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Some links from around baseball as we await Game Three tomorrow night..
- Former Mariners pitcher Randy Messenger has agreed to a contract to return to the Hanshin Tigers in 2012, a source tells Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Messenger’s agent Matt Sosnick confirmed that the deal is for one-year with an option for 2013. MLBTR has learned that the two-year deal could be worth just under $5MM.
- If the White Sox stick to their plan of cutting their $127MM payroll, with $89MM already tied to eleven players, it's likely that John Danks or Mark Buehrle won't start next season with the team, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin. The arbitration-eligible Danks would be one of the team's greater trade chips.
- Three days after the World Series, Indians GM Chris Antonetti will have to decide whether to exercise club options on center fielder Grady Sizemore and starter Fausto Carmona, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Picking up the options of both would cost the Tribe $16MM in 2012.
- Shortstop Rafael Furcal wrestled with the decision of whether or not to approve the deal sending him from the Dodgers to the Cardinals, writes Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
- After clearing waivers, Cardinals lefty Arthur Rhodes could have wound up with any number of teams, writes Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Blue Jays skipper John Farrell gained valuable experience in his first year as a big league manager, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.
Veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes told reporters, including ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link), that he wants to pitch in 2012 and then retire. Rhodes' preference is to pitch for the Cardinals in 2012, which would be Rhodes' 21st Major League season.
Rhodes, who will turn 42 on Monday, has pitched for nine clubs in his long career and will receive his first World Series ring this fall regardless of the outcome between the Cards and Rangers. (Rhodes was released by Texas in August and then signed with St. Louis.) Given Tony La Russa's love of situational bullpen use and the fact that Marc Rzepczynski is the only other lefty in the Cardinals' bullpen, Rhodes would seem to have a decent chance of returning to St. Louis next year.
Rhodes has a 4.64 ERA in 51 appearances with the Rangers and Cardinals this year, and his ERA (4.15) and peripheral numbers have improved since his move to the National League.
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.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Angel Villalona | Arizona Diamondbacks | Arthur Rhodes | Boston Red Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Joey Votto | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Washington Nationals
Rhodes spent the season with the Rangers but was designated for assignment Aug. 2 and put on unconditional release waivers Monday. We first heard of St. Louis' interest in the 41-year-old Rhodes yesterday.
The Rangers will pay the remainder of Rhodes' 2011 salary, less a prorated portion of the Major League minimum, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As well, the Cards will have to send someone through waivers or add an injured player to the 60-day DL to make room for Rhodes on the 40-man roster, according to Goold. The deal won't be made official till Friday, according to B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com (via Twitter).
Rhodes has posted a 4.08 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in his 20-year Major League career. He's been especially tough on lefties, holding them to .216/.282/.321 in 1,600 plate appearances. So, I assume he'll be used as a lefty specialist behind fellow left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, a former starter who can pitch for longer stints.
The addition of Rhodes continues what has been a significant overhaul for St. Louis' relief corps in the past few weeks, as the Cardinals acquired Octavio Dotel and Rzepczynski prior to the trade deadline and moved starter (and former reliever) Kyle McClellan back to the 'pen.
Tony LaRussa's affinity for left-handed relievers is no secret, and Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the Cardinals are "kicking tires" on Arthur Rhodes. He is scheduled to become a free agent today.
Rhodes, 41, was cut by the Rangers following their acquisitions of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara at the trade deadline. He held left-handed batters to a .217 batting average, but they also posted a .310 OBP and .405 SLG, less than stellar marks. The Rangers are on the hook for the rest of Rhodes' $3.9MM salary this year; any team that signs him will only be responsible for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.
The Yankees are said to have some interest in Rhodes as well. His agent says the veteran lefty is expected to make a decision about his next team tomorrow, according to Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter).
Ubaldo Jimenez makes his Cleveland debut tonight as the Indians look to gain more ground on the division leading Tigers. Here are today's links…
- Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello tell John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that they were pleased to see the Tigers extend the contracts of GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland.
- Former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that GM Tony Reagins fired him last winter because of a personality clash and because Reagins wasn't happy with the Angels' recent drafts. Bane, now a scout with the Tigers, drafted Garrett Richards, Mike Trout and Tyler Skaggs in 2009 and Tyler Chatwood in 2008.
- Aaron Rowand told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he has enjoyed his time in San Francisco, downplaying speculation that he would prefer to be in Chicago again.
- The Yankees have some interest in signing recently-released left-hander Arthur Rhodes to a minor league deal, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Pirates have improved this year, despite their recent skid. They aren't better than the Brewers or Cardinals, but they're better than they used to be.
As if Joe DiMaggio didn't have enough honors already, the U.S. Postal Service plans to sell a DiMaggio stamp in 2012, along with stamps bearing the likenesses of three other yet-to-be-announced baseball superstars. A fitting tribute to a legend of the game….or a subtle way of trying to jinx Dan Uggla? If it was the latter, the jinx didn't work, as Uggla extended his hitting streak to 29 games tonight.
Here's some more on Uggla, DiMaggio's old team and the other eastern franchises….
- David Ortiz has been upset about the lack of contract talks between he and the Red Sox, but Fangraphs' Steve Slowinski argues that if negotiations had begun, Ortiz might not liked what he would've heard. "Which would you prefer: a star player that’s mildly hurt you won’t talk about a new contract with him, or one that feels unappreciated and lowballed?" Slowinski asks.
- Dustin McGowan hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008, but the injury-plagued Blue Jays right-hander hopes to finally return this September, reports MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.
- Speaking of Blue Jays pitchers, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports that Toronto has called up right-hander Henderson Alvarez. The 21-year-old will make his first Major League start for the Jays sometime this week.
- Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests the Phillies should consider acquiring Arthur Rhodes to provide some left-handed bullpen depth.
- Uggla's hot streak has finally made him look like the player the Braves expected when they acquired him from Florida last winter, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
- The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo touches on a number of Red Sox-related topics in a fan mailbag, such as the likelihood of Jacoby Ellsbury signing a contract extension, how Josh Reddick has improved his trade value and if the Red Sox would get involved in the bidding for Jose Reyes this winter.
- The Yankees won't call up Jesus Montero for Tuesday's game with the Angels, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. There had been speculation that Montero would soon be in pinstripes given the team's announcement that Jorge Posada would be relegated to a bench role.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News that while fans focus on the payroll gap between big-market and small-market clubs, "the real disparity, the disparity that's hurting baseball, is the disparity that no one sees — the amount of money being spent on scouting and player development." In a follow-up piece for the Baltimore Sun, Robbie Levin looks at how the O's have fallen behind their AL East rivals in developing Latin American talent.
- The Marlins have agreed to terms with seventh-round draft pick Ryan Rieger, reports Baseball America's Aaron Fitt. (Twitter link) Rieger, a first baseman, had committed to play for Long Beach State University next year.
The Rangers have put Arthur Rhodes on release waivers and he'll be a free agent Wednesday, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). The Rangers had designated the left-hander for assignment last week.
Rhodes, 41, has a 4.81 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 24 1/3 innings this year. He earns $3.9MM in 2011 and the Rangers, who had a $4MM option for 2012, will be responsible for Rhodes' entire salary less a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum if Rhodes signs elsewhere.
If he appears in 62 games this year – he has 32 appearances so far – and is not on the disabled list at the end of the season, the club option will vest. Rhodes could draw interest from teams such as the Cardinals despite his so-so 2011 stats.
- Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: $12MM option vests with 600 plate appearances. Injuries have limited Furcal to just 179 plate appearances this year, so this one won't be vesting.
- Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM option vests with 190 innings pitched. Garland is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season due to a shoulder issue, and he's only thrown 54 innings. The Dodgers won't have to worry about this one.
- Koji Uehara, Rangers: $4MM option vests with either 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Uehara has appeared in 46 games and finished 20, putting him on pace for 67 and 29, respectively.
- Arthur Rhodes, Rangers: $4MM option vests with 62 appearances and if he's not on the disabled list at the end of the season. Rhodes made 32 appearances with the Rangers before being designated for assignment earlier this week. Even if another team picks him up in short order, he's still unlikely to appear in enough games for the option to kick in.
- Joakim Soria, Royals: $6MM option vests with 55 appearances. With 47 appearances already to his credit, Soria is on pace to pitch in 68 games this year.
- Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM option vests with 65 games; increases to $3.25MM with 70 games. Wheeler has appeared in 34 games this year with a disabled list stint mixed in. He'd have to appear in 31 of the team's final 51 games for the option to vest, which seems unlikely.
Francisco Rodriguez agreed to waive his vesting option in exchange for additional compensation following the trade that sent him to the Brewers. He would have been guaranteed a $17.5MM salary for next season had he finished 55 games this year and been declared healthy by doctors.
Adam Wainwright's 2012 ($9MM) and 2013 ($12MM) options will not vest because he will finish the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery. Aramis Ramirez's option depends on MVP Award finishes and whether or not he's traded, not plate appearances or another counting milestone.
The latest from the Central divisions….
- The Astros wanted Ross Detwiler as part of any package the Nationals offered for Michael Bourn, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Washington didn't want to part with its young southpaw, so the Nats' chance to acquire Bourn the day before the trade deadline evaporated. Bourn instead went to one of Washington's NL East rivals.
- In a video interview with Graham Bensinger of Yahoo Sports, Ozzie Guillen says that he recently told White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf that "If you want me to stay, a lot of things [have] got to be better." Guillen also said, however, that he wants to remain in Chicago and is fully committed to his current team, despite some rumors connecting him to the Marlins job in 2012. "It'd be an honor for me to manage the Marlins," Guillen said. "Do I want to manage the Marlins? No, because I'm managing the White Sox now."
- Guillen's future is also a topic in Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine's Cubs-and-White Sox chat for ESPN Chicago. Padilla and Levine discuss why both teams kept players like Carlos Quentin and Marlon Byrd at the trade deadline, Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn's potential as a future GM and why Mike Quade is playing so many veterans.
- Also of note from the chat is Levine's news that the Pirates were interested in Geovany Soto, but were told by the Cubs that Soto wasn't available.
- The Cardinals may have interest in Arthur Rhodes, who was designated for assignment today by the Rangers. MLB.com's Matthew Leach reports that the Cards have "held significant interest [in Rhodes] in recent years" and notes that Tony La Russa made some vague quotes both praising Rhodes and saying his team needed another southpaw reliever.
- The Royals may have to do some roster juggling in August and September to find playing time for all of their young prospects, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.