Mark Mulder Rumors

Quick Hits: Free Agents, Scherzer, Papelbon, Mulder

With Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana all in seeming free agent limbo after rejecting qualifying offers, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan argues that the current free agent compensation system has proven to be too limiting.  While teams will give up draft picks to sign bigger stars like Robinson Cano, the so-called second tier of free agents are finding it much harder to get work.  "Last offseason, there were a number of guys affected in ways different than we expected compared to a freer market to pursue jobs.  It appears that's happening again, " MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said.  One club executive suggested to Passan that teams could make qualifying offers to more free agents next winter given the evidence about how it pushes prices down for some players.

Here's some more from around baseball…

  • The Tigers have recently made several important moves in the post-Christmas offseason period, and 2014's big early-year move could be laying the groundwork for a Max Scherzer extension, MLB.com's Jason Beck opines.  Beck thinks GM Dave Dombrowski will look to a one-year deal for 2014 to avoid going to arbitration with Scherzer, and those talks could lead to negotiations with agent Scott Boras over a longer-term extension.
  • Also from Beck, he wonders if the Tigers could discuss a new contract with Miguel Cabrera (signed through 2015) or possibly add another reliever to the bullpen.  Detroit has already addressed its main bullpen need by signing closer Joe Nathan, and also acquired Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain for the relief corps.
  • Jonathan Papelbon discussed his name surfacing in recent trade rumors, the differences between the Phillies' and Red Sox clubhouse atmospheres and his joy at seeing his ex-Boston teammates win the World Series last October in a frank radio interview with Rob Bradford and John McDonald on WEEI's Hot Stove Show.  A partial transcript of the interview is available at WEEI.com.
  • The Phillies were interested in Mark Mulder before the veteran signed with the Angels, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).
  • Forbes Magazine's Maury Brown discusses Major League Baseball's growing revenues and the effect on player salaries and acquisitions in a podcast with BostInno's Alex Reimer, who has a partial transcript of the interview here.
  • MLB.com's Anthony DiComo covers a number of Mets-related topics as part of a reader mailbag, including how he doesn't see Dee Gordon or Didi Gregorius as logical trade targets for the team.

Angels To Sign Mark Mulder

TODAY, 1:25pm: Mulder's deal includes no guaranteed money, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. He will have to make the opening day roster to guarantee his $1MM base, and must stay active and in the rotation for the full season to reach the $6MM in incentives, according to Fletcher.

YESTERDAY, 6:36pm: Mark Mulder has agreed to a minor league deal with a big league invite with the Angels, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  The veteran, who is represented by Brian Charles of Big League Management Company, LLC, can earn more than $6MM if all incentives are met, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  The deal comes with a guaranteed $1MM base salary, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Mulder

Mulder, 36, hasn't pitched since 2008 because of shoulder issues, and has been working as an analyst with ESPN since 2011.  Mulder began his comeback in Arizona in November and auditioned for the Giants, Diamondbacks, and numerous other clubs before reaching agreement with the Halos.  In nine seasons with the Athletics and Cardinals, Mulder owns a 4.18 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.

The veteran will get an opportunity to compete for a starting job while also training near his home in the Phoenix area, tweets Crasnick.  The Halos have Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson atop the rotation, with Joe Blanton, Garrett Richards, and lefties Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago also in the rotation mix.  The agreement with Mulder shouldn't preclude them in their pursuit of Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka or Matt Garza.  The baseball world will be rooting for Mulder, who last pitched in '08 and hasn't spent a full season as a starter since '05.

While it's a minor league deal, Mulder's agent won't commit to the left-hander actually pitching in the minors. "Mark will evaluate that if and when the time comes," Charles told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe first reported that Mulder was nearing agreement with the Angels.


Quick Hits: Brewers, Twins, Mulder, Angels, Red Sox

It wouldn't make sense for the Brewers to move Rickie Weeks or Ryan Braun to first base, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes. The Brewers have been connected to Corey Hart, Ike Davis and other first basemen this winter, but they haven't landed any of them. Scooter Gennett figures to be the Brewers' second baseman next season, leaving no obvious spot for Weeks. Weeks doesn't have an ideal bat for first base, and the Brewers could try to trade him, if they can find a taker. Milwaukee sees Braun as a long-term fix in right field, McCalvy notes. (Also, we might add that Braun's performance at third base in 2007 very persuasively suggests that he stay in the outfield.) Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • McCalvy also notes that Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang's chances of sticking with the Brewers are "very slim," noting that the Brewers haven't kept a Rule 5 pick for an entire season since 2004 with reliever Jeff Bennett (who, like Wang, was selected out of the Pirates organization). Wang has also never pitched above the Gulf Coast League. McCalvy does point out, however, that there will be chances to stick in the Brewers' bullpen, particularly if they use lefty Will Smith as a starter.
  • The Angels want to keep their first-round pick in this year's draft, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes. They're still looking for pitching, though, and if they don't want to surrender their pick, then signing Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez, who each rejected qualifying offers, won't be possible for them. That limits them to Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza, and Bronson Arroyo, followed by less-desirable options like Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel and Chris Capuano.
  • The Twins had "some interest" in Mark Mulder, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson tweets. Mulder was not interested in signing with Minnesota, however, and he ended up heading to the Angels instead.
  • Mulder says he's open to pitching in the minors if he feels like he's on a path back to the big leagues, but he doesn't want to stay in the minor leagues the whole season, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets.
  • It looks more and more likely that the Red Sox will re-sign Stephen Drew, and if so, that doesn't mean they'll necessarily trade Will Middlebrooks, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. A number of potential suitors, including the Mets, Pirates, Twins and Yankees, appear content to go with internal options rather than signing Drew and losing a draft pick, which could leave the Red Sox as the only team standing. Boston currently figures to head into the season with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Middlebrooks at third, but if they re-signed Drew, Bogaerts would head to third and Middlebrooks wouldn't have a place to play. The Red Sox could then keep Middlebrooks for depth. MacPherson points to the example of Mike Carp, who demonstrated last year that a player need not have an obvious starting role to be helpful — perhaps Middlebrooks could follow in his footsteps.


Angels Could Soon Sign Mark Mulder

8:24pm: Mulder has offers from "several" teams and has not yet decided who he'll sign with, agent Brian Charles tells Fletcher (via Twitter).

8:00pm: Mulder and the Angels have not yet agreed to terms, but if they do, it will be on a minor-league deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets.

5:17pm: The Angels appear to be the favorites to sign free-agent pitcher Mark Mulder, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Cafardo reports that the Angels could soon sign Mulder to an incentive-laden contract.

Mulder, 36, is trying to make a comeback after retiring in 2010. He has not appeared in the Majors since 2008, and has only appeared in six games since 2006, having spent the last few years of his career struggling through shoulder injuries. He threw for three teams in November. Giants GM Brian Sabean recently said Mulder was looking for a big-league contract. Given his history, though, it would be surprising if he got one.


Quick Hits: Santana, Karstens, Mulder, Athletics

The signing of Omar Infante and Jason Vargas took up the money the Royals had earmarked to re-sign Ervin Santana, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links), and thus with the club at its payroll limit, there is only a "remote" chance of K.C. bringing Santana back on even a one-year deal at a bargain price.  The Tigers, Diamondbacks and Mariners are a few of the teams that have been linked to Santana this offseason, though we probably won't know the full extent of his market (and the market for other top free agent starters) until Masahiro Tanaka's situation has been settled.

Here's some more from around baseball…

  • Jeff Karstens' agent Damon Lapa tells MLBTR's Zach Links that he expects at least a dozen clubs to be in attendance for Karstens' upcoming showcase.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Karstens will throw in January and Lapa indicated to MLBTR that he'll be auditioning in the "mid-to-late" portion of next month.  Lapa won't say what kind of deal he's seeking for his client but he did say that the 31-year-old is "100% healthy."
  • The Giants checked in on Mark Mulderbut the short version is he’s looking for more than we could provide, including a Major League contract,” GM Brian Sabean told reporters, including CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly.  Mulder is attempting a comeback and threw for three teams last month.
  • Athletics owner Lew Wolff told John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group that the A's ownership group hasn't been approached by any interested buyers and Wolff reiterated that the team isn't for sale.  Wolff also said he didn't have any interest in a new ballpark proposal by the city of Oakland that would see a stadium constructed at the Howard Terminal waterfront site.
  • The Cardinals have finished their major offseason work, GM John Mozeliak told reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch).  The team will now look to add minor league depth and are prepared to be "opportunistic" if other ways of improving the roster present themselves, Mozeliak said.
  • Scott Boras will face a challenge in finding a big contract for Kendrys Morales considering the slugger's seemingly limited market, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi writes.
  • The Astros probably aren't done making moves and will look for some bargains in January and February, but GM Jeff Luhnow tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that he would already be satisfied with taking his current roster into Spring Training.  Luhnow also commented on his team's recent acquisitions of Jesus Guzman and Collin McHugh, though he didn't comment on rumors tying Houston to Shin-Soo Choo.
  • "The White Sox have quietly had a terrific offseason," ESPN.com's David Schoenfeld writes, praising GM Rick Hahn for adding the likes of Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson for what Schoenfeld feels were expendable pieces in Addison Reed and Hector Santiago.

Mark Mulder Making Comeback Bid

Former star Athletics and Cardinals pitcher Mark Mulder is hoping to return to the big leagues, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports. Mulder, 36, struggled through shoulder injuries in the last several years of his career, which ended in 2009. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2008, and has not pitched more than 11 innings in a season since 2006. He currently works for ESPN as an analyst.

Crasnick reports that Mulder's comeback attempt began in October, spurred by an attempt to mimic the delivery of Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez. Mulder thinks Rodriguez's delivery may have helped him figure out how to pitch effectively again.

Representatives of three big-league teams watched Mulder pitch last month, and he says he threw 89-90 MPH. "To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago," Mulder says. "It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room."


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Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Mets, Red Sox, Meek, Giants

On this date eight years ago, Major League Baseball's 73rd All Star Game ended after 11 innings in a 7-7 tie when both sides ran out of pitchers. Shortly thereafter, commissioner Bud Selig ruled that the All Star Game will determine home field advantage in the World Series, a still unpopular decision. The American League has won every Midsummer Classic since then, and 12 of the last 13 overall (the tie being the one exception).

This year's All Star Game is still four days away, so here are some links to keep you occupied until then…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.


Mark Mulder Retires

Mark Mulder has only appeared in six games since 2006, but it wasn't until yesterday that the left-hander officially announced his retirement. Mulder, 32, told Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse that he has retired from baseball and is instead devoting himself to becoming a better golfer.

A few months ago, it seemed that Mulder could return to pitch this season, since he was not ready to retire. The Brewers then seemed like a possible destination, but Mulder hasn't touched a baseball since February, so his baseball career is over.

"I guess I have retired," Mulder said.

The two-time All Star was one third of Oakland's "Big Three," along with Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. Mulder retires with a 103-60 record, a 4.18 ERA in 1314 innings, 834 strikeouts and, according to Baseball-Reference, about $33MM in career earnings.

The A's got more than memories from Mulder. They obtained Dan Haren for him in 2004, and later flipped Haren for Brett Anderson and others, so there are traces of Mulder on the current A's team.


Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Brewers, Willis, Guardado

Links for Sunday….


Mark Mulder Not Ready To Retire

8:58pm: Mulder told Slusser that even though he is going to "shut [his arm] down from throwing," he is not calling it quits just yet.

1:14pm: Mulder's agent Gregg Clifton told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that reports of his client retiring are not accurate, as Mulder hasn't made a decision.  However, Mulder's former teammate Eric Chavez told MLB.com's Jane Lee the pitcher is "done."

8:45am: Lefty Mark Mulder is retiring, according to television reports from Today's TMJ4 of Milwaukee.  The 32-year-old has been unable to contribute in the big leagues after having rotator cuff surgery in September of '06.

Mulder would finish with a 4.18 ERA and 103 wins in nine seasons for the Athletics and Cardinals spanning 1,314 innings.  88 of those wins came from 2001-05.  He won three postseason games, with a 2.34 ERA in 42.3 innings.  Mulder finished second in the Cy Young voting in his sophomore season, and made two All-Star teams.  According to Baseball-Reference, Mulder banked about $33MM in his career.