Eric Bruntlett Rumors

Yankees Sign Eric Bruntlett

The Yankees have signed Eric Bruntlett to a minor league contract, tweets Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune. The 32-year-old will start at third base tonight for Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Bruntlett was released by the Nationals earlier this month, after struggling to a .210/.308/.302 slash line at Triple-A Syracuse. The light-hitting utility player last appeared in the majors with Philadelphia, hitting .202/.273/.278 in 356 plate appearances over the course of two seasons (2008-2009) for the NL champs.

At River Ave. Blues, Mike Axisa calls the signing a "depth move," predicting Bruntlett won't see any time with the big league club.


Nationals Release Eric Bruntlett

The Nationals have released infielder Eric Bruntlett according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy. They originally signed him to a minor league deal back in December.

The 32-year-old Bruntlett had been playing with Triple-A Syracuse, though he hit just .210/.308/.302 in 187 plate appearances. At the very least he provided some versatility, playing every position on the field except for pitcher, catcher, and center field. The former Astro and Phillie has hit just .215/.295/.279 in his last 521 big league plate appearances dating back to 2007.


Nationals Reach Agreements With Bruntlett, Whitesell

The Nationals agreed to terms on minor league deals with infielder Eric Bruntlett and first baseman Josh Whitesell, according to a team press release.

Bruntlett, 32 in March, was acquired by the Phillies in November of '07 along with Brad Lidge.  Bruntlett hit .171/.224/.238 in 118 plate appearances this year while playing all around the diamond.  The Phils released Bruntlett in November and replaced him with Juan Castro.

Whitesell, 28 in April, hit .194/.346/.287 in 133 plate appearances for the D'Backs this year as well as .293/.398/.471 at Triple A.  He raked at Triple A in '08, and has at times shown an impressive ability to draw walks.  Whitesell came up through the Expos organization, but was claimed off waivers by the D'Backs in March of '08.  According to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert, the D'Backs were unable to sell Whitesell's rights to a Japanese team and non-tendered him at the December 12th deadline.



Odds & Ends: Phillies, Nationals, Mariners

There's no such thing as an offseason- just different kinds of on-seasons.


Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker Become Free Agents

Four Phillies – Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Andy Tracy, and Paul Hoover - were removed from the 40-man roster and became free agents today, according to Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bruntlett, 32 in March, hit .171/.224/.238 in 118 plate appearances, spending time all around the diamond.  He came over in the November '07 Brad Lidge trade with the Astros.

Walker, 34 in May, tossed 35.3 innings of 3.06 ball in the Majors as well as 19.3 fine innings in Triple A.  He was used in low-leverage situations this year with the Phils.

Tracy and Hoover spent most of the year at Triple A.


Phillies Free Agent Notes

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:

  • The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
  • Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
  • The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
  • Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
  • If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
  • The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.

Phillies Seeking Utility Infielder

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wants an upgrade at the utility infield position, writes Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Second baseman Chase Utley tends to run out of gas late in the season and a quality backup would go a long way towards solving that problem.

Utley's late-season performance took a dive once again this year as fatigue caught up with him.  The 30-year-old hit .304/.423/.554 from the start of the year to the end of August.  From September 1st to the end of the regular season, Utley saw his slash line dip to a putrid .193/.290/.325.  

An improvement over Eric Bruntlett (.462 OPS in 2009) could also ease the workload of Jimmy Rollins.  As Martino points out, someone with enough versatility could even spell Raul Ibanez in left field.  

The article identifies two candidates who can fill that role in this winter's free agent class: Mark DeRosa and Marco Scutaro.  While both players have experience at second-base, each were asked to play just a handful of innings at the position in '09.

What other free agent utility men should Ruben Amaro Jr. consider this winter?


Phillies Acquire Brad Lidge For Michael Bourn

A major trade was struck tonight, as the Phillies acquired Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary, and Mike Costanzo.

The makings of this deal surfaced earlier today, as it was revealed the Astros had interest in Francisco Cordero.  The ‘Stros had been talking about bringing in a center fielder, though no one expected Bourn.

Phillies fans have to be happy to hear that the acquisition will allow Brett Myers to move back into the starting rotation.  We were hearing just yesterday that Myers would remain in the pen.  Perhaps Pat Gillick surveyed the market for a top-rotation starter and didn’t like the prices. Besides bolstering the bullpen for 2008, Gillick should snag a draft pick or two if Lidge leaves for a multiyear deal via free agency (assuming he has a good 2008 season).

Bourn is obviously the key to the deal for Ed Wade and the Astros.  He’s a burner and prototypical leadoff man as well as a plus on defense.  The move seems to give Wade a new trading chip, right fielder Luke Scott.