January 2013

Angels To Sign Bill Hall

The Angels have agreed to sign free agent Bill Hall to a minor league deal, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  The veteran is a client of Gaylord Sports Management.

Hall signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in April of last season and was outrighted to Triple-A twice during the season.  The veteran appeared in seven games at the big league level and spent the bulk of the year in Norfolk hitting .246/.300/.430 with 15 homers in 90 games.


Mets Notes: Marcum, Alderson, Payroll

Earlier today, the Mets formally introduced Shaun Marcum to the press and later on, General Manager Sandy Alderson's fielded questions from season ticket holders.  Here's a look at some highlights..

  • Marcum is the premier pitcher to join the Mets this winter but he says that replacing the production of R.A. Dickey will require a team effort and the responsibility doesn't fall squarely on his shoulders, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  The right-handed hurler believes that if he and the rest of the Mets' starting five can stay healthy and shoot for 200+ innings, it'll go a long way towards filling the void.
  • The 31-year-old would have liked to have sign a multi-year deal this winter, but “nothing came about.”  However, there wasn't a lack of interest for Marcum as he says 15-20 teams pursued him to some degree, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
  • Alderson insists that the Mets have money to spend this season and in the coming years, but they intend on being careful about how they go about it, according to the Mets' Twitter feed.
  • Marcum says he isn't feeling any residual effects from the elbow tightness that cost him nine weeks of play over the summer.
  • The opportunity to make thirty starts was a plus for Marcum (via Mets on Twitter) as well as his history with J.P. Ricciardi (Rubin on Twitter).
  • Vice President of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta opined that the Mets have one of the best pitching farm systems in MLB and says that they now have added some impact bats in the last couple of drafts (Twitter link).

Minor Moves: LaRoche, Delcarmen, Brackman

We'll track the day's minor moves here…

  • The Blue Jays announced that they signed infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. LaRoche, who last appeared at the MLB level with the 2011 A's, posted a .251/.335/.422 batting line at Triple-A in 2012.
  • The Orioles signed relievers Rob Delaney and Manny Delcarmen and outfielder Chris Pettit to minor league deals, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). Delcarmen, 30, last pitched at the MLB level in 2010 with the Red Sox and Rockies. He pitched for the Yankees' top affiliate in 2012, posting a 4.42 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in 57 innings. The 28-year-old Delaney pitched in four games for the 2011 Rays and spent the 2012 season with the Marlins' Triple-A team, posting a 2.29 ERA in 63 innings. Pettit played briefly for the Angels in 2009 and 2011. The right-handed hitting 28-year-old posted a .282/.354/.454 batting line in the upper minors this past season.
  • The White Sox signed right-hander Andrew Brackman, Eddy reports (on Twitter). The former first round pick posted a 6.71 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 in the Reds' minor league system last year.


Quick Hits: Yankees, Cruz, Wells

We shouldn't be surprised if the Yankees spend aggressively on free agent starting pitching in the years ahead, Jim Bowden writes at ESPN.com. Check out MLBTR’s 2014 free agent list to see which players will join Matt Garza, Josh Johnson and Adam Wainwright on the free agent market a year from now. Here are today’s links…

  • In a piece at ESPN Insider, Zachary Levine of Baseball Prospectus searches MLB rosters for some players who could be traded now that their salaries are essentially sunk costs. Luke Hochevar and Ted Lilly are among the players who make Levine's list.
  • Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal looks ahead at some of the starting pitchers who could be available in trades, suggesting that Yovani Gallardo, Jarrod Parker and Ian Kennedy could be dealt in future years.
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if Nelson Cruz’s alleged connection to performance enhancing drugs suppliers could lead to renewed interest in Michael Bourn from the Rangers (Twitter link).
  • Free agent right-hander Kip Wells threw a bullpen for the Mariners today, Evan Drellich of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Wells, 35, posted a 4.58 ERA with more walks (20) than strikeouts (19) in 37 1/3 innings with the Padres in 2012.

MLBTR Chat Transcript

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Mets Sign Shaun Marcum

The Mets have fortified their rotation with their first major signing of the offseason. The team announced the signing of free agent right-hander Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal. The Turner Gary Sports client obtains a $4MM guarantee with the chance to earn another $4MM in incentives.

The right-hander joins a rotation that includes Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Matt Harvey. Right-handed prospects Jenrry Mejia and Zack Wheeler could also contribute to the Mets in 2013, but they no longer seem likely to begin the season in the rotation. Defending NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey will no longer be the team's number one starter, as the Mets dealt him to Toronto.

Marcum pitched for the Brewers this past season, posting a 3.70 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 35.4% ground ball rate in 124 innings over the course of 21 starts. The 31-year-old missed approximately two months due to elbow tightness in 2012 and his average fastball velocity remained well below 90 mph at 86.5 mph. Marcum, who joined the Brewers in a trade with Toronto following the 2010 season, has a career ERA of 3.76 with 7.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 38.7% ground ball rate in seven MLB seasons.

Marcum ranked 19th on MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents entering the offseason. He has also been linked to the IndiansMetsTwins and Royals at various points this winter. Marcum, who’s not linked to draft pick compensation, didn't appear to draw substantial interest from Brewers.

The Mets had also been linked to free agent starters such as Carl Pavano and Chris Young this offseason. Their interest in adding pitching depth might now be diminished, but GM Sandy Alderson figures to consider adding to his outfield if possible.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the agreement (Twitter links) and  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added the financial terms (on Twitter).


Marlins Claim Dyson, Designate Mattison

The Marlins claimed right-hander Sam Dyson off of waivers from the Blue Jays, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports (on Twitter). The Marlins designated center fielder Kevin Mattison for assignment in a related move.

The Blue Jays designated Dyson for assignment last week to create roster space for Mark DeRosa. The 24-year-old made his MLB debut this past season, appearing in two games at the big league level. He spent most of the season in the minor leagues, posting a 3.04 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 74 innings at Class A and Double-A.

Mattison also made his MLB debut in 2012. He appeared in three games last May, but spent most of the season at Triple-A. The 27-year-old posted a .241/.310/.394 batting line with 13 home runs in 539 plate appearances at New Orleans.


D’Backs, Pennington Agree To Deal

January 30th: The deal is official now that Pennington has passed his physical, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). Pennington will earn $1.25MM in 2013 and $2.75MM in 2014. The deal also includes a $1MM signing bonus for a total of $5MM.

January 22nd: The Diamondbacks and Cliff Pennington have reached agreement on a two-year, $5MM deal, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  The middle infielder is represented by Sosnick/Cobbe.

Arizona acquired Pennington from the A's last October in a three-team deal that also brought Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks.  For his career, Pennington owns a .249/.313/.356 batting line across parts of five seasons in Oakland.

This was Pennington's first time as an arbitration eligible player.  The two sides were $1MM apart upon exchanging figures – the 28-year-old filed for $2.8MM while Arizona countered with $1.8MM.


Poll: Should The Padres Extend Chase Headley?

Chase Headley emerged as an MVP candidate in 2012, hitting a career-best 31 home runs and establishing career highs in on-base percentage (.376) and slugging percentage (.498). The 28-year-old will obtain a salary of at least $7.075MM in 2013 as an arbitration eligible player, and there's a chance he could obtain even more security in the form of a long-term extension.

The Padres have had some extension talks with Headley, though it doesn’t seem as though there’s currently much momentum toward a long-term contract between the Padres and the Excel Sports Management client. It’s a possibility worth considering, though. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in October that the ownership group led by Ron Fowler and the Seidler/O’Malley families seemed to want to sign Headley long term.

Extending Headley through his remaining arbitration years (2013-14) and some free agent seasons (2015 and beyond) no doubt has some appeal to a Padres team that has had trouble scoring runs in recent years. However, Headley is getting expensive — he could require a commitment of $50MM-plus — and Jedd Gyorko looms as an affordable internal alternative. Plus, the Padres can't be completely sure Headley will replicate his 2012 numbers. Should they pursue an extension for Headley?



Latest On Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

9:43am: Privately the Yankees are thrilled with the current situation, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. If Rodriguez does have connections to the PED provider, the Yankees’ chances of severing ties with Rodriguez and saving much of the $114MM remaining on his contract increase. That said, the club would need a 'Hail Mary' to succeed, Sherman writes.

7:54am: Though the Yankees probably can’t void Alex Rodriguez’s contract following the third baseman’s connections to a Miami performance enhancing drugs clinic, they might not need to do so. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, there’s a scenario that would allow Rodriguez to collect the $114MM remaining on his deal without relying on the Yankees to pay most of that sum.

If Rodriguez finds a doctor who says he’s suffering from a career-ending hip injury it’d be possible to continue collecting his salary without playing again. In this scenario the Yankees would collect up to 85% of Rodriguez’s salary from insurance, Rosenthal reports. For the Yankees to collect at that level, Rodriguez would have to miss a full season — a possibility recently acknowledged by general manager Brian Cashman. 

Conversely, if Rodriguez were to retire he would forfeit his remaining salary. The 37-year-old underwent a hip operation this offseason and isn’t expected to return before July. If Rodriguez continues rehabbing without improvement, it’s possible a doctor could determine that he’s physically unable to perform. As Rosenthal notes, such a contention would prompt insurance companies to argue that Rodriguez could still play, or that PEDs led to his inability to play.

The Yankees are exploring ways of voiding Rodriguez’s contract, ESPNNewYork reported yesterday. Rodriguez has denied connections to the clinic.