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Links for Easter Sunday…
- Baseball America's John Manuel provides updates on five Rule 5 picks: Carlos Monasterios with the Dodgers, John Raynor with the Pirates, Zachary Kroenke, who was optioned to the minors by the D'Backs, Kanekoa Texeira with the Mariners, and David Herndon with the Phillies.
- Peter Gammons previews storylines for the 2010 season, such as emerging stars, prospects of the future, a slew of contenders, and the ever-present unpredictability of baseball.
- Dave Campbell of the AP looks at Jacque Jones and how Minnesota's late-season surge in 2009 inspired a comeback attempt for 2010 when he was on the verge of retirement. Jones is reporting to Triple-A Rochester after hitting .366/.409/.585 with the Twins this spring.
- In an interview with Mike Wilner of the FAN 590 in Toronto, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said while the team hasn't officially said anything about Adeiny Hechevarria, international cases like his are often slowed by visa issues and other approval processes.
- Tom Haudricourt tweets that there will be no last-minute changes to the Brewers 25-man roster.
- The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser spoke with recently-DFA'ed Jack Cust, who is shocked and offended by the move. Cust says he will accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers, but won't let Oakland "walk all over" him. The 31-year-old slugger has led the A's in home runs the past three seasons. Slusser takes a deeper look at the Cust move in a separate piece.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at what the Cubs' performance in 2010 means to Jim Hendry's job, and talks to several players about their positive relationships with the Chicago GM.
- Elliot Johnson cleared waivers and will report to Triple-A Durham, according to Marc Topkin. He adds that the Rays have set their roster and are waiting to hear from Hank Blalock on whether or not he'll accept a minor league assignment.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adeiny Hechavarria | Alex Anthopoulos | Arizona Diamondbacks | Chicago Cubs | David Herndon | Elliot Johnson | Hank Blalock | Jack Cust | Jacque Jones | John Raynor | Kanekoa Texeira | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Zach Kroenke
Links for Saturday…
- The Phillies considered Chad Gaudin according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, but they decided he wasn't enough of an upgrade over what they already have in-house.
- The Twins have informed Jacque Jones that he will not make the team, reports MLB.com's Kelly Thesier. Minnesota brought the long time Twin back on a minor league deal in February.
- On the heels of another strong outing from Tim Stauffer, MLB.com's Corey Brock speculates (via Twitter) that the Padres could receive a mid-level prospect from a team in need of pitching if they opted to trade him. Stauffer's four shutout innings today lowered his spring ERA to a tidy 2.57 with an 11:3 K:BB ratio through 14 innings.
- Jon Paul Morosi tells the great story of Darren Oliver's resurgence after nearly retiring in 2005 and wonders who the next veteran will be to make a similar run.
- Doug Mientkiewicz was told he will not make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster, according to a report from the Associated Press. Mientkiewicz was excused from camp today so he can weigh his options in regards to his future in baseball.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says Mike Lowell's injury "almost kills his trade value, which was already low to begin with." Lowell suffered a knee contusion when he fouled a ball off his left knee Friday.
- Blue Jays' team president and CEO Paul Beeston chatted with fans on the team's official site yesterday. He discussed the latest on Adeiny Hechevarria and the club's policy on long-term contracts, among other topics.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that some general managers believe the reason there's so little movement on the trade front is because there are still viable alternatives on the free agent market.
- As Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune notes, Joe Mauer's new deal may have turned one of the team's top prospects in a prime piece of trade bait.
- New Padres' GM Jed Hoyer isn't as brash as Kevin Towers used to be, writes Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adeiny Hechavarria | Boston Red Sox | Chad Gaudin | Darren Oliver | Doug Mientkiewicz | Jacque Jones | Jed Hoyer | Joe Mauer | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Lowell | Minnesota Twins | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Texas Rangers | Tim Stauffer | Toronto Blue Jays
The Twins signed Jacque Jones to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Jones, 35 in April, sat out last season after hitting poorly in 2008. He hit one homer and posted a .147/.239/.207 line for the Tigers and Marlins that year.
The outfielder's best seasons came in Minnesota, where he was a regular from 2000-05. Jones' last productive year came right after he left the Twins. He hit a career-high 27 homers for the Cubs in 2006 with an .833 OPS. That marked the fourth time in five seasons he reached the 20-homer plateau.
The Twins have Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Jim Thome around already. To make the team's Opening Day roster, Jones would presumably need to win a job from Brendan Harris, Nick Punto or Alexi Casilla or see one of the team's regulars get injured. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that Jones is willing to play in the minors if he doesn't make the team.
Some Thursday night links…
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports note that the Phillies had a creative idea for third base before signing Placido Polanco – they asked Orlando Hudson if he'd make the position change. He passed.
- Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III spoke openly about the club's limitations in retaining Albert Pujols beyond his current deal, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Signing Pujols and free agent Matt Holliday to new contracts would almost definitely mean committing upwards of 40% of the team's payroll to two players.
- If the Tigers cannot re-sign free agent relievers Brandon Lyon or Fernando Rodney, they may have to look into a pair of Type A free agents, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com. Atlanta's Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano could appeal to Detroit, but they would require the forfeiture of a first-round pick.
- Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes conducted a live chat today on MLB.com. It sounds as though Byrnes would be content to more or less stand pat this offseason, telling one fan that most of the club's impact players evolve within their system rather than "arrive via offseason splash." Don't expect Arizona to go after a second baseman this winter either as Byrnes says he looks forward to competition over the spot this season, featuring late-season acquisition Tony Abreu.
- More from Arizona as the club outrighted a pair of prospects to their Triple-A affiliate – pitcher Kyler Newby and catcher Luke Carlin, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic writes that the move was not made in anticipation of a free agent signing or trade.
- Matt Stairs told Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News that he would like to play next season. Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says not to expect Stairs back in Philadelphia next season, as Phils GM Ruben Amaro offered him the opportunity to audition for other teams at Spring Training.
- Jacque Jones also wants back in baseball, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The 34-year-old last played in 2008, seeing time in 42 games in which he recorded an OPS of .446. However, his agent insists that teams will be impressed with his physical conditioning and desire to continue his career.
Newsday's Ken Davidoff runs through six current free agents, digging up new information about a few.
- Paul Byrd never received a call from the Angels, so he'll continue to wait until later this summer to see what's available.
- Frank Thomas is working with hitting coach Mike Easler, who believes "Frank might give it to the All-Star break." Easler says another client of his, Jacque Jones, could help a club.
- Jim Edmonds would play in the right situation, but his agent Paul Cohen doesn't know if there will be an offer. Damion Easley, another Cohen client, would also like to continue his career.
- A friend of Orlando Hernandez's tells Davidoff he's considering a comeback. El Duque didn't pitch in the Majors last year.
- In my opinion, these free agents are better served playing independent league ball than working out privately.
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has a few bits of information…
- The Red Sox scouted Brewers left-hander Mitch Stetter last week. The 28-year-old reliever has held lefties to a .170 average and rigthties to a .151 mark this season. The Sox, who scouted him last week, are simply being thorough and exploring options in case they come to need anothery lefty in the pen, writes Cafardo.
- Free agent outfielder Frank Catalanotto has received interest, but is holding out for the right fit.
- Jacque Jones and Frank Thomas have been working out together in Las Vegas and are both hoping to land MLB roster spots at some point this season.
- As Cafardo writes, "The Brewers may be emerging in the hunt" for free agent Pedro Martinez. The Blue Jays, Astros, Rockies, A's, Orioles, Indians and Pirates are also thought to have some level of interest.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a new article up looking at a bunch of free agents.
- Crasnick talked to one American League exec who views Pedro Martinez as "strictly a National League pitcher." Coupled with his price tag and long layoff, the market isn't big for Pedro.
- Ben Sheets is weeks away from a throwing program. He's probably a ten-start guy this year, but interest figures to be strong.
- Jim Edmonds hopes to sign by May. He'll need two to three weeks to get ready. Mark Grudzielanek also wants to play, and tells friends he only needs a week. He'll look for a contender, and the Royals will hope he signs before June so they get that supplemental draft pick. Jacque Jones is another guy who still hopes to play.
- Geoff Jenkins is taking grounders at first base to increase his versatility.
- Jay Payton suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights last month, but once he's healthy a few months from now he still wants to play.
- Nothing appears to be cooking for Frank Thomas and Luis Gonzalez, who could be forced to retire. Dave Roberts hasn't officially retired, but a comeback appears unlikely.
- Paul Byrd's plan remains unchanged: sign with a contender around July.
- Jon Lieber's agent says the pitcher has retired. 131 wins, including 20 in '01. Lieber finishes with a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies. He earned over $46MM, according to Baseball Reference.
4:15pm: MLB.com's Mark Sheldon says Gomes accepted the minor league assignment. Meanwhile, Jacque Jones was released.
8:31am: John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has a few Reds notes.
- Jonny Gomes still hasn't decided whether to accept his Triple A demotion or become a free agent. Walt Jocketty will call Gomes' agent today.
- The Reds are not currently in on Geoff Jenkins or Frank Catalanotto. They prefer to add a righthanded bench bat, plus Jocketty said Catalanotto doesn't have a position.
According to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, the Reds signed Jacque Jones and Daryle Ward to minor league deals today.
Jones, 34 in April, hit .147/.239/.207 in 134 plate appearances for the Tigers and Marlins last year. Jones played winter ball and had laser eye surgery this winter. Troy Renck says he’ll get $600K and an April out clause.
Ward, 33, hit .216/.319/.402 in 119 plate appearances for the Cubs last year. He missed time with a herniated disc.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, outfielder Jacque Jones hopes to play in 2009. He just finished up a winter ball stint, and his agent has received some nibbles. Jones will be getting laser eye surgery this winter.
Jones, 34 in April, hit .147/.239/.207 in 134 plate appearances for the Tigers and Marlins this year. It was a sudden plunge for Jones, who showed the ability to play a capable center field for the Cubs in 2007.