Jack Taschner Rumors

Odds & Ends: Waivers, Lowell, Taschner, Sale

Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run today off Shaun Marcum.  A-Rod is now the seventh player in MLB history to reach the milestone; up next is Sammy Sosa at 609.  Links for Wednesday…

Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Abreu, Mets, Edmonds

A few assorted links, as the trading finally picks up

Dodgers Sign Jack Taschner

The Dodgers signed lefty reliever Jack Taschner to a minor league deal.  Albuquerque Isotopes GM John Traub confirmed in an email to MLBTR that the southpaw was added to the roster yesterday.  Taschner allowed one of Allen Craig's two home runs in Sunday's blowout loss to the Memphis Redbirds.  Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has been stockpiling veteran relievers – he also added Claudio Vargas, Jesus Colome, and Kiko Calero to the Triple A club recently.

Taschner, 32, posted a 6.05 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 19.3 innings for the Pirates this year before being designated for assignment on June 8th.  He later elected free agency after refusing an outright assignment to the minors.  Taschner's line against lefties in his brief time with the Pirates was odd – he struck out nine and walked one in 6.6 innings, but also allowed eight hits and seven runs.

The Dodgers' bullpen features lefties Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill.  Kuo must be used carefully, while Sherrill has struggled. 

Jack Taschner Declares Free Agency

Pitcher Jack Taschner has declared free agency after refusing an outright assignment to the minors from the Pirates, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.  The left-hander was DFA'd by Pittsburgh early last week.

In 17 appearances this season, Taschner posted an ERA of 6.05 with 7.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.  The 32-year-old threw his fastball at an average of 89.6 mph in 2009 but has seen that dip to 88.8 in 2010.  His pitch velocity has steadily declined across the last three seasons.

Pirates Designate Jack Taschner For Assignment

The Pirates designated Jack Taschner for assignment, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The 32-year-old left-hander posted a 6.05 ERA in 17 appearances in the majors this year.  The Pirates, who struck out 14 times against Stephen Strasburg tonight, also optioned Jeff Clement to the minors.

Taschner's strikeout (7.9 K/9) and walk (3.7 BB/9) numbers are better than they have been in recent years, but he is allowing lots of hits, as usual. Though he has struggled mightily against right-handed batters in his career, Taschner's rate stats have historically been better against lefties (8.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9).

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 Sign Jack Taschner

The Pirates have signed Jack Taschner to a minor league deal, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. The lefty will earn $835K if he makes the Pirates' opening day roster and could earn up to $465K more in incentives based on appearances.

Taschner allowed 38 hits and 20 walks in 29.1 innings for the Phillies last year, striking out 19. The former Giant mixes a 90 mph fastball with a slider and a change-up. Taschner is left-handed, but lefties have a .293/.366/.408 line against him in his career.

Phillies Free Agent Notes

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:

  • The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
  • Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
  • The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
  • Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
  • If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
  • The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.

Phillies DFA Jack Taschner

The Associated Press reports that the Phillies have designated lefty reliever Jack Taschner for assignment to make room on the roster for tonight's starter Rodrigo Lopez. Taschner allowed 54 baserunners in 27.2 innings out of the pen this year, as lefthanders tattooed him for a .303-.465-.394 batting line.

The Phillies acquired Taschner in the offseason in exchange for catcher Ronnie Paulino.

Taschner To Phils; Paulino To Fish; Correa To SF

SATURDAY, 2:01am: The Giants quickly turned Paulino around in a trade to the Florida Marlins for right-handed pitcher Hector Correa, MLB.com reports.

Correa, 21, has a career 8-10 record with a 4.52 ERA in 34 games (29 starts) in the minor leagues.

Paulino will likely be the backup catcher to John Baker. Paulino, 27, hit .278 in 304 games with Pittsburgh from 2005 to 2008.

FRIDAY, 9:08am: According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Phillies acquired lefty reliever Jack Taschner today for catcher Ronny Paulino.  The Phils had acquired Paulino from the Pirates on December 10th.

Taschner, 31 in April, allowed lefties to hit .279/.339/.394 line last year.  They knocked him around in '07 even worse, so he's not the perfect fill-in for J.C. Romero.