Marlon Byrd Rumors
The Rangers, Reds and Yankees have some of the top infields in baseball, when offense and defense are considered, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes. Olney suggests the Royals, Blue Jays and Indians have infields that are potentially on the rise. Here are his latest rumors...
- Some rival executives strongly believe that the Nationals will be the eventual landing place for Prince Fielder. Agents say now is the time for Fielder to take advantage of the market and sign a long-term deal, according to Olney. Click here for the latest on Fielder, who was linked to the Nationals again today.
- Olney suggests the Red Sox and Nationals could have interest in Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who will earn $6.5MM in 2012, the final year of his contract. The Red Sox could play Byrd in right and the Nationals could use him in center.
- Though trading catcher Kurt Suzuki isn’t a priority for the Athletics, Olney suggests he’ll likely be playing elsewhere by the time next summer’s trade deadline passes (Twitter link).
Here are a couple of links regarding potential free agent third basemen, with a note about an outfielder for good measure:
- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez will be seeking a multiyear contract this offseason, according to his agent, Paul Kinzer, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. A-Ram hasn't ruled out returning to the Cubs, apparently, but he "would have been more likely to re-sign with [Chicago] if Jim Hendry was there," Kinzer said. This is the same sentiment we heard from Kinzer in the wake of Hendry's dismissal a week or so back. The Cubs have a $16MM club option for 2012 on A-Ram, with a $2MM buyout. He can decline the option, though, in which case he'd forfeit any compensation.
- Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd would be fine with it if the team decides to trade him this offseason, writes Paul Sullivan of the Tribune, but he hopes any such move would yield a good player in return: "If it's best for the organization to move me and bring back another piece because of my trade value, then (do it). But if they're just trying to get rid of me and get nothing back, I don't see that helping the organization," Byrd said. He's slated to earn $6.5MM in the final year of a three-year, $15MM contract, so I could see him drawing some interest on the trade market.
- Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake will undergo season-ending surgery to repair damaged nerves in his neck, writes Chris Adamski of MLB.com. It sounds like a fairly serious procedure, and Blake is 38, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Blake wants to continue playing. The Dodgers hold a $6MM option ($1.25MM buyout) on Blake for 2012, so there's a chance they could move on.
The Braves offered a four-player package to the Astros for Hunter Pence, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Astros sought two of the Braves' top four pitching prospects and another good young pitcher, so a deal was not reached. With Pence and Carlos Beltran off the board, here's the latest on the Braves' hunt for a hitter...
- Byrd is not going to be traded, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark, though the Braves took a run at him. Stark says the Twins are set on receiving big league-ready players for Denard Span. Bourn, Upton, Crisp, and Quentin are on the radar, while there are no signs the Braves have pursued Ludwick or Willingham of late.
- The Braves are strongly in on Quentin, tweets Bob Nightengale, but the White Sox are still unlikely to move him. Chicago's asking price is very high, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, and the Braves are interested but not optimistic.
- Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd appears to be among the names on Atlanta's radar, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Braves' talks for Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp slowed Friday, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but he wonders if they'll be rekindled now that the Phillies got Pence.
- The Braves are almost certain to land an outfielder before the deadline, reports Rosenthal. He cites the names you have been hearing for a while: B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin, and Josh Willingham.
- Bourn is on the Braves' radar, tweets Crasnick. Padres right fielder Ludwick is "more down the list of options." Would Astros GM Ed Wade deal another outfielder? He told reporters earlier tonight, "We’re going to be open-minded on all fronts. We’re going to be good listeners."
- The Braves are targeting a center fielder, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, though it doesn't rule them out on corner guys.
Alfonso Soriano's contract may be the most untradeable contract in baseball, but a source tells Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that the Cubs would be "willing to absorb a high percentage" of the money left on his deal if the right trade offer came along. There is more than $60M left on his eight-year, $136MM contract.
Soriano's deal includes a full no-trade clause, but we recently heard that he'd waive it to go to a contender. The 35-year-old is hitting .249/.291/.445 with 14 homers this year, and an American League team could also hide his suspect outfield defense by using him as a DH. Soriano's contract calls for an $18MM salary this year and every year through 2014.
It was on this day in 1959 that Cubs right-hander Glen Hobbie, then 23, took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Cardinals. The great Stan Musial broke up Hobbie's bid for immortality with a two-out double in the seventh -- the only hit Hobbie would allow to Chicago's arch-rivals in a complete game gem.
Let's look at some items from both Hobbie's old team and their South Side brethren...
- The Cubs aren't looking to deal Marlon Byrd, reports Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Miles also looks at some of the Cubs' top prospects.
- With Sam Fuld off to a hot start in Tampa Bay, some fans are wondering why the Cubbies couldn't have held onto the young outfielder rather than include him in the Matt Garza trade package. As part of a mailbag, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat explains that Fuld was out of options and, had he remained in Chicago, he wouldn't have received much playing time in the crowded Cubs outfield.
- Carlos Zambrano tells CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan that a proposed worldwide amateur draft would favor American-born prospects over Latin American prospects. "I think a worldwide draft would be bad for the kids from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela because we are late developers. We don't have little league or a system of organized baseball to help us learn the game," Zambrano said. "When I was a kid we played maybe once a week, that's it. If kids from my country were drafted and then didn't develop quickly enough they wouldn't be around long."
- Also from Kaplan, up to 65% (roughly $24MM) of Jake Peavy's remaining salary could be covered by an insurance policy. This could give the White Sox some financial room to acquire another pitcher. Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, tells Kaplan that it is much more difficult for teams to get insurance on multiyear pitching contracts today than it was for San Diego in 2009. Peavy has yet to pitch in 2011 due to his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, and is tentatively scheduled to return to the Sox rotation by mid-May.
- Despite his team's seven-game losing streak, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't worried about being on the hot seat, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
Teams have just two more days to acquire postseason-eligible players, but the Rangers haven't yet given up their search for a right-handed hitter. Richard Durrett of ESPN.com writes that, after missing out on Manny Ramirez, Jon Daniels and the Rangers continue to "work the phones" in hopes of landing a bat.
Our list of players that we know have cleared waivers is noticeably lacking in right-handed options, with switch-hitters Carlos Beltran and Geoff Blum the only healthy possibilities. Durrett, however, lists a few names he thinks may be available, including Ryan Spilborghs, Reed Johnson, Jeff Francoeur, and Marlon Byrd. It's also possible that the Rangers are the unknown team that won a waiver claim on Mike Napoli, though he would have had to make it past the Tigers and White Sox, among other clubs.
The Rangers were hoping Jorge Cantu would provide the right-handed pop they needed, but the 28-year-old has struggled since Texas acquired him a month ago. Cantu has yet to record a homer or RBI for the Rangers, hitting .226/.281/.283 in 58 plate appearances.
We see it all the time. Most weeks a handful of players are designated for assignment and more often than not casual fans barely notice. A DFA indicates that a team is willing to part with a player - sometimes for nothing. But sometimes those players come back from DFAs to become stars in the major leagues. Here's a list of some current players who have been designated for assignment:
- David Aardsma - The Red Sox acquired Aardsma after the White Sox designated him for assignment in 2008. A year later, the Mariners traded for Aardsma, who became the team's closer and posted impressive rates of 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
- Mike Adams - Adams was designated for assignment in 2006, before he posted absurdly low ERAs and regularly struck out more than a batter per inning.
- Milton Bradley - The Padres acquired Bradley from the A's after Bradley was designated for assignment in 2007. Bradley hit .313/.414/.590 for the Padres and led them to a one game playoff with the Rockies for the Wild Card spot. Of course Bradley didn't play in game 163, since he tore his ACL while manager Bud Black restrained him during an on-field argument earlier in the month.
- Russell Branyan - No one claimed Branyan after his 2006 DFA, but the Cardinals traded for him when the Phillies designated him for assignment the next year. He didn't do much for the Cards in his 39 plate appearances in 2007, but Branyan rebounded to hit 31 homers for the Mariners in 2009.
- Marlon Byrd - The Nationals designated Byrd for assignment in 2006 without losing him and the Rangers did the same in 2007. Byrd recovered from his '07 demotion to post three consecutive productive seasons in Texas.
- Nelson Cruz - The Rangers designated Cruz for assignment at the beginning of the 2008 season - usually a good time to sneak players through waivers. The Rangers must be thrilled no one claimed Cruz, who hit 37 homers in the minors that year and added 33 in the majors the following season.
- Rajai Davis - The A's claimed the outfielder off of waivers from their Bay Area rivals in 2008. Davis was hitting .056/.105/.056 at the time, though he had batted just 19 times. He has gone on to become a useful player, hitting .305/.360/.423 last year with 41 steals and above average defense, according to UZR.
- Jorge de la Rosa - The Royals designated de la Rosa for assignment in March of 2008, but it wasn't until a month later that the Rockies traded for him. The 29-year-old free agent-to-be has been a productive starter in Colorado since.
- Ryan Franklin - The Reds acquired Franklin from the Phillies in 2006 after a poor start to the season. Franklin didn't do much better with the Reds, but he has been productive for three-plus seasons in St. Louis since.
- Jeremy Guthrie - The Orioles claimed the former first round pick from the Indians early in 2007, when Guthrie had just 37 big league innings and a 6.08 ERA to his name. Since, the righty has posted a 4.19 ERA in 610.1 innings.
- LaTroy Hawkins - The Yankees designated the reliever for assignment in 2008 and traded him to Houston, where Hawkins dominated for 24 appearances. He posted a 0.43 ERA along with 10.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
- Bobby Jenks - He has fallen out of favor with the White Sox now, but they deserve credit for picking him up after the 2004 season. Jenks has struck out three times as many batters as he has walked in 301 innings with the White Sox.
- Ryan Ludwick - The slugger started the 2005 season hitting just .154/.267/.385 so the Indians designated him for assignment. No one claimed Ludwick then, but the Cardinals made a shrewd pickup when they later signed him.
- Brandon Phillips - The Reds claimed Phillips after the Indians designated him for assignment in 2006. He had just a .206/.246/.310 big league line at the time, but he has averaged 22 homers and 26 steals in his four full seasons with the Reds. UZR rates the 28-year-old as an above average defender at second base, too.
- Joel Pineiro - The Red Sox designated Pineiro for assignment in 2007 when he had a 5.03 ERA and just 20 strikeouts to go along with 14 walks. Later that summer, the Cardinals acquired Pineiro and he went on to post 426.1 solid innings for the Cards. Under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan, Pineiro posted a walk rate of 1.6 BB/9 in a Cardinals uniform.
- Grant Balfour, Ryan Church, Jack Cust, Matt Diaz, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joel Hanrahan, Livan Hernandez, Mike Jacobs, Colby Lewis, Julio Lugo, Mike MacDougal, Evan Meek, Vicente Padilla, Scott Podsednik, J.C. Romero, David Ross, Brian Tallet, Todd Wellemeyer and Randy Wells are among the many big leaguers who have been designated for assignment.
It's worth noting that this group does not include a superstar (Cruz might be the closest thing to one). Teams designate many talented players for assignment because of roster constraints, but few enjoy as much success as the group above.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.
Leftover links for Tuesday evening....
- Perhaps we shouldn't count on the Mike Lowell rumor mill immediately roaring back to life. ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes says (via Twitter) that scouts don't feel Lowell is moving very well in spring action. Of course, as Edes points out in a second tweet, the 36-year-old doesn't move overly well even when he's healthy.
- Greg Cote of the Miami Herald thinks Lowell's limited mobility isn't as big a concern as long as he's playing first base, and would like to see the Marlins go after him.
- The Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League released Tomo Ohka, tweets NPB Tracker. The Tigers had just signed the Japanese right-hander last week.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer assesses the progress of the players the Indians acquired in last season's Cliff Lee trade, focusing on Jason Donald.
- The Yankees have finally made their hiring of Kevin Towers official, naming him a Special Assignment Scout, per a team press release. It was first reported back in January that Towers would be joining New York's staff.
- Yesterday, we heard that the Mariners still have interest in Jarrod Washburn, but John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse tweets that the left-hander isn't close to signing yet with Seattle or anyone else.
- The Astros, not the Red Sox, signed minor-leaguer and former Mariners' first round pick, Michael Garciaparra, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- If he were a GM tasked with signing either himself and Vladimir Guerrero, Marlon Byrd would make the same choice the Rangers did, according to ESPNDallas' Richard Durrett. Byrd says that before he signed with the Cubs, he had some preliminary discussions with Texas, adding that the Rangers' decision to sign Vladdy was a "no brainer."
Links for Friday...
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News reports that Marcus Thames can opt out of his contract with the Yankees if he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training. Thames signed a minor league deal earlier this month that would pay him $900K in the big leagues.
- Alyson Footer, the Astros' Sr. Director of Social Media, tweets that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with infielder Tommy Manzella worth $400K. He's expected to be the team's regular shortstop in 2010, and he has less than a month's worth of service time.
- Mike Aviles and Anthony Lerew agreed to terms with the Royals according to a team press release. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that both deals are expected to be worth less than $500K. Both players are not yet eligible for arbitration.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins also agreed to terms with six of their pre-arbitration eligible players, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Orioles' lefty Brian Matusz has changed agents, and is now represented by CAA Sports. He had a 4.63 ERA in 44.2 innings last year, and is widely considered to be one of the two or three best pitching prospects in the game.
- Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke about the Livan Hernandez signing to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling, and said that the righty isn't guaranteed a rotation spot.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports polled nearly 20 baseball people about Carl Crawford's next contract. Many of the agents and executives expect Crawford to command a five-year deal worth $12-16MM per season, but some think the left fielder could make as much as $18MM per year when he hits the open market, probably after 2010.
- Scott Rolen was happy to restructure his contract so the Reds could "free up some money to go out and be more competitive," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Nationals pitcher Rafael Martin tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he agreed to his deal on February 8th (Twitter link).
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports that he wants his players to be driven by "more than money." O'Dowd also told Ringolsby that he did not shop Brad Hawpe this winter.
- The Mets are still looking at lefty and righty relievers, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
- Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt tells Scott Lauber of the News Journal that he expects Placido Polanco to make a smooth transition to third base.
- Marlon Byrd tells USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he's uncomfortable being compared to friend and former teammate Milton Bradley.
- Big market clubs sent $433MM to small market clubs last year, according to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball.
- The Red Sox don't generally use insurance on their long-term deals. Principal owner John Henry tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that "it isn't always easy to get paid," even once players are injured.
- Jose Julio Ruiz may be close to signing, but it won't be with the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane, who has "a huge amount of confidence" in GM Ed Wade, would consider selling his team for $600MM or more, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
Here's your first batch of links for 2010...
- Marlon Byrd signed with the Cubs partly because of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Jaramillo worked with Byrd in Texas.
- The Marlins are willing to spend on Aroldis Chapman because they don't anticipate handing big bucks over to their first round pick next year, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The Marlins have the 23rd overall pick in the draft.
- Jayson Werth is set to become a free agent after the 2010 season, and MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says he isn't sure the Phillies could retain him if he goes looking for a deal similar to what the Mets gave Jason Bay.
- Jason Beck of MLB.com says he'd be surprised if the Tigers didn't trade for a veteran reliever on a short-term contract to fill in at the back of the bullpen.
- Don't discount the idea of Brewers' GM Doug Melvin making another move to bolster his pitching staff, says Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Such a move could come before the season, or ahead of the trade deadline.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock notes that Padres' GM Jed Hoyer has talked about finding players that fit Petco Park, which would be "an athletic one, has doubles-power, someone who can run ... if it's an outfielder, someone who can go get a ball, someone who won't clog the bases."
- The Rangers will bring in "at least one and possibly two" veteran catchers, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. He notes that the team has talked about Rod Barajas and Yorvit Torrealba, but both are looking for two-year deals.
- In an interview with Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones says that he's told team officials he'll only change positions if the team brings in "the right personnel." Chipper also reiterated that he's going year-to-year at this point of his career, and admits there's parts of being a ballplayer that he's sick of.
- Here's the current 2010 draft order based on the free agent signings that are official. At the moment, the Angels have five of the first 37 picks.