker rode a highly effective fastball to a 3.49 ERA over 157 1/3 innings, thereby aiding in the playoff-bound Diamondbacks’ unexpected resurgence. Walker also notched 8.35 K/9 against 3.49 BB/9 and recorded a 48.9 percent groundball rate, which helped him tamp down home runs. After giving up homers on 17.6 percent of fly balls in his Seattle swan song, he cut the number to a much more palatable 11.3 in 2017.

    Walker’s output last season was worth $20MM, according to FanGraphs, making his $2.25MM salary a serious bargain. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Walker to earn more than double last year’s amount ($5MM) in 2018, his second of four potential arbitration-eligible seasons.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Non-Tenders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108397 2017-12-02T07:43:50Z 2017-12-02T01:10:38Z The deadline to tender 2018 contracts to players is tonight at 8pm EST. We’ll keep track of the day’s non-tenders in this post (all referenced arbitration projections courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) …

    • The Giants non-tendered righty Albert Suarez, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Suarez, 28, was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Righty Tom Koehler and infielder Ryan Goins are heading to the open market after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays, per a team announcement.
    • The Rays announced that lefty Xavier Cedeno has been non-tendered, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
    • The Cubs non-tendered catcher Taylor Davis, per a team announcement. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
    • Four Rangers players have not been tendered contracts, per a club announcement. Righties Chi Chi Gonzalez, A.J. Griffin, and Nick Martinez have been cut loose along with infielder Hanser Alberto. Griffin ($3.0MM projection) and Martinez ($2.0MM) were both noted as non-tender candidates by MLBTR. The other two players were not yet eligible for arbitration. Gonzalez was a former first-round pick who had struggled of late and underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
    • The Diamondbacks have also non-tendered lefty T.J. McFarland, who had projected at a $1.0MM salary.
    • The Reds non-tendered lefty Kyle Crockett, a pre-arb lefty who was only recently claimed on waivers, per a club announcement.
    • Per a club announcement, the Brewers have non-tendered veteran righty Jared Hughes. He will end up being the only 40-man player not to receive a contract from Milwaukee. Hughes had projected at a $2.2MM arbitration value. The 32-year-old is a master at inducing grounders and has turned in repeatedly excellent results. He also averaged a career-best 93.9 mph on his sinker in 2017.
    • The Mariners have non-tendered lefty Drew Smyly and righty Shae Simmons, per a club announcement. While the former was expected, due to Smyly’s Tommy John surgery, the latter rates as something of a surprise given his cheap $700K projection. Of course, it’s possible the club is not optimistic of his chances of bouncing back from arm troubles.
    • The White Sox will not tender a contract to reliever Jake Petricka, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He had projected to take home $1.1MM in his second trip through the arb process. Also non-tendered, per a club announcement, were righties Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque as well as infielder Alan Hanson.
    • It seems that righty Bruce Rondon will wind up his tenure with the Tigers, as the organization is set to non-tender him, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (via Twitter). Rondon was long viewed as a potential late-inning arm for the Tigers, but had some notable run-ins with the organization, struggled with control, and never consistently produced at the MLB level. Though he projected to earn just $1.2MM, Rondon will be allowed to find a new organization. He will turn 26 later this month.
    • The Diamondbacks will non-tender righty J.J. Hoover, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Hoover projected at just $1.6MM, but Arizona is watching every penny as it seeks to return to the postseason with a tight payroll situation. The 30-year-old turned in 41 1/3 innings of 3.92 ERA ball in 2017 with 11.8 K/9 but also 5.7 BB/9 on the year.
    • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Terrance Gore. Though Gore was not eligible for arbitration, teams occasionally utilize today’s deadline to prune their 40-man rosters. Gore had quite an interesting run with Kansas City, scarcely playing at all during the regular season and then appearing as a speed-and-defense asset in the team’s two storied postseason runs. Now, though the fleet-footed 26-year-old is out of options. With an upper minors OPS that hovers just over .600, Gore just was not going to break camp with the club. It seems reasonable to think there’s a chance he’ll return to the organization on a minors deal, though Gore will also have a shot at exploring the broader market.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Acquire Brad Boxberger]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108246 2017-11-30T17:39:39Z 2017-11-30T17:16:59Z The D-backs announced today that they’ve acquired right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger from the Rays in exchange for minor league right-hander Curtis Taylor.

    Brad Boxberger | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The trade of Boxberger to Arizona sheds one arbitration-eligible player for the Rays, who have a sizable arb class and many decisions to face as they look to trim payroll for the 2018 season. While Boxberger won’t be paid at an exorbitant rate — MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $1.9MM salary in 2018 — Tampa Bay was facing arb decisions on 12 players, suggesting that further non-tenders or trades of second-tier players could be on the horizon for the Rays.

    Boxberger, 30 in May, was an All-Star closer for the Rays back in 2015 when he saved 41 games and pitched to a 3.71 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 36.3 percent ground-ball rate. Arizona’s ninth-inning situation is currently murky after 2017 closer Fernando Rodney hit free agency at season’s end, and while Boxberger could compete for a high-leverage spot depending on the D-backs’ other offseason moves, he won’t simply be handed the job. For one thing, Archie Bradley could well be the in-house favorite to fill that role at present. Furthermore, the bullpen looks like one area for the D-backs to address this offseason, though they’ll face payroll challenges in doing so.

    Beyond that, Boxberger hasn’t been closing in Tampa Bay in recent seasons anyhow, as he’s been plagued by groin and oblique injuries as well as a flexor strain in 2017. When healthy, however, he was quite effective this past season, as evidenced by a 3.38 ERA, 12.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 29 1/3 frames. Boxberger has totaled just 53 1/3 innings over his past two injury-plagued seasons, though he’ll be a nice addition that the team can control through the 2019 season, via arbitration, if he can remain healthy next year. Boxberger adds to a massive D-backs arbitration class that now includes an astounding 15 players — though the Snakes have several non-tender/trade candidates in that mix themselves (e.g. Chris Herrmann, J.J. Hoover, T.J. McFarland).

    [Related: Updated Diamondbacks Depth Chart & Rays Depth Chart]

    As for the Rays, they’ll pick up a prospect that ranked 14th in a poorly regarded Diamondbacks farm system, per MLB.com. The 22-year-old Taylor (23 next July) spent the 2017 season with Class-A Kane County, where he pitched to a solid 3.32 ERA with 9.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9 and a 43.6 percent ground-ball rate in 13 starts (62 1/3 innings).

    Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com note in their scouting report that the 6’6″ fourth-rounder (2016) has the potential for two plus offerings thanks to a 94-95 mph sinker and an upper-80s slider. Callis and Mayo note that there’s a belief that Taylor could end up in the bullpen ultimately, and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen tweets the same. Per Longenhagen, Taylor has better control than most pitchers of his height and a potential plus slider, but his delivery is better suited for relief work.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Blue Jays, Bradley, Closers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107819 2017-11-24T05:49:10Z 2017-11-24T05:49:10Z Some items to conclude Thanksgiving Day…

    • The Blue Jays are conducting an internal investigation after six minor league prospects all tested positive for PEDs within the last week, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reports.  Thirteen Jays prospects have now been hit with PED test-related violations within the last two years, a stunning increase for an organization that saw just 18 players fail tests from 2005-15.  “This situation is very disappointing and disturbing to the organization; disappointing that the players made these choices, but more so disturbing that some failure of our environment allowed this to happen,” Jays GM Ross Atkins said.  “It is our responsibility to create an environment and culture where our players know that PED use is not condoned, and to give them resources and education to ensure that they do not make these decisions.”
    • Archie Bradley will be stretched out as a starter in Spring Training and could start in case of a rotation jury, though Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the team is still planning to use Bradley as a reliever.  Once one of the game’s top starting prospects, Bradley struggled over 34 career starts before posting dominating numbers (1.73 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 3.76 BB/K rate) in 73 relief innings last season.  Bradley showed the capability of being a multi-inning force out of the pen, though Hazen also said the D’Backs could deploy Bradley as a closer next year.  Bradley’s versatility gives the team flexibility in pursuing bullpen help this winter, Hazen said.
    • Bradley is a good example of how ESPN.com’s Sam Miller notes that closers are still hard to identify, and it is consistently hard for teams to tell which closers can consistently produce on a year-to-year basis, or which pitchers may suddenly emerge from nowhere as ninth-inning options.  Citing a similar Baseball Prospectus piece from Christina Kahrl in 2000 about the closer volatility, Miller notes that one big difference between now and then is that teams are increasingly willing to groom pitchers into relief roles earlier in their careers, or even as soon as they’re drafted, in order to develop bullpen specialists.
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