Josh Phelps Rumors

AL East Links: Bautista, Francona, Wakefield, Phelps

The latest from the AL East, as Derek Jeter deflects Hank Steinbrenner's criticism…

  •'s Jayson Stark argues quite convincingly that Jose Bautista is the face of the Blue Jays. Toronto manager John Farrell compared Bautista to Jayson Werth, another late bloomer who signed a big contract this offseason.
  • The Red Sox intend to pick up Terry Francona's two-year option at the end of the year, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). Francona says he doesn't know how the Red Sox intend to approach the option, which is worth a total of $9MM.
  • John Tomase of the Boston Herald re-imagines the 1988 draft and suggests Tim Wakefield, then a first base prospect with some power, would have been worthy of a seventh overall selection. The Pirates drafted the future Red Sox knuckleballer in the eighth round. 
  • Former Blue Jays and Yankees DH Josh Phelps signed with the Italian Baseball League team Telemarket Rimini according to The 32-year-old former top prospect hit 64 homers in the majors, including 20 for the 2003 Blue Jays.
  •'s Keith Law includes Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie on his list of young players who are ready for the majors in one respect, but who need development in other areas. Lawrie's bat is nearly ready, but the Blue Jays need to figure out his future position.

Minor League Transactions

Here are a few of the noteworthy names involved in this week's minor league transactions, as compiled by Baseball America's Matt Eddy

  • Fernando Cortez was signed to his second go-around with the White Sox organization.  The utilityman last played in the majors in 2007 as a member of the Royals, and has a .665 OPS in 3948 career plate appearances in the minor leagues.
  • The White Sox also released Justin Fuller, best known as the minor-leaguer acquired last summer from Los Angeles in the Jim Thome trade.
  • John Koronka was released by the Dodgers.  The veteran southpaw made two starts for Florida in 2009 before signing with L.A. in January.
  • Jason Lane was released by the Marlins.  Best known for his time with Houston from 2002 to 2007, Lane's finest year came in 2005 when he hit 26 homers and posted an .815 OPS in 561 plate appearances for the Astros.  He last appeared in the majors in 2007 with San Diego.
  • Texas dealt right-hander Jailen Peguero to the Astros for future considerations.  Peguero posted a 7.50 ERA in 25 relief appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2007-08.
  • Cleveland released Josh Phelps just a few weeks after signing him to a minor-league deal.
  • The Mariners signed pitcher Billy Traber.  The left-hander has a 5.65 ERA in 96 career major league appearances, 28 of them starts.  He appeared in one game last season, allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings of mop-up duty for Boston.

Indians Sign Josh Phelps

The Indians have signed Josh Phelps to a minor league deal, according to the club's Twitter page.  Phelps will report to Triple-A Columbus.  This is the 32-year-old's second stop in 2010 as the Rockies inked him to a minor league deal earlier this year.

The first baseman's last big league cameo came in 2008 for the Cardinals.  In 36 late-season plate appearances, Phelps hit .265/.306/.294.  He owns a major league career slash line of .297/.364/.495 against lefties.

Rockies Sign Four To Minor League Contracts

The Rockies have signed first baseman Josh Phelps, righthander Chris Gissell, and outfielders Alex Escobar and Bronson Sardinha to minor league contracts according to Jack Etkin of Inside the Rockies. Etkin says all four players will be a given a chance to make the roster of the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs. 

Phelps, 31, hasn't played in the big leagues since 2008, though he's a .297/.364/.495 career hitter off lefties, so he might work his way onto Colorado's bench with a big spring. Escobar, also 31, last appeared in the Majors way back in 2006, and he didn't play in affiliated ball at all last season.

The 26-year-old Sardinha is a former first round pick (2001), though he didn't play in 2009 after being released by the Tigers in April. Gissell, 32, spend the last two seasons playing for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate, posting a 3.44 ERA in 89 innings. He played for the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League once upon a time.

Giants Invite 16 To Big League Camp

Including a couple of Giants prospects, catcher Buster Posey and right-hander Kevin Pucetas, San Francisco has invited 16 players to its Spring Training camp, Chris Haft of reports.

The rest of the list: third baseman Jesus Guzman; infielders Scott McClain and Ivan Ochoa; right-handers Francis Beltran, Brandon Medders and Justin Miller; catcher Eli Whiteside; first baseman-outfielder Josh Phelps; outfielder Andres Torres; catcher Todd Jennings; infielder Jake Wald; catcher Jackson Williams; right-hander Ronnie Ray; infielder Matt Downs.

Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14.

Giants Sign Josh Phelps

Nice move by the Giants today, as they signed first baseman Josh Phelps to a minor league deal with a spring training invite.  Phelps, 30, hit .291/.373/.568 with 31 home runs in Triple A this year.  He has an .815 OPS in his big league career, and could provide decent pop for the league minimum if given the opportunity.

Cards Cut Phelps, Claim Manning

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals designated first baseman Josh Phelps for assignment today and claimed lefty reliever Charlie Manning off waivers from the Nationals.

Phelps, 30, has been with seven organizations.  Things looked promising when he came up in 2002 and snagged some ROY votes with .924 OPS in a half-season.  He hit 31 home runs in Triple A this year, but it was his fourth extended stint at the level.

Manning, 29, is also a minor league veteran.  The Cards are his fourth organization; he debuted as a 29 year-old rookie with the Nationals this year.  He did a pretty good job against lefties.  With Ron Villone eligible for free agency, the Cards figured to add a few lefty relievers.

Odds and Ends: Phelps, Mirabelli, Varitek

Random rumors and links for your perusal…

  • The Cardinals inked Josh Phelps to a minor league deal that could be worth up to $1MM.  I always liked Phelps; he’s a more than capable bench guy.
  • The Red Sox bit the bullet and brought Doug Mirabelli back for another round.  Tony Massarotti notes that the Red Sox may sign Jason Varitek to an extension this spring worth upward of $10MM annually.  I still like the idea of going after Kenji Johjima next winter.
  • RotoAuthority ranks the shortstops for fantasy leagues, hot off the press.