Jason Kendall Rumors

Four Brewers Clear Waivers

Jason Kendall, Craig Counsell, Mike Cameron and Braden Looper all cleared waivers yesterday, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Now, the Brewers can trade those players to any team. Interested clubs will want to complete deals by Monday because players acquired after August 31st aren't eligible to play in the postseason.

Kendall, Cameron and Counsell all hit free agency after the season, while Looper has a $6MM mutual option for next year. According to the latest rankings, Kendall, Cameron and Looper project as Type B free agents and Counsell will likely be unranked. The Brewers could receive draft picks in compensation for departing free agents, but they'd have to be willing to offer arbitration to receive the picks.

The Brewers placed Trevor Hoffman on waivers and he was claimed, but they don't appear likely to trade him.

Rosenthal On Wagner, Rays, Hawkins

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from one GM who believes Billy Wagner's best financial move may be to accept arbitration after the season. The Red Sox have the right to offer Wagner arbitration, but they'd have to offer over $8MM, so they could choose not to. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:

  • Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel have performed well for their respective clubs, so the Rays' decision to trade Hammel worked out for everyone.
  • A number of teams are sure to claim LaTroy Hawkins by noon CST today, when his waivers expire, but it's likely the Astros will pull him back. Rosenthal hears that Hawkins is open to returning to the Astros after the season.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels estimates that three quarters of MLB players hit waivers in August, so don't fret about this news if you're a Brewers fan, but Trevor Hoffman, Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper and Felipe Lopez have all been placed on waivers, according to Rosenthal's source. The Brewers say they don't intend on becoming sellers.

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Wagner, Holliday, Brewers

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up. Let's dive in…

  • Don't expect the Mets to just give away Billy Wagner as a salary dump. He'll have "actual trade value" this winter, and his $8MM club option would not be outrageous money on a one year deal if he's healthy.
  • Even if his team declines the option, they could offer him arbitration and receive two high draft picks if he signs elsewhere since he projects to be a Type-A free agent. Wagner would be much more than a six-week rent in that case.
  • Matt Holliday's performance with the Cardinals has undoubtedly boosted his stock as an impending free agent. One GM still thinks Jason Bay is a comparable player on the open market, but Holliday is better defensively, younger, and better at hitting breaking balls than Bay.
  • The real question is how each player will age, which is impossible to say at this point.
  • The Brewers have yet to place veterans like Mike Cameron and Trevor Hoffman on trade waivers, but with the team now out of contention, Rosenthal asks "why not?"
  • GM Doug Melvin is disinclined to make such deals because he knows the return may not be significant, but Hoffman in particular would be attractive. The Rockies have already discussed him internally.
  • Craig Counsell, Braden Looper, and Jason Kendall could have value as well.
  • Earlier this season there was talk that Mark Mulder and Ben Sheets could help teams in the second half, but that hasn't happened. Sheets has decided that the risk of a setback isn't worth the reward of an accelerated return, but he should be healthy for next season.
  • Mulder has only thrown 12.2 IP over the last two seasons, but he's been working with his former pitching coach Rick Peterson and supposedly wants to pitch this season.


Brewers Not Prepared To Sell

Tom Haudricourt at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel got word from Brewers GM Doug Melvin that the team is not prepared to go into "selling mode" as the August 31 waiver deadline approaches. The Brewers have fallen to 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central. Says Melvin:

"Teams aren’t interested in giving up good players at this point on waiver claims…I don’t see getting anything back in return that would make it worth doing."

Haudricourt mentions Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall and Trevor Hoffman as pieces that could potentially attract teams. Cameron is the most expensive of the three, with a base salary of $10MM this season and a number of incentives that are likely to vest before he's a free agent after this year. He seems like a piece that could have some value to other teams as the deadline approaches and represents a solid chunk of salary that could ease up Melvin's payroll.

Odds and Ends: Kendall, Laird, Giles, Manny

Today’s linkage…

  • A friend pointed out to me how strange it is that the Twins were willing to take on Jarrod Washburn‘s salary and give up Boof Bonser but chose to trade Johan Santana before the season.  If Bill Smith could go back in time, would he still make that deal?
  • A Gary Sheffield acquisition by the Rays is "unlikely but not impossible," according to one Buster Olney source.
  • As expected, Jason Kendall‘s option for ’09 vested.  He’s off the list!
  • The Rangers were willing to trade Gerald Laird and a solid prospect to the Marlins for Chris Volstad.
  • The Padres are wavering on Brian Giles‘ 2009 option.  Scott Miller also wonders if they’ll be able to take on Trevor Hoffman for another year.
  • Miller says the Marlins had a deal for Manny Ramirez worked out, but the commissioner’s office killed it because the Marlins would’ve been getting draft picks rather than a second player.  Manny would’ve vetoed it anyway.
  • Rob Neyer thinks the Yankees will exceed a $200MM payroll if need be next year.
  • There seems a good chance Randy Johnson pitches next year.
  • Randy Winn and Bengie Molina may be traded this winter.
  • Missed this one from Monday – the White Sox acquired reliever Franklyn German from the Pirates for a player to be named later.

Brewers Sign Jason Kendall

UPDATE: It’s a one-year contract with a vesting option for ’09 if he plays 115 games.

The Brewers have signed Jason Kendall, pending a physical.  The amount and length is unknown.  Let’s hope it’s around one year, $3MM.  Tom Haudricourt had said the Crew had offered both one and two-year options.

Kendall, 33, hit .242/.301/.309 last year in 466 ABs.  On the plus side he was a much better hitter for the Cubs, posting a .362 OBP in that stint.  He threw out 15.3% of runners, better than only Johnny Estrada among regular backstops in ’07.  He’s going to really have to work some magic with the pitchers if this signing is to pan out.

With Kendall off the market, the only viable free agent catchers are Michael Barrett, Paul Lo Duca, and Yorvit Torrealba.  Seems like the Marlins and Rockies will take two of them.

Astros Close To Kaz Matsui Deal?

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal notes that the Astros are close to a deal with Geoff Blum, and believes the Astros are behind both the Rockies and Cubs for Matsui.

Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Kaz Matsui "appears headed to the Astros."  Maybe Ed Wade will save the Cubs from themselves.  The Cubs were reportedly going to offer Matsui a three-year pact.

Ringolsby adds an interesting twist: the Astros and Rockies could swap second basemen.  The Rockies like Chris Burke, and he will probably be deemed expendable if Matsui is signed.  Seems to me there’s a decent chance Burke matches Matsui in production next year at a much cheaper price.

Ringoslby also notes that Jason Kendall is "finalizing a deal with Milwaukee."  Tom Haudricourt confirms the deep stages of the talks.  To me this seems to be another case of change for the sake of change.  Maybe the Brewers weren’t pleased with Johnny Estrada, but Kendall has his own glaring deficiences as a starter.

Odds and Ends: Kendall, Crisp, Gagne

I’m back in the swing of things, kind of.  We’re still living out of boxes, but I’ve got a laptop and I’m digging into all the rumors I missed.  Joe did a great job the last couple of days.  Be sure to visit his Yankees blog, River Ave. Blues.  On to today’s random rumors…

  • I’m hearing that Jason Kendall could be a fallback for the Mets if they can’t pry Ramon Hernandez loose from the Orioles.
  • The Blue Jays have about $4MM to spend, and J.P. Ricciardi likes the idea of Michael Barrett splitting time behind the plate with Gregg Zaun.  It seems unlikely, though, because the Padres would have to not offer arbitration to Barrett.  And Barrett would have to take a one-year, $4MM deal.
  • Jamey Newberg discusses the idea of a Coco Crisp for Gerald Laird swap.  He notes that the market for Laird should be picking up, but the Red Sox might prefer to wait to trade Crisp.
  • Haven’t heard this one much yet…how about Eric Gagne for the Houston closer vacancy?  Would Scott Boras present a problem?
  • David Wells could be an option for the Mets, if he doesn’t retire or end up on the West Coast.
  • One free agent from Japan who hasn’t gotten much press is Marc Kroon.  He didn’t catch on in MLB but has been doing well for Yokohama the past few years.  Kroon holds the record for the fastest pitch ever thrown in a Japanese game (161 km/h, which is about 100 mph).  You can see that in this video (the second pitch he throws, the crowd loves it).  Kroon is considering trying the Majors again; he says so on his website (note that his site plays music when you visit). 

MetsBlog: Lo Duca The Best Choice

Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog takes on the question facing the Mets since mid-day yesterday: Who starts at catcher next year?

Ramon Hernandez
, who was offered a contract by the Mets two years ago when he was a free agent, is said to be Omar Minaya’s top choice. However, this presents a problem. Hernandez won’t come cheap, and the Mets would need to retain their best trading chips if they want to acquire a front-line starter. This would seemingly rule Hernandez out, since "word from Baltimore had been that Hernandez would cost a high-end prospect."

A cheaper trade option would be Miguel Olivo, though it’s likely he will be non-tendered by the Marlins, who probably don’t want to give him a raise over his $2 million 2007 salary. Gerald Laird is another option, as the Rangers have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez in tow. The Mets might be able to acquire him without giving up a piece of the puzzle to acquire an ace.

Olivo and Laird would be more likely to platoon in some capacity with Ramon Castro, while Hernandez would be more likely take on a starting role.

Cerrone says the Mets prefer to sign a catcher. He mentions Michael Barrett, but notes his Type A status, which may be a deterrent for many teams. Maybe he’d make sense for a bottom-15 team, since Barrett would then cost a second rounder. Jason Kendall is also mentioned, though his horrid 2007 is giving pause to potential suitors.

So, in the end, Paul Lo Duca appears the best choice. He costs neither draft picks nor prospects. True, he might not be able to hold up over an entire season, but that’s why the Mets signed a capable backup in Castro.

Joe Pawlikowski is co-author of River Ave. Blues.

Odds and Ends: Kendall, Matsui, Fukumori

Here are some non A-Rod/Lowell rumors from today…

  • MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy says the Brewers are interested in Jason Kendall.  Kendall is somehow seeking a two-year deal.  The Rockies are in on him as well.  The Brewers still have Johnny Estrada, but they’re not happy with him.  He could be traded or non-tendered.
  • WGN Radio’s Dave Kaplan reported that the Cubs could complete a contract with second baseman Kaz Matsui this week.  It’d be a multiyear deal; not sure if the Cubs would have to go three years on it.  This would be an indefensible signing.  UPDATE: A source of Troy E. Renck’s believes the Cubs may have offered something close to three years, $14.4MM.
  • East Windup Chronicle profiles free agent reliever Kazuo Fukumori.  The Rockies, Royals, Rays, and Red Sox are said to be interested in him.