Kevin Mench Rumors
A 25 homer hitter, a former first rounder and a 14-year veteran signed this week. Baseball America's Matt Eddy has the details on those transactions and more. Here are some highlights from January 25th-31st:
- The Nationals signed Kevin Mench. The 32-year-old didn't play in the majors last year, but he hit 25 homers as recently as 2005. He has a career .900 OPS against lefties.
- The Blue Jays signed Wade Townsend. The Rays released the 2005 first rounder last summer, but the Jays are giving him a chance.
- The Reds signed Miguel Cairo. The 14-year-veteran posted a .705 OPS for the Phillies last year in 47 plate appearances.
- The White Sox signed Daniel Cabrera. The 6'7'' right-hander led the American League in walks and earned runs allowed when he logged over 200 innings for the Orioles in 2007. He split time with the D'Backs and Nationals last year, struggling with both clubs.
- The Dodgers signed Timo Perez out of the Can-Am League. The 34-year-old surfaced as a rookie for the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series.
- The Phillies signed Freddy Guzman.
- The Mets signed Val Pascucci, who has 193 minor league homers to his name.
MLBTR reported this was going to happen, and now it has. Kevin Mench will be playing for the Hanshin Tigers in 2009.
The deal is for one year and is worth $1.8MM. Mench, 30, played in the outfield for the Blue Jays last season. He hit .243/.321/.357 in 131 plate appearances for Toronto.
Links for Wednesday...
- Common misconception Joe and I keep running into: signing one of the 15 Type A free agents who were offered arbitration will only cost the signing team one draft pick. The player's old team also gets a second pick, but it doesn't come from the new team. It's just squeezed into the supplemental round. Check out a deeper explanation here.
- Nuggets from a Frank Coonelly chat: he expects the Pirates to make room on the 40-man roster for a potential Rule 5 addition, and they'd still like to re-sign Doug Mientkiewicz.
- Pirates pitcher Jason Davis looks like a non-tender candidate.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't have Delmon Young in his preferred starting outfield.
- The Cubs signed pitcher Chad Fox to a minor league deal.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent Brian Goldberg says he's fine with DHing but is capable of playing the field. Goldberg thinks Junior can bounce back and have a 30 home run season.
- Click here to listen to free agent reliever Russ Springer talk to The ITD Morning After radio show on 1380 AM. He's gotten calls from teams in both leagues, including "World Series participants." Springer is known to be on the Phillies' radar.
- Recently I talked to Sarah Small of the Daily Illini.
- SI.com's Tom Verducci looks at the supposed shortstop revolution that seems to have petered out.
- Dave Cameron respects the Astros' signing of Mike Hampton.
- Tony Jackson says the Dodgers offered a minor league deal to Juan Castro.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore did a Q&A with fans at MLB.com. His priority is adding right-handed relief help after trading Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez. Also, he says Mark Teahen is "more important to our team today then he was in all of 2008 -- and he was very important to our team in '08."
- McCovey Chronicles is skeptical of all the teams blaming the economy.
- Drunk Jays Fans predicts Kevin Mench's Japan experience.
- Jesse Spector looks at comparable pitchers for C.C. Sabathia.
- Trevor Hoffman may meet with the Mets soon. Also, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon spoke of "addition by subtraction" yesterday.
- East Windup Chronicle disputes a Richard Griffin column.
- The Phillies are still willing to sign Type A free agents who were offered arbitration, such as Raul Ibanez or Juan Cruz.
- Evan Grant's latest Rangers mailbag, always a good read.
- Joe Sheehan discusses various poor arbitration decisions by teams.
- Minor league deals for the Mets: Nelson Figueroa, Adam Bostick, and Rene Rivera. Marty Noble adds Andy Green.
- Rany Jazayerli figures Mark Grudzielanek agreed in advance to reject the Royals' offer of arbitration.
- As usual, ESPN will be all over the Winter Meetings. I'm told they'll be doing daily Baseball Tonight specials and will have a team of seven on the scene in Vegas.
- ESPN's Peter Gammons says the free agent and trade markets are flooded with corner/DH type bats. There will be bargains.
- Bruce Miles thinks Milton Bradley would be a nice match for the Cubs. The biggest issue would be his ability to play right field every day.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Sanspo report (link in Japanese) that Kevin Mench is nearing a one-year, $2MM deal with the Hanshin Tigers. Mench, 31 in January, wasn't going to find that kind of money in the States after hitting .243/.321/.357 in 131 plate appearances for the Blue Jays.
5:44pm: MLB.com's Ken Mandel says the Phillies have Rocco Baldelli, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Kevin Mench on the radar in the event they don't re-sign Burrell. The Phillies have long liked Baldelli, though the Rays hope to talk contract soon. Reds GM Walt Jocketty recently met with Hairston's agent, and feels he made progress. And the Hanshin Tigers hope to lure Mench to Japan.
9:38am: Checkin' in on the Phillies...
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had an informal five-minute talk with Casey Close, who represents Ryan Howard and Joe Blanton.
- Talks have not yet begun with free agents Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer, and Scott Eyre. Conversations will begin soon with Moyer and Eyre.
- Curt Schilling would be open to returning to the Phillies if he pitches next year. Amaro says he hasn't even considered the possibility yet. He would make a nice fifth starter if they can re-sign Moyer.
- The Phillies control setup man Ryan Madson through 2009, but he's represented by Scott Boras. Boras compared Madson to Mariano Rivera circa 1996, so don't look for an affordable long-term deal.
- Amaro talked to at least 27 other GMs at the meetings.
- No word yet from the Philly writers on Andrew Baggarly's rumor that the Phils will listen on Jimmy Rollins.
Links and tidbits for Wednesday. Remember to check back on this post for updates!
- Dave Cameron notes that the Elias rankings screwed over Damaso Marte by making him a Type A. See also: Doug Brocail, Bob Howry, Darren Oliver.
- Remember to check out the Previous Entries link at the bottom of the website, as stories get buried pretty quickly in times like these.
- Japanese outfielder Saburo Ohmura (link in Japanese) would be fine with a minor league deal.
- Roch Kubatko has info on what it might take to trade for Khalil Greene or Jack Wilson.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly confirmed the team's interest in Junichi Tazawa. For what it's worth, Coonelly wouldn't rule out Derek Lowe when asked.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times offers his thoughts on the rumor mill.
- Official Elias rankings for the AL and NL.
- Ballplayers are in for a tax bump under the Obama administration. They'll manage.
- The Twins are looking for righthanded pop.
- The D'Backs have just $3-5MM budgeted for Randy Johnson.
- The Hanshin Tigers are eyeing Nelson Cruz, Kevin Mench, and Jose Bautista. Only Mench is a free agent of the three.
- The Rockies are looking for a lefty reliever, according to Troy Renck and Keith Law. How about Jeremy Affeldt again?
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin doesn't like his C.C. Sabathia offer being called window dressing.
3:03pm: The Wilkerson signing is also official now. Both are pretty much no-risk moves.
2:48pm: According to the Newberg Report mailing list, the Blue Jays have acquired outfielder Kevin Mench from the Rangers for cash considerations.
The Brad Wilkerson acquisition may still be in the works, but Mench is a better match as a lefty-masher. He has a career line of .305/.361/.563 against them. It's only been 34 Triple A ABs but Mench is hitting .412/.500/.706 against southpaws this year.
Some nuggets from today...
- The Braves look to be the market for a bat off the bench and according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution it's not likely to be a minor name. O'Brien asked Wren if the Braves "had money to add a player of significant salary to their payroll," throwing out an accompanying figure of $3-4MM, to which Wren said yes "without hesitation." Let's use this to set the stage for what should be an interesting late spring Reed Johnson sweepstakes.
- Evan Grant of the The Dallas Morning News believes that Jason Botts 2 for 5 performance on Saturday versus the Mariners has locked up a roster spot for the young DH/1B. Speculation is that Kevin Mench, who can be optioned, would be sent to the minors and that Nelson Cruz could be designated for assignment.
- MLB.com speculates the ugly spring put up by Aaron Fultz may have played a part in the team's decision to claim Craig Breslow off waivers from the Red Sox. Fultz has put up an 11.88 ERA in just over eight innings and last week he gave up four runs on five hits during a performance against Double-A Akron in an intrasquad game last week.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has all the latest hot stove buzz around the Rangers.
- The Rangers are nearing a deal with Eddie Guardado. Everyday Eddie might be a dark horse to close, if he can flash his late season form again. The Reds decided in October that he was not worth $3.5MM, and declined his option. Guardado is 37.
- The Rangers hope to add some kind of veteran starter. Bartolo Colon and Jason Jennings are still options, but Mark Prior and Freddy Garcia pretty much are not. Sullivan names Mike Maroth, Mark Hendrickson, and Josh Towers as pitchers of interest.
- Mike Cameron could be an option for center field if he'll take a one-year deal. A multiyear demand would also take the Rangers out of the running for Corey Patterson.
- Sullivan notes that the Reds want Edinson Volzquez for Josh Hamilton, a possibility he first mentioned three weeks ago. Jamey Newberg doesn't think Volquez would cut it. Other trade options could include Andre Ethier, Coco Crisp, and Juan Pierre.
- The Rangers will pass on a Kevin Mench reunion.
Rounding up this morning's Odds and Ends, to be updated periodically...
- The Pirates are talking to the Tigers about acquiring Chad Durbin. The arbitration-eligible Durbin doesn't have a place in Detroit's rotation, but could be useful for the Bucs.
- Chien-Ming Wang would like a three or four-year deal with the Yanks.
- The Phillies will pass on Kevin Mench, though they've still got their eye on Nate McLouth. The Royals' disinterest in Mench was noted yesterday.
- We've assumed it for a while, but Jeff Kent playing in 2008 is now official.
- The Twins may have non-tendered Jason Tyner.