Brian McCann Rumors
Here are some notes from around the majors as we head into Friday evening...
- ESPN's Jayson Stark looks back at the offseason, surveying 20 baseball personnel people about which teams made the best and worst moves of the winter. A sample: the Phillies' deal with Jonathan Papelbon was judged to be the offseason's worst free agent signing.
- About 10 scouts attended Scott Kazmir's workout session today, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). The southpaw threw between 86-89 mph, with his top pitch reportedly hitting 91 mph by one scout's measurements.
- The Mets aren't interested in Kazmir "at this time," a source tells Newsday's David Lennon. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets didn't send a scout to see Kazmir throw, though on Wednesday a "high ranking person" with the Mets said they would have someone in attendance (both Twitter links).
- The Braves haven't begun extension talks with catcher Brian McCann, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2012 is McCann's last season under contract, though Atlanta holds a $12MM option on him for 2013 that looks like a strong bet to be exercised. O'Brien thinks the Braves could wait until next winter to begin negotiations.
- Padres owner Jeff Moorad and GM Josh Byrnes are both very pleased with the club's offseason, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The Athletics seem focused on acquiring young talent this offseason, but Casey Tefertiller of Baseball America notes that some of these prospects are being blocked by Oakland's veteran signings.
The Mets took a chance on Jason Isringhausen exactly one year ago, signing him to a minor league deal. Isringhausen collected his 300th career save in 2011, and the Mets obtained 46 2/3 innings of 4.05 ERA baseball from the 39-year-old right-hander. We haven’t heard much about Isringhausen’s free agent prospects in recent weeks, but we do have some links from the NL East...
- Ten years ago the Mets made Scott Kazmir their first round pick. Much has changed in the last decade, but the Mets have some interest in bringing the left-hander back, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets. The Mets were expected to have someone in attendance at Kazmir's audition in Houston today.
- Brian McCann said he's not concerned about signing an extension for 2014 and beyond, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. The Braves have a 2013 option for McCann on his current contract and they figure to exercise if after the season.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on MLB Network Radio and said he's still hoping to work out an extension with left-hander Cole Hamels. The sides haven't set a deadline for a long-term deal.
- Amaro suggested the Phillies don't have the payroll flexibility required to add Roy Oswalt. "I just don't know that it's a fit for us right now," he said.
- The Phillies and Marlins are among the teams eyeing Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler.
Here's the latest on the Braves from David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution...
- Brian McCann was set to earn $8.5MM next season but "maxed out" his contract incentives related to Silver Slugger awards and All-Star appearances, so the star catcher will earn a total of $11.5MM in 2012. O'Brien said the Braves haven't discussed a long-term extension with McCann but the team usually doesn't pursue such negotiations until later in the winter. McCann is under contract through next year and the Braves have a $12MM club option on McCann for 2013 that looks like a lock to be exercised.
- In regards to the Martin Prado trade talks between the Braves and Rockies, O'Brien thinks Atlanta would move Prado for Seth Smith and a center field prospect like Tim Wheeler or Charlie Blackmon. With Michael Bourn only contracted through 2012, the Braves are looking for center field depth in case Bourn's asking price is too high for their liking.
- Atlanta "made a run at" Jamey Carroll but balked at giving the 37-year-old infielder a multiyear contract.
- The Braves are known to desire a trade package for Jair Jurrjens similar to the one the Royals received last winter for Zack Greinke, but O'Brien says this asking price could be too high for most teams. "Word out of the GM meetings was that the Braves are demanding so much for Jurrjens that a deal might be unlikely unless they come down in their multi-player/prospect asking price or some teams get desperate for starting pitching later in the offseason," O'Brien writes.
- "It's unclear" if Atlanta is interested in bringing back Alex Gonzalez on a one-year deal. The Braves are looking for a short-term veteran to play shortstop until Tyler Pastornicky is ready.
- GM Frank Wren says his team isn't actively shopping Prado and Jurrjens but are willing to listen to offers. "I think that [Prado and Jurrjens trade possibility] was wrongly characterized from the very beginning,” Wren said. “What we said and what we stand by is that we’re looking to get better, and however we can get better we will. We’re open minded. We’ll listen if somebody calls."
On this date in 1998, former New York Highlander and St. Louis Brown Red Hoff passed away. At 107 years, four months, and nine days old, the left-handed pitcher had the longest life span of any player in Major League history, out-living his closest competition by more than five years. He pitched to a 2.49 ERA in 83 innings from 1911-1915, but never played after serving in World War I.
Here are a few interesting links from around the blogosphere...
- Phoul Balls interviewed Low-A Greenville manager and former big leaguer Billy McMillon.
- SPANdemonium chatted with Greg Schaum about the Royals' farm system, arguably the best in baseball (well, it's not really all that arguable, it is the best).
- U.S.S. Mariner chimes in on the Carmen Fusco firing in the wake of the Josh Lueke fallout.
- Prospect Insider looks back at the trades Jack Zduriencik made during his first year as Mariners GM.
- Pine Tar And Pocket Protectors examines if Jim Thome was the best signing of the offseason.
- The Few, The Proud, The Braves compares Brian McCann to David Ross.
- SDSports.net wonders if Luis Durango has a future with the Padres.
- Cubs Pack projects Chicago's 2011 payroll.
- Yankeeist asks what kind of contract Derek Jeter will get next season.
- The Nats Blog looks at Adam Dunn's place among the best home run hitters in history.
- The Hardball Times matches up each of the 30 teams with a character from The Simpsons.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Jamie Moyer, we are all witnesses. Some quick notes as we finish up the work week....
- Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit and one walk over six shutout innings in his debut for Washington's Triple-A affiliate, reports The Associated Press.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com predicts the Cubs' woes may drive Lou Piniella into retirement when his contract is up after this season.
- The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers erred in sending rookie right-hander John Ely back down to the minors so quickly.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald has some details of Florida owner Jeffrey Loria's chat with reporters today. Loria dismissed any problems between him and manager Fredi Gonzalez, though Spencer notes that Loria "never exactly came out and said Gonzalez's job was 100 percent secure." Loria was vague about when Mike Stanton would be called up to the majors, but the owner noted that the Marlins "don't want him to come and fail. If he's going to come here, he's going to come here to stay."
- Speaking of Stanton, his name came up more than once during Baseball America's J.J. Cooper's chat with fans today. When asked if he'd rather have Stanton or Jason Heyward for the next 10 years, Cooper's answer was "Heyward and it didn't really take any time to think about it," though that's more of a nod to Heyward's limitless potential than a slight towards Stanton.
- Brian McCann revealed today that he is having more vision problems, and he will again start wearing glasses in the field, reports David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via Tweets here and here) that the Mariners will still be paying Milton Bradley while he is on the team's restricted list.
- Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News writes that of all the catcher possibilities the Rangers looked at over the winter, little-regarded Matt Treanor became the team's "savior" due to his solid defensive and game-calling skills. (Probably on purpose, Taylor doesn't mention Treanor's .619 OPS.)
- Aaron Rowand, like Barry Zito, is also starting to live up his big Giants contract, writes Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com. Urban notes that Rowand's early-season success may be due to a better offseason fitness regiment and a total swing overhaul.
In the wake of the Phillies' bullpen giving us all Mitch Williams flashbacks, here are a few pieces of news....
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria thought about replacing manager Fredi Gonzalez with Bobby Valentine as far back as June.
- Loria, Gonzalez and other members of the Florida front office were in Paris for a short working vacation earlier in the week, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Spencer also notes that Florida left-hander Andrew Miller (the No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft), is pitching for Mesa of the Arizona Fall League to both get some extra work and to straighten out the kinks in his throwing motion.
- In other AFL news, MLB.com's Jason Beck thinks that Tigers prospect Scott Sizemore's performance in Arizona this winter might help him win a job in Detroit in 2010.
- Atlanta's Brian McCann underwent his second bout of Lazik eye surgery today to try and solve his nagging vision problems, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier says Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie met with doctors on Friday and was told his surgically-repaired wrist should be in top shape for spring training after an off-season conditioning program.
More links for Wednesday evening...
- In this SI.com article, Joel Sherman reports that Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd isn't sure what to think about his team just yet. "The next five weeks will determine who we really are," he said.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer believe the Rockies are for real.
- ESPN.com's Peter Gammons says the Rangers, Red Sox, Mets, Rays and Tigers are among the teams that could be interested in Ryan Spilborghs.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Brian McCann and Joe Mauer are two of the best hitting catchers of his lifetime.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports the Giants signed third rounder Chris Dominguez.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com says Bryce Harper needs a challenge, so enrolling in junior college was the right call. Here's a video clip (insider only) of Harper taking some cuts.
- East Windup Chronicle says the Cubs signed a Taiwanese high schooler, Chen Pin-chie, to a minor league deal.
- This year's rookies haven't overwhelmed as a group, but that doesn't stop ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick from highlighting nine of the game's most impressive first year players.
Links for Saturday...
- Baseball America's John Manuel reports that 22-year-old Twins first base prospect Henry Sanchez has been suspended 50 games for violating minor league baseball's drug policy. Sanchez was the 39th overall pick in the 2005 draft.
- John Maffei of the North County Times reports on Stephen Strasburg's latest start, one in which the top prospect struck out 14, though he did allow a home run (hat tip to Buster Olney). His strikeout to walk ratio now exceeds 10-1.
- Ever wonder how much Japanese teams spend on their players? Ryo Shinkawa of NPB Tracker has the figures and their payrolls range from $18-45MM this year.
- ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski reviewed some old scouting reports on Randy Johnson with the Big Unit himself.
- And there are more injuries piling up: Chien-Ming Wang and Cody Ransom for the Yankees and Brian McCann and Garret Anderson for the Braves.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andruw Jones has interest in returning to the Atlanta Braves, MyFoxAtlanta.com reports.
In a video on the TV station's Web site, Jones is shown working out with current Braves Chipper Jones and Brian McCann.
"It would be nice to kind of finish my career here," Jones told the station from an Atlanta batting cage.
The station also interviews McCann, who said Jones, 31, looks great.
Reporter Buck Lanford notes that the Dodgers are supposed to trade or release Jones by Thursday.
- Wren told O'Brien that the Braves have had "a number of conversations" with Mike Hampton about keeping him in Atlanta. In his MLB.com chat, Wren said he thinks Hampton is still a "very good pitcher."
- O'Brien says that talks with the Cardinals about Ryan Ludwick "aren't dead." Wren doesn't comment when asked about Ludwick in the chat, but that is in itself something of a statement.
- O'Brien says that if Atlanta can't trade for Ludwick, Raul Ibanez would be an outfield target. Wren said in his chat that he'd like to acquire a "productive bat in the outfield," and that a right-handed hitter would be ideal.
- Not surprisingly, Wren writes in the chat that he'd like to have A.J. Burnett in the Braves' rotation next year. Wren adds that the Braves have had discussions about bringing back Paul Byrd for a third time.
- Wren told O'Brien that he's going to worry about assembling the 2009 team before working on extensions for players like Chipper Jones.
- And Brian McCann's already lost 22 pounds since the end of the season.