Brad Wilkerson Rumors
The rumblings have become something more - Jeff Blair says the Blue Jays are "zeroed in on signing" outfielder Brad Wilkerson. The Jays had been mulling Jason Michaels previously, but he went to the Pirates.
The Jays are looking for someone who can hit southpaws. Wilkerson, a left-handed hitter, handled 'em in '07 and '05, flailed against them in '06. The Mariners designated him after 68 plate appearances of a .232/.348/.304 line.
As Nat mentioned in an earlier post today, the Red Sox are suddenly having to figure out how to replace Brandon Moss. And in an update via the Extra Bases blog, Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo brings light to Brad Wilkerson's situation.
Wilkerson was waived by the Mariners last week, and has since cleared waivers. He has not given his agent, Scott Boras, any indication of his plans.
Boras, however, confirmed that the Red Sox were interested in Wilkerson this off-season. Cafardo suggests that if they're looking for a long-term answer to their sudden roster opening, Wilkerson could be an option.
What's next for outfielder Brad Wilkerson? Two possibilities are the Red Sox and Blue Jays, according to a source. The Red Sox previously wanted Wilkerson for a bench role. The Jays may want to add a lefty bat. Not saying these two clubs are necessarily interested, but they may be possible fits as Wilkerson looks for a job.
Wilkerson, 30, is hitting .234/.323/.444 in 394 ABs since the start of the '07 season.
3:28pm: Greg Norton was the other player designated. Starting Balentien and Clement regularly should be a nice offensive upgrade for the Mariners.
3:04pm: According to Ryan Divish of the News Tribune, Brad Wilkerson's locker has been cleared out. Divish speculates that Wilkerson has been designated for assignment. He expects the Ms to make one other move to accomodate for callups of Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement.
Wilkerson, 30, hit .232/.348/.304 for the Mariners in 56 ABs. He makes $3MM this year, plus up to $2MM in plate appearance bonuses.
The Mariners officially signed Brad Wilkerson today to a one-year deal. Scott Boras says he's a good fit even if the Ms don't trade Adam Jones. Now that I think about it and see the price - $3MM - I might agree with that. The Seattle Times' Larry Stone considers this signing a "possible precursor to finalization" of a Jones trade. So maybe progress has been made on the Erik Bedard front.
Wilkerson, 29, hit .234/.319/.467 for the Rangers in '07, earning $4.35MM. Wilkerson had some interesting years from 2002-04, putting up OPSs above .840. Wrist and shoulder injuries seemingly had a lot to do with his struggles thereafter.
Some random links for the day...
- I have created a Fantasy Baseball Closers page at RotoAuthority. With the help of readers it will be constantly updated with current closers and the pecking order of each team.
- Kris Benson will throw for teams again, probably a week from now. The Phillies will again be in attendance. Benson may only get a minor league deal this time around. I remember when he set the standard with his three-year, $21MM deal. Also, the Phils could look to move Wes Helms or Greg Dobbs now that they've signed Pedro Feliz.
- The Red Sox had their eye on Reed Johnson, perhaps thinking he would be non-tendered. He wasn't, and Joe McDonald says Bobby Kielty and Eric Hinske will probably sign elsewhere as well. That leaves Brandon Moss for the bench job, unless the Sox sign Tony Clark, Sean Casey, or Brad Wilkerson.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times is being told that "the Mariners already have a one-year deal with free-agent Brad Wilkerson in their back pocket for the moment a Bedard trade is finalized." Wilkerson will pass on a one-year, $2MM plus incentives offer to be a Red Sox backup. This all gels with MLBTR's report from January 24th.
Some Saturday odds and ends to mull over...
- The Yankees considered bringing Octavio Dotel back, but wouldn't go two years on him.
- Richard Justice thinks Astros GM Ed Wade is making a mistake by setting a deadline and going to arbitration hearings with Jose Valverde and Mark Loretta. I doubt the Astros wanted Loretta to accept their offer of arbitration in the first place, but they took the $4-5MM gamble hoping to get a draft pick. But they actively sought out Valverde, and this might not bode well for him staying past 2009.
- Can't promise anything, but my source is saying Brad Wilkerson is likely to become a Mariner on a one-year deal. Put this in the unconfirmed category for now.
- Did the Rangers DFA Armando Galarraga in anticipation of including him in a trade?
- Troy Tulowitzki explanation: he can opt out of his $15MM club option for 2014 if he's traded. Tracy Ringolsby also reports that Garrett Atkins had unfruitful extension talks with the Rox last year and would still like to stay.
- "No substantive negotiations" on a multiyear deal for Ryan Zimmerman.
- Casey Blake's agent put in a counteroffer but hasn't heard back from the Indians yet; the two sides are $1.5MM apart on his '08 salary.
I've got some more info from the same source that told me about Boston's interest in Brad Wilkerson.
- The Red Sox offered Wilkerson one year and $2MM plus incentives, and today is the deadline for him to decide. The appeal is that Wilkerson would join a winning organization for the first time; he'd be a backup first baseman and outfielder. It does not seem that Wilkerson is seeking three years and $21MM.
- Wilkerson's fate could be linked to the Erik Bedard situation. If the Mariners are able to acquire Bedard and give up Adam Jones, they would be interested in signing Wilkerson to play right field. That would be a better chance for playing time for him.
Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald was able to confirm our rumor from yesterday, that the Red Sox have some interest in Brad Wilkerson. Bradford says Wilkerson, a Boras client, is looking for three years and $21MM. I don't think the Sox would go anywhere near that price.
The same source told me on Friday that the Yankees, A's, and Mariners have expressed interest in Wilkerson as well. Wilkerson, 30, hit .234/.319/.467 for the Rangers last year in 119 games (doing most of his damage at home). In his career he has played all three outfield positions plus first base.