LaTroy Hawkins Rumors

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Monday

As has been previously discussed on MLBTR, Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is tomorrow at 12:00pm ET (11:00am CT). In other words, by tomorrow afternoon teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top)…

  • Rangers manager Ron Washington informed infielder Jeff Baker that he has made the Opening Day roster, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com
  • The Indians announced that Jason Giambi has made the roster but will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain. Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment in order to clear room on the roster.
  • The Mariners announced via press release that they have added Kameron Loe to the 25-man roster and transferred Josh Kinney to the 60-day disabled list to create space.
  • Smith also tweets that Rick Ankiel is expected to make the team as the everyday right fielder, meaning Houston will have to make a 40-man roster move. Ankiel's base salary will be $750K, and his contract includes incentives based on plate appearances.
  • LaTroy Hawkins has been informed that he will make the Mets' 25-man roster, writes ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Mets currently have an open spot on their 40-man roster, meaning no corresponding move would have to be made. Hawkins will earn a base salary of approximately $1MM for making the team.
  • Pedro Feliciano, another Mets non-roster invitee, is still deciding whether or not to opt out of his contract or take his $100K bonus and report to Triple-A, Rubin tweets. Feliciano was told he would not make the Mets' roster yesterday.
  • Red Sox bench hopeful Lyle Overbay says he has "no idea" as to whether or not the team will add him to the 25-man roster, according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber (Twitter link). Overbay has plenty on the line, as he'll earn $1.25MM (with $250K more available via incentives) if he makes the Opening Day roster.

Minor Moves: Blanco, Hawkins, Tanner, Smith

Here are today's minor transactions, with the latest moves at the top of the page…

  • The Phillies re-signed infielder Andres Blanco to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.  The club released Blanco a few weeks ago.  Blanco last played in the majors in 2011 and he has a career .634 OPS in 654 PA over six seasons with the Rangers, Cubs and Royals.  He spent last year with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.
  • The Mets recently released and quickly re-signed right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, Eddy reports. The move was just "procedural," according to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin (via Twitter), as the Mets needed to "correct something in [Hawkins'] contract."  Hawkins, 40, signed his original minor league deal with the Mets in January.
  • The Athletics signed middle infielder Antonio Lamas to a minor league deal, Eddy reports.  John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reported the A's were close to signing Lamas last month.  Lamas, 23, has a .307/.350/.437 line over 1504 PA for Monclova of the Mexican League since 2008.  He was primarily used as a shortstop but he played 100 games at second base in 2012.
  • The Orioles signed left-hander Clayton Tanner to a minor league deal, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports.  Tanner, a third-round pick of the Giants in the 2006 draft, has a career 3.85 ERA, 2.11 K/BB and 6.6 K/9 in 182 games (123 starts) over seven seasons in the Giants' and Reds' minor league systems.  O's executive VP Dan Duquette tells Kubatko that the team scouted Tanner when he pitched for Australia during the World Baseball Classic.
  • The Twins have signed first baseman/outfielder Curt Smith to a minor league deal, Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (Twitter links).  Smith has a 1.008 OPS in 24 ABs for the Netherlands in WBC play, helping lead the Dutch to the tournament semi-finals.  Smith was originally a 39th-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2008 and he has a .301/.341/.461 line in 1703 career minor league PA in the Cards' and Marlins' systems.

NL East Notes: Byrd, Hawkins, Feliciano, Marlins, Mets

Here's a look at some items on the Mets and Marlins..

  • Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd says that he may retire if he doesn't make the club out of spring training, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post.  However, the 35-year-old stands a good chance of winding up in orange and blue this year given the state of the Mets' outfield.  Byrd was released before he could serve his 50-game suspension last season, but he won't have to serve any more time on it in 2013.
  • Under the new collective bargaining agreement, a player with significant MLB experience the previous season who comes to camp the next year on a minor league deal gets an early decision on whether he has made the team. Mets vets LaTroy Hawkins, Pedro Feliciano, and Tim Byrdak qualify, assistant GM John Ricco tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Because of that, the Mets must either inform those three they've made the team, cut them a check for $100K to go to the minors, or release them by March 26th.
  • Mark Buehrle is happy to have moved on from his short stay with the Marlins and isn't dwelling on owner Jeffrey Loria's PR campaign in Miami, writes Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.  "I saw some of it and pretty much didn't pay attention to it," the left-hander said, "because I know what I was told and I saw what he was saying, and they weren't the same thing. So I mean, I guess he's got to do what he's got to do to get the fans back. But whatever."


Mets To Sign LaTroy Hawkins

3:34pm: Hawkins would earn just about $1MM plus incentives if he makes the Mets, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).

2:29am: The Mets have signed LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale (on Twitter).

The 40-year-old Hawkins was effective in 42 innings for the Angels last season, pitching to a 3.64 ERA, 4.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. His fastball still averaged 92.3 mph, according to FanGraphs, though his 5.4% swinging strike rate was the lowest of his lengthy career.

If Hawkins makes the roster, the Mets will become the tenth team for which he's pitched at the Major League level. The Reynolds Sports Management client has a career 4.45 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 47.8 percent ground-ball rate in 1303 2/3 innings. He's been significantly better as a reliever (3.36 ERA in 518 1/3 innings) than he was a starter early on in his career (6.11 ERA in 785 1/3 innings).

Hawkins is the second veteran right-handed bullpen option that general manager Sandy Alderson has added in the past 24 hours, as the Mets signed Scott Atchison to a minor league deal on Wednesday morning.


Angels To Pursue Pitching, Hunter

The Angels will make significant changes to their roster following a season that included many positive developments before ending in disappointment, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. The team enters the offseason with a number of top priorities: re-signing free agents Zack Greinke and Torii Hunter, adding at least one more starting pitcher, improving the bullpen and trading Vernon Wells.

The Angels will likely let Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen and Maicer Izturis go, DiGiovanna reports. Haren has said he’d consider returning for less than the value of his $15.5MM option. Santana recently suggested he’s prepared for a change if the Angels decline his 2013 option, as expected.

The Angels have “a tremendous interest” in re-signing Hunter, general manager Jerry Dipoto said. The GM confirmed that the Angels would “like to explore” contract talks with the agent for Greinke. Both players have significant leverage after playing well in 2012, but Dipoto pointed out that the Angels have “never been short of resources." Just don’t expect them to use those resources on relief pitchers. Spending lavishly on relievers "is akin to going to Las Vegas and throwing it down on double-zero green," Dipoto said.


What K-Rod’s Decision Means For Brewers

Earlier tonight, Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers, making him one of three free agents to do so (David Ortiz and Kelly Johnson being the others). Rodriguez now stands to earn approximately $13MM via salary arbitration, a decision which isn't without impact on the dealings of his team.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that GM Doug Melvin says the club did not make a miscalculation in offering Rodriguez arbitration. According to Melvin, he and owner Mark Attanasio were prepared for the possibility that he would accept the offer and considered it a "no-lose situation."

Melvin confirmed that the Brewers had a potential deal with LaTroy Hawkins agreed upon, but that Hawkins signed with the Angels for one year and $3MM rather than waiting for Rodriguez's decision, a move which Melvin "didn't blame him" for. According to Melvin, his offer to Hawkins was worth less than the $3MM that Hawkins signed for.

Beyond that, Melvin added that the Brewers are likely withdrawing their pursuit of Takashi Saito "for now," and that it's "possible" that this will have an impact on the club's ability to pursue Aramis Ramirez, for whom they were a reported favorite.

Haudricourt also points out (via Twitter) the irony of the fact that the decision of Rodriguez, a Scott Boras client, essentially further guarantees that the club cannot afford a reunion with Prince Fielder.


Angels Reach Agreement With LaTroy Hawkins

The Angels and LaTroy Hawkins have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Hawkins will earn $3MM in the deal, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports.

The Angels had been pursuing bullpen help aggressively for weeks, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter), and figure to use Hawkins as a setup man in front of closer Jordan Walden. The Angels turned their attention to Hawkins after unsuccessfully trying to acquire Ramon Ramirez from the Giants, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement.


Angels Close To Deal With LaTroy Hawkins

The Angels are close to signing LaTroy Hawkins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. This matches up with comments made earlier today by GM Jerry Dipoto, indicating the Angels were moving toward shoring up their bullpen. The deal is expected to be for one year, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

The Brewers also have interest in Hawkins, who posted a 2.42 ERA in 48 1/3 innings for Milwaukee in 2011.


Brewers Intensify Pursuit Of LaTroy Hawkins

The Brewers intensified their pursuit of free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins yesterday, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.  Discussions with his agents are expected to continue today.  Since Hawkins lives in Dallas, he attended the first two days of the Meetings.

The Brewers have maintained contact with Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, adds McCalvy.  ESPN's Jim Bowden expects a one-year deal.


Quick Hits: Coffey, Nats, Upton, Phillips, Andino

It's been a busy first day of the Winter Meetings at MLBTR, so let's use this opportunity to catch up on a few Monday items that may have slipped through the cracks…

  • Todd Coffey is drawing interest from the Mets and Brewers, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Brew Crew haven't expressed any interest in bringing back another righty, LaTroy Hawkins, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals may revisit their search for a center fielder after the non-tender deadline, so they can see if any bargain options hit the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • B.J. Upton is one center fielder who may be on the trade market, but Morosi hears interest in the Rays' speedster has been "mild" so far (Twitter link).
  • GM Walt Jocketty suggested to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that extension talks between the Reds and Brandon Phillips may hinge on the number of years the club feels comfortable offering.
  • Orioles infielder Robert Andino is drawing trade interest from teams who could use him as a starting shortstop, tweets MASN's Roch Kubatko.
  • GM Dan Duquette said the Orioles have several "irons in the fire" and is optimistic about making at least one move during the Winter Meetings, says Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
  • There are indications that the Mariners have talked to the Rockies about Seth Smith's availability, says MLB.com's Greg Johns.