Jarrod Washburn Rumors
A few links from Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports...
- MLBTR's Luke Adams summed up the latest on the unsigned starting pitchers yesterday, looking at the latest on Jarrod Washburn, Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper, and John Smoltz. Washburn told Morosi that neither the Dodgers nor the White Sox have shown interest so far. The Sox have gotten ugly performances from Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia, while Dan Hudson has been knocked around in Triple A his last two times out.
- Morosi talked to Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who said the team isn't looking to sign a free agent hitter despite Carlos Guillen's hamstring strain.
- Morosi chatted with Vernon Wells, who said, "I have no plans on going anywhere" in response to a question about his ability to opt out of his contract after the 2011 season. I doubt Wells' agent at Legacy Sports would recommend abandoning four years and $86MM.
- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, in reference to Lyle Overbay, said it wouldn't be right to bury a player who's headed toward free agency.
According to talent evaluators that spoke to ESPN.com's Buster Olney recently, this year's starting pitching trade market may not take shape for another couple months. For pitching-desperate teams that don't want to take on a salary dump, that means the few remaining arms on the free agent market might be their best bet. Let's take a look at the latest news on some of the more notable pitchers still available....
- Jarrod Washburn: The Diamondbacks were rumored to have a passing interest in Washburn, but not at his asking price. The last we heard from agent Scott Boras was that as many as five teams were after the 35-year-old, though that was nearly three weeks ago. It seems that Boras and Washburn still have a vastly different perception of the left-hander's worth than most GMs do. Could the Dodgers be a possibility? According to Sirius XM Radio's Jim Bowden (via Twitter), GM Ned Colletti is still looking for a pitcher at the right price.
- Pedro Martinez: It's looking increasingly likely that Pedro will once again only pitch a half-season. The Mets are considered a potential landing spot for the righty, but the Phillies might be the favorites. Martinez had a successful stint with in Philadelphia in 2009, and the two sides have been keeping in touch this year. The Dodgers could be in the mix too, though the 38-year-old still harbors bad feelings toward the organization, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Braden Looper: Although the 35-year-old righty threw for the Cubs recently, they're not expected to sign him. Looper is probably most valuable as an innings-eater starter, while the Cubs are in need of a setup man. There hasn't been a lot of concrete news about Looper lately, but the Rockies could potentially be a fit. Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies opined three weeks ago that Looper-to-Colorado would be a logical match, and if both Jorge de la Rosa and Jason Hammel head to the disabled list, the Rockies would be missing two crucial starters.
- John Smoltz: He may be a TBS analyst for now, but Smoltz still hasn't ruled out pitching this season. The Phillies were rumored to be interested, though you'd have to think it'd be a case of either Martinez or Smoltz for Philadelphia, rather than both. Like Pedro, the 42-year-old is more likely to pitch for a National League club if he returns, so once again the Dodgers make sense as a potential suitor.
Roughly one month ago, the Dodgers appeared to have a surplus of starting pitching. There were more than a handful of hurlers who were making a strong case for the fifth spot in the rotation. Carlos Monasterios, Charlie Haeger, Josh Lindblom, Ramon Ortiz, Eric Stults, and Russ Ortiz were all impressive during Spring Training. There were so many candidates to choose from that the Dodgers sold Stults' contract to a Japanese team. My, how things have changed.
Russ Ortiz was DFA'd after floundering in seven big league innings. Haeger hasn't found much success in 15.1 IP (three starts and one relief appearance) either. Now, the Dodgers have another hole to fill as Padilla is headed to the disabled list with a sore elbow. There are pitchers at the ready in Triple-A Albuquerque, including the aforementioned Lindblom and once-ballyhooed James McDonald, though all have their fair share of question marks. Padilla's injury aside, the Dodgers' starting five still looks like it could use a lift.
Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times drops the names of three notable starters still available on the open market: Jarrod Washburn, John Smoltz, and Pedro Martinez. Washburn seems to be holding out for a deal approaching the $5MM he was offered by Minnesota this winter. Smoltz won't completely rule out a return to baseball, though he's enjoying his television gigs. Pedro is reportedly maintaining contact with the Phillies, though he is said to still hold a grudge against the Dodgers over things that happened back when jheri curls were still somewhat in vogue.
Should the cash-strapped Dodgers look into signing one of these vets or should they find other ways to improve?
FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- If the Red Sox decide to give Mike Lowell more at-bats at the expense of David Ortiz, don't be surprised if it happens soon. Just six of their next 26 games are on the road, and Lowell is a .303/.361/.513 career hitter at Fenway. Yesterday we heard that the Sox would probably release Ortiz before keeping him on the bench.
- Should the Orioles decide to part ways with manager Dave Trembley, Rosenthal calls Greg Maddux an outside the box replacement candidate. Andy MacPhail has long admired Maddux's baseball smarts, and thinks he could succeed in any role. Keep in mind that the 355 game winner is currently working for Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and his only tie to the O's is MacPhail, his former GM with Chicago.
- The Diamondbacks' rotation depth remains an issue, but they have minimal interest in Jarrod Washburn. They only have so much money to spend, and Washburn is coming off knee surgery and hasn't been through Spring Training. Arizona believes they're better off waiting until other teams fall out of the race and the trade market begins to develop.
- The concern in Atlanta is about Bobby Cox's bullpen management. The 38-year-old Billy Wagner and 40-year-old Takashi Saito have been worked hard in the early going.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets are unlikely to make any moves for pitching via trade or free agency, and specifically adds that the Mets are not interested in Jarrod Washburn.
If it seems a bit early for such discussions, that is largely due to the travails of John Maine, whose fastball velocity is way down, while his ERA is way up. After allowing seven earned runs in three innings last night, Maine faces a do-or-die start on Sunday night against the Cardinals, according to Newsday's David Lennon.
Another reason for New York's reluctance to reach outside the organization is a lack of attractive external options, though should the team climb into contention, a partial-season deal with Pedro Martinez could be considered.
9:45pm: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweets that Cleveland and Arizona are possibilities for Washburn but Seattle is becoming a bit of a long shot.
"As many as five clubs are after him. A lot of teams are interested. The reality has struck."
Of course, Boras has never been known to exaggerate. The superagent says the lefty would need three weeks to be Major League ready.
Washburn reportedly turned down a small offer from the Mariners, his preferred destination. The Royals may also be in the mix. MLBTR's Mike Axisa attempted to help Washburn find work with this March 29th post, in case Boras has his hands full with Joe Crede or his draft advisees. One could name a half-dozen teams that'd make sense in the $2MM range, but it'd have to be a city that works for Washburn and his family.
Links for Wednesday...
- Anthony Lerew cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A, tweets Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. The Royals designated Lerew for assignment over the weekend.
- Kat O'Brien of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a very interesting piece about what happens in Cuba once their players defect. Said one local cab driver: "[Aroldis] Chapman doesn't exist. He never existed."
- Pirates' team president Frank Coonelly chatted with fans at MLB.com. He fielded a question about what the Pirates would do with the second overall pick in June's draft if for some reason the Nationals pass on Bryce Harper.
- The Tigers released minor leaguer Kory Casto, reports Tom Gage of The Detroit News. Casto had been signed to a minor league deal after a .271/.334/.378 performance for the Nationals' Triple A club. Baseball America ranked him fourth among Nats prospects heading into the '07 season.
- Which of Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, and Ryan Doumit is most likely to be traded this summer? Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tackles the question.
- SI's Jon Heyman speculates that the Phillies would probably have to trade Raul Ibanez to be able to retain Jayson Werth after this season.
- Adeiny Hechavarria's visa has been approved and he's headed to the U.S. to take his physical this week for the Blue Jays, tweets ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan suggests the Rays will have long-term difficulty competing, while Jonah Keri offers a rebuttal.
- Rocco Baldelli still has hopes of playing baseball, according to this FOX Sports Florida article. He's currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and working with Rays minor leaguers.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin says the Mets will not place Canadian third base prospect Shawn Bowman on waivers until they've exhausted trade possibilites.
- In search of an accurate Mariners payroll number, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times arrives at about $93MM.
- Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies explains why free agent Braden Looper would be a good fit for Colorado. On a related note, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post learned that the Rockies are not interested in Jarrod Washburn.
- Elsewhere on the "nothing brewing" front, Jim Bowden of FOX Sports tweets that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told him the team has had no discussions regarding Pedro Martinez.
Why isn't there more baseball today? Links for Tuesday...
- BoSox manager Terry Francona is glad that the organization hammered out Josh Beckett's extension before it became a media circus, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal.
- I'll be joining Jeff & Jeff on KFNS St. Louis today at 1:25pm CST. Click here to listen live.
- SI's Jon Heyman wonders if the Diamondbacks and Rockies will get in on free agent lefty Jarrod Washburn.
- Josh Beckett initially wanted to top Carlos Zambrano's five-year, $91.5MM deal, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford. The market has changed since that deal was signed in August of '07, and the Red Sox secured Beckett for four years and $68MM.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says rival agents are exasperated by Adam Lind's four-year, $18MM extension, given the three club options. Frustrated agents - always a good sign for the team.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch analyzes changes in the Cardinals' Opening Day payroll compared to '09.
- Steve Sommer of FanGraphs finds the best one-year deals at $2MM guaranteed or less for 2009, with Carl Pavano's Indians contract leading the way.
- The Twins look at seven factors when considering signing a young player to a long-term extension, learned Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Baseball America's Will Lingo puts together a list of lesser-known future GM candidates in the latest Ask BA.
THURSDAY, 6:23pm: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes that Royals officials have yet to substantiate rumors of the team's interest in Washburn. Dutton adds that one club official said Kansas City's major league payroll is already $1.5MM over budget.
12:22pm: SI's Jon Heyman says the Royals are "believed to be offering significantly more money" to Washburn than the Mariners, but the lefty prefers Seattle.
WEDNESDAY, 5:16pm: AOL Fanhouse's John Hickey reports that the Mariners made a "small offer" to Jarrod Washburn that the left-hander has already turned down. Hickey says the offer was less than the one-year, $1.5MM deal that the team made with Erik Bedard in February.
Given Seattle's need for starting pitching (especially in the wake of Cliff Lee's injury), Washburn and agent Scott Boras must feel they can get more out of the M's. We know that Washburn turned down a $5MM offer from Minnesota over the winter, so it's likely the Mariners will have to at least offer something closer to that mark.
Links for Tuesday...
- I joined Jeff & Jeff on KNFS 590 St. Louis today; click here to listen to audio.
- Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald tweets that the Red Sox signed 22-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Padron to a minor league deal with a $350K bonus. Cuban Ball Players has a bit on Padron here.
- SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Royals will join the Mariners in the Jarrod Washburn bidding. Heyman first made the Royals-Washburn connection on January 11th, but nothing much came of it.
- Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times spoke to Orlando Cabrera, Tony Reagins, and Walt Jocketty about the decline in multiyear free agent contracts.
- Rays first baseman Dan Johnson cleared waivers and accepted a Triple A assignment, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun feels that Orioles catcher Chad Moeller is unlikely to accept a minor league assignment now that the team has chosen Craig Tatum to back up Matt Wieters.
- Aroldis Chapman is expected to begin the season in the minors, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs praises the Rockies for their player development, but questions their offseason tweaking. For more on that topic, check out our Rockies offseason in review.
- Rich Hill, recently reassigned to Triple A, can elect free agency around June if he's not in the Majors according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.