March 2012

Quick Hits: Hamilton, Axelrod, Abreu, Pelfrey, Mets

Saturday night linkage..

  • Josh Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he's open to talking to the Rangers about a contract extension during the season. “If they want to talk to my agent, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said after previously indicating an unwillingness to negotiate during the season.
  • Agent Barry Axelrod has been discussing employment opportunities with the Diamondbacks, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (Twitter links). Axelrod and GM Kevin Towers are close friends.
  • Unlike agents Jeff Moorad and Arn Tellem, Scott Boras has no desire to own a major league team, writes Jon Paul Morosi of
  • The Angels' deal to trade Bobby Abreu to the Indians fell apart due to salary concerns, a source familiar with the talks told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Cleveland wanted the veteran slugger but the two sides couldn't agree upon how much of his $9MM salary they would assume.
  • Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey was surprised to learn that his job was on the line during spring training, writes David Lennon of Newsday. The front office was kicking around the idea of releasing the 28-year-old before Opening Day to free up roughly $4MM, the non-guaranteed portion of his one-year, $5.7MM deal.
  • Scouts covering the Giants say the club is getting nervous about rotation depth, tweets Jayson Stark of
  • The Orioles cut minor league pitcher Josh Banks, tweets Steve Melewski of The right-hander spent most of 2011 with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate and posted a 7.27 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in twelve starts and seven relief appearances.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

East Links: Pineda, Michaels, Banks, Larish, Branyan

Happy birthday to Jeff Mathis (29) and Chien-Ming Wang (32). Here's the latest from their respective divisions, the AL East and NL East…

Rays Acquire Kyle Hudson

The Rays have acquired outfielder Kyle Hudson from the Rangers for future considerations, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Texas signed him to a minor league deal back in January.

The 25-year-old hit .296/.375/.336 line with 41 stolen bases in 485 minor league plate appearances last season. Hudson also appeared in 14 Major League games for the Orioles as a September callup.

Central Links: Axford, Tigers, Hosmer

Three years ago today, the Reds traded Jeff Keppinger to the Astros for a player to be named later. That player ended up being Drew Sutton. Here's the latest from baseball's two Central divisions…

  • "I don't care if it does," said John Axford to's Adam McCalvy when asked if he minds if extensions talks with the Brewers carry over into the regular season. "I'm open to still talking [during the season], for sure, and it doesn't affect me if we don't talk."
  • "What I'm telling you is that we don't definitely have any trades in place," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland to's Jason Beck. Detroit appears to be taking as much time as possible before announcing their final roster moves.
  • With Alex Gordon now signed to an extension, the Royals will try to convince Eric Hosmer to sign a long-term deal according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd). I looked at Hosmer as an extension candidate in January, but the first baseman recently said he's not in a rush to sign a new deal.

D’Backs Retain Brett Lorin In Trade With Pirates

The Diamondbacks will retain Rule 5 Draft pick Brett Lorin after acquiring his rights from the Pirates for Robby Rowland, the team announced (on Twitter). Lorin has been outrighted off Arizona's 40-man roster.

Lorin, 25, has allowed three runs in nine innings this spring. He pitched to a 2.84 ERA in 117 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh's Single-A affiliate last season, striking out 7.6 batters per nine while walking 1.5 per nine. The D'Backs would have had to place Lorin on waivers and offer him back to the Pirates had he not remained on their 25-man active roster all season.

Rowland, 20, was Arizona's third round pick in 2010. He owns a 7.01 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 122 low-level minor league innings in his brief career. Baseball America ranked Lorin as the D'Backs' 28th best prospect in their 2012 Prospect Handbook, but Rowland did not make the cut. Both pitchers are right-handed.

Update On This Year’s Rule 5 Draft Picks

Players selected in the annual Rule 5 Draft must remain on their new team's 25-man active roster all season, or be passed through waivers and offered back to their original club. Here's an update on the 12 players taken in December's draft…

Full Story | 7 Comments | Categories: Rule 5 Draft

Anthopoulos On Bautista, Romero, Boras, Draft

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star sat down with Alex Anthopoulos as the GM enters his third season with the Blue Jays.  Here are some highlights from the interview..

  • Jose Bautista told Griffin that he was unaware of the club's policy of no deals being in excess of five years but was happy with the length of the deal he signed.  Anthopoulos says that contract length hasn't been an impediment for the club at any point as they haven't pursued a free agent who signed for more than five years.
  • Team president Paul Beeston was pushing a team policy that would limit position players to five year deals and pitchers to just three.  However, Anthopoulos says that he was ultimately able to convince Beeston to give Ricky Romero a five-year, $30.1MM extension in August 2010.  The GM believes that he won out largely because two of those years were pre-arbitration.  Anthopoulos cited this as an example of the club being both flexible and creative when it comes to deals.
  • Griffin notes that there seems to be a negative vibe towards Scott Boras clients within the Toronto organization.  Anthopoulos said that the club doesn't have any bias towards any agency and noted that he signed Boras clients such as Scott Schoeneweis, Josh Banks, and Guillermo Quiroz and drafted James Paxton.
  • AA believes that the CBA changes to draft spending will result in more high school kids going to college rather than jumping to the majors.  Anthopoulos also believes that the changes could be the first step towards a universal draft and acknowledged that there has been a great deal of chatter about that happening.

Phillies Still Looking For Infield Help

Despite signing Andres Blanco earlier today, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said they "still have our eyes and ears open" for infield help according to ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). Chase Utley is having knee problems and Placido Polanco is just coming back from a finger issue.

The Giants recently released Mike Fontenot, though the Phillies seem to be targeting infielders on minor league contracts. Freddy Galvis will take over second base full-time while Ty Wigginton provides emergency infield depth.

White Sox Sign Conor Jackson

The White Sox have signed Conor Jackson to a minor league contract, reports Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). The SFX client was assigned to Triple-A.

Jackson, 29, was released by the Rangers earlier this month. He hit .244/.310/.341 in 390 plate appearances for the Athletics and Red Sox last year. Jackson has plenty of experience in both outfield corners and first base, and he typically does his best work against left-handed pitchers.

Minor Moves: Jamie Hoffmann, Andres Blanco

Let's keep track of Saturday's minor moves right here as we get closer and closer to Opening Day…

  • The Orioles have signed Jamie Hoffmann to a minor league deal, reports Roch Kubatko of (on Twitter). The 27-year-old outfielder elected free agency after being outrighted by the Rockies earlier this month. Hoffmann battled illness this spring and struggled in games.
  • The Phillies have signed Andres Blanco to a minor league contract, the team announced (on Twitter). The 27-year-old opted out of his minor league deal with the Nationals at some point in the last ten hours or so. Blanco is a .255/.301/.333 career hitter in 654 plate appearances, and has experience all over the infield. The Phillies are trying to add infield depth following Chase Utley's latest knee problems.