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Chris Young Rumors
Earlier today, Bartolo Colon told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he'd like to return to the A's next season and feels that he could pitch another three years in the Majors. At the time, it wasn't known if the A's were interested in a reunion, but in their postseason address to the media, both manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane said they are interested in bringing Colon back for a third season (via Slusser and John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group on Twitter). Beane went so far as to say it'd be "foolish" for the team not to be interested. Here's more from on the A's…
- Closer Grant Balfour isn't satisfied with only making the playoffs, he told reporters, including MLB.com's Jane Lee. Balfour said he intends to keep playing until he can win a World Series (Twitter link).
- Balfour also acknowledged to CSNBayArea.com's Casey Pratt that he wanted to make sure the inning he pitched in Game 5 last night was a good one, because he knew it may have been his last frame with the team (also on Twitter).
- Melvin said today that the A's are well-equipped to handle the potential loss of Balfour, as internal options Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle could take over as closer (via CSN California's Joe Stiglich on Twitter). As Stiglich goes on to caution, that comment doesn't mean Doolittle or Cook will close in 2014. The A's would likely explore the free agent relief market in that scenario for an additional arm to plug into the mix.
- Beane said that the A's will exercise Coco Crisp's $7.5MM option following the season and implied that they will do the same with Brett Anderson's $8MM option (via Slusser).
- Crisp said that he'd like to think the A's would want to discuss retaining him beyond the 2014 season (via Hickey).
- Top prospect Addison Russell will open 2014 at Double-A "at the lowest," according to Beane, who then added that "anything can happen" once a player reaches Double-A (Stiglich reporting).
- Beane feels that if Chris Young, whose contract contains an $11MM club option, doesn't return to the team, Michael Choice can serve as a right-handed outfielder for the team (Lee reporting). It seems logical that the A's would decline the option after Young batted just .200/.280/.379 this season.
The Mets kicked off the 2013 campaign with a 2-1 series victory over the Padres while the Yankees fell to 1-2 at the hands of the Red Sox. Here's some news on both teams as they prepare for their second series of the season…
- The Yankees are focused on getting younger, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and they'll have a great opportunity to do so in this year's draft. The Yankees hold three of the first 33 picks in this year's draft — an almost unheard of feat for the Bronx Bombers. Rosenthal notes that the Yanks haven't had a Top 10 pick since selecting Derek Jeter in 1992 and have had just one Top 20 pick since.
- One scout told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he won't believe the Yankees are dead "until he sees the body." Other scouts he talked to, however, were down on both CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.
- Within that same piece, Martino writes that the Mets passed on Chris Young after seeing his fastball sit between 79-82 mph in his final Spring Training start. While Young has never had much velocity, he was at least able to average 84.6 mph on his fastball last season.
6:58pm: Young will receive a $2MM prorated base salary if he joins the big league club, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The deal also includes up to $4.7MM in incentives, according to Kilgore.
12:18pm: The Nationals announced that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Chris Young on a minor league contract. Young is a client of Williams & Connolly according to the MLBTR Agency Database.
Young, 34 in May, spent the spring with the Nationals and will soon report to Triple-A Syracuse. The right-hander made 20 starts for the Mets last season and posted a 4.15 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. The Mets offered Young a minor league deal before he first signed with the Nats but weren't interested this time around, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
Young does not have an out clause in his contract, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters including Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, but if a team came to him with a Major League deal, the Nationals would consider it.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick injured his right shoulder in the Reds' season opener and will need surgery. The Reds could promote Derrick Robinson or Denis Phipps to take Ludwick's place on the roster, Jon Fay of Cincinnati.com writes. Chris Heisey will take the bulk of Ludwick's playing time in left, so that makes an option like prospect Donald Lutz somewhat unlikely, since the Reds might prefer that he play every day. The Reds appear to have enough depth to avoid pursuing an option from outside the organization. Ludwick re-signed with the Reds for two years and $15MM in December. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- Pitcher Shaun Marcum is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, and the Mets will need to add another starting pitcher, ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin contends (on Twitter). Chris Young, who pitched 115 innings for the Mets in 2012, is a free agent after being released by the Nationals, but the Mets did not appear interested (Twitter link) in Young several days ago, and as yet there have been no indications that Marcum's injury changes their stance.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers guarantees his team will win at least 90 games, Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com reports. "In 2011, I put down 85 and we won 94. Last year, I had 89 (wins) and we won 81," Towers says. "But I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve got a pretty good idea. I guarantee it’s going to start with a nine." The Diamondbacks are coming off an offseason filled with what Bickley calls "debatable, combustible maneuvers," including the trades of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer.
The Nationals will open the season a widely regarded postseason favorite for the first time in franchise history today. Offseason acquisition Denard Span is leading off, and Stephen Strasburg is on the mound. Here's more on the club as we approach Opening Day for a large portion of Major League teams…
- The team is "not even close" to an extension with Ian Desmond, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Extension talks between the two sides have never been serious, according to Ladson.
- The Nationals remain in contact with Chris Young, who has yet to sign with a new team, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington (on Twitter). "The decision is his," said GM Mike Rizzo. Young opted out of his minor league deal with the Nationals last week in search of a Major League opportunity, but had nothing but the highest of praise for the Nationals organization.
Commissioner Bud Selig weighed in on the Houston Astros' strategy and payroll, saying that the organization has "chosen the path with some very qualfied people" and that he "think[s] they're doing it the right way." ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider sub. req'd) that baseball should be more cautious in endorsing what he characterizes as a "strategy to lose." Of course, it remains to be seen how the major league club will compete this season in what figures to be a tough AL West.
- With today's news of a big extension for Adam Wainwright, attention could turn to another ace who could be extended: the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, however, Kershaw does not want to keep negotiations open past spring training and is staying quiet as to whether there has been any progress. Hernandez also notes that Kershaw's agents, Casey Close and J.D. Smart, visited Dodger camp a week ago but were not not actively discussing a Kershaw extension.
- The time is now for the Dodgers to decide what to do with their excess starting pitching, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles TImes. Aaron Harang, for one, may have thrown his last pitch in Dodger blue. While Harang's tepid spring is a deterrent, Dilbeck notes that the righty threw well last season and should draw suitors.
- Chris Young could sign with the Angels, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who also notes that the Mets are highly unlikely to sign him. The righty is back on the market after opting out of his contract with the Nationals.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge says a decision between outfielders Casper Wells and Jason Bay will be made soon, leading Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times to posit that Wells could already have been put on waivers. If Wells is indeed put on waivers, he would be an option for the Phillies, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Diamondbacks have released Josh Booty, who earned a non-roster invite as the winner of "The Next Knuckler," the team announced on Twitter. The former QB was originally drafted by the Marlins fifth overall back in 1994 before he retired to pursue football, which meant that he was still technically under Marlins control when he joined Arizona for the spring.
33-year-old righty Chris Young is officially a free agent, having been granted his release by the Nationals today. He should sign within a day or two, hears Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson says Young is not close to signing with any team. The latest:
- The Mets are in talks with Young, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN, though Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Mets "don't appear to be thinking about" a reunion. Earlier today, we heard that the Mets have "legitimate concerns" about pitcher Shaun Marcum's availability for the season due to a neck issue, based on comments pitching coach Dan Warthen made to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin said the Mets were internally discussing bringing Young back, "but a team insider portrayed it as not the most likely of scenarios," partially because the pitcher's future would be uncertain once all the Mets' starters are healthy.
- The Rangers are not interested in a reunion with Young, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Young has not ruled out a return to the Nationals, tweets Ladson.
- The Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Indians, Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, Mets, and Brewers had scouts in attendance for Young's start yesterday, tweeted Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, though those scouts were not necessarily there for him.
TUESDAY, 10:22am: Young has been granted his release, according to a tweet from the Nationals.
Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington adds (also via Twitter) that the Nationals will still have 24 hours to add Young to the roster before the paperwork is officially filed. It is Young's preference to stay with the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link). That seems unlikely, as the Nats recently told Young that he wouldn't make the 25-man roster, but he would be their primary choice should a member of their rotation be injured.
Scouts from several teams were on hand today to watch Young's final Spring Training start for the Nationals, during which he allowed just an unearned run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts through four innings.
Young signed a a minor league deal with the Nationals in late February after a season in which he posted a 4.15 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 115 innings for the Mets.
The Twins announced yesterday that they will hand the reins in center field over to top prospect Aaron Hicks. The 2008 first-rounder ranked 72nd on Baseball America's Top 100 list and 98th on MLB.com's Top 100. Here's some more on the Twinkies as we draw closer to the end of Spring Training…
- General manager Terry Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that Hicks won the Opening Day job because he doesn't believe in holding players back for service time reasons: "'Can you imagine if we sent somebody out who did what the kid did?' Ryan said. 'And I had to look at [Josh] Willingham, [Justin] Morneau, [Glen] Perkins, [Joe] Mauer and those guys who are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that.'"
- Other teams are interested in catcher Drew Butera, who the Twins optioned to Triple-A yesterday, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). However the Twins prefer to keep Butera, who they signed to a $700K contract in order to avoid arbitration this winter. The 29-year-old is just a .183/.232/.265 career hitter but is regarded as a terrific defensive catcher.
- The Twins contacted Chris Young this offseason and had interest in him at one point according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but an official tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the team no longer considers him a fit (Twitter link). Young is set to opt out of his contract with the Nationals.
- The Twins were approached by representatives for both Yuniesky Betancourt and Freddy Garcia, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, but the team passed on both players (Twitter links).
- Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins, has all but guaranteed himself a spot on the Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. A corresponding 40-man roster move will need to be made in the coming days.
MONDAY: The Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Indians, Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, Brewers and Mets all have scouts on hand for Young's start against the Astros today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). However, as he's quick to note, that doesn't necessarily mean that each team is there to scout Young specifically.
For what it's worth, Young was terrific in his outing, scattering two hits, a walk and an unearned run over four innings to go along with a pair of strikeouts.
SUNDAY, 2:10pm: The Pirates are intrigued by Young, tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel. However, Biertempfel wonders whether the Pirates can assure Young he'd be on roster the whole year and, if not, whether or not Young would be interested.
11:25am: The minor league deal that Chris Young signed with the Nationals last month contains an opt-out clause that he can exercise today. However, Young is scheduled to pitch in a Grapefruit League game tomorrow. Dan Kolko of MASNsports tweets that Young is planning on making that start tomorrow and then making a decision. Young says he has received interest from other teams, and it was reported on Friday that Young likely won't make the roster.
The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore adds that the Nationals hope to retain Young and view him as the clear favorite for a rotation spot if one of their starting five were to suffer an injury. Young is interested in staying in the organization in the event that he can't find a Major League job elsewhere.
The 33-year-old Young posted a 4.15 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 115 innings for the Mets last season. However, teams in smaller ballparks will likely be wary of Young's alarming 58.2 percent fly-ball rate. Among pitchers with 100 innings or more, Young's fly-ball rate was far and away the highest in baseball, while his 22.3 percent ground-ball rate was far and away the lowest.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.