Brad Ausmus Rumors
According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, Padres GM Kevin Towers has a veteran catcher as the final item on his offseason wish list. His good friend Brad Ausmus appears to be the target, with a resolution possible by week's end. Brock figures he could sign for less than a million bucks.
The Padres traded for Ausmus back in '93 and sent him to the Tigers in the blockbuster deal of '96.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of rumors in his latest article:
- Apparently the Giants were willing to offer Manny Ramirez a four year deal in the form of a one year deal with three option years. No more details are known, except that the Giants remain interested in Manny.
- Brad Ausmus has had ongoing talks with the Padres and Dodgers, according to Cafardo's sources. The Red Sox aren't interested.
- The Angels, Giants and Mets are possible suitors for Xavier Nady.
- Cafardo's heard other clubs talking about the Red Sox and Rockies restarting the Todd Helton for Mike Lowell trade talk, but hasn't heard anything similar from the Red Sox.
- At least one of Cafardo's sources thinks Prince Fielder would make a lot of sense in Boston. Clay Buchholz could be a starting point if these talks were to start.
- Ben Sheets is becoming a bargain, so the Braves or Rangers could jump in and sign him affordably.
- Cafardo calls Atlanta an "emerging" destination for Adam Dunn.
We missed this one - apparently the Padres signed recently non-tendered reliever Chris Britton, according to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The big righty will compete for the seventh-inning role in 2009. What better place for a soft-tossing righty reliever to land than PETCO.
Krasovic adds that the Padres and pitcher Kevin Correia have mutual interest. Also, while the Padres may consider Brad Ausmus, they have an eye on San Francisco catcher Eliezer Alfonzo. Alfonzo missed 50 games in 2008 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. UPDATE: The Padres signed Alfonzo to a minor league deal on Friday, actually.
Links for Saturday...
- Junichi Tazawa is expected to announce early next week that he will sign with the Red Sox. He turned down offers from the Rangers, Mariners and Braves.
- The Padres recently offered to talk with Trevor Hoffman, but he hasn't responded. Tom Krasovic also has a Sandy Alderson quote that the Padres are "highly unlikely" to offer Hoffman arbitration.
- Robert MacLeod talked to Blue Jays insiders who believe trading ace Roy Halladay would send "the wrong signal" to fans since the Jays want to compete in 2009.
- Rob Neyer wonders how C.C. Sabathia's weight will affect his performance going forward.
- Joba Chamberlain tops Peter Abraham's list of the 20 most important people to the Yankees organization.
- Peter Gammons asks five post-Thanksgiving questions about free agents and trades. Also within that blog post, Gammons mentions that Kevin Towers went to Sunday's Chargers game with Brad Ausmus and hopes to sign him.
- Larry LaRue writes that the Mariners could use a couple good outfielders to go along with Ichiro.
- Bob Verdi expects a quiet retirement accouncement from Greg Maddux.
Links for Tuesday. Be sure to check back on Odds and Ends posts, as I update them throughout the day with minor links.
- The Jays may no longer have A.J. Burnett under contract, but they continued their claiming frenzy by adding pitcher Les Walrond.
- The A's re-hired Jason Giambi's strength coach. Does it mean anything?
- The Cardinals remain intrigued by the idea of bringing Edgar Renteria back.
- The Dodgers bought out catcher Gary Bennett for $50K; he's a free agent now.
- Mike Cameron thinks C.C. Sabathia has a good chance of re-signing with the Brewers. He says Sabathia could be a pioneer by taking less money to stay.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown says Orlando Hernandez is working out and intends to play next year. He did not pitch in the Majors at all this year due to foot injuries.
- Dylan Hernandez chatted with Scott Boras last week.
- The New York Daily News discusses Baseball Prospectus' Nate Silver, whose political website is immensely popular.
- Patrick Newman points out that Junichi Tazawa will not be the first Japanese amateur to sign with an MLB team.
- Buster Olney says Brad Ausmus wants to play in 2009 if it's close to his San Diego home. The Dodgers could be one possibility.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a few items in his Sunday column...
- Cafardo says that the Red Sox, despite being in the market for a catcher, are not interested in Brad Ausmus. They did inquire with the Astros about J.R. Towles, who is currently in Triple A, but were told he is unavailable.
- One executive told Cafardo that the Mariners continue to demand other teams take entire contracts and give up prospects for players like Raul Ibanez, Jarrod Washburn and Adrian Beltre. In the cases of Ibanez and Beltre, that position is defensible.
- Cafardo interviewed Brian Sabean about several topics: 1) When asked about trading veteran players, Sabean responded "There's still time"; 2) When asked whether the Giants would "go young" or target free agents in the offseason, Sabean was noncommital but said they will look for free agents and trade pieces to fix problems, specifically mentioning the bullpen and first base; 3) When asked if he was tempted to sign Barry Bonds, Sabean would not answer.
- Cafardo was just musing on a few players, but feels that Gary Sheffield could help the Rays, but only if the Tigers pay some of the salary. He also thinks Jarrod Saltalamacchia would be a nice fit in Boston next season.
Here's a quick look back at some of the bigger stories on MLBTR over the past week:
- D'Backs ace Dan Haren signed a very affordable extension with the team, which would keep him in Arizona through 2012 with an option for 2013. Great deal for the D'Backs and their fans.
- Brian Giles was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox, which is now believed to have been an effort to block the Rays from acquiring him. Giles blocked the trade to Boston with his no-trade clause.
- The Rockies acquired Livan Hernandez from the Twins. Minnesota won't receive a player in return, but unloads Hernandez's remaining $1.5MM on his contract, as well as his 5.48 ERA. Seems fine to me.
- Fifteen teams watched a throwing session from Freddy Garcia. Here are a few reactions.
- Relievers on the move: The Cubs DFA'ed Scott Eyre, and traded him to the Phillies the next day. The Rays acquired Chad Bradford from the Orioles, and DFA'ed Al Reyes in order to make room for him. In a rare inter-division trade, the Royals traded Horacio Ramirez to the White Sox. Huston Street was claimed, but is staying put.
- Position players on the move: Felipe Lopez signed with the Cardinals, the Mariners released Jose Vidro, and the Marlins signed Paul Lo Duca in addition to claiming Brad Ausmus off waivers. No word on whether or not a deal will be worked out for Ausmus yet.
- A few glimpses into 2009? Rafael Furcal hopes to re-sign with the Dodgers. Bobby Abreu hopes to be wearing Yankee pinstripes again, and the Nationals hope Willie Harris is a part of the organization again as well.
- Tim made a list of waiver trade candidates for both the American League and National League and compiled a list of players who were known to have cleared waivers in 2007. Remember, these are just players who would likely clear waivers, whether because of their talent level or contractual status. Teams often place big-name players on waivers that they have no intention of trading.
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins signed Paul Lo Duca to a minor league deal today. Lo Duca will head to Triple A as the team's insurance plan.
The Nationals signed Lo Duca for a hefty $5MM in December of '07, three days before he was named in the Mitchell Report. The 36 year-old hit just .230/.301/.281 in 153 plate appearances, hobbled by knee surgery and a broken bone in his throwing hand. Lo Duca was a Marlin for part of the '04 season and all of '05, though he did not hit well for them.
Additionally, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that the Marlins claimed Brad Ausmus off waivers from the Astros. It's unclear whether they'll work out a deal or salary dump. Ausmus is owed another $590K this year.
As expected, the Astros inked Brad Ausmus to a one-year deal. It cost $2MM, about the going rate for backup catchers these days.
Hopefully J.R. Towles will get 120 games behind the plate as the starter as Ausmus can teach him a thing or two about handling a big league pitching staff.
The Astros hope to bring back Brad Ausmus one more time, recently offering him a one-year, $2MM contract. Ausmus, who will be 39 next season, hasn't decided what he wants to do yet.
$2MM per year is becoming the going rate for backup catchers, which is probably the role the Astros have in mind for Ausmus next year. In November of last year, the Cubs set the market by giving Henry Blanco $5.25MM over two years. Mike Redmond and Vance Wilson had each signed for two years, $2MM a few months prior. Mike Lieberthal got one year and $1.25MM. The Cubs seem to set the market often.