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- Cubs Looking For Starting Pitching, Lefty Outfield Bats
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Rafael Martin Rumors
The Cubs‘ pitching staff is having trouble this month, and it’s unclear where help will come from, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago writes. It isn’t the best time of the year to make trades. While the Phillies likely don’t feel they have to wait until the trade deadline to make a Cole Hamels deal, such a trade might be easier for the Cubs to strike after some time to make sure they’re contenders. And finding relief help in the trade market will likely be more straightfoward later in the summer. Rafael Soriano is available via free agency, but the Cubs aren’t likely to sign him unless they’re more impressed with him than other teams have been. Here’s more from around the big leagues.
- Closer Kenley Jansen‘s impending return from a foot injury will result in a tough decision for the Dodgers, whose bullpen has been terrific in his absence, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group writes. The Dodgers reliever who’s gotten the worst results has been Chris Hatcher, so he might seem like the most obvious candidate to come off the active roster, although he’s out of options and was only recently acquired via trade. (Also, his 13.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and mid-90s velocity strongly suggest the Dodgers would be unwise to give up on him too quickly).
- 30-year-old Nationals rookie reliever Rafael Martin has a highly unusual background, Lacy Lusk writes for Baseball America (subscription-only). The Southern California native spent four years after high school working in construction, then ended up in the Mexican League as the result of a tryout. After three years in Mexico, he signed with the Nationals in 2010, then toiled in the high minors, struggling with injuries before pitching brilliantly at Double-A and Triple-A last year. The Nats finally purchased his contract last month, and he whiffed five straight batters in his first big-league appearance.
- The Rays have a winning record so far this season despite their rotation being decimated by injuries, Andrew Astleford of FOX Sports Florida writes. It’s helped that they’ve gotten remarkable performances from Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, who have stayed healthy the entire season. Nate Karns has also gotten reasonable results in seven starts, and Alex Colome has pitched well in two. The team has also already leaned on Erasmo Ramirez, Steve Geltz, Matt Andriese and the now-injured Drew Smyly to start, meaning they’ve already used eight starters even though the season is less than six weeks old.
Free agent catcher Mike Napoli met with Boston executives over the weekend, though the Red Sox don't appear to have extended him a formal offer. Here are today’s Napoli-related rumors, with the most recent updates at the top:
- Napoli and agent Brian Grieper are scheduled to meet with the Rangers this week, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. The meeting will likely take place on Wednesday.
- The Mariners seek offense, experience and leadership and may be the best bet to offer Napoli the four-year deal he wants, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Mariners, who finished last in the American League in runs scored again, will almost certainly add other hitters, according to Rosenthal.
- Napoli appears to be the top target of the Red Sox, ahead of Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche and others, Rosenthal writes.
- While the Rangers want Napoli back, “they want him to return on their terms” in the words of one person. Rosenthal suggests this means the Rangers wouldn’t go beyond three years for the right-handed hitter.
- The Yankees still figure to re-sign Russell Martin, another free agent backstop.
The market for Russell Martin is intensifying, with three AL East teams showing varying levels of interest, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are all interested in the catcher, who may have other suitors.
The Mets appeared to have interest, but the chances of Sandy Alderson signing Martin seem slim now that the GM has agreed to sign Ronny Paulino. The Dodgers could re-enter the sweepstakes at some point.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported this week that Martin, a Montreal native, would like to sign with an East Coast team (Twitter link).
Links for Friday…
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News reports that Marcus Thames can opt out of his contract with the Yankees if he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training. Thames signed a minor league deal earlier this month that would pay him $900K in the big leagues.
- Alyson Footer, the Astros' Sr. Director of Social Media, tweets that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with infielder Tommy Manzella worth $400K. He's expected to be the team's regular shortstop in 2010, and he has less than a month's worth of service time.
- Mike Aviles and Anthony Lerew agreed to terms with the Royals according to a team press release. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that both deals are expected to be worth less than $500K. Both players are not yet eligible for arbitration.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins also agreed to terms with six of their pre-arbitration eligible players, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Orioles' lefty Brian Matusz has changed agents, and is now represented by CAA Sports. He had a 4.63 ERA in 44.2 innings last year, and is widely considered to be one of the two or three best pitching prospects in the game.
- Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke about the Livan Hernandez signing to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling, and said that the righty isn't guaranteed a rotation spot.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports polled nearly 20 baseball people about Carl Crawford's next contract. Many of the agents and executives expect Crawford to command a five-year deal worth $12-16MM per season, but some think the left fielder could make as much as $18MM per year when he hits the open market, probably after 2010.
- Scott Rolen was happy to restructure his contract so the Reds could "free up some money to go out and be more competitive," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Nationals pitcher Rafael Martin tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he agreed to his deal on February 8th (Twitter link).
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports that he wants his players to be driven by "more than money." O'Dowd also told Ringolsby that he did not shop Brad Hawpe this winter.
- The Mets are still looking at lefty and righty relievers, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
- Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt tells Scott Lauber of the News Journal that he expects Placido Polanco to make a smooth transition to third base.
- Marlon Byrd tells USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he's uncomfortable being compared to friend and former teammate Milton Bradley.
- Big market clubs sent $433MM to small market clubs last year, according to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball.
- The Red Sox don't generally use insurance on their long-term deals. Principal owner John Henry tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that "it isn't always easy to get paid," even once players are injured.
- Jose Julio Ruiz may be close to signing, but it won't be with the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane, who has "a huge amount of confidence" in GM Ed Wade, would consider selling his team for $600MM or more, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
Full Story | 22 Comments | Categories: Anthony Lerew | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brad Hawpe | Brian Matusz | Carl Crawford | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Houston Astros | Jose Julio Ruiz | Kansas City Royals | Livan Hernandez | Marcus Thames | Marlon Byrd | Miami Marlins | Mike Aviles | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Placido Polanco | Rafael Martin | Scott Rolen | Tampa Bay Rays | Tommy Manzella | Transactions | Washington Nationals
Washington has purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Rafael Martin from his Mexican League team, Saltillo. ESPN's Jorge Arangure was the first to break the news (via Twitter), and said the Nationals "agreed to terms" with Martin for a deal worth $450K a "couple weeks ago." MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweeted that Martin just passed his physical today, which may have been the reason for the delay in announcing the move.
Martin, 26, posted a 4.12 ERA in 63 1/3 innings for Saltillo last season and recorded 65 strikeouts. Ladson reported that Martin will start the season in Double or Triple-A, and that the Nats see the reliever as a possible set-up man behind Drew Storen. Ladson also said the Mariners and Yankees had been interested in acquiring Martin.