Ramon Castro Rumors
The Blue Jays have signed catcher Ramon Castro to a one-year deal worth nearly $1MM, sources tell Jorge Arangure of ESPN.com (via Twitter). In 57 games split between the Mets and White Sox in '09, the 33-year-old hit .219/.292/.406 with 7 HRs.
One has to wonder why the Jays have decided to ink three catchers in the last week, having already signed John Buck and re-signed Raul Chavez.
The White Sox will not offer arbitration to Jermaine Dye (A), Octavio Dotel (A), Scott Podsednik (neither), or Ramon Castro (neither), tweets White Sox VP Scott Reifert. None of these decisions come as a surprise. Note that teams interested in Dye and Dotel can now be certain that the players will not cost draft picks.
SATURDAY, 9:57am: According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune the White Sox will designate catcher Corky Miller for assignment today. The 33-year-old career backup batted 42 times this year, hitting .205/.262/.282.
8:59pm: SI's Jon Heyman says the White Sox are talking to the Mets about their catchers, probably Castro, and "it appears there's a decent chance a trade can be reached."
4:41pm: According to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News, the Mets are trying to trade catcher Ramon Castro before Saturday's game (hat tip to MetsBlog). They've spoken to the Mariners, who just lost Kenji Johjima for a couple of months. Rubin says the Mets are not prepared to eat Castro's remaining $1.79MM. Castro is a solid offensive catcher, so he should draw interest.
A few links for Saturday morning...
- Nolan Ryan could buy into the Texas Rangers according to this MLB.com article by T.R. Sullivan.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney points out that the Rangers have the resources to "out-bid others for the likes of Erik Bedard" if they decide to trade for pitching help.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said once again that he's not looking outside the organization for second base help, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Melvin said he's happy with Craig Counsell at second in the absence of Rickie Weeks.
- Now that the Phillies hope to acquire an impact pitcher, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com wonders whether the Mets might decide to get in the Phillies' way and go after an arm, too.
- As Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports, the Red Sox aren't about to implement a six-man rotation. The Sox will still have arms to spare so we'll continue to hear Brad Penny's name in trade rumors.
- Dave Krieger of the Denver Post says the next four months will be a "referendum" on Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and his front office.
- As MLB.com's John Schlegel reports Stephen Strasburg struck out 15 in his most recent start, walking no one and allowing two earned runs on eight hits.
- Check out a discussion I had about the Jays and other MLB teams on TorontoSportsMedia.com.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff likes the Lance Broadway-Ramon Castro swap for the Mets.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle takes a look at Ed Wade's Kaz Matsui signing and doesn't like what he sees.
Back in February, the Mets were reportedly trying to trade backup catcher Ramon Castro. Today, Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News says it's obvious Mets manager Jerry Manuel would prefer to keep Omir Santos over Castro when Brian Schneider returns from the DL. However, "the front office keeps saying the plan is to option Santos to the minors."
If the Mets do eventually designate or release Castro, they'll have to assume most of the $2.5MM owed to him this year.
According to Jim Baumbach of Newsday, Mets assistant GM Tony Bernazard told El Nuevo Dia that having two catchers under contract is keeping the team from pursuing Ivan Rodriguez. This does not come as a surprise. The Mets owe Brian Schneider $4.9MM and Ramon Castro $2.5MM, and would reportedly like to move Castro.
John Perrotto's Sunday column is up, now called On The Beat (like his Wednesday articles) instead of Every Given Sunday.
According to the article, the Angels plan to use Kendry Morales at first base, and a combination of Juan Rivera, Gary Matthews, Jr., and Reggie Willits in left field and designated hitter. Perrotto quotes GM Tony Reagins: "In our situation, you get to the point where you have young players with talent who have been given some chances at the major league level, but have not had the opportunity to play every day. We feel it's time to allow those players that opportunity."
Perrotto reports the Angels had a fixed dollar figure that included the money they did not wind up spending on Mark Teixeira; however, not signing Teixeira does not mean they feel the need to spend the money without improving the ballclub. They still appear to be a team in the prime position to sign Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez, or Bobby Abreu.
And a couple notes from around the Majors:
- The Mariners have "mild" interest in Garrett Anderson to play left-field.
- The Mets are trying to trade catcher Ramon Castro. They would rather spend less to have Robinson Cancel as Brian Schneider's backup.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
I hear the Mets keep trying to find a place to deal Ramon Castro. They have two reasons: 1) Mainly they want to get rid of his $2.5 million 2009 contract, allowing them a little more available cash to address a righty bat or lefty reliever they crave. 2) They believe that for near minimum wage Robinson Cancel can be just as good a backup to Brian Schneider as Castro. I heard the Brewers had some interest, but have mostly backed off of Castro now.
Castro, 33 in March, hit .245/.312/.441 last year in 157 plate appearances (he spent time on the DL for a strained quad and hamstring). He's shown good power in limited duty. He had two issues in '08: his pain tolerance was questioned by Jerry Manuel, and he arrived late to a June game. He's set to earn $2.5MM in '09 before he reaches free agency.
It seems unlikely the Marlins would reacquire Castro; his final year with them in '04 was marked by rape charges that eventually led to a no-contest plea for misdemeanor assault. Castro's salary would be the more obvious obstacle for them.
SI.com's Jon Heyman recently published several new blog posts.
- Free agent outfielder Garret Anderson has a new agent: Scott Boras. Click here for our full list of Boras clients.
- Rangers starters Vicente Padilla and Kevin Millwood are drawing interest from the Braves, Dodgers, and Mets. Padilla is owed $12MM in 2009 with a 2010 option for the same ($1.75MM buyout). Millwood gets $23MM over the next two seasons and has a limited no-trade clause.
- Heyman says rather than battle for A.J. Burnett, the Red Sox and Yankees may duke it out for Derek Lowe. Other suitors for Lowe: the Mets, Braves, Phillies, Giants, Mariners and Dodgers. There he goes naming the Mariners again as a player for a major free agent...interesting. The Giants are a new one as well, though Heyman says Lowe may prefer to head back east.
- Heyman agrees with info from Nick Cafardo, that the Red Sox and Tigers have discussed swapping Julio Lugo for Dontrelle Willis.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti admitted to interest in C.C. Sabathia. Colletti said he's waiting to hear from Scott Boras regarding Manny Ramirez, even though the Dodgers pulled their two-year, $45MM offer.
- It hasn't happened yet, but the Angels plan to make a "very serious" offer to Mark Teixeira. A competing exec guessed eight years, $160MM. Remember, that's a non-Angels exec making a guess. Heyman tosses a new team into the mix for Tex: the Mariners.
- The Royals are "quietly shopping" Jose Guillen. Guillen, 33 in May, hit .264/.300/.438 in 633 plate appearances this year while playing below-average defense. He's owed $24MM for the 2009-10 seasons.
- Competing execs tell Heyman the Mets appear open to trading Ramon Castro or Brian Schneider. The Mets would then presumably sign a free agent catcher.
Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog takes on the question facing the Mets since mid-day yesterday: Who starts at catcher next year?
Ramon Hernandez, who was offered a contract by the Mets two years ago when he was a free agent, is said to be Omar Minaya's top choice. However, this presents a problem. Hernandez won't come cheap, and the Mets would need to retain their best trading chips if they want to acquire a front-line starter. This would seemingly rule Hernandez out, since "word from Baltimore had been that Hernandez would cost a high-end prospect."
A cheaper trade option would be Miguel Olivo, though it's likely he will be non-tendered by the Marlins, who probably don't want to give him a raise over his $2 million 2007 salary. Gerald Laird is another option, as the Rangers have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez in tow. The Mets might be able to acquire him without giving up a piece of the puzzle to acquire an ace.
Olivo and Laird would be more likely to platoon in some capacity with Ramon Castro, while Hernandez would be more likely take on a starting role.
Cerrone says the Mets prefer to sign a catcher. He mentions Michael Barrett, but notes his Type A status, which may be a deterrent for many teams. Maybe he'd make sense for a bottom-15 team, since Barrett would then cost a second rounder. Jason Kendall is also mentioned, though his horrid 2007 is giving pause to potential suitors.
So, in the end, Paul Lo Duca appears the best choice. He costs neither draft picks nor prospects. True, he might not be able to hold up over an entire season, but that's why the Mets signed a capable backup in Castro.
Joe Pawlikowski is co-author of River Ave. Blues.