The latest on the Phillies, before they take on the Blue Jays with former Toronto ace Roy Halladay on the mound...
- Chase Utley has tendinitis in his right knee and Michael Young has requested a trade, but Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News says it's a safe bet that the Phillies won't acquire Young to provide depth. The Phillies kicked the tires on Young earlier in the month.
- Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out that age will eventually prevent the Phillies' top players from playing as well as they have throughout their respective careers.
- Former Phillies reliever Chad Durbin agreed to sign with the Indians and some don't think Philadelphia needed the depth the right-hander provides. Bob Brookover of the Inquirer heard from one National League scout who says Durbin is "the 13th pitcher on a 12-man staff."
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine could return to the organization after all. Valentine has spoken with serious financial backers about bidding to buy part of the Mets, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Valentine says he's interested in the possibility of owning part of the team.
"I'’ve talked to a number of people interested in purchasing part of the New York Mets, but I'’m not formally with any group that is actively pursuing this venture," Valentine told Rubin.
The Wilpon family is open to selling a minority share in the club, as it faces a $1 billion lawsuit and financial instability. When the Mets needed financial support last fall, they borrowed $25MM from MLB.
Valentine was a candidate for a number of managerial openings last year, though he wasn't a finalist for the Mets position. Terry Collins beat Bob Melvin and Chip Hale for the job in November.
Links for Sunday evening as we mourn the passing of Dodgers legend Duke Snider..
- Lefty Joe Beimel is happy to be back with the Bucs organization, Langosch writes.
- Outfielder Lastings Milledge faces an uphill battle as he tries to make the White Sox as a non-roster invitee, writes the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales.
- The Pirates could still deal Ryan Doumit in the near future but the club plans to wait for the right package in return, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- In a piece for Fangraphs, Jonah Keri weighs the pros and cons of the Cardinals picking up Adam Wainwright's option.
- In addition to Kyle McClellan, the Cards could also audition Ian Snell, Miguel Batista, and former No. 1 draft choice Adam Ottavino to fill the void in their rotation, writes Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. If they cannot find their guy in-house in the next two weeks, they may consider outside options.
- This winter's signings should raise the White Sox's projected payroll for 2011 to slightly more than $125MM, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- A higher payroll means raised expectations for the Rockies in 2011, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
A few Yankees-related tidbits..
- Jack Curry of YES (via these Twitter links) spoke to Cliff Lee about his offseason and flirtation with the Yankees. The left-hander said that before the Phillies got involved, the Yankees were a "likely possibility". Lee had three good options in the Yankees, Phillies, and Rangers, but ultimately felt that he could win multiple titles with the Phils, despite seeing the Yanks as "attractive". Even though Lee left money on the table to return to Philadelphia, he says that one monster contract is just as good as another in his view.
- Despite reports to the contrary, the Yankees did not release left-handed pitcher Andy Sisco, writes Josh Norris of The Trentonian. The 6'10" hurler has a 5.18 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in 151 career big league appearances. His last stint in the majors came in 2007 with the White Sox.
It's time to take a look back at the week that was..
- The Cards got a bad break this week when they learned that pitcher Adam Wainwright will miss the 2011 season after undergong Tommy John surgery. St. Louis will try to find a solution from within for now, but could start looking for an answer via trade or signing soon. Recently, Chris Carpenter said he wouldn't get in the way of a trade if the club wanted to move him, but its unlikely that they would part with another pitcher under the circumstances.
- If the Cardinals decide to use reliever Kyle McClellan to fill Wainwright's spot, they could use some extra bullpen depth to offset the move. This week they took a look at Kiko Calero.
- White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle said he would be willing to approve a trade if the White Sox were looking to deal him, provided that it is the right fit.
- BoSox president Larry Lucchino assured fans that the Red Sox will extend Adrian Gonzalez before he hits free agency after the season.
- Agent Casey Close will leave CAA Sports when his his five-year contract expires at the end of the month. The high-profile agent represents Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Michael Cuddyer, and Derrek Lee, among others.
- The Braves signed GM Frank Wren to a two-year contract extension through 2013.
- The Mets received a $25MM loan from Major League Baseball to help ease their financial troubles.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is downplaying the trade talk surrounding Joe Blanton.
- Former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth said that he believes the team could have had him and Cliff Lee if they had planned things out better.
- The Indians have reached agreement on a deal with Chad Durbin. The right-hander hoped to join a contender, but couldn't pass up the Major League contract.
- Soon after bringing Nick Swisher aboard agent Dan Lozano added Manny Machado, Yonder Alonso, and Danny Valencia to his stable of clients.
- Veteran infielder Mark Grudzielanek decided to retire this week. The 40-year-old appeared in 30 games with Cleveland last season before being released in June.
- Jose Guillen will consider retirement if he doesn't have a deal soon.
- The Pirates are "in a great position" financially and are willing to spend money, owner Robert Nutting says.
- The Mets signed three players to minor league deals on Sunday.
Here's a look back at some of the analysis and reporting MLBTR's writing team delivered this week..
- We spoke to Nick Johnson's agent, Rex Gary, who told us that major league clubs are closely monitoring his client's progress.
- On Tuesday we rolled out our Draft Prospect Q&A series, in which we introduce you to the top athletes in the 2011 draft. First up: Sonny Gray.
- Sometimes contract extensions can go horribly wrong, as our own Mike Axisa writes. You too can review past contracts, both good and bad, using our Transactions Tracker.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith looked into his crystal ball to preview the 2011-2012 free agent class.
- Our Offseason In Review series rolled on with looks at the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, and Florida Marlins.
- This week we polled our readers on Chris Carpenter's future,
- Howard Megdal decided to play Jack Of All Trades with his first pack of baseball cards in 2011.
- I took a look at the Braves' pitching surplus and asked if they should shop their spare starters.
- This upcoming season marks a Make Or Break Year for Bobby Abreu and pitcher Edwin Jackson.
- Mike Axisa looked at Baseball America's top 100 prospects in baseball and identified the ones that were drafted using compensation picks. Mike also highlighted some keen waiver pickups.
- If you think about it, every year is a contract year, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith in a post at Fangraphs.
- There was tons of great stuff from around the web this week and it was all highlighted in the most recent edition of Baseball Blogs Weigh In.
Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers touched on a handful of roster issues today and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the goods..
- The D'Backs probably won’t look outside of the organization for help this spring. Piecoro notes (via Twitter) that this is unlike how he’s operated in past years while serving as the GM of the Padres.
- Towers thinks that the club has solid depth and says that club scouts are spending more time watching other teams’ minor leaguers. So while the club could look to make a trade, it likely won't be one to build the club in the short term. "If anything, we might have some excess, some depth in certain areas. So other teams might hit us. I would imagine that our pro scouts are spending more time on the minor league fields," said Towers.
- The GM said that contract status won't play a role in deciding the makeup of the back end of the team's rotation, though contract situations such as a large guaranteed deal or a player out of options will likely factor into decisions in some way. Zach Duke, Armando Galarraga, Aaron Heilman and Barry Enright are the main contenders for the spots, writes Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Duke is guaranteed $4.5MM whether he makes the team or not while Galarraga's $2.3MM is only partially guaranteed if he's released prior to Opening Day. Heilman, meanwhile, is out-of-options and would likely be stowed away in the bullpen to be protected.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington says that the trade talk surrounding Ryan Doumit has "kind of died" for now, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. This appears to be a recent development, as Huntington confessed just two weeks ago that the club could deal the catcher before Opening Day.
“Things kind of died, in terms of most conversations, once you get into February,” the GM said. “They (usually) pick back up again the first couple weeks of games. Right now is a very quiet period for most clubs.”
As our own Mark Polishuk recently explained, 2011 is a make or break year for Doumit. The Pirates hold options on the soon-to-be 30-year-old worth $7.25MM in 2012 and $8.25MM in 2013 but the club will almost certainly choose to pay a $500K buyout instead.
Huntington also indicated today that if the Pirates decide they can’t keep Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez on the roster, they will first try to work out a trade with the Indians in order to keep him.
After losing Adam Wainwright for the season, it's been speculated that the Cardinals would go out on the free agent or trade market to acquire his replacement. GM John Mozeliak showed a much more patient approach last week, saying they'll first look in-house for a solution. SI.com's Jon Heyman reports today (on Twitter) that reliever Kyle McClellan will get the first crack at the job, but if not one emerges within two weeks, the team will "consider outside options."
The 26-year-old McClellan has 202 career relief appearances to his credit but zero big league starts. His last start came in Single-A in 2007, and the last time he started on a regular basis was back in 2004, again in Single-A. McClellan was working under a starter's program in Spring Training before Wainwright's injury, and according to the PitchFX data at FanGraphs, he throws enough pitches for the role: sinker (33.0% of the time), fastball (25.9%), curve (22.3%), and slider (11.9%) while mixing in a changeup (6.1%). Cardinals fans, chime in in the comments if you've seen something different out of the right-hander.
ESPN's Buster Olney wrote about the Marlins' revamped bullpen in today's blog post (Insider req'd), noting that they now have a pair of left-handers (Randy Choate and Mike Dunn) to go after the middle of Philadelphia's lineup. They lacked those options early last year. Florida also brought in right-handed relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica in this winter's Cameron Maybin trade.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Padres officials met with prospects Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, and Reymond Fuentes recently to stress that they don't want them to put too much pressure on themselves after the trade that brought them to San Diego. The trio was acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez swap.
- The Cardinals are going to watch their pitchers over the next few weeks in the wake of Adam Wainwright's injury, then see if they "need to change course."
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams told Olney's colleague Gene Wojciechowski "I know what I want for next year right now. I have an idea. But if we're going to have dreams of maintaining where we are payroll-wise or taking it even a step higher, yeah, a lot of it depends on what happens this year." Williams said he would have liked to have done more this offseason, but is thrilled with the payroll owner Jerry Reinsdorf gave him.