David Shovein

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Winter Meetings: Day Four

Friday, December 15, 2017


Meetings Adjourned!


Baseball’s Winter Meetings officially came to a close on Thursday at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Florida.


Every year, the Winter Meetings culminate with the Rule 5 draft on the morning of the final day.


According to MLB.com, to be eligible for selection:

 

Players on an organization's 40-man roster are protected from the Rule 5 Draft. To be eligible for selection, a player must either have spent four seasons in professional baseball after signing at age 19 or older, or spent five seasons in pro ball after signing at 18 or younger (as of June 5 of that year).

 

A team that makes a selection pays a player's previous team $100,000 and places the player on its 40-man roster, then must keep the player on the 25-man roster or disabled list for the whole season. (He must be active for at least 90 days, so teams can't hide him on the DL the whole time.) If the acquiring team removes the player from the big league roster, it must offer him back to the former team for $50,000. (The costs increased from $50,000 and $25,000 to $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.)


While success stories are rare, it gives rebuilding clubs another opportunity to secure controllable young talent. In recent years, the Phillies snagged Odubel Herrera from the Rangers (2014), the Royals uncovered Joakim Soria from the Padres (2006) and the Cubs landed Hector Rondon from the Indians (2012).


Here’s how the draft played out on Thursday:


1) Tigers - Victor Reyes (Diamondbacks)

The 23-year-old outfielder slashed .292/.332/.399 with four homers and 18 swipes in 126 games at Double-A Jackson in 2017. He can play all three outfield positions and should be able to stick with the rebuilding Tigers throughout the 2017 campaign.


2) Giants - Julian Fernandez (Rockies)

The 22-year-old has a very live arm, but has never pitched above Class-A ball. It seems unlikely that he could stick in the Giants’ bullpen for the duration of the season.


3) Pirates (via Phillies) - Nick Burdi (Twins)

Burdi, who was one of the top bullpen arms in the 2014 draft class, is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. It’s a nice gamble for the Pirates who can stash him away on the disabled list for the first half of the season before evaluating what they have.


4) White Sox - Carlos Tocci (Phillies)

The 21-year-old outfielder slashed .307/.362/.398 with a pair of homers and 48 RBI in 113 games at Double-A Reading in 2017. He probably profiles best as a fourth outfielder in the future, but is developed enough that he could stick with the White Sox.


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5) Royals (via Reds) - Brad Keller (Diamondbacks)

The Royals were in the market for cheap starting pitching depth, so it’s not a bad gamble to take on their end. Keller posted a 4.68 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 111/57 K/BB ratio over 130 ⅔ innings at Double-A Jackson in 2017. He’ll compete for a spot at the back end of their rotation.


6) Royals (via Mets) - Burch Smith (Rays)

The 27-year-old made a total of two minor league appearances from 2014-2016 due to various injuries that culminated in him undergoing Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2017 to post a 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 56/24 K/BB ratio over 56 ⅓ minor league innings and is an intriguing option for the Royals, either as a starter or reliever.


7) Braves - Anyelo Gomez (Yankees)

The 24-year-old hurler compiled a 1.92 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 87/21 K/BB ratio in 70 ⅓ innings across four minor league levels in 2017. He’ll compete for a spot in the Braves’ Opening Day bullpen.


8) Pirates - Jordan Milbrath (Indians)

The sidearming right-hander owned a 3.02 ERA and 63/25 K/BB ratio across 56 ⅔ innings between High-A and Double-A in 2017. He could provide an interesting look out of the Pirates’ bullpen.


9) Orioles - Nestor Cortes (Yankees)

The 23-year-old swingman registered a 2.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 105/32 K/BB ratio over 104 ⅔ innings between three minor league levels with the Yankees in 2017. His versatility should allow him to carve out a role with the O’s.


10) Marlins - Elieser Hernandez (Astros)

The 22-year-old flashed his potential dominance at High-A in 2017, but isn’t really considered MLB-ready. The Marlins are in a full rebuild though, and should be able to make room for him in the bullpen this season, in the hopes that he develops into an asset in the future.


11) Mariners - Mike Ford (Yankees)

The 25-year-old slashed .270/.404/.471 with 20 homers and 86 RBI across 126 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017. He provides the M’s with another option at 1B/DH.


12) Angels - Luke Bard (Twins)

The 27-year-old hurler had a terrific season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, compiling a 2.76 ERA and 99/24 K/BB ratio in 65 ⅓ innings. He’ll compete for a spot in the Angels’ Opening Day bullpen.


13) Twins - Tyler Kinley (Marlins)

Kinley is an intriguing talent, but struggled in his first exposure to Triple-A in 2017. It’s doubtful that he cracks the Twins’ bullpen to begin the 2018 season.


14) Diamondbacks - Albert Suarez (Giants)

The 28-year-old hurler has logged 115 ⅔ innings at the big league level with the Giants over the last two seasons and could carve out a role in the D’Backs’ bullpen.


15) Astros - Anthony Gose (Rangers)

The Astros are intrigued by Gose’s transition to the mound last season and are willing to give him a shot to see if he can contribute out of the bullpen at the big league level.


16) Orioles - Pedro Araujo (Cubs)

The 24-year-old hurler was outstanding between High-A and Double-A in 2017, posting a 1.76 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 87/18 K/BB ratio over 66 ⅔ innings. It’s not out of the question to think the he could open the season in the O’s bullpen.


17) Marlins - Brett Graves (Athletics)

The 24-year-old was a third round pick in 2015, but has struggled mightily in his minor league career. Given the full rebuild that’s going in Miami, they should be able to give him a shot at the big league level.


18) Orioles - Jose Mesa (Yankees)

Mesa, 24, registered a 1.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 101/32 K/BB ratio over his 84 innings between High-A and Double-A. The O’s need all the help they can get in the bullpen, so adding as many talented young arms as possible is certainly beneficial.





Athletics land Piscotty


The Athletics made a splash on Thursday, acquiring outfielder Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals in exchange for infield prospects Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.


The 26-year-old had a disappointing and injury-plagued 2017 season where he hit just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers and 39 RBI in 107 games. He also had to deal with an ALS diagnosis for his mother, Gretchen.


Piscotty is from the Bay Area and played in college ball at Stanford, so hopefully a return home will do wonders for him both personally and professionally.


Remember, this is a guy who posted a .815 OPS while slugging 29 homers and plating 124 runs in his first 216 games between the 2015-2016 seasons. Piscotty should have a chance to rack up plenty of counting stats hitting near Khris Davis and Matt Olson in the middle of the A's lineup.


In exchange, the Cardinals receive a pair of promising young infield prospects.


Munoz, 22, batted .300/.330/.464 with 13 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 112 games this past season between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville.  While he has played primarily at shortstop, he has also spent time all over the infield.


Shrock, a 23-year-old second baseman, had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .321/.379/.422 with seven homers and 46 RBI in 106 contests at Double-A Midland.





Bullpen Buys Continue


One area that continued to see a high-level of action on Thursday was the relief pitching market. With many of the top setup men agreeing to deals in the first few days of the Meetings (Brandon Morrow, Bryan Shaw, Pat Neshek, Luke Gregerson, Jake McGee, Juan Nicasio, Anthony Swarzak, Joe Smith and Brandon Kintzler), the rest of the arms on the free agent market seem to be scrambling and don’t want to be left out in the cold.


While there were reports that there was mutual interest with the Tigers on a reunion with Fernando Rodney, the 40-year-old right-hander ultimately settled on a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins.


Craig Mish of Sirius XM reported that the deal also includes $1.5 million in performance-based incentives that could run the total as high as $6 million. While the peripheral numbers aren’t always impressive, Rodney should open the season as the Twins’ primary closer which will give him fantasy value in all mixed leagues.


Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Steve Cishek and the Cubs reached an agreement, with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN adding that it’s a two-year pact in the range of $12-$14 million. The 31-year-old will join Brandon Morrow in what will be a new-look Cubs’ bullpen in 2018.





Quick Hits: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported early Thursday morning that the Orioles are “moving aggressively” on Manny Machado trade talks and believe that they can move him before the end of the week… ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Diamondbacks have also checked in with the O’s on Machado… Nightengale also noted that the Giants and Blue Jays have spoken to the White Sox about a potential trade for outfielder Avisail Garcia… According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres are among the clubs that have inquired about Christian Yelich, though the Marlins seem intent on keeping the 26-year-old outfielder… Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals continue to push the Blue Jays for third baseman Josh Donaldson, though the Jays “remain disinclined to move Donaldson” as they plan to compete in 2018… Rosenthal also added that the Angels have expressed interest in free agent shortstop Zack Cozart… Bob Nightengale also noted that the Padres have become the “clear-cut favorites” to land Eric Hosmer… Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported that the Astros and Nationals have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Hector Rondon… Cotillo also noted that there’s traction between the Mets and Indians regarding a possible trade for Jason Kipnis… The Rangers signed Kevin Jepsen to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Rangers also re-signed Hanser Alberto to a minor league deal with a spring training invite…Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Blue Jays have expressed interest in free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain… Heyman reported Thursday that the Rangers’ pursuit of Zack Greinke seems to be dead…  According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox are trying to sign both J.D. Martinez and Eric HosmerVictor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) is fully healthy and has been working out since early November… The Royals signed Cody Asche to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.




Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.
Email :David Shovein



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