The A's designated southpaw reliever Jay Marshall for assignment to make room for Justin Duchscherer today, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Marshall, 27 in February, spent most of the last two seasons in the minors. This year at Triple A he posted a 3.20 ERA, 5.3 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9 in 50.6 innings.
Marshall joined the A's as a Rule 5 claim from the White Sox in '06. The A's did their part and kept Marshall with the big club in '07, but the Red Sox claimed him off waivers after the season. The A's were able to claim him back a few months later.
Back on December 14th, ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. tweeted that the Blue Jays signed catcher Ramon Castro to a one-year deal worth nearly $1MM. The move seemed unnecessary, with John Buck and Raul Chavez already in the fold.
Today, The Fan 590's Mike Wilner says the Jays never signed Castro:
It turns out that the power-hitting back-up catcher who everyone reported that the Blue Jays had signed earlier this month is still a free agent. The Jays never did sign him, despite getting involved in negotiations with him. I’m not sure how or why it fell through, or if it even got close enough to reach the point where one can even accurately say that it 'fell through', but it didn’t happen.
So, Castro heads back to the free agent backup catcher pool, where guys like Toby Hall, Jose Molina, and Mike Redmond continue to wait.
The latest from Buster Olney's ESPN blog...
- Despite preliminary talks, Olney finds a Padres extension for Adrian Gonzalez to be "very, very unlikely."
- The Dodgers "are in the chase" for free agent starter Joel Pineiro, with the Angels and Mets other suitors. The Dodgers were first linked to Pineiro by MLB.com's Ken Gurnick on December 8th. With a chunk of the Juan Pierre savings already spent on Jamey Carroll, Pineiro seems out of their price range.
- Olney guesses that Matt Holliday will ultimately sign for five years and $82.5-85MM, with options and/or incentives that could "dress it up as a deal that could be worth over $100MM."
- The Orioles continue to hunt for a pitcher and corner infielder. I should note that they were initially linked to Pineiro, but maybe the $9MM committed to Kevin Millwood takes them out of the mix. An Erik Bedard reunion could be a possibility.
Let's take a look at moves by NL West teams so far this offseason.
- Acquired/Re-signed: Tony Abreu, Aaron Heilman, Carlos Corporan, T.J. Beam, Drew Macias, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Zach Kroenke, Bob Howry, Jeff Bailey, Brandon Webb, Rodrigo Lopez
- Lost: Doug Slaten, Yusmeiro Petit, Alex Romero, Trent Oeltjen, Ryne White, Scott Maine, Daniel Schlereth, Max Scherzer, Josh Whitesell
- Acquired/Re-signed: Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Randy Flores, Juan Rincon, Matt Wilhite, Ryan Harvey, Paul Phillips
- Lost: Joel Peralta, Matt Murton, Jason Marquis, Mike McCoy, Garrett Atkins
- Acquired/Re-signed: Doug Mientkiewicz, Carlos Monasterios, Armando Zerpa, Josh Towers, Jamey Carroll, Jon Link, John Ely, Angel Berroa, Justin Miller, Luis Ayala
- Lost: Tony Abreu, Randy Wolf, Juan Castro, Juan Pierre, Mitch Jones
- Acquired/Re-signed: Radhames Liz, Dusty Ryan, Jackson Quezeda, Chris Stewart, Chris Denorfia
- Lost: Eulogio de la Cruz, Eliezer Alfonzo, Drew Macias, Luis Rodriguez, Henry Blanco
- Acquired/Re-signed: Steve Johnson, Mark DeRosa, Tony Pena Jr., Joe Borchard
- Lost: Justin Miller, Bob Howry, Brad Penny, Ryan Sadowski
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle brings us the latest A's buzz...
- The A's are "in the thick of the bidding" for Aroldis Chapman. We saw a tweet yesterday from MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the Marlins are also "firmly in the Chapman sweepstakes." ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. pointed out yesterday that Chapman stands to lose millions to taxes if he signs in 2010, and it's unlikely the paperwork could be done in time even if an agreement is reached in '09.
- Slusser says Justin Duchscherer had a physical yesterday and his signing should be announced this morning. His contract calls for a $2MM base with another $3.5MM in incentives.
- The Athletics' talks for Adrian Beltre "have not progressed much beyond the initial stages," writes Slusser. ESPN's Buster Olney wrote on Saturday that the A's are "taking a serious look" at Beltre. We read details on Boston's interest from ESPN's Gordon Edes yesterday.
Let's round up some lingering Tuesday links....
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that the Red Sox kept in touch with Jason Bay's representation right up until the outfielder agreed to terms with the Mets. Boston was a longshot destination for Bay though, with the Angels and Mariners also involved.
- Like Brian Bruney, Eddie Guardado hopes to close for the Nationals in 2010, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Doesn't seem too likely, with Bruney and Matt Capps on board, but Guardado could earn a setup role for the Nats.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues that even if they have the money to sign Matt Holliday, the Yankees don't need him. ESPN.com's Rob Neyer and Joseph Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues respond to Cameron's piece.
- The Florida Marlins haven't been aggressively signing their arbitration-eligible players so far this winter, but they should take care of it soon, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (via Twitter).
- Frisaro also tweets that the Marlins remain "firmly" entrenched in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes.
8:18pm: In a follow-up story on ESPN.com, Olney reports that the Cardinals are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to sign Holliday.
6:01pm: After the Mets reached an agreement with Jason Bay earlier today, Matt Holliday stands as the only elite hitter remaining on the free agent market. ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets that agent Scott Boras has been doubling back to teams to discuss Holliday, and that his asking price in at least one conversation was $18MM per year.
The Mets' agreement with Bay removes them from the list of possible Holliday suitors, and we've already heard today that neither the Giants or the Yankees are in on the outfielder. Looking around the majors, there are very few teams that have a left field opening and could afford to take on the 29-year-old at anything close to $18MM.
Like Bay with the Mets, it seems that the Cardinals represent the most logical and realistic fit for Holliday. Boras will continue to attempt to get the best possible deal for his client, but at this point it's hard to imagine which club could get involved and outbid the Cards.
With an agreement in place between Jason Bay and the New York Mets, reactions to the deal are already starting to pour in....
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post feels that the Mets will regret signing Bay within a few years.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan feels that Bay's money would've been better spent on John Lackey.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says that Bay's defense will dictate whether the contract is a good one or not, and argues that the Mets will need to make a few more moves to contend.
- It may have taken a while to get done, but "all's well that ends well," writes Rob Neyer of ESPN.com.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff is on board with the deal, and hopes the Mets continue to stay financially responsible for the rest of the winter. This means going "nowhere near" Joel Pineiro at his current asking price, and not guaranteeing Bengie Molina two years (Davidoff suggests that reports of an imminent two-year deal for Molina are inaccurate).
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal looks at what the move means for the Phillies, both as a division rival and as a club that will have their own free agent outfielder (Jayson Werth) next year.
- Articles from Ian Browne of MLB.com and Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune examine the signing from Boston's and Seattle's perspectives, respectively.
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs explains why, even if it's heavily backloaded, the Mets' offer was more financially appealing than one the Red Sox made earlier.
The Boston Red Sox are still involved in discussions for Adrian Beltre, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
Edes notes that a couple factors stand in the way of Beltre signing with the Red Sox. The club no longer has as convenient an opening at third base, after the Mike Lowell trade with Texas fell through. On top of that, signing Beltre could put the Sox over the luxury tax threshold. Still, Edes reports that the Red Sox plan to resume talks with Beltre and agent Scott Boras in the new year.
We heard earlier in December that the Red Sox had "significant interest" in Beltre, but that was before the team cut into their budget to sign John Lackey and Mike Cameron. It's possible that the Sox could add another pricey free agent, but it certainly seems less likely now than it did a few weeks ago.
Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has Giants notes after a conference call with Brian Sabean and newly-signed Mark DeRosa.
- DeRosa explained that he was "tired of being a lot of teams' Plan B."
- Sabean hopes to add another hitter, and has free agent offers on the table. One offer is to Juan Uribe, while Baggarly speculates that another might be to Adam LaRoche. There are plenty of first basemen and corner outfielders still available, if you'd also like to speculate.
- Sabean reiterated that Matt Holliday is too expensive for the Giants, while Baggarly added that the Giants are not in on Adrian Beltre.
- Sabean mentioned that he hasn't yet beefed up efforts to acquire a fifth starter or catcher. We did hear the Giants linked to many catchers earlier this winter, however.