Bobby Jenks Rumors

AL Notes: Jenks, Tanaka, Angels, Yankees, Wieters

Former White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks has his sights set on a return to baseball, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin. As Merkin chronicles, mutually compounding difficulties with injury and addiction saw the once-feared closer wash out of baseball after an ill-fated season with the Red Sox in 2011. Still just shy of 33 years of age, Jenks says that he is mentally prepared to try and work his way back to the hill. 

Here are some notes from the American League to round out the evening:

  • Though reports from Japan have tabbed the Angels as one of the favorites to land Masahiro Tanaka, GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed today that his club was not among the teams that met with the Japanese sensation last week in Los Angeles, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times"We did not meet with Tanaka," said Dipoto. "We were not scheduled to meet with him." The GM otherwise declined to comment, but DiGiovanna offers on Twitter that the lack of a face-to-face could indicate that the Halos "won't break [the] bank" for Tanaka.
  • For the Yankees, signing Tanaka could be the key to making the team a serious post-season contender, opines MLB.com's Richard Justice. Though another arm could be added if Tanaka goes elsewhere, Justice notes that the club has shown little interest in other top starters like Ervin Santana and Matt Garza
  • While the suspension of Alex Rodriguez will unquestionably benefit the Yanks' bottom line, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, it nevertheless leaves the club with major questions in the infield. With injury and aging concerns around the diamond, accompanied by seemingly limited upside, Castrovince says that the infield is a close second to starting pitching in terms of need. Though chatter of a Brandon Phillips deal has faded, Castrovince writes that a swap of some kind still "makes a ton of sense" for both the Yankees and Reds.
  • Catcher Matt Wieters has long been rumored as an extension candidate for the Orioles, as the 27-year-old is entering his second-to-last arb-eligible campaign. From the player's perspective, however, the urgency of a new deal is seemingly fading, according to a report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). "It's not a big worry for me," said Wieters. "I think in years past it's taken a little more of my thoughts than this year." With a $5.5MM arbitration payday already in his pocket, and a projected $7.9MM on the way for 2014, it is certainly understandable that Wieters is increasingly comfortable with waiting to hit the open market.

Red Sox Release Bobby Jenks

9:46pm: The Sox agreed to pay $4.5MM of the $6MM owed to Jenks for the 2012 season, writes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.

3:36pm: The Red Sox announced that they reached a contract termination settlement with Bobby Jenks and placed the right-hander on unconditional release waivers. Jenks has spent the 2012 season on the 60-day disabled list recovering from offseason back surgery.

Jenks signed a two-year, $12MM deal in December of 2010, not long after being non-tendered by the White Sox. Biceps and back injuries limited him to just 15 2/3 innings last year, when he walked nearly one batter per inning. The 31-year-old Legacy Sports Group client underwent two back surgeries this past offseason, and was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident this March.


Red Sox, Jenks Talking Settlement

The Red Sox are negotiating a contract settlement with reliever Bobby Jenks that would end his association with the team, Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe report. Jenks has spent the entire 2012 season on the 60-day disabled list and isn’t expected to pitch this season.

Jenks signed a two-year, $12MM deal in December of 2010, not long after being non-tendered by the White Sox. Biceps and back injuries limited him to just 15 2/3 innings last year, when he walked nearly one batter per inning. The 31-year-old Legacy Sports Group client underwent two back surgeries this past offseason, and was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident this March.



AL East Notes: Aviles, Rays, Blue Jays, Jenks

Mariano Rivera recorded his 601st career save yesterday against the Blue Jays, tying Trevor Hoffman for the all-time mark. John Harper of the New York Daily News writes that, while Joe Girardi isn't about to keep Rivera out of a save situation if one arises today, it would be nice if the Yankees didn't have to use their closer again in Toronto. New York begins an eight-game homestand tomorrow, which could allow Rivera to notch the record-setting save in Yankee Stadium. Here are the rest of this morning's AL East notes:

  • Mike Aviles told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he asked the Royals to trade him at the deadline this season, knowing he wasn't a part of the team's long-term plans. Aviles has been an important acquisition for the Red Sox, given the injuries to Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis. The utility man has hit .361/.373/.458 in part-time action since arriving in Boston.
  • Within the same piece, Rosenthal notes that you could argue the Rays should have added a bat at the deadline, given their current presence in the Wild Card race. However, the club was 8 1/2 games out of the Wild Card at the time, and didn't want to compromise their team defense for an offensive upgrade.
  • John Tomase discusses Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays in a piece for the Boston Herald, and the Jays GM offers a few interesting quotes. Anthopoulos says the primary challenge of the AL East isn't going up against the massive payrolls of the Red Sox and Yankees, but rather competing with a handful of smart general managers who know how to run a team.
  • More Anthopolous, on the most efficient way for the Blue Jays to add talent: "The trade route where we are right now is important for us. It's going to be a big part of what we're doing and it is. Free agency is the last route we want to go. At some point we'll have to start delving into it a little more, but I still want to try to avoid it at all costs. If we try to do this through the draft, it's going to be a while. And it's not going to work and we're not going to get it to time properly."
  • Bobby Jenks tells Michael Vega of the Boston Globe that he's disappointed the first season of his two-year deal with the Red Sox turned out so poorly. He's optimistic about being ready for Spring Training and being able to contribute in 2012 though. The reliever says that although he hasn't undergone his spine surgery yet, the doctors are talking about "weeks and not months" for the recovery.

Quick Hits: McGowan, Kuo, Edwin Jackson

Five years ago today, the Athletics claimed righty Jerome Williams off waivers from the Cubs.  Williams pitched 30 innings for the Nationals the following year, but then didn't pitch in the Majors until last month with the Angels.  Williams went through a lot in the meantime, and considers his return to the bigs "a fairy tale."  On to today's Labor Day links…

  • Dustin McGowan makes for another nice story; the Blue Jays reinstated him from the 60-day DL today.  The former first-round pick once seemed on the cusp of big things, but he hasn't pitched in the Majors in more than three years due to a pair of surgeries on his right shoulder.  He'll be one of seven arbitration eligible Blue Jays, but McGowan won't cost much to retain.
  • Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo is learning to manage his anxiety better, and intends to pitch next year, writes Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.  If the Dodgers tender Kuo a contract, he'll earn at least $2.18MM in 2012.
  • Free agency will be "interesting," Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The Scott Boras client, who turns 28 on Friday, has a 3.78 ERA on the season and is on track to make 30+ starts for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Reliever Bobby Jenks is probably done for the season, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told WEEI's Rob Bradford and others today.  The big righty signed a two-year, $12MM deal after being non-tendered by the White Sox in December, but pitched only 15 2/3 innings for Boston due to a back injury.    

Cafardo On Dodgers, Upton, Doumit, Red Sox

Do not expect Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to go quietly into the night, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The McCourt-Bud Selig saga could turn out to be one of the great sports legal battles of the 21st century.  While he's been silent publicly, major league sources close to McCourt indicate he is flabbergasted by Selig’s actions, and that he has not been able to discuss the issues with the commissioner face-to-face.  Here's more from Cafardo's Sunday column..

  • A couple of major league evaluators say the Rays could explore moving B.J. Upton if they fall out of contention, or even if they’re in contention.  They’d like to make a deal similar to the Matt Garza trade, in which they received good talent, including Sam Fuld.
  • The Pirates received calls on catcher Ryan Doumit this winter but the talks eventually petered out.  The Red Sox could be in the market for a backstop, but one talent evaluator says that Doumit isn't a great receiver and the club is better off sticking with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Pittsburgh’s Chris Snyder, who is off to a hot start, could also be available.
  • The Nationals are thought to be in the market for a center fielder and/or someone who can add give a boost to the Nats offense.
  • The White Sox lead the majors with six blown saves, but one club exec stands by the team's decision to let Bobby Jenks go.  Even though Jenks may do very well with Boston, it was the right decision, even if it doesn't look like it right now.
  • Cafardo was surprised to see BoSox chariman Tom Werner issue a statement that he wasn’t interested in pursuing ownership of the Dodgers.  Werner has Los Angeles roots and was once the owner of the Padres.  The chairman himself pointed out that his business and personal relationships with John Henry are too good to walk away from.

Should They Have Been Non-Tendered?

On November 2nd of last year I listed 85 non-tender candidates, most of whom were indeed cut loose.  Almost five months have passed since the December non-tender deadline, and I'd like to revisit five of those decisions.

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, tendered a contract by the Athletics.  The A's certainly shopped around for third base alternatives after tendering a contract to Kouzmanoff, which ended up being for $4.75MM.  So far the third baseman has again been part of the problem, though he's not alone as the team ranks 11th in the AL with 3.63 runs scored per game.  There weren't many alternatives for the A's this offseason, but they probably should have saved Kouzmanoff's money for a trade deadline addition.  They'll still be able to pursue someone, though.
  • James Loney, tendered a contract by the Dodgers.  Loney is already on notice with the Dodgers given the arrival of Jerry Sands.  Loney settled for a predictable $4.875MM salary for 2011.  Sands doesn't actually project to do any better than Loney, but the two are close enough that the Dodgers probably should have traded Loney and used the money elsewhere.
  • Russell Martin, non-tendered by the Dodgers.  According to Yahoo's Steve Henson, Martin wanted a guaranteed $5.5MM rather than the Dodgers' offer of $4.2MM.  GM Ned Colletti made the difficult decision to non-tender Martin, but kept the offer on the table while suggesting a possible super-utility role.  Martin ended up taking less guaranteed money to start at catcher for the Yankees, and he's off to a great start.  The Dodgers could have forced Martin's hand by tendering a contract and arguing for a pay cut through arbitration.  That would have been a risky choice, and Martin's health was a concern at the time, so I can't fault the Dodgers for non-tendering him.
  • Bobby Jenks, non-tendered by the White Sox.  Non-tendering Jenks was the right move given his $7.5MM salary, and the pitcher understood that decision according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  However, Jenks and the Sox were not on the same page about the team's desire to retain him and confidence in his abilities, so he signed with Boston.  The White Sox lead baseball with six blown saves, but it was still best for them to part ways with Jenks.
  • Brandon McCarthy, outrighted by the Rangers in November.  If they had retained McCarthy, the Rangers probably would have had to pay him something similar to last year's $1.3MM salary rather than the $1MM he received from the A's.  McCarthy has looked good so far, though it's only been three starts.  The Rangers are second in the AL in starter ERA without McCarthy.  Still, given the strong offseason interest in him I think it would have been best to tender a contract and shop him around.

Heyman On Marlins, White Sox, Jenks, Glaus

There is likely an unusually short list of managers on the hot seat this year, writes Jon Heyman of SI.com. Marlins skipper Edwin Rodriguez is the lone manager who truly has uncertain job security, according to Heyman. Rodriguez received a one-year deal from the Marlins, which is rare for managers and suggests he doesn’t necessarily figure into the club’s long-term plans. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors.

  • Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Heyman that "no one's on the hot seat.”
  • Jim Leyland of the Tigers, Jim Riggleman of the Nationals and Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox are not necessarily on the hot seat, but they’re worth keeping an eye on, according to Heyman.
  • Leyland will likely be given the chance to return to Detroit after the season when his contract expires, but that’s not a sure thing, according to Heyman.
  • One White Sox person told Heyman that Guillen “isn't going anywhere.” 
  • Before the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano, GM Brian Cashman told Bobby Jenks that he wasn’t offering any setup man $8MM. The Yankees signed Soriano for $35MM over three years, though Cashman advised against it.
  • Free agent Troy Glaus is still at home after drawing some interest this winter.

East Notes: Millwood, Bartlett, Manuel, Jenks

Pitchers and catchers are reporting in Arizona and Florida, but up in the northeast, it doesn't feel like spring has arrived quite yet. Here are a few AL and NL East-related links while we wait for the snow to melt….

  • Although the Yankees and Kevin Millwood are still talking, they have "a ways to go," tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. Yesterday, nearly 43% of over 6,300 MLBTR readers voted that Millwood would eventually sign with the Yanks.
  • The Rays were close to sending Jason Bartlett to San Francisco before they worked out a trade with another NL West club, Giants GM Brian Sabean tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
  • John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders why it's taking so long for the Phillies and Charlie Manuel to work out a contract extension.
  • The Red Sox topped baseball's list of spenders this offseason, as ESPN.com's Katie Sharp writes. Since the turn of the century, the piece notes, only the 2009 Yankees have won a World Series after having outspent the rest of the league the previous winter.
  • Bobby Jenks spoke to the media in Fort Myers today, discussing his decision to sign with the Red Sox. The right-hander said he had offers elsewhere to close, but wanted to play in Boston, adding that he knows his role as a setup man and "didn’t come here to step on anybody’s toes." Alex Speier of WEEI.com has those quotes and more from Jenks.
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun each pose 10 questions that could shape the Mets' and Orioles' seasons, respectively. In addition to discussing how new arrivals will fit in, each article addresses the back of the bullpen. Will the Mets let Francisco Rodriguez finish 55 games to trigger his 2012 option? And will it be Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Mike Gonzalez, or someone else closing in Baltimore?
  • For updates all year long on the closing situations in Boston, New York, Baltimore, and everywhere else, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter. A great resource for fantasy players, @closernews will keep tabs on injuries, ineffectiveness, overuse, and anything else that could affect which relievers are getting save opps.

Rangers Had Interest In Jenks As A Starter

The Red Sox were far from the only club to express interest in Bobby Jenks after the White Sox non-tendered him. The Rangers were one of the interested teams, and they had an unconventional idea for the right-hander to consider. Jenks told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that Texas was interested in signing him as a starter.

Jenks has never started a big league game, but he was drafted as a starter and has since discussed the idea of re-joining the rotation. However, he turned down the Rangers’ overtures to sign in Boston.

Though he sounds excited to join the Red Sox, Jenks admits that they were not his “first hope.” He had wanted to continue his White Sox career, but the team moved on and signed Jesse Crain. Jenks didn’t mind getting non-tendered, since that was a business decision, but he did not like Chicago’s decision to offer his former number (45) to Adam Dunn.

Jenks says the White Sox offered him a two-year deal worth $10MM, or $2MM less than what the Red Sox signed him for. However, a White Sox official told Merkin that the team didn’t make a formal offer.