Elmer Dessens Rumors

International Notes: Williams, Perez, Dessens, Urias

The Winter Leagues are the place to be for contract-hunting veterans and plenty of others with an MLB job in hand. Even Wilson Ramos still wants to play. Links are in Spanish…

  • Jerome Williams, who provided a late-season boost in six starts for the Angels, is continuing to make a strong case for his spot the 2012 rotation with a dominant winter in Venezuela. In six starts for the Magallanes Navegantes, Williams is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA, reports Luis Gonzales at El Universal. After four offseasons without a Major League deal, Williams is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter at age 29.
  • Oliver Perez is technically a free agent, but the 30-year-old lefty told Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Beisbol, "I would say that I still belong to Washington, though anything could happen." Perez spent 2011 at the Nationals' Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg and will spend the winter pitching for the Culiacán Tomateros in the Mexican Pacific League. Fellow MLB free agents Vicente Padilla and Rodrigo Lopez also recently reported to the MPL looking for an offseason showcase, reports Ballesteros.
  • In the same piece, Ballesteros notes that 41-year-old reliever Elmer Dessens doesn't want to go undergo another surgery on his pitching arm, and that "it is only a question of time before he officially says goodbye to the diamond." Dessens was reported to have signed a minor league contract with the Giants last February, positioning him to become the first Mexican pitcher to play in the majors into his forties, but the deal fell through and he sat out the season.
  • Also in the piece, Ballesteros adds that the Pirates recently offered 200K to 15-year-old Mexican pitching prospect Julio Cesar Urias, but Urias’ parents rejected the offer. According to Ballesteros, the young lefty is currently being wooed by several MLB teams, the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican league, and the Gonzalez Sports Academy, which is co-owned by Adrian Gonzalez and his brothers Edgar and David.

Quick Hits: Young, Bautista, Prado, Jorge

Happy Bobby Valentine day everybody!  Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.  Try the roast beef and be sure to tip your staff writers.  Here are some links for Monday night..

  • Melissa Segura of SI (via Twitter) reminds us that some of baseball's elite international free agents will be playing in Tuesday's Dominican International League All-Star Game.
  • From all indications, Michael Young isn't a fit for the Marlins, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
  • Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (via Twitter) is "99-percent sure" that the postponement of Jose Bautista's arbitration hearing will result in a multiyear deal.  The session, originally scheduled for Monday, has been pushed back until Friday.
  • It's not yet known why Elmer Dessens' deal with the Giants fell through but Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that when a team is tightlipped on such matters, it could mean they did not like something in the physical.
  • Braves infielder Martin Prado was hesitant about changing positions to accommodate the arrival of Dan Uggla but is now comfortable with the move to left field, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
  • The Twins have been impressed by Felix Jorge's development over the last few months, writes Kelly Thesier of MLB.com

Dessens Deal Falls Through; Giants To Sign Lawrence

Elmer Dessens' minor league deal with the Giants fell through and the Giants agreed to a minor league deal with Brian Lawrence, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). Lawrence, who last pitched in the majors in 2007, will report to minor league camp.

Dessens, who would have earned $600K at the major league level, posted a 2.30 ERA and a career-low strikeout rate in 53 appearances for the Mets last year. He drew interest from teams in both leagues before agreeing to sign with the Giants, so it's possible that another club will sign him this spring.

Lawrence, 34, spent last season in the Marlins organization at Triple-A New Orleans. He started 25 games and logged 142 2/3 innings with a 4.42 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. The longtime Padres starter averaged over 200 innings from 2002-05 and has a 4.19 ERA in 963 career innings.

Giants Sign Elmer Dessens

11:40pm: Dessens will earn $600K if he spends the entire season in the Major Leagues, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.

9:46pm: The Giants signed reliever Elmer Dessens to a minor-league contract, Dessens' agent told Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Beísbol (link in Spanish).

Last season, Dessens was a middle-to-late-inning fixture for the Mets, pitching to a 2.30 ERA in 53 appearances despite posting the lowest strikeout rate of his 14-season career. His resurgence reportedly brought offers from teams in both leagues after the Mets cut ties with him, and Ballesteros named the Mariners and Orioles among Dessens' most recent suitors.

In Dessens and recent minor league signing Jeff Suppan, the Giants now have a pair of seasoned sinkerballers in the mix for relief innings alongside high-strikeout righties like Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla. The two elder statesman could also provide a few restaurant tips along the way, as they have played for a combined 15 teams across 30 seasons. Also of note, Dessens is trying to become the first Mexican pitcher to pitch into his 40s, a line which he crossed in January.

Mets Notes: Alderson, Reyes, Dickey, Dessens

The Mets have settled with all of their arbitration-eligible players but that isn't the only news out of Citi Field today.  The latest…

  • ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin has the transcript of GM Sandy Alderson's conference call with media today.  The Mets' payroll will be between $140-$150MM next season, a total Alderson said "is significantly higher than we'd like to be on an annual basis."
  • Alderson said he isn't troubled about the recent news that the Wilpons want to sell a minority share of the club: "I'm not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets, and well-known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the future of the Mets is undiminished."
  • Along those same lines, Alderson said "perhaps naively," he doesn't think the ownership situation will impact negotiations with Jose Reyes on a contract extension.  Fangraphs' Paul Swydan figures the trade market for Reyes will be very busy this summer if the Mets decide to deal the shortstop rather than re-sign him.
  • R.A. Dickey will earn $2.25MM in 2011, $4.25MM in 2012 and received a $1MM signing bonus for his extension, reports Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (Twitter link).  The contract also includes a club option for 2013 worth $5MM.
  • Elmer Dessens wants to pitch next season but it apparently won't be for the Mets, reports Adam Rubin.  The Mets told Dessens they're "going in another direction."  The right-hander told the team he was willing to sign a minor league deal to return, a reversal of his stance from earlier this winter when Dessens implied he would retire unless he got a Major League contract.
  • Jason Bay talks to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick about his disappointing 2010 season and how he's looking to rebound next year.

Spanish Links: Viciedo, Padilla, Dessens

Lest we forget, there are still eight million more native Spanish-speakers in the world than English-speakers…

  • Dayan Viciedo is "well-viewed" within the White Sox organization and will fight it out with Brent Morel for the starting third base job this spring, a source from Chicago told Luis Rangel at Miami-based El Nuevo Herald. The source said Viciedo is working daily with third base coach Joey Cora to improve his mobility and fielding at the hot corner, though his appeal to the organization remains primarily through offense, as evidenced by a .308/.321/.519 line in 106 PAs last summer. Kenny Williams indicated in August that the 21-year-old Cuban prospect was untouchable, though rumors of his availability have revived recently.
  • The Dodgers signed Vicente Padilla to do a little of everything, but if he becomes a full-time starter, the deal he signed last week could end up looking a lot different. Gerald Hernandez at the Nicaraguan paper La Prensa detailed Padilla's contract, which stipulates that if he matches his career high of 33 starts, his $2MM salary will jump to $8MM. Against Padilla's favor: Each of the Dodgers' front five started at least 30 games in 2010.
  • Reliever Elmer Dessens hasn't received an offer to re-sign with the Mets, a source close to the pitcher told Fernando Ballesteros at the Mexican blog Puro Beisbol. The source added that Dessens, who will turn 40 in early January, is currently in negotiations with one team from each league. He posted a 2.30 ERA for the Mets in 47 innings last season while both walking and striking out 3.06 per nine, and he has said he is only interested in a guaranteed major league deal.

Dickey May Be Open To Multi-Year Deal With Mets

The Mets expressed a willingness to discuss a multi-year deal with R.A. Dickey early last month, and it appears that the knuckleballer may be open to the possibility as well according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. The idea would be to trade long-term security for a lower base salary, giving the team some financial flexibility going forward.

Dickey, 36 at the end of the month, was a revelation for the Mets this year. He made 26 starts (and one relief appearance) after being called up in May, and pitched to a 2.84 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Arbitration-eligible after the season, Dickey earned just $600K in the big leagues this season. It was the fourth season in a row that he had to settle for a minor league contract.

Within the same piece, Rubin notes that backup catcher Henry Blanco intends to play next season, and that Elmer Dessens will do the same only if he gets a guaranteed big league deal somewhere. The 38-year-old Blanco hit .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate appearances this year while Dessens posted a shiny 2.30 ERA despite unimpressive peripheral stats (3.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9) in 47 innings of relief.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Jenkins, Twins, Eveland

On this date 11 years ago, Orioles lefty Jesse Orosco set the Major League record for career relief appearances when he came into the 8th inning of a game against the Yankees to face Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill. It was his 1,051st career appearance, surpassing Kent Tekulve's record. The then-42-year-old Orosco went on to pitch another four years after setting the mark, and retired with 1,252 career appearances, 74 more than anyone else. 

Here are a few links from around the baseball blogosphere…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Roster Moves Hinge On Oliver Perez’s Decision

SATURDAY, 4:10pm: Major League Baseball will independently review Oliver Perez's medical records, including the MRI he took on Friday, a league official told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  The official told Martino that the league often does this when an injury needs clarification.

11:09am: Perez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with knee tendinitis today according to SNY's Kevin Burkhardt (via Twitter). No further move will be needed to make room for Niese. 

FRIDAY, 9:48pm: If Oliver Perez does not accept a minor league assignment, the Mets may designate a reliever for assignment, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.  The organization is hoping that Perez will agree to the demotion by tomorrow when they plan to activate Jon Niese off of the disabled list.

In order to make room on the roster, Elmer Dessens could be DFA'd.  The Mets re-signed Dessens to a minor league deal in December and have given him just 4.1 innings of work heading into tonight's game.  However, the veteran hurler made his case for staying on with the club tonight by pitching 1.1 scoreless innings to set the table for a Francisco Rodriguez save.

Another possibility for the Mets would be to option Jenrry Mejia to Triple-A, though they may want to keep him on the big league roster.  

Perez refused a minor league assignment from the Mets on Monday.  The club reportedly asked the lefty at least twice to go to the minors.

Elmer Dessens Signs Minor-League Deal With Mets

The Associated Press is reporting that the Mets have re-signed reliever Elmer Dessens to a one-year, minor-league contract.  Under the terms of the split deal, Dessens would earn $700K if makes New York's 40-man roster, and $90K if he pitches in the minors.  He can earn an extra 30K if he makes 20 major league appearances, with an extra $30K then added for every additional 10 appearances.

Dessens, 38, signed with the Mets last February and compiled a 3.31 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 28 relief outings in 2009.  Re-signing in New York prevents Dessens from taking on yet another new address, as the veteran right-hander has pitched for nine teams in his 13-year big league career.