Nelson Cruz Rumors
Rangers GM Jon Daniels told fans that the Rangers will explore ways to add difference-makers this summer and are prepared to trade some prospects in the right situation. Daniels made some more hot stove-related comments while chatting at the Dallas Morning News today - here they are:
- The Rangers didn't want to offer Ivan Rodriguez or any other available catcher a two-year deal last winter and they're content with their decision.
- They're reportedly interested in catchers, but don't have a timetable for bringing Jarrod Saltalamacchia back.
- The Rangers look for upside and makeup in players they draft, regardless of the player's level.
- Daniels is in favor of trading draft picks since it would give teams flexibility.
- Daniels wouldn't rule out signing Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton to extensions.
- It was just time for [Joaquin Benoit] to move on."
May 18th: Garko cleared waivers and will head to Triple A Oklahoma City, tweets MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
May 13th: The Rangers plan on placing Ryan Garko on waivers, according to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes that Garko will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and then put on outright waivers. The Rangers are making the move to open up a spot for the returning Nelson Cruz.
Garko, 29, has struggled thus far in 2010, posting a .094/.171/.094 slash line in 37 plate appearances.
We see it all the time. Most weeks a handful of players are designated for assignment and more often than not casual fans barely notice. A DFA indicates that a team is willing to part with a player - sometimes for nothing. But sometimes those players come back from DFAs to become stars in the major leagues. Here's a list of some current players who have been designated for assignment:
- David Aardsma - The Red Sox acquired Aardsma after the White Sox designated him for assignment in 2008. A year later, the Mariners traded for Aardsma, who became the team's closer and posted impressive rates of 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
- Mike Adams - Adams was designated for assignment in 2006, before he posted absurdly low ERAs and regularly struck out more than a batter per inning.
- Milton Bradley - The Padres acquired Bradley from the A's after Bradley was designated for assignment in 2007. Bradley hit .313/.414/.590 for the Padres and led them to a one game playoff with the Rockies for the Wild Card spot. Of course Bradley didn't play in game 163, since he tore his ACL while manager Bud Black restrained him during an on-field argument earlier in the month.
- Russell Branyan - No one claimed Branyan after his 2006 DFA, but the Cardinals traded for him when the Phillies designated him for assignment the next year. He didn't do much for the Cards in his 39 plate appearances in 2007, but Branyan rebounded to hit 31 homers for the Mariners in 2009.
- Marlon Byrd - The Nationals designated Byrd for assignment in 2006 without losing him and the Rangers did the same in 2007. Byrd recovered from his '07 demotion to post three consecutive productive seasons in Texas.
- Nelson Cruz - The Rangers designated Cruz for assignment at the beginning of the 2008 season - usually a good time to sneak players through waivers. The Rangers must be thrilled no one claimed Cruz, who hit 37 homers in the minors that year and added 33 in the majors the following season.
- Rajai Davis - The A's claimed the outfielder off of waivers from their Bay Area rivals in 2008. Davis was hitting .056/.105/.056 at the time, though he had batted just 19 times. He has gone on to become a useful player, hitting .305/.360/.423 last year with 41 steals and above average defense, according to UZR.
- Jorge de la Rosa - The Royals designated de la Rosa for assignment in March of 2008, but it wasn't until a month later that the Rockies traded for him. The 29-year-old free agent-to-be has been a productive starter in Colorado since.
- Ryan Franklin - The Reds acquired Franklin from the Phillies in 2006 after a poor start to the season. Franklin didn't do much better with the Reds, but he has been productive for three-plus seasons in St. Louis since.
- Jeremy Guthrie - The Orioles claimed the former first round pick from the Indians early in 2007, when Guthrie had just 37 big league innings and a 6.08 ERA to his name. Since, the righty has posted a 4.19 ERA in 610.1 innings.
- LaTroy Hawkins - The Yankees designated the reliever for assignment in 2008 and traded him to Houston, where Hawkins dominated for 24 appearances. He posted a 0.43 ERA along with 10.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
- Bobby Jenks - He has fallen out of favor with the White Sox now, but they deserve credit for picking him up after the 2004 season. Jenks has struck out three times as many batters as he has walked in 301 innings with the White Sox.
- Ryan Ludwick - The slugger started the 2005 season hitting just .154/.267/.385 so the Indians designated him for assignment. No one claimed Ludwick then, but the Cardinals made a shrewd pickup when they later signed him.
- Brandon Phillips - The Reds claimed Phillips after the Indians designated him for assignment in 2006. He had just a .206/.246/.310 big league line at the time, but he has averaged 22 homers and 26 steals in his four full seasons with the Reds. UZR rates the 28-year-old as an above average defender at second base, too.
- Joel Pineiro - The Red Sox designated Pineiro for assignment in 2007 when he had a 5.03 ERA and just 20 strikeouts to go along with 14 walks. Later that summer, the Cardinals acquired Pineiro and he went on to post 426.1 solid innings for the Cards. Under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan, Pineiro posted a walk rate of 1.6 BB/9 in a Cardinals uniform.
- Grant Balfour, Ryan Church, Jack Cust, Matt Diaz, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joel Hanrahan, Livan Hernandez, Mike Jacobs, Colby Lewis, Julio Lugo, Mike MacDougal, Evan Meek, Vicente Padilla, Scott Podsednik, J.C. Romero, David Ross, Brian Tallet, Todd Wellemeyer and Randy Wells are among the many big leaguers who have been designated for assignment.
It's worth noting that this group does not include a superstar (Cruz might be the closest thing to one). Teams designate many talented players for assignment because of roster constraints, but few enjoy as much success as the group above.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.
Buster Olney's ESPN blog is always a good read; here are a few hot stove nuggets to ponder...
- Olney reminds us that Nelson Cruz cleared waivers in the spring of '08. That's always a good time of year to sneak a guy through. At 26, Cruz had struggled in the Majors in '07 but raked in 187 Triple A plate appearances. Because he figured things out later in his career, he won't reach arbitration until after this season at age 30.
- Olney notes that Jonathan Sanchez "seemed to come off the board" as a trade candidate after his July 10th no-hitter last year. The Giants have Sanchez under team control through 2012. Matt Cain is under contract through '12, and Tim Lincecum is under team control through '13.
- Olney on the Jermaine Dye-racism suggestion: "To suggest that there is a general reluctance, across a 30-team landscape, to sign Dye because he is black is completely absurd." Talking to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, Bill Hall asks more nuanced questions.
Some links to browse through on your Sunday afternoon...
- Besides sifting through the remaining free agents, the Yankees are exploring the trade market for left field, writes Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse (via Twitter). Piliere heard unconfirmed whispers that one of those inquiries was made on Nelson Cruz.
- Oregon State left-hander Josh Osich will miss the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, writes Jason Churchill. The 20-year-old southpaw had been described as a "lock for the mid- to late first round" by Keith Law.
- Steve Melewski takes a look at the arguments for and against Miguel Tejada's return to Baltimore, and also suggests slotting Miggy into the cleanup spot to start the season.
- White Sox VP Scott Reifert passes along a quote (via Twitter) from scouting director Doug Laumann, saying the south-siders will likely focus on pitching in the next draft.
- Rany Jazayerli has mixed feelings about the Royals' acquisition of Rick Ankiel, but says the outfielder is a better fit than Mike Jacobs was a year ago.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski repeated that he's not going to sign a hitter who can't play the field, writes John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times doesn't expect Johnny Damon to return to the Yankees in 2010.
- Fernando Tatis and Ryan Freel are options for the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- Derrick Turnbow is still on the Rockies' radar, writes Renck.
- Tom Robson heads Bob Elliott's list of Canadians eligible for the 2010 draft at the Canadian Baseball Network.
The Rays and Reds are among the teams that have contacted the Rangers about outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi. We first heard that teams were contacting Texas about Cruz late last month.
Given Cruz's immense production (.260/.332/.524 with 33 homers) at a bargain basement price ($408K in 2009 according to Cot's), the team doesn't have much incentive to move him. Cruz is under team control through 2013. In fact, Texas has reportedly been on the look out for righty hitting middle-of-the-order bat, such as Jermaine Dye.
Morosi adds that the Rangers have considered such free agent options as Dye, Jim Thome, and Vladimir Guerrero, however their spending ability may be limited.
Several teams are calling the Rangers about Nelson Cruz, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, but the Rangers aren't inclined to move him, citing his low salary and high production.
Cruz posted a .260/.332/.524 line in 2009, but made just over $418K while earning his first All Star selection. According to the report, "Cruz could intrigue clubs such as the Braves, Cardinals and Giants if their other efforts to add an outfield bat fall short."
A few more links to cap off the night....
- GM Ed Wade and the Houston Astros will begin contacting managerial candidates Friday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. McTaggart adds that the team's interview process will get underway next week, as they hope to pare down a 10-name list.
- Keith Law and ESPN.com take a look at the Tigers' 2009 results and anticipate their offseason moves. Law notes that Detroit is a franchise that doesn't mind avoiding big-name closers, so Ryan Perry could conceivably pitch the ninth inning in 2010 if Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon depart. Law also thinks Scott Sizemore is ready to step in and play second base every day.
- Like everyone else, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks the Braves need a right-handed power bat next season. O'Brien also suggests that Atlanta would benefit from adding a little speed to their lineup. O'Brien thinks that Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who can hit home runs and steal bases, will be discussed as a potential target for the Braves.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay expects the Reds to wait until after St. Louis is out of the playoffs to hire a new pitching coach. Fay speculates that history between Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty and Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan could make Duncan a candidate for the opening.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Rangers have signed 16 players to 2009 contracts. These players include Scott Feldman and Matt Harrison, who are both expected to make the Rangers starting rotation.
Position players include catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and right fielder Nelson Cruz.
Here's a list of the others:
- Pitchers - Josh Rupe, John Bannister, Tommy Hunter, Luis Mendoza, Dustin Nippert, Omar Proveda, Kason Gabbard
- Position Players - Joaquin Arias, Jose Vallejo, Brandon Boggs, David Murphy, and Greg Golson
The Rangers have yet to sign Josh Hamilton, Taylor Teagarden, and nine others.
7:12pm: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says Mariners catcher Rob Johnson and Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were discussed in these Hermida talks, but no match was found.
6:31pm: Baker says the Marlins wanted catching prospect Adam Moore from the Ms in a Hermida deal. Baseball America ranks Moore as the Mariners' sixth best prospect. They say he looks like a future big league starting catcher; he'll start '09 at Triple A.
5:31pm: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald says the Ms and Rangers initiated the Hermida talks, and they didn't get far.
4:44pm: Geoff Baker says the Marlins offered Hermida to the Mariners and Rangers for catching.
12:26pm: Berardino has an update. He says the Marlins proposed trading Hermida to the Rays for two pitchers, likely among Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, and Mitch Talbot. The Rays rejected the offer and it's unlikely to be revisited.
Berardino now says the Reds have yet to inquire on Hermida.
12:04pm: Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses Jeremy Hermida trade possibilities in a blog post today (hat tip, Rays Index). He says the Reds have definitely shown interest, and also discusses the Rays. Berardino's sources believe Micah Owings could be had, but not Johnny Cueto. In the case of the Rays it'd apparently take Andy Sonnanstine rather than Edwin Jackson.
By the way, the Marlins have talked about the possibility of moving Hermida to left field if they keep him. Hermida has been a slightly above-average right fielder according to the plus/minus system.