Joel Hanrahan Rumors

East Links: Sabathia, Mets, Rays, Roberts

While much has been made of CC Sabathia's decline over the past year, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes that it doesn't matter if Sabathia is a true "ace" anymore. Feinsand points to promising starts from Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda in opining that the Yankees can be just fine with Sabathia as a contributor who takes the ball every fifth day. He adds that Sabathia's second start would be perceived a lot differently were it not for one seeing-eye single as well.

Here are some more links pertaining to the game's Eastern divisions…

  • MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets that he doesn't get the sense that the Mets are all that interested in Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson or any other free agent closers (e.g. Kevin Gregg). Likewise, Matt Ehalt of the North Jersey Record hears from a source that the Mets' plan is to look at internal options for help at this time (Twitter link).
  • Cork Gaines of Rays Index examines the Rays' roster and points out that it's not going to change dramatically over the next few years. While there's a strong likelihood of a David Price trade next offseason, much of the team is controlled through at least the 2016 season. Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce are exceptions to that rule, but each is controllable through 2015. It's unlikely, Gaines writes, that the Rays will feel pressured to make any big additions next winter, with the possible exception of the bullpen.
  • Both Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi head to Kansas City to square off against the team that traded them, MLB.com's Dick Kaegel points out. Kaegel, who feels the trade has worked for both clubs despite Shields' impending free agency, spoke with Odorizzi, calls the opportunity to return to Kansas City alongside Myers "special" and says he's looking forward to the experience.
  • In the wake of today's agreement between the Red Sox and Ryan Roberts, ESPN's Buster Olney recalls that multiple scouts told him during Spring Training that the Sox would need to add a third baseman if they weren't planning on promoting Garin Cecchini (Twitter link). Boston added Roberts today after Will Middlebrooks hit the disabled list.

Cafardo On Davis, Hanrahan, Worley, Hill

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why pitchers seem to be hitting the disabled list at a higher rate throughout the minor and major leagues.  Not only are young pitchers including Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, and Bruce Rondon undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring, but Medlen and Beachy are actually having the surgery for a second time.  “I think pitchers are getting abused at a younger age,” Hall of Famer Tom Glavine told Cafardo. “Most of them are max-effort guys, so it reaches the point where the stress finally causes a breaking point.”  More from today's column..

  • The Mets do not anticipate a deal involving first baseman Ike Davis.  The Mets resumed gauging interest in Davis last week but so far, no inquiries have really blown them away.  The Orioles are still among the clubs with interest.
  • Joel Hanrahan has shifted his training base to Tampa, moving toward his first showcase for teams, which should happen shortly.  The Red Sox have some interest in bringing back Hanrahan, but with teams like the Tigers, Orioles, and Yankees in need of back-end relievers, he probably won't wind up back in Boston.
  • Twins pitcher Vance Worley, who is out of options, was placed on waivers Friday, then outrighted to Triple-A when he cleared.  Minnesota may still deal Worley and a return to the Phillies would not be out of the question.

Pitching Links: Niese, Samardzija, Hanrahan, Richard

It seems like every club is getting bad news regarding its pitchers these days, but the Mets can breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to lefty Jon Niese. ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin reports that Niese, who was pulled from Sunday's start early due to elbow discomfort, learned that he has some inflammation but no ligament damage in the elbow. He received a cortisone shot and is tentatively set to resume throwing on Wednesday. Niese still figures to open the season on the DL, according to Rubin, but only for a few days, as the Mets won't need a fifth starter until April 6. Niese is likely to be activated at that point.

Here are some more notes specifically pertaining to pitchers…

  • The Diamondbacks are likely to again scout Jeff Samardzija in the wake of Patrick Corbin's probable Tommy John surgery, reports Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. However, Levine writes that the Cubs would likely ask for Archie Bradley in return, which would seemingly end conversations before they began.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that free agent closer Joel Hanrahan is up to 90-92 mph in his rehab from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery and could sign with a team soon. Hanrahan is coming off a season in which he pitched just 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox before undergoing surgery on May 16. He still has a ways to go on his velocity, as he averages 96-97 mph when he's at his best.
  • Free agent left-hander Clayton Richard tells MLB Network Radio's Scott Braun that he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last month (Twitter link). Richard rejected an outright assignment from the Padres and elected free agency at season's end, but this seems to rule out the possibility that he'd be ready to pitch anytime soon.


Quick Hits: Trout, Davis, Garcia, White Sox, Hanrahan

Let's take a look at updates on some situations shaping up around the league:

  • Mike Trout's one-year, $1MM contract with the Angels is surely just the start of some historic earnings, and ESPN.com's Jim Bowden breaks down what it would cost the Halos to lock up their young star for different possible terms. Bowden values Trout's arbitration years at a total of $66MM, and says that he should earn between $32MM and $35MM for his free agent years. A six-year deal, then, would be worth $162MM, while a ten-year extension would land at $302MM. Bowden says the Angels want to get as many years as possible, and adds that, were he in charge, he would demand at least four free agent seasons.
  • The Mets have no active trade dialogue concerning first baseman Ike Davis, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Nevertheless, Rubin says he expects the chatter to pick up over the coming month.
  • Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has had his MRI reviewed by the team physician and Dr. James Andrews, and neither found evidence of structural damage, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. While that has the team feeling better about things, GM John Mozeliak still advocated caution. "I think the days of feeling perfect are over," he said. 
  • Though he downplayed an earlier report that the White Sox had scouted Yankees catchers recently, Chicago GM Rick Hahn said that the team was still exploring trade possibilities with other clubs, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Hahn also noted that the club has ample middle-infield depth, which led to Jake Elmore being designated for assignment today. The GM added that the team hopes to be able to trade Elmore, Hayes adds on Twitter.
  • Rehabbing reliever Joel Hanrahan told Bowden on XM MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that he hopes to sign with a new club before the spring wraps up. Hanrahan said that he is still considering any and all interested suitors.
  • Union chief Tony Clark said today that the MLBPA is still in the early stages of learning information about the Phillies' role in the recent suspension of former draftee Ben Wetzler, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury"The interest is the same we would have in the draft in general," Clark said. "These guys are connected to our institution. … To that extent, we are gathering information as we speak. Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion, but we are concerned enough to be inquiring." Salisbury reports that the Phillies felt a handshake agreement was in place with Wetzler, and that someone in the organization later reported him to the NCAA for having an agent present during talks with the team.

Quick Hits: Santana, Billingsley, Tejada, Drew, Hanrahan, Diaz

MLBPA chief Tony Clark addressed today the situation of Ben Wetzler, the Phillies' draft choice who was recently suspended by the NCAA for having an agent present while he negotiated with the club, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports"What we're doing in the short-term is trying to make sure we understand exactly what happened and what led to what happened with that young man in college," said Clark. "Rest assured it's a concern, it's something that we're paying attention to, but outside what's been bantered about through the media, we don't know much else at this point." For their part, the Phillies have yet to offer any comment other than acknowledging that they "did participate in the NCAA investigation." One agent tells Nicholson-Smith that, if the team did report Wetzler's use of an agent, "it was extremely short-sighted and impulsive on the part of the team."

Here are a few more links to round out the evening:

  • The Rockies have recently made contact with free agent starter Ervin Santana, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. The team's interest may be dependent upon the status of Jhoulys Chacin, whose shoulder issues are still being assessed. A Rockies official denied interest in Santana, however, reports MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
  • Though the Dodgers needed a roster spot to make room for new signee Erisbel Arruebarrena, the club elected to designate Justin Sellers for assignment rather than putting Chad Billingsley on the 60-day DL, writes Chris Gabel for MLB.com. That constitutes something of a vote of confidence in Billingsley's ability to return from Tommy John rehab in a relatively short time frame. The 29-year-old is entering the final year of a three-year, $35MM pact, with the club holding a $14MM option ($3MM buyout) on his 2015 season.
  • While Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada has reportedly shed some pounds, the club is nevertheless reportedly less than happy with his athletic form, reports Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. If that translates to an underwhelming start to camp, Kernan implies, there could be increasing impetus to sign Stephen Drew. "I would not be surprised if we signed Drew," an official said, "but at the same time, I don't expect it to happen." 
  • Across town, the Yankees are keeping tabs on reliever Joel Hanrahan after inking another rehabbing former closer in Andrew Bailey, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. As Martino explains, interest in arms like Bailey and Hanrahan shows that the club has some concern with its pen depth.
  • The Twins are a very unlikely landing spot for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Diaz is looking to land a deal like the five-year, $25MM contract given Arruebarrena, says Wolfson, but Minnesota does not believe he is as good as his countrymate.

Quick Hits: Heyward, Masterson, Red Sox, Yankees

The Braves have signed Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel to long-term deals in recent weeks, but don't expect them to do the same with Jason Heyward, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Heyward recently signed a two-year deal with Atlanta that did not delay his free-agency eligilibility, and now it will be difficult for the Braves to get Heyward to commit to a deal that's worth less per year than the $20MM-$22MM Freeman will get at a comparable point in his service-time clock. Here's more from the East divisions.

  • Homer Bailey's negotiations with the Reds could have an impact on Justin Masterson and the Indians, the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes writes. Hoynes broke the news that Bailey and the Reds are in discussions about a six-year deal that could be worth $100MM, and a Bailey deal could set a precedent for an extension for Masterson, who was similarly valuable in 2013 and also is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
  • The Yankees spent heavily this offseason, but they now have a injury-prone, top-heavy roster and little depth, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues. That's especially true in their infield, although Sherman notes the situation might have been better if the Yankees had acquired Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante or Logan Forsythe, all of whom they pursued this offseason (Peralta and Infante on the free-agent market, and Forsythe via trade).
  • The Red Sox are making plans now that Ryan Dempster and his salary are out of the equation for 2014, writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam. McAdam writes that the Red Sox have known about Dempster's decision for the past two weeks and have been looking for a veteran free agent pitcher, but probably one who would start the season at Triple-A and provide depth. The Red Sox could also save Dempster's salary for a trade-deadline acquisition.
  • Stephen Drew and the Mets still aren't close on a contract, Newsday's Marc Carig reports. Carig also notes that the Mets have interest in former Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Mets' level of interest may depend on how well the team does at the beginning of the season. Hanrahan is not expected to be ready to pitch until May.
  • The Phillies still aren't interested in rebuilding, writes USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "We're committed to this core. We want to surround them with the best possible players. In time, hopefully we'll be able to transition to some of younger players," says Phillies president David Montgomery. "But now, we want to give this group every chance to win.'' GM Ruben Amaro Jr., meanwhile, repeats that he expects the Phillies to do better this season because of improved health. "Listen, if Ryan [Howard] is on the field, we are winning games," Amaro says.

Free Agent Notes: Santana, Burres, Hanrahan, Madson

Johan Santana will throw for interested teams at some point soon, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com tweets. When he does, the Twins will be in attendance. Yesterday, Santana himself indicated that he had begun throwing off a mound, the latest step in his recovery from shoulder surgery. Here are more notes on free agents, all of them pitchers.

  • Brian Burres threw for teams on Thursday, and he will throw again on Monday in Florida, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Burres last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 with the Pirates. He spent 2012 in the Giants' system, and 2013 in Taiwan.
  • The Red Sox continue to "check in on" reliever Joel Hanrahan, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (via Twitter). Hanrahan's agent told MLBTR yesterday that Hanrahan would host a showcase for interested teams in March. Hanrahan is making his way back after a 2013 season mostly lost to elbow troubles. 
  • The Red Sox watched Ryan Madson on Friday in Arizona, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Like Hanrahan, Madson is a once-dominant reliever trying to make his way back after dealing with elbow problems. The Phillies are among the teams that have shown interest in Madson, who last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 as a Phillie.

Latest On Joel Hanrahan

Recent reports indicating that right-hander Joel Hanrahan will host a showcase for multiple teams today are not accurate, agent Mike Dillon of Reynolds Sports Management tells MLBTR:

"Reports of a showcase workout with Joel Hanrahan are inaccurate. Teams that have been interested in watching his light bullpens have been welcome and the Mets are watching him today. We do not anticipate Joel throwing for multiple clubs in a 'showcase' type of workout until early March when he will be closer to 100%. Having said that, we are excited and very encouraged with Joel's progress."

Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery last May and also had the flexor tendon in his right elbow repaired. The 32-year-old pitched just 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in his lone season with Boston, and the eight runs he allowed on 10 hits (four homers) and six walks were proof that something wasn't right with his health. The two-time All-Star had posted a 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 229 1/3 innings for the Pirates in three-and-a-half seasons leading up to 2013, saving 82 games along the way.

In addition to the Mets, Hanrahan has also been connected to the Orioles in recent weeks. Baltimore has been eyeing free agents with closing experience and recently watched as Fernando Rodney signed a two-year deal with the Mariners.


Free Agent Notes: Mariners, Cruz, Orioles, Relievers

The last major free agent closer domino fell today when Fernando Rodney signed with the Mariners. That deal carries implications for his new club and for other teams that had interest in his services. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent market …

  • After inking Rodney, the Mariners are "all in" and are "cautiously optimistic" that they will land outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. We heard recently that Seattle was talking with Cruz and was willing to give him multiple years.
  • Though they had interest, the Orioles never pursued Rodney that aggressively, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Connolly says that Baltimore never indicated a willingness to spend near the $14MM guarantee that Rodney will receive from Seattle. "They liked him a little bit more than us," executive VP Dan Duquette told WBAL Radio (via a tweet from MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko). Of course, the O's had a two-year, $15MM deal in place with Grant Balfour until the team blew up the deal over issues with his physical.
  • With Rodney out of the picture, internal option Tommy Hunter appears to be the likeliest choice to close for Baltimore, notes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore (via Twitter). Nevertheless, the Orioles have kept tabs on other late-inning relief options from the scratch-and-dent market. As Kubatko tweets, the club has shown interest in Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as options to provide a mid-season boost. Both pitchers are coming off of surgeries, but offer plenty of upside. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported in early January that Hanrahan was preparing to audition in the spring, and also reported in December that Bailey has received significant interest, and expects to be ready by the middle of May. 
  • Of course, three other relievers also came off the board today, with Carlos Marmol and Chaz Roe signing with the Marlins and Pat Neshek going to the Cardinals.
  • Now that Rodney has signed, it is clear that no reliever will beat Joe Nathan's guarantee of $20MM, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. That represents a notable shift, as every one of the last six signing seasons has featured a reliever deal with at least $25MM in guaranteed money. The changing market has not only opened the door for smaller-market clubs to ink top bullpen arms, Nicholson-Smith notes, but also creates an opportunity for teams to limit the earnings of their younger arms by preventing them from picking up saves and increasing their arbitration earnings. It is worth noting that this year's market featured an ample supply of excellent-but-aging closers, which could help explain why no single arm garnered a huge guarantee.

Mets Still Pursuing Reliever With Closing Experience

7:23pm: While the Mets are indeed looking for a late-inning reliever, and could give out a MLB deal to get one, the club is unlikely to land Rodney, a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter). 

4:44pm: Though the Mets recently announced the signing of Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, the team still has some money allotted for a "closer type" reliever, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, citing a source that is not affiliated with the club.

Fernando Rodney is believed to be New York's top target, but Rubin's source wouldn't rule out Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan or Ryan Madson either. Other relievers on the market that come with closer experience include Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey and Brandon Lyon, though Lyon spent last season with the Mets with less than favorable results (4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings). Those next three names are just my speculation, not names that were mentioned by Rubin or his source.

Rubin writes that incumbent closer Bobby Parnell is confident that he will be healthy following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. However, as Rubin points out, the Mets have little in terms of a fallback plan should Parnell go down with another injury. Hard-throwing Vic Black projects to be next in line for the closer's throne, and he has a total of 17 big league innings under his belt.