Angel Villalona Rumors

Quick Hits: Indians, Beato, Villalona

The Indians have been busy recently, with the recent signings of Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley to long-term deals. They still haven't signed Justin Masterson, but if they don't sign Masterson, "it won't be for a lack of effort," GM Chris Antonetti says in a video interview with Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor and Dan Labbe. The Kipnis, Gomes and Brantley deals will have no impact on their ability to sign Masterson, Antonetti says. Antonetti also notes that the Indians' approach this offseason compared to their previous one, in which they grabbed headlines with splashy signings of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, was based on need. "We felt we had more answers, internally, this offseason," he says. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Pedro Beato's health and experience in the big leagues were the keys to the Braves claiming him off waivers, and the decision was not much more complicated than that, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. "In talking to (general manager) Frank (Wren) and talking to (assistant GM) Bruce (Manno), I think anytime a pitcher becomes available through a waiver or options — I’m sure 29 teams are doing the same thing — if you get a chance to get them, get them," manager Fredi Gonzalez says.
  • The Giants recently lost outfielder Roger Kieschnick off waivers to the Diamondbacks, and Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News notes that losses like these usually lead to questions about why Angel Villalona is still on the Giants' 40-man roster. Villalona hit sparingly at Double-A Richmond last year. The issue, though, is that he still has options remaining and is perceived as having upside, so if the Giants were to expose him to waivers, a team could claim him and stash him in the minors.

Quick Hits: Thome, Boras, Angels, Villalona, Rolen

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • The Indians are no longer pursuing Jim Thome, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) reports, as the team doesn't want to devote a roster spot to a full-time DH.  Thome is "healthy, working out [and] open to other clubs," Rosenthal notes.  Thome said in December that he was open to continuing his career in 2013.
  • Scott Boras plans to open a sports fitness center for his clients in south Florida next year, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports, in part to prevent players from getting associated with doctors and clinics associated with PEDs.  Boras says his clinic will “bring about a certain level of assurance that the players we represent are certainly given the best information and best professional training…We feel we can best avoid all of the outside resources that are attacking these young men and providing them with false information and less than licensed professional medical assistance.” 
  • The Angels twice chose to focus on their hitters ahead of their pitching rotation this winter, decisions that MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez feels will define their season, for better or worse.
  • Angel Villalona will join the Giants' Spring Training camp after obtaining a work visa to come to the United States, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports.  Villalona couldn't get a visa last year and was on MLB's restricted list in 2010-11 due to complications from being charged with murder in his native Dominican Republic in 2009, charges that were eventually dropped.
  • While Scott Rolen can't contribute on the field as he could in his prime, his veteran leadership can still be a big boost to a contender, MLB.com's Mike Bauman writes.  Rolen has toyed with retirement this winter but may be negotiating a return to the Reds.

NL West Notes: Giants, Villalona, Padres, Dodgers

After getting caught up on the details of the Dodgers sale earlier this evening, let's take a look at other news out of the National League West..

  • Giants Vice President Bobby Evans says that Angel Villalona is once again on the restricted list, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter).  This leaves San Fran with 39 player on the 40-man roster, making things easier if they need to purchase Joaquin Arias' contract or tack on a pitcher (Twitter link).  Villalona, 21, is facing legal issues in his native Dominican Republic.
  • A source familiar with negotiations told Dan Hayes of the North County Times (via Twitter) that the Padres' stake in FOX Sports San Diego is 20%, not the 51% figure that has been previously reported. A deal will likely be announced next week between Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Scouts have told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) throughout Spring Training that the Dodgers are a sleeper team in 2012.  With new ownership, many believe that they'll be able to address their team needs with a deal prior to the trade deadline.  Rosenthal also gives the Giants a thumbs-up for their extension of Matt Cain.


West Notes: Cespedes, Cain, Beras, Murphy, Villalona

On this day in 2009, the Dodgers agreed to re-sign Manny Ramirez to a two-year, $45MM contract.  Ramirez's time in Los Angeles came to an end in August of 2010 when he was claimed off of waivers by the White Sox.  As a Dodger, the slugger hit .322/.433/.580 with 44 homers in 223 games.  Here's a look at some items out of the AL and NL West..

  • Yoenis Cespedes was warmly welcomed by Manny, writes Yahoo's Steve Henson. Ramirez discussed hitting extensively with his new friend, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Cespedes says it's an "honor" to play with Ramirez. (Twitter link). 
  • There was a belief around baseball that Matt Cain was going to be an easy sign for the Giants, but that now seems less certain, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Word was that the hurler might even be prepared to sign back with the Giants for less than $100MM but that seems far less likely.
  • If the league upholds Jairo Beras' contract with the Rangers, sources with several teams have said that they will be furious, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  MLB has granted some players leniency in the past if they willingly came forward with a new age or a new identity, but that does not appear to be the case in this situation.
  • Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels says that multiple teams have inquired on David Murphy, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Even though Murphy is slated to come off of the bench, Daniels says that the outfielder is a huge part of the club.  The Twins inquired on Murphy back in December but Texas was unwilling to compromise their outfield depth.
  • Angel Villalona's name plate has been removed from his locker and that's a sign that his visa issue isn't close to being resolved, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  The Giants first baseman is facing legal trouble in his native Dominican Republic.
  • The Athletics formally introduced Cespedes today and the outfielder said that Miguel Tejada told him that Oakland was a good organization to grow up in, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

West Notes: Villalona, Darvish, Mariners

A few notes to pass along out of baseball's West divisions …

  • Former Giants top prospect Angel Villalona is expected to report to Spring Training after missing the entirety of the past two seasons while dealing with legal issues in his native Dominican Republic, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Villalona, a first baseman, has been on the Giants' 40-man roster since last fall. He's 21 now, so he's hardly beyond old, but he'll have plenty of catching up to do.
  • The Rangers have a plan in place to ease Yu Darvish's transition from NPB to MLB, writes Tom Verducci of SI.com. Essential to their strategy is to ween Darvish off the high-pitch-count outings he frequently posted in Japan in favor of more efficient pitch counts. As well, the Rangers will limit Darvish's exposure to AL West opponents during Spring Training, and they could skip a couple of his starts in the second half.
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has a look at how the Rangers and Angels positioned themselves shrewdly for their recent TV contracts, and cautions that it won't necessarily play out the same way for the Mariners — or other teams, for that matter.

Giants Notes: Lincecum, Beltran, Ford, Joaquin

The latest from San Francisco….

  • The Giants haven't engaged in any discussions about a multiyear deal or even a one-year contract to avoid arbitration with Tim Lincecum, the hurler's agent Rick Thurman tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Thurman is not too concerned about the lack of talks so far, as teams deal with long-term contracts later in an offseason.  We've heard the Giants want to lock up both Lincecum and Matt Cain to multiyear deals, though Thurman reiterated to Schulman that Lincecum prefers short-term contracts.
  • The Giants' priority is more outfield help, with Carlos Beltran topping their wish list, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).  San Francisco has already acquired one outfielder this winter, picking up Melky Cabrera two weeks ago.
  • The club designated outfielder Darren Ford and right-hander Waldis Joaquin for assignment, according to Schulman (Twitter link).  Both players were DFA'd off the 40-man roster to clear room for players the Giants wanted to protect from Rule 5 draft.  Ford has 16 career plate appearances in The Show and has stolen 306 bases (out of 384 attempts) in the minors.  The White Sox picked up Joaquin off waivers last November but was granted free agency and re-signed with the Giants less than two weeks later.  The righty has a 5.40 ERA in 21 2/3 Major League innings.
  • Angel Villalona has been taken off Major League Baseball's restricted list, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.  Villalona was charged with murder in the Dominican Republic two years ago but the charges were dropped.  Giants VP Bobby Evans tells Baggarly that he doesn't expect any issues with Villalona attempting to get a new U.S. work visa.  The Giants played Villalona on their 40-man roster earlier today to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

NL West Notes: Kemp, Sanchez, Street, Villalona

The first-place Diamondbacks had a magic number of 2 to clinch the NL West entering Thursday's action and could pop the champagne as soon as Friday. Here are some notes regarding three of the division's other ballclubs:

  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, echoing what his agent said recently, told Beto Duran of ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles that he hasn't yet begun discussing a possible contract extension with the club but he'd like to spend the rest of his career there (Twitter link). Kemp is eligible for free agency after 2012.
  • Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez won't return in 2011 and may have thrown his last pitch for the Lads, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. The Giants may non-tender Sanchez, or, if they do go through the arbitration process with him, could decide to trade him for a bat, according to Baggarly. Sanchez, 28, dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness this season, making just 19 starts, while earning $4.8MM. Sanchez does possess a big arm, so he won't have trouble finding a new job if and when the Giants decide to move on.
  • The Rockies will seek a trade partner to offload closer Huston Street, perhaps in return for a starting pitcher, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. However, Renck notes it won't be easy to shop Street considering the depth of relief pitching on the free-agent market, so he could just as easily return to Colorado in 2012 (Twitter links).
  • Giants first base prospect Angel Villalona, who recently had murder charges against him dropped in his native Dominican Republic, has reportedly changed agents from Boras Corp. to Para Sports, tweets Baggarly. Para Sports represents Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, as Baggarly notes, who also had murder charges against him dropped in the Dominican.

Quick Hits: Rizzo, Braves, Rowand, Pujols, Carrasco

On this date 11 years ago, the Angels signed amateur free agent Ervin Santana. The right-hander recently reached the 200-inning plateau for the fourth time in his career and he has a 3.27 ERA to go along with his July no-hitter. Here are the latest links from around MLB…

  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is "definitely" on the Cubs' wish list for their vacant GM position, reports Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Rizzo shot down any speculation about him leaving though, saying "there's nowhere I'd rather be than the Washington Nationals right now," and "this is the place I need to be."
  • MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter) that Kurt Kemp has stepped down as Braves' director of player development to pursue other opportunities.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com suggests that the Phillies could have interest in the recently designated for assignment Aaron Rowand after he clears waivers. He would not be eligible for postseason play, but Salisbury notes the team has had a "longstanding interest" in bringing Rowand back after losing him to the Giants in free agency.
  • In a piece for Grantland.com, Jonah Keri wonders if losing Albert Pujols to the free agency would really be that bad for the Cardinals.
  • Indians minor leaguer Hector Rondon told Carlos Alberto Zambrano of the Venezuelan paper Lider en Deportes that it appears that Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco will undergo Tommy John surgery. Rendon says the currently-disabled Carrasco told him of the upcoming operation. 
  • Meanwhile, Indians skipper Manny Acta told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the team is stil exploring options for Carrasco's injured elbow (Twitter link). He acknowledged that Tommy John surgery was a possibility, but it is not a certainty at this point.
  • Nate Mink of MLB.com explains that Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg showed he's ready for the Major Leagues in his final minor league rehab start. 
  • Doug Miller of MLB.com shows how so many former members of Mike Scioscia's coaching staff – Joe Maddon, Bud Black and Ron Roenicke – have gone on to become MLB managers. 
  • It appears that first base prospect Angel Villalona will return to the Giants organization now that murder charges against him have been dismissed, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants expect to resolve a $5MM breach-of-contract lawsuit that Villalona filed against the team.
  • Former GM Jim Bowden introduces us to the agents behind this offseason's big-name free agents in a must-read piece for ESPN. If you're interested in agents, be sure to check out our Agency Database.

Quick Hits: Rhodes, Yankees, Villalona, Athletics

The A's announced that they have hired former MLB player and manager Phil Garner as a special advisor. The 62-year-old played for 16 seasons and managed for another 15. Here are the latest links from around MLB… 

  • Arthur Rhodes told B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com that the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies all had interest in signing with him before he joined the Cardinals (Twitter link). The Phillies wanted the veteran lefty to pitch in the minors before adding him to the big league roster.
  • "What you see is what you’re gonna get," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Dan Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal (Twitter link). Cashman doesn't expect to make any waiver trades this month.
  • The Associated Press (via ESPN Deportes) reports that former Giants prospect Angel Villalona is suing the team for $5MM, citing unlawful termination of his contract. Villalona, once ranked as the 33rd best prospect in the game by Baseball America, has not played since 2009 after being charged with murder in the Dominican Republic.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that MLB needs a salary floor (a minimum payroll) because certain teams aren't going to spend any more than they have to. However, the players' union has traditionally opposed salary caps and floors. 
  • Ian Kennedy told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he would listen if the D’Backs approached him about a long-term deal.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he didn't know Ron Roenicke before interviewing him for Milwaukee's managerial opening last fall. The new skipper has the Brewers in first place, four games ahead of the Cardinals.
  • Joey Votto told Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer that superstars can be overrated in MLB, since they don't impact the game the way great players do in other sports. I highly recommend Daugherty's piece, in which Votto shows a strong understanding of the business of baseball.
  • Tampa Bay, Arizona, Oakland, Miami and Washington are the five worst markets in MLB for Newsday's Ken Davidoff.

Odds & Ends: Lackey, Upton, De La Rosa, Wood

Some more links to check out as you celebrate the end of the work week…

  • MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez confirms that the Red Sox did indeed meet with John Lackey's agent. This morning we learned that Boston expressed preliminary interest in the free agent hurler.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Rangers asked the Rays about outfielder B.J. Upton as part of their offseason routine, but no talks are ongoing.
  • Rockies' GM Dan O'Dowd said that they will only look at a one year deal for the arbitration eligible Jorge De La Rosa, according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
  • ESPN's Keith Law writes that Indians' closer Kerry Wood could be a "nice pickup on the cheap for a team unwilling to go multiple years" on some of the free agent closers. Wood is owed $10.5MM in 2010, with an $11MM club option for 2011 that could vest based on games finished.
  • The Pirates intend to be more aggressive in Japan, says MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Picking up Akinori Iwamura will help put the team on the radar of Japanese players looking to come to the U.S.
  • ESPN's Peter Gammons writes about the impact of the economy on the free agent market, among other things.
  • Giants' prospect Angel Villalona had his visa revoked by the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Villalona was charged with killing a man in the Dominican back in September.
  • Ben Kabak at River Ave. Blues takes a look at each of the Yankees' five arbitration eligible players.