The Rays have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan left-hander Jose Castillo for $1.55MM, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. The publication ranked him as the sixth best prospect on the international market this summer. Badler says Castillo has impressed with his size (6-foot-4 and 200 lbs.), delivery, and power arm.
MONDAY, 3:09pm: A source tells ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Royals have "no interest" in Francoeur or Perez (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 7:33pm: Talks between the Mets and Royals are fluid, though it doesn't appear that Guillen will be headed to Queens, says Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. It seems that if Guillen is dealt elsewhere, then Kansas City would be interested in Francoeur, Martino adds.
7:00pm: Francoeur and Perez are on the block, a source tells Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter). Another source tells Heyman that a trade with Kansas City "might happen" (Twitter link).
6:36pm: The Mets are in talks with the Royals and three names from each side are "in play," writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Those Royals players are Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen while the Mets being discussed are Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jeff Francoeur. It is unclear how advanced the talks are, cautions Rosenthal (via Twitter).
While the two sides aren't necessarily looking at a three-for-three swap, the two biggest contracts do match up well. Meche and Perez's contracts are identical over the next two seasons, with both pitchers earning $12MM in this year and next. The Mets made an attempt to swap the two just over a week ago.
Francoeur and Farnsworth also match up well, says Rosenthal. Farnsworth's contract has a club option for 2011 for $5.25MM, though he has the right to void it in favor of a $500K buyout if he is traded before the 2010 World Series. Francoeur will make $5MM this season before entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Links for Friday, as the free agent market officially opens…
- As Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports points out, the Angels' lack of interest in Matt Holliday bodes well for the Cardinals, but not for Scott Boras.
- Scott Boras tells FOX Sports that interest in Adrian Beltre and Mike Gonzalez is strong so far. The agent says he's fielded offers for eight players already.
- The Nippon Ham Fighters signed minor league free agent pitcher Buddy Carlyle, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman. Newman also says the Yokohama BayStars are working to sign Chris Bootcheck, Jose Castillo, and Terrmel Sledge.
- The Nats hired former Mariners manager John McLaren as a bench coach, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan ranks 131 free agents and provides capsules. We've also got SI's Jon Heyman and AOL FanHouse's Frankie Piliere with Top 50 lists.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the market for Mark DeRosa.
- ESPN's Buster Olney notes five arbitration-eligible players who could be traded, including Russell Martin and Kevin Correia.
- SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Mariners and Tigers continue to discuss Edwin Jackson.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets a comment from Brewers GM Doug Melvin: the team will fill current needs before discussing a Prince Fielder extension.
- Garrett Atkins to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post: "I know that I will be on another team next year."
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune feels that free agents Carl Pavano, Jarrod Washburn, and Rich Harden are potential fits for the Twins.
- Christensen's colleague Sid Hartman wonders if catcher Mike Redmond "could wind up with a job in the [Twins] organization." However, Redmond told MLB.com's Kelly Thesier a month ago that he plans on playing in 2010.
- Paul Hagen's Phillies source shot down a story that Pat Gillick could be heading back to the Blue Jays.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball has a Winter Meetings primer.
- Chico Harlan is moving on from the Washington Post's Nationals beat, once a replacement is found.
7:05pm: Chico Harlan mentions three more minor league signings for the Nats: catcher Gustavo Molina, pitcher Gustavo Chacin, and infielder Jose Castillo.
Chacin, 28, won 13 games as a rookie in ’05. After that he dealt with elbow and shoulder injuries but at least got his own cologne. Castillo, 28 in March, hit .246/.292/.376 in 455 plate appearances for the Giants and Astros this year.
Patterson, 29, was awful this year with a .205/.238/.344 line in 392 plate appearances. He was above average defensively though. The Nationals were an odd choice for him given their crowded outfield.
Sosa, 32 in April, pitched in the Astros, Mariners, and Mets organizations this year. His claim to fame was his flukey 2.55 ERA in ’05 for the Braves.
Another week in the books, and we keep seeing big names moved after the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Let’s look back on the past week:
- The Dodgers acquired Greg Maddux from the Padres for two minor league players to be named later. Nice acquisition to bolster their rotation, and does anyone want to place bets on how excited 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw is to get tips from Maddux every day for the rest of the season?
- The Pirates are exploring the idea of trading Jack Wilson this offseason more and more. Given the slim free agent market for shortstops, he would likely gather a lot of interest.
- Nate Robertson’s struggles this season have lost him his spot in the rotation, but have they also lost him a spot with the Tigers after 2008?
- Orlando Hernandez needs surgery on his foot, and that could likely mean that El Duque’s career would be over.
- Lots of speculation lately about where Ben Sheets is going to land after 2008. And while there’s no way to tell right now, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman have stepped up and said they would like the Astros front office to go out and sign him in the offseason.
- A lot of minor-league deals signed this week: Kip Wells signed with Kansas City, the Mets added Al Reyes, the Astros signed Jose Castillo, the Red Sox signed Dave Ross, and the Braves took a flyer on Rodrigo Lopez following his Tommy John surgery last year. The Jays made a trade to acquire Jose Bautista for a PTBNL as well.
- The Rangers would like Milton Bradley back in 2009, and the feeling is mutual, though negotiations will wait until after the season. Similarly, Frank Thomas would prefer to stay with the A’s in 2009.
- Eric Gagne, David Riske, and David Weathers all cleared waivers this week. The first two make sense to me, but given Weathers’ success this year, his affordable contract for the rest of the season, and all of the teams desperately seeking bullpen help, it seems strange that no one would place a claim on him. Here’s an updated list of all the players who have been confirmed to have cleared waivers this year.
According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros claimed infielder Jose Castillo off waivers today. Castillo will be Astros property for ’09 as well, if they want him (he’s still arbitration-eligible).
The 27 year-old hit .244/.290/.381 in 420 plate appearances for the Giants while seeing time at second base, shortstop, and third base.
Taking a look back at this week’s happenings here on MLBTR…
- The biggest move of the month was the Diamondbacks’ acquisition of slugger Adam Dunn for Dallas Buck, Micah Owings, and Wilkin Castillo. I can’t remember any August trades of this magnitude.
- Bronson Arroyo told the media Dunn would be seeking over $100MM this offseason; Dunn denied the report wholeheartedly. I’d be surprised to see him get $100MM, but I also certainly don’t think it would be the worst signing we’ve seen in the past few offseasons.
- The Red Sox acquired Paul Byrd from the Indians. Boston will pay the remaining portion of Byrd’s salary. Byrd has been very good lately, and you can never have too much pitching depth. Not a bad move for Boston, in my opinion.
- The Twins were very active in discussions this week, though nothing surfaced as of yet. Minnesota claimed Jarrod Washburn off waivers from Seattle, but a deal wasn’t worked out. Boof Bonser and salary relief was originally thought to be the offer, but that report was later denied. Passing a chance to unload Washburn’s salary makes no sense to me. The Twins also claimed Alan Embree from Oakland, but he was pulled back.
- Freddy Garcia signed a minor-league contact with the Tigers. They must have liked what they saw at his audition. If he can return to be as effective as he was in his Chicago days, that would be a great signing. Nice low-risk move for Detroit.
- We’ve seen a lot of teams signing their young talent to long-term deals, but it looks like San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum will not be one of them. He’d prefer to go year-to-year.
- Minor moves happening around baseball: The Reds DFA’d David Ross, the Blue Jays released Shannon Stewart, and the Twins signed Bobby Kielty to a minor-league deal. The Giants DFA’d Jose Castillo, and Richie Sexson’s time in New York was cut short when he was released after just 35 plate appearances. The Rockies added another arm, signing Oscar Villareal.
- And now, for the draft-pick signings! Here are all the signings and not-signings teams made with their top picks this week: The White Sox signed Gordon Beckham, the Orioles signed Brian Matusz, the Padres signed Allan Dykstra, the Rangers signed Justin Smoak, the Giants signed Buster Posey, the Pirates signed Pedro Alvarez, the Royals signed Eric Hosmer, and the Reds not only signed Yonder Alonso, but Venezuelan outfielder Yorman Rodriguez as well. The Nationals failed to sign Aaron Crow, and the Yankees failed to sign Gerrit Cole.
- And to cap things off, since we just covered a bunch of guys who probably weren’t even alive when Jamie Moyer first started pitching in the Majors… he didn’t deny the possibility of pitching until he’s 50. He’s 45 right now with 11 wins and an ERA of 3.64, who knows?
According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, the Giants designated third baseman Jose Castillo for assignment today to make room for rookie Ryan Rohlinger.
Castillo, 27, hit .244/.290/.381 in 394 plate appearances. He earned $650K for his efforts. Castillo can play second base as well, but he hasn’t had a good month this year outside of May. Andrew Baggarly says the Castillo signing helped the Giants save face, but it was time to move on.
Let’s round up some morning links.
- McCovey Chronicles feels that the Jose Castillo signing reduces the Joe Crede threat level for the Giants.
- Jonathan Papelbon wants to drive the market for closers upward.
- Keith Law discusses J.P. Ricciardi’s decision to overrule scouting advisers and draft Ricky Romero over Troy Tulowitzki for the Blue Jays back in ’05.
- If Yu Darvish is posted after this season, will it cost $75MM just to negotiate with him?
- From Buster Olney on Sunday: "Rival teams are not entirely sure if the Red Sox are devoted to the idea of trading Coco Crisp."
- Pedro Martinez will not worry about his next contract until after the season.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Giants claimed infielder Jose Castillo off waivers and the Marlins didn’t pull him back. I believe the Marlins can now either work out a trade with the Giants or just let them have him and his $650K salary. One of today’s writers, Alejandro, noted that Castillo is already on the Giants’ 40-man roster on MLB.com.
Pure speculation, but this may be a signal that the Giants are done considering trade options such as Wes Helms, Brandon Inge, and Joe Crede. Giving up something decent for Inge or Crede never made sense for this team anyway. Castillo probably won’t do much for the Giants, but at least he doesn’t cost anything.