Bobby Wilson Rumors

Cafardo’s Latest: Ortiz, Red Sox, Martin, Angels

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.

Cafardo On Angels, Red Sox, Reyes

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.

Discussion: Could The Angels And Astros Be A Match?

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".



Odds & Ends: Rangers, Red Sox, Wilson, Dodgers

Links for Saturday..


Top Trade Chips: AL West

We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit…

  • Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
  • Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
  • Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders – Michael Saunders or Greg Halman – available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
  • Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.

Odds & Ends: Lowell, Redding, Brantley, Wilson

Some news items as we say goodbye to March and hello to another great baseball-filled April…

  • ESPN's Rob Neyer thinks the Rangers should just go ahead and acquire Mike Lowell, since the reported $3MM gap between Texas and Boston is a small price to pay for solidifying the Rangers' first base platoon.  Given the number of conflicting reports about the deal, it's hard to say if a Lowell-to-Texas trade is imminent or a longshot at this point.
  • Tim Redding talks to The Denver Post's Jim Armstrong about being assigned to Colorado's Triple-A team.  Four days ago, Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies pointed out that Redding has an opt-out clause he can use if he finds a spot on another team's 25-man roster.  That's unlikely; Ringolsby says the Mariners scouted Redding but came away unimpressed. 
  • The Indians were hoping to hold up Michael Brantley's service clock, but his strong Spring Training and Russell Branyan's injury forced the club's hand, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com.  Brantley will now be Cleveland's starting left fielder on Opening Day.
  • Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times takes a look at Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, who is out of options and faces a tough task in finding a roster spot given the Mike Napoli-Jeff Mathis combo behind the plate in Los Angeles.  If the Angels are forced to put Wilson on waivers, you'd figure that several teams would be interested in a catcher who has a solid .283/.338/.423 line in 2642 minor league plate appearances.
  • Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com chatted with fans about a number of A's and Giants-related topics, including Urban's belief that the extensions for Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt may have been inspired by San Francisco's confidence in their upcoming crop of position players.
  • In another online chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentioned that the Cardinals are interested in acquiring a left-handed power bat for the bench.  Strauss noted the club's "history of eleventh-hour spring training moves."