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Lyle Overbay Rumors
With his 14th big league season in the books, Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay sounds ready to call it a career. The first baseman said on MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that he is “99.9 percent” certain that he will retire this offseason.
If that indeed holds true, he’ll finish as a lifetime .266/.347/.429 hitter with 151 homers. Those numbers were compiled over stretches with the Blue Jays, Brewers, and Diamondbacks along with shorter stints with the Pirates, Yankees, and Braves. Overbay’s best season, perhaps, came in 2006 with Toronto, when he slashed a robust .312/.372/.508 over 640 plate appearances and hit a career-high 22 long balls.
In his second run with the Brewers this year, Overbay served as a platoon mate to Mark Reynolds. On his left-handed side of the ledger, Overbay put up a .233/.328/.333 line in 296 plate appearances. After starting his career as an 18th-round draft pick, the University of Nevada, Reno product has managed to rack up $36MM in career earnings.
The Brewers enter play today with the most wins in baseball and a 6.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. With Milwaukee’s success to date and the Trade Deadline looming, will GM Doug Melvin pull off a major acquisition like he did the last two times the Brewers made the playoffs (CC Sabathia in 2008 and Francisco Rodriguez in 2011)? Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he’s “always open for anything,” but there isn’t a lot of holes needing to be filled. “You have to ask, where are you going to play a guy?” said Melvin. “We have a pretty good lineup. I’m not going to trade for a catcher or a second baseman or shortstop or left fielder or center fielder or right fielder.”
In other Brewers’ news and notes from Haudricourt:
- One position Melvin did not mention was first base with the platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay producing a .683 OPS, which ranks 26th in the majors. Melvin says the duo has “done a nice job for us,” and “there’s not a big offensive first baseman available anyway.“
- The Brewers could be in the market for relievers with Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg still on the disabled list. “We’ve talked about bullpen help,” Melvin said. “Over the course of the year, your bullpen gets worn down pretty good. A lot of teams are going to be looking for bullpen help.“
- Melvin, however, will not sacrifice the future for short-term gain in any trade. “We’re not going to deal the young impact player to help our big club now. It’s going to be tough to do that. I think we do have a lot of players in our system that will play in the big leagues.“
- Melvin acknowledged other teams have called about second baseman Rickie Weeks, but no specific proposals have been made. Weeks is earning $11MM this season with a $11.5MM vesting option for 2015. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted the option isn’t likely to be triggered.
Today is Father’s Day and to celebrate MLB.com has profiled the father-son bond for one player on each of the 30 clubs. Carlos Gomez, who signed his first professional contract on Father’s Day, is featured in the Brewers’ vignette telling Adam McCalvy he wouldn’t be where he is today without his dad, Carlos Sr. “He’s the guy I owe everything,” the younger Gomez said. “He’s an example to [get an] education, be a good father, respect — and give everything I have right now. I remember the words they told me. ‘If you’re going to play ball, you’re going to play right, or not play.’” Carlos Sr. was a well-regarded second baseman and center fielder in the Dominican Republic. So, who is the better player? With the younger Gomez translating, the elder Gomez told McCalvy, “When we were the same age, 16-21, I used to be better. I used to be faster. I knew the game more than him.” Gomez, with a wide smile, retorted, “I have more tools, more ability to play. Every time we joke around, play around like that, ‘Who’s better? Who’s better?’ I say, ‘I’m the one who has almost eight years in the big leagues!’” Fathers and sons.
In other Brewers news and notes:
- The franchise has reaped substantial dividends from their decision to sign Jonathan Lucroy to a five-year, $11MM contract extension two years ago, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lucroy, owner of baseball’s second-best batting average and slashing .333/.396/.504 entering play today, is under team control through 2017.
- The Brewers are resisting the temptation to recall top prospect Jimmy Nelson and insert him into the rotation in place of Marco Estrada, Haudricourt reports. “Some people say bring Jimmy Nelson up and put him in the bullpen,” GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt. “But out there you don’t know how much he’ll pitch. We want him to stay sharp down there (Triple-A Nashville) in the event we need him.” The need is fast approaching as Estrada was rocked for three home runs against the Reds this afternoon and has given up 23 gopher balls – most in the Majors – ballooning his HR/9 to 2.46 (84 innings). Haudricourt notes on Twitter 35 of the 45 earned runs allowed this year by Estrada, a non-tender candidate entering his second arbitration year this winter, have come on home runs. MLB.com’s McCalvy tweets Estrada will remain in the rotation until manager Ron Roenicke speaks with Melvin.
- It would be too big of a gamble for the Brewers to exercise their half of Aramis Ramirez‘s 2015 mutual option ($14MM with a $4MM buyout) because he’s at the age where players, even reliable and productive ones like the soon-to-be 36-year-old third baseman, start to break down physically, opines Haudricourt’s colleague, Todd Rosiak, in a recent chat. Ramirez played only 92 games last season with knee issues and has missed more than three weeks this year due to a hamstring pull.
- The Brewers are satisfied with the first base tandem of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay and, barring an unexpected trade, what you see is what you’re likely going to get at that position, according to Rosiak.
- If the first-place Brewers are inclined to make any Trade Deadline deals, they could focus on strengthening their bullpen and bench, Rosiak writes.
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- The Brewers have announced Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay made their Opening Day roster as a first base platoon. Both signed minor league deals within a three-day span in late-January. Reynolds will earn $2MM plus incentives while Overbay, in his second tour of duty with Milwaukee, will bank $1.5MM plus incentives. Reynolds leads the team in RBI's this spring while Overbay, mired in an 3-for-30 slump (all three hits coming after news of his promotion broke) is valued for his defense. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Brewers still have yet to make an official announcement regarding the status of Juan Francisco, who lost out to the veteran duo and cleared out his locker yesterday. The Brewers now have a full 40-man roster, but a spot could be cleared pending the outcome of Francisco's situation.
- With Craig Gentry being placed on the disabled list by the A's, Sam Fuld is expected to make the club as the fourth outfielder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. Fuld, whose minor league contract signed in February contained opt-out dates of this week and June 1, will earn $800K plus incentives. The A's will have to clear a 40-man roster spot before adding Fuld.
- The Cardinals have outrighted right-hander Angel Castro off their 40-man roster to create room for fellow right-hander Pat Neshek, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Neshek will earn $1MM from the deal he signed last month. Castro signed a Major League pact with the Cardinals last December after spending 2013 with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate posting a 3.48 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 19 starts and six relief appearances. Castro was one of several players mentioned by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes in his examination of the trend in signing six-year minor league free agents, with little to no MLB experience, to Major League contracts.
JANUARY 23: Overbay will earn $1.5MM if he makes the Major League roster, plus another $750K in possible bonuses if he makes enough plate appearances, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter link). If Overbay isn't on the Brewers' Major League roster by March 22, he can opt out 48 hours later.
JANUARY 20: The Brewers have signed first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team's player development department announced on Twitter. Overbay is represented by Octagon.
Overbay, who turns 37 next week, is the second first base option the Brewers have brought on board via minor league deal in the past week, as the team also announced the signing of Mark Reynolds to a minor league pact last week (Reynolds, however, is said to be virtual lock to make the team). Overbay and Reynolds will see competition at first base from Juan Francisco, Sean Halton and Hunter Morris.
This will mark Overbay's second stint with the Brewers, as he enjoyed two strong seasons as the Brew Crew's everyday first baseman from 2004-05, slashing .289/.376/.464 with 35 homers and 87 doubles. Overbay's production has slipped following a seven-year peak in which he posted a 112 OPS+ from 2004-10. He spent the 2013 season with the Yankees, batting .240/.295/.393 in 486 plate appearances. His numbers against right-handed pitching were much better however, and his .258/.317/.432 triple-slash against opposing righties shows that he could be a platoon option for manager Ron Roenicke if he makes the club.
After signing Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal earlier today, the Phillies are weighing several other depth signings, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. An outfielder, left-handed bat, and starting and relief pitching are all being eyed by GM Ruben Amaro Jr., according to the report.
The club has considered bringing in veteran Lyle Overbay to add left-handed power, says Salisbury. In 486 plate appearances last season for the Yankees, appearing mostly at first, Overbay registered a .240/.295/.393 line and knocked 14 home runs, though he also struck out 111 times.
The Phils are also keen to add arms. "We're looking to add pitching depth in the bullpen and rotation, still trolling," said Amaro. "They'd likely be non-roster guys." Salisbury reports that Philadelphia has "kept tabs" on former closer Ryan Madson, and may decide to give him a look this spring. Madson has yet to throw a big league inning for another franchise due to elbow issues, though he has earned over $9MM from other clubs during the last two seasons.
Another name that could be under consideration, according to Salisbury, is Chad Gaudin. The well-traveled 30-year-old, who has appeared for nine MLB teams over eleven seasons, put up a 3.06 ERA in 97 innings last year for the Giants. His primary attractieness to Philly would be his ability to work as a starter or out of the pen.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe revealed that he is part of a BBWAA committee that will explore the Hall of Fame voting process and discuss what changes (if any) need to be made. Some of the issues likely to be addressed by the committee is whether to allow voters to name more than 10 players on their ballots, whether or not long-time broadcasters or statistical analysis-centric writers should be given a say in HOF voting.
Here's the latest hot stove news from Cafardo…
- Two new teams have joined the hunt for Bronson Arroyo. At least one of his suitors is moving closer to giving Arroyo the third contract year he's looking for, though that third year could come in the form of a vesting option. Cafardo isn't sure if the Twins were that mystery team, though they've been interested in Arroyo all winter. He also cites the Yankees and Phillies as interested parties, as those two clubs join the likes of the Orioles, Mets and Pirates as those linked to the veteran righty this winter. Cafardo reported last month that Arroyo has received two-year contract offers from four different teams.
- Free agent Lyle Overbay is an option for both the Astros and Brewers at first base. Milwaukee is also still considering signing Michael Young for first, or trading for Mitch Moreland of the Rangers.
- Agent Scott Boras says “there are five or six teams who I have actively talked to concerning Stephen [Drew],” including the Red Sox. As you might expect, Boras denied that Drew's market is in any way limited, noting that Drew doesn't have a new contract yet since "free agency is a long process. It just doesn’t end at Christmas. It’s a January, February, and even a March process."
- Boras "has a tremendous stake in the Red Sox’ present and future," Cafardo writes, noting that the agent represents not just Drew, but also top youngsters Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Deven Marrero.
- "The silence on [Kendrys] Morales is deafening," as teams are reluctant to give up a first round draft pick as compensation for the slugger. At least one team said they're leery about spending significant money for a DH, though Boras, Morales' agent, counters by noting the impact that David Ortiz has had on the Red Sox and also noting that his client can play first base.
- Johnny Damon has stayed in shape and would be willing to resume his career. The 40-year-old hinted at retirement if he couldn't find a contract last offseason and indeed Damon ended up sitting out the 2013. Damon is also a Boras client, and the agent tells Cafardo that Damon has yet to contact him about officially retiring.
- Manny Ramirez wants to continue his career, his hitting coach David Segui predicts, though Segui hasn't spoken to Ramirez in over two months. “Manny will always be able to hit,” Segui said. “He loves to play, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still looking for something.” Ramirez's agent, Barry Praver, said in November that his client looking for a return to the Majors. Ramirez, 41, last played with the bigs with the Rays in 2011 before being suspended for PED use. Over the last two years, Ramirez spent some time with the Athletics' and Rangers' Triple-A affiliates and also played in Taiwan.
- A National League GM predicts that one of Masahiro Tanaka's many suitors will "come in and blow everyone away. There’s going to be a dance where everyone is in the same boat and then there will be a team that breaks the bank for him.”
In today's Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo makes the case for Braves pitcher Tom Glavine to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. For his part, Glavine said he would be thrilled to go in with Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox. “Bobby Cox had the biggest influence in my career and probably the second- or third-biggest influence in my life,” Glavine said. “Greg was a dear friend, and just being around him made me better. I learned so much. We talked so much about pitching and situations, and hitters. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate and influence on my career. To have three of us together like that would be incredible, and Smoltzy next year.” More from today's column..
- One of the reasons the Phillies haven’t been able to find a buyer for Jonathan Papelbon is his drop in velocity. Papelbon, who was regularly 95-96 in his Red Sox days, fell to 91-92 and sometimes less last season. “That was a red flag for me,” said an AL scout. “He didn’t look like the same guy. Whether that was physical or he just didn’t have the adrenaline flowing with a bad team, I don’t know.”
- Kevin Youkilis' one-year deal could be worth up to $5MM and is apparently more than he could have received anywhere in MLB. The Yankees had some interest, but at a lower price. The Indians, Giants, and Rays also had interest at one time. Back problems limited Youkilis to 28 games last season with the Yankees, and he simply couldn’t convince the masses he was healthy.
- Lyle Overbay's market is lukewarm right now and he'll likely be a January tack-on for someone. Cafardo predicts he'll wind up as a backup or a low-cost option for a team such as the Orioles or Indians.
- The Mets and agent Scott Boras have discussed parameters but no firm numbers for Stephen Drew and right now, it looks like GM Sandy Alderson is sticking with Ruben Tejada. There’s always the Yankees, but Drew has never played anywhere but shortstop and Derek Jeter doesn’t appear to be moving to another position. The road, for now, is still leading back to the Red Sox.
- Agent Scott Boras scoffs at the notion that the market for Kendrys Morales has dried up due to the draft pick compensation issue. Cafardo says that at some point a team such as the Orioles may give it up to have a superb hitter in the middle of their order and cautions to never underestimate Boras.
- Mark Mulder is looking for a minor league deal with incentives if he makes the major league club. He's worked out for the Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, and Phillies over two sessions and the second session he improved his velocity from 88 to 92 mph. The Red Sox have inquired on Mulder, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, but probably won’t pursue him. Back in late November, Giants GM Brian Sabean indicated that he wouldn't be in on Mulder since he's seeking a big league deal.
- Even with the Yankees' declaration that Brett Gardner won’t be traded, they would listen to the right deal.
- It's a big surprise that agent Scott Boras couldn’t get Tigers owner Mike Ilitch to outbid the Rangers for Shin-Soo Choo since they have a need for a leadoff hitter. The Tigers are apparently continuing to commit to Austin Jackson at the top of the order and hope his game smooths out.
- The Rays and Cubs want at least three very good players for David Price and Jeff Samardzija, respectively, whether they're major league-ready or top prospects.
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The Yankees publicly wish Alex Rodriguez a quick recovery and a return to the lineup, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman points out that the club may privately hope Rodriguez retires so it can save roughly 80% of the third baseman's remaining salary due to an insurance policy. Rodriguez would still be paid what he's owed but the Yankees would recoup around $70MM if A-Rod's hip surgery prevents him from taking the field again.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has a few more items about both the Bronx Bombers and the Amazins…
- Lyle Overbay has become a crucial depth piece for the Yankees, which has surprisingly led to the career first baseman playing right field. With Mark Teixeira's wrist still a question mark, the Yankees doesn't want to lose Overbay but still wants to find playing time for the veteran.
- The Mets are slightly more likely to draft a college player in Thursday's draft since they feel they're a bit closer to contending. After taking high schoolers in the first round in each of the last two seasons, the Mets could be tempted to take a player who is closer to contributing at the Major League level.
- Frank Francisco's two-year, $12MM contract stands out as the most glaring of the errors the Mets have made in trying to fix their bullpen, Martino writes in a separate piece. Francisco hasn't pitched this season due to an elbow problem and threw what Martino described as "the worst bullpen session [several Mets staffers] could remember" in March during Spring Training. One of the staffers present said the sesssion "was disgusting" and that Francisco "is either hurt or he doesn’t care.” Sandy Alderson said he thinks Francisco will pitch in 2013 though the GM gave no timetable about when the right-hander could return.
- As reported earlier today, the Yankees released outfielder Ben Francisco.
The Yankees and Mets currently stand on opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Yankees nine games above .500 and the Mets at nine games below. The Bombers have dropped three in a row, however, and the Mets have won three straight. Game two of their Subway Series will get underway later tonight, but here's some news on both teams to tide New York fans over until then…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he will continue to pursue stopgap options at shortstop rather than look to trade for an established player at the position.
- Within that same piece, Martino notes that there's been talk of sending Ruben Tejada down for Omar Quintanilla, but Quintanilla isn't on the 40-man roster. Plus, if the Mets call Quintanilla up, he would need to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minors. If he were claimed by another team, the organization would be thin on shortstop depth.
- With Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis on rehab assignments, the Yankees face a decision on Lyle Overbay, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Overbay seems headed for a reduced role or a new team, but he voiced his preference to remain with the Yankees rather than play elsewhere, even if it means less at-bats: “Do I want to play every day and be miserable?” Overbay said. “That opportunity might not be as good as it is here. I think it will work itself out.”
- Ike Davis will not be optioned to the Minor Leagues today, reports the Post's Mark Hale. There's been plenty of speculation that some time at Triple-A is coming for Davis, who went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and batted eighth last night for the Mets. He's currently in a 4-for-53 slump and batting just .152/.237/.247.
- Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his contract on Friday, but he won't do so unless he has a Major League offer from another club, writes the Post's Joel Sherman. A Mets official told Sherman that they wouldn't be interested in Wang as a replacement for Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee. Sherman writes that the sense is that Wang's stuff is nowhere near as good as it was from 2006-07 with the Yankees.
- Also from Sherman's piece, a panel of eight Post writers and seven New York executives were asked to rank the Top 10 rookies from last year's class, and Matt Harvey ranked fifth behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish (in that order).