March 2011

Pirates Designate Ramon Aguero For Assignment

The Pirates designated right-hander Ramon Aguero for assignment to create 40-man roster space for Jose Veras, according to's Jenifer Langosch. The Pirates had optioned Aguero to Double-A Altoona on March 14th.

Aguero posted a 6.14 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in 29 1/3 innings at Class A and Double-A last year. The 26-year-old Dominican has a 4.14 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in parts of five pro seasons.

Rays Extend Wade Davis

The Rays announced that they agreed to a four-year extension with Wade Davis that's worth at least $12.6MM and could be worth up to $35.1MM. Jet Sports Management represents the right-hander.

The 2011-14 seasons are guaranteed and the Rays hold options for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons. The options span Davis’ final arbitration year and his first two years of free agency while the guaranteed years span Davis' final two pre-arbitration seasons and his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility. 

Agent B.B. Abbott told MLBTR that Davis earns $1MM in 2011, $1.5MM in 2012, $2.8MM in 2013 and $4.8MM in 2014. The Rays then have options worth $7MM (2015), $8MM (2016) and $10MM (2017) or a buyout worth $2.5MM.

Davis, 25, posted a 4.07 ERA with a 39.2% ground ball rate, 6.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 168 innings last year, finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting.

The option-heavy extension mirrors those signed by Ben Zobrist (2 club options), James Shields (3 club options) and Evan Longoria (3 club options). Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman clearly likes the flexibility that multiple club options provide and so far he has been willing to commit to certain players early to obtain it.

Pirates Sign Tim Wood

The Pirates signed recently-released right-hander Tim Wood, MLBTR has learned. It didn't take long for Wood to find a job after the Nationals released him and two others.

Wood logged 27 2/3 innings for the Marlins last year, posting a 5.53 ERA with more walks (15) than strikeouts (10). He was more effective in 2009, when he posted a 2.82 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22 1/3 innings for Florida. The 28-year-old has a 4.72 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 over the course of his eight-year minor league career.

Wood, selected in the 44th round of the 2002 draft, first made it to the majors in 2009, and he began his big league career in style, throwing 9 2/3 scoreless innings over the course of eight appearances. 

Rockies Would Listen On Lopez; No Current Talks

The Rockies would listen to trade offers for Jose Lopez, but no talks are going on at the moment, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Though the Rockies have been impressed with Jonathan Herrera's spring, they would like to see Lopez hit at Coors Field before striking a deal, according to Renck.

The Rockies acquired Lopez from the Mariners for Chaz Roe in December, so he has yet to play an official game for Colorado. The Rockies are looking for a bounce-back year from Lopez, who hit .239/.270/.339 in 622 plate appearances last year. Lopez can play second and third base and will earn $3MM this year.

Nationals Release Bisenius, Wood, Van Every

The Nationals released right-handers Joe Bisenius and Tim Wood and outfielder Jonathan Van Every, according to's Bill Ladson (on Twitter).

Bisenius, 28, appeared in five games for the Nationals last year in his first MLB action since 2007. He spent most of the season in the minors, where he posted a 3.05 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 38 1/3 innings across three levels.

Wood logged 27 2/3 innings for the Marlins last year, posting a 5.53 ERA. Also 28, he has a 4.72 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 over the course of his eight-year minor league career.

Van Every played all three outfield positions for the Red Sox in 2010, the third consecutive season in which he had a brief stint in the majors. Red Sox manager Terry Francona has called on the 31-year-old to pitch in both of the past two seasons and Van Every has also pitched in a minor league game. He has a .254/.356/.477 line in a decade's worth of minor league plate appearances.

Indians Acquire Bubba Bell From Red Sox

The Indians announced that they acquired minor league outfielder Bubba Bell from the Red Sox for cash considerations. and assigned him to Triple-A. The 2005 draft pick had spent his entire pro career in the Red Sox organization until now.

Bell spent last season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he hit .293/.366/.399 in 396 plate appearances. The 28-year-old has a .292/.370/.447 line in six pro seasons and has considerable minor league experience at all three outfield positions.

Your Alphabet Of 2011 Storylines

With Opening Day so close I'm having hot dog-based fever dreams, I decided to face a pair of problems squarely. One is how to properly organize my thoughts about the critical storylines we'll be following on MLB Trade Rumors this season. The other? How to entertain my daughter, who just turned one. Let's face it: after a while, even an infant turns to you with a look that says: "I get it. Pat the Bunny is both a proper name and a suggestion. What else you got?"

So to help her to sleep at night, let's take a look at what will keep the rest of us up, furiously refreshing the page:

A is for Albert, El Hombre's contract year

Who will show him the money? Should Cardinals fans have fear?

B is for Beltran, the limping Met in right

Look for New York to deal him to someone in the fight

C is for Crawford, who Sox got with late swoop

Did Boston overpay? And how do Rays regroup?

D is for Doug Davis, a story sweet and true

He'll soon help some rotation, and tears will flow on cue

E is for Ethier, who Dodgers may soon deal

While stardom is elusive, his production is for real

F is for Fielder, first baseman oversized

Who may lead Brew to pennant, then be free agent prize

G is for Gerrit, Cole should go first in draft

Consensus is a different pick would be extremely daft

H is for Houston, where Drayton's leaving town

New boss must reverse trend of Astros heading down

I is for Iannetta, catcher a mile high

Will he fulfill potential? Or will Rockies say goodbye?

J is for Javy, the once (and future?) stud

Will move from Yanks to Marlins revive this Gotham dud?

K is for K-Rod, will his huge option vest?

If he finishes 55, the Mets have failed their test

L is for Lee, last winter's big to-do

If Cliff's performance dips, how soon will Philly boo?

M is for McCourt, whose divorce battle rages

Will it affect the Dodgers' ability to pay their wages?

N is for Nathan, who's back from elbow woes

A large amount of money will ride on how he throws

O is for Orioles, with new faces from the past

In league's toughest division, they still should finish last

P is for Pirates, where hope is finally seen

Will record, after years of losing, mirror Charlie Sheen?

Q is for Quentin, Pale Hose need him to bash

With strong walk year, by winter's end he'll be awash in cash

R is for Reyes, a decent bet to go

A bidding war this summer will deal Mets fans a blow

S is for Sabathia, opt-out can make him free

But who'll outbid the Yankees? No one that we can see

T is for Tampa, in division nonpareil

Rays spent sparingly this winter, but what they spent, spent well

U is for Utley, who battles Wounded Knee

If he cannot recover, who will his stand-in be?

V is for Victor, who Tigers signed for bat

But now they'll catch Avila? I mean, what's up with that?

W is for Wilpon, who faces massive debts

The smart money says he will be forced to sell the Mets

X is for Xavier, left fielder at Chase 

Expect him to have 25 home run pace

Y is for Yankees, and here is some advice

When you deal them a pitcher, make Montero the price

Z is for Zambrano, half-pitcher and half-storm

Says here that he will recapture his earlier ace form

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Quick Hits: Selig, Leyland, Rangers, Ethier

Links for Wednesday evening to tide you over until Opening Day…

  • Peter Gammons offers up some predictions at, but not before explaining how quickly things can change once the season begins. MLBTR's team made postseason and award picks earlier tonight.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig says he's hopeful for peaceful negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA after the season, according to's Alden Gonzalez. "Hopefully, we'll do it the way we did it in '06 — thoughtfully, carefully and quietly," Selig said.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland told's Jason Beck that he doesn't feel additional pressure because he's in the last year of his contract. “If we do all right, I assume I’ll be here," Leyland said. "If we don’t, I probably won’t be.”
  • Rangers president Nolan Ryan told's T.R. Sullivan that he expects Texas to repeat as AL West champions. The Rangers will have the flexibility to make another major midseason acquisition, according to Ryan.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland show that he was surprised by Andre Ethier's recent comments and that he has no interest in moving him (via ESPNLosAngeles).

Half Of Opening Day Starters Were First Rounders

Even though former top picks such as Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright and Stephen Strasburg are currently sidelined, a substantial number of one-time first rounders will open their teams' seasons this week. Half of baseball's 30 Opening Day starters were once first round selections.

Five Opening Day starters - Felix Hernandez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Fausto Carmona, Livan Hernandez and Edinson Volquez – were not drafted, which means 60% of the starters who were at one point draft eligible came from the first round (15/25). As Keith Law recently pointed out at, "the vast majority of impact players" who enter pro ball through the draft were selected early on.

Of the 15 first rounders to become 2011 Opening Day starters, David Price (2007) was drafted most recently and Chris Carpenter (1993) was drafted longest ago. The opening round of the 2006 draft produced the most Opening Day starters, with four. Luke Hochevar (1st overall), Clayton Kershaw (7th), Tim Lincecum (10th) and Ian Kennedy (21st) all went early on in the '06 draft.

Roy Halladay (1995), C.C. Sabathia (1998), Brett Myers (1999), Jeremy Guthrie (2002), Tim Stauffer (2003), Justin Verlander (2004), Jered Weaver (2004), Ricky Romero (2005) and Mike Pelfrey (2005) join Price, Carpenter, Hochevar, Kershaw, Lincecum and Kennedy in the group of first rounders who got the Opening Day nod this year.

This isn’t to suggest that becoming an Opening Day starter is the standard that draft prospects like Gerrit ColeJed Bradley and Sonny Gray should aspire to. Clearly, there are more effective ways of measuring a pitcher’s value than the day on which his manager asks him to throw his first pitch. But it’s worth noting that so many Opening Day starters come from the first round and it'll be worth watching which starters get selected early this June.

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MLBTR Writer Predictions

Nine MLBTR writers give 2011 predictions!  Click here to see postseason and award picks from Tim Dierkes, Ben Nicholson-Smith, Mike Axisa, Luke Adams, Mark Polishuk, Zach Links, Dan Mennella, Howard Megdal, and Steve Adams.  Make your predictions in the comments and we'll check back here in November.

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