To make room on the 40-man roster for Kris Medlen the Royals designated for assignment second baseman Johnny Giavotella, a former second-round draft pick who’s been stuck in the minors.
Giavotella is a career .315 hitter with an .835 OPS and as many walks as strikeouts in nearly 2,000 plate appearances at Triple-A, but he’s struggled in a few stints in the majors and last offseason the Royals signed Omar Infante for $30 million rather than handing him a job.
At age 27 he’s no longer a prospect and Giavotella is limited defensively, but there should be room on some team’s roster for an infielder who can hit.
Kris Medlen, who missed all of this year recovering from his second Tommy John elbow surgery, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Royals that includes a mutual option for 2017.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s worth $8.5 million in guaranteed money, including a $1 million buyout of a $10 million option, and there are lots of incentives built in as well.
Before blowing out his elbow the 29-year-old Medlen emerged as one of the best starters in the league, posting a 2.47 ERA in 335 innings for the Braves between 2012 and 2013.
He has a 30-13 record and 2.96 ERA in 61 career starts, along with a 2.92 ERA in 91 career appearances as a reliever, so if healthy the Royals are potentially adding a very valuable arm.
Atlanta made Medlen a free agent by non-tendering him in early December with a projected $6 million salary looming via arbitration.
The deal sending Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to the Dodgers remains on hold, with the assumption being that it requires the Dodgers’ other trade sending Matt Kemp to the Padres to happen first because one or more of those players will be flipped to Philadelphia.
However, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com “the trade that will send Rollins to the Dodgers remains in place” and if the Kemp deal falls through amid reports of his having two arthritic hips the Phillies “may have to get a player other than” than a Padres prospect.
In other words, even if the Kemp trade doesn’t happen Rollins is likely to wind up with the Dodgers anyway because the Phillies have more or less agreed to an alternate, fallback plan version of the deal.
So what exactly is the holdup stemming from Matt Kemp’s pre-trade physical exam?
Well, according to Bob Nightingale of USA Today the exam revealed that Kemp has arthritis in both hips and the Padres “continue to consult medical experts.”
Arthritic hips would certainly help explain how Kemp’s defense went downhill so rapidly and would also make it clear why the Padres might suddenly be re-thinking acquiring the 30-year-old former MVP runner-up even if the Dodgers are covering a big chunk of his remaining contract.
Oh, and there’s also this: Kemp, who apparently has two arthritic hips, batted .309 with 17 homers and a .971 OPS in 64 games after the All-Star break this year.
Manny Machado’s recovery from knee surgery is going well enough that the Orioles seem confident he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but there’s apparently more uncertainty surrounding Matt Wieters’ recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery.
While serving as the keynote speaker at an event in Baltimore, manager Buck Showalter said (via Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com):
With both of these guys, it will be when and not if. I think if you held a gun up to my head, I think Manny makes the start of the year, and I think Matt is very close thereafter, but we won’t put either one of these guys on the field until it’s time to go, and try to keep the finish line in mind.
Wieters underwent elbow surgery in June and the recovery timetable is typically much shorter for position players than it is for pitchers, but catchers need their elbows a lot more than typical position players.