Brandon Allen Rumors
11:53am: The D'Backs acquired Ziegler, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
Ziegler, a 31-year-old sidearmer, is under team control through 2014 and is owed only $405K for the balance of the season. He has a 2.39 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 71.6% groundball rate with no home runs allowed in 37 2/3 innings this year. As you might expect, he's a lot tougher on right-handed hitters.
Ten years ago today, the Angels signed Alberto Callaspo as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela. He spent four years in their farm system before being traded to the Diamondbacks for Jason Bulger. After a stint with the Royals, Callaspo ended up back with the Halos following a mid-summer trade last year.
Here are today's batch of links...
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith appeared on this week's edition of the Beyond The Box Score Podcast, so head on over and give it a listen.
- C.J. Wilson told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he's not thinking about his upcoming free agency, mentioning that the Rangers has never offered him a long-term deal.
- The Russell Branyan signing seems to indicate that the Diamondbacks don't see Brandon Allen as a fit anymore, says Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (Twitter links). He adds that Arizona gauged Allen's trade value at the winter meetings, and he's heard that the Rays were high on him in the past.
- Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said he and former agent Joe Bick "just grew apart," which is why he signed on with Dan Lozano recently, reports Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm that he's not a fan of performance-based incentives because of the uncertainty they create.
- Paul Maholm told Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he's willing to discuss an extension with the Pirates, which pleasantly surprised GM Neal Huntington. "Paul's done some good things for this organization," said the GM. "We'll give it due consideration." The team holds a $9.75MM club option for Maholm's services in 2012 after he earns $5.75MM in 2011.
- John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press points out that there is no dead weight on the Tigers' $105MM payroll. Detroit paid close to $24MM for Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis last season, who gave them 43 1/3 IP with a 4.98 ERA (all by Willis).
- Larry Stone of The Seattle Times spoke to Yankees GM Brian Cashman about last summer's near trade for Cliff Lee. Cashman said he's glad he didn't agree to Seattle's revised offer after seeing Lee sign with Philadelphia. "Now I'm like, I've got one of the premier hitting talents here, and I didn't have a two-month rental," said the GM, referring to top prospect Jesus Montero.
You could hardly think of two more dissimilar players than Omar Vizquel and Nick Johnson, but Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times took a look at where these two free agents may end up playing in 2010.
First, Vizquel. Brunell thinks that Vizquel's desire to play for a higher-profile club than Texas may stem from the fact that playing for a big-market team may improve Vizquel's chances of being voted into the Hall of Fame when his career is over. There's also the fact that the 42-year-old shortstop would no doubt love to get another chance at a World Series title after coming so close with Cleveland in 1995 and 1997.
With these factors in mind, Brunell feels that Philadelphia is the ideal destination for Vizquel, as he can serve as a backup to Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and whomever the Phillies get to play third base. Vizquel's presence as a late-inning defensive replacement would also mean that the Phils could focus their third baseman search on finding a solid hitter, not necessarily a top gloveman.
As for Johnson, Brunell points to Arizona as a good landing spot for the first baseman. The Diamondbacks' .324 team OBP last season (22nd in MLB) would get a big boost from Johnson's career .402 OBP (.426 in 2009). In signing Johnson to a one or two-year contract, Brunell argues, the D-Backs would buy some more development time for prospect Brandon Allen, whose presence would also serve as cover in case Johnson's well-documented injury history again becomes a problem.One flaw in Brunell's argument is that he doesn't account for Conor Jackson, who may avoid being non-tendered by the Snakes if he shows in winter ball that he is fully recovered from Valley Fever. If Jackson is back, then he would provide a cheaper alternative at first base than Johnson while still providing solid production --- Jackson posted a .292/.371/.451 line in his three full seasons with Arizona from 2006 to 2008.
What do you fans think? If you're a Phillies or Diamondbacks supporter, are you on board with the idea of Vizquel or Johnson in the fold? Or are there some other teams who would be better fits for these two players?