Augie Ojeda Rumors
In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) writes that it would make sense for the Giants to look into a Joey Votto-type deal for catcher Buster Posey. The Reds locked Votto up on a ten-year contract extension in April of last year, keeping him in Cincinnati through 2023. In the meantime, the Giants have a fascinating arbitration case on their hands when it comes to Posey and Matt Swartz broke it all down with some interesting comparables last week. Here's more from around baseball..
- Braves GM Frank Wren told Jim Duquette (Twitter link) and Jim Bowden of SiriusXM that the team and catcher Brian McCann have agreed to table contract talks until the end of the year. McCann is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12MM. Wren also told the duo that the club hasn't closed the door on free agent Michael Bourn.
- Olney also writes that some rival officials were surprised by the $10MM deal Lance Berkman signed with the Rangers. However, Texas likely reasoned that in an offseason where Mike Napoli got $13MM per season (assuming his deal goes through) and David Ortiz got a two-year deal for $26MM, Berkman at $10MM isn't an overpay.
- Several unresolved questions linger for the Mets and Yankees at this stage of the offseason, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Mets are in the market for pitching and outfield help and they're more likely to get a notable name in the former than the latter. The Yankees are also in search of some extra pieces but GM Brian Cashman hasn't had any trouble finding gems in mid-to-late winter before.
In 18 games for Iowa this season, Ojeda hit just .200/.281/.220. In nine seasons of big league play, the veteran has a career .234/.320/.313 slash line. Ojeda last appeared in the majors in 2010 as a member of the Diamondbacks.
MONDAY: Looper's deal pays him $1MM if he makes the team and includes about $2MM more in incentives, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
Looper, 36, last pitched for the Brewers in 2009. He threw for the Cubs before the 2010 season, but ultimately decided to sit out. Looper converted to starting in 2007, making 97 starts over a three-year span. He limits walks and keeps the ball on the ground fairly well, and could find innings with the Cubs if one of their starting five gets injured.
Ojeda, 36, broke into the Majors in 2000 with the Cubs. He's also served as a middle infield backup for the Twins and Diamondbacks. Ojeda was non-tendered by Arizona at the December deadline after earning $825K in 2010.
In total the Cubs invited 21 non-roster players to Spring Training, including Reed Johnson, Todd Wellemeyer, and Scott Moore. The team decided to bring in multiple veterans they knew from previous stints.
This post will list all the National League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.
- Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
- Mets: Sean Green Chris Carter, John Maine
- Nationals: Joel Peralta, Wil Nieves, Chien-Ming Wang
- Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
- Giants: Chris Ray, Eugenio Velez
- Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
- Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
- Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
- Padres: Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Matt Antonelli, Luis Perdomo
- Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
- Astros: Sammy Gervacio
- Braves: Matt Diaz
Here's some news items from what might be baseball's most competitive division next season....
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says that despite John Bowker's big spring, he's not likely to get regular playing time in the majors unless there's an injury in San Francisco or unless "the Giants trade him to an American League team looking for a cheap DH."
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Giants infielder Emmanuel Burriss will be out until June due to foot surgery, leaving the team in need of a utility infielder. This tracks with the information reported yesterday about the Giants looking for such a player in exchange for Fred Lewis. If a deal isn't out there, San Fran might be best served to just hang onto Kevin Frandsen. He's no whiz with the glove (Fangraphs lists him with a career UZR/150 of -13.5 at shortstop, albeit over just 198 innings), but this might not be a problem in the short-term if the Giants just need him as a reserve SS until Freddy Sanchez is healthy and Juan Uribe can move into the reserve middle-infield role.
- Speaking of middle infielders, the Diamondbacks have a surplus of them and Augie Ojeda looks to be at the top of the trade list. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that while the Snakes would like to make a move for pitching, their plans are complicated since they don't know how much time Brandon Webb will need to get healthy.
- Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com says that Ivan DeJesus has gone from being seen as a potential future starting shortstop to "perhaps trade bait" for the Dodgers.
- Ronald Belisario still hasn't arrived to spring training due to visa issues, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The fact that Belisario is out of options further complicates matters,
- Padres RHP Tim Stauffer is also out of options, but MLB.com's Corey Brock predicts that San Diego will be able to deal him to "a pitching-starved team" rather than putting him on waivers.
In spite of the deal with Oakland that brought Gregorio Petit to Texas, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that Petit will probably end up in Triple-A rather than fill the Rangers' need for a utility infielder on their big league roster. Texas has been looking to fill their backup infield void for weeks, and a few new options have appeared on the Rangers' radar for a possible deal.
Augie Ojeda (who we know the D'Backs are shopping) is one option that the Rangers have an interest in, Sullivan says. Sullivan proposes that right-hander Luis Mendoza might be a good fit to be dealt for Ojeda since Arizona wants pitching and Mendoza is out of options. Willie Bloomquist and Kevin Frandsen are also possible options, Sullivan reports. Frandsen is another player known to be on the trade market, and that same MLBTR piece also cites the Giants as a team that could be interested in a player of Ojeda's type.
Former Ranger Ramon Vazquez has been mentioned in trade talks this winter and we know the Pirates want to move him. But Sullivan says Texas doesn't want to acquire Vazquez at the cost of Mendoza, and you have to figure that the Rangers might just pick Vazquez up if Pittsburgh is forced to release him.
Piecoro says Snyder has looked healthy this spring, after having back surgery in September. The Blue Jays called off a Snyder-Lyle Overbay swap in November because of concerns about the catcher's back. Snyder is owed a hefty $11.25MM over the next two years. According to Piecoro, the Brewers have shown interest in Snyder. Milwaukee currently has Gregg Zaun and George Kottaras behind the dish. They're facing a pitching roster crunch, and the D'Backs could use another arm.
Ojeda, owed $825K this year and under team control through 2011, would obviously be easier to move. Piecoro says Ojeda became available once Tony Abreu demonstrated the ability to play shortstop. The Rangers probably aren't a fit anymore, having acquired Gregorio Petit today.
The Diamondbacks signed second baseman Kelly Johnson to a one-year, $2.35MM deal today. They'll also retain his rights for 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player. The impending agreement was first reported yesterday by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. This morning SI's Jon Heyman tweeted that an agreement had been reached, and Piecoro later added the contract value. Piecoro also wrote yesterday that signing Johnson could make Augie Ojeda expendable.
Johnson, 28 in February, lost the Braves' starting second baseman job to Martin Prado in July and hit .224/.303/.389 overall. He spent time on the DL for right wrist tendinitis. MLBTR learned earlier this month that the Pirates, Cardinals, and Astros also had interest in Johnson, who was non-tendered by the Braves on December 12th.
Some Diamondbacks tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Steve Gilbert...
- The Diamondbacks have about $3MM left to spend and are expecting to hear back from Kelly Johnson in the next couple of days regarding their offer, according to Gilbert's MLB.com blog.
- The acquisition of Johnson could shift Tony Abreu into an infield utility role, making infielder Augie Ojeda expendable.
- While inking Johnson would put Arizona at their budget, trading Chris Snyder and the $4.75MM he is owed next season would give the D-Backs some more wiggle room. You may recall that they nearly dealt Snyder to the Blue Jays for Lyle Overbay, before Toronto's concern over his surgically-repaired back triggered them to call off the swap.
- Gilbert also reports (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Jeff Bailey to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. The 31-year-old hit .262/.362/.424 with 10 HRs in 63 games for Boston's Triple-A affiliate in 2009.
The latest on the D'Backs from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic...
- The D'Backs are interested in free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson. Piecoro says signing Johnson could prompt the team to trade Augie Ojeda, who recently agreed to a $850K contract.
- Piecoro is "hearing Randy Winn's name as a possibility" for Arizona. The 35-year-old hit just .262/.318/.353 for the Giants this year, but continued to excel defensively at the outfield corners. In November, Winn's agent Craig Landis said his client is looking for an everyday job.
- Piecoro says the D'Backs are likely to sell righty Tony Barnette's rights to the Yakult Swallows.
- Piecoro writes of indications the D'Backs are not interested in Chien-Ming Wang, as they'd prefer not to bring in another health risk.