Dan Wheeler Rumors
Relievers Dan Wheeler and Joel Zumaya have officially retired from the game, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter links). The pair of 6'3" righties each saw their share of success at the MLB level.
Wheeler, 36, had far the lengthier career of the two. Over 13 big league seasons, Wheeler posted a cumulative 3.98 ERA over 640 2/3 innings, most all of them in relief. He was a sturdy presence in the pen for the Rays and Astros over much of the first decade of the 21st century, and also had stints with the Mets, Red Sox, and Indians. He ended his MLB career with a disappointing run in Cleveland in 2012, and likewise struggled last year with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate.
Zumaya, who just turned 29 in November, showed flashes of excellence in his short career. Over five seasons with the Tigers, the fireballer posted a 3.05 ERA in 209 2/3 innings pitched. (Somewhat oddly, he notched exactly one save in each of those campaigns.) His lifetime rate stats stand at 9.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9. Zumaya's best season was his first: in 83 1/3 innings in 2006, he allowed just 1.94 earned runs per nine innings. A series of elbow surgeries led to an untimely end to Zumaya's playing days.
We'll keep an eye on today's minor moves right here:
- Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez has been outrighted to Triple-A, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (Twitter link). Martinez was designated for assignment by the club earlier this week.
- Edgar Gonzalez has elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports (via Twitter). Gonzalez was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays two days ago and he chose free agency rather than report to Triple-A Buffalo. The right-hander posted a 7.88 ERA in eight innings pitched with Toronto this season.
- The Royals have released right-handed relief pitcher Dan Wheeler, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Wheeler, 35, had been pitching for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, where he struggled to a 9.00 ERA over 15 innings with a substandard 2.200 WHIP. Last year, Wheeler made just twelve appearances for the Indians and was similarly ineffective, pitching to an 8.76 ERA. Between 2003-2011, Wheeler made no fewer than 35 big league appearances per season. His best seasons came with the Astros in 2005-06, when he logged over 70 innings a year and posted consecutive 2.21 and 2.52 ERA marks.
The Royals have signed George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training, the team announced. Earlier today Kansas City signed Willy Taveras to a minor league deal.
Sherrill, 35, appeared in only two games with the Mariners this year before blowing out his elbow and having Tommy John surgery. The left-hander is one year removed from a 3.00 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 36 innings for the Braves, holding lefties to a .256/.275/.333 batting line.
Wheeler, 35, spent most of this season in Triple-A. He allowed 12 runs in 12.1 innings with the Indians before being designated for assignment in May. Wheeler pitched to a 2.32 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings after being sent down. The right-hander has held righties to a .216/.267/.366 during his 13-year career.
A total of 28 players -- all with big league time under their belts -- recently elected free agency after finishing the year in Triple-A. Here is the full list, courtesy of the International League and Pacific Coast League transaction pages...
- Infielders: Brian Bixler (Astros), Sean Burroughs (Twins), Blake DeWitt (Cubs), Alberto Gonzalez (Rangers), Angel Sanchez (Astros), Nate Spears (Red Sox), Drew Sutton (Pirates)
- Outfielders: Travis Buck (Astros), Ryan Langerhans (Angels), Mitch Maier (Royals), Darnell McDonald (Yankees), Jai Miller (Orioles), Trent Oeltjen (Dodgers), Jason Pridie (Phillies), Mike Wilson (Mariners)
- Right-handed Pitchers: Roman Colon (Royals), Mike Ekstrom (Rockies), Jack Egbert (Mets), Ryota Igarashi (Yankees), Evan Meek (Pirates), Scott Richmond (Blue Jays), Kip Wells (Padres), Randy Wells (Cubs), Dan Wheeler (Indians)
- Left-handed Pitchers: Alex Hinshaw (Cubs), Cesar Jimenez (Mariners), Zach Kroenke (Diamondbacks), Garrett Olson (Mets)
The latest outright assignments from around MLB...
- The Indians announced that they outrighted Dan Wheeler to Triple-A Columbus. The right-hander, who was designated for assignment over the weekend, must accept the minor league assignment.
- The Blue Jays announced that they outrighted right-hander Trystan Magnuson off of the 40-man roster to the Dunedin Blue Jays (via Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi on Twitter). The Blue Jays sent the 26-year-old native of British Columbia to Oakland in the Rajai Davis trade then purchased him back from the A's last offseason. Magnuson has been pitching at Class A Dunedin, where he has a 4.05 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 so far in 2012.
Wheeler was tagged for six earned runs in an inning of work today, ballooning his ERA to 8.76 in 12 1/3 innings of work. The 34-year-old seemed to have lost the ability to miss bats this season, as he struck out only two hitters during that time. After walking just eight batters in all of 2011, he walked seven in his short Cleveland tenure and his average fastball dropped from 89.2mph to 88.3mph.
Wheeler signed a one-year, minor league deal with the Indians this offseason and has appeared for the Astros, Rays, Mets, and Red Sox in his 13-year Major League career.
Expanded instant replay was included in the new collective bargaining agreement, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the league is no rush to implement a new system. MLB executive vice president Joe Torre told Morosi they want to "make the game better without dragging it on."
Here's the latest from the around the league as Thursday turns into Friday...
- "I have no idea," said Kevin Youkilis to ESPN's Gordon Edes when asked what the arrival of Will Middlebrooks means for his future with the Red Sox. Youkilis can become a free agent after this season and is in the middle of a make or break year.
- The Nationals may have a better chance of trading Chien-Ming Wang than John Lannan, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Wang is currently on the DL with a hamstring issue, but Lannan has a 6.10 ERA in Triple-A.
- "This is just something that we've got to do right now," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune following last night's roster shakeup. "We need to make some changes. We need some hits. We need some new life in here, the whole package."
- Dan Wheeler declined to comment when asked if he though about accepting the Red Sox's offer of arbitration last offseason, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Wheeler would have received a guaranteed big league contract had he accepted arbitration, but he instead settled for a minor league deal with the Indians.
SUNDAY: Wheeler will earn $900K if he makes the Major League roster, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Wheeler can make an additional $50K every 5 games he appears in from 45-70 games, $50K for 35 games finished, $75K for 40 games finished, and $125K each for 45 and 50 games finished.
THURSDAY: The Indians announced that they signed reliever Dan Wheeler to a minor league contract. Diamond Sports Management represents the right-hander.
Wheeler, 34, posted a 4.38 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a 32.0% ground ball rate in 49 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2011. Boston declined its option on Wheeler after the season, but did offer arbitration. Wheeler, who earned $3MM in 2011, declined in a decision that likely cost him guaranteed money. Wheeler has a 3.88 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 35.7% ground ball rate in his 12-year MLB career.
As Alex Speier of WEEI.com points out on Twitter, the Red Sox won't get a compensatory draft pick for losing Wheeler, since he didn't sign a Major League deal.
Some odds and ends as Sunday night winds down ...
- The Rangers can afford to sign both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
- The Twins had interest in signing relievers Dan Wheeler and Todd Coffey before inking Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio. Mackey adds he'd be surprised if the Twins closed the door entirely on signing either righty.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement that the two club options included in Gio Gonzalez's extension were key to getting the deal done, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Rockies were not interested in signing Bartolo Colon, now of the A's, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The Red Sox officially announced the signings of right-handers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano to minor league contracts, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- Free agent right-hander Rich Harden is drawing interest from teams that would use him either as a starter or a reliever, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Harden posted 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 82 2/3 innings as a starter for the Athletics in 2011.
- The Twins continue eyeing affordable right-handed relievers and have been in touch with the agent for Dan Wheeler, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Wheeler, who has also drawn some interest from the Pirates, sits below a couple of pitchers on the Twins’ list.
- The Pirates have had discussions with free agent left-hander Paul Maholm, but it remains highly unlikely that he'll return to Pittsburgh, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Mat Latos trade improved a Padres farm system that already ranked among the game’s best, Jim Callis of Baseball America wrote in this week’s edition of Ask BA.
- One MLB executive suggested to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Cubs and Blue Jays may prefer to pass on Prince Fielder, since Joey Votto projects to hit free agency two years from now when both Chicago and Toronto could have stronger teams (Twitter link).
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com provides contract details for Mets relievers Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco, who both agreed to terms during the Winter Meetings.