Craig Counsell Rumors

AL Notes: Yankees, Tigers, Indians, Red Sox

Blockbuster trades motivated by one team's desire for financial flexibility (AKA a salary dump) like the Marlins-Blue Jays deal or the Red Sox-Dodger swap are nothing new in baseball history. On this date in 1947, the St. Louis Browns and the Boston Red Sox began a two-day trading frenzy involving 13 players (four Browns and nine Red Sox) and the Browns receiving $375K (worth nearly $3.1MM in today's dollars). Here's the latest news, notes, and comments from the present-day American League:

  • The Yankees continue to have conversations with free agent outfielder Scott Hairston, writes the New York Post's Dan Martin. Hairston would bring a right-handed power bat to the outfield mix and could fit into a platoon, as the Yankees have already had preliminary discussions to bring back Raul Ibanez.
  • The Yankees still want to trim payroll to $189MM by 2014 for luxury tax and revenue sharing refund purposes, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if Hal Steinbrenner isn't risking a brand worth billions for the millions the team would earn by doing so.
  • If the Tigers fail to re-sign Anibal Sanchez, the signing of Torii Hunter will still make the offseason a success, team president and GM Dave Dombrowski told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. "We'll see where other things take us," Dombrowski said. "If we end up with this major move (Hunter) being our major move of the winter, I would be very happy."
  • The Indians have yet to set their 2013 budget, but it is expected to be in the neighborhood of this past season's $65MM, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. As a result of this "fluid" situation, GM Chris Antonetti must take any intriguing proposals to ownership.
  • Also in that article, Hoynes lists the five best and five worst free agent signings by the Tribe.
  • The Red Sox will interview Craig Counsell and Greg Colbrunn for their hitting coach opening, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Counsell, a special assistant to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, will interview tomorrow while Colbrunn, the hitting instructor for the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Charleston, is in the process of being scheduled for another time during the week. The Red Sox have already interviewed their minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez, former Diamondbacks hitting coach Rick Schu, and Braves assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher. 

NL Central Links: Brewers, Counsell, DeWitt

Some links pertaining to the game's largest division…


Craig Counsell To Join Brewers’ Front Office

Infielder Craig Counsell will retire as a ballplayer and join the Brewers' front office, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports.  The Wisconsin native is known for his quirky stance and involvement in the winning scoring plays of the 1997 and 2001 World Series.

Counsell spent most of his 16-year big league career at second base, third base, and shortstop, hitting .255/.342/.344 for the Rockies, Marlins, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Brewers.  According to Baseball-Reference, he earned almost $21MM along the way.



Free Agent Notes: Aramis, Chavez, Counsell, Wakefield

Let's round up the latest rumors on a few members of this winter's free agent class:

  • Agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link) that, while Aramis Ramirez has a limited market, there are at least two teams very interested in the third baseman.
  • Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that Eric Chavez's agent told Yankees GM Brian Cashman his client wants to play in 2012. Presumably, since the call went to Cashman, Chavez has some interest in rejoining the Yanks.
  • Plenty of teams are interested in Craig Counsell for a coaching or front office position, but Counsell hopes to play one more year, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. We heard yesterday that Counsell was listening to both playing and "non-playing" offers.
  • Barry Meister, Tim Wakefield's agent, told reporters today that he and Wakefield have talked about the possibility of the knuckleballer signing with a National League team. Meister added that a lot of clubs have called, but he thinks "it would be a shame" if Wakefield didn't pitch for the Red Sox. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has a transcript of the conversation.
  • Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes isn't officially a free agent yet, but that didn't stop agent Adam Katz from talking to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, about his client. While there have been some questions about whether Cespedes would need to spend time in the minors, Katz said he believes the 26-year-old is ready for the bigs.

Quick Hits: Phillips, Kuroda, Ortiz, Wood, Counsell

It's been a busy first day of the GM meetings, but we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks. Here's a collection of assorted links from throughout the day:


Brewers Rumors: Furcal, Aramis, Barmes, Reyes

Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:


Morosi On Lincecum, Cameron, Renteria, Carroll

The Giants need to bolster their offense, so Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests trading Tim Lincecum for multiple players is a viable option. Trading the two-time Cy Young Award winner might allow San Francisco to free up the payroll required to pursue a top free agent position player such as Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. Here are some more notes from Morosi…

  • Mike Cameron, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria and Craig Counsell intend to play in 2012.
  • Jon Garland might throw for teams this offseason if there’s demand, according to Morosi. The right-hander missed most of the season recovering from shoulder surgery and the Dodgers declined their 2012 option on the 32-year-old. Garland intends to continue as a starter.
  • Some teams view Jamey Carroll as an everyday second baseman. I’m not surprised to hear that since Carroll has repeatedly proven his ability to get on base and many teams will be in the market for second basemen.
  • Former Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera is pitching in the Dominican Winter League after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Agent Mike Powers told Morosi that Cabrera intends to return to MLB as a starter. The 6'7" right-hander hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2009.
  • For more thoughts on Lincecum and the Giants, check out the piece Dave Cameron wrote yesterday at FanGraphs.

Melvin On Brewers’ Offseason

The Brewers’ season is over and while GM Doug Melvin wishes his club were in the World Series, he’s proud of its accomplishments. "There's just too many good things that happened this year for me to be hanging my head,” he said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here are more details from today’s press conference via Haudricourt:

  • Melvin and Brewers owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November to discuss what kind of offer they can make free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
  • The Brewers aren’t concerned about Shaun Marcum’s health, though the right-hander struggled in the postseason.
  • Melvin said Yuniesky Betancourt was “a better player than what his critics said.” The Brewers have a $6MM option ($2MM buyout) for the shortstop in 2012 and Melvin declined to say whether they'll pick it up.
  • Melvin explained that he would like to improve defensively without sacrificing on offense.
  • He said the Brewers will seriously consider giving Mat Gamel a chance to make an impact in the Major Leagues if an opportunity emerges (i.e. Fielder signs elsewhere).
  • The Brewers haven’t talked about moving Corey Hart to first base.
  • Melvin said he’ll check in with free agents LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito. Francisco Rodriguez is likely to sign elsewhere, probably as a closer.
  • Melvin said Casey McGehee can still be a good player, despite his disappointing 2011 campaign.
  • Craig Counsell hasn’t told the Brewers whether he intends to play again next year, but it sounds as though Melvin would have some interest in re-signing him. Melvin also expects to speak to Jerry Hairston Jr. and his representative.
  • Mitch Stetter, Manny Parra and Josh Wilson are non-tender candidates, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained this week.

Oldest Current MLB Players

Generally speaking, young players tend to have athleticism, upside and a salary right around the MLB minimum. It’s no wonder that teams tend to gravitate to those players when constructing their rosters. There’s not much demand for aging, positionless sluggers in this era, yet a small group of older players are contributing to winning teams. In honor of Jason Giambi’s three-homer game, here’s a comprehensive list of every 40-plus player to don an MLB uniform in 2011:

  • Tim Wakefield (44) – The knuckleballer is once again a member of Boston's rotation. He has a 5.40 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 23 1/3 innings this year.
  • Omar Vizquel (44) – The active leader in games played is showing few signs of age. Vizquel isn't on this list for his bat, but his .327/.358/.388 line is excellent. The 11-time Gold Glove winner has played second, short and third this year.
  • Matt Stairs (43) – Stairs, who figures to DH in interleague play this weekend, needs to turn his season around. The New Brunswick native has just two hits and six walks in 28 plate appearances. Give Stairs credit for staying in the majors this long; Bryce Harper wasn’t even born when Stairs made his MLB debut with the ’92 Expos.
  • Takashi Saito (41) – Before hitting the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Saito appeared in just two games for the Brewers.
  • Mariano Rivera (41) – How is Rivera this effective at 41? He leads the league in saves (13) and has a 1.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. His average fastball still checks in at over 91 mph.
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) – Rhodes hasn't quite matched his 2010 performance so far, but a 3.97 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 isn't bad at any age.
  • Craig Counsell (40) – The 16-year veteran has a .234/.321/.255 line in 55 plate appearances at second, third, short and left field. Consider that the average MLB shortstop has a .254/.312/.361 line and Counsell's numbers look a little better.
  • Jason Giambi (40) – Giambi has an unusual .194/.306/.581 line after his three-homer game.
  • Miguel Batista (40) – Batista has a 1.69 ERA through 16 innings despite having an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9).
  • Darren Oliver (40) – Oliver has a 2.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings of relief. He and Rhodes provide the Rangers with a pair of dependable lefty relievers.
  • Jim Thome (40) – After a tremendous 2010 season, Thome's numbers have fallen off and he has spent time on the disabled list. He hit a pair of homers and posted a .214/.333/.375 line before hitting the DL with an oblique strain.

Brewers Rumors: Marcum, Betancourt, Weeks

The Brewers are going to be a different looking team in 2011. GM Doug Melvin appears to have improved his starting rotation significantly with a pair of major trades. Here's the latest on what remains for the Brewers between now and Opening Day…