Bobby Wilson Rumors
SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.
FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta. As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin. Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.
Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish. While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday. Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake. For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.
If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade. A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop. Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
We'll keep track of tonight's minor moves here..
- The Yankees signed veteran catcher Bobby Wilson to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). Wilson will vie for playing time with Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and rookie Austin Romine this spring. The backstop hit .208/.272/.321 in five seasons with the Angels.
- The Mets announced that they have signed catcher Landon Powell to a minor league contract with an invite to major league Spring Training. The former first-round pick hit .207/.284/.328 in three seasons with the A's.
- The Yankees inked second baseman Reegie Corona, who was once a well-regarded prospect in their system, Eddy tweets. He was playing in Venezuela and has been out of affiliated ball since 2010.
- The White Sox signed shortstop turned right-handed pitcher Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal, tweets Eddy. Pena switched positiions back in 2009.
- The Brewers signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor league deal with an invitation to early minor league camp, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Diaz spent time in theRangers and Angels systems last year.
Here are the latest minor transactions from around the league...
- SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization announced the signing of left-handed reliever Doug Slaten. Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (Twitter link) first reported the deal earlier this week. Slaten has a 3.52 ERA in 216 games for the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Pirates since 2006, including a 2.16 ERA in 10 games with the Bucs in 2012.
- The Rockies have signed shortstop Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Manzella last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Astros and has bounced around the minors with four different organizations over the last two seasons.
- Right-hander Manny Acosta has signed a one-year, $1.65MM contract with the Yomiuri Giants, according to Gene Mato, Acosta's agent (Twitter link). The deal could be worth another $500K in bonuses. Acosta, 31, was non-tendered by the Mets following a season that saw him post a 6.46 ERA over relief appearances.
- The Giants have agreed to a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, reports Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (via Twitter). Gaudin posted a 4.54 ERA in 46 relief appearances for the Marlins last season.
- The Yankees have signed catcher Bobby Wilson to a minor league deal that contains a Spring Training invite, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Wilson hit .211/.277/.292 batting line in 201 plate appearances with the Angels last season and was both claimed on waivers and non-tendered by the Blue Jays earlier this offseason.
- The Yankees have also signed infielder Gil Velazquez to a minor league deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). The 33-year-old Velazquez received 57 PAs with the Marlins last year and also has Major League exerperience with the Angels and Red Sox.
- The Cardinals have signed 18-year-old Dominican right-hander Alex Reyes to a contract worth $950K, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
- The Nationals signed 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Neivy Pilier to a $225K deal, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.
- The Nationals signed infielder Brian Bocock to a minor league contract, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter link). Bocock last played in the majors in 2010 and has spent the last two seasons playing in the Phillies, Pirates and Blue Jays organizations.
- The Padres acquired left-hander Chris Rearick from the Rays in exchange for infielder Vince Belnome, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).
- The Phillies have announced the signings of Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Jermaine Mitchell, Pete Orr and Humberto Quintero to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training.
Here are today’s American League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.
- The Rays have non-tendered Ben Francisco according to Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays have non-tendered Bobby Wilson, the team announced.
- The Mariners have non-tendered Robert Andino, the team announced. They acquired him from the Orioles less than two weeks ago.
- The Rangers have non-tendered Geovany Soto, Brandon Snyder, and Jacob Brigham according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (on Twitter).
- The Orioles have non-tendered Mark Reynolds in addition to Omar Quintanilla and Stuart Pomeranz, the team announced (on Twitter).
- The Athletics have non-tendered Jermaine Mitchell, the team announced. Mitchell was designated for assignment earlier this week.
- The Red Sox have non-tendered Rich Hill, Ryan Sweeney, and Scott Atchison, the team announced. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports had the Sweeney news earlier (on Twitter) while Rob Bradford of WEEI.com had the Atchison news.
- The Indians announced they non-tendered Jack Hannahan, Rafael Perez and Chris Seddon
- The White Sox announced that they've non-tendered right-hander pitcher Anthony Carter and infielder Dan Johnson.
- The Royals announced that they won't tender outfielder Derrick Robinson a contract for 2013 (Twitter link). Robinson has no MLB experience so he wasn't arbitration eligible.
- The Tigers announced that they will non-tender Daniel Schlereth. The left-hander was limited to six appearances this past season, which he mostly spent on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. Schlereth was not yet arbitration eligible.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Dan Martin of The New York Post reports that the Yankees have had "preliminary discussions" about bringing Raul Ibanez back as a platoon player next season. The 40-year-old played more than the club would have liked this year due to Brett Gardner's injury.
- The Orioles are telling teams that their priorities in the trade market are first base, left field, and DH according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter). GM Dan Duquette said several clubs match up well with their needs.
- Rival executives tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is "itching" to make a trade (Twitter link). Toronto is targeting starting pitching.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm listed the Blue Jays' 12 out of options players (Twitter links): Brett Cecil, Rajai Davis, Jeremy Jeffress, Adam Lind, Jeff Mathis, Mike McCoy, Dustin McGowan, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos, Cory Wade, and Bobby Wilson.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe wonders (on Twitter) how far the Red Sox will extend themselves to sign Mike Napoli now that there is competition from the Yankees. He notes that Boston went the extra mile to sign David Ross.
- Jerry Sands, who was acquired in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, could be a platoon answer for the Red Sox at first base or in either corner outfield spot, according to CSNNE.com.
Wilson, 29, appeared in 75 games for the Angels this past season. He posted a .211/.277/.292 batting line in 201 plate appearances and prevented 29% of stolen base attempts from behind the plate. Though the right-handed hitter struggles against right-handed pitching, he owns a .242/.315/.455 batting line in 156 plate appearances against left-handers. Wilson will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and had projected as a non-tender candidate in Anaheim.
In today's column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo wonders what the future holds for David Ortiz after his contract expires at the end of this season. An American League official says the Red Sox should be "looking at keeping his salary level around the same if his production maintains steady." Ortiz, who is earning $12MM in 2011, would like to retire with the Sox, and acknowledges that signing with a National League club is unlikely: "I would have to consider it. I don’t think people want me for that, because I’m a hitter." Here are a few of Cafardo's other notes:
- In the short term, Marco Scutaro, who has been discussed internally by the Phillies, could be valuable to a team looking for a middle infielder. Down the line, the Sox could still have an excess of infielders - Cafardo says Jose Iglesias should be ready to be a full-time MLB shortstop in 2012, meaning Boston may not have enough room in its lineup for him, Jed Lowrie, and Kevin Youkilis. If I'm the Red Sox, I view that as a good problem to have, and address it if and when it comes to that.
- A Dodgers official concedes that Russell Martin is "playing great" for the Yankees. "Better than he played for us," adds the official. However, he cautions that Martin tends to fade in the second half, which has to be of some concern for the Yanks. While Martin's career batting splits don't fully back up that assertion, the backstop did miss most of the second half in 2010 with a hip injury.
- The Angels have been exploring potential trades involving their catchers since Spring Training. They'd likely prefer dealing Bobby Wilson to Jeff Mathis, and may be seeking a left-handed outfield bat in return.
In his Sunday column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that scouting and development people in baseball are extremely underpaid. While the Pirates, White Sox, Twins, Red Sox, and Yankees are known for taking good care of development people, other clubs are less-than-generous when it comes to salaries and benefits. Cafardo asked Athletics GM Billy Beane why development and scouting people don’t get paid well. Beane's response: “The good ones do.’’ Here are some of Cafardo's other Sunday notes:
- The Angels have a surplus of catchers and prospect Hank Conger is being groomed for the job. The Red Sox are looking for a veteran catcher they might be able to keep at Triple-A in case someone gets hurt. It's possible that Jeff Mathis or Bobby Wilson could be a fit for the BoSox.
- Scouts are watching Boston's bullpen situation closely because Dennys Reyes is becoming a hot commodity. It would be a tough call for the club as they also have Hideki Okajima signed through this season. The club has also received interest in Rich Hill.
- Infielder Drew Sutton seems to be destined for Boston's Pawtucket affiliate, but Cafardo wouldn't be surprised if the club gets some trade interest on the 27-year-old.
Recently, after learning of Jason Castro's season-ending injury, Astros owner Drayton McLane reportedly decided that the club could allocate extra money to find a backstop for 2011. It remains to be seen exactly how much funding the team is willing to put towards the catcher position, especially since Houston doesn't seem poised to contend this season and whoever they acquire will be simply keeping the spot warm for Castro.
There are plenty of catchers on the block, such as Pittsburgh's Ryan Doumit. Doumit could fit the bill as a one-year solution, though he will take in $5.6MM on the year when including the $500K buyout of his remaining years. The Astros' first choice to step in for Castro was Twins catcher Drew Butera, but they were quickly rebuffed. Nationals backstop Jesus Flores reportedly drew interest from GM Ed Wade but the club is said to have cooled on him in recent days. The 26-year-old has appeared healthy in Spring Training but Houston is still wary of his surgically repaired right shoulder.
While it seems that Wade won't take advantage of the Nats' glut at the catcher position, he could look elsewhere to find a club with a backstop to spare. We've yet to hear of the Astros reaching out to the Angels about one of their catchers, but it would make an awful lot of sense for them to make an inquiry.
While Jeff Mathis is in position to be the club's Opening Day catcher, Bobby Wilson is looking good in Spring Training - both literally and figuratively. The soon-to-be 28-year-old dropped 33 pounds at the behest of manager Mike Scioscia and seems likely to take the No. 2 position on the depth chart, in part because he's out-of-options. With youngster Hank Conger waiting in the wings, it would make sense for the Halos to clear a path for the up-and-coming prospect by dealing from a position of strength. Wilson could obviously be had for less than Mathis, but both catchers have affordable contracts and it's unlikely that either one would be termed "untouchable".
Links for Saturday..
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News notes all of the roster turnover the Rangers have already experienced this season.
- Ian Browne of MLB.com (via Twitter) says that outfielder Jonathan Van Every is being placed on the 40-man roster so that Josh Reddick can get more at-bats in the minors.
- Angels catcher Bobby Wilson was on the receiving end of a violent collision at the plate on Friday, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With Wilson and Jeff Mathis sidelined, the Angels likely won't be able to move one of their catchers anytime soon.
- Ramon Ortiz was essentially auditioning to keep his job with the Dodgers on Friday night, says Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun writes that the promotion of Rhyne Hughes could mean a reduced role for starting first baseman Garrett Atkins.