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MLB News and Notes: Holland out until midseason

MLB News and Notes: Holland out until midseason
January 11, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Friday, January 10th.

Top Stories

  • Rangers lefty Derek Holland will be out until midseason after suffering a left knee injury Tuesday at his home.  Holland had arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday to repair torn cartilage.  Last season, Holland went 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 213 innings pitched.
  • According the Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians and staff ace Justin Masterson will soon discuss a multiyear extension.  This is Masterson’s last trip through arbitration, and predicts that the righty will earn around $9.7 million in his final year under contract for Cleveland.  Also from Hoynes, he says that the Indians are impressed with Bobby Abreu’s swing and improved conditioning, but he does not see a fit for Abreu unless Jason Giambi feels that he can no longer play.

Other News and Notes

  • Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reported that the Dodgers plan to go “all out” in their attempt to sign Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka.  John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle said he heard that Tanaka’s city preference is either Los Angeles, New York, or Boston.
  • Indians beat writer for Jordan Bastian confirmed that the Indians have spoken with the agent for Tanaka, but Bastian cautioned fans to not get their hopes up, as he does not believe Cleveland can outbid every other team in on the pitcher.
  • The Yankees designated former All-Star Vernon Wells for assignment.
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter said in a radio appearance that third baseman Manny Machado “feels great”, as he rehabs from knee surgery.  Showalter said that the club feels that Machado can be ready for Opening Day, but they will not rush him.
  • John Shea also reported that the Giants will sign pitcher Dontrelle Willis to a Minor League contract.
  • MLB Network’s Peter Gammons tweeted that the Twins and Red Sox have both shown interest in Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon.
  • The Padres signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a Minor League deal.  Boyer has pitched for the Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Mets in the past, and spent last season in Japan, where he posted a 2.67 ERA in 27 innings.
  • The Orioles re-signed infielder Alexi Casilla to a Minor League deal.
  •’s Britt Ghiroli said the Orioles still have interest in Kendrys Morales, but the team is hesitant to part with the draft pick it would have to forfeit to sign him.
  • Anthony DiComo of reported that the Mets are likely to stick with Ruben Tejada at shortstop for 2014.
  • According to a piece by Jim Bowden on, various GMs around the league have told Bowden that they expect Curtis Granderson and Ubaldo Jimenez to be the biggest busts of this year’s free agent class.
  • The Nationals and Stephen Strasburg avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $3.975 million deal for 2014.
  • Ronald Blum of the Associated Press said that a decision on the suspension of Alex Rodriguez could be reached this weekend.

User Comments

January 13, 2014 - 11:47 AM EST
I'd also love to be able to get a straight answer from the Tribe FO on exactly what their final offer was (if they made one) to Edwin Jackson last winter. Reports indidcated the Tribe had a lot of interest and sounded as though they were at least in the $40M range maybe even pushing $50M (as it was before we signed either Swisher or Bourn). Jackson was the "safer" bet between him and Ubaldo, but Ubaldo's upside is a lot greater. If the Tribe felt Edwin was worth $40-50M over 3-4 can you not view Ubaldo as worth that??
January 13, 2014 - 11:43 AM EST
While I agree Ubaldo is a risk (what FA pitcher isn't?), let's not forget too that even while struggling of late, he still has averaged over 182 innings over the last 3 seasons. Worst case he's an inning eater. Take out 2012 and worst case in his career he's a #3 pitcher. Several #3s make what is being rumored for Ubaldo.

I think 4 years is a big risk...I think 3 (guaranted) years is risky but a gamble worth taking...

As Matthew noted, Ubaldo was actually very good from May on. Was simply lights out in September.
January 13, 2014 - 10:25 AM EST
Glad I could give you a good laugh, Chuck.

My point with respect to Dickey is that a pitcher who relies exclusively on one pitch is a bigger risk than a pitcher who has a complere arsenal of pitches. Dickey's knuckler wasn't as effective after joining Toronto last season, and his ERA was up over 50%.

I saw almost every Ubaldo start last year and what was obvious was that he used whatever pitch was working best for him that day. As a result, he only had one bad start in his last 28. If he was having trouble locating the fastball he just threw more sliders and changeups, and vice versa.

He was also able to attack different batters with different pitches, depending on the batter's weakness.

Pretty funny, huh?

The guy is never injured. I don't think he's missed a start in years. He's still relatively young. His success last year was due to smoothing out his delivery and speeding it up by about one second. I don't think those 27 good starts out of 28 was a fluke.

If I were a GM, I'd go get him. And it won't take $100 million, or close to it.
Chuck Galeti
January 12, 2014 - 3:41 PM EST
Hey Rich, you sound like Ubaldo's agent. For some reason you bring up RA Dickey, a pitcher that has zero relevance to this discussion. Your basis of argument is laughable for basically everything you said.

If what you said were true, he'd be getting $100 million this off-season. He'll get a fraction of that because you're wrong.

January 12, 2014 - 8:49 AM EST
With the Mets sticking with Tejada at SS, it looks like 99% chance that we will see Cabrera in his final year with Indians. Will he have a rebound year? If he has similar year as in 13 he would like lucky to even get major league contract next year.
January 12, 2014 - 8:37 AM EST
Beginning April 29th Ubaldo started 28 games, giving up more than 3 earned runs only twice. One game he gave up 4 ER's in 8 innings and the other game it was 6.

He can't repeat his delivery? Give me a break. He simplified and speeded up his delivery so it was repeatable, which explains those results. He also came to terms with the fact that he needs to be a pitcher rather than a thrower, and he learned how to pitch.

The guy is a workhorse who never misses a start and can throw a number of pitches for strikes. When one pitch isn't working he just uses his other pitches, which accounts for his consistency last season.

A bigger gamble, IMO, is a guy like R.A. Dickey last year who depends on one pitch.

Ubaldo is emerging from a three-year transition period where he taught himself (with some help from Callaway) to use what he's got. Now he's all set up for a sustained run of success. Unfortunately, the Indians paid the bill for his re-training period and got him ready for a wealthier team to benefit from. But at least they salvaged one good season before he left that propelled them into the playoffs.
January 11, 2014 - 3:03 PM EST
shocked at the teams tanaka is interested in!!

him and all like him, whether they are 16 yr olds or established players overseas, be it the carribean or far east, should have to go through the june draft with everyone else. just like the nba. totally unfair. needs to be changed.

January 11, 2014 - 1:33 PM EST
Jim Bowden is about as reputable a reporter as someone on TMZ. He complete and utter garbage, and have seen 100 pieces he's written that aren't accountable, and just aren't flat true.

This imbecile reports that two GMs point to Jimenez being untrustworthy...then says that the Angels have to sign one of Tanaka, Jimenez or Garza.


One AL GM said he doesn't trust Jimenez. What do you think he's going to say? If he wants Jimenez, it's a great smokescreen. If he doesn't want Jimenez, who cares what he says.

You grant a GM anonymity, and it's possible they'll say ANYTHING, knowing their names wouldn't be touched. Hell, Bowden may think HE'S still a GM.

Now, is Ubaldo a risk? Sure, but the facts are the same: His K-Rate was ridiculous all season...ALL SEASON. His efficiency improved nearly from day one, and really took a turn in August. There were signs of improvement throughout the year, but they were always bookended by a four-inning dog in which he threw 110 pitches because he couldn't locate.

The Indians need a starter, and if it's Ubaldo, fine. If they sign him for three-years and 10-14 million...also fine...and I'm, by no means, a Ubaldo guy, and anyone who listens to my shows, or reads my pieces...knows that.

He's a MASSIVE gamble, but if you look at the overall numbers, and to discuss velocity as a piece and ignore his FIP/xFIP and his growing K-Rate is just not taking in the whole picture.

It does get murkier when you talk about the either/or of Masterson and Jimenez and who I'd prefer, but you also can't chuck away his 2013 season as the anomaly, when you can point to the 2012 season as that anomaly.

If he lost velocity, and struggled for 18 months trying to figure out how to be a guy that averages 92, but can still touch 96 at times, and now has figured it out...I'm all in.

Of course, I'll just have to trust the Indians braintrust to do what's right, and also will trust the fact that they'll keep their cards close to the vest.

They have years (I'm guessing three), and they have a number (I'm guessing $33-$36) that they'll spend. If they don't get it, they won't.


They might be putting all of their eggs into the Masterson basket...


They may believe their future is a more cost effective Carrasco and Bauer...and let both go...

We all have our opinions on preference...

We'll just have to see what happens.
January 11, 2014 - 12:52 PM EST
To clarify about the Jimenez quotes,

Three GM's were asked. One said Jimenez and Santana were both pretty risky even though they might not bomb. Another said that Ubaldo will bust because he will never be able to repeat his delivery.

The idea that he could never repeat his delivery is extremely stupid to me. Ubaldo really shortened his delivery in order for it to be more consistent, and it did not look like he had a lot of trouble doing it. How can you accuse someone of that when they basically already corrected the error and performed like an ace for over 2 months after making the correction?
January 11, 2014 - 12:40 PM EST
What risk? Ubie's a big, strong, durable guy who's kind of a headcase. I think he feels comfortable in the relaxed atmosphere fostered by Tito, Swisher, Kipnis, et al. It's not like he folds under pressure, he was a bear down the stretch. Every signing is a risk. Grady anyone? Pronk? Westbrook? Wayne Freakin' Garland? I'd give him 3yrs/$13 million any time. We need him.
January 11, 2014 - 12:06 PM EST
Yes, I agree that Ubaldo is a risk. And he did have a four month stretch where he was dominant, not one month. I wouldn't be surprised to hear from Callaway that he feels Ubaldo has straightened himself out (or vice versa). Truth is, he's no more of a risk than the other pitchers left on the market, except Tanaka. Santana and Garza are big risks on any multi-year big $ deal.

This could be working out to the Tribe's benefit if he ends up looking for a one year deal. One year, $11m with incentives that could take it to $13/14? Ok w me.
Andy N.
January 11, 2014 - 11:51 AM EST

Not much news on Sizemore. Latest I saw was that the Reds were interested in him, and GM Walt Jocketty confirmed that he had spoken with Sizemore. I wouldn't be shocked if he was looking for an incentive based Major League deal, based strictly on what he's capable of when healthy. But in the end, I do suspect he'll get a Minor League deal and will have to prove his health in spring. The Reds do seem like a good fit for him, and even though this is pure speculation, as I have seen nothing linking these two together, I think he could be a fit in San Francisco as well, where they always seem to like cheap platoon-type outfielders.
January 11, 2014 - 10:56 AM EST
Ubaldo was not awful in 2013 prior to August. He was awful in April. Starting on April 29 for the rest of the season he was very effective.

Ubaldo's ERA, by month:

April: 7.13
May: 4.23
June: 3.09
July: 2.83
August: 3.10
September: 1.09

That being said, I agree that Ubaldo is an extreme risk.
January 11, 2014 - 10:40 AM EST
I think the GMs are just being brutally honest. How they feel is how I feel. He's a major gamble for anyone who signs him to a 3+ year deal for $12M or more a season. He's not the same pitcher he was pre-2011 when he dominated, and only has a good two-month stretch to show for his last three years which were mostly terrible. I mean, look how awful he was in 2013 prior to August? And how awful he was in all of 2012? And for almost all of 2011? Buyer beware.
January 11, 2014 - 10:36 AM EST
Unless the GMs saying those quotes about Jimenez as a smoke screen in order to drive his price down. I think most GMs feel his asking price way to high. We wont know until Tanaka signs. He has held the remaining FA market at this time. Only seeing minor contract signings last couple weeks by MLB teams. Is there a chance the Hot stove season will end as SPT starts?
January 11, 2014 - 10:03 AM EST
If it is true that most GMs think that Jimenez would be a bust and if I was his agent I would have him sign a one year contract. If he has a year similar to second half of last year than he would become more marketable next year than this year.
January 11, 2014 - 9:54 AM EST
Hi Andy,
Is there any news on any teams interested in signing Grady Sizemore to a minor league contract?

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