David Riske Rumors

Orioles Moves: Hendrickson, Riske, VandenHurk

The Orioles are paring down their roster today; here's the latest:

  • Lefty Mark Hendrickson is among the team's cuts, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.  Hendrickson can opt out rather than report to the minors.  Given his success against lefties, he should be able to find work in the big leagues.
  • Reliever David Riske is also one of today's cuts, reports Ghiroli.  She says Riske left camp for personal reasons, and the team isn't sure whether he'll join them in Triple-A.  He too has the ability to opt out. 
  • Righty Rick VandenHurk has been cut, reports Ghiroli.  Since the Dutchman is out of options, he'll have to clear waivers to remain with the organization.  The O's snagged VandenHurk at last year's trade deadline in the Will Ohman deal.

Orioles To Sign David Riske

The Orioles agreed to sign David Riske to a minor league deal, CAA, his agency, announced on Twitter. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who has already re-signed Koji Uehara and Mark Hendrickson and signed Jeremy Accardo and Kevin Gregg, continues to add relievers.

Last year Riske returned from 2009 Tommy John surgery to appear in 23 games for the Brewers, before Milwaukee released him. The 34-year-old fly ball pitcher struck out 16 batters and walked 8 in 23 1/3 innings, posting a 5.01 ERA.

Brewers Release David Riske

The Brewers released reliever David Riske, according to the team's Twitter feed.  Riske has about $1MM remaining in 2010 salary, plus a $250K buyout for 2011.  The Brewers will be on the hook for that minus the prorated league minimum if Riske signs elsewhere.

Riske was activated from the disabled list in June and has posted a 5.01 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 with two home runs allowed in 23.3 innings.  He had Tommy John surgery in June of '09.  Riske has dealt with elbow issues for the duration of his Brewers career.  He was signed by GM Doug Melvin in December of '07 to a three-year, $13MM deal.  The Royals were the winners in that deal, as they chose Mike Montgomery with the supplemental pick received when they let Riske leave.

Worth The Riske?

Brewers right-hander David Riske is in the second season of a three-year, $13MM deal inked in December 2007.  At the time, and especially in these current economic times, it was a pretty hefty price for a non-closing right-handed reliever.  Then again, it'd be tough to argue he didn't deserve it.  Riske dominated the competition during the '07 season, with a 2.46 ERA, 52/27 K/BB ratio and 16 holds in 69 2/3 innings.  He was rewarded handsomely, but things changed once he signed the dotted line.

Riske's ERA jumped to 5.32 in '08, and he worked just 42 1/3 innings while battling a hyperextended right elbow. 2009 brings even more bad news.  The 32-year-old was told this morning that he'll need to undergo Tommy John surgery, the second major elbow procedure of his career.  He's likely to miss a good chunk of the 2010 season, barring a heroic recovery. There's a $4.75MM option for 2011 sitting on his current deal.  Is there any chance Milwaukee considers picking it up?

Seeking an insider's opinion, I polled MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.  He was gracious enough to respond.

"Even if he does come back next year and pitches well," McCalvy wrote in an e-mail to MLBTR headquarters, "$4.75 million is still a high cost for a seventh-inning guy, especially with the way contracts have gone since the end of last season.  So I think you could make a very educated guess that the option will be declined.  I suppose he could pitch 60 scoreless appearances next season and change Doug Melvin's mind, but I think everyone could agree those odds are slim."

Odds And Ends: Riske, Peavy, Penny

Links for Tuesday…

Week in Review: 8/17 – 8/23

Another week in the books, and we keep seeing big names moved after the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Let’s look back on the past week:

  • The Dodgers acquired Greg Maddux from the Padres for two minor league players to be named later. Nice acquisition to bolster their rotation, and does anyone want to place bets on how excited 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw is to get tips from Maddux every day for the rest of the season?
  • The Pirates are exploring the idea of trading Jack Wilson this offseason more and more. Given the slim free agent market for shortstops, he would likely gather a lot of interest.
  • Nate Robertson’s struggles this season have lost him his spot in the rotation, but have they also lost him a spot with the Tigers after 2008?
  • Orlando Hernandez needs surgery on his foot, and that could likely mean that El Duque’s career would be over.
  • Lots of speculation lately about where Ben Sheets is going to land after 2008. And while there’s no way to tell right now, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman have stepped up and said they would like the Astros front office to go out and sign him in the offseason.
  • A lot of minor-league deals signed this week: Kip Wells signed with Kansas City, the Mets added Al Reyes, the Astros signed Jose Castillo, the Red Sox signed Dave Ross, and the Braves took a flyer on Rodrigo Lopez following his Tommy John surgery last year. The Jays made a trade to acquire Jose Bautista for a PTBNL as well.
  • The Rangers would like Milton Bradley back in 2009, and the feeling is mutual, though negotiations will wait until after the season. Similarly, Frank Thomas would prefer to stay with the A’s in 2009.
  • Eric Gagne, David Riske, and David Weathers all cleared waivers this week. The first two make sense to me, but given Weathers’ success this year, his affordable contract for the rest of the season, and all of the teams desperately seeking bullpen help, it seems strange that no one would place a claim on him. Here’s an updated list of all the players who have been confirmed to have cleared waivers this year.

Gagne, Riske, Weathers Clear Waivers

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Eric Gagne, David Riske, and David Weathers have cleared waivers.  Three more for the list.  Since they’ve cleared, these relievers can now be traded to any team.

Gagne is the least surprising; he’s been awful and is still owed more than $2MM.  Riske is owed almost $10MM more through 2010, so that’s understandable.  Weathers is a big surprise though – he’s owed only $610K and has a 2.52 ERA since the beginning of June.  All the contenders, including the Mets, Twins, Phillies, and Cardinals, decided not to make a claim on Weathers?  Can’t explain it.

Sherman brings up these names in the context of the Mets’ tattered bullpen.  He says the Mets are "claiming relievers like mad" but no one good is likely to fall to them. 

Players Who Cleared Waivers

I will make this post a permanent sidebar link.  This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports.  Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause).

Updated 8-25-08 at 9:00am.  Latest to clear in red.

  • Paul Byrd – Byrd cleared waivers, but then was traded to the Red Sox.  They were the only team willing to pay his remaining $2MM.
  • Frank Catalanotto – Catalanotto, 34, is hitting .272/.337/.389 in 267 plate appearances.  He’s played first base and left field this year.  He’s not helpful against lefthanded pitching.  His contract is a problem – $765K this year, $4MM in ’09, and a $2MM buyout in ’10.
  • Eric GagneGagne has been awful this year, as his walks and home runs skyrocketed and he dealt with rotator cuff tendinitis.  Understandably, no one wanted to pay the $2.15MM remaining on his contract.
  • Aubrey Huff – Huff’s .909 OPS ranks 10th in the league, but surprisingly no team wanted to take on his $10.1MM commitment through ’09.
  • Mark Kotsay – Ken Rosenthal says he cleared and a number of teams are interested.  Kotsay clearing is a bit of a surprise since the A’s are paying most of his salary.  Kotsay can block trades to eight teams.  The center fielder is having a nice comeback season with a .782 OPS in 324 plate appearances.
  • Greg MadduxMaddux is earning $10MM this year and will only accept a trade to a West Coast team.  The Dodgers wanted him but asked the Padres to pay more than 80% of his remaining salary according to Peter Gammons.
  • Kevin Millar – Millar has been OK this year; he may reach 20 home runs.  He is owed about $710K from here on out.
  • Kevin Millwood – Millwood, 33, has a 5.24 ERA in 122 innings this year.  He’s dealt with a groin injury for much of the season, as well as a hamstring issue in spring.  Millwood will earn another $1.6MM this year and $11MM in ’09.  His 2010 salary of $12MM becomes a club option unless he pitches 180 innings in ’09.
  • Melvin Mora – Mora has raised his numbers and stock significantly by hitting .378/.421/.652 since the beginning of July.  He has a full no-trade clause and is owed $9MM next year and $1.79MM more this year.
  • Vicente Padilla – Padilla, 31 in September, has a 4.98 ERA in 148.1 innings.  Home runs have been his main problem.  He spent time on the DL with a strained neck.  He’ll earn another $2.1MM this year and $12MM in ’09.  He has a $12MM club option for ’10 with a $1.75MM buyout.
  • Jay Payton – Payton is the O’s regular center fielder with Adam Jones out for the season.  He is owed $1.3MM for the rest of the season.  He’s been lousy offensively, though he can hit lefties and play all three outfield positions.
  • David Riske – Riske is owed $860K more this year, $4.25MM in ’09, and $4.5MM in ’10 plus a $250K buyout for a total of almost $10MM.  Walks have been a problem this year, as well as elbow pain.
  • Dave Ross – Ross had cleared waivers prior to being designated for assignment.  He is earning $2.525MM this year.
  • Duaner Sanchez – His velocity is down 3.6 mph from ’06.  Sanchez is under team control through ’09.
  • Scott Schoeneweis – His strikeout rate is down, but so is his ERA.  Apparently no team wanted to risk taking on his contract – $910K more this year, $3.6MM in ’09.
  • Gary Sheffield – No surprise here. Sheff is owed around $17.5 million between this year and next.
  • Jamie Walker – The 37 year-old southpaw has a 5.00 ERA in 27 innings this year.  As usual, home runs have been a problem.  He spent time on the DL with elbow inflammation and is set to earn $4.5MM next year.
  • David Weathers – Weathers is owed only $610K on the season, and he has a 2.52 ERA and 2.78 K/BB since the beginning of June.  I am quite surprised he cleared waivers.

Brewers Rumors: Street, Iguchi, Riske

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 7:52pm: Not so fast – Doug Melvin isn’t at the offer stage with Iguchi.

UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 2:54pm: Iguchi’s agent expects a two-year offer from the Brewers sometime today.  Iguchi is willing to play third base and is looking for a two-year deal with an option.

FROM 12-4-07 at 10:59pm:

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy runs down the Brewers’ day.

  • As you know, the Brewers are out of the running for Scott Rolen.  This is due to a number of factors.  McCalvy quotes an ESPN rumor of Chris Capuano and Bill Hall for Rolen, which I somehow missed. I thought it was just Capuano.
  • Earlier today we wrote about many other third base options the Brewers are considering.  Add Tadahito Iguchi to that list, since he’s declared he’s willing to play third base.  The Giants, Rockies, Padres, and Phillies also like Iguchi.
  • David Riske took a physical in Milwaukee today, though his agent says other teams are still in play. 
  • The Brewers apparently called the A’s to discuss Huston Street‘s availability.

Brewers Sign David Riske

It’s official: the Brewers have signed 31 year-old reliever David Riske to a three year, $13MM deal.  Incentives based on closing could bring the total to $20MM, and there’s a 2011 option at $4.75MM.

This is the going rate for a guy like Riske.   He wasn’t particularly popular when the 2006 season ended, but had a well-timed fine year in ’07.  I don’t hate the deal, but it certainly lacks creativity.