Oscar Villarreal Rumors

Minor Moves: Maier, Sutton, Lewis, Ka’aihue, Reed

We'll track the day's minor league signings right here:

Minor Deals: Rupe, Mariners, Villarreal

We'll keep track of the day's minor signings, trades and claims right here:

  • The Orioles agreed to sign right-handed reliever Josh Rupe to a minor league deal, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The 28-year-old appeared in 11 games for the Royals in 2010, posting a 5.59 ERA with eight strikeouts and seven walks in 9 2/3 innings. The 2002 third-rounder also posted a 2.92 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 52 1/3 Triple-A innings.
  • The Mariners signed right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, left-hander Chris Seddon and outfielder Mike Wilson as minor league free agents, according to the team. All three players receive invitations to big league Spring Training. Petit, who turned 26 yesterday, has a 5.57 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 229 1/3 big league innings over the course of four seasons. He last pitched in the majors for the 2009 D'Backs.
  • The Dodgers added right-handed reliever Oscar Villarreal as a non-roster invitee, according to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times. The 29-year-old hasn't appeared in a major league game since 2008, but he has logged 336 innings in the major leagues. He has a respectable 3.86 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 258 appearances.

GM Initiation: Josh Byrnes

We're kicking off a new series here at MLBTR called GM Initiation.  Each post in the series will look at a general manager's first trade.

Josh Byrnes was hired as Diamondbacks GM on October 28th, 2005.  His first deal came on December 7th at the Winter Meetings.  Byrnes and Braves GM John Schuerholz agreed on a deal to send catcher Johnny Estrada to Arizona for relievers Oscar Villarreal and Lance Cormier.  Estrada went on to have a solid '06 campaign for the D'Backs and was used in a trade to acquire Doug Davis after the season.  Both relievers pitched two seasons for Atlanta, with Villarreal posting better numbers.

Byrnes was kind enough to answer a few questions about his first trade.

MLB Trade Rumors: 2005 marked your first Winter Meetings as a general manager.  How would you describe the experience?

Josh Byrnes: The 2005 Winter Meetings were busy. We were exploring many trades to reshape the roster. It was our first time together as a larger group in that type of setting.

MLBTR: Did you enter the '05 Meetings intent on acquiring a starting catcher?  About how many different catchers were you seriously considering?

Byrnes: We were trying to improve in the middle of the field. Later that month, we acquired Orlando Hudson, Eric Byrnes and Chris Young. Estrada was the catcher who made the most sense at the time.

MLBTR: What kind of relationship did you have with Braves GM John Schuerholz prior to the Estrada deal?  How long did it take to put the trade together?

Byrnes: I knew John a little bit. The trade came together fairly quickly. We had a few discussions at the meetings and agreed after a few conversations.

MLBTR: Does the Estrada trade hold significance for you, since it was your first acquisition?  Is the significance diminished because you were such an active trader that month?

Byrnes: I said at the time that the deal carried some significance to me because we did it with John. Certainly, he is one the best (if not the best) GM’s of all time. He is also very passionate about the game and the industry, so it is memorable to have made my first trade with John.

Phillies Sign Oscar Villarreal

The Phillies signed pitcher Oscar Villarreal to a minor league deal, tweets Ed Price of AOL FanHouse.  Villarreal, 28, signed with the Royals before last season but eventually developed the need for Tommy John surgery.  He threw for teams on Friday, with the Phillies, Red Sox, Rockies, and Diamondbacks in attendance.

Villarreal's upside is limited, as he's prone to the longball and has a 1.75 career K/BB.

Odds & Ends: Anderson, Smoltz, Red Sox, Dye

Links for Friday…

Odds & Ends: Tigers, Rangers, Lee, Matthews

Saturday linkage…

  • White Sox GM Ken Williams said that the club proposed a long-term deal to Bobby Jenks before signing him to a one-year contract, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter).
  • Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski admitted that they were "probably too liberal in giving long-term contracts to players," tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck. However, Dombrowski did say they want to sign Justin Verlander, presumably long-term (via Beck's Twitter).
  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan tweets that there's a strong chance the sale of the Rangers could be completed today.
  • At his introductory press conference, Cliff Lee said he was hoping to be wowed by Seattle and the Mariners, and if he is, he would be open to re-signing there according to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times. When asked about his next contract, Lee joked "I want a 10-year deal for about 200 billion. Nah, I don't know."  
  • Tom Gage of The Detroit News writes that the Tigers have five lefty relievers on their roster, so don't be surprised if one of them gets traded. Bobby Seay might be the most vulnerable of the five (despite being the most established) because he'll make $2.475MM in 2010 and lefties hit him better than righties last year.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney spoke to several people in the game about the Mets picking up Gary Matthews Jr., and the general thought is that he "can't hit for average, can't hit for power, his defense ranks statistically among the worst outfielders in the majors, and, to top it off, rival scouts have been reporting that in recent years he has been a clubhouse negative."
  • Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald has some quotes from Red Sox principal owner John Henry about the team's offseason.
  • Free agent reliever Oscar Villarreal will throw for teams next Friday, tweets Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. He last pitched in the majors back in 2008 with the Astros.

Royals Ink Villarreal To Minor League Deal

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Royals have signed right-hander Oscar Villarreal to a minor league contract.

The deal is worth $400K and includes an invitation to spring training.  Villarreal, 27, posted a 5.02 ERA in 37 2/3 innings for the Astros last season.  He can request his release if he’s not on the Royals’ 25-man roster by May 15 or June 1.

Week In Review: 8/10 – 8/16

Taking a look back at this week’s happenings here on MLBTR…

Rockies Sign Villarreal

According to Jack Etkin of the Rocky Mountain News, the Rockies signed reliever Oscar Villarreal to a minor league deal today.  The Rox will have Villarreal under contract for ’09, mostly paid for by the Astros.  I hadn’t realized Villarreal signed with the Mariners after being designated by Houston.  He opted out of that contract when the Ms didn’t bring him to the Majors by August 8th.

Villarreal’s strikeout and groundball rates slipped this year, leading to a 5.02 ERA in 37.2 innings.  He’s been worked pretty hard at times in his career.

Odds and Ends: Taveras, Kemp, Mota

Today’s random linkage.