Chris Ray Rumors

Rangers Acquire Bengie Molina

3:33pm: Andrew Baggarly of The San Jose Mercury News tweets that the deal is now official.

THURSDAY, 3:15pm: Baseball America's Jim Callis hears from a source that Michael Main will be the player to be named later going to San Francisco (Twitter link). Main was the 24th overall selection in the 2007 draft, and was ranked as the 21st best prospect in the Rangers' system by Callis' publication before the season.

In a second tweet, Callis notes that the deal is similar to the Casey Blake-Carlos Santana trade in that the Rangers had to give up a quality prospect to get the Giants to kick in money to pay Molina's salary.

WEDNESDAY, 9:03pm: The Rangers acquired Bengie Molina and cash for Chris Ray and a player to be named later today. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the sides were deep in discussions about Molina and Scott Boeck of USA Today added the details soon afterwards. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News noted that the Giants will send the Rangers cash (Twitter link).

Molina, 36 in July, is hitting .257/.312/.332 this year. The Giants can shift the full-time catching duties to Buster Posey, play Aubrey Huff at first and rely on Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz in the outfield. They don't need a catcher, but the Rangers do – Texas' backstops have hit .212/.311/.328 this year. Those numbers are eerily similar to Molina's, though there's no question that Molina's offensive track record inspires more confidence than Matt Treanor's.

Molina has about $2.3MM remaining on the $4.5MM deal he and the Giants agreed to last winter. The Rangers can add rental players, though the team's ownership transfer will limit its ability to take on long-term contracts.

Ray, who earns $975K this year, has a 3.41 ERA in 31.2 innings of work. However, the 28-year-old has walked as many batters as he has struck out (16). This is the second consecutive summer the Rangers have acquired a catcher (Ivan Rodriguez, 2009) and the second time a Molina brother has been traded (Jose Molina, 2007).


Bengie Molina Trade Reactions

As opposed to the Russell Branyan trade, which saw two non-contending teams work out a deal, last night's Bengie Molina-Chris Ray swap was pulled off by two clubs with playoff aspirations. Let's check out some early reactions to the move….

  • According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the trade is more of a gamble for the Giants than the Rangers, though clearing room behind the plate for Buster Posey should make up for that.
  • Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says that the Rangers' new catching tandem of Molina and Matt Treanor "sounds just awful" on the surface, but that it might just work.
  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wonders exactly how much Molina will upgrade Texas' backstop production.
  • After speaking to a source in the Giants' clubhouse, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas is optimistic about the Rangers' end of the deal, adding that Molina should only improve an already good clubhouse.
  • Fangraphs' Jack Moore is less positive, calling the trade a "headscratcher" for the Rangers.
  • El Lefty Malo is unsure whether there's even a spot for Chris Ray in the Giants' bullpen, but is happy that Posey is now an everyday player.
  • Establishing Posey as the number one catcher should have a "positive ripple effect" for the Giants, writes MLB.com's Chris Haft.

Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.

(more…)


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Players Tendered Contracts

Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.


Orioles Acquire Kevin Millwood

8:46pm: Evan Grant reports that the Orioles will send their third overall Rule 5 pick to the Rangers.

 5:26pm: The trade is official, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com.

3:36pm: Evan Grant hears that only the medical report approvals remain before this deal is done.  He believes the Rangers would use some of the money saved to sign a free agent starter.

2:08pm: Rosenthal is hearing the Rangers will pick up $3MM of Millwood's $12MM tab.

1:38pm: The two sides have a tentative agreement, reports Zrebiec.  He says the deal could be completed as early as tonight.  However, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that a Rangers official said his team hasn't signed off on the trade.

1:20pm: The Orioles and Rangers are close to swapping pitchers Kevin Millwood and Chris Ray, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore SunKen Rosenthal of FOX Sports agrees.  The Rangers would of course send cash in the deal. Ray hasn't heard anything yet, according to MASN's Steve Melewski.

The Rangers allowed Millwood's option to vest in late September, triggering a $12MM salary for 2010.  The righty, 35 later this month, posted a 3.67 ERA in 198.6 innings with a 5.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.  He dealt with a strained gluteus muscle around July.  Ray, 27, closed for the Orioles in '06 and part of '07 but needed Tommy John surgery in August of '07.  The arb-eligible righty is under team control for two more years.


Orioles Rumors: Millwood, Uggla, Atkins, Beltre

WEDNESDAY, 10:02am: Millwood update: Zrebiec says the Rangers originally wanted David Hernandez and a low-level prospect for Millwood, and were willing to pay $3MM of the $12MM owed to the veteran.  Meanwhile Zrebiec's colleague Peter Schmuck says Chris Ray could be involved and the Rangers would pick up most of Millwood's salary, in one scenario.

TUESDAY, 9:36pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O's are still exchanging trade proposals with the Rangers for Kevin Millwood. T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers wanted Chris Tillman initially, but talks have since developed. The Orioles are among the frontrunners for Millwood.

The O's met with the Marlins about Dan Uggla, but the Marlins want two pitching prospects in return and the Orioles are reluctant to hand that kind of package over. The Marlins have one less suitor for Uggla, according to Andrew Baggarly, who says the Giants aren't serious bidders, so that could lower the asking price for the arbitration-eligible infielder.

Here are even more O's rumors:

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins interest the O's to an extent.
  • Joe Crede and Pedro Feliz remain options for Baltimore, but Adrian Beltre has priced himself out of reach.
  • We heard about their interest in Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson earlier today.
  • They also have "tepid" interest in Russell Branyan.
  • The Orioles aren't particularly intrigued by Joe Blanton and Derek Lowe, who are both available via trade.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Adam LaRoche, Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg all interest the O's slightly.
  • They do have interest in Rafael Soriano, and spoke with the Braves about him.
  • They're not interested in J.J. Putz.
  • MLB.com's Spencer Fordin reports that the Royals engaged the O's in Felix Pie trade talks without ever coming close to a deal.

Rangers Tuesday Recap

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas rounds up some Texas Rangers-related rumors from the second day of the winter meetings. We've heard one or two of these already, but let's check out the highlights of Durrett's recap….

  • The Rangers are looking to bolster their bullpen, and names of interest include J.J. Putz, Matt Lindstrom, and Brett Myers. Ramon Ramirez and Chris Ray are also on their radar.
  • As FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi indicated earlier today, no Kevin Millwood trade appears imminent. A few teams are interested, but the Rangers will pull the trigger only on "the right deal." Presumably the "right" return is more about money than talent.
  • If the club is able to move Millwood, they'd look to fill the hole in their rotation with another veteran starter. Ben Sheets and Rich Harden are potential options, with the Rangers hoping to meet with Sheets' agent this week.
  • Dealing Millwood would also allow Texas to free up some money to pursue a right-handed bat. Perhaps Vladimir Guerrero or Jermaine Dye.
  • The team is looking for a catcher as well. Durrett names Jason Kendall, Rod Barajas, Jose Molina, and Yorvit Torrealba as targets.
  • Durrett and others heard earlier that the Rangers offered top prospects Neftali Feliz and Justin Smoak to Florida in exchange for Josh Johnson. Another official denies that Texas made that proposal, but suggests that the team does have interest in Johnson.