Jason Isringhausen Rumors
Here are some Mets notes as they take on the Giants in MLB's final game before the All-Star break ...
- GM Sandy Alderson suggests that he'll have to revisit discussions with Francisco Rodriguez about the closer waiving his partial (10-team) no-trade clause now that he has reportedly changed representation from Paul Kinzer of Wasserman Media Group to Scott Boras, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Within that same piece, Alderson said there is a chance Rodriguez could be with the Mets in 2012, and that his $17.5MM option, should it vest, would not be "crippling" to the team. Alderson also mentioned that the trade market for big-name players such as K-Rod and Carlos Beltran is just beginning to warm up.
- Right-handed reliever Jason Isringhausen, whose name has cropped up in trade rumors recently, apparently pleaded with Alderson not to deal him, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Alderson said he appreciated Izzy's preference to remain in New York and will "weigh it accordingly."
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney notes that while the market for right-handed relief pitching is bountiful, the market for lefties is pretty thin. The Nationals will talk about Sean Burnett but the Cubs will not discuss Sean Marshall, though one southpaw to keep an eye on is Randy Choate. Olney says the Yankees have already asked the Marlins about his availability.
Here are the rest of Buster's rumors...
- The Padres are unlikely to trade Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks even though the latter would love to have him. Padres owner Jeff Moorad used to run the D'Backs.
- "The key guys this time of year really aren't the general managers," said one GM. "The owners are the key guys. Because they'll decide whether to add payroll, and when to raise the white flag on the season."
- Jason Isringhausen of the Mets is "destined to draw a whole lot interest" because he's cheap and experienced. A handful of GMs feel that a Francisco Rodriguez trade is "all but impossible" because of his vesting option.
- Teams have received their preliminary 2012 schedule, and the chances of realignment dwindle with each passing day.
- Labor negotiations are progressing as scheduled, though recent buzz that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement could be announced at the All-Star Game has been dismissed.
"They are really trying to move Isringhausen, and also Byrdak and K-Rod (before the trade deadline)," said one of the sources. "Those guys have pitched well, and they could help somebody."
Their actions, Martino writes, do not yet indicate that they're giving up on this season. The club could trade a reliever or two and still claim to be serious about this year. However, it does seem that they will look to sell and build towards the future.
Rodriguez's situation is complicated by his 2012 contract option, which vests if he finishes 55 games. At present, K-Rod is on pace to finish 61 games this year. The right-hander will earn $17.5MM in '12 if his option kicks in but can be bought out for just $3.5MM if he falls short of the mark.
Let's round up some links from the NL East...
- ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) one name that has been raised by talent evaluators as a trade option if the Mets become sellers is Jason Isringhausen. Izzy has a 3.09 ERA in 23 1/3 innings as Francisco Rodriguez's primary setup man, but the advanced metrics don't like him as much: his FIP sits at 4.75.
- An executive told SI.com's Jon Heyman that he believes Mets shortstop Jose Reyes will eclipse Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142MM contract as a free agent this winter because of his bat and "shutdown" defense (Twitter links). Another exec told Joel Sherman of The New York Post that "Prince Fielder is going to get at least 7 yrs with that body, so tell me how [Reyes] doesn't get at least 7 yrs."
- The Marlins made a series of roster moves today, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro hears that the team is not considering a managerial change (Twitter links). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, meanwhile, says that manager Edwin Rodriguez is on shaky ground and the team maintains interest in Ozzie Guillen and even Bobby Valentine.
- Peter Gammons hears that Marlins players believe team ownership will go over the the heads of the baseball operations department and fire Rodriguez as well as his coaches (Twitter link).
The latest procedural notes...
- D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that Tony Abreu cleared waivers and is going to Triple-A (Twitter link).
- The Royals told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that Gregor Blanco cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A (Twitter link).
- Outfielder Nick Evans cleared waivers yesterday, GM Sandy Alderson told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). The Mets outrighted Evans when he didn't make the Opening Day roster.
- Another Mets player, Luis Hernandez cleared waivers, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. He's unsure whether he'll accept a minor league assignment.
- Cubs catcher Max Ramirez cleared waivers and was outrighted to minor league camp, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- The Tigers outrighted infielder Audy Ciriaco to create a 40-man spot for reliever Enrique Gonzalez, tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- Retired reliever Billy Wagner was removed from the Braves' 40-man roster today, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wagner has no plans to come out of retirement, but if he did he'd have to play for the Braves in 2011. The AP has details.
- Orioles righty Rick Vandenhurk cleared waivers, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
- Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen, who didn't make the club out of Spring Training, agreed to spend two weeks in Port St. Lucie. According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, one condition of the extended Spring Training agreement is that "if another team approaches Isringhausen in the interim about a major league opportunity, the Mets must either call up Izzy or let him depart." The Mets chose Blaine Boyer over Isringhausen for the Opening Day roster, which so far has allowed them to retain both relievers.
- Outfielder Brandon Boggs, outrighted by the Brewers yesterday, accepted his Triple-A assignment according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
It has been a busy day in the NL East as the Phillies completed a signing, the Braves made a trade and the Mets placed three players on waivers. Here's the rest of what you need to know about the division...
- Alden Gonzalez previews the NL East for MLB.com and, with some help, predicts the Phillies will win the division, followed by the Braves, Marlins, Nationals and Mets.
- MLB.com's Mark Bauman argues that the margin for error has shrunk for the Phillies' highly-regarded rotation, because Brad Lidge and Chase Utley have been sidelined with injuries.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that he isn't actively looking to make any deals between now and Opening Day, though he'll watch out for possible bargains. "You always look to see if there is an upgrade or a different fit for your club," Beinfest said. "We're not going to do something [just] to do something. It's going to have to be an upgrade over what we think we have here."
- If the Marlins acquire a third baseman, it would essentially be a "place-keeper" for prospect Matt Dominguez, Beinfest said.
- Like Bartolo Colon of the Yankees, Jason Isringhausen of the Mets surprised people this spring and pitched well enough to earn a roster spot despite a history of injuries. Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains the parallels between the two pitchers and the uncertainty surrounding them.
A few notes on veterans with opt-out clauses from around the league...
- Non-roster invitee Miguel Batista has earned a spot on the Cardinals roster, writes B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com. The 40-year-old Batista could have opted out of his contract on Monday had the Cards not informed him that he would make the club.
- The Mets have not asked Jason Isringhausen if he would accept a minor league assignment, because he has already said in the past that he won't, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- Dave Bush will use his opt-out tomorrow if he doesn't make the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPN.com. Bush says that he's not sure which way the club is leaning but wants to stay in Texas.
- Russell Branyan could have opted out of his contract with the Diamondbacks yesterday, but he was instead informed that he has made the club according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Brandon Allen is likely to go to Triple-A while the out-of-options Juan Miranda stays with the team.
- George A. King III of The New York Post reports that Eric Chavez can ask the Yankees for his release today if he doesn't make the team. "They haven't let me know anything," said Chavez, but his strong showing in camp (.421/.450/.605 in 40 PA) likely won him a bench job.
- Isringhausen told Mike Puma of The New York Post that he will not accept a minor league assignment if he does not make the Mets out of Spring Training. There's a possibility Izzy would go to Extended Spring Training if his swollen elbow isn't fully healed though.
On this date in 2002, the Mets traded for Jason Bay and Jimmy Serrano, sending Lou Collier to the Expos. Here's the latest on New York's National Leaguers, one year into Bay's second tenure with the organization...
- Though it appears that the Mets are strongly considering Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus for their second base job, the position is up for grabs as the Mets evaluate Emaus and others, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle remembers that Mets GM Sandy Alderson was an outside-the-box thinker back in 1982, when he was an Oakland A's executive.
- Alderson tells Steve Popper of the Bergen Record that he'd like to have veteran reliever Jason Isringhausen on the team. The right-hander heard a pop in his elbow last week and says if he can't pitch he'll play softball, like he did last summer.
Isringhausen, 38, last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Rays before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati last summer and threw just 5 2/3 innings for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate. Isringhausen threw a bullpen session for the Reds last month and another for the Mets today, so obviously the Mets brass liked what they saw from the 14-year veteran.
Isringhausen was originally drafted by the Mets in the 44th round of the 1991 draft, and he pitched for the club from 1995-99 before being traded to Oakland in July 1999. It was after leaving the Mets that "Izzy" blossomed into a top closer, accumulating 272 saves and a 2.81 ERA between 2000 and 2008 with the A's and Cardinals.
NL East teams have nearly finished their offseason shopping, but could make a move or two while Spring Training is underway. Here are the details...
- Chipper Jones was thinking about retirement last year, but tells Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) that he wants to play until the end of his current contract, which is guaranteed through the 2012 season. The Braves hold a $7MM option on Jones for 2013 which can also vest if Jones plays a certain number of games over the next two seasons.
- Ryan Zimmerman pushed the Nationals to re-sign his friend Adam Dunn, but Zimmerman said his disappointment over Dunn's depature shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of the the club, writes CSNWashington's Mark Zuckerman. "I was just expressing more frustrations of losing a teammate and a friend than anything," Zimmerman said. "I think a lot of people took it as I was taking a stab at [the Nats] or talking bad about them, which was completely the opposite."
- Michael Weiner said the MLBPA was happy with Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies, rather than sign for larger contracts in Texas or New York, tweets Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. "Not only were we not upset Cliff got to go to the Phillies, we applauded him," Weiner said.
- Donald Trump told Alison Leigh Cowan and Ken Belson of the New York Times that he's interested in buying a majority stake in the Mets. Trump says he called Fred Wilpon about two weeks ago to set up a meeting.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says it's "unlikely" that the Mets discuss an extension with Jose Reyes before Opening Day, according to ESPNNewYork's Adam Rubin. Reyes is set to hit free agency after the season and has said he's open to a long-term deal. The $1 billion lawsuit against the Mets owners won't prevent the Mets from signing Reyes to a multiyear deal, Alderson said.
- Jason Isringhausen auditioned for the Mets today, according to Newsday's David Lennon (on Twitter). Alderson and two of his assistants, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, are familiar with the longtime closer from his time in Oakland. Isringhausen first appeared in the majors as a starter for the Mets in 1995.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney says the Phillies' starters would rather pitch than talk about their place in baseball history.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post