John Smoltz Rumors

Odds & Ends: Ortiz, Smoltz, Sandoval, Westmoreland

Some links to browse, as teams continue to make spring cuts….

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes (via Twitter) that the Red Sox will not pick up David Ortiz's $12.5MM option for 2011 regardless of what he does this season.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas reports that the Rangers have kept in contact with Khalil Greene, even after voiding his contract last month, though assistant GM Thad Levine says "there were no overtures about coming back and playing."
  • Murray Chass interviewed John Smoltz about his future, and the result is an interesting read. "I don't know if I’m going to pitch, but I haven't ruled it out," Smoltz said. "I have a lot of options, and I don't want the options to rule me." Smoltz adds that he laughs at all the "rumors and speculation that’s out there." We won't take it personally.
  • In his ESPN Insider blog, Buster Olney expands on a couple tweets he made yesterday, about the Twins' closer situation and the possible appeal of Smoltz.
  • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the Giants haven't entered into any long-term contract negotiations with Pablo Sandoval yet, since he's still a couple years away from being arbitration-eligible.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says that "money has nothing to do with who's going to play and who's not going to play," according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This stance is relevant not only for Stephen Strasburg's ETA in the majors, but also for determining Ian Desmond's role. Rizzo suggested that Desmond "is in the running to be an everyday guy."
  • Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland will undergo brain surgery, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Best of luck to Westmoreland.

Could Smoltz Be A Fit For The Twins?

The Twins are looking at a giant hole in their bullpen with closer Joe Nathan on the shelf thanks to a torn elbow ligament, though they haven't rushed into finding a replacement. ESPN's Buster Olney notes (via Twitter) that there is some hope Nathan will be able to pitch though the injury, but they won't know for sure until he tries to throw. 

In a second tweet, Olney opines that there's an experienced, veteran closer available on the free agent market that might be a good fit for Minnesota, and his name is John Smoltz. The caveat is that he and his surgically repaired shoulder/elbow would work a Trevor Hoffman-like schedule, pitching just 50 or so innings, far below the 70 IP per season Nathan has averaged since joining the team.

The now 42-year-old Smoltz last worked out of the bullpen full-time in 2004, and as you know his performance while pitching in relief is quite good. He has said he's content to wait for the right deal, even if that means waiting until mid-season. Minnesota has some decent in-house options with Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares, and even Francisco Liriano, so they have the luxury of letting things play out early in the season. If no one steps up, Smoltz could be attractive to pass up during the summer.

The Latest On The Remaining Free Agent Starters

There aren't many options for teams looking to sign a dependable starter, but the free agent market isn't completely barren yet. Of all the free agents remaining, only three pitchers logged more than 100 innings last year. Here's the latest on all eight starters to pitch as many as 40 innings last year (or what Roy Halladay logs in an average month):

Odds & Ends: Smoltz, Pedro, Cardinals, Percival

Links for Monday…

Odds & Ends: Boone, Smoltz, Benson

Links for Tuesday…

Nationals Notes: Benson, Smoltz, Starting Pitcher

Some Nationals news from SIRIUS XM'S MLB Home Plate Channel and Bill Ladson of

  • In an interview with Rob Dibble and Steve Davis, Kris Benson said that he and the Nationals were "still talking."  There's been word of the Nats' interest in the 35-year-old as of late, though Benson says he's not in a rush to sign anywhere.
  • Ladson writes that Washington has not had any recent conversations with John Smoltz.  The Nationals are reportedly one of ten teams that have expressed interest in the 42-year-old.
  • On his blog, Ladson writes that the Nationals are trying hard to add another veteran starter after striking out on Chan Ho Park and Braden Looper.  It should be noted that the Nationals did not confirm extending offers to either pitcher.

Martinez, Smoltz To Sign In-Season

Jim Bowden of XM tweets that it appears both Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will wait until the season has started to sign 2010 contracts.

For Martinez, such a move mirrors his 2009, when he waited until July to sign with the Phillies. He was effective for them, pitching to a 3.63 ERA in regular-season 44 2/3 innings, along with several strong postseason starts.

Smoltz improved greatly as the 2009 season progressed, faltering badly with Boston but pitching to a 4.26 ERA with St. Louis. 

The peripheral numbers for both pitchers suggest that they can help major league teams this season. However, considering that neither one has pitched 200 innings since Smoltz did in 2007, this seems like a wise decision for both of them.

“Nothing Is Closed” For Smoltz

10:47am: Smoltz is seeking at least $3MM, reports David Waldstein of the New York Times.  Waldstein feels that the Mets' near-agreement with Hisanori Takahashi takes them out of the running for Smoltz.

9:58am: Free agent pitcher John Smoltz was noncommittal in his talk with Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  In reference to his next team, Smoltz replied, "Nothing is closed for me."  He has nothing in the works and hasn't decided whether he'll wait until midseason to sign.

Understandably, Schultz gives extra play to the possibility of a Braves reunion.  It'd be a nice way to go out, and Smoltz remains in contact with Braves manager Bobby Cox.  Still, as far as opportunities go, the Braves appear set with their rotation and the back end of the bullpen.

Ten teams have expressed interest in Smoltz at various points this winter, according to reports: the Nationals, Mets, Phillies, Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mariners, Astros, Rangers, and Orioles.

Orioles Have Some Interest In Jarrod Washburn

The Orioles have some interest in Jarrod Washburn, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, Morosi's source says that Scott Boras would have to lower his client's price "pretty far" for the Orioles to become serious bidders for Washburn. 

We've been hearing for a while that Washburn would prefer to pitch for the Twins or Mariners. Playing in the AL East would be a difficult way for the lefty to re-establish his value.
The Orioles are unlikely to add Todd Wellemeyer, Braden Looper or John Smoltz, according to Morosi's source. Two clubs who are looking for bargain starters: the pitching-deep Blue Jays and the Mets.

Odds & Ends: Hart, Yankees, Baldelli, Ruiz

A few Friday night links…