Mark Lowe Rumors
The Angels signed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league deal, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Lowe will be in big-league camp with the Halos, who open the season in Cincinnati on Monday. Lowe had signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in February, but was released three days ago. He's represented by Frye McCann Sports.
Lowe, 29, posted a 3.43 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, and 33.9% groundball rate in 39 1/3 big league innings for the Rangers last year. The hard-throwing righty missed time with an abdomen strain.
Yesterday, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez wrote that three relievers -- Mitch Stetter, David Carpenter, and favorite Garrett Richards -- were fighting for two spots in the Angels' Opening Day bullpen. The team's bullpen also includes Ernesto Frieri, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs, and Jerome Williams, with Ryan Madson slated to start the season on the DL.
The 29-year-old Lowe inked a minor league pact with the Dodgers in early February. He appeared in nine games for Los Angeles in Spring Training, allowing four earned runs in 8 2/3 innings (4.15 ERA) with six strikeouts and three walks.
In 262 2/3 Major League innings between the Mariners and Rangers, Lowe has pitched to a 3.94 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Lowe's fastball averaged 93.9 mph for the Rangers in 2012, but he typically throws much harder. From 2006-11, he averaged 95.6 mph on that heater. In 2010, Lowe was traded to the Rangers from Seattle as part of the Cliff Lee blockbuster.
The Dodgers have agreed to sign right-handed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). Lowe obtains a base salary of $1.5MM if he makes the big league team and incentives could increase the value of the deal to $2.1MM. Agents Jeff Frye and Mike McCann represent Lowe.
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. The 29-year-old has a 3.94 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in seven seasons with the Mariners and Rangers. The Rays, Giants, Nationals, Tigers and Angels also had interest in Lowe, Crasnick reports.
The Dodgers have also added Brandon League and J.P. Howell to the bullpen this winter. Plus, with the addition of Zack Greinke to the rotation it's possible a starter could end up contributing in relief.
Earlier tonight, the Padres avoided arbitration with Chase Headley by agreeing to a one-year, $8.575MM deal. The third baseman is under team control through 2015 and General Manager Josh Byrnes started dialogue with Headley's representatives about a contract extension earlier this winter, writes MLB.com's Corey Brock. However, those talks have been tabled for now. "We couldn't frame it up where it made sense for both sides," Byrnes said. In today's poll, nearly 70% of MLBTR readers said that it would make sense to lock Headley up long-term. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Angels, Tigers, Orioles, Brewers, and Athletics were in Peoria, Arizona today to watch Kip Wells, Mark Lowe, and Ryan Rowland-Smith throw, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Wells, 35, made seven starts for the Padres last season and posted a 4.58 ERA with 20 walks and 19 strikeouts.
- The Yankees can dream about getting out from under Alex Rodriguez's contract, but there is very little chance of it happening, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times. Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the Yankees could pay just 15% of the $114MM owed to A-Rod if his hip injury is diagnosed as career-ending and he misses the entire season.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (video link) has a gut feeling that aces Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander will work out new contracts with their respective clubs before they get the chance to hit the open market.
- The Mariners need to add a dependable starting pitcher, opines Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Baker suggests that the M's should try and swing a trade for the Dodgers' Chris Capuano by sending Franklin Gutierrez back to the club where he started his pro baseball career.
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.