Athletics infielders Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia are generating trade interest, and one of the two is likely to be moved in the wake of Oakland’s re-acquisition of Jed Lowrie, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Sources tell Slusser that American League clubs are already showing interest in the duo, and she writes that Lawrie is “considered the better bet to be traded.” Considering how long he’s been in the league, it’s somewhat surprising that Lawrie is still just 25 years of age (26 in January). One of the main pieces picked up in last winter’s Josh Donaldson blockbuster, Lawrie is controllable for another two seasons via arbitration. While his .299 on-base percentage in 2015 was certainly a disappointment, Lawrie tallied career highs in key arbitration statistics such as plate appearances (602), home runs (16) and RBIs (60), leading to a projected salary of $3.9MM from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz (a raise of nearly $2MM from this past season’s $1.925MM salary). His sub-par offensive output in 2015 (from a rate standpoint) notwithstanding, there’s plenty to like about Lawrie. To this point in his career, he’s produced a roughly league-average batting line (after adjusting for park factors) and can handle either second base or third base from a defensive standpoint. The former first-round pick/top 100 prospect is also still young enough to be considered somewhat of an upside play. The White Sox, Indians, Astros, Padres, Braves and his original organization, the Brewers, could all use some help at second and/or third. The 31-year-old Valencia is considerably older than Lawrie but has experience at a wider variety of positions and enjoyed a much stronger offensive campaign in 2015.
Major League Baseball’s rumor mill moved slower than usual on Thursday — like most of America after a Thanksgiving feast. Still, there were a few notable rumblings on the Hot Stove.
After spending his first six seasons with the D-backs, Justin Upton could now be on his way to playing for his third team in three years, after spending the past two seasons with the Braves and Padres, respectively. Here’s a look at five stats from Upton’s career that could be a sign of things to come for his 2016 team.
As America straps on its bib and grabs the carving knife, go ahead and attack the bird. But you will want to leave some room for dessert: Baseball has been known to serve up some treats on Thanksgiving — bombshells, not bonbons — then join the Black Friday frenzy.
After a successful four-year stint with the Orioles, Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen has reached free agency coming off the best season of his MLB career. Strengths/Pros Since 2014, Chen has a 3.44 ERA over 377 innings. That ranks 28th among all qualified MLB starters, 11th among southpaws, and seventh among a historically strong free agent class. While Chen is not an ace, he’s had better recent results than the casual fan might realize, and he’s been better than free agent peers Jeff Samardzija and Mike Leake. Chen is not going to beat himself. His 1.81 BB/9 ranks tenth among qualified starters for 2014-15, and he’s walked a lower percentage of batters faced than even Zack Greinke. Chen was unhittable against lefties this year, as only Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw allowed a lower weighted on-base average against them. Chen throws hard for a southpaw, as his average fastball velocity over the last two years of 91.6 miles per hour ranks seventh among qualified lefty starters.
If Bud Norris bounces back from a rough 2015 season, he could prove to be the low-risk, high-reward starting pitcher that the Braves are seeking. The Braves announced they signed Norris to a one-year, $2.5 million deal Wednesday afternoon.
After some serious shuffling, some expected and some a surprise, the D-backs appear to have their coaching staff set for 2016 as they hired Dave Magadan on Wednesday to be their hitting coach.
The Angels signed free-agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year, $2.8 million deal on Tuesday, giving them a veteran complement to the young Carlos Perez behind the plate.
The White Sox on Tuesday acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies in exchange for Minor League right-hander Yency Almonte.