Mike Sweeney Rumors

Largest Contracts In Team History

We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

Sweeney, Escobar Discuss Retirement

It's no secret that veterans Mike Sweeney and Kelvim Escobar are nearing the end of their major league careers, but as both of these players discussed on Wednesday, their last days in the majors might have already occurred.

FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that Sweeney will retire if he isn't on a major league roster by opening day.  The 15-year veteran signed a minor league deal with Seattle last month but told Morosi that he has no interest in going back to the minors or in taking a coaching job.  If Sweeney doesn't make the Mariners, he would try to catch on with another club and "would give priority to West Coast teams" so he could be closer to his family in San Diego. 

The injury-plagued Sweeney hasn't had more than 289 plate appearances in a season since 2005, but could still provide a team with a solid pinch-hitting option.  Sweeney hit .340/.377/.434 in 114 plate appearances against right-handers last season, and over his career has had success against both lefties and righties (.864 career OPS vs. RHP, .827 OPS vs. LHP).  Looking just at west coast options, the Angels could be in need of a right-handed compliment at DH if Hideki Matsui needs a day off.

Escobar, meanwhile, may have his career ended not by lack of opportunity, but by injury.  David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Escobar has been bothered by shoulder pain following a four-week break from pitching after his stint in the Venezuelan winter league.  Such an injury is of particular concern to Escobar given that he has pitched just five major league innings since 2007 due to a number of shoulder problems and labrum surgery in July 2008.  Waldstein says that Escobar will get an MRI if the pain continues, and the right-hander is willing to undergo one more surgical procedure if doctors give him a decent chance of pitching again.  If not, then Escobar said he will call it a career after 12 seasons in the bigs.

Escobar signed a $1.5MM contract with the Mets in December, so it wouldn't be a major financial blow to the club if Escobar couldn't pitch.  It would, however, further weaken the already-thin New York bullpen and it certainly wouldn't look good on the Mets given the team's myriad of injuries last season.

Odds & Ends: Dye, Mets, Lincecum, Vazquez, Colon

Some links for your Friday afternoon…

Mariners Re-Sign Mike Sweeney

The Mariners signed Mike Sweeney to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. The 36-year-old batted 266 times for the Mariners last year, posting a .266/.335/.442 line. Sweeney was mostly a DH; he played just 35 innings at first base. 

It seems unlikely that the five-time All Star will be on the team's Opening Day roster, since he'll face lots of competition. The Mariners already have Casey Kotchman, Ryan Garko, Ken Griffey Jr. and Milton Bradley at first base and DH.

Sweeney said on a conference call that GM Jack Zduriencik told him it won't be easy to make the team. Two other clubs were willing to offer Sweeney similar opportunities, but he says the Mariners were his "first choice all winter."

If he can't make Seattle's big league roster, he'd like to land a job with another major league team. The Mariners approached his representatives about coaching opportunities earlier in the winter, but Sweeney says he would prefer to play. He has thought about retirement, but wants to give himself the chance to play in the majors first.

Discussion: Mike Sweeney

Late last night, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com mentioned (via Twitter) that Mike Sweeney still wants to play this year. The former Royal and Athletic hit a modest .281/.335/.442 in 266 plate appearances for the Mariners last season, though he's had to settle for minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training in each of the last two offseasons.

Knee and back problems have essentially relegated Sweeney to full-time DH status (just 164.1 innings at first over the last three years), and as we all know, there's always more DH's available than DH spots. However, when comparable righty hitters like Jermaine Dye (.250/.340/.453 in 2009) are turning down $3MM+, Sweeney might actually have a leg up in the market because he'd presumably be willing to come (very) cheap.

There's no better way to start the morning off than with a nice friendly chat, so let's see where everyone thinks Sweeney might land. Just to toss some teams out there, do to Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers or White Sox seem like fits? What about a pinch-hitter for an NL club?

Full Story | Comments | Categories: Discussion | Mike Sweeney

Mariners Notes: LaRoche, Gomes, Cust

Let's take a look at some Mariners tidbits courtesy of The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker

  • Recently non-tendered Ryan Langerhans indicated to Baker that his friend Adam LaRoche is being looked at by the Mariners.  Yesterday, it was reported that LaRoche is seeking a three-year, $31.5MM deal.  We've seen some rather surprising deals go down over the years, but does anyone see that as a realistic figure?
  • The aforementioned Langerhans wouldn't rule out the possibility of returning to Seattle on a minor-league contract.
  • As the M's have made it a priority to find a DH who can also play a field position, Baker doesn't anticipate Jonny Gomes, Jack Cust, or Mike Sweeney to land with the club.  As one person told him, "[The Mariners] can't carry two Griffeys."

Branyan Rejects Mariners’ Offer

WEDNESDAY, 12:06pm: The Mariners' initial offer to Branyan included a second-year option, the first baseman told Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.  Branyan remains optimistic about re-signing, but he wants two guaranteed years for the first time in his career.

TUESDAY, 4:53pm: MLB.com's Jim Street reports that Branyan rejected the team's offer. He'd rather test the free agent market than settle for something less than a two-year deal. Branyan, who hit 31 homers this year, says he would like to return to Seattle. He wants to sign a multi-year deal, however.

Street says Wilson appears to have rejected the Mariners' offer, too.

12:23pm: The Seattle Mariners have extended contract offers to Russell Branyan and Jack Wilson, according to Larry LaRue of the News Tribune.

LaRue does not have specific details on dollar amounts, but adds that the proposal to Wilson is a multi-year deal.

LaRue writes that the team has also engaged in talks with Ken Griffey Jr. though it's still up in the air whether Junior will want to play again in 2010. LaRue doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mariners could retain both Griffey and Mike Sweeney.

Odds & Ends: Crosby, Gonzalez, Mariners

More items from a busy opening day of baseball's hot stove season…

  • Consider it a formality, but John Lackey, Matt Holliday, and Jason Bay were among the 79 players filing for free agency today according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.
  • Free agent Bobby Crosby told MLB.com's Mychael Urban that he doesn't expect to be back in Oakland next season.
  • Alex Gonzalez has yet to hear from the Red Sox in regards to whether or not they will exercise his $6MM option for next season, says The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman.
  • Jim Street of MLB.com breaks down Seattle's free agents, noting that Russell Branyan and Ken Griffey Jr. "are the most likely to return," and that if Griffey comes back, it would likely mean that the Mariners wouldn't re-sign veteran Mike Sweeney.  Street also reported that right-hander Miguel Batista feels he won't be back in Seattle next season, with Batista going so far as to say there is a "99.9 percent chance" he will be in another team's uniform in 2010.
  • Texas introduced former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle as their new hitting coach on Thursday.
  • John Harper of the New York Daily News feels that Hideki Matsui's World Series MVP award made the Yankees' decision whether or not to re-sign the free agent slugger much more difficult.  Even before Matsui's huge Game Six performance, MLBTR's Luke Adams outlined the factors behind any decision to put Matsui back in pinstripes in 2010.
  • Randy St. Claire has been hired as the Marlins' new pitching coach, reports Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Odds & Ends: Blue Jays, Wedge, Sweeney

Some more links for the morning…

  • Multiple major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that many Blue Jays are fed up with manager Cito Gaston and don't want him to return. One source says it's "nearly a mutiny" in the clubhouse.
  • Eric Wedge wants to manage again at some point, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
  • Marlins prospect Mike Stanton still projects as a middle-of-the-order 40 homer threat, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. gets high marks from his predecessors, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Former Phillies GMs Ed Wade and Pat Gillick praised Amaro's moves.
  • Mike Sweeney is having the most fun he's ever had in the big leagues, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. He wants to return and play one more year for the Mariners or the Angels.
  • As Jon Heyman of SI.com notes, players chose Michael Weiner as the next executive director of the MLBPA.
  • Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune doesn't expect Jermaine Dye, Josh Fields or Octavio Dotel to return to the White Sox next year.

Odds And Ends: Sweeney, Padres, Saito

Some links for the morning…