Jason Michaels Rumors
Links for Saturday...
- Jason Michaels is confused by the lack of interest from the Pirates, who have said they want him back.
- Khalil Greene says he's frustrated to have let the Padres down and Tim Sullivan writes that it wasn't for lack of intensity. The Padres still won't be dropping their grievance against Greene.
- Buster Olney expects Mark Prior to sign a minor-league deal with the Padres.
- Jason Beck writes that the Tigers could afford to trade either Jeff Larish or Matt Joyce in a deal for Jack Wilson. Detroit has other weaknesses to address though, so Beck thinks they could hold onto their trade chips and sign a player like Adam Everett.
- Arbitration could work for both Jason Varitek and the Red Sox, suggests Sean McAdam.
- Tony Massarotti has five reasons to keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen.
- The Angels signed South Korean righty Pil Joon Jang to a minor league contract.
- Jay Jaffe plays Yankees GM at Baseball Prospectus.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks the best Rule 5 Draft selections since 1990.
- Tom Verducci looks back at the career Greg Maddux had.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is back on the scene to get us up to speed with the latest Pirates rumors. Let's start with the team's five veteran trade candidates:
- Jack Wilson: The Tigers and Dodgers are said to be the main suitors. The problem is that neither team wants to send the Pirates top prospects while paying all of the $7.85MM Wilson has coming. Additionally, the Pirates do not view Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-Lung Hu as a possible trade centerpiece. The Bucs have spoken to at least two other clubs about Wilson, but Kovacevic rejects the previously reported three-team scenario. It seems that some of the top free agent shortstops will need to sign to create a better market for Wilson.
- Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche: The Pirates have received "mere inquiries" on these two.
- John Grabow, Ronny Paulino: Grabow is a free agent after '09, so his trade value may never be higher. The Pirates are apparently pushing Paulino, but don't want to sell low on him.
- Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps: These four are described as "as close to untouchable as it gets" for the Pirates.
- On the free agent front, the Pirates have made contact with Paul Byrd. However, GM Neal Huntington implied he's not finding the starting pitching bargains he expected. The Pirates haven't made offers to Doug Mientkiewicz or Jason Michaels; those players are considering proposals from other teams.
- Kovacevic adds: "The Pirates also had discussed acquiring a right-handed power bat for the outfield through free agency, but there has been no known movement on that front." Just looking at who's out there, I imagine this could be referring to Pat Burrell. Still, that's entirely speculative and he's probably out of their price range.
Alright, time to lump today's remaining options together in one post.
- The Pirates declined Jason Michaels' $2.6MM option. He could re-sign for less.
- The Phillies declined their options on So Taguchi ($1.25MM with a $150K buyout) and Tom Gordon ($4.5MM with a $1MM buyout). The moves may have been Pat Gillick's last as GM.
- The Brewers declined Craig Counsell's $3.4MM option, paying a $400K buyout.
- The Athletics declined Alan Embree's $3MM option. As a Type B free agent, the A's could offer him arbitration. Susan Slusser spoke to Embree, who didn't mind having the option declined.
Langosch says Michaels' $2.6MM option will be declined, but he could re-sign for less to stay on as the team's fourth outfielder. Michaels, 32, hit .224/.292/.360 in 321 plate appearances this year. There are better ways to spend a million bucks.
Mientkiewicz, 34, hit .277/.374/.379 in 334 plate appearances. He's a fine defensive first baseman and even pitched in at third. He also provided spark to the Pirates' clubhouse. Bringing him back makes sense at the right price.
Some links for Saturday lunch, I'll add some more as the day progresses:
- The Mariners may sign the first woman general manager, Dodger's assistant GM Kim Ng.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team will approach Doug Mientkiewicz and Jason Michaels about resigning with the club, but has yet to do so.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star ruffled some feathers by quoting a scout on the possibility of the Royals trading Joakim Soria and Zach Greinke. The discussion devolved into a debate on whether to move Soria to the rotation.
- A Tanner Scheppers sighting: The Pirates draft pick has signed with the St. Paul Saints of the Independent Northern League.
- Tigers' owner Mike Ilitch hasn't set (yet) a payroll limit for 2009. Along with the Mets, the Tigers had the second largest payroll behind the Yankees.
- Grant at the McCovey Chronicles opens up a can of worms: On trading Matt Cain.
Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05 (at) umpbump [dot] com.
After being designated for assignment back on May 5, Jason Michaels has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for, what else, a player to be named later. As Tim noted on Monday, Michaels has been pretty terrible so far this year. Not that he was so hot during his tenure in Cleveland. He wasn't able to get his OBP above .330 or his SLG above .400. Not so hot for a corner outfielder.
The Pirates options OF Nyjer Morgan to Triple A to make room for Michaels. The Bucs now have two open spots on the 40-man roster. Feel free to speculate.
In other recently-designated news, it is believed that the Brewers have placed reliever Derrick Turnbow on waivers. The former closer was DFA a week ago, so something needs to be done soon. Tom Haudricourt believes he could clear waivers by Friday.
If he clears, he could accept an assignment to Triple A with the Brewers. Otherwise he'd become a free agent and forfeit the remainder of this $3.2MM salary.
Posted by Joe Pawlikowski.
Roundup of links!
- According to Jamey Newberg, Jason Botts has cleared waivers. He probably won't get another chance with the Rangers though.
- Gordon Edes notes that the Red Sox have five picks in the first three rounds of the June draft. Even though they don't start until the 30th pick, the Sox have had much success in recent years.
- No extension talks have begun with Nate McLouth, but Dejan Kovacevic does expect it to happen.
- I updated the fantasy baseball closers depth chart over at RotoAuthority.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says Freddy Garcia is "progressing nicely" in rehab and will throw off a mound about a week from now.
- Marc Topkin wonders if the Rays should consider Jason Michaels (among others) if they aren't satisfied with their current right field options.
2:31pm: According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, Michaels will be designated.
10:30am: Outfielder Ben Francisco will join the Indians for Tuesday's game against the Yankees. The Tribe will have to make room for him by then, and Mike Harrington believes the jobs of Andy Marte and Jason Michaels are at risk. Marte could be designated for assignment, while Michaels might just be released.
Michaels, 32, has been awful in 21 games this year. He earns $2.15MM this year. Michaels typically hits lefties well, but he's been an easy out this year.
Marte, 24, is out of options and would have to clear waivers if the Indians try to demote him. The formerly well-regarded prospect has only 16 plate appearances on the year. He made the team after hitting .204/.333/.519 in 54 spring ABs.
Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal does some speculating on the Indians' third base, left field, and closer situations.
- Casey Blake's contract expires at the end of the season, and at age 35, Ocker doesn't believe that Indians' GM Mark Shapiro will re-up for him. Ocker points to two reasons why Andy Marte probably won't work out as the in-house solution to Blake's potential absence: he could be lost on waivers if he doesn't make the team as a utility man coming out of Spring Training, and he shows no sign of figuring things out and becoming an impact player. Check out his Dominican Winter League performance if you need further proof that the 24 year-old Marte is regressing: .198/.213/.260 with seven errors. Small sample size? Yes, but wowza!
- Who from the available 2009 free agent list could be had to man third base? Could Asdrubal Cabrera be shifted to shortstop, and Jhonny Peralta moved to third? If so, who could move in to play second in place of Cabrera?
- Ocker also speculates that Shapiro will allow Jason Michaels of the Michaels/David Dellucci platoon walk unless their productivity rises substantially. Michaels is slated to make $2.15MM this season, and the club has an option for $2.6MM in 2009. What about Ben Francisco? Could he be an option to take over for Michaels in the platoon?
- This could also be Joe Borowski's last year as closer in Cleveland, Ocker says. Borowski will be 37 in 2009, and it has long been speculated that Borowski is on the cusp of losing his job. Ocker points out that it is always tough to find a closer on the free agent market, but remarks that it's "questionable" that the role could be filled in-house. I still don't understand the reluctance to place Rafael Betancourt in the role. Anyone?
- Finally, Ocker wonders how Cliff Lee would handle losing the number five slot in the rotation to Aaron Laffey or Jeremy Sowers. Relying on Lee's response to last year's demotion -- which was one of surprise at a player with a multi-year contract being sent to the minors ($3.75MM this year) -- Ocker says that Lee has a sense of entitlement regarding the number five slot. Ocker says that is "fine as long as he holds up his end of the bargain."
Obviously there are a lot of conflicting reports and general confusion surrounding this whole Crisp/Marte/Michaels/Rhodes thing. I've read several iterations, sometimes with catchers involved.
I apologize for contributing so little information on this one, but rest assured I've been trying. Here's what little I know:
A Cleveland source tells me the Indians are really keeping a lid on everything. He's a lot closer to the team than I, and he hasn't been able to dig up details.
I also spoke to a source familiar with the inner workings of the Phillies. He's scrambling for information as well. He told me that the Phils have been dangling Jason Michaels for a while now, and it's quite possible that all they could get for him is Arthur Rhodes. Such an acquisition will facilitate Ryan Madson's move to the rotation.