David Murphy Rumors
On this day in 2009, the Dodgers agreed to re-sign Manny Ramirez to a two-year, $45MM contract. Ramirez's time in Los Angeles came to an end in August of 2010 when he was claimed off of waivers by the White Sox. As a Dodger, the slugger hit .322/.433/.580 with 44 homers in 223 games. Here's a look at some items out of the AL and NL West..
- Yoenis Cespedes was warmly welcomed by Manny, writes Yahoo's Steve Henson. Ramirez discussed hitting extensively with his new friend, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Cespedes says it's an "honor" to play with Ramirez. (Twitter link).
- There was a belief around baseball that Matt Cain was going to be an easy sign for the Giants, but that now seems less certain, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Word was that the hurler might even be prepared to sign back with the Giants for less than $100MM but that seems far less likely.
- If the league upholds Jairo Beras' contract with the Rangers, sources with several teams have said that they will be furious, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. MLB has granted some players leniency in the past if they willingly came forward with a new age or a new identity, but that does not appear to be the case in this situation.
- Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels says that multiple teams have inquired on David Murphy, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Even though Murphy is slated to come off of the bench, Daniels says that the outfielder is a huge part of the club. The Twins inquired on Murphy back in December but Texas was unwilling to compromise their outfield depth.
- Angel Villalona's name plate has been removed from his locker and that's a sign that his visa issue isn't close to being resolved, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The Giants first baseman is facing legal trouble in his native Dominican Republic.
- The Athletics formally introduced Cespedes today and the outfielder said that Miguel Tejada told him that Oakland was a good organization to grow up in, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Murphy, 30, hit .275/.328/.401 in 440 plate appearances this year while playing all three outfield positions. Murphy is arbitration eligible for the second time this winter and MLBTR projects a $3.2MM salary for 2012.
We heard multiple times over the weekend that the Rangers are interested in some of the best available relievers. Texas GM Jon Daniels joined Galloway & Co. on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas (audio here) and though he declined to comment on specific players, he did provide insight into the Rangers' deadline plans...
- Daniels doesn't believe many 'impact' players will be available in trades this summer.
- Though the Rangers are optimistic about what Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter can do in relief, "the bullpen's our focus point right now," Daniels said.
- However, if a true number one starter becomes available, as Cliff Lee did last year, the Rangers will check in and consider making an offer.
- Texas is willing to spend, though Daniels says he doesn't want to be "flippant" about finances.
- The Rangers decided to pass on signing Scott Kazmir, since they didn't expect the left-hander to be able to help the Major League team this season.
- The Rangers would almost certainly consider moving David Murphy in a trade for a quality reliever, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
The surging Diamondbacks are a hot topic these days. Here's more on the Snakes and an item of note about another ballclub residing in a west division.
- Rangers outfielder David Murphy could be a hot trade commodity, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. This season has been an historically weak one with respect to production out of left fielders, writes Sullivan, and Murphy, Texas' fourth outfielder, is a solid hitter and pretty cheap. I could see this, but Murphy struggles against lefties (.257/.299/.363 career line), and it couldn't hurt for the Rangers to keep him around as insurance for the often-injured Josh Hamilton.
- The D'Backs' success in 2011 can be chalked up to organizational stability, hard work, and a few shrewd offseason moves, writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com. After its bullpen posted a 5.74 ERA and 24 blown saves in 2010, Arizona added J.J. Putz via free agency, David Hernandez via trade and Joe Paterson through the Rule 5 Draft, and the D'Backs are now 13-7 in one-run decisions, notes Ringolsby. Twelve players currently on the 25-man roster were brought on by GM Kevin Towers, who Ringolsby says isn't trying to reinvent the proverbial wheel.
Murphy appeared in 138 games with Texas in 2010, primarily in left and right fields. The left-handed hitter posted a solid offensive season (.291/.358/.449 in 467 plate appearances) and was especially tough on right-handed pitchers (.298/.368/.479).
Scanning MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, the Rangers now have four arbitration-eligible players remaining: Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Darren O'Day. Reliever Mark Lowe, acquired midseason from the Mariners in the Cliff Lee swap, avoided arbitration in November. As well, free-agent reliever Frank Francisco accepted the Rangers' offer of arbitration.
Links for Thursday, as Armando Galarraga receives a new Corvette (but no perfect game)...
- Reliever Chad Cordero has been called up to the Mariners roster, according to a team news release. Cordero hasn't pitched in the majors since undergoing labrum surgery in July 2008. He signed a minor league deal with Seattle last winter and has a 4.12 ERA and 5.50 K-BB ratio in 17 appearances for Triple-A Tacoma this season. In six seasons with the Expos/Nationals organization, Cordero posted a 2.78 ERA and racked up 128 saves, including a league-best 47 in 2005.
- 2009 first rounder Jared Mitchell told reporters that he is recovering well from his ankle injury. The White Sox prospect, who will represent the team at this year's draft, does underwater drills and is progressing towards baseball activities.
- Daniel Murphy will miss four to six months with an MCL tear, so the Mets have reduced infield depth, according to Newsday's David Lennon (via Twitter). Murphy, who has not played in the majors this year, has missed significant time because of his right knee.
- MLB.com's Ian Browne wonders if the Red Sox will have to trade Boof Bonser.
- The A's claimed Triple A infielder Adam Heether off of waivers from the Brewers, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). Heether, 28, was hitting .245/.343/.440 in Nashville.
- J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that agent Scott Boras does not pressure them to return from injuries any earlier or later than they want to. Boras says he does not draw medical conclusions for any of his clients, including Jacoby Ellsbury.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Ken Griffey Jr. felt pressure from Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to retire. Wakamatsu says it was "Ken's decision."
- Stephen Strasburg, who debuts against the Pirates next week, pitched five shutout innings at Triple A and even got a hit, writes MASN.com's Ben Goessling.
- Strasburg's a star now, but college coach Tony Gwynn says the phenom was "sweating like a hostage" before his San Diego State debut, according to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse. The entire piece is worth reading.
We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit...
- Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
- Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
- Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders - Michael Saunders or Greg Halman - available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
- Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.
Links for Saturday...
- David Ortiz said he isn't letting his contract situation get to him, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Big Papi will earn $12.5MM this year, and the Red Sox hold an option at the same salary for 2011 with no buyout. Tough to see them picking that one up.
- An interesting point raised by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy: The Brewers essentially traded Hernan Iribarren to the Rangers for Joe Inglett. Milwaukee picked up Inglett in January after he was waived by Texas. Mat Gamel and Inglett are now in the mix for the Brewers' final bench spot.
- Edward Salcedo was officially introduced to Braves reporters this morning, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The 18-year-old Dominican shortstop said that Atlanta was the only organization to show significant interest in him over the past two years.
- Jim Edmonds may be playing his way into a role with the Brewers, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Both the Diamondbacks and Mariners had interest in Dana Eveland before he was acquired by the Blue Jays, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com spoke to a scout who wouldn't be surprised if the Marlins traded lefty Andrew Miller (link goes to Twitter).
- David Murphy is just biding his time on Texas' bench, writes Anthony Andro of The Star-Telegram. Murphy is a .278/.336/.465 career hitter, but he might get too expensive for a bench job as he enters his first arbitration year after 2010.
- Ben Shpigel of The New York Times reports that Yankees' hitting coach Kevin Long was analyzing videotape of Curtis Granderson to help him improve against lefthanders way back in November, a month before the team traded for him.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that the Rangers have six candidates for the outfield: Josh Hamilton, Andruw Jones, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Frank Catalanotto, and Marlon Byrd. Is a trade in order?
Hamilton is a lock for one spot, and last I read the Rangers were intent on giving the out of options Cruz regular work (perhaps even in center field). We may be looking at Jones, Murphy, Catalanotto, and Byrd battling for two spots.
The commitment to Catalanotto is ugly: $4MM in '09 plus another $2MM for his '10 buyout. The contract plus his ability to play first base may keep him in Texas unless he can be swapped for another contract.
Jones could be cut if he doesn't impress in Spring Training, or he could opt out on March 20th if he doesn't like the way his role is shaping up. Rangers president Nolan Ryan seems quite fond of Murphy.
Byrd seems the likeliest trade candidate, especially if Jones makes the team. Sherman likes Byrd as a center field stopgap for the Yankees; he's earning $3.06MM in his last year before free agency. The Cubs were after him a year ago, but seem filled up now. The White Sox could make sense but have not been connected to Byrd in rumors.