Storylines: Pirates, Angels swap relievers
Pittsburgh trades Grilli to LA for Frieri
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: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Thursday, June 26.
- In a fascinating swap of struggling late-inning righties, the Angels acquired Jason Grilli from the Pirates in exchange for Ernesto Frieri, Pittsburgh announced via press release. It remains to be seen precisely how the two players will be incorporated into their respective bullpen mixes. Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated that Grilli will not jump straight into the closer's role, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reported, who noted that the club almost certainly intends to move him there in time. On the other side of things, Pittsburgh has deployed Mark Melancon as its closer since moving Grilli out of the role (and, earlier in the season, while Grilli was rehabbing). It would seem more likely that Frieri ends up working in a set-up capacity, unless Melancon falters. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that Melancon will indeed be the closer, though he also made mention of Frieri's experience in that role, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Reds announced that they signed Cuban right-hander Raisel Iglesias to a seven-year contract. The deal will guarantee Iglesias $27 million (including a signing bonus in the range of $5 million to $6 million) once he obtains a work visa. It also allows him to opt into arbitration if he becomes eligible. While the deal is for seven years, Iglesias' free agency will not be delayed, as one of those years includes the 2014 season, during which he will not accrue a full year of service time anyway.
- The Indians will give ailing starter Justin Masterson a few extra days to test the right knee that has bothered him since early this season. In the meantime, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reported that Cleveland plans on promoting left-hander T.J. House from Triple-A Columbus to start against the Mariners on Sunday. Terry Francona noted that right-hander Zach McAllister, who is currently at Triple-A, will be ready in case Masterson is unable to start on Tuesday.
- Francisco Lindor suffered a small, non-displaced nasal fracture when he took a bad-hop ground ball off of his face on Wednesday afternoon. Lindor, who was recently named to his third straight Futures Game, got hurt when a sharp ground ball from Tigers prospect Devon Travis took a bad hop and hit the shortstop quarely in the nose. He will be out of action 7-10 days.
- Jordan Bastian also noted in an answer to a fan question that it would make sense for the Indians to want to give Francisco Lindor a taste of the Majors in September. That could set the table for Lindor to possibly take over as the Tribe's shortstop in 2015. If the Indians feel Lindor isn't ready for Opening Day next year, the team could use Mike Aviles as a stopgap until the prospect arrives. He noted that there is, of course, another scenario in which Lindor could arrive earlier than expected. If Cleveland free falls out of the playoff hunt in the coming weeks, Cabrera would certainly be a prime trade candidate. If that situation came to fruition, the Indians might consider expediting Lindor's development to give him a shot on baseball's biggest stage. However, Cleveland isn't at that point yet.
News and Notes:
- Pittsburgh and Gregory Polanco appear to be at a stalemate in their negotiations, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The sides have exchanged several proposals, Heyman said, but remain far apart. Several offers were made in the run-up to Polanco's promotion. One offer from the Pirates would have given the team control over Polanco through the 2024 season, with Polanco able to earn up to $75 million, most of it through option years at the tail end of the deal. Though Polanco did make counter-proposals, though apparently there has not been enough movement in either direction to bring a deal within sight.
- Top Astros prospect Carlos Correa will miss the rest of the year after undergoing surgery on a broken fibula, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reported.
- Approval of the new Oakland Athletics lease did not go through as expected yesterday, Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle reported, because four representatives of the city of Oakland boycotted the meeting. Without their presence, a quorum could not be reached, and therefore the vote could not pass.
- Reports have noted that the Blue Jays are looking for upgrades at second base or third base for the past few days, and Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that multiple baseball sources have confirmed that Chase Headley is among Toronto's targets. San Diego appears willing to move the struggling third baseman, as one source told Sanders that the Friars are "open for business" on talks involving anyone except ace Andrew Cashner.
- Rangers lefty Derek Holland will have his minor league rehab assignment pushed back, according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Holland participated in fielding drills on Thursday but wasn't ready to progress to pitching in games, manager Ron Washington told Fraley.
- The D'Backs released J. J. Putz according to the team's transactions page on MLB.com. They're still on the hook for the remaining $3.86 million on his contract, and he is now free to sign with any team.
- First baseman/outfielder Brad Snyder elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock from the Rangers, according to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.
The economic fact is that the team will have control of him for only a certain # of years even if they buy out a year or two of his free agency years, its pretty much a forgone conclusion that he will walk into free agency at some point in the future. The judicious thing to do is make sure that you are utilizing his services throughout the sweetest possible range of that playing time. Bringing him in prematurely and burning a year of eligibility while he scuffles and struggles to adjust because he simply isn't properly prepared is a short sighted move.
Better the Indians go with an Aviles/Rameriz option for 2015 let alone the balance of 2014 should Cabrera be moved, which in fact, would only happen if the Tribe falls out of contention which is absolutely the WRONG time to rush a guy up as there is no upside to the team's fortunes to do so!
If Lindor continues to progress and impress, he could/should gain a September call up, in '15, certainly not '14! Then be ready to go with the 2016 season as a what, 22-23 y/o? That seems about right to me.
The main point I'm trying to make is about being smart about when you start his major league service clock.