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Jerome Williams Rumors
The Phillies have signed righty Jerome Williams to a one-year, $2.5MM contract extension that will keep him off the free agent market in advance of the 2015 season, the club announced. The contract includes incentives that could boost its value to $4MM, per Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter).
Williams, who is nearing his 33rd birthday, was quite productive in a short stint with the Phillies this year. Over nine starts for Philadelphia, he logged 57 1/3 frames of 2.83 ERA ball. Of course, that was his third MLB club on the year, and Williams did not put up very attractive numbers in his first two stops with the Astros and Rangers, combining for a 6.71 ERA over 57 2/3 frames.
All said, Williams finished 2014 with 6.4 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9, while posting a cumulative 4.16 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, and 4.03 SIERA. Those numbers provide some reason for optimism, though the Phillies may hope that five better rotation arms emerge from the spring, allowing them to stash Williams as a long man.
The Phillies announced that they have claimed right-hander Jerome Williams off waivers from the Rangers and designated fellow right-hander Sean O’Sullivan for assignment. Williams, who will be joining his third organization in a span of six weeks, is expected to replace O’Sullivan in the rotation and make his Phillies debut Tuesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb. The Rangers will receive $20K from the waiver claim, tweets Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.
Williams was designated for assignment Friday by the Rangers after making a pair of starts. The 32-year-old was outstanding in his Texas debut allowing just one run and no walks over six innings against the best team in the American League, the A’s, but he was shelled by the Indians in his next start (10 runs, 13 hits, and three walks in four innings). After pitching to a 4.46 ERA in 351 innings for the Angels from 2011-13, Williams has struggled to a line of 6.71 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 12.0 H/9 in 28 appearances (two starts) for the Rangers and Astros covering 57 2/3 innings.
This is the second time the Phillies have designated O’Sullivan for assignment this season. Before that DFA, the 26-year-old made one start in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Braves allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. O’Sullivan regained a 25-man roster spot when the Phillies traded Roberto Hernandez and, in the lone start of his second tour of duty Thursday, surrendered three home runs to the Astros over six innings.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Rangers executive vice president of communications John Blake has announced (via Twitter) that right-hander Jerome Williams has been designated for assignment in order to clear roster space for Geovany Soto, who has been officially activated from the disabled list.
The 32-year-old veteran made a pair of starts for the Rangers and had wildly different results in the two outings. Williams hurled a strong quality start in his first game, yielding just one run on five hits and no walks with four strikeouts in six innings against a tough Oakland lineup. In his second start with Texas, however, the Indians rocked him for 10 runs on 13 hits in just four innings.
Overall, Williams has a 6.71 ERA this season while playing for both Texas teams — the Rangers and Astros. That’s a far cry from the solid work he put together from 2011-13, when he turned in a 4.46 ERA in 351 innings as a swingman for the division-rival Angels.
The Rangers have released left-hander Justin Marks in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Jerome Williams, the team announced. Williams’ contract was selected from Triple-A Round Rock, and he will start from the Rangers tonight.
The Rangers claimed Marks off waivers from the A’s last month, but he appeared in just 5 1/3 innings for the club’s Triple-A affiliate, yielding three runs in that time. Overall, the 26-year-old has posted a 5.03 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings this season at the Triple-A level.
Williams signed a minor league deal with the Rangers after being released by the Astros earlier this month. His contract reportedly contained an Aug. 1 opt-out clause, which was thought to be a formality, as Texas was expected to call him up prior to that date. He posted a 4.46 ERA in 351 innings for the division-rival Angels from 2011-13, but he struggled to a 6.04 ERA in 47 frames for Houston earlier this year.
3:35pm: Williams’ contract contains an out clause that allows him to opt out within two weeks if he’s not added to the Major League roster, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (Twitter link)
Williams, a client of Full Circle Sports Management, signed a one-year, $2.1MM contract with the Astros this offseason but found himself released earlier this week after posting a 6.04 ERA in 47 2/3 frames with Houston. The veteran swingman is plenty familiar with the AL West, as prior to his time in Houston, he had some success with the 2012-13 Angels, notching a 4.57 ERA in 307 innings (40 starts, 29 relief appearances).
The 32-year-old Williams has seen time with the Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Angels and Astros to this point in his career, and given the outbreak of injuries among Rangers pitchers this year, it seems likely that he could get a crack in the big leagues with Texas as well. The Rangers have lost Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez for the season, while Tanner Scheppers, Nick Martinez and Alexi Ogando are currently on the disabled list. Veteran lefty Joe Saunders, who made eight starts for the Rangers, was just released and hooked on with the Royals. All told, the Rangers have played 92 games this season and deployed 12 different starting pitchers.
Williams has a career 4.45 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 48.4 percent ground-ball rate in 824 innings of work at the Major League level.
Recently-released Astros hurler Jerome Williams has already drawn inquiries from eight clubs, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That does not include the Twins, he notes. Williams’ agent tells MLBTR’s Zach Links (Twitter link) that he believes the veteran righty will get a chance to start on a major league club.
Here’s more from the AL West:
- The Astros are interested in upgrading the club’s bullpen in both the short and long-term, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Owner Jim Crane said that the team’s relief corps has cost the club ballgames, indicating that he hopes to find some solutions during the current season. Nevertheless, any moves would keep an eye firmly on the future: “We’re always looking more long term,” he said, “but we want to try to establish a nucleus this year and win a lot more ballgames than we did last year.”
- Of course, the Angels‘ bullpen needs are on a much shorter fuse. Even after making several recent acquisitions, club GM Jerry Dipoto says that the team is still browsing the market, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Dipoto hopes to form a late-inning nucleus that can record the “last nine outs” of a game. “We will continue to look for a guy who can join that group,” he said.
- Multiple teams have expressed interest in Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old has not had sustained success at the major league level, but does offer plenty of youth and team control. Ramirez would seem to make a useful trade chip in a lower-level deal for Seattle, or as a part of a package in a larger swap.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Righty Jerome Williams has been released by the Astros, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 32-year-old swingman owns a 6.04 ERA through 47 2/3 innings (all as a reliever) on the year for Houston, with 7.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. Across nine MLB seasons, he has allowed 4.45 earned runs per nine while working mostly as a starter.
- The Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with Jo-Jo Reyes, reports MLBTR’s Zach Links (via Twitter). The 29-year-old lefty has seen time in parts of five MLB seasons, the last of which came in 2011. He owns a 6.05 career ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 through 334 2/3 innings, mostly as a starter. Reyes has been playing in Korea since the start of the 2013 season.
- The Orioles have outrighted righty Ramon Ramirez to Triple-A, the club announced. Ramirez got just one inning during his time with Baltimore, though he has seen action in parts of nine MLB seasons.
- After being designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Sunday, outfielder Brad Glenn has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star (via Twitter). The 27-year-old notched his first MLB hit during a brief call-up.
- The DFA rolls are growing, with the following players are currently in limbo (per MLBTR’s DFA tracker): Justin Maxwell (Royals), Jeff Francis (Athletics), Rich Hill (Angels), Raul Fernandez (Rockies), Alfonso Soriano (Yankees), Brad Mills (Athletics), Donnie Murphy (Rangers), George Kottaras (Indians), John Buck (Mariners), and Mark Lowe (Indians).
Williams, a 32-year-old righty, signed a one-year, $2.1MM deal with Houston before the season. He owns a 5.91 ERA through 45 2/3 innings with the club, all in relief. He does own superior peripherals (7.1 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9) than those that he carried as a starter in previous seasons, and some ERA estimators looked more favorably on his work (4.70 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA).
WEDNESDAY, 7:12pm: Williams gets a $2.1MM guarantee and can make an additional $1MM in incentives, tweets Cotillo. The incentives are tied to both games pitched and innings pitched, Drellich reports (Twitter links), so Williams has a chance at extra money whether he's a starter or a reliever.
MONDAY, 2:00pm: Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Astros signed Williams to be a starting pitcher.
1:40pm: The Astros have agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams, pending a physical, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). Williams is a client of Full Circle Sports Management.
Williams, 32, posted a 4.57 ERA in a career-high 169 1/3 innings for the Angels last season. The ground-ball specialist and veteran swingman made a career-high 25 starts, averaging 5.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 while posting a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate — a slight departure from his career mark of 48.6 percent. The Astros will look to improve Williams' bloated home-run rate and struggles to strand baserunners — two areas in which he's been considerably below the league average since making his return to the Majors with the Angels.
The Angels elected to non-tender the big righty rather than pay his projected arbitration salary of $3.9MM. Williams has five year, 49 days of service time, meaning he does not have any years of arbitraion eligibility left and will therefore be a free agent upon completion of his one-year contract with Houston.
The former supplemental-round pick (No. 39 overall by the Giants in 1999) didn't throw a pitch in the Majors from 2008-10 but resurfaced with the Halos in 2011 and has posted a 4.46 ERA in 351 innings in that time. During his hiatus from the Majors, Williams bounced around the minor leagues and found himself pitching in two different independent leagues before finding his way back to a big league mound.
With the Astros, he could serve as a swingman as he has with the Angels for the past three seasons, or he could compete for a spot in Houston's rotation. The Astros figure to have Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock in the rotation, with Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Harrell, Collin McHugh and Alex White among the names competing for the fifth spot (as examined over at SB Nation's Crawfish Boxes earlier this morning). Williams could open the season in the rotation and be shifted back to the bullpen should one of Houston's top prospects (e.g. Mark Appel or Mike Foltynewicz) force his way onto the big league staff.
There were no new developments today relating to Matt Garza, who looked to have a deal in place with the Brewers yesterday before an unidentified snag held things up. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provided some updates from the inside, however, reporting that a source said negotiations were "ongoing." When asked whether there were any new developments, GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt "nothing yet."
Here are a few bits of information elsewhere on the current free agent pitching market:
- Bronson Arroyo and the Dodgers have had discussions since Masahiro Tanaka chose not to sign with Los Angeles, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The level of interest remains uncertain, Heyman notes.
- The Angels have "a bit" of interest in Arroyo but are also content to take their current group to Spring Training, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Angels acquired Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason to join Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards in the rotation.
- It's been a different type of offseason for the Angels this year, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, noting the patience and restraint the team has shown on the free agent market. Gonzalez notes that the Angels aren't interested in Matt Garza at the $13MM AAV he would receive in his near-deal with the Brewers, as it would push them up against the luxury tax threshold. He lists Arroyo, Jason Hammel, Chris Capuano, Scott Baker and Paul Maholm as potential rotation options that would leave some cushion between Anaheim's payroll and the luxury tax.
- With a lot of starters still available on the open market, there are plenty of teams that have yet to fill up their slate of rotation candidates. Joining the O's and Jays among the clubs that are looking for starters are both of Chicago's two franchises, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). Levine indicates that the Cubs are looking over the list of remaining free agents, but he does not say whether the White Sox have any interest in open-market players.
- MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik thinks the team is done making "major" additions, but tweaks are still possible. However, semantics could come into play heavily, as manager Lloyd McClendon said the team would still like to add a No. 3 starter, per ESPN 710's Shannon Drayer (Twitter link). New team president and COO Kevin Mather indicated today that the club would have the financial resources necessary to make more additions before the start of the season.
- There are five clubs vying for the services of Hammel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Hammel is expected to choose a landing spot within a week.
- Swingman Jerome Williams has offers on the table from at least three clubs, Cotillo tweets. He, too, appears to be nearing a decision point.
- Southpaw reliever Tim Byrdak will not be re-signing with the Mets, the reliever tweeted (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com). The 40-year-old indicated that the team decided against signing him.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.