Right-hander Josh Johnson could be on the verge of signing an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Padres, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. Johnson missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, and the Padres declined his $4 million option this offseason.
According to Passan, a deal with Johnson would likely be driven by incentives, based on how many starts the injury-riddled 30-year-old makes in 2015. Since making back-to-back National League All-Star teams with the Marlins in ’10-11, Johnson has averaged just 14 starts per year.
Signing Johnson would be another attempt by the Padres to shore up the back end of their rotation. With Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy at the top — and one of the league’s best bullpens to go along with them — the Padres one minor weak spot on the staff would seem to be quality rotation depth. They also signed former Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million earlier this week.
The Padres signed Johnson to an $8 million contract last offseason, but Johnson never made a start because of the elbow trouble. Given his recent injury history (shoulder in 2012, elbow and triceps in ’13 and elbow again in ’14) an incentive-laden deal seems to make the most sense.
The Orioles and free-agent reliever Wesley Wright have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. Wright spent the entire 2014 season with the Cubs, where he posted a 3.17 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 58 appearances. The Orioles have not yet confirmed the deal.
Wright figures to fit into the Baltimore bullpen as a left-handed specialist. Lefty hitters have combined for a .646 OPS against Wright during his seven big league seasons, while righties have posted an .833 mark.
In 2014, lefties actually had a higher batting average against Wright, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The 29-year-old southpaw faced 85 left-handed hitters in ’14, and he didn’t allow an extra-base hit.
Originally drafted by the Dodgers, Wright spent his first five full seasons in the Majors with the Astros.
It’s no secret that the Padres are in the market for another bat, and according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, they could be looking into a potentially “significant trade” with Tampa Bay for 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers.
It’s hard to gauge how serious these talks are, but Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan says there is optimism a deal gets done and that the two sides are very close. Myers certainly fits the profile of what the Padres are looking for — an outfielder with some pop who will remain under team control for the foreseeable future. Myers will be arbitration-eligible in 2017, and he won’t become a free agent until after the ’19 season.
After winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2013, Myers struggled mightily this past season. He hit just .222/.294/.320 with six home runs in 87 games, and he missed nearly three months with a wrist injury. Myers returned to the Rays in late August and hit .213 with only five extra-base hits in 34 contests.
It’s unclear whether those poor splits were simply residual effects of the injury. But as ugly as his numbers were in 2014, Myers is only one year removed from his .293/.354/.478 season in ’13 that had many projecting him as one of the best young outfielders in the game.
Myers, once the centerpiece of the deal that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, would be the Padres’ second major outfield acquisition this offseason. They landed Matt Kemp in a deal with the Dodgers at last week’s Winter Meetings, and they’ve been linked in trade talks with Atlanta for outfielder Justin Upton — though a trade for Myers would most likely put a halt to those.
There have been no reports as to who the Padres have offered the Rays for Myers, but it’s a safe bet that a 24-year-old outfielder with lots of team control won’t come cheap. Padres top prospect Austin Hedges and No. 2 prospect Matt Wisler could be less than a year away from making contributions at the big league level and figure to be at the forefront of any team looking to make a trade with new Padres general manager A.J. Preller.
The Blue Jays have had discussions with the Astros over a trade for outfielder Dexter Fowler, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reported Tuesday night. Fowler has a year remaining before he hits free agency, and the Blue Jays are in search of outfield help with both Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus possibly headed elsewhere this offseason.
Fowler also makes sense in Toronto as a switch-hitter, given the Blue Jays’ right-handed heavy lineup. In the past month, Toronto has added righties Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin to a heart of the order that features right-handed sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.
After six years in Colorado, Fowler was traded to Houston a year ago Wednesday. He hit .276/.375/.399 with the Astros in 116 games in 2014, while battling an intercostal strain that landed him on the DL for a month and a half.
Fowler made $7.35 million last season. He’s entering his third year as arbitration eligible.
The Dodgers landed outfielder Chris Heisey in a trade with the Reds Tuesday night, sending right-handed pitcher Matt Magill to Cincinnati in return.
Heisey, a right-handed hitter who will turn 30 later this month, hit .222 with eight homers in 119 games for the Reds this past season. He has spent his entire Major League career (five seasons) with Cincinnati.
Magill, who turned 25 in November, struggled in 2014, posting a 5.21 ERA in 36 appearances (12 starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque. He was much better in ’13, going 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 18 outings for the Isotopes.
During that 2013 season, Magill earned a callup to the Dodgers, where he made six appearances, allowing 20 earned runs in 27 2/3 innings.
“We are excited to be adding a player with a power arm who has a chance to help our club next season,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a press release issued by the club.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, netted a significantly more proven piece in exchange for the young Magill. Heisey has recorded at least 200 at-bats in each of his first five Major League seasons for a career slash line of .247/.299/.422.
Heisey was a part of three Reds playoff teams, although he never saw much action in October, going hitless in six career postseason at-bats. Where he fits in a crowded Dodgers outfield is still to be determined.
Along with trading Heisey, the Reds made another pair of transactions Tuesday, not offering contracts to righties Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch for 2015.
The Yankees added left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano from the Rockies on Thursday, but they could be in the market for more arms, according to reports.
The Yankees are in talks with the Padres regarding right-hander Ian Kennedy, reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Kennedy, a former first-round pick by the Yankees in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is 8-9 on the year with a 3.66 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 135 1/3 innings. The Yankees dealt Kennedy to the Diamondbacks before the 2010 season in a three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson to New York and Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson to Detroit.
Bowden reports third-base prospect Eric Jagielo and 19-year-old left-hander Ian Clarkin could be sent to the Padres in a deal. Both were first-round selections by the Yankees last year. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, however, reports that the Yankees are unwilling to give up both players for Kennedy.
The Yankees have also had discussions with the Rockies about left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa, according to Bowden.
As of late Thursday, the Padres hadn’t had any substantial discussions regarding trading Kennedy and nothing was imminent.
As is the case with reliever Joaquin Benoit, the Padres don’t feel a need to push a deal now for Kennedy, who is under team control through 2015.
The Red Sox and former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore have agreed to a one-year deal worth $750,000 with the potential for that contract to increase to $6 million after incentives.
Sizemore, 31, hasn’t played since 2011 because of a slew of injuries, and from 2009-11, he played in just 70 games per year. But before he was bitten by the injury bug (both knees, sports hernia, lower back, left elbow), Sizemore was a three-time All-Star, who averaged 27 home runs in his four full seasons.
Boston manager John Farrell served as the Indians’ farm director from 2001-06 — the same time Sizemore was making his rise through the club’s ranks.
Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka signed a seven-year contract worth $155 million with the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Add in the $20 million posting fee, and the Bronx Bombers committed $175 million to the Japanese right-hander.
The contract includes an opt-out clause that can be exercised after the 2017 season. Tanaka was also given a full no-trade clause.
Winner of the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award the past two seasons, Tanaka posted a 1.27 ERA and a 24-0 record with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013.
The total value of Tanaka’s contract ranks as the fifth-highest for a pitcher in Major League history — behind Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia.
The free-agent market’s most coveted arm, Tanaka also received serious interest from the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Astros and D-backs.
The Cubs could be going younger very soon.
According to ESPNChicago.com, Jeff Samardzija continues to command interest and the Blue Jays are putting together a package of prospects in preparation to make an offer.
Speaking on SiriusXM radio, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos didn’t deny discussions regarding Samardzija. The Blue Jays certainly could use a boost to the starting staff after just two starters reached 140 innings last year, and none had an ERA below 4.15.
Samardzija has a 4.10 ERA over two full seasons as a starter. His 9.1 strikeout-per-nine-inning rate is better than any current Blue Jay starter posted last year.
The 28-year-old is set to hit the free agent market after 2015 and reports have indicated a contract extension may be difficult to agree upon.
A few more notes around the league Saturday:
– The Cardinals’ deal with shortstop Jhonny Peralta will be for four years, a little more than $52 million, according to FOX Sports.
– The Marlins are showing interest in former Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes and former Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro, according to the Miami Herald.
– The Red Sox are dealing with competition in the market for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. According to the Boston Globe, the Twins have interest in Saltalamacchia after making the decision to move Joe Mauer to first base. The Globe also reports a deal is still possible that would involve sending Mark Trumbo from the Angels to the Red Sox, presumably for starting pitching.
– After agreeing to a contract with Brian McCann (who was presented a qualifying offer by the Braves) and forfeiting a draft pick in the process, the Yankees are now set up to pursue other top-tier free agents, according to ESPN.com. The Yankees could now go after Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales, Ervin Santana or others tied to draft pick compensation since they’ve already lost a pick. And if one of their free agents who were presented qualifying offers signs with another team, they’ll receive a pick in return.
– Jason Mastrodonato
Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee will interview for the same position on the staff of new Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
The Yankees may be trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2014, but the word in the lobby at the General Managers Meetings is that it hasn’t stopped them from looking at the upper tier of available free agents. Sources say they appear to have made switch-hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Monday, a top priority.
If the Rays decide to trade David Price, look for the Dodgers to make a strong move. Sources say the Rays had scouts looking hard at the Dodgers farm system late in the season.
– Paul Hagen