Collin Balester Rumors

Odds & Ends: Indians, Jeter, Ellis, Giants, Chen

Happy 92nd birthday to one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, Bob Feller.  "Rapid Robert" piled up 266 wins and 2581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career.  In tribute to Feller, it's only appropriate that we start this batch of news items with something from Cleveland…

  • Infielder Drew Sutton is eligible for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The article notes that Andy Marte is expected to be removed from the Cleveland roster before the Rule 5 draft deadline.  Also from Hoynes (via Twitter), the Phillies claimed shortstop Carlos Rivero on waivers from the Tribe.  Rivero has a .676 OPS in 2156 minor league plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.
  • Hal Steinbrenner's recent comments about the Derek Jeter talks strike ESPN's Buster Olney "as if he's preparing the NYY fans for an ugly Jeter negotiation" (Twitter link).
  • Now that the A's have exercised Mark Ellis' option for 2011, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team will look into an extension for the veteran second baseman.
  • Buster Posey and Brian Wilson are the key reasons why the Giants have a chance to win another World Series, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.  "How many teams can say, right now, they have zero interest in upgrading at the need-to-have positions of catcher or closer?", Morosi asks.  He cites just the Phillies and Twins, and even those two clubs come with question marks.
  • Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com thinks the Giants should sign Eric Chavez to a minor-league contract.  (Twitter link)
  • Bruce Chen wants a multiyear deal but the Royals are "unlikely" to make the left-hander such an offer, tweets The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton.
  • It could be a bad omen for David Ortiz's $12.5MM option that another slugging DH (Vladimir Guerrero) had his $9MM option for 2011 declined by Texas earlier today, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
  • Tampa Bay added Elliot Johnson to its 40-man roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Without the move, Johnson would've become a free agent.  Johnson had a breakout minor league campaign in Triple-A last season, posting a .319/.375/.475 line and winning the International League MVP award.
  • In response to a fan mailbag question about Adam Dunn, MLB.com's Bill Ladson warns about the dangers of the Nationals offering a long-term deal to a defensively-challenged slugger.  He points out how fans were also wishing the Nats signed Alfonso Soriano to an extension, but in hindsight Washington made the right move.
  • Nationals right-hander Collin Balester is looking for members to join his 'Movember' team.  Click here to sign up and join Balester in raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.

Odds & Ends: Lowe, Bay, Gonzalez

News and notes from around the big leagues tonight…

  • Derek Lowe tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he doesn't expect to be back in Atlanta in 2010 and feels rather disrespected by being put on the trade market just a year after signing with the Braves: "I would have never even considered going there if I knew that ultimately this was going to happen."
  • The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald considers Theo Epstein's comments from the Mike Cameron press conference to be a virtual farewell to Jason Bay's time in Boston.
  • As if the Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins signings weren't enough, the Orioles also "made a pretty good run" at trading for Adrian Gonzalez at the winter meetings, tweets ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.
  • Scott Merkin of MLB.com is reporting (via Twitter) that Jason Botts has been given an invitation to spring training by the White Sox.  Botts played in Japan last season after posting a .230/.325/.344 line in 326 plate appearances with Texas from 2005 to 2008.
  • MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (via Twitter) quoted Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as saying "Right now, it doesn't look good," in regards to Chan Ho Park re-signing with Philadelphia.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark talks with Baseball America's John Manuel about how the Phillies' farm system looks in the wake of the big Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee deal.
  • Jose Contreras wanted a three-year contract from the Rockies, but the club "didn't bite," reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com.  Harding notes that Colorado may have to wait to see what happens with Rafael Betancourt's possible arbitration case before they can make a move toward signing relievers like Contreras or Joe Beimel.
  • If the Nationals can't sign any relief help, they will move a willing Collin Balester into the bullpen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • Jake Westbrook seems fit after his stint Puerto Rican Winter League, reports MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.  It was rumored that the Tribe would have been in the market for a veteran starter (maybe Carl Pavano) to anchor their staff had Westbrook suffered a setback from his Tommy John surgery in 2008.

Nationals Rumors: Pena, Rotation, Valentin

Chico Harlan of the Washington Post offers up a number of Nationals rumors.

  • Wily Mo Pena was placed on waivers, meaning that any team can claim him and take on his $2MM salary. As Harlan points out, no team will claim him so Pena will have to choose between free agency and a minor league assignment. Apparently Pena declined to comment this morning, but shook hands with many in the Washington clubhouse before heading out (leaving a full locker behind).
  • Collin Balester was optioned to AAA so Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann are the team's 4th and 5th starters.  
  • Catcher Javier Valentin declined a minor league assignment and became a free agent.     
  • Yesterday, Harlan spoke with Austin Kearns and Josh Willingham about the possibility of reduced playing time and both players said they want to play out the spring first.


Nats Trying To Acquire Dukes?

Rays Index dug up a story on a Dominican news site.  Apparently the Nationals are trying to acquire Elijah Dukes with the intent of making him their center fielder.  Manny Acta went to the Dominican Republic to watch Dukes play recently.  The Rays, of course, are asking for pitching in return.  The Nats don’t want to give up Collin Balester, Colton Willems, Zech Zinicola, or Glenn Gibson in the deal.

If you speak Spanish check out the article here and let us know any interesting info in the comments that we weren’t able to glean from Google Translator.