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Andrew Bailey Rumors
The Yankees have designated outfielder Tyler Austin and infielder Cole Figueroa for assignment, the club announced. Those moves were made as part of a flurry of roster activity to clear 40-man space for September call-ups, including former All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.
Austin, 23, was once considered a top-100 prospect league-wide, but he’s fallen back with marginal results in the upper minors. Though he hit well at Double-A this year, earning a promotion, Austin slashed just .235/.309/.311 in 299 plate appearances in his first attempt at Triple-A.
Meanwhile, Figueroa is a 28-year-old utilityman who has played in just 25 big league games. He does, however, have a very steady track record of high-average, good-OBP, low-power offensive output in the upper minors.
It’s been a long road back to the big league mound for Bailey, 31, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. He’s had good results at Triple-A since joining New York on a minor league deal over the winter, throwing 35 innings of 1.80 ERA ball while putting up 10.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9.
Yankees right-hander Andrew Bailey‘s road to recovery has again been slowed by a setback, reports Chad Jennings of the Journal News. GM Brian Cashman tells Jennings that Bailey underwent an MRI that has revealed a shoulder strain, and the former A’s closer will be shut down for the time being with no clear timetable for a return. Bailey tossed just 44 innings over the 2012-13 seasons with the Red Sox after being acquired in a trade that sent Josh Reddick to Oakland, and he’s signed Minor League deals with the Yankees in each of the past two offseasons.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- The Red Sox have struggled tremendously in terms of starting pitching, but those hoping for a quick fix might instead need to be more patient, because the Sox themselves are typically patient with this type of problem, writes the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. Speier looks at recent slow starts and poor stretches for a number of Sox hurlers in the Ben Cherington era, noting that more often than not, starters are given the opportunity to work out of slumps rather than replaced after limited struggles. Examples listed by Speier include Clay Buchholz in early 2012, Daniel Bard in 2012 and Felix Doubront in early 2013. Speier also notes that even amidst rotation in 2013, Allen Wesbter, arguably the team’s most MLB-ready prospect, made 10 starts at Triple-A while the big league group tried to sort things out.
- Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards also tackles the Red Sox rotation, noting that the starting mix is filled with pitchers whose FIP is significantly better than their actual ERAs. Edwards looks at teams whose rotations have endured similar struggles stranding runners in the month of April over the past five seasons, noting that each has demonstrated marked improvement moving forward.
- Ricky Romero was surprised to be released by the Blue Jays after a positive meeting with manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker late in Spring Training, writes David Singh of Sportsnet. “(They) let me know they were still thinking of me and still believe in me,” said Romero. “They told me ‘Make sure you take your time’ and we think it’s going to be a great story the day you come back up and help us.” Romero said that while he was uplifted by that conversation, he understands that it’s a business decision for Toronto. GM Alex Anthopoulos recently explained that Romero was cut loose after the team realized that he wouldn’t be recovered from a pair of knee surgeries by the end of the season.
Here’s the latest from the American League East:
- The Red Sox risk losing a chance to acquire Cole Hamels of the Phillies by waiting to deal for him, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. While it is too early to judge the team’s current rotation, results — and, perhaps more importantly, reviews from rival scouts — have been less than promising.
- Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still “trying to find a trade partner” for first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig, per Cafardo. He notes that the club has assigned several “top pro scouts” to watch the Giants, Padres, and Cubs recently, though it is not entirely clear that all of those clubs could match up on Craig.
- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be shut down for about a week after experiencing tendinitis in his surgically-repaired right elbow after his first stint behind the dish, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Manage Buck Showalter said that he does not see the news as a setback, and indicated that the move was made as an exercise of caution. Wieters’ ability to return to his usually sturdy work with the mask on is critical not only to the team’s hopes this year, but also to his free agent case after the season.
- Reliever Andrew Bailey made his return to competitive action today for the Yankees, with Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog tweeting that Bailey’s fastball sat in the low 90s in his inning of work. Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka continued to show strong form this spring, as Jennings further reports. If both of those arms can prove healthy and effective, the club’s run prevention efforts will obviously receive a significant boost. While Tanaka pitched much of last season before being shut down with a partial UCL tear, Bailey has not thrown a big league pitch since 2013 and represents pure upside for New York.
The Yankees have declined the 2015 club option that came with their last minor league deal for Andrew Bailey and re-signed the former All-Star closer to a new minor league pact, reports Chad Jennings of LoHud.com (Twitter link). Bailey is a client of Excel Sports Management’s Jim Murray.
The 30-year-old Bailey hasn’t taken a Major League mound since July 2013 due to an injury to the labrum in his right shoulder that ultimately required surgery. He last appeared with the Red Sox after joining Boston as the key piece in the trade that sent Josh Reddick to the Athletics.
Bailey was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2009 and earned All-Star nods in his first two Major League seasons. In three full seasons with the A’s from 2009-11, he posted a brilliant 2.07 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 174 innings. Injuries were a problem for Bailey even prior to his pro career, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in college and microfracture surgery on his left knee in the 2009-10 offseason. He also an intercostal strain in 2010 and a forearm strain in 2011.
There’s no doubting Bailey’s talent, but he’s gone under the knife five times since 2005. He inked a minor league deal with the Yankees last offseason but underwent setbacks in his recovery that prevented him from reaching the big league club or even pitching in the minors. He’ll hope for better results this time around as he seeks to get back to the Majors for the first time in nearly two years.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi says reliever Andrew Bailey has had “setbacks” after his 2013 labrum injury and will not return this season, NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty tweets. The former Athletics closer and Red Sox reliever has not appeared in the big leagues since the middle of that 2013 season, and hasn’t pitched competitively for the Yankees since they signed him to a minor league deal in February. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Tsuyoshi Wada could be emerging as an option for the Cubs‘ 2015 rotation, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com writes. The 34-year-old has spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, but he’s performed well in six starts with the Cubs, with a 3.15 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 so far. After signing him to a minor league deal in the offseason, the Cubs released Wada in March and then signed him to another minor league deal that includes a 2015 option. The Cubs do have a variety of interesting rotation options for 2015 (particularly since adding Dan Straily and Jacob Turner), however, and they appear likely to hunt for a starter this offseason, so much remains to be determined.
- Astros owner Jim Crane is happy that there’s a new plan to remove Comcast SportsNet Houston from bankruptcy, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Under the plan, the name of the channel would change to ROOT Sports Houston, and Comcast’s partnership with the Astros and Rockets would convert into a new entity owned by DirecTV Sports Networks and AT&T. The new deal will help the Astros financially, and will also enable their games to be broadcast. “[O]ur fans will get to see the games and we can move on with our lives,” says Crane. The new company could be in place by as soon as early October.
- Extending Gardner was a wise move for the Yankees, argues Jack Curry of the YES Network. The club never intended to deal him unless it was "overwhelmed," says Curry. "He really has developed into a real solid, every day player," said GM Brian Cashman. "He's tough and he's a gamer. I think he's part of the solution here."
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News opines that the deal was a win-win. "I think Brett would be valuable to any team," said Cashman. "He's got that type of dynamic speed and defense, and the ability to get on base that would fit with any franchise." From his perspective, Gardner said that signing the deal was "probably the biggest decision I've ever had to make in my life." He continued: "I've put a lot of thought into it, but at the end of the day, that's a lot of money, and where I come from, at that money, or twice that much money, I'm not going to change the way I live."
- Bailey is not expected even to begin throwing until July, at the earliest, reports Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. "The bottom line is focus on August or September for him to help the major league club, if at all," said Cashman. But the Yankees were moved to make the deal given Bailey's upside, even if they remain less than certain that it will reap any dividends. "When he is healthy, he is an exceptional reliever," Cashman explained. "He's coming off shoulder surgery so we're taking a flier, a low risk. If we can get a reward out of it, great. If not, it's one of those nothing ventured, nothing gained. It's his shoulder — more likely than not it's an uphill battle, but we'll see."
- Meanwhile, New York may be open to discussing an extension with new closer David Robertson but has yet to engage him in talks, reports Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger. Cashman was noncommital when asked about a new deal for Robertson, who is set to reach free agency after this season: "Would we be opposed to it? We'll see." The dominant setup man will earn $5.215MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility. He will hit the market at age 30, and with another strong season could be in line for a sizeable new contract.
- The Yankees will not make an offer to shortstop Aledmys Diaz or pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne, reports George A. King III of the New York Post (hat tip to River Ave. Blues). The pair of Cuban free agents recently auditioned for New York, with the former a particularly intriguing possible target given the Yanks' long-term needs up the middle.
SUNDAY: The 2015 option is a team option, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
SATURDAY, 11:18pm: Bailey will earn a prorated base salary of $1.975MM if he works his way up to the Major League club, Olney reports. All told, the Major League side of the deal is valued at $2.5MM, and includes a 2015 option and buyout.
8:57pm: The Yankees have agreed to an incentive-laden minor league deal with Andrew Bailey, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes was the first to report that the sides were close to a deal (via Twitter).
Bailey, 29, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and was not tendered a contract by the Red Sox this offseason. Nevertheless, more than 15 teams had called to check in with the reliever by early December, according to an MLBTR report. If the timetable we reported at that time holds, Bailey will be ready to suit up in pinstripes by mid-May.
A former All-Star closer with the Athletics, Bailey has struggled with injuries since his rookie season, and managed just 44 innings for Boston after he was acquired in a winter 2011 trade. However, he could provide a midseason boost to the Yankees, as his career 2.64 ERA attests to. The club's bullpen is in a state of flux following the retirement of Mariano Rivera, and appears to have few certain options behind closer David Robertson. January's sigining of lefty Matt Thornton is the team's lone major bullpen acquisition in an offseason in which Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain have been lost to free agency.
Now that it's clear Nelson Cruz won't be back, it's unclear who the Rangers will use as their designated hitter against lefties, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Rangers still had interest in Cruz, Grant writes, noting that, in addition to the qualifying offer, they made at least one offer that exceeded the $8MM Cruz ended up taking from the Orioles. That leaves them with a variety of options to play DH against lefties, but none manager Ron Washington likes very much: Mitch Moreland is a lefty, Michael Choice doesn't have enough experience for Washington's taste, and Washington would prefer to keep the Rangers' spare catcher (Geovany Soto or J.P. Arencibia, depending on who isn't starting) available on the bench.
- With Cruz off the market, Grant, in a separate article, believes now is the time for the Rangers to extend manager Ron Washington. Grant also opines players tagged with qualifying offers are going to think more seriously about accepting them in light of Cruz's surprisingly small contract.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks new minor-league signee Andrew Bailey can help them in the late innings, but probably not until September, Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets. The former Athletics and Red Sox closer had labrum surgery last July.
- The Red Sox will try Mike Carp out at a new position this spring, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets. While Spring Training experiments like these aren't uncommon and often have little long-term impact, a bit of added versatility might change Carp's outlook with the Red Sox, particularly if he can play third, where the Red Sox are less settled than they are elsewhere. Carp hit .296/.362/.523 in 243 plate appearances last season, but the Red Sox already have plenty of talent at first base, left field and DH, which has led to speculation that Carp could be a trade candidate.
- Scott Boras blames the Blue Jays' lack of activity in the free agent market on its ownership, Rogers Communications, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "There is no one who has the asset base of Rogers," said Boras. "They’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign . . . a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility." GM Alex Anthopoulos denied Boras' assertion telling Rosenthal, "Our ownership has been outstanding and given us all the resources we need." The Blue Jays' payroll is expected to exceed $130MM this season.
- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters, including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, Justin Smoak will be the team's first baseman as long he performs. This means McClendon expects new acquistions Logan Morrison and Corey Hart to man the corner outfield spots and DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledged internal discussions about a contract extension for catcher Jason Castro have taken place, reports the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. No offer, however, has been discussed with Castro.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Bailey, 29, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and was not tendered a contract by the Red Sox this offseason. Nevertheless, more than 15 teams had called to check in with the reliever by early December, according to an MLBTR report. If the timetable we reported at that time holds, Bailey will be ready to suit up for a Major League club by mid-May.
A former All-Star closer with the Athletics, Bailey has struggled with injuries since his rookie season, and managed just 44 innings for Boston after he was acquired in a winter 2011 trade. However, he's been excellent when he's managed to stay on the mound, as his career 2.64 ERA attests to.
The last major free agent closer domino fell today when Fernando Rodney signed with the Mariners. That deal carries implications for his new club and for other teams that had interest in his services. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent market …
- After inking Rodney, the Mariners are "all in" and are "cautiously optimistic" that they will land outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. We heard recently that Seattle was talking with Cruz and was willing to give him multiple years.
- Though they had interest, the Orioles never pursued Rodney that aggressively, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Connolly says that Baltimore never indicated a willingness to spend near the $14MM guarantee that Rodney will receive from Seattle. "They liked him a little bit more than us," executive VP Dan Duquette told WBAL Radio (via a tweet from MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko). Of course, the O's had a two-year, $15MM deal in place with Grant Balfour until the team blew up the deal over issues with his physical.
- With Rodney out of the picture, internal option Tommy Hunter appears to be the likeliest choice to close for Baltimore, notes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore (via Twitter). Nevertheless, the Orioles have kept tabs on other late-inning relief options from the scratch-and-dent market. As Kubatko tweets, the club has shown interest in Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as options to provide a mid-season boost. Both pitchers are coming off of surgeries, but offer plenty of upside. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported in early January that Hanrahan was preparing to audition in the spring, and also reported in December that Bailey has received significant interest, and expects to be ready by the middle of May.
- Of course, three other relievers also came off the board today, with Carlos Marmol and Chaz Roe signing with the Marlins and Pat Neshek going to the Cardinals.
- Now that Rodney has signed, it is clear that no reliever will beat Joe Nathan's guarantee of $20MM, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. That represents a notable shift, as every one of the last six signing seasons has featured a reliever deal with at least $25MM in guaranteed money. The changing market has not only opened the door for smaller-market clubs to ink top bullpen arms, Nicholson-Smith notes, but also creates an opportunity for teams to limit the earnings of their younger arms by preventing them from picking up saves and increasing their arbitration earnings. It is worth noting that this year's market featured an ample supply of excellent-but-aging closers, which could help explain why no single arm garnered a huge guarantee.