The Oakland Athletics and left-hander Sean Doolittle have agreed upon a five-year extension, the Athletics announced today. The deal keeps Doolittle under contract through the 2018 season and includes options for 2019 and 2020. He is guaranteed to be on the A's through his age-31 season and will be under team control through his age-33 season. Doolittle has been on the Athletics his entire career.
The 27 year old went 5-5 with a 3.13 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, and a 2.71 FIP in 70 games out of the Athletics' bullpen in 2013. He allowed only 2 of his 32 inherited runners (6%) to score. This was in addition to 26 holds and 2 saves in 7 opportunities. He was mostly the setup man for closer Grant Balfour, whom is now with the Tampa Bay Rays.
So far this season, Doolittle has posted a 3.12 ERA, 0.808 WHIP, and a 3.98 FIP in 8 appearances. Over his career, Doolittle has a 3.10 ERA, 0.992 WHIP, and a 2.56 FIP. He has been a constant force out of the 'pen. The metrics agree. Doolittle has a 123 ERA+ and a 2.2 WAR over his career as well.
Jim Johnson has been struggling so far this season, so it will be interesting to see if Doolittle will get the closer's job at some point. He is definitely second in line, but he has not fared well from the position in the past. By signing this contract, both the Athletics and Doolittle will not worry about arbitration and continue playing baseball.
George Springer is in the Major Leagues. After three long seasons in the minor leagues, the Houston Astros have given the outfielder the call he has been waiting for. He will be making his debut tonight, batting second, playing right field against the Kansas City Royals.
After tearing up Triple-A so far this season, the former number 11 overall pick out of UCONN will get his first taste of the Major Leagues.
The 24 year old hit .303 with 37 home runs and 108 RBI while stealing 45 bases in 135 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013. Springer is a five-tool player that I rated as baseball's 12th best prospect in my rankings this past March.
The Astros, in a corresponding move, optioned outfielder Robbie Grossman to Triple-A, seemingly making Springer a starter full time. He, along with Dexter Fowler and Alex Presley, will make up the Houston Astros outfield.
"It's just an indescribable feeling," Springer told the Associated Press. "I'm speechless right now."
Springer is one of the many top prospects in the plentiful Astros organization awaiting to make their Major League debuts.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The left-hander was recently diagnosed with a partially torn UCL, and was deciding between surgery or the rest-and-rehab routes. Now he will miss the rest of this season.
Moore, 24, won 17 games and posted a 3.29 ERA in 27 starts for the Rays in 2013. The youngster has a 3.53 ERA and a 109 ERA+ in 347 career innings pitched. So far this season, Moore is 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA and a 145 ERA+ in 10 innings pitched. He left his April 7 start with elbow discomfort, and will receive the procedure from Dr. James Andrews on April 22.
The former number one overall prospect in 2012 (MLB.com) has impressed so far in the Major Leagues, but now becomes the 13th pitcher since the start of the 2014 Spring Training to have needed Tommy John surgery. That is a huge issue for young pitchers and the MLB overall.
"I'll figure out a way, find a way to compete on the mound," Moore told Topkin. "I'm not fearful of that. A lot of guys that came before me with the surgery have kind of paved the way with the rehab process in terms of what to do and what not to do."
From a team perspective, the Rays are really hurting from starting pitching depth, or lack thereof. Jeremy Hellickson had elbow surgery this offseason and will not be ready until June. Alex Cobb was placed on the DL with an oblique strain as well. And now, Moore will be missing the rest of 2014.
The San Diego Padres and second baseman Jedd Gyorko have agreed to terms on a six-year, $35 million contract extension, ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Monday. The deal contains a club option for the 2020 season, keeping Gyorko under team control though his age-30 season.
Gyorko's extension is not the Padres infielder who's extension status has been hitting headlines in baseball over the past few weeks. That would belong to Chase Headley, whom the Padres are unsure about his status following the 2015 season. He has been involved in trade rumors because the Padres have been unable to reach an agreement with him. However, Gyorko is four years younger, and was arguably the best player on the team last season. He will be getting an extension.
The 25 year old was a rookie with the Padres last season. Gyorko finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, hitting a .249/.301/.444 triple slash line with 23 home runs and 63 RBI. He spent the majority of his games at second base. To begin this season, Gyorko has not been too hot. He is 7-for-43 (.163), and hit his first home run yesterday against the Tigers. Gyorko has driven in seven.
Gyorko's six-year extension is in name only. Although it begins this season, his 2014 salary remains the same, while he receives more insurance and benefits before. He will make $510,900 this season, $2 million in 2015, $4 million in 2016, $6 million in 2017, $9 million in 2018, and $13 million in 2019. The Padres' club option for 2020 is for $13 million with a $1 million buyout.
""We are happy to sign Jedd and secure the rights to two free agent years [Gyorko's current deal has arbitration years through 2018]," said general manager Josh Byrnes. "Jedd is a homegrown player in his fifth season with the Padres organization and has been a consistent performer every step of the way. He has shown us a real commitment to this organization and to the city of San Diego."
The Padres have been one breakout candidate for many this season. Gyorko's performance weighs heavily on that; if he plays well, they'll score runs; if he does not, the Padres could add more losses and could be pushed down further in the standings. Maybe by signing this deal, the weight will be lifted off of Gyorko personally, and he can hit at his highest level.
Washington Nationals star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman broke his right thumb in fifth inning of the Nationals 6-3 loss to the Braves on Saturday night. The 29 year old jammed the finger after diving back to second base on a pickoff. He will miss 4-6 weeks, according to the Nationals.
On the season, Zimmerman has hit .364/.405/.636 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI, being one of the main cogs in the Nationals offensive attack. His injury adds to the many losses the Nationals have suffered. Denard Span was placed on the seven day disabled list due to a concussion, Jayson Werth has a strained groin and can only pinch-hit, and Wilson Ramos is expected to miss one to two months with left hand surgery. Not to mention, Doug Fister has not started a game due to a strained lat.
The Nationals main infield depth will come from Kevin Frandsen, who has signed on with the team following being released from the Phillies; Danny Espinosa, who was a starter for the Nationals in 2012; and Tyler Moore, who has played his share of first base in the past. They are also expected to call up a minor leaguer to provide o