May 2008

Reds Designate Hatteberg

1:42pm: It’s done – the Reds have designated Hatteberg for assignment to make room for Bruce.

9:30am: The Reds haven’t announced the corresponding move to Jay Bruce‘s callup yet.  John Fay wonders whether they’ll opt to designate Scott Hatteberg for assignment, noting his well-diminished role on the team.  I speculated back in April that Hatteberg might be a good replacement for Carlos Delgado or complement to Richie Sexson.

Corey Patterson has to be worried as well, since Bruce is expected to take over as the regular center fielder.  Patterson is hitting just .201/.242/.354 in 155 plate appearances.

The Third Baseman Market

Looking to fill a need at the hot corner?  Here is MLBTR’s rundown of the possibly available third basemen.

  • Garrett Atkins, Rockies.  It seems that the Rockies will listen on Atkins, who will reach free agency after the 2010 season.  The Indians may have interest.
  • Dallas McPherson, Marlins.  Jorge Cantu is getting the job done for the big club, while McPherson is hitting .283/.378/.604 with 15 home runs in Triple A.
  • Joe Crede, White Sox.  Despite all the springtime rumors, it seems unlikely that the first-place Sox would trade Crede.  Josh Fields could be a valuable trade chip, though.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres.  Another lousy April for Kouz, but he’s doing a fine job this month.  He’s still cheap, so the Padres will probably keep him if they throw in the towel.
  • Jose Castillo, Giants.  He’s played tolerably this year. 
  • Willy Aybar, Rays. The Rays don’t seem to have a place for him.
  • Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks.  It may make sense to keep him around to compete with Mark Reynolds.  Plus, teams would want to see Tracy prove his health.
  • Brandon Inge, Tigers.  The respectable April did not hold up.  He may be available, but his contract runs through 2010.
  • Bill Hall, Brewers.  He’s not happy about the Russell Branyan callup, and Hall still at least has the 30 HR pop.
  • Casey Blake and Andy Marte, Indians.  Neither has hit this year. Blake is a free agent after the season and Marte is out of options.
  • Melvin Mora, Orioles.  His bat continues to decline, and he’s signed through ’09 with a no-trade clause.

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Odds and Ends: Ivan Rodriguez, Hall, Street

Time for today’s link roundup.

  • MLBTR live chat here at 2pm CST, don’t miss it!
  • Ivan Rodriguez expects to play ball beyond this season.
  • Bill Hall isn’t happy with the Brewers’ callup of Russell Branyan.  Hall is hitting .220/.292/.418 in 196 plate appearances.  He’s signed through 2010.
  • Susan Slusser ponders the future of A’s relievers Huston Street, Alan Embree, Santiago Casilla, and Joey Devine.  Might be tough to deal anyone unless the team drops out of contention.
  • Part 2 of AN’s Billy Beane interview.

Jay Bruce To Debut Tomorrow

According to Baseball Digest Daily, the Reds will promote top prospect Jay Bruce tomorrow.  The 21 year-old is mashing to the tune of .364/.393/.630 in Triple A.  Said Rob Neyer today: "Has there ever been a more obvious call-up in the history of the sport?"

Bruce’s promotion may signal the end of Corey Patterson in Cincinnati. 

The Shortstop Market

Many shortstops are having disappointing seasons, at least offensively.  What does the trade market offer at this position?

  • Jack Wilson, Pirates.  He’s set to come off the DL tomorrow following a calf strain. Given the performance of his replacements, the Bucs may hang on to Wilson for the sake of respectability. Plus, they’re not out of contention.  Wilson is signed through ’09 and has a limited no-trade clause.
  • Alex Gonzalez, Reds.  If Jeff Keppinger can return in late June and Gonzalez is ready in July, he could be dealt.  It’d be tough – he’s signed through ’09.
  • Cristian Guzman, Nationals.  Impending free agent, hitting decently…good candidate for a trade.
  • Bobby Crosby, Athletics.  The A’s always seem willing to listen, but they’d need to determine Crosby’s replacement.
  • Edgar Renteria, Tigers.  At 6.5 games out, the Tigers aren’t ready to throw in the towel.  Renteria’s $11MM option for ’09 is not a lock, by the way.
  • Julio Lugo, Red Sox.  He’s not exactly a hot commodity. 
  • Omar Vizquel, Giants.  They may play the "let’s stay somewhat respectable at short" card and choose to keep him.
  • David Eckstein, Blue Jays.  Perhaps if they fall out of contention and Eckstein returns successfully from a strained right hip flexor.
  • Brent Lillibridge, Braves.  Could be one of the team’s best trade chips, though he’s not hitting in Triple A.
  • Khalil Greene, Padres.  Off to a slow start offensively, and the Padres would need to acquire a replacement.  Signed through ’09.
  • Ronny Cedeno, Cubs.  Could be a very valuable trade piece, but also may be the team’s shortstop of the future.

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Julian Tavarez To Sign With Brewers

MONDAY: Tom Haudricourt reports that the Brewers are set to sign Tavarez for bullpen depth.

SUNDAY: The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes that Bartolo Colon, a close friend of Julian Tavarez, said Tavarez told him that he would prefer to pitch for the New York Mets. Tavarez was recently DFA’d by the Red Sox and elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple A Pawtucket.

Tavarez could make sense for the Mets in many roles. Jason Vargas and Matt Wise have been ineffective in limited use, while Mike Pelfrey has been very inconsistent over the first two months of the season. The Mets, however, have yet to indicate whether they have interest in the veteran right-hander.  Baseball Prospectus’ John Perrotto has the Orioles and Brewers as the top suitors; I hadn’t heard Baltimore in the mix until now.

Odds and Ends: Pokey, Lowe, Boss

Before you fire up the grill, check out these links.

Draft Roundup

All kinds of draft links today. 

Bill Bavasi’s Job Secure

Yesterday, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said the team had no discussions about bringing in a new GM or manager.  For now, Bill Bavasi and John McLaren’s jobs are secure despite the team owning the worst record in baseball.  John Hickey says Bavasi will explore the trade market but doesn’t expect much.  Reds beat writer Hal McCoy again made the point yesterday that Ken Griffey Jr. won’t be dealt.

A summary of Bavasi’s offseason moves:

  • Selected R.A. Dickey in the Rule 5 draft.
  • Sent Ben Broussard to Texas for Tug Hulett.
  • Signed Carlos Silva to a four-year deal.
  • Signed Miguel Cairo, Chris Reitsma, Arthur Rhodes, Horacio Ramirez, Greg Norton, and Brad Wilkerson.
  • Traded Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio, and Tony Butler for Erik Bedard.

The much-criticized Silva signing looked fine in April, terrible in May.  Bedard’s injury and ineffectiveness couldn’t have been predicted.  Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista weren’t supposed to be this bad.  Aside from a slow start by Kenji Johjima, the hitters have played to expectations.

The player most likely to be traded a month or two from now is Raul Ibanez.  He’s earning $5.5MM this year, his last before free agency.

Perrotto’s Latest: Atkins, Holliday, Howard

Baseball Prospectus’ John Perrotto has a new column up; let’s discuss the hot stove tidbits.

  • Perrotto wouldn’t be surprised to see Clay Buchholz rejoin the Red Sox as a reliever, though some have suggested he’ll just remain in Pawtucket.  The Red Sox have an embarrassment of starting pitching right now.
  • The Indians are "bringing up Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday in trade talks."  Holliday just hit the DL, but there’s plenty of time before the deadline.
  • Perrotto’s sources suggest the Phillies may deal Ryan Howard before the ’09 season, to avoid his probable large salary.  Can you think of any reasonable fits for him?