Geoff Blum Rumors
Utility infielder Geoff Blum's ready to call it a playing career after 14 seasons in the big leagues, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. After spending five years with the Astros over two different stints, Blum will return to Houston to join the club's television broadcasting team on a part-time basis. Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league...
- The Rockies remain interested in former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, who plans to set a date to throw in front of teams in the near future, reports the Denver Post's Troy Renck (via Twitter). Webb, 34 this spring, last appeared in the big leagues in April 2009.
- The Orioles have a few free agents for other teams to consider ranging from a sure-fire Hall of Famer to a utility infielder who will most likely use Twitter to announce his next stop, says Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The offseason doesn't always mean vacations or relaxing poolside for younger players in the Padres organization as the salary of a minor leaguer often fails to cover the bills, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com.
The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but August figures to be a busy month nonetheless. MLBTR has an explanation of how teams can make trades this month, plus reaction to yesterday’s deadline moves and a poll on which teams didn’t do enough. Here are today’s links...
- It's time for the Indians to release Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon since the veterans are not producing enough to justify their roster spots, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes.
- Geoff Blum told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that he’s in limbo now, but would love to play again "if the situation is right” (Twitter link). The Diamondbacks released the veteran infielder last month.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said his starting rotation remains "a concern," Alex Angert of MLB.com reports. Stephen Fife still has a rotation spot despite rumors that the Dodgers might acquire a starter such as Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza.
- The Blue Jays voided the contract of Venezuelan shortstop Luis Castro after the prospect didn't pass his physical, Ben Badler of Baseball America writes. Castro, 16, had signed for $800K last month.
- The Red Sox placed Nick Punto and Carl Crawford on waivers today, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Hundreds of players will be placed on waivers this month and only a small percentage of them will be traded.
The Diamondbacks activated Blum from the 60-day disabled list earlier this month and he played in nine games as a pinch hitter and third baseman. The 39-year-old collected four hits and two walks in 31 plate appearances for Arizona this year. He has a .250/.310/.384 career batting line in 14 seasons at the MLB level.
The Diamondbacks officially signed Geoff Blum to a two-year deal, according to the team. The AP reports that the contract is worth $2.7MM. D'Backs GM Kevin Towers says signing Blum is the first step to improving his team's bench.
“Geoff is a veteran that can play nearly every position on the field while also having the experience of contributing to key situations late in the game as a pinch-hitter off of the bench,” Towers said.
Blum hit .267/.321/.356 in 218 plate appearances in 2010 and missed time with elbow and neck injuries. The 37-year-old played all four infield positions and went 14 for 42 as a pinch hitter, before Houston declined his $1.65MM option for 2011.
FRIDAY, 5:27pm: Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com tweets that Blum's two-year contract will be worth "a smidge over $2MM."
THURSDAY, 8:58pm: The proposed deal would be for two years, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. An announcement could be made as soon as tomorrow.
THURSDAY, 7:12pm: The Diamondbacks are closing in on a deal with Geoff Blum, a baseball source tells Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The 37-year-old hit .267/.321/.356 in 218 plate appearances this season while dealing with elbow and neck injuries.
The Astros informed the veteran on October 1st that they would pay his $150K buyout rather than exercise his $1.65MM option for 2011. At the time, Blum told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he would miss Houston and gleaned from conversations with people in the organization that he would not return. However, it was reported yesterday that he appeared to be close to re-signing with the Astros.
If Blum signs with Arizona, it will mark a reunion of sorts between the veteran and GM Kevin Towers. The versatile switch-hitter played two seasons and change for the Padres during Towers' time in San Diego.
Agent Scott Boras tells Yahoo’s Tim Brown that the changes to the offseason schedule mean he’s fielding offers for his clients earlier than usual. Here are the rest of Brown’s rumors:
- The Astros appear to be close to re-signing Geoff Blum.
- The Red Sox will determine how available Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder are before they start serious negotiations with top free agents. It sounds like the Padres and Brewers will at least listen to offers for their respective first basemen.
- The D’Backs are “shopping” Mark Reynolds and looking for relievers and contact hitters.
- Rival teams believe the White Sox will listen to offers for Gordon Beckham.
- Gary Matthews Jr. hopes to continue playing, according to Brown.
MONDAY: Wade confirmed today via press release that Michaels' option will be exercised and Blum's will be declined.
SUNDAY: The Astros informed Geoff Blum they will not be exercising his $1.65MM option for 2011, the infielder explained to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The Astros will instead pay a $150K buyout. They will exercise Jason Michaels' option for $900K, according to McTaggart's source.
Astros GM Ed Wade told McTaggart he's leaving the door open to re-signing Blum anyway. However, Blum's comments suggest he'll move on:
"I do know that I will not be here. I'll miss being here, trust me. I've had several conversations with people within the organization and my services are not going to be needed here."
Blum, 37, hit .267/.321/.356 in 218 plate appearances this year while playing all infield positions aside from catcher. He battled elbow and neck injuries.
Michaels, 34, convinced the Astros to retain him by hitting .254/.312/.470 in 202 PAs and playing all three outfield positions.
The Cardinals are interested in Geoff Blum, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Blum, Craig Counsell and Edwin Encarnacion have all cleared waivers, so the Cards could trade for those infielders without restriction. Brandon Inge also interests the Cards, but if he has cleared waivers, it has not been reported.
The Cardinals are pursuing infield help more aggressively than before, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team lost David Freese to a season-ending ankle operation, so the front office would like to add a third baseman or utility infielder. GM John Mozeliak says he’s discussing players who have cleared waivers with a number of teams and waiting for other players to be placed on waivers.
"The whole process of waivers is about being patient," Mozeliak said. "At the same token, if we felt like we could do something that will help us sooner rather than later, we would give that real consideration.”
Infielders Geoff Blum and Craig Counsell have cleared waivers, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Astros and Brewers can now trade their respective veterans to any team. The Braves and Cardinals both lost third basemen, so Blum and Counsell could draw interest. Blum ($1.5MM, mutual option for 2011) and Counsell ($2.1MM) both make modest salaries, play second third and short and can hit the open market after the season.
Here's MLBTR's complete list of players to clear waivers.
The Astros designated Anderson Hernandez for assignment to make room for Geoff Blum, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link). The Astros claimed Hernandez from the Indians in late July, after Cleveland designated him for assignment.
The 27-year-old utility player has appeared at second, third and short this year, and he has also played a game in left field. However, Hernandez has just a .230/.260/.284 line in 77 plate appearances. That isn't far from the .617 OPS he has posted in his six-year MLB career.