Oakland Athletics Rumors
ESPN's Jim Bowden, a former GM of both the Reds and Expos/Nationals, recently took a look at Frank Wren's rise to general manager of the Braves. Within his ESPN Insider piece, Bowden identifies three front office executives who, like Wren, are being groomed as successors to their current GMs. He also identifies three candidates who will likely become GMs in other organizations. Here are some highlights from the piece and other GM news...
- Bowden feels that Rockies senior VP Bill Geivett, Tigers VP/assistant GM Al Avila and Athletics assistant GM David Forst are all next in line to become the GM of their respective franchises. Geivett, in particular, is already handling the day-to-day operations, and Bowden feels it's just a matter of time before he's given the official title of general manager.
- Bowden asked present GMs around the game who the top GM candidates outside of their own organizations were. The results, in order, were Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, Cubs VP of scouting and player development Jason McLeod and Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings. Bowden notes that each is blocked for one reason or another but would have plenty of interest from other clubs seeking a new GM.
- Jack Zduriencik's time as GM of the Mariners may be running out, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners once again find themselves last in the American League in runs scored -- the same place they've been for the previous four years under Zduriencik's watch. Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero have yet to establish themselves as big leaguers, and the trades of Cliff Lee and Doug Fister look poor in hindsight. Rosenthal notes that Hisashi Iwakuma is a coup for Zduriencik, and that help is close with Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen at Triple-A. A breakthrough is needed soon, however, and Zduriencik conceded that he knows it.
Ron Gardenhire is in the last year of his contract and the Twins have lost 99 and 96 games the last two seasons, but don't expect him to be dismissed anytime soon, says Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. "I expect Ron to be on this job for a long time," says Twins GM Terry Ryan. "I don't consider it lame duck at all." Here are more notes from the American League.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he has been so active on the waiver wire because he wants the Jays to field a good team in Triple-A Buffalo, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes (on Twitter). Earlier today, the Jays claimed pitcher Aaron Laffey, marking the Jays' 21st waiver claim since mid-October, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star noted earlier today (also on Twitter).
- Outfielder Casper Wells will be rusty as he tries to get his season started with the Athletics, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group writes. The Mariners designated Wells for assignment near the beginning of the season. The Blue Jays claimed him, but he never played a game for them, and then they too designated him for assignment. That left Wells in limbo for several more days until the Jays traded him to Oakland. At that time, Hickey notes, Wells hadn't played a game in almost a month, and he hadn't faced live pitching since taking batting practice with Toronto. "The rules hurt guys like me in this position, not seeing live pitching," says Wells. "It’d be nice to stay fresh. But I haven’t had any real at-bats in a month. I’ve done all that I could with that situation." Wells entered with the A's up 13-0 in Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox, and flied out. MLBTR wrote this weekend about how MLB's waiver claim rules hurt players like Wells.
The Rangers and Athletics sit atop the AL West with about 88% of the season remaining; the Angels, Mariners, and Astros are currently below .500. The latest from the division:
- "There's not a lot flashy about what we do. We work. We stick with each other. We try to make good decisions. We've made some bad ones. But more good than bad," Rangers president Jon Daniels told Yahoo's Tim Brown. The Rangers missed out on all the big names during the offseason, yet they're still looking good in the early going.
- The idea of a Jurickson Profar-Oscar Taveras swap between the Rangers and Cardinals "has crazy legs for something never discussed between the two teams," Daniels told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. MLBTR probably deserves some of the blame for that, but don't worry, we'll have real trade rumors to discuss soon enough.
- The Athletics sent $100K to the Blue Jays for Casper Wells, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Wells' role with the team once Yoenis Cespedes returns Sunday is unclear. After spending about a month in waiver/DFA limbo, Wells should at least get into a few games for the A's. He lamented the transaction-related layoff, tweets Slusser.
The Rays have received undisclosed amounts of cash, rather than players to be named later, to complete the Stephen Vogt and Robinson Chirinos trades, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
The Rays traded Vogt to Oakland back on April 5. The 28-year-old catcher made his MLB debut for the Rays last season but went hitless in 25 at-bats. He's had considerably better fortune at the Triple-A level, where he owns a .302/.363/.503 batting line -- thanks in large part to the video game numbers he's put up for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate so far (though those numbers do come with the PCL caveat).
Chirinos was traded to the Rangers on April 8 after being designated for assignment at the end of Spring Training. The 28-year-old was part of the Matt Garza trade between the Rays and Cubs. He has a career .281/.362/.422 batting line at Triple-A. Chirinos is a rare catcher who has extensive experience at both shortstop and second base, though he's worked almost exclusively as a catcher in recent years.
The Blue Jays have traded outfielder Casper Wells to the Athletics in exchange for cash considerations, according to a team press release. The A's transferred Scott Sizemore to the 60-day disabled list in order to create room on the 40-man roster. Wells is out of options and cannot be sent to the minor leagues, so an additional 25-man roster move will have to be made by the A's.
The Blue Jays claimed Wells, 28, off waivers from the Mariners after he was designated for assignment at the end of Spring Training. Wells didn't appear in a single game at any level for the Jays, however, as he was DFA'ed by Toronto just five days after being claimed.
Wells is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has posted a strong .264/.349/.489 batting line versus left-handed pitching in his career. Last night, MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth highlighted Wells as an example of players being left in limbo by the waiver process as he wondered whether or not the waiver system needs to be updated.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum is upset with his team's recent play and says that players who don't perform won't have big-league jobs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports. That goes for top young players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. "I don’t think [anyone’s] invincible if you’re not performing," Sveum says regarding Castro and Rizzo. "It’s not about what we think can happen three or four years from now. It’s time to perform on a consistent basis."
Wittenmyer writes that Sveum's harsh words for Castro and Rizzo "threw a sudden dose of skepticism and doubt into the widespread assumptions about the Cubs’ core," but acknowledges that, in reality, Castro and Rizzo will be with the Cubs for the foreseeable future. Sveum is suggesting they might be demoted, but that seems extremely unlikely, and it's even less likely that either of them would be traded. The Cubs signed Castro to a seven-year, $60MM contract last August. Rizzo is not signed to a long-term deal. Both players have hit well this season despite occasional mistakes in the field. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- John Poloni -- also known as the "fat scout" in Michael Lewis' Moneyball -- lobbied for the Athletics to draft Tim Hudson in 1997, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Hudson wasn't regarded as a top draft prospect due to his size, but Poloni told the A's that Hudson had "the best sinker he'd ever seen." 16 years later, Hudson is nearing his 200th win in the big leagues. That doesn't mean Poloni is rushing to take credit, however. "He exceeded my expectations, too," Poloni says. "A lot of times, it's pure luck."
- Last offseason's big-ticket free agents haven't performed well so far, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel. One of the highest-profile disappointments thus far has probably been Josh Hamilton of the Angels, although it's still early enough in the season that one big series could make any player's statistics look considerably better.
Here are some notes from around the American League:
- The Athletics have released minor league third baseman Tommy Mendonca, tweets Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com (hat tip to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser). Originally a 2009 second-round pick of the Rangers, Mendonca was selected by Oakland in this year's minor league Rule 5 draft. Mendonca, who turns 25 tomorrow, struggled in his first Triple-A action last season, when he hit .208/.249/.329 in 251 plate appearances at the upper level of the minors.
- Meanwhile, the A's seem more inclined to hang onto another Rule 5 pick, Nate Freiman, who the club picked up off of waivers from Houston, writes Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. Manager Bob Melvin likes Freiman's power and patience. The 6'8", 26-year-old first baseman hit safely in his first two big league at-bats, though he has failed to register a base knock in his eleven subsequent plate appearances.
- The Royals' trade for James Shields was not just about acquiring a rotation anchor, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The club was also hoping to import some of the Rays' clubhouse culture, which Shields has brought to Kansas City along with his solid start on the hill. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Dick Kaegel writes that the club is confident that it has plenty of talent in the pipeline in spite of the haul it gave up in the Shields trade.
After the R.A. Dickey trade, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said the inclusion of John Buck was needed because his club needed to shed the catcher's $6MM salary. However, Mets assistant GM John Ricco told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that Buck was part of the trade package from the beginning and not a late throw-in just even out money in the deal. Buck is off to a hot start for the 2013 season and if he continues to perform, he'll be a solid contributor for the Mets this season. Here's more from around baseball..
- While it's still very preliminary, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter) says that the qualifying offer for the 2013-14 offseason should be right around $14MM. This past offseason, the qualifying offer was worth a little less at $13.3MM.
- Julio Borbon could be a worthwhile pickup for the Astros and Mets in the opinion of Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Borbon was designated for assignment by the Rangers earlier this evening.
- In the wake of Josh Reddick's injury, A's skipper Bob Melvin says he is especially grateful for the depth that the club's front office has put in place, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com.
The Athletics have outrighted Dan Otero to Triple-A after the right-hander cleared waivers, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Otero was designated for assignment on Friday when the Athletics acquired catcher Stephen Vogt from the Rays.
Otero has been a travelling man the past three weeks after being optioned by the Giants to Triple-A Fresno (March 15), claimed on waivers by the Yankees (March 26), designated for assignment the next day and claimed by the Athletics (March 29), and now onto Sacramento. The 28-year-old made his MLB debut with the Giants last season (5.84 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, and 13.9 H/9 in 12 games covering 12 1/3 innings) while also appearing in 48 games at Fresno where he posted a 2.90 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9.
The team confirmed the move in a press release.
The A's announced that they have acquired catcher Stephen Vogt from the Rays for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To make room for Vogt on the roster, Oakland designated right-hander Dan Otero for assignment.
Vogt, 28, saw time in 18 games for the Rays last season but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A Durham where he hit .272/.350/.424 in 94 games. The catcher was the Rays' 12th round pick in the 2007 draft and has spent his entire career in the Tampa Bay organization until now.
Otero, also 28, will be changing teams for the third time this winter after going from the Giants to the Yankees to the A's in a pair of waiver moves. The right-hander made 12 relief appearances last season and pitched in 48 games in Triple-A where he posted a 2.90 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9.