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Doug Mientkiewicz Rumors
Ramona Shelburne of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that Doug Mientkiewicz "seems to have played himself into contention for a spot on the Dodgers' Opening Day roster."
Just a month ago, Mientkiewicz was pondering retirement. Now he's being viewed as an ideal left-handed pinch hitting option for a squad with legitimate playoff aspirations.
"Doug's certainly got our attention," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Friday. "I told him, `If somebody else sees you and you and you get an opportunity to play someplace else that's fine.' But he just won't let up. As Yogi (Berra) would say, he's trying to make himself necessary."
Mientkiewicz is hitting .300/.371/.700 this spring with two home runs and 11 RBI in 30 at-bats. Plus, he has one of the wildest player portraits on all of MLB.com.
6:35pm: Jackson reports that Mientkiewicz passed his physical and signed the contract.
10:41am: According to Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Dodgers have agreed to terms with Doug Mientkiewicz on a minor league contract.
Mientkiewicz will join spring training camp once he passes a physical. He’s no Manny Ramirez, but, as Jackson writes, he "might have a good chance of making the club to fill that role that Nomar Garciaparra filled last year." Mientkiewicz, 34, hit .277/.374/.379 last season with two home runs and 30 RBI in 285 at-bats for the Pirates.
4:30pm: Kovacevic says Hinske and the Pirates have agreed to terms one a one-year deal with a base salary around $1.5MM.
THURSDAY, 12:20am: Dejan Kovacevic says Friday is more likely than Thursday for Hinske to sign.
WEDNESDAY, 5:23pm: Jon Heyman agrees. He says the Pirates are in serious discussions with Hinske, working towards a deal worth roughly $1.5MM.
11:22pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Pirates are closing in on a one-year contract with Hinske. An agreement could be reached Wednesday that would pay Hinske $1-2MM plus incentives. Dejan Kovacevic also has the story, noting that the signing would end Doug Mientkiewicz‘s time in Pittsburgh.
7:35pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirms that the Pirates have had contract discussions with Hinske and believes that the two sides "could be close to an agreement."
TUESDAY, 5:44pm: Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has learned from a baseball industry source that the Pirates are targeting free agent outfielder Eric Hinske.
The Pirates could use Hinske as their fourth outfielder and primary pinch-hitting option. According to Langosch’s report, "discussions between the two sides have increased to the point where the Pirates may be bringing Hinske to Pittsburgh before the end of the week."
Let’s gather up assorted pieces of Pirates information from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the past few days…
- We already knew about Pedro Martinez; Kovacevic says the Pirates also have an eye on free agent starter Braden Looper. The Dodgers and D’Backs are other teams in the market for the 34 year-old hurler. Team president Frank Coonelly says free agents are "still asking for prices based on yesterday’s market."
- Kovacevic suggests the Pirates may sign another bench player soon, someone other than fan favorite Doug Mientkiewicz.
- GM Neal Huntington ruled out free agents Rich Aurilia, Joe Crede, and Kevin Millar. Still, Coonelly expects the Pirates to sign more players, ones that fans "would fall in love with."
- Huntington says there are no current trade talks for shortstop Jack Wilson.
The latest on the Pirates, from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Extension talks with Nate McLouth are dormant, but talks with Paul Maholm are not. Maholm is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so he’s under team control through 2011.
- Doug Mientkiewicz was overwhelmed by the support he’s getting from Pirates fans.
- Scott Boras apparently told the Pirates Pedro Alvarez was working very hard to stay in shape while their negotiations dragged, but team president Frank Coonelly says Alvarez "was not in good condition" when he showed up for the Florida Instructional League in September.
WEDNESDAY: Dejan Kovacevic talked to Huntington, who "blamed Mientkiewicz’s lingering frustration with the team’s lack of communication on Mientkiewicz’s now-former agent." Huntington said the door remains open for Minky.
MONDAY: First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he doubts he’ll return to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization this season.
According to Mientkiewicz, the Pirates have not made an offer or any attempts to get in touch with him as the offseason has progressed. He has not spoken with general manager Neal Huntington or manager John Russell, a close friend of Mientkiewicz’s, since the season ended, Langosch wrote.
Mientkiewicz, 35 in June, hit .277 with 30 RBI in 125 games. As a Pirate, he played some third base for the first time in his career.
Links for Sunday…
- John Moores will remain majority owner of the Padres for three or four years even if he agrees to sell the team to Jeff Moorad, according to Tom Krasovic. Major league executives say Padres CEO Sandy Alderson is likely to leave if Moorad takes over.
- In a recent poll, Giants fans were divided on the idea of signing Manny Ramirez.
- The Pirates haven’t offered Doug Mientkiewicz a contract.
- Thomas Stinson looks at an offseason of "mediocrity" for the Braves.
- Bobby Cox likes the looks of Kenshin Kawakami.
- Larry LaRue asks who’s on first for the Mariners this year.
- Joe Posnanski sees Adam Dunn and Willie Bloomquist as opposites in a way.
- Michael Silverman compares the pre-Bronx careers of Mark Teixeira and Jason Giambi.
Pirates rumors from the tireless Dejan Kovacevic…
- Kovacevic says the Pirates are in pursuit of free agent outfielder Rocco Baldelli. The Bucs are serious about him, having spoken to his agents several times. The Reds, Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees are considered other suitors.
- The team’s interest in Ty Wigginton has dropped off.
- Doug Mientkiewicz remains on the radar, but no offer has been made.
- Nothing cooking on the Jack Wilson front; he’s likely to remain the Pirates’ shortstop.
- The Pirates offered slightly more than the $2.6MM Daniel Cabrera signed for with the Nationals. D-Cab wanted to remain in the area. The Pirates may choose not to pursue any other free agent starters.
- We knew extension talks with Nate McLouth had fizzled; turns out nothing is close with Paul Maholm either. Pirates president Frank Coonelly described the disconnect at Ryan Doumit‘s press conference.
5:29pm: A handful of teams have expressed interest in Doug Mientkiewicz, reports Jenifer Langosch. He expects to sign within a few weeks, and his agent will meet with the Pirates this week.
4:56pm: Kovacevic confirmed that the Pirates are in negotiations with Eckstein. The Orioles and Padres are also said to be in on him. As for Wilson: the Dodgers are said to be exasperated by the Pirates’ asking price.
- Kovacevic on Jack Wilson: the Tigers are out, the Dodgers are quiet lately, and the Twins are in. Biertempfel says the Orioles continue to watch from afar. Wilson’s contract is a sticking point for all suitors.
- Kovacevic believes the Pirates have at least not ruled out the idea of pursuing Pedro Martinez.
- Derrick Turnbow will throw for scouts in mid-January, so he probably won’t sign until then. The Pirates and Giants are among eight teams that have expressed interest.
- The Pirates seem likely to make a Rule 5 pick this year.
- With Pirates target Mark Loretta signing with the Dodgers, Biertempfel wonders if the Bucs may pursue David Eckstein or Craig Counsell.
Dejan Kovacevic talked to free agent first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz recently. Mientkiewicz seeks a starting job, even while admitting, "I’m everybody’s B and C plan. If the two guys they want to sign get hit by a truck, then they think about me."
The 34 year-old hit .277/.374/.379 in 334 plate appearances while playing an above average first base. He earned $1.075MM. The Pirates want him back, but in a utility/clubhouse leader type role. Pirates president Frank Coonelly said today, "We are working hard to convince Doug that returning to the Pirates is an outstanding opportunity for him." Out of gratitude to GM Neal Huntington for giving him a shot this year, Mientkiewicz will give the Pirates a call before he signs anywhere else.
Kovacevic also has an update on the Jack Wilson trade talks. He says the Bucs are focused on the Dodgers, seeking Chin-Lung Hu and Delwyn Young. Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today that the Dodgers’ talks for Wilson "remain stalled," while John Perrotto said L.A. "backed off."