Jake Fox Rumors
The Orioles have been unable to trade Jake Fox since designating him for assignment, and it appears likely the catcher has been exposed to outright waivers, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Any team can claim a player once he's on outright waivers.
Teams are not permitted to comment on waivers, but considering the lukewarm interest in Fox on the trade market and the time that's passed since he was DFA'd, this scenario appears likely, explains Zrebiec. If no team claims Fox during the 48-hour waiver period, the O's would probably outright him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Fox, acquired by the O's last season from the A's, was hitting .188/.250/.396 in just 52 plate appearances this season for Baltimore.
One GM told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he’d like to see the season shortened because it’s a mental and physical grind for the players and they could use more rest to regroup. Stark provides and passes along many suggestions, including a national doubleheader day (what’s not to like about that?) and expanding the active rosters beyond 25 players. Here are the latest rumblings from around MLB...
- Though a couple of American League teams made strong proposals for Justin Upton last winter, D’Backs president Derrick Hall says it’s doubtful that Arizona would be in first place without their 23-year-old right fielder. About two dozen teams expressed interest in the former first overall pick last offseason. Put another way, only five teams weren’t interested.
- There are signs that the 26-29 Pirates are going to make a run at .500 instead of trading MLB players for prospects this year. One NL assistant GM says he would shoot for .500 to start changing the perception that the Pirates are perennial losers.
- Though the Indians understand the injury risks for catchers (Carlos Santana missed the end of the 2010 season after a home plate collision), GM Chris Antonetti says his front office appreciates “the potential competitive advantage of getting exceptional production behind the plate.”
- They’ve already signed Kevin Millwood and now Red Sox are “poking around” for another starter to stash at Triple-A, according to Stark.
- The Orioles, who designated Jake Fox for assignment this week, are trying to trade him and at least one scout expects them to find a taker.
The Orioles designated first baseman/catcher/left fielder Jake Fox for assignment to open a spot on the active roster for lefty Brian Matusz, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Derrek Lee will return from the DL soon, and Fox acknowledged recently his role with the Orioles was unclear. The team told Fox they'll attempt to trade him, tweets Zrebiec.
The Orioles acquired Fox, 28, in June of last year from the Athletics for Ross Wolf. Fox hit .209/.255/.426 in his Orioles career across 157 plate appearances. He did lead MLB with ten Spring Training homers though.
The move drops the Orioles' 40-man roster count to 39.
It's early, but baseball's toughest division doesn't appear to be getting any easier. The Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays are all within two games of the AL East lead. Here are the latest links from the division...
- Jonathan Papelbon told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’d like to stay in Boston after the season and break records and win championships with the Red Sox. The prospective free agent says he’ll do what’s best for his family, though there’s more to that than the bottom line. "It's not about the money, it's about going somewhere day in and day out and wanting to be there."
- Jose Bautista reflects on his ascension from hard-throwing college closer to utility player to MLB home run king with MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that top prospect Brett Lawrie has made the adjustments the Jays asked him to make and is close to Major League-ready (Twitter link). Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Keith Law ranked Lawrie 11th among MLB prospects.
- Orioles utility player Jake Fox told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that his role is unclear and that he has had trouble timing and recognizing pitches without regular at bats.
The Orioles acquired Jake Fox from the A's for minor league pitcher Ross Wolf, according to Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles could option Chris Tillman to the minors or designate Garrett Atkins for assignment to make room for the utilityman.
Soon after the A's designated Fox for assignment, it became apparent that the O's were interested. The 27-year-old is hitting .214/.264/.327 in 106 major league plate appearances this year. Fox, who can catch and play left, right and third, has 122 homers and a .528 slugging percentage in 2636 minor league plate appearances.
Wolf, a 27-year-old righty, has a 2.11 ERA in 38.1 innings at Triple A this year with 6.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. As Connolly notes (via Twitter), the O's have pulled off the first animal surname for animal surname trade in a while.
SATURDAY, 8:59pm: The Orioles still have interest in Fox according to Zrebiec. Oakland has until Thursday to trade, release or waive him, though the fact that Baltimore has waiver priority may increase the likelihood of a deal.
WEDNESDAY, 4:14pm: Andy MacPhail and the Orioles have at least some interest in acquiring Jake Fox, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The A's designated Fox for assignment over the weekend and are apparently hoping that he clears waivers.
Fox, 28 next month, has already played left field, third base, DH and catcher in 2010. His .214/.264/.327 batting line doesn't compare with the numbers he has posted in the minors. Fox has 122 homers with a .293/.357/.528 line in his minor league career, so he clearly has some hitting ability.
Zrebiec suggests a Fox acquisition could mean the end of Garrett Atkins' tenure in Baltimore, though it would not be a surprise to see the Atkins era end before long regardless of what happens with Fox.
Ted Lilly doesn't get the no-hitter, but he does get his first win in a while. Some links for tonight..
- A.J. Pierzynski is looking forward to not having to talk about the possibility of being traded, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- There have been noticeable changes for the Yanks since their last showdown with the Phillies in the Bronx, writes MLB.com's Tim Britton.
- If asked, the Dodgers aren't likely to grant the Orioles permission to interview third base coach Larry Bowa, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The recently DFA'd Jake Fox told MLB.com's Jane Lee (via Twitter) that he wasn't too surprised by the move.
- The Tigers are unlikely to go through lengthy negotiations with catcher Patrick Leyland, son of manager Jim Leyland, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com. Detroit took Leyland in the 8th round of the draft.
Slusser also tweets that the A's are hoping that he clears waivers, though it might be tough as he has demonstrated the ability to catch. The soon-to-be 28-year-old has started seven games behind the plate this season.
Fox has struggled at the plate in 2010, posting a slash line of .214/.264/.327 in 106 plate appearances. While his offensive performance has been disappointing, Mychael Urban of CSN (via Twitter) believes that this move could be a precursor to something else.
Was a better bargain than Andruw Jones signed this winter? The White Sox added him on a one-year deal worth $500K, and all he's given them so far is a batting line of .260/.360/.604. Meanwhile, the man patrolling his old Atlanta center field home, Nate McLouth, checks in at .167/.302/.271, and Gary Matthews Jr., who will make twice what Jones does from the Mets this year (and next year!), is hitting .152/.235/.196.
The problem is, this hasn't allowed the White Sox to move into contention. Thanks to a 14-20 start, combined with Minnesota's 22-12 beginning, Chicago is already eight games out, with Memorial Day still weeks away. So it may well be that the White Sox can, and should flip Jones to a contending team down the stretch. And that reasonable short-term deal means some of the smaller-market contenders are likely to be in the Jones sweepstakes.
What are some possible destinations?
- Washington could be a good fit. Willie Harris is hitting just .182/.313/.418, and with Willy Taveras also getting outfield at-bats, so Jones could be a good fit for regular corner outfield time. The Nationals have several pitchers set to join the big league team, but little in the way of outfield prospects at the top of their system. For now, the Nationals say they're content with Harris and Roger Bernadina.
- Cincinnati has seen Drew Stubbs struggle in center field so far; he's hitting just .196/.283/.321. It shouldn't be hard to convince Dusty Baker to play the veteran Jones over Stubbs, either. It's not clear that Jones is still an every day center fielder, but Chicago has already played him there four times in 2010.
- The Padres have Kyle Blanks in left field, Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field, and Will Venable in right field. Of the three, only Blanks profiles as a top prospect, so the other two could be vulnerable to a Jones acquisition, should San Diego remain in the race.
- With Eric Chavez and Jake Fox struggling, and Rajai Davis reverting to form, the Athletics could use Jones in either center field or at designated hitter to support an imposing starting rotation. The move sounds a lot like acquiring Frank Thomas, doesn't it?
- And don't fall asleep on Seattle, either. Currently 6.5 games out, the Mariners have the talent to climb back into the race, but their DHs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Sweeney, simply aren't hitting. Jones could also slot into left field.
We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit...
- Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
- Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
- Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders - Michael Saunders or Greg Halman - available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
- Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.