Michael Barrett Rumors

Mets Sign Michael Barrett

The Mets signed Michael Barrett to a minor league deal, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The catcher will report to class A Port St. Lucie and will likely be promoted to Triple A Buffalo within a few weeks, according to Rubin.

Barrett, 33, hit 16 homers three consecutive times for the Cubs from 2004-06, never posting an OPS below .824 in that time. He hasn't been nearly as productive since the Cubs traded him to the Padres midway through the 2007 season, but he still has a .263/.320/.422 career line. Barrett appeared in the majors briefly last year, backing up Rod Barajas for the Blue Jays. If he plays well in the minors and the Mets call on Barrett, he will once again be backing up Barajas.

Dodgers Don’t Plan To Trade For Catcher

The Dodgers do not plan to bring in a catcher after losing Russell Martin for four to six weeks with a pulled groin, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Instead, they will rely on A.J. Ellis to fill the void, with Brad Ausmus serving as the understudy.  Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes that Torre has faith in the rookie.

The post notes that Paul Bako is likely the top remaining free agent catcher.  The 37-year-old hit .224/.308/.336 in 130 plate appearances for the Phillies last season.  Another notable catcher without a job is Michael Barrett, though he missed the majority of 2009 due to injury.

Los Angeles dealt one of the game's top catching prospects, Carlos Santana, in the Casey Blake deal in 2008.  The 23-year-old Santana will likely make his major league debut this season.

Blue Jays Sign Michael Barrett

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays signed catcher Michael Barrett to a minor league deal.  Barrett, 32, accepted the Padres’ offer of arbitration in December of ’07.  He injured his elbow in April and broke his nose in July, resulting in a second consecutive lost season.

Marlins’ Catcher Hunt Includes I-Rod

Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson writes that the Florida Marlins are discussing free-agent catchers like Michael Barrett, Henry Blanco and Ivan Rodriguez.

Rodriguez would have to accept a salary close to the league minimum for the Marlins to consider him as a serious option, according to Jackson.

Oswalt Willing To Restructure Contract

FRIDAY: You may have missed this story amid the Winter Meetings chaos.  Read the article below, and then check out Richard Justice’s take.

WEDNESDAY: According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Astros ace Roy Oswalt is willing to restructure his contract and backload money to free up team resources to acquire another starter.  Oswalt has a guaranteed $47MM left on his contract over the next three years.

The cash-strapped Astros considered Ty Wigginton a non-tender candidate at one point, but trade interest is strong (the deadline is Friday).  Wigginton may be too pricey for the D’Backs though.  At the least, they’d have to get creative.  And while the Astros made an inquiry on Randy Johnson, Ed Wade implied the pitcher is out of his price range.  The recent Michael Barrett rumor was downplayed as well.

Three Teams Interested In Barrett

9:16pm: The Blue Jays admitted to sitting down with Barrett, while the Astros downplayed the rumor.

6:18pm: According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, free agent catcher Michael Barrett is drawing interest from the Orioles, Astros, Blue Jays, and Marlins.

Orioles Rumors: Garland, Izturis, Ohman

8:07pm: Jerry Crasnick says Michael Barrett and Gregg Zaun could be options for the Orioles to help transition Matt Wieters to the bigs.

8:03pm: Andy MacPhail spoke of good progress toward signing a shortstop, presumably Izturis.

4:59pm: A small Garland update from Kubatko.

2:34pm: Roch Kubatko believes the Orioles are down to Izturis for shorstop, and two years $6.5MM would get it done.

8:50am: A few stray Orioles rumors from Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun:

  • The O’s had recent talks with Jon Garland‘s agent.  They’ll meet with the agents for Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami this week.
  • Negotiations for free agent shortstop Cesar Izturis have picked up.
  • The Orioles expressed interest in free agent lefty reliever Will Ohman.

Catcher Michael Barrett Now Free Agent

The San Diego Padres have announced that Michael Barrett has opted for free agency after clearing waivers. As an eleven-year MLB veteran, Barrett has the right to decline being optioned to the minors and has instead decided to hit the open market.

During a 2008 season that saw him hit the DL twice, limiting him to only 107 plate appearances, the 31-year old had a poor .202/.274/.298 line. These numbers are a far cry from what he had done as a Cub between 2004-2006, during which he had an OPS of at least .824. While getting out of San Diego should do him some good, it’s becoming quite clear that Barrett no longer hits well enough to compensate for his defensive deficiencies.

Paul Moro writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: Paul *at* umpbump *dot* com.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Teixeira, Liriano, Garcia, Willingham

Ken Rosenthal has a new hot stove article up.

  • Rosenthal leads with some Mark Teixeira-Angels speculation, but admits the Braves aren’t considering trading him and the Angels are content with their team.  The Halos’ .706 team OPS ranks 12th in the AL; something should be done.
  • All kinds of Mariners turmoil.  They could look to acquire a center fielder given the move back to right for Ichiro.  Releases of Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro could be on the agenda.  And chemistry problems abound, with Ichiro and Kenji Johjima at the center.
  • The Ms might consider Chris Antonetti and David Forst for the GM job, but both could choose to wait for the position to open up on their current teams.  Antonetti seems likely to stay put, based on his comments and actions.
  • Adam Dunn likes the Reds’ future and wants to stay.
  • If the Twins keep Francisco Liriano in the minors a bit longer, he will lose his shot at becoming a Super Two player.
  • Past reports have named the Mets, Red Sox, Braves, Yankees, White Sox, Rangers, Indians, Mariners, and Tigers as clubs interested in Freddy Garcia.  Rosenthal adds the Rays to the mix.
  • On Sunday, Peter Gammons said the Red Sox "might look at a count worker like the Marlins’ Josh Willingham" if David Ortiz needs surgery.  Rosenthal agrees that the Sox "indeed might be interested" but believes the Marlins want to hang on to him (even though he reaches arbitration after this season).
  • The Cardinals "made a quick inquiry" on Michael Barrett but backed off when Yadier Molina’s injury turned out to be day-to-day.

Padres Interested In Damian Miller

THURSDAY, 9:51am: The Padres (and Giants) didn’t claim Quintero; he passed through waivers and is headed to Triple A.

WEDNESDAY, 11:43am: The Padres aren’t quite sure how long Michael Barrett’s elbow injury will knock him out.  He won’t need Tommy John surgery, but he could miss anywhere from the minimum to two months.  Kevin Towers contacted free agent Damian Miller as a possible backup to be used later this month.  Miller wasn’t able to find a job this winter.  For now, the Padres will use the light-hitting Colt Morton behind Josh Bard.

One reader suggested Humberto Quintero, who was designated for assignment on March 31st.  The Quintero situation should be resolved soon, but the Giants might claim him.