Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Dipoto: Pagan Move Was "Probably The Most Painful Trade We've Made"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117823 2018-03-23T16:34:00Z 2018-03-23T16:34:00Z
  • The Mariners thought so highly of Emilio Pagan as both a player and a person that GM Jerry Dipoto described the swap that sent Pagan and minor leaguer Alexander Campos to the Athletics for Ryon Healy as “probably the most painful trade we’ve made,” Dipoto tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “In a group that’s not unused to changing bodies, a lot of guys were crushed we traded Emilio.  He’s an unbelievable guy, a tremendous human being, he does all the right things,” Dipoto said.  Pagan made his MLB debut in 2017 and immediately became a key cog in Seattle’s bullpen, posting a 3.22 ERA over 50 1/3 innings and recording 56 strikeouts against just eight walks.  Pagan has continued to hone his game this spring, telling Slusser that he has increased usage of his changeup and also been throwing more inside fastballs to hitters.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Paul Blackburn Has Right Forearm Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117749 2018-03-22T22:59:43Z 2018-03-22T23:00:18Z 6:00pm: Blackburn will be shut down for ten days, says manager Bob Melvin (h/t Jane Lee of MLB.com).

    4:18pm: The Athletics rotation has taken another blow, this time involving righty Paul Blackburn. He is dealing with a right forearm strain, as Jane Lee writes in a piece for MLB.com. It now seems all but certain that Blackburn will not be ready to join the staff to open the year. With the rotation already missing Jharel Cotton and recent signee Trevor Cahill not quite ready to go, that leaves Oakland with much less depth to begin the season than had been anticipated. Lee suggests that “by default”, the A’s early-season rotation is now set to consist of Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Andrew Triggs and Daniel Gossett.

    The 24-year-old Blackburn made ten starts last season in his first taste of major-league action. While the righty pitched to a nice 3.22 ERA and a 56.3% ground ball rate, his 4.76 xFIP and shockingly low 3.38 K/9 left some question marks surrounding his capability to repeat that level of run-prevention.

    Blackburn was a supplemental first round pick of the Cubs back during the 2012 draft. He came to the Athletics organization by way of a 2016 trade that sent Danny Valencia to the Mariners. Blackburn made his major-league debut on July 1st, 2017, when the righty allowed zero earned runs in six innings against the Braves.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Shut Down Top Prospect A.J. Puk With Biceps Soreness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117624 2018-03-21T19:59:27Z 2018-03-21T19:59:27Z The Athletics have shut down top pitching prospect A.J. Puk with biceps soreness, according to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. At this point, the severity of the injury is not fully known, though indications are that the exciting young lefty will be able to return to the hill before too long.

    Needless to say, any issues in that region of such a valuable arm are going to be dealt with quite cautiously. Per the report, Puk has already undergone an MRI that did not give cause for concern that there is “any major structural damage.” Still, biceps soreness is a symptom associated with potentially serious elbow issues and the club will want to be certain that the current problem is not exacerbated.

    Puk was taken with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 draft and turned in a solid, 125-inning effort in 2017. Splitting his time between High-A and Double-A in his first full season as a professional, the 22-year-old ran up a 4.03 ERA with 13.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.

    Oakland had already determined that the high-powered southpaw would not crack the roster out of camp. But A’s fans were already no doubt looking forward to his arrival sooner than later after watching him spin over nine scoreless Cactus League innings this spring before he was finally touched in his last frame. There’s no particular reason to believe that Puk’s ultimate ascension will be slowed significantly, though perhaps now the Oakland organization will handle him with added care early in the 2018 season.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Agree To Terms With Brett Anderson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117493 2018-03-20T19:21:37Z 2018-03-20T18:05:36Z The Athletics have agreed to a contract with veteran lefty Brett Anderson, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a minors deal, but other terms are not yet known.

    If the deal becomes official, Anderson will return to the place where he first broke into the majors back in 2009. He turned in strong efforts for Oakland for parts of five seasons, working to a cumulative 3.81 ERA over 450 2/3 innings. Of course, that only worked out to about ninety frames per season, as Anderson dealt with a variety of injuries.

    Anderson has had his successes since leaving the A’s, as well. In particular, he turned in a strong effort in 2015 for the Dodgers, making over thirty starts for the first time since his rookie year and finishing with a 3.69 ERA over 180 1/3 frames. That earned Anderson a qualifying offer, which he accepted for the ensuing season.

    Unfortunately, Anderson has been neither healthy nor effective since that point. The 2016 season was mostly lost to back surgery. And Anderson limped to a 6.34 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings last year after landing with the Cubs on a make-good contract.

    There are still some signs of hope, however. Anderson is still just 30 years of age. Last year, he still managed fairly typical fastball velocity, posted an 8.8% swinging-strike rate that was the second highest of his career, and generated a typically solid 49.2% groundball rate. Anderson also may have suffered from some poor fortune with a .364 BABIP and 60.9% strand rate, though Statcast felt the results largely matched expectations based upon the quality of contact he surrendered.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics To Sign Trevor Cahill]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117219 2018-03-19T21:08:39Z 2018-03-19T21:08:02Z MONDAY: Cahill will earn $1.5MM, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).

    SATURDAY: The Athletics have agreed to a one-year, major league contract, pending a physical, with right-hander Trevor Cahill, Jane Lee of MLB.com tweets. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier Saturday that Oakland could target Cahill, a client of John Boggs & Associates.

    With righty Jharel Cotton set to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season, the Athletics found themselves seeking starting depth on Saturday. Cahill will provide that, and he’ll attempt to grab a spot in an Oakland rotation that lacks certainty beyond Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea. High-end prospect A.J. Puk seems unlikely to begin the year in the majors, leaving the A’s with Cahill, Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs, Daniel Mengden and Daniel Gossett vying for the final three spots in their rotation (depth chart).

    This deal represents a homecoming for Cahill, a California native whom the Athletics chose in the second round of the 2006 draft and who began his career as an eminently effective starter for the club.

    Cahill spent 2009-11 in Oakland, where he ate 583 innings and pitched to a solid 3.91 ERA, despite less-than-stellar strikeout and walk numbers (5.48 K/9, 3.35 BB/9). The A’s then shipped him to Arizona in a five-player, December 2011 trade that brought them righty Jarrod Parker, among others. Injuries have since ended Parker’s career, while Cahill has seen his effectiveness wane dating back to the end of his first Oakland stint.

    The 30-year-old Cahill started 30-plus games and racked up between 178 2/3 and 207 2/3 innings in each of his first four seasons, but he hasn’t approached those figures since. He’s only a couple years removed from essentially working as a full-time reliever with both the Braves and Cubs, but he primarily functioned as a starter in 2017.

    Across 21 appearances (14 starts) and 84 frames between San Diego and Kansas City, Cahill posted a 4.93 ERA/5.28 FIP and logged 9.32 K/9 against 4.82 BB/9. He also registered an impressive 55.6 percent groundball rate (right in line with his career mark of 55.1). Unfortunately, though, shoulder issues helped derail his season after the Royals acquired him in July. While Cahill managed outstanding numbers over 61 innings with the Padres (3.69 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9), he offset those by surrendering 21 earned runs on 33 hits and 21 walks, with 15 strikeouts, during his 23-frame Royals tenure.

    Cahill was on the disabled list three times with shoulder and back problems during his two-team run in 2017, surely helping lead to his inability to find a job from November until now. The A’s, on the heels of the promising Cotton’s injury, are left to hope Cahill will more closely resemble the version who held his own with the Padres than the one who scuffled with the Royals.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Raul Alcantara Could Lose 40-Man Spot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117396 2018-03-19T19:29:14Z 2018-03-19T17:21:50Z
  • Athletics right-hander Raul Alcantara could lose his 40-man roster spot when their deal with righty Trevor Cahill becomes official, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Alcantara, 25, is out of options and hasn’t produced in Oakland, where he combined for 46 1/3 innings of 7.19 ERA/7.45 FIP ball from 2016-17.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Chris Bassitt Wanted More Clarity About Role With A's]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117365 2018-03-19T03:44:04Z 2018-03-19T03:44:04Z
  • The Athletics optioned right-hander Chris Bassitt to Triple-A today in the wake of a rough Spring Training, though Bassitt told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he believes a lack of communication about his role contributed to his 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 IP.  According to Bassitt, “I was told coming into camp I was going to compete for a starting spot and never got a single chance…It’s hard to prepare when you don’t know what you’re preparing for. Anyone just wants to know what they’re expecting out of you and so far no one can really answer that yet.”  Bassitt said he was willing to pitch in whatever role the A’s wanted, except he just wanted more notice and more clarity about that role.  “The way my mechanics are, I pretty much have to go out of the stretch when I come out of the bullpen, and I wasn’t prepared to be a reliever, I really wasn’t. It’s frustrating all around that wasn’t relayed to me all offseason,” he said.  Oakland manager Bob Melvin said he felt the team “tried to intimate that to” Bassitt that he would be deployed in an undefined role as a swingman, long reliever, or starter depending on the situation.  Bassitt last pitched in the majors in April 2016, as he was sidelined for much of that season due to Tommy John surgery, and he tossed 50 2/3 innings in the minors in 2017.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Notes: Anderson, Puk, Phegley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117314 2018-03-18T19:31:33Z 2018-03-18T19:19:30Z The latest on Oakland…

    • The Athletics agreed to reunite with right-hander Trevor Cahill on Saturday, and they may not be done adding old friends to their pitching mix. The team is considering signing left-hander Brett Anderson, who’d likely receive a minor league contract, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Anderson debuted in the majors with the A’s in 2009 and was mostly effective in Oakland through 2013, but injuries prevented him from realizing his potential. Those injury woes have seldom let up for Anderson, now 30 years old, in his post-Oakland stops. Most recently, he struggled mightily last season across 55 1/3 innings (13 appearances, all starts) between the Cubs and Blue Jays. Anderson pitched to a 6.34 ERA, albeit with a fairly encouraging 4.10 FIP, and logged 6.18 K/9, 3.42 BB/9 and a 49.2 percent groundball rate.
    • Oakland pared down its rotation competition Sunday, sending southpaw A.J. Puk to minor league camp. That seems to leave Cahill, Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs, Daniel Gossett and Daniel Mengden as the contenders for the last three spots in their rotation. While the 22-year-old Puk ranks as one of the game’s top prospects, expectations were that the A’s would send him down, as he hasn’t even reached the Triple-A level yet.
    • Catcher Josh Phegley has a pair of broken fingers on his right hand and will cease baseball activities for at least two weeks, Jane Lee of MLB.com tweets. That should take Phegley out of the running for a roster spot in Oakland, though it looked unlikely he’d earn one anyway after the club recently signed Jonathan Lucroy. He should team with Bruce Maxwell to comprise the A’s top two backstops, leaving Phegley – with his one option remaining – to head to Triple-A.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL West Notes: Ohtani, Vogelbach, Whalen, A’s, Cotton, Puk]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117206 2018-03-17T20:49:07Z 2018-03-17T20:45:33Z The struggles of Shohei Ohtani this spring have been well-documented already, and while he’s ranked as one of the top prospects in baseball in most publications, scouts have been vocal about some weaknesses in his game. Ohtani would seem to be a significant part of the Angels’ plans for 2018, but GM Billy Eppler recently said that the club has made no assurances to Ohtani that he’ll be on the opening day roster (report: Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times). “In our universe, we are evaluating this in a vacuum,” said Eppler. “Is this 23-year-old prospect ready to make an impact on both sides of the ball?” The decision to start Ohtani in the minors (if a serious consideration) would certainly make sense from a development perspective, and would come with the enormous benefit of giving the Angels an extra year of control over the two-way Japanese phenom, if he were to spend at least 15 days at Triple-A. Of course, such a decision would surely come with a storm of controversy as well.

    Elsewhere in the AL West…

    • Greg Johns of MLB.com writes that the injury to Ryon Healy might have presented an opportunity for Mariners first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who’s opened some eyes this spring by hitting .405 with nine extra-base hits and nine walks in 37 at-bats during Cactus League play. “Vogey deserves to be on this club,” said GM Jerry DiPoto. “He has raked from day one. He has controlled the strike zone really better than anybody in the Cactus League. What he’s doing with the bat is reminiscent of what he’s kind of always done in the Minor Leagues, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see in the big leagues.” He also offered high praise for right-hander Rob Whalen, who was acquired from the Braves a year ago and has proved dominant this spring after coming into camp 25 pounds lighter.
    • Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will officially undergo Tommy John surgery according to a report earlier today“I’m trying to take it as best I can, and just get ready for the long process, the long road ahead,” Cotton said in a video tweeted by Jane Lee of MLB.com“I just gotta work hard with the rehab and come back stronger, so that’s what I’m gonna do.” Cotton’s absence in the rotation will leave the A’s a bit thin on starters, which the club has reportedly acknowledged; manager Bob Melvin has suggested that they might look at free agent pitching options, if prices have come down (h/t Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). One way they don’t plan on filling the rotation void is with top prospect A.J. Puk, according to club president Billy Beane. Via another tweet from Lee, Beane had the following comments when asked if Puk was a legitimate option for the opening day rotation: “If he is, it’s only because we don’t have a lot of options. Do I think it’s ideal to call upon a kid who has half a year at Double-A? No. That would not be the preferred route.”
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jharel Cotton To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117081 2018-03-17T17:15:58Z 2018-03-17T17:15:14Z March 17: Cotton is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports via Twitter.

    March 16: Slusser tweets that Cotton is getting his second opinion today. The right-hander adds that he currently has full strength in his elbow and isn’t experiencing much in the way of pain.

    March 15: The Athletics received some unwelcome news today. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to report (Twitter links), righty Jharel Cotton has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle.

    Clearly, the UCL is the major concern here. The diagnosis indicates that there is some amount of tearing to that key elbow ligament. It’s not yet known what treatment Cotton will undergo, though he’s slated to receive a second opinion before deciding.

    Any kind of surgical outcome would surely mean an extensive absence. Even a “primary repair” procedure, rather than full-blown Tommy John surgery, would likely put Cotton’s 2018 season in doubt. Of course, an increasing number of pitchers are able to pursue rest-and-rehab programs, often supplemented by stem cell and/or platelet-rich plasma treatment, as an alternative to going under the knife.

    Cotton had been expected to play an important role in the Oakland staff after making 24 MLB starts last year (though he struggled to a 5.58 ERA). Now, it seems likely he’ll be sidelined for quite some time, even if he pursues a non-surgical approach to dealing with the injury.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Release Jairo Labourt]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116834 2018-03-14T17:22:54Z 2018-03-14T17:22:22Z March 14: The A’s announced today that they’ve released Labourt. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to someone who watched a bullpen session Labourt threw with the A’s and said the lefty was “all over the place” in an unimpressive showing.

    March 12: The Athletics announced on Monday that they’ve designated left-hander Jairo Labourt for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jonathan Lucroy, whose one-year deal with Oakland has now been formally announced. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for Labourt, who gone from the Tigers to the Reds to the A’s via the waiver wire and could now very well find himself on the move once again.

    The 24-year-old Labourt made his big league debut with Detroit last season, appearing in six games and allowing three runs with four strikeouts against seven walks in six innings. Initially acquired from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent David Price to Toronto, Labourt posted excellent numbers in Class-A Advanced and in Double-A last season before stumbling when he reached Triple-A. He tossed 22 innings with the Tigers’ Toledo affiliate, and while his 2.45 ERA was strong he also issued 23 walks in those 22 frames.

    Control has long been an issue for Labourt, who has averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings pitched over the course of seven minor league seasons. But, he’s a fairly hard-throwing southpaw with a fastball sitting around 93 mph who averaged a career-best 10.7 K/9 in the minors this past season. He worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2017, but he has 87 professional starts under his belt and could be viewed by some clubs as a depth piece for either the ’pen or rotation. He still has a minor league option remaining, too, so any club that picks him up would be able to send him to Triple-A without first exposing him to the waiver wire.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Have "Some Concern" As Cotton Heads For Elbow MRI]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116937 2018-03-14T14:43:48Z 2018-03-14T14:08:20Z
  • The Athletics are holding their breath as right-hander Jharel Cotton undergoes an MRI on his right elbow after experiencing soreness in his most recent spring outing, writes MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Manager Bob Melvin acknowledged that “there’s some concern” over the test results rather than painting the MRI as any sort of precautionary measure. The skipper also noted that Cotton’s velocity has declined in his prior outing. At minimum, Cotton will not make his next start. He’d been largely penciled in for a rotation spot, however, so a significant injury would have a dramatic impact on Oakland’s rotation mix.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Crasnick On Athletics]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116866 2018-03-13T15:10:08Z 2018-03-13T04:58:25Z
  • The Athletics’ offseason moves and budding farm system have made them into a more interesting club than many are giving them credit for, opines ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The pairing of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson at the team’s infield corners gives them one of the game’s great young defensive players — one AL evaluator from another club likened Chapman’s glove to that of Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado — and an impressive young slugger whose fast rise in the big leagues mirrored that of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins. (Olson hit .259/.352/.651 with 24 homers in 216 plate appearances.) Paired with one of the game’s most under-the-radar sluggers (Khris Davis) and interesting upper-level prospects like left-hander A.J. Puk, the A’s could surprise some in 2018, even if they’re not likely to vault up into to division contention just yet. Crasnick spoke to GM David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and scouts from other clubs about the improving young A’s club.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Sign Jonathan Lucroy]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116598 2018-03-12T15:15:28Z 2018-03-12T15:15:16Z MONDAY: The A’s have announced the signing.

    SATURDAY: Lucroy’s one-year deal with the A’s will guarantee him $6.5MM, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser also adds that the deal does not come with any incentives.

    FRIDAY: The Athletics have agreed to sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the Excel client, according to the report.

    Entering the winter, MLBTR predicted that Lucroy would command a two-year, $24MM commitment. We cited the A’s as a possible suitor, but at the time it seemed likelier that the 31-year-old would choose a team more clearly positioned to contend, given his own comments on the subject.

    As was the case for others, of course, the free-agent market did not really develop as expected for the veteran backstop. The Rockies — who employed Lucroy for the second half of the 2017 season — had interest but pivoted to Chris Iannetta, who ended up being one of three catchers (joining Welington Castillo and Alex Avila) to secure two-year commitments.

    Lucroy’s free-agent experience was long expected to be much more rewarding. When the 2016 season drew to a close, after all, he stood as one of the best all-around receivers in the game, having just wrapped up a five-year run of .291/.353/.465 hitting during which he was also reputed to be among the game’s best defensive catchers.

    The 2017 season, though, did not go well at all. Lucroy got off to a disastrous start at the plate with the Rangers before a mid-season trade to the Rockies. While he rebounded with a robust .429 on-base percentage (with 27 walks against just 19 strikeouts) down the stretch, Lucroy’s power never returned and he finished with a .265/.345/.371 slash line and six home runs over 481 plate appearances on the year.

    Optimists will point to the still-impeccable zone control and long history of productivity. Pessimists can handily cite the fact that Lucroy delivered little hard contact, lots of grounders, and a career-low full-season dinger tally in a 2017 season marked by a leaguewide offensive surge.

    Defensive questions also arose. While the Rockies credited Lucroy’s work at managing the pitching staff, suggesting he retains his good reputation in that hard-to-quantify realm, there was surprising slippage in the framing department. Once lauded as the master of winning strikes for his pitchers, Lucroy graded miserably in that key metric in 2017.

    Of course, we at MLBTR were still somewhat bullish on Lucroy’s market situation despite those areas of concern. Indeed, I argued for more than our collective prediction, writing in early October that he could command a three-year commitment with an annual salary of $10MM or more. In a market full of surprises, Lucroy’s shortfall is among the most eye-opening. While he surely could have commanded a larger payday had he signed earlier in the winter, with timing playing a role in the ultimate contract, it remains notable that such an accomplished player was forced to settle for such a commitment.

    [RELATED: Updated Athletics Depth Chart]

    For Oakland, it’s an eminently sensible risk to take. The club had said it expected to utilize Bruce Maxwell as the primary option, but he had a tough season at the plate in 2017 as well as a troubling offseason run-in with the law. While he undoubtedly remains part of the future plans, it could be that he’ll open the year in the minors with Josh Phegley supplementing Lucroy at the MLB level.

    Even with Lucroy aboard, it’s tough to pick the A’s as a favorite in the AL West that’s led by an outstanding Astros club and is competitive from top top bottom. But if he can coax breakout performances from a youthful pitching staff, if not also rebound with the bat, then perhaps there could yet be a surprise in store.

    Lee and ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick previously reported a deal was close.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Expect To Land Veteran Catcher]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116594 2018-03-09T21:28:30Z 2018-03-09T21:14:57Z 3:28pm: The Athletics are nearing agreement with Lucroy, per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).

    3:14pm: The Athletics are pursuing a veteran catcher and expect to acquire one, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). Specifically, the club anticipates either signing Jonathan Lucroy or acquiring Matt Wieters from the Nationals.

    Lucroy remains one of the top remaining un-signed free agents. He entered the winter as the top-rated catcher available.

    Needless to say, the latter possibility hints at the potential for lots of creative trade scenarios — especially given the long trade history between these organizations’ current front office leadership. The Nats owe Wieters a hefty $10.5MM salary after his poor 2017 season. At the same time, the team would surely only move him (and as much of the salary as it can) if it has an upgrade lined up.

    Of course, it could be that the Nats would see Lucroy himself as a preferable option to Wieters, adding yet another potential dimension to the situation. Lucroy entered the winter emphasizing his desire to play for a competitor, after all. Washington has also long been tied to quality young Marlins receive J.T. Realmuto, though it’s not clear whether there has been any recent movement on that front.

    At this point, though, the trade possibilities are all speculation.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Release Brandon Moss]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116372 2018-03-06T18:38:23Z 2018-03-06T18:38:23Z The return of Brandon Moss to the Athletics has proven short-lived, as was anticipated from the time he was picked up in a trade with the Royals. Oakland announced today that Moss was released after being designated for assignment over the weekend.

    Moss, 34, will cost the A’s around $5MM in total — costs that were absorbed in order to enable the team’s acquisition of southpaw Ryan Buchter. That could still be offset by any MLB earnings Moss takes home this year, though a new team will only need to pay him at the league minimum salary.

    It’s not exactly a hospitable market setting for the veteran slugger to enter. Moss, whose offensive productivity has fallen off in recent years, will almost certainly be looking at a minor-league deal. Adam Lind just took a minors pact, after all, despite quality output at the plate in 2017.

    For Moss, things just haven’t been the same since he was dealt away by the A’s following a productive three-season run from 2012 through 2014. He did hit well enough in 2016 to earn a $12MM deal from Kansas City, but stumbled to a .207/.279/.428 slash line in 401 plate appearances last year. While Moss still hit the ball out of the yard 22 times, that doesn’t really stand out in a league environment that has seen a significant rise in the frequency of the long ball.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[A’s Designate Brandon Moss For Assignment, Claim Jairo Labourt]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116222 2018-03-04T20:05:45Z 2018-03-04T19:26:56Z The Athletics have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Reds, the club announced.  Veteran first baseman/DH Brandon Moss has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move to create room for Labourt on Oakland’s 40-man roster.

    Moss was acquired by the A’s as part of a four-player trade with the Royals that essentially shook out as Oakland agreeing to take on a heavy chunk of Moss’ salary as the price for obtaining a cost-controlled young reliever in Ryan BuchterMatt Olson and Khris Davis were already locked in at first base and DH for the A’s, leaving Moss without any clear path to regular playing time, and even a bench role seemed unlikely given the Athletics’ overall youth movement.

    [Updated A’s depth chart at Roster Resource]

    The Royals kicked in $3.25MM as part of the trade, leaving the A’s on the hook for the remaining $4MM of Moss’ 2018 salary, plus $1MM to buy out their end of Moss’ $10MM mutual option for 2019.  A team that claims Moss within the 10-day DFA period would take on this salary commitment, so it seems much likelier than any clubs interested in the 34-year-old will wait until Moss is officially released.  (A new team would owe Moss just a minimum salary in 2018, with Oakland responsible for the prorated remainder of that $5MM.)

    It remains to be seen if any suitors will come calling for Moss given the number of other first base/DH types available in free agency, plus Moss’ own struggles in 2017.  Moss hit 22 homers last year for Kansas City, but slashed just .207/.279/.428 over 401 plate appearances.  His batting averages and on-base percentages have been in steady decline over the last five seasons and, given his lack of defensive value, Moss was a sub-replacement level player in 2017 as per both fWAR (-0.5) and bWAR (-1.0).

    If Moss doesn’t land another MLB contract, the veteran plans to retire, he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle as part of an interview on the A’s Plus Podcast (to be released later today).  “I totally understand the situation here.  They [the A’s] had to get me to get a guy they really needed.  That’s baseball, that’s the way it works,” Moss said.  “But if I get cut, I can play by my own rules, I don’t have to do anything, and I won’t.  If another team doesn’t pick me up, I’ve had a good career, more of a career than I ever thought I’d have.”

    Labourt will now be joining his third organization in less than two weeks, as the southpaw was designated by the Tigers in the wake of their signing of Francisco Liriano, and the Reds then claimed Labourt just two days ago.  Buchter and Danny Coulombe are the only other left-handers on Oakland’s 40-man roster, so Labourt has at least a shot at winning a job out of Spring Training.  Despite some significant control issues throughout his seven-year pro career, Labourt posted some strong results after becoming a full-time reliever in 2017, and his performance even led to Labourt making his Major League debut in a six-game cup of coffee with Detroit last season.  Labourt has a 3.61 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 1.74 K/BB rate over 481 minor league innings.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Brandon Moss]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116173 2018-03-04T03:00:09Z 2018-03-04T02:08:13Z
  • When Moore-led Kansas City traded Brandon Moss to Oakland in January, the slugger insisted he’d find a way to make the Athletics’ roster, even though there was no clear fit for him then. At that point, the A’s were reportedly interested in flipping Moss (whom they owe $5MM through next season), but nothing has come together yet. Still, the 34-year-old continues to be a long shot to earn a roster spot with the A’s, per Jane Lee of MLB.com. Moss’ positions – first base and designated hitter – remain spoken for in Oakland, which also has a “spillover on the bench,” Lee writes. Moss is hopeful he’ll stay an Athletic (he thrived with them earlier in his career), but either way, he has been working to rebound from a rough 2017 in which he hit just .207/.279/.428 in 401 plate appearances. The left-handed Moss had the majors’ highest pull percentage (53.0) among those with at least 400 PAs, so he’d like to become more of an all-fields hitter. “My batting average keeps going down further and further. The shift just gets more effective against me the slower I get, so I’m going to have to make some adjustments if I want to keep playing,” he observed. “I knew that coming into this year. Last year was just such a bad year. I hit the ball hard last year, but I can’t tell you how many times I would hit the ball into right field on a one-hop line drive and get thrown out at first by a guy halfway in the outfield because I’m not fast enough to beat it out anymore.”
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBPA Files Grievance Against Four Teams Over Revenue Sharing Funds]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115882 2018-02-27T17:31:45Z 2018-02-27T15:52:34Z The Major League Baseball Player’s Association has initiated a grievance proceeding against the Athletics, Marlins, Pirates, and Rays regarding those teams’ spending of revenue sharing dollars, according to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

    This general issue has been percolating for some time, even as additional concerns have arisen as to the pace of free-agent signings over the 2017-18 offseason. The MLBPA reportedly engaged with the league office over the Miami and Pittsburgh organizations’ spending earlier this year.

    At the time, MLB and the teams at issue rejected the idea that there was any issue worth exploring further. Clearly, the union disagrees and also feels that two other organizations’ practices merit examination. Per Topkin, the complaint relates to spending both last year and over the present offseason.

    Revenue-sharing dollars — which will be phased out for the A’s under the current Basic Agreement — are required to be spent for improving the MLB performance of recipient clubs. That doesn’t necessarily mean it all must go to player salaries, but though teams are required to report on how they use the money. And as JJ Cooper of Baseball America notes on Twitter, successive collective bargaining agreements have tightened the permissible uses.

    Enforcing the provisions relating to these funds falls in the domain of commissioner Rob Manfred. He can issue penalties, require the submission of a two-year plan, and even order changes with that plan (“after consultation with the Players Association”).

    As Topkin notes, it is not immediately clear what the MLBPA is seeking in relief. The collectively bargained provisions do seem to give the union an interest in ensuring the provisions are followed, though, and perhaps the situation is seen as drastic enough to merit a test of their meaning before an arbitrator.

    In a statement to the Times, the league confirmed receipt of the grievance but stated that MLB “believe[s] it has no merit.” Pirates president Frank Coonelly responded with a combative tone, issuing a statement labeling the action “patently baseless” (via MLB.com’s Adam Berry, on Twitter). Rays owner Stuart Sternberg defended his own organization in less strident terms (via Topkin, on Twitter).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Renato Nunez Suffers Left Hamstring Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115655 2018-02-25T02:19:33Z 2018-02-25T02:19:33Z
  • Athletics infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez suffered a strained left hamstring Saturday, which could negatively affect his chances of earning a roster spot, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle relays. Nunez said Saturday that the injury’s “not good,” and Slusser notes that hamstring strains typically require a two- to three-week recovery period. That would be especially problematic for the out-of-options Nunez. However, it could be a boon for Sheldon Neuse, who Slusser suggests will probably see most of the action at third base with both Nunez and starter Matt Chapman (right hand soreness) on the shelf.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Notes: Chapman, Ballpark]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=115592 2018-02-24T04:06:11Z 2018-02-24T02:26:47Z Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register has an interesting piece on Jered Weaver, the long-time Angels hurler who’s now enjoying retired life after an ill-fated stop with the Padres in 2017. The interview is well worth a read in its entirety, particularly for fans of the Halos or Weaver in particular. There is one notable bit of historical hot stove information regarding Weaver’s 2011 extension, which was widely viewed at the time as a relative bargain for the team. The 35-year-old says he got just what he wanted out of the deal, which was to sign a contract that bought out his remaining good years and allowed the organization to afford other improvements. “I would still have two more years left on my contract if I waited for free agency and signed a seven-year deal,” Weaver tells Fletcher. “There’s no way I could even pick up a ball and I’d be making like $30 million. I’m totally OK with where I’m at right now. I’m glad it unfolded the way it did. It all worked perfectly.”

    Here are a few more notes from the AL West:

    • The Athletics received promising news on third baseman Matt Chapman, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. Chapman underwent an MRI after experiencing hand soreness, but fortunately no structural concerns were identified. He’ll continue to rest and receive a cortisone shot, but hopes are that the issue will soon be behind him. The 24-year-old only played half of the year at the MLB level in 2017 but turned in exciting results, with outstanding glovework and above-average hitting. His lofty strikeout totals remain a concern, but the A’s clearly believe Chapman can be a mainstay at the hot corner for years to come.
    • Even as the A’s continue to try to develop a new core group of young players, the organization remains engaged in a complicated stadium building effort. Matier & Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle covered the latest developments recently, with club president Dave Kaval saying the team still hopes to line up a plan by the end of the year. The Athletics believed they were on track last fall before encountering a major roadblock. As the Chronicle report explains in full, another obstacle arose to a potential site at Oakland’s Howard Terminal — an option that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has endorsed (via the Chronicle’s John Shea) — with Kaval saying the possibility of building a new facility at the location of the O.co Coliseum is “probably now the front-runner,” at least in terms of timing and feasibility, though the organization still prefers to move downtown.
    • Because the Rangers intend to utilize a six-man rotation, their bullpen plans are also changing, as Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram writes. Texas is going to ask for mutiple innings from multiple relievers, skipper Jeff Banister suggests. And some members of the rotation my pop out to the pen at times to fill in the gaps. It certainly seems to be shaping up to be an interesting experiment.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Notes: Parker, Maxwell, Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114658 2018-02-13T23:56:53Z 2018-02-13T23:56:53Z Former Athletics right-hander Jarrod Parker has officially decided to halt any comeback attempts and retire, he tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The now-29-year-old Parker was a promising building block for the A’s in 2011-13, posting a 3.68 ERA through his first 384 big league innings at ages 22 through 24.

    Once the ninth overall pick in the MLB draft (Diamondbacks, 2007), Parker found his way to Oakland as part of the return that Arizona surrendered when initially acquiring a more established, controllable young righty: Trevor Cahill. Parker showed all the promise in the world, landing on five Top 100 lists from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus after being drafted out of high school, and the fine early work in his career serves as a testament to what might have been had injuries not ruined a promising career.

    Unfortunately for the talented young Parker, his elbow simply didn’t allow him to realize his considerable potential. The righty twice underwent Tommy John surgery before fracturing his elbow in his comeback attempt from that second Tommy John procedure. Unfathomably, Parker re-fractured the epicondyle bone in his elbow, necessitating a fourth elbow surgery. Parker’s former teammate Ryan Cook, A’s executive vice president Billy Beane and former A’s lefty Barry Zito are among the notable names who raved to Slusser about Parker’s raw potential and expressed sadness over never seeing how high his ceiling could have been.

    Parker, now looking to the future, tells Slusser that he’d look to work in the health industry, potentially serving as a rehab coordinator for players returning from injury.

    A bit more on the A’s…

    • Also via Slusser, Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell did not reach a plea agreement in his recent settlement conference, thus prompting a second such meeting to be scheduled for April 13. Maxwell, who is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after allegedly pointing a firearm at a delivery person back in October, is slated for an Aug. 9 trial if no plea agreement can be reached. Maxwell is still expected to serve as Oakland’s primary catcher in 2018 despite those struggles; Slusser adds (via Twitter) that GM David Forst cited the team’s long relationship with Maxwell as a factor in its decision to give him a chance as the starting backstop in 2018. Maxwell was the Athletics’ second-round pick back in the 2012 draft.
    • Jane Lee of MLB.com breaks down the rotation situation in Oakland, noting that only right-hander Kendall Graveman and left-hander Sean Manaea are considered locks to hold down a starting job at present. The final three spots are up for grabs in a race consisting of Andrew Triggs, Jharel Cotton, Daniel Mengden, Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn — assuming Oakland does not make any further additions to the staff. Lee adds, on Twitter, that manager Bob Melvin said Mengden’s strong finish to the season has him in the lead for the third spot in the rotation right now, but the A’s look to have a fairly sizable competition for rotation innings.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brewers Interested In Jharel Cotton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114418 2018-02-11T01:24:20Z 2018-02-11T01:21:19Z
  • The upstart Brewers were part of the Darvish derby, too, and the belief is that they also submitted a proposal of at least five years and $100MM, Heyman tweets. However, Rosenthal hears that Milwaukee’s offer “was not as competitive as reports indicated.” Further, Rosenthal suggests that the Brewers may have primarily been in the running just to drive up the price for the NL Central rival Cubs. Regardless, with Darvish now out of the mix, Odorizzi and the Athletics’ Jharel Cotton are trade possibilities for the Brew Crew, according to Rosenthal.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[A’s Defeat Kendall Graveman In Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114402 2018-02-10T22:56:33Z 2018-02-10T22:22:44Z Kendall Graveman has lost his arbitration case against the Athletics, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports via Twitter. Though he filed for $2.6MM in his first trip through the arb process (which incidentally also happened to be what MLBTR’s arbitration model projected for him), he’ll instead make the $2.3MM salary that Oakland filed for.

    The 27-year-old ground ball artist came to Oakland as one of the pieces in the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. He’s owns a career ERA of 4.11 across 411 2/3 major league innings spanning 71 starts with Oakland and five relief appearances for Toronto. His lifetime record stands at 22-24.

    Likely working against Graveman in the arbitration process is his lack of strikeouts. The righty’s K/9 over the past three seasons with the A’s stands at a paltry 5.64, a figure that ranks fourth-worst in baseball among qualified pitchers during that time span. Of course, he made up for that somewhat by posting a 51.3% ground ball rate that falls within MLB’s top 20. But arbitration panels don’t take that into account the way they do strikeouts.

    Graveman’s case was Oakland’s only one to go to trial. Now that it’s been settled, the team’s arbitration salaries are all fully resolved for the 2018 season.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[West Notes: A’s, Rangers, Bumgarner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=114370 2018-02-10T15:09:06Z 2018-02-10T15:09:06Z While it’s been somewhat of a surprise to see some large market teams not spending the way they usually do, this offseason isn’t different from any other for small-market teams like the Athletics. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, low payrolls have long been “modus operandi” for the A’s, and now much of baseball is under fire for following suit. “I can’t speak for other teams, but I know for us, this scenario is not much different than it’s been for a number of years as we push for a new stadium,” Oakland Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane said. He added that the scenario is individual for each team, but for the A’s it comes down to simply not having the resources. While some are accusing MLB clubs of a “race to the bottom,” Slusser notes that youth-centric rebuilds with focus on prospects and the draft helped lead the Royals, Cubs and Astros to World Series titles in the past three seasons. Indeed, Beane said, “I’m sure that’s part of it. Sports is very copycat: Whatever succeeds, people will try.” The Athletics signed Yusmiero Petit to a two-year, $10MM contract this offseason, and also made offers to Brian Duensing and Austin Jackson before they ultimately signed with other clubs. Now, says Slusser, the A’s offseason spending is “essentially done.”

    Other notes from teams near the country’s Pacific coast…

    • Evan Grant of SportsDay dives into the questions that the Rangers will need to answer if they choose to implement a six-man rotation this season (or as manager Jeff Banister calls it, a “five-plus-one” rotation). The basic structure: have five starters who pitch regularly, and utilize a sixth pitcher as a swingman to pitch only when necessary to ensure that each pitcher gets five days off between starts. The ultimate hope is that such a configuration will keep all Rangers pitchers fresh and reduce late-season fatigue. “The schedule makes it challenging. Construction of your roster makes it challenging,” said Banister. “There is enough data that tells us there are pitchers who definitely benefit from an extra day’s rest or the routine of being on that five-day rest period or six-day rest period. You can point to ERAs. You can point to velocity. You can point to walk rates go down, strike out rates go up.” There are significant challenges in bringing this idea into reality, however. First, it’s a pretty radical change from what MLB pitchers are used to doing, and what they’ve been trained to do during their entire careers. Second, they’d need to find enough pitchers to make it a viable strategy, and the Rangers’ starting staff has more questions than answers at the moment.
    • Giants GM Bobby Evans says that there haven’t been any contract talks between the club and postseason titan Madison Bumgarner, according to a tweet from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Bumgarner has long been the ace of the Giants’ pitching staff. He was drafted by the organization and has never played for another. MadBum’s posted a 3.01 ERA (3.34 xFIP) over the course of his eight-year MLB career with 8.84 K/9 against just 2.04 BB/9. The Giants own a 2019 club option over the towering lefty for a mere $12MM, so they’ll be able to control him through his age-29 campaign before he hits the open market during the 2019-2020 offseason (barring an extension).
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Plea Deal Expected For Bruce Maxwell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113901 2018-02-03T05:36:09Z 2018-02-03T05:36:09Z
  • Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell has a Feb. 12 settlement conference in Phoenix stemming from his October arrest on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The fact there’s a conference opens the door for a plea deal with the state of Arizona, Slusser notes, and the expectation is that they will come to an agreement prior to spring training. If no deal is reached, Maxwell is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 9, which was pushed back from the original date of April 10, according to Slusser.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Brandon Moss Weighs In On Offseason Pace, CBA]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113746 2018-01-31T23:34:29Z 2018-01-31T22:55:03Z Newly reacquired Athletics slugger Brandon Moss appeared on MLB Network’s Hot Stove with Harold Reynolds, Matt Vasgersian and Ken Rosenthal earlier today and discussed not only his return to the A’s but also his candid views on the slow free-agent market (video link, CBA/free agency talk beginning around the 6:20 mark). Acknowledging that it might not be a popular opinion, Moss said that the players have no one but themselves to blame.

    “Everything that happens in the game of baseball, as far as how things are done financially, is bargained into a collective bargaining agreement,” says Moss. “The way free agency runs, the way draft money is allotted, the way international signing bonus is allotted. Everything is bargained.”

    The link between free agency and draft picks is hardly new to the current CBA, of course, as the previous iteration of the CBA actually had stricter penalization for teams that signed qualified free agents; prior to that, the old Elias Ranking System of Type A/Type B free agents also caused teams to forfeit draft picks, even allowing the team losing the player to effectively acquire a forfeited pick in the case of Type A free agents.

    But, the CBA has also increasingly limited the avenues in which teams can acquire amateur talent, and the newest iteration ties that to free agency arguably more than ever before. The fact that signing qualified free agents can now force teams to forfeit international bonus allotments, plus the hard cap on international spending are new to the 2017-21 CBA.

    Additionally, exceeding the luxury tax by a wide enough margin will eventually cause teams to see their top pick pushed back 10 slots. The new CBA also added surcharges of 12 percent and 42.5 percent for exceeding the CBT by $20MM and $40MM, respectively. Those trends, Moss continues, are troublesome more so for future generations of players than the current crop:

    “My career’s almost finished, so I don’t have to deal with this much longer, but the worry is there for me for players in the future that enough attention is not being paid to the way we allow our system to be run. I feel like we put more things that are of less value at the forefront. I feel like we’re starting to have to walk a little bit of a tightrope that we’ve created for ourselves. I think that we have given the owners and we have given the people who are very, very business savvy the opportunity to take advantage of a system that we created for ourselves.”

    The increases of penalization, relative to the shrinking means of amateur talent acquisition — hard slotting system in the draft, hard cap on international spending — has tipped the scales decidedly in favor of the owners, Moss suggests. Whereas teams once felt the need to meet or even exceed previously established market values in free agency, the more recent iterations of the CBA have done the opposite — pushing teams away from spending at previous market standards.

    “…[W]e have the right to bargain and set our price, just like the owners have the right to meet that price,” Moss says. “But what we’ve done is we have incentivized owners, we have incentivized teams to say ’We don’t want to meet that price. It costs us too much to meet that price. It costs us draft picks. It costs us international signing money. … We’re going to have to pay a tax if we go over a certain threshold’ that we (the players) set ourselves. … And the only reason those things are there is because we bargained them in. If I’m an owner, my goal is to have the bottom line be in black — to put a winner on the field and the bottom line to be in black. The more opportunity you give me to do those things, the better off I’m going to be.”

    Moss is eminently cognizant of the manner in which he has benefited from the previous efforts of the MLBPA, citing prior labor stoppages and hard-line negotiation tactics from the union that paved the way for today’s generation of players to be compensated at such a lofty level. The gratitude he feels for those efforts is almost as palpable in his comments as the concern he feels for future generations.

    “I feel like, as players, we have to watch out for our own interest,” he continues. “If you run too good of a deal out there in a bargaining agreement, then of course the owners are going to jump on it. You have to be willing to dig your heels in a little bit — fight for the things the guys in the past have fought for. … I just hate to see players like me taking advantage of a system that was set up for me, by other players, and not passing it along to the next generation of players. Everybody wants to look up and scream collusion … sooner or later, you have to take responsibility for a system you created for yourself. It’s our fault.”

    While Moss, clearly, hasn’t had to wait out this winter’s abnormally slow market, it’s worth reminding that he’s hardly unfamiliar with the process. The slugger was a free agent last offseason and was part of a class of first basemen/corner outfielders/designated hitters that developed never fully developed. He did manage to eventually secure a two-year deal that guaranteed him $12MM (on the heels of a .225/.300/.484 season and 28 homers with the Cardinals), though he waited until Feb. 1 for that contract to be finalized.

    Although wholesale changes to free agency and draft/international compensation likely won’t be implemented any time in the near future — the CBA runs through the 2021 season — the unrest among free agents and their representatives this offseason figures to be a definitive talking point in that next wave of negotiations, even if this doesn’t prove to be an ongoing trend in the future.

    That, of course, is something that can’t be determined for several years; it’s possible that this winter is somewhat anomalous in nature given the facts that a large number of teams are in rebuild mode, several typical big spenders (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Rangers) are looking to cut back on spending and some teams are holding out for a top-heavy crop of stars next winter.

    Could the large number of rebuilding teams lead to an uptick in the number of contending clubs looking to spend in free agency in two years? Will the return of the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers and possibly the Rangers to their big-spending ways next offseason have a trickle-down effect on open-market spending? Or, will a large number of free agents settle for one-year deals in the coming weeks, setting the stage for an even more saturated class of solid-but-not-elite free agents next winter, thus creating an even larger logjam?

    Given the lack of data at present and all of those variables, we may not have a true ability to contextualize the changing pace of free agency until the 2019-20 offseason. Regardless, it’s difficult to imagine that the concerns voiced by Moss aren’t being felt by other players and won’t priorities for the union next time around. Those interested in the matter are encouraged to watch the full interview with Moss, whose candid and insightful comments bring a new perspective to what has been the largest story of the 2017-18 offseason.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Rockies, Sign-Stealing, Houck, Moss]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113575 2018-01-30T04:20:45Z 2018-01-30T04:20:45Z The Rockies have honed in on a few targets in their search for a right-handed-hitting corner infielder, Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes. The club is reportedly considering a reunion with either Mark Reynolds or Carlos Gonzalez, while also weighing the possibility of signing Todd Frazier (Harding cites some interesting data points relating to each player). While bringing one of these players into the fold appears to be their preferred option, they’ve also got plenty of young players who could conceivably force their way into the picture (even though the ones mentioned in the piece are all left handed). The club feels as though it has a lot of flexibility due to the presence of Ian Desmond, who’s capable of playing either at first base or in the outfield.

    Here are a few other items of note from around MLB…

    • Though the pace of play debate has largely centered around replay review and the potential implementation of a pitch clock, Ken Rosenthal latest piece at The Athletic details a significant factor he believes is largely overlooked: sign-stealing. Rosenthal had an in-depth conversation with a major-league manager who believes that MLB must take action in order to prevent teams from using advanced technology to steal signs. The manager, like most around baseball, agrees that sign-stealing with one’s own eyes and relaying the signals without the help of technology is simply part of the game. Sign-stealing through the use of tech, however, is causing significant paranoia around the league and is at least one catalyst for an excess of mound visits that are slowing down the game. The manager suggests having an MLB official in every replay room around the league, while others around the league have advocated for pitchers and catchers to wear NFL-type receivers to eliminate the need for hand signals entirely. The piece provides some fascinating insight into an invasive issue that’s not talked about often enough.
    • Today, Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck became the latest player to leave agent Jason Wood and CSE, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports (separate links). The player exodus, of course, comes in the midst of allegations that Wood filmed players in his shower with a secret camera. Houck is now with CAA sports, and joins Mitch Keller, Jake Odorizzi, Riley Pint, Joey Wentz, Cody Asche, and Taylor Gushue as players who have left CSE to sign with other agencies. As Murray points out, many are expected to follow in their footsteps, perhaps including one of the agency’s most notable clients, Andrew Benintendi.
    • After acquiring left-handed slugger Brandon Moss just earlier today, the Athletics will attempt to find a taker for him, says Rosenthal on Twitter. Moss will earn $7.25MM this season, and the Royals sent over $3.25MM along with his contract, meaning the A’s need only to pay the 34-year-old $4MM for the coming season. While that’s certainly not a handicapping salary, it’s fairly significant considering Moss doesn’t have a clear role on the team outside of perhaps being a bench bat. For his part, Moss has every intention of forcing his way into the picture. “I’m going to figure something out,” he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m going to rake all spring and they’ll have to keep me.”
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[A’s Acquire Ryan Buchter, Brandon Moss From Royals For Jesse Hahn, Heath Fillmyer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113557 2018-01-30T14:48:28Z 2018-01-30T00:25:32Z The Royals and Athletics have agreed to a four-player swap. Left-hander Ryan Buchter and first base/DH-type Brandon Moss will head to Oakland in the deal, while right-hander Jesse Hahn and minor-league righty Heath Fillmyer are ticketed for Kansas City. The Royals also included $3.25MM in cash as part of the deal. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com was first with the news.

    Though Moss is certainly the biggest name of the four, Buchter is actually the prize for the Athletics in this deal. In fact, the inclusion of Moss in the deal is probably more related to financial implications. Indeed, Royals GM Dayton Moore told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star that “The economic part of it is very real to us,” which has in turn led to some speculation throughout the industry that the Royals are attempting to clear salary in order to make re-signing Eric Hosmer more feasible. Moore responded to an inquiry from Flanagan on the subject, telling him that it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on a free agent right now. However, he did add that he’s been “very clear” about what the team’s thoughts are on Hosmer.

    Turning away from speculation and rumors and focusing on the here-and-now of the deal, the A’s will fill a bullpen need by getting a much-needed lefty. Prior to this trade, the only southpaw reliever in their projected bullpen was Daniel Coulombe. Buchter will serve as a long-term piece for the budding A’s (perhaps into their next window of contention), as he’s under team control through the end of the 2021 season. The Royals, meanwhile, will add a new potential candidate to their rotation. Per Moore’s conversation with Dodd, Hahn will compete during spring training for a spot in Kansas City’s rotation.

    Ryan Buchter | Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    Buchter’s a rare type of pitcher who’s been able to consistently out-perform his peripheral statistics. The soon-to-be 31-year-old has a career 2.85 ERA against a 4.68 xFIP. The latter statistic normalizes a pitcher’s homer/fly ball ratio as a method of estimating a pitcher’s true run-prevention skills, but it doesn’t account for the fact that many of Buchter’s fly balls are actually infield pop-ups, which go for outs nearly 100% of the time. Over the past two seasons combined, Buchter’s 16.7% infield fly ball rate (IFFB) ranks 10th in the majors among qualified relievers. He also ranks 14th during that span with a 26% soft contact rate against.

    Buchter is even tougher against lefties, limiting them to a .160/.255/.306 batting line during his MLB career. The late-blooming Buchter spent a whopping eight seasons in the minors before finally making his debut with the Braves in 2014, and was shuffled through the Triple-A affiliates of the Dodgers and Cubs before finally latching on in the majors with the Padres in 2016. Interestingly, the A’s were reportedly competing with the Padres for his services as a MiLB free agent.

    As for Moss, 34, he’ll return to the team with which he broke out in 2012. That’s just about the only clarity surrounding his presence in Oakland, however. Athletics GM David Forst has already told him that it’s not clear how he fits on the roster (per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). With young phenom Matt Olson earmarked for the first base job and Khris Davis likely to assume full-time DH duties, the declining Moss doesn’t have a clear path to everyday at-bats. His sub-replacement-level 2017 performance (.207/.279/.428) was a far cry from his peak years in Oakland during which he slugged 76 homers and put up a .844 OPS across 1,381 plate appearances.

    Hahn’s had a roller coaster career. The right-hander showed great promise early on, posting a 3.07 ERA and 3.59 xFIP across 12 starts following his major-league debut with the Padres in 2014. Prior to the 2015 season, he was shipped to Oakland in the Derek Norris trade, and continued to impress with a 3.35 ERA and 52.6% ground ball rate through the first day of July. However, a flexor tendon injury sidelined him for the rest of the season, and although he’s shown flashes of brilliance since, he’s not yet been able to maintain good numbers over the course of a full season. Hahn’s posted a 5.59 ERA with a 6.05 K/9 and 3.57 BB/9 across 23 games (22 starts) across the past two years while battling a number of injuries.

    Fillmyer, 23, started 29 games for Oakland’s Double-A affiliate last season while pitching to a 3.49 ERA. MLB Pipeline considered him to be the team’s 18th-best prospect in 2017, noting his quick arm and a fastball that can reach 96MPH with good sinking action. Though his control and command took a step backwards last season, their report suggests that he can become a back-end starter at the MLB level. Fillmyer was selected by the A’s in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Bid On Brian Duensing, Austin Jackson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=113406 2018-01-28T20:41:53Z 2018-01-28T20:41:53Z
  • In search of left-handed relief help, the Athletics “made some offers to some guys; we just weren’t able to get them here,” manager Bob Melvin informed Jane Lee of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday (Twitter link). One offer went to Brian Duensing, who turned down a deal worth $3MM more than the two-year, $7MM pact he took to re-up with the Cubs, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A’s also attempted to pick up outfielder Austin Jackson on a one-year deal, but the Giants reeled him in with a two-year, $6MM contract. Now, Oakland’s not discussing any “significant free agents,” Slusser writes.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Marcell Ozuna Thankful Marlins Didn't Trade Him To A's]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112609 2018-01-15T13:45:28Z 2018-01-15T03:35:57Z The Giants aren’t dead set against signing a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer, general manager Bobby Evans said this week (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Ideally, Evans would rather not sign a player attached to draft pick compensation, though he “all but said” that the Giants are “talking to” center fielder and QO recipient Lorenzo Cain, Schulman reports. In adding Cain, who’s likely to ink one of this winter’s biggest contracts, the Giants would lose two 2018 draft picks (their second- and fifth-highest selections) and $1MM of international bonus pool space.

    More from the National League…

    • The four-player return the Pirates got from the Astros for right-hander Gerrit Cole is “brutal,” one evaluator told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The evaluator believes that righties Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz have value as relievers, but he regards third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin as “throw-in types.” Meanwhile, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke to an evaluator who sees Musgrove as a potential No. 4 starter. (Twitter link.) However, the evaluator wonders if the 25-year-old is better suited to come out of the bullpen – something he did with great success in 2017. Musgrove, for his part, expects to start in Pittsburgh. Speaking with Mark Berman of Fox 26 about Saturday’s trade, Musgrove said: “Over the past 12 hours I’ve become more clear-minded about what’s happening here. I think it’s a good move for me. It’s a chance to go to an organization and get back in the rotation and try to help them build something special. Anytime I’m traded for a guy like Gerrit Cole, they’ve got big plans for me, and I plan on filling those big shoes” (Twitter links here).
    • Cardinals president John Mozeliak informed the Associated Press and other media this weekend that they’re continuing to “explore” ways to improve, though he’s confident in their current roster. Mozeliak is “hesitant” to surrender prospects for players who are low on team control, the AP writes. The Cards did make that type of trade last month, though, acquiring outfielder Marcell Ozuna’s two years of control from Miami in exchange for four prospects. Ozuna discussed his reaction to the deal this weekend, telling Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com and other reporters: “The first thing I heard [was] they were going to trade me to the Oakland A’s. I said, ’God, please, leave me over here.’ Then I heard they traded me to the Cardinals, and I said, ’OK, thanks.'”
    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.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Interested In Tony Watson, Brian Duensing]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112396 2018-01-13T19:31:42Z 2018-01-13T06:19:47Z
  • Meanwhile, the Athletics seem to be targeting a lefty in the bullpen, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Per Shea, Oakland has ongoing interest in Tony Watson and has also engaged Brian Duensing in talks. Both veteran free agents are among the best relievers still left on the open market. Indeed, it’s not hard at all to make the case that they are the two most appealing southpaws still looking for new homes.
  • ]]>
    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.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112296 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

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

    American League West

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

    American League Central

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

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection), MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[A's Avoid Arbitration With Chris Hatcher]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112191 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • The Athletics have settled with righty Chris Hatcher for $2.15MM, Nightengale tweets, which is just $100K short of his projection. Hatcher will be arbitration-eligible once more next winter before hitting free agency following the 2019 season.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics, Khris Davis Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112119 2018-01-10T22:50:56Z 2018-01-10T22:50:56Z The A’s announced on Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, thus avoiding arbitration. Terms of the contract weren’t announced, but FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that Davis, an Octagon client, agreed to a $10.5MM salary for the 2018 season (Twitter link). The slugger had a projected arbitration salary of $11.1MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

    The 30-year-old Davis just wrapped up his second consecutive season of 40-plus homers, belting 43 round-trippers and hitting .247/.326/.528 with 91 runs scored and 110 RBIs on the season overall. Those gaudy counting stats should position him nicely for a pay raise in what will be his second trip through the arbitration process. Davis will be arb-eligible once more next offseason before reaching free agency upon completion of the 2019 season.

    Oakland has now avoided arbitration with both Davis and Jake Smolinski, leaving them with six unresolved cases, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. Marcus Semien, Kendall Graveman, Chris Hatcher, Liam Hendriks, Josh Phegley and Blake Treinen are all still eligible for arbitration. The deadline to exchange figures looms this Friday evening.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Sign Simon Castro, Steve Lombardozzi, Slade Heathcott To Minor League Deals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111981 2018-01-08T21:24:41Z 2018-01-08T21:11:20Z The A’s have announced a series of non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training today (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Among the notable names are right-hander Simon Castro, who logged 37 innings with the A’s last season, as well as veteran utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, former Cubs lefty Eric Jokisch and former top outfield prospect Slade Heathcott. Castro had previously elected minor league free agency but will return on a new minor league pact.

    The 29-year-old Castro pitched to a 4.38 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 in his 37 frames with the A’s. Castro averaged nearly 94 mph on his fastball, but as an extreme fly-ball pitcher that saw 14 percent of flies against him turn into homers, he also averaged 1.7 long balls per nine innings pitched. The journeyman righty posted a career-best 14.9 K/9 in 38 Triple-A innings this season but averaged five walks per nine, as well. He’s set to turn 30 in April.

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics depth chart]

    Lombardozzi, 29, went hitless in eight plate appearances with the Marlins this past season and hasn’t recorded a hit in the Majors since 2014. But, he’s a career .279/.332/.337 hitter in parts of five Triple-A campaigns and posted numbers that were nearly identical to that career output with Miami’s Triple-A affiliate last season. Lombardozzi has played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield corners in his career, so he can serve as a versatile depth option capable of stepping into multiple roles for the A’s should injuries arise.

    The 28-year-old Jokisch posted a 1.88 ERA with a 10-to-4 K/BB ratio in 14 1/3 innings for the 2014 Cubs. That’s his only MLB experience to date, though, as he’s spent the 2015-17 seasons bouncing between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Jokisch has a career 4.01 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 422 innings of Triple-A work — most of which has come as a starter. While he spent the bulk of the 2016 season working in relief, 22 of his 29 appearances this past season were starts. In 140 2/3 innings, he notched a 4.09 ERA.

    Heathcott, now 27, was the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft and rated as the game’s No. 63 overall prospect (No. 2 in the Yankees’ system) heading into the 2013 season, according to Baseball America. However, while he demonstrated impressive offensive potential in the lower minors, his bat has stalled in Double-A and Triple-A. Heathcott, who can handle all three outfield spots, hit a combined .267/.350/.435 in 478 plate appearances between the Giants’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2017.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[A's Had Interest In Joakim Soria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111918 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z
  • The Athletics also had interest in Joakim Soria before the Royals dealt him to the White Sox earlier this week.  Soria would’ve given the A’s extra closing depth behind Blake Treinen, and Oakland could also have potentially looked to move Soria at the trade deadline.  The A’s have already made two notable additions (Yusmeiro Petit and Emilio Pagan) to their bullpen mix this winter, and it stands to reason that they could still be looking for more veteran relief help after missing out on Soria.

  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL West Notes: Rangers, A’s Scouting, Pinder, Ohtani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111808 2018-01-06T16:45:11Z 2018-01-06T16:32:37Z The Rangers and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League have announced a partnership. Gerry Fraley of SportsDay wrote a full report on the news, noting that the partnership will include exchanging of “ideas and information” about business, ballpark construction, scouting and player development. Notably, the Fighters will also send one of their own instructors both to Rangers spring training camp and to travel with the team during the regular season. The partnership may have evolved from the depth of scouting personnel that Texas deployed to scout players such as Yu Darvish, Yoshinori Tateyama and Shohei Ohtani“We look forward to helping each other in a variety of ways,” Rangers President Jon Daniels said of the new alliance. It’s fair to wonder whether this partnership will allow Texas to get its foot in the door with future Fighters talent interested in making the transition to MLB.

    More items from the American League’s western clubs…

    • The Athletics recently hired 24-year-old Haley Alvarez as their scouting coordinator; she’s the first woman to be hired by the club as a talent evaluator. Alyson Footer of MLB.com wrote a piece on the subject detailing the former intern’s rise to her new position. Alvarez’ journey to scouting began with baseball operations experience she gained during her college days at the University of Virginia, followed by internships with the Commissioner’s Office and the Boston Red Sox organization. Following an internship with the A’s, GM David Forst offered to sponsor her for scout school. Though Alvarez didn’t even know such a thing existed, she was excited about the opportunity, and used it to fuel her career path. She’s now using modern analytics and new advanced technology to help the A’s bring in talent. “You don’t have to have played baseball, which is a common misconception,” says Alvarez, who hopes to inspire other women to pursue career paths in baseball operations.
    • In other Athletics news, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that sophomore Chad Pinder is preparing to play first base for the club on occasion. Because Ryon Healy was shipped to Seattle this offseason, the club needs a backup first baseman. “I think the last time I played first base was in eighth grade,” said Pinder, though he did take ground balls during practice there last season. The Oakland utilityman started at six different positions for the club last season while hitting .232/.292/.457 across 309 plate appearances with 15 homers and 42 RBI. The righty-hitter struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances.
    • Angels GM Billy Eppler is headed to Japan in order to help with Shohei Ohtani’s transition process, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. He’ll be bringing three other Angels personnel with him. “We spent so much time saying what we’re about to Ohtani and putting things forward for him,” said Eppler. “The main purpose of this is now to get his input and feedback on things.” Eppler also added that Ohtani is scheduled to get on a mound in two weeks; there don’t seem to be any concerns about his health at this time.
    Matt Swartz <![CDATA[Arbitration Breakdown: Khris Davis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111634 2018-01-07T20:48:39Z 2018-01-06T00:33:29Z Over the next few days, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. 2018 projections are available right here. We have already covered Manny Machado’s arbitration breakdown and Mookie Betts’s arbitration breakdown. Full 2018 projected arbitration salaries for every player are also available here at MLBTR.

    Khris Davis is projected for a healthy raise of $6.1 million up to an $11.1 million salary due to his impressive 43 home runs this past year. With 110 RBI, but only a .247 average, the main case for Davis getting a big raise is definitely those home runs.

    Home runs are notoriously important for arbitration, and are by far the main driver (along with playing time) of raises according to my model. However, this past season set a league record with 6,105 total home runs—this was 26 percent higher than the average from the last five years. So when I look at players with similar totals over the last five years, it is unclear whether an arbitration panel (or teams and agents that are negotiating in the shadow of what an arbitration panel would say) would treat home runs from Davis as similar to other players with the same number as home runs, or as someone with maybe 26 percent fewer home runs. My model does not adjust for league run environment in this way; in general the data has shown that run environment is not a big consideration in arbitration. Hitters in high scoring years benefit from being compared to hitters in lower scoring years, and pitchers in low scoring years benefit from being compared to pitchers in high scoring years.

    Deflating Davis’ home run total by 26 percent would put him at 34 home runs, so it would still be a solid season. Chances are that a panel would view Davis as closer to a 40-homer guy (as would Davis’ reps and the A’s during negotiations in the shadow of how a panel would treat him), especially because the Oakland Coliseum deflates home runs, somewhat neutralizing the effect of the higher home run environment.

    Only three guys entering their second years of arbitration have hit 40 home runs in the last five years: Two years ago, Josh Donaldson entered arbitration with a .297 average, along with 41 home runs and 123 RBI. His case seems superior to Davis’, mainly because of the fifty point batting average advantage. Thus, Donaldson’s $7.35 million raise seems like a likely ceiling for Khris Davis. Going back four years, we see homonym comparable Chris Davis getting a $7.05 million raise with 53 home runs and a .286 average, along with 138 RBIs; he seems like a ceiling as well. Nolan Arenado hit 41 home runs going into arbitration last year, but he also had a very high average (.294), so his $6.75 million raise seems like a ceiling too. So it is likely that the model is right to place Davis closer to $6 million than $7 million.

    It is tough to find floors, but a couple potentials are Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss. Both hit in the .250s but with only 30 home runs, and got raises around $2.5 million. They are clearly well below where Davis should end up.

    There is a large range of possibilities there. I think the model is probably as good a guess as any on this case, and I would look for Davis to land around $11 million. But I would probably think $10 million is more likely than $12 million based on the precedent from players like Arenado, Donaldson, and Chris Davis.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Trial Date Set For Bruce Maxwell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111320 2017-12-29T00:12:31Z 2017-12-29T00:12:31Z
  • Bruce Maxwell’s trial date (on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and disorderly conduct) has been scheduled for April 10, NBCSports.com Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich reports.  This means that Maxwell would miss part of the Athletics’ season, though “there remains a strong possibility” that a trial is avoided by a plea deal, according to Stiglich.  Discussion of a settlement conference took place today during Maxwell’s first pretrial conference today, as per a court spokesperson.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Sign Cuban Outfielder Dairon Blanco]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110738 2017-12-20T05:52:15Z 2017-12-20T05:49:37Z The A’s announced yesterday that they’ve inked free-agent outfielder Dairon Blanco. The 24-year-old left his native Cuba back in the spring of 2016 and was declared a free agent by MLB last November. Terms of the deal weren’t reported, but the A’s are in the metaphorical “penalty box” after blowing past last year’s international pool, so the deal can’t guarantee Blanco more than $300K.

    Blanco is a lifetime .303/.369/.409 hitter in parts of four pro seasons in Cuba (916 plate appearances). At the time of his departure from Cuba and MLB’s declaration of free agency for the right-handed hitter, Blanco was said by Baseball America’s Ben Badler and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen to possess 80-grade speed on the 20-80 scale but a lesser set of other tools. Longenhagen put a 40 on his arm last November, and Badler questioned his natural hitting abilities.

    By the time Spring Training gets underway, it will have been more than two years since Blanco has suited up for a pro game. He’ll assuredly require some minor league time in 2018 and possibly beyond the coming season before he emerges as a viable option for the A’s. But, Oakland has no clear option in center field and could very well need a left fielder during or after the 2018 campaign, depending on the status of Matt Joyce, who’s entering the second season of a two-year deal.

    Certainly, the team hopes that Dustin Fowler will be able to hold down a regular spot in their outfield (ideally, in center) for years to come, though his ability to contribute is tied directly to his ability to recover from a significant knee injury suffered in his MLB debut with the Yankees last year. Expecting Blanco to emerge as a candidate to log significant big league time this coming season seems optimistic, though his apparently blistering speed and a Gold Glove award in Cuba could make him an intriguing fourth outfield option at the very least, if he can prove competent with the bat.

    Oakland’s assistant GM Dan Feinstein spoke highly of Blanco to Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com, telling her that the A’s have been scouting Blanco for more than a year during his workouts in the Dominican Republic. “[Blanco] has a track record of success in the Cuba, and possesses tools that are hard to come by,” said Feinstein. “He’s very athletic, and a true 80 runner with the ability to play all three outfield spots. Profiles as leadoff hitter who will occasionally put one in the seats.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Jonah Heim From Rays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110713 2017-12-19T21:45:38Z 2017-12-19T21:45:38Z The A’s have acquired minor league catcher Jonah Heim from the Rays as the player to be named later in last week’s Joey Wendle trade, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

    Heim, 22, spent the entire 2016 season in Class-A Advanced but struggled greatly, prompting the Rays to drop him back to Class-A to open the 2017 campaign. Heim spent most of the year in that Class-A Midwest League before moving back up to High-A for the final 16 games, hitting a combined .260/.317/.402 with nine homers across the two levels. He caught 45 percent of would-be base thieves in 2017 and is at an excellent mark of 38 percent throughout his minor league career to date. Heim did not rank among Tampa Bay’s top prospects, but he’ll give the A’s some depth at the position and could seemingly find himself in Double-A at some point in the 2018 campaign.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Jake Bray From Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110709 2017-12-19T21:19:31Z 2017-12-19T21:11:38Z The Athletics have acquired righty Jake Bray from the Orioles, per a club announcement. He represents the player to be named later in the deal that sent outfielder Jaycob Brugman to Baltimore earlier in the offseason.

    Bray, 25, has not yet played above the Class A level. In 2017, he pitched to a 3.88 ERA in 51 Sally League frames. That said, he has shown some interesting peripherals at time, never more so than in his just-completed season, when he racked up 82 strikeouts against just 14 walks.