January 2009

Tigers Could Deal Pitching?

According to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, the Tigers could trade a starting pitcher. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski listed off seven Tigers starters and said "trade possibilities come up" involving the team’s pitching.

This doesn’t mean Dombrowski seriously considered dealing pitching. The Tigers go to Spring Training with Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Zach Miner. They have more arms than rotation spots, but this is by no means a deep rotation.

“Zero” Progress With Hart, Weeks

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers have not progressed towards agreements in their arbitration cases with Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart.

Assistant GM Gord Ash said they made "zero" progress with the two players.

Hart asked for $3.8MM and was offered $2.7MM while Weeks asked for $2.8MM and was offered $2MM. The club has until February 18th to avoid arbitration.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Mariners, Young, Shouse

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports compiles a number of rumors from around the majors:

  • The Mariners need to free up money, but to do so, they’d likely have to trade one of Adrian Beltre, Jarrod Washburn or Miguel Batista. All three will be free agents after the season, but moving one of them would be "extremely difficult."
  • The Mariners and Yankees considered a Hideki Matsui-Washburn swap, but Matsui’s contract ($13MM) pays him more than Washburn’s ($10.35MM) so they didn’t find a match.
  • The Twins are looking to move Delmon Young.
  • They showed interest in Washburn last year, but only some of Rosenthal’s sources believe he and Delmon Young could be the foundation for a larger deal.
  • Rosenthal has a source who says the Yankees are not currently pursuing Juan Cruz. Yesterday, we had a discussion about the rules regarding free agent quotas.
  • The Yanks like their bullpen, but they could try to add an arm if they trade Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.
  • The Rays are making a strong run at Brian Shouse.
  • The Orioles would not likely have to give up much more than a low-level prospect to deal for Rich Hill.

O’s, Cubs Talking Deal For Rich Hill

FRIDAY: A small update from Roch Kubatko: nothing is imminent with the Orioles and Hill.  He says not to expect an announcement before next week, if the two teams are to hammer out a deal.

THURSDAY: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are looking to acquire Cubs lefty Rich Hill.  Hill is out of options, limiting his value.  Zrebiec notes that Hill could benefit from a reunion with Rick Kranitz, his former Triple A pitching coach. 

An industry source told Zrebiec that it’s a "strong possibility" that Hill will end up with the Orioles.  Apparently the Cubs would receive a player to be named later in return, the value of whom would hinge on Hill’s success in Baltimore.  The Mariners have also shown interest, but the O’s are believed to be in the lead at this point.  Hill, 28, walked 18 in 19.2 innings last year before his demotion to the minors.  He had a nice run for the Cubs in 2006-07.

Pedro Martinez Rumors: Friday

10:52pm: According to MLB.com’s Marty Noble, or perhaps the AP, Pedro said he’s received offers but not from the Mets.

9:13am: According to Mark Hale of the New York Post, Pedro Martinez plans to use the World Baseball Classic as an audition for MLB teams.  Hale notes that Omar Minaya’s presence in the Dominican Republic was for a prearranged scouting trip but a meeting with Pedro was planned for yesterday.  Arthur Staple of Newsday said that meeting was "more of a courtesy," and Minaya himself said he was "just keeping in touch."

On Wednesday, Jon Heyman wrote that Minaya loves Pedro and some baseball people expect a Mets reunion after the Oliver Perez situation is resolved.

Ethier’s Arbitration Hearing Date Is Set

Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that Andre Ethier‘s arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 17.

As Jackson writes, "that should give the sides plenty of time to reach an agreement and avoid a hearing, but you never know."  Ethier and his representatives have asked for $3.75MM, while the Dodgers submitted a $2.65MM bid.  He is the team’s only pending arbitration case.

Pirates Sign Eric Hinske

8:46pm: Kovacevic says pitcher T.J. Beam was designated for assignment by the Pirates to make room for Hinske.  Beam, 28, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.7 K/9 in 45.6 innings for the Bucs this year.

12:45pm: According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Pirates announced the signing of Eric Hinske today.  He’ll earn $1.5MM plus a possible $1MM in incentives.

Hinske was one of the best free agent bargains a year ago, as he hit .247/.333/.465 for the Rays at an $800K salary.  He’ll be a useful, versatile player for the Bucs if kept away from lefties.

Salty, Teagarden Likely To Remain Rangers

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that the signing of Jason Varitek "should end any more talk of Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden being traded to Boston."

Saltalamacchia will head into spring training atop the Rangers’ catching depth chart, but Teagarden can win himself consideration with a strong showing in camp.  Salty, 23, hit .253 last season with three home runs and 26 RBI in 198 at-bats.  Teagarden, 25, batted .319 with six dingers and 17 RBI in 47 at-bats during a short time with the big league club.

Rangers Avoid Arb With Marlon Byrd

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers agreed to terms with outfielder Marlon Byrd on a one-year, $3.06MM contract.

Byrd was asking for $3.6MM in arbitration while the Rangers submitted a $2.7MM offer.  The 31-year-old settled on the $3.06MM figure Friday.  Byrd hit .298/.380/.462 with 10 homers and 53 RBI in 122 games last season.  He’ll compete for playing time this year in an outfield that also boasts David Murphy, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.

The Rangers have now settled with all of their arbitration-eligible players.  They haven’t needed a hearing since 2000.

Diamondbacks Getting Close With Tom Gordon

FRIDAY, 5:15pm: MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert confirms that the Diamondbacks are closing on an agreement with Gordon.  "We don’t have a deal yet, but we’re close," said Flash’s agent, Rick Thurman.

THURSDAY, 10:31pm: Piecoro spoke with Thurman, who said, "We’ve had a number of conversations and we’re getting close."  Gordon expects to be ready for Opening Day following October elbow surgery.  If he’s throwing well, I’m surprised there aren’t more suitors.

THURSDAY, 12:10pm: According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the D’Backs are interested in free agent reliever Tom Gordon.  Flash, 41, has been affected by elbow injuries the last two seasons.  Arizona can’t have much left to spend.

Piecoro adds that the Diamondbacks were serious players to re-sign Brandon Lyon, but wanted to use him as a starter.