D’backs, Angels, White Sox agree to three-team Mark Trumbo deal

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3:00 p.m. EST update: A source told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro that the deal is done. The Diamondbacks will get Trumbo and two players to be named, and they give outfielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox and left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels. Left-hander Hector Santiago will go from Chicago to Anaheim.

Trumbo is expected to play left field for the Diamondbacks and could bat fourth or fifth behind Paul Goldschmidt. A.J. Pollock will serve as Arizona’s primary center fielder, with Gerardo Parra facing righties and Cody Ross starting against lefties in right field.

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register says that right-hander A.J. Schagel is one of the PTBNs going to Arizona. He had a 7.05 ERA in Triple-A last year and wasn’t protected on the Angels’ 40-man for the Rule 5 draft.

2:25 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi says the three-team trade is close to being finalized.

1:25 p.m. EST update: MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez hears that the three-team deal is “getting pretty close” and that Howie Kendrick is not involved.

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ESPN.com’s Keith Law hears the White Sox are now part of the trade talks designed to send Mark Trumbo to Arizona, with the White Sox getting outfielder Adam Eaton and sending Hector Santiago to Anaheim.

Diamondbacks prospect Tyler Skaggs is also expected to go to the Angels in the trade.

Santiago, who went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 23 starts and 11 relief appearances for the White Sox last season, would jump right into the Angels rotation while carrying only a minimum salary. With Trumbo’s approx. $5 million salary off the books, the Angels would then have the ability to pursue a more expensive free agent to join Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards. Skaggs would also be a rotation possibility, but probably not until after another month or two in Triple-A.

Eaton’s addition in Chicago would free up Alejandro De Aza for a trade, and he’d be pretty attractive in a market that just saw Nate McLouth and Rajai Davis land two-year deals in the $10 million range. De Aza hit .264/.323/.405 with 17 homers and 20 steals in 607 at-bats for the White Sox last season. He’s due about $4.5 million in arbitration and will be eligible for free agency for the first time after 2015. Eaton would probably be a downgrade in the short term, but he may offer better defense in center and he’s making the minimum for  a couple of more years.

It’s the Diamondbacks who would likely lose out in the deal if they sent both Skaggs and Eaton packing for Trumbo, even if they wouldn’t realize it while he’s hitting 35 homers next season. He just probably wouldn’t contribute much of anything besides the homers to their cause.

Update: MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert is hearing that the Diamondbacks will also receive a pair of prospects if the deal is completed, which could even things up some.

Update 2: Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times says that while the White Sox have talked to the Angels about catcher Hank Conger this winter, he’s not believed to be in the current deal.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.