June 2012

Twins Extend Ryan Doumit

The Twins and Ryan Doumit have signed a two-year, $7MM extension, the team announced. The deal covers the 2013 and 2014 seasons and will pay the Sosnick/Cobbe client an annual salary of $3.5MM. Doumit, 31, will complete his one-year, $3MM contract before the extension kicks in.

Doumit's .271/.332/.443 season batting line comes close to replicating his career line of .271/.334/.442. He has split his time between catcher and designated hitter in his first season with the Twins, also making appearances at first base and in right field. Doumit posted a .303/.353/.477 line in 236 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2011, when he missed significant time because of a non-displaced fracture in his left ankle.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported that the sides were nearing a deal. The deal includes $250K per year in bonuses based on plate appearances, Crasnick tweets.

International Notes: Mets, Padres, Yankees

The international signing period begins next week, which means it won’t be long before teams can officially start locking up a new class of talented young players. Keep in mind that each team now operates with a $2.9MM budget and that deals won’t become official before next week. Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com has the latest on some bright young players and potential deals:

  • It’s rumored that the Mets will sign Dominican shortstop Germán Ahmed Rosario, Rojas tweets. Rosario would obtain a bonus of roughly $1.7MM.
  • The Blue Jays look to have the inside track with Venezuelan shortstop Franklin Barreto, Rojas writes.
  • It's rumored that the Padres are a likely destination for Dominican third baseman Carlos Belén, Rojas tweets. Belén could sign for around $1MM.
  • Venezuelan catcher Luis Torrens could sign a lucrative deal with the Yankees, Rojas tweets.
  • Dominican shortstop Wendell Rijo could sign with the Rays for $800K or so, Rojas tweets.

Stark On Garza, Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Headley

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers says he’s been impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper from an offensive and defensive standpoint, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. "They can beat you on the basepaths. They impact the game defensively,” Towers said. “They can beat you with key hits or the long ball. They're both very special." Here are Stark’s latest rumors from around MLB…

  • One American League executive says the Cubs are basing their asking price for Matt Garza on last summer’s Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This means it’ll take two controllable, young players with upside to pry the right-hander away from Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein.
  • Other teams say the Orioles are involved in the Garza talks. However, Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy aren’t going to be available in summer trade talks with any club.
  • The Braves are looking for "an impact starting pitcher" and they’ve scouted trade candidate Jason Vargas extensively
  • The Angels are desperate to add a really good bullpen piece and would dangle Peter Bourjos in the right deal, according to rival teams.
  • One executive doesn’t expect Luke Gregerson of the Padres to become available, though there would be heavy demand if San Diego were willing to listen.
  • Another executive suggests the Red Sox could trade Kelly Shoppach and call Ryan Lavarnway up from the minor leagues.
  • The Twins continue to tell teams they expect to hold onto Josh Willingham.
  • The Marlins are telling rival teams they haven’t discussed becoming sellers this summer. The Phillies also seem to want to add, not subtract. The Phils are considering a long list of relievers and have asked the Padres about Chase Headley.
  • The Diamondbacks have “window-shopped” for bullpen depth, Stark writes. Towers says he prefers his current team, now 38-37, to the one that won the NL West a year ago.
  • Stark also reported on the Blue Jays' approach to the trade deadline and you can read the details here.

Outrighted To Triple-A: Randy Wells

The latest outright assignments from around MLB…

  • Randy Wells cleared waivers and the Cubs outrighted him to Triple-A Iowa, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter). The Cubs designated the right-hander for assignment two days ago after he posted a 5.34 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 7.5 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings of work.

Yankees Claim Schwinden, Designate Farquhar

The Yankees claimed right-hander Chris Schwinden off of waivers from Cleveland, the Indians announced. The Yankees designated Danny Farquhar for assignment in a related move, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter).

It's been a busy month for the 25-year-old Schwinden. The Blue Jays claimed him off of waivers from the Mets on June 2nd and, in an uncannily similar corresponding move, also designated Farquhar for assignment. The Indians claimed Schwinden off of waivers from Toronto four days later and he started three games for Cleveland's top affiliate before today's claim. Schwinden has a 4.16 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 13 starts for three Triple-A teams this year. He also appeared in three games for the Mets.

Farquhar, also 25, has had an equally busy month. He appeared in three games for the Blue Jays this year before the Athletics claimed him on June 9th. The Yankees claimed him earlier this week, but he didn't appear in a game with the Bronx Bombers.

Dodgers Sign Yasiel Puig

The Dodgers have a history of signing and developing impact players from Latin America, but their once-impressive methods of acquiring talent faded under the ownership of Frank McCourt. Now they're back at it. 

The Dodgers announced today that they have signed 21-year-old outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year Major League contract. The contract, which is worth $42MM, reflects renewed commitment to success in Latin America, GM Ned Colletti says.

"This signing shows ownership’s commitment to re-engage in the region and dedicate ourselves to getting stronger in this area,” Colletti said. “We feel that Puig can be an outstanding Major League player for the organization.”   

Puig can void his contract and go to arbitration once he accumulates three years of MLB service, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports (Twitter links). The Dodgers don't appear to have been the high bidder, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. They never saw Puig play in a game, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets.

The Dodgers, now under the ownership of Guggenheim Sports Management, had publicly stated their intention to bid aggressively on the best available Latin American players. Puig, a 6'3" outfielder from Cuba, fits the description. He agrees to terms two days after being granted free agency and four days before baseball's collective bargaining agreement imposes spending restrictions on teams. Starting July 2, teams will work with a $2.9MM annual budget for international prospects.

Agent Jaime Torres represents Puig, who appears to be in line for a record contract. The outfielder has two seasons of experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He’s more polished than Jorge Soler of the Cubs but less seasoned than Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics, according to Sanchez. The Cubs and White Sox both appear to have expressed interest in signing Puig.

Reports on Puig have been modest, Ben Badler of Baseball America reported this week. Teams are working off of limited information, as most scouts haven't seen much of the prospect since last summer.

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez first reported the contract and Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com first reported its terms.

Blue Jays Interested In Starting Pitching

The Blue Jays recently signed Jamie Moyer to add depth to a rotation that's seen Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Brandon Morrow hit the disabled list in recent weeks, and their search for pitching reinforcements won’t end with the 49-year-old left-hander. Officials of three teams describe the Blue Jays as being in a “full court press” for rotation help, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. The 38-38 Blue Jays maintain a buyer’s stance, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report.

The team recently sent multiple scouts to at least two of Wandy Rodriguez’s starts, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The club has also maintained contact with the Cubs about Matt Garza, FOX reports. The Blue Jays prefer to acquire players who are under team control for an extended period and Rodriguez (team control through 2013 or 2014) and Garza (through 2013) are more than rental players. 

The Blue Jays are giving “little indication” that they intend to trade potential free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, Rosenthal and Morosi write. Scouts are saying they’ve been told Encarnacion is available for the “right” pitcher, Stark reports. Yet one person told Stark Encarnacion is "not available, as far as I know." Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com wrote earlier today that the Blue Jays would have multiple suitors if they make Encarnacion available.

Stark suggests the Blue Jays could have interest in recently designated Cubs starter Randy Wells.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Youk, Greinke, CarGo, Puig

On this date in 2005, Byung-Hyun Kim hit Craig Biggio with a pitch to give the Astros' second baseman the modern all-time hit-by-pitch record. It was the 268th plunking of Biggio's career, and he went on to retire with 285. Jason Kendall has not played since 2010 but also has yet to officially retire, and he currently sits third on the all-time list with 254 hit-by-pitches. Here's the best the baseball corner of the internet had to offer this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here. Only one email per week, please.

Braves Sign Ben Sheets?

Ben Sheets is in a ‪Braves‬ uniform and warming up in the team’s bullpen as they get set to take on the Nationals, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Sheets has presumably signed with Atlanta but no announcement has been made yet.

Heyman On Blue Jays, Soriano, Rays, Span, Headley

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com…

  • Several teams would target Edwin Encarnacion if the Blue Jays make him available in trades, Heyman writes. However, the Blue Jays’ main priority is putting together an effective and healthy rotation. 
  • Teams see Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs as a designated hitter, not an outfielder, Heyman writes. One general manager says the Cubs could trade Soriano if they absorb all but $2MM of his contract. The Cubs are indeed willing to pay a “very substantial portion” of the $45MM or so remaining on the contract, Heyman writes. One scout suggested the Rays could be a fit for Soriano, who seems willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to a contender.
  • The Twins are believed to be more willing to trade Denard Span than Josh Willingham, writes Heyman. They do not appear to be actively engaged in talks yet, but they would seek a young starting pitcher in return for Span.
  • The Dodgers are one of several teams inquiring about Chase Headley, writes Heyman. The Padres are willing to listen on their third baseman and Heyman says they will consider intra-division trades.