Ivan Rodriguez Rumors
The latest notes from the AL Central...
- After training in Phoenix Jim Thome has returned home, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter link). While Thome still wants a Major League contract, the Twins would likely take him on a minor league deal in Wolfson’s view.
- Indians manager Terry Francona told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he has renewed energy in Cleveland. Though Francona's tenure in Boston ended badly, he says he has new perspective on the game after his year as an ESPN analyst. Those around him agree. "He's really the dream manager everyone wants to play for," Jason Giambi said. Even Red Sox president Larry Lucchino acknowledged that Francona "was an important part of the success" of the Red Sox.
- The Royals offered Ivan Rodriguez a Major League contract before the 2012 season, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). Rodriguez decided to retire instead of playing for Kansas City.
Ivan Rodriguez has been hired by the Rangers as a special assistant to the general manager, the team announced today. "Pudge" spent 13 of his 20 Major League seasons as a Ranger and will now serve the organization as a scout, organizational instructor and ambassador. Here are some more items from around the AL West...
- Scott Downs wants to remain with the Angels and the southpaw tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he would be willing to negotiate an extension during the season. Downs' representatives at CAA have told the Angels' front office about their client's wishes but have yet to get a response. Downs turns 37 in March and has pitched very well in Anaheim, posting a 2.17 ERA over 99 1/3 innings in his first two years of his three-year, $15MM contract. He turns 37 in March, however, and Gonzalez speculates that the Angels may let Downs go since Sean Burnett and Nick Maronde are in the fold as left-handed bullpen options.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels spoke with Dallas Morning News readers about the team's offseason moves, international signings, the current Texas roster and more in a live chat today.
- The Athletics have received tentative guidelines from the Commissioner's Office regarding a possible move to San Jose, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. This isn't necessarily a sign that the A's will be allowed to move, Shaikin notes, though if the team can comply with these guidelines, it could prompt Bud Selig to put the matter of the proposed move to a vote of the other league owners. MLB has been studying the Athletics' proposed San Jose relocation for four years, and the Giants are known to oppose the move on the grounds that it infringes on their territorial rights.
- Rick Ankiel will make $750K if he makes the Astros' Opening Day roster, plus a few small bonuses based on plate appearances, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Houston signed the veteran outfielder to a minor league contract in January.
As if the Phillies didn't already have enough stars on the disabled list, Hunter Pence missed Monday's game due to a shoulder injury suffered diving for a ball Sunday against the Padres. The extent of the injury is yet unknown and Pence is considered day-to-day for the time being.
Some news from Monday in the Major Leagues...
- Dontrelle Willis talks to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko about the situation that resulted in Willis being placed on the Orioles' restricted list. Willis is "almost dumbfounded" by how things unfolded, as he thought he and the O's had agreed to part ways since he was injured and not adjusting well to relief pitching. "I don't understand what's really going on. I don't know if there's been a miscommunication there," Willis said. "Not with me. I talked to my agent and we talked about it, I talked to the proper representation, I talked to Dan [Duquette] personally....It was face-to-face. I don't know what's going on. And now if I want to sign with another team, I can't."
- Kubatko hears that Willis has drawn interest from a team in South Korea and a team in Japan, but Matt Sosnick, Willis' agent, denies that his client has received any offers.
- The Marlins' signing of Ivan Rodriguez in 2003 was "money well spent," team president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest tells Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Beinfest doesn't regret any of the moves the club made that season (even trading then-prospect Adrian Gonzalez for Ugueth Urbina) because it led to a championship. "You always hate to trade away a talent like Adrian Gonzalez. But you make it every day if you're going to win the World Series," Beinfest said.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum hopes Rodrigo Lopez will clear waivers and remain with the organization, reports ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla. The right-hander was designated for assignment earlier today as the Cubs added Michael Bowden to the roster.
- Pedro Alvarez's struggles inspired a discussion of the greatest draft busts in history in this mailbag piece from Baseball America's Jim Callis. Alvarez, taken by the Pirates with the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, could be "the biggest waste of hitting talent in draft history" unless he turns himself around, Callis writes.
- Twins President Dave St. Peter told Jim Memolo and Jeff Nelson on MLB Network Radio that his team needs to pitch better to recover from its 5-11 start. St. Peter suggested the Twins could move Francisco Liriano to the bullpen temporarily. “He’s an asset for this franchise and we need to get him back into a situation where he can go deep into ballgames,” St Peter said. The 28-year-old lefty faces a make or break year and it was announced today that Liriano would skip his next start and not pitch until May 1.
No team in baseball has scored more runs or allowed fewer runs than the Rangers, so it's no wonder they're 13-3. Here are some Rangers-related links as they prepare to host the Yankees...
- GM Jon Daniels tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that the team didn't mind potentially overpaying during the bidding process for Yu Darvish. “We said, ‘Here’s how we evaluate him, let’s go to the top of our means, whatever we’re willing to pay,’” Daniels said. “It was not about getting the best possible deal. It was about getting the player. And we had to be O.K. with that.”
- One MLB agent said told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has a strong case for an extension, despite his history of off-field and injury issues. "He's done nothing but perform for them, and nothing he's done has affected him there,” the person said. “He's always performed there, and he continues to perform."
- Ivan Rodriguez and the Rangers have discussed the possibility of working together in the future, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. "It would be good for our organization and he wants to stay involved in baseball, so we're looking forward to working something out," CEO Nolan Ryan said of his former battery-mate. Rodriguez formally announced his retirement today.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Rangers have the best lineup in baseball and may be the best team in the game right now (video link).
- The Rangers released Justin Miller, Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest tweets. The right-hander has a partial tear of his right UCL. Here's a complete list of the day's minor moves.
Rodriguez, 40, spent last season with the Nationals, hitting .218/.281/.323 with two homers in 137 plate appearances. That does not do his Hall of Fame caliber career justice, however. Pudge is a .296/.334/.464 career hitter with 2,844 career hits and 311 homers. He's a 14-time All-Star, a 13-time Gold Glove award winner, a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, and the 1999 AL MVP. He finished in the top ten of the MVP voting three other times.
During his peak from 1998-2004, Rodriguez hit .322/.363/.538 with 162 homers. He played in 878 of 1,134 possible games, roughly 125 per season. Among catchers, Pudge ranks first all-time in hits (2,844), first in doubles (572), seventh in homers (311), fifth in RBI (1,332), and third in WAR (74.1). Thirteen of his 21 big league seasons were spent with the Rangers, but he also played for the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, and Nats. Pudge helped Florida to the 2003 World Series title.
Rodriguez earned over $120MM during his career according to Baseball-Reference.com. His $8.5MM annual salary from 1999-2002 was the second highest annual salary for catcher in baseball history at the time. He was the highest paid catcher in baseball during the 2006 and 2007 seasons at $10MM each year.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
Links for Thursday, as the first full day of the regular season wraps up...
- The Reds and Rangers are working towards contract extensions with Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler, respectively, and ESPN's Jim Bowden says (on Twitter) there's some work left to be done on each. Phillips is expected to get $12.5-13MM annually, Kinsler $13.5-14MM.
- Scott Podsednik will report to the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, his agent confirmed to David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News. Podsednik was not technically a Major League free agent this offseason since he spent all of last year in the minors, so he was unable to opt-out of his contract at the end of Spring Training.
- Jamie Moyer's can make $2MM in incentives op top of his $1.1MM base salary, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (on Twitter). The 49-year-old left-hander will open the season in the Rockies’ rotation.
- Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright took note when Matt Cain of the Giants signed earlier in the week, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. "Obviously, you have to pay attention to it,"Wainwright said. "It's a tremendous deal for him." Cain obtained $112.5MM in new money from the Giants, establishing a record for right-handed pitchers.
- Ivan Rodriguez is working out and says he's in shape, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Heyman suggests the Rays could be a fit for the veteran free agent.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
5:49pm: Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter) that no offer has been made to Rodriguez, be it a contract or invitation to camp.
3:36pm: Royals GM Dayton Moore was told that Rodriguez still wants to play "at some point,'' but is not ready to join the club now, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
1:14pm: The Royals are interested in bringing Ivan Rodriguez into camp following the injury to starting catcher Salvador Perez, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Rodriguez is currently thinking about the opportunity and hasn't decided whether he will accept the offer.
The 40-year-old has said that he wants to keep playing and has been waiting for an opportunity. Both the Rays and Mets have appeared as possibilities this offseason but neither club seems interested at this juncture.
Pudge was limited by injuries in 2011, hitting .218/.281/.323 in just 44 games for the Nationals.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Rays are not considering free agent Ivan Rodriguez as an option at catcher, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Tampa Bay is in need of a backup to Jose Molina but it doesn't appear that the Scott Boras client will be the answer.
The Mets were once linked to the 40-year-old but two team sources shut the door on that possibility late last month. Pudge has reportedly fielded a few inquiries, including one from the Diamondbacks, but is in search of a job that will give him a decent amount of playing time.
Agent Scott Boras told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he expects trade deadline activity to decrease because the superpowers in baseball are going to save money on the luxury tax and can’t spend it in the draft. Boras was in attendance for the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston and our own Tim Dierkes sat down for an interview with the super agent. Here's more from Cafardo's Sunday column..
- The Orioles' Adam Jones keeps popping up in trade discussions with the Nationals, but O's sources indicate that there’s very little chance he'll be dealt. The Nats are trying to figure out center field, and for the moment they’re content with using Jayson Werth, Roger Bernadina, and Rick Ankiel. However, they will be scouting Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Gerardo Parra, and Peter Bourjos in spring training.
- White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd could be in play for the Blue Jays or Red Sox. The White Sox don’t appear eager to move Floyd, but GM Kenny Williams wouldn’t be shy if it brought him a decent bounty in return.
- The Indians will try to fill in for Grady Sizemore with Michael Brantley, but their scouts are looking for a center field option in the trade market.
- Free agent Adonis Garcia is drawing interest from several teams, but the Red Sox aren’t overly enamored, according to a team source.
- Roy Oswalt is still in play and later in camp the Red Sox could put on a full-court press for him.
- The Rays are looking for a catcher to back up Jose Molina and Boras may look to put Ivan Rodriguez in that spot.
- There seems to be concern that the Astros are shooting themselves in the foot by moving starter Brett Myers into the closer role as he is one of the veterans they have been trying to deal. Teams typically need innings-eaters over late-inning relievers.
- Cafardo wonders aloud if Terry Francona will land with the Mets when he resumes his managerial career.
Juan Carlos Oviedo isn’t the only member of the Marlins with a different name for the 2012 season. The slugger known as Mike Stanton said today that he prefers Giancarlo, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). MLBTR will now refer to him as Giancarlo Stanton and our archives reflect the change. On to the latest links from the NL East...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Josh Johnson looms above his teammates as the key figure for the Marlins’ chances in 2012. Rosenthal says the Marlins should contend if Johnson makes 30 starts.
- A Mets official said the team doesn’t see free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez as a fit, David Lennon of Newsday tweets. Rodriguez called the Mets about an opportunity, but the club appears to have minimal interest.
- The Mets remain in touch with free agent right-hander Chris Young, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Young still seeks a Major League deal.
- The Braves will make Nick Swisher their top free agent target next offseason, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden. Bowden suggests the Yankees could make an all-out push for Andre Ethier if Swisher does head to Atlanta.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.