Keith Foulke Rumors

Odds & Ends: Foulke, Feliz, Tazawa

A few links to check out on the 30th anniversary of Thurman Munson's death…

  • Mike Ashmore of AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com wrote a feature on Keith Foulke, who is pitching with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Foulke turned down several Triple-A offers before the season, including one from the Nationals, and admits it "probably turned out to be a little bit of a mistake." Foulke is looking to get back to majors as you'd expect, and says "“I’m going to make one last push over the last couple weeks, and we’ll see what happens."
  • The Rangers are ready to call up prospect Neftali Feliz, perhaps in time for tonight's game according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Baseball America rated Feliz the 13th best prospect in the game in early July.
  • Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal wonders if Japanese import Junichi Tazawa could be a candidate to fill the bullpen spot left vacated by Justin Masterson's inclusion in the Victor Martinez trade on Friday. Tazawa was recently bumped to Triple-A and is already on the 40-man roster.
  • Make you sure follow MLBTR on Twitter for the quickest updates possible. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and follow me too. Almost all of my tweets are about baseball, I swears it.

Keith Foulke Attempting Comeback

Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe talked extensively with Keith Foulke, who currently closes for the Newark Bears.  It's an amusing read.

Foulke hopes the independent league stint is a springboard back to the bigs:

"I'm not hoping to lead the Atlantic League in saves.  I hope the phone rings today and it's the Diamondbacks and I can pack my stuff and get out of here.  Any big league city is better than being here.  I'd even play for the Yankees. I still think I have something to offer."

Grossfeld talked to a couple of scouts who gave Foulke mixed reviews, but he does have an 0.75 ERA in 12 innings with seven saves.  Other members of the Bears' pitching staff include Armando Benitez, Bobby Brownlie, Ryan Bukvich, Shawn Chacon, and Aaron Fultz.

You may recall that Foulke walked away from $5MM from the Indians in 2007, choosing to retire due to injuries.  Foulke commented on Curt Schilling, who was paid $8MM last year without pitching for the Red Sox: "He's got to wake up and look himself in the mirror every day."  Grossfeld adds that Foulke hinted the A's did not pitch him in September last year due to his incentive-laden contract.


A’s Rumors: Street, Crosby, Embree

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has a slew of A’s hot stove info for us today.

  • Pending free agents include Mark Ellis, Frank Thomas, Emil Brown, and Keith Foulke.  All except Ellis are certainly goners.
  • Huston Street trade talks may resume with the team that claimed him in August.  All we know is that it was a non-contender.  Street is under team control through 2010, and could earn $5MM next year.
  • The A’s aren’t planning to trade Justin Duchscherer, and are currently just hoping his hip will be OK for ’09.
  • Shortstop Bobby Crosby will earn $5.25MM next year.  He racked up 605 plate appearances this year, the most since his rookie year.  However, he didn’t hit or play acceptable defense.  Interest in him will not be high.
  • Lefty reliever Alan Embree spoke of "positive dialogue" between him and Billy Beane regarding his next year.  Embree posted a 4.96 ERA, so maybe the A’s will decline his $3MM option and re-sign him for less.
  • Kirk Saarloos is a non-tender candidate.


A’s Sign Keith Foulke

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s have brought Keith Foulke back on a one-year deal with incentives.  He gets $700K and can earn an additional $2.5MM in incentives.  Foulke, 35, saved 43 games for the ’03 Athletics before leaving for Boston.  The D’Backs made an offer this year, but I guess the A’s offered more money or a better role.  An impressive 20 teams watched Foulke work out in January, though he was throwing in the 81-84mph range.

Foulke apparently looks like his old self to the A’s after pseudo-retiring and taking ’07 off.  One can definitely see him sliding back into his familiar closer role if Huston Street and Alan Embree are dealt.


Odds and Ends: Foulke, Ordonez, Feliz, Phillips

All sorts of odds and ends to discuss this morning.


Keith Foulke To Return

Last winter, Keith Foulke signed with the Tribe for one year and $5MM.  It was supposed to be a battle of the questionable closers with Joe Borowski.  Instead, Foulke "retired" with an elbow issue while JoBo went on to post what was easily the worst 40 save season in baseball history.  Antonio Alfonseca‘s 2000 is a distant second (he had a 4.24 ERA).

Foulke had a simple elbow procedure in September, and will start throwing in November.  He’s coming back for the 2008 season, with the Red Sox first on his list.  The Indians and D’Backs may also get special consideration.  We first heard about Foulke’s comeback plans back in May.  In my opinion, the changeup artist would be best served in the NL.  He hasn’t seen the league except for a brief stint as a starter for the Giants ten years ago.

Fortunately here at MLBTR we have a fairly comprehensive archive of last winter’s hot stove dealings.  The D’Backs and perhaps four other clubs were in on him.  D-Rays Bay says Tampa Bay was one of them.


Foulke To Attempt Comeback?

We here at MLBTR love to follow players on the comeback trail.  Next on the list is 34 year-old reliever Keith FoulkeNick Cafardo of the Boston Globe quotes Foulke’s agent saying that Foulke will have surgery to have bone chips removed from his elbow and will then consider returning to the game.  Hat tip to RotoWorld on this one.

Foulke retired back in mid-February after feeling some elbow pain.  He abandoned $5MM from the Indians, but could pitch for the Tribe after all.

Cafardo has some even more comeback nuggets for us in the same column – the agent for Hideo Nomo and Mac Suzuki says both hope to return to the bigs.  Nomo hooked on with the White Sox Triple A club last year, but had elbow surgery in June.  This wouldn’t exactly be a comeback as Nomo wanted to return all along.  Suzuki returned to Japan for the 2003-04 seasons, and surfaced with the Iowa Cubs last year. 

See where Nomo and Suzuki rank among the 28 Japanese players in MLB over the span of 1964-2006 by downloading a spreadsheet I created for this post.



Keith Foulke Retires

UPDATE: Foulke retired after feeling some elbow pain this spring.

Word via a Cleveland radio station is that closer candidate Keith Foulke will announce his retirement today.  He was the favorite to pitch the ninth inning, but now it will go to Joe Borowski.

The move is quite a surprise; perhaps he uncovered a serious injury.  He’ll abandon a $5MM salary.  Foulke is 34; he’s got a 3.30 career ERA in 755 innings. 



Keith Foulke Retires

UPDATE: Foulke retired after feeling some elbow pain this spring.

Word via a Cleveland radio station is that closer candidate Keith Foulke will announce his retirement today.  He was the favorite to pitch the ninth inning, but now it will go to Joe Borowski.

The move is quite a surprise; perhaps he uncovered a serious injury.  He’ll abandon a $5MM salary.  Foulke is 34; he’s got a 3.30 career ERA in 755 innings. 



Foulke To Take Physical Today

The long-rumored Keith Foulke signing is passing a hurdle today – Foulke is in Cleveland to take his physical.  It appears to be a one-year deal with a mutual option for ’08.  Foulke will join a cast of shaky veteran additions in the Tribe pen.

Foulke, 34, was hurt mostly by the longball in the last couple of seasons.  Jacobs Field should help in that it suppresses HRs by about 15%.

UPDATE: The News-Herald says Foulke’s 2007 salary would be $3-4MM.