Jose Contreras Rumors

Quick Hits: Kipnis, Morales, Volquez, Contreras

The third time for the Indians and Jason Kipnis proved to be the charm, writes Zack Meisel of the Plain Dealer.  Kipnis and the Tribe got together for long-term contract discussions in the previous two springs, but it was the third try that resulted in a six-year, $52.5MM deal.  Things couldn't have worked out better for Kipnis since his price rose after he put up his best big-league season in 2013.  Kipnis, who turned 27 this month, made his first All-Star team and finished 11th in the American League MVP voting on the heels of a stellar campaign in which he batted .284/.366/.452 with 17 homers and 30 stolen bases in 658 plate appearances.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • ESPN analyst Eric Wedge, who managed Kendrys Morales in Seattle, is shocked he’s still on the market. “He’s an impact, middle-of-the-order bat from both sides of the plate, a great teammate,” the former Mariners skipper told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Anyone would love to have him on their team and in their clubhouse. I understand the issues involved, but it makes no sense to me that he’s not with a team. There are a lot of teams who could use that quality bat."
  • The Pirates have an impressive track record of helping pitchers who have fallen on hard times back on the right track, writes ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.  The Bucs are hoping that Edinson Volquez, who is now in the fold on a one-year, $5MM deal, will be the latest example of a positive reclamation project.  Francisco Liriano, who returned to prominence in Pittsburgh, helped to recruit Volquez to the organization.
  • Jose Contreras is not retiring following his release from the Rangers, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).  The veteran is currently pitching in Mexico and looking for opportunities in Japan.  Contreras, 42, signed a minor league deal with Texas after tossing just five big league innings in 2013. The Cuban veteran was solid in 29 minor league innings last year though, posting a 2.79 ERA with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Red Sox. However, things didn't go quite as well during Spring Training.

Jose Contreras Weighing Retirement After Release

March 31: Contreras has officially been released by the club, according to the team's transactions page.

March 17: The Rangers have informed right-hander Jose Contreras that he will not make the club and offered him reassignment to their minor league camp, according to a team release. However, the press release also says that Contreras is weighing his options, including retiring as an active player.

Contreras, who turned 42 this offseason, signed a minor league deal with the Rangers after tossing just five big league innings in 2013. The Cuban veteran was solid in 29 minor league innings last year though, posting a 2.79 ERA with the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Red Sox. He's struggled in Spring Training to this point, yielding seven runs on 13 hits in six innings of work.

In 1173 Major League innings, Contreras has a 4.57 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 with a record of 78 wins and 67 losses. He had a strong season as a member of the Phillies' bullpen in 2010 but hasn't pitched more than 14 innings in a season since that time. He's earned $67.5MM over the course of his Major League career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.


Rangers Sign Jose Contreras

The Rangers have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Nate Adcock as well as outfielder Bryan Petersen to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training, the team announced via press release.

The 42-year-old Contreras pitched just five innings for the Pirates in 2013, yielding five runs in that time. The Cuban-born veteran missed the early part of the season recovering from 2012 elbow surgery and would end up pitching 33 innings of 3.00 ERA ball between the Pirates and Red Sox' minor league affiliates. He last enjoyed sustained big league success as a member of the Phillies' bullpen in 2010 when he posted a 3.34 ERA in 56 2/3 innings.

Adcock, 25, enjoyed a strong season with the Royals in 2012 but saw the wheels come off in 2013 when he posted a disastrous 6.67 ERA with a 69-to-50 K/BB ratio in 113 1/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the Royals and Diamondbacks.

Petersen, 27, is a career .220/.303/.305 hitter with a pair of homers and 15 steals in 539 Major League plate appearances — all coming with the Marlins. He spent last year with Miami's Triple-A club, posting a solid .275/.363/.407 slash line in 579 plate appearances. He has experience at all three outfield spots.



Red Sox Release Jose Contreras

The Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox have announced that Jose Contreras has been granted his release, according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier (Twitter link).  Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported over the weekend (Twitter link) that Contreras had opted out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox, and with Boston calling up Brayan Villarreal earlier today, it appears as though the Sox opted for the younger option to help their bullpen.

Contreras signed his minor league deal with Boston exactly a month ago and posted a 6.52 ERA, 15 strikeouts and six walks over 9 2/3 relief innings for Pawtucket.  The 41-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Pirates over the winter and was released last month after pitching five innings over seven games for the Bucs, posting a 9.00 ERA.


Red Sox Sign Contreras, Lyon To Minor League Deals

The Red Sox have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league deals and assigned each to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced (hat tip: Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Twitter).

Contreras, 41, was released by the Pirates just over 24 hours ago. He's spent time on the bereavement list and dealt with shoulder inflammation recently, but as Tim Dierkes noted yesterday, Contreras has excelled at Triple-A Indianapolis of late. The veteran Cuban has allowed just one earned run with 19 strikeouts against five walks in his past 16 2/3 minor league innings. Contreras is represented by agent Jaime Torres.

Lyon, 33, was released by the Mets 10 days ago. He was terrific in his first 31 1/3 innings for the Mets, posting a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts against 10 walks in that time. However, he yielded eight earned runs over his next three innings of work, including a disastrous six-run meltdown against the Nationals. This will be Lyon's second stint with Boston, as he saved nine games and pitched to a 4.12 ERA in 59 innings with the Sox back in 2003. Lyon is a client of Meister Sports Management.


Pirates Release Jose Contreras

The Pirates released reliever Jose Contreras from their Triple-A club, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Bucs signed Contreras to a minor league deal in February, on the mend from Tommy John surgery last June.  He joined the big league club in May, spent some time on bereavement, hit the DL with back inflammation, and was released in mid-June when the team needed a 40-man roster spot.  The Pirates then retained him on another minor league deal, but have now released him again.  Contreras was quite good in Triple-A since signing again on June 17th — he allowed one earned run in 15 2/3 innings with 18 strikeouts and five walks.  It seems possible Contreras requested his release to find another opportunity, but that's just speculation.


Pirates Release Jose Contreras

The Pirates have unconditionally released veteran right-hander Jose Contreras, the team announced via press release. The 41-year-old signed with the Bucs this offseason after working back from Tommy John surgery.

Contreras struggled to get big league hitters out upon arriving in Pittsburgh. He surrendered five runs in just five innings, allowing seven hits and six walks. For his career, Contreras logged over 1100 big league innings, most of them as a starter. The Cuban had a solid 2010 campaign for the Phillies after converting to the bullpen, but has yet to throw more than 14 innings in a season since that time.


NL Central Notes: Wainwright, Cubs, Contreras

Three NL Central teams had winning records in 2012, but the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers won't get the chance to play the Astros regularly anymore. The Pirates narrowly missed a .500 record in 2012, and the Cubs' pitching staff looks much deeper following a busy offseason for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, so it now looks like the division will be tougher in 2013. Here are some NL Central notes, starting with the Cardinals’ top starter…

  • The Cardinals will be able to afford an extension for Adam Wainwright if they truly want to retain the right-hander long-term, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. With TV revenue on its way to St. Louis and a strong player development system in place, the Cardinals could likely afford Wainwright. They must now determine whether they value him at $20MM-plus per season for four or five years.
  • The Cubs haven't shied away from veterans of Tommy John surgery, since pitchers like Arodys Vizcaino have considerable upside, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.
  • The Pirates took a similar approach to their division rivals, signing Jose Contreras to a minor league deal even though he's still recovering from the Tommy John operation that he underwent last June. GM Neal Huntington said the Pirates' scouts have always been impressed with Contreras, Tom Singer of MLB.com reports. "We felt this was a low-risk acquisition that can help this team at some point this summer," Huntington said. Contreras threw off a mound in front of Pirates personnel before completing his deal.

Quick Hits: Contreras, Indians, Marlins, Yankees

After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.”  Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.”  Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:

  • Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com.  Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.”  Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
  • The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer.  All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game.  While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
  • With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly.  In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.” 
  • Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman.  Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.  MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here.  Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned.  (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.)  When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option.  I think the two guys are winning.”
  • Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson.  In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in.  Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage.  MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.”  For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.

Pirates To Sign Jose Contreras

The Pirates have agreed to terms with Jose Contreras on a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to a team report. The veteran right-hander, represented by Jaime Garcia, will spend a portion of the spring rehabbing his elbow as he is expected to report to camp on Sunday.

Contreras, 41, spent the 2012 season with the Phillies where he posted a 5.27 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in just over 13 innings of work. The former All-Star will be used out of the bullpen if he makes the team's Opening Day roster.