Carlos Delgado Rumors
4:28pm: The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham wonders (via Twitter) if Mike Lowell will be traded to the Angels in light of Morales' injury. He notes that the Red Sox would likely have to eat a large portion of Lowell's salary.
2:16pm: ESPN's Mark Saxon tweets that the Angels are saying Morales' injury is not season ending, though he doesn't provide a timetable for the slugger's return. As Saxon points out in another tweet, Mike Napoli will start at first base today for the first time since his minor league days.
10:57am: Following one of the more unusual injuries in recent years, the Angels now face the problem of how to replace their most productive hitter. Kendry Morales, who was hitting .290/.346/.487 with 11 homers, fractured his leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam last night, and could miss the rest of the season.
Robb Quinlan and Mark Trumbo are in-house candidates to step in for Morales, but the defending AL West champs will likely consider acquiring an impact player to boost an offense that, even with Morales, has hit just .248. After all, despite playing sub-.500 ball so far, they're very much in contention, sitting only 3.5 games out of first place.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Angels have plenty of options when it comes to finding a new first baseman. He suggests that Paul Konerko and Lance Berkman are the two most attractive and realistic trade targets for the Angels, though he acknowledges that the club won't have much leverage, given their desperate need for a middle-of-the-order bat. The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales agrees that Konerko could be a fit for the Angels, noting that the White Sox first baseman has a relationship with Mike Scioscia that dates back to their days with the Dodgers.
DiGiovanna names a handful of other possible targets for the Angels, including Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Russell Branyan, and Prince Fielder. Obviously, some of those sluggers are less available than others. Jermaine Dye, Ryan Garko, and Carlos Delgado (when he's healthy) are a few more available, low-cost options the team could look at, according to DiGiovanna.
Even if the Angels decide to make a move, it may not happen for a month or two, coming closer to the trade deadline. However, in the wake of Morales' injury, it's safe to put them near the top of the list of teams who will be shopping for a power hitter this summer.
Nearly three months after undergoing his second right hip labrum surgery in the last year, Carlos Delgado is finally off crutches and is eyeing a return to action in July, the free agent told Ruben A. Rodriguez at the Puerto Rican paper El Nuevo Dia (link and interview in Spanish). Delgado will travel to Colorado soon to get his doctor's approval before beginning a strengthening program, but insists he isn't "married" to his timeline and won't rush his recovery just to play this summer.
Delgado's name has been bandied as a possible mid-season hired gun for a contender, but the 37-year-old first baseman sounds more humble in the interview, conceding he may find it difficult to convince any teams to sign him following reconstructive surgery and more than a year away from Major League pitching. He declined to mention any specific suitors and seems resigned to taking whatever work he can find, rather than waiting, Jermaine Dye-esque, for the right price or team. "I understand the technical side and I'm willing to deal with that," Delgado told Rodriguez. "It's not like I'll sign and be the cleanup hitter. To get a job you have to go through another process. People have to see me play."
To that end, Delgado said he is open to the possibility of playing during the offseason in Puerto Rico, as he did last winter. Barring all other options, though, he acknowledged that he may have to simply "face reality," a theme which popped up in previous interviews with the Puerto Rican press even prior to his latest operation.
After recapping the most recent news on some remaining free agent starting pitchers yesterday, let's focus on the bats today. Here are the latest updates on a few of the notable unsigned position players:
- Jermaine Dye: Dye had the Mariners on his wish list, but Seattle didn't have much interest in the 36-year-old. Another team out west, the Giants, also had no interest in signing Dye. Washington was in the mix for the right-handed slugger at one point, though they've since backed off. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Dye will sign somewhere soon, and an American League club where Dye could DH would make sense. Like Jarrod Washburn though, he'll likely need to reduce his asking price.
- Gary Sheffield: Cafardo also believes Sheffield should sign soon, and tweeted that the veteran had "something on the table" a couple weeks ago. The Nationals also had discussions with Sheff, but the club seems happy with their current selection of outfielders for now. Even though he's 41, Sheffield could have value to a National League team as a pinch-hitter and part-time player, like he did for the Mets last year (.276/.372/.451 in 312 PAs).
- Carlos Delgado: Delgado might end up being the offensive equivalent of Pedro Martinez: a hired gun that could contribute to a contending team in the second half of the season. The Mets were considered a possibility prior to their promotion of Ike Davis. Before Delgado catches on with any club, the 37-year-old will have to show that he's fully healthy following his second hip surgery in February.
- Joe Crede: Considering Crede is a Scott Boras client, it's somewhat surprising that we've heard next to nothing regarding his status. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported in early March that Crede was hitting and throwing while he waited for an offer, but there has been very little news since then. Crede has homered 32 times over the past two seasons and plays an above-average third base, so it may be health questions that are keeping him on the free agent market. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested earlier this month, a healthy Crede "could become an attractive mid-season option for risk-taking GMs."
- Elijah Dukes: Shortly after Dukes' surprising release by the Nationals, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a few teams were interested in the 25-year-old. Since then though, we haven't heard anything concrete. Perhaps clubs are still hesitant to invest in Dukes, given his off-field history.
- Rocco Baldelli: There was some speculation earlier in April that Baldelli could be an option for the Rays if they gave up on Pat Burrell, since Baldelli has been working out at Tropicana Field and wants to play. Burrell has played better since that point, hitting .275/.318/.500 in his last 11 games, silencing those rumors somewhat. For the time being, Baldelli will continue to serve as a special assistant for the Rays.
Links for Friday...
- Hayden Penn cleared waivers and now has until Monday to decide whether to report to Triple A or become a free agent, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). The Pirates designated Penn for assignment Monday.
- Jose Veras, who was designated for assignment Wednesday, has been outrighted to Triple A by the Marlins, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). This presumably means Veras cleared waivers.
- The Rockies called up Joe Beimel, according to the team. Beimel's deal pays him $850K in the major leagues.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick heard that Bret Boone is trying to recruit Doug Mientkiewicz and Bobby Kielty for his Golden League team (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Keith Law offers updates on some of the top prospects eligible for this June's draft, including Bryce Brentz, an outfielder who Law considers "one of the top college bats in this draft."
- Fred Lewis and his representatives had been asking the Giants for a trade for nearly a year, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- FanGraphs' Jack Moore calls the Lewis deal a no-brainer for the Blue Jays and a head-scratcher for the Giants.
- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun takes us on a must-read behind the scenes look at the Adeiny Hechavarria signing.
- Recent injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will test Boston's depth, says WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us up to date on the latest round of minor league transactions. Among the notable players released: Brady Clark and Curtis Thigpen.
9:50pm: Delgado refused to speculate if he could play in 2011 if he were to miss all of this season, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post.
6:09pm: Carlos Delgado says that he still wants to play this year, pending rehab, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The free agent slugger also said that he never got an offer from the Mets before his second surgery.
As David Lennon of Newsday (via Twitter) points out, Delgado could still be an option for the Mets later on in the season. Back in February the 37-year-old said that he could envision himself signing on with a club mid-year.
The first baseman first underwent surgery for a torn labrum of the hip in May of 2009 and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. He enjoyed a successful and healthy season in 2008 when he slugged .271/.353/.518 with 38 HRs.
Earlier this week, the Blue Jays appeared to be taking the lead in the race to sign Cuban first base prospect Jose Julio Ruiz. But don't count out the Red Sox yet, says ESPN's Jorge Arangure, Jr. in a recent blog post.
Arangure cites a "source knowledgeable about the situation" as saying that the Red Sox are still actively pursuing Ruiz as a low-cost preemptive replacement for David Ortiz, and that the interest is mutual. Ruiz is eyeing Boston, the source says, because he believes he would soon have the opportunity to take Ortiz's spot, even if it means playing in the minors in the short term. This seemingly conflicts with Ruiz's agent Jorge Luis Toca's quote earlier this month that "the idea is to find a team where he'll have the best opportunity to rise the quickest," but on the other hand, Ortiz's slow start in 2009 didn't make him look like a huge roadblock. The team holds a $12.5MM club option for Ortiz in 2011, which if declined could make for an easy transition.
The Red Sox are said to be looking at the 25-year-old defector much in the same way that they looked at Ortiz when he was released by the Twins at age 28: a big (Ortiz is 6'4"; Ruiz is 6'3") lefty masher whose stats "augur an eventual breakout season." To wit, Arangure quotes the Latin American scouting director of a National League team as saying, "Ruiz is a David Ortiz-looking dude." Ruiz was also favorably compared to Carlos Delgado when he first defected in June of 2009.
Of course, none of this is to rule out the possibility that the Red Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Arangure quotes "sources close to" the Padres first baseman as saying that while the Red Sox are not actively pursuing him at the moment, Gonzalez considers a trade to Boston "inevitable."
Other links from the threshold between major league baseball and world baseball...
- The Braves signed 21-year-old Nicaraguan shortstop Ivan Marin to a minor league contract on February 10, reports Oscar Gonzalez at La Prensa.
- Cuban pitcher Juan Yasser Serrano held a private tryout for the Rays last Wednesday, according to the Cuban baseball blog Las Avispas.
- Former major leaguer Randall Simon has signed with the Rockford Riverhawks of the independent Northern League, reports baseballdeworld.com. Simon hasn't logged a big league PA since 2004, but he has remained active in Europe, most recently in the Italian Baseball League and for the upstart Dutch national team in last year's World Baseball Classic.
Some Marlins tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Joe Frisaro..
- Hank Blalock may be an option for the Marlins as they seek a left-handed bat off the bench, tweets Frisaro. Up until this point, the Indians were the only known suitor for the 29-year-old's services.
- Frisaro also reports (via Twitter) that Florida has no interest in signing Carlos Delgado and still has no interest in Russell Branyan. Yesterday we learned that the Marlins spoke to Delgado's agent, though the veteran slugger is said to be seeking more money and playing time. There were rumblings of Florida's interest in Branyan, but Frisaro learned last week that the club has not spoken to him.
Carlos Delgado isn't retiring, but you may not find him on anybody's Opening Day roster. The first baseman's agent, David Sloane, tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Delgado will not be accepting any of the offers currently available to him, some of which are major league deals.
The Mets will pursue trades if positional battles at first base and catcher don't result in enough production, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. For now, they seem content to let those positional battles play out. They have decided not to sign Rod Barajas, since they don't consider him the answer behind the plate.
- The Marlins are considering Darin Erstad, who would like to play this year. The Marlins would use Erstad like they used Ross Gload - at first, in the outfield and as a pinch hitter.
- They spoke with Carlos Delgado's agent since they have interest in the slugger as a backup first baseman and pinch hitter. The former Marlin wants extensive playing time and more money, however.
- Dan Uggla says he's "surprised but very pleased" that the Marlins didn't trade him this offseason.