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John Smoltz Rumors
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.
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.
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):
- Braden Looper, 194.2 IP – The Dodgers are interested on a minor league deal and the D'Backs aren't likely to pursue him, despite Brandon Webb's questionable status for Opening Day.
- Jarrod Washburn, 176 IP – The Twins and Mariners seemed to lead the way for Washburn early on, but the Scott Boras client said yesterday that he doesn't expect to return to Seattle. The D'Backs don't appear likely to pursue Washburn and we haven't seen the Orioles connected to him for a month.
- Mike Hampton, 112 IP - He will miss the 2010 season after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
- John Smoltz, 78 IP – Smoltz hasn't ruled out the Braves, but the Cardinals don't appear to have the money to sign him and the Nationals haven't spoken to him recently. Jon Heyman of SI.com says Smoltz is content to wait for the right deal, which may mean a mid-season signing.
- Bartolo Colon, 62.1 IP - The former Cy Young Award winner wants to pitch, but wasn't publicly linked to any teams this winter.
- Sidney Ponson, 58.2 IP - There has been no reported interest in Ponson this winter.
- Adam Eaton, 49 IP - There has not been interest in Eaton, either.
- Pedro Martinez 44.2 IP – The Phillies have been linked to Pedro throughout the offseason. Pedro may wait to sign in-season, as he did last year.
Links for Tuesday…
- SI's Tom Verducci lists his 13 most interesting non-roster invitees.
- Aaron Boone has officially retired and joined ESPN as an analyst. USA Today's Bob Nightengale first reported in October that Boone was likely to hang up the spikes.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that John Smoltz currently prefers to start, but he'll be more open to relieving if he signs midseason. The Cardinals apparently do not have the funds to re-sign Smoltz.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that Kris Benson is no longer talking to the Nationals, despite the pitcher's assertion yesterday.
- WEEI's Alex Speier tweets that the Red Sox released southpaw Jose Capellan.
- MLB.com's transactions page says Boston also released righty Edwin Moreno, who they signed to a minor league deal a month ago. Augusto Cardenas first tweeted of the move on Thursday, saying that Moreno will play in Mexico instead.
- Speier also has an article about David Ortiz reaching a career crossroads. Speier finds it unlikely that the Sox exercise Ortiz's $12.5MM club option for 2011.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
A few Friday night links…
- The Brewers and Corey Hart appear headed to an arbitration hearing after negotiations reached an impasse, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Hart filed for $4.8MM, the team $4.15MM.
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News spoke to a Yankees' executive about the possibility of bringing in some players on minor league deals, and was told “I wouldn’t say we’re done, but probably close to done.”
- Four teams – including the Yankees, Rangers, and Mariners – are interested in Rocco Baldelli's services, reports Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure tweets that Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz is now free to sign after being "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Asset Control. In a second tweet, Arangure says that Ruiz is expected to command a multi-million dollar contract, and a few months ago we heard that the Red Sox and Tigers had some interest.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports that Mark Hendrickson passed his physical today, however his deal with the Orioles likely won't be made official until Monday because the league's offices are closed during the weekend.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says that the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson are playing close attention to how Wandy Rodriguez's arbitration case unfolds.
- The Rockies and Cardinals are in the mix for Felipe Lopez, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. The 29-year-old had a higher OBP (.383) and SLG (.427) than either Orlando Hudson or Orlando Cabrera in 2009.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson says that the Nationals have spoken to John Smoltz's agent recently, but there is no progress to report and they aren't willing to break the bank for him (both links open in Twitter).
- Meanwhile, Ladson also tweets that the team views the newly signed Miguel Batista as a starter for the back of their rotation, as opposed to an arm for the bullpen.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com says (via Twitter) that Craig Monroe isn't ready to retire to just yet. Over the last three years, Monroe has hit .215/.272/.377 with 23 homers in 693 plate appearances for four teams.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Colorado Rockies | Corey Hart | Craig Monroe | Detroit Tigers | Edwin Jackson | Felipe Lopez | Houston Astros | John Smoltz | Jose Julio Ruiz | Mark Hendrickson | Miguel Batista | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Rocco Baldelli | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Texas Rangers | Wandy Rodriguez | Washington Nationals