- Rangers, Angels Reach Agreement On Hamilton Deal
- Blue Jays Release Ricky Romero
- Ben Zobrist To Have Knee Surgery
- Joe Nathan Out For Year With Torn UCL & Tendon
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- Jeff Beliveau To Undergo Surgery For Torn Labrum
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C.J. Wilson Rumors
The Rays tied a franchise record by using 21 players against the Marlins in a 10-inning, 10-9 loss on Friday, writes MLB.com’s Bill Chastain. That included two players making their big-league debut, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and righty Matt Andriese, as Chastain notes. Mahtook, a first-round pick in 2011, is perhaps the more likely of the two to make a long-term impact. He hit .292/.362/.458 for Triple-A Durham last season. “I think everything happened so fast yesterday, you don’t realize what was going on,” says Mahtook. “So in the moment, I wouldn’t even say I was super nervous. I was just kind of going with it.”
- Phillies prospect Jesmuel Valentin has been arrested and suspended indefinitely for his role in a domestic violence incident, writes Jim Salisbury of of CSNPhilly. GM Ruben Amaro said the team was “getting the young man some help, but we take this very seriously as does the Commissioner’s office.” Valentin, the son of former major leaguer Jose Valentin, was acquired by the Phillies last August as part of the return for Roberto Hernandez.
- Angels pitcher and union player rep C.J. Wilson commented on the ongoing Josh Hamilton saga, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (two tweets). Wilson said, “it doesn’t seem like any bridges are being built. It’s a fairly contentious situation.” Wilson added, “Josh went through the whole process. It should be about him rehabbing and playing baseball again.” Per Pedro Moura of the Orange Country Register (also Twitter), Wilson also suggested that performance is driving owner Arte Moreno’s plans to take action against Hamilton. In case you missed the latest kerfuffle involving Hamilton, here’s a detailed summary from MLBTR’s Jeff Todd.
In an interview with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link), Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said his club had looked at signing Kevin Correia and Kyle Kendrick. Houston’s interest in Correia was reported earlier this week, while Kendrick has been linked to the ‘Stros as another potential fit to fill out the back of their rotation. Luhnow also stated that the Astros had been looking at other similar starters with Major League experience. Here’s some more from both the AL and NL West divisions…
- The Athletics have checked in on free agent outfielder Nolan Reimold, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets. The Indians and Orioles are also known to be interested in Reimold, and Dan Duquette said earlier today that the O’s have extended an offer for Reimold to return to Baltimore.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto was non-committal about the idea of his team pursuing any of the top arms available in next year’s free agent market, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes. Payroll space could be an issue given how (according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts) the Halos have over $128MM committed to only seven players for the 2016 season.
- With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson both set for free agency after 2016, Gonzalez wonders if the Angels could sign a major starter and then use Weaver or Wilson as trade bait, similar to how the Nationals signed Max Scherzer and now have the depth to explore trading Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister. There were rumors earlier this winter that the Angels were already shopping Wilson, though Dipoto issued a denial.
- Sergio Santos will earn $1MM if he makes the Dodgers‘ Major League roster, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter), plus another $3.05MM is available in incentives. Santos signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last month.
- The Dodgers are committed to rebuilding their minor league system and thus are wary about exceeding their international bonus pool to sign Yoan Moncada, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes. While L.A. is very interested in Moncada, any team that wants to sign the Cuban phenom would have to greatly exceed their bonus pool to do so, and thus be limited to international signings of $300K or less for the next two international signing periods, or until July 2017. Of course, several teams have employed the strategy of exceeding the pool limit to load up on premium international talent during one signing period — the Red Sox, Angels, Rays, Yankees and Diamondbacks already face that $300K limit during the 2015-17 international signing market.
- The Diamondbacks hired former slugger Joe Carter as a special assistant to GM Dave Stewart, the team announced. Carter and Stewart were teammates in Toronto in 1993-94, both playing major roles in the Blue Jays’ 1993 World Series title.
Here’s the latest on the Halos:
- It was reported over the weekend that the Angels have C.J. Wilson on the trade block, but GM Jerry Dipoto denies that’s the case, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Dipoto said that he has not made a call nor has he received a call on the pitcher.
- Dipoto added that he has not engaged any free agents, aside from Gordon Beckham, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
- Dipoto indicated that a trade for a backup infielder is also a possibility, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- It sounds like the Angels will be signing a left-handed reliever to a minor league deal this week, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
Luke Gregerson could be a sensible addition to the Astros‘ bullpen, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The former Athletics reliever doesn’t have a significant track record as a closer, but he worked with new Astros manager A.J. Hinch when both were with the Padres, and he might only require a three-year deal, as opposed to four for David Robertson. While Andrew Miller‘s new deal with the Yankees took deals for non-closer relievers, Drellich expects that Gregerson’s contract will be much more manageable. Here’s more on the AL West.
- The Angels would like for recently non-tendered infielder Gordon Beckham to return next season, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Beckham, however, would like to see if he can find a starting job elsewhere before taking a backup infield job with the Angels.
- The Angels are expecting a quiet Winter Meetings, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Their $8MM deal for infielder Roberto Baldoquin figures to be their largest expenditure this offseason. They also traded catcher Hank Conger to the Astros for pitcher Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez in another low-profile move. “I understand the fan base isn’t thrilled because they never heard of Nick Tropeano, but this time last year, they weren’t thrilled with what we did to shuffle the roster either,” says GM Jerry Dipoto.
- The Angels do reportedly have C.J. Wilson on the trading block, but don’t expect the Rangers to bring him back, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. C.J. Wilson was a fixture in the Rangers’ bullpen for parts of five seasons before emerging as a top starting pitcher there in 2010 and 2011.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Rival GMs tell tell Heyman that the Angels have made left-hander C.J. Wilson available, causing some to wonder if they might be trying to set up a run at a bigger pitcher via free agency or trade. The Angels have suggested they aren’t inclined to eat any of his $18MM annual salary and it’s pretty hard to see a deal coming together if they stick to that position. If they’re able to move Wilson, however, that could open the door for the likes of James Shields or Max Scherzer.
- People familiar with Troy Tulowitzki‘s thinking believe that he’d only have interest in leaving the Rockies for about a half-dozen clubs, writes Heyman. That list is believed to include the Yankees (who filled their shortstop need last week), Dodgers, Angels, Giants, possibly the Cardinals, and one or two others. Still, owner Dick Monfort has suggested to inquiring teams that 30-year-old is not available.
- The Braves have interest in Stephen Drew as a possibility at second base, according to Heyman. The Yankees, Mets and A’s are among other teams that have been tied to the 31-year-old, though the Bombers now seem less likely after acquiring Didi Gregorius.
Despite adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last winter and enjoying a legendary rookie season from Mike Trout, the Angels will miss the playoffs for the third straight year. Here are a few notes from Anaheim as the Halos are already looking ahead to offseason business…
- Ervin Santana is prepared for the possibility of the Angels declining his 2013 option, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. "It would be tough to not come back here because I've known my teammates for a long time, and we have a good relationship," Santana said. "At the same time, it might be time to move on and try different things…If that happens, it happens. I'm not worried about it." The Angels are reportedly planning to decline their club options on Santana ($13MM) and Dan Haren ($15.5MM) in order to free up resources for re-signing Zack Greinke.
- Wilson said his struggles in the second half of the season were caused by bone spurs in his elbow, reports Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The southpaw said he will undergo minor surgery to repair the problem and doesn't anticipate any issues, noting that he had a similar operation in 2008.
- Both Chris Iannetta and GM Jerry Dipoto tell MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link) that they're interested in Iannetta being an Angel in 2013. Iannetta's $5MM option for 2013 became a mutual option once the catcher was traded from Colorado to Los Angeles last November. The Halos can buy out Iannetta's option for $250K.
- Also from Dipoto (via Gonzalez on Twitter), the Angels will be bringing back their entire coaching staff next season.
- The Vernon Wells trade has been made all the more disappointing by the fact that Mike Napoli has obliterated Angels' pitching since being dealt, writes Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan. Napoli has 12 homers and a whopping .396/.500/.829 slash line in 134 career plate appearances against his former club.
After dropping three straight, the Angels were especially glad to top the Yankees 7-1 yesterday in the Bronx. Here's a look at some items on the Halos as they face the Bombers again this evening..
- Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson nearly wound up signing with the Marlins, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Wilson's agent Bob Garber was moments away from accepting an offer from Miami unless the Angels went from a four-year deal to five. Halos GM Jerry Dipoto was preoccupied with the Albert Pujols negotiations but agreed to go to five years and hammer out the dollar figure later.
- Reliever Rich Thompson could be a good fit for the Yankees, writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues. The Angels designated the 27-year-old for assignment yesterday to create roster space for Brad Mills.
- Even with the addition of Pujols and the return of Kendrys Morales, the Angels have shown early tendencies that are likely to hamper the offense in the long term if not corrected, writes Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs for ESPN.com (Insider req'd).
The 5-2 Rangers send Matt Harrison to the mound in Minnesota tonight. Here are some Rangers-related notes…
- While GM Jon Daniels isn't wild about mid-season contract talks he told Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio (audio link) that the club is still open to getting a new deal done with Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is also open to talking about a deal during the season.
- Hamilton has suggested to the Rangers that he should be paid like an elite player, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the outfielder will have to make some compromises on his next contract. The Rangers may seek contract language that protects them against drug or injury issues and probably wouldn't feel comfortable offering a nine or ten-year deal. Yesterday we asked readers about Hamilton’s next contract.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he's appreciative of C.J. Wilson's years with the Rangers, but doesn't want to discuss last offseason's contract negotiations publicly. Wilson said on The Dan Patrick Show that the Rangers "wasted" his time over the winter (audio here via sportsradiointerviews.com).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Here's the latest out of Arlington…
- The Rangers are looking for a right-handed hitting bench bat who can play in the outfield, manager Ron Washington told reporters (including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). The club just released a player who fits that description in Conor Jackson, and the Rangers could be interested in bringing him back on another minor league deal. If Texas does re-sign him, it would be after March 30, as then the team wouldn't have to pay Jackson a $100K bonus as a six-year veteran.
- Jackson, for his part, says he's willing to play in the minors for Texas if he can't find another job elsewhere. "I do enjoy this organization," Jackson said. "I'll consider all my options, including going to Triple-A and trying to be their right-handed option."
- Another veteran in the Rangers camp, Brad Hawpe, is not open to going to the minors, reports Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). Hawpe wants to remain at the Major League level and feels he is still capable of performing in the big leagues. Hawpe is another potential release candidate given that he is also in line for a $100K bonus, he has been unable to throw from the outfield due to his shoulder problems and the Rangers seem set for left-handed hitters.
- C.J. Wilson tells Gil Lebreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Rangers approached him about a three-year extension during last year's Spring Training but that was the only formal offer the team made to retain him. While Wilson was disappointed the Rangers didn't make much of an effort to re-sign him last winter, he understands why the team decided to move on to signing Yu Darvish and extending Derek Holland.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan doesn't think the Rangers will sign Josh Hamilton, Colby Lewis or Mike Napoli to contract extensions before Opening Day. All three players are entering the last year of their contracts with the team.
Between the Angels' big signings, the Rangers winning the Yu Darvish bidding, the Athletics' rebuilding, the Mariners' dabbling in the Prince Fielder derby and even the news that the Astros are coming in 2013, no division has generated more news than the AL West this offseason. Here's the latest…
- Albert Pujols will earn base salaries of $12MM in 2012 and $16MM in 2013, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Pujols' 10-year, $254MM contract with the Angels was backloaded so the Halos could afford to sign C.J. Wilson. As a result, Pujols will receive more than $30MM per year in the latter years of his deal. The contract's total value could be worth as much as $265MM should Pujols reach various incentive and milestone bonuses.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com names the contract between Pujols and the Angels as the transaction of the year. The trade that sent Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski to St. Louis for Colby Rasmus gets an honorable mention, as does the Tigers' trade for Doug Fister and the Phillies' trade for Hunter Pence.
- Athletics right-hander Grant Balfour is receiving trade interest, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Australian has a 2.85 ERA and 266 strikeouts in 243 innings over the last four seasons and, if he remains with the A's, is a candidate to replace Andrew Bailey as Oakland's closer in 2012.
- The Rangers have re-signed Matt Kata to a minor league deal, reports Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The infielder spent last year with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, posting an .832 OPS in 447 plate appearances. Kata has a career line of .239/.290/.370 in parts of five Major League seasons and last appeared in the majors with the Astros in 2009.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post