Jason Jennings Rumors

Odds & Ends: Hernandez, Zito, Mateo

Some news items from around the majors on this Monday night…

Odds & Ends: Calero, Beckett, Robles, Bay

Links to kick off the new month…

Athletics Sign Brett Tomko, Jason Jennings

The Oakland Athletics have signed right-handers Brett Tomko and Jason Jennings to minor league contracts, according to Joe Stiglich of the Oakland Tribune (via Twitter).

Jane Lee of MLB.com tweets that Jennings will report to the team's spring training camp, while Tomko will continue rehabbing an arm injury at Minor League camp. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser adds, via Twitter, that the Twins made Tomko a similar offer, but that he felt more comfortable in Oakland. Slusser also tweets that Jennings was close to a deal with the Giants at one point, while Stiglich adds the Cardinals and Mets to the list of teams spoken to by Jennings in a separate tweet.

Tomko was extremely effective in six starts for the A's in 2009, winning four games with a 2.95 ERA. Jennings, meanwhile, acted as a setup man for the Rangers, posting a 4.13 ERA in 44 relief appearances.

Rangers DFA Jason Jennings

The Rangers designated pitcher Jason Jennings for assignment to make room for Pedro Strop, according to Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News. Jennings has allowed 67 hits and 28 walks in 61 innings out of the Rangers' 'pen this year, striking out 44. He's struggled since the All-Star break, however. Opponents have combined for a 1.122 OPS against Jennings in the second half.

Jennings, who turned 31 last month, makes $800k this year.

Odds & Ends: Moore, Schmidt, Atkins

On this date back in 2003, Johnny Damon hit a single, a double, and a triple in a 14-run first inning against the Marlins. The Red Sox set a league record by scoring ten runs before making an out.

On to the linkage…

  • Matthew Pouliot of Circling The Bases says that Dayton Moore's moves over the last season and a half are enough to warrant his dismissal. He notes they have a more than qualified replacement already in-house in senior advisor Mike Arbuckle.
  • Ben Bolch of The LA Times notes that Jason Schmidt threw 104 pitches over 7.2 shutout in a rehab start yesterday. We know the Dodgers are looking for pitching, but a healthy and reasonably effective Schmidt could lessen that urgency.
  • Tracy Ringolsby writes that Garrett Atkins' recent hot streak creates "more of a possibility of another team having interest in acquiring him." Atkins is hitting .340-.415-.553 in June.
  • The Rangers have been getting good production from unexpected sources like Jason Jennings, says Ken Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says he's happy to be in Colorado, according to Susan Slusser of The SF Chronicle.
  • Joe Cowley tweets this Ozzie Guillen quote: "The people that run baseball teams now are soft." I wonder what Kenny Williams thinks about that.
  • Marc Carig writes that the Rockies had begun combing through the Yankees' farm system in advance of a potential Huston Street trade back in May.

Agent Tight-Lipped About Ben Sheets’ Status

Andrew Marchand of 1050 ESPN Radio spoke to Ben Sheets' agent, Casey Close, who gave away very little about his client's status. Close said he would make no comments about where Sheets might end up and "wouldn't even say how Sheets is doing," according to Marchand. Sheets had surgery in February to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

In the same article, Marchand writes that Sheets might be "a low-risk, high-reward option for the Mets."

Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News discussed Sheets in a Q&A on Friday. In response to a question about whether the Rangers would sign the injured star, Wilson urged readers that they should not "count on Sheets for a stretch run."

Wilson points out that Rangers pitcher Jason Jennings had the same surgery twice, and "should serve as poster child for not rushing back from the injury."

Sheets was last seen visiting the Rangers' pitching coach Mike Maddux two weeks ago. As we await word on his status, which teams do you think should make a play for him? Do the Mets make sense?

Jennings Competing For Rotation Spot

Jason Jennings is trying to make a comeback after two consecutive injury riddled seasons reports Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram. Good news for the Rangers who are trying to maintain as much starting pitching depth as they can. Wilson writes,

"The former Mesquite Poteet and Baylor star remains willing to open the season in the minor leagues to build up arm strength if he’s unable to do so over the final three weeks of spring training.

But the minor league contract Jennings signed last month has two opt-out dates – April 1 and April 25. Plenty of scouts have seen him pitch, and more will watch him as those dates draw near."

Jennings’ flexor tendon has torn each of the last two seasons. This spring, there’s added velocity to his fastball, now recorded in the upper 80s. Rangers Manager Ron Washington is optimistic and expects it to reach 90mph by the time the club breaks camp.

As recently as 2006, Jennings recorded a 3.78 ERA and held opponents to a .258 average over 212 IP while playing half of his games for the Rockies in Coors Field.

Padres Looking For Pitching

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes about the Padres’ intention to add pitching to the organization.  He learned that the Nationals inquired about Padres first base prospect Kyle Blanks, but were not willing to trade their own top prospect Jordan Zimmermann.  Would’ve been interesting to see.

Krasovic says the Padres are focused on out of options pitchers, and in particular inquired on Arizona’s Juan Gutierrez.  Krasovic tosses out names of other out of options hurlers on the D’Backs and Angels: Jason Bulger, Shane Loux, Dustin Moseley, Yusmeiro Petit, and Travis Blackley.  Two more possibilities: Giants Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo and Rangers veteran Jason Jennings.  I don’t know whether the Padres are interested, but a few more out of options pitchers include David Pauley, Hayden Penn, Dustin Nippert, Jeff Niemann, and Jason Hammel.

According to Krasovic, GM Kevin Towers is focused exclusively on pitching this month.  Krasovic adds:

Some Padres evaluators have become dismayed, according to other clubs, by a perceived dearth of power arms high in the organization and are wondering if the club’s four-year emphasis on “pitchability” got overdone.

Rangers Sign Jason Jennings

10:54pm: Renck says Jennings can make $1.45MM in incentives for innings pitched, on top of his $800K base salary.

9:07am: According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rangers signed pitcher Jason Jennings to a minor league deal. 

Jennings was a bust after the Astros acquired him for the ’07 season; he had surgery for a torn flexor tendon in his elbow in August of that year.  Sound familiar?  It’s the same injury Ben Sheets has.  Jennings was still able to get $4MM guaranteed from the Rangers before the ’08 season, reminding us how drastically the market has changed in one year.  Jennings had another flexor tendon surgery in May of ’08 (the first surgery "didn’t take.")  MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan notes that the Rangers had interest in Odalis Perez before he re-signed with the Nationals.  In a blog post, Sullivan looks at some other flexor tendon cases, with Andy Pettitte being the best one.

Rangers Sign Eddie Guardado

4:13pm: The Rangers’ minor league deal with Guardado is official, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

TUESDAY, 7:48am: Wilson says Guardado "has agreed to return to the Rangers on a non-roster deal."  Final details remain, and the deal could be worth up to $3MM.

MONDAY, 5:21pm: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spoke with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who confirmed that a deal could be finalized for Guardado "within the next few days."

2:05pm: According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are close to a deal to bring lefty reliever Eddie Guardado back to Texas.  It may be completed in the next few days.  Adding Guardado could help soften the blow of losing Joaquin Benoit to rotator cuff surgery.

Sullivan adds that the Rangers continue to look for pitching help beyond Guardado, with names like Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Chad Cordero in the mix.