Jason Giambi Rumors
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."
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.
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."
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.
9:55pm: Giambi will receive a $750K salary plus incentives if he makes the Indians roster, says Hoynes (on Twitter).
9:37pm: The Indians have signed Giambi to a minor league contract, according to a team announcement. He will report to MLB Spring Training on Wednesday in Goodyear, Arizona, reports Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer (via Twitter).
8:44pm: The Indians are close to finalizing a minor league deal with former Rockies slugger Jason Giambi, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The contract will include an invitation to MLB Spring Training.
Giambi, 42, will look to compete for a spot on the bench as a left-handed designated hitter and offer depth at first base. The 2000 AL MVP posted a .225/.372/.303 batting line in 89 at-bats with the Rockies in 2012 as he served as a pinch hitter.
Four years ago today, the Rockies avoided arbitration with third baseman Garrett Atkins by agreeing to a one-year, $7.05MM contract making him the second-highest paid player on the team behind only Todd Helton. The Rockies, however, didn't get their money's worth. After averaging a slash line of .301/.363/.480 the previous four seasons, Atkins' 2009 numbers dropped to .226/.308/.342 and was non-tendered that winter. He played just 44 games with the Orioles in 2010 before being released midseason and hasn't seen any MLB action since. Let's take a look at the news and notes coming out of the Mile High City today:
- Coming off an injury-plagued 2012, Troy Tulowitzki was the subject of several trade rumors this offseason. "It was a weird thing -- the first time I had ever had any trade rumors," Tulowitzki told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "Any normal person is going to start to think, 'What if this? What if that?' But I can't control those things. Whatever happens, happens, but I definitely want to stay."
- Jason Giambi has received calls from a few teams and is working out five days a week, as he is determined to continue his playing career, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Better health of the pitching staff and improved defense are two reasons why fans should have hope for the Rockies, Renck writes within the same article. Renck cites Jhoulys Chacin as a prime candidate for a bounceback year because of his strong finish last season, his new two-year, $6.5MM contract, and a repaired relationship with the front office.
- Renck feels right-hander Chris Volstad will receive a long look in Spring Training, especially with his former Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley now working for the Rockies as their new pitching coordinator (via Sulia).
Buster Posey is eligible for arbitration for the first time off the heels of his MVP campaign. The Giants would obviously like to lock the catcher up for the foreseeable future, but the club has yet to begin contract discussions with agent Jeff Berry, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). For more on Posey's unique case, check out Matt Swartz's arbitration breakdown. Here's more from around baseball..
- Michael Gonzalez's one-year, $2.25MM contract with the Brewers could pay him up to an additional $400K in performance bonuses, according to the Associated Press. Gonzalez will earn $50K for 25 games finished, $75K each for 30 and 35, and $100K apiece for 40 and 50. The reliever told reporters today that he prefers to be called Michael rather than Mike, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Jason Giambi is working out and told Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) that he hopes to play this season. The 42-year-old will likely have to go to camp with a club on a minor league deal. Giambi was said to be drawing interest from three or four teams in early December.
- Ugueth Urbina threw live batting practice in Venezuela yesterday and former Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was on hand to scout for several teams, writes Luis Carlos Gonzalez of El Nacional. "I told people from the Marlins, where I left behind some friends, and other teams, that Urbina was going to take the mound, and they told me to go see him," Guillen said (translation courtesy of Nick Collias). Guillen added that Urbina looked good, though he needs to "keep working".
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked at five GMs that could be on the hotseat in 2013, including Neal Huntington of the Pirates and Royals GM Dayton Moore.
- If the Pirates do not finalize their deal with Francisco Liriano, reliever-turned-starter Chris Leroux is another option for the rotation, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Liriano suffered an arm injury in December, leading the Bucs give second thought to the two-year, $12.75MM agreement.
Here's the latest from the American League's newest team, the Houston Astros...
- Lance Berkman remains atop the team's DH wishlist according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). There are still issues to be resolved before a reunion takes place.
- Crasnick notes that if the Astros can't bring Berkman back, they're likely to seek a late-20s player who's been blocked and needs an opportunity to serve as DH (Twitter links). They don't have interest in players like Luke Scott, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, and Travis Hafner.
- A few teams are considering right-hander Bud Norris as a back-end rotation option, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 27-year-old pitched to a 4.65 ERA in 168 1/3 innings last season and projects to earn $2.9MM through arbitration next winter.
Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:
- Roy Oswalt is unsure about whether he'll pitch in 2013, one of his agents tells Morosi.
- The Mariners checked in on Delmon Young, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi reported previously that Young might wait until January to sign given his November ankle surgery.
- Grady Sizemore had been drawing interest from a few clubs, including the Red Sox, but he won't be a real option until midseason, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Agent Joe Urbon confirmed to Castrovince that his client underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.
- Besides being interested in Scott Hairston, the Yankees are also eyeing Cody Ross, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Mariners have checked in on Ryan Ludwick, among other hitters, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Cesar Izturis' reps are expected to meet with the Mets this week and there could be a match there, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Orioles' interest in righty Brett Myers appears minimal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and they have no meetings set up with his reps.
- The Twins are one team with early interest in southpaw John Lannan, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Pirates also have an eye on Lannan, reported Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier today.
- The Cubs are talking to many agents about bullpen help and they like Jason Grilli, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Solid interest in Jason Bay (from teams other than Boston) may lead to a Major League deal, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
- The Marlins are interested in utility man Mark DeRosa, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old had indicated at season's end that he was unsure what his future held.
- The Royals are "sending out signals" that they have the money and the motivation to pursue a pitcher who could be considered a No. 1, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. A run at Anibal Sanchez isn't out of the question for Kansas City, according to Knobler.
- Tigers people continue to say the team isn't even considering Rafael Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, Sherman notes that owner Mike Ilitch's great relationship with Scott Boras still makes Detroit a wild card in the Soriano sweepstakes.
- Rival executives view the Nationals as a good fit for Mike Pelfrey, especially considering GM Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras have a history of working out deals, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks).
- Teams are showing "no hesitation whatsoever" in pursuing Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery to repair a right fibula fracture, agent Keith Grunewald tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitterlinks).
- Jason Giambi would like to continue his playing career, and is drawing interest from three or four teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Buster Posey was named the NL MVP today, becoming the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 2004 to capture the leagues highest honor. It was a solid year overall for the NL West when it came to postseason awards, as Clayton Kershaw and Wade Miley each had runner-up finishes in the NL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year races, respectively.
Here's the latest from around the division...
- Scott Boras introduced client Hyun-Jin Ryu to the media (including Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times) today and compared Ryu to Mark Buehrle in terms of body size and ability. The Dodgers won the rights to the Korean southpaw with a $25.737MM posting bid and have until December 10 to work out a contract, or else Ryu will return to the Korean Baseball Organization. As Hernandez notes, Boras and Ryu were both vague about the likelihood of Ryu signing with L.A., though the Buehrle comparison could be a hint about Boras' contract expectations.
- Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (Twitter link) has the salary breakdown of Jeremy Affeldt's new three-year contract with the Giants. Affeldt receives a $3MM signing bonus and will earn $5MM per season in 2013-15.
- Jason Giambi withdrew his name from consideration to be the Rockies' next hitting coach, and Giambi told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that "it could be a PR nightmare" if the team struggles under new manager Walt Weiss and Giambi (a finalist for the manager's job) is already on the staff. Giambi had said he wanted to keep playing if the Rockies didn't hire him to manage but now admits to Renck that "I have no idea what I am going to do next."
- The Rockies have finalized their 2013 coaching staff, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Jim Wright, the club's pitching coach in 2002, returns to the job after most recently serving as Colorado's bullpen coach.