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We’ll track today’s minor moves here…
- The Rockies signed first baseman Ryan Garko and outfielder Greg Golson to minor league contracts, Baseball America's Matthew Eddy reports. Garko saw regular time as the Indians' first baseman from 2006-09 but hasn't played in the majors since 2010, spending the 2011 season in Korea and last year with the Rays' Double-A affiliate. Golson, picked 21st overall by Philadelphia in the 2004 draft, amassed 42 Major League plate appearances with the Phillies, Rangers and Yankees between 2008-2011 and hit .276/.309/.412 in 480 PA with the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in 2012.
- Also from Eddy, the Red Sox re-signed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to a new minor league deal. Haeger last pitched in the majors in 2010 and has been in the Red Sox farm system since July 2011, though he missed all of last season with an arm injury.
- The Brewers have signed right-hander Alfredo Figaro to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced (via Mike Vassallo on Twitter). It took more than a month for the sides to complete the deal, since agent Barry Praver had to negotiate a departure from Figaro's Japanese team, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old returns to MLB after spending the past two seasons pitching in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes. He picked up some MLB experience with the Tigers before going to Japan, appearing in 14 games from 2009-10.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Jason Varitek is facing a very difficult decision, and the catcher has been considering the very difficult reality of retirement, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Varitek, who turns 40 in April, would seem to be a good fit in Minnesota. The Twins will likely carry three catchers as Joe Mauer will need time to DH and rest and Ryan Doumit will mostly DH while also backing up Mauer.
Varitek isn't the only veteran wondering about his baseball future. Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, and Vladimir Guerrero also hope to continue playing in 2012. Here's more from Cafardo..
- There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal John Lannan to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, with the Halos putting Mike Trout in center field. The Nats beat Lannan in arbitration last week and were said to be aggressively shopping the left-hander.
- Alternatively, the Nats could move Jayson Werth to center and sign a right fielder. Cafardo adds that it now appears that Yoenis Cespedes is not in their plans and they have cooled on B.J. Upton.
- Javier Vazquez is retired for now, but Cafardo wonders if a team could convince him to play. An AL GM remarked that Vazquez would be a perfect fourth or fifth starter on a contending team and believes that the pitcher looks as good as he's ever been.
- Scott Boras is no longer representing Manny Ramirez. Ramirez signed on with Boras in early 2008 and the agent negotiated the slugger's two-year, $45MM contract with the Dodgers the following year.
- Boras wound up receiving eight offers in total for Prince Fielder, including the winning bid from the Tigers.
- A couple of agents are frustrated after dealing with the Red Sox front office/ownership lately as compared to what they were used to in the past. However, there has been quite a bit of praise for GM Ben Cherington.
- Right-hander Brandon Webb hasn't given up on pitching and according to one American League executive, the plan is for the 32-year-old to throw for teams sometime in March.
- Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback. The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn't completely corrected. Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.
- Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger was supposed to be in Red Sox minor league camp but instead ripped up his elbow long-tossing over the winter. The veteran will unfortunately miss the season.
- Cafardo feels that the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sign Edwin Jackson to a good value deal at one year, $10MM and shouldn’t let Roy Oswalt slip away now.
The Red Sox have announced the signings of minor league free agents Carlos Silva, Brandon Duckworth, Charlie Haeger, Will Inman, Doug Mathis, Tony Pena Jr., Chorye Spoone, Jesse Carlson, Rich Hill, Justin Thomas, Pedro Ciriaco, and Nate Spears. The signings of Spoone, Thomas, Inman, Pena, Carlson, and Hill had been reported previously.
Silva, 32, was released by the Cubs in March of 2011 with $11.5MM remaining on his contract. He signed with the Yankees in April, but was released in July amid shoulder problems after seven minor league starts. The control artist was useful upon his initial change of scenery, posting a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts for the 2010 Cubs after the Milton Bradley trade. As the Red Sox press release notes, "No active hurler with at least 750.0 innings pitched has fewer walks per nine innings than Silva (1.73)." Silva will make a prorated $1MM while in the Majors, reports WEEI's Alex Speier.
Ciriaco, 26, was non-tendered by the Pirates in December. The middle infielder hit .231/.243/.300 in 289 plate appearances in his second career Triple-A stint. Spears, a versatile 26-year-old, spent the last two years in Boston's minor league system. In 2011 he hit .248/.355/.397 in 378 plate appearances, getting his first cup of coffee with the big club.
Haeger, a 28-year-old knuckeballer, spent 2011 with the Mariners' Triple-A club and the Red Sox' Double-A team. He posted a 5.44 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, and 0.92 HR/9 in 97 2/3 innings. Mathis, a 28-year-old righty, last appeared in the bigs in 2010 with the Rangers. As a starter for the Giants' and Athletics' Triple-A affiliates, he put up a 4.27 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, and 0.63 HR/9 in 86 1/3 innings. Duckworth, 35, last appeared in the Majors in 2008. He spent 2011 with Boston's Triple-A affiliate, posting a 3.97 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 0.84 HR/9 in 118 innings.
The Red Sox have signed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, reports Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. (Twitter link) Haeger was released by the Mariners last week after posting a 7.74 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A Tacoma. Haeger has also pitched for the White Sox, Padres and Dodgers, amassing a career 6.40 ERA in 83 Major League innings spread over five seasons.
Haeger, 27, started nine games for the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate this season, posting a 7.74 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He walked 42 and struck out just 35. Haeger has 83 big league innings to his credit, most coming with the Dodgers. He owns a 6.40 ERA with a 7.5 K/9 and 6.4 BB/9 as a Major Leaguer.
Mariners signed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, left-hander Fabio Castro, infielder Luis Rodriguez and right-hander Chris Smith, the team announced today. All four receive invitations to big league Spring Training.
Haeger, 27, appeared in nine games for the Dodgers this year. He struck out 30 batters in 30 innings, but walked 26 and posted an 8.40 ERA. He has generated strikeouts throughout his five-year MLB career, but has walked 6.4 batters per inning.
WEDNESDAY: Haeger cleared waivers and the Dodgers assigned him to Triple A, according to MLB.com's transactions page.
FRIDAY: The Dodgers have designated Charlie Haeger for assignment, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. As the Times' Steve Dilbeck speculated earlier today, Jon Link will take Haeger's place on the roster, likely only until Monday, when Chad Billingsley should be activated from the disabled list.
Since opening his 2010 season with an impressive 12-strikeout performance, Haeger has struggled mightily, compiling a 9.38 ERA between the rotation and the bullpen. In 24 IP over those eight appearances, the 26-year-old walked 22 batters and allowed hitters to post a 1.001 OPS.
Monday night links..
- The Marlins won't rush prospect Mike Stanton to the majors, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says that the club is hoping to make an announcement in the next day or two, tweets Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press. However, Anthopoulos wouldn't confirm that the announcement could have to do with the signing of Adeiny Hechavarria. Last week, Hechavarria's visa was approved, opening the door for him to take his physical.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer believes that Chad Cordero could be a "useful" major leaguer again. The 28-year-old has been out of MLB for nearly two years and is attempting to mount a comeback with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate.
- Charlie Haeger went through a long journey before becoming a member of the Dodgers' rotation, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
WEDNESDAY, 10:01pm: MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers aren't trying to deal Hu, since they need him in case something happens to Rafael Furcal. Gurnick also notes that L.A. is shopping Jason Repko, who has nowhere to play in the crowded Dodger outfield.
Los Angeles may feel that Stults is now expendable as they have multiple candidates for the final spot in their rotation. Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse tweets that Ramon Ortiz is the top candidate, even though some within the organization feel that Josh Lindblom should be the fifth starter. Yesterday, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com wrote that the aforementioned Ramon Ortiz, Rule 5 selection Carlos Monasterios, Charlie Haeger, Russ Ortiz, and Josh Towers were all in the mix for the job. Mike Axisa recently summed up this proverbial game of musical chairs in one handy post.
Meanwhile, if the Dodgers are unable to find a taker in the majors for Stults, they could find a suitor overseas. The 30-year-old hurler has previously been linked to the Chiba Lotta Marines and earlier this week, he was named as a possible target of the Hanshin Tigers.
Hu, who recently turned 26, made a few appearances for Los Angeles in 2009 as a September call-up. For the team's Triple-A affiliate, he turned in .294/.332/.393 with 6 HRs in 544 plate appearances.
The front of the Dodgers' rotation is pretty well set, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla set to occupy the first four spots. There's no shortage of candidates for that fifth spot, but as Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times notes, most of the contenders have unfavorable contract situations.
Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger are both out of options, Carlos Monasterios is a Rule 5 pick, and both Ramon and Russ Ortiz are believed to have out clauses in their contracts. The one rotation candidate that doesn't have any strings attached is James McDonald, but it doesn't help that he has a 20.25 ERA and a 3.56 WHIP in just over five innings this spring. Regardless of who LA picks for that last spot, there's a chance they'll lose some depth as the other guys succumb to roster limitations.
Let's open this one up for discussion. Who do you think the Dodgers should put in their last rotation spot, and what should they do with the other players? Essentially your choices are a) put them in the bullpen, or b) risk losing them to waivers/out clause/Rule 5 rules. Here are the Spring Training stats, not that they mean anything.