Archive for Hot Stove
The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly close to completing a deal that would send current Marlins third baseman Yunel Escobar to the Rays to fill their shortstop hole in return for prospect Derek Dietrich, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
Dietrich was ranked as the 15th best prospect on the Rays by Fangraphs, 9th by Baseball America, and graded out as a C+ prospect by Minor League Ball’s John Sickels before the season began. Dietrich would likely slot somewhere between 8-10 in the Marlins top prospect lists, due out later this off-season.
Dietrich was drafted as a shortstop, but most scouts see him moving over to third base as he moves up in the minors. Dietrich hit .282/.343/.468 (.367 wOBA) in High-A before earning a late-season promotion to Double-A. In Double-A, Dietrich continued his hot hitting .271/.324/.429 (.346 wOBA). He graded out as better than league average there.
Baseball America sees him as a second or third baseman long-term, and with his above-average power, Dietrich has a solid chance of becoming an above-average major leaguer in his career.
Escobar was recently acquired by the Marlins in the mega-trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was reportedly accommodating to move to third to play for the Marlins, but the Marlins were looking to trade Escobar even before the deal with the Jays was finalized.
Stay tuned to Marlins Daily for more updates.
The Marlins have dealt Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Nate Eovaldi and “Scott McGough,” says our good friend over at FOX Sports, Jon Paul Morosi. The Dodgers will be paying all of the $31.5 million that Ramirez is owed over the next two years.
There indeed have been more than a few rumors of a potential Ramirez deal over the past few days, and well, that looks to have finally come to fruition. Ramirez has been a disaster over the past couple of seasons and his value has dropped as low as it probably ever has in his career, which is why I’m surprised that the deal took place now instead of, well, when and if his value ever grew. We knew that after the Marlins dealt Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante away at the beginning of the week that a few more trades could happen, but a Hanley deal was not one that I was truly expecting.
The Marlins seemed to have made a commitment to winning this past off-season when they signed Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes for almost $300 million, so this rebuilding phase that’s currently taking place makes some of those signings appear to be even more of a question mark. I suppose the hope, however, is that Jacob Turner and Eovaldi can help man a rotation that can — as the Marlins sure expect — compete for next year’s division crown.
The Marlins’ system has significantly improved since they drafted Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez, as the two have easily slotted themselves among baseball’s best prospects, but the additions of Rob Brantly, Turner and now the aforementioned Eovaldi (even though he isn’t a prospect) make the young core on this team much more impressive a few years down.
Johnson, 28, has a 4.14 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 119 2/3 innings this season and is making an annual salary of $13.75MM in 2012 and 2013.
The Blue Jays are 48-47 and are three games back in the Wild Card chase. Even after acquiring J.A. Happ, they are still looking for starting pitching that can be under club control past this season.
Trading Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit was like a flare shot in the air spotted by playoff contenders everywhere. The Marlins will likely keep Johnson but can trade him if the right offer is presented to them.
The Marlins can send Josh Johnson to Toronto for a bounty of prospects and young third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Lawrie is currently hitting .280 with nine home runs and 12 stolen bases. His play is similar to that of 19 year-old outfielder Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, but doesn’t get as much attention because he is three years older.
Acquire him with prospects and the rebuilding phase of the revamping process will nearly be complete.
With Yoenis Cespedes becoming a hot commodity towards the end of the offseason, the Miami Marlins look to have the edge in signing the Cuban defect.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins are likely to sign the outfielder. This is coming after the Marlins were aggressively negotiating with Cespedes.
Update — 7:30: According to our good buddy Clark Spencer, the Cubs will absorb all of the $18MM owed to Zambrano this season. The Cubs will receive Chris Volstad in the deal. Now this trade appears much less suspicious for the Fish.
6:16: According to Ken Rosenthal over at FOX Sports, the Marlins are in the process of acquiring Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs. The trade is expected to go through, according to Rosenthal, that is assuming Zambrano waives his no-trade clause. We’ve heard rumors swirling regarding the Cubs’ desire to move Zambrano all winter, and to be completely honest, it’s hard to believe they finally found a match given the almost-$40MM that the right-hander is owed over the next two years. Hell, Zambrano isn’t even that good yet he’s getting paid more than any two-win pitcher should ever sniff.
Aside from a hefty pay check, lots of walks and a fair amount of strikeouts, Zambrano also comes with a record of at least one tirade per year over the last four seasons. I guess we can at least assume Zambrano isn’t heading to South Florida to display his leadership qualities. In any case, the fairly large dimensions of New Marlins Ballpark intrigue me, so the homer-prone Zambrano might net some help in that category.
Additionally, his two previous seasons before last both consisted of FIPs south of 4.00, so if he can get back to that he’d be a really decent #4 or #3 starter for the Fish, this is all assuming he can get his K-rate back to the 8.00 range where it’s been most of his career. Lofty expectations for the right-hander, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Either way, he’ll still be an over-payed volcano but still a viable back-end guy when on the mound.
Entering the off-season Jeffrey Loria insisted he would spend on talent needed to improve the ball club, and I suppose it’s fair to say he’s kept his word. Today proved to be yet another interesting day for the Fish and their fans, as Larry Beinfest and co. inked former Giants center-fielder Aaron Rowand to a minor league deal and long-man Burke Badenhop for minor league catcher Jacob Jefferies.
Although an intruiguing choice, the move to sign Rowand isn’t all that surprising given the Marlins lack of outfield depth and veteran presence entering Spring Training. It’s unclear if Rowand has the upper-hand in winning a job with the team, but he’s always been a solid defender and the Marlins are presumably paying him the league minimum. Rowand was cut by the Giants in August after posting a .270 wOBA on the year. It’s safe to say he’s hardly been a quality major leaguer at all since his Philadelphia days but there’s no problem in taking a flier on a guy with some upside.
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If you had asked me a few short days ago how I felt about the Marlins offseason, I would’ve high-fived you and screamed like a little girl. After all, it’s kind of hard to not like the best closer on the market and one of the top three free agents in baseball. It’s even harder to not like it when it seems like your team is willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get it done, something nobody expected at the end of last year. Oh, and did I mention they were also on the verge of signing possibly the greatest player in the history of baseball? You could understand my enthusiasm.
But, here we are, just forty-eight hours later, and I find myself sinking lower in my once-comfy chair, broken, defeated, a strange mix of confusion and depression oozing from my pores.
So, what the heck happened?
Sunday night, the Marlins finally created the big splash they had been expected to make all off-season by signing Jose Reyes to a 6-year deal worth $106 million. As new details continue to emerge, it seems that an option for a 7th year is part of the agreement as well. Fans who had been waiting nervously (and for some, skeptically) to see if the team was serious about increasing payroll could breath a sigh of relief.
While most of Miami couldn’t be happier with the news of the Reyes signing, Matt Dominguez, the Marlins third baseman of the future, is the odd-man out in all of the madness. He is almost assuredly not thrilled with the Marlins most recent move. Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are now primed to man the left side of the infield until at least 2016, and Dominguez appears to be without a role or a future with the Marlins.
For those who are unfamiliar with Dominguez, he spent the last four years in the Marlins minor league system playing third-base before getting called up late in the year when rosters expanded in September. The 2007 first round draft pick has been arguably the team’s top infield prospect, and he could be ready to move into the big leagues permanently sometime soon.
The main concern with the 23-year old Dominguez going forward is his hitting. Although he was never regarded as a great hitter, less than stellar performances in the minor leagues has led to some questioning whether he will ever be able to produce at the plate in the majors. He hit a combined .255/.325/.418 in the minors so far, while only a paltry .244/.292/.333 in his brief tenure with the Marlins.
Luckily for Dominguez, because of his impressive fielding at third base, he wouldn’t necessarily need to hit at an astounding rate to be valuable to his team. The always-great John Sickels gave his perspective on Dominguez earlier this year:
“If Dominguez can be even adequate with the bat, he’ll have a long career: his glove is excellent. He has a strong and accurate throwing arm, soft hands, and (although his outward athleticism isn’t exceptional) superior range. He anticipates with the best, and seems to come out of nowhere to make plays other third basemen don’t reach. Unlike many young infielders with flashy defensive skills, Dominguez is also reliable on routine plays and commits few mental mistakes. He is capable of winning Gold Gloves once he settles in.”
(The link will take you to his full breakdown of Dominguez, which is worth reading.)
Even if he doesn’t win Gold Gloves, his fielding at third would still be very valuable. A top tier defender like Dominguez is expected to be could save a team as many as 15 runs each season in comparison to a replacement level defender at third.
Although it is possible that Hanley makes the positional change to second base or centerfield, third base seems the most likely and logical destination for him, given the lack of depth at the position and his well below average defense at shortstop. However, whether he will embrace this new role and make the transition smoothly remains to be seen.*
In the case that Hanley were to refuse to move away from shortstop, Dominguez could be given the opportunity to win playing time out of spring training this season, or possibly next year after one more season of development in the Minor Leagues. But, realistically, the shortstop situation is going to be resolved one way or another (my gut feeling is that Hanley will resist the move initially, then make way for Reyes a few days later after fully considering the situation) and Dominguez will be left in the cold.
With his primary position on the Marlins already locked up for at least the next 6+ years, Dominguez makes for an interesting potential trade candidate. Having him spend the peak of his career in the Minor Leagues would be a waste. And while it’s unclear what kind of return the team could get for him, or if the team is even willing to deal him at this point, it would be in the Marlins best interest to seriously consider parting with Dominguez.
*No official word has been given yet from Hanley or his agent, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported Sunday night that Hanley has already agreed to shift to third base to make room for Reyes. Then again, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post indicated Monday that Ramirez is “distraught” over the idea of changing positions, which would contradict Stark’s earlier report. At this point, neither rumor has been confirmed, and we are left only to speculate.
The Miami Marlins have increased their offer from nine to ten years, and upwards from $200 million.
The Chicago Cubs have also joined the bidding war. The Cubs made a formal offer to Pujols Monday.
According to ESPN Insider’s Jason A. Churchill, the Miami Marlins signed former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell Thursday evening. The deal will span three years and pay the right-handed relief pitcher $27 million over the life of the deal. Bell should provide a huge boost to new manager Ozzie Guillen’s bullpen with the team according to sources, electing not be tender an offer the team’s former closer J.C. Oviedo/Leo Nunez.
The 33-year-old Bell is coming off a season where he saved 43 games for the Padres, turning in a sparkling 2.44 ERA to go along with a tidy 1.15 WHIP. Some of Bell’s success can be attributed to pitching half of his games in the pitcher-friendly dimensions of PETCO park, but the three-time All-Star has proven to be one of the game’s most reliable pitchers home or away in.
Bell figures to be just the first in a list of big names to be signed by Miami in the coming weeks. Although the Chicago Cubs have reached out to the agent of Albert Pujols, the Marlins still reportedly hold the highest bid in the Pujols sweepstakes, with an offer as high as 9 years, $225 million for the incumbent St. Louis Cardinals slugger. It’s unclear whether a marginal increase in salary, Miami’s Latino culture and Ozzie will be enough to enough to lure “The Machine” away from his home town Cardinals. That said, Miami remains a huge dark horse in the race to grab the MLB’s undisputed best and 2012′s biggest free agent prize.
Stay tuned Miami, more developments to come.
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