Evan Meek Rumors
Last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that several Blue Jays players were willing to defer their salary in order to help the team bring Ervin Santana on board, and it was later reported by Sportsnet's Shi Davidi that the group of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey were the five who were willing to do so. Last night, Rosenthal added to the story, reporting that Santana was so close to heading to Toronto that the MLBPA had already approved the deferrals. Rosenthal again speculates on the possibility of Rogers Communications imposing a payroll limit on the 2014 Blue Jays, which would help explain their quiet offseason (which was previously examined by our own Mark Polishuk). Elsewhere in the AL East...
- The Boston Herald's Gerry Callahan opines that while Jon Lester is clearly the No. 1 starter for the Red Sox, he's not elite and isn't worth the money he could make on the open market. Callahan writes that another team will "get stupid" with Lester, offering him something in excess of $130-140MM, and if talks get to that point, then Boston would be wise to emulate the A's or Rays instead of the Dodgers or Yankees, and let their high-priced star walk.
- In a second column from Rosenthal, he looks at a number of topics that also pertain largely to the AL East, beginning firstly noting that we shouldn't expect to see the Yankees pursue any outside help after injuries to Mark Teixeira or David Robertson. The Yankees feel that both injuries will be short-lived, and therefore aren't looking strongly at Ryan Madson and/or Joel Hanrahan, nor are they considering trades for first basemen.
- Also of interest to Yankees fans will be Rosenthal's look at the rise of Yangervis Solarte -- a minor league signing who has experience an unlikely rise to prominence in the Majors. Solarte's agents, Chris Leible and Peter Greenberg of the Legacy Agency, recall that their initial representation of Solarte was merely a favor to his uncle, Roger Cedeno. At one point this offseason, the Yankees dropped out of the bidding for Solarte, who was highly sought after. However, he was recommended by three different scouts, and Leible encouraged him by advising that his best ticket to the Majors was in a utility role.
- Rosenthal also looks at the long road back to the Majors for Evan Meek, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles this offseason only after calling his former Pirates manager (and current O's bench coach) John Russell and asking for a look. He ultimately auditioned for seven or eight clubs, but chose to go to Baltimore.
- Lastly, Rosenthal notes that the extension for Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was "almost certainly" his own call rather than that of his agents at Miami Sports Management. He writes that Escobar seems to prefer even minor levels of security and would rather have his new guarantee than risk waiting until free agency to sign, even if the outcome could have been something along the lines of Omar Infante's four-year deal with the Royals this offseason.
The Orioles have announced via a press release they have designated left-hander Mike Belfiore for assignment. The move, along with placing right-hander Edgmer Escalona on the 60-day disabled list, clears roster space for the addition of outfielder Delmon Young and right-hander Evan Meek to the 40-man roster.
Belfiore made his MLB debut last September for the Orioles throwing 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox allowing three hits, including a pair of home runs. At Triple-A, the 25-year-old made 37 relief outings posting a 3.18 ERA, 9.7 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9. The Diamondbacks made Belfiore the 45th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, but shipped him to Baltimore in 2012 as the player to be named later when they acquired Josh Bell.
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here ...
- The Orioles have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder/DH Jack Cust, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Cust, 35, has not seen MLB action since 2011, when he hit .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances at DH for the Mariners. He was out of baseball last year, but slashed an interesting .243/.400/.442 (with 20 home runs) in 493 Triple-A plate appearances in 2012.
- Baltimore has also inked righty Evan Meek, tweets Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 30-year-old has made 156 MLB appearances, all as a Pirates reliever, and logged 172 2/3 innings of 3.34 ERA ball over the span of 2008-12. But he struggled in limited action in 2012, and worked as a Triple-A swingman for the Rangers last year (posting a 4.50 ERA in 108 innings).
- With Chaz Roe electing free agency, only the Royals' Everett Teaford and Emilio Bonifacio remain in DFA limbo, as reflected in the MLBTR DFA Tracker.
The Rangers signed reliever Evan Meek, starter Randy Wells, first baseman Brandon Allen, and starter Jake Brigham to minor league deals with invites, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Meek, 29, made the All-Star team during a 2.14 ERA campaign for the Pirates in 2010. Since then, he's been limited by a shoulder injury.
Wells, 30, made 82 starts for the Cubs from 2009-11, even placing sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in '09. He spent much of this year struggling at Triple-A Iowa.
Allen, 26, never caught on in the Majors and spent the second half of this season in Japan.
A total of 28 players -- all with big league time under their belts -- recently elected free agency after finishing the year in Triple-A. Here is the full list, courtesy of the International League and Pacific Coast League transaction pages...
- Infielders: Brian Bixler (Astros), Sean Burroughs (Twins), Blake DeWitt (Cubs), Alberto Gonzalez (Rangers), Angel Sanchez (Astros), Nate Spears (Red Sox), Drew Sutton (Pirates)
- Outfielders: Travis Buck (Astros), Ryan Langerhans (Angels), Mitch Maier (Royals), Darnell McDonald (Yankees), Jai Miller (Orioles), Trent Oeltjen (Dodgers), Jason Pridie (Phillies), Mike Wilson (Mariners)
- Right-handed Pitchers: Roman Colon (Royals), Mike Ekstrom (Rockies), Jack Egbert (Mets), Ryota Igarashi (Yankees), Evan Meek (Pirates), Scott Richmond (Blue Jays), Kip Wells (Padres), Randy Wells (Cubs), Dan Wheeler (Indians)
- Left-handed Pitchers: Alex Hinshaw (Cubs), Cesar Jimenez (Mariners), Zach Kroenke (Diamondbacks), Garrett Olson (Mets)
The latest outright assignments from around MLB...
- The Pirates outrighted right-hander Evan Meek to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the team's website. Pittsburgh removed the 2010 All-Star from the 40-man roster one week ago, designating him for assignment. Meek, 29, made 12 relief appearances for this year’s Pirates team but spent most of this year with Indianapolis, where he posted a 2.74 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 46 innings of relief work.
The Pirates announced that they have designated right-hander Evan Meek for assignment. The move creates 40-man roster space for right-hander Rick VandenHurk, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh also recalled infielder Chase d'Arnaud and right-hander Bryan Morris in related moves.
Meek, a 2010 All-Star, has been in the Pittsburgh organization since the Pirates selected him in the 2007 Rule 5 draft. He has spent time on the MLB roster in each of the last five seasons, and made 12 relief appearances in 2012. The 29-year-old spent most of this year with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he posted a 2.74 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 46 innings of relief work. In five MLB seasons, he has a 3.34 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, a 52.1 % ground ball rate and an average fastball velocity of 94 mph.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports brought us another edition of Full Count today while sporting yet another fantastic bow tie. Here are some highlights..
- The Marlins could wind up trading Ricky Nolasco if they fail to get back to the .500 mark. The Rangers have shown interest in Nolasco since last winter and the Yankees could look to reunite him with manager Joe Girardi. If the Fish make such a deal, it won't be in one of their classic salary dumps, it will be instead for baseball reasons. They're looking to increase their payroll ahead of their move into a brand new stadium and they could be major players for free agents this winter.
- The Rays still could end up as sellers but right now they appear to be buyers as they were looking to get Francisco Rodriguez before the Brewers swooped in at the final hour. If Tampa Bay sells, it's doubtful that they'll move any of their starters but B.J. Upton is another story. In theory, the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves could all be potential destinations for the outfielder.
- The three teams with the best chance of meeting the Rockies' asking price for Ubaldo Jimenez are the Yankees, Tigers, and Reds. The concerns with Jimenez are that he's not back to his 2009/early 2010 form and that his velocity has dropped. One scout told Rosenthal that he's not back to his ace form yet but he's getting close.
- The first-place Pirates are after upgrades but they should also improve from within. They have a number of injured players returning such as Jose Tabata, Evan Meek, and Ross Ohlendorf. The Bucs continue to search for a bat but they're not terribly interested in the Cubs' Carlos Pena.
3:25pm: The Pirates are aggressively pursuing Accardo, according to Kovacevic (on Twitter).
2:51pm: The latest on the Pirates:
- The Pirates are deeply interested in Jeremy Accardo, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Dodgers are also known to be in on the recently non-tendered reliever.
- A couple of teams have approached the Pirates about center fielder Andrew McCutchen, tweets ESPN's Gordon Edes, but they'd have to be overwhelmed.
- The Pirates and Justin Duchscherer have mutual interest, reports Kovacevic.
- The Pirates have shown some interest in Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. She estimates Kawakami would only cost the Pirates $1-2MM and no significant players, as the Braves are just looking to unload part of his $6.667MM salary.
- Langosch says the Pirates have mild interest in Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan. Kovacevic says the Pirates continue to discuss shortstops with many teams, including J.J. Hardy with the Twins.
- Kovacevic adds that the Pirates would love to trade Ryan Doumit. He says they'd only trade Evan Meek or Joel Hanrahan for a very significant return.