Mark Lowe Rumors
The all-unemployed team would feature Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse, Joe Saunders, Brian Wilson and others, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark points out (all Twitter links). The free agent market also includes many designated hitter candidates, which is usual for this time of year. Here are some notes on free agents from around MLB...
- The Brewers are bound to be talking to some of the free agents on Stark’s list, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggests (on Twitter). The Brewers are known to be seeking infield depth, including a backup at first base.
- Free agent pitchers Mark Lowe and Ryan Rowland-Smith will be throwing for teams at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). Agents Jeff Frye and Mike McCann want Lowe to show teams he's healthy, Crasnick adds. Lowe posted a 3.43 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings for the Rangers last year but missed time with a strained intercostal.
- Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes provided A’s officials with a scouting report on Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Cespedes, who’s also Cuban, told the A’s that the free agent Diaz is a great shortstop who “could help this team," according to Slusser. Major League Baseball is investigating Diaz's age, Baseball America reported last week.
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
The Rangers are expected to make right-handers Scott Feldman and Mark Lowe available at the trade deadline, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. GM Jon Daniels will look for a right-handed hitting outfielder in return.
The Rangers have an abundance of right-handed pitching after signing Roy Oswalt. Relief prospect Tanner Scheppers continues to pitch effectively at Triple-A, and Neftali Feliz will re-join the pitching staff at some point.
Lowe, 28, has a 2.66 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 20 1/3 innings two months into the season. He'll earn $1.7MM this year before hitting free agency. Feldman, 29, has a 4.50 ERA with 4.1 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 24 innings as a fill-in starter and reliever this year. The Rangers figure to decline their $9.25MM club option ($600K buyout) for Feldman if he's still on their roster after the season.
On this date three years ago, the Padres returned Rule 5 selection Ivan Nova to the Yankees. The right-hander broke out with a 3.70 ERA in 165 1/3 innings last year, his first full season in the Major Leagues. Here are today's links...
- The Rangers are looking to tinker, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. They’re looking to move Koji Uehara and/or Mark Lowe and aim to acquire a utility infielder and/or right-handed bat who can handle left field and first base. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that other teams are calling about the Rangers’ relievers.
- Magic Johnson, whose group won the bidding for the Dodgers, promises to invest in the team, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports (via the Baltimore Sun). "Teams are investing," the former NBA star said. "That's what you do when you put a winning team on the field. We're not going to be any different from those teams."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports argues that it would be good for baseball if more of the sport's stars remained involved in high-profile roles after their playing careers end. "Two trends -- increasing player compensation and larger ownership groups -- have combined to create more opportunities for players to become owners," Astros CEO George Postolos told Morosi.
- Teams with catching depth such as the Yankees, Padres, and Blue Jays aren’t inclined to make deals at this point, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Aaron Rowand, who was released earlier today, says he'll "probably" retire if no team needs an outfielder, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter link).
Teams seeking bullpen depth have started calling the Rangers about possible trades, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. The Rangers may be able to part with a right-handed reliever now that left-hander Robbie Ross has made a strong case for a 25-man roster spot.
Right-handers Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe may be expendable in trades. They’ll earn $4MM and $1.7MM, respectively, before hitting free agency next offseason. The Rangers are still looking for a middle infielder who can play short and a right-handed hitting outfielder for the bench, according to Grant.
The Rangers "might prefer" to keep some of the extra arms on their pitching staff rather than make a trade, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Scott Feldman, Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe are cited as Rosenthal as the expendable members of the Rangers staff but they look likely to remain in Texas unless relievers Robert Ross or Tanner Scheppers perform well enough in Spring Training to earn jobs, which could convince the club to deal one of their veterans.
Most of the Rangers' rotation and bullpen jobs are set, and the presence of Alexi Ogando as a swingman gives Texas some backup if one of the starters falters. This leaves Feldman, who has battled both injuries and ineffectiveness since his breakout 2009 campaign. Feldman did pitch well in limited action in 2011 --- a 3.94 ERA and 2.20 K/BB ratio in 32 innings. The right-hander will earn $6.5MM this season and the Rangers hold a $9.25MM club option on him for 2013 that looks almost certain to be bought out (at a cost of $600K).
Feldman, Uehara and Lowe all drew trade buzz over the winter, with the Red Sox showing interest in the two relievers, and Uehara using his limited no-trade clause to reject a proposed deal to the Blue Jays. Uehara has posted better numbers than Lowe over the last three seasons but turns 37 in April and is earning $4MM in 2012; Lowe is eight years younger and a cheaper option at just $1.7MM.
Rosenthal notes that the Rangers received calls about Colby Lewis during the offseason as well, but the club preferred to keep the right-hander due to his durability (200+ IP in each of the last two seasons). It's no surprise Texas wanted to keep Lewis since their rotation, while deep and promising, has several question marks --- Matt Harrison and Derek Holland aren't yet completely proven entities as reliable starters, Neftali Feliz is transitioning to starting from the bullpen and Yu Darvish is making his debut to North American baseball.
On this date in 2000, the Rangers acquired David Segui and cash in a three-team trade. Texas sent Lee Stevens to the Expos, the Expos sent Brad Fullmer to the Blue Jays, and the Jays sent Segui and cash to the Rangers. Here's the latest from the two-time defending AL champs...
- The Rangers have gotten calls about Scott Feldman, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). They have a strong inclination to hang onto the versatile 29-year-old right-hander, however.
- Given their deep cache of right-handed relievers, Heyman says (on Twitter) that Texas could still trade Koji Uehara or Mark Lowe. Uehara invoked his no-trade clause to reject a deal to the Blue Jays in January.
- The Rangers rolled the dice with Brandon Webb last season, and ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that the 32-year-old sinkerballer continues to work out with the intention of getting back on the mound for a team at some point.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The Rangers met with the Red Sox this morning, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Sox have interest in Rangers relievers Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe, while the Rangers like infielder Jed Lowrie. Uehara and Lowe are both eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, while Lowrie is under team control through 2014.
The Orioles and other teams are interested in Uehara as well, but the Rangers still hold him in high regard despite his struggles late in the year for them.
Who knew first place could be this uncomfortable? The Rangers lead the AL West, but they're tied with the Angels, just a game ahead of the A's and just two games ahead of the Mariners. Here's the latest on the defending American League champions...
- Some rival scouts told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that if recently-signed Rangers outfield prospect Leonys Martin were available in the upcoming draft, he'd be one of the most highly-coveted players around.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears from Rangers officials that Martin is a "plus defender with a good arm," who is "instinctive" and "has a chance to have an impact on the bases."
- The Rangers called up Mark Lowe and optioned Pedro Strop to the minors in an effort to improve their bullpen, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. I'm guessing we'll hear lots about the Rangers' 'pen at MLBTR this summer unless it gets healthy in a hurry.
- Brandon Webb, who is trying to pitch in the majors for the first time in over two years, will throw out of the bullpen and work on his mechanics instead of pitching in a game at extended Spring Training tomorrow, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.