January 2013

White Sox Outright Zach Stewart To Triple-A

Today’s outright assignments..

  • The White Sox have outrighted Zach Stewart to Triple-A Charlotte, according to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago (on Twitter).  The move removes the right-hander off of the 40-man roster, which now stands at 39.  Chicago claimed Stewart just last week.

Rockies Sign Jhoulys Chacin To Two-Year Deal

TUESDAY, 3:35pm: The Rockies announced that the deal is now official.

SATURDAY, 3:22pm: Jhoulys Chacin announced that he has agreed to a two-year, $6.5MM deal, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com (on Twitter).  The club confirmed the news to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).  The right-hander is represented by Kinzer Management Group.

The 25-year-old, who was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, filed for $2.6MM while the Rockies countered with $1.7MM according to MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.  The deal will leave Chacin with one more arbitration eligible year before he is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.

Chacin missed considerable time in 2012 thanks to a nagging right shoulder issue and wasn't as sharp in his 14 starts as he has been in years past.  For his career with the Rockies spanning four seasons, Chacin owns a 3.68 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.

Padres To Sign Tim Stauffer

The Padres will officially announce they've signed Tim Stauffer to a minor league deal today, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The right-hander is a client of Shapiro, Robinson, & Associates.

Stauffer pitched in just one game in 2012, when elbow injuries led to season-ending flexor tendon surgery. He recently told Brock he feels "close to being ready" after undergoing an operation on his elbow last August 31st. Stauffer estimated that he's only two weeks behind other pitchers at this stage.

The 30-year-old posted a 3.73 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 185 2/3 innings in 2011, his last full MLB season. That led to a raise and a $3.2MM salary in 2012, but the Padres removed him from their 40-man roster this past October and he elected free agency. The Padres were the lone team linked to Stauffer on MLBTR this winter.

Rosenthal On Lohse, Prado, Porcello, Padres

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Though Brewers owner Mark Attanasio recently said “there’s always a chance” that Kyle Lohse could end up in Milwaukee, Rosenthal suggests the free agent right-hander will likely sign elsewhere. The Brewers are reluctant to surrender the 17th overall selection in the upcoming draft in addition to the corresponding slot money. Lohse, the top starter remaining in free agency, has been linked to draft pick compensation since he turned down the Cardinals’ qualifying offer. 
  • Martin Prado’s bat might seem suited for second base, but Aaron Hill is already established at the position. It won’t be an issue, since the Diamondbacks want to keep both Prado and Hill, according to Rosenthal. Both players are clients of The Legacy Agency.
  • Rick Porcello could benefit from pitching in front of a better infield defense, and he remains a potential trade target given Detroit’s starting pitching depth. However, some teams are concerned about Porcello’s low strikeout rate, struggles against left-handers and $5.1MM salary. If Porcello has a big year, he could obtain a substantial raise through arbitration leading up to the 2014 season.
  • The Padres are likely to pass on Porcello for more affordable starters. Rosenthal suggests San Diego could look to trade for pitchers such as Aaron Harang and Luke Hochevar in Spring Training.

Gio, Cruz, Rodriguez, Cabrera Linked To PED Clinic

Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz are among the MLB stars who have been linked to a supplier of performance enhancing drugs in a report from Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times. A Miami-based clinic sold PEDs to athletes from various sports, according to the report. The names of Cruz, Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were found in the records at Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic located near the University of Miami.

Gonzalez's name appears five times in the notebooks of Anthony Bosch, the clinic's chief. Cruz purchased $4,000 of product, according to the report. Rodriguez's name appears throughout the clinic's files, while Cabrera's name appears 14 times and Colon’s name also comes up.

Gonzalez has considerable security after agreeing to a five-year, $42MM contract with the Nationals last offseason. He'll earn $6.25MM in 2013 and remains under contract through 2016. Cruz will earn $10.5MM this year then hit free agency following the 2013 season. Cabrera, 28, signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Blue Jays after serving a PED-related suspension at the end of the 2012 season. Colon, who has also served a PED-related suspension, signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Athletics this offseason.

Rodriguez could face a suspension, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. However, don't expect the Yankees to be able to void the third baseman's contract. As Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports, the Yankees weren't able to void the deal after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs for the first time (Twitter link). Rodriguez, who will miss much of the 2013 season recovering from a hip operation, has $114MM remaining on his contract with the Yankees.

Rodriguez and Gonzalez have both issued statements denying the allegations.

Phillies Designate J.C. Ramirez For Assignment

The Phillies announced that they designated right-hander J.C. Ramirez for assignment. The move creates roster space for right-hander Chad Durbin, whose one-year deal with the Phillies is now official.

Ramirez has yet to appear at the big league level. The 24-year-old has a 4.31 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in seven minor league seasons. The Phillies originally acquired Ramirez from the Mariners in the 2009 deal that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle.

Mets Sign Scott Atchison

12:01pm: Atchison will make $700K at the MLB level and could earn $150K more in incentives, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (on Twitter).

9:23am: The Mets signed right-hander Scott Atchison to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced (on Twitter). Agent Rich Thompson represents Atchison, who turns 37 in March.

Atchison pitched for the Red Sox in 2012, posting a 1.58 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 51 1/3 innings. The Red Sox non-tendered him at the end of November instead of proceeding through the arbitration process with a projected $800K salary. Atchison missed two months with forearm tightness last summer but returned to make five appearances in September. He considered Tommy John surgery, ultimately avoiding the procedure.

Mets Met With Michael Bourn

Michael Bourn is the top unsigned free agent, but it will cost a top draft pick to sign the center fielder. He declined the Braves’ qualifying offer earlier this offseason, meaning the team that signs him must surrender a top selection in June (the precise placement of the pick would vary from team to team). Teams seem reluctant to part with their draft picks for Bourn, but agent Scott Boras appears to be seeking a $75MM contract for his client nonetheless. Here’s the latest…

  • Bourn's camp is working to persuade Alderson that signing Bourn would give the Mets credibility when pursuing free agents a year from now, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).

Earlier updates

  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco travelled to Houston last week to dine with Bourn and Boras, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Though the sides didn’t engage in intense negotiations over dinner, it’s clear there’s a gap between Bourn’s asking price and the Mets’ interest level. The Mets don’t want to offer more than three years and they wonder if any other team is willing to go beyond the $40MM range.
  • It’s possible that Bourn could accept a shorter term deal if it includes an opt out clause that would provide him with the option of hitting free agency again a year from now. The Mets “could be amenable” to such a deal, Sherman writes.
  • Alderson will not sign Bourn without complete assurances that the Mets get to keep their first round selection, Sherman reports. The Mets’ 11th overall pick is unprotected, but the commissioner’s office doesn’t seem willing to grant the team the exception it seeks. Other clubs are lobbying MLB not to do the Mets this favor, Sherman reports. Though the MLBPA would file a grievance supporting the Mets if Bourn asks the association for support, an arbitrator wouldn’t necessarily rule in favor of an exception.

Cubs To Sign Scott Hairston

JANUARY 29th: The deal guarantees Hairston $5MM over two years and includes an additional $1MM in incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

JANUARY 23rd: The Cubs have reached an agreement with outfielder Scott Hairston for a two-year deal pending a physical, reports FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). The Excel Sports Management client could receive up to $6MM over the course of the two years including incentives, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com (via Twitter).

Hairston, 32, enjoyed a career year in 2012 with the Mets as he posted a .263/.299/.504 batting line while playing each of the outfield positions. The veteran's ability to hit left-handed pitching made Hairston a top commodity this offseason given his .867 OPS against southpaws this season.

Adding Hairston to the Cubs' outfield mix should lessen some of the offensive burden for left-handed hitters like David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz, both of whom struggle against left-handed pitchers. Schierholtz and Hairston project to serve as what could be an effective platoon in right field given Schierholtz's success against right-handed pitchers (.811 OPS over the past two seasons). 

Padres To Sign Freddy Garcia

TUESDAY: Garcia agreed to a minor league deal with a $1.3MM base salary plus $1.25MM in incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

MONDAY: The Padres have agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Freddy Garcia, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Garcia is a client of the Legacy Agency.

Garcia, 36, pitched to a 5.20 ERA in 107 1/3 innings for the Yankees last season to go along with solid marks of 7.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Garcia was plagued by an abnormally high home-run rate, as his 15.8% HR/FB was easily a career worst. He will compete for a spot in a rotation that currently includes Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Jason Marquis. Other candidates include Anthony Bass, Eric Stults and Tyson Ross.

Garcia owns a career 4.15 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. While he struggled in 2012, he's just one year removed from posting a 3.62 ERA in 146 2/3 innings for the Yankees. With the exception of a brief cameo in Philadelphia back in 2007, this will be Garcia's first venture into National League pitching.

Garcia drew interest from the Marlins, Rockies, Twins and Reds at various points throughout the offseason before landing in San Diego.