Miguel Batista Rumors
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.
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.
A few notes on veterans with opt-out clauses from around the league...
- Non-roster invitee Miguel Batista has earned a spot on the Cardinals roster, writes B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com. The 40-year-old Batista could have opted out of his contract on Monday had the Cards not informed him that he would make the club.
- The Mets have not asked Jason Isringhausen if he would accept a minor league assignment, because he has already said in the past that he won't, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- Dave Bush will use his opt-out tomorrow if he doesn't make the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPN.com. Bush says that he's not sure which way the club is leaning but wants to stay in Texas.
- Russell Branyan could have opted out of his contract with the Diamondbacks yesterday, but he was instead informed that he has made the club according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Brandon Allen is likely to go to Triple-A while the out-of-options Juan Miranda stays with the team.
- George A. King III of The New York Post reports that Eric Chavez can ask the Yankees for his release today if he doesn't make the team. "They haven't let me know anything," said Chavez, but his strong showing in camp (.421/.450/.605 in 40 PA) likely won him a bench job.
- Isringhausen told Mike Puma of The New York Post that he will not accept a minor league assignment if he does not make the Mets out of Spring Training. There's a possibility Izzy would go to Extended Spring Training if his swollen elbow isn't fully healed though.
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:
- Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues that the Cardinals should've done with Pujols what the Phillies did with Ryan Howard, and worked out an extension long before it became a potential distraction. Easier said than done, I'd imagine.
- The Cardinals had interest in Miguel Batista for a few years before signing him this offseason, as Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes. Batista, who is on a minor league contract, is the favorite to land the team's final bullpen opening.
- While Pirates president Frank Coonelly said he expects GM Neal Huntington to be with the team "for a long time," Huntington's contract will expire at the end of the 2011 season. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the club will continue to evaluate Huntington's performance this year before making any long-term decisions.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Anthony Rendon, who is the current favorite to be drafted first overall by the Pirates this summer. Rendon is being advised by Scott Boras.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. was surprised the team lost its arbitration hearing with Hunter Pence, says Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner.
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
- 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