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Author Archives: Daniel Seco
The Pirates have agreed to terms with Jose Contreras on a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to a team report. The veteran right-hander, represented by Jaime Garcia, will spend a portion of the spring rehabbing his elbow as he is expected to report to camp on Sunday.
Contreras, 41, spent the 2012 season with the Phillies where he posted a 5.27 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in just over 13 innings of work. The former All-Star will be used out of the bullpen if he makes the team's Opening Day roster.
Saturday marked the first full slate of Spring Training games with teams in action all over the states of Arizona and Florida. Teams will play a 35-game schedule this spring, longer than typical years, as a result of the World Baseball Classic taking place at the same time. FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi caught up with the Marlins as they begin the 2013 season with lowered expectations after unloading a major portion of the team's payroll during the offseason.
- Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre says Michael Bourn did well for himself with the contract he signed with the Indians this offseason. Pierre points to power hitters aging more gracefully than players who rely on their speed to score runs. "Guys that run, you get to 31 and (teams) shy away from guys like that," Pierre said. "Bourn is 30. I was 28 when I signed my deal with the Dodgers, right in the prime. It’s a tough thing, because power never goes on you."
- Marlins backup catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone after being hit with a ball while behind the plate on Saturday which further weakens Miami at the position. A reporter suggested manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, should assume Mathis' responsibilities while the veteran recovers. "I don’t know about that," Redmond said. "I don’t think so. I like the way my body feels right now, the way it is."
On this day in baseball history in 1987, Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly won his arbitration hearing against the team to secure a contract of $1.975MM. The figure represents the highest in Major League history, eclipsing the previous record set by Jack Morris merely four days prior. Let's catch up on the latest news and happenings around the league on the Sunday without a baseball game until November.
- Jason Kubel dealt with trade rumors all offseason that had the slugger being dealt to another squad thanks to a crowded Diamondbacks outfield, writes Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Luckily for Kubel, Justin Upton was traded to the Braves and the veteran no longer needed to worry about where he would be playing in 2013.
- Angel Pagan's new found fame as a World Series champion led to young men in his home country of Puerto Rico wanting to work out with him, and so he did, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. "They ask me, my personal trainer. I tell them to come over, do the same thing I do. (The trainer) doesn’t charge them. I want them to understand what it takes to get ready, to be a champion. It’s about your work ethic, how you prepare to be successful."
- The Indians can point to a series of key moves this offseason as the reason for optimism heading into 2013, says Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com. "We realized at the end of last year we needed to make adjustments," said general manager Chris Antonetti. "We were not good enough. We needed to improve."
With Spring Training now in full swing, let's take a look back at the week that was here at MLBTR…
- Felix Hernandez officially signed the most lucrative contract any pitcher has ever obtained to the tune of seven-years and $175MM.
- Michael Bourn agreed to a four-year, $48MM deal with the Indians.
- The Rockies avoided arbitration with Dexter Fowler by agreeing to a two-year deal worth $11.6MM.
- The Reds avoided arbitration with outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, agreeing to a one-year deal for $7.375MM.
- The Cardinals announced extensions for manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak. Mozeliak obtained a three-year deal through 2016, while the Cardinals also formally exercised Matheny's 2014 option.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Clayton Richard by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.24MM.
- The Orioles officially signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
- The Reds and Homer Bailey reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
- The Nationals avoided arbitration with Jordan Zimmermann by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.35MM.
- The Marlins signed Casey Kotchman to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League camp.
- The Rockies acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Rays in exchange for cash considerations and a player later to be named.
- The Twins signed left-handed reliever Rafael Perez to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training.
- The Yankees acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley from the Mariners in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte.
- The Indians officially signed Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract with a Major League Spring Training invitation.
- The Pirates signed Brandon Inge to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
- The Mariners announced first baseman/designated hitter Mike Carp has been designated for assignment.
- The Mariners signed right-handed reliever Kameron Loe to a minor league deal.
- The Royals acquired utility player Elliot Johnson from the Rays as the player to be named later in the December trade involving James Shields and Wil Myers.
- The Reds avoided arbitration with right-hander Mat Latos, agreeing to terms on a two-year deal worth $11.5MM.
- The Athletics agreed to sign left-hander Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training.
- The Nationals signed left-handed reliever Will Ohman to a minor league deal.
- The Dodgers announced the signing of reliever Kevin Gregg to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
The Blue Jays have expressed interest in signing infielder Munenori Kawasaki, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter). If able to make the club, Kawasaki would serve to provide depth at shortstop, second base and pinch run off the bench.
Kawasaki, 31, earned $625K in 2012 after signing a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training with the Mariners. In his first big league season with the team, Kawasaki posted a batting line of .192/.257/.202 in 61 games. The former NPB star was released by Seattle at the end of the 2012 season.
The Marlins will be paying Ozzie Guillen $2.5MM this season not to manage the team, according to D.J. Short of NBCSports.com (via Twitter). The financial figure is higher than all but the salaries of two players on the squad. Here's the latest news and stories making headlines from around the Major Leagues.
- Astros owner Jim Crane spoke in front of his ever-evolving ballclub on Saturday to share his vision for the future for the franchise and his plans on how to get there, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "Certainly our fingerprints are all over this now and all the changes we made are our changes," Crane said. "Bo [Porter] told them this and I told them this: Neither one of us have lost in anything we've done, and we're not going to start now. We're expecting to turn this into a winner, starting today."
- Justin Upton and B.J. Upton are already over the initial joyous feelings that come with playing side-by-side with one's brother at the Major League level and focused on spoiling Davey Johnson's swan song, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. While the Nationals may have a more complete roster on paper than the Braves, each one of the Braves' starting outfielders, including Jason Heyward, poses a legitimate threat to compete for NL MVP.
- Pablo Sandoval's inability to keep his weight at an optimal level continues to be an ongoing issue for the hefty third baseman, says Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The veteran met with Giants manager Bruce Bochy in a closed-door meeting to discuss how being in baseball shape (Sandoval played winter ball) is not the same as playing at a healthy weight. "Like all the guys, we’ve got to get ourselves in game condition," Bochy said. "Even though he’s been playing games, it’s fair to say he has to shed a few pounds, and he will. He has the time. He’s up there working as we speak."
The Padres have avoided arbitration with Clayton Richard by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.24MM, according to a team announcement. The signing of the SFX client marks the final arbitration-eligible player to sign with a team as well as the first year there were no arbitration hearings since the process was instituted in 1974.
Richard submitted an arbitration figure of $5.55MM as compared to the Padres' offer of $4.905MM. The agreed upon number of $5.24MM gives Richard a slight victory as his salary will be just slightly above the midpoint. The left-hander posted a 3.99 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 218 2/3 innings during the 2012 season.
The veteran will be eligible for arbitration for the final time in 2014 before becoming a free agent for the first time one year later.
Here's the latest news and stories making headlines around the AL East…
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says that he does not expect Jacoby Ellsbury contract situation to be a distraction at any point this season, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Ellsbury enters his walk year looking to rebound from injuries that have plagued him in two of the past three seasons.
- Adam Lind discusses how last year's Blue Jays coaching staff played a role in negatively impacting his numbers over the course of the season, writes Gregor Chisolm of MLB.com. "This year the coaches will be given the freedom to do whatever they want. They have the trust of Gibby so he can just manage and sometimes the type of personalities we had on our staff last year, they micromanaged a lot and sometimes that can affect the way we play and the way we coach."
- Jair Jurrjens may have suffered financial setback this offseason, but the veteran right-hander remains confident he can be the pitcher the Orioles were looking for when they first offered him a big league contract, says Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun. "If I'm out there and can stay on the mound, I know what I can do. A lot of people know what I can do. I'm just going to come here and show everybody that i'm healthy and I can pitch again."
The two teams representing the Greater Los Angeles area appear to be on collision course for a World Series matchup given the depth of their respective rosters. From the Dodgers adding arguably one of the most dominant pitchers in the game (Zack Greinke) to the Angels bolstering their already powerful lineup with the bat of Josh Hamilton, both teams have their eyes set on October. Here's the latest from around Tinseltown.
- Omar Vizquel finds himself at a Spring Training camp for the 25th year in a row, but this time he'll be the one leading instruction as he transitions from player to coach, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The potential future Hall of Famer begins the journey from coach to manager as the Angels' roving infield instructor.
- Ryan Theriot's possible return to the Giants remains unlikely given the veteran's desire for increased playing time, specifically, as a starter, says Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Gate (via Twitter). Theriot, 33, posted a .270/.316/.321 batting line in 104 games with the Giants in 2012.
- Zack Greinke spoke with reporters on Friday about dealing with anxiety issues that nearly derailed his career back when he was a rookie in 2006, writes Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register. "I haven't really had a problem with any of it since 2007," Greinke said. "I don't really think about it ever anymore. It was just [taking] the medicine. It really was."
SATURDAY, 12:10pm: The contract includes an opt-out clause, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
FRIDAY, 10:50pm: The Orioles have officially signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to a team report. Terms of the deal are not yet known for the Boras Corporation client.
The Orioles first came to an agreement with Jurrjens on a contract back in late January in which he would received $1.5MM on a Major League deal with incentives potentially pushing the figure to $4MM. The situation changed, however, when Baltimore did not like the findings of his physical, which led to discussion over a minor league deal instead, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com (via Twitter).
Orioles GM Dan Duquette sent Kubatko and other writers a text to provide his sentiments on the deal. "Jair Jurrjens has a good track record and is still young. We hope he can regain the form which made him an All-Star in 2011."
Jurrjens, 27, posted a 6.89 ERA with 3.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 48.1 innings during the 2012 season which led to his non-tendering by the Braves. The right-hander is expected to report to camp on Saturday, writes Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).