Jerome Williams Rumors

AL Notes: Williams, Rangers, Red Sox, A-Rod

The Rangers are "making progress" on a deal with pitcher Jerome Williams, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Yesterday, a report indicated that, in the wake of the Derek Holland injury, the Rangers would look to add starting pitching depth, and Williams would certainly qualify. The righty posted a 4.57 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 169 1/3 innings for the Angels in 2013. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • One reason the Red Sox signed A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal is that they did not want to sign a catcher to a long-term deal and block prospects Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez in the process, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. Pierzynski and Swihart were at the same autograph signing in Boston on Saturday, but it's not likely they'll ever play for the Red Sox together. Swihart hit .298/.366/.428 for Class A+ Salem last season, and he'll likely be at Double-A in 2014, probably with Vazquez at Triple-A. MLB.com ranks Swihart the Sox' No. 10 prospect, with Vazquez at No. 15.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, the independent Long Island Ducks have invited Alex Rodriguez to play for them in 2014, Mark Herrmann of Newsday reports. "While some MLB suspensions have been honored by the Atlantic League in the past, if Alex Rodriguez were unable to participate in the Major Leagues this season, we would be open to exploring giving him a chance to play, stay sharp and compete," says Ducks president and GM Michael Pfaff. Rodriguez plans to continue to fight his suspension, which prevents him from playing for the Yankees in 2014.

Mets Notes: Colon, Williams, Drew

Here's the latest from Citi Field…

  • Bartolo Colon's two-year, $20MM deal with the Mets breaks down as $9MM in 2014 and $11MM in 2015, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports.  Rubin estimates that the Mets' 2014 payroll currently sits at roughly $85.9MM.
  • The Mets discussed Jerome Williams earlier this offseason, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets, though his name hasn't come up since Colon signed.  Williams is hoping to find a full-time rotation job and the Mets can't guarantee him a regular turn.  At least eight to 10 teams checked in on Williams after he was non-tendered by the Angels, and he already received a few offers during the Winter Meetings, with most of the interest coming from the AL West and AL Central.
  • Since the Mets don't project to be contenders in 2014, ESPN's Buster Olney opines (Insider subscription required) that signing Stephen Drew doesn't make sense for the team, barring the unlikely event that Drew agrees to a team-friendly one-year deal.
  • In other Mets-related news from earlier today, the Mets signed Taylor Teagarden to a minor league deal and Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he was in "ongoing discussions" with Mets GM Sandy Alderson about a trade involving a first baseman (namely, Ike Davis) but nothing has materialized.

AL Notes: Drew, Williams, Carson

Let's take a look at a few American League notes:

  • A return of shortstop Stephen Drew to Red Sox seems more and more likely with each passing day, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Most of his potential landing spots appear to have alternative, in-house options that make it hard to justify a big contract and the sacrifice of a draft pick, says MacPherson: the Mets have Ruben Tejada, the Pirates have Jordy Mercer, the Twins have Pedro Florimon, and the Yankees have Derek Jeter.
  • Former Angels swingman Jerome Williams expects to field offers over the next week or two, reports MLBTR's Zach Links, after having already received a few offers during the Winter Meetings. Primary interest in Williams has come from clubs in the AL West and Central. (Links to Twitter.) Williams was non-tendered when the Halos decided they did not want to pay a projected $3.9MM arbitration price tag, though we heard recently that he is expected to beat that figure on the open market.
  • After being claimed off of waivers by the Angels in mid-October, southpaw reliever Robert Carson will look to harness his big arm and make a run at a MLB relief role, Mike DiGiovanna writes for Baseball America (subscription required). The club likes his live arm and makeup, according to farm director Bobby Scales, leading DiGiovanna to suggest that Carson could follow the path of Dane De La Rosa in combining raw ability with a change of scenery to have a big league impact for the Halos. 


Pitching Rumors: D-Backs, Colon, Twins, Williams

Things are starting to heat up again on Day Three of the Winter Meetings, so let's dive right in and round up a few early morning notes on a handful of starting pitchers….

  • The Diamondbacks are targeting front-line starters, as we heard yesterday, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that, besides Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza is the team's top choice due to the lack of draft pick compensation.
  • Bartolo Colon and agent Adam Katz continue to focus on a two-year deal rather than a one-year pact, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney. This isn't the first time we've heard about the righty's desire for a multiyear contract — the deals for Scott Kazmir and Tim Hudson have recently been cited as possible comparables for Colon.
  • La Velle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune has a few updates on the Twins' search for starting pitching, including word that the club could be in on Garza and, if he becomes available, Tanaka. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities cautions (via Twitter) that there are no real developments on the Garza front, and that the Twins have spoken to agent multiple times and are familiar with his asking price.
  • Jerome Williams represents a solid buy-low candidate, and is expected to top his projected $4MM arbitration salary on the open market, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • MLBTR's Tim Dierkes hears that as many as eight to 10 teams have checked in on Williams in the past 48 hours (Twitter link).

American League Non-Tenders

Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of American League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.

  • The Orioles announced they've non-tendered outfielder Jason Pridie and minor league starter Eddie Gamboa.
  • The Rays will non-tender reliever Wesley Wright, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
  • The Red Sox announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mike Salk of WEEI.com tweets.
  • The White Sox will not tender a contract to pitcher Dylan Axelrod, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Angels will non-tender pitcher Jerome Williams, tweets  Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The club will also non-tender righty Tommy Hanson and third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets DiGiovanna. J.C. Gutierrez will also be non-tendered, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, though that seemed a given since that he had already been designated for assignment.
  • The Indians have non-tendered outfielder Matt Carson, pitcher Tyler Cloyd, and catcher Lou Marson, the club announced.
  • The Rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fuld, who will turn 32 in a few weeks, could be a lefty-swinging bench piece for another club, though he slashed only .199/.270/.267 last year in 200 plate appearances for Tampa.
  • GM Brian Cashman says that the Yankees will non-tender infielder Jayson Nix, tweets Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 87 games for New York last season, putting up a .236/.308/.311 line in 303 plate appearances. The club will also non-tender reliever Matt Daley and infielder David Adams. New York confirmed the moves via press release.
  • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered second baseman Chris Getz. The 30-year-old Getz has tried to hold down Kansas City's keystone spot for several years now but produced just a .246/.299/.314 batting line from 2012-13. Swartz had pegged Getz for a $1.3MM salary in 2014.

AL West Notes: Kazmir, Colon, Angels, Bloomquist

The baseball world is still buzzing over Scott Kazmir's two-year, $22MM agreement with the Athletics. Here's a bit more on that signing as well as the rest of the American League West…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Athletics offered the same two-year, $22MM contract to Tim Hudson prior to his two-year, $23MM agreement with the Giants.
  • That Kazmir signed for two years and $11MM annually speaks to the expectations of Bartolo Colon, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Colon feels he can get multiple years at a higher annual value, according to Passan.
  • Kazmir's agreement firmly takes the Athletics out of the mix for Colon, a source confirmed to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • The Angels remain interested in Bronson Arroyo but the Dodgers aren't really in the mix, a source tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (on Twitter). However, the source adds that the market for the veteran hasn't really "heated up" yet.
  • DiGiovanna adds that the Angels are expected to clear more than $10MM in payroll by non-tendering Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelson, which should allow them to pursue a free agent starting pitcher (Twitter links). DiGiovanna also mentions that Kevin Jepsen's status is still up in the air at this time and there's no decision on whether or not to tender him a contract.
  • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that one of the reasons Joe Smith signed his three-year deal with the Angels is that his wife works as a sports radio host in Orange County.
  • In a harsh review of today's Willie Bloomquist signing by the Mariners, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner writes that Bloomquist "is Nick Punto minus all the things that make Nick Punto valuable." As Cameron points out, they're comparable hitters but Punto provides more baserunning and defensive value. However, Seattle paid nearly double the price for Bloomquist that Oakland did for Punto.

Pitching Notes: Dodgers, Giants, Mujica, Ayala, Williams

The market for starting pitchers has actually started off at reasonable prices, argues Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com. Running the numbers on the price of a projected win for the starters who have signed to date, he says that a preliminary look shows that early-moving teams look to have achieved solid value. Here's more on the pitching market around the league:

  • Even if the Dodgers are willing to spend the huge amount of cash that Masahiro Tanaka's posting and signing is expected to require, says Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com, it is far from clear how the club would sort its rotation out to accomodate him. GM Ned Colletti has said that he is "not going to close the door on any more starters" even after adding Dan Haren on a one-year deal with a vesting option. Saxon notes, however, that it would be more difficult to push aside Josh Beckett and/or Chad Billingsley than it was for the club to do last year with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. Of course, Tanaka may be good enough that, if the price is right, that problem is one you just deal with as best you can.
  • The Giants, on the other hand, seem less likely than their rivals to the south to consider the addition of another starter, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that the club's rotation is set after re-signing Ryan Vogelsong. As Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News noted earlier today, the rotation seemed complete upon the return of Vogelsong, given GM Brian Sabean's earlier comments that he would not make the veteran compete for his slot in the spring. Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and Tim Hudson round out the club's starting five.
  • Meanwhile, it could well be that San Francisco could look to add pen pieces given their decision to add veteran arms to the back of its rotation, reasons Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Sulia). It is easier and cheaper to add relief arms, he notes, and the club could look to ease the burden on its starters by following the Dodgers and Cardinals in trotting out multiple arms that can throw quality innings.
  • Free agent reliever Edward Mujica of the Cardinals is drawing interest from a variety of teams, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The Angels are probably out after inking Joe Smith, Cotillo notes. But the OriolesIndians, and Cubs have at least kicked the tires on Mujica, joining the Phillies in pursuit of the 29-year-old. 
  • Right-handed reliever Luis Ayala, who produced solid results last year at age 35 for the Orioles and Braves, is also in search of a multi-year deal, Cotillo reports. He has not yet seen an offer, but has received interest from the Red Sox and Rays as well as the Dodgers, Giants, O's, and Phils. Meanwhile, the Royals have seemingly stepped away from Ayala after showing initial interest.
  • One other arm that could enter the market is Angels righty Jerome Williams. Soon to turn 32, Williams' agent Larry O'Brien tells Cotillo (Twitter link) that he is rooting against a tender from the Halos since "there are many teams he could effectively start for." That statement seems to imply what has long been suspected about Williams, which is that Los Angeles does not intend to use him as a starter. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes wrote in reporting Matt Swartz's $3.9MM projection for Williams, a non-tender is a very real possibility for the swingman. Of course, as MLBTR's Zach Links has explained, there are few teams with as many projected rotation holes as the Angels.

Starting Pitching Notes: Scherzer, Nats, Miller, Tanaka

The Max Scherzer trade rumors don't make much sense to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, who argues that a Tigers club built to win in 2014 can't afford to move an ace pitcher unless another team makes "an incredibly loony price" in a trade.  The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore hears from a source who flatly denies that Scherzer will be dealt, and Kilgore wonders if the Tigers' alleged willingness to trade may hint at concerns about Scherzer's future performance.

Here are some items about notable arms that could be had via trade or free agency this offseason…

  • The Nationals have the minor league depth to acquire the likes of Scherzer or David Price, Kilgore writes.  It could be more likely that the Nats pursue a younger pitcher who is under control for more years, a la the team's deal for Gio Gonzalez
  • Shelby Miller is "an under-the-radar potential [trade] target," a baseball official opines to Kilgore.  Miller pitched just one postseason inning for the Cardinals due to concerns that he had a tired arm, though Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that were rumors that Miller was really being saved for a possible trade this winter.  I'm not sure if I believe that theory; you'd think the Cards would've had all healthy arms on deck in pursuit of a World Series.
  • The Cubs are interested in Masahiro Tanaka, GM Jed Hoyer told David Kaplan on WGN Radio's The David Kaplan Show (Twitter link).  "He's going to help somebody and we will be in on him," Hoyer said.
  • Matt Sosnick, Josh Johnson's agent, says he has talked to "nearly every team" about his client, including the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett reports.  The Rangers appeal to Johnson due to their winning ways because he lives in nearby Oklahoma, though since Sosnick says Johnson would prefer "at least a pitching-neutral ballpark," Rangers Ballpark might be a hindrance.
  • The Angels' signing of starter Chris Volstad could spell trouble for starters Jerome Williams and Tommy Hanson, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles TImes. Volstad is cheap and young, and DiGiovanna says that the club may not see much difference between him and the club's pricier, pre-existing options. In his breakdown of the Halos' arbitration-eligible players, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes calls Hanson a definite non-tender candidate, and says Williams could also be shown the door.
  • ESPN's Jim Bowden speculates about six possible David Price trades (ESPN Insider subscription required).

MLBTR's Jeff Todd also contributed to this post


Angels Notes: Scioscia, Dipoto, Pitching, Trout

Mike Scioscia is as committed as ever to the Angels, the manager tells MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom.  Scioscia discusses such topics as his relationship with GM Jerry Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno, his frustrations over the Angels' disappointing season and things he'd like to change on the team in 2014. 

Dipoto also met with the media today, and MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez has the details

  • The Angels will look to add starting pitching to next year's roster, with an eye towards obtaining young arms, if possible.  "Really what we need is organizational starting pitching. We need starting-pitching depth; we need options from within," Dipoto said.  "We need young, controllable starting pitching. Essentially guys that when something goes wrong at the Major League level — inevitably an injury will occur, somebody's going to struggle for a period of time — guys that can step in and guys that you can build toward. It's gold in the game."
  • Third base will be an area of concern for the team this winter.  "In an ideal world, we’ll come up with what we believe is a combination of players" to play the position, Dipoto said.  Chris Nelson, Grant Green, Luis Jimenez and Andrew Romine are some of the Halos' current third base options.
  • Dipoto will look to add bullpen depth but Ernesto Frieri is expected to continue closing.
  • Dipoto offered no comment on any extension talks with Mike Trout, though "obviously, we'd like him to be here long-term."  Craig Landis, Trout's agent, said yesterday that there have been no negotiations of a multiyear contract with the team.  Trout is under team control through the 2017 season and Dipoto declined to comment on whether the team had altered its policy on pre-arbitration contracts given the controversy surrounding Trout's 2013 salary.
  • Dipoto didn't comment on whether or not the Angels would non-tender Tommy Hanson or Jerome Williams.  Hanson is a "slam-dunk" to be non-tendered, Gonzalez opines (Twitter links), but Williams is a tougher decision since he could return to Japan rather than re-sign with the Angels at a lower price, plus the team likes his "flexibility" as a swingman.  Hanson is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility while Williams is entering his third.

Angels, Jerome Williams Avoid Arbitration

The Angels avoided arbitration with right-hander Jerome Williams, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The Full Circle Sports Management client agreed to a one-year deal worth $2MM. 

Williams had a projected salary of $1.9MM for 2013 after posting a 4.58 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over the course of the 2012 season. The 30-year-old veteran has spent the past two seasons with the Angels after struggling to earn a spot on a big league roster since after the 2007 campaign. 

The Angels have four remaining arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows: Kevin Jepsen, Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Alberto Callaspo