Daily Dose: Cardinals bring in help for Pujols

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Acquired from Cleveland for Chris Perez plus a player to be named
later, Mark DeRosa jumped right into St. Louis’ cleanup spot Sunday and
went 0-for-3 with a walk hitting behind Albert Pujols. While not a
prototypical cleanup hitter, DeRosa has batted .280/.364/.473 with 34
homers and 43 doubles since the beginning of last year, compared to the
measly .220/.297/.387 produced behind Pujols so far.

He’s a nice pickup for the Cardinals, who can either re-sign him or
take draft pick compensation if he leaves as a free agent. Depending on
the PTBNL the Indians also did fairly well cashing in a guy they
acquired this winter for three mediocre prospects, because Perez is a
23-year-old with a 3.72 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 65 innings as a big
leaguer and should be a quality setup man or closer option.

While the Cardinals help a lineup that beyond Pujols has hit just
.248 with a .381 slugging percentage, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* Antonio Bastardo has been scratched from his scheduled Wednesday
start with shoulder soreness and has left the team to undergo further
tests, so Philadelphia will call up Carlos Carrasco to fill in. He’s
been the Phillies’ top pitching prospect for years, but Carrasco’s
stats haven’t quite matched the hype with a 4.14 ERA and 239/83 K/BB
ratio in 237 innings between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008.

* Josh Outman’s promising rookie year may be finished after Oakland
transferred him to the 60-day disabled list Sunday. He had been sent to
the 15-day DL last week with a sprained left elbow and there’s
speculation that he may be headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery
that would knock him out into the middle of 2010. He’ll meet with Dr.
James Andrews before any decision is made.

* Adrian Beltre and the Mariners have already decided that he’ll
undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his left shoulder, but
haven’t settled on an exact date yet. In the meantime he’s still
playing, starting at third base and knocking in a run Sunday, but the
surgery is expected to sideline him for at least a month and take place
at some point this week. Chris Woodward seems like the probable fill

* Xavier Nady had to remove himself from a minor-league rehab game
Thursday after experiencing pain in his partially torn elbow ligament
and reportedly may be headed for Tommy John surgery. While the
operation isn’t as bad for hitters, he’d be finished for this year and
questionable for the first few months of 2010, so the impending free
agent may be done with the Yankees.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton (abdomen) is expected to start a
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A … Zack Greinke was limited to 6.1
innings Sunday due to a rain delay, but picked up his 10th victory …
Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list Sunday less than four
weeks after suffering an ugly looking shoulder injury … Francisco
Liriano turned in perhaps his best start of the season Sunday with
seven innings of two-run ball … Aaron Hill went deep twice Sunday and
has already set a career-high with 19 on the year … Adam Kennedy slid
to third base Sunday with Mark Ellis coming off the DL … David Price
gave up just one run in 6.1 innings Sunday, but again struggled with
his control by walking five … Alexei Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a homer
Sunday and is batting .301 with nine homers in his last 40 games … John
Danks shut out the Cubs for seven innings Sunday for his fourth
straight Quality Start … Reports suggest that impending free agent
Jason Bay is close to beginning long-term contract talks with the Red

NL Quick Hits: Jamie Moyer moved past Bob Gibson into 45th place
all time with his 252nd career victory Sunday … Kyle Lohse (forearm) is
expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A … Nate
Schierholtz went 4-for-5 with a homer Sunday and is hitting .312 with
nine extra-base hits in 22 starts … Tommy Hanson improved to 4-0 with
six scoreless innings Sunday and hasn’t allowed a run in three starts …
Ryan Sadowski tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut
Sunday, getting a dozen outs on the ground … Despite leading the team
in wins, Shairon Martis is being bounced from the rotation to make room
for Scott Olsen … Ryan Doumit (wrist) is slated to start rehabbing
Tuesday at Single-A in the hopes of returning next week … Aaron Cook
tossed eight innings of one-run ball Sunday, with Huston Street closing
out his eighth win … Max Scherzer gave up eight runs Sunday, but only
three were earned.

Wait, what is the non-tender deadline again?

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For the next day and a half you’ll hear a lot about the non-tender deadline and/or players being tendered or not tendered a contract. Here, in case you’re unaware, is what that means.

By midnight on Wednesday teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player. Now, to be clear, the team is not simply “tendering” the player the actual contract specifying what he’ll be paid. Think of it as more of a token gesture — a placeholder contract — at that point the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2016 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement avoiding arbitration) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If the team non-tenders a player, however, that player immediately becomes a free agent, eligible to sign anywhere with no strings attached.

Basically, the calculus is whether or not the team thinks the player in question is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2015, he’s probably going to be non-tendered.

MLB Trade Rumors has a handy “Non-Tender Tracker” which lists the status of the couple hundred arbitration eligible players and whether or not they’ve been tendered a contract. We’ll, of course, make mention of notable non-tender guys as their status for 2016 becomes known over the next day or two.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.