Kris Benson Rumors
Gregg Clifton, the agent for right-hander Kris Benson, tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Benson is recovered from the arm injuries that has plagued him for the last three years and should be signed "within the next few weeks." Benson has had throwing sessions for two clubs, though Clifton didn't identify who the two interested teams were.
Benson spent the 2007 season recovering from rotator cuff surgery on his throwing arm. He spent 2008 pitching in the Phillies' minor league system (making it as high as Triple-A) and then joined the Rangers in 2009. The veteran righty battled elbow tendinitis and pitched in just eight games for Texas last season, posting an 8.46 ERA.
Even at full strength, don't expect a whole lot from Benson; his career ERA+ is exactly 100 and his last standout season came all the way back in 2000 (3.85 ERA, 2.14 K/BB ratio). Morosi speculates that Benson could be a target for teams who missed out on Ben Sheets, naming the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals and Reds as possible suitors. Wherever Benson goes, look for him to sign a minor-league contract that would top out at around $1MM including incentives.
Some more links for the afternoon...
- Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox should have signed Mark Teixeira last offseason when they had the chance, since he's such a skilled hitter.
- Massarotti counts down the five most hopeless franchises in baseball. His top three all select within the first four picks next hour, so there could be hope on the way.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says there's an excellent chance Erik Bedard will be a Type A free agent after this season. This works for the Mariners, as they'll be in a position to demand more for Bedard in a trade or, if they keep him, they can expect better compensation picks.
- Baseball America has the latest minor league transactions. Tim Raines Jr. was picked up by the Royals.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that Kris Benson cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A to clear roster space for the recently-acquired Jason Grilli.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up with plenty of rumors:
- The Rangers think they can trade Frank Catalanotto if they pick up a considerable portion of the $6MM he's owed or if they accept a similar sized contract in return. They just aren't sure it's worth making room for Andruw Jones, who's making progress with his swing.
- Ian Stewart's emergence means Jeff Baker's become expendable for the Rockies.
- Rosenthal doesn't expect the A's to sign a free agent starter even though Justin Duchscherer needs surgery and will likely miss six weeks. Instead Rosenthal suggests the A's could trade for Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann, both of whom are out of options.
- The A's can't afford Mark Mulder.
- Kris Benson could claim a spot in the Texas rotation and Rosenthal wouldn't be surprised to see Neftali Feliz or Derek Holland there before the All-Star break.
- They signed Cesar Izturis for now, but the Orioles hope to find a long-term solution at short.
SATURDAY, 10:56am: According to Jon Heyman of SI.com Benson signed with the Rangers.
FRIDAY: According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are expected to sign righty Kris Benson to a minor league deal soon. Benson, 34, had rotator cuff surgery in March of '07 and wasn't able to make it back to the bigs last year.
4:13pm: The Rangers' minor league deal with Guardado is official, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
TUESDAY, 7:48am: Wilson says Guardado "has agreed to return to the Rangers on a non-roster deal." Final details remain, and the deal could be worth up to $3MM.
MONDAY, 5:21pm: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spoke with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who confirmed that a deal could be finalized for Guardado "within the next few days."
2:05pm: According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are close to a deal to bring lefty reliever Eddie Guardado back to Texas. It may be completed in the next few days. Adding Guardado could help soften the blow of losing Joaquin Benoit to rotator cuff surgery.
Sullivan adds that the Rangers continue to look for pitching help beyond Guardado, with names like Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Chad Cordero in the mix.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal...
- The Mariners and Giants are interested in Bobby Abreu, if the price is right. Yesterday Buster Olney suggested that Abreu is willing to take a one-year deal. The A's and Nationals have other targets, while the Mets, White Sox, and Braves are seen as long shots.
- Rosenthal examines the nuances of Jon Garland's December 7th decision to reject arbitration, saying that it wasn't an obvious mistake at the time.
- Tom Glavine's agent Gregg Clifton did not attend yesterday's meeting with Frank Wren; it was a health update and not a contract negotiation. Rosenthal says Glavine figures to seek a Freddy Garcia-like deal. The Braves need to save money to add an outfielder, with Nick Swisher atop their list. The Yankees' goal in moving Swisher or Xavier Nady would be to recoup prospects.
- The Brewers are not interested in projects such as Kris Benson, Jason Jennings, Mark Redman, and Victor Zambrano. They're just lukewarm on Mark Mulder. Benson is drawing interest from the Dodgers, Rangers, and Cardinals; one exec reviewed his audition as "so-so."
- Rosenthal doesn't seem to buy the idea that Jason Varitek and Scott Boras feared the Red Sox could cut him if he accepted arbitration, noting that Boras client Travis Lee was advised to accept years ago.
- The Braves have reservations about re-signing Andruw Jones, who could be a Spring Training cut.
- The A's deal for Russ Springer will be worth more than $3MM plus incentives. They're also eyeing Brian Shouse and Andrew Sisco as possible pen additions. Sisco, recovering from Tommy John, has also auditioned for the Rockies and Giants.
The latest on the Rockies from Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post...
- It seemed the Rockies had satisfied their need for lefthanded relievers by signing Alan Embree and Glendon Rusch. However, Renck says they may renew interest in Joe Beimel if the price is right. I'm not sure what Beimel is asking for, but two years and $5MM seems appropriate (in hindsight, the Yankees may have overpaid for Damaso Marte at three years, $12MM).
- Josh Fogg still has an "open invitation" to sign a minor league deal to return to Colorado. Fogg signed with the Reds on February 21st last year; you have to imagine he'd like to resolve his situation more quickly and have a normal Spring Training.
- The Rockies aren't interested in Kris Benson, though they did attend his Saturday workout.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The Pirates are pursuing free-agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez, with their most recent discussion having occurred late last week.
He adds that two other clubs are also pursuing Gonzalez for a fourth outfielder type role. Kovacevic says the Bucs are eyeing other free agent outfielders as well. One player not on their radar is Kris Benson.
Free agent right-hander Kris Benson worked out Saturday for nine teams and demonstrated that he should be ready to compete for a job in Spring Training, MLB.com reports.
Agent Gregg Clifton said the throwing session "went well, and he showed teams that he's ahead of schedule in getting ready for the '09 season."
The article only lists the Rockies as being there, though it does note that nine teams were in attendance. This post lists the Dodgers, Rangers, Padres, Diamondbacks, Indians and Cardinals as teams that planned to attend.
Benson, 34, missed the 2007 season because of surgery on his right shoulder. He spent last season in the minors with the Phillies. He is 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA in 195 career starts.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, free agent starter Josh Fogg has an invitation to rejoin the Rockies on a deal similar to Matt Belisle's minor league pact. Fogg would face significant competition for a job with the big league club, so he's waiting to see if anything better surfaces. Renck notes that Belisle has an April out clause, which is not something the Rockies hand out lightly.
Renck adds that the Rox will watch Kris Benson throw Saturday but are unlikely to sign him. Ken Rosenthal said yesterday the Dodgers, Rangers, Padres, and D'Backs will also be in attendance. The Indians and Cardinals too, says Thomas Harding.