Randy Messenger Rumors

Randy Messenger, Hanshin Tigers Agree To Deal

Pitcher Randy Messenger has agreed to a three-year deal to remain with Japan's Hanshin Tigers, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets. Messenger has pitched in Japan for the last four seasons, and he posted a 2.89 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 196 1/3 innings in 2013. He last pitched in the big leagues with the Mariners in 2009.

Messenger has pitched well in three straight years in Japan, so he appeared to be a strong candidate to return to the Major Leagues, should he have chosen to go that route. He had previously set a November 15 deadline for MLB teams to submit offers. Messenger was reportedly searching for a two-year MLB deal in the $8MM-$10MM range.

Central Notes: Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Indians

Matt Murton and Randy Messenger are close to extensions with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, Kyodo News reports. It's possible that both could have drawn interest from major league teams, as each was excellent in 2013 for the Tigers. Murton, who had a nice .297/.365/.444 campaign all the way back in 2006 with the Cubs, led Japan's Central League in hits in 2013 for the third time in four seasons. Here's a look at the latest from MLB's Central divisions:

  • Cubs hitting coach James Rowson will leave for the Yankees organization, a source tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rowson, who was named the Cubs' top hitting instructor in June 2012, will assume the title of minor league hitting coordinator in the Bronx.
  • Rick Renteria's journeyman career included stops in four organizations and three tours in Mexican baseball, Gonzales writes in a profile of the new Cubs manager. Padres first base coach Dave Roberts had high praise for his former colleague, commenting that "there's not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn't gotten better."
  • Gonzales and Colleen Kane, also of the Tribune, preview the offseasons ahead for the Cubs and their South Side neighbors. In the article, Cubs President Theo Epstein reiterated that free agent signings must help the Cubs both now and in the future. "We wish there were a free agent market for young players … There's not," Epstein lamented. While the Cubs' strategy is to bide time and wait for "that one guy who might make sense," the front office may target a starter or bullpen help this offseason, Epstein adds.
  • While the White Sox's signing of Jose Dariel Abreu in October will likely be their largest offseason move, they must still address team legend Paul Konerko's status with the club, Kane and Gonzales write. Catching also looms as a prominent need for the Sox, and could be addressed via the trade market. As the article notes, the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in second baseman Gordon Beckham.
  • The Twins will have to add minor leaguer A.J. Achter to their 40-man roster by Nov. 20 if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Achter looks to vie with around 10 other players for two Twins 40-man spots.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that money was likely a factor in the Indians' decision to draft Tyler Naquin, whom they selected 15th overall in 2012, over Michael Wacha. A teammate of Naquin's at Texas A&M, Wacha was eventually selected with the 19th pick by the Cardinals and signed for the full slot value of $1.9MM.

Randy Messenger Has Deadline For MLB Offers

4:15pm: The Twins are not one of the teams interested in Messenger at this time, MLBTR has learned.

3:51pm: MLBTR's Tim Dierkes tweets that Messenger's offer from Hanshin is worth $10MM over three years, plus $5MM worth of incentives. That would explain why Messenger is looking for a comparable amount on a two-year deal to return to the Majors.

3:46pm: Right-hander Randy Messenger has set a Nov. 15 deadline to field offers from Major League teams, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The 32-year-old has revived his career by posted three dominant seasons for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball — a team that has already extended him a three-year offer, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported last month.

That three-year offer, which could reach $15MM after incentives according to Passan, is the reason for the deadline, as Hanshin would like an answer to their proposal by mid-month. Messenger, a Sosnick/Cobbe Sports client, is looking for a two-year deal worth $8-10MM to return to Major League Baseball. Passan reports that multiple teams have offered one-year deals, while one team has pushed the boundaries to one year plus an option.

Messenger's resurgence is in part due to the addition of an effective splitter, and some scouts have seen his fastball touch 96 mph (though it usually sits 92-93 mph), Pasan writes. A former member of the Giants and Mariners, Messenger has posted a 2.75 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 543 innings out Hanshin's rotation from 2011-13. He was particularly impressive in 2013, boosting his K/9 to 8.4 and firing six complete games, including a trio of shutouts.

The Twins were said to have interest in Messenger last offseason, though it's unclear at this time if they're one of the teams that has made an offer.

Messenger Has Three-Year Offer To Stay In Japan

Right-hander Randy Messenger has revived his career with three dominant seasons for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball, and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned that Messenger has a three-year offer to remain with the Tigers (Twitter link). The offer is in the $15MM range, which, as noted by NPB's Patrick Newman, would make Messenger the highest-paid foreign player in Hanshin's franchise history (Twitter link).

Messenger, 32, joined the Tigers for the 2010 season but didn't have a breakout campaign until 2011. Since that time, he's posted a 2.75 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 543 innings out Hanshin's rotation. Messenger was particularly impressive in 2013, boosting his K/9 to 8.4 and firing six complete games, including a trio of shutouts.

There has been speculation that Messenger might return to the Major Leagues and enjoy a similar success story to Colby Lewis, but a $15MM offer could very well be enough to keep him in Japan. The Twins showed interest last offseason, but the Tigers didn't want to let go of their right-hander, who was under control through the 2013 season.

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Twins Rumors: McCarthy, Blanton, Dempster, Myers

Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN

  • So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
  • The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
  • The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
  • Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
  • The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
  • The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.

Twins Notes: Santana, Casilla, Messenger

The Twins made a push to trade for Ervin Santana before the Royals acquired him this week, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports. The Twins were “in heavily” on Santana, but they wanted the Angels to absorb more than $1MM in salary. Here are some more Twins-related notes from Wolfson…

  • Rays starter James Shields could become a target for the Twins in Wolfson’s view.
  • Assistant GM Rob Antony was expected to speak with the agent for second baseman Alexi Casilla yesterday. It seems likely that the Twins will non-tender Casilla, who’s arbitration eligible this winter. You can view MLBTR’s full list of non-tender candidates here.
  • The Twins have inquired about right-hander Randy Messenger. The 31-year-old last pitched at the MLB level in 2009, but he is coming off of a strong season with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Messenger posted a 2.52 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 196 2/3 innings this past season.

Quick Hits: Messenger, White Sox, Indians, Rhodes

Some links from around baseball as we await Game Three tomorrow night..

  • Former Mariners pitcher Randy Messenger has agreed to a contract to return to the Hanshin Tigers in 2012, a source tells Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.  Messenger’s agent Matt Sosnick confirmed that the deal is for one-year with an option for 2013.  MLBTR has learned that the two-year deal could be worth just under $5MM.
  • If the White Sox stick to their plan of cutting their $127MM payroll, with $89MM already tied to eleven players, it's likely that John Danks or Mark Buehrle won't start next season with the team, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin. The arbitration-eligible Danks would be one of the team's greater trade chips.
  • Three days after the World Series, Indians GM Chris Antonetti will have to decide whether to exercise club options on center fielder Grady Sizemore and starter Fausto Carmona, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.  Picking up the options of both would cost the Tribe $16MM in 2012.
  • Shortstop Rafael Furcal wrestled with the decision of whether or not to approve the deal sending him from the Dodgers to the Cardinals, writes Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
  • After clearing waivers, Cardinals lefty Arthur Rhodes could have wound up with any number of teams, writes Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News.
  • Blue Jays skipper John Farrell gained valuable experience in his first year as a big league manager, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.

Odds & Ends: Messenger, Martin, LaRoche, Branyan

Some links for Veterans Day…

  • MLBTR echoes commissioner Bud Selig's thoughts on the death of a legendary Mariners broadcaster: “All of Baseball is terribly saddened … by the tragic news that Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners, has passed away."
  • Randy Messenger has agreed to a deal with the Hanshin Tigers, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The five-year MLB veteran pitched for the Mariners in 2009.
  • Three former White Sox employees were indicted on federal fraud charges yesterday, according to Melissa Segura of SI.com. They allegedly accepted $400K worth of signing bonuses intended for Latin American prospects.
  • Russell Martin's agent repeated to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times that the catcher wants to play for the Dodgers in 2011. There's been extensive speculation that the Dodgers could non-tender or trade Martin.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch that Andy LaRoche has to prove his worth to the Pirates, who are attempting to determine the best way to maximize the 27-year-old's value.
  • Russell Branyan has left Dan Lozano and is now represented by ACES, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).

Odds & Ends: Wolf, Stammen, Lackey

Post-Winter Meetings links for Thursday…

  • ESPN's Keith Law calls the Astros' signing of Brandon Lyon "hobbling," but likes the Rays impending acquisition of Rafael Soriano.  He says the Soriano situation shows that if a team has a borderline call with a Type A free agent, they should offer arbitration.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney says Randy Wolf would've re-signed with the Dodgers for a two-year deal in the $14-16MM range.
  • Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the Blue Jays talked to the Nationals about pitcher Craig Stammen but "he does not appear to be available."
  • The Cardinals touched base with Scott Boras before leaving Indianapolis, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The Cards still haven't made an offer to Matt Holliday.
  • ESPN's Mike Salk heard that John Lackey is the Mariners' top priority.
  • The Hanshin Tigers signed reliever Randy Messenger for about $600K, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.  Messenger will replace Scott Atchison, who signed with the Red Sox.
  • The Big Lead did a Q&A with new Yankee Curtis Granderson.

Odds & Ends: Scutaro, Astros, Messenger, Selig

A few more Saturday evening links….