Morgan Ensberg Rumors
We learned earlier today that Pedro Feliz rejected the Giants two-year offer. The team plans to look internally for a solution at third base. Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News comes in with the possible leading candidate: Kevin Frandsen.
He hasn't manned the hot corner regularly since college, but his performance in just under 300 plate appearances last year has earned him a legitimate shot at the starting gig. He played third base for 55 innings last year. Most of his time was spent at second base, which figures to be occupied by Ray Durham in 2008.
Frandsen is a better option than Feliz, but the Giants still might bring in veteran competition in the form of Morgan Ensberg or Joe Crede. Baggarly's club source said there's a "good chance" of acquiring Crede if his back is healthy this spring. Noah Lowry would be too much; Brad Hennessey maybe?
Joe would like to remind you, just this once, that he writes for River Ave. Blues, a Peter Gammons-approved Yanks blog. Tim also contributed to this post.
- Amaro admits that the Phils are still considering upgrading at third base. They've had discussions about Pedro Feliz as one such option, while Morgan Ensberg is not on the radar.
- It's unlikely that the Phillies re-sign Jose Mesa.
- Also unlikely would be a Bartolo Colon signing. On the other hand, discussions with Scott Boras about Kyle Lohse are ongoing.
I'm not sure of the Giants' plan - are they rebuilding? Playing for 2008? Kind of rebuilding but trying to seem respectable?
At any rate, the Giants don't have much going on at first and third base. I like the idea of going after a cheap under-30 third base upside play like Dallas McPherson. But I wouldn't fill the spot with a vet just to fill it. As for first, I've said before I'd just toss Dan Ortmeier there for 550 ABs in lieu of adding some stopgap. But that's just me; here's the latest on Brian Sabean's corner infield pursuits:
- Tony Clark is a target, and San Francisco is a good fit for him in terms of playing time. He'd probably get a one-year deal and be paired with Ortmeier.
- The Mariners are apparently shopping Adrian Beltre for pitching. Doesn't seem to be a smart move for Seattle but it may be a moot point if they are nearing a Carlos Silva signing.
- No doubt Joe Crede can be had. Paul Konerko, not so much. Crede makes sense for the Giants in that they might be able to flip him if he has a good April-May.
- Morgan Ensberg is a free agent who would probably play for $3MM and jump at a full-time chance.
- Pedro Feliz remains on the radar, but apparently still wants three years. C'mon now.
- The Giants have "moved in opposing directions" with McPherson, a Scott Boras client.
UPDATE, 12-14-07 at 10:09am: Ah, now the true story comes out on Otsuka. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers were going to send him to the White Sox for Chris Carter but the Sox nixed the deal after looking at Otsuka's medical reports. No surprise the Rangers non-tendered him, now. Hat tip to Rangerfans.com.
FROM 12-14-07 at 8:47am:
Reliever Akinori Otsuka hit the free agent market on Wednesday; he turns 36 in January. With a career ERA of 2.44 in 232 innings, it's surprising the Rangers chose to non-tender him. Otsuka earned $3MM in 2007, and even with a raise he'd have been a decent play on a one-year deal.
Unless, of course, the Rangers believes something is still wrong with Otsuka's elbow. I think that has to be the case, despite a trickle of positive reports recently. The Phillies are the latest team to express interest in Otsuka. Also, Tom Krasovic suggested a few days ago that the Padres might look to bring him back.
Back to the Phillies for a moment - Steve King notes that they have no interest in free agent Morgan Ensberg. Also, they're still planning to watch Kris Benson throw next week.
Tim's out for the night, so we've got a fresh post started for the non-tenders. MLB.com has a running list as well.
These guys are the officials as of now:
- As expected, the Marlins non-tendered catcher Miguel Olivo. Johnny Estrada was another casualty; these two make up the market for starting catchers.
- The Blue Jays non-tendered Josh Towers, a surprising move. Some NL team could offer him two years and get league average work out of him.
- Mark Prior has been non-tendered. Honestly if I were the Cubs, I would've tossed the $3.5MM his way just to see.
- Aaron Miles is now a free agent.
- The A's cut Kiko Calero loose.
- The Padres have non-tendered four: Morgan Ensberg, Jason Lane, and pitchers Jack Cassell and Ryan Ketchner. RotoWorld speculates that the latter two, not arbitration eligible, could be offered minor league deals.
- The Royals cut the cord on Emil Brown. He turns 33 soon; he hit an ugly .257/.300/.347 in 2007. Brown earned $3.45MM in '07.
- The Tigers non-tendered Chad Durbin, toss him into the free agent pool. Guess those trade talks with the Bucs didn't work out.
- The Twins have let go Jason Tyner.
- The Nats have cut bait with Nook Logan and LHP Michael O'Connor.
- The Dodgers wave goodbye to Mark Hendrickson.
- The White Sox have non-tendered Andy Gonzalez and LHP Heath Phillips. Joe Crede sticks with the Pale Hose for now.
- Adam Everett has lost his job with the Astros. It'd be kind of funny if the Orioles signed him.
- Per RotoWorld, the Angels have non-tendered Dallas McPherson. He's full of potential, but he's never come through. He's only 27, though, so he could still catch on somewhere. Unless, RotoWorld notes, he has an agreement in place with the Angels.
- The Braves have non-tendered Willie Harris, though he had already been DFA'd.
-Joe and Tim
UPDATE, 12-12-07 at 3:56pm: Krasovic jumps in to say that the Padres definitely won't be trading Headley to the Bucs (and probably not at all). The Pirates and Padres have been talking a lot, and some kind of deal involving some of the players below could definitely happen.
UPDATE, 12-12-07 at 12:01pm: Buster Olney is reporting that the Padres are "deep into discussions" with the Pirates about a multiplayer trade in which Bay would be the centerpiece.
FROM 12-12-07 at 9:30am:
Tom Krasovic checks in with all sorts of fresh Padres rumors, as he often does. Below are the ones that haven't come up elsewhere on the site today.
- The Padres and Pirates might have mutual ground for some kind of multiplayer deal. Names like Matt Morris, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and/or Nate McLouth are possible future Padres. The Bucs could go for Michael Barrett and/or Padres' top prospect Chase Headley. My challenge to you: create a reasonable multiplayer trade scenario between these two clubs in the comments.
- Krasovic says the Padres "explored a trade" for the Cardinals' Anthony Reyes. The Indians and Phillies have also been linked to the youngster before.
- As you might expect, Morgan Ensberg will probably be non-tendered today. He made $4.35MM in '07, and the Friars don't want to pay him anything like that.
- Akinori Otsuka is another non-tender candidate, and the Padres could seek to bring him back if so. Otsuka has been throwing pain-free since late October, though, so the Rangers will probably retain him.
Who said the Meetings are over? ESPN's Peter Gammons, Buster Olney, and Jerry Crasnick are still running down rumors.
- The Rays want Michael Barrett, according to Gammons.
- Looks like Kevin Mench will be non-tendered.
- Crasnick says the Marlins may go after Morgan Ensberg, who is also likely to be non-tendered. The Phillies aren't much interested in him.
- Gammons says Ron Mahay is down to the Yanks or Royals.
- He also says the Padres' Milton Bradley signing won't get in the way of their Kosuke Fukudome pursuit.
- Olney backs up the rumor about the Giants' interest in Hideki Matsui.
- As you know, the Phils are out on Hiroki Kuroda.
- Yesterday the Phillies made an offer and a second improved offer to Tadahito Iguchi. Iguchi is looking for a three-year deal for around the $16.5MM Kaz Matsui received.
- Todd Zolecki says the Phils have "kicked around" Brandon Inge's name; he's definitely available. The general sentiment is that the Tigers would have to eat some of the $19.1MM owed to Inge over the next three seasons. Plus, the Phillies already tried the defense-first idea at third base.
- Talks with Mike Cameron went nowhere, as the Phillies didn't want to consider a multiyear deal. Aaron Rowand is also a long shot. Not a very exciting Meetings for Phillies fans.
- Scott Lauber checks in this morning and says Carlos Silva would like to return to the Phillies. The interest isn't mutual, however, if Silva continues to ask for four or five years.
- Lauber suggests Morgan Ensberg is a strong non-tender candidate and someone the Phils should look at.
- The Giants have no one to play third base. Kevin Frandsen could technically do it but they prefer him at second. Thankfully, they will pass on Pedro Feliz. Feliz - get this - wants a three year deal. He's on the Brewers' radar, by the way.
- Miguel Cabrera is one option, though Baggarly doesn't see the Giants offering up Tim Lincecum to jump into the fray. However Schulman's source says the Giants have been "one of the most aggressive teams" after Cabrera. Who to believe?
- Baggarly's team source doesn't expect to go after the available Scott Rolen, given his health questions and contract. Free agents Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb seem more likely options at third base.
- Brian Wilson and the newly signed Tyler Walker will mix it up for the closer job. Brian Sabean doesn't anticipate dropping big bucks/losing a draft pick for Scott Linebrink. Nor are the Giants likely to hit up the Japanese market.
According to Buster Olney (via RotoWorld), the Padres have traded for third baseman Morgan Ensberg.
Kevin Kouzmanoff might be well-served with a platoon partner, but it would make sense to get someone who hits righties. Both Kouzmanoff and Ensberg excel against southpaws, Kouzmanoff more so this year. Give Kouzmanoff a mulligan for his awful April (his first full month in the bigs), and he's hit .273/.328/.486. Nothing amazing, but why would Ensberg be any better?