Mike Jacobs Rumors

Minor League Transactions: Free Agents, Herges, Ramirez

Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us minor league transactions for October 3rd to 9th, the first full week of the offseason for most clubs. Here are a few notes of interest from the latest series of minor league moves across the league:

Blue Jays Acquire Mike Jacobs

The Blue Jays acquired Mike Jacobs from the Mets for a player to be named later, tweets Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger.  Jacobs, 29, has spent most of the season at Triple A.  He's had multiple stints at the level, but this year he's hitting .260/.313/.478 in 371 plate appearances.

Jacobs cleared waivers and accepted a Triple A assignment after being designated in April.

Players Who Were Once Designated For Assignment

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 BalfourRyan ChurchJack CustMatt DiazJerry Hairston Jr.Joel HanrahanLivan HernandezMike JacobsColby LewisJulio LugoMike MacDougalEvan MeekVicente PadillaScott PodsednikJ.C. RomeroDavid 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.

Mike Jacobs Accepts Minor League Assignment

THURSDAY, 6:03pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Jacobs has accepted a minor league assignment and will report to the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

WEDNESDAY, 12:51pm: Jacobs cleared waivers, reports ESPN's Adam Rubin.

SUNDAY, 3:45pm: The Mets have designated first baseman Mike Jacobs for assignment to make room for Tobi Stoner, writes ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.

Jacobs, 29, signed a minor league contract this offseason after being non-tendered by the Royals following a disappointing 2009 campaign. The lefty slugger clubbed 32 home runs for the Marlins in 2008, which prompted the Royals to acquire him in exchange for Leo Nunez. Jacobs' problem throughout his career has always been his lack of discipline. He's failed to post an OBP above .300 since 2007, which has led to a career OPS of just .787 in spite of a career average of 29 HR per 162 games and a .475 slugging percentage.

Stoner, 25, was a 16th round pick of the Mets in the 2006 draft. Over five minor league seasons, he's compiled a 3.58 ERA through 507.2 innings. He doesn't profile as a big-time strikeout pitcher, fanning just 6.6 per nine innings over that time, but his plus control (2.6 BB/9) helps make up for it.

Jacobs being out of the picture has greater implications for Mets fans, as Daniel Murphy is still on the disabled list and top prospect Ike Davis looms at Triple-A Buffalo. Davis, 23, is off to a hot start in the minors, hitting .357/.514/.679 through his first nine games. Baseball America named Davis the 62nd-best prospect in all of baseball coming into the 2010 season.

Newsday's David Lennon reminds us, via Twitter, that Jacobs has an option left, and can be sent to Triple-A. Jacobs says he doesn't want to go down to sit on the bench, however. As Lennon says, if the Mets want Jacobs to stay, they should call up Davis.

Odds & Ends: Maya, Sheffield, Rays, Yankees

Monday night linkage..

  • Jon Heyman of SI writes that the Dodgers and Rockies have watched Eric Gagne throw and both teams have shown the willingness to take a chance.  A few weeks ago we learned that Colorado was thinking about extending a non-roster invite to the 34-year-old.
  • The Red Sox might not be close to signing Cuban pitcher Yuniesky Maya, a source familiar with the negotiations tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.  There's a good chance that Maya will instead choose a team that offers a better opportunity to immediately enter its starting rotation.
  • MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that Gary Sheffield would not be a good fit for the Nationals as he wants to play every day.  Ladson spoke to a major league source who believes that Sheffield will not accept a role as a backup.
  • Jason Beck of MLB.com fielded a question from a reader, asking why the Tigers dealt Curtis Granderson, only to pursue Johnny Damon instead.  Beck says that the Granderson trade brought Detroit financial flexibility and prospects.  He also credits agent Scott Boras for helping to create an opportunity for Damon.
  • Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told 620-AM WDAE that the club's payroll will drop below $60MM in 2011, despite having a payroll north of $70MM this season.  Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times points out that while the club didn't plan to make any big additions this year, they found room for Rafael Soriano after dealing Scott Kazmir and Akinori Iwamura.
  • If Mike Jacobs doesn't make the Mets major league roster, Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News doesn't expect him to play for the club's Triple-A affiliate.  Even though his minor league deal doesn't have an out-clause, Rubin is "virtually positive" that the Mets would accommodate him with a trade or release.
  • In his latest mailbag, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch supports Yankees GM Brian Cashman's decision to wait to negotiate with upcoming free agents Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.  Hoch believes that both players should be confident that they'll both be taken care of eventually.

Mets Sign Mike Jacobs

The Mets signed first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal.  The contract pays $900K if he's in the Majors and has another $1.15MM in incentives.  ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first reported the near-agreement last night, with SI's Jon Heyman tweeting contract details today.

Jacobs, 29, hit just .228/.297/.401 with 19 homers in 478 plate appearances for the Royals last season, which led to the team declining to tender him a contract. He's the lefty power threat the Mets currently lack, though his .313 career OBP and poor defense are big negatives. He also struggles immensely against southpaws.

Jacobs broke in with the Mets back in 2005, though he was included in the Carlos Delgado trade after that season.

Nationals Interested In Jacobs

In an interview on the MLB Network, GM Mike Rizzo said that the Nationals are interested in free agent first baseman Mike Jacobs, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.  Ladson writes that he is unsure as to how Jacobs would fit in with the club, as the team already has Adam Dunn at the position with Mike Morse as the backup.

With the Royals in 2009, Jacobs posted a slash line of .228/.297/.401 with 19 HRs in 478 plate appearances.  The 29-year-old avoided arbitration with Kansas City last February, settling for $3.275MM after seeking $3.8MM.  After coming off of the worst season of his career, it seems as though Jacobs' will have to settle for less on this go-round.

Odds & Ends: Orioles, Braves, Indians

Lots of other bits of information to get to on a busy Monday:

  • The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly has several pieces of information about once and perhaps future Orioles. Former Oriole Melvin Mora has three suitors, according to Mora's agent, two National League teams and one American League team.
  • Mark Hendrickson, by contrast, could well return to Baltimore. He lives in nearby York, PA and wants to play in Baltimore. His agent, Joe Urbon, said both sides have talked, but there's been no movement yet.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution believes that if his price tag drops to well below $10MM, Johnny Damon could be a good fit for the Braves. You'd have to think the Yankees would get back involved at that price, however.
  • Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs.com thinks a disparity in GM talent could be behind the gap between the National and American League.
  • And if Cleveland fans weren't upset enough over recent deals for Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia and Victor Martinez, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince checks in with when he expects Cleveland to begin looking to trade Grady Sizemore in his latest Inbox.
  • MLB.com's Chris Haft thinks the Giants should take a look at Mike Jacobs.

Orioles Seeking Closer, Corner Infielders

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun dishes the latest Orioles hot stove news…

  • The Orioles contacted the agents for a few of Saturday's non-tendered players, including reliever Matt Capps.  Capps' agent has mentioned his client's desire to close as a major factor, and the Orioles could accomodate.  However, Connolly names Fernando Rodney as Baltimore's top target at closer.  Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and Kevin Gregg are also of interest, though Gonzalez and Valverde are dinged for the draft pick cost.
  • The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs.  I think they'd be best-served by adding Delgado and Crede.  Your thoughts?
  • Connolly indicates that about 25, rather than 15, teams were on hand to watch Aroldis Chapman yesterday.  So the list of teams not monitoring Chapman is shorter.  The Orioles remain involved.

Odds & Ends: Jacobs, Bradley, Lackey, Lyon

Some links to start the weekend…