Nate Robertson Rumors
The A's hosted their annual FanFest yesterday with a sellout crowd of 20,000. GM Billy Beane addressed the gathering and is pleased with the moves the franchise made this winter. "I think we accomplished a lot of what we set out to in the offseason, and maybe a little more," Beane said (as quoted by MLB.com's Jane Lee). "The division itself is better. Texas is always good, and the Angels improved on an explosive club anyway, so I think they'll be a lot better. Houston's only going to get better. The fact is, I think this division, as much as any in the league, has improved itself, and I'd like to think we've been able to replace some of the guys we lost from a good team and maybe added more in addition." Let's take a look at the other news and notes involving the A's and the AL West:
- Assistant GM David Forst held court with several bloggers, including Athletics Nation, at the A's FanFest. Forst was asked whether the club has an organizational philosophy on making long-term commitments. "I think we've benefited a lot from the flexibility over the last few years," Forst answered. "We don't necessarily want to recreate the team every year because fans like the players who are here and we like the certainty of guys that we know, but that we've given ourselves the ability to (play it year by year) is a huge factor in our success."
- One long-term commitment made this week was extending Coco Crisp, but Forst isn't concerned the A's are now bound to the center fielder through his age-37 season. "We think Coco is a little bit unique in his body type. Certainly when you get to that end of the spectrum, the track record isn't good in how guys have performed, particularly where we are now in terms of hopefully being beyond (PED use). But you always are taking a risk -- I mean, we dealt with it on Bartolo (Colon), dealing with a guy who performed at 39, and 40, how far is he really going to go? So that's a question we really have to take into account every time."
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow knows his grand plan will be on display during Spring Training as several of the team's top prospects are scheduled to take part in their Major League camp, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. "I do think for our fans, especially the ones that are going to come out to Kissimmee and ones that are going to listen on the radio and watch on TV, it's fun for them to be able to see, to get a glimpse," Luhnow said.
- Left-hander Nate Robertson has spoken with several clubs about an opportunity to win a bullpen spot this spring, tweets FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. Robertson, who hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2010, spent last season with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate pitching to a 3.04 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 4.1 BB/9 in 45 relief outings covering 50 1/3 innings.
Here are some notes from Texas:
- The Rangers announced via press release that infielder Brandon Snyder "has requested and received his unconditional release from his minor league contract." Snyder, a former 1st round pick of the Orioles, hit .277/.309/.446 in 69 plate appearances last year for Texas.
- The Rangers have asked pitcher Nate Robertson to accept an assignment to Triple-A, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Though he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2010, Robertson has over seven years of service time and must therefore assent to such a move. Robertson is expected to agree to the assignment, though he will keep looking for opportunities with other major league clubs and expects the Rangers to work with him should he find a chance.
- Outfielder Julio Borbon is still waiting to find out what will happen to him with GM Jon Daniels working hard to trade him, according to Sullivan. With Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry set to man center field, and Borbon out of options, he seems destined for waivers if Daniels cannot find a deal.
The Rangers appear to have increased their interest in free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today. With Martin Perez headed for the disabled list, the Rangers’ rotation isn’t as deep as it once was. Here are some links from the rest of the AL West...
- The Rangers aren't trying to 'freeze out' CEO Nolan Ryan, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News writes. The club could lose the Hall of Famer following the decision to reduce Ryan's role in day to day decision making. Ryan perceives that he's nothing more than a figurehead now, Sherrington writes. Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson told Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he wants Ryan to remain with the team long-term.
- Former Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson hopes to return to the MLB level now that his elbow troubles are behind him, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. Robertson, who's now pitching from a lower arm slot, signed a minor league deal with the Rangers this offseason. He hopes to make the team as a lefty reliever.
- Athletics manager Bob Melvin turned out to be an ideal fit in Oakland, Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com writes. After stints in Seattle and Arizona, Melvin was equipped to lead the A's with what outfielder Seth Smith describes as "a quiet intensity."
Robertson's last Major League action came back in 2010 when he spent most of the season with the Marlins and also pitched one ill-fated inning for the Phillies. He was a staple in the Tigers' rotation from 2004-07, starting 126 games and totaling 779 2/3 innings of work.
In 1,152 1/3 career innings, Robertson has a 5.01 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. We heard earlier this month that he was looking for a Minor League contract with a chance to come to a big league camp and compete for a bullpen spot. Crasnick adds in a second tweet that Robertson will do just that.
MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Rangers, the Indians and offseason qualifying offers on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings Podcast. Click here to listen in. Here are some news items from around the baseball world...
- The Mets are one of three teams interested in right-hander Kip Wells, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich. Wells, 35, posted a 4.58 ERA, a 4.6 K/9 rate and a 4.8 BB/9 rate in seven starts for the Padres last season, the first time Wells had pitched in the Majors since 2009. Wells has pitched for nine different clubs over his 12-year career.
- Ian Kinsler has reversed course and told Rangers management that he would prefer to remain at second base, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Kinsler said he was open to a position change back in November but has since decided that he isn't comfortable moving off second at this point in his career. Had Kinsler been willing to move to first base, Texas could have explored using Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus as the team's double-play combo.
- The incentive details of Mike Adams' and John Lannan's contracts with the Phillies are outlined by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Nate Robertson is looking for a spot in a Major League training camp as a left-handed relief specialist, Robertson's agent Steve Canter tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The 35-year-old Robertson's last Major League appearance came in 2010 and he has spent the last two seasons pitching in the minors for the Mariners, Cubs and Blue Jays. Robertson could find success as a specialist given that he has held left-handed hitters to a .695 OPS over his nine-year career.
- Shaun Marcum is still without a team and Fangraphs' Mike Axisa examines why the market for the free agent right-hander has yet to develop. Marcum was ranked as the 19th-best free agent of the offseason by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes earlier this winter, though three players higher on the list than Marcum (Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Rafael Soriano) are also still available.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has the list of minor league transactions from the first week of January.
- Mike Trout unsurprisingly headlines the list of the 25 best players under the age of 25 as compiled by ESPN's Keith Law. Trout and the other three players atop Law's list delivered a historically great performance that compares to the all-time best quartets of young hitters, as noted by ESPN's Dave Cameron. (An ESPN Insider subscription is required for both pieces.)
The latest minor moves from around MLB...
- The Cubs signed free agent right-hander Shane Lindsay and released left-hander Nate Robertson, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. Lindsay, who was released by the Dodgers earlier this month, will report to Triple-A Iowa. He has a 3.61 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 8.9 BB/9 in three Triple-A seasons. His trouble with walks persisted in the Dodgers' organization earlier this year.
- Robertson has pitched more than 1100 innings over the course of nine seasons in the Major Leagues. The free agent last appeared in an MLB game in 2010.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here...
- Right-hander Scott Atchison signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox after being removed from the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
- The Cubs signed left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league deal, Eddy writes. Robertson had a 7.14 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 18 starts with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate last season.
- The Rockies signed left-handed pitcher Royce Ring, according to Eddy. The former first-round pick saw time in the majors for four different clubs between 2005-2010. Ring spent time with the Triple-A affiliates for Seattle and Boston last season.
- The Nationals signed right-hander Mike Schultz, who has one big league inning to his credit from his time with Arizona in 2007. The 32-year-old has been pitching well in Japan for the last four years, posting a 2.55 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.
- MLBTR has learned that the Orioles signed catcher Josh Johnson. The 29-year-old played the last three years in the Atlantic League but prior to that spent time with the Rays and Astros Triple-A affiliates.
- The Red Sox signed right-handed pitchers Garrett Mock and Billy Buckner to minor league deals and will report to minor league camp, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Mock, 28, was once considered a top pitching prospect by Washington but strugged in 2011 as he posted a 6.39 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9. Buckner, meanwhile, made 21 starts and two relief appearances for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in 2011.
- The Dodgers signed right-hander Blake Johnson and shortstop Brandon Mims to minor league deals following this week's open tryout, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets. Johnson spent the 2011 season in the upper minors with the Royals and Rockies, posting a 5.59 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. Mims, 19, was the Blue Jays' ninth round selection in 2010.
- The Orioles signed 27-year-old Mexican pitcher Miguel Gonzalez to a minor league deal, the pitcher told Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Béisbol (link in Spanish). Gonzalez posted decent strikeout rates across three levels in the Red Sox system last year after two years away from the minors. He told Ballesteros he will start off at Triple-A for the Orioles.
- Chris Davis, who suggested earlier in the week that he wouldn't oppose a trade, clarified his thoughts on 103.3 ESPN's Ben and Skin show, without changing his stance much. "If they're not going to give me an opportunity to play in Arlington I think the fairest thing and the right thing to do would be to give me a chance to play somewhere else," Davis said.
- I looked at potential destinations for Davis yesterday and today Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests one of the teams I mentioned makes sense (Twitter link). Heyman likes the Rays as a potential suitor for Davis.
- Many of the Angels' established hitters tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they're enjoying watching powerful first base prospect Mark Trumbo this spring.
- As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, the Mariners released and re-signed Nate Robertson after learning that he needs elbow surgery.
- Brett Tomko can opt out of his contract with the Rangers on June 1st, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). The clause presumably exists in case Tomko is still in the minors at that point.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that the Mariners should call the Yankees and see exactly how much they'd give up for Felix Hernandez. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is under contract through 2014 for a total of $68MM.
- Nate Robertson will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow and miss at least four weeks. As MLB.com's Greg Johns points out, that leaves Michael Pineda, Luke French and David Pauley as the primary candidates for the Mariners' fifth rotation spot.
- Johns reports that the Mariners turned a $1.7MM profit in the fiscal year ending on October 31st, 2010.
Gerut was a touted prospect coming out of Stanford and has enjoyed intermittent but fleeting periods of success in the Majors, chiefly as a rookie with the Indians in 2003 (.279/.336/.494) and with the Padres in 2008 (.296/.351/.494).
Robertson was a key cog during the Tigers' run to the World Series in 2006 but has not been able to capture that form since then. After spending parts of seven seasons with Detroit, he pitched primarily for the Marlins in 2010 but was released in July and made a two-outing cameo with the Phillies in September. For his career, he has 6.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 5.01 ERA.