Craig Hansen Rumors

Minor Moves: Paulino, Mets, Jeroloman

We’ll keep an eye on the minor moves today right here. 

  • The Mariners have released catcher Ronny Paulino,’s Greg Johns reports (on Twitter). Paulino, who collected 63 at bats with the Orioles in 2012, was in Mariners camp on a minor-league deal. He has hit .272/.324/.376 in parts of eight seasons with the Pirates, Marlins, Mets and O’s.
  • The Mets have released a host of minor leaguers, tweets Adam Rubin of The released players are: Brad Holt, Daniel Herrera, Craig Hansen, Mike Wilson, Corey Patterson, Pedro Zapata, and Brandon Brown. Herrera has a 3.72 ERA over 101 2/3 big league innings for his career, but has not pitched in the majors since 2011 and was working back from injury. Patterson, of course, has an extensive MLB track record but spent last year with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, posting a .251/.285/.410 line in 387 plate appearances. Hansen had not played at the major league level since 2009, and Wilson saw only very limited action with Seattle in 2011. None of the other players released have played above the minor league level.
  • Catcher Brian Jeroloman has been traded from the Indians to the Pirates in exchange for cash, reports Quinn Roberts of Jeroloman, now 27, advanced to Triple-A as a 23-year-old but has yet to see big league action. He spent last season primarily in Double-A, where he hit .195/.308/.195 in 137 plate appearances. Jeroloman was destined for Double-A with Omir Santos in Triple-A, so the Indians instead shipped him to Pittsburgh where there was an opening at the higher level, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.

NL East Notes: Nationals, Buehrle

The Phillies are eager to trade Hunter Pence, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported today. Here are some more notes from the NL East with exactly one week remaining before the July 31st trade deadline…

  • The Nationals' primary concern is improving their middle infield depth, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. The Nationals could make a move very soon now that Ian Desmond might miss a month with a strained oblique. The team has discussed 15-20 players in the Marco Scutaro, Jamey Carroll, Nick Punto mold, Kilgore reports.
  • The Nationals aren’t looking for a starting position player and they aren’t offering much for starting pitching, Bill Ladson of reports (Twitter links). It seems unlikely that GM Mike Rizzo will trade for a premium pitcher like Zack Greinke or Matt Garza.
  • One GM told Jon Heyman of that the Marlins are expected to listen on any player not named Giancarlo Stanton or Jose Reyes. However, the Marlins would likely have to be overwhelmed to trade Mark Buehrle.
  • The Mets announced that they have signed reliever Craig Hansen to a minor league contract (via Twitter). Hansen was a first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2005.

Pirates Release Craig Hansen

The Pirates announced that they released right-hander Craig Hansen, a former first rounder who was part of the 2008 Jason Bay trade. Pirates Prospects first reported the move.

The 6'6" 27-year-old arrived in Pittsburgh nearly thee years ago, when the Pirates sent Bay to Boston. Hansen appeared in 21 games for the Pirates over the course of two seasons, posting a 6.95 ERA with twice as many walks (24) as strikeouts (12). A rare nerve injury limited Hansen to 12 minor league appearances in 2010 and sidelined him for much of 2009.

Bryan Morris is the lone player from the Bay trade remaining in the Pirates' organization, now that Brandon Moss, Andy LaRoche and Hansen have been released. In 133 2/3 minor league innings last year, Morris posted a 3.03 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. For the Pirates to salvage something of value from the Bay trade, Morris will have to provide value in the Major Leagues.

2005 Draft Throwdown

While dreams are coming true for hundreds of high school and college players this week, let's compare the paths of some 2005 first round draft picks. Nothing is more interesting than seeing how teams did choosing players at the same position. In a draft, it is the closest teams come to the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Meanwhile, those lists haunt fans' memories for years to come.

  • Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) vs. Ryan Braun (Brewers): This battle between Zimmerman, picked fourth, and Braun, picked fifth, was to be a test of hot corner prowess. But while Zimmerman has excelled at the position, winning a Gold Glove in 2009 and grading well under more advanced defensive metrics, Braun settled in left field after proving to be a disastrous fielder at third base. So far, Braun has a .931 to .836 edge in OPS, but with Zimmerman putting up an .888 in 2009 and at .986 so far in 2010, that gap may well have disappeared. Moving forward, the edge goes to Zimmerman, a terrific hitter, though a notch below Braun, but a far more valuable defensive player. Both teams won here, though.
  • Cameron Maybin (Tigers) vs. Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): These high school center fielders went back-to-back, with Maybin going tenth and McCutchen going 11th. The early returns suggest that the Tigers made a poor choice here, though they ultimately packaged Maybin in a deal for Miguel Cabrera, so they're not exactly complaining. McCutchen has hit since he arrived in Pittsburgh last season, and a 23-year-old with an .847 OPS in his first 733 major league plate appearances stands an awfully good chance of being an elite player for years to come. Maybin is still immensely talented, and could turn into a star- but McCutchen already is one. Pirates win- how often do you get to read that?
  • Craig Hansen (Red Sox) vs. Joey Devine (Braves): This throwdown is a lesson in the perils of college pitchers. They seem like sure things, compared to high schoolers, and from the start, the Red Sox and Braves thought they had their ninth-innings mapped out for years to come. Hansen, drafted 26th out of St. John's, has yet to find command at the major league level, with 63 walks against 70 strikeouts in 93.2 innings. The right-hander was one of the moving parts in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Hansen's troubles were baffling, until the discovery of a degenerative nerve condition that has his career in doubt. Devine, chosen 27th, got traded to Oakland for Mark Kotsay, so Atlanta didn't benefit much from choosing him, either. The Athletics got a fantastic 2008 out of Devine- a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings with 49 strikeouts. Tommy John surgery kept him out for 2009, but he is currently on track to return to Oakland by the end of June. Winner here? Clearly, the Athletics.

Revisiting The Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay Trade

It's been nearly 20 months since the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Pirates completed the three-team blockbuster that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles, Jason Bay to Boston, and four prospects to Pittsburgh. Alex Speier of spoke to Pirates' GM Neal Huntington about the trade, who noted that the book is still out on their end of the deal. 

Here are the highlights, but the whole article is well worth the read…

  • Huntington suggests the Pirates now believe that they had a better offer on the table for Bay than the one they ultimately accepted, though it's not fair to look back using hindsight. The Marlins and Rays were both rumored to be interested at the time. 
  • He also recognizes that he might have received a better package if he waited until the offseason to deal Bay.
  • If the deal had not been made, the Red Sox were unsure about how to proceed with Manny's $20MM club option for 2009, and it was unclear if they would have been willing to risk offering him arbitration to recoup draft pick compensation.
  • They were, however, confident in offering Jason Bay arbitration at the time of the trade.
  • Meanwhile, the two players Pittsburgh received from Boston haven't delivered as expected. Brandon Moss is out of options, and might be put through waivers after hitting .232/.300/.381 since the trade, while Craig Hansen apparently went unclaimed after being designated for assignment. Both players have dealt with injuries.
  • Huntington says that if Andy LaRoche's power comes on, it would be a good trade for them since they acquired six years of him for a year and a half of Bay. If Bryan Morris develops into a middle of the rotation starter, he would consider it a great deal.

Week in Review: 7/27 – 8/2

We saw the non-waiver trade deadline come and go this week, and plenty of action to go along with it. Let’s recap the big moves of the week:

  • The Dodgers, Pirates, and Red Sox completed a three-team, blockbuster trade that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles, Jason Bay to Boston, and Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, Craig Hansen, and Brandon Moss to Pittsburgh. The Pirates got a pretty nice haul, and while Bay won’t necessarily replace Manny’s production, he’s much more affordable, signed through ’09, and doesn’t disrupt the clubhouse. The Dodgers add the big bat they need for a push in the NL West, though are now overloaded with overpaid outfielders. All in all, I don’t think any team made a bad deal in this one.
  • The Angels made a big move in adding Mark Teixeira to their lineup, sending Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek to Atlanta in exchange. The Angels didn’t need help at the time – they’re running away with the AL West – but this move will undoubtedly be significant in the postseason. Great boost to the Halos’ lineup.
  • The White Sox and Reds completed a trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to Chicago in exchange for Nick Masset and Danny Richar. I don’t understand this trade from the Sox perspective. Griffey was only hitting .245 at the time of the trade, and his range in center field isn’t close to what it once was. Still, he’s a presence in both the lineup and the clubhouse. Will playing for a contender rejuvenate him?
  • The Yankees acquired future hall-of-famer Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth. With Jorge Posada out for the season, New York did a good job of solidifying their catcher’s spot, while the Tigers got some much-needed improvement in their bullpen.
  • The Twins aren’t known for making big trades at the deadline, and they held true to that in 2008. However, they made a move that could be bigger than any trade they might have made, when they designated Livan Hernandez for assignment, and recalled Francisco Liriano from Triple-A Rochester. The Twins DFA’ed Craig Monroe as well. The Rockies are looking for a fifth starter, and could have interest in Hernandez.
  • Relievers on the move: Arthur Rhodes was traded to the Marlins, giving them another effective lefty option in the bullpen. The Astros acquired LaTroy Hawkins, still buying despite being 9.5 games out of the wildcard race at the time.
  • The Nationals released Paul Lo Duca and Felipe Lopez. Both were highly unsuccessful this season, though they could generate interest from other teams.
  • Tim explained the rules behind waiver trades for those who are unfamiliar with how the process works after the July 31st non-waiver deadline. He also takes a look at some noteable names who stayed put at the deadline.
  • Minor moves: The Yankees signed Victor Zambrano to a minor league contract, while the Red Sox did the same with former Cleveland closer Joe Borowski.
  • The Diamondbacks are talking extension with their second ace, Dan Haren.
  • USA Today wrote an article on MLBTR. Check it out!

Braves Offered Teixeira For Youkilis, Hansen?

10:28pm: Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said there is nothing to this rumor.

3:28pm: Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe expects the Red Sox to engage in further conversations with the Braves about Teixeira leading up to the deadline.

8:29am: Several readers have written in regarding a rumor from ESPN’s Peter Gammons during last night’s broadcast.  Reportedly Gammons said the Braves offered Mark Teixeira to the Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis and Craig Hansen, but the Sox declined.

Given Youk’s superior numbers and team control through 2010, hanging on to him makes sense.  But it is interesting to see that the Braves might be shopping Teixeira already.

On The Hot Seat: Giambi, Hafner, Sexson, Timlin

I love lists, and here’s one from Peter Abraham at The Journal News that details who he thinks is in the hot seat.  In other words, who might be traded or released if current trends continue.  There are a number of managers and GMs on the list, but we like to focus on players here.  I’m going to go through the list and take stabs-in-the-dark whether a player is likely to be dealt or if they’re just fluff for Mr. Abraham’s article – and then we can discuss in the comments.

Jason Giambi – An announcer this year said that Giambi’s defensive range extended from his right knee to his left knee.  As a fielder, he’s decent with no range; however, as a hitter Giambi has never been considered a slow starter, as Abraham notes he is a career .281 hitter in April.  Still, like Carlos Delgado, Giambi has shown some recent spurts of life in his bat, and he does have 7 HR (one shy of the league leading 8) and 20 RBI.  PECOTA projects .230-24-73 with a .362 OBP.  If he can bring his average up, he’ll be roughly on target for that projection.  If he can’t, Abraham thinks the Yankees "might as well give someone else a chance."  So far, Joe Girardi’s been supportive and patient calling the slump a product of bad luck.  Prediction: Staying put.

Travis Hafner – Abraham sees .256 with 27 HR in almost 700 ABs and wonders if the Indians would rather trade him to a team who believes he can turn it around than risk eating the remaining $56MM on Hafner’s contract.  At 31, Hafner is an oddity.  Last year the slumping behemoth of a man saw his power drop by almost 20 HR.  He’s currently continuing that trend with his OPS at a mere 640 and w/o a homerun since April 17 (!).  During an ESPN game, they were discussing how his timing – particularly with his front foot-plant – is off making it hard for him to get ahead of pitches.  So his problem seems both perceptual and mechanical – but why can’t Pronk seem to correct this?  I’d be worried because his contract is slowly going from bothersome to disastrous.  PECOTA is not a believer, projecting .275-28-98 – hardly a rebound.  He’s making $6.3MM this year and is on the books for another $70MM until 2013 (with a $2.75MM buyout in his last year).  Is there a batting coach out there on a big-market team that can fix this?  Wouldn’t count on it.  Prediction: Staying put.

Richie Sexson
– In the Year of the Slumping First Basemen, Richie Sexson is not at all unlike Giambi or Delgado.  Abraham pulls no punches with Richie, calling him "one of the worst hitters in baseball during the last two seasons and shows no signs of coming around."  He’s making $14MM this year, owed approx. $11.2MM more, and then he’s surely done in Seattle.  I agree with Abraham that $11.2MM will "buy him another month or two" but the Mariners have options and I’d expect them to explore them by trading Sexson and eating some of the contract – maybe sooner rather than later as cutting your losses is (almost) acceptable practice this season.  Sexson has never been the hitter Delgado, Giambi, or Hafner have been and has been intolerably bad for just too long.  Prediction: Shipping off.

Mike Timlin
– Making $3MM this year, Abraham notes Timlin has allowed 9 runs in 7 1/3 IP and with a small contract would be an easy piece to move.  But I ask why?  Relief pitching is a commodity, and Timlin – known to the Red Sox as the captain of the bullpen – brings to the team a fair deal of intangible value, particularly as they integrate Craig Hansen and Justin Masterson into their relief corps.  7.1 IP is hardly a sample worth examining as he’s basically still in spring-training-form.  Last year he had a 3.42 ERA in 50 IP and while he’s not the 2.24 ERA Timlin that saved 13 games when Keith Foulke went down, he’s serviceable.  If he fails to progress and becomes a liability then maybe the Red Sox will move him from mop up duty to another team.  Still, I doubt it.  Prediction: Staying put.

Let’s hear your thoughts.  Who did Abraham forget?  Who disagrees?

By Nat Boyle

Odds And Ends: Fassero, Hansen, Petco

Couple of player-related items to share, though they’re not really rumors. Anyway:


Failed Trades

Let’s take a look at some deals that almost happened yesterday.

Kyle Farnsworth for Bob Wickman.  This would’ve been fun, reunions with former teams for both players.  However, the Braves wanted the Yankees to pick up all of Farnsworth’s salary, apparently.  Brian Cashman didn’t want to make him go away that badly, and Wickman would probably be a nonfactor back in the AL.

Mariners acquire Mark Loretta.  Eh.  Let’s not overstate the abilities of Loretta.  It sounds like Tim Purpura wanted some kind of legitimate prospect for him.

Rockies send Jeff Baker and others to Tampa Bay for Dan Wheeler.  We can’t really evaluate this one without knowing who else would’ve been involved.  And the Rays don’t really have a place to play Baker; they’re already squeezed finding playing time for Jonny Gomes.  If Rocco Baldelli ever gets healthy they’ll really have a pickle.  I mentioned in a recent interview at D-Rays Bay – Wheeler would probably be one of the ten best relievers available if he was a free agent after the season.  The Rays can pump up his value and get a promising young pitcher next year, as the Royals did with Octavio Dotel.    

Brewers send Tony Gwynn Jr., Zach Jackson, and another minor league for Eric Gagne.  This could’ve been the difference-maker that Scott Linebrink ain’t in a tight NL Central race.  But it doesn’t seem like Doug Melvin got a chance to counter the Red Sox offer, so you can’t really fault him.

Red Sox send Wily Mo Pena and Craig Hansen to White Sox for Jermaine Dye.  Well, there has to be some statistical way to evaluate whether this pair beats two draft picks.  You’d have to know the attrition rates of first/second rounders, and get some scouts on Pena and Hansen to see if they can ever reach their potential.  If I was the Kenny Williams I probably would’ve made the deal.  I think Pena gets docked in value from where he was two years ago, but still has pretty much the same upside if you manage him right.  Who knows, maybe Williams will go after Pena again this winter.