David Aardsma Rumors

Dodgers To Sign David Aardsma

Right-hander David Aardsma has signed with the Dodgers, the pitcher himself tweeted today. As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes, Aardsma will be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee looking to secure a spot in the team’s bullpen. Aardsma is represented by TWC Sports.

Aardsma, formerly the closer for the Mariners (he saved 69 games in Seattle from 2009-10), spent the 2014 season with the Cardinals, working to an excellent 1.46 ERA with 38 strikeouts against 18 walks in 37 minor league innings. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently noted, Aardsma has re-worked his mechanics and seen improved velocity as a result. Last week, I tweeted that Aardsma’s velocity reached 92 mph in his final bullpen session, which was attended by 18 scouts.

A groin injury ultimately ended Aardsma’s 2014 campaign and halted his chances of making an impact with the Cardinals’ bullpen, but 33-year-old does bring some upside to L.A. if healthy. Over his past 161 2/3 innings in the Majors, Aardsma has a 3.28 ERA with 166 strikeouts against 79 walks. He’ll look to force his way into a mix of arms that includes closer Kenley Jansen as well as setup men J.P. Howell, Brandon League and Joel Peralta. Other candidates for the Dodger ‘pen include Paco Rodriguez, Carlos Frias, Pedro Baez, Juan Nicasio and Chris Hatcher.

Pitching Notes: Porcello, Aardsma, Albers, Zito

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello figures to present a fascinating free agent case, as Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes. The righty will enter free agency in advance of his age-27 campaign and remains a candidate to put up a big year in Boston. Even if he ends up with more typical results than a true breakout, and even accounting for robust market supply, his age could make him a $100MM player, in Petriello’s view.

Here are a few notes on some of the few remaining current free agents:

  • Reliever David Aardsma pushed his velocity up to 92 mph in a recent showcase in front of eighteen scouts, MLBTR’s Steve Adams reports (Twitter links). The 33-year-old has not seen MLB action since 2013, but worked to a 1.46 ERA with better than a strikeout per inning last year at Triple-A with the Cardinals organization. He is expected to choose a team in the near future.
  • Fellow righty Matt Albers also threw for teams recently, as already reported, and the Indians were among those in attendance, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland also had a look at lefty Barry Zito, who threw for observers yesterday.
  • Speaking of prior reports on Albers and Zito, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle — who broke the news last night — tweets today that Astros owner Jim Crane says the team could bring in Zito with a spring training invite. Drellich cautions that it still seems unlikely that Zito will land with Houston.

Pitching Notes: Zito, Belisario, Twins

Former AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito is throwing for  “select group” of teams on Tuesday, agent Scott Boras tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Zito, who sat out the 2014 season, is eyeing a return to the game and hopes to sign with a team before Spring Training. He last followed up a respectable 2012 season with a dismal 2013 campaign, pitching to a 5.74 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 133 1/3 innings for the Giants.

Here are a few more pitching notes from around the game:

  • Ronald Belisario‘s contract with the Rays can max out at $1.8MM if he reaches all of his incentives, tweets CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Belisario inked a minor league pact with the Rays over the weekend just days after a similar deal with the Blue Jays fell through. The right-hander will compete for a spot in Tampa’s bullpen this spring.
  • The Twins are open to adding some relief help, according to previous reports, but Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the team isn’t showing interest in righty David Aardsma at this time. The former Mariners closer, who enjoyed a strong season with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014, will audition for clubs next Monday.
  • Speaking of the Twins‘ bullpen, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger did his best to sort out the many candidates in his latest Twins Inbox column. In addition to his take on who is most likely to comprise Minnesota’s relief corps in 2015, Bollinger notes that offseason signee Tim Stauffer will get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation, despite the fact that most believed he was signed as a bullpen addition.

Quick Hits: Rockies, Aardsma, Moylan

Despite their recent additions of David Hale and Gus Schlosser, the Rockies are still hunting for established pitching, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. GM Jeff Bridich says will try to add another pitcher who will be part of the 40-man roster. Bridich says he likes Hale and Schlosser’s abilities to get ground balls, and notes that the Rockies will have both head into Spring Training preparing to be starters. “[W]e will sit down in the early part of spring and figure it out,” says Bridich. “The fact that both of these guys have started in the past was an appealing part of who they are, and of their history.” Here are more notes from throughout the game.

  • Agent Jamie Murphy says client David Aardsma will throw for teams next Monday (Feb. 9) in Arizona, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Aardsma hopes to demonstrate increased velocity after making mechanical changes, Murphy adds. The 33-year-old Aardsma had a strong 2014 season for Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals organization, posting a 1.29 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 35 innings. The former closer last appeared in the Majors with the Mets in 2013.
  • Free agent righty Peter Moylan is “feeling great” and is hoping to return to the Majors by midseason after having Tommy John surgery last March, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring,” says Moylan. “Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging.” The 36-year-old, a former Braves bullpen mainstay, has pitched fewer than 30 innings in the big leagues since 2010, last appearing in the bigs with the Dodgers in 2013.

David Aardsma Does Not Exercise Opt-Out

May 16: Aardsma decided not to opt out yesterday and will stay with Triple-A Memphis for the time being, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

May 7: Cardinals right-hander David Aardsma, currently with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Memphis, has a May 15 opt-out date in his current minor league contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link).

The 32-year-old Aardsma signed with the Cardinals late in Spring Training after asking for his release from the Indians and has been solid for the Redbirds so far. Aardsma has a 1.98 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and three saves through his first 13 2/3 innings in Memphis.

Last season marked Aardsma’s first extensive work in the Majors since Tommy John surgery and labrum repair surgery slowed his career in 2011. He posted a 4.31 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 32.8 percent ground-ball rate in 39 2/3 innings with the Mets in 2013. Though his average fastball velocity was down from his career mark of 93.7 mph, he still averaged 91.2 mph and notched an 11.7 percent swinging-strike rate that was actually better than his career mark of 10.7 percent.

Cardinals Sign David Aardsma

After being released by the Indians, reliever David Aardsma has signed with the Cardinals, according to a report from Derick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (links to Twitter). The contract is a minor league deal, meaning he will still need to earn a roster spot.

Aardsma, 32, threw 39 2/3 frames for the Mets last year, posting a 4.31 ERA, after a long layoff due to Tommy John surgery. He notched 8.2 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9, while generating just a 32.8% ground-ball rate. Advanced metrics were all over the map last year for Aardsma — 5.27 FIP; 4.63 xFIP; 4.01 SIERA. As Steve Adams wrote in discussing Aardsma's release from Cleveland, the righty has not regained his pre-surgery, mid-90s fastball velocity, so it remains to be seen whether he will be able to continue improving back towards his strong form over 2009-10, when he served as the Mariners closer.

Indians Release David Aardsma

The Indians have granted right-hander David Aardsma his release, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Aardsma asked for his release after being informed that he would not make the big league bullpen, according to Bastian.

The 32-year-old Aardsma returned from a lengthy Major League disappearance to fire 39 2/3 innings of 4.31 ERA ball for the Mets last season. Prior to that stint, Aardsma had thrown just one inning from 2011-12 as he battled back from Tommy John surgery. In New York, he averaged 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 but posted a low (even by his standards) 32.8 percent ground-ball rate.

Aardsma doesn't have the zip he had prior to Tommy John, when he averaged better than 94 mph on his fastball with regularity. He checked in at an average of 91.2 mph last season but still posted a strong 11.7 swinging-strike rate. Aardsma stranded 80.5 percent of his baserunners last season — a mark he is unlikely to repeat — but also was plagued by a 14.6 percent homer-to-flyball ratio, which figures to come down (his career mark is 9.5 percent). For what it's worth, Aardsma has had a strong Spring Training, yielding two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks in six innings of work.

Indians Sign David Aardsma

7:37pm: Aardsma would earn $1MM upon making the roster out of Spring Training, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link).

10:47am: The Indians have signed David Aardsma to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, the club announced via press release. The 32-year-old righty is represented by TWC Sports.

Last year, Aardsma saw fairly extensive action at the MLB level for the first time since 2010, when he was closing games for the Mariners. Throwing for the Mets, Aardsma pitched 39 2/3 innings of 4.31 ERA ball in 2013, including 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. 

He is joined by several other veterans signed to minor league deals. Cleveland has also inked non-guaranteed contracts with right-handed relievers Scott Atchison and Matt Capps, along with longtime minor leaguer J.C. Ramirez and southpaw Mike Zagurski.

Mets Sign David Aardsma

The Mets announced that they have signed David Aardsma to a minor league deal.  The right-hander will report to the club's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.

Aardsma, 31, was with the Marlins on a minor league deal but exercised his opt-out clause in mid-May.  The veteran posted a 2.57 ERA with 12 strikeouts and eight walks across 14 innings of work for Triple-A New Orleans.  Aardsma has had bad luck with injuries in recent years, having undergone surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip followed by Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Late last week, we heard that Japan's Hanshin Tigers had interest in bringing Aardsma aboard after he parted ways with Miami.  For his career, Aardsma owns a 4.22 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 across parts of seven big league seasons.  

Hanshin Tigers Pursuing David Aardsma

David Aardsma, who requested his release from the Marlins earlier in the week, is being pursued by Japan's Hanshin Tigers, according to a Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link).

Aardsma pitched fairly well in his 14-inning stint with the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans, but has appeared in just one Major League inning since 2010. Surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip followed by Tommy John surgery have stalled the 31-year-old's career, but he was a solid ninth inning option for Seattle from 2009-10. Aardsma picked up 69 saves in that time, posting a 2.90 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 121 innings.

I imagine that Aardsma's track record would allow him to get a Major League opportunity with a team in need of bullpen help at some point, but if not, Japan has served as a stepping stone back to the big leagues for many pitchers in the past. Colby Lewis, Scott Atchison and Ryan Vogelsong are recent examples of pitchers who experienced varying degrees of success in Nippon Professional Baseball before working their way back to Major League rosters.

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