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Author Archives: Ben Jones
TUESDAY: Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has more info after talking with Pedro. According to Rubin, Martinez "prefers retiring to his fishing boat if the alternative is accepting a Tom Glavine-like contract."
MONDAY: New York Mets beat writer David Lennon of Newsday sat down with free agent right-hander Pedro Martinez to discuss the starting pitcher’s plans.
In addition to saying he’d like to pitch this season in the Major Leagues, Martinez said he’d like to stay in the National League, given he already has a World Series ring with an AL squad.
He also said he doesn’t think the door is closed on a reunion with the Mets.
"I don’t know really," Martinez said. "The season hasn’t started. I’m not really worried about what they do. I’m just getting ready. For sure I’ll be ready. If I’m healthy, anybody would have a bargain – if I’m healthy. If I’m not, well, I’ll go home fishing. My boat is waiting for me."
Martinez, 37, went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts for the Mets in 2008.
6:59pm: Apparently, the Pirates couldn’t wait until Tuesday. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found out from Huntington that Tabata had the MRI today and everything looks fine.
“He does have some mild rotator cuff inflammation, but is able to return to activities as (the pain is) tolerated.”
6:11pm: Highly-touted prospect Jose Tabata will have an MRI done on his right shoulder Tuesday after alerting the Pittsburgh Pirates’ medical staff to some recent soreness, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.
General manager Neal Huntington told Langosch that the team’s medical staff does not believe there is reason for serious concern. The MRI should help identify to doctors what is causing the outfielder discomfort.
Tabata was the marquee piece in last summer’s trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees. He quickly became one of the Pirates’ top prospects and has already drawn unsolicited praise from manager John Russell this spring.
Tabata, 20, is 0-for-3 with three walks this spring.
5:59pm: He’s OK, according to Leyland, as told to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
An examination of pitcher Jeremy Bonderman’s sore right shoulder showed no major damage, confirming the Tigers’ expectations that he had nothing more than swelling.
“No problems,” manager Jim Leyland said early Monday evening. “No major issues at all.”
5:36pm: Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland told The Associated Press that starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has been sent to Detroit for medical testing because of shoulder stiffness.
Leyland said the act is precautionary, and Bonderman, 26, is expected back in Lakeland, Fla., Monday night.
Bonderman has had the trouble since he reported to Spring Training. He went 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA last year, but was on the disabled list from June 7 through the end of the season with a circulatory condition that resulted in numbness in his throwing hand.
Leyland added that the right-hander could be back to a normal routine in a couple of weeks.
Bonderman has been in the mix of names discussed in recent trade rumors.
The San Diego Padres held an invite-only camp for some of the top players eligible for the July 2 international signing date.
San Diego’s director of professional and international scouting, Randy Smith, and several front-office staffers were in the Dominican Republic last week for the two-day camp, which had about 21 players at the facility in Najayo.
Corey Brock of MLB.com notes the facility is considered the Taj Mahal of training facilities in Latin America.
Smith told Brock that this year’s class isn’t quite on par with the 2008 group, but there’s still plenty of talent.
The Padres’ camp for Latin American prospects helps the club identify players to pursue.
“Much like your draft, you get your guys in order, figure out who you want to pursue. It’s much like recruiting,” Smith said. “You sell them on your organization; sell him on your facility. The facility sells itself. It’s head and shoulders above everything else.”
Most players are between 14 and 16 years old. Only players who will turn 16 by the end of August are eligible to sign on July 2.
The Padres signed right-handed pitcher Adys Portillo (Venezuela), shortstop Alvaro Aristy (Dominican Republic), outfielder Luis Domoromo (Venezuela) and right-handed pitcher Elvin Tavarez (Dominican Republic), as well as an Australian outfielder, Corey Adamson on international signing day in 2008.
SUNDAY, 9:34am: Jim Callis of Baseball America has the numbers: "A baseball source said Fields will receive $1.75 million, splitting the difference between MLB’s $1.5 million recommendation for his draft slot and the $2 million he was seeking, pending the results of a physical he took on Saturday."
Callis notes while the deadline to sign draft picks was August 15, Fields and Seattle were allowed to continue negotiations due to Fields having exhausted his college eligibility.
FRIDAY, 7:07pm: The Seattle Mariners have reached an agreement with Josh Fields, their first-round selection in the 2008 draft, MLB.com’s Jim Street reports.
Street writes that the deal was delayed by a $500,000 gap between the $2MM deal he wanted and the $1.5MM the Mariners were offering.
Fields, 23, was the closer for Georgia in 2008. He also was the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year last season while helping the Bulldogs reach the finals of the NCAA College World Series.
The Mariners selected him as the 20th overall selection.
The New York Yankees have signed pitcher Brett Tomko to a minor-league deal, Tyler Kepner of The New York Times reports.
Tomko, 36 in April, went 2-7 with a 6.30 ERA for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres in 2008. The right-hander made 10 starts and appeared 12 times in relief.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com spoke with Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and manager Joe Torre about the Manny Ramirez saga.
Colletti said he speaks regularly with Ramirez’ agent, Scott Boras, about bringing the free agent outfielder back.
“There’s been some progress made, but obviously not enough to consummate a deal,” said Colletti. “We’re both clear on why we stand where we stand. Three months ago, it was guesswork more than anything else.”
Torre spoke directly with Ramirez on Tuesday. “He was his usual upbeat self,” Torre said. “I’ve told him a number of times to do what’s best for his family. He’s admitted he was comfortable playing in L.A. It comes down to satisfying both parties. You like to believe there’s a lot of romance, but he’s looking for length.”
Gurnick believes the Dodgers are ready to wait indefinitely for Ramirez. After all, they didn’t have him last season until July 31.
Ramirez, 37 in May, hit .332/.430/.601 for the Boston Red Sox and Dodgers in 2008.
9:41pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has more on the Orioles trading for Cubs pitcher Rich Hill.
The deal would be for a player to be named later, Zrebiec writes, and it could be announced as early as Monday.
Hill will be reunited with pitching coach Rick Kranitz and bullpen coach Alan Dunn, who worked with him in the Cubs’ organization, Zrebiec notes.
Hill is out of options, so he’ll have to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster or they could lose him. … Hill will be given an opportunity to win a spot in the rotation, which currently has three vacancies behind Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara.
6:12pm: Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun believes the Baltimore Orioles will complete a trade for Cubs left-handed pitcher Rich Hill by Tuesday — if the Orioles will do the deal at all.
Schmuck writes that now other organizations are aware that Hill could be made available, additional teams — including the Royals and Mariners — could make an offer.
Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail might be waiting to see if he can sign free agent right-handed pitcher Braden Looper, Schmuck adds.
They might be willing to acquire both pitchers, but there is the small matter of moving players off the 40-man roster to make room, so maybe Andy is just going to take one or the other.
Hill, 29 in March, is 18-17 in 57 starts with a 4.37 ERA during a short four-season career. He spend much of 2008 in Triple-A.
Looper, 34, went 12-14 in 33 starts with a 4.16 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
8:30pm: Gonzales has another story up on the Tribune’s site with regard to Guillen and the Chicago White Sox.
Guillen said catcher A.J. Pierzynski will remain the No. 2 hitter in the lineup, according to Gonzales. Guillen also said Pierzynski will remain the primary catcher, which curbs suggestions that the Sox will go after free agent Ivan Rodriguez.
Guillen also reiterated what pitching coach Don Cooper has stated: Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Bartolo Colon (if healthy) will man the first four rotation spots.
Indications are that prized left-hander Aaron Poreda has an excellent shot at making the Opening Day roster, even if he doesn’t beat out Clayton Richard or Jeff Marquez for the fifth starter’s spot, Gonzales writes.
Guillen told Gonzales that he expects Wilson Betemit to be capable of playing all four infield positions. That, and outside Jim Thome, the White Sox do not have a true backup first baseman for Paul Konerko.
Scott Merkin of MLB.com was also there. He notes that minor league director Buddy Bell said Beckham has the ability to play any position.
5:30pm: Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that 2008 No. 1 pick Gordon Beckham will likely need to change positions.
Guillen expects Alexei Ramirez to be the team’s shortstop for the foreseeable future.
Ramirez, 27, hit .290/.317/.475 with 21 home runs and 77 RBI in 136 games in 2008 — his first year in the Major Leagues.
Of those 136 games, Ramirez spent time at second base (121 games) and at shortstop (16).
News is light tonight — and likely due to a big game happening in another sport — so let’s rank the remaining free agents.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman offered his list a few days ago. Check it out, and add in the comments here your top 10 remaining FAs. In parenthesis next to the players’ names, write the team you believe will sign each player.