Jason Giambi Rumors

AL Central Notes: Konerko, Hahn, Giambi, Moore

Paul Konerko‘s 18-year career officially ended yesterday, as he left the field for a defensive replacement before the sixth inning and received a lengthy ovation from the fans at U.S. Cellular Field (video link).  Konerko retires with a career .279/.354/.486 slash line, 439 homers, a 2005 World Series ring and an ALCS MVP Award from that same championship season.  ESPN’s Jayson Stark notes that Konerko’s career path is unique in baseball history, as he spent his first two seasons in brief stints with the Dodgers and Reds before spending his final 16 years with the White Sox.  We at MLBTR congratulate Konerko on his excellent career and wish him all the best in retirement.

Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • Rick Hahn thinks the White Sox can contend in 2015, the general manager told reporters (including CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes).  The central goal is to keep adding to the team’s core, Hahn said, though extra payroll space will make an expensive short-term contract possible if the team feels such a deal will help put them over the top.  “I think we are pleased with a lot of the progress we’ve made in the last 15 months, but we’re by no means, first satisfied, nor operating under the belief that we’re by any means finished, in terms of assembling a core and a unit that can contend on annual basis,” Hahn said.
  • Indians slugger Jason Giambi isn’t thinking about whether or not he’ll play in 2015, for now just focusing on spending time with his family in the offseason, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes.  Giambi will turn 44 in January and has played an even 20 seasons in the majors.  If he does hang up his cleats, it seems likely that a coaching job awaits Giambi, quite possibly with the Tribe; the slugger said in April 2013 that he’d already turned down several coaching offers in order to keep playing for as long as he could.
  • The blockbuster trade that bought James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals in exchange for a prospect package headlined by Wil Myers is “everything that we hoped it would be,” Royals GM Dayton Moore told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel.  “When you make deals, you hope and expect them to work for both organizations. I think it’s turned out that way. It strengthened our pitching to a point where we were able to play competitive baseball from the first day to the last.”  Shields is a free agent this winter and is unlikely to be re-signed by Kansas City, though Davis (who just completed one of the great relief seasons in baseball history) is controllable via team options through 2017.

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
  • The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
  • As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
  • The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster. 
  • John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
  • The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
  • Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
  • Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.

Indians Re-Sign Jason Giambi, Acquire Colt Hynes

The Indians announced that they have re-signed Jason Giambi to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training and also acquired left-hander Colt Hynes from the Padres in exchange for cash considerations.

Giambi will turn 43 in January and managed just a .183/.282/.371 batting line in 2013. He was a beloved member of the Indians clubhouse however, and provided a number of pinch-hit home runs, including a pair of dramatic walk-off shots. On a minor league deal, there's little risk for Cleveland to bringing him back and seeing if he can force his way onto their roster with a big Spring Training performance.

Hynes, 28, was one of two left-handers to be designated for assignment by the Padres last week in order to create roster space for starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland, each of whom was returning from the 60-day disabled list (Tommy Layne was also DFA'ed). A former 31st-round draft pick of the Friars, Hynes made his big league debut this season but allowed 17 runs in 17 innings of work with a 13-to-9 K/BB ratio. He was dominant in the minors, however, posting a 1.52 ERA with an otherworldly 58-to-2 K/BB ratio in 47 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.



Indians Notes: Payroll, Jimenez, Giambi, Perez

Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona had an end-of-the-year roundup session with the media, including Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.  Here are some of the hot stove-related items…

  • It isn't yet clear if next season's Tribe payroll will be greater or lower than 2013's $80.6MM number, though Antonetti isn't worried.  "That's information that we'll get a little later in the offseason when we find out exactly what our payroll will be," Antonetti said. "But that's not the defining thing for us. It's how we build a the best team and I'm confident we'll have the resources we need to build a contending team again next year."
  • Pitching seems to be the top priority for the club this winter.  When asked if the Indians would go after a middle-of-the-order hitter, Francona said, “It depends on how much pitching we have.”
  • Ubaldo Jimenez hasn't made a decision about voiding the $8MM option the club has on his services for next season, Antonetti said.  Unsurprisingly, Antonetti said the Tribe would be happy to have Jimenez back in 2014.  MLBTR's Steve Adams wrote a Free Agent Profile on Jimenez last month.
  • Both men want Jason Giambi to return to the Indians next season, either as a player, coach or possibly both.  Giambi has said he wishes to keep playing, so it seems likely the two sides will work something out.
  • The Indians will look at Chris Perez's whole career with the team as "the lens" for his arbitration case, Antonetti said, rather than Perez's poor end to the 2013 season.  Perez earned $7.3MM last season and will get a raise through the arbitration process, so there have been rumors that the Tribe will look to deal or even non-tender the right-hander.
  • Sandy Alomar Jr. will take over as first base coach from Mike Sarbaugh next season, a move that Francona stressed was not a demotion from Alomar's previous job as bench coach.  Brad Mills (Francona's long-time bench coach with the Red Sox) will take over as Cleveland's bench coach, while Sarbaugh completes the shuffle by becoming the new third base coach.
  • Antonetti didn't comment on whether or not the Cubs have asked for permission to interview first base coach Sandy Alomar for their vacant managerial position.  Alomar was a candidate for the Cubs job in 2011 before they hired Dale Sveum, and he's been linked to their current vacancy.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall is still the incumbent third baseman, though Bastian suspects the club will look to improve themselves at the hot corner this winter.
  • The Indians made the playoffs despite subpar seasons from Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, their two big free agent signings from last offseason.  Francona and Antonetti felt that the two players may have been pressing in a new environment, plus Swisher was affected by a shoulder injury and Bourn was adjusting to the American League.

Indians Notes: Giambi, Cabrera, Kazmir, Smith, Cloyd

The Indians' magical season came to end at the hands of Alex Cobb and the Rays last night, as the Tribe fell 4-0 in the American League Wild Card game. Here's the latest on the Indians, whose focus will now shift to the offseason…

  • Jason Giambi told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he would like to play one more season, making an even 20 for his career (Twitter link). The Giambino hit just .183/.282/.371 in 216 plate appearances this season, but he did belt nine homers, including a dramatic pair of walk-off shots, the latter of which has to be considered one of the highlights of the season for the team.
  • General manager Chris Antonetti brought the team to the playoffs by making bold moves and should continue to be bold by trading Asdrubal Cabrera this winter, opines Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Indians are set to lose Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir to free agency, and Pluto writes that some pitching depth could be added if Antonetti can strike a deal with a team like the Cardinals. Mike Aviles is capable of bridging the gap between the declining Cabrera and top prospect Francisco Lindor, writes Pluto.
  • Kazmir and right-hander Joe Smith both told reporters, including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, that they hope to return to the Indians in 2014 (Twitter links). Kazmir added that he hopes to pick up where he left off in 2013, and Smith stated, "I don't want that to be my last game."
  • Twenty-four teams passed on Phillies right-hander Tyler Cloyd before the Indians claimed him off waivers yesterday, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. That Cloyd was waived despite having two options left shows that the team was never particularly enamored with him, adds Gelb. Cloyd was part of the proposed package for Astros reliever Wilton Lopez last offseason before the Phils backed off due to concerns over Lopez's elbow.

Central Notes: Pirates, Giambi, Baker, White Sox

With a 1-0 win over the Rangers Monday night, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992. 2011 draftee Gerrit Cole pitched seven dominant innings for the Bucs on Monday, and the Pirates have, of course, gotten big contributions from draftees like Andrew McCutchen (2005) and Pedro Alvarez (2008). But much of the Pirates' success in 2013 has stemmed from Neal Huntington's spectacular 2012-2013 offseason. He signed Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin, who have emerged as two of the Pirates' top players behind McCutchen. He also re-signed Jason Grilli, who dominated as the Pirates' closer, and traded for Mark Melancon, who has been even more dominant and who stepped in as closer after Grilli got hurt.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports digs deep into the construction of the 2013 Pirates, noting that many of this year's Bucs also came from earlier trades. He singles out the then-unpopular Nate McLouth trade, which brought back Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton, as an important one for the Bucs. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.

  • Jason Giambi wants to return to play for the Indians next season, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. "I would love to play next year," Giambi says. "Hopefully it will be here. I love it here. I love the direction the team is going and the things we've got going here." Giambi is hitting .186/.278/.372 in 198 plate appearances this season.
  • The Cubs are giving Scott Baker starts in September, but it's unclear whether he'll be playing for them next year, writes Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. Baker made his first start since 2011 on Sunday, after missing most of the last two seasons with an elbow injury. The Cubs figure to have Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson in their rotation next year, with a variety of possible back-end options, including Jake Arrieta, Carlos Villanueva and Chris Rusin. Mooney notes that the Cubs will likely pursue more starting pitching in the offseason.
  • The White Sox will pursue position players via free agency and trade this offseason, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports. Sox GM Rick Hahn says he will be "open to" trading young pitching in order to acquire hitters. The White Sox's top young-ish pitchers at the big-league level include Jose Quintana, Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Hector Santiago. Chris Sale would obviously be a very valuable trade chip, but he's an elite talent and the White Sox signed him to an extension before the season, so that appears unlikely.

Quick Hits: Nava, Borbon, Giambi

Daniel Nava, whose three-run homer helped the Red Sox to a dramatic victory Saturday, has come a long way since repeatedly considering retirement, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. Nava played independent-league baseball in 2007 and considered quitting before catching on with the Red Sox in 2008. Then, after playing with the Red Sox in 2010 and spending 2011 with Triple-A Pawtucket, he didn't get invited to Major League spring training in 2012, and he considered quitting again. He ended up staying, and spent much of the 2012 season with the big-league team, hitting .243/.352/.390. This year, he's an important part of the Red Sox outfield. Here are more notes from around the majors.

  • Outfielder Julio Borbon had a "whirlwind day" after being claimed off waivers on Friday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes. After learning he'd been claimed by the Cubs, Borbon got to Milwaukee's Miller Park in the eighth inning Friday night. Manager Dale Sveum, who had been ejected, told Borbon to suit up. Borbon did, and entered the game as a pinch-runner, then ended the game when he got thrown out trying to steal. Borbon expressed excitement at being claimed by the Cubs because he's a fan of President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. "My fiance, she’s from Boston, and she knew him, and she was the first one to tell me he had done great things for the city of Boston," said Borbon. "From his background and his resume, he’s on his way to doing the same thing here."
  • Jason Giambi of the Indians looks forward to becoming a coach one day, but for now he's enjoying the end of his big-league career, Gene Duffey of MLB.com writes. Giambi interviewed for the Rockies' manager position last year (the job went to Walt Weiss) and has declined coaching jobs with other teams while he continues to play. "I want to enjoy this while I can," says Giambi. "Unfortunately, this game will let you know when it's time to walk away. Sometimes it's not your choice. I've been lucky enough and blessed enough to be in my 19th Major League season. And I'm going to enjoy every minute."

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Monday

As has been previously discussed on MLBTR, Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is tomorrow at 12:00pm ET (11:00am CT). In other words, by tomorrow afternoon teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top)…

  • Rangers manager Ron Washington informed infielder Jeff Baker that he has made the Opening Day roster, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com
  • The Indians announced that Jason Giambi has made the roster but will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain. Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment in order to clear room on the roster.
  • The Mariners announced via press release that they have added Kameron Loe to the 25-man roster and transferred Josh Kinney to the 60-day disabled list to create space.
  • Smith also tweets that Rick Ankiel is expected to make the team as the everyday right fielder, meaning Houston will have to make a 40-man roster move. Ankiel's base salary will be $750K, and his contract includes incentives based on plate appearances.
  • LaTroy Hawkins has been informed that he will make the Mets' 25-man roster, writes ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Mets currently have an open spot on their 40-man roster, meaning no corresponding move would have to be made. Hawkins will earn a base salary of approximately $1MM for making the team.
  • Pedro Feliciano, another Mets non-roster invitee, is still deciding whether or not to opt out of his contract or take his $100K bonus and report to Triple-A, Rubin tweets. Feliciano was told he would not make the Mets' roster yesterday.
  • Red Sox bench hopeful Lyle Overbay says he has "no idea" as to whether or not the team will add him to the 25-man roster, according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber (Twitter link). Overbay has plenty on the line, as he'll earn $1.25MM (with $250K more available via incentives) if he makes the Opening Day roster.

AL Central Notes: Royals, Indians, Tigers

The Royals' unbeaten streak to open Cactus League play has people talking, although some (twitter link) would advise not reading too much into the early returns.  Here is a look at a few of the clubs competing in the American League's increasingly interesting Central division: 

  • The Royals clubhouse "has been transformed" by the offseason moves of GM Dayton Moore, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, especially the heavily-debated decision to trade for James Shields and Wade Davis.  "It seemed like we had been building prospects forever," said outfielder Alex Gordon.  "You can't make everyone happy, but I can tell you, in this clubhouse it made us happy."
  • Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Indians' acquisition of Mark Reynolds was overshadowed by later signings, but might just have been more important than it first seemed, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer opines.  While he carries high strikeout totals and defensive limitations, Reynolds adds pop from the right side of the plate to a team that had little of it last season.  Likewise, Pluto notes, pitchers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw were not the most publicized pieces acquired by the Indians in the Shin-Soo Choo trade, but will be especially important to the club now that closer Chris Perez figures to miss time with a shoulder injury.  
  • Indians manager Terry Francona sounds like he is committed to giving a 25-man roster spot to Jason Giambi to start the season, according to Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer.  Francona has spoken fondly of the aging slugger's presence, patience, bat speed, and veteran savvy.
  • The division-winning Tigers, meanwhile, remain somewhat unsettled at the back end of their bullpen after deciding early on not to bring back the still-unsigned Jose Valverde to reprise his role as closer.  With would-be replacement Bruce Rondon struggling early in the spring, Jason Beck of MLB.com wonders whether the young pitcher could lose his chance to finish games in Detroit this year.  Following yesterday's reports of manager Jim Leyland's possible lack of confidence in Rondon, the skipper said today that "it's too early to get excited about anything," explaining that, "right now, he's throwing pretty hard, and they're hitting it pretty hard."

AL Central Notes: White Sox, Moscoso, Giambi

Links from the AL Central…

  • Though the White Sox looked for ways of obtaining an impact left-handed bat, they didn't end up finding one, Scott Merkin of MLB.com writes. Manager Robin Ventura enters the season with a righty-heavy lineup, but it beats forcing the issue in the view of GM Rick Hahn "If it doesn't fit with the rest of what you are trying to do from a position player standpoint, we would be regretting come the middle of the season," the GM said. Hahn added that he'll be prepared to move aggressively in case a need for left-handed hitting emerges during the season.
  • Hector Santiago doesn't see himself as a lock to make the White Sox, even though Ventura has strongly suggested the left-hander will break camp with the team, Merkin reports. Santiago said he doesn't consider himself to be on the team. "I've only got a year in and nothing guaranteed to me," he said. The 25-year-old posted a 3.33 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 70 1/3 innings in 2012.
  • Royals right-hander Guillermo Moscoso said he won't miss pitching in the thin air of Coors Field, Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports. The Royals claimed Moscoso from Colorado in November after he posted a 6.12 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 50 innings last year.
  • Jason Giambi, who interviewed for the Rockies' managerial opening this past offseason, drew interest from other teams, including the Phillies, as a potential coach, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, Giambi said he's enjoying Spring Training with the Indians and hopes to continue playing for a while. "I'm going to keep playing until they tear the uniform off or my body tells me it's time to go," he said.