- Michael Matuella To Undergo Tommy John Surgery
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- Pirates Discussing Extension With Gregory Polanco
- Mets Acquire Jerry Blevins
- Kris Bryant To Begin Season In Minors
- Mets Acquire Alex Torres
- Red Sox Acquire Sandy Leon; Christian Vazquez Placed On 60-Day DL
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Brett Lawrie Rumors
Some links to tide you over until tonight's first pitch…
- The Mariners would have traded Michael Pineda to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and another prospect,Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. One executive tells Elliott that “Toronto said no at Lawrie.”
- Angels first baseman Albert Pujols told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he's not going to lose his edge, even after signing a massive free agent contract. "I always have that chip on my shoulder, no matter what kind of success I've had," Pujols said. He added that he wouldn't be hurt if the Cardinals assigned his former number 5 to another player.
- Major League Baseball is on the cusp of a new era, Tom Verducci of SI.com writes. The sport is doing well thanks to extended labor peace and growing TV revenues.
- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expects big things from his third baseman, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post writes. "Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be MVP in this league," Guillen said.
"I think very highly of my client," said Zack Greinke's agent to Brewers management when the two sides opened extension talks according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Greinke, of course, represents himself. The right-hander and his sense of humor will hire an agent at some point, but for now here are some links from around the league…
- The Astros announced that left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the season. "This probably makes us think about [Zach] Duke’s role if he doesn’t win a spot in the rotation," said GM Jeff Luhnow to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told ESPN's Jim Bowden that he wants to sign Matt Garza long-term and build around the right-hander rather than trade him (Twitter link).
- "I hope I stay here in Kansas City," said Joakim Soria to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Soria will miss the season with Tommy John surgery, and the Royals hold an $8MM club option for his services in 2013. "I love this organization, I feel part of this family and I appreciate what they've done for me."
- "I needed a fresh start. I needed a new team," said Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie to ESPN's Jayson Stark about his trade from the Brewers. Lawrie feels Milwaukee tried to change his effusive personality, though GM Doug Melvin disagrees.
- John Grabow and Jamey Wright will earn $800K and $900K, respectively, if they make the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Both pitchers have incentives based on appearances, maxing out at $500K (Wright) and $200K (Grabow).
Alex Anthopoulos hinted last night that some young Blue Jays drew trade interest this offseason, and Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail has the details on some talks that never materialized. The Blue Jays and Mariners discussed Michael Pineda, but the Blue Jays balked when the Mariners wanted Brett Lawrie in return for the right-hander, according to Blair's sources.
Instead, the Yankees obtained Pineda for Jesus Montero last month and the Blue Jays held onto Lawrie. The 22-year-old British Columbia native made his MLB debut in 2011, posting a .293/.373/.580 line in 171 plate appearances. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik selected Lawrie in the first round of the 2008 draft when he was Milwaukee's scouting director. Meanwhile, Pineda posted a 3.74 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 171 innings as a rookie last year.
The Phillies made one of the first notable signings of the offseason the other day, inking Jim Thome to a one-year deal. Here's some more on Thome and the rest of the game's Eastern division teams…
- Thome's deal with the Phillies allows him to earn an additional $250K based on his plate appearances, according to this tweet from ESPN's Jerry Cracnick. Thome will earn $50K for reaching 175, 200, 225, 250, and 275 plate appearances, making his contract potentially worth $1.5MM.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Braves would be open to trading anyone for the right price, following their late season collapse. Rosenthal also notes that Atlanta tried to acquire Lorenzo Cain from both the Brewers and Royals last offseason, offering up Brandon Beachy. They also tried for a swap of Jair Jurrjens and Brett Lawrie with Milwaukee, but were unsuccessful.
- WEEI.com's Arielle Aronson wonders if the Red Sox will pursue Martin Prado as an alternative if Michael Cuddyer signs elsewhere. The Phillies are thought to be big players in the Cuddyer sweepstakes.
- Steve Gould of the Baltimore Sun offers up his thoughts on how free agents Edwin Jackson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, and Carlos Pena could or couldn't fit the Orioles.
The Red Sox walked off against the Yankees last night after a rare blown save from future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. Here's the latest on the first place Red Sox, the Yankees and the rest of their division…
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun expects the Orioles' front office to at least internally discuss the possibility of adding Kevin Millwood, who was released yesterday. A reunion would surprise Zrebiec, however.
- Jorge Posada is no longer the Yankees' regular DH and the final chapter of his career may be characterized by inactivity, writes Mike Bauman of MLB.com.
- As Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes, manager Joe Girardi has delivered potentially embarrassing news to Posada before a nationally televised game twice this season. Girardi batted Posada ninth back in May and the switch-hitter pulled himself from the lineup.
- Brett Lawrie tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that it's the same game at the Major League level, but with more breaking balls in the strike zone and bigger stadiums. The Blue Jays prospect is five for his first 11 with a homer as a big leaguer.
Alex Anthopoulos says Brett Lawrie has done everything the Blue Jays have asked of him, but the GM doesn't assume the top prospect will succeed instantly given that some of baseball's best young players take months or even years to thrive in the Major Leagues. Anthopoulos discussed Lawrie and other Blue Jays this morning with Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto. Here are the details:
- Though Lawrie is "not a finished product by any stretch," the Blue Jays want to get a look at him for seven weeks so they have a sense of how he matches up against MLB pitching.
- The Blue Jays haven't talked about moving Lawrie to second base and they view him as their long-term third baseman.
- Travis Snider, who was optioned to the minor leagues to create roster space for Lawrie, is "100%" a part of the Blue Jays' future. "He doesn't need a change of scenery," Anthopoulos told Blair.
- Edwin Encarnacion, who has a .293/.359/.530 line since the beginning of June, still "has the chance to be an impact bat," Anthopoulos says. The Blue Jays have a $3.5MM option for Encarnacion in 2012 and aren't ready to give up on him.
A few items of note regarding MiLB comings and goings …
- Indians outfielder Travis Buck has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, according to the Indians (via Twitter). Buck was outrighted yesterday. It's been a relatively disappointing big league career thus far for Buck, who was once a fairly well-regarded prospect with the A's but has battled a slew of injuries. He signed a minor league deal with the Tribe in December and was DFA'd upon the acquisition of Kosuke Fukudome.
- The Blue Jays have called up infielder Brett Lawrie, one of their top prospects, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Lawrie, a native of British Columbia, was acquired in the deal that sent Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee last offseason. If his stay in the big leagues is permanent, Lawrie will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2014 season, and he projects to hit free agency after 2017, per Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
- Similarly, the Mariners will promote recently acquired outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson from Triple-A Tacoma, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Robinson, too, is a touted prospect, and his arbitration clock projects similarly to Lawrie's, barring further time spent in the minors. The M's landed Robinson from the Dodgers in the three-way deal that sent Erik Bedard to the Red Sox prior to the deadline.
- The Orioles have signed outfielder Johnny Ruettiger, an eighth-round draft pick out of Arizona State, for $160K, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter). Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player whose career was chronicled in the popular movie Rudy. Callis notes that Johnny has good speed and a line-drive bat, and, naturally, "grittiness."
- The Phillies have signed former first-round pick Chris Lubanski and assigned him to Double-A Reading, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The Royals made Lubanski the No. 5 overall pick in 2003, but the left-handed-hitting left fielder has yet to reach the Majors. He's posted a line of .280/.346/.474 in parts of eight minor league seasons.
Some items from the eastern divisions….
- "You will not see a major move this year," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com about his team's trade deadline plans. Amaro feels the Phils are already good enough to compete and it's just a matter of the club finding its peak form. He also notes that the team has very little payroll flexibility, but "for $170 MM-plus, we should be good enough to be a World Series contender.”
- Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie will be out for two-to-four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand, tweets Rogers Sportsnet's Arash Madani. Lawrie was tentatively scheduled to make his Major League debut last week before being hit by a pitch in a Triple-A game.
- Jake Fox was put on waivers by the Orioles earlier today and he might get some attention from the Pirates. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that the Pirates had some interest in Fox during Spring Training, and the Bucs might have need for a catcher since Chris Snyder left today's game with a back injury. (Twitter link)
- The Dan Uggla trade hasn't panned out well for either the Braves or the Marlins thus far, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
Links for Wednesday, as Seattle's Michael Pineda prepares to continue his Rookie of the Year bid against the Orioles…
- Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan noted his daily readership of MLBTR in an interview at the MLB Fan Cave yesterday. Said Hanrahan, "[MLBTR] provides updates for all the transactions in one quick place. I go on there on my phone all the time, because you find out about any deals and transactions. I’m definitely an active reader of that site, but other than that, I don’t really read too many other baseball websites." We're honored to have Joel among the many players who read MLBTR; give him a follow on Twitter here.
- Tip of the cap to White Sox righty Edwin Jackson, who explained to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times that he'll accept bullpen duty if the team decides to remove him from the rotation. The Scott Boras client has a team-first attitude despite his impending free agency.
- Blue Jays righty Dustin McGowan has endured two shoulder surgeries since he last appeared in the Majors in July of '08, but Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports his rehab went well in May and the Jays are now considering using him as a starter again. In other good news for the Jays, top prospect Brett Lawrie tweeted late last night that his hand is only bruised after being hit by a pitch. Prior to that pitch, Lawrie had been slated to make his big league debut Friday.
- Jack Zduriencik's smaller acquisitions are looking good for the Mariners, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. For a look back at our Mariners offseason in review, click here.
It's early, but baseball's toughest division doesn't appear to be getting any easier. The Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays are all within two games of the AL East lead. Here are the latest links from the division…
- Jonathan Papelbon told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’d like to stay in Boston after the season and break records and win championships with the Red Sox. The prospective free agent says he’ll do what’s best for his family, though there’s more to that than the bottom line. "It's not about the money, it's about going somewhere day in and day out and wanting to be there."
- Jose Bautista reflects on his ascension from hard-throwing college closer to utility player to MLB home run king with MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that top prospect Brett Lawrie has made the adjustments the Jays asked him to make and is close to Major League-ready (Twitter link). Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Keith Law ranked Lawrie 11th among MLB prospects.
- Orioles utility player Jake Fox told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that his role is unclear and that he has had trouble timing and recognizing pitches without regular at bats.