Alfredo Simon Rumors
Congrats to Justin Verlander. The Tigers' ace threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays this afternoon, the second of his career. He's now one of only 28 men to throw multiple no-hitters in the big leagues. Here are Saturday's links...
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was personally scouting UConn RHP Matt Barnes tonight, reports Dom Amore of The Hartford Courant (on Twitter). Barnes is expected to go in the first round this year, in which the Red Sox have two picks.
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers called up Craig Gentry to replace Nelson Cruz, who was placed on the disabled list (Twitter links). He notes that one possible reason why they didn't call up Endy Chavez is because they'd have to place him on waivers once Cruz was healthy.
- In a guest post for Through The Fence Baseball, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith took stock of the winter's biggest offseason deals.
- Bill Madden of The New York Daily News wrote about the numerous big-money players that are struggling this year, including Derek Jeter and Hanley Ramirez.
- Stan Kasten confirmed to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post that he sold his ownership stake in the Nationals this March. Kasten stepped down as team president late last year, but it's unclear what he'll do next. He was mentioned as possibly trustee when MLB took over the Dodgers' financial operations.
- Alfredo Simon was in the Orioles' clubhouse today, and will continue working his way back with a minor league appearance next week according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. Connolly says the team will have to recall, waive, or release Simon by "roughy May 22" after he spent two months in a Dominican Republic prison and being placed on the restricted list.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch spoke to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak about the resurgent Lance Berkman. "We did a lot of due diligence," said the GM. "We truly believed he could have a bounce-back year. When we looked at it, we knew he was working extremely hard on his conditioning, was getting the knee healthy, was getting himself in tremendous shape, and that he'd be a lot stronger. That was a big thing. We knew that he still had an eye for hitting, and he would work the count and take walks. The question was, how would he be physically. And once we knew how much he was putting into his training, it gave us confidence."
Chris Tillman allowed eight runs to the Royals without completing four innings today. Here's the latest on the O's, who had won six of their past nine heading into today's game in Kansas City...
- Alfredo Simon, now rehabbing while on the restricted list, will have to be promoted or released by May 22nd or so, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com that the O's are building Simon up as a starter and open to putting him back in the bullpen later.
- The Orioles may have to remove someone from their active roster soon, as Robert Falkoff points out at MLB.com. J.J. Hardy is starting a rehab assignment tomorrow and it may not be long before the shortstop is ready to return, so MacPhail and the rest of the front office have a potential decision on the horizon.
- Don't forget to stay up to date with MLBTR's Orioles-centric Facebook page and RSS and Twitter feeds.
Let's take a look at some items from the AL and NL East..
- An Orioles source confirmed to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun that Alfredo Simon arrived in Tampa on Saturday afternoon and will work out at the team’s minor-league complex within the next few days.
- Don't get accustomed to the Red Sox signing $100MM players, cautions Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal.
- Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon hasn't been totally cleared of wrongdoing in a fatal shooting, but he has been able to secure a visa which allowed him to travel to the United States. Simon's agent, Phil Issac, says that Simon will arrive in Florida this afternoon, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec writes that it's too early to speculate about his availability, but the veteran will begin a throwing program and start preparing for the 2011 season.
- Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez wants to stay with the club beyond 2011, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The catcher has been brought up in trade rumors as some believe that the club could make Jesus Flores the backup after handing the keys over to Wilson Ramos behind the plate.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that Pedro Feliciano was "abused" by the Mets' use of him in recent years, tweets Jim Baumbach of Newsday.
- One group of bidders interested in buying a share of the Mets includes Tampa Bay Rays minority owner Randy Frankel, writes Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News.
Here are some items of note for Friday night, including an interesting question posed by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com on the Mets' and Dodgers' messy financial situations:
- Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand will be under a lot of scrutiny this spring, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com, as he looks to be the odd man out in San Francisco's crowded outfield. It won't be easy to flip him though, Haft notes, because two years and $24MM remain on his contract, and he's coming off a down year in 2010. If the Giants do move Rowand, according to Haft, their trade partner will probably ask them to eat some salary or take on a similar financial commitment in return.
- Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera made his on-field debut at Spring Training on Friday, writes Jason Beck of MLB.com. His arrival, of course, was delayed by last week's arrest for allegedly driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Cabrera is facing the proverbial two-strike count with respect to his off-field travails, writes Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports: If Cabrera slips up again, he will likely face serious repercussions from Major League Baseball.
- Orioles right-hander Alfredo Simon is no longer facing a civil suit after he was a suspect in a fatal shooting in his native Dominican Republic on New Year's Eve, but, per a Santo Domingo prosecutor, an investigation is ongoing and Simon has been denied bail, according to the Baltimore Sun. Prosecutors have till April 9 to file formal charges that could lead to a trial.
- The Mets' $25MM loan from MLB may be the most damning indication of their financial woes, says Rosenthal in an audio clip. Rosenthal also finds it curious that MLB loaned the cash to the Mets but denied the Dodgers' request to borrow $200MM from FOX, as was reported by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "It's a simple question of fairness," says Rosenthal.
Happy birthday to Brian Duensing (28), Kelly Johnson (29), Casey Kotchman (28), Daniel Nava (28), J.J. Putz (34), Don Wakamatsu (48) and Hall-of-Fame manager Sparky Anderson, who would've turned 77 years old today.
Onto some news from around the majors...
- ESPN's Keith Law expects the Blue Jays to be "serious bidders" for Yu Darvish. (Twitter link) The Japanese star says he wants to pitch in the Major Leagues in 2012, and at least nine teams besides Toronto are known to have interest.
- Prosecutor Victor Mueses tells ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas that there are no plans to drop pending manslaughter charges against Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon. It was reported over the weekend that Simon was expected to be released soon, but "nothing has happened to make us change our position," Mueses says. Rojas also reports that Simon has agreed to pay $70K to the families of the victims of the New Year's Eve shooting in order to have the charges dropped, but Mueses says that such an agreement wouldn't impact his office's case.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams criticized baseball's financial structure yesterday and told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune today that he was even uncomfortable with his own team's $125MM payroll. "We're out on a limb. But that's our choice. We made the choice in an effort to give our fans hope and give ourselves a chance to compete for a championship," Williams said. "If things don't go our way, if we don't get the support, we'll lose money. We're going to lose money but we've gone into this knowing how long can you do that, how much can you absorb?"
- "The Rays’ bullpen figures to be a season-long work in progress," writes FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Tampa Bay lost almost its entire bullpen to free agency, and Andrew Friedman admitted the club was "kind of freaking out about it" in January. Rosenthal says the Rays will look at relievers cut by teams at the end of Spring Training, and they will also continue to consider possible trades.
- When might some of the Indians' young stars reach the majors? Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer weighs in on when Tribe fans can see the likes of Lonnie Chisenhall at Progressive Field.
SUNDAY, 10:22pm: MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reports that Simon is expected to be found not guilty, and could be released within ten days. One of the right-hander's agents, Phil Isaac, said they "fully expect [Simon] to be back up, and pitching very soon."
Ghiroli says the Orioles could keep Simon on the restricted list until he is ready to re-join the team. He will not get paid or accrue service time in the meantime.
FRIDAY, 8:13am: The Orioles announced that they placed right-hander Alfredo Simon on the restricted list to create roster space for Vladimir Guerrero. Simon is a suspect in a fatal New Year's Eve shooting in the Dominican, where he is currently in jail.
Players on the restricted list do not count toward a team's 25-man or 40-man roster. Two of the players to go on the restricted list recently, Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley, kept collecting paychecks while on the list, but it appears that Simon won't collect service time or salary. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com says the Orioles won't be paying the reliever.
Let's take a look at some Orioles news..
- The O's are unlikely to make a move with Alfredo Simon until February 26th, the mandatory date for all players to report to Spring Training, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. After being named as the primary suspect in a murder and denied bail in the Dominican Republic, Simon probably won't be able to join the club by that date. Once that date passes, Baltimore can move the reliever to the restricted list, freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster.
- Baltimore has signed a trio of free agent pitchers to minor league deals according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The club reached deals with right-handers Chris Jakubauskas and Mark Worrell as well as lefty James Houser. Houser, who was tabbed by the Rays in the second-round of the 2003 draft, turned in a 3.67 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 for the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in 2010. The Orioles now have a handful of interesting pitchers in their farm system after signing Clay Rapada and Nick Bierbrodt last week.
Links for Sunday....
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says the "word is" that the Nationals offered Zack Greinke a big contract extension in an effort to entice him to join their team (Twitter links). He simply didn't believe the Nats could win, so he instead waived his no-trade clause to go to the Brewers.
- A source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Rangers and Rockies have not had any serious talks about Michael Young in the last week, so if he does get traded, it will likely be to a team that did not show much interest in him at the Winter Meetings (Twitter links).
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News offers a "semi-educated guess" that if the Rangers do sign Adrian Beltre, they'll shift Young to a DH/utility role rather than trade him (Twitter link).
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman passes along a Japanese report that has the Orix Buffaloes set to acquire Evan MacLane from the Cardinals. An official announcement is expected soon.
- Cole Hamels and the Phillies haven't yet begun discussions for a multiyear extension, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted when he examined the Phillies' four aces, Hamels is arbitration eligible after next season and can become a free agent after 2012.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider required) shares a list of 36 potential MLB storylines for 2011. Olney's list includes the Albert Pujols negotiations, Heath Bell trade talks, and C.C. Sabathia's out clause.
- The Jason Bartlett trade potentially opened up a spot on the 25-man roster for long-time Rays' farmhand Elliot Johnson, according to Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times.
- WEEI's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier attempt to determine whether Hideki Okajima is likely to rebound for the Red Sox in 2011.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN can't see the Orioles signing a full-time DH now that Derrek Lee is on board.
- Police say Alfredo Simon is the primary suspect in a fatal shooting in the Dominican Republic, reports the Associated Press (via the Miami Herald). Simon insists he was not involved in the incident, according to Orioles Dominican representative Felipe Alou Jr.
5:13pm: The Orioles are moving on to other targets, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). Those alternatives include trade candidates Brendan Ryan, J.J. Hardy and free agent Orlando Cabrera.
4:48pm: Reimold is off the table, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). He isn't going to Tampa and he's probably staying put.
4:13pm: The trade is "not happening," a source tells ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).
3:37pm: There will be no deal today, according to Ghiroli (on Twitter). The sides are close, but a trade now seems less likely than it did earlier.
1:26pm: The Rays are talking with the Orioles about Bartlett, and it's for more than Reimold, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
11:49am: A possible deal sending Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Orioles for outfielder/first baseman Nolan Reimold is heating up, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He has one source who expects the trade to happen today.
The Rays are one of few teams with a shortstop surplus, and Bartlett may earn over $5MM in his last year before free agency. Reimold had a strong rookie season for Baltimore in '09 but had a lost 2010.
Let us entertain you between World Series games...
- Pitcher Rich Hill, outfielder Jeff Fiorentino and catcher Guillermo Rodriguez all rejected a minor league assignment by the Orioles and elected free agency instead. Alfredo Simon, who was also removed from the 40-man roster last week, accepted an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. Hill could draw some interest this winter.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that former Colorado manager Clint Hurdle is likely to be the next hitting coach of the Rangers.
- Don Mattingly passed on a chance to interview for Washington's managerial opening, according to Alden Gonzalez and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.