Jason Isringhausen Rumors

Angels Sign Jason Isringhausen

The Angels have signed Jason Isringhausen to a minor league contract, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter). Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times says (on Twitter) that Izzy can become a free agent if he doesn't make the team since he has no interest in playing in Triple-A. The right-hander is a Beverly Hills Sports Council client.

Isringhausen, 39, appeared in 53 games for the Mets last season, pitching to a 4.05 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings. He saved seven games, including the 300th of his career. The Halos have been looking to strengthen their bullpen, and Izzy gives them some veteran, right-handed depth.

NL East Notes: Cora, Rodriguez, Phillies, Mets

The latest links from the NL East…

  • Though Alex Cora announced his retirement from winter ball, he intends to play in the Major Leagues this year. He has drawn interest as a coach and infielder, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. According to the Puerto Rican paper El Nuevo Dia, Cora says he'd still like to play in the majors for another year, even though he hasn’t seen official offers yet (translation by Nick Collias).
  • Ivan Rodriguez, who caught for the Nationals last year but hasn’t signed with a new team yet, tells Amanda Comak of the Washington Times that it’s tough not having a job. “At the same time, what you going to do?” Rodriguez said. “You really cannot do anything. The only thing I can tell you is that I'm in good shape.”
  • The Phillies are bottom fishing for infielders, Heyman tweets. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies could look for someone with a little more power than Wilson Valdez — perhaps Ryan Theriot.
  • The Mets don’t expect to re-sign Jason Isringhausen, though they haven’t ruled anything out, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports.

Closer Rumors: Madson, K-Rod, League, Street, Soria

The Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins added closers in recent days, and it's not clear whether the remaining teams with ninth inning openings are willing to spend big.  The latest on several closers…

Mets Closing In On Reliever?

The latest on the Mets's search for bullpen help, with the newest updates on top…

New York Notes: Mets, Izzy, Williams, Murphy

Some New York links for you die-hards/insomniacs/early-risers on the East coast…

  • Newsday's Ken Davidoff feels that public relations needs to stop being such a factor in the Mets' thinking. His plan for 2012 consists of keeping Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey, and signing Frank Francisco to close. If and when they're out of it in July, Davidoff feels Pagan and Pelfrey, along with a solid bullpen arm like Francisco and a revitalized David Wright would fetch a plentiful bounty.
  • The Mets' lengthy shopping list consists of a closer, setup man, utility infielder, two backup outfielders, and a catcher, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (on Twitter). Heyman says the largest expenditure for the Amazins will be the closer.
  • On a related note, Heyman tweets that the Mets will speak with Jason Isringhausen, though their offer won't be overwhelming.
  • In his latest article, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that some within the Yankees organization feel that 20-year-old center fielder Mason Williams has emerged as their top prospect. While he's yet to even reach High-A ball, Mason possess five tools and the Yankees expect him to develop quickly.
  • Sherman also notes that of the three teams that inquired on Daniel Murphy earlier today, the Tigers are the most interested. They view Murphy as a potential third base replacement for Brandon Inge.

NL East Notes: Marlins, Mets, Francisco, Nats, Braves

Manager Ozzie Guillen says the Marlins are "dead serious" about making a splash in free agency this offseason, and he's not alone. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link), Marlins president David Samson said that, this winter, "the poachee is becoming the poacher." I think we've found our tagline for the hypothetical Miami Marlins movie. Here are a few more notes on the Marlins' division rivals:

  • The Mets and Frank Francisco's representatives met today, tweets Newsday's Ken Davidoff. GM Sandy Alderson also said that bringing back Jason Isringhausen is possible, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals don't expect to be in on Ryan Madson or any of the other big-name closers on the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. "We have a big closer already," said GM Mike Rizzo, referring to Drew Storen. "Anything can happen. But we like where our bullpen is at. Can we improve the bullpen? Certainly, we could improve the bullpen. But we're really satisfied that we have three guys who are very young, very controllable, very talented."
  • Rizzo also told Kilgore (Twitter link) that there's more trade interest in his players this year than at most previous GM meetings.
  • The Braves have added three minor league pitchers to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

Free Agent Closers’ Usage

The upcoming class of free agents figures to present an interesting study in the way teams are evaluating relievers these days. After Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, many of the most recognizable names are closers or relievers who have previously closed.

Modern analysis suggests it's foolish to invest heavily in relief pitchers due to their limited contributions and volatility in year-to-year production. But someone has to get those crucial late-inning outs, and the temptation for a team that thinks it's a contender to throw a lot of money at a guy who's coming off a year in which he posted a minuscule ERA or eye-popping strikeout rate is often too great.

Undoubtedly, suitors will use a variety of criteria to evaluate free-agent closers, one of which will be usage. Because usage can encompass so many things — innings, appearances, pitches, "high-stress" pitches, and so on — it's tough to say which is the most accurate reflection of a pitcher's workload; of course, this debate continues on for starters, too.

During the season, with the launch of CloserNews.com, we began keeping an eye on relievers who had pitched on three (and four) consecutive days, as that seems to be the breaking point for when most relievers must be rested. We've tallied that up here in a spreadsheet, along with a few other measures (standard and otherwise) of reliever usage, for the upcoming class of free-agent closers.

The objective here isn't to make any bold proclamations based on who threw the most innings; I may as well pen the inevitable mea culpa right now if it were. Rather, there are some interesting tidbits of note here, a few things to file away as these relievers ready themselves for free agency and teams prepare to bid.

  • Heath Bell and Francisco Cordero were the only two of this group to pitch on four consecutive days in 2011. Bell is the only one to do it twice.
  • Bell's abundance of pitches certainly seems to correspond with his dip in strikeout rate (7.32 K/9 in 2011 vs. 9.22 for career). Looks like he was having trouble putting away hitters, at least relative to his past performances.
  • Francisco Rodriguez paced the group by pitching on three consecutive days six times. 
  • Heavy usage is not unusual for K-Rod, though. He's pitched fewer than 65 innings only once in his nine full big league seasons, the red herring due to an off-field incident in 2010.
  • Info was culled from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.

Jason Isringhausen Plans To Pitch In 2012

Jason Isringhausen told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he intends to pitch next year. The 39-year-old right-hander, who picked up his 300th career save this summer, hits free agency after the season.

Isringhausen has turned in a solid year for the Mets after signing a minor league deal last offseason. He has a 4.05 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 39.1% ground ball rate in 46 2/3 innings. Isringhausen didn't pitch in MLB last year, but his average fastball still reaches 90.6 mph. However, as Rubin notes, Isringhausen has a herniated disc that is pinching a nerve and leading to discomfort in his right foot, so he won't pitch for several days. He won't be tied to draft pick compensation after the season, as our latest projections show.

Isringhausen said last month that he isn't going to return to MLB for $500K. Check out CloserNews.com for everything you need to know about fantasy closers.

Mets Won’t Trade Izzy, Byrdak, Hairston

Relievers Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak, and outfielder Scott Hairston will remain with the Mets for season's balance, a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The players were placed on waivers, claimed and pulled back by the Mets, meaning they are ineligible to be traded for the rest of the month, Rubin reports.

Last week, we heard that several Mets players cleared waivers, including Jason Bay, Chris Capuano, Angel Pagan, D.J. Carrasco and Willie Harris. Those players can be traded freely, as can the others on this list, which has a running tally of the guys who have cleared waivers this month.

New York Notes: Isringhausen, Wilpons, A-Rod

The Mets are hopeful that first rounder Brandon Nimmo will be able to make his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League this Sunday, tweets MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Nimmo signed for $2.1MM earlier this week after being the 13th overall pick in the draft. Let's round up the latest from the Big Apple…

  • Jason Isringhausen picked up his 300th career save earlier this week, and the Mets closer told Mike Puma of The New York Post that he hasn't ruled out pitching in 2012 yet (Twitter link), "I'm not coming back for $500K again, I know that," said Izzy. Make sure you check out CloserNews.com for everything you need to know about fantasy closers.
  • Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of the New York Times say that the latest decision in the Bernie Madoff case could be a significant financial blow to the Wilpons. The Mets owners might have to turnover $300MM to a trustee as a result.
  • Harvey Araton of the New York Times says that Alex Rodriguez's knee injury is a reminder that the 36-year-old is a DH-in-waiting with six more years left on his landmark contract.