Jamey Wright Rumors
Despite owning the second worst record (19-31) and run differential (-64) in the American League, Indians' GM Mark Shapiro is under no orders from CEO Paul Dolan to make trades and cut payroll like he has during the last two seasons, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes.
"We are not actively engaged in talks about anyone right now," said Shapiro. "The season's natural cycle will dictate when we consider some alternatives. We're not mandated to make any trades for monetary reasons.
"We'll look at each trade (possibility) as an opportunity to acquire talent and it's budgetary impact. But the acquisition of talent will be the primary driver."
Shapiro indicated that he could explore trades involving "anyone in the last year of their contracts," so that includes Russell Branyan, Austin Kearns, Mark Grudzielanek, Jhonny Peralta, Mike Redmond, Jake Westbrook, and Jamey Wright. Even if they move Westbrook, the Indians feel they may have a chance to re-sign him after the season as a free agent.
Top prospect Carlos Santana is expected to be up at some point this season, but Shapiro did make sure to mention that his defense needs to improve, particularly his throwing. They plan on taking advantage of every day possible in the minors to help him develop, which shows that the team is looking for production on both sides of the ball, not just at the plate.
The Indians figure to be a prominent player at the trade deadline this year given their inventory, with Westbrook representing to be their most desirable chip. Even though he's still owed about $7.6MM this season, his 4.36 ERA in 11 starts might be a big enough upgrade to justify the cost for some teams.
Let's take a look at a few more assorted Friday links....
- After seeing Mike Leake earn a spot in the Reds' rotation without pitching in the minors, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon lists the other 20 drafted players who once made the leap straight to the show.
- The Giants officially optioned Buster Posey to Triple A Fresno, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Earlier today, we looked at a potential timeline for when we could see Posey in the majors.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that the Indians will pay $900K to purchase Jamey Wright's minor league contract. Wright had a provision in his deal that allowed him to opt out if he wasn't on the big league roster by today.
- Julio Lugo expects to see a good deal of playing time in Baltimore, according to the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas says that the Rangers anticipate a "continued improvement" from Scott Feldman over the course of the contract they signed him to today. In a separate piece, MacMahon notes that recent addition Ryan Garko will have his playing time dictated, to a certain extent, by how Chris Davis fares early on against lefties.
- Corey Hart doesn't intend to let recent trade rumors involving him become a distraction, according to Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Links for Monday...
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post has the details of Todd Helton's new contract extension. He can void the deal if two of three general partners sell their controlling interest in the team, and it contains $13.1MM in deferred money at three percent interest.
- The Yankees could look to move Chad Gaudin soon, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). In another tweet, he mentions that Clay Hensley can opt out of his contract with the Marlins if he's not on the roster by April 1st.
- Jim Bowden shows off his post-trade fist pump in his latest GM's Corner video for FOX Sports. Bowden asked a slew of GMs about their processes for making deals; Frank Wren estimated that less than ten percent of discussions lead to trades.
- In considering Jonathan Papelbon's future, WEEI's Alex Speier demonstrates just how risky large multiyear deals for relievers have been.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says the Blue Jays "will not settle for fringe prospects in return" for relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor, and they could use them to continue the rebuilding effort.
- Rosenthal adds that Gary Sheffield is talking to a NL club, though it's not clear which one.
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com notes that both Jamey Wright and Austin Kearns have out clauses in their contracts, but a club official said the provisions will not impact the makeup of the team. A source added that there are "no trades on the horizon" for Cleveland.
The Indians signed reliever Jamey Wright to a minor league deal, reports MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Wright, 35, posted a 4.33 ERA, 6.8 K/9, and 5.0 BB/9 in 79 innings for the Royals last year, earning $1.4MM. Among those with 50+ innings, Wright's 59.1% groundball rate ranked 11th in baseball. Only one remaining free agent was better: Mike MacDougal at 62.1%.
Other Indians non-roster invitees this year include Mike Gosling, Jason Grilli, Saul Rivera, Brian Buscher, Mark Grudzielanek, Luis Rodriguez, Shelley Duncan, and Austin Kearns. Mike Redmond is the team's only big league signing.
The Pirates are interested in free agent reliever Jamey Wright, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Dutton notes that the Royals remain interested in re-signing him.
Wright, 35 later this month, soaked up 79 bullpen innings with a 4.33 ERA this year. His walk rate was ugly, but unlikely most free agent relievers he posted a strong groundball rate (59.1%). Wright earned $1.4MM for his efforts.
Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Dodgers have put their search for a lefty reliever on hold because talks aren't progressing with Will Ohman, Dennys Reyes and Jamey Wright.
The Dodgers have added some lower tier arms and for now GM Ned Colletti says he's happy to let pitchers such as Carmen Cali, Stephen Randolph and Scott Strickland compete with Jeff Weaver and others.
According to a press release, the Royals signed right-hander Jamey Wright to a minor league contract.
Wright's deal comes with an invitation to spring training. The 34-year-old posted a 5.12 ERA in 75 relief appearances with the Rangers last season. He's a 13-year MLB veteran, and went 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts for the Royals back in 2003.
ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new Rumblings and Grumblings up. You may want to grab a glass of water or something, because this is a beast of a column.
- If the Braves have a bad weekend and decide to trade Mark Teixeira, a deal could come together quickly. Stark says the Braves have already touched base with the Rays, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Yankees. Where Tex fits on the Rays, I'm not sure. Additionally, interest in Will Ohman is said to be "massive."
- A Jorge Posada move to first base could affect the Yankees' interest in Teixeira this winter.
- Though Brian Fuentes has many suitors, the Rockies have actually exchanged names with only the Marlins and Yankees. GM Dan O'Dowd has not dropped his price. By the way, Todd Helton's injury takes Garrett Atkins off the market. As for Matt Holliday, many execs believe the Rockies will never trade him.
- The Phillies are focused on a left-handed reliever, with Fuentes, Damaso Marte, George Sherrill, and Jack Taschner in the mix.
- The Phillies were scared off by the asking prices on Holliday and Xavier Nady, and never even made an offer. They still could acquire a lesser hitter.
- The Pirates are inspiring much grumbling with high asking prices for Jason Bay, Nady, Marte, John Grabow, and Jack Wilson.
- The Rangers are looking for young, controllable starting pitching. Vicente Padilla is available, with the Tigers and Yankees showing mild interest. Eddie Guardado and Jamey Wright are not available.
- In pursuing Jarrod Washburn, Bronson Arroyo, and Padilla, the Yankees are demonstrating their plan to reduce the prospect price for pitching by taking on a decent-sized contract.
- While A.J. Burnett is "eminently available," no trade talks are cooking. The Jays apparently won't deal him within the division. Other Jays veterans might be available, though Roy Halladay isn't among them.
- The Tigers are looking for pitching and a long-term shortstop. They'd be willing to move Gary Sheffield, though they'd have to eat salary.
- Top Rays prospects such as Wade Davis, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson are off-limits. Rays Index recently ran through the more likely trade candidates.
- The Braves asked the Royals about Jose Guillen, but Dayton Moore is asking for a ton.
- Stark says the Twins' talks for Adrian Beltre are "far from dead." The Twins are zeroed in on a third base upgrade. Beltre, by the way, has the Dodgers on his no-trade list. Joe Christensen says the Twins have found the asking price prohibitive for various third basemen.
- The Rangers are looking for a young pitcher for Hank Blalock, who is drawing interest from the Twins, Giants, and Dodgers. The Dodgers also like Casey Blake, who is likely to be traded somewhere.
Your usual dose of random rumors and links...
- Justin Morneau says he has had no extension discussions with the Twins.
- The Reds brought Walt Jocketty aboard as a special advisor to President and CEO Bob Castellini today. For now, Wayne Krivsky's job appears safe. But jeez, with Walt in the house he has to be feeling a little pressure, doesn't he? In other news, the Reds talked with Brett Tomko's agent this week.
- The Tigers signed Matt Mantei for the league minimum. He can ask for his release if he's not in the bigs by May 1st. As Jon Paul Morosi notes Mantei hasn't pitched in the Majors for more than two years.
- RotoAuthority ranks the third basemen for fantasy baseball.
- Buster Olney says the A's talks with the Braves for Mark Kotsay "have a chance of becoming serious today."
- Gotham Baseball's Mark Healey has a source who believes the Mets will get Johan Santana "no matter what they have to do."
- The Rangers made the Eddie Guardado deal official, and also brought Jamey Wright back on a minor league contract. Guardado got a bit more than I expected - $2MM base plus $4MM in incentives for games pitched and finished.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has some new info regarding the Rangers' plans this offseason.
- Kenny Rogers has already had three separate stints with the Rangers, the last one ending with the cameraman incident. The Rangers would like to bring him back for a fourth tour, if the price is right. One emailer speculated that the team also wouldn't mind an apology to management for the incident, also. Sullivan says the Mariners, Phillies, Dodgers, and Mets may also have Rogers on the radar. Seems like Ned Colletti is letting bygones be bygones with Scott Boras. UPDATE: Boras reiterated tonight that the Tigers are Rogers' priority. He seemingly wants one year and $10MM.
- The Rangers have interest in another Boras client, Eric Gagne. I think I read this in ESPN Magazine recently - how about re-signing him and flipping him all over again at the '08 deadline?
- Owner Tom Hicks and GM Jon Daniels had dinner with Torii Hunter tonight. I heard they had the roast beef. The Rangers will make an offer later this week, though they'll have to top whatever the White Sox come up with.
- The Rangers also want to bring back Jamey Wright for the 'pen.