Clay Hensley Rumors
Jonah Keri of Grantland lists out the National League non-roster invitees who could have the greatest impact. In addition to a series of highly-touted prospects with a chance to break out this year, Keri says to keep an eye on Roger Bernadina (Reds), Mark Reynolds (Brewers), Bobby Abreu (Phillies), and Jamey Carroll (Nationals). Here's more from the National League:
- Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals is set to receive a second opinion on his ailing left shoulder after undergoing an MRI on Monday, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Though declining further comment, GM John Mozeliak said that the preliminary review by the Cards' team doctor showed that "early indications have been encouraging." Nevertheless, any visit to Dr. James Andrews causes alarm bells to go off, and that is particularly so in the case of the 27-year-old Garcia, who missed most of last year due to a labrum tear.
- Reliever Clay Hensley, 34, is looking to make an improbable comeback with the Nationals after a series of injuries derailed his career, reports MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko. Though he could barely crack 80 mph just half a year ago, a weighted ball program commended to him by former big leaguer Tom House has allowed Hensley to regain the low-90s heat that he carried earlier in his career. Of course, Hensley faces quite another uphill battle in gaining a place in a Nats bullpen that has several arms competing for few openings.
- Much has been written about the Phillies' controversial involvement with the collegiate career of former draft choice Ben Wetzler, but Tony Blengino of Fangraphs provides an excellent new perspective on the issue. The former scout explains that the role of the scout is to eliminate as many variable as possible, making things as black and white as possible. But uncertainty will never be removed from the equation entirely, and Blengino opines that players should be permitted to utilize an agent/advisor without fear of repercussions.
- Justin Turner, who was designated for assignment by the Mets this offseason before landing with the Dodgers, talked about the shock of the DFA with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Turner says he has nothing but fond memories of New York, though he was particularly stunned to hear that the team had concerns with his level of hustle.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here (information courtesy of MLB.com transactions page):
- Righty Jose Valdez has inked a minor league contract with the Red Sox. The 30-year-old has seen 24 big league games with the Astros, but worked last year at Triple-A, putting up a 5.72 ERA in 39 1/3 innings. Valdez has shown the ability to miss bats (career 8.7 K/9), but also tends to miss spots (5.2 BB/9).
- Tyler Graham, a 29-year-old outfielder, has signed a minor league deal with the Giants. Graham spent all of 2006-11 with the San Francisco organization, then split 2012 between the Giants and Diamondbacks. He got a cup of coffee with the D-Backs (two plate appearances), but ended up out of the MLB structure thereafter. Last year, he bounced between four Independent and Mexican League clubs. In his last full Triple-A season, 2011, Graham posted a .273/.337/.338 line with 60 stolen bases.
- The Reds have signed a minor league deal with second baseman Hernan Iribarren. The 29-year-old Venezuelan received 29 plate appearances over 2008-09 but has yet to return. Last year, with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate, Iribarren slashed .312/.367/.407 in 286 plate appearances.
- Outfielder Angel Morales has reached agreement on a minor league contract with the Marlins. The 2007 third-round pick had spent his entire career with the Twins organization, reaching the Double-A level last year at age 23. Morales earned the promotion with a .297/.364/.525 start to the year in 234 High-A plate appearances, but failed to follow up in the penultimate level of the minors (.169/.230/.307 in 184 plate appearances).
- The Nationals have signed southpaw Zach Jackson to a minor league deal. Now 30, Jackson saw 105 1/3 innings over the 2006-09 period after being drafted in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft. Jackson has bounced around the league, failing to stick as a starter. Last year, after converting full-time to relief for the Royals, he pitched to a 1.32 ERA in 41 innings at Double-A and Triple-A. Jackson managed a sturdy 2.57 K:BB ratio in 2013, but did so on the back of just 4.0 K/9 (against a career-low 1.5 BB/9).
- Washington also signed righty Clay Hensley to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports on Twitter. The 34-year-old last saw MLB time in 2012 with the Giants, when he had a 4.62 ERA over 50 2/3 innings of relief. Over his career, Hensley has started 49 big league games and appeared in over 200 others out of the pen. He threw to a 2.57 ERA in 35 Triple-A innings last year with Reds and Brewers affiliates, registering 9.8 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9 in the process.
- One player appears in MLBTR's DFA Tracker with an unresolved case: Carlos Peguero of the Mariners.
Wednesday's minor moves...
- The Brewers released Clay Hensley from Triple-A Nashville, according to the Pacific Coast League's transactions page. The 33-year-old has also spent time with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate this season, posting a combined 3.92 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in 20 2/3 innings. Hensley posted a 4.62 ERA in 50 2/3 innings for the Giants in 2012.
- Also according to the PCL transactions page, the Diamondbacks have released Warner Madrigal from Triple-A Reno. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 2.75 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 36 innings for the Aces. He hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2009 with the Rangers when he allowed 14 runs in 12 2/3 innings of work.
- Seven players are currently in DFA limbo: Eduardo Sanchez of the Cubs, Brandon Bantz of the Mariners, Andy LaRoche of the Blue Jays, Chris Nelson of the Angels, Pedro Ciriaco of the Red Sox, Rick Ankiel of the Mets and Nate Adcock of the Royals.
Today's minor moves...
- The Nationals announced Yunesky Maya cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. The 31-year-old had been designated for assignment on Friday to open a roster spot for Jeff Kobernus. Maya had signed out of Cuba for $8MM in 2010, and has totaled 59 big league innings with a 5.80 ERA.
- The Brewers signed reliever Clay Hensley to take Donovan Hand's place at Triple-A, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Hand joined the big league club yesterday. Hensley had been released from the Reds' Triple-A affiliate a week ago, after posting a 4.00 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, and 1.00 HR/9 in 18 innings. Hensley is best known for allowing home run #755 to Barry Bonds in 2007, which tied Hank Aaron's record. Bonds would go on to hit seven additional home runs, the final one coming off Ubaldo Jimenez. Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the government's BALCO investigation that offseason, and his legal issues and reported steroid use led to what his agent called a "conspiracy" among teams not to sign him.
- Six players currently reside in DFA limbo: Francisco Martinez of the Mariners, Michael Bowden of the Cubs, Robert Andino of the Mariners, Billy Buckner of the Angels, and Francisco Rondon and Ben Francisco of the Yankees.
Hensley pitched for the Giants in 2012, making 60 relief appearances. He posted a 4.62 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. In seven seasons at the MLB level, Hensley has a 4.00 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
Hensley provides Reds manager Dusty Baker with bullpen depth as Spring Training begins. Right-handers Jonathan Broxton, Jose Arredondo, Logan Ondrusek, Alfredo Simon and Sam LeCure project as contributors in the Cincinnati bullpen this coming season.
Some contract details from a pair of rivals in the NL West...
- Jamey Wright and John Grabow can opt out of their minor league contracts with the Dodgers on Sunday, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). If the players opt-out, the team can keep them by adding them to the 40-man roster by March 30th.
- Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter) that decision day for Ryan Theriot's contract is March 30th, not the 29th as previously reported. If the Giants cut him by the 29th, they'll only have to pay him one-fourth of his $1.25MM salary.
- The same is true for both Mike Fontenot ($1.05MM) and Clay Hensley ($750K) according to Schulman (on Twitter). Their contracts become guaranteed if the Giants do not cut them before the 29th.
8:02pm: The contract is non-guaranteed, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, meaning Hensley will have to win a job in Spring Training.
7:34pm: The Giants have agreed to terms with reliever Clay Hensley on a Major League contract, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, who adds the deal is worth $750K in base salary with an additional $300K at stake in incentives (Twitter links).
Hensley, 32, became a free agent when he was non-tendered by the Marlins in December. He was projected to earn $1.4MM in his second trip through arbitration, a price tag that Miami was apparently uncomfortable with.
In 466 1/3 career innings with the Padres and Marlins, the right-hander has posted a 3.94 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, spending some of that time as a starter. His best season out of the bullpen came in 2010 with the Fish, when he posted a strong 9.24 K/9, 3.48 BB/9 and 53.4% GB rate.
For all you trivia buffs, Hensley served up Barry Bonds' 755th career homer, which tied the slugger with Hank Aaron on the all-time leaderboard.
- The Braves non-tendered Peter Moylan, according to Ronald Blum of the AP. They also non-tendered Brooks Conrad, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mets non-tendered Ronny Paulino and Mike Baxter, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
- The Cardinals will non-tender Ryan Theriot, according to B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com (Twitter link).
- The Giants will non-tender Jeff Keppinger and Eli Whiteside, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).
- The Pirates announced that they're non-tendering infielder Pedro Ciriaco and catcher Jason Jaramillo.
- The Padres announced that they non-tendered Jeremy Hermida.
- The Marlins non-tendered Clay Hensley, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter).
- The Dodgers announced that they non-tendered Hong-Chih Kuo (Twitter link).
- The Rockies announced that they non-tendered outfielders Ryan Spilborghs and Cole Garner (Twitter link).
- The Cubs non-tendered Koyie Hill, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (Twitter link).
- The D'Backs will non-tender Joe Saunders and Micah Owings, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Arizona will try to re-sign both pitchers. The team has confirmed the moves.
- The Nationals will non-tender left-hander Doug Slaten, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
The Marlins have designated right-hander Clay Hensley for assignment, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Hensley was considered to be a non-tender candidate by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, given how the righty was going through arbitration for a second time and looked to earn a raise from his $1.4MM salary.
Hensley posted a 5.19 ERA in 37 games (nine of them starts) for Miami last year and also had two stints on the disabled list. As a full-time reliever in 2010, Hensley enjoyed a brilliant season with the Marlins and even got some work closing games. If healthy, Hensley could be a valuable right-handed asset to a team's bullpen, so it's possible another club might put in a claim.
The last-place Marlins won't taste the playoffs in 2012, but they're moving into a new ballpark next year and could spend big this offseason, so things might be different in Miami a year from now. Here's the latest on the Marlins...
- Omar Infante told Christina De Nicola of MLB.com that he and the Marlins are going to postpone all contract talks until the season ends next week. The sides have discussed a multiyear deal this month.
- Javier Vazquez has given every indication that this will be his final season, though he hasn't officially said he's going to retire, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. The Marlins haven't discussed next season with Vazquez, who has had a resurgent second half, as I explained last week.
- Clay Hensley, a non-tender candidate this offseason, told Spencer that he would love to return to Miami in 2012. The right-hander earned $1.4MM in 2011 and will be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason. He has pitched well recently, though he had two stints on the disabled list and struggled as a starter.