Mike Gonzalez Rumors
Here are some links to check out before the NLCS kicks off later this afternoon..
- Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out that the somewhat low payrolls of the remaining playoff teams are examples of the importance of drafting, scouting, and player development. The Tigers have the largest payroll (10th), while the Cardinals (11th), Rangers (13th), and Brewers (17th) round out the pack. It's also worth noting that the Diamondbacks rank 25th and the Rays were 29th.
- The progress of center fielder Jon Jay allowed the Cardinals to trade Colby Rasmus at the deadline, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, and Octavio Dotel have been key parts of the team's drive to the NLCS.
- Some people think that C.J. Wilson has keen interest as a free agent in New York, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the Yankees are probably the early favorite to sign him.
- A Lakeview, Illinois resident is "99.9 percent sure" that he saw Red Sox GM Theo Epstein at a Starbucks in Lincoln Park, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Boston ownership has yet to acknowledge a report that the Cubs have asked for permission to talk to Epstein.
- The Angels continued their front-office purge by not renewing the contract of player development director Abe Flores, a major league source told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Flores spent four seasons as the team's player development director after spending the previous six as the team's manager of baseball operations.
- No matter what kind of career pitcher Pedro Strop has, the trade for left-hander Mike Gonzalez at the August deadline was worth it for the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
Here are some interesting tidbits courtesy of Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com:
- The Red Sox wanted to acquire then Mariners starter Erik Bedard so badly that they tried to trade for the lefty while he was still on the disabled list in July. Fortuitously, Bedard threw a simulated game at Fenway Park when the M's were in Boston on July 23, shortly before his return from the DL. So, the Red Sox had a good chance to scout him before making an offer to Seattle and consummating the eventual trade.
- Offseason negotiations between impending free agent David Ortiz and Boston "will not necessarily go smoothly," opines Rosenthal. The Red Sox will want to limit the years on a new deal for Papi, while the DH will seek a multiyear pact and a raise on his $12.5MM annaul salary.
- Rangers lefty Mike Gonzalez, acquired last week from the Orioles, could be a huge pickup for Texas, which lacks a lefty killer in its bullpen.
- Texas was serious about acquiring Lance Berkman from the Cardinals, but the Big Puma didn't want to be a rental player for the second consecutive year, according to Rosenthal, and St. Louis wanted to retain the veteran slugger in hopes of re-signing him this offseason.
Sunday afternoon linkage..
- In a terrific article, Jonathan Newton of the Washington Post looks at Stephen Strasburg's recovery from Tommy John surgery and explains the four key advancements since the operation's initial occurence that have made it so commonplace and so successful.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney has an interesting take on the Cubs' extension of player personnel director Oneri Fleita. The move means that the incoming general manager will not be allowed to pick his own executive in that spot. Olney says that high-profile GM candidates like Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman, or Billy Beane would likely want to fill that position themselves.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that if he had to choose between a big bat or a quality arm this winter, he'd choose the former, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Of course, their financial situation could hamstring them in the offseason. Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Ted Lilly are all set to return but with Rubby De La Rosa possibly missing the 2012 season, the Dodgers could have two spots to fill in the rotation.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that the Rockies have money to spend and they shouldn't be gun-shy this winter. Their payroll situation is helped largely by Aaron Cook's $9.25MM deal coming off the books.
- Mike Gonzalez already feels comfortable with his new club, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. On Thursday we learned that the Brewers were also in on Gonzalez before he was dealt to the Rangers.
Twins minor leaguer Kyle Gibson, the No. 22 overall draft pick in 2009, will undergo Tommy John surgery, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Best wishes to Gibson on making a full recovery and perhaps debuting in the Majors late in 2012.
Here are a few other items of note on this Thursday afternoon:
- The Brewers were interested in acquiring lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez from the Orioles before Baltimore dealt him to Texas, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “We had the irons in the fire,” Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said. The Brew Crew remains without a southpaw in their bullpen.
- The Diamondbacks were among the five winners of August's post-deadline trade period, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Arizona shored up its infield by acquiring infielders John McDonald and Aaron Hill from Toronto in exchange for Kelly Johnson. Morosi's other winners: The Rangers, Tigers, Braves and Indians.
- Impending free agents, however established they may be, should still be scouted dilligently, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). For example, though some of us may take it for granted that Albert Pujols' fractured wrist is fully healed, scouts from interested teams will be watching all of his final at-bats for even the slightest change in his swing or approach. After all, Bowden explains, with tens, and sometimes hundreds, of millions of dollars at stake, every bit of info helps.
Mark Teixeira told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that new Rangers reliever Mike Gonzalez has improved over the course of the season and now looks like a different pitcher than he did early on. Here’s Olney’s latest, including a note on Gonzalez...
- The Rangers may have obtained Gonzalez at the right time, Olney writes. Great left-handed hitters such as Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez will figure prominently into the playoffs and the Rangers’ newest reliever can help limit their impact late in games.
- One MLB official told Olney that Yu Darvish will sign with an MLB team this winter. Earlier this morning, I listed the teams that have been publicly linked to the Japanese right-hander.
- MLB executives are coming to believe that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf won’t retain both GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen in 2012, according to Olney. Alternatively, Reinsdorf could replace both and hire former White Sox skipper Tony La Russa to manage and promote assistant GM Rick Hahn to run baseball operations.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein responded to speculation about the Cubs' GM opening by saying that he's happy in Boston and “all Red Sox, all the time," according Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Gonzalez told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that he'd listen to offers from the Orioles if they're interested in signing him this offseason.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick looks back at what went wrong for the Orioles this year and starts to address the question of how they can turn things around.
- The Yankees were also involved in trade talks for Gonzalez, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. However, Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail preferred the pitcher the Rangers were offering.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounds like he's ready for Jesus Montero to join the team tomorrow, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained earlier today, Montero would have to be added to the Yankees' now-full 40-man roster before getting called up.
- The Rays aren't expect to make any deals today, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter).
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm
- Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Dontrelle Willis, Reds - Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list. He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
- Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs - Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
- Chris Capuano, Mets - Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds - His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th. $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest. The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however. At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
- Bruce Chen, Royals - Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window. But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013. He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.
- Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals - His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals - Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
- Ted Lilly, Dodgers - He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball. With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.
- Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Chad Qualls, Padres - Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
- Bill Bray, Reds - Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties. He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers - A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
- Huston Street, Rockies - Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
- Brian Fuentes, Athletics - He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
- Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
- Mike Gonzalez, Orioles - Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties. The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
- John Grabow, Cubs - He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
- D.J. Carrasco, Mets - The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December - their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April. He stayed there until mid-June.
- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart. The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - This one was also obvious. SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals - Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency. Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
- Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
- David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
- Conor Jackson, Athletics - Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
- David DeJesus, Athletics - DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
- Hideki Matsui, Athletics - The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
- Jason Bay, Mets - With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected. It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
- Willie Harris, Mets - The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
- Angel Pagan, Mets - It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
- Carlos Lee, Astros - No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year. El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
- Johnny Damon, Rays - Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The Orioles announced that they sent left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez to the Rangers for a player to be named later. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, who first reported the deal, says Baltimore will likely obtain a pitcher in the deal (Twitter links).
Gonzalez joins a pitching staff that currently features three southpaws in the rotation, but just one - Darren Oliver - in the 'pen. He'll also be reunited with former Orioles teammate Koji Uehara, who joined the Rangers at last month's non-waiver trade deadline.
Gonzalez signed a two-year, $12MM deal with the Orioles after the 2009 season, but pitched just 24 2/3 innings last season. He has been healthier this year and has a 4.27 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40.0% ground ball rate in 46 1/3 total innings. His numbers against left-handers are strong this year: 26K/4BB, 2.30 xFIP, 50.8% ground ball rate in 24 1/3 innings.
The 33-year-old earns $6MM this season, about $920K of which remains on his deal. The move is strictly about 2011, as Gonzalez hits free agency after the season and doesn't project as a ranked free agent.
It's unclear how much the Orioles knew about the possibility that Chris Davis had shoulder problems when they acquired him late last month, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes. Davis hit the Orioles' 15-day DL not long after joining Baltimore in the deal that sent Koji Uehara to Texas. Here are some more notes on the O's from Zrebiec...
- Mike Gonzalez and Vladimir Guerrero haven’t drawn interest from contenders looking to fortify their rosters for the stretch run, Zrebiec hears. That could change later this month and if it does, it’s likely that Gonzalez and Guerrero would clear waivers.
- Keep track of which players have cleared with our list.
- Orioles officials appear to believe that if Alfredo Simon has a future in Baltimore, it’s in the bullpen. Simon has made some good starts this season, but with Jim Johnson likely headed to the rotation, Baltimore’s bullpen could use some reliable arms in 2012.
Let's imagine for a minute that the Orioles didn't sign Mike Gonzalez last winter, and his season unfolded in exactly the same way for another team: April struggles, months missed with a shoulder injury and strong outings of late. If all of that happens in, say, a Mariners uniform, would the Orioles want to sign Gonzalez to a one-year $6MM contract for 2011? Maybe, but that's not the kind of deal the Orioles would necessarily want to make.
Essentially, the O's have guaranteed Gonzalez a one-year $6MM deal for 2011. That, along with $1.7MM this year, is what remains on his contract and it's not necessarily the kind of deal the O's want on the books. It stands to reason that Baltimore would consider trading the left-hander if he clears waivers, though the Orioles may want to see him succeed in Baltimore given their initial $12MM investment.
Gonzalez is on waivers, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Orioles may not want to move the left-hander, but they will soon see whether he clears waivers. It's entirely possible that he'll clear, since his salary is substantial and teams are probably not fully convinced by Gonzalez's nine-game stretch of effectiveness. The Phillies are one potential fit and the Red Sox, who acquired a left-handed reliever last August, are another.
The Orioles may prefer to keep Gonzalez in the hopes that he provides some value in Baltimore. The Orioles showed that they aren't desperate to move payroll when they held onto Ty Wigginton, Jeremy Guthrie and others at the trade deadline. However, they would have to consider letting Gonzalez go if a rival team claims him.