Brendan Donnelly Rumors

Brendan Donnelly Retires

Brendan Donnelly is hanging up his goggles.  The 39-year-old is retiring, unable to find a minor league deal this offseason after being released by the Pirates in July of last year.'s Doug Miller has the story.

Donnelly, a 30-year-old rookie for the Angels' '02 World Championship team, finishes with a 3.22 ERA and 369 strikeouts over 385 1/3 innings for the Angels, Red Sox, Indians, Marlins, and Pirates.  He's best known for his time with the Halos, highlighted by strong pitching in the World Series in '02 and an All-Star game win in '03.  Donnelly finishes his career with about $5MM in the bank and is now about to experience the joys of fatherhood for the first time.

Pirates Release Brendan Donnelly

THURSDAY: The Pirates have released Donnelly, tweets's Jenifer Langosch.  Perhaps he'll finish strong with a new club, as he did last year.

SUNDAY: The Pirates have designated veteran reliever Brendan Donnelly for assignment, according to the team's official Twitter feed.

Donnelly, 38, signed a one-year deal worth $1.35MM back in January following a strong 2009 with the Marlins. The right-hander struggled tremendously in Pittsburgh, with a 5.58 ERA and nearly as many walks (25) as strikeouts (26) through 30.2 innings of work.

Opponents did hit just .234 against him, but the walks, in combination with allowing six home runs, were what did him in.

Odds & Ends: Donnelly, Guillen, Mets, Red Sox

Links for Monday, as we congratulate Matt Garza for throwing the first no-hitter in Rays history…

Top Trade Chips: NL Central

Let's continue our series looking at each team's top trade chips with the NL Central…

  • Astros: Teams can ask for Hunter Pence, but it's just not happening. 26-year-old catcher J.R. Towles and his five years of team control could be shopped with top prospect Jason Castro coming up behind him. If Houston falls way out of it, Roy Oswalt could be made available, but it would be a massive PR hit. He's owed $31MM through 2011 with a $16MM option ($2MM buyout) for 2012, and would have to approve any trade. Dealing him would signify the start of a full rebuilding effort. 
  • Brewers: Yovani Gallardo was never going to be moved in the first place, but his new contract extension all but guarantees it. Manny Parra seems to have fallen out of favor, but a lefty who can dial it up to the mid-90's will always have value on the trade market. He still has three years of arbitration eligibility ahead of him. 
  • Cardinals: The Cards dealt away most of their top prospects for Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa last year, so there's not much left to move. Triple-A catcher Bryan Anderson and Double-A outfielder Daryl Jones could be used in a trade since the big league team is pretty well set at those positions. Jones is more highly regarded of the two. Colby Rasmus is untouchable, obviously.
  • Cubs: Josh Vitters, the third overall pick in 2007, watched his name pop up in trade rumors involving Jake Peavy last year. If Chicago is willing to eat some of the $26.5MM left on his contract, there would be interest in Kosuke Fukudome.
  • Pirates: Neal Huntington has completely turned over the team's roster since taking over in September 2007, dealing away every notable veteran player. He did, however, build up a nice inventory of veteran relievers this offseason. Octavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco, Brendan Donnelly, and Javier Lopez could all be used as trade fodder this summer.
  • Reds: Cincinnati is clearly a team on the rise, but one young player they could make available is the blocked Yonder Alonso. The power hitting first baseman masquerading as a left fielder in Double-A has all six years of team control left, and is the best trade chip in the division.

Pirates Sign Brendan Donnelly

The Pirates officially signed Brendan Donnelly to a one-year deal with a base salary of $1.35MM today. The deal could be worth $3MM total if Donnelly reaches certain performance bonuses.

The 38-year-old had a strong run with Florida last year. He allowed 22 hits and 9 walks in 25.1 innings, striking out 25 for an ERA of 1.78. Before joining the Marlins, Donnelly posted a 1.75 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 24 appearances with Houston's Triple A affiliate.

As Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, the Pirates are taking on some risk here. Last season was Donnelly's first meaningful time in the majors since his 2007 Tommy John surgery. 

This week the Pirates reached an agreement with D.J. Carrasco on a minor league deal. They're also on the verge of landing Octavio Dotel, though the sides have yet to agree to terms.

Kovacevic reported that the Pirates were close to signing a mystery reliever before figuring out that it was Donnelly. Kovacevic and's Jerry Crasnick added the contract details.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.

Relief Names On D’Backs’ Radar

The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro gives us three relief names on the D'Backs' radar, now that LaTroy Hawkins is off the board: J.J. Putz, Bob Howry, and Brendan Donnelly.  The D'Backs already added Aaron Heilman on November 19th.

Putz will reportedly throw for teams tomorrow; he's got the White Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates, and Tigers as other known suitors.  We haven't heard much on Howry and Donnelly yet.  I think Donnelly is a possible sleeper, as outlined in this October discussion post.

The Diamondbacks can certainly expand their search beyond those three righty relievers - we outlined the free agent market here and trade market here.

Marlins Meeting Notes: Uggla, Bullpen, Free Agents

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald looks at what's in store for the Marlins as the Winter Meetings approach:

  • No surprise here, but the Marlins won't be players for any reputable free agents. In fact, were you aware that over the past three offseasons, the most the Marlins have spent on any one free agent was the $2MM they gave Luis Gonzalez in 2007? Needless to say, Matt Holliday and Jason Bay aren't headed to South Florida.
  • The Giants have been one of the most outspoken suitors for Dan Uggla, but the Marlins have asked for Madison Bumgarner in any deal for Uggla. The Giants top pitching prospect is a hefty price to pay, and could lead the Giants to pursue other avenues to add some thunder.
  • As we've heard before, Renyel Pinto and Matt Lindstrom could very well be moved at the Winter Meetings.
  • Even if Pinto and Lindstrom stay put, the Marlins will be on the lookout for affordable bullpen help now that Kiko Calero and Brendan Donnelly have departed.
  • The Marlins will turn to internal options such as Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison to replace departed free agent Nick Johnson and his monstrous OBP.
  • Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are the team's two locks for the starting rotation. From there, a combination of Anibal Sanchez, Andrew Miller, Sean West, Rick VandenHurk, Chris Volstad, and Hayden Penn will fill out the final three spots.

Spencer closes, quoting Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest: "We'll definitely be active… There's no reason to go there and not do anything. Whether that leads to anything is anyone's guess."

Marlins Do Not Offer Arb To Calero, Nick Johnson

The Marlins did not offer arbitration to Type B free agents Kiko Calero and Nick Johnson, nor did they offer to Brendan Donnelly or Ross Gload, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Calero merited consideration after posting a 10.4 K/9 and 1.95 ERA in 60 innings, but apparently the Marlins did not want to risk giving him a raise on this year's $500K salary.  It's a similar story for Johnson, whose .426 OBP leads all free agents.

Donnelly Hopes To Land A Major League Deal

Free agent reliever Brendan Donnelly hopes to secure a Major League contract this offseason, according to's Doug Miller. The 38-year-old righthander signed a minor league contract with Texas last winter, when he was coming off Tommy John surgery.

"The sense I'm getting this year is that it's similar to last year in general. But personally, I feel really different this year than last year, because last year I was coming off an injury," Donnelly said. "I feel like last year, when I finally got the chance, I showed people I'm back.

"In that way, I can't imagine having to take a Minor League deal this year. I think I've answered the questions that need to be answered on the field. If I had half a season in the NL with a 3.50-4.00 ERA, if the numbers weren't there — especially the strikeout numbers — then I might be singing a different tune."

Donnelly managed to put up a 1.78 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 in 25.1 second half innings for the Marlins last year after Texas cut him and he opted out of another minor league deal with Houston. Based on WAR, it was his most productive season since 2003. Given all of the righthanded relief options on the market (there's 49 of them on our free agent list), it might be tough for Donnelly to get his wish.

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Discussion: Brendan Donnelly

38-year-old righty Brendan Donnelly feels he's a better pitcher now than before his 2007 Tommy John surgery, according to's Joe Frisaro.  It may be tough for him to match his initial success with the Angels, but Donnelly's work last year shows he certainly has something left in the tank.  He posted strong numbers in 25.3 big league innings with the Marlins after 25.6 Triple A innings in the Astros organization.

Donnelly told Frisaro his July signing with the Marlins "worked out well for both sides," and the team has interest in re-signing him. Donnelly noted that winning "is pretty much everything for me."

For a million or two, Donnelly could be a sleeper free agent signing this winter.  He spent time with the Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, Astros, and Marlins organizations since the Angels traded him in December of '06.  Which teams make sense for Donnelly this time around?