Tag Archives: Ian Kinsler

Manny Machado reportedly opts to stay in the SoCal sun – in San Diego

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Machado will be playing in the SoCal sun for years to come

According to a number of reliable sources, the San Diego Padres have come to an agreement with free agent infielder Manny Machado.

The deal is reportedly for 10 years and $300 million, which would make it the largest total dollar value guaranteed contract in American sports history. There is also reportedly a player opt-out after the fifth year in the deal.
This deal also pushes the Padres, who entered the pursuit late in the off-season as a “mystery team”, over the $100 million total salary mark for the first time in franchise history.
With top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr considered nearly ready at shortstop, the Padres could either play Machado at third base and go with Luis Urias at short for now, or begin 2019 with Machado at short until Tatis is ready.
The Phillies were considered an early favorite for Machado, who met with club officials back in December at Citizens Bank Park. Despite both sides saying all of the right polite things, nothing seemed to ever get close between the Phillies and Machado.
The Chicago White Sox were considered co-favorites for Machado’s services at one point. The Chisox added Machado’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and signed their workout partner Jon Jay in order to help lure the free agent. Chicago reportedly had a seven-year, $175-million dollar offer on the table for the infielder and were confident in their chances.
Don’t be surprised if the White Sox now shift their full focus and resources into a battle with the Phillies in trying to lure Bryce Harper, with the San Francisco Giants and his former Washington Nationals team also still in the hunt.
The Machado contract is certainly going to establish a base in Harper negotiations. It would not be surprising to see the outfielder get something along the lines of a 10-year deal worth between $325-350 million with a similar opt-out.
Robert Raiola, CPA and Director of Sports & Entertainment for the PKF O’Connor Davies accounting and advisory firm speculated just yesterday that such a large contract for both Machado and Harper would likely contain language to protect it from high California taxation.
On Harper/Machado::

Both players will ask for large signing bonus'(SB) as part of contracts. Both players rep live in no tax state. If proper language is included in contracts,(sb) will not be taxed in state where team is based

Deferred comp will likely be part of both deals.

You might ask why a player such as Machado would want to sign long-term with an organization such as the Padres? It’s a logical question, since San Diego has been a perennial loser since entering Major League Baseball as part of the 1969 expansion.
The Padres have participate in 50 seasons and have reached the postseason just five times, during each of the five seasons in which they have won the NL West crown: 1984, 1996, 1998, and 2005-06. The team has experienced just 14 winning campaigns, and has finished with a losing record for the last eight years. Last season, the Padres finished at 66-96 and in the division basement for the second time in three years.
But the San Diego executive team led by chairman Ron Fowler, general partner Peter Seidler, and executive vice-president A.J. Preller are committed to changing the perception of the club. The Padres were recently ranked by Baseball America as having the top minor league talent in the game.
They made an initial splash one year ago when they lured veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer with an eight-year, $144 million free agent contract that lasts through 2015. Earlier this off-season the Padres added veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler with a two-year, $8 million deal.
For the Phillies, this means that all of their eggs are now in one basket. Despite the proclamations of management that the off-season is a success without landing one of the two biggest names, that is not how the fan base sees it. If the Phillies now fail to finalize a deal with Harper they can expect considerable backlash from those fans.

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“One thing’s for sure, Harper is going to get more than Machado.”

With Manny Machado off the board, @JimBowdenGM predicts Bryce Harper’s potential contract and destination.

The pressure is now on, and the focus now appears clearly on one prize, the top prize: Bryce Harper. There will be increased competition from at least the White Sox. It is now time for the Phillies ownership and management to put up or shut up and bag the big game name in what has been an agonizingly lengthy off-season free agent hunt.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as BREAKING: Padres reportedly land Manny Machado

Jumping in as late suitors, Padres will make a pitch to Bryce Harper

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San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller will make a late pitch for Bryce Harper

Last week’s big news on the Manny Machado free agency front came when it was revealed that the San Diego Padres were the previously rumored ‘mystery team’ to enter the race for the young superstar free agent infielder.

Now today comes word from perhaps the most reliable MLB insider in the business that the Padres are tossing their hats into the ring for Bryce Harper as well.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted out the following message this morning:
Early in the off-season, San Diego was considered a long-shot to land either of the big names. The logic behind that thinking was that the Padres were probably at least a couple of years away from contending status in the National League West Division.
However, as this off-season has developed their organizational strategy has clarified. The Padres selling point is that they are considered to have one of the top, if not the very top, group of minor league prospects in the game today.
Harper or Machado would theoretically be signing long-term, possibly as long as a decade. So the superstar(s) would be part of an incremental improvement right away, and then become the centerpiece of a genuine long-term contender that would emerge over the next couple of years.
Just yesterday, Jack Dickey at Sports Illustrated described that San Diego system as follows: “The farm system is as flush as any in recent memory; just days ago, MLB.com ranked 10 Padres prospects among the game’s top 100, with five of them, including No. 2 overall prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr., expected to contribute as major leaguers in 2019.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, president of baseball operations Erik Greupner, and executive vice-president/general manager A.J. Preller are now exploring every avenue to turn around the fortunes of a franchise that hasn’t won the division since back-to-back NL West crowns in 2005-06.
The Padres have not experienced a winning season since 2010, and have finished no higher than third place in the division since that point. The club finished in the NL West basement twice in the last three years. They have experienced just 14 winning seasons in the 50-year history of the franchise.
Believing that the gems in their minor league system are for real, that San Diego brain trust appears ready to make a sincere attempt to write a better story for their future. They began this off-season jumping into the free agent game back in December by signing pitcher Garrett Richards and second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Landing Harper and/or Machado and adding them to a core group that also includes first baseman Eric Hosmer (29), outfielders Wil Myers (28) and Hunter Renfroe (27) and those talented, emerging prospects led by Tatis, Francisco Mejia, and Luis Urias would theoretically make the Padres at least a dangerous team in the short-term.
In the longer term, improving the pitching staff will be the key to San Diego getting and staying competitive. That will be true even if they are able to somehow reel in both Harper and Machado. Fortunately, nine of the top dozen prospects in what is considered baseball’s #1 system are all pitchers. That group should reach the bigs at various points over the next 2-3 years.
We’ll learn how serious the San Diego bid for the two free agents was as the process finally draws to a close at some point. It is entirely possible that allowing the Padres into the process this late in the game is simply a ploy by the agents to drive up the final contract value for their clients.
Many Phillies fans have begun expressing extreme frustration at the lengthy process. That frustration draws partly on the club’s collapse last summer, partly from the losing of the last half-dozen years after a decade of huge success, and partly from the Phillies genuine interest in pursuing the two talents.
What we somehow need to keep in mind is that these are two 26-year-old young men who are likely trying to make a decision that will affect the major portion of the next decade of their lives, both on a professional and personal level.
Whichever organization either Harper or Machado choose to sign with is likely going to become the place they perform during the entirety of their prime playing years. It will become the team with whom they are likely to become most identified for the rest of a potential Hall of Fame history.
Tonight’s meeting in Las Vegas between Harper and the Padres contingent is, for now, just one more step in what has been a long off-season negotiation process. Why anyone ever thought that actually signing one of two generational talents was going to happen quickly is anyone’s guess.

It’s past time for the Phillies to move on from Cesar Hernandez at second base

By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Cesar Hernandez, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41010340
Cesar Hernandez during 2018 season
(Photo by Keith Allison via Wiki Commons)
If you want to go ahead and say that this has been a roller coaster of a season for Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez then you would be on a really exaggerated summer coaster ride.
What this season has demonstrated as well as any in recent memory is exactly what I was saying about him before it even began – it’s time for him to go.
Hernandez has some of the most empty and inconsequential offensive statistics in the game, his defense is nothing special, and at age 29 next season he should not be considered a piece for a future contending Phillies ball club.
This season began with Hernandez hot. Over the Phillies first 43 games through May 19 he was slashing .282/.392/.448 with six homers, 15 RBI, 34 runs scored and nine stolen bases. That would represent the roller coaster upward climb.
Then on May 20, Hernandez wrapped up a road trip in Saint Louis by going 0-3. It was the start of that roller coaster drop-off. And unlike most roller coasters, this one would not be over quick, nor would it lead to a series of thrilling ups and downs.
From that May 20 game through nearly the entirety of summer, Hernandez’ performance would plummet through a prolonged, nauseating, lineup defeating drop.
Across 93 games through September 3, Hernandez hit just .237 with a .309 slugging percentage. Over more than twice the number of plate appearances as in his quick start he hit one fewer home run and stole one fewer base.
It’s not as if Hernandez has been playing outstanding defense. His 1,217.2 innings played is the third-most of anyone at second base in all of Major League Baseball this year. According to Fangraphs he ranks just 12th on their Advanced Defensive Index and 13th in Defensive WAR at the Keystone.
And still, manager Gabe Kapler kept writing his name into the starting lineup. Hernandez has started 138 of the Phillies 146 games through Friday night.
Hernandez made $5.1 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible this coming off-season. He will most certainly be looking for a raise, possibly to the $10+ million per year mark. He cannot become a free agent until after the 2020 season.

There will be a bevy of free agent second basemen or players who could be used at the position who will be hitting the market this winter. The list includes potentially enticing names like Brian DozierDJ LeMahieuJed LowrieDaniel MurphyIan Kinsler, and Asdrubal Cabrera. But each has already reached age 30, and all will be hoping for expensive contracts at multiple years of commitment.
With two years remaining until his own free agency, and with those years coming in his ages 29 and 30 seasons, it is entirely possible that Phillies GM Matt Klentak could convince some contending general manager to give up a young prospect with reasonable upside in a trade for Hernandez.
Corey Seidman for NBC Sports Philadelphia speculated earlier this month on a possible return for Hernandez:

“At this point, the Phillies won’t be able to find great value for Hernandez. But they should be able to land a reliever coming off a good year from a team in need of a second baseman.”

The Phillies have their future at the position already in-house. Scott Kingery won a minor league Gold Glove at second base just last year when he hit .304 with 26 homers, 29 doubles, 29 steals, and 103 runs scored with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

It’s time for the Phillies to commit and turn second base over to Kingery. (Photo by: Lauren McLaughlin)
Yes, Kingery struggled during his rookie season this year in Major League Baseball. The 24-year-old has slashed just .227/.268/335 with seven homers, 33 RBI, 10 steals, and 51 runs scored over 448 plate appearances across 134 games.
However, this was Kingery’s first taste of big-league life, and it arguably came under extreme duress. After playing just two minor league games at shortstop, Kingery was asked to become the Phillies starter at that vital position for much of this season.
Kapler has started him 90 times at shortstop and played him in 106 total games there. Meanwhile, Kingery has seen action in just four games at his natural second base position, with only two starts. He hasn’t gotten a start there since April 16 and has not played the position at all in the last three months.
As I described in a piece earlier this month, Kingery has been mishandled this year by the Phillies. I believe grossly so. As I wrote in that piece: “Put him at second base, and he will thrive. His record tells the tale. The proof is in the pudding. Pac-12 Player of the Year. Paul Owens Award winner. Minor league All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner.
I also believe that with a full year of MLB experience under his belt, and with the increased comfort level that would come in returning to his natural position, that Kingery will begin to thrive offensively next season.
During spring training back in March the Phillies signed Kingery to a six-year contract. It gave him more guaranteed money than any drafted player who had never played in MLB in the game’s history. They were presumably showing some level of commitment to Kingery and a belief in his abilities.

In the last 10 days, Hernandez has again heated up somewhat. Over nine games during that time he has hit .343 with a .415 on-base percentage. But it is too little, too late to salvage his season, let alone his Phillies career.
The improved stretch might indicate to some that the Hernandez roller coaster has finally bottomed out and is rising again. But the fact is that his numbers remain empty. He has no home runs, one stolen base, and two runs scored in those games.
It is time for the team to fully commit. It is time to dump Hernandez and turn the page from another failed 2012-17 player. Hand the starting job at second base to Kingery for the 2019 season and beyond, taking another step towards a brighter Phillies future.

Twins win, draw closer to AL Wildcard as pursuers all lose

Gibson’s solid outing helped Twins draw closer to playoffs

It’s become monotonous to call them the “surprising” Minnesota Twins. After all, it’s been five months now that Paul Molitor’s club has been a solid contender in the American League.

The Twins have been in control of the second AL Wildcard berth for weeks now. Last night behind an excellent start on the mound from Kyle Gibson and the timely hitting of Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler, they drew closer to clinching a place in the postseason.

Minnesota downed the depleted and demoralized host Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park by a 7-3 score. Meanwhile, their nearest pursuers in the playoff race all lost. The LA Angels were shut out by Houston 3-0, the Texas Rangers dropped a 4-1 decision at Oakland, and the Kansas City Royals were edged 7-6 by the Chicago White Sox.

The result of all that Friday night action is that the ‘Magic Number’ has dropped to just 6 for Minnesota to clinch the franchise’ first playoff berth since being swept out of the ALDS in both 2009 and 2010.

Gibson went seven strong innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. The 29-year old right-hander struck out six and walked two in raising his record to the 12-10 mark. Those dozen wins leave him one shy of his career high of 13 set back in the 2014 season.

These two games were big for us and the next two are as well,” Gibson said per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger after the Twins second straight victory in Detroit. “Coming off a rough series in New York, we definitely wanted to get one or two there and getting zero hurt a little bit. But these games were big to get the ship going in the right direction and hopefully we can keep it going.




Kepler banged his 19th home run of the season, a solo shot, in the top of the 3rd inning off Tigers starter Daniel Norris (4-8) to tie the game.

After falling behind again 2-1, Buxton lined a two-run double to left in the top of the 4th to push the Twins on top. He then scored on a base hit by Kepler, making it a 4-2 lead for Minnesota after four innings.

Run-scoring hits by Eduardo Escobar in the top of the 5th and Robbie Grossman in the 6th stretched that lead out to a 6-2 margin. In the bottom of the 6th, Ian Kinsler tagged Gibson for his 21st homer of the year, the solo shot cutting the Twins lead down to 6-3 at that point.

In the top of the 9th, Dozier got that one back by cracking his 32nd home run of the year. Matt Belisle came on to retire three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the 9th to close out the victory.

I think the guys played a fairly loose game,” Molitor said per Bollinger. “We know we’re in for a fight and these guys have played us tough the last few years, and probably dominated us in some regards. There’s a lot on the line and we have to find a way to keep playing good baseball.

His team will continue the series in Motown on Saturday and Sunday. Then it’s off to Cleveland for a real test against the defending AL champion Indians, who have the best record in the American League. The Twins wrap the regular season next weekend back home at Target Field with three more against the Tigers.

2016 Winter Meetings: Detroit Tigers

There are few teams in as interesting a position as the Detroit Tigers find themselves in during this off-season. 
Al Avila, the EVP of Baseball Operations and the team’s GM has to decide whether to rebuild, or retool for another big 2017 run.
The Tigers were just short this past season, finishing at 86-75. That record left the club eight games in back of the division-winning Cleveland Indians. But Detroit was only 2.5 games off the AL Wildcard pace.
This is a club with most of its key performers already past age 30, a few well into those 30’s. The decision to be made is whether to cash in on those players while they still have real value, or add to that core and make another playoff push.
There are heavy rumors that Detroit is looking to slash payroll. The club has been big spenders and steady contenders for years. While they would like to keep contending while also getting rid of some big salaries, that usually proves a difficult tightrope to walk.

VERLANDER AND MIGGY

The biggest problem in making a move might not be the players themselves, but those salaries. Their two signature players, first baseman Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Verlander, could find themselves on the move if the right deal is presented.
Verlander will turn 34 years old as spring training gets underway. He is owed $84 million over the next three years, with a 2020 vesting option. That would require a top five Cy Young finish in his age 37 season, which is unlikely.
Cabrera will turn 34 just after the 2017 season gets underway. He has a $28 million salary for next season, and then another $184 million guaranteed over the following six years.
There are also a pair of vesting options with Miggy for 2024 and 2025 at $30 million each. Those are unlikely, as they would require him to finish among the top ten in MVP voting during his ages 41 and 42 seasons.

POSITION PLAYERS WHO COULD GO IN A FIRE SALE

Whether or not the Tigers can move either of their marquee veterans, they will likely listen on a number of similarly aging, high-salaried, but talented players.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler just won his first career Gold Glove Award at age 34. He is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of his 11-year big league career as well.
Kinsler could be very attractive to another team. He will be entering the final guaranteed season of his contract at $11 million, with a $12 team option for 2018. So the dollars are reasonable, and the commitment is short-term only.
J.D. Martinez can play either corner outfield spot, and spends most of next season at age 29. He will then be a free agent. His salary is $11.75 million, but again, it’s only a one-year commitment for an acquiring club.
Left fielder Justin Upton also plays most of next season at age 29. He is owed another $110+ million guaranteed over the next five years, though he can opt out of the deal after the coming season.
Based on Upton’s recent seasons and the fact that he will be aging into his 30’s, it is probably a longshot that he takes the opt out. That is, unless he has a monster 2017 season.
DH Victor Martinez turns 39 years old just before Christmas. He is still owed a guaranteed $18 million for each of the next two seasons. Martinez has played just 15 games at first base over the last two seasons combined, so trade partners are surely limited to the American League.

TIGERS PITCHERS WHO COULD GO

Starting pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez will each turn 33 years old in January and February respectively. Each will become a free agent after next season.
Sanchez has a $16.8 million salary with a 2018 team option at the same level. Pelfrey is a far more attractive $8 million.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez is another arm who will be a free agent after the 2017 season. ‘KRod’ will turn 35 years old in January. The 15-year veteran was brought back for one more go-around at just $6 million.
Jordan Zimmermann just signed a big free agent deal with Detroit last off-season. But if the club decides on a full rebuild, he could be moved. He turns 31 years old in May, and is guaranteed another $92 million over the next four years.

DETROIT AS BUYERS?

Nothing would surprise me with Detroit, frankly. If the Tigers decide to buy, they could be in on someone like Chris Archer, for instance.
However, they could still try to move a couple of big salaries while also trying to swing that kind of deal. At the GM meetings a few weeks back, Avila addressed the Tigers situation.
I think there’s going to be interest in several of our players, I do,” said Avila per Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press“It’s just going to be a matter of where we go with those talks. But, yes, there is interest, and we expect there to be interest.”
One thing that appears certain is that Avila’s cell phone will be ringing off the hook down at National Harbor next week. In fact, it has probably already been ringing for weeks. Keep an eye on the Tigers this winter.