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Some links for St. Patrick's Day as players don green uniforms in Arizona and Florida…
- Chase Utley has made "minimal" improvement since taking a shot for his injured knee, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Though Utley can hit and field, he can't run, so Wilson Valdez will play second base for the time being.
- Adam Wainwright told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's anticipating a high-stakes rehab, since the Cardinals may not exercise his $21MM option for 2012-13 if he struggles. "There's a lot of money resting on me coming back healthy next year," he said.
- Willie Harris can opt out of his contract with the Mets on March 27th, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). There seems to be a good chance that Harris will make the team and the opt-out won't be an issue.
- Michael Young told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that he has found it tough to develop a rhythm this spring, partly because he has been bouncing from one position to another.
- Not surprisingly, Ben Sheets isn't negotiating with any teams, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Sheets' 2010 season ended early when he needed flexor tendon surgery.
We're weeks into Spring Training now, so few notable free agents remain. But some players (min. 50 PAs) and pitchers (min. 20 IP) remain unsigned. Here's a look at the remaining free agents who will play the 2011 season while no older than 32:
- Willy Aybar (28) – The Rays declined Aybar's option and non-tendered him, but he can play first, second and third and has a career .341 OBP. He wouldn't be in line for more than a minor league deal if he signs.
- Jeremy Bonderman (28) – Bonderman may sit the season out, but you have to think he can help someone (the Cardinals?) despite the 5.53 ERA he posted in 171 innings last year. He's only 28 and he has recovered from shoulder surgery.
- Manny Corpas (28) - Corpas will miss the 2011 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He posted a 4.62 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings last year, and defense independent pitching stats suggest his ERA should have been lower, so he would have drawn interest if healthy.
- Hank Blalock (30) - Blalock averaged 29 homers per season from 2003-05, when he made two All-Star teams. That power was nowhere to be seen last year, when he posted a .254/.319/.349 line in 69 plate appearances for the Rays. Blalock just turned 30 last fall, but he probably needs to rebuild value in the minor leagues to make a complete comeback.
- Bobby Crosby (31) – Three teams were interested in the former AL Rookie of the Year earlier in the winter, but he remains on the open market. In 189 plate appearances for Pittsburgh and Arizona last year, Crosby hit .220/.294/.298 and played all four infield positions.
- Ryan Church (32) - Church, who was traded with Crosby from Pittsburgh to Arizona last summer, also struggled in 2010. He posted a .201/.265/.352 line, though he had 59 extra base hits as recently as 2007.
- Ben Sheets (32) – If he wasn't going to miss the season with flexor tendon surgery, Sheets would likely have found a team by now. He won't sign this year.
More links for Wednesday, after another impressive outing from Ubaldo Jimenez…
- Padres exec Paul DePodesta explains that he didn't like trading Wynn Pelzer and Corey Kluber away, but says he hopes that "every year we're forced to pay such a price to further a pennant run."
- Ben Sheets, who is about to have flexor tendon surgery, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he isn't sure whether he'll ever pitch again.
- Newsday's David Lennon wonders if the Mets could trade Carlos Beltran before next season (Twitter link).
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appears to have made the highest initial bid in the auction to buy the Texas Rangers, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Ben Sheets needs flexor tendon surgery, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggested Sheets could require the surgery earlier today (Twitter link). The right-hander, who first underwent the operation last year, will presumably miss the rest of the 2010 season.
The A's signed Sheets to a $10MM deal last winter and the 32-year-old responded with a 4.53 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 119.1 innings. Sheets was drawing interest as a trade chip as recently as last week, but he will not be traded in 2010. Even if Sheets recovers from the surgery, finding a guaranteed contract won't be easy.
Injuries could play a part in increasing trading before Saturday's deadline, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link). With a handful of teams, most notably the Tigers, seeing key players head to the disabled list, many clubs' needs are in flux. Detroit, for instance, had been focusing on acquiring a starting pitcher, but with Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez all recently placed on the DL, the team may need to look into bats as well. Here are the other highlights of Olney's column:
- If the Tigers pursue an outfielder, they could ask about Jayson Werth, Jose Guillen, or Jeff Francoeur. Dave Dombrowski has said he won't trade top prospects for rental players though, according to this tweet by Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
- Corey Hart's hand injury doesn't appear serious, but one GM tells Olney: "If [the Brewers] are going to get anything in a trade, he's got to play before the deadline and show he's healthy."
- Scouts had noticed a dip in Ben Sheets' velocity and less use of his breaking ball before the right-hander hit the DL with elbow trouble. Olney notes that Oakland's "Matt Holliday plan" has been a bust in Sheets' case, since his injury means they're stuck with him.
- Olney hears from a GM that there's "a lot of conversation about a lot of players" happening right now, meaning we could see a flurry of trade activity this week.
A's pitcher Ben Sheets has re-injured his elbow, forcing him to the disabled list, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The hurler also says that he "might be" out for the remainder of the season (link goes to Twitter). With Sheets sidelined, Oakland has lost a trade chip.
Billy Beane & Co. signed Sheets to a one-year, $10MM deal in January with the hope of dealing him mid-season if the club wasn't in contention. Earlier today, the GM said that "it would behoove" the A's to hang on to the right-hander, though now it doesn't appear that they have much of a choice in the matter.
The Mets, Phillies, and Rangers are just some of the teams that have been keeping an eye on the 32-year-old. Sheets has a 4.53 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 on the year but has pitched well in recent outings.
Some links for Saturday as Roy Oswalt prepares to make what might be the final start of his Astros' career…
- Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets that an MRI revealed just a bruise in Corey Hart's thumb. He isn't expected to go on the disabled list, but will be out a few days. Plenty of teams have been connected to the Brewers' outfielder this trade season.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets that it will tough for the Angels to justify more upgrades if they get swept by Texas this weekend. The Halos have already brought in Alberto Callaspo, but have fallen seven games back of the Rangers after losing in each of the last two nights.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff notes (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays had scouts at last night's Royals-Yankees game, and will again today. Toronto has made most of their bullpen available, and the Yanks are known to be looking for relief help.
- ESPN's Buster Olney hears that there is a "major split" between the Mariners' front office and field staff (Twitter link). This comes the morning after Chone Figgins and manager Don Wakamatsu had to be separated in the dugout.
- The Giants made "genuine progress" on a deal for David DeJesus before the Royals' outfielder suffered a season ending thumb injury on Thursday, reports Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News.
- Meanwhile, Baggarly speculates that the Giants could be looking at some Diamondbacks' players since they're looking for a lefty bat.
- A's GM Billy Beane said "it would behoove" him to keep Ben Sheets because of his value in the clubhouse, according to MLB.com's Alex Espinoza. With just over $4MM left on his contract, Sheets should easily clear trade waivers in August if Beane has a change of heart.
- Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald adds the Rockies to the list of teams that have expressed interest in Jorge Cantu.
- The Phillies have not put much money into their international scouting program in recent years, writes Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Ben Sheets | Chone Figgins | Colorado Rockies | Corey Hart | David DeJesus | Jorge Cantu | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | Toronto Blue Jays
The A’s are not in a hurry to trade Ben Sheets, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club would listen to offers, but the A’s like having Sheets around and aren’t under pressure to shed payroll. The right-hander provides innings and leadership, so the A’s are content to keep him.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the A’s aren’t involved in trade talks involving Sheets or others at the moment (Twitter link). Olney reports that rival teams are not convinced that Sheets can be a difference-maker.
Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported that the A’s would absorb salary in a trade for Sheets and were ready to deal the righthander. Just yesterday it appeared that interest in Sheets was picking up and the Phillies appeared to be a suitor. That momentum seems to have disappeared, but we can safely say that Sheets could be had and teams do have some interest.
The starting pitching market may be ‘mediocre’ if you ask officials around the major leagues, as ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark did, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of rumors out there with just over a week before the deadline. Here they are:
- Six teams or more are interested in Ted Lilly, who will almost certainly get traded. The Tigers, Mets and Dodgers have interest, but the Yankees probably won’t be involved. The Cubs are not willing to pick up any of Lilly’s salary and probably won’t have to.
- The A’s, on the other hand, will pick up much of the $4MM or so remaining on Ben Sheets’ salary and are ready to deal him.
- The Indians are willing to deal one of Jake Westbrook or Fausto Carmona for a “compelling” package, but not both.
- They’re also growing more and more confident that they’ll be able to trade Kerry Wood. If they don't strike a deal before the deadline, they could do so after Wood clears waivers in August.
- The Yankees are kicking tires on many starters, including Westbrook and Dan Haren.
- The Astros would have to be “overwhelmed” to move Brett Myers (as FOX Sports reported) or Wandy Rodriguez. Myers has a mutual option, so there’s no guarantee he returns in 2011. I find it hard to believe that the Astros wouldn’t deal him for a good-but-not-great group.
- The Marlins appear to have decided to focus on extending Dan Uggla, instead of trading him.
- The Dodgers have told rival teams that they have $2-3MM to play with.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Ben Sheets | Brett Myers | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Dan Haren | Dan Uggla | Detroit Tigers | Fausto Carmona | Houston Astros | Jake Westbrook | Kerry Wood | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Ted Lilly | Wandy Rodriguez
Links for Wednesday, as Pedro Alvarez keeps clubbing homers…
- The Phillies and Tigers have scouts watching Dan Haren pitch tonight, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
- The Mets, who agreed to sign Chad Cordero earlier today, thought they had a deal with the right-hander over the winter, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears that the Phillies may not add a pitcher at all if they can't acquire a top arm like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt.
- Darren Oliver, who will likely see his vesting option kick in later in the summer, tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he has no intention of retiring.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has attached himself to one of the groups attempting to buy the Rangers, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
- Nightengale notes that Ben Sheets is starting to attract "strong interest" (Twitter link).
- Roy Oswalt tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he hasn't heard anything from the Astros about a possible trade. In case you missed it, the Phillies and Astros appeared to be discussing an Oswalt deal last night.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wonders if the Mariners could send Jose Lopez or Jack Wilson to Detroit.
- A couple of scouts gave MASN.com's Ben Goessling the impression that Adam Dunn isn't going anywhere.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean denied to Murray Chass that the timing of Buster Posey's call-up had anything to do with service time.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains how he thinks a number of MLB teams should approach the deadline.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post doesn't expect the Yankees to acquire a big-name starter this July.
- The Hiroshima Carp are wrapping up a deal with Vinnie Chulk, according to reports passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Chulk, who has played in seven major league seasons, was playing at Triple A in the Pirates' organization.