Joe Borowski Rumors

Borowski Hangs Up The Spikes

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that 38-year-old reliever Joe Borowski has decided to retire from baseball.

"I guess 38, 87 and 88 wasn’t looking good in people’s eyes," said the former Indians closer, referring to his age and fastball velocity, respectively.  Borowski was a free agent this winter, but only drew mild interest from the Tigers and Phillies before talks ultimately flat-lined.

He pitched 12 big league seasons, making stops with Baltimore, Atlanta, the Yankees, Cubs, Tampa Bay, Florida and Cleveland along the way.  He finishes with a 4.18 career ERA and 131 saves, leaving him 80th on the all-time list.

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Stark On Andruw, Swisher, Hudson, Pedro

The latest from ESPN’s Jayson Stark

  • Stark looks at all the factors influencing this year’s slow-moving free agent market, talking to all sorts of anonymous execs.  It’s a good read.
  • Among all the teams, the Phillies have added the most to their payroll this winter ($30MM+).  Only ten teams raised payroll this year.  The Phils are still looking at the same cast of righthanded bench bats, and are also looking to sign a reliever for one year.  Names of interest: Joe Borowski, Rudy Seanez, Will Ohman, Joe Beimel, Dennys Reyes, and Randy Flores.  Stark notes that Flores is out until June due to shoulder surgery.
  • Andruw Jones is looking for a team that will give him playing time.  One of Stark’s sources says Braves manager Bobby Cox is "lobbying harder for Jones than the rest of the baseball operation."
  • The Braves are the top suitor for Nick Swisher, but their suggestion that the Yankees eat some of Swisher’s contract was shot down.
  • Stark has heard that Angels owner Arte Moreno is ticked at Scott Boras and Mark Teixeira for the way they handled negotiations.
  • Stark received conflicting answers on whether the Elias formulas "can be changed without a special negotiation."  It figures that the players union would push to eliminate the Jason Varitek/Juan Cruz/Orlando Cabrera situations we saw this winter.  The D’Backs may have interest in re-signing Cruz, but don’t look for a Cabrera-White Sox reunion.
  • The Yankees and Mets have not pursued Orlando Hudson, despite Hudson’s statements of their interest.  Stark sees a one-year deal with the Nationals or Dodgers in his future. 
  • One assistant GM doesn’t think the WBC will be a good gauge for Pedro Martinez‘s abilities, since he’ll be doing short stints.
  • Stark has details on Eddie Guardado‘s contract, which has interesting provisions if he is to be traded.

Odds and Ends: Bay, Clement, Fuentes, Cabrera

We’ve got plenty of links today.

  • There is speculation that Andruw Jones could be sent back to the minors.
  • Joel Sherman wonders if MLB should’ve gotten involved when Manny Ramirez decided to orchestrate his own exit.  Kind of reminds me of Gary Sheffield intentionally botching plays to force a trade out of Milwaukee in ’92.
  • Gordon Edes stands by his report that Manny pledged to give full effort if the Red Sox dropped his options.  That phone call between Scott Boras and Theo Epstein occurred within an hour of his trade to the Dodgers.
  • Jon Heyman takes us inside the Manny trade.  He says Ramirez signed an agreement in advance that he’d accept a trade to any team if his options were dropped.  Heyman believes Omar Minaya fibbed in saying he had failed trade discussions with Boston.
  • The Red Sox are still waiting to hear whether Joe Borowski will accept their offer of a minor league deal.
  • Dejan Kovacevic gives as inside look at the Jason Bay trade talks here and here.  Did the Rays offer Reid Brignac and Jeff NiemannReports are conflicting.
  • The Cardinals released Matt Clement on Saturday.  Let this serve as another reminder of how hard it is to come back from shoulder surgery.
  • The Cardinals weren’t willing to trade catching prospect Bryan Anderson plus a pitching prospect for Brian Fuentes.  Also, GM John Mozeliak confirmed failed talks for Bay.
  • RotoAuthority takes a look at young pitchers who may face innings caps this year.
  • Another failed deal: Orlando Cabrera to the Orioles in a Brian Roberts deal.
  • Geoff Baker believes that when inside information related to the Blue Jays leaks out, GM J.P. Ricciardi is likely responsible.
  • Please continue to email me if you see a pop-up or full-page ad on MLB Trade Rumors.

Week in Review: 7/27 – 8/2

We saw the non-waiver trade deadline come and go this week, and plenty of action to go along with it. Let’s recap the big moves of the week:

  • The Dodgers, Pirates, and Red Sox completed a three-team, blockbuster trade that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles, Jason Bay to Boston, and Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, Craig Hansen, and Brandon Moss to Pittsburgh. The Pirates got a pretty nice haul, and while Bay won’t necessarily replace Manny’s production, he’s much more affordable, signed through ’09, and doesn’t disrupt the clubhouse. The Dodgers add the big bat they need for a push in the NL West, though are now overloaded with overpaid outfielders. All in all, I don’t think any team made a bad deal in this one.
  • The Angels made a big move in adding Mark Teixeira to their lineup, sending Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek to Atlanta in exchange. The Angels didn’t need help at the time – they’re running away with the AL West – but this move will undoubtedly be significant in the postseason. Great boost to the Halos’ lineup.
  • The White Sox and Reds completed a trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to Chicago in exchange for Nick Masset and Danny Richar. I don’t understand this trade from the Sox perspective. Griffey was only hitting .245 at the time of the trade, and his range in center field isn’t close to what it once was. Still, he’s a presence in both the lineup and the clubhouse. Will playing for a contender rejuvenate him?
  • The Yankees acquired future hall-of-famer Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth. With Jorge Posada out for the season, New York did a good job of solidifying their catcher’s spot, while the Tigers got some much-needed improvement in their bullpen.
  • The Twins aren’t known for making big trades at the deadline, and they held true to that in 2008. However, they made a move that could be bigger than any trade they might have made, when they designated Livan Hernandez for assignment, and recalled Francisco Liriano from Triple-A Rochester. The Twins DFA’ed Craig Monroe as well. The Rockies are looking for a fifth starter, and could have interest in Hernandez.
  • Relievers on the move: Arthur Rhodes was traded to the Marlins, giving them another effective lefty option in the bullpen. The Astros acquired LaTroy Hawkins, still buying despite being 9.5 games out of the wildcard race at the time.
  • The Nationals released Paul Lo Duca and Felipe Lopez. Both were highly unsuccessful this season, though they could generate interest from other teams.
  • Tim explained the rules behind waiver trades for those who are unfamiliar with how the process works after the July 31st non-waiver deadline. He also takes a look at some noteable names who stayed put at the deadline.
  • Minor moves: The Yankees signed Victor Zambrano to a minor league contract, while the Red Sox did the same with former Cleveland closer Joe Borowski.
  • The Diamondbacks are talking extension with their second ace, Dan Haren.
  • USA Today wrote an article on MLBTR. Check it out!

Red Sox Offer Minor League Deal To Borowski

The Red Sox offered a minor league contract to reliever Joe Borowski, who was released by the Indians about a month ago.  He’s not the setup man acquisition fans hoped for, but there’s no risk in adding him.

Borowski, 37, posted a 7.56 ERA in 16.2 innings this year.  He injured his triceps in a spring game, and that lingered into May.  The Indians had picked up his $4MM option in November of ’07.

Week In Review

Continuing with Tim’s new tradition, here’s my take on some of the top rumors of the week from June 29 – July 6:

  • The C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes is nearing an end, with the Brewers’ Matt LaPorta package being the frontrunner. We’ll let everyone know the full story as soon as possible.
  • The Phillies extended Brad Lidge to a three-year contract. Lidge looks like his old self – great deal for Philadelphia. Looks like this means Brett Myers will remain in the rotation if he can get back on track.
  • We heard a lot about the Rays’ growing interest for Colorado closer Brian Fuentes. They could be preparing an offer. Troy Percival has been good, but injury prone, and you almost hate to move Dan Wheeler from the eighth inning where he’s been so good all year.
  • The shortstop market is hot, as the Dodgers, Orioles, and Jays would all like to upgrade. The Dodgers are interested in Jack Wilson, while the Orioles are looking at David Eckstein and possibly Juan Uribe or Felipe Lopez. The Jays could look to move A.J. Burnett and his contract for an upgrade there as well. Interesting that Toronto wants an upgrade over Eckstein, while Baltimore looks at him as an upgrade…
  • The Indians finally cut Joe Borowski loose, designating him for assignment. Was this too little too late? They tried to sneak Craig Breslow through waivers earlier this year. I’m guessing they’d rather have the 1.42 ERA he’s posted this season than Borowski’s 7.56, but the Twins are enjoying Breslow’s benefits.
  • Could the Angels add Matt Holliday? Seems unlikely with the stockpile of large contracts they already have in their outfield if you ask me.
  • The A’s signed Michel Inoa for $4.25MM on Thursday.
  • The Padres will be sellers this July. The onslaught of injuries have made this a frustrating season for San Diego. If you’d been able to see Adrian Gonzalez‘s monster numbers through July 1 before the season started, who would’ve believed this team wasn’t contending? Wow.
  • For those who are interested, Tim looked at this past years’ offseason moves and compiled an All-Star lineup of free agent hitters signed prior to the 2008 season. That’d be a heck of a team to try to beat right now…

Odds and Ends: LaRoche, Bonds, Salazar

As America collectively recovers from yesterday’s festivities, here are some odds and ends from the world of baseball.

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here.  Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.

Borowski Designated For Assignment

According to Anthony Castrovince of, the Indians have designated reliever Joe Borowski for assignment.  Rick Bauer was designated as well in the bullpen shakeup.  The Indians will now move to a committee approach for the ninth innings.

Borowski, 37, battled injuries en route to a 7.56 ERA in 18 appearances.  Maybe the Marlins could bring him back and try to get something out of him.

Indians Shifting Into Sell Mode

The Indians are currently in fourth place in the AL Central, 8.5 games out.  Baseball Prospectus’ projections suggest their playoff chances are less than 3%.  Many key players are injured.  That’s enough for Terry Pluto – he says we should stick a fork in the Tribe.

  • Pluto says the Indians have been listening on C.C. Sabathia, "but nothing has been serious."  The Indians are known to be scouting eight organizations as potential destinations for Sabathia, though about 20 have expressed interestJayson Stark says the Indians will not be offering a negotiation window to sign Sabathia.  Paul Hoynes talked to a scout who believes the Indians could get two near MLB-ready players for him.
  • Pluto reminds us not to forget about impending free agents Paul Byrd, Casey Blake, and Joe Borowski.  All could draw trade interest.

Ocker On Blake, Marte, Dellucci, Borowski And Lee

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."

Posted by Matt Birt