The Marlins‘ best offer for Francisco Rodriguez was for two years and $10MM, Jon Heyman of tweets. While that was not enough to convince K-Rod to part from the Brewers, it does represent a relatively significant chunk of change that the team could presumably tap into at some point in the future.

Here’s more from the eastern divisions:

  • Braves owner Liberty Media continues to provide some interesting insight into the club through its legally-required Securities and Exchange Commission filings, as Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains. In addition to ticking through the accounting for last year’s emergency pickup of Ervin Santana and release of Dan Uggla, the filing documents that the organization has already borrowed about $100MM from credit facilities arranged to help fund its portion of the funding of its new stadium.
  • Atlanta’s biggest write-off may be yet to come, as struggling and now injured center fielder Melvin Upton could eventually go the way of Uggla. For now, the team is focused on finding a temporary replacement and getting him back up to speed as soon as possible, as David O’Brien of the AJC reports. One possible fill-in, prospect Todd Cunningham, says that the players in camp “can kind of smell blood in the water,” while Eric Young Jr. called it an “unfortunate situation” but acknowledged that “you’re kidding anybody if you don’t see it as an opportunity.” The most interesting possibility could be Eury Perez, who is just 24 and has a solid track record in the upper minors but never had a real chance with his prior clubs.
  • The Phillies have had one of their top advisers, Charlie Kerfeld, watching Red Sox prospects as the clubs continue to eye one another over left-handed pitching, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. There is a sense now that Cliff Lee could be dealt before Cole Hamels, Cafardo adds, though that doesn’t necessarily mean Boston is the inevitable destination.
  • As Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports, there are no signs of progress on a Hamels deal. The Sox are more likely to be willing to part with players like Garin Cecchini, Deven Marrero, and Jackie Bradley Jr. in any trade scenarios than they are some of their other top young players, Mastrodonato adds.

from MLB Trade Rumors

The Nationals have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor league pact, the club announced. The deal includes a big league spring invite.

Gwynn is, of course, the son of one of the greatest players in recent memory. Though he has not matched his father’s near-untouchable stat line, he has obviously maintained the big league legacy with a career spanning eight seasons. Across 1,798 total career plate appearances in the bigs, Gwynn owns a .238/.309/.310 slash with 80 stolen bases.

Gwynn enjoyed a four-year run (2009-12) where he had over 250 trips to bat annually, but that streak ended when he failed to reach the game’s highest level in 2013. But he returned to the majors last year with the Phillies, putting up a meager .152/.264/.190 slash line in 127 plate appearances.

from MLB Trade Rumors

Hector Olivera and Yadier Alvarez are the two biggest names to watch on the international market at present, but let’s take a look at some other notes while we wait to learn more on their situations:

  • Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs has a wide-ranging round-up of the latest from the upcoming July 2nd signing period, which has clarified somewhat with Yoan Moncada now in agreement with the Red Sox. Noting that slot money has gone up by about five to seven percent, as Baseball America’s Ben Badler details, McDaniel says that about five clubs seem to be on track to exceed their bonus allotments and “many more” will attempt to spend to their max.
  • Uncertainty in U.S.-Cuban politics is dampening some teams’ interest in going over their pools and incurring severe spending restrictions for two years, per McDaniel. Depending upon how things progress, that might mean missing out on a sudden influx of talent. Nevertheless, it appears that overall spending will see significant increases; indeed, as McDaniel tweets, one team that he does not mention in his post is already believed to have about $7.5MM set to go out to six players — none of whom will be among the highest-earning prospects.
  • McDaniel provides a ton of detail on July 2nd prospects, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is said to be likely heading to the Blue Jays for a bonus that will top $4MM. Also expected to go over the $4MM mark are young slugger Jhailyn Ortiz, who is expected to land with the Phillies, and shortstop Wander Javier, whom the Twins are believed to be line to sign.
  • While there is nothing new on Alvarez, Badler does explain that his situation — and that of fellow young righty Vladimir Gutierrez — could shape the future of Cuban amateur talent. Alvarez could test MLB’s historical unwillingness to grant exceptions to its timely registration rule, given the fact that he could not do so while in Cuba, and that would presumably set the precedent moving forward. A similar situation holds for Gutierrez, who could face an exceedingly long delay if he cannot establish residency in a third country in relatively short order.

from MLB Trade Rumors

While the 2014-15 arbitration process is complete — final results can be found here — you may have noticed that agreements between non-free agent players and teams are still being reported and announced. These deals are being arrived at with players who own 40-man spots but remain shy of the service requirements to reach arbitration eligibility. (I.e., they have less than three years of service and did not qualify as Super Two players.)

Generally, MLBTR does not cover these deals. Not only are there are dozens per team, but they have minimal bearing on the broader market. The reason is simple: the collective bargaining agreement stipulates that teams may simply renew pre-arb players at the league minimum (or any other desired level) if agreement on a price cannot be reached, leaving no obligation for teams to pay more and affording scarcely any leverage to the player. In other words, there is not much to see or think about.

But, as with most things, there are exceptions. Last February, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported that the Rockies had drawn the ire of some agents for only spending a few thousand dollars above the minimum. MLBTR’s Zach Links proceeded to undertake a deep dive on the subject, explaining how different teams use varying types of formulas to arrive at pre-arb salaries — many of which are informed by some combination of service time, playing time, and performance.

Sometimes teams choose to go well above the required levels of pay. The two most notable examples — Ryan Howard‘s final pre-arb salary of $900K and Mike Trout‘s $1MM pact last year — were followed by extensions. It is difficult to know whether those shows of good faith helped pave the way to longer-term deals, but the teams involved (the Phillies and Angels, respectively) obviously were motivated to go above and beyond for players who were coming off of MVP or MVP-type seasons.

In some cases, players and teams are unable to agree upon a deal, leading the team to simply renew the player at its desired value. This is in large part a symbolic matter, though as Zach and fellow MLBTR writer Steve Adams learned last year, the Astros have taken a $5K deduction (as against the team’s offer) when renewing pre-arb players who declined to reach agreement at the team’s price.

Inability to agree upon a price is but one aspect of a team’s relationship with a player, of course, but tension in the pre-arb process is certainly one possible outcome. Interestingly, Trout had his contract renewed without agreement in the season before his huge pre-arb payday, with his agent blasting the team at the time. The sides were ultimately able to come together on a nine-figure deal, with the prior years’ salaries constituting an element of the jockeying in the lead-up to that contract.

It remains to be seen whether this year will feature any particularly interesting cases. But it is worth noting that several of 2014’s top performers — Corey Kluber of the Indians, Anthony Rendon of the Nationals, and Sonny Gray of the Athletics come to mind — remain shy of arbitration eligibility.

from MLB Trade Rumors

The White Sox announced today that they have promoted Jeremy Hader, who was previously assistant to general manager Rick Hahn and will now bear the title of assistant GM. The 31-year-old Hader led negotiations on the team’s five-year, $21MM extension with Jose Quintana last offseason, says Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter), and he also leads salary arbitration negotiations. CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes profiled Haber last offseason, noting an impressive educational background but little experience in the baseball world. Haber has a B.A. in political science from Brown as well as an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Haber was initially hired as an intern with the Red Sox after a series of blind emails to teams in search of a front office opportunity, and he’s since helped in the White Sox’ hiring of hitting coach Todd Steverson in addition to making player acquisition recommendations for Hahn and the rest of the Chicago front office.

More from the American League:

  • Huston Street tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that he and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto have begun swapping text messages to figure out a time when they can have more serious extension discussions in the near future. Street, who acts as his own agent, has said he wants to get a new contract worked out in Spring Training and made no attempt to hide the fact that he’s eyeing something between the four-year, $36MM deal inked by Andrew Miller and the four-year, $46MM contract signed by David Robertson. He did say he envisions a new contract overriding his current one-year deal, so he’s essentially looking for three new years.
  • Ryan Ludwick told Jerry Crasnick of that multiple teams for which he had played in the past expressed interest in bringing him back this offseason, though he declined to specify which teams. The Rangers are clearly one, as the now-36-year-old signed a minor league pact to return to Texas, where he made his big league debut 13 years ago. “It’s cool knowing that teams are willing to take you on,” Ludwick said Sunday. “I guess that means I’m somewhat of a decent guy.” The Rangers will hope that in addition to being a “somewhat decent guy,” Ludwick will bring the offense he showed as recently as 2012, when he hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers in just 472 plate appearances for the Reds. He’s also played for the Cardinals, Indians, Padres and Pirates.
  • Replacing Nelson Cruz‘s production will not be straightforward but may yet be possible for the Orioles, as Jayson Stark of writes. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette explains that the current roster not only has power across the board but does so with generally well-rounded players. And, as he notes, the team will never “grab a lot of headlines in the offseason,” as would have been needed to bring Cruz back or replace him with a single player. “We pick up players year round,” said Duquette. “We don’t do it all in the offseason.”

from MLB Trade Rumors

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted this morning that the Diamondbacks have let other clubs know they’re willing to move Trevor Cahill, Cody Ross or Aaron Hill in trades, although that tweet prompted a denial from GM Dave Stewart that he’s had any actual conversations on that trio of veterans (Twitter link).

We can debate the semantics here, but conventional wisdom would seem to suggest that three expensive veterans that have underperformed for a last place team whose president/CEO has previously stated that his club may get “creative” to trim payroll are certainly candidates to be moved. The D-Backs showing a willingness to move them would hardly be a surprise, nor would it be surprising were Stewart’s comments genuine as well. However, the reason for the lack of conversations would likely be a lack of interest, and Stewart or the D-Backs may ultimately prefer to spin it in a different fashion.

What the D-Backs have on their hands are three formerly productive players that are compensated at levels which don’t reflect their recent performance. That’s not to say that none of the three has value, however, should Arizona show a willingness to absorb some salary to grease the wheels on a potential trade. Let’s look at each player and try to determine a few fits.

Trevor Cahill: Somewhat surprisingly, Cahill is still just 27 years old (he turned 27 yesterday, in fact). The right-hander is owed $12.3MM before he’s eligible for free agency next offseason, but his contract does contain a pair of club options at $13MM and $13.5MM. Cahill, until the 2014 season, was generally accepted as a ground-ball inducing machine and a perfectly serviceable mid-rotation arm. From 2010-13, he pitched to a 3.72 ERA (4.09 FIP) in 751 innings, and he’d settled in as a 200-inning horse before injuries struck in 2013. Cahill was struck in the hip by a line-drive that season and missed about six weeks, and a shoulder strain ended his season shortly after.

If he looks healthy and at all like his old self in Spring Training, a team with a need in the rotation could do worse than gambling on him, should the D-Backs kick in some of the remaining guarantee. There’s always the chance that he could regain his form in 2015 and give an acquiring club a rotation piece that can be controlled for another two seasons. Would a team with questionable pitching depth like the Phillies or Rockies be willing to take that kind of risk? The Phillies are rebuilding, but Cahill’s still young, and they have the financial wherewithal to make it happen. The Rangers’ back-of-the-rotation options are questionable (but also plentiful), and the Tigers lack depth beyond their currently projected five starters.

Cody Ross: The 34-year-old Ross is owed $9.5MM in 2015 and has a $1MM buyout on an option of the same value for the 2016 season. Hip surgery and a calf strain kept Ross off the field for much of last season, but he’s always handled left-handed pitching well, as evidenced by a career .294/.360/.557 batting line against them.

The Blue Jays just added Dayan Viciedo on a minor league deal, but if he struggles in Spring Training and Ross looks healthy, perhaps they’d prefer Ross in the event that the Snakes take on half of his remaining salary or so. The Indians were also interested in Viciedo on a minor league deal, so it stands to reason that a healthy Ross may have some appeal as well, if the price was right. The same could be said for the Reds. Again, the D-Backs may need to eat $5MM+ to make any of these scenarios realistic.

Aaron Hill: Hill will turn 33 later this month and is one season removed from an excellent .291/.356/.492 batting line in a half season’s work. Hill showed no ill effects of the broken hand he suffered early in 2013 upon returning from the disabled list, but that only makes his 2014 drop-off even more puzzling; Hill stayed healthy for most of the season but still mustered just a .244/.287/.367 line in 137 games. And, he dislocated a finger on his other hand at the end of the year.

Hill is the toughest to move because his remaining $24MM over two years is the largest commitment. I don’t know that Arizona would want to eat the type of salary that would be necessary to move him, so it might be in the team’s best interest to, rather than absorb $12MM to move him, just pay him for the first half and hope for a rebound. Multiple teams have been connected to second base upgrades this winter without pulling the trigger on a deal, and there figure to be additional teams in need this summer. The A’s, Orioles, Angels and White Sox could all conceivably find themselves with needs as the season progresses, and one injury to a currently healthy player could open the door for a summer trading partner, if Hill is able to demonstrate production closer to his previous heights than his 2014 decline.

from MLB Trade Rumors

With this year’s group of free agents mostly picked clean, and with MLBTR’s Free Agent Power Rankings for next year’s crop already taken care of, it seems like a good time to preview the following year’s class. At first glance, the group is definitely weaker than the class we stand to see next winter, though comparing any free agent class to that of next winter may be foolhardy, as the 2015-16 group is among the best in recent history.

A pair of notable names are likely to join this group once their 2016 options are officially exercised — Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Others with 2016 options that could join the list depending on the outcome of their 2016 options include Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, Alexei Ramirez, Nori Aoki, R.A. Dickey and Joaquin Benoit. Of course, that group features a wide range of elder statesmen that don’t dramatically increase the appeal of the unit as a whole, but the addition of some veterans that are candidates for short-term deals would nonetheless strengthen the group to some extent.

Bear in mind that this group will also feature any player that is non-tendered after the 2016 season and any player that signs a one-year deal next winter. Additionally, we don’t yet know what, if any, major international names will be on the list. We also don’t know which of these players will sign extensions.

For the time being, however, the following is the list of players you can expect to see on the open market following the 2016 season.

If you see any errors or omissions, please contact us. To see who represents these players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.


Drew Butera (34)
Jason Castro (30)
Francisco Cervelli (31)
A.J. Ellis (36)
Ryan Hanigan (36) — $3.75MM club option with an $800K buyout
Nick Hundley (33)
Jonathan Lucroy (31) — $5.25MM club option with a $25K buyout
Salvador Perez (27) — $3.75MM club option (no buyout)
Wilson Ramos (29)
David Ross (40)
Carlos Ruiz (38) — $4.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (32)
Chris Stewart (35)
Kurt Suzuki (33) — $6MM vesting option
Josh Thole (30)

First Basemen

Pedro Alvarez (30)
Michael Cuddyer (38)
Ike Davis (30)
Ryan Howard (37) — $23MM club option with a $10MM buyout
Travis Ishikawa (33)
Adam LaRoche (37)
James Loney (33)
Mitch Moreland (31)
Logan Morrison (29)
Mike Morse (35)
Brandon Moss (33)
Carlos Santana (31) — $12MM club option with a $1.2MM buyout
Justin Smoak (30)
Mark Teixeira (37)
Mark Trumbo (31)

Second Basemen

Darwin Barney (31)
Everth Cabrera (30)
Daniel Descalso (30)
Yunel Escobar (34) — $7MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Aaron Hill (35)
Martin Prado (33)
Justin Turner (32)
Luis Valbuena (31)
Neil Walker (31)

Third Basemen

Adrian Beltre (38)
Daniel Descalso (30)
Martin Prado (33)
Justin Turner (32)
Luis Valbuena (31)


Erick Aybar (33)
Everth Cabrera (30)
Daniel Descalso (30)
Yunel Escobar (34) — $7MM club  option with a $1MM buyout

Left Fielders

Gregor Blanco (33)
Chris Coghlan (32)
Sam Fuld (35)
Chris Heisey (32)
Matt Holliday (37) — $17MM club/vesting option with $1MM buyout
Travis Ishikawa (33)
John Mayberry, Jr. (33)
Michael Saunders (30)
Jordan Schafer (30)

Center Fielders

Gregor Blanco (33)
Peter Bourjos (30)
Michael Bourn (34) — $12MM vesting option
Coco Crisp (37) — $13MM vesting/club option with a $750K buyout
Sam Fuld (35)
Craig Gentry (33)
Carlos Gomez (31)
Chris Heisey (32)
Jon Jay (32)
John Mayberry, Jr. (33)
Cameron Maybin (30) — $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Angel Pagan (35)
Justin Ruggiano (35)

Right Fielders

Carlos Beltran (39)
Jay Bruce (30) — $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Michael Cuddyer (38)
Chris Heisey (32)
John Mayberry, Jr. (33)
Brandon Moss (33)
Josh Reddick (30)
Justin Ruggiano (35)
Michael Saunders (30)
Seth Smith (34) — $7MM club option with a $250K buyout
Travis Snider (29)
Nick Swisher (36) — $14MM vesting option

Designated Hitters

Carlos Beltran (39)
Michael Cuddyer (38)
Ryan Howard (37) — $23MM club option with a $10MM buyout
Adam LaRoche (37)
Kendrys Morales (34) — $11MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout
Mike Morse (35)
Brandon Moss (33)
Carlos Santana (31) — $12MM club option with a $1.2MM buyout
Nick Swisher (36) — $14MM vesting option
Mark Teixeira (37)

Starting Pitchers

Brandon Beachy (30)
Andrew Cashner (30)
Jesse Chavez (33)
Josh Collmenter (31) — $2.25MM club option with a $150K buyout
John Danks (32)
Jorge De La Rosa (36)
Scott Feldman (34)
Dillon Gee (30)
Gio Gonzalez (31) — $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jason Hammel (34) — $10MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Jeremy Hellickson (30)
Derek Holland (30) — $11MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Edwin Jackson (33)
Kris Medlen (31) — $10MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Matt Moore (28) — $7MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout
Charlie Morton (33) — $9.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jon Niese (30) — $10MM club option with a $500K buyout
Ivan Nova (30)
Jake Peavy (36)
Yusmeiro Petit (32)
CC Sabathia (36) — $25MM vesting option with a $5MM buyout
Stephen Strasburg (28)
Josh Tomlin (32)
Edinson Volquez (33) — $10MM mutual option with a $3MM buyout
C.J. Wilson (36)
Travis Wood (30)


Aroldis Chapman (29)
Neftali Feliz (29)
Greg Holland (31)
Kenley Jansen (29)
Mark Melancon (32)
Sergio Romo (34)
Drew Storen (29)
Koji Uehara (42)

Right-Handed Relievers

Aaron Crow (30)
Ernesto Frieri (31)
Jason Grilli (40) — $3MM club option with a $250K buyout
Luke Hochevar (33) — $7MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
Daniel Hudson (30)
Kevin Jepsen (32)
Sam LeCure (33)
Pat Neshek (36) — $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Alexi Ogando (33)
Esmil Rogers (31)
Fernando Salas (32)
Joe Smith (33)
Craig Stammen (33)
Junichi Tazawa (31)
Jordan Walden (29) — $5.25MM club option with a $250K buyout

Left-Handed Relievers

Brett Cecil (30)
Mike Dunn (32)
Boone Logan (32)
Javier Lopez (39)
Brian Matusz (30)
Josh Outman (32)
Cesar Ramos (33)
Matt Reynolds (32)
Marc Rzepczynski (31)

Cot’s Baseball Contracts was used extensively in the creation of this post.

from MLB Trade Rumors