Kelvim Escobar Rumors
The Brewers have released Kelvim Escobar, who was attempting a comeback after pitching in just one Major League game since 2007, reports Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The decision was made after a couple days of talks between the Brewers and Escobar's agent to give the 36-year-old right-hander his release.
"If we waited until the end, it's not necessarily fair to him if we don't think he's going to make our team," said manager Ron Roenicke, who was a coach with the Angels during Escobar's tenure there. "This allows him to go out a little earlier to try to hook on with somebody, and to try and get a better shot at making a club. It's tough for us because of the way we feel about him, the way I feel about him."
The move comes one week after Escobar made his only Spring Training appearance lasting just two-thirds of an inning before experiencing control problems resulting from weakness in his throwing hand. Escobar, who was diagnosed with a pinched nerve and had since thrown only one bullpen session, admitted this injury made it difficult to make the Brewers, but will continue with his comeback.
"My hand, that setback, didn't help. Bad timing. I'm not on the 40-man roster. That made things harder," Escobar said. "I'm not going to give up. I'm going to continue to work hard and see where my arm is. I have to be honest with myself -- (teams) want to see me pitching. They don't want to take a risk. The MRI of my shoulder doesn't look too good, so I have to pitch and show teams that I'm capable of doing it again."
Aside from similar modest batting averages, you could hardly find two more different players than Harmon Killebrew and Luis Aparicio but it was on this day in 1984 that both AL Central greats were inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Killebrew slugged 573 homers in his career and was a classic three-true-outcomes power hitter, while Aparicio hit just .262/.311/.343 in his career but made it Cooperstown on the strength of his defense (nine Gold Gloves) and speed, leading the league in steals nine times and finishing with 506 stolen bases in his career.
Here are some more notes from around the AL Central...
- The Indians were one of the teams interested in Kelvim Escobar before the right-hander signed a minor league deal with the Brewers earlier today, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
- Indians chairman and CEO Paul Dolan has been officially named as the club's control person by Major League Baseball's owners, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Dolan is now officially the Tribe's person in charge of the team's operations and its adherence to league rules.
- The White Sox are looking to add a reliever and a left-handed hitter before the season starts, writes ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine as part of an online chat with fans that also covers a number of Cubs-related topics.
- In response to another fan question, Levine doesn't think the White Sox have any interest in Kyle Lohse.
- Rick Porcello's name has surfaced in many trade rumors since the Tigers signed Anibal Sanchez, but Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press doesn't think the Tigers should move either Porcello or Drew Smyly since the team needs the pitching depth.
We’ll track the day’s minor moves here...
- The Brewers announced they have signed right-hander Kelvim Escobar to a minor league deal. Escobar turns 37 in April and has appeared in just one Major League game since 2007 (a five-inning start with the Angels in 2009) due to various arm injuries but has pitched well in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. Escobar posted a 4.15 ERA in 411 Major League games with the Blue Jays and Angels between 1997 and 2009.
- The Rays have signed catcher Craig Albernaz, outfielder Jason Bourgeois and right-hander J.D. Martin to minor league contracts with invites to Major League Spring Training camp, the club announced.
- Nate Samson signed a minor league deal with the Reds, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The 25-year-old infielder spent the 2012 season in the upper minors of the Cubs' system, posting a .273/.320/.346 batting line in 283 plate appearances.
- The Dodgers signed right-hander Matt Palmer to a minor league deal, according to the transactions page at CBSSports.com. Palmer, 33, appeared in three games for the Padres this past season, but spent most of the year at Triple-A, posting a 5.66 ERA in 98 2/3 innings.
- The NC Dinos are in the final stages of signing right-hander Eric Hacker, the KBO expansion team announced (via Dan Kurtz of myKBO.net). Hacker, who joins a staff including Adam Wilk and Charlie Shirek, appeared in four games for the 2012 Giants and has experience in two other MLB seasons.
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
A trio of venezolanos try to claw their way back to la gran carpa. Yes, that literally translates to "the big carp," but it also means "the big top." Links are in Spanish...
- Melvin Mora will fly to the states this weekend to begin negotiations with the Giants and Reds, the 40-year-old utilityman told Jonathan Costa Hernández at Líder en Deportes. Mora said his agent received offers from both teams last week, but he didn't yet know the terms. "I haven't had much time for that, due to the kids," Mora said, in reference to his 11-year-old quintuplets.
- After managing just five innings over the last five years, Kelvim Escobar says he is mounting what will be his final attempt at a comeback. "In two months I'll know where I'm at and the progress of my shoulder," the 36-year-old told Meridiano Television in Venezuela. He said his agent has been contacted by several teams, but they will wait until his shoulder is consistently healthy before attempting to arrange a tryout. In 2009, the Mets signed Escobar to an incentive-laden one year deal, but continued shoulder problems kept him from ever taking the mound.
- Francisco Cervelli has heard that two teams are interested in obtaining him from the Yankees, but the team doesn't want to trade him, the catcher told Wilmer Reina at La Verdad. The Yankees have reportedly come close to trading Cervelli several times over the last two seasons, but for the moment he is laboring at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and says his singular focus is on improving his offensive output enough for another callup. "I don't know anything about the Major Leagues, not even from the news," he said. "Now I only worry about working at my job and developing as a player."
Scott Baker had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday according to LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune. He was supposed to have surgery on his flexor tendon, but Dr. David Altchek found damage to the ligament and repaired it. The Twins hold a $9.25MM club option for Baker next season, and it seems unlikely that they'll pick it up.
Here's some news from around the league, as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- Mike Puma of The New York Post reports (on Sulia) that Kelvim Escobar will travel to the U.S. and audition for teams next month. The 36-year-old right-hander has thrown just five big league innings since 2007 due to major shoulder issues.
- Andy Parrino has made two straight starts at second base for the Padres, and Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune speculates that Orlando Hudson could be released if his play doesn't improve. The 34-year-old Hudson is hitting .114/.139/.171 in the early going and is owed $7.25MM between his salary and the buyout of his 2013 option.
- Peter O'Malley and his family are "thinking about" trying to purchase the Padres, reports Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. The O'Malley family owned the Dodgers from 1945-1997 and unsuccessfully tried to repurchase the team from Frank McCourt.
- Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com spoke to incoming Dodgers president Stan Kasten, who said the new ownership group has more money coming after buying the team for $2.15 billion.
- Matthew Futterman of The Wall Street Journal says contract extensions for young players are starting to take a bite out of free agency. Check out our Extension Tracker for a list of such deals.
- The Cubs are enjoying being free from Carlos Zambrano, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun-Times.
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- “Like I’ve always said, there is one person responsible for making those decisions, and one person accountable for those results,” said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts to reporters (including Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune) when asked about the possibility of signing a player to a mammoth contract. “So if [Theo Epstein] believes strongly that’s what’s in the best interests of the team, then he’s got my support.” Earlier today we heard that the Cubs are pursuing both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
- Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the Braves will offer Brian McCann a long-term contract extension soon. The six-time All-Star will make $11.5MM in 2012 and the team holds a $12MM club option for 2013, so there's no urgency to get a deal done at the moment.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is currently in the Dominican Republic scouting Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. On Monday we heard that Washington views Cespedes as an alternative to Fielder.
- The Mariners have interest in Fielder, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says (on Twitter) that they would make Justin Smoak available in a trade if they manage to sign the free agent slugger.
- Before he agreed to join the Royals, the Red Sox expressed interest in Jonathan Broxton according to Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald. Broxton wanted to sign before the winter meetings, and Lauber's source said that was “a little quicker than [the Sox] were comfortable with."
- There is no more than a "10 percent" chance that Rays GM Andrew Friedman could be convinced to take the Astros GM job according to one executive that spoke to Friedman and ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman offered a “would not say" to George A. King III of The New York Post when asked if he has any interest in Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions posted Nakajima on Monday.
- Kelvim Escobar hopes to pitch in winter ball next month, agent Peter Greenberg told Mike Puma of The New York Post (Twitter link). The 35-year-old righty hopes to get back to MLB despite having pitched in just one game since 2007.
Despite having more shoulder surgeries (two) than pitching appearances (one) since 2007, Kelvim Escobar will attempt a comeback as a reliever according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The right-hander hopes to throw for teams in March.
Escobar, 35 in April, has battled major shoulder injuries over the last three seasons, missing all of 2008 and 2010 while making one subpar start with the Angels in the middle of 2009. The Mets signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.25MM last spring, but he didn't even make it out of Spring Training healthy.
When healthy, Escobar has been very effective, posting a 3.60 ERA in 653 innings from 2004 through 2007, striking out 7.7 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.8 batters per nine unintentionally. As a reliever, he's held batters to a .243/.329/.385 batting line with 9.8 K/9 in 247 1/3 career innings, but that was a long, long time ago.
Links for Monday, as Joe Blanton makes his 2010 debut...
- Washington GM Mike Rizzo scouted Bryce Harper in person for the first time, and he and scouting director Kris Kline came away confident in Harper's makeup, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com takes an in-depth look at the Pirates' arms throughout the organization.
- The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales writes that GM Ken Williams is exercising patience when it comes to trading, despite the White Sox' slow start.
- Kelvim Escobar will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in the front of his right shoulder, tweets MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Escobar signed a one-year deal with the Mets this winter for $1.25MM.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at the pitchers the Yankees were considering over Javier Vazquez, noting that they've all had concerns as well. The Yankees will delay Vazquez's sixth start until a week from today against the Tigers. John Harper of the New York Daily News wonders if the Yanks should ship Vazquez to the Mets.
- Joe Posnanski questions the Royals' decision to demote Alex Gordon. Gordon will play left field and first base in the minors, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out the Tigers' collection of young talent.
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times wonders what's happened to George Sherrill. The 33-year-old lefty has allowed 12 hits and 11 walks in nine innings so far. Given his $4.5MM salary this year, Sherrill is a prime candidate to be non-tendered after the season.
- RotoAuthority notes that while Vazquez and Ben Sheets have been brutal so far, they could still have fantasy value this year.
A rumor by any other name smells just as sweet. Links are in Spanish...
- Pedro Martinez has largely been linked in rumors to National League teams this winter, but Vladimir Guerrero thought recently his former Expo teammate might join him in Arlington. "Early in March, when I reported to Texas' spring training, I heard a fair amount about the possibility that Pedro was going to sign here, but it didn't happen," Guerrero told Juan Mercado at the Dominican paper El Dia. Martinez showed last year he wasn't afraid to pitch the stretch run in a hitter's park, as National League batters actually fared significantly better against Martinez on the road (.322/.362/.517 in 20 IP) than at Citizens Bank Ball Park (.225/.274/.701 in 24 IP) during his two months with the Phillies.
- The flurry of activity this offseason in regard to Cuban prospects is likely "the tip of the iceberg," Rangers scout Juan Alvarez tells the Nuevo Herald's Jorge Ebro. The latest signings from the island, of pitchers Reinier Roibal by the Giants and Sergio Espinosa by the Rays, were relatively low on fanfare, but Ebro quotes a source saying interest is quickly heating up for 27-year-old Cuban right-hander Yuniesky Maya. Maya has been linked this winter primarily to the Red Sox, who reportedly view him as a starter.
- In an interview with the Venezuelan paper El Tiempo, Max Ramirez clarifies recent reports that he is focusing on first base as his quickest route to the Rangers' major league roster. While he admits to taking some grounders, "They still consider me as a catcher and I think that's where I have more opportunities now," Ramirez says. Earlier this week the 25-year-old's name popped up once again as a possible trade chip for Mike Lowell, but that window likely closed for the time being when the Rangers claimed Ryan Garko off waivers yesterday. Nevertheless, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Gil LeBreton recently noted, Ramirez is the odd man out at any position in Texas, especially after the team acquired catcher Matt Treanor from the Brewers.
- Kelvim Escobar is throwing again and will stay in extended spring training for the Mets, but the team isn't counting on having him in the bullpen any time soon. A day before his previously stated April 1 deadline to decide whether to sit out 2010, Escobar told Lider en Deportes' Carlos Valmore Rodriguez that neither he nor the team are throwing up their hands on his one year, $1.25MM contract. Escobar says of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel, "They always tell me not to worry, they don't want me in April or May, because that's not when you win the World Series. (They tell me) they need me for a long time, to take my time and not rush myself, to be patient about things."