Jack Cust Rumors
Cust was signed just last week and had a .250/348/.500 line in 23 Triple-A plate appearances. The Phillies are known to be looking for a left-handed bench bat, though Cust's lack of pinch-hitting success made him a less-than-ideal fit for the role. This is the veteran slugger's second release in the month after being cut loose by the Mariners on August 4.
Heilman, 32, signed with the Phils last month after being released by the D'Backs. Heilman posted a 6.88 ERA in 32 appearances coming out of the Arizona bullpen this season and his struggles continued in Philadelphia's minor league system --- an 8.38 ERA in 9 1/3 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies have had internal discussions about acquiring a left-handed bench bat to serve as a pinch-hitter, according to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Phils discussed trades involving Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and Twins first baseman/DH Jim Thome prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, and they would still like to acquire either of those sluggers, according to Brookover. However, both would be long shots at this point because it's unlikely Giambi or Thome would fall to the Phillies through waivers.
Ross Gload and Brian Schneider are the only lefty hitters on the bench presently, although the Phils recently signed former Athletics and Mariners slugger Jack Cust to a minor league contract in hopes that he could serve in a Matt Stairs-like role. Cust has declined in recent years, though, and has not had much success in his career as a pinch-hitter, so it doesn't sound like the Phils are expecting much there.
Otherwise, one remaining option would be to recall Domonic Brown, although that is less than ideal because he is slumping with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and needs to play every day to develop. Another option the Phils have discussed, a source tells Brookover, is recalling Brandon Moss from Lehigh Valley. Moss, of course, was involved in the three-team swap that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox a couple years back.
The Phils look to be fine-tuning things before the postseason. We also heard yesterday that they are seeking a left-handed reliever.
The Mariners, who signed Cust to a $2.5MM deal over the winter, released him earlier this month. The 32-year-old posted a .213/.344/.329 line with three homers in 270 plate appearances this year. After averaging 28 homers and 103 walks with the A's from 2007-09, Cust's power numbers have fallen off in 2010-11.
The Mariners announced that they have released Jack Cust, who was designated for assignment last week. Seattle's 40-man roster now has 39 players and the Mariners have an empty 25-man roster spot after optioning Greg Halman to Triple-A.
Cust, 32, posted a .213/.344/.329 line with three homers in 270 plate appearances this year. After averaging 28 homers and 103 walks with the A's from 2007-09, Cust's power numbers have fallen off. The left-handed hitter signed a $2.5MM deal with Seattle in December after the A's non-tendered him.
It was on this day in 1907 that Walter Johnson made his Major League debut with the Washington Senators. The Big Train retired after 21 seasons in Washington with 417 career wins, 3509 career strikeouts and a case as possibly the greatest pitcher of all time.
Some notes from around the majors....
- The Marlins were quiet at the trade deadline since the club wants to keep its core intact for the move into their new Miami ballpark in 2012, writes CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.
- The recently-DFA'ed Jack Cust visited some ex-teammates in the Athletics' clubhouse today but he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the A's weren't one of a few teams that had shown some interest in him.
- Steve Slowsinski of Fangraphs gives kudos to the Rockies' front office for taking a risk with the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, but "really dislikes the trade from a philosophical point of view." Slowinski feels Colorado could have at least gotten one of Cleveland's top position player prospects (Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall) back in the deal.
- Bobby Abreu's $9MM option for 2012 vested on Sunday night and the veteran slugger tells MLB.com's Jordan Garretson that he's happy to remain with the Angels for the rest of his career.
- From that same piece, Mike Scioscia explained the team's decision to send Mike Trout back to Double-A Arkansas rather than Triple-A Salt Lake City as partially due to the fact that Arkansas is headed for the postseason. "We really feel strongly that in a player's development it's important to experience the playoffs. In Mike's case, he's a guy that's leading a team to the playoffs," Scioscia said.
Cust, 32, hit .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances for the Mariners, all as a designated hitter. His slugging percentage had been slipping in recent years, but this year it fell off a cliff as he provided only 19 extra-base hits. Cust, a left-handed hitter, signed a $2.5MM deal with Seattle in December after being non-tendered by Oakland.
Lance Berkman's return to Houston is a popular topic today, with the best takes I've found coming from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Astros senior director of digital media Alyson Footer. On to today's links:
- Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times explains that new Dodgers trustee Tom Schieffer is "a hands-off-the-roster guy, famous for leaving the Rangers baseball folks alone during his tenure there, one of the main reasons he was chosen for this job." GM Ned Colletti will only have to make a case to Schieffer if he wants to go over budget.
- We have to recalculate our expectations of position players in their late 30s in the post-PED era, writes SI's Tom Verducci.
- WEEI's Alex Speier discusses the timeline of top Red Sox pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo.
- The cases of Phil Hughes and Philip Humber demonstrate "the fickle nature of pitching," writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wonders how much time the Mariners will give Jack Cust to start hitting. So far he's at .171/.326/.186 in 86 plate appearances, which means he's outhitting Carlos Pena.
- Player's union head Michael Weiner told ESPN's Jayson Stark the players are open to adding more playoff teams, but no proposals have been made and "it's just too early in the bargaining process to predict or guess where it's going to land." For much more on the topic, check out Stark's Rumblings and Grumblings column.
Cust, 32 in January, hit .272/.395/.438 in 425 plate appearances for the Athletics before being non-tendered this month. He's spent time at the outfield corners and designated hitter, and will probably stick to the latter for Seattle. He is represented by TWC Sports.
Morosi (Twitter link) first broke the news of the agreement and the terms, with Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times adding that Cust can match last year's $2.65MM salary through incentives. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first tweeted a deal was close.
Mark Polishuk contributed to this post
- Houston is interested in Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- The Astros think they could get more offense from second base and have expressed interest in Bill Hall, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The Yankees and Dodgers have also shown interest in Hall this offseason. Clint Barmes and Jeff Keppinger figure to play short and second for the Astros unless GM Ed Wade makes an addition.
- The Astros and Mariners are pushing for Jack Cust, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Seattle's interested in a number of free agents, including the former A's slugger.
- Hall and Cust are free agents, but the Astros haven't ruled out making a trade or two. Wade told McTaggart that he exchanged trade proposals with teams today, though Houston's advances weren't embraced by rival clubs (Twitter link).
- Wandy Rodriguez changed agents from Barry Praver to Adam Katz, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Rodriguez is set to discuss an extension with Houston.
Jack Cust is about to sign with the Mariners, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. However, John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse tweets that the Mariners figure to leave the Winter Meetings tomorrow without having completed a deal aside from a possible Rule 5 pick.
Cust, 32 in January, hit .272/.395/.438 in 425 plate appearances for the Athletics before being non-tendered this month. He's spent time at the outfield corners and designated hitter.