UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Taijuan Walker was in the deal, as well as Nick Franklin and two others.
8:29 PM: Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the D-Backs would have received three or four players in return for Upton, including relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, prospect infielder Nick Franklin and likely one of Taijuan Walker, James Paxton or Danny Hultzen. Alas, no deal.
8:07 PM: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs are on Upton’s no-trade list. It’s possible he included some of those teams for leverage, not because he wouldn’t go there. But Seattle doesn’t look like a fit.
7:12 PM: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic confirms Rosenthal’s report and adds that the proposed package from the Mariners was “substantial.”
7:10 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks were in agreement on a trade that would have sent Justin Upton to the Mariners, but that the outfielder rejected the proposed deal.
The Mariners are one of four teams on Upton’s no-trade list. Players often waive their no-trade rights if they are compensated in some way, but it appears that he just doesn’t want to play in Seattle. Of course, coming back to Arizona would now be pretty awkward, too. The Rangers and Braves are still interested, so chances are the D-Backs will continue to shop him.
Rosenthal hears that the Diamondbacks would have received a package of young players in return for Upton, but their identities aren’t known. As our own Matthew Pouliot speculates, it’s likely that names like Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin, Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor could have been discussed.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.