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Here are the day's minor moves:
- Jason Bulger, who was trying to return from shoulder surgery, has retired, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The former first-round choice saw action in 7 MLB seasons and put up his best year in 2009 with the Angels, working to a 3.56 ERA in 65 2/3 innings.
- 39-year-old lefty Mark Hendrickson has signed with the independent York Revolution, tweets MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. Hendrickson last saw MLB action in 2011. He threw last year for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, putting up a 3.06 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.
While the Indians didn't get much for Cliff Lee, they did get one significant player in their 2008 trade of another Cy Young winner, C.C. Sabathia, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer argues. That would be outfielder Michael Brantley. Pluto stops short of defending that trade (which also included Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson) but notes that Brantley's hitting has gradually improved — he's hitting .312/.366/.399 this season. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- With the fifth pick in the upcoming draft, the Indians would consider selecting Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel or Kris Bryant, if any of them fall that far, Paul Hoynes of the Plain-Dealer reports. That seems unlikely, however. Beyond that, Indians scouting director Brad Grant says Cleveland will "take the best available player," although he doesn't tip his hand about who that might be.
- Mark Hendrickson of the Orioles is busy in Triple-A trying to make it back to the major leagues at 38, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports. Hendrickson signed a minor-league deal with the O's in February. Now he's pitching entirely as a sidearmer. Dubroff notes that Hendrickson has played for four NBA teams (the 76ers, Kings, Nets and Cavaliers) as well as five MLB teams (the Blue Jays, Rays, Dodgers, Marlins and Orioles). He last appeared in the big leagues with the Orioles in 2011.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia is happy with his team's pitching depth, reports Robert Falkoff of MLB.com. Billy Buckner, who started on Saturday for the Angels, is the team's 10th starting pitcher of the season, and its 29th pitcher overall. "The organizational depth has been tested," says Scioscia. "It's an important part of what we need to do. I think we've seen the last couple of weeks that our pitchers have performed better. The fact that we've used so many is obviously not the template, but these guys are important to us."
We'll track the day's minor moves here…
- The Padres signed second baseman Adam Buschini to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. The 25-year-old Buschini was a fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2009 but hasn't appeared in affiliated ball since 2010. He spent this past season in the Australian Baseball League where he won the Triple Crown by hitting .363 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs.
- Left-hander Brian Burres has agreed to sign with Taiwan's Lamigo Monkeys, agent Marc Kligman tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The 31-year-old Burres has a 5.75 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 358 1/3 innings between the Orioles, Blue Jays and Pirates.
- The Orioles agreed to sign right-hander Joel Pineiro to a minor league deal, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (all Twitter links). The 34-year-old last-pitched at the MLB level with the 2011 Angels. Pineiro, who pitched in the Orioles' minor league system in 2012, had surgery to repair a SLAP tear in his right shoulder last July.
- The Orioles also completed a minor league deal with left-hander Mark Hendrickson, Connolly reports. Hendrickson, the former NBA player who pitched with Baltimore from 2009-11, recently threw bullpen sessions for Orioles personnel. The 38-year-old is now pitching sidearm as he attempts to return to the MLB level for the first time since 2011.
- The Indians have agreed to sign Jeremy Hermida to a minor league contract, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Hermida played for the Padres in 2012, appearing in 13 games. The 29-year-old was regarded as a top prospect early in his professional career and he hit 18 home runs for the 2007 Marlins, but he hasn't produced on offense in the past three seasons. Hermida, a first round pick in 2002, bats from the left side.
As February gets underway, Michael Bourn still stands as the best available free agent on the open market. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter) opines that the Mets, Mariners, and Rays are the teams that make the most sense for the center fielder. As for the best starter left on the free agent pile, Bowden sees the Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Brewers, and Orioles as the best fits for Kyle Lohse. Here's more from around baseball..
- Don't look for the Marlins to make any major moves the remainder of the offseason, says Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via Twitter). The team will enter spring training with the roster it currently has in place.
- Regardless of whether or not Scott Rolen joins the Reds, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the club is facing a serious roster crunch. It seems that the veteran wants to play in 2013 but money will be a determining factor in his decision. Recently, the Dodgers reached out to Rolen to express interest.
- The Orioles expect to announce the signing of veteran left-handerMark Hendrickson to a minor league contract with a spring training invite early next week, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The O's also hope to announce their deal with Jair Jurrjens and remain interested in bringing Joe Saunders back despite the depth that they've added.
- Torii Hunter says that enjoyed his time with the Angels, but he also felt misled when the club told him they didn't have enough money to keep him before signing Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125MM deal, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The veteran hooked on with the Tigers this winter in pursuit of a World Series ring.
- The Tigers had a tough time trying to find organizational depth this winter as many players figured that their path to the majors would be blocked, writes George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. Regardless, assistant General Manager Al Avila says that the club is done signing minor league players and is ready for spring training.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Last week the Orioles extended manager Buck Showalter and executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette through the 2018 season. Here's a look at what Orioles management is doing to boost their chances of returning to the playoffs in 2013…
- The Orioles plan to offer left-hander Mark Hendrickson a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, Eduardo A. Encina The Baltimore Sun reports. Hendrickson, the former NBA player who pitched with Baltimore from 2009-11, threw bullpen sessions for Orioles personnel last week. The 38-year-old is now pitching sidearm as he attempts to return to the MLB level for the first time since 2011.
- After a turbulent 2012 season, Steve Pearce's travels appear to have ended now that he’s a non-roster player with the Orioles. The 29-year-old said he’s glad he’s still in Baltimore, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports. “This is the place I wanted to be,” Pearce said. “I wasn’t thinking about being claimed by anyone else, and this is where I wanted to be.”
Jeff Frye, Darren Oliver's agent, was apparently not speaking for his client when Frye said earlier this month that Oliver wanted a raise to return to the Blue Jays or else the veteran southpaw would retire, Oliver said during a conference call with reporters (including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca). "I was out of town when that article was written, and I didn't say those things, that was coming from Jeff Frye," Oliver said. "Obviously if I had something to say, I would have said it a long time ago, not once did I ever demand anything from the Blue Jays or Alex [GM Alex Anthopoulos]." The Jays announced today that Oliver would return to pitch in Toronto in 2013.
Here are some more items from around the AL East…
- David Price's one-year deal with the Rays was structured in a way that both saved Price several hundred thousand dollars in taxes and also gave the Rays the ability to potentially save $4MM in salary deferred to Price in 2014 if the southpaw is dealt by then, reports Jon Paul Morosi for FOX Sports.
- Price loves playing in Tampa Bay but knows the franchise has financial limits and feels a responsibility to get a fair multiyear contract, the Rays ace tells Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. "I don't want to mess up for the future of other guys that could be in my position as well," Price said. "You don't want to do that, because that's not only affecting you, that affects everybody else. I want to be happy. I don't want to sell myself short. I guess 'appreciation' is the word I could use the most. I just want to feel appreciated."
- The Red Sox talked to the Nationals about Mike Morse but Washington's asking price was too high, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Now that Morse has been dealt to the Mariners, Abraham wonders if Mike Carp is now expendable in Seattle and could fit as left-handed bench depth in Boston.
- Xander Bogaerts is "as close to untouchable as any player in the Boston organization," writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam in an interview with the highly-touted Red Sox prospect. Sox GM Ben Cherington reportedly turned down several trade offers involving Bogaerts this winter.
- Mark Hendrickson looked good during a tryout at the Orioles' minicamp today and will pitch again for the team on Friday, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. We heard earlier this week that Hendrickson is trying to return to the Major Leagues as a sidearm pitcher.
- In AL East news from earlier today, the Orioles extended Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, the Yankees avoided arbitration with Phil Hughes and the Red Sox made progress with Mike Napoli.
- The Yankees have released Chris Dickerson according to the MLB.com transactions page. New York designated the 30-year-old outfielder for assignment after claiming Russ Canzler last week. Dickerson hit .316/.417/.515 in Triple-A last year and received a September call-up.
- Fernando Cabrera signed a minor league deal with the Angels, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Cabrera, 31, owns a 5.24 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 across parts of seven career big league seasons. The right-handed reliever spent last season with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate.
- Mark Hendrickson will have a tryout with the Orioles during their mini-camp next week, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com (Twitter links). The 39-year-old left-hander has not appeared in the big leagues since 2011, and Kubatko says he's trying to reinvent himself as a sidearmer.
- The Indians have released Thomas Neal, the team announced (Twitter links). The 25-year-old outfielder was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Nick Swisher earlier this month. The team says they have interest in re-signing Neal, who hit .314/.400/.467 in Double-A last season.
As I showed earlier today in my 10 Best Minor League Deals Of The Year post, minor moves sometimes have a major impact. Today's latest:
- The Rays released right-handed reliever Jay Buente, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The move created a 40-man roster spot for Dan Johnson, whose contract was purchased. Buente, who'd been claimed off waivers from the Marlins in May, found himself literally twice as hittable for the Rays' Triple-A affiliate as compared to his work in the Marlins' organization this year. Topkin adds that recently designated pitchers Rob Delaney and Mike Ekstrom cleared waivers and the Rays are waiting to hear if they'll accept outright assignments.
- The Orioles released lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson on Monday, according to the team's transactions page. He'd been designated for assignment last Tuesday.
- The Diamondbacks released first baseman Daryle Ward, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. The 36-year-old hit .318/.445/.471 in 110 plate appearances. He last played in the Majors in '08 with the Cubs.
The Orioles announced that they designated infielder Blake Davis and left-hander Mark Hendrickson for assignment to create 40-man roster space for right-hander Jeremy Accardo and left-hander Clay Rapada. Baltimore's 40-man roster remains full.
Davis, 27, appeared in 25 games for the Orioles this year, posting a .254/.323/.390 line in 65 plate appearances. He played short, second and third in the Major Leagues and also appeared in the outfield at Triple-A. Davis posted a .280/.323/.384 line in 252 plate appearances for Baltimore's top affiliate this year.
Hendrickson pitched just 11 innings for the Orioles after signing a minor league deal with Baltimore in January. He posted a 2.87 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
The Orioles will designate lefty Mark Hendrickson for assignment to open a spot for Troy Patton, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The team has since confirmed the move. Patton had been on the restricted list as he attended a court hearing for an offseason DWI arrest.
Hendrickson, 37, spent most of the season at Triple-A but tossed 11 forgettable innings in the Majors.