Paul Lo Duca Rumors
The Rockies have released catcher Paul Lo Duca, writes Jack Etkin of Inside The Rockies. The veteran lost his spot on the Triple-A roster when fellow backstop Paul Phillips cleared waivers and accepted his minor league assignment. Phillips was DFA'd to make room for Chris Iannetta.
In 14 games for Colorado Springs, Lo Duca hit .233/.292/.302 with one HR. The 38-year-old, who spent 2009 away from baseball, played for Rockies manager Jim Tracy when Tracy managed the Dodgers.
Prior to Opening Day, the Mariners were said to be keeping an eye on Lo Duca.
Tuesday night linkage..
- The Dodgers' ownership issue won't be resolved until the end of the season, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The trial to determine the owner of the club will begin on August 30th.
- Sergio Santos - formerly a shortstop in the Diamondbacks organization - has made it to the major leagues as a pitcher for the White Sox, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Todd Wellemeyer isn't sure that the Giants' rotation is better than the Cardinals starting five that he was a part of, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. While it has yet to be announced, Wellemeyer will likely be crowned the fifth starter in San Francisco's rotation.
- Rockies catcher Paul Lo Duca will accept his reassignment to the minors, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times supports the Dodgers' sale of Eric Stults to the Hiroshima Carp. This year marked Stults' ninth with the organization.
- Dontrelle Willis is sad to see Nate Robertson go to Florida, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. Willis' inclusion in Detroit's rotation was a big reason why the Tigers were able to part with Robertson.
Links for Thursday...
- The Mariners watched free agent catcher Paul Lo Duca this spring, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch weighed in on the Cardinals' Albert Pujols extension situation in his chat yesterday. Strauss gives a 75% chance Pujols remains a Cardinal for life.
- Using Tim Lincecum for comparison, Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post estimates delaying Stephen Strasburg's Nationals debut until late May could save the team $18MM.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MASN's Ben Goessling that while he considers all trade possibilities, he's "certainly, certainly not" trying to trade Cristian Guzman.
A Super batch of links..
- In a piece for Fangraphs, Dave Cameron writes that the Twins are in the mix for the best offseason in baseball. Earlier this week, Minnesota agreed to a one-year deal with Orlando Hudson for just $5MM and appear to be close to locking up Joe Mauer.
- Even former Met Darryl Strawberry offered up a critique of the Mets' quiet offseason, writes Newsday's David Lennon. Strawberry said that the offseason "could have been better," when asked about it. Lennon's piece looks at some offseason targets that never became a reality for New York.
- Following up on yesterday's news that Bobby Kielty is converting to a pitcher, MLBTR heard from Kielty himself via email. Kielty says his ultimate goal is to be a right-handed bat off the bench and eat up some relief innings if necessary. He threw some bullpens for the Mets last season and has thrown for Oakland as well. Kielty says he reads MLBTR every day. Thanks for the support, Bobby!
- Peter Abraham has the full list of players who will be with the Red Sox in training camp this year.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Erik Bedard seriously considered an offer from the Orioles similar to the deal he signed to return to Seattle.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post spoke one agent about the Mets, who said "How can you have that payroll and still not have a starting catcher or first baseman, a second baseman you hate and no legitimate starters after Johan?”
- Paul Lo Duca is unlikely to accept a minor league assignment if he doesn't make the Rockies, reports Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Colorado signed Lo Duca to a minor league deal in January.
- Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says that Pirates' GM Neal Huntington admitted that there are "a lot of rumblings" that prospect Jose Tabata might actually be in his mid-20's. Tabata's listed age is 21, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him as the 57th best prospect in baseball last month. The Pirates originally acquired Tabata from the Yankees in 2008 as part of the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade.
The Rockies officially signed catcher Paul Lo Duca to a minor league deal today. If he makes the team, Lo Duca's role will be to come off the bench as a backup option at catcher, first base and the outfield. The news first broke Tuesday when Lo Duca texted MLB Home Plate producer James Kouledianos.
The Denver Post's Troy Renck reported Tuesday that the Rockies' interest in Lo Duca may be related to his relationship with manager Jim Tracy --- the catcher played under Tracy in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2004. Lo Duca, a former four-time All-Star, last played in the majors in 2008, when he posted a .243/.321/.295 line in 193 plate appearances with the Marlins and Nationals.
Got some more links for you on a hectic Tuesday...
- Ed Price of AOL FanHouse has a list of salary figures exchanged by players and their teams at today's arbitration filing deadline.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy breaks down the exchanged figures and the situations of the Brewers' remaining arbitration-eligible players.
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says the Blue Jays' payroll "will probably be in the $60-63MM range" next season, down from a previously reported figure of $80MM. Toronto's payroll, however, is "really a fluid number" according to Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- Colorado may sign veteran catcher Paul Lo Duca to a minor-league deal, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- In a text message to Tyler Kepner of The New York Times (via Twitter), Johnny Damon said he's "sure things will work out somewhere." Damon added that he hasn't ruled out a return the Yankees either.
- The Phillies are discussing a multi-year deal with arbitration eligible center fielder Shane Victorino, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- With Bengie Molina returning to San Francisco, the Mets primary catching target is now Yorvit Torrealba, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
- Morosi tweets that Joe Blanton filed for $10.25MM in arbitration today, but the Phillies countered with $7.5MM.
- Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (via Twitter) spoke to a scout who saw Ben Sheets' throwing session today. "He threw very well. He threw easy," said the scout, who guessed that Mets, Cubs, and Rangers were the leaders for his services.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald tweets that the Marlins and Cody Ross are going to an arbitration hearing over a $250K difference.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that the Astros and Wandy Rodriguez are $2MM apart in their arbitration case.
- The Rays and B.J. Upton did not reach a deal today, and his agent indicated that the two sides will head to an arbitration hearing according to Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times (via Twitter). He later tweets that they may be just $300K apart.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that the Cubs, Cardinals, and Dodgers are monitoring free agent lefty Mark Mulder. Late last week we learned that the Brewers were going to wait before deciding whether or not to offer Mulder a deal.
- The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Jeremy Reed and righty Steven Register to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training according to a team press release.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers have signed catcher J.D. Closser to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. The former top Rockies' prospect last appeared in the big leagues back in 2006.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick penned a must-read on how Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners in his short time at the helm.
- SI.com's Tom Verducci took a look at the most efficient teams of the last decade. The Marlins, Athletics, and Rays highlight the best, while the Mets were among the least efficient.
Let's round up some leftover Thursday links....
- The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin spoke to Joe Urbon, Jason Bay's agent. Urbon suggested that discussion would continue with the Red Sox, but that interest in his client so far has been "extraordinary."
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times warns Mariners fans not to get too excited about rumors of a three-way deal involving Brandon Morrow and the Tigers' Edwin Jackson. He thinks Morrow could be a valuable trade chip for Seattle though.
- In a Baltimore Sun column, Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly point out that the Baltimore Orioles' lack of big contract commitments puts them in a great spot if they want to pursue free agents this winter. The article also examines what players the Orioles might go after.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock writes that the San Diego Padres could have a little bit of "wiggle room" to sign players this winter, though their payroll will once again be minuscule.
- The Mets need to take the same approach this offseason that the Yankees did last year, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.
- Marty Noble shares his own thoughts about the Mets' offseason strategy in his latest MLB.com mailbag.
- Paul Lo Duca wants to make a comeback after spending last year out of the league. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News passes on the comments Lo Duca made on Sirius XM about returning.
- The Chicago Cubs might not be done moving arbitration-eligible players to save money, according to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson recaps some of the big names that the Washington Nationals have already been linked to this month.
- Speaking of Ladson, be sure to follow him on Twitter for the latest Nats updates.
3:11pm: It's official now; as MLB.com's B.J. Rains reports, Molina's headed to the DL.
11:27am: When the Yankees lost Jorge Posada to the DL for two to three weeks, Jose Molina became their starter. Now, Molina's quad is injured and, as Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports, Joe Girardi isn't optimistic about the injury. This leaves the Yankees with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, a 23-year-old with a solid minor league resume, but only 41 games played above A ball and seven big league plate appearances. So what should the Yankees do if Molina has to spend time on the DL?
- Let Cervelli play until Posada returns in a couple weeks.
- Sign a free agent catcher like Johnny Estrada or Paul Lo Duca to fill in.
- Trade for a catcher.
A few Astros notes from Brian McTaggart of the Houston Chronicle.
- The Astros discussed an extension with closer Jose Valverde, but ultimately signed him for one year and $8MM. Valverde is eligible for free agency after the '09 season.
- The Astros are in negotiations with Paul Lo Duca. He could join the mix on a minor league deal.
According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Marlins declined to offer arbitration to Type B free agents Arthur Rhodes, Luis Gonzalez, and Paul Lo Duca. Rhodes might've been worth the risk, but the Marlins will play it safe.