John Grabow Rumors

Quick Hits: Hernandez, Hamels, Grabow, Wells

In what has to be one of the more unusual clubhouse transactions in baseball history, Carlos Beltran has come through on his promise to pay for ex-Mets teammate Jonathon Niese's nose job.  Beltran footed the $10K bill for Niese's rhinoplasty, which, as Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld famously observed, is a pretty unusual name for such a procedure.

Some news from around the majors…

  • The terms of Roberto Hernandez's restructured contract with the Indians have been reported by The Associated Press.  The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona will now earn $2.5MM in 2012 (down from $7MM) with another $2.7MM available in roster and performance bonuses.  The Tribe's $9MM option on Hernandez for 2013 drops to $6MM, though Hernandez can earn that money back based on innings pitched and bonuses carried over from 2012.  Cleveland also holds a $14MM team option on the right-hander for 2014 that is apparently still intact.
  • Cole Hamels feels bad that his friend Ryan Madson will miss the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but Hamels said that Madson's situation won't cause him to rethink his own plans for free agency, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports.  "If you're in the game long enough, nothing can push you in a different direction and make you worry," Hamels said.  "If you're able to reach free agency, you've obviously had success in the big leagues, and there are going to be teams that trust you….Surgeries are a lot better today, they're not as scary as they were 10 or 12 years ago."
  • The Pirates haven't yet expressed interest in left-hander John Grabow, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Grabow exercised an out clause in his Dodgers contract earlier today and is now a free agent.  Grabow was originally drafted by the Bucs in 1997 and pitched for the club from 2003-09.
  • Right-hander Kip Wells threw for the Mets a few weeks ago and hit 93 mph on the radar gun, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).  Wells hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009 but recently signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks.
  • I’ve been a Red for 10 years now,” Joey Votto tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t daydream about playing for another team. I don’t.”  Votto is scheduled to hit free agency after 2013 but again reiterated that he hopes to remain with the Reds and is only focused on the upcoming season.

Dodgers Notes: Grabow, Wright, Munoz, Kroenke

Here's the latest from the Dodgers…

  • John Grabow has exercised the out clause in his contract and has been granted his release, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick (Twitter link).  The southpaw was in the Dodgers camp on a minor league deal and had looked good in Spring Training, striking out seven batters across six scoreless innings.  Grabow would have made $800K had he made the club's roster.
  • Jamey Wright has been told he will be added to the Dodgers roster once the team completes the official paperwork, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Hernandez previously reported that Wright can earn $900K if he makes the club's roster, with up to $500K extra in incentives based on innings pitched.  It seems like L.A. had a choice to make between Wright and Grabow and chose Wright, and by letting Grabow walk before March 30, the Dodgers save paying him an extra $100K bonus.
  • The Dodgers have agreed to sign Dominican right-hander Bryan Munoz, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  The deal is worth $300K and will be official once Munoz passes a physical.  Munoz, 16, is represented by Kevin Bandel and throws a fastball "already touching 90 mph."  The right-hander also drew interest from the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Tigers and Twins.
  • Though Los Angeles doesn't currently have an NFL team, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell considers the city to be a league market, reports Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.  As such, the NFL's cross-ownership rules would apply if Stan Kroenke (who owns the St. Louis Rams) wins his bid to buy the Dodgers.  If Kroenke indeed buys the team, Goodell told Bud Selig that the NFL "would move quickly" to resolve the issue.  (Both links are to Twitter.)

Quick Hits: Escalona, Duke, Garza, Soria, Lawrie

"I think very highly of my client," said Zack Greinke's agent to Brewers management when the two sides opened extension talks according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Greinke, of course, represents himself. The right-hander and his sense of humor will hire an agent at some point, but for now here are some links from around the league…

  • The Astros announced that left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the season. "This probably makes us think about [Zach] Duke’s role if he doesn’t win a spot in the rotation," said GM Jeff Luhnow to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told ESPN's Jim Bowden that he wants to sign Matt Garza long-term and build around the right-hander rather than trade him (Twitter link).
  • "I hope I stay here in Kansas City," said Joakim Soria to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Soria will miss the season with Tommy John surgery, and the Royals hold an $8MM club option for his services in 2013. "I love this organization, I feel part of this family and I appreciate what they've done for me."
  • "I needed a fresh start. I needed a new team," said Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie to ESPN's Jayson Stark about his trade from the Brewers. Lawrie feels Milwaukee tried to change his effusive personality, though GM Doug Melvin disagrees.
  • John Grabow and Jamey Wright will earn $800K and $900K, respectively, if they make the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Both pitchers have incentives based on appearances, maxing out at $500K (Wright) and $200K (Grabow).


Contract Details: Wright, Grabow, Theriot, Fontenot

Some contract details from a pair of rivals in the NL West…

  • Jamey Wright and John Grabow can opt out of their minor league contracts with the Dodgers on Sunday, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). If the players opt-out, the team can keep them by adding them to the 40-man roster by March 30th.
  • Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter) that decision day for Ryan Theriot's contract is March 30th, not the 29th as previously reported. If the Giants cut him by the 29th, they'll only have to pay him one-fourth of his $1.25MM salary.
  • The same is true for both Mike Fontenot ($1.05MM) and Clay Hensley ($750K) according to Schulman (on Twitter). Their contracts become guaranteed if the Giants do not cut them before the 29th.

Dodgers Sign John Grabow

The Dodgers signed lefty reliever John Grabow to a minor league deal, tweeted John Scanlan on Saturday.  This morning, MLBTR confirmed the transaction.  The deal includes an invitation to Major League camp, notes Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.

Grabow, 33, was acquired by the Cubs from the Pirates in July of '09.  He signed a two-year, $7.5MM extension four months later.  Over those two seasons Grabow posted a 5.52 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, and 1.4 HR/9 in 88 innings, missing time with knee and shoulder injuries.


Players Who Cleared Waivers

This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.

Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm

Starting pitchers

  • Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Reds – Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
  • Carlos Zambrano, Cubs – Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list.  He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
  • Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs – Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
  • Chris Capuano, Mets – Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
  • Bronson Arroyo, Reds – His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th.  $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest.  The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however.  At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
  • Bruce Chen, Royals – Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
  • Jason Vargas, Mariners – Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window.  But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013.  He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.    
  • Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals – His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals – Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
  • Ted Lilly, Dodgers – He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball.  With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.

Relievers

  • Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  • Chad Qualls, Padres – Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
  • Bill Bray, Reds – Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers – A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
  • Huston Street, Rockies – Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
  • Brian Fuentes, Athletics – He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays – Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
  • Mike Gonzalez, Orioles – Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties.  The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles – Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
  • John Grabow, Cubs – He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
  • D.J. Carrasco, Mets – The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December – their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April.  He stayed there until mid-June.

Position players

  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs – In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart.  The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – This one was also obvious.  SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
  • Lance Berkman, Cardinals – Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency.  Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
  • Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
  • David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
  • Conor Jackson, Athletics – Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
  • David DeJesus, Athletics – DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
  • Hideki Matsui, Athletics – The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
  • Jason Bay, Mets – With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected.  It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
  • Willie Harris, Mets – The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
  • Angel Pagan, Mets – It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
  • Carlos Lee, Astros – No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year.  El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
  • Johnny Damon, Rays – Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.


Cubs Willing To Eat High Percentage Of Soriano’s Deal

Alfonso Soriano's contract may be the most untradeable contract in baseball, but a source tells Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that the Cubs would be "willing to absorb a high percentage" of the money left on his deal if the right trade offer came along. There is more than $60M left on his eight-year, $136MM contract.

Soriano's deal includes a full no-trade clause, but we recently heard that he'd waive it to go to a contender. The 35-year-old is hitting .249/.291/.445 with 14 homers this year, and an American League team could also hide his suspect outfield defense by using him as a DH. Soriano's contract calls for an $18MM salary this year and every year through 2014.

Levine also mentions that there is interest in Kosuke Fukudome, John Grabow, and Marlon Byrd. The Indians are among those interested in Fukudome.


Chicago Notes: Wood, White Sox, Soriano, Ramirez

Let's check out some items on the Chicago teams, who are both in action tonight..

  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry says that he's gotten phone calls from teams inquiring about players that he's not interested in moving, and the teams know that before they call, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
  • At some point, the Cubs will let Kerry Wood know which contenders have serious interest in him and let him make the choice of if he's traded, and where to according to Buster Olney of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, the club is telling teams that they have no interest in talking about Sean Marshall in any potential trade, Olney tweets.
  • The White Sox might make a trade with the Braves in the weeks leading up to the deadline, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  Though it's possible that nothing is imminent, GM Ken Williams' special assistants Dave Yoakum and Bill Scherrer have been watching Atlanta over the past two or three series.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com wonders if Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and John Grabow could be of interest to the Yankees.  Although the Yankees already have a solid base in their everyday lineup, Levine writes that Ramirez or Soriano could add some punch as a designated hitter.

Cubs To Sign Grabow To Two-Year Deal

FRIDAY, 2:15pm: Wittenmyer hears that the deal is worth $7.5MM. The Cubs have officially announced it.

THURSDAY, 10:53am: Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says the deal is believed to be worth at least $7MM in total. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs calls it a "waste of cash."

9:47am: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs have agreed to sign Grabow to a two-year deal. Sullivan's sources say the deal could be announced today.

8:13am: The Cubs are nearing an agreement with lefty John Grabow on a two-year deal, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the two sides finalize a deal soon; we heard last week that an agreement wasn't far off.

Levine reports that the deal will be worth nearly $7.5MM over two years. His source says the deal should be completed today. Grabow struck out 7.1 per nine innings and walked 5.0 per nine with the Pirates and Cubs last year for a 3.36 ERA.


Cubs Likely To Sign John Grabow

1:47pm: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune believes a Grabow deal may be finalized "in the next week or so."

9:12am: The Cubs are nearing a deal with lefty reliever John Grabow, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The writers say the Cubs are "making progress" on a possible two-year deal.  Of course, we've read these rumors for a few weeks now.