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Some news items as we say goodbye to March and hello to another great baseball-filled April…
- ESPN's Rob Neyer thinks the Rangers should just go ahead and acquire Mike Lowell, since the reported $3MM gap between Texas and Boston is a small price to pay for solidifying the Rangers' first base platoon. Given the number of conflicting reports about the deal, it's hard to say if a Lowell-to-Texas trade is imminent or a longshot at this point.
- Tim Redding talks to The Denver Post's Jim Armstrong about being assigned to Colorado's Triple-A team. Four days ago, Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies pointed out that Redding has an opt-out clause he can use if he finds a spot on another team's 25-man roster. That's unlikely; Ringolsby says the Mariners scouted Redding but came away unimpressed.
- The Indians were hoping to hold up Michael Brantley's service clock, but his strong Spring Training and Russell Branyan's injury forced the club's hand, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Brantley will now be Cleveland's starting left fielder on Opening Day.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times takes a look at Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, who is out of options and faces a tough task in finding a roster spot given the Mike Napoli-Jeff Mathis combo behind the plate in Los Angeles. If the Angels are forced to put Wilson on waivers, you'd figure that several teams would be interested in a catcher who has a solid .283/.338/.423 line in 2642 minor league plate appearances.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com chatted with fans about a number of A's and Giants-related topics, including Urban's belief that the extensions for Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt may have been inspired by San Francisco's confidence in their upcoming crop of position players.
- In another online chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentioned that the Cardinals are interested in acquiring a left-handed power bat for the bench. Strauss noted the club's "history of eleventh-hour spring training moves."
According to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald, Corey Patterson has opted out of his contract with the Mariners and is now a free agent. Arnold writes that with Eric Byrnes looking to have won the M's backup outfield spot, Patterson decided to look elsewhere for employment.
Patterson signed a minor-league deal with Seattle last December. The 30-year-old had just 30 plate appearances last season (15 with Milwaukee, 15 with Washington) and managed only a .207 OPS, but he did hit 292/.333/.478 in 418 Triple-A plate appearances in 2009. If another club picks up Patterson, though, it will be for his glove, not his bat. Fangraphs lists Patterson as having a career UZR/150 of 8.9 in the outfield, though his defense was barely above average in 2007 and 2008, his last two years of regular playing time.
LHP Edgar Osuna, Kansas City's first-round pick in the Rule 5 Draft last December, was outrighted to the Royals' Northwest Arkansas Double-A team today. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says (via Twitter) the move was made possible since Atlanta, Osuna's original team, declined their option to bring Osuna back. The southpaw then passed through waivers without being claimed.
Osuna posted a 3.37 ERA and 4.15 K-BB ratio over his four years in the Braves' organization, getting as high as the Double-A level last season. The 22-year-old has made 76 appearances, 48 of them starts.
Matt Eddy of Baseball America is back with his weekly list of minor league transactions, and here are a few of the familiar names on the move…
- RHP Chad Orvella, who last played in the majors for Tampa Bay in 2007, was released by the Angels after signing with the club earlier this month.
- The Dodgers released outfielder Brian Barton. Barton was one of just two non-pitchers to appear in a game last season without making a plate appearance. He entered his only major league game of 2009 as a pinch-runner and was caught stealing.
- Jesse Foppert was released by Florida. Foppert's last major league game was in 2005 with San Francisco, but the right-hander has been pitching in the Giants' (and, briefly, the Mariners') system ever since. Prior to the 2003 season, Foppert was the fifth-highest ranked prospect in the game by Baseball America.
- And finally, if you see a spate of "Boston Releases Papelbon" headlines, it's not an April Fool's joke. The Red Sox released right-hander Josh Papelbon, Jon's younger brother.
WEDNESDAY, 6:42pm: Stults' deal with Hiroshima is worth roughly $700K plus bonuses, tweets NPB Tracker.
TUESDAY, 5:26pm: Los Angeles is expected to receive between $300K and $400K for Stults, tweets Hernandez.
TUESDAY, 11:36am: The Dodgers sold pitcher Eric Stults to the Hiroshima Carp, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The 30-year-old southpaw was known to be available, as the Dodgers prefer other pitchers for the fifth starter job. The Hanshin Tigers and Chiba Lotte Marines also had an eye on Stults.
Stults posted a 4.86 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in ten starts for the Dodgers last year. He made another 13 starts in the minors, putting up similar numbers.
The Mets signed Fogg to a minor league deal in January, but released him in March. Despite poor peripheral stats, Fogg managed to post a 3.74 ERA in 45.6 relief innings for the Rockies last year. He tossed another 40.3 ugly innings as a starter in the minors. In his best days, Fogg was able to chew up 30 starts with an ERA around 5.00 for the Pirates and Rockies.
Taubenheim, 27, posted a 3.65 ERA, 5.3 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 in 106 innings for the Pirates' Triple A club last year.
The Offseason In Review series is complete; links by team are below.
A total of $972MM was spent on Major League free agent contracts this offseason, led by the Red Sox at $137MM. The Marlins are on bottom, with no big league free agent contracts signed. Each team spent about $32MM on average. Check out the list below, and contact us if you notice any errors.
- Red Sox – $137,030,000
- Cardinals – $129,450,000
- Mets – $75,350,000
- Brewers – $55,650,000
- Angels – $52,000,000
- Mariners – $51,325,000
- Braves – $41,350,000
- Reds – $37,070,000
- Giants – $34,750,000
- Phillies – $30,850,000
- Astros – $29,900,000
- Nationals – $29,900,000
- Cubs – $25,800,000
- Tigers – $23,950,000
- Orioles – $23,900,000
- Rangers – $22,500,000
- Athletics – $20,900,000
- Blue Jays – $20,500,000
- Yankees – $19,800,000
- Diamondbacks – $19,100,000
- Royals – $18,600,000
- Twins – $14,400,000
- Rockies – $13,100,000
- Dodgers – $11,500,000
- Padres – $8,675,000
- White Sox – $8,375,000
- Pirates – $8,125,000
- Rays – $5,300,000
- Indians – $2,850,000
- Marlins – $0
1:38pm: Sowers cleared waivers and will head to Triple A, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Sowers, 27 in May, posted a 5.25 ERA, 3.7 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 123.3 innings for the Tribe last year. He was better in the minors, but it was his fourth Triple A stint (excluding one start made in '05).
Sowers was drafted 20th overall by Reds GM Jim Bowden in '01, but did not sign. He was known to be a very difficult sign prior to the draft, and already had a commitment to Vanderbilt. Three years later the Indians drafted the brainy southpaw 6th overall. His polish got him to Cleveland in '06, but he was never able to strike out big league hitters and his groundball rate dropped since that rookie season.