Jamie Walker Rumors

Orioles Release Jamie Walker

2:44pm: Roch Kubatko of MASN.com reports that it's official; the O's announced they've released Walker.

1:55pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles will release lefty reliever Jamie Walker. Baltimore still owes Walker about $3MM, but they were no longer satisfied with his production. To replace Walker, they called up Alberto Castillo, another lefty who pitched for the O's last year and has performed well at Triple A Norfolk so far in 2009.

Zrebiec writes that the move is "not all that surprising" because lefties are hitting .458 against Walker this year. The pitcher signed a three year deal worth $12MM before the 2007 season.

Odds & Ends: Tejada, Lohse, LaRussa

Some late night linkage as you wait to see if Randy Johnson picks up win number 300:

  • Jeff Zrebiec says that the Orioles may end up releasing Jamie Walker in the coming days.
  • MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins will designate reliever Hayden Penn for assignment. It's unclear who will take his place on the roster.
  • MLB.com's Bill Ladson says not to expect to see Tom Glavine in a Nationals uniform, but the team wouldn't mind having him as pitching mentor/coach. Glavine and team president Stan Kasten have a long standing relationship.
  • Miguel Tejada wants to finish his career in Houston. With the Astros already seven games back of first and a handful of teams looking for upgrades at shortstop and/or third base, Tejada probably won't get his wish.
  • Kyle Lohse left tonight's start in the third inning when his right forearm discomfort returned. Just yesterday there was talk of the Cardinals dealing from their pitching depth to address their infield issues, but depth on the mound has a way of disappearing quickly.
  • Tony LaRussa is suing Twitter. Whether Tony likes it or not, Twitter is here to stay.

Mike Axisa writes for River Ave. Blues.

Players Who Cleared Waivers

I will make this post a permanent sidebar link.  This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports.  Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause).

Updated 8-25-08 at 9:00am.  Latest to clear in red.

  • Paul Byrd – Byrd cleared waivers, but then was traded to the Red Sox.  They were the only team willing to pay his remaining $2MM.
  • Frank Catalanotto – Catalanotto, 34, is hitting .272/.337/.389 in 267 plate appearances.  He’s played first base and left field this year.  He’s not helpful against lefthanded pitching.  His contract is a problem – $765K this year, $4MM in ’09, and a $2MM buyout in ’10.
  • Eric GagneGagne has been awful this year, as his walks and home runs skyrocketed and he dealt with rotator cuff tendinitis.  Understandably, no one wanted to pay the $2.15MM remaining on his contract.
  • Aubrey Huff – Huff’s .909 OPS ranks 10th in the league, but surprisingly no team wanted to take on his $10.1MM commitment through ’09.
  • Mark Kotsay – Ken Rosenthal says he cleared and a number of teams are interested.  Kotsay clearing is a bit of a surprise since the A’s are paying most of his salary.  Kotsay can block trades to eight teams.  The center fielder is having a nice comeback season with a .782 OPS in 324 plate appearances.
  • Greg MadduxMaddux is earning $10MM this year and will only accept a trade to a West Coast team.  The Dodgers wanted him but asked the Padres to pay more than 80% of his remaining salary according to Peter Gammons.
  • Kevin Millar – Millar has been OK this year; he may reach 20 home runs.  He is owed about $710K from here on out.
  • Kevin Millwood – Millwood, 33, has a 5.24 ERA in 122 innings this year.  He’s dealt with a groin injury for much of the season, as well as a hamstring issue in spring.  Millwood will earn another $1.6MM this year and $11MM in ’09.  His 2010 salary of $12MM becomes a club option unless he pitches 180 innings in ’09.
  • Melvin Mora – Mora has raised his numbers and stock significantly by hitting .378/.421/.652 since the beginning of July.  He has a full no-trade clause and is owed $9MM next year and $1.79MM more this year.
  • Vicente Padilla – Padilla, 31 in September, has a 4.98 ERA in 148.1 innings.  Home runs have been his main problem.  He spent time on the DL with a strained neck.  He’ll earn another $2.1MM this year and $12MM in ’09.  He has a $12MM club option for ’10 with a $1.75MM buyout.
  • Jay Payton – Payton is the O’s regular center fielder with Adam Jones out for the season.  He is owed $1.3MM for the rest of the season.  He’s been lousy offensively, though he can hit lefties and play all three outfield positions.
  • David Riske – Riske is owed $860K more this year, $4.25MM in ’09, and $4.5MM in ’10 plus a $250K buyout for a total of almost $10MM.  Walks have been a problem this year, as well as elbow pain.
  • Dave Ross – Ross had cleared waivers prior to being designated for assignment.  He is earning $2.525MM this year.
  • Duaner Sanchez – His velocity is down 3.6 mph from ’06.  Sanchez is under team control through ’09.
  • Scott Schoeneweis – His strikeout rate is down, but so is his ERA.  Apparently no team wanted to risk taking on his contract – $910K more this year, $3.6MM in ’09.
  • Gary Sheffield – No surprise here. Sheff is owed around $17.5 million between this year and next.
  • Jamie Walker – The 37 year-old southpaw has a 5.00 ERA in 27 innings this year.  As usual, home runs have been a problem.  He spent time on the DL with elbow inflammation and is set to earn $4.5MM next year.
  • David Weathers – Weathers is owed only $610K on the season, and he has a 2.52 ERA and 2.78 K/BB since the beginning of June.  I am quite surprised he cleared waivers.

Will Carroll’s Latest: Blake, Mike Gonzalez, Fuentes

Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll checks in with a slew of rumors.

  • Carroll believes Orioles relievers Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford would clear waivers.  Bradford isn’t striking anyone out, but he does have a 2.45 ERA by virtue of good control and tons of grounders.  He has a reasonable $3.5MM commitment for ’09.
  • Casey Blake suitors: Mets, Rays, and Twins.
  • Carroll wonders if the Rangers could send an outfielder to Atlanta for closer Mike GonzalezMLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan also linked the Rangers to Gonzalez.  Gonzalez is under team control through ’09; I’d be surprised to see him traded.
  • The Marlins are "very aggressively" pursuing Rockies closer Brian Fuentes.

O’s Close On Jamie Walker

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles are close to signing southpaw reliever Jamie Walker to a three-year, $10MM pact.  Walker has been solid since coming to the Tigers in 2002.

Should the Orioles close the deal, the White Sox and Tigers will have to look elsewhere for top-notch lefty relievers.  Alan Embree, Steve Kline, Darren Oliver, and Mike Stanton may be the best options.

Here’s my 2007 Team Outlook for Baltimore.  They’ll probably add more relief help, a starter, and some 1B/LF types.  They snagged one possibility today.  The O’s would have to increase payroll past $80MM to make it work.

White Sox Interested In Jamie Walker

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Detroit Tigers lefty Jamie Walker sits atop the Sox’ wish list."  Walker, who is 35, had his best season in 2006.  He’s been consistently solid since coming to the Tigers in 2002, though.

Walker’s not a big strikeout guy but he does boast excellent command, often posting K/BB ratios over 4.  He is, of course, a lot tougher on lefties than righties.  Walker throws his fastball about half the time, followed by a fairly equal mix of sliders and changeups, according to ESPN.  Walker’s most comparable players, according to Baseball Prospectus, are Pedro Borbon and Alan Embree (be sure to click the Embree link to see him with a sweet buzz cut and 1992 era button-up shirt.  Good times).

Chicago’s bullpen would be one of the game’s best if they are to replace the struggling Neal Cotts with Walker.  It will probably cost in the neighborhood of three years and $12MM.