Hot Stove Rumor Roundup: Cubs Add Xavier Cedeño

Cubs Sign Cedeño 

As Patrick Mooney of The Athletic tweeted out last night, the Chicago Cubs have added left handed relief pitcher, Xavier Cedeño, as sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, along with The Chicago Athletic. Mooney also noted that the deal is a non guaranteed contract worth only $900,000, which ultimately meshed with the Cubs offseason plan to pick up an additional low cost reliever.

This “bargain” of a contract comes as somewhat of a surprise after the 32 year old reliever’s strong 2018 campaign. In 48 combined appearances for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, Cedeño posted a 2.43 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 1.260 WHIP, and a 9.2 k/9 rate.

With the addition of Cedeño, it can now be assumed that the Cubs have solidified their bullpen depth for this upcoming season, with the slew of arms they already had prior to this deal. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and the rest of the Cubs brass deserve a round of applause after this more than solid move in getting the lefty reliever, coming off a productive year, at this low of a price.

Royals Pickup Diekman 

Following the signing of Cedeño as previously noted, another left handed reliever was reportedly snagged off the market by the Kansas City Royals, in pitcher, Jake Diekman, says Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.  The deal is for one year and includes a mutual 2020 option, as Flanagan added.

According to Lynn Worthy of Kansascity.com, Diekman’s contract is a guaranteed $2.75 million, with $2.25 of that salary being his base for this upcoming season that could also include performance bonuses for total games, along with games finished. As Worthy also noted, the Royals could buyout the lefty for $500,000 in 2020.

In his age 31 season, Diekman pitched his first 47 appearances with the Texas Rangers, where he performed well to a 3.69 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 1.385 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts in 39 innings. He would then be dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the remainder of the season and struggled mightily pitching to a 7.53 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 1.814 WHIP in 24 games.

Despite the rocky finish to his 2018 campaign, Diekman has been a more than serviceable option in relief in his career. Over the course of seven seasons he has posted a 3.75 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 1.397 WHIP to go along with an impressive 383 strikeouts in only 312 innings.

Nola, Phillies Reach a Long-Term Deal 

The Philadelphia Phillies and their ace starting pitcher, Aaron Nola have agreed to a four-year extension worth $45 million, which includes a club option and ultimately prevents a future arbitration hearing, per Rosenthal and Matt Gelb of The Athletic.

The soon to be 26 year old, is now controlled by the Phillies for five years, including this upcoming 2019 campaign, along with eliminating two free agent years following this agreement. Nola will make a total of 46 million ($2 million signing bonus) in 2019 and from 2020-2023 will annually receive, $8 million, $11.75 million, $15 million, and $16 million in his club option year with a $4.25 million buyout.

Nola was originally selected by the Phillies as the seventh overall pick in the 2014 Draft and has shined ever since. In his age 25 season he finished third runner up in the Cy Young voting behind dominant starters, Jacob DeGrom, and Max Scherzer, who had historic seasons. Had this not been the case, Nola’s impressive 17-6 record with a 2.37 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 0.975  WHIP and 9.5 k/9 rate would have most likely locked up the award in any other year.

There is heavy reason to believe Nola will reward the Phillies following this extension considering his career record of 41-28, 3.35 ERA, 3.24 FIP. 1.139 WHIP and 9.4 k/9 in his first four seasons. While the Phillies are not far off from contending again, one of the main factors that plays into the team’s success moving forward comes from their dominant ace pitcher, who will continue to lead their staff for years to come.

Yanks Talk Extension With Severino

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the New York Yankees and their ace starting pitcher, Luis Severino have had some talks about an extension, although nothing appears to be close, adds Heyman. Severino has an arbitration hearing coming up that would ultimately be forestalled if the two sides reach a long term agreement beforehand.

Severino has filed for a $5.25 million salary for 2019, while the Yankees have set their counter offer at $4.4 million. The soon to be 25-year-old righty, has solidified his number one ace status at the top of his club’s starting rotation after posting back-to-back All-Star campaigns, where he averaged a 3.19 ERA, 3.02 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP with a combined 33-14 record and 450 strikeouts over this two year span.

Diamondbacks Add Caleb Joseph

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed veteran catcher and former Baltimore Oriole, Caleb Joseph to a one year deal. As a source tells Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, this deal will pay Joseph $1.1 million in the big leagues and 250,000 in the minors. In order to make room for Joseph on their active roster, the Diamondbacks have moved right handed pitcher, Taijuan Walker to the 60-day injured list, as he is still recovering from Tommy John surgery last April.

The 32-year-old Joseph, was non-tendered by the Orioles this past winter after struggling at the plate last season slashing a .219/.254/.321 line with a wRC+ of 54 (100 is the league average). In five seasons with the Orioles, the catcher averaged a .224/.271/.353 stat line with a wRC+ of 68.

This move comes as somewhat of a surprise by the Diamondbacks, who already have three catchers on their 40 man roster in Alex Avila, former Yankee, John Ryan Murphy, whose out of options, and promising young backstop, Carson Kelly, who they acquired in the trade that sent All-Star first basemen, Paul Goldschimdt to the St. Louis Cardinals.

As Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors notes, the Diamondbacks has two options, either carry three catchers on their 25 man roster as they have at times in the past, or designate, whoever is underperforming this spring, for assignment.

A’s Sign Robbie Grossman

Once again the Oakland Athletics are back making headlines after signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a one-year deal, per Rosenthal. As Sussan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle reported, it is a major league contract that is worth around $2 million and includes incentives.

While Grossman does not generate a lot of power (11 career high in 2016) for a player, who primarily plays in the corner outfield spots, he put up a decent season for the Minnesota Twins that went under the radar last year. In 129 games in 2018, he posted a .273/.367/.384 stat line with a wRC+ of 108 to go along with 5 home runs and 48 RBI.

Although the A’s already had a crowded outfield before making this move, their right handed heavy lineup made adding Grossman a “no brainer” due to the fact that he is a switch hitter, who hit .325 against lefties last season and .286 for his career when facing them, says Slusser.

Slusser also notes that the 29-year-old only has a career average of .243 against right handed pitching, but as previously mentioned, the A’s strong outfield depth should be able to hide this weakness via a platoon scenario.

San Fran Adds a Pitcher

Also back in the news again, the San Francisco Giants have acquired right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations, says Rosenthal.

Gott had his best season for the Los Angeles Angels back in 2015, where he put up a 3.02 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and 1.238 WHIP in 47.2 innings of relief. Since that year, he joined the Nationals and has struggled ever since averaging an abysmal 12.39 ERA, 5.95 FIP, and 2.564 WHIP making just 33 appearances over the past three seasons.

The Giants ultimately moved starting pitcher, Johnny Cueto over to the 60-day injured list in order to make room for Gott. Despite his poor performance the past few years, the righty is still only 26 years of age and is a flame throwing sinker ball pitcher, who will now have a fresh start and the chance to bounce back with his new team.

About Pat Ragazzo 46 Articles
NJ kid, recent college graduate, die hard Mets Fan since the age of 10. Studied Communications at Salisbury University and currently pursuing a career in sports media and TV/Radio Production. Worked as a Production Assistant on several WFAN broadcasts live from New York Giants Training Camp last summer. Please check out my sports Twitter page @ragazzoreport for advanced and unique insight around the NFL & MLB.