Mark Hendrickson Rumors
A few Friday night links...
- The Brewers and Corey Hart appear headed to an arbitration hearing after negotiations reached an impasse, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Hart filed for $4.8MM, the team $4.15MM.
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News spoke to a Yankees' executive about the possibility of bringing in some players on minor league deals, and was told “I wouldn’t say we’re done, but probably close to done.”
- Four teams - including the Yankees, Rangers, and Mariners - are interested in Rocco Baldelli's services, reports Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure tweets that Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz is now free to sign after being "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Asset Control. In a second tweet, Arangure says that Ruiz is expected to command a multi-million dollar contract, and a few months ago we heard that the Red Sox and Tigers had some interest.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports that Mark Hendrickson passed his physical today, however his deal with the Orioles likely won't be made official until Monday because the league's offices are closed during the weekend.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says that the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson are playing close attention to how Wandy Rodriguez's arbitration case unfolds.
- The Rockies and Cardinals are in the mix for Felipe Lopez, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. The 29-year-old had a higher OBP (.383) and SLG (.427) than either Orlando Hudson or Orlando Cabrera in 2009.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson says that the Nationals have spoken to John Smoltz's agent recently, but there is no progress to report and they aren't willing to break the bank for him (both links open in Twitter).
- Meanwhile, Ladson also tweets that the team views the newly signed Miguel Batista as a starter for the back of their rotation, as opposed to an arm for the bullpen.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com says (via Twitter) that Craig Monroe isn't ready to retire to just yet. Over the last three years, Monroe has hit .215/.272/.377 with 23 homers in 693 plate appearances for four teams.
The Orioles offered a minor league deal to lefty reliever Will Ohman, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Ohman will throw for the O's and other clubs this week. Ohman, 32, had a lost 2009 season after signing with the Dodgers on March 30th. Shoulder problems led to September surgery. When he's right, Ohman can shut down lefties. Connolly adds that the Orioles are still in talks with southpaw Mark Hendrickson.
Connolly also notes that Miguel Tejada's one-year, $6MM deal to return to Baltimore is official. Connolly speculates that reliever Dennis Sarfate could be designated for assignment to make room for Tejada. You may recall that Sarfate came to the Orioles from the Astros in the December '07 Tejada trade.
According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the Orioles are simply looking for "any kind of pitching" as the club winds down its winter shopping. While corner infield help ostensibly remains at the top of Baltimore's shopping list, O's GM Andy MacPhail told Kubatko that it isn't a critical priority given the club's organizational strength at the corners (i.e. prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder).
As for pitching, however, MacPhail said, "we'll always sort of stay in the hunt for pitching." Here's what MacPhail had to say about two potential free-agent targets...
- Erik Bedard. We've heard some rumors about the O's looking to bring the left-hander back to Baltimore, but the lack of activity should not be taken as a decline in interest on the club's part. Bedard "doesn't seem to be in a rush to sign" with anyone, and MacPhail noted that Bedard was likely to sign "a late-January type deal anyway, if that." Given how Bedard's probable contract will be a one or two-year, incentive-laden deal, it makes sense that clubs would wait to see how the rest of the offseason pitching market shakes down before making Bedard an offer. MacPhail added that based on some preliminary medical information the Baltimore staff has received about Bedard, the southpaw will be able to pitch before midseason, contrary to what some reports have suggested.
- Mark Hendrickson. It's been widely assumed that Hendrickson would re-sign with Baltimore, and the pitcher himself said he was hoping to get a deal done quickly back in October. But now we're a third of the way through January and the left-hander is still a free agent. MacPhail said the team is still interested in bringing Hendrickson back, but they have been waiting "to see how some of these other things play out, as far as what we do and how extensive it's going to be and how our roster shapes up. So we can't quite commit yet, but we never pretended that there wasn't interest."
Kubatko also reported that the door seems to be closed on Ben Sheets joining the Orioles. Sheets fit the Bedard mold as a pitcher who would sign a short-term deal, but Kubatko said Baltimore asked for (and never received) Sheets' medical records. Sheets "apparently wants to be paid as if he isn't a health risk," which is a pretty firm negotiating stance for a pitcher who hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2008.
Lots of other bits of information to get to on a busy Monday:
- The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly has several pieces of information about once and perhaps future Orioles. Former Oriole Melvin Mora has three suitors, according to Mora's agent, two National League teams and one American League team.
- Mark Hendrickson, by contrast, could well return to Baltimore. He lives in nearby York, PA and wants to play in Baltimore. His agent, Joe Urbon, said both sides have talked, but there's been no movement yet.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution believes that if his price tag drops to well below $10MM, Johnny Damon could be a good fit for the Braves. You'd have to think the Yankees would get back involved at that price, however.
- Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs.com thinks a disparity in GM talent could be behind the gap between the National and American League.
- And if Cleveland fans weren't upset enough over recent deals for Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia and Victor Martinez, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince checks in with when he expects Cleveland to begin looking to trade Grady Sizemore in his latest Inbox.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft thinks the Giants should take a look at Mike Jacobs.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec takes a look back at Baltimore's first day of the Winter Meetings:
- The O's targeted pitching heavily, inquiring on Kevin Millwood and attaining the medical record for former Baltimore ace Erik Bedard. The O's would want Texas to eat some of Millwood's $12MM salary. They won't go after Bedard (or any other pitcher) if they're not 100% for Opening Day.
- Andy MacPhail will meet with Bedard's agent in the next couple of days.
- The Orioles were interested in Rafael Soriano prior to his decision to accept arbitration from the Braves.
- Kevin Gregg is an option for relief help, but Baltimore sees him as a 7th or 8th inning guy, not a closer.
- Felix Pie has drawn a lot of inquiries, but MacPhail points out that none of Pie, Nolan Reimold, and Adam Jones have played a full, healthy season yet, and the depth is probably a good thing for the Orioles when taking that into consideration.
- Lots of young O's pitching has come up, including Zach Britton and David Hernandez.
- MacPhail met with Joe Urbon, agent for Mark Hendrickson. Zrebiec says it's only a matter of time before a deal is done.
- There hasn't been much in the way of talks for Dan Uggla recently.
- Baltimore won't be bidders for John Lackey, but they like Hank Blalock, Nick Johnson, and Carlos Delgado as options for first base. Luke Scott is not a full-time first base option. Pedro Feliz is their primary third base target.
- Baltimore isn't in on talks for Edwin Jackson or Matt Lindstrom, but they did meet with the agent for Aroldis Chapman.
- Baltimore may sign another catcher, but it's not a priority.
The Orioles are positioned to be buyers in free agency, according to Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. GM Andy MacPhail says that the club is looking to spend this offseason, but there remains some skepticism in Baltimore as to whether owner Peter Angelos will be willing to open up his checkbook. If the O's decide to dole out dollars this winter, here are some of the players they will and won't be targeting:
- Barring a change in organizational plans, you can cross the Orioles off the list of suitors for outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.
- The Orioles have contacted the agents of Chone Figgins and John Lackey, but are hardly alone in that regard.
- Adrian Beltre and Pedro Feliz top the O's wish list to replace Melvin Mora at third base.
- At first base, Nick Johnson, Hank Blalock, and Carlos Delgado are options. We know that Baltimore is not the only club keeping tabs on Delgado, as his last employer is said to be keeping an eye on him as well. The 37-year-old slugger ranked #43 on Tim's Top 50 Free Agents list, where it is predicted that he will sign with the Orioles.
- Andy MacPhail & Co. are considering Dodgers pitchers Randy Wolf and Jon Garland, as well as Braden Looper. MacPhail noted that the club is not afraid to take a chance on a hurler with a history of injuries and high upside. Former Oriole Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, and Rich Harden all fit the bill.
- The O's would gladly add an established closer at the right price. Billy Wagner, Fernando Rodney, and Mike Gonzalez are mentioned as members of a deep crop of available relievers.
- It shouldn't be long before the Orioles agree to terms with pitcher Mark Hendrickson as both sides want to get a deal done. The 6'9 lefty spent time with four different organizations before coming to Baltimore - eight if you count NBA teams.
MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez has a bunch of Orioles rumors for us, but unfortunately they're spread out among a half-dozen tweets or so. Here's the goods...
- Andy MacPhail said that they've "made no secret about the fact that we're looking for corner infielders."
- ESPN's Keith Law notes the team has some prospects coming up at first and third base, but MacPhail acknowledged that they probably aren't ready to contribute yet. Gonzalez mentions the team's two most notable prospects, Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder, will likely get some more seasoning in the minors.
- MacPhail also said the team plans to accumulate whatever pitching they can.
- Regarding free agent lefty Mark Hendrickson, "We've talked with his [rep], & I think we both have a pretty good understanding of where we are ..."
- When it comes to trading prospects, MacPhail said "I think we'll be judicious about giving up any of those guys we think are a part of our core future... I would think it unlikely ... we gave up a young key part of our future and just got something back that would be a short-term answer."
A few links to start the day...
- Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the Phillies will prioritze defensive versatility over power when filling Matt Stairs' roster spot, though Stairs, Miguel Cairo, and Paul Bako are welcome to come to Spring Training on minor league deals.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com has an update on the Orioles' negotations with Mark Hendrickson. Last month we learned that Hendrickson hoped to re-sign quickly.
- ESPN's Keith Law wrote about players coming off injury, and notes that Ben Sheets is worth gambling on, considering his upside.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that despite the Brewers' logjam on the infield, a trade will probably not happen "unless some club offers the pitching equivalent of (Mat) Gamel."
- David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News takes a look at the Phillies' pitching staff to see which free agents may or may not fit.
- R.J. Anderson at FanGraphs wrote about free agent (and good luck charm) Eric Hinske, while his blogmate Dave Cameron took a look at some interesting minor league free agents.
- Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan took the time to speak with Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com about several of the team's 2009 draft picks.
- Buddy Carlyle has joined the Nippon Ham Fighters, according to Kyodo News.
- Not only do players truly hit the open market on Friday, but teams must also set their 40-man rosters for next month's Rule 5 Draft that day as well. Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes about a player the Braves may choose to protect, while Erik Hahmann of DRays Bay looks back at Tampa Bay's history in the Rule 5.
- Speaking of Morosi and O'Brien, make sure you follow both guys on Twitter!,
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has the buzz on the Orioles...
- President Andy MacPhail said he can't see himself trading a young, talented player for a short-term (one or two-year) fix. He left open the possibility of trading a young player to fill a different, more urgent need long-term.
- Zrebiec says bringing Erik Bedard back to the organization has been discussed.
- The Orioles may acquire bullpen help, but Zrebiec adds, "some team officials would be comfortable starting the season with Koji Uehara as the closer."
- MacPhail admitted the third base supply is strong. Zrebiec says the O's have interest in free agents Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Pedro Feliz, while Dan Uggla and Garrett Atkins are also known to be available.
- The Orioles have not yet spoken to Mark Hendrickson's agent, nor have they made an offer for Aroldis Chapman.
- It was close, but Adam Jones just missed being a Super Two. Since he won't be arbitration-eligible this winter, the Orioles will save millions.
Once the World Series ends, teams get an exclusive 15-day window to negotiate with their own free agents before they truly hit the open market, and as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun notes, lefthander Mark Hendrickson hopes the Orioles take advantage of that window.
"We won't wait just for the purpose of waiting," said Joe Urbon of CAA Sports. "They have an exclusive window to talk and try to get something done and I would hope that they'd use it because I know that's what Mark would like.
"There has been indications and a vibe that there is an interest in the Orioles in having him back and Mark has made it clear that he has an interest in staying. It has to work on both sides. That includes fit and role and economics. I don't see any reason that all three things can't be accomplished."
The former Philadelphia 76er, Sacramento King, New Jersey Net, and Cleveland Cavalier pitched to a 4.37 ERA in 105 innings this season, mostly out of the bullpen for the O's. He earned $1.5MM in 2009, but FanGraphs values his performance at $2.2MM. It was also the fourth straight year Hendrickson's value has declined.