Eddie Bonine Rumors

Quick Hits: Cubs, Dodgers, Padres

Former Red Sox GM and current Cubs president Theo Epstein, speaking along with Athletics GM Billy Beane at a panel discussion in Boston on Monday, says that the big problem facing big-payroll teams is how to spend their extra money, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. New rules have made it difficult to splurge in the draft or in the international market, and more and more younger players are signing long-term deals that buy out free agent seasons. That leaves the free agent market as the next obvious place to find talent. Big-payroll teams have historically dominated the free agent market, of course, but with so many players signing long-term with their current clubs, the free agent talent pool will be shallower in the coming years than it once was. "It's one thing to have an advantage as far as the amount of dollars you have, but if there aren't effective places to spend that money, what do you do with that advantage?" says Epstein.

Beane, meanwhile, has a different take, lamenting that, as a small-payroll GM, he isn't able to keep his players longer. "If we could have one thing, it would be to draft, develop and keep our own players," he says. "Having capital, it's not just about signing free agents. Having capital allows you to take your Gio Gonzalez and keep him through the rest of his career." Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer gave manager Dale Sveum his vote of confidence Tuesday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. "We’re all in this together," says Hoyer. "We’ve struggled, it’s been painful to watch because we keep on squandering leads. That’s on Theo and that’s on me. We have to figure out ways to get better. We’re not the most talented team in the league right now." The Cubs are currently 5-13.
  • Dodgers team president Stan Kasten expects the team's currently-stratospheric payroll to decrease as the team adds more talent from the minors, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. The Dodgers are focusing on scouting and development, Kasten says, so that, in the future, the payroll "is not going to be where it is." The Dodgers are currently 9-10 and have been racked by injuries.
  • Ted Lilly is scheduled to start for the Dodgers Wednesday, and he'll be the Dodgers' eighth starter in their first 20 games, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick points out. (The other seven are Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, and Stephen Fife.) The Dodgers' quandary of what to do with their starting pitching depth was a major story in spring training, and the Dodgers did, in fact, deal Aaron Harang to the Rockies. But after a slew of injuries (including today's revelation that Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery), that starting pitching depth is no more.
  • Playing badly might or might not yield big dividends for the Padres, notes Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Krasovic quotes Baseball America's Jim Callis, who points out that the top five picks in the draft are much more valuable than other picks, but Krasovic also notes that the Padres haven't done so well lately with top picks like Matt Bush and Donavan Tate. The Padres are currently 5-14.
  • Veteran Eddie Bonine, who recently signed a minor-league deal with the Padres after being released by the Diamondbacks, is trying to make it back to the big leagues as a knuckleballer, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports. Bonine used the knuckleball as a secondary pitch in the past, throwing it 19% of the time as member of the Tigers bullpen in 2010. Bonine missed the 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery.

Minor Moves: D’Backs, Padres, Orioles

We'll keep track of today's minor moves right here:

  • After being released by the Diamondbacks earlier today, right-handed pitcher Eddie Bonine has hooked on with the Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Bonine was attempting a comeback from Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old had not seen big league action since 2010, when he appeared in 47 games for the Tigers and put up a 4.63 ERA over 68 innings. After sitting out the 2012 season, he struggled to a 6.30 ERA in his ten Triple-A innings this year.
  • The Orioles signed second baseman Paco Figueroa to a minor league deal, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Now 30, the former O's fringe prospect fizzled out at Triple-A in 2010 before being shipped to the Phils for cash or future considerations. Most recently, Figueroa struggled to a .259/.376/.314 line for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate in 2011, and spent 2012 in the independent leagues. As Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun notes (via Twitter), the former University of Miami star had the chance to play alongside his brother for Spain in this year's World Baseball Classic. 

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Maier, Sutton, Lewis, Ka’aihue, Reed

We'll track the day's minor league signings right here:

Minor Moves: Nickeas, Lewis, Bonine

Earlier today we linked to a list of all 549 players to become minor league free agents this winter, and now let's recap some other minor moves…

  • Catcher Mike Nickeas and outfielder Fred Lewis have both elected free agency after being removed from the 40-man roster by the Mets, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. The 29-year-old Nickeas hit .174/.242/.299 in 122 plate appearances this year while the 31-year-old Lewis hit .150/.320/.150 in just 25 plate appearances.
  • The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Eddie Bonine to a split contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The is coming off Tommy John surgery and will earn $500K in the big leagues. Bonine owns a career 4.74 ERA and was originally drafted by D'Backs GM Kevin Towers during his Padres days.

Phillies Sign Eddie Bonine, Erik Kratz

The Phillies signed right-handed reliever Eddie Bonine and catcher Erik Kratz to minor league deals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (all Twitter links). 

Bonine posted a 4.63 ERA in 68 innings for the Tigers last year with 3.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. The Tigers made a push to bring The 29-year-old back on a minor league deal before the Phillies made a better offer, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (on Twitter). Both teams expressed interest in Bonine after he became a free agent last week.

Kratz, 30, made his big league debut with the 2010 Pirates after spending nine seasons in the minor leagues. He has a .252/.325/.434 minor league line, but he hit just .118/.167/.118 in 36 big league plate appearances.

Tigers, Phillies Interested In Eddie Bonine

Having just hit free agency for the first time, Eddie Bonine is drawing interest from the Tigers and Phillies, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Both clubs would be interested in bringing Bonine on board on a minor league deal, according to Morosi. The right-hander became a free agent earlier this week, after being outrighted by the Tigers.

Bonine, 29, has seen big league playing time in each of the last three seasons in Detroit. He received his most significant action in 2010, appearing in 47 games and posting a 4.63 ERA. The righty doesn't have dominant stuff, recording just 26 strikeouts in 68 innings in 2010, but he has exhibited good control throughout his career (2.7 BB/9).