Paul Bako Rumors
The Dodgers do not plan to bring in a catcher after losing Russell Martin for four to six weeks with a pulled groin, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Instead, they will rely on A.J. Ellis to fill the void, with Brad Ausmus serving as the understudy. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes that Torre has faith in the rookie.
The post notes that Paul Bako is likely the top remaining free agent catcher. The 37-year-old hit .224/.308/.336 in 130 plate appearances for the Phillies last season. Another notable catcher without a job is Michael Barrett, though he missed the majority of 2009 due to injury.
A few links to start the day...
- Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the Phillies will prioritze defensive versatility over power when filling Matt Stairs' roster spot, though Stairs, Miguel Cairo, and Paul Bako are welcome to come to Spring Training on minor league deals.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com has an update on the Orioles' negotations with Mark Hendrickson. Last month we learned that Hendrickson hoped to re-sign quickly.
- ESPN's Keith Law wrote about players coming off injury, and notes that Ben Sheets is worth gambling on, considering his upside.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that despite the Brewers' logjam on the infield, a trade will probably not happen "unless some club offers the pitching equivalent of (Mat) Gamel."
- David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News takes a look at the Phillies' pitching staff to see which free agents may or may not fit.
- R.J. Anderson at FanGraphs wrote about free agent (and good luck charm) Eric Hinske, while his blogmate Dave Cameron took a look at some interesting minor league free agents.
- Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan took the time to speak with Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com about several of the team's 2009 draft picks.
- Buddy Carlyle has joined the Nippon Ham Fighters, according to Kyodo News.
- Not only do players truly hit the open market on Friday, but teams must also set their 40-man rosters for next month's Rule 5 Draft that day as well. Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes about a player the Braves may choose to protect, while Erik Hahmann of DRays Bay looks back at Tampa Bay's history in the Rule 5.
- Speaking of Morosi and O'Brien, make sure you follow both guys on Twitter!,
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:
- The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
- Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
- The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
- Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
- If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
- The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.
Links for Monday...
- Slate's Craig Fehrman writes about "the sports media's unique mindset toward [online] aggregators" and how MLBTR fits in.
- On his MLB.com blog, Phillies reliever Scott Eyre suggests he and catcher Paul Bako are reconsidering retirement because they're having so much fun.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that he offered four players to the Indians for Cliff Lee back in July. Lee instead landed with the Phillies and shut down the Dodgers last night.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star believes it's very difficult for fans and reporters to create realistic trade scenarios. Do you agree?
- The Rockies are "ready to finalize deals with general manager Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy," according to Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies.
- The Yusei Kikuchi talks are moving along, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman. U.S.S. Mariner's Jay Yencich gives his scouting report on Kikuchi. In another post, Newman runs down the interested MLB teams. He notes that the Rangers sent pitcher Derek Holland along with Jim Colburn.
- WEEI's Alex Speier passes along a Dale & Holley appearance by ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney guesses the Red Sox might stop at four years for Jason Bay, and their primary competition will come from the Mariners and Giants.
- ESPN's Peter Gammons discusses Jed Lowrie as Boston's short-term answer at shortstop, with Jose Iglesias as the long-term answer.
- Pete Grathoff of the KC Star writes about the 35-year anniversary of Tommy John surgery.
According to Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies signed catcher Paul Bako to a minor league deal. Bako signed with the Cubs in January and had a nice spring, but lost the backup catcher competition to Koyie Hill and was released. Bako, 37 in June, hit .217/.299/.328 in 338 plate appearances for the Reds last year.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up.
- Rosenthal discusses the unprecedented number of decent free agents available, a few games into the season (click here for our free agent list). He suggests the hitters will have a harder time getting jobs than the pitchers due to the time needed to shake off the rust. In talking with execs, Rosenthal learned that the trade market for mediocre players (Jarrod Washburn, Nate Robertson, Austin Kearns) may be depressed this summer due to the available free agents.
- As he wrote in February, Rosenthal says that Braden Looper turned down more money to play for the Orioles due to his preference for the NL. Tim Redding also preferred the easier league. The result of those rejections: a very questionable '09 rotation.
- Rosenthal spoke to an executive who was shocked to discover that Russ Ortiz seems to be back to his peak form.
- Rosenthal speculates that Paul Bako could help the Twins.
According to a press release, the Cubs released catcher Paul Bako and reliever Mike Stanton today. So, it looks like Koyie Hill has the team's backup catcher job.
Bako, 36, hit .364/.400/.515 in 35 spring plate appearances. Stanton, 41, allowed six runs and 13 hits in 8.3 innings.
Links for Friday...
- RotoAuthority asks: who is the next Carlos Quentin?
- The Cubs may trade or lose whoever doesn't win their backup catcher job, Paul Bako or Koyie Hill (according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times). By the way, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker says the Cubs signed a Korean high school outfielder named Don-Yeop Kim.
- Hanley Ramirez was upset about the Marlins' new hair and jewelry policies, but cooled down after meeting with the team's brass.
- Excellent Stephen Strasburg profile by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated (hat tip to Rob Neyer).
- Rays Index talked to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Murray Chass believes suggestions of hostility between the players union and owners are misguided.
- A's shortstop Orlando Cabrera talked to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle about how his reputation unfairly took a hit last year.
- Bart Given explains the four types of waivers.
Links for Friday...
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines Scott Boras' work so far this winter, as well as his remaining clients.
- RotoAuthority has first baseman rankings for fantasy leagues.
- Matthew Cerrone suggests the Mets might want to publicly rule out Manny Ramirez.
- Interesting WHIFF profile on Aaron Heilman.
- Patrick Newman introduces us to Norichika Aoki, perhaps the best hitter in Japan. Aoki may end up in MLB, but it probably won't be anytime soon.
- The Orioles agreed to a split contract with pitcher Brian Burres, says Troy Renck.
According to a press release, the Cubs agreed to terms with catcher Paul Bako for 2009. Bako, 36, played for the Cubs for 2003-04. According to the AP, Bako gets $725K plus $300K in possible incentives.