Jason Bartlett Rumors

AL Notes: Orioles, Izturis, Rangers, Bartlett

Outside of the first round, the Orioles might not get much out of their 2010 draft, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. Of course, their first-rounder, third overall pick Manny Machado, has turned out quite well. It's not automatic that the third overall pick will be a success, as Connolly points out — other recent third overall picks have included Philip Humber, Jeff Clement, and Donavan Tate. Connolly suggests fans should be happy with the 2010 draft, even if the Orioles don't end up getting anyone but Machado from it. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Free agent infielder Cesar Izturis has received offers to play at Triple-A, but he's holding out for a big-league opportunity, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Izturis opted out of his minor-league deal with the Astros last month.
  • The Rangers join the long list of teams that have interest in free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Hanrahan is recovering from arm troubles that cost him most of last season. He lives near Dallas.
  • Shortstop Jason Bartlett, who recently retired, is interested in coaching in the Twins organization, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. There are not any openings right now, since the season has already started.

Jason Bartlett To Retire

Infielder Jason Bartlett has told the Twins he will retire, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). Though the club has asked him to reconsider, says Berardino, the expectation is that he will file his papers.

Bartlett had been working on a rehab assignment with Minnesota after making the club's Opening Day roster. Though he only saw four plate appearances this year, he did manage to appear in the outfield for the first time in his career.

Over parts of ten MLB seasons, spent almost entirely at shortstop, Bartlett put up a .270/.336/.366 line with 31 home runs and 123 stolen bases. He spent time as a regular up the middle with the Twins, Rays, and Padres organizations. His best season at the plate came in 2009 with Tampa, when Bartlett knocked 14 long balls and swiped 30 bags while registering a surprising .320/.389/.490 triple-slash. With his usually strong defense, that campaign was worth 6.2 rWAR. (He also had a 4.6 rWAR season in 2007 with Minnesota.) Bartlett delivered good value for his employers in the aggregate, as he put up 18.4 lifetime rWAR and had career earnings of $16.6MM.


Added To The 40-Man Roster: Thursday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • As expected, the Mets have added lefty John Lannan to the 40-man roster, Newsday's Marc Carig tweets. The longtime starter is expected to work out of the pen for the first time in his career after serving exclusively as a starter for 148 games between 2007-13.
  • Jason Bartlett will make the Twins as a reserve infielder and center field option, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The 34-year-old had previously agreed to bump back his opt-out date. Though he has played exactly one MLB game at a position other than shortstop (a single 2004 appearance at second), Bartlett will apparently see some time in the outfield. He finds himself in position to break camp after taking just 98 professional plate appearances over the last two seasons.
  • 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Kalish will make the Cubs Opening Day roster and be added to its 40-man, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. It was reported yesterday that the same was true of utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Chicago has two open roster slots, so no corresponding move would appear to be necessary. As Rogers notes, third baseman Mike Olt will also be on the active roster to start the year.


AL Central Notes: Royals, Scherzer, Quintana, Twins, Baker

One hidden key to the Royals' emergence has been the club's dedication to Latin American scouting, signing, and player development under GM Dayton Moore (and special assistant Rene Francisco), writes Rany Jazayerli of RanyontheRoyals.com. Jazayerli breaks down the team's long history of virtually no significant spending on Latin American players, and how increased investments — especially on lower-priced players like Salvador Perez, Yordano Ventura, Miguel Almonte, and Jorge Bonifacio (total commitment: $253K) — have been critical to building the team's overall talent base. Here's more from the American League Central:

  • Max Scherzer requested an eight-year deal in his negotiations with the Tigers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Tigers' reported offer was for six years and $144MM. If the sides were in agreement on the $24MM AAV, that would hypothetically put Scherzer's demands on total gaurantee at $192MM. Scherzer has injury protection through an insurance policy, Bowden adds, which perhaps has increased his willingness to wait for a larger deal on the open market.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to secure seven years of control rights over their own prized starter, Jose Quintana, for a total guarantee that maybe as low as $21MM (if he does not qualify for Super Two status). Of course, unlike Scherzer, Quintana has just 1.133 years of service and did not win the AL Cy Young last year. Nevertheless, the deal looks like a smart investment for a Chicago club that has purchased prime years of several players at seemingly reasonable rates. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports, GM Rick Hahn sees the value in early extensions, which "frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs." Hahn explained: "You've seen the magnitude of what some of these deals have gotten to in free agency. It makes sense to try to get out in front of that sometimes, to try to get the price points locked in before the market continues to grow … ."
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony had several updates today, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Infielder Jason Bartlett has agreed to push back his March 25 opt-out to the March 30 Opening Day roster deadline, which gives both sides more time to assess their options. Meanwhile, the club is still in discussions on a new deal with reliever Matt Guerrier, who was released because the club did not want to pay the Article XX(B) free agent signee a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors.
  • Though the Twins have had some exploratory discussions about an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier, the 26-year-old tells Berardino that a deal is probably not happening at this point. That is not surprising, as Dozier has just 1.100 on his service clock and still has some questions to answer as a player. But he indicated that there is a positive vibe between the two sides and a hope that talks could pick up in the future. "We had some talks or whatever," he said. "Obviously nothing took place but it was a bunch of good postive feedback on both ends.It's very unlikely anything will be coming soon or during the season or anything. We'll let another year play out and see where it goes. That was just a thing to see where everybody was. I think [the Twins] would be in the near future open to it and we definitely are."
  • The Indians were one of the clubs vying for Scott Baker's services before the offseason, and just released Aaron Harang. Nevertheless, Cleveland will not pursue the starter at this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Baker was released today by the Mariners after deciding he would rather test the market than accept an assignment to Triple-A.

AL Central Notes: Miguel Cabrera, Kipnis, Twins

The AL Central has already been in the news twice this morning, with the Tigers trading for veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez and the Twins releasing reliever Matt Guerrier.  More from the division:

  • "Word is there is some early optimism" in contract talks between the Tigers and superstar Miguel Cabrera, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Heyman believes Cabrera should top Alex Rodriguez's $27.5MM average annual value, but probably won't be able to score a ten-year deal.  With Cabrera already signed through 2015, a new deal would begin with his age-33 campaign.  The Tigers recently broke off talks with pitcher Max Scherzer, who is eligible for free agency after this season.
  • Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis says everyone on the team was rooting for Justin Masterson to get a deal done, but added, "Everyone in this room, at one point of time, has experienced the business side of this game," talking to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Kipnis offered nothing to reveal the state of his own contract negotiations, which have the typical Opening Day deadline.  The Tribe opens their season in Oakland a week from today.  Kipnis remains under team control through 2017.
  • Infielder Eduardo Escobar and veteran Jason Kubel have made the Twins, tweets La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Escobar is out of options, while Kubel is subject to tomorrow's $100K retention bonus deadline.  Neal's colleague Phil Miller has quotes from non-roster invitee Jason Bartlett, who appears to be on the losing end of the team's backup infielder battle.
  • Twins second baseman Brian Dozier calls an extension "very unlikely," but he remains open to midseason talks, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Dozier, 27 in May, is already under team control through 2018.
  • "For the way we're set up with our finances and our payroll, starting pitching costs a lot of money to maintain, so that's why it's important to develop it," Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo tells MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis.  Callis names Yordano Ventura, Kyle Zimmer, Sean Manaea, and Miguel Almonte as the team's top young arms.
  • For the White Sox, "the most recent [roster] cuts stem from the decision to retain a third first baseman based on latent talisman powers," writes Jim Margalus of South Side Sox in reference to the team's decision to bring Paul Konerko back.
  • What is it like finding out you've been traded?  "I was literally on the field, taking ground balls, when the GM, Jerry (Dipoto) comes running out, pulls me off the field with (manager Mike Scioscia)," new Tigers infielder Andrew Romine tells Dick Scanlon of the Detroit Free Press.  He added, "We go in and have a meeting and right away: 'Hey, we’re trading you over to Detroit for a left-handed pitcher.'"
  • For a reminder which AL Central players are out of options, check out my post from March 6th.

Central Notes: Garza, Twins, Indians

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the latest on the Matt Garza-Brewers situation, reporting that it's still unclear what might have delayed things when the two sides appeared to be close to annoucing a deal. While some have posited that the club may be waiting to announce the contract until its On Deck fan fest on Sunday, nothing indicates that is the case, Haudricourt says, writing, "I'm not even sure that Garza is still in town." The situation appears to be little changed from Thursday, when MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported that progress wasn't halted because of medical concerns. Here's more from baseball's Central divisions:

  • Twins first baseman Chris Colabello discussed his decision to decline an offer to play baseball in South Korea with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press"A lot of people have told me: 'This is an opportunity you can't pass up,'" the 30-year-old slugger said. "I don't think I've ever chased money in my life. Why start now?" Collabello reportedly turned down an offer that would have paid him nearly $1MM this season and will instead compete for a Twins bench job. Another Minnesota farmhand, Andrew Albers, accepted an offer to pitch for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization earlier this week.
  • Jason Kubel, back with the Twins on a minor-league deal, is well-positioned to make the club as a DH and corner outfielder, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes. Jason Bartlett is another familar face who'll be competing for a Major League job, but he's seen as having less of a chance to make the team after missing all of 2013 with knee issues, according to Bollinger.
  • The Indians have hired former Diamondbacks pitching coach Charlie Nagy, though they've yet to determine what his role will be, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports. The 46-year-old spent almost all of his 14-year career with the Tribe, throwing nearly 2,000 innings for Cleveland from 1990-2002 with a 4.51 ERA. Hoynes says Nagy is likely to serve as an instructor in the club's farm system.

Twins Sign Jason Bartlett

The Twins have signed Jason Bartlett to a non-roster deal, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Bartlett is represented by LSW Baseball, according to the MLBTR Agency Database.

The 34-year-old saw 29 games of big league action for the Padres in 2012, hitting .133/.240/.193 in 98 plate appearances. For his career, Bartlett owns a .271/.336/.366 across nine major league seasons. With the deal, Bartlett returns to the club that he spent the first four seasons of his career with.

The Twins also announced that Joe Mauer will transition to being a full-time first baseman in 2014. The move was made "after consultation with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors," according to the press release. Moving Mauer, who is owed $115MM over the next five years, to first base opens up a starting spot for 24-year-old Josmil Pinto behind the plate.


Twins Notes: Podsednik, Sweeney, Parra, Bartlett

Despite indications to the contrary, the Twins never called to inquire about the availability of pitcher Anibal Sanchez, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500.  Sanchez, of course, re-signed with the Tigers for five years and $80MM earlier this offseason.  Here's more out of Minnesota, courtesy of Wolfson..

  • The Twins still have interest in free agent outfielder Scott Podsednik, but they're not looking to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Sweeney.  We recently learned that the Mets aren't among the teams in on Podsednik.  The club had brief talks with Sweeney's representatives earlier in the winter.
  • Minnesota had interest in signing free agent starter Freddy Garcia in December but they haven't checked in on him since.  The Twins have also cut off contact with free agent pitcher Manny Parra.  The Twins, along with the Reds and Rockies, were said to be interested in Garcia late last year.
  • The Twins have not inquired about free agent shortstop Jason Bartlett, nor free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson.
  • The Twins never made an offer to shortstop Cesar Izturis, who signed a minor league deal with the Reds on Wednesday.  General Manager Terry Ryan & Co. never had an interest in free agent starter Aaron Cook before he signed with the Phillies either.  
  • Minnesota could have free agent starter Armando Galarraga on a minor league deal but aren't interested in him.  The right-hander hooked on with the Astros on a minor league contract last year after being cut by the Orioles.

2013 Vesting Options Update

With two weeks left in the season, here's an update on the various vesting options for 2013 from around the league…

  • Brett Myers, White Sox — $10MM option vests with 45 games finished or based on a points system. Myers has finished 39 total games this season and the ChiSox have 12 games remaining. This one is unlikely to vest but is still possible.
  • Kevin Gregg – $6MM option vests with 50 games finished. Gregg finished only 13 games before the Orioles released him last weekend.
  • Jason Bartlett – $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances. Bartlett came to the plate just 98 times with the Padres before hurting his knee and getting released last month. Like Gregg's, this one won't vest.

Chipper Jones has an option worth $9MM+ that will vest with 123 games played, but he's already rendered the option moot by announcing his plans to retire after the season. He recently said that he won't change his mind about retirement despite his strong play as well. Chipper has played in 103 of the Braves' 151 games, so this one isn't even mathematically possible anymore.

Alex Gonzalez has an option worth $4MM that will vest with 525 plate appearances, but he missed the majority of the season with a torn ACL. Gonzalez came to the plate just 89 times before the injury, so the Brewers do not have to worry about this one kicking in.


Padres Release Jason Bartlett

THURSDAY: The Padres announced that Bartlett cleared unconditional release waivers and is now a free agent.

MONDAY: The Padres have requested unconditional release waivers for Jason Bartlett, the team announced via press release.

The Padres acquired Bartlett from the Rays back in December of 2010 in exchange for Cole Figueroa, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes. Later that offseason, the team avoided arbitration with the shortstop by agreeing to a two-year contract worth a guaranteed $11MM with a vesting option for 2013. The $5.5MM option for 2013 will not vest, as Bartlett's 98 plate appearances this season fall well short of the required 432. He'll instead be paid a $1.5MM buyout.

The 32-year-old batted just .133/.240/.193 in those 98 plate appearances, and overall batted only .231/.299/.292 in 168 games as a Padre. He has been on the disabled list since May 17 with a right knee strain. Following the trade of Ernesto Frieri for Alexi Amarista earlier this season, it became apparent that Bartlett no longer factored into the team's plans.

Bartlett was originally drafted by the Padres in the 13th round of the 2001 draft but made his big league debut with the Twins after being swapped for Brian Buchanan. Prior to being re-acquired by the Padres, Bartlett was a career .281/.345/.385 hitter in 2,801 career plate appearances.