Justin Miller Rumors

Odds & Ends: Lowell, Barmes, Red Sox, Hanson

Links for Wednesday, as the Tigers get some infield depth from a division rival

  • The Rangers haven't ruled out acquiring Mike Lowell, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
  • Agent Bean Stringfellow told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Blue Jays are not currently discussing an extension with Jose Bautista. It’s not at all surprising given how much else the Blue Jays have to sort out this week. Bautista said on the FAN 590 today that he would listen if the Blue Jays approached him with a multi-year deal after the season.
  • The Cardinals are not interested in Clint Barmes, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
  • Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told WEEI.com’s Alex Speier that the Red Sox will “look aggressively” for ways to improve at the trade deadline.
  • Tommy Hanson explained to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he chose the Boras Corp. because of the support the agency offers.
  • Brett Myers is untouchable, a source tells Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). With respect to Justice and his source, it seems unfathomable that a 41-59 team wouldn't listen to offers on a player who can walk at the end of the season.
  • Casey Fien cleared waivers and the Tigers outrighted him to Triple A, according to the team (via Twitter). Detroit designated Fien for assignment last weekend.
  • Like Fien, Scott Moore cleared waivers and headed to Triple A, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The O's designated Moore for assignment last week.
  • And another recent DFA, Justin Miller, was outrighted to Triple A Albuquerque, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (via Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays have considered Kelly Johnson, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Aaron Hill recently told the Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair that he would play third if the Jays asked him to, so Johnson could theoretically play second in Toronto. Seems like a longshot to me.
  • Kyle Farnsworth is available to manager Ned Yost (and GMs around the league) after leaving yesterday's game with a hamstring cramp, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter).
  • Trevor Hoffman can veto deals to 25 MLB teams, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. The all-time saves leader and his $7.5MM salary would likely clear waivers, so interested teams will probably be able to pursue him in August.
  • One player told Morosi that he'd be "shocked" if the Brewers trade Prince Fielder this week.
  • Mike Axisa counts down the Yankees' top five trade chips at River Ave. Blues.
  • The Dodgers won't discuss prospect Dee Gordon with other teams, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

Dodgers Designate Justin Miller For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated Justin Miller for assignment to clear a spot on their roster for Kenley Jansen, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Miller, who signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers over the winter, had been pitching out of the bullpen since taking Ramon Ortiz's place on the roster in May. Although Miller's numbers for Los Angeles were respectable, including a 4.44 ERA and 11.1 K/9, the club has to be excited to see what Jansen can do at the major league level. The 22-year-old has posted a 2.22 ERA and 15.4 K/9 in 45 minor league appearances since being converted from catcher last season.

Justin Miller May Be Dodgers’ Odd Man Out

With Vicente Padilla about to return from the DL, Jon Weisman of ESPNLosAngeles.com believes the most likely victim of the roster shuffle will be right-hander Justin Miller.  Weisman raises the possibility that the Dodgers could put another pitcher on the DL with a semi-trumped up injury, but it seems as though the out-of-options Miller could be designated for assignment once Padilla is healthy.

Miller signed a minor league contract with L.A. in December, and has pitched well since joining the Dodgers on May 27.  The righty has a 3.48 ERA and a K-BB ratio of 5.00 in seven appearances, and has been a solid bullpen arm for the Dodgers, Giants and Marlins over the last four seasons; from 2007-2010, Miller's has 163 strikeouts in 175.1 innings and a 3.64 ERA.  There's a good chance that a reliever-starved team like Arizona might put a claim on Miller should the Dodgers indeed designate him.

Dodgers Designate Ramon Ortiz For Assignment

The Dodgers designated Ramon Ortiz for assignment to had to make room for Justin Miller, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (via Twitter). The 37-year-old Ortiz appeared in 16 games since the Dodgers signed him in March. He posted a 6.30 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.

Miller, 32, has yet to appear in the majors this year, but was pitching well at Triple A Albuquerque. He has posted a 2.22 ERA in 18 games with more strikeouts than innings pitched and a respectable rate of 3.0 BB/9.

Dodgers, Justin Miller Agree To Minor League Deal

The Dodgers agreed to a minor league deal with reliever Justin Miller, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.  Hernandez says he'll earn $850K if he makes the big league roster, with another $50K in incentives.

Miller, 32, posted a 3.18 ERA in 56.6 innings this year for the Giants despite striking out 36 and walking 27.  Miller was outrighted in October after undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery. 

Giants Rumors: Lincecum, Sanchez, Penny

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has the goods on the Giants, after speaking with GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy.

  • Technically, Sabean and Bochy's contracts are up at the end of the month.  They don't have commitments for 2010 in hand, yet the expectation is that both will be back.
  • In discussing Tim Lincecum's upcoming arbitration case, Sabean referenced Ryan Howard's record first-time award ($10MM) from February of '08.  Of course, with Howard, the Phillies screwed up by submitting only $7MM.  Sabean wants to file his salary request for Lincecum before discussing a long-term deal, so as to not show his hand early.
  • Closer Brian Wilson is another first-time arbitration-eligible player, and you have to think he'll jump up to $5MM+.
  • The Giants would like to restructure Freddy Sanchez's $8.1MM option into a two-year deal, but seem confident in his return.  Baggarly says they even consider the option as a fallback if the restructuring fails.  I can't see Sanchez getting $8.1MM on the open market.
  • A Brad Penny return appears unlikely.  If he sticks to the NL and the West Coast he'll be down to the Padres pretty much.  It'd also be surprising to see the Giants re-sign catcher Bengie Molina, who wants a two-year deal worth more than $6MM annually.
  • Sabean wouldn't rule out trading a pitcher for a bat, but said he'd agonize over such a decision.
  • Brandon Medders, Justin Miller, and Ryan Garko are non-tender candidates.  The Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner call-ups locked up two 40-man roster spots.
  • Quoting Baggarly: Sabean justified the $18.5 million contract he gave [Edgar Renteria] last winter by saying they needed a veteran shortstop."