Mike Timlin Rumors

Odds & Ends: Calero, Nats, Byrnes, Fogg, Timlin

Links for Thursday…

Odds & Ends: Bedard, Rays, Hall, Brewers

A few more loose links I rounded up…

  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times that he "has not ruled out offering some type of extension deal to injured pitcher Erik Bedard." Of course, the club will monitor Bedard's recovery from shoulder surgery before doing anything.
  • The Rays have signed fourth rounder Luke Bailey for $750K according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Bailey was arguably the top high school catcher in the draft, but he blew out his elbow in the spring and needed Tommy John surgery.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen mentions that the Reds have interest in infielder Bill Hall, who was DFA'd by the Brewers earlier this week.
  • According to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, the Brewers "appear headed toward a deal with their highest remaining unsigned selection, University of Tennessee outfielder Kentrail Davis." A month ago we heard that negotiations between the two sides had "gotten ugly." McCalvy also mentions that the Crew signed 5th rounder D'Vontrey Richardson and 15th rounder Del Howell.
  • Larry LaRue of The News Tribune says the Mariners "may be on the brink of agreement with high school outfielder Nick Franklin." Seattle selected Frankin 27th overall, and LaRue notes that he'll take a physical tomorrow.
  • Jack Etkin of Inside The Rockies reports that the team has released veteran reliever Mike Timlin. Timlin preferred to be home with his wife and children rather than go out on a road trip with the Triple-A Colorado Springs. The move was not performance related and there were no hard feelings on either side.
  • The Nationals have signed eighth rounder Roberto Perez, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladsen. The Nats have now signed 10 of their top 12 picks, but they're still waiting on the big guy at the top.

Odds And Ends: Byrd, Timlin, Giambi

Some links to look through…

  • Bobby Abreu tells Yahoo's Tim Brown that it was frustrating to see other players sign big contracts last offseason.  Abreu waited and finally settled for a $5MM deal, but now he loves LA.
  • The Jason Giambi signing didn't work out nearly as well for the A's. When MLB.com's Mychael Urban asked manager Bob Geren if Giambi will be back next year, Geren avoided the question. Presumably the A's would rather buy the slugger out for $1.25MM than pay him $6MM next year.
  • Paul Byrd told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he's in Boston to win a World Series ring.
  • Mike Timlin is rehabbing in the Rockies' minor league system to prove he can still pitch, according to Jack Etkin of Inside the Rockies
  • Justin Smoak, Martin Perez and Julio Borbon top Jamey Newberg's updated list of top Rangers prospects at MLB.com.  

Rockies Interested In Hendrickson, Downs, Nick Johnson

4:54pm: Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports says the Rockies also have an eye on Washington's Nick Johnson as a bench bat.  A .410 OBP bench bat.

11:00am: Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post wrote earlier today that the Rockies "increased their pursuit" of Orioles southpaw Mark Hendrickson (.253/.303/.422 against lefties this year).  Renck confirms that the Rox balked at the asking price – Eric Young, Jr. – for John Grabow and Joe Beimel.  By the way, in case you missed it, Renck notes that the Rockies signed 43 year-old righty Mike Timlin to a minor league deal.

Via Twitter, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun throws another name into the mix for Colorado: Blue Jays closer Scott Downs.  Downs, signed through 2010, would certainly exact the highest price of all the relievers linked to the Rockies.

Odds And Ends: Timlin, Rays, Reds

Some more links as the trading heats up…

Latest Red Sox Buzz

Alex Speier of WEEI has the latest Red Sox buzz from the GM meetings…

  • Theo Epstein confirmed that he has a new contract, but wouldn’t reveal the terms.  About a month ago, SI.com’s Jon Heyman said it was worth about $7MM over three years.
  • It seems that Mike Timlin plans to pitch in 2009, but it won’t be for the Red Sox.  Timlin, 43 in March, posted a 5.66 ERA in 49.1 innings this year.  It might be time to head back to the NL.
  • Paul Hoynes says Sean Casey also won’t be back with the Sox next year.
  • Epstein will meet with Scott Boras this week, with Jason Varitek an expected topic.

Red Sox Review

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein spoke to the press yesterday, resulting in a slew of articles in the Boston papers.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe runs through the team’s entire 25-man roster.  Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald looks at Epstein’s to-do list, as does Joe McDonald of The Providence JournalPaul Kenyon of the Journal looks at the team’s minor free agents.  An overview of various common topics:

  • Jason Varitek.  Silverman sees an effort to re-sign him for one or two years, while McDonald thinks he will look for three or four.  Massarotti thinks things could get nasty here, with Scott Boras in the middle.  Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald has an article discussing the Varitek situation.
  • Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco Crisp.  Four players for two starting spots.  Epstein didn’t tip his hand as to whether he’ll move any of these players and diminish the depth.
  • Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Bay.  The Sox may explore long-term deals for each.  There’s already been talks with Pedroia, though Massarotti thinks he might prefer to go year-to-year as Youkilis has.  He suggests Papelbon wants a long-term deal but the Sox may choose to play it safe.  McDonald and Massarotti feel the Sox will also explore an extension for Jason Bay.
  • Sean Casey, Mike Timlin, Alex Cora, Mark Kotsay.  Cora might go if Lugo stays.  Timlin may retire.  Massarotti does not think Casey will be re-signed, while McDonald doesn’t see Kotsay returning (he wants to start).
  • Outside options: Epstein could make a big move, or do very little again.  As I mentioned in the Offseason Outlook, C.C. Sabathia might be a better fit than Mark Teixeira.

Odds and Ends: Lowe, Redmond, Timlin

Linkage for Friday…

  • River Ave. Blues discovered that Mike Mussina‘s wife may be a bigger factor than we thought in regard to his retirement decision.
  • David O’Brien tosses out some names for the Braves to consider: Derek Lowe, Matt Cain, Roy Oswalt, and Josh Willingham.  Everyone likes Lowe…Anthony McCarron says the Yankees and Mets should consider him.  Those clubs could also enter a bidding war for C.C. Sabathia, says Bob Klapisch.  Will C.C.’s postseason record diminish his contract?  I don’t think so.
  • Greg Couch doesn’t want Javier Vazquez pitching for the White Sox again.  Maybe Ozzie is right, Vazquez is not a big-game pitcher.  But why say that publicly?
  • Joe Christensen seems certain the Twins will exercise Mike Redmond‘s $950K option.
  • Chris Carpenter‘s shoulder injury is unprecedented among pitchers.  Do the Cardinals need to add veteran rotation insurance?  Speaking of unprecedented procedures…Takashi Saito had platelet-rich plasma injected into his elbow in July.
  • Joe Starkey thinks the Pirates should…non-tender Adam LaRoche?
  • Mike Timlin could retire.
  • Huge E-Ticket Manny Ramirez feature from Bill Simmons, wherein Scott Boras is blamed for his Boston exit.  Good read.

On The Hot Seat: Giambi, Hafner, Sexson, Timlin

I love lists, and here’s one from Peter Abraham at The Journal News that details who he thinks is in the hot seat.  In other words, who might be traded or released if current trends continue.  There are a number of managers and GMs on the list, but we like to focus on players here.  I’m going to go through the list and take stabs-in-the-dark whether a player is likely to be dealt or if they’re just fluff for Mr. Abraham’s article – and then we can discuss in the comments.

Jason Giambi – An announcer this year said that Giambi’s defensive range extended from his right knee to his left knee.  As a fielder, he’s decent with no range; however, as a hitter Giambi has never been considered a slow starter, as Abraham notes he is a career .281 hitter in April.  Still, like Carlos Delgado, Giambi has shown some recent spurts of life in his bat, and he does have 7 HR (one shy of the league leading 8) and 20 RBI.  PECOTA projects .230-24-73 with a .362 OBP.  If he can bring his average up, he’ll be roughly on target for that projection.  If he can’t, Abraham thinks the Yankees "might as well give someone else a chance."  So far, Joe Girardi’s been supportive and patient calling the slump a product of bad luck.  Prediction: Staying put.

Travis Hafner – Abraham sees .256 with 27 HR in almost 700 ABs and wonders if the Indians would rather trade him to a team who believes he can turn it around than risk eating the remaining $56MM on Hafner’s contract.  At 31, Hafner is an oddity.  Last year the slumping behemoth of a man saw his power drop by almost 20 HR.  He’s currently continuing that trend with his OPS at a mere 640 and w/o a homerun since April 17 (!).  During an ESPN game, they were discussing how his timing – particularly with his front foot-plant – is off making it hard for him to get ahead of pitches.  So his problem seems both perceptual and mechanical – but why can’t Pronk seem to correct this?  I’d be worried because his contract is slowly going from bothersome to disastrous.  PECOTA is not a believer, projecting .275-28-98 – hardly a rebound.  He’s making $6.3MM this year and is on the books for another $70MM until 2013 (with a $2.75MM buyout in his last year).  Is there a batting coach out there on a big-market team that can fix this?  Wouldn’t count on it.  Prediction: Staying put.

Richie Sexson
– In the Year of the Slumping First Basemen, Richie Sexson is not at all unlike Giambi or Delgado.  Abraham pulls no punches with Richie, calling him "one of the worst hitters in baseball during the last two seasons and shows no signs of coming around."  He’s making $14MM this year, owed approx. $11.2MM more, and then he’s surely done in Seattle.  I agree with Abraham that $11.2MM will "buy him another month or two" but the Mariners have options and I’d expect them to explore them by trading Sexson and eating some of the contract – maybe sooner rather than later as cutting your losses is (almost) acceptable practice this season.  Sexson has never been the hitter Delgado, Giambi, or Hafner have been and has been intolerably bad for just too long.  Prediction: Shipping off.

Mike Timlin
– Making $3MM this year, Abraham notes Timlin has allowed 9 runs in 7 1/3 IP and with a small contract would be an easy piece to move.  But I ask why?  Relief pitching is a commodity, and Timlin – known to the Red Sox as the captain of the bullpen – brings to the team a fair deal of intangible value, particularly as they integrate Craig Hansen and Justin Masterson into their relief corps.  7.1 IP is hardly a sample worth examining as he’s basically still in spring-training-form.  Last year he had a 3.42 ERA in 50 IP and while he’s not the 2.24 ERA Timlin that saved 13 games when Keith Foulke went down, he’s serviceable.  If he fails to progress and becomes a liability then maybe the Red Sox will move him from mop up duty to another team.  Still, I doubt it.  Prediction: Staying put.

Let’s hear your thoughts.  Who did Abraham forget?  Who disagrees?

By Nat Boyle

Odds and Ends: Loretta, Pettitte, Affeldt

Random Winter Meetings rumors…