AL Notes: Rangers, Ramirez, Betts, Orioles

Jan 17, 2018 | No Comments

Rangers GM Jon Daniels cast doubt on the idea of the team making any marquee additions in comments yesterday to the media, including MLB.com’s TR Sullivan. Daniels called it “unlikely” that the club would end up with a top starter, though he said he also wouldn’t “close the door” on a market that includes former ace Yu Darvish. More likely, it seems, would be a depth addition of some kind, though Daniels also emphasized that the organization is not close to any new deals. Broadly, the organization remains steadfast in its “realistic” assessment of its abilities and needs. While the anticipated roster mix is likely “to create some challenges,” says Daniels, that doesn’t mean it will vary from its strategy entering the winter. The Rangers, he says, were “not going to go all-in, spending big dollars this year, nor were we going to be looking to trade all of our young players.” More from the American League: The Angels received some promising news on righty J.C. Ramirez, GM Billy Eppler tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter)

Agent: Yelich’s Relationship With Marlins “Broken”

Jan 17, 2018 | No Comments

In the latest dose of Marlins-related drama, agent Joe Longo of Paragon Sports International, who represents Christian Yelich, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that a trade of his client in the next month would be in the best interest of both team and player. Longo states that he respects the Marlins’ long-term plan for a return to contention, but states that the “…plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career.” Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins has been “irretrievably broken” and has “soured,” according to Longo, who goes on to speak about the disappointment that Yelich has felt in watching the Marlins’ new ownership group gut the roster in trades that have sent Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna elsewhere. “The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and [Yelich] needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win,” Longo tells Crasnick. The agent goes on to explain that Yelich signed his seven-year, $49.57MM contract extension with the Marlins in a “completely different climate” — that is, one where the organization looked to be making a clear push to win in the short term.

Josh Harrison Suggests Pirates Trade Him If “Team Does Not Expect To Contend”

Jan 16, 2018 | No Comments

In the wake of the recent trades that shipped Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole out of Pittsburgh, speculation has turned to the status of veteran Josh Harrison — another player that has long been mentioned as a candidate to be dealt. The veteran utilityman issued his thoughts on the matter today to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. After discussing his affinity for the team, city, and fans — as well as for the departing players — Harrison laid down a challenge of sorts to the Pirates front office. While he framed it as an expression of what might be “best for the organization,” Harrison seemingly conveyed a clear interest in being dealt if the club is not serious about putting a winner on the field.

Top 60 Remaining Trade Candidates

Jan 16, 2018 | No Comments

It has been a month since we broke out the top 60 remaining offseason trade candidates in baseball. Since that time, several of the players from that list have indeed been dealt, while situations have also changed for some others. With a few weeks left for transactions to proceed before Spring Training opens, we’ll take a quick look at how the trade market appears to have changed. Starting Pitchers Market Changes: The Astros nabbed Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, taking one of the most obvious and best trade candidates off the market and filling an opening with a contender.

Giants Acquire Andrew McCutchen

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

5:25pm: The Pirates have now announced the trade, adding that they’ll pick up $500K of international bonus money, Crick and Reynolds for sending McCutchen and cash considerations to San Francisco. 5:15pm: MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Pirates actually will pay “a portion” of McCutchen’s salary. 4:14pm: Baggarly tweets that it will indeed be Crick and Reynolds going to Pittsburgh in exchange for McCutchen. It does not appear as if there’s any money changing hands, he adds. 3:56pm: The Pirates will receive one additional “mid-range” prospect in return for the final season of McCutchen’s deal, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets that outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds may be in the deal as well. Reynolds, 23 later this month, was the Giants’ second-round pick in 2016 and just wrapped up a strong season in Class-A Advanced, where he hit .312/.364/.462 with 10 homers, 26 doubles and nine triples in 540 trips to the plate. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com had him fourth among Giants prospects, while Baseball America ranked him fifth among San Francisco farmhands just a few weeks ago (before the Arroyo trade, meaning he’d now rank fourth on their list as well). 3:22pm: Right-hander Kyle Crick is part of the return for McCutchen, tweets Pavlovic. The 25-year-old was the 49th overall pick in the 2011 draft and ranked among baseball’s top 100 prospects from 2013-15, per various reports.

Pirates To Extend Felipe Rivero

Pirates To Extend Felipe Rivero

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

4:39pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Rivero will earn $2.5MM in 2018, $4MM in 2019, $5.25MM in 2020 and $7.25MM in 2021. The deal also comes with a $2MM signing bonus, and his contract contains a pair of $10MM options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The 2022 option comes with a $1MM buyout, and the 2023 option has a $500K buyout. 4:34pm: The Pirates have agreed to a four-year deal with closer Felipe Rivero, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). The deal, which will buy out all of Rivero’s arbitration seasons, is believed to guarantee Rivero about $22MM in total, per Rosenthal. It also contains a pair of club options for his first two free-agent seasons.

Giants, Pirates Agree To Andrew McCutchen Trade

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

The Pirates and Giants are in agreement on a trade that will send outfielder Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The deal is pending review of medical records.. Jon Heyman and Robert Murray of FanRag had recently reported that talks between the two sides were intensifying. The McCutchen agreement comes just days after the Pirates shipped right-hander Gerrit Cole to the reigning World Champion Astros, further signaling the end of an era in Pittsburgh, though the pair of trades does not necessarily indicate that a full-scale tear-down is on the horizon for the Bucs. Both Cole (controlled through 2019) and McCutchen (a free agent next winter) were short-term and relatively high-priced assets — especially for a Pirates team that operates on a notoriously thin budget. McCutchen is slated to earn $14.75MM in the final season of his contract, whereas Cole had settled at $6.75MM in order to avoid arbitration. The Pirates, then, will be saving a combined $21.5MM with this pair of swaps — money that could, in theory, be reinvested into the 2018 roster. The Pirates have, after all, opened each of the past three season with payrolls in excess of $90MM but now project for a payroll of roughly $82MM in 2018

Latest On Giants’ Pursuit Of Outfielders

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

The Giants and Pirates are engaged in “serious talks” regarding outfielder Andrew McCutchen, according to Robert Murray and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link). At the same time, San Francisco is said to have “gotten more serious” in discussions with free agent Lorenzo Cain, in the words of Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter), though he also cautions the sides aren’t close to an agreement. It has long seemed possible that the Giants could end up landing either of these two veteran players. Certainly, the connections aren’t new. That reports have emerged on both in near proximity could be interpreted in various ways. Regarding McCutchen, the Pirates and Giants have reportedly discussed him in the past, though obviously nothing has come together to this point. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area looked at the connection today as well, including the fact that the San Francisco front office has hoped the Gerrit Cole trade might free up chatter on McCutchen, who is owed $14.5MM in his final season of contract control.

Extension Records: Pending Free Agents & Other Veterans

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

We have already looked at the record-setting pre-arbitration and mid-arbitration extensions. Today, we’ll turn to those contracts that were struck with players who had already reached their final season of team control, as well as those that were agreed upon with veterans who had already moved past six years of MLB service (even if they had multiple contract years remaining at the time of the deal). You can explore more contracts beyond those we’ve covered with MLBTR’s Extension Tracker. Biggest Contract, 5+ Service Class Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 7 years, $215MM (plus opt-out) If you’ve read through the prior two posts in this series, the gulf between position-player and pitching contracts really stands out. But hurlers close the gap with vigor once they drawn near to (or reach) the open market. Kershaw’s deal is the largest, understandably, but hardly the only example of a quality starter getting something in the realm of open-market money when entering or in the midst of their final season of team control. Stephen Strasburg ($175MM), Rick Porcello ($82.5MM), and Danny Duffy ($65MM) have all inked such deals in recent years, with Cole Hamels ($144MM) and Homer Bailey ($105MM) scoring notable prior contracts. Biggest Contract, 5+ Service Class Position Player Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 8 years, $160MM Interestingly, it has been quite some time since we’ve seen a 5+ service-class position player land a monster contract

MLBTR Poll: Grading The Gerrit Cole Swap

Jan 15, 2018 | No Comments

Gerrit Cole is a highly visible player — a former first overall pick who landed fourth in the National League Cy Young vote in 2015 — so it’s natural there will be strong opinions about the return he drew in the recent swap between the Pirates and Astros. We have already seen a variety of industry opinions pour in (see here, here, here, and here), but I thought it’d be worth taking the temperature of the MLBTR readership. There’s little reason to full describe the elements of the agreement. (MLBTR’s Conny Byrne discussed all relevant elements in detail in his post on the Cole trade.) But here’s a brief account for purposes of facilitating today’s poll: Astros receive: 2 years of control over SP Gerrit Cole ($6.75MM for 2018; arbitration for 2019) — following aforementioned 2015 season, Cole was limited by injury in 2016 and pitched to a 4.26 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in a healthy 2017 season Pirates receive: 4 years of control over RP Michael Feliz — carries 5.13 ERA (allowing 1.5 HR/9) through 121 MLB innings, but has averaged 12.8 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 5 years of control over SP/RP Joe Musgrove — former first-round pick has been tagged for a .288/.339/.506 slash and 5.37 ERA over 25 MLB starts, but worked to a 1.26 ERA with 39:6 K/BB ratio in 35 2/3 innings last year after moving to the bullpen 6 years of control over 3B Colin Moran — former sixth overall draft pick slashed .308/.373/.543 with 18 home runs in 338 plate appearances at Triple-A last year, but has yet to receive significant time in the majors 6 years of control over OF Jason Martin — 22-year-old reached Double-A for first time in 2017, slashing .273/.319/.483 with 11 home runs in 320 plate appearances Since there are two teams involved with their own set of needs, we’ll ask for grades from each organization’s perspective. For Pittsburgh, clearly, the move was designed to add multiple assets that can deliver value over a longer time frame