Matt Murton Rumors

Central Notes: Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Indians

Matt Murton and Randy Messenger are close to extensions with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, Kyodo News reports. It's possible that both could have drawn interest from major league teams, as each was excellent in 2013 for the Tigers. Murton, who had a nice .297/.365/.444 campaign all the way back in 2006 with the Cubs, led Japan's Central League in hits in 2013 for the third time in four seasons. Here's a look at the latest from MLB's Central divisions:

  • Cubs hitting coach James Rowson will leave for the Yankees organization, a source tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rowson, who was named the Cubs' top hitting instructor in June 2012, will assume the title of minor league hitting coordinator in the Bronx.
  • Rick Renteria's journeyman career included stops in four organizations and three tours in Mexican baseball, Gonzales writes in a profile of the new Cubs manager. Padres first base coach Dave Roberts had high praise for his former colleague, commenting that "there's not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn't gotten better."
  • Gonzales and Colleen Kane, also of the Tribune, preview the offseasons ahead for the Cubs and their South Side neighbors. In the article, Cubs President Theo Epstein reiterated that free agent signings must help the Cubs both now and in the future. "We wish there were a free agent market for young players … There's not," Epstein lamented. While the Cubs' strategy is to bide time and wait for "that one guy who might make sense," the front office may target a starter or bullpen help this offseason, Epstein adds.
  • While the White Sox's signing of Jose Dariel Abreu in October will likely be their largest offseason move, they must still address team legend Paul Konerko's status with the club, Kane and Gonzales write. Catching also looms as a prominent need for the Sox, and could be addressed via the trade market. As the article notes, the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in second baseman Gordon Beckham.
  • The Twins will have to add minor leaguer A.J. Achter to their 40-man roster by Nov. 20 if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Achter looks to vie with around 10 other players for two Twins 40-man spots.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that money was likely a factor in the Indians' decision to draft Tyler Naquin, whom they selected 15th overall in 2012, over Michael Wacha. A teammate of Naquin's at Texas A&M, Wacha was eventually selected with the 19th pick by the Cardinals and signed for the full slot value of $1.9MM.

Quick Hits: Murton, Wilson, Twins, Draft

Here are some links for Monday night as we anticipate the end of a managerial search in Boston and the beginning of a GM search in Houston… 

  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker hears that Matt Murton will return to the Hanshin Tigers for 2012 (Twitter link). Murton could have been an outside-the-box alternative for teams looking for outfield help this offseason. The 30-year-old has a .286/.352/.436 line in parts of five MLB seasons and has hit well in Japan.
  • C.J. Wilson, who visited with the Marlins today, has another free agent visit scheduled this week, but it’s not with the Rangers, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
  • Twins people expect former GM Bill Smith to remain in the organization, according to Jon Heyman of Minnesota replaced Smith with longtime GM Terry Ryan earlier this month.
  • Speaking of the Twins, they’re one of many teams in on Yoenis Cespedes, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown. This appears to be the first time they’ve been linked to the 26-year-old outfielder.
  • The Astros are shopping Wandy Rodriguez all over, according to Brown.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America hears that the 30 MLB teams will be limited to $180MM in total spending for the first ten rounds of the draft under the new collective bargaining agreement (Twitter link).
  • Teams that fail to sign top draft picks can’t re-allocate the money saved toward deals for other draft picks, according to’s Jonathan Mayo. For example, a team that fails to sign a top pick who had a recommended bonus of $1.5MM would see its spending ceiling fall by $1.5MM and would not have the option of spending that $1.5MM on other players.

Quick Hits: Iwakuma, Cintron, Twins, Buehrle

Links for Monday as the Indians and Pirates claim sole possession of first place in their respective divisions…

  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker previews the NPB players who may be available to Major League teams after the season, including starter Hisashi Iwakuma and former big leaguer Matt Murton.
  • The Hiroshima Carp signed Brian Barton, according to a report on Sanspo. The 30-year-old infielder has experience with three MLB teams and last played in the big leagues for last year's Marlins team.
  • The agent for Alex Cintron told's Bill Ladson that his client is looking to un-retire and play in the Major Leagues again (Twitter link).
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said on 1500 ESPN's "Sunday Morning SportsTalk" show that Minnesota would like to add a middle reliever and may go outside of the organization for help. Tom Pelissero has the details on the Twins, who started the day just five games out of first place.
  • White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen told Brett Ballantini of that he and GM Kenny Williams want to re-sign Mark Buehrle after the season, when the left-hander is eligible for free agency. The White Sox have not discussed years or money with Buehrle, who has hinted at retirement in the past. Buehrle allowed two earned runs in seven innings as the White Sox beat the Royals tonight.

Quick Hits: Liz, Rangers, Cubs, Nationals, Gonzalez

Links for Saturday evening…

Odds & Ends: Dunn, Beltre, Lee, Sabathia

Links for Tuesday, as we wait for David Price to throw the first pitch of the All-Star Game to Hanley Ramirez

Odds & Ends: A’s, Reds, Murton, Maya, Chipper

Links for Tuesday, as Andy Pettitte and Tim Lincecum celebrate birthdays…

Matt Murton Sold To Hanshin Tigers

5:28pm: Murton's rights were sold to the Hanshin Tigers, explains's Thomas Harding.

2:32pm: The Rockies released outfielder Matt Murton so he can pursue a career in Japan, according to FOX Sports.  Murton, 28, hit .324/.389/.499 in Triple A this year and would've been arbitration-eligible.  Murton is a known MLBTR reader; we wish him the best of luck!

The FOX report goes on to suggest that the Rockies might now have to retain arb-eligible outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, but (oddly) they've inquired on Corey Hart in case they do move him.

Rockies DFA Matt Murton

According to Doug Miller of, the Rockies have designated outfielder Matt Murton for assignment.

The move cleared roster space for reliever Juan Rincon, who was activated from the disabled list Wednesday evening and will add depth to the Rockies' bullpen for the stretch run.  Murton, now 27, posted a passable .267/.327/.444 line in 45 at-bats with the Rockies earlier this season and had a .321 batting average with 71 RBI for Triple-A Colorado Springs.  With those kind of numbers, he's sure to draw interest from opposing ball clubs.

Gammons On Street, Amezaga, Tejada

It's a fantasy baseball show, but Peter Gammons discussed the trade market on ESPN's Fantasy Focus today. Here are his latest rumors:

  • The Red Sox like Ryan Spilborghs, but the Phillies and other teams are interested, too. Plus, the Rockies are looking much better under Jim Tracy, so they're not dealing yet.
  • The Angels have targeted Huston Street, in case the Rockies become sellers.
  • Several teams have interest in Matt Murton 
  • Gammons compares Eric Young Jr. to a young Chone Figgins because of his versatility.  
  • Another versatile player, Alfredo Amezaga, would interest 6-8 contenders if the Marlins shopped him, but they're not about to make him available.  
  • The market for Miguel Tejada should be pretty good, if the Astros decide to trade him. The Red Sox could be among the interested teams. Tejada would be a good fit for the Cardinals, but Gammons doesn't see Drayton McLane allowing Ed Wade to trade a key player to their divisional rival.

Gammons On Ackley, Red Sox, Relievers

ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog post up.  Let's take a look.

  • Gammons writes in praise of North Carolina's Dustin Ackley, who is likely to be chosen by the Mariners at #2 in June.  Ackley may wind up at center field or second base.
  • The Red Sox don't appear willing to trade young pitchers like Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone.  The Sox have looked at bats such as Colorado's Matt Murton and Ryan Spilborghs, but for now aren't desperate enough to trade pitching.  Gammons wonders if, for the right bat, Boston would part with Manny Delcarmen.  He believes Delcarmen could close in the NL.
  • Gammons says the Mets think they could have Carlos Delgado back by August if he has hip surgery, allowing them to stay in-house for his replacements.
  • The Dodgers, Indians, Yankees, and Twins are looking for relief help.  Gammon names Jose Valverde, Huston Street, Danys Baez, Russ Springer, and John Grabow as future trade candidates.