Andy Marte Rumors

Minor Moves: Martinez, Marte, Urquidez

Monday's collection of minor moves from around the league…

  • The Indians outrighted right-hander Joe Martinez to Triple-A Columbus over the weekend, according to the International League transactions page. Martinez was designated for assignment last week and has a 5.88 ERA in 19 games (16 starts) for Columbus this season.
  • The Angels have signed infielder Andy Marte to a minor league deal, according to York Revolution play-by-play announcer Darrell Henry (Twitter link). Marte, 29, once ranked as a one of the game's top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America, and was hitting .301/.367/.526 with 19 homers in 96 games for the Revolution in the Atlantic League.
  • Chris Cotillo of reports that the Halos have signed right-hander Jason Urquidez out of the Atlantic League (on Twitter). Urquidez, 30, was a 17th-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks out of Arizona State back in 2005. Serving as the closer for the Atlantic League's Lancaster Barnstormers, Urquidez posted a ridiculous 0.25 ERA by allowing just one earned run in 36 innings with 12.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Urquidez allowed just 19 hits as well, en route to a 0.72 WHIP with Lancaster.
  • Four players are currently in DFA limbo: Julio Borbon of the Cubs, Josh Sullivan of the RockiesJason Bay of the Mariners and Yusmeiro Petit of the Giants.

Rockies Acquire Josh Fields

The Rockies acquired third baseman Josh Fields from the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash, tweets the team.  Fields had been reassigned to the Pirates' minor league camp three days ago.  He'd signed a minor league deal in December.  The Pirates have jettisoned several of their minor league signings, with Andy Marte perhaps the next to go.     

Fields, 28, missed most of the 2010 season due to hip surgery, though he had 104 interesting plate appearances before being non-tendered.  Aside from third base, he's dabbled at first and left field.

Fields was drafted 18th overall by the White Sox in 2004 and was once considered a top prospect.  He crushed 23 home runs in 418 plate appearances with the Sox in '07, nine of which came in August of that year.

Padres’, Pirates’ Notable Non-Roster Invitees

The Padres and Pirates have announced their Spring Training non-roster invitees, write's Corey Brock and Jenifer Langosch, respectively.

Among San Diego's 20 NRIs is a small handful of players with big-league experience and a decent chance of making the 25-man roster at the end of Spring Training. Here's a quick look at some of those guys:

  • Kevin Frandsen has spent parts of five seasons with the Giants and Angels, and he has a "good shot" of catching on with the Padres as a utility man, according to Brock. The 28-year-old plays multiple positions and would earn a salary of $575,000.
  • Guillermo Quiroz could challenge Rob Johnson for the backup catching job, notes Brock. Quiroz, 29, has played for four teams (Rangers, Blue Jays, Mariners and Orioles) in parts of seven seasons.
  • Gregorio Petit spent parts of two seasons with the A's as a utility infielder in 2008-09. The 26-year-old spent the entirety of 2010 with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate.
  • Bullpen hopefuls Luis Perdomo and Scott Munter each have Major League experience. Perdomo made 35 appearances with San Diego in 2009 but only one last season, and Munter was with the Giants for parts of three seasons.

The Pirates, meanwhile, have a slightly more interesting cast of notable names:

  • Garrett Atkins, Jeff Clement, Josh Fields and Andy Marte form a quartet of one-time blue-chip prospects. Atkins, in particular, was an above-average player for the Rockies in 2006-07, but he declined quickly in the following years. Clement, a former catcher, was a No. 3 overall pick of the Mariners in 2005, and Fields and Marte were raw-power corner-infield prospects coming up with the White Sox and Braves/Indians, respectively.
  • On the pitching side, Tyler Yates has a 8.1 K/9 for his career but did not pitch in the bigs in 2010. Donald Veal, selected by the Bucs from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft prior to the 2009 season, is a hard-throwing but wild lefty. Brian Burres has started 54 games in his five-year career with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Pirates. Sean Gallagher was dealt from the Cubs to the A's in the deal that sent Rich Harden to Chicago, and has appeared in 91 games. Fernando Nieve has appeared in 99 games (19 starts) with the Astros and Mets in parts of four seasons.

Pirates Sign Nieve, Andy Marte, Dusty Brown

The Pirates signed Fernando Nieve, Andy Marte and Dusty Brown to minor league deals and invited them to Spring Training, the team announced. Nieve, 28, pitched 42 innings in 2010, posting a 6.00 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 before the Mets granted him free agency. The right-hander has allowed 1.6 homers per nine innings over the course of his four-year MLB career.

Marte, a former top prospect, failed to make an impact in parts of five seasons with the Indians. Now 27, the third baseman has a .218/.277/.358 line in 924 career plate appearances. The Indians released him last month.

Brown, 28, appeared in seven games for the 2010 Red Sox, but has spent most of his ten-year career in the minors. He has a .259/.340/.389 line in a decade's worth of minor league plate appearances. The Red Sox dropped him from their 40-man roster in October.

Andy Marte Hits Free Agency

Andy Marte has hit free agency, according to the Indians. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer correctly predicted this week that Marte, who would have been eligible for arbitration, would lose his roster spot. The 27-year-old batted .229/.298/.382 in 188 plate appearances for the Tribe in his fifth season in Cleveland.

Marte was a top prospect in the Braves system for years, but he has yet to have extended major league success. He posted a .707 OPS as a 22-year-old in 2006 and has not matched that mark since. Marte rose through the minors as a third baseman and has since spent considerable time at first base.

Odds & Ends: Indians, Jeter, Ellis, Giants, Chen

Happy 92nd birthday to one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, Bob Feller.  "Rapid Robert" piled up 266 wins and 2581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career.  In tribute to Feller, it's only appropriate that we start this batch of news items with something from Cleveland…

  • Infielder Drew Sutton is eligible for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The article notes that Andy Marte is expected to be removed from the Cleveland roster before the Rule 5 draft deadline.  Also from Hoynes (via Twitter), the Phillies claimed shortstop Carlos Rivero on waivers from the Tribe.  Rivero has a .676 OPS in 2156 minor league plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.
  • Hal Steinbrenner's recent comments about the Derek Jeter talks strike ESPN's Buster Olney "as if he's preparing the NYY fans for an ugly Jeter negotiation" (Twitter link).
  • Now that the A's have exercised Mark Ellis' option for 2011, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team will look into an extension for the veteran second baseman.
  • Buster Posey and Brian Wilson are the key reasons why the Giants have a chance to win another World Series, says Jon Paul Morosi of  "How many teams can say, right now, they have zero interest in upgrading at the need-to-have positions of catcher or closer?", Morosi asks.  He cites just the Phillies and Twins, and even those two clubs come with question marks.
  • Mychael Urban of thinks the Giants should sign Eric Chavez to a minor-league contract.  (Twitter link)
  • Bruce Chen wants a multiyear deal but the Royals are "unlikely" to make the left-hander such an offer, tweets The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton.
  • It could be a bad omen for David Ortiz's $12.5MM option that another slugging DH (Vladimir Guerrero) had his $9MM option for 2011 declined by Texas earlier today, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
  • Tampa Bay added Elliot Johnson to its 40-man roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Without the move, Johnson would've become a free agent.  Johnson had a breakout minor league campaign in Triple-A last season, posting a .319/.375/.475 line and winning the International League MVP award.
  • In response to a fan mailbag question about Adam Dunn,'s Bill Ladson warns about the dangers of the Nationals offering a long-term deal to a defensively-challenged slugger.  He points out how fans were also wishing the Nats signed Alfonso Soriano to an extension, but in hindsight Washington made the right move.
  • Nationals right-hander Collin Balester is looking for members to join his 'Movember' team.  Click here to sign up and join Balester in raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.

Stark’s Latest: Trade Block, Mets, Phillies, Tigers

ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new blog post up with some trade rumor nuggets for us. It's behind the Insider wall (if you don't have a subscription yet, what are you waiting for?), so I can't give away too much…

  • Stark lists 16 players currently on the trade block. Among the names we haven't seen mentioned recently: Willie Harris, Andy Marte, Tim Stauffer, Omir Santos, and Brad Thomas.
  • The Mets are looking to move one of their extra catchers, either Santos or Chris Coste, and are looking to add "major league-ready triple-A pitching depth." Aren't we all…
  • The Phillies are looking to add all sorts of pitching depth, and have interest in the recently released Chad Gaudin.
  • Scott Sizemore's rocky spring has the Tigers looking for a second base upgrade.
  • Kansas City is shopping Brayan Pena in their perpetual search for starting pitching.
  • The Braves have told other clubs that David Ross is available, "possibly in a catcher-for-catcher swap for a younger backup-catcher type."

Indians Notes: Free Agent Targets, Marte

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer answers readers' questions in a mailbag piece. Within the article, he provides his opinions on a few Indians-related topics….

  • There's "no way" the Indians will sign someone as expensive as Kerry Wood this year.
  • If the club is involved in signing free agents at all, Hoynes expects the deals to happen later in the offseason, and at very little cost.
  • Hoynes wouldn't be surprised if GM Mark Shapiro targeted one or two inexpensive, low-risk starting pitchers. Hoynes doesn't offer any specific names, though one reader suggests Noah Lowry. Check out MLBTR's free agent list for an idea of what type of reclamation projects the Indians might look at this offseason.
  • Hoynes thinks Andy Marte has a decent chance of remaining on the roster through the winter and competing for a spot on the team in the spring

Odds & Ends: Aramis, Marte, Lowe

Links for Wednesday…

  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune talked to Aramis Ramirez about his $14.6MM player option for 2011, and the Cubs' third baseman was noncommittal.  Other third basemen who may become free agents after the 2010 season include Garrett Atkins, Jorge Cantu, Mike Lowell, Jhonny Peralta, and Scott Rolen.
  • Former top prospect Andy Marte spoke with Indians GM Mark Shapiro about the future, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Shapiro told Marte to play first and third base in winter ball and show up early to Spring Training.  It was a tough year for Marte, who turns 26 in November.  He was designated for assignment to make room for Juan Salas in February, cleared waivers, raked at Triple A, and then struggled in the bigs.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren told's Mark Bowman that Derek Lowe "pitched really well for us."  Aside from his home run rate, Lowe's numbers declined across the board this year.
  • The Nationals will improve their minor league catching depth for next year, GM Mike Rizzo told's Bill Ladson.
  • Miguel Angel Sano is on the backburner for the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASN learned from team president Andy MacPhail.  MLB's inconclusive age investigation is the problem.
  • David Waldstein of the New York Times says Ramon Pena, a special assistant to Mets GM Omar Minaya, will not be back next year.  Waldstein says a scouting/player development shakeup is in order.  Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has info on possible changes aside from Pena.
  • White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is out for the season with a calf injury.  Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders about the righty's future, given a possible $7MM arbitration reward for the 2010 season.
  • Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes the impending raise for Giants closer Brian Wilson, who enters his first arbitration year.  Jenks' $5.6MM salary this year will serve as a comparable, so the Giants will add around $5MM to the payroll compared to Wilson's $480K this year.
  • Braves manager Bobby Cox was not happy with the way GM Frank Wren handled the John Smoltz situation last winter, according to Yahoo's Gordon Edes.

Odds & Ends: Felix, Marte, Closers

Another handful of links before the night is out….

  • Keith Law of is skeptical about Boston's chances of acquiring Felix Hernandez from the Mariners. Law concedes that the Red Sox could offer Clay Buchholz as the centerpiece, but doesn't think they have the necessary major-league ready hitting prospects to complete a deal.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Andy Marte will meet with Indians GM Mark Shapiro to figure out if Marte has a future in Cleveland. Long considered a top prospect, Marte has yet to enjoy much success at the major league level, and is starting to run out of options.
  • Erik Manning at FanGraphs takes a look at the major bullpen signings of last offseason and how they've played out. Underwhelming performances from Kerry Wood and Brian Fuentes, along with the emergence of low-priced or homegrown arms like David Aardsma and Andrew Bailey may make some teams think twice before investing heavily in a free agent closer this year.
  • Daniel Hudson made the first start of his career tonight for the White Sox, allowing just one earned run in five innings against the Twins. Nonetheless, Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald expects that given Chicago's rotation depth and the 22-year-old's power arm, Hudson will assume a bullpen role for the Sox in 2010.