Eugenio Velez Rumors
The Blue Jays announced that they signed five players to minor league deals that include invitations to MLB Spring Training. They signed right-hander Claudio Vargas, right-hander Rich Thompson, left-hander Juan Perez, third baseman Eugenio Velez and, as first reported by Jon Paul Morosi, first baseman/DH Luis Jimenez.
Vargas, 34, has experience in parts of eight MLB seasons, though he hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2010. He has a career 4.83 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 as a starter and reliever. Thompson, 28, pitched well out of the bullpen for the Angels in 2011, but appeared in just three games this past season. Perez appeared in ten games with the Brewers in 2012, striking out and walking more than one batter per inning. The 30-year-old Velez has five years of MLB experience with the Dodgers and Giants, but he last appeared in the big leagues in 2011. Lastly, the Blue Jays signed Jimenez, who made his MLB debut in 2012, appearing in seven games with the Mariners.
We'll keep track of today's minor league transactions here ...
- The Cardinals signed utility player Eugenio Velez, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Velez appeared in 34 games for the Dodgers this past season, but didn't collect a single hit. He did post an .834 OPS in 235 Triple-A plate appearances, while playing right field, left field, second base and third base.
- The Pirates have agreed to terms with infielder Anderson Hernandez on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. Hernandez, 29, has played in 240 Major League games over six seaons with the Mets, Nationals, Indians and Astros. He last appeared in the bigs with Houston in 2010.
- The Phillies announced they've signed infielder Hector Luna and outfielder Luis Montanez to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. Luna has seen seen Major League action with the Cardinals, Indians, Blue Jays and Marlins, getting as many as 379 plate appearances with the Redbirds in 2006. Montanez appeared in 36 games with the Cubs in 2011.
The Dodgers announced on Twitter today that they've declined club options on starter Jon Garland and third baseman Casey Blake, and also outrighted Eugenio Velez to Triple-A. Typically option decisions are announced after the World Series, but Garland and Blake were obvious choices.
For Garland, the Dodgers chose a $500K buyout over an $8MM club option. Garland had signed for a below-market guarantee of $5MM in November, but a vesting option in the contract became moot when the righty when down for an oblique injury in March and shoulder surgery in July. Garland, now 32, had previously been a lock for around 200 innings per season. If Garland is healthy, his agents at LSW Baseball should have no problem finding a one-year deal worth a few million plus incentives, along with a back-end rotation job.
The Dodgers chose a $1.25MM buyout over a $6MM club option on Blake, finishing a contract signed in December of '08. The 38-year-old Jim McDowell client hit .252/.342/.371 in 239 plate appearances. Blake's season was shortened by a ribcage, elbow, and neck injuries, culminating in September neck surgery. McDowell told MLBTR recently that his client should be "100% for 2012." Blake is also looking at a one-year deal, probably of the part-time variety. You can check out MLBTR's list of all the 2012 free agents here.
Velez, now the record-holder for a non-pitcher going hitless in a season with an 0-for-37 showing, was removed from the 40-man roster. Once free agents Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll, Hiroki Kuroda, Rod Barajas, Juan Rivera, Vicente Padilla, Jonathan Broxton, and Mike MacDougal are subtracted, the Dodgers' tally will be down to 30.
Velez, 28, was non-tendered by the Giants earlier this month even though he wasn't arbitration eligible yet. He owns a .256/.300/.388 line in 678 career plate appearances. He's logged time at all three outfield positions as well as second base. This year the speedy utility man hit .302/.353/.439 at Triple-A. Velez comes much cheaper than the other infielder the Dodgers signed away from the rival Giants, Juan Uribe.
This post will list all the National League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.
- Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
- Mets: Sean Green Chris Carter, John Maine
- Nationals: Joel Peralta, Wil Nieves, Chien-Ming Wang
- Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
- Giants: Chris Ray, Eugenio Velez
- Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
- Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
- Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
- Padres: Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Matt Antonelli, Luis Perdomo
- Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
- Astros: Sammy Gervacio
- Braves: Matt Diaz
Scouts are buzzing that the Giants are actively looking to upgrade at backup catcher and long relief. One possibility is catcher Rob Bowen, whom the A's released Tuesday.
Baggarly suggests the Giants' trade chips include pitchers Luis Perdomo and Merkin Valdez, as well as outfielder Eugenio Velez.
A handful of catchers remain on the free agent market, including new member Josh Bard. Tracy Ringolsby wonders if the Rockies will renew their interest in Bard. The Marlins, however, don't appear interested according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The free agent market also features about a dozen relievers.
Let's round up some Monday morning links.
- The Cardinals are taking another look at Sidney Ponson. Insert your own punchline in the comments.
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun could see the O's making a minor trade for a veteran second baseman if they acquire Ronny Cedeno but not Eric Patterson in a Brian Roberts deal with the Cubs.
- Brandon Inge is trying his best to talk his way out of town. The Dodgers' recently reported nibble hasn't been publicly shot down, so that's a plus.
- South Side Sox thinks speedy infielder Eugenio Velez is the type of player the White Sox could desire for Joe Crede.
- Jonathan Papelbon wants $900K in his last year before arbitration eligibility. Ryan Howard set a scary precedent last year. If Papelbon doesn't get offered something close, he'd rather make a statement and be renewed near the minimum.
- Buster Olney suggests Dan Johnson and Doug Mientkiewicz could be possibilities for the Mets in their quest for a backup first baseman. Olney speculated on Nick Johnson, Scott Hatteberg, Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, and Kevin Millar the day before.