Brian Giles Rumors

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Roberts, Giles, Amaro

On this date nine years ago, the Astros signed Richard Hidalgo to a four-year, $32MM contract. At the time, it was the third-richest contract in franchise history, behind only Jeff Bagwell's five-year, $85MM deal and Craig Biggio's four-year, $33MM deal. Hidalgo would go on to hit .266/.342/.475 with 87 home runs during the life of the deal, though he was dealt to the Mets mid-way through the 2004 season.

Here's a look at what's been written around the web…

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Brian Giles Retires

Outfielder Brian Giles announced his retirement today, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TimesThe Dodgers had signed Giles to a minor league deal on February 7th, and soon after he told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick it wouldn't take long to decide whether his knee could hold up physically.

Though he's not a household name, Giles finishes with an excellent .291/.400/.502 line in 7,835 career plate appearances for the Indians, Pirates, and Padres.  Giles' career OBP currently ranks 59th all-time.  Giles made two All-Star appearances and received MVP votes in five seasons.  He was involved in a blockbuster trade in August of '03, joining the Padres for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Cory Stewart.  According to Baseball Reference, Giles earned about $81MM in his career.


Dodgers Notes: Ramirez, Belliard, Belisario

Some quick hits about L.A.'s blue team…

  • Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported that Manny Ramirez said he would play three more years in the majors and then two years in Japan.  This came just a day after Ramirez hinted that 2010 would probably be his last year with the Dodgers and possibly his last year in baseball altogether.  At this point, Ramirez could announce that he wants to play for Mr. Burns' softball team and nobody would bat an eye.  
  • Hernandez also reported that infielder Ronnie Belliard estimated his weight at "210 or 211 pounds" upon his arrival at the Dodgers' spring camp.  If Belliard weighs in at 209 pounds or less at any point during the spring, the $825K contract he signed last month will become guaranteed.
  • MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says that reliever Ronald Belisario hasn't arrived to spring training yet due to a visa problem in his native Venezuela.  It shouldn't be a major issue (Hernandez tweeted earlier today that the pitcher is expected this week), but Gurnick noted that if Belisario is held up for too long past L.A.'s March 5 preseason opener, the Dodgers couldn't send him down to the minors without risking losing him to a waiver claim since Belisario is out of options. 
  • In a separate piece, Gurnick talks to Brian Giles, who is looking at his minor-league deal with the Dodgers as his "last shot" to see if he's healthy enough to continue playing.


Dodgers Sign Brian Giles

The Dodgers signed outfielder Brian Giles to a minor league deal, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  In a pair of tweets, ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Giles would get a $550K base salary with another $200K in performance bonuses. If the Dodgers aren't going to keep him on the roster at the end of Spring Training, he can ask for his release.  Giles will compete for a fifth outfielder or pinch-hitter role.

Giles, 39, hit .191/.277/.271 in 253 plate appearances for the Padres last year, struggling defensively as well.  His season ended in June with a knee injury.  Giles had a strong season in 2008 - his .398 OBP ranked sixth in the league.  Former Padres GM Kevin Towers picked up his $9MM option for '09, despite the outfielder's off-the-field concerns.

Interesting note from Gurnick – "Giles nearly was general manager Ned Colletti's first acquisition after he took over the Dodgers in the winter of 2005, but the San Diego native re-signed with the Padres and Colletti turned to shortstop Rafael Furcal."  This time around Giles reportedly drew interest from eight to ten teams, including the Yankees and Reds.


Multiple Teams Interested In Brian Giles

The agent for Brian Giles tells Dan Hayes of the North County Times that eight to ten teams have inquired on his client (Twitter link). Joe Bick, Giles' agent, expects the 39-year-old outfielder to agree to a deal by the end of the week.

Giles was limited to 61 games because of knee issues last year and he hit .191/.277/.271. To his credit, Giles had an .854 OPS as recently as 2008. Giles' last few UZR/150 totals suggest he's a below average defender.

Some of the outfielder's friends tell Hayes that Giles could retire if his knee doesn't feel better this spring.

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Odds & Ends: Wang, Yankees, White Sox

Some Sunday links…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) says that three AL teams and three NL teams have shown interest in Chien-Ming Wang.  However, the Dodgers are not one of those teams "yet."  Rosenthal notes that Wang is a favorite of Joe Torre and his staff.
  • In his running blog, Rosenthal says that Kevin Youkilis' versatility gives the Red Sox a number of options this winter.  Boston could sign Adrian Beltre to play third or, for a much lower price, Nick Johnson to play first.
  • Regardless of where Wang signs, we can safely assume that it will not be for a split contract.  The Yankees made the 29-year-old a minor-league offer that would become a major-league deal once his shoulder was healthy.  Wang's agent demanded guaranteed money, according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
  • Earlier today, Buster Olney mentioned the Yanks as a possible destination for free agent outfielder Brian GilesMarc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger hears that the club is just doing its "due diligence" by checking in on the soon-to-be 39-year-old.
  • The White Sox have signed Freddie Bynum and T.J. Bohn to minor league deals, according to the FutureSox twitter page.
  • Kevin Correia's agent Barry Axelrod told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that the Brewers and Rays both showed interested in trading for his client.  While GM Jed Hoyer gave him no guarantees that the one-year deal won't be a sign-and-trade, Axelrod is confident that the 29-year-old will pitch for San Diego in 2010.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke to Mike Rivera, who was non-tendered by the Brewers yesterday.  Rivera says he was caught off guard by the decision but was told by GM Doug Melvin that the organization might reach out to him again at some point.

Odds & Ends: Balfour, Orioles, Chapman, Lowe

Rounding up the first batch of miscellaneous Sunday links….

  • The Rays agreed to terms with reliever Grant Balfour, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Balfour signed a one-year, $2.05MM deal, avoiding arbitration.
  • The Baltimore Orioles are still searching for a closer, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec suggests that Fernando Rodney and Kevin Gregg could be atop the O's list of targets.
  • MASN's Roch Kubatko runs down the Orioles' closing options too, adding new free agent Matt Capps to the mix.
  • Meanwhile, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reaction from GM Neal Huntington, who says that media reports of the 26-year-old being non-tendered hurt his trade value.  Huntington also said that the Bucs would "love" to have him back in the bullpen – at the right price.  Capps isn't on the Yankees radar, says Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger (via Twitter).
  • John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Tigers' closer search also continues. The team was looking at J.J. Putz, but backed off because of health questions, not money concerns.
  • Tuesday could be "Judgment Day" for Aroldis Chapman, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Chapman will throw a session with a slew of teams expected to be in attendance.
  • Within a piece which focuses on yesterday's non-tender decisions, ESPN.com's Buster Olney mentions that a handful of clubs are interested in Brian Giles, including the Yankees and Reds. It's still up in the air whether teams will be willing to offer Giles more than a minor league contract.
  • One interesting tidbit from the latest article by Newsday's Ken Davidoff: An AL West official tells Davidoff that he'd like to see Jered Weaver, rather than Joe Saunders, leaving the division in a potential Roy Halladay trade offer. I have to think Jays fans would agree. Both pitchers were selected 12th overall in their respective drafts: Saunders in 2002 and Weaver in 2004.
  • Speaking of the AL West, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports thinks it's the most intriguing division for hot stove news this winter.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter) says that the Angels are a possible destination for Derek Lowe if they cannot re-sign John Lackey.  Other possibilities include the Mariners, Red Sox and Yanks.  O'Brien also suggests the Mets, provided that the Braves are willing to trade within their division.

Twitter Rumors: Capps, Felix, Harden, Pierre

A fresh batch of Twitter rumors, for those of you with extra-short attention spans…

  • MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch learned that the Pirates plan to tender a contract to Matt Capps.
  • Stubborn Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has no regrets about not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TimesHernandez also notes that the Dodgers are considering Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe, and Jamey Carroll as second base options.  The Reds also like Carroll, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
  • Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Rockies are open to re-signing Jason Marquis at a reduced number (less than the $9.875MM he made in '09).
  • SI's Jon Heyman believes Felix Hernandez is seeking six years and $100MM, while the Mariners are thinking four years plus an option at less than $50MM.  That phrasing makes a possible divide seem larger than it is, since those last two years of the deal would be the most expensive (more than $15MM per year).  At any rate, Shannon Drayer and Mike Salk learned that no numbers have been exchanged on Felix yet.
  • La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants Mike Redmond to back up A.J. Pierzynski.
  • MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says the Rangers may have interest in arbitration-eligible D'Backs infielder Augie Ojeda.  The Rangers added Joe Inglett off waivers, but were said to still be looking at utility infield candidates.
  • Morosi tweets that Rich Harden is "willing to sign a one-year deal with a lot of incentives."  Will he exceed Brad Penny's $7.5MM base salary?  Morosi names the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mariners as the most serious suitors. 
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Tigers have interest in Juan Pierre, and are "looking for a third team to supply the pitcher L.A. needs."  Odd, since the Tigers have more bad pitching contracts than anyone.  The Tigers apparently prefer to unload Carlos Guillen.
  • Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates are not interested in bringing back Brian Giles.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox "have two or three teams they could trade Mike Lowell to right now" if they'd take a similar contract back.  Looking at our Bad Contract Swap Meet I don't see any obvious matches for one year and $12MM.
  • There's been some tire-kicking with the Phillies and Ron Mahay, writes Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Red Sox were linked to Mahay by Michael Silverman on MondayMartino also says the Phillies met with John Smoltz's agent this morning, "but discussions remain informal."
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star characterizes the White Sox and Red Sox interest in Coco Crisp as "low-level," but says that's still more than the Royals have shown.  Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the White Sox would consider Crisp, Mike Cameron, and Marlon Byrd. ESPN's Mike Salk notes that the Mariners spoke to Byrd's agent.
  • Dutton also has the Red Sox eyeing Ryan Shealy on a minor league deal.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports names the most asked-about Padres: Heath Bell, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Adrian Gonzalez (in that order).  He says the Padres are "not hearing anything compelling on Bell."  MLB.com's Corey Brock says about eight teams inquired on Kouzmanoff.  Surprised not to see Kevin Correia mentioned by Rosenthal.  He'd be a great affordable option for a team like the Brewers.  ESPN's Buster Olney heard from rival execs who expect the Padres to get second-line prospects for Kouzmanoff and Correia.
  • The Mets appear to find a Luis Castillo deal unlikely, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees are shopping their #1 pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, which they acquired for Brian Bruney.  If they don't trade the pick, Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Yankees could use it on pitcher Arquimedes Caminero.

Twitter Rumors: Mulder, Pie, Torrealba, Sheets

Random rumors collected from Twitter…


Padres Do Not Offer Arb To Brian Giles

The Padres will not offer arbitration to Type B free agent outfielder Brian Giles, MLB.com's Corey Brock learned from GM Jed Hoyer.  Backup catcher Henry Blanco, who is neither A nor B, also will not get an offer.  Brock says the Padres would like to re-sign Blanco, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes he's close to a deal with the Mets.

Giles was an easy decision after he fell off a cliff in 2009, hitting just .191/.277/.271 in 253 plate appearances while earning $9MM.  Giles dealt with a knee injury during the season.