Staying in the Bay Area
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Monday that Marcus Semien has informed the Athletics that he's interested in discussing a long-term contract extension.
Semien is arbitration-eligible for the third and final time this winter and should earn a nice raise over the $5.9 million that he made in 2019 after setting new career highs in homers (33), RBIs (92), batting average (.285), on-base percentage (.369), slugging percentage (.522), runs (122) and hits (187) while finishing third in the American League in MVP voting -- behind only Mike Trout and Alex Bregman.
Semien is a native of the Bay Area and loyal to the Athletics' franchise that gave him his big break -- but with their small-market payroll they may not have the financial clout to lock up the budding superstar as they look to keep their payroll around the $90 million mark again this season.
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Even if they aren’t able to lock him up with an extension though, don’t expect the Athletics to deal Semien. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Tuesday that the team has no plans to deal him even if they are unable to work out a long-term deal to keep him in Oakland.
While it appears as though Semien is going to remain in Oakland, other members of the club may not. Rosenthal also noted Tuesday that the A's are discussing possible trades of Jurickson Profar, Blake Treinen, and Josh Phegley.
As noted by Rosenthal, "all three players are non-tender candidates as they enter their final years of arbitration before reaching free agency." Profar was acquired from the Rangers last December after a breakout 2018 season in Texas, but he went on to bat just .218/.301/.410 across 518 plate appearances with Oakland. The former top prospect is projected to make around $5.8 million in 2020 via the arbitration process. Treinen, who lost his closer gig in 2019 to Liam Hendriks, is projected for a salary bump to $7.8 million.
Veteran left-hander Rich Hill has been no stranger to the injured list throughout his career. A flexor strain and blister issues limited him to just 58 ⅔ innings (over 13 starts) or the Dodgers during the 2019 season. Hill has only thrown more than 140 innings in a season once during his big league career -- and that came way back in 2007 with the Cubs.
It doesn’t look like the 2020 season is going to be any different.
Rob Bradford of WEEI reported Monday that the free agent southpaw underwent "primary and revision surgery" on his left elbow in late October and won't be ready for the start of the 2020 season.
Primary repair is a variation on Tommy John surgery which could allow for Hill to return sooner, rather than undergoing the full procedure.. However, he's still unlikely to return before June or perhaps the All-Star break.
When he’s on the field, he has been a major asset. Since 2015, Hill owns a stellar 2.91 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 553/146 K/BB ratio across 466 ⅓ innings. Due to that high level of success, Hill should still get plenty of offers on the open market -- despite the injury history and the fact that he’s set to celebrate his 40th birthday in March.
He makes for a nice low-risk, high-reward option for teams with their sights set on the postseason. From a fantasy perspective though, he’s nothing more than a late-round flyer in deep draft champions’ formats.
Gold Glove for Hire
The White Sox have decided that the future is now at second base -- designating Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez for assignment and placing him on outright waivers on Tuesday.
Sanchez was the 2019 American League Gold Glove winner at second base, but he hit just .252/.318/.321 with two homers in 149 games, and he was projected to earn around $6 million in arbitration this winter.
This move should pave the way for Nick Madrigal to take over at second base at some point in 2020, although the White Sox could play the arbitration game with the prospect if he doesn't sign a long-term deal.
Madrigal, 22, was the fourth overall selection in the 2018 draft out of Oregon State. He rose from High-A ball to Triple-A during the 2019 season, slashing .311/.377/.414 with four homers, 55 RBI and 35 stolen bases (13 caught stealing) in 120 games across three minor league levels.
While he hasn’t flashed much power yet at the minor league level -- he projects to be a double-digit homer guy at the big league level.
If he does earn the starting job right out of the gate -- in what should be a loaded White Sox’ lineup -- Madrigal will instantly have mixed league fantasy appeal.
As far as Sanchez is concerned, unless he’s claimed on waivers, he’ll be released by the White Sox and free to sign wherever he desires. A much better real life asset than a desirable fantasy commodity, the 27-year-old can be ignored in redraft leagues of all sizes.
American League Quick Hits: The Rays avoided arbitration with C Mike Zunino by agreeing to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with a $4.5 million club option for 2021… Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Mariners "have shown a desire" to trade catcher Omar Narvaez… The Twins announced the hiring of Edgar Varela as their new hitting coach -- replacing James Rowson who departed to become the bench coach and offensive coordinator for the Marlins… The Tigers acquired 24-year-old right-hander Dario Agrazal from the Pirates for cash considerations… The Blue Jays signed A.J. Cole to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Mariners acquired Nestor Cortes from the Yankees for international slot money… The Royals released Jorge Boniacio after a pair of disappointing seasons… The Athletics inked Jamie Schultz, Ian Gardeck and Lucas Luetge to minor league deals with an invitations to big league camp… The A’s also re-signed Eric Campbell and Brian Schlitter to minor league deals… The Mariners officially finalized their six-year, $24 million contract with Evan White… The Red Sox designated left-hander Brian Johnson for assignment… The White Sox sent Daniel Palka outright to Triple-A Charlotte… The Mariners signed right-hander Kendall Graveman to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The deal also includes a $3.5 million club option ($500,000 buyout) for 2021… The M’s also signed Jose Marmolejos to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Orioles re-signed Mason Williams to a minor league contract… The Twins inked Blaine Hardy and Ryan Garton to a minor league contracts with spring training invites… The Astros signed Dustin Garneau to a one-year, $650,000 deal… Shohei Ohtani (elbow, knee) was cleared to begin throwing off a mound on Monday… The Rangers claimed Nick Goody off of waivers from the Indians… The Orioles signed Malquin Canelo and Rob Zastryzny to minor league deals.
National League Quick Hits: The Diamondbacks signed catcher Stephen Vogt to a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2021. He should form a platoon with Carson Kelly behind the dish… According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Pirates "appear to have narrowed" their managerial search to Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro… Heyman also confirmed Monday that the Mets plan to hire Hensley Meulens as their bench coach for first-year manager Carlos Beltran…The Mets have also decided on Jeremy Hefner as their next pitching coach… According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, the Rockies have no intention of trading away right-hander Jon Gray… The Cardinals released veteran right-hander Dominic Leone… The Reds acquired Justin Shafer from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations… The Reds also claimed Nick Martini off of waivers from the Padres… To make room on their 40-man roster, they designated Jimmy Herget and Brian O’Grady for assignment… The Marlins released veteran southpaw Wei-Yin Chen despite owing him $22 million in 2020… Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic reports that free agent reliever Sam Dyson is being investigated for domestic violence… The Phillies signed Josh Harrison to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training… Former Padres’ reliever Kazuhisa Makita has agreed to a contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.