Miguel Batista Rumors

Cardinals Release Miguel Batista

The Cardinals announced that they have released Miguel Batista (Twitter link). In a related move, St. Louis called up Lance Lynn from Triple-A. Lynn was already on the 40-man roster, so the move opens up a 40-man spot for the Cardinals.

Batista was part of yesterday's bullpen implosion against the Phillies. The Cardinals allowed nine runs in the eighth inning and Batista didn't help, allowing two walks and a single to the three batters he faced. The 40-year-old pitched 29 1/3 innings for the Cardinals this year, posting a 4.60 ERA with more walks (19) than strikeouts (16). Batista's ground ball rate dropped from his usual 50% figure to 36.8% this year, but his average fastball velocity remains respectable. Even after 17 seasons in the majors, the righty averages 92.6 mph.

Oldest Current MLB Players

Generally speaking, young players tend to have athleticism, upside and a salary right around the MLB minimum. It’s no wonder that teams tend to gravitate to those players when constructing their rosters. There’s not much demand for aging, positionless sluggers in this era, yet a small group of older players are contributing to winning teams. In honor of Jason Giambi’s three-homer game, here’s a comprehensive list of every 40-plus player to don an MLB uniform in 2011:

  • Tim Wakefield (44) – The knuckleballer is once again a member of Boston's rotation. He has a 5.40 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 23 1/3 innings this year.
  • Omar Vizquel (44) – The active leader in games played is showing few signs of age. Vizquel isn't on this list for his bat, but his .327/.358/.388 line is excellent. The 11-time Gold Glove winner has played second, short and third this year.
  • Matt Stairs (43) – Stairs, who figures to DH in interleague play this weekend, needs to turn his season around. The New Brunswick native has just two hits and six walks in 28 plate appearances. Give Stairs credit for staying in the majors this long; Bryce Harper wasn’t even born when Stairs made his MLB debut with the ’92 Expos.
  • Takashi Saito (41) – Before hitting the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Saito appeared in just two games for the Brewers.
  • Mariano Rivera (41) – How is Rivera this effective at 41? He leads the league in saves (13) and has a 1.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. His average fastball still checks in at over 91 mph.
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) – Rhodes hasn't quite matched his 2010 performance so far, but a 3.97 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 isn't bad at any age.
  • Craig Counsell (40) – The 16-year veteran has a .234/.321/.255 line in 55 plate appearances at second, third, short and left field. Consider that the average MLB shortstop has a .254/.312/.361 line and Counsell's numbers look a little better.
  • Jason Giambi (40) – Giambi has an unusual .194/.306/.581 line after his three-homer game.
  • Miguel Batista (40) – Batista has a 1.69 ERA through 16 innings despite having an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9).
  • Darren Oliver (40) – Oliver has a 2.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings of relief. He and Rhodes provide the Rangers with a pair of dependable lefty relievers.
  • Jim Thome (40) – After a tremendous 2010 season, Thome's numbers have fallen off and he has spent time on the disabled list. He hit a pair of homers and posted a .214/.333/.375 line before hitting the DL with an oblique strain.

Opt-Out Notes: Batista, Isringhausen, Bush, Chavez

A few notes on veterans with opt-out clauses from around the league…

NL Central Links: Fielder, Pujols, Batista, Pirates

The two biggest free agents available next winter could potentially come from the NL Central – Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. The Pujols negotiations have been well documented, and it was Fielder's turn to address the issue today when he arrived at the Brewers' camp. Though he declined to comment on his own contract situation, the Brewers slugger also received a few questions about Pujols. Asked whether, as a baseball fan, he wants to see the three-time MVP remain in St. Louis, Fielder replied that he'd like to see Pujols play "where he's happy," tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Here are the rest of today's NL Central links:

Cardinals To Sign Batista, Snell

The Cardinals have agreed on minor league deals with Miguel Batista and Ian Snell, according to the club (via Twitter).  Both right-handers will receive invitations to Spring Training.

Batista, 40 in February, turned in a 3.70 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 for the Nationals last season.  In 16 major league seasons with eight different clubs, Batista owns a 4.51 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.

Snell, 29, was part of a seven-player swap between the Mariners and the Pirates in 2009.  The hurler cleared waivers and accepted a Triple-A assignment after being DFA'd by the M's in June.  Snell has a career 4.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.  

Nationals Need To Make Room For Livan Hernandez

The Nationals were able to play out the first week of the season with just four starters, but they're going to call up Livan Hernandez tomorrow to take over as the fifth member of the rotation. Hernandez signed a minor league deal this offseason, so the Nats kept him off the roster until they absolutely needed the extra starter.

The team will have to clear a spot on the 25-man roster to call Livan up, but they do have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so that's not that problem. However, as MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling notes, relievers Tyler Walker and Jason Bergmann could be candidates for demotion, and both are out of options. They would have to clear waivers to head to the minors. 

Walker, 33, signed a one year deal worth $650K this offseason, but he's allowed three runs in 3.1 innings on the young season. The 28-year-old Bergmann has appeared in two games so far, allowing a pair of runs in one inning of work. If the team choose to ignore the obviously small sample sizes, they could option 25-year-old Jesse English to Triple-A, who has allowed two runs in 1.2 innings of work on the season. Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post adds Miguel Batista's name to the mix, who's given up six runs in 4.1 innings so far. 

Odds & Ends: Hart, Yankees, Baldelli, Ruiz

A few Friday night links…

Nationals Agree To Terms With Miguel Batista

The Nationals agreed to terms with pitcher Miguel Batista on a minor league deal, according to a team press release.

Finishing up a three-year, $25MM deal with the Mariners, Batista was a $9MM middle reliever last year.  He posted a 4.04 ERA, 6.6 K/9, and 4.9 BB/9 on the season.  Funny quote from Batista to John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before the season:

"You don't pay a guy $9 million to pitch middle relief.  Well, maybe the Yankees do. My concern is to stay healthy and help the team and we will find some neutral ground."

Batista shouldn't have a shot at the closer job in Washington, but he might be able to crack the rotation.

Cafardo On Sheets, Lowell, Pineiro

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why more teams don't take advantage of arbitration hearings. Clubs do have a history of winning cases against their players in recent years. Here are Cafardo's latest rumors:

  • A Red Sox source tells Cafardo that it's unlikely the team signs Ben Sheets. Not a surprise, given Boston's rotation depth.
  • One scout is certain Ron Mahay will be on a major league roster by the time Spring Training starts. 
  • An NL scout considers Miguel Batista a "very serviceable piece."
  • Since Miguel Cabrera was in rehab for alcoholism this offseason, teams weren't eager to trade prospects for the first baseman and pay his $20MM salary.
  • As we heard last week, the Twins are interested in signing Jim Thome. 
  • The Red Sox and Angels considered swapping Mike Lowell for Gary Matthews Jr. before concerns about Lowell's thumb emerged. 
  • An AL GM considers Joel Pineiro "another middle-rotation guy." 

Rockies Notes: Olivo, Batista

Troy Renck checks in with a couple of Rockies news items, including more contract details for the recently-signed Miguel Olivo:

  • Olivo is guaranteed $2.5MM in 2010, as opposed to the initial reports of $2MM. Olivo also has incentives for games started, which Renck believes kick in around the 105 games mark. Should Olivo hit this mark, he'll earn an extra $500K for the season, and his $2.5MM mutual option for 2011 will vest.
  • Olivo will compete with Chris Iannetta for playing time in 2010, and according to Olivo's agent, Martin Arburua, the Rockies' philosophy will be a very simple one: "Let the best man win."
  • In dealing with the Rockies, Arburua also discussed another of his clients, Miguel Batista. The soon-to-be 39-year-old posted a 4.04 ERA through 71.1 innings for Seattle last season, notching his highest K/9 rate (6.56) since 2003. However, he also posted an ugly 4.92 BB/9, and his FIP on the year checked in at 4.64