Kevin Towers Rumors
On this day back in 2003, the Tigers became the first team in baseball history to have four pitchers make their Major League debut in the same game. The starter was 20-year-old Jeremy Bonderman, who gave way to 22-year-old Wil Ledezma, 25-year-old Chris Spurling, and 23-year-old Matt Roney before "veteran" closer Matt Anderson entered the game. Anderson was just 25-years-old at the time, but the first overall pick of the 1997 draft already had 210 big league appearances to his name.
The Tigers went on the finish the season 43-119, and were rewarded by selecting Justin Verlander with the second overall pick the following season. Here's this week's set of links from around the web...
- A Cubbies Consilience throws some kudos Jim Hendry's way for his offseason.
- Camden Crazies calls the O's trade for Julio Lugo an okay one.
- The Kept Faith finds some players Kevin Towers passed on while he was the Padres' GM.
- 1 Blue Jays Way remembers Roy Halladay's time in Toronto.
- Meanwhile, Around The BasePath looks at some expectations for Halladay's first year in Philadelphia.
- Drunk Jays Fans wonders why Lyle Overbay was named the team's every day first baseman when he can't hit lefties.
- Lookout Landing compares Eric Byrnes and Ryan Langerhans with regards to the Mariners' spare outfielder's job.
- Bronx Bombers Beat examines the Yankees' plan for Phil Hughes.
- More Hardball lists the players who will begin the season on the disabled list.
- Capitol Avenue Club rounds out the Braves' roster.
- Crashburn Alley looks at the Phillies' winners and losers from Spring Training.
Leftover links for Tuesday evening....
- Perhaps we shouldn't count on the Mike Lowell rumor mill immediately roaring back to life. ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes says (via Twitter) that scouts don't feel Lowell is moving very well in spring action. Of course, as Edes points out in a second tweet, the 36-year-old doesn't move overly well even when he's healthy.
- Greg Cote of the Miami Herald thinks Lowell's limited mobility isn't as big a concern as long as he's playing first base, and would like to see the Marlins go after him.
- The Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League released Tomo Ohka, tweets NPB Tracker. The Tigers had just signed the Japanese right-hander last week.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer assesses the progress of the players the Indians acquired in last season's Cliff Lee trade, focusing on Jason Donald.
- The Yankees have finally made their hiring of Kevin Towers official, naming him a Special Assignment Scout, per a team press release. It was first reported back in January that Towers would be joining New York's staff.
- Yesterday, we heard that the Mariners still have interest in Jarrod Washburn, but John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse tweets that the left-hander isn't close to signing yet with Seattle or anyone else.
- The Astros, not the Red Sox, signed minor-leaguer and former Mariners' first round pick, Michael Garciaparra, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- If he were a GM tasked with signing either himself and Vladimir Guerrero, Marlon Byrd would make the same choice the Rangers did, according to ESPNDallas' Richard Durrett. Byrd says that before he signed with the Cubs, he had some preliminary discussions with Texas, adding that the Rangers' decision to sign Vladdy was a "no brainer."
Links for Tuesday...
- I'm excited to be joining an online league in Fanball's National Fantasy Baseball Championship; take a look at all the events they have planned. My NFBC league drafts on March 28th.
- David Weathers hasn't ruled out pitching in 2010, according to Gregg Dewalt of The Times Daily. Weathers would consider pitching for a contender, but said, "If no one calls in June or July, it's been a good ride."
- Tom Krasovic examines Kevin Towers' strengths and weaknesses as a GM, and says he could see Towers with the Cubs down the line. Click here to download Brendan Bianowicz's Excel spreadsheet chronicling Towers' moves.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Yankees made a series of attempts to acquire Twins center fielder Denard Span in July of last year.
- Rich Harden scoffs at negative reports about his early Spring Training velocity, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He apparently looked better Monday.
- Just a reminder that MLBTR has a mobile site: http://www.mlbtraderumors.mobi.
- Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune wonders if the Twins will be forced to trade Joe Mauer if they're unable to sign him to an extension. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Kelly Thesier says any talk about a trade involving the reigning AL MVP is premature..
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson interviewed Stephen Strasburg, and they discussed everything from how he's getting used to pitching every five days to how he deals with all attention.
- Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse says Kevin Towers will be announced as a member of the Yankees' front office on Tuesday.
- Free agent Jarrod Washburn told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports "the odds are probably not great" of him returning to Seattle this year. Morosi's article explores the Mariners' question marks this year. Click here for MLBTR's Offseason In Review of the club.
- The Yankees have spent the most time scouting Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, says George King of the New York Post. The recently-unblocked 19-year-old is drawing interest from the Angels, Blue Jays, and Cubs.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the Indians should keep closer Kerry Wood, and explore their long shot at contending in the AL Central.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark talked to impending free agents Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth about working alongside their possible future replacements, Desmond Jennings and Domonic Brown.
- Marlins pitcher Hayden Penn has a relaxed attitude this time toward being out of options and on the roster bubble, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Check out MLBTR's full list of out of options players here.
The Yankees will announce the hiring of former Padres GM Kevin Towers before spring, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. ESPN's Buster Olney had been predicting this since October.
Towers planned to meet with the Yankees, Mets, Mariners, and Red Sox during the Winter Meetings, reported MLB.com's Corey Brock. Towers later told Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he wanted to see how an American League team was put together. Click here to download Towers' Padres trade history, compiled by Brendan Bianowicz.
Today Brendan Bianowicz updates the GM Trade History series for the NL West. You can download the info-packed Excel spreadsheets below.
- Arizona Diamondbacks - Josh Byrnes
- Colorado Rockies - Dan O'Dowd
- Los Angeles Dodgers - Ned Colletti
- San Diego Padres - Kevin Towers and Jed Hoyer
- San Francisco Giants - Brian Sabean
Some Saturday morning links...
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post Dispatch says the Cardinals blew it by telling the fans and media that they'd make an aggressive attempt to re-sign Matt Holliday. How could they have blown it when there's still a chance he could come back?
- Both David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News and Scott Lauber of The News Journal looked at the Phillies' long-term payroll now that Placido Polanco is on board for the next three years.
- The Mets are among the teams on Jason Marquis' wish list, writes Ben Shpigel of The NY Times, and the team has reciprocated that interest. Shpigel adds that the Mets are trying to find a "sturdy starter" from a group that includes Marquis, Joel Pineiro, and Randy Wolf.
- The Rays have a week to decide whether they'll tender a contract to Dioner Navarro, and executive vice president Andrew Friedman "indicated this week he might need every hour until that deadline to make a decision," according to Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune.
- In a highly recommended feature by Tim Sullivan of The San Diego Union Tribune, former Padres' GM Kevin Towers indicated that he'd like to learn more about the AL, saying "I’d like to see how they do business, how you put an American League team together."
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News says that the Tigers got nothing in return for Placido Polanco, but they could have if he hadn't played so well in the second half.
- With Chone Figgins on the verge of going to Seattle, the Angels may finally give Brandon Wood a chance to play, writes Bill Shaikin of The LA Times.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes says that if Terry Francona has his way, Mike Lowell won't be moving to first. Lowell said he wouldn't rule out a move across the diamond earlier this week.
- The Orioles have been downplaying the posssibility of any major moves during the Winter Meetings, according to The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck.
Links for Friday, as team execs and media folk pack their bags for Monday's Winter Meetings in Indianapolis...
- The Brewers signed Trent Oeltjen to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Oeltjen, 27 in February, hit .303/.362/.500 in his third Triple A tour, playing the outfield corners.
- Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash spells out why his team won't be acquiring Roy Halladay, talking to McCalvy.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets six minor league free agents signed by the Marlins, including Jesse Foppert, Vinny Rottino, and Hector Luna.
- The Pirates expressed "mild interest" in free agent pitcher Clay Hensley, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hensley, 30, spent the year at Triple A in the Astros and Marlins organizations, posting a 3.56 ERA in 124 innings.
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post feels there's "still a good chance [Ross] Gload returns [to the Marlins] with a two-year deal."
- Darren Dreifort's five-year, $55MM deal tops Jeff Passan's list of the ten worst contracts of the 2000s for Yahoo.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues explains why the Yankees probably won't sign Rafael Soriano.
- In his Winter Meetings preview for AOL FanHouse, Ed Price says there was some discussion about a Tigers-Diamondbacks trade involving Edwin Jackson and Max Scherzer.
- ESPN's Buster Olney talked to rival executives who say the Tigers have not aggressively shopped Curtis Granderson.
- Olney doesn't think the Mariners will pay up for Jason Bay. He believes the Red Sox are "controlling the market" for Bay and Matt Holliday.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals are "increasingly weighing spreading what it would cost to retain Holliday over several players." Bernie Miklasz of the P-D feels the Cards are "enacting their exit strategy from the Holliday sweepstakes." I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals make their best offer soon - let's say $110MM over six years - and entirely move on if Scott Boras rejects it.
- SI's Jon Heyman tweets that Nick Johnson is "drawing interest from the Giants, maybe Braves, and a half-dozen more."
- MLB.com's Corey Brock talked to former Padres GM Kevin Towers, who will meet with the Mets, Yankees, Mariners, and Red Sox at the Winter Meetings.
- ESPN's Keith Law isn't impressed with the Phillies' Placido Polanco signing. My initial impression upon hearing about the signing is that no other team would've valued Polanco that highly.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets that other teams have been more aggressive on Jamey Carroll than the Marlins. Other Carroll suitors include the Rockies, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, A's, Rangers, Pirates, Reds and Indians.
Links for Saturday...
- Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe thinks the Red Sox made a big mistake by letting Alex Gonzalez go to Toronto. I can't say I'd be too upset if my team let a guy with a 78 career OPS+ go, no matter how good his defense was.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes writes that even if the Red Sox eat a big chunk of Mike Lowell's contract, they'll still have trouble trading him because of all the third base options on the free agent market.
- Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wrote about all of the flexibility Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik has going into the winter meetings.
- Meanwhile, Larry Stone at The Seattle Times wouldn't be surprised to see Kevin Towers end up with the Mariners because of his relationship with Zduriencik.
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News guesses that the Tigers will offer arbitration to Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney, and Brandon Lyon before Tuesday's midnight deadline. Polanco is a Type-A free agent, Rodney and Lyon are both Type-B's.
- The sale is complete and the Ricketts family has assumed control of the Cubs, according to David Roeder of The Chicago Sun Times.
- The deadline for the sale of another team, the Rangers, passed more than a week ago, but owner Tom Hicks hasn't indicated what happened, or how many groups actually made a pitch, according to Barry Shlachter of The Star Telegram.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along the news that Jose Contreras has one less suitor in Japan. Meanwhile, Ryo Shinkawa writes that Hiroshima is looking into signing Giancarlo Alvarado, who pitched with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate last season, posting a 3.49 ERA.
- The best bet for the Red Sox to fill their need at shortstop might be to make a trade, says Tyler Hissey of MVN.com. Hissey suggests that Reid Brignac, Stephen Drew, and Yunel Escobar could be had via trade, but would cost the BoSox a pretty penny.
- Steve Melewski of MASN Sports says that the Orioles can find their next closer in-house. Recently, we learned that the O's are one of eight teams interested in free agent Billy Wagner.
Links for Monday...
- Former GM Kevin Towers will attend the Winter Meetings and meet with three or four teams about possible employment, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Towers prefers the American League.
- Randy Johnson is undecided about pitching in 2010, say Rosenthal and Morosi.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tells readers in his latest mailbag that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Braves trade Jordan Schafer.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues speculates on what the Yankees would have to give up for Josh Johnson.
- ESPN's Buster Olney compares a potential Joe Mauer extension to Todd Helton's contract, in that it'd make up such a large percentage of the Twins' payroll.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discovered that a handful of teams have avoided four-year commitments to pitchers in recent years.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos talked to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports about the team's strategy to beef up scouting.
- For someone who hasn't been paying attention to the hot stove, Bronson Arroyo has a reasonable take on the Reds' direction and recent Scott Rolen/Ramon Hernandez commitments (MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reporting).
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick discusses the role of advanced defensive metrics in player acquisitions.
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone notes that a very similar report surfaced in three different media outlets within a span of a few hours.