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Luis Vizcaino Rumors
According to Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians watched reliever Luis Vizcaino audition yesterday. Their dilemma:
The Indians apparently want to sign him but are debating whether he should be added to the major-league club or go to Class AAA Columbus on a minor-league deal.
Vizcaino is a free agent after having been released by the Cubs. He figures to sign for the Major League minimum. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince indicated yesterday that Vizcaino will join the team's big league bullpen this today.
Some Sunday morning Odds & Ends:
- So, whatever happened to Tanyon Sturtze? Sturtze never caught on with the Dodgers and was granted his release on May Day last week. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says he is now considering retirement to spend time with his kids.
- In the same piece, Cafardo reports Giants catching prospect Buster Posey has busted five homeruns and notched 22 RBI already in Single A San Jose, putting him on "a fast track to the big leagues." With Bengie Molina entering free agency, the Giants will not feel forced to re-sign him. According to Cafardo, the team would love to retain Molina to act as a mentor for Posey but for the fact that "Molina isn't ready for the mentoring role." Molina told reporters he'll seek a starting job. Finding one should be no trouble whatsoever.
- Also in that same piece, former player Troy O'Leary is developing a baseball reality TV show…
- According to Marc Lancaster, Jason Isringhausen is healthy. His rehab assignment is up May 19 but the Rays seem hesitant to call him up until then. With 10 days to determine what to do with him, it's expected Izzy will slot into the bullpen for Triple-A Durham until the Rays have to make a decision.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com says Luis Vizcaino will join the Indians bullpen this week rather than go through a minor league stint in Triple-A Columbus. Vizcaino hasn't pitched in a game since April 21, right before the Cubs designated him for assignment and released him. Who gets sent down instead? Jensen Lewis or Tony Sipp both have options. Masa Kobayashi is a candidate to be released altogether, says Castrovince.
According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Indians' signing of Luis Vizcaino is not yet official because the club is "in the process of deciding if he's ready to help their beleaguered bullpen immediately."
Vizcaino will throw a pair of bullpen sessions at Progressive Field this weekend. If all goes well, he could join the big league club on Monday. The 34-year-old reliever tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings and tallied a 3/0 K/BB ratio before he was released by the Cubs, so there's no reason to doubt he's ready to contribute. As Castrovince explains,
"The Indians had originally intended to sign him to a Minor League deal and send him to Triple-A Columbus for a short period, but they might make it a Major League deal to get him up here immediately."
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported yesterday that the Indians released Juan Salas and designated Vinnie Chulk for assignment. Reliever Matt Herges was called up, Rafael Perez was demoted and today the Indians added Luis Vizcaino as they revamp their bullpen.
The Indians have an 11-18 record due in large part to a bullpen whose ERA was 6.49 even before the team lost 13-3 in Boston last night.
1:08pm: MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince reports that the Indians could announce a move this afternoon.
FRIDAY, 12:19pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that the Indians intend to sign Vizcaino. He will either join the team immediately or tune up in the minor leagues first. The Indians' pitching struggled again last night, allowing 12 runs without recording an out at one point.
THURSDAY, 1:43pm: The Twitter post from Gaylord Sports linked below has been removed.
10:46am: According to Luis Vizcaino's agency Gaylord Sports, the reliever has been acquired by the Indians. The Cubs designated Vizcaino for assignment on April 23rd to make room for Jeff Samardzija. Vizcaino is owed $4MM, and presumably the Cubs will assume $3.6MM of that. They released him at some point, so he signed with Cleveland as a free agent.
The Cubs jettisoned Vizcaino after 3.6 scoreless innings. It seems they never wanted him; acquiring him was just a way to move some of Jason Marquis' salary.
Links for Monday…
- RotoAuthority looks more closely at the Pirates' MLB-best rotation.
- Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Marlins won't be pursuing Luis Vizcaino.
- On Saturday, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan wrote that the Rangers don't expect to be in on Pedro Martinez, but could have interest in Vizcaino for a Triple A job.
- Eddie Bajek of Detroit Tigers Thoughts has a quick American League Elias rankings preview.
- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post thinks Oliver Perez may be headed to the bullpen or even Triple A if he'll consent. Perez has pitched poorly in three of his four starts. He's had streaks like this before, though.
- With Brandon Webb out for at least six weeks, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonders if the Diamondbacks will be sellers this summer.
- Could Danys Baez have midseason trade value? Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun thinks it's possible, despite the pitcher's $5.5MM salary.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks back at last summer's Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte deal with the Pirates.
- Murray Chass thinks Ned Colletti deserves a contract extension. Do you agree?
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. wonders who will be the first American-born player to exploit a draft loophole by dropping out of high school and living in another country for a year to become a free agent.
Links for Friday…
- Yahoo's Gordon Edes on what might've been: Alex Rodriguez in Boston.
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone interviewed GM Omar Minaya.
- Milton Bradley is not a fan of the Chicago media. He explained why in an exclusive chat with MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Rob Bradford of WEEI talks about the scarcity of middle-of-the-order bats on the free agent market, as it relates to the Red Sox.
- Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald wonders if Luis Vizcaino could return to the White Sox.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Sponichi report indicating that the Hiroshima Carp are in contract talks with minor league veteran Scott McClain.
- Mike Thomas of The Herald News caught up with Shea Hillenbrand and got the player's take on the various incidents in his career.
9:41am: Vizcaino has been designated for assignment, according to ESPN's Bruce Levine. Levine says Cubs GM Jim Hendry "tried to be creative with other teams, including the Washington Nationals, and tried to save some money before having to release Vizcaino."
Assuming Vizcaino signs elsewhere at the minimum salary, that'll be $3.6MM lost for the Cubs. They also sent $875K to Colorado in the January Jason Marquis deal. So the Cubs will end up paying $4.475MM rather than Marquis' $9.875MM salary.
THURSDAY, 9:04am: Sullivan seems a little more sure, writing today that Vizcaino "is expected to be released to make room for Samardzija."
WEDNESDAY, 4:56pm: According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs will call up pitcher Jeff Samardzija on Thursday to join the bullpen. Sullivan adds that Milton Bradley is back in the lineup (ie not headed for the DL), and lefties Neal Cotts and Sean Marshall won't be sent down. For Sullivan, it all adds up to the possibility that reliever Luis Vizcaino may be released. To do so, the Cubs would have to assume the $4MM owed to him.
TUESDAY, 3:21pm: The Marquis for Vizcaino swap has been finalized. Gordon Wittenmyer says the Cubs are sending $875K to the Rockies. Jim Hendry said today he hopes to add another pitcher before Opening Day.
MONDAY, 9:55pm: The Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck says the Cubs are "actively seeking more live arms, whether it be Jake Peavy or another starter to replace the innings of Marquis."
5:05pm: Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis is close to becoming a Colorado Rockies starter, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat.
Muskat believes the deal, which will ship Rockies reliever Luis Vizcaino to the Cubs, will be finalized Tuesday. The move will free up Cubs money for the newly-acquired Milton Bradley.
Marquis (11-9, 4.53 ERA) is scheduled to make $9.875MM in 2009, the final year of the three-year contract he signed with the Cubs in December 2006. The Cubs are expected to pay $1MM of Marquis’ ’09 salary; Vizcaino will make $4MM this year, Muskat continued.
Muskat also notes that moving Marquis does not mean the Cubs will resume talks with the Padres regarding Jake Peavy, but more likely, Sean Marshall will fill the fifth spot in the Cubs’ rotation.