April 2012

AL East Notes: Yankees, Blue Jays, Colon, Red Sox

The AL East went 4-1 today as every team in the division won except for the Red Sox.  News and notes out of the division..

Anthopoulos On Trade Talk, Darvish

Earlier today, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos took questions from reporters and denied rumblings that he's scouring the trade market early on in the year.  Here's more from the GM's presser courtesy of MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm..

  • There has been talk of the Blue Jays prioritizing a big bat for some time now but the GM said that isn't exactly the case.  Anthopoulos believes that the talk started when he was asked a hypothetical question in an interview about what he might look to add early in the season and responded by saying that he would seek out offense. 
  • As for this week's rumblings that he's diligently looking for an impact starter and a bopper?  "I’ve had zero dialogue with GMs right now on anything remotely resembling that," Anthopoulos said.
  • It's unlikely that you'll see the Blue Jays go after elite free agents, thanks in large part to payroll constraints and the club's aversion to long-term deals.  Anthopoulos said that it's much more likely that the club will add impact players via trade in the coming years.  AA talked about the team's policy on contract length and the possibility of exceptions being made last month.
  • In the past, Anthopoulos has implied that doling out more than $100MM to an import such as Yu Darvish was risky, but the GM backed off of that assertion.  “I think when you’re spending over $100MM on a player, no matter who it is, there’s always an element of risk there. But like anything else, obviously very talented, great stuff, good athlete…whether it’s a player from here or a player from Japan or anywhere else, there’s always an element of risk no matter how good the players are."

MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis from the MLBTR Writing Team this week..

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Colletti In Touch With Andre Ethier’s Agents

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has kept in contact with Andre Ethier's agents at CAA through the team's ownership change in hopes of reaching agreement on an extension, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (on Twitter).  In a followup tweet, Bowden says that he expects an extension would cover four or five years and pay the slugging right fielder $14-$15MM annually.

Over the past week we've heard that Colletti has talked with the new ownership group about a new deal for Ethier and his intention has always been to keep Ethier wearing Dodger blue.  The 30-year-old Ethier avoided arbitration this offseason, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $10.95MM.  He's enjoying a strong start to the 2012 season, batting .284/.326/.568 entering play today.

Week In Review: 4/22/12 – 4/28/12

The past week was filled with notable releases and injury announcements, and also marked the beginning of Bryce Harper's major league career… let's run it down in this week's review:

  • The Angels released Bobby Abreu and his $9MM salary. The move had a wide range of reactions and related news associated with it, and it's expected that he'll latch on with another team.
  • Brandon Inge was released by the Tigers on Thursday after spending the first 12 seasons of his career in Detroit.
  • Mike Pelfrey may have thrown his last pitch for the Mets, following the announcement this week that he'll undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2012 season.
  • Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson is also done for the season. He'll undergo a shoulder operation that will sideline him until 2013. The Brewers have enough pitching depth for now but the injury could eventually lead them to search outside the organization.
  • The Yankees were counting on Michael Pineda to be a stabilizing force in their rotation when they acquired him this offseason, but instead he's likely lost for the year after it was announced that he too will require a major shoulder operation.
  • The Nationals started Bryce Harper's service clock this week when they recalled him from Triple-A and placed Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list. Harper doubled and picked up his first big league RBI in his debut.
  • Delmon Young was placed on the restricted list by the Tigers this week after an alcohol-related altercation in New York City.
  • The Angels continue to monitor the trade market for relief help, but are only offering second-tier prospects while the majority of their suitors are more interested in Peter Bourjos.
  • Bronson Arroyo has now accrued 10 full seasons of Major League service time and spent more than five years with the Reds, giving him 10-and-5 rights. He cannot be traded without his consent.
  • Adam Jones hasn't heard from his agent or the Orioles about a contract extension recently, but isn't bothered by that. He told reporters that he'd have a hard time thinking about a long-term deal if he weren't signed by this time next year though, with his first crack at free agency coming up.
  • The Rays are expected to sign Hideki Matsui, who has been working out in preparation for the 2012 season in New York.
  • Scott Boras says that his client, Mike Gonzalez, is close to signing with a team. He should sign sometime this week, if Boras' timeline is correct.
  • The Athletics claimed Luke Hughes off of waivers from the Twins in an effort to shore up a rocky third base situation.
  • Dontrelle Willis will file a grievance against the Orioles after they placed him on the restricted list. Willis' agents at Sosnick and Cobbe said he was granted permission to leave the team, and were quite displeased with GM Dan Duquette.
  • Jeremy Bonderman recently underwent elbow surgery and intends to pitch again in 2013.
  • Lastly, there's a new version of MLBTR's iPhone app available for download. It'll cost just $2.99 to for you to check it out!

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Minor Moves: Gonzalez, Hill, Barfield

Today's minor moves..

Vlad Guerrero Will Work Out For Diamondbacks

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said during today's game broadcast that Vladimir Guerrero will work out for the Diamondbacks, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

Guerrero's lack of defensive skills at this point in his career make him a curious fit for any National League team, but if his bat is up to the task he could be used as an effective late-game pinch hitter. Guerrero registered the weakest offensive season of his career with the Orioles in 2011 but still hit a respectable .290/.317/.416 with 13 home runs. He was used exclusively as a DH by the Orioles, however, and has just 20 appearances in the field during regular season play dating back to 2009.

Even late in the offseason, Guerrero was said to be seeking $5MM, but won't sniff that figure now. Johnny Damon, also said to be seeking $5MM, recently signed with the Indians for $1.25MM. Even that will likely be more than Guerrero can hope to obtain, as Damon will play the outfield regularly in Cleveland. Guerrero switched agents late in the offseason and is now represented by Proformance.

Athletics To Sign Brandon Inge

The Athletics will sign the recently-released Brandon Inge, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

The 35-year-old Inge picked up just two hits in 20 at-bats with the Tigers this season after batting just .197/.265/.283 in 303 plate appearances last season. He was released by Detroit, the only organization he's ever known, on Thursday last week.

Oakland's third base situation has been in question all season. Scott Sizemore was originally scheduled to start at third for the A's, but went down with a knee injury prior to the season. The A's have since acquired Luke Hughes from the Twins, but Hughes profiles more as a utility player than a starter. Oakland was one of three teams, along with the Twins and Orioles, rumored to be interested in adding the veteran.

Inge is a career .234/.304/.387 hitter whose defense at third has long been considered to be a plus. He possess a 5.6 UZR/150 in his career at the hot corner. Inge is represented by ACES.

Quick Hits: Inge, Brewers, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels

Sunday afternoon linkage..

  • Brandon Inge clears waivers at 1pm CST and the A's are the frontrunner to sign him, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • The Brewers are tenth in payroll this season, but that won't be the case for the club every year, owner Mark Attanasio told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Rosenthal also spoke to GM Doug Melvin, who sounded skittish about doling out five- and six-year deals as a small-market club.
  • Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wonders if the Red Sox's Carl Crawford could be a fit with the Dodgers.  If Boston were willing to pay off part of his $142MM contract and accepted some decent pitching in return, he believes there could be a match between the two teams.
  • More from Shaikin, who writes that the Angels could opt-out of their stadium deal in 2016 and potentially move right down the street from the Dodgers.  The Dodgers could not challenge such a move on the grounds of traditional territorial rights like the Giants are blocking the A's from moving to San Jose.
  • For Japanese imports such as Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish, the major leagues represent a significant change, writes Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger.

Cafardo On Balfour, Hanrahan, Angels, Twins, Myers

Older ballplayers are showing a lot of life so far this season, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Veterans Paul Konerko, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Jamie Moyer have all looked sharp in the month of April.  Ortiz lost 25 pounds to get himself into shape for this season and plans to keep up the hard work as he hopes to play for another two seasons.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • The Angels have inquired on A’s pitcher Grant Balfour and he is becoming one of the more sought-after bullpen pieces.  The Halos have also shown interest in Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates and the Mariners' Brandon League, but Balfour seems the most logical.
  • If the Twins don’t turn things around by the trade deadline, Carl Pavano will be a highly sought-after pitcher.  The right-hander is earning $8.5MM in the final year of his contract and has limited no-trade protection. Jason Marquis, Matt Capps, and Francisco Liriano could also be used as chips to land prospects.
  • Teams probably have their eye on Astros right-hander Brett Myers.  Many teams, such as the Angels and Red Sox, could use the 31-year-old’s arm right now.  He has also shown that he can pitch in a big market with his time in Philadelphia.
  • If Tigers outfielder Delmon Young is convicted of a hate crime, it will be interesting to see whether the the club void his contract. They would be within their rights to do so under the collective bargaining agreement.  The 26-year-old earns $6.75MM this year and can become a free agent after the season.
  • The A's are a good bet to land Brandon Inge.
  • Most baseball people feel there’s no way the Red Sox let Aaron Cook hit the open market by not calling him up May 1.  The 33-year-old will earn the prorated portion of $1.5MM if he is called up to the majors.