Brendan Harris Rumors
Some minor league deals from around the baseball world...
- The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Neil Wagner to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, MLBTR has learned. Wagner has a 3.77 ERA, 2.95 K:BB ratio and 10.2 K/9 rate in 312 career minor league relief appearances in the Padres, A's, and Indians' systems, plus pitched five Major League innings with Oakland in 2011.
- The Angels signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes and J.B. Shuck to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- The Nationals have signed infielder Will Rhymes to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite, reports the Beverly Hills Sports Council's Twitter page. (Rhymes is represented by the BHSC.) Rhymes was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay in September and has a .266/.328/.343 line in 449 career plate appearances over three seasons with the Tigers and Rays.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions, including news of Brandon Wood signing a minor league deal with the Royals. Wood, the former Angels third baseman who was once considered one of the top prospects in the game, last appeared in the Majors with the Pirates in 2011 and posted a .722 OPS for the Rockies' Triple-A team in 2012.
The latest minor moves...
- The White Sox have agreed to sign catcher Damaso Espino to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old posted a .292/.347/.381 line in 224 plate appearances for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in 2011.
- The Rockies announced that they signed infielder Brendan Harris and catcher Jose Gonzalez to minor league deals (Twitter link). Harris, 31, spent the 2011 season with the Orioles' top affiliate, where he posted a .225/.282/.331 line with ten home runs in 565 plate appearances. The seven-year veteran has MLB experience at all four infield positions.
- The Indians announced that they signed infielder Argenis Reyes and right-hander Willy Lebron to minor league deals that don't include invitations to big league Spring Training. The club also confirmed the signing of infielder Chin-lung Hu to a minor league deal. Reyes started the 2011 season in indy ball then signed a minor league deal with the Indians in August. The 29-year-old has MLB experience with the Mets. Lebron, 32, posted a 3.02 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings in the upper levels of the Royals' system last year.
Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.
With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season...
- Angels: Gary Matthews Jr. ($11.4MM)
- Astros: Roy Oswalt ($7MM)
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells ($5MM)
- Cubs: Carlos Silva ($7.25MM, plus $2MM in 2012)
- Diamondbacks: Chris Snyder ($3MM)
- Dodgers: Manny Ramirez ($8.33MM per year through 2013), Andruw Jones ($3.2MM per year through 2014), Juan Pierre ($3.5MM)
- Mariners: Carlos Silva ($5.5MM), Yuniesky Betancourt ($1MM), Josh Wilson ($179K)
- Mets: Oliver Perez ($4MM), Luis Castillo ($6MM), Gary Matthews Jr. ($1MM)
- Rockies: Manny Corpas ($3.55MM, $250K in 2012)
- Royals: Yuniesky Betancourt ($2MM)
- Twins: Brendan Harris ($500K)
- White Sox: Scott Linebrink ($3.5MM)
This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.
Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.
Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony recently sat down for a chat with Jesse Lund from Twinkie Town to discuss a variety of topics. Let's recap the hot stove talk...
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka first popped up on the team's radar after Antony mentioned to his agent that the team was looking to get more athletic on the infield. This was long before they decided to trade J.J. Hardy.
- The Twins believe Nishioka is a good player, but they understand there might be a bit of a transition period. Not just for the move to MLB, but the move to the United States. They've hired an interpreter for Nishioka, and don't believe the additional Japanese media will be an issue in the clubhouse.
- The three-year, $9MM contract Nishioka signed was "exactly what we pretty much anticipated and were willing to give." They were trying to add speed and athleticism to the lineup, but no one on the free agent market jumped out at them, hence the pursuit of Nishioka.
- Hardy was expected to make $5MM+ in 2011 (he eventually signed for $5.85MM), and the team "just decided that we wanted to put that money into other areas." Carl Pavano, Jim Thome, and most of the bullpen were free agents, so they had to prioritize. "Trying to fit all those guys into a budget was going to be impossible."
- The Twins had conversations with other teams about Hardy, but there were never any real offers. The trade with Baltimore was "by far [their] best opportunity to make a deal." It became apparent that Brendan Harris wasn't a fit anymore, hence his inclusion in the trade.
- Antony says the Twins like Rule 5 Draft pick Scott Diamond in long relief, and Dusty Hughes' success against Minnesota last year played a role in claiming him off waivers.
- Although they would have liked to retain Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes, the Twins just "couldn't compete" with the multyear offers they were receiving as free agents.
- Thome decided that Minnesota was where he wanted to be after talking with his family, and the money didn't appear to be much of an issue.
- Antony expected Pavano to get two or three years at $10-11MM per season, and he knows the Brewers had some interest in the right-hander. Pavano's agent basically told the Twins he wanted to play there, and he wasn't a guy that was "chasing the last dollar."
- Rumors of Francisco Liriano being available in a trade were just that, rumors. As far as a multiyear deal with the lefty, Antony said there "can be many reasons why you don't consummate a multiyear deal, and sometimes the player doesn't want to, sometimes the club doesn't want to, sometimes you just don't agree on numbers, or whatever. So we're not going to talk about any of our negotiations with that or anything else, but he was a big part of our rotation. We're not talking to anybody right now on Francisco Liriano."
- The team is at the "far reaches" of where they can go with payroll, so they tried to maintain flexibility for 2012 by not doing any multiyears deals this offseason (aside from Pavano).
- "If the right deal arises and we can improve our ballclub, we could look at it from that point of view," said Antony, regarding a potential trade involving one of the team's excess starting pitchers. "I don't think we'd trade away one of our starting pitchers for a middle reliever or something. It would have to be something that would make sense for us. And a trade isn't even the most likely scenario, it's a possible scenario."
As the Orioles' roster rounds into shape heading into Spring Training, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has a few items of note ...
- The Orioles still have interest in free-agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, although the O's were not one of the two teams for which the right-hander recently worked out, as reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Duchscherer will likely hold another open workout for any interested teams to check him out in the next week or so, Zrebiec notes, and he thinks the O's will be there. Duchscherer's son lives in New Jersey, which is relatively close to Baltimore, and the righty is looking to join a team he can start for, which the Orioles can offer.
- The Orioles have not been aggressively pursuing free-agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero, contrary to a report by ESPNDeportes.com earlier on Thursday. If Guerrero's market shrinks enough, the O's may be interested, Zrebiec writes, but otherwise they plan on moving forward with Luke Scott as their designated hitter, and Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie platooning in left field.
- The Orioles have not officially announced their list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training, but Zrebiec reports the following players will be among them: Armando Gabino, Raul Rivero, Josh Rupe, Adam Donachie, Michel Hernandez, Caleb Joseph, Ryan Adams, Brendan Harris and Tyler Henson.
Hardy, 28, hit .268/.320/.394 in 375 plate appearances this year for the Twins after coming over from Milwaukee for Carlos Gomez. He missed time with wrist and knee injuries. Hardy earned $5.1MM this year and is arbitration eligible one last time. He would have been a free agent already, but fell just short of the service time requirement because the Brewers briefly demoted him to Triple-A late in the '09 season. Hardy joins Mark Reynolds in a revamped left side infield for Baltimore. He became expendable for Minnesota with their expected signing of Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
Harris, 30, received only 120 plate appearances from the Twins this year after more regular duty in previous seasons. He was outrighted in June due to poor performance, and a $1.75MM commitment for 2011 likely allowed him to clear waivers. Harris is capable of playing all around the infield.
Hoey, 28 later this month, hasn't pitched in the Majors since '07. In a season split between Double and Triple-A, the reliever posted a 3.25 ERA, 12.0 K/9, 5.8 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 in 52 2/3 innings in 2010. Prior to his '08 shoulder surgery, Hoey's average fastball velocity exceeded 95 mph.
Jacobson, a 24-year-old reliever, posted a 2.79 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 71 High-A innings this year. Baseball America ranked him 16th among Orioles prospects heading into the season, noting that he came over from the Tigers in the Aubrey Huff deal in August of '09. He's said to have a power repertoire and a setup man profile.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
Reporting from the TwinsFest fan session, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (via Twitter) has "got hints" that the Twins won't bring back free agent Joe Crede in 2010. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen said the reason was that it is "too hard to keep Crede on the field, which hamstrings your roster" and that the Twins would prefer to see Brendan Harris play third for now with an eye on prospect Danny Valencia eventually taking over the position.
Crede signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Minnesota last February that could have been worth as much as $7MM had he reached all of the contract's many incentive levels. Unfortunately for Crede, he was limited to just 367 plate appearances last season thanks to the latest in a series of back problems that have plagued the veteran third baseman. His September surgery to remove fluid from a herniated disk was the third procedure on his back in as many years. Crede hit .225/.289/.414 last season.
Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.
We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements. Yesterday's list can be found here.
- Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals. Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts. Willits' contract is worth $625K.
- Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter). Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
- Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter). The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
- The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press. MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
- Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
- The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
- Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
- Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.
- Pat Neshek agreed to a one year deal with $625K with another $75K in incentives, avoiding arbitration with the Twins according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier (via Twitter).
- The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Josh Willingham according to a team press release. All four players avoided arbitration. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Willingham will make $4.6MM next season, while Bergmann will make $750K according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves and Peter Moylan have agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets $1.15MM.
- Matt Garza avoided arbitration with the Rays, tweets Topkin. The two sides agreed to a one year deal worth $3.35MM,
- MLB.com's Jim Street tweets that the Mariners and David Aardsma have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.75MM.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero according to a tweet from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Bourn gets $2.4MM, Lindstrom $1.625MM, and Quintero $750K (via McTaggart's Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies and Jason Hammel have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.9MM.
- The A's agreed to a one year deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports The Oakland Tribune. Oakland acquired Kouzmanoff from the Padres over the weekend.
- Jered Weaver agreed to a one year deal worth $4.265MM with the Angels to avoid arbitration, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
- Topkin tweets that J.P. Howell agreed to a one year deal worth $1.8MM, avoiding arbitration with the Rays.
- According to the team's official Twitter feed, the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor ($2.65MM) and Brian Tallet ($2MM) by agreeing to one year deals.
- Delmon Young avoided arbitration with the Twins by agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.6MM, according to a tweet by Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com tweets that Young will get $25K each for 575 and 600 plate appearances.
- According to a team press release, the Royals have avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda. Terms of either deal was not disclosed.
- Heyman tweets that Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one year deal worth $3.4MM, avoiding arbitration.
- The White Sox and John Danks avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.45M, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Mets and Pedro Feliciano have agreed to a one year deal worth $2.9MM, avoiding arbitration. There's another $100K in performance bonuses.
- The Star Telegram's Anthony Andro reports that the Rangers and Chris Ray have avoided arbitration. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says it's a one year deal worth $975K.
- Russell Martin has agreed to a one year contract worth $5.05MM, avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that the Blue Jays and reliever Jeremy Accardo have agreed to a one year deal worth $1.08MM, avoiding arbitration.
- Rafael Perez agreed to a one year deal with the Indians to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweets that Perez will make $795K in 2010.
- The Orioles and Luke Scott avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $4.05MM according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He earned $2.4MM last season, hitting .258/.340/.488 with a career high 25 homers.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($975K). Mike Fontenot ($1MM,) Koyie Hill ($700K), Angel Guzman ($825K), and Tom Gorzelanny ($800K). Terms of the deals came from Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
- Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and Zach Duke have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Radio reports that Mark Lowe and the Mariners have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.15MM salary for next season.
- LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune tweets that the Twins and J.J. Hardy have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $5MM. He gets a small raise over last year's $4.65MM salary after hitting .229/.302/.357.
- According to the Cardinals' official Twitter feed, the team has avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick by agreeing to a one year deal. Heyman tweets that he'll receive $5.45MM next year after earning $3.7MM in 2009.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton, giving him $3.25MM plus awards-based bonuses according to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible. Hamilton hit .268/.315/.426 in 2009, missing time with back trouble and a sports hernia.
- Mark Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays and Jason Bartlett have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $4MM salary for 2010. He earned just under $2MM in 2009, hitting .320/.389/.490 with a career high 14 homers.
- Casey Janssen agreed to a $700K deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration, according to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed. It was his first time up for arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Marlins and Jorge Cantu have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $6MM. Cantu hit .289/.345/.443 while making $3.5MM in 2009, his first year of arb eligibility.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that both Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks have agreed to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Weeks will earn $2.75MM next year, while Gomez will earn $1.1MM as a Super Two.
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers have avoided arbitration with both George Sherrill and James Loney. Sherrill gets $4.5MM plus incentives in his third year eligible, Loney $3.1MM in his first go around.
- According to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed, reliever Shawn Camp has agreed to a $1.15MM deal for 2010, avoiding arb. He was eligible for the second time after posting a 3.50 ERA in 79.2 innings last season.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Leo Nunez and the Marlins have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2MM salary for 2010. Sticking with the theme of the day, it was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers and Hong Chih-Kuo have agreed to a one-year deal worth $950K, avoiding arb. It was Kuo's first time eligible.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets and Jeff Francoeur have avoided arb by agreeing to a $5MM deal. Francoeur earned $3.375MM in 2009 and hit .280/.309/.423 for the Mets and Braves.
- Heyman tweets that Howie Kendrick and the Angels have agreed to a $1.75MM deal with incentives. This was Kendrick's first crack at arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that the A's and Rajai Davis agreed to a $1.35MM salary for 2010, plus incentives. This was Davis' first year eligible for arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that Jonathan Sanchez avoided arb with the Giants by agreeing to a $2.1MM deal, plus incentives. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 163.1 innings last year, and was up for arbitration for the first time in his career.
According to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier, the Twins are preparing to head into spring training with a third base platoon of Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris.
The Twins have made a few attempts to snag a strong third baseman this offseason, but all talks have fallen flat. They pursued Casey Blake before he signed with the Dodgers, and Mark DeRosa before he was sent off to the Indians.
Joe Crede remains a free agent, but the Twins might not want to throw money at a guy with chronic back problems. The 30-year-old played only 97 games last season, finishing with a .248 average on top of 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 7:30pm: This thing hasn't gone through yet because of concerns over Rincon's elbow. The deal will either be finalized or killed by Thursday, according to Scott Miller. The trade has been in the works for a few days.
UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 4pm: Neal reports that the Twins have interest in Aaron Rowand, which is really surprising given his reported demands. I don't see it. Neal adds that Craig Monroe may now be non-tendered and the Garza trade will not stop Bill Smith from shopping Johan Santana. By the way, talks for Coco Crisp persist.
FROM 11-28-07 at 2pm:
Wow! That rumor really didn't die! La Velle E. Neal III says the Twins are close to a multiplayer deal. They'll send Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Juan Rincon to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie. I can't remember any kind of young player blockbuster like this recently.
It's exciting to see Bill Smith pull the trigger on a deal to get that possible elite slugger. Will he be more hesitant to trade Johan Santana now? Or maybe it doesn't matter since he'd require an elite young hurler like Phil Hughes in return. Beyond Young, you also have to applaud Smith for getting Pridie, who immediately becomes the Twins' center fielder of the future. The 24 year-old came back from injuries this year to rake in Triple A. Just like that, the Twins have an outfield.
Meanwhile the Rays suddenly have an awesome young trio fronting their rotation in Scott Kazmir, Jamie Shields, and Garza. Rincon's ability is questionable at this point but he could be the setup man the Rays are craving.
I'll give the advantage to the Twins but I like this deal for both teams.