Damian Miller Rumors
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines the status of nine free agents: Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Steve Finley, Freddy Garcia, David Wells, and Damian Miller.
- Lofton is likely to find a job; he's healthy and played reasonably well last year. The Cubs still might be a fit.
- Seems that Garcia probably won't reach a big league mound until September; auditioning for teams may take place in July.
- Miller received calls from the Yankees and Padres, but he's still taking a Brewers or nothing stance.
THURSDAY, 9:51am: The Padres (and Giants) didn't claim Quintero; he passed through waivers and is headed to Triple A.
WEDNESDAY, 11:43am: The Padres aren't quite sure how long Michael Barrett's elbow injury will knock him out. He won't need Tommy John surgery, but he could miss anywhere from the minimum to two months. Kevin Towers contacted free agent Damian Miller as a possible backup to be used later this month. Miller wasn't able to find a job this winter. For now, the Padres will use the light-hitting Colt Morton behind Josh Bard.
One reader suggested Humberto Quintero, who was designated for assignment on March 31st. The Quintero situation should be resolved soon, but the Giants might claim him.
Some bits and pieces from today...
- Damian Miller is leaning toward retirement, leaving Johnny Estrada as the one halfway viable catching option out there.
- Talks continue with Ryan Zimmerman on a long-term deal. The Nationals and Zimmerman reportedly discussed this a year ago.
- Padres GM Kevin Towers is upfront about his inquiries on Matt Murton and Xavier Nady. The Cubs aren't done, by the way.
- Troy Tulowitzki is able to void his contract if he'd traded.
- The Rockies have had preliminary talks with Brad Hawpe about a multiyear deal. Tracy Ringoslby says they might aim for a four-year deal, buying out one year of free agency. The 28 year-old hit .291/.387/.539 in '07. He was a lot better at Coors and against righties.
- Anthony McCarron says a long-term deal with Chien-Ming Wang looks unlikely, and the Yankees may have to go to a hearing with him regarding his '08 salary.
Ronny Paulino. The Pirates' backstop turns 27 in April and sports a career OPS of .730 (NL average for the position in '07 was .712). Paulino nailed 26.7% of baserunners in '07 and 36.2% in '06. For his gamecalling skills I'll defer to devoted Pirate fans, but he's got to be improving after two years behind the dish. In short, there's no reason to spend money at the catcher position for 2008.
That is exactly what the Pirates are planning, however. The names on the radar:
- Johnny Estrada - free agent with few remaining skills, will cost between $3.5-4MM
- Miguel Olivo - free agent hits for pop and guns runners down, will cost around $3MM
- Damian Miller - aging backup with little left, will cost around $2MM
- Michael Barrett - intriguing buy low trade possibility, but could cost $4.5-5MM
I don't really support any of these moves, but I can at least see the logic in acquiring Barrett on the cheap and hoping to cash in on a rebound year. But bringing in a vet to split time with Paulino doesn't seem good for his development.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson has a handful of Nationals rumors tonight.
- As you know, Damian Miller, Johnny Estrada, and Miguel Montero have been targeted at the catcher position.
- The Nats want to sign Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal, but it appears he craves multiple years.
- As mentioned earlier, the Nats like Kazuo Fukumori. What we didn't mention earlier was the idea that Fukumori could start. The notion seems questionable, as the 31 year-old hasn't started a game since 2002.
- The Nationals have no interest in David Eckstein or Kenny Lofton, despite their desire for a leadoff hitter. They certainly don't need an outfielder, anyway.
More random rumors to devour...
- The Braves are looking at adding Damian Miller as their backup catcher. The Nats are known to have interest and more playing time for Miller. The Padres are considering him as well; Miller will definitely play in '08.
- Jake Peavy will get a three-year, $52MM extension with a $22MM option for 2013. Who knows how the Padres will feel about that option when they get there. Peavy will earn $15MM in 2010, $16MM in '11, and $17MM in '12. The '13 option has a $4MM buyout attached.
- Jacoby Ellsbury signed on with the Scott Boras Corporation. I made an error earlier saying Jon Lester had as well.
- Pirates inked utility man Chris Gomez for a million bucks.
- The Nationals have their eye on Arizona's Miguel Montero. They're also one of the ten teams in on Kazuo Fukumori. Barry Svrluga tosses a new Japanese reliever into the mix: Katsuhiko Maekawa. Don't know a thing about him yet.
- Larry LaRue tries to explain why the Mariners didn't offer arbitration to Jose Guillen.
The Nationals aren't ready to anoint Jesus Flores their starting catcher even with Brian Schneider gone. The 23 year-old Rule 5 pick was forced to jump from A ball to the bigs this year so the Nats could retain him. It certainly makes sense to get him to Triple A so he can re-enter a normal development path.
That leaves the Nats seeking a veteran catcher. According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, they've set their sights on Damian Miller. The interest is mutual. Miller, 38, took on a backup role last year as his offense continued to slip. He made $2.25MM and probably isn't looking for much more than that.
Ladson runs through the other available options at catcher but none seem an ideal fit for the Nats.
Joe Capozzi checks in with a look at the Marlins' approach toward free agency this winter.
It sounds like the Fish are willing to spend a few bucks to upgrade on Miguel Olivo in the catcher spot. Do they go for the defensive-minded Yorvit Torrealba, or the typically offensive-minded Michael Barrett? So far the Marlins are leaning toward Torrealba, but would have to beat the Rockies' two-year, $6MM offer. And the Mets' level of interest probably just increased with Jorge Posada staying with the Yankees.
Barrett has a Jeffrey Loria connection, but might seek a two-year deal for $8MM or so. The Padres might roll the dice and offer him arbitration. If they do he declines then the price for another team to sign him increases signficantly - a first or second round draft pick. The Marlins #6 overall pick is protected, as is the Devil Rays' #1 overall pick. In contrast, teams like the Brewers, Blue Jays, Mets, and Rockies risk losing first round picks if they sign Type A free agents who declined arbitration. Another way to lose those picks would be to sign Type A guys before December 2nd.
Capozzi says the Fish could also look at Paul Lo Duca, Damian Miller, or Rod Barajas if the first two choices fall through.
The Marlins will surf the bargain bin for one veteran starter, and they're currently targeting Mike Maroth. I like it. He's an Orlando native who could bounce back and win ten games in '08. Capozzi also says the Marlins are in touch with Aaron Boone's agent, but will have competition from the Nationals.