Mike Stanton Rumors
According to a press release, the Cubs released catcher Paul Bako and reliever Mike Stanton today. So, it looks like Koyie Hill has the team's backup catcher job.
Bako, 36, hit .364/.400/.515 in 35 spring plate appearances. Stanton, 41, allowed six runs and 13 hits in 8.3 innings.
This is another minor signing that was covered earlier but perhaps got buried - the Cubs inked Japanese righty Ken Kadokura to a minor league deal. He didn't pitch much in '08; not sure why at this time. The Cubs also added Luis Rivas, Mike Stanton, and a bunch of other non-roster guys.
ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new Rumblings and Grumblings column up.
- The Rays may have a pitching surplus when Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza return in May. Teams will probably be eyeing Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, and Andy Sonnanstine - not that the Rays are anxious to give them up. Jackson seems least likely to go. If I had to pick a team deficiency perhaps it would be their middle infielders.
- The Phillies have "mild interest" in Mike Stanton, who would like to play for them. The Phils already inked Steve Kline to a minor league deal though.
- The Braves are looking for relief help, as you might expect. Here's my available relievers list from April 7th; one addition might be Derrick Turnbow.
- Stark sees little chance of the Phillies signing Cole Hamels to an extension. He notes that Hamels' agent has demonstrated an aversion to club options for free agent years. If the Phils just want to buy out the three arbitration years, the going rate is $13.75MM for young starters.
- For the first time this year, top-rated amateur players will be tested for drugs prior to the draft. It will be nice to nip the problem in the bud with some guys.
12:20pm: Scott Lauber quotes Phils GM Pat Gillick as having no interest in southpaw relievers Mike Stanton and Steve Kline. Also, it's likely Wes Helms or Tim Lahey will be let go to make room when Brad Lidge comes off the DL this weekend.
The Phils mark Seanez's 12th organization. He can be homer-prone, but he wasn't terrible last year in posting a 3.79 ERA and 8.64 K/9 with the Dodgers in 76 innings. On the other hand, he was not typically used in high leverage situations.
The Phils are also looking for a lefty reliever, but they aren't looking to acquire recently designated Steve Kline "at this time" according to Ruben Amaro Jr.
Can't say that I exactly understand this one, but the Reds have informed Mike Stanton that his services are no longer required. It's not that Stanton is too good to let go -- far from it, actually. Rather, the move is puzzling because of the team's recent decision to option lefty reliever (and former first-rounder) Bill Bray to the minors last night. Jeremy Affeldt stands as the team's lone lefty reliever.
Stanton was pretty bad for the Reds last year, posting a 5.93 ERA over 57.2 innings. His splits against lefties weren't that encouraging, either: .306/.333/.429. The Reds will eat the $3 million he's owed this year, plus the $500K buyout of his 2009 option.
UPDATE: Apparently, I've passed over Kent Merker, who is not on the Reds 40-man roster. However, with the jettison of Stanton, a spot now appears free.
WEDNESDAY: The Phillies would like to conclude their offseason by swapping third baseman Wes Helms and the $2.9MM owed to him for a lefty reliever. According to Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phils are talking to the Giants and Reds about Helms. Steve Kline ($1.75MM) or Mike Stanton ($3.5MM) are the targets. The Reds may deem Stanton too pricey to cut.
The Giants recently picked up Jose Castillo, but they also lost Kevin Frandsen. Moving Kline would make sense, because then they could fit both Merkin Valdez and Erick Threets. The Reds have Jolbert Cabrera and Andy Phillips battling for a bench spot, and don't seem to have a place for Helms.