Hayden Penn Rumors

Odds & Ends: De La Rosa, Mariners, Thames

Links for Tuesday, as the GM Meetings commence in Orlando and we await the announcement of the NL Cy Young winner…

Chulk, Penn Sold To Japanese Teams

MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports (via Twitter) that the Pirates have sold the rights to right-handers Vinnie Chulk and Hayden Penn to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Chiba Lotte Marines, respectively.  The moves have been in the works for a little while now but were just finalized today.

Chulk has pitched for Toronto, San Francisco and Cleveland over his seven years in the big leagues.  In 276 1/3 major league innings, all of which came out of the bullpen, the righty posted a 4.33 ERA and a 1.75 K/BB ratio.  Chulk signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh last December and had an uneven season at Triple-A Indianapolis; he had a 10.5 K/9 ratio but also a 4.96 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 28 appearances.

Penn, drafted by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2002 amateur draft, was a well-regarded prospect in Baltimore's system, ranked as the 81st-best prospect in the game by Baseball America in their pre-2006 listing.  He was never able to translate that promise to the majors, however, as shown by his 9.51 career ERA over 33 games (15 of them starts) with Baltimore, Florida and Pittsburgh. 

Odds & Ends: Nationals, Lilly, Haren, Marlins, Kotsay

Sunday night linkage..

Pirates Notes: Trades, Penn, Chulk, Russell

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the highlights from Pirates GM Neal Huntington's weekly media address. Let's take a look:

  • Huntington says that the Pirates have moved beyond "prospect gathering" mode. If a "good baseball trade" presents itself, Huntington will make it, but according to the general manager there are several players that he's not motivated to move.
  • Huntington says he's trying to move forward with their group of young talent. He cites the Brewers' rise from second-to-last to second place in the middle of the decade thanks to the likes of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Corey Hart (and don't forget Yovani Gallardo) in saying it takes a solid core to turn an organization around.
  • The club is pleased with the changes made to its scouting, signing, player development, and evaluation processes, but obviously was hoping for a better record than their 31-59 mark to date.
  • On Hayden Penn likely leaving the organization to pitch in Japan, Huntington said part of him wanted to say no and keep him in the Pittsburgh organization, but it was ultimately too hard to stand in Penn's way.
  • Vinnie Chulk is another pitcher within the Pirates organization who may be transitioning to Japanese ball.
  • Huntington shoots down rumors that manager John Russell's job may be tied to the club's performance on their current 10-game homestand: "When you hide behind imaginary sources that aren't going to go on the record, you can say anything you want," he told Kovacevic.
  • Huntington says Russell shouldn't be used as a scapegoat, because ultimately, responsibility for the club's performance falls on his own shoulders.

Odds & Ends: Nolasco, Wuertz, Vazquez, Workman

Some links for Friday, as the Cliff Lee drama unfolds…

  • Ricky Nolasco may become trade bait, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). The Marlins would listen to offers for the 27-year-old righty.
  • The Yankees have Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton and A’s reliever Michael Wuertz on their radar, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
  • The Yankees aren't close to moving Javier Vazquez and could hold onto him until July 31st even if they acquire Lee, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
  • Red Sox second rounder Brandon Workman and his advisor have given clear indications that the pitcher would not accept a deal for second-round money, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Workman has turned down a six-figure bonus before and appears ready to re-enter the draft in 2011 if the Red Sox don't offer him the bonus he feels he deserves.
  • The Chiba Lotte Marines are closing in on a deal with Hayden Penn, a right-hander currently pitching in the Pirates' system, according to reports that Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along.
  • The Marlins, Brewers, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox watched Mark Prior pitch, according to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link). The 29-year-old Prior is making a comeback.

Odds & Ends: Bell, Dye, Ortiz, Davis, Strasburg

Links for Monday…

  • The MLBTR Forums are rocking with over 3,600 members.  Join the discussion today!  Just added a prospects section; we've also got areas to discuss trade rumors, free agents, the draft, general baseball, fantasy baseball, and every team.
  • Tom Krasovic tweets that the Twins have a scout at tonight's Padres-Giants game, but it's just a routine visit. He adds that Heath Bell remains on Minnesota's radar, but the two sides haven't talked since Spring Training.
  • The Giants have no interest in Jermaine Dye, tweets Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle. The reasons are the same as they've been all winter: defense and asking price.
  • More changes could be coming to the Dodgers' bullpen, says Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. Russ Ortiz was designated for assignment yesterday, and Hernandez thinks Ramon Ortiz could be next.
  • Talking to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith, I learned that teams can now safely promote minor leaguers for their MLB debuts with no chance of the player amassing 172 days of service in 2010.  By promoting '08 first-rounder Ike Davis today, the Mets ensured that he will be under team control through 2016 instead of 2015.  In contrast, the Braves have Jason Heyward through '15.
  • On that same topic, agent Scott Boras told MLB.com's Peter Gammons that Stephen Strasburg starting in the minors "had nothing to do with money."
  • Joe Posnanski digs into Forbes' team revenue numbers, noting that the Yankees made $173MM more than any other team.
  • MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tells us Hayden Penn has accepted the Pirates' Triple A assignment in lieu of electing free agency.
  • In a statement, Cal Ripken said he looks forward to continued talks with the Orioles about a position in the organization.

Odds & Ends: Penn, Veras, Beimel, Mientkiewicz

Links for Friday…

Pirates Designate Hayden Penn For Assignment

5:52pm:  Penn was DFA'd in order to make room on the roster for lefty Brian Burres, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Burres has a 6.01 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 7.1 BB/9 in 265 big league innings.

4:37pm: The Pirates have designated righty Hayden Penn for assignment according to the team. They claimed him off waivers from the Marlins just two weeks ago.

The 25-year-old Penn appeared in three games for Pittsburgh this year, giving up eight hits and eight runs in just 2.1 innings. He walked three and struck out no one. Penn's Triple-A numbers are strong; he's posted a 3.85 ERA and a 7.5 K/9 in 278.1 innings at the level.

The Pirates’ Roster Crunch

We've seen a bevy of players designated for assignment and/or released in the past few days as teams were finalizing their Opening Day rosters. The deadline for clubs to submit their 25-man roster is 2pm CT today, and perhaps no one has more decisions to make than the Pirates, as Karen Price of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains.

At the moment, Pittsburgh's 40-man roster is full, but they have to find room for relievers Jack Taschner and D.J. Carrasco, who've made the team. One spot can be freed up by placing reliever Jose Ascanio on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Price mentions that the other 40-man spot is likely to come at the cost of Hayden Penn, Ramon Vazquez, John Raynor, or Steve Pearce.

The Pirates claimed Penn off waivers just last week, but that doesn't mean they aren't willing to designate him for assignment today. He's out of options, so he'd have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors anyway. As a Rule 5 Draft selection, the Pirates have to keep Raynor on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Marlins. Pearce has a leg up on the other guys because he has a minor league option remaining.

Vazquez will earn $2MM this season, but was told that he wasn't on the team a few weeks ago, making him a candidate to be either traded or released. Cutting him loose and eating his salary isn't the most desirable move, but it's probably best for the team. After a breakout season with the Rangers in 2008, Vazquez hit just .230/.335/.279 in 239 plate appearances last year, but at least he's capable of playing all over the infield. With Bobby Crosby and Ronny Cedeno on board, that last point may be moot.

Joel Hanrahan is likely to start the year on the 15-day DL because of an elbow issue, so the team could carry Penn to start the season. Optioning Pearce and releasing Vazquez would give the team the 25-man and 40-man roster spots for Taschner/Carrasco, then they'd just have to figure out what to do with Raynor, who's in a unique spot. We'll find out their decision by this afternoon, one way or the other.

Pirates Claim Hayden Penn

The Pirates claimed pitcher Hayden Penn off waivers from the Marlins, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  Penn is out of options, and the Marlins weren't able to get him through.

Penn, 25, posted a 4.11 ERA, 8.0 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 70 Triple A innings last year.  The Marlins acquired him a year ago from the Orioles for Robert Andino.  Penn was a highly-regarded prospect four years ago, as Baseball America said he had "three plus pitches that he throws for strikes."  Nice pickup by Neal Huntington.