Elijah Dukes Rumors

Odds & Ends: Hart, Dukes, Moreno, Farnsworth

Links for Thursday…

Odds & Ends: Dukes, Astros, Twins, Giants

Some Saturday afternoon tidbits….

  • Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman spoke about what he thinks Elijah Dukes can do next season, writes Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com.
  • Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score thinks the Astros have overpaid for the players they've picked up this offseason.
  • Kelly Thesier of MLB.com points out that for all of the talk about the Twins' need for a third baseman, the club is only looking for a "short-term stopgap" given the presence of top prospect Danny Valencia.  Thesier's mailbag piece also shoots downs a couple of Twins-related trade rumors and discusses the club's attempt to re-sign Joe Mauer.  
  • In another MLB.com mailbag, Chris Haft says there hasn't been any talk of the Giants signing Carlos Delgado (though he would fit their need for a left-handed bat) and proposes that Ryan Church would be a better outfield option for San Francisco than Rick Ankiel.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Chris Capuano about the pitcher's attempt to return from (his second) Tommy John surgery.
  • The Reds' budget may limit them to just pinch-hitting options in their search for a hitter, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
  • John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com grades the top 20 prospects in the Mets and Indians systems.  The only player on either list to rate an A-grade was Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks at the youngsters who will be fighting to be the Dodgers' No. 5 starter next season.  Jackson points out that these pitchers might be going for the No. 4 spot too if L.A. doesn't sign a veteran starter before Opening Day.

Nationals Notes: MacDougal, Dukes, Flores

Let's take a look at some Nationals tidbits courtesy of the latest mailbag from MLB.com's Bill Ladson and Phil Wood of MASNsports.com:

  • Mike MacDougal is currently the favorite to be the Nats' closer in 2010.  In 52 appearances last season, the 32-year-old posted an ERA of 3.60 but had as many walks as he did strikeouts.  However, the club could be looking to upgrade as Ladson hears that they are interested in acquiring free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez.  If they ink Gonzalez, Ladson sees the two men sharing the closer role.
  • Don't expect Washington to make a move for free agent right fielder Jermaine Dye, as Elijah Dukes will be allowed to showcase his potential as the starter.
  • The Nationals are not content with Wil Nieves as their starting catcher as they await a clean bill of health for Jesus Flores.  Instead, they would like to get a catcher who can play every day in the event that Flores is not ready for Spring Training or Opening Day.
  • Wood writes that while it is something of a long shot, the Nationals have the cash available this offseason to sign Rich Harden.  While the 27-year-old wouldn't come cheap, he will not require the forfeiture of a draft pick as he is a Type B free agent.

Mike Rizzo Chat At The Washington Post

Chico Harlan of the Washington Post chatted with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and posted the full Q&A on his blog.  A few hot stove highlights:

  • Starter Scott Olsen had surgery in July to repair a small labrum tear in his pitching shoulder.  Having earned $2.8MM this year, the Nats would have to pay him at least $2.24MM in 2010 if they tender him a contract.  Rizzo said he's getting health reports on Olsen daily and the team will use the coming months to decide whether to non-tender him.
  • Rizzo says closer Mike MacDougal has "done a great job."  MacDougal represents another of the Nationals' many arbitration cases; he could earn $3MM+ in 2010.
  • The Nationals consider Jesus Flores (shoulder surgery) the everyday catcher in 2010, but still may bring in another backstop for insurance.
  • Rizzo seems satisfied with Elijah Dukes as the regular right fielder.

Edes On Tejada, Nationals, Shapiro

Yahoo's Gordon Edes updates us on the Cardinals' search for a bat and more in his most recent column. Here are the details:

  • The Cardinals aren't interested in Miguel Tejada, but they are looking to add offensive help at third or in the outfield.
  • Some have criticized the Pirates for taking Tony Sanchez fourth overall, but Edes hears they chose him because they like his tools and believe he's polished enough to reach the majors before most players in the draft.  
  • The Nationals would move Elijah Dukes or Lastings MilledgeRyan Zimmerman is their only untouchable player.
  • The Rangers have interest in Nick Johnson 
  • There is speculation that Indians GM Mark Shaprio could be promoted to club president, with Chris Antonetti becoming GM. Edes hears that we won't see an in-season shake-up.
  • Bill Lajoie, one of the decision-makers behind the deal that sent Hanley Ramirez to Florida, doesn't second guess the move. 
  • Edes heard from one scouting director who believes Bryce Harper is stronger than Chipper JonesAlex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez when they were in high school. However, some scouts wonder whether Harper would be better if he didn't rush to the majors.

Nationals Sign 23 To 2009 Contracts

Bill Ladson of MLB.com has a bit of Nationals news for this afternoon.

The team has agreed to terms with 23 of its players, including names like Elijah Dukes and John Lannan.

As for a review of the Nationals’ arbitration-eligible players, Ladson has the list: Jason Bergmann, Mike O’Connor, Alberto Gonzalez, Lastings Milledge, Josh Willingham and Ryan Zimmerman.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Pirates, Hudson, Tigers, Braves, Dunn, Yankees

On this day 29 years ago, Albert Pujols was born. 2009 will be the sixth year of his eight year, $111MM deal (safe to say Cards will pick up his ’11 option). According to Fangraphs, Pujols has already been worth $151.9MM in the first five years of the contract ($30.4M per season), begging the question: How much will Pujols command following the ’11 season, when he will be 32? Last winter, Alex Rodriguez signed for 10 years and $275MM prior to his age 32 season. With less than a month to go before pitchers and catchers report, many players are still looking for their own new contracts. Let’s take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…

  • River Ave. Blues expands on Baseball Prospectus’ case against a salary cap and how small-market teams likely would not be able to support a minimum payroll.
  • Bucco Blog says the value of young talent has kept the Pirates from rebuilding. Instead, the team has spent the last two years restructuring and are now moving on to the next phase.
  • Jorge Says No examines the market for Orlando Hudson and feels the Nationals have to make a play for the second baseman.
  • The Detroit Tigers Weblog takes a look at who is still available to close for the Tigers in ’09.
  • Infield Chatter says the Braves were forced to overpay for Derek Lowe.
  • Braves Blast takes a look at the Braves offseason and what is left to do: adding an outfield bat and extending Chipper Jones’ contract.
  • On Baseball and The Reds takes a look at Adam Dunn‘s value, with the numbers suggesting he is not worth much more than $20MM over four years.
  • Pinstripes Published makes a case for the Yankees acquiring Lastings Milledge from the Nats, while The Chuck Knoblog argues for Elijah Dukes.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com. If you have a suggestion for this feature, Cork can be reached hereThis is by far the best way to get your blog linked on MLBTR.

Nationals To Let Milledge, Dukes Compete For CF

Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge are the Washington Nationals’ two candidates for the center field opening, MLB.com reports.

The Nationals, after missing out on the newest Cub, Milton Bradley, have decided to look internally for center field help.

Milledge (.268/.330/.402) played center field for the Nationals in 2008. He’ll turn 24 in April. Dukes (.264/.386/.478) will be 25 in June.

Olney’s Latest: Cardinals, Snell, Milledge, Maine, Fuentes

Buster Olney’s latest offering is packed full of links:

  • Bernie Miklasz notes that the Cardinals have only three starting pitchers (Adam Wainwright, Todd Wellemeyer, and Joel Pineiro) locked up for next year (he’s not expecting Chris Carpenter to contribute in 2009), and no prospects waiting in the wings. His solution? Pry open owner Bill DeWitt’s wallet, "and please, no el cheapo deals for rehabbing pitchers, medically risky pitchers, broken-down pitchers."
  • The Pirates have it a little bit tougher. According to pitching coach Jeff Andrews, it consists of Paul Maholm and "a blank sheet." Here’s one vote for adding Ian Snell, "on the verge of becoming the best right-handed pitcher to come from Delaware since World War I," according to DelwareBaseball.com, who sponsors his Baseball Reference page.
  • According to GM Jim Bowden, the Nationals will explore ways to upgrade their defense for 2009, including the possibility of moving Lastings Milledge from center field back to a corner spot. Left fielder Elijah Dukes could move to center.
  • Despite going through a difficult divorce, Padres’ owner John Moores is not planning on selling the team—which he bought because of his soon-to-be ex.
  • The Mets seem to be rushing John Maine back from the DL in an attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive.
  • Dave Krieger is amazed that the Rockies aren’t doing anything to try and keep free-agent closer Brian Fuentes.

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and Umpbump.

Nationals Release Lo Duca, Lopez

The Washington Post is reporting that the Nationals released both Paul Lo Duca and Felipe Lopez following tonight’s game. The move was made to free-up space on the roster for Elijah Dukes and Emilio Bonifacio.

Lo Duca was hitting .230/.301/.281 in 139 at bats this season and made $5MM on a one-year deal. Lopez was hitting .231/.303/.309 in 324 at bats and was in his final arbitration-eligible season, making $4.9MM.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.