Geoff Blum Rumors
The Rangers are looking to acquire a backup corner infielder before Opening Day, writes Jim Reeves of ESPN.com. Manager Ron Washington had hoped that one of the club's young players - such as Matt Brown or Max Ramirez - would step up to fill the role, but that has not happened.
One Rangers source said that the team keeps coming back to Boston's Mike Lowell. The same source indicated that Texas believes that they can basically get Lowell for the same player they agreed to deal over the winter, Max Ramirez.
Kevin Millar is also on the Rangers' watch list, though he may earn himself a bench spot with the Cubs. Wes Helms of the Marlins and Fernando Tatis of the Mets could also fit the bill as corner infielders off of the bench. Meanwhile, "super-utility" players like Houston's Geoff Blum and Kansas City's Willie Bloomquist are likely too rich for Texas' blood.
The Astros re-signed infielder Geoff Blum to a one-year deal, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The deal is worth $1.5MM in 2010 and has a $1.65MM mutual option for '11. Blum, 37 in April, hit .247/.314/.367 this year in 427 plate appearances while playing mostly third base. Hopefully the Astros envision more of a utility role for Blum next year, though he does appear solid defensively at the hot corner.
In other team news, McTaggart says the Astros hired Brad Arnsberg, formerly of the Blue Jays, as their new pitching coach.
According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, in the wake of Aaron Boone's announcement this morning that he'll miss the season with a heart condition, Astros GM Ed Wade received a call from a team "informing him they had a third baseman available" for trade.
It sounds like Wade will entertain the possibility of making a deal, but he first wants to see how prospect Chris Johnson and veteran Geoff Blum will respond to increased playing time. Spring training has been rough on both guys thus far. Johnson, 24, is hitting just .231 this spring with one dinger and six RBI. Blum, 35, is batting .158 with no home runs and just three RBI in 32 at-bats.
"If we think there's a need at the end (of camp), there's going to be guys available," Wade said Wednesday. "I got a call today from a club that's got a guy that they want to make available so if we have the need. We know what Blum's capable of doing and we like what CJ's shown so far. We'll let them play and see what happens."
Links for Monday night...
- Astros GM Ed Wade is "kicking the tires" on players to share time with Geoff Blum at third next year. It seems unlikely that they can afford Ty Wigginton.
- The Marlins haven't yet inquired on Takashi Saito, a recent non-tender.
- It's "very unlikely" though "not impossible" that Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez becomes a Yankee according to Tyler Kepner. He also thinks that the longer Andy Pettitte waits, the lower the chances are of a return to the Yankees.
- Adam Everett thinks the Tigers are a great fit for him. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said Everett's in line to get most of the starts at shortstop.
- Felipe Lopez could be a positive for the D'Backs in spite of his questionable effort and unspectacular defense, writes Keith Law.
- Rob Neyer thinks that the Yankees "pretty obviously overpaid" for A.J. Burnett.
- Here's a video clip of Bronx Banter authors and Anthony McCarron debating the pros and cons of the Burnett signing.
- Sarah D. Morris weighs in on the Dodgers' offseason moves.
- Tony Massarotti ranks the five worst current pitching contracts.
We'll kick it off with a few links today and add more bullets periodically.
- Cole Hamels feels that he handled his contract renewal last year immaturely.
- Over at The Hardball Times, Geoff Young looks at the best compensation picks of the 20th century.
- Geoff Blum's '09 option vests with one more plate appearance.
- Bronson Arroyo has a plan to make the Reds competitive.
- Matthew Cerrone explains Carlos Delgado's '09 option.
- Jeff Passan on the Cardinals' brilliant signing of Ryan Ludwick.
- Baseball Prospectus profiles #26-50 on their list of players to build a team around.
- Twins reliever Brian Bass accepted a Triple A assignment, so he won't become a free agent.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo takes a preliminary look at the '09 draft order.
- Jamey Newberg wonders if the Rangers could pry Scott Kazmir loose this winter. It's hard to see the Rays trading him.
- Susan Slusser expects the A's to add an impact bat this winter, but free agent DHs Frank Thomas and Mike Sweeney will probably be let go. In a related note, ESPN's Buster Olney says the A's had a chance earlier this year to acquire Jason Bay for a package including pitching prospect Vin Mazzaro.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal notes that the Astros are close to a deal with Geoff Blum, and believes the Astros are behind both the Rockies and Cubs for Matsui.
Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Kaz Matsui "appears headed to the Astros." Maybe Ed Wade will save the Cubs from themselves. The Cubs were reportedly going to offer Matsui a three-year pact.
Ringolsby adds an interesting twist: the Astros and Rockies could swap second basemen. The Rockies like Chris Burke, and he will probably be deemed expendable if Matsui is signed. Seems to me there's a decent chance Burke matches Matsui in production next year at a much cheaper price.
Ringoslby also notes that Jason Kendall is "finalizing a deal with Milwaukee." Tom Haudricourt confirms the deep stages of the talks. To me this seems to be another case of change for the sake of change. Maybe the Brewers weren't pleased with Johnny Estrada, but Kendall has his own glaring deficiences as a starter.
Fox 29 in Houston is reporting that Geoff Blum and the Astros have agreed on a deal. No word on the details at the moment. Neither Ed Wade nor Geoff Blum have commented on this story. This will return him to the team on which he played in 2002 and 2003.
The 'Stros have an opening at second with the retirement of Craig Biggio, but Blum doesn't figure to start...at least I don't think so. His .319 OBP in 330 at bats last year was the third highest in his career (in a season where he put up 200 or more at bats). His best year, seemingly an anomaly, was a .283/.367/.440 effort for Houston in 2002. That was also the last year he cracked the .400 mark in slugging percentage.
Does this signal that Mark Loretta won't be back?
Joe Pawlikowski is co-author of River Ave. Blues, a Yankees blog.
As always, Tom Krasovic has the scoop on the Padres.
- Free agents Geoff Blum and Milton Bradley are not expected back. Blum wanted to return but the Padres are going to pass. Blum is likely to sign with Houston.
- The Padres may try a combo of Scott Hairston and Chase Headley in left field next year. Wouldn't it make more sense to push Kevin Kouzmanoff out there? It'll probably be a moot point, as the Padres are hoping to sign Geoff Jenkins.
- Krasovic tantalizes us by not elaborating on this tidbit: Responding to Colletti's preference for veterans, the Padres are contemplating three-team trade scenarios that would bring them young Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. In my opinion, any kind of deal that nets the Padres Kemp would have to involve Headley. This tidbit may be more brainstorming than anything.
- The Padres may offer Andruw Jones a one-year, $17MM deal. However Scott Boras is still acting like Jones' 2007 didn't happen.