Brad Penny Rumors

Quick Hits: Ervin, Volstad, Huff, Carroll, Penny

The Reds are impressed with outfielder and 2013 first-round pick Phillip Ervin, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. "We were really impressed," says Reds director of player development Jeff Graupe. "Obviously, all the physical ability he has is the first thing you see. But over time, seeing the consistent quality of his at-bats was the most impressive thing for me." Ervin, 21, hit .331/.425/.564 in 2013 season split between rookie ball and Class A. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • When the Angels signed pitcher Chris Volstad to a minor-league deal in November, they knew it was possible he might decide to play overseas instead, MLBTR's Zach Links tweets. Volstad recently signed on with the Doosan Bears in Korea.
  • Aubrey Huff has officially retired and accepted a job as a broadcaster with the Pac-12 Network, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports. Huff finishes his 13-year career with a .278/.342/.464 line in 6,786 plate appearances with the Rays, Astros, Orioles, Tigers and Giants.
  • Free-agent infielder Jamey Carroll could soon make a decision on a new team, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. Carroll, who will be 40 next month, hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season. He would likely receive a minor-league deal.
  • Brad Penny could make an "interesting no-risk signing," Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets. Renck mentions that he has heard Penny has pitched well in offseason workouts. Penny, 35, last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Giants, and he's now in the midst of a comeback attempt.

NL West Notes: Penny, Hudson, Diamondbacks

NL West teams have been busy of late tinkering with their last few 40-man roster spots. A look at MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows a disproportionate number of NL West names over the last two months. The Giants and, in particular, the Padres have been quite active in sending players to DFA limbo. As you digest this fascinating observation as a warmup for your turkey, we'll take a look at a few other relatively minor notes from out west:

  • Two-time All-Star hurler Brad Penny — who was, most recently, a reliever with the Giants in 2012 — will look to make a MLB comeback, according to a report from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. "I just needed a year off to get my body back," said the 35-year-old. "It wasn't anything serious, just my shoulder was tired." Penny only lasted 28 innings in San Francisco, mustering only 3.2 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 and putting up a 6.11 ERA. But, he says, he has been building strength with an aggressive weightlifting regimine. "I think if I get an opportunity to pitch in spring training, healthier, I'm pretty confident that I can make a team," said Penny.
  • The Diamondbacks are talking with two-time Tommy John patient Daniel Hudson about working out a deal to avoid arbitration, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com"Hopefully we'll get something done in the next few days or over the weekend," said Hudson. "I'd like to have a long career with the Diamondbacks." Hudson has shown plenty of promise when healthy. The question, really, is how much cash Arizona wants to dole out to take a chance on the 26-year-old making the difficult comeback from a second UCL reconstruction. GM Kevin Towers has said that his front office has "tried to come up with creative ways that we can do it." MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $1.1MM arbitration award for Hudson, and the team will have until Monday to work something out or reach a decision on tendering the righty a contract.
  • Meanwhile, Arizona has decided on the coaches that will guide its pitching staff next season, writes Gilbert. Mike Harkey, recently the Yankees' bullpen coach, will become the pitching coach. And one-time Diamondbacks pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. will take over the bullpen for manager Kirk Gibson. Recent D-Backs front office addition Dave Duncan, a renowned molder of arms during his decades as a member of Tony LaRussa's staff, reportedly was involved in the hirings.

Giants Sign Brad Penny

SATURDAY: Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Penny will make the pro-rated portion of a $500K salary while with the big league team (Twitter links). He says the contract language is open-ended, but the target date to have Penny on the roster is May 30th.

FRIDAY: The Giants have signed Brad Penny to a minor league contract reports John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). The Legacy Sports Group client will head to Extended Spring Training next week and is considered a bullpen candidate.

Penny, 33, threw for GM Brian Sabean, manager Bruce Bochy, and pitching coach Dave Righetti today according to Shea (on Twitter). The right-hander started the year with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks but requested his release after just one start. Penny pitched to a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers last season and spent the second half of 2009 with the Giants, posting a 2.59 ERA in six starts.



Olney On Angels, Penny

The Cardinals’ bullpen struggled early on in the 2011 season but recovered to help St. Louis win the World Series. This provides hope for teams with early-season bullpen issues such as the Angels, as Buster Olney explained at ESPN.com this morning. Here are some more notes from Olney:

  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says the club needs to restore Jordan Walden’s confidence. "We need for Jordan to be good,” he said. “He's going to be an important part of things here."
  • The Angels are struggling for many reasons in Dipoto’s view, but the bullpen remains a clear area of concern, especially with recent injuries to Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins. Dipoto acquired Ernesto Frieri from the Padres over the weekend.
  • Brad Penny has offers from MLB teams to start or pitch out of the bullpen, Olney reports. Penny, who recently became a free agent, expects to choose a team soon. He had been dealing with shoulder issues while under contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

SoftBank Hawks Release Brad Penny

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have released right-hander Brad Penny at his request after just one start in Japan, according to this Sanspo article passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link). The right-hander signed with the Hawks this past offseason, but shoulder pain sidelined him for much of the past month and he appeared to have trouble adapting to Japanese baseball.

"It was the individual's strong desire to leave," according to the team. 

Penny and the SoftBank Hawks agreed to a $4MM contract with $3.5MM in performance bonuses this February. The 33-year-old Legacy Sports client posted a 5.30 ERA with 3.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 181 2/3 innings for the Tigers last season.


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Brad Penny Signs With SoftBank Hawks

4:48pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Penny's deal contains a $4.5MM mutual option that becomes a player option if he pitches 150 innings or wins 12 games.

1:32pm: Penny's contract is worth $4MM plus $3.5MM in performance bonuses, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  A source tells Rosenthal (via Twitter) that Penny's deal is the largest ever given to an American pitcher in his first year with a Japanese team.

10:34am: Brad Penny has signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to the team's website (Japanese link).  Penny's deal is for one year and $3MM, plus performance bonuses, according to a report from the Yomiuri Shimbun passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick recently reported that Penny was weighing an opportunity with the Hawks.  The 33-year-old posted a 5.30 ERA with 3.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 31 starts for the Tigers last season.

The Chunichi Dragons have also picked up a former Major Leaguer in reliever Jorge Sosa, according to Sanspo (Japanese link).  Newman writes that Sosa received a $100K signing bonus in addition to his $300K salary.


Japan Notes: Penny, Kawakami

Some news about players who could be playing in the Far East in 2012…

  • Brad Penny is "weighing an opportunity" with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Penny, 33, missed most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury but rebounded to pitch 181 2/3 innings in 31 starts with the Tigers last season, though he only managed a 5.30 ERA, an 11 H/9 rate and a 1.19 K/BB ratio.  Crasnick hears from a source that two Major League teams were interested in Penny, but it's not clear if either team actually made Penny an offer.
  • Multiple reports out of Japan say Kenshin Kawakami is close to signing a one-year deal with the Chunichi Dragons (passed on by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman).  Kawakami starred for Chunichi in the first 11 years of his pro career before signing a three-year, $23MM deal with the Braves before the 2009 season.  Kawakami posted a 4.32 ERA in 50 games for Atlanta (41 of them starts) and spent all of last season in the minors.

AL East Notes: Cole, Penny, Davis, Vlad

A few AL East links, as the Orioles enjoy first place…


Tigers ‘Confident’ In Market For Galarraga

The Tigers believe there’s a market for Armando Galarraga, the right-handed pitcher who agreed to a $2.3MM deal one day before getting designated for assignment. Since few viable free agent starters remain and a number of teams are looking for pitching, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he’s 'confident' the team will be able to move Galarraga.

“It’s not like I have a for sure deal, but I do have enough clubs that have asked me about him,” Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters.

If the Tigers demote Galarraga to the minor leagues, they’re responsible for his $2.3MM salary. If they release him, they’ll be responsible for part of his contract, depending on the date of his release and whether another club signs him.

The Tigers also announced their one-year deal with Brad Penny, the pitcher who ousted Galarraga from Detroit’s rotation. Penny missed the last four months of the 2010 season with a shoulder strain, but the Tigers have put him through physicals, examined MRIs and determined that the 32-year-old is in 'tremendous shape.'

“When Brad Penny is healthy, we think he’s a good pitcher,” Dombrowski said. “And we think he’s healthy.”

Though Dombrowski acknowledged that there’s always some risk involved when signing pitchers, he said Penny has the upside to be much more than a fifth starter.

“He does not have back of the rotation stuff,” Dombrowski said, before praising the right-hander’s mid-90s fastball, breaking ball and change-up.

Now that the Tigers have added the two-time All-Star to their rotation, Dombrowski says the team’s rotation projects to be better than it was a year ago. Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello are still developing, Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers in the game and the Tigers believe in Phil Coke’s ability to transition to the rotation.

“We’re happy,” Dombrowski said of his team’s offseason. “I think a lot of clubs say that and I’ll be a lot happier if we’re playing late into October.”


Tigers To Sign Brad Penny

The Tigers have officially agreed to sign Brad Penny to a one-year, $3MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). ESPN.com's Buster Olney, who first reported the agreement, says the deal includes up to $3MM in incentives for the Legacy Sports client (Twitter link).

Penny will compete with Armando Galarraga at the back of a Tigers rotation that's led by Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke. After starting the 2010 season with nine strong starts, Penny missed four months with a right shoulder strain. The 32-year-old's season line includes a 3.23 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a career high 52.8% ground ball rate.

Penny has spent nearly his entire career in the National League and his one stint in the American League went poorly. The Red Sox signed him before the 2009 season and he posted a 5.61 ERA in 131 2/3 innings for Boston. As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, this isn't the first time Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has acquired Penny. He obtained him for the Marlins from the Diamondbacks in 1999.

Click here to read about the fallout from the deal.

Olney and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that Penny was nearing a deal with the Tigers after the right-hander hinted at one on his Twitter account.