Brad Ausmus Rumors

Dodgers Sign Brad Ausmus

The Dodgers signed Brad Ausmus to a $1MM deal today. The backup catcher will earn $850K in 2010 and there's a mutual option worth $1MM for 2011 with a $150K buyout. Ausmus can earn an extra $100K based on plate appearance incentives this coming season.

Ausmus, 41 in April, hit .295/.343/.368 in 107 plate appearances for LA last season, though offense was never his calling card. His value lies in his defense and veteran leadership. Two NL West rivals – the Giants and Padres – were also connected to Ausmus at various points this offseason.

Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times broke the news of the signing.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.

Padres Have $5-8MM Left To Spend

A source has indicated that the Padres have about $5-8MM left to spend this offseason, according to Dan Hayes of The North County Times. The team is expected to enter 2010 with a payroll around $40MM. 

"There's no question there's good value out there," said (GM Jed) Hoyer, who declined to comment on which players the Padres have targeted. "Certainly we have money to spend. We're going to spread it around to some of our needs. There's a lot of good players."

Hayes says the club's biggest needs are a veteran pitcher, a righty hitting outfielder, a utility player, and a veteran catcher. We've already seen them connected to Mike Redmond, Ramon Castro, Brad Ausmus, Jerry Hairston Jr., Randy Winn, and Reed Johnson, while Hayes throws Josh Fogg's name into the mix.

Padres Notes: Ausmus, Johnson, Kouzmanoff

The San Diego Padres have about $5-8MM to spend before the 2010 season begins, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. In his latest piece, Center details how the bargain-hunting Padres could spend that money….

  • San Diego's needs include a right-handed center field bat, a backup catcher, a veteran pitcher, and a utility infielder.
  • With so many free agents remaining, the team isn't necessarily in any rush to fill their holes. GM Jed Hoyer says that there will "be some bargains out there as spring training approaches. There will be players, although you might not be able to be selective."
  • At catcher, the Padres are looking for a player to act as a mentor to Nick Hundley and the Padres' pitching staff, while only playing a game or two a week. Center notes that Brad Ausmus would be a good fit.
  • Center also speculates that Reed Johnson would be a logical and potentially affordable outfield target.
  • Since many teams have filled their third base holes, and Adrian Beltre and Miguel Tejada are still on the market, the chances of the Padres trading Kevin Kouzmanoff have seriously diminished.

Dodgers Notes: Sherrill, Pierre, Payroll, Torre

Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times spoke to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti; here's the latest.

  • Colletti shot down the FOX Sports report that the Dodgers are shopping set-up man George Sherrill.
  • The Dodgers would want pitching in return for Juan Pierre.  The White Sox and one other team are apparently interested.
  • Colletti suggested that, for now, the Dodgers aren't planning on decreasing payroll.
  • Colletti finds it unlikely that the Dodgers will make a signing at the Meetings.
  • Hernandez says the Dodgers "are talking to Joe Torre about extending his contract by one year and having him move into a role in baseball operations in 2012."
  • The Dodgers have had more discussions with Brad Ausmus than with any of their other free agents.

Twitter Rumors: Doumit, Mahay, Wolf, Jenkins

Collecting some tweets I couldn't quite turn into posts…

  • Four unknown teams are in on Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Nationals have interest in free agent catcher Brad Ausmus, says's Bill Ladson.
  • The Red Sox have interest in free agent lefty Ron Mahay, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. The 38-year-old posted a 4.29 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9 in 50.3 innings for the Royals and Twins this year.  Two years ago he was quite a hot commodity on the free agent market.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Brett Myers is seeking a two-year deal.  The Rangers and other teams are interested at one year.  Crasnick wrote a few days ago that the Astros are also interested, while Andrew Baggarly named the Giants as a suitor today.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times shoots down Danny Knobler's rumor that the Pirates have interest in Juan Pierre.  Nonetheless,'s Joe Frisaro tweets of interest from the Pirates, White Sox, and a third team.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees want to resolve the Andy Pettitte/Johnny Damon situations before moving on to Hideki Matsui and other starting pitcher options.
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that the Sox are not in the market for a pure DH.
  • The Brewers are making a "strong run" at Randy Wolf, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Ruben Amaro Jr.'s comment that "those are guys we will probably count on" implies relievers Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey will be tendered contracts by the Phillies (Andy Martino reporting).
  • Crasnick says Geoff Jenkins wants to make a comeback in 2010 and has been working out at first base and outfield in hopes of landing a bench role.
  • Crasnick says to expect the Cubs to tender a contract to Mike Fontenot on Saturday.
  • Bill Shanks quoting Braves manager Bobby Cox: "clubs are knocking on the door for Kelly Johnson."  I imagine Johnson will be dealt by Saturday.
  • ESPN's Gordon Edes says that while Red Sox owner John Henry is a big fan of Miguel Cabrera from their Marlins days, the Red Sox "don't have the Major League-ready position players Detroit wants in return."
  • Crasnick expects Elmer Dessens to re-sign with the Mets, though the pitcher has talked to the Dodgers and Padres.
  • Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Braves want to move Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez, but not Kenshin Kawakami.
  • Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies will meet with Chan Ho Park's agent today "and attempt to resolve their differences over Park's value."  The Phils did not offer arbitration to Park, a Type B free agent.  Park craves another shot at starting, which won't happen in Philly.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies like Brandon Lyon, but aren't "willing to pay the price for him."  Lyon is said to be seeking a multiyear deal.  He is expected to turn down the Tigers' offer of arbitration today.  The Yankees have been named as another suitor.
  • Crasnick says the Astros "have very little money to spend, unless Drayton McLane suddenly has a change of heart."

Giants Notes: Rodriguez, Uggla, Bumgarner

Let's take a look at some Giants tidbits courtesy of Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News

  • We heard earlier today that the Giants are one of a handful of teams interested in Ivan Rodriguez.  It has also been reported that the club is interested in Yorvit Torrealba and Brad Ausmus as they look to ease Buster Posey into the role of catcher.  However, Baggarly says Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, and Jason Kendall are more likely targets.
  • Although Florida's Dan Uggla is highly coveted by GM Brian Sabean, he is unwilling to sacrifice valuable commodities such as left-hander Madison Bumgarner to get him.
  • Just as the club wants to wait before giving Posey the reins as starting catcher, they would like to have Bumgarner start the year in Triple-A.  In order to do this, they need to find a fifth starter.  If they cannot retain Brad Penny, they'll have to look out-of-house.

Giants, Dodgers Pursuing Brad Ausmus

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of report that the Dodgers and Giants are among the teams pursuing free agent catcher Brad Ausmus. Peter Mrowka, Ausmus' agent, said it's "possible" but "not likely" that his client will play for a team not based on the West Coast next year.

The 40-year-old Ausmus hit .295/.343/.368 in 36 games (107 plate appearances) with the Dodgers last year, his best offensive season since 1999. The duo mention the Padres as another possible landing spot.

Dodgers “Long Shot” To Land Halladay

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers are a "long shot" to land Roy Halladay, while Los Angeles GM Ned Colletti indicated an unwillingness to add Chad Billingsley into any Halladay deal.

It doesn't take much of a leap to think the former is a result of the latter.

Colletti refused to discuss Halladay specifically, but said of his desire to improve the pitching staff, "We would like to improve our pitching, especially starting pitching. I don't believe we can subtract from it in order to improve it."

The Dodgers have plenty of prospects for a potential Halladay deal, but adding Billingsley, an established arm, would give them a leg up on other teams who would have the financial flexibility to sign Halladay long-term.

Hernandez also writes that Colletti has been in contact with Brad Ausmus, but hasn't had discussions about Brandon Phillips or Dan Uggla.

Olney On Ausmus, Carroll, Prior, Penny

A few notes from ESPN's Buster Olney

  • Via Twitter, Olney's heard from other teams that the Reds would love to move closer Francisco Cordero.  Of course, closers are plentiful and Cordero is set to earn $25MM over the next two years.  I mentioned in our Reds Offseason Outlook that the team would have to eat half of that to make him mildly appealing.  Similarly, the Indians would definitely listen on Kerry Wood, who is set to earn $20MM over the next two years.
  • Olney believes other teams could join the Reds and Tigers in cost-cutting mode.  He says the teams with payroll space "will be in position to make some excellent deals."
  • Olney finds it unlikely that Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, or John Lackey will receive a $100MM contract.
  • Catcher Brad Ausmus on 2010: "I could end up playing if somebody wants me."
  • The A's are interested in free agent infielder Jamey Carroll. Ed Price of AOL FanHouse tweets that the Dodgers and at least seven other teams are also interested in Carroll.
  • Mark Prior is throwing on flat ground and plans to audition for scouts.  Prior, 29, most recently had shoulder surgery in June.
  • The Giants are attempting to re-sign Brad Penny, who lost 12 pounds since the end of the season.
  • Olney wonders if the Royals will dump more players before the December 12th non-tender deadline.  I think Mike Jacobs, John Buck, and John Bale fit the bill.
  • Olney's heard that the Phillies "will be aggressive in signing a set-up man/closer safety net," with Brad Lidge having flexor tendon surgery.

Ausmus, Dodgers Complete One-Year Deal

Veteran catcher Brad Ausmus and the Los Angeles Dodgers finalized a one-year, $1MM contract Monday, The Associated Press reports.

The parties agreed to terms last week, and the three-time Gold Glove winner needed to take a physical. He can earn an additional $350,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

Ausmus, 40 in April, spent the past eight seasons with Houston, and he batted .218 with three home runs and 24 RBI in 81 games in 2008. He will back up catcher Russell Martin in Los Angeles.

Ausmus lives in Del Mar, about 100 miles south of Los Angeles.