2007 Rule 5 Draft Rumors

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: A’s, Angels, Blue Jays

On this date eight years ago, Bud Selig made it clear during the the All-Star game Town Hall discussion that the designated hitter will remain in use for the foreseeable future. The commissioner, however, stated that the National League will never adopt the 1973 addition to the American League rule book.  Here's this week's look around the baseball blogosphere..

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Zach can be reached at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.  

Marlins Sign Jon Rauch

9:01pm: Rauch will receive $250K for time spent on the Marlins' roster after 90, 120 and 150 days, says Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).

4:57pm: Rauch can earn an additional $750K through roster bonuses, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).

4:21pm: The sides agreed to a one-year, $1MM deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).

3:45pm: The Marlins signed free agent right-hander Jon Rauch to a one-year deal, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports (on Twitter). The team designated outfielder Bryan Petersen for assignment in a related move.

Rauch appeared in 73 games for the 2012 Mets, posting a 3.59 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 36.6% ground ball rate in 57 2/3 innings. The 6'11" 34-year-old earned $3.5MM on a one-year deal with New York. Rauch's average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph last year, up from 89.5 mph in 2011 (via FanGraphs).

The Marlins were linked to free agent right-hander Jose Valverde yesterday, though their interest doesn't appear serious. It's not clear whether today's deal will impact the team's interest level in other relief pitching. Teams seeking right-handed relief could inquire on Francisco RodriguezBrian Wilson and Mark Lowe, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows.

Petersen appeared in 84 games for the Marlins last year, playing all three outfield positions. The 26-year-old posted a .195/.272/.257 batting line in 273 plate appearances.

Mets, Byrdak Agree On Extension For 2012

Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced that the team finalized a contract extension for the 2012 season with lefty reliever Tim Byrdak during today's game, tweets Newsday's David Lennon. The team has confirmed the move via press release.

The 37-year-old Byrdak signed a minor league deal with the Mets prior to the 2011 season, and has enjoyed a very strong year for the club. In 36 2/3 innings (68 appearances), the left-hander has posted career bests in ERA (2.95) and K/9 (10.8).

Byrdak has been particularly tough on lefties this season, limiting same-handed batters to a .204/.257/.323 triple slash line this season. He's posted a 5.50 K:BB ratio against lefties this season (33 strikeouts, six walks) as opposed to a 0.92 versus right-handed batters (12 walks, 11 strikeouts). He is represented by agent Mike Mosa, as shown in MLBTR's Agency Database.

Olney On Hanley, Phillies, Ellis

Some people in the Marlins organization believe new manager Jack McKeon has exactly what it takes to deal with Hanley Ramirez, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Here’s the latest on the Marlins’ shortstop, who is having the worst offensive season of his career:

  • Ramirez’s stock “has dropped to Enron levels.” Some rival evaluators say that his poor start is more than a slump and that the shortstop needs to improve his physical condition.
  • “If he doesn't change his body,” one scout said. “He's going to have to move [to a different position] sooner rather than later."
  • Click here to check out Olney’s analysis of Ramirez from yesterday.
  • No one believes the Phillies when they say they have limited financial flexibility for possible trades, Olney writes.
  • The Orioles are another possible fit for Mark Ellis of the A’s. The Giants, one team with some interest in Ellis, have been considering other possible infielders, according to Olney.

Nationals Sign Matt Whitney to Minor League Deal

Bill Ladson at MLB.com reports that the Washington Nationals have signed first baseman Matt Whitney to a minor league contract. The signing includes an invitation to spring training.

Whitney was the Nationals’ first pick in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft. In 2007, Whitney posted a combined .299/.364/.545 between Class A Lake County and Kinston. He followed that season with a .268/.356/.404 split at Class AA Akron in 2008. Whitney will be 25 in 2009.

Mariners Keep Dickey

The Mariners have sent Minor League catcher Jair Fernandez to the Twins, allowing them to keep Rule 5 Draft pick R.A. Dickey, who Seattle acquired from Minnesota in the Major League portion of December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Dickey had a hot spring. The knuckleballer went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in seven spring contests for the Mariners. Now he’s headed for AAA Tacoma.

Fernandez, 21, hit .260 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 52 games at Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League last year.

Dickey cleared waivers before the Mariners and Twins worked out the deal, which allowed Seattle to send Dickey to the Minors.

The Seattle Times Mariners Blog explains the transaction, sparing none of the gory details.

Coley Ward writes for Umpbump.com. You can contact him here.

Padres To Acquire First Rule 5 Pick, Take Barton?

UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 1:12am: Chris Kline at Baseball America believes the Padres may buy the first pick from the Rays and take Barton.

UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 9:50pm: Damn it, looks like the Rays don’t want Barton after all.  Baseball America has that tip plus other Rule 5 rumors.

UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 11:59am: Looks like we were on to something here, as Baseball America also thinks the Rays will grab Barton with the first pick.

FROM 12-2-07 at 7:59am:

The Rule 5 draft is coming up on Thursday, and the Rays have the first pick.  They might be able to find something good – Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria were selected last year.  In ’06 the Rays sold their first pick to the A’s for $100K.  Anyway, A reliable source has informed MLBTR that the Rays are eyeing 25 year-old outfielder Brian Barton from the Indians for the first pick.  Barton was once fairly highly regarded, but the Tribe chose not to protect him this year.

Of course with the Rule 5 the selection has to stay on the Major League roster all year.  Barton may be polished enough to do so without causing harm, as he’s posted solid numbers in Double A.  Barton is a center fielder by trade.  Acquiring him makes sense for Tampa Bay given their subtraction of Delmon Young and Jason Pridie

Barton may be near MLB-ready but some have questioned his ceiling.  Said Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein: "He’s always been old for his level and many scouts see him as a mistake hitter and minor league performer as opposed to a player with long-term major league value."