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Randy Wolf Rumors
The Royals made an odd move Tuesday, claiming Rule 5 pick Patrick Schuster from the Padres and designating outfielder Carlos Peguero for assignment. As Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes, the Royals did not give Schuster a locker, and manager Ned Yost said he had not talked to GM Dayton Moore about Schuster. McCullough thinks the move was about Peguero — the Royals would like to keep Peguero, and they may feel ten days from now, by which time the season will have begun, is a good time to sneak him through waivers. To designate Peguero for assignment, the Royals needed to claim someone else, and Schuster just happened to be available. It doesn't sound like he'll be with the Royals long. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- Lefty Randy Wolf release by the Mariners was triggered by Wolf's annoyance at the Mariners' insistence on a 45-day advance-consent release, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Such a clause would have allowed the Mariners to drop Wolf during the first several weeks of the season and only pay a prorated portion of his big-league salary. "I principally objected to that because we negotiated in good faith in February on a very team-friendly contract," says Wolf. Wolf would have broken camp with the team if he had been willing to sign the release. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says he wanted the clause in case Wolf, who did not pitch at all in 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, did not perform well. Dutton reports that many sources within baseball say that clauses like the one Mariners wanted Wolf to sign are not unusual.
- FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, however, asks (via Twitter) whether the Yankees, for example, would have let a member of their projected starting rotation depart over a clause like this. Probably not, Morosi suggests, saying that the Mariners' decision to release Wolf "sends the wrong message."
- The Astros object to the Associated Press' calculation of their payroll, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The AP lists their payroll as $45MM, lowest in the Majors, just behind that of the Marlins. "Outside accounting methods are estimates and don’t accurately reflect total payroll costs," says GM Jeff Luhnow. Drellich notes that the AP's calculation does not seem to include a $5.5MM payout to the Pirates for Wandy Rodriguez, for example.
- Freddy Galvis' MRSA infection has the Phillies interested in finding an extra reserve infielder who can play shortstop, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. That could mean adding an infielder who isn't currently with the team. Galvis hopes to return to baseball activities in around a week, but he will start the season on the disabled list, and starting shortstop Jimmy Rollins, meanwhile, might need a day or two off in April when his wife has a baby. In the meantime, the Phillies will look for alternatives. "We’re still looking inside and outside the organization as far as filling that role," says GM Ruben Amaro Jr. "But we have candidates. We have guys internally and there are some guys we’re looking at outside the organization as well." Reid Brignac, an NRI in Phillies spring training, might be a possibility.
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:
- Outfielder Trent Oeltjen tweets (via Rotoworld) that he has signed with the Diamondbacks. Oeltjen, 31, has not appeared in the big leagues since 2011 with the Dodgers, but he has hit well at the Triple-A level, putting up a line of .255/.345/.483 for the Angels' Triple-A Salt Lake affiliate last season.
- The Orioles have released lefty Aaron Laffey, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski tweets. Laffey pitched just 12 2/3 innings in the big leagues in 2013, spending most of it struggling at Triple-A, but he pitched 100 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays in 2012.
- The Rockies have released pitcher Bobby Cassevah, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Cassevah, who accumulated a 3.20 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 from 2010-2012 in the Angels bullpen, is currently rehabbing an injury.
- Veteran lefty Randy Wolf has requested, and received, his release from the Mariners, MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets. Wolf was attempting a comeback after missing the entire 2013 season. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2012, when he pitched for the Brewers and Orioles. The Mariners told Wolf he had made the team, but he did not want to sign a 45-day advance consent release, Johns notes.
- The Blue Jays have signed pitcher Shawn Hill from the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, MLive.com's Chris Iott tweets. Hill, 32, last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Jays. He posted a 5.51 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 150 1/3 innings with the Tigers' Triple-A Toledo affiliate in 2013.
- The Padres have acquired catcher Adam Moore from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. The 29-year-old has seen bit action at the MLB level in each of the last five years. In his longest stint, a 2010 run with the Mariners, Moore managed only a .513 OPS in 218 plate appearances.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained yesterday in looking at NL West out-of-options players, the Diamondbacks already have a seeming logjam in the bullpen. Nevertheless, the team agreed to a two-year deal today with southpaw Oliver Perez. That may be a reflection of the team's view of fellow lefty Joe Thatcher, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Indeed, manager Kirk Gibson had said earlier today that the club would not carry a left-handed reliever if none warranted a roster spot, Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com reports. "You've got to have people that can command the zone," Gibson said, possibly an oblique reference to the control issues last year of Thatcher and Tony Sipp. Thatcher was the only MLB piece that came to Arizona in the Ian Kennedy trade, and recently agreed to a $2.375MM deal to avoid arbitration. The 32-year-old has a solid track record, but struggled in his 22 appearances upon joining the D'backs. Now, with Perez in line for a pen slot and Randall Delgado likely headed the same way, Thatcher or another established arm may be without a role.
- Yankees starter Michael Pineda took an important step tonight on the road back from shoulder surgery, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Throwing a slider that catcher Brian McCann called "pretty much unhittable," Pineda tossed two scoreless innings and struck out four Tigers — including Austin Jackson, Rajai Davis, and reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. Needless to say, an effective Pineda would be a major boon to a New York club with questions at the back of the rotation (to say nothing of the future implications). The 25-year-old Pineda enters the year with 2.099 years of service, much of it accrued on the DL over the last two years.
- Meanwhile, the Mariners — the club that dealt Pineda to New York — are looking closely at several non-roster invitees for Opening Day slots, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Starter Randy Wolf has had poor results, but says he is progressing. And southpaw reliever Joe Beimel is making a surprising run at a pen role, despite not having appeared in the bigs since 2011. Manager Lloyd McClendon preached patience with Wolf but lavished praise on Beimel, saying that the 36-year-old has "looked great" and "has the ability to get guys out from both sides of the plate."
- Irrepressible former superstar Manny Ramirez says he still wants to play, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. The 41-year-old has not been able to earn a call-up over the last two seasons, but says he is waiting for an MLB opportunity and has so far declined requests for a repeat of his successful stint in Taiwan. MLBTR's Zach Links recently reported that Ramirez had changed agents, seemingly an indication that Ramirez was serious about continuing his career.
- As the Athletics continue to work through their difficult stadium situation, co-owner Lew Wolff says the team is considering all methods for dealing with a stalemate in lease negotiations, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. "I am hopeful of expanding our lease at the Oakland Coliseum for an extended term," Wolff recently wrote. "If we cannot accomplish a lease extension, I hope to have an interim place to play in the Bay Area or in the area that reaches our television and radio fans — either an existing venue or in the erection of a temporary venue that we have asked our soccer stadium architect (360 Architecture) to explore." Needless to say, the notion of a temporary ballpark is intriguing, if somewhat frightening. Wolff took care to note that "looking outside the Bay Area and our media market is an undesirable option to ownership at this time."
THURSDAY: The Mariners have announced the signings of Wolf and Miner.
Wolf will earn $1MM if he makes the roster, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (links all to Twitter). The contract also includes a variety of incentives tied to appearances (as a reliever or starter), days on the roster, and innings pitched. If Wolf maxes out his deal, says Rosenthal, he could reach $4.25MM in earnings.
TUESDAY, 1:05pm: Miner will earn $750K if he makes the Major League team and has a June 15 opt-out date, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
10:54am: The Mariners have agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training with veteran lefty Randy Wolf, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Divish also tweets that the Mariners will sign right-hander Zach Miner to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Wolf is a client of the Wasserman Media Group, and Miner is represented by the Boras Corporation.
Seattle views Wolf as a potential bullpen option, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 37-year-old missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2012 campaign. In that 2012 season, Wolf struggled to a 5.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 42.9 percent ground-ball rate (the highest of his career). Despite those struggles, he was solid for the Brewers the prior year, posting a 3.69 ERA in 212 1/3 innings out of their rotation.
Wolf owns a 4.20 ERA in 2268 career innings at the big league level and is a veteran of 14 Major League seasons with the Phillies, Astros, Dodgers, Brewers, Padres and Orioles.
Miner, 32 in March, pitched 28 1/3 innings for the Phillies in 2013 — his first Major League action since 2009. Miner turned in a 4.40 ERA with nearly as many walks (17) as strikeouts (20) in that time. However, there were a good deal of positives in Miner's game as well; his velocity was up more than a full mile per hour (91.8 mph average in 2013 compared to 90.7 in 2009), and he posted a strong 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.
Miner has a 4.25 career ERA in 385 1/3 innings between the Tigers and Phillies. Presumably, Seattle likes him as a potential swingman — a role he's had throughout the entirety of his Major League career to this point. Miner has appeared in 173 big league games, including 38 starts.
The Orioles have been connected to some of the offseason's major free agent names but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun isn't sure that the O's will be players for Shin-Soo Choo, Ubaldo Jimenez or Nelson Cruz. Choo will be too costly and Jimenez will demand too many years, while Connolly has "not found anyone in the organization that endorses Cruz as a viable option" and lists several reasons why Cruz isn't a fit in Baltimore. Here's some more from Camden Yards…
- Jim Johnson asked the Orioles for a four-year contract worth $45MM-$50MM in extension talks earlier this winter, sources tell MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. An extension would've been one way for the O's to keep Johnson at a lower price rather than pay him a projected $10.8MM in arbitration, though obviously Johnson didn't have a bargain in mind with his demands. The Orioles traded Johnson to the Athletics for Jemile Weeks on Tuesday.
- The Orioles didn't attend Randy Wolf's workout and don't appear to have any interest in the veteran southpaw, Kubatko reports. Wolf pitched in five games for Baltimore at the end of the 2012 season and then underwent Tommy John surgery that October, sidelining him for all of 2013.
- Scott Feldman told Dan Connolly that he was "about 90 percent sure" the Orioles didn't make him a former offer. “It’s really hard to get disappointed with the situation I am in, but I was at least expecting a little bit of interest from them. But it’s not like I’m mad or anything,” Feldman said in the wake of his three-year, $30MM deal with the Astros. That third guaranteed year was likely the breaking point for the Orioles, as they had been rumored to only be interested in giving Feldman two years and an option, at most. MLBTR's Steve Adams has more from Feldman's conference call.
- The Orioles have considered making Bud Norris their closer to replace Johnson, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. This move would only be a "fallback option," Encina notes. While the O's may yet add a starter and need to make room in their rotation, shifting an innings-eater like Norris to the bullpen would be a curious move, in my opinion. Also from Encina's piece, Brian Matusz will be stretched out and given an opportunity to win a rotation job during Spring Training.
- Adam Jones' six-year, $85.5MM extension signed in May 2012 looks like a better bargain in the wake of Jacoby Ellsbury's deal with the Yankees, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com opines.
- In Baltimore news from earlier today, the Orioles signed outfielder Francisco Peguero and right-hander Ryan Webb.
The Astros may not have a realistic shot at winning next season, but they can offer playing time and have a bright future, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. "Someone looking to win a World Series title next year may not think about the Astros as the first place to go sign," says GM Jeff Luhnow. "But having said that, we also have an opportunity."
Luhnow also says the Astros could make a major move if the right opportunity presented itself. "If it’s the right situation for the right player, the right length of years. Houston’s a big city," he says. "We’ve got the capacity to compete with the big boys ultimately, and whether or not we start this year or next year after that, I think eventually it’s coming." Whether a top-notch free agent would be willing to come to Houston at this point is an open question, however. Here's more from around the big leagues.
- The Astros aren't likely to acquire first baseman Ike Davis in a trade with the Mets, Drellich writes. Drellich also notes that the Astros did not have interest in Marlon Byrd, who recently signed with the Philles. Still, the Astros are hoping to add a power bat at first base or in the outfield, and they're open to finding one via free agency or trade.
- The Athletics' signing of Nick Punto doesn't mean they're likely to deal Jed Lowrie, writes the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Punto "has nothing to do with Jed Lowrie. Jed is our starting shortstop," says A's assistant GM David Forst. Lowrie is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
- Brian Wilson wouldn't mind returning to the Dodgers as something other than a closer, as long as they pay him like one, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets. Wilson was excellent down the stretch for the Dodgers last season, but they already have a very good closer in Kenley Jansen.
- Free agent Jamey Carroll is attracting interest, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. The infielder will be 40 in February, but he does not want to retire. Carroll hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season.
- Lefty Randy Wolf is on the comeback trail after sitting out the 2013 season, and he plans to audition for MLB teams later this month, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets. Wolf posted a 5.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 157 2/3 innings with the Brewers and Orioles in 2012.
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf will undergo Tommy John surgery next week that will cause him to miss all of the 2013 season, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. However, the 36-year-old told Connolly that he plans to return in 2014.
Wolf also underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 2005 as a member of the Phillies, sidelining him for the remainder of the season and the first half of the 2006 season. The lefty was picked up by the Orioles after he was released in the final season of his three-year deal with the Brewers. Wolf posted a 5.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 157.2 innings of work for the two clubs.
The Orioles recalled Bill Hall today, placing Randy Wolf on the 60-day DL to create room on the 40-man roster. The 36-year-old southpaw has a torn elbow ligament, which usually requires Tommy John surgery. Wolf had the procedure back in 2005 and would likely miss all of 2013 if he has it again. Here's the latest from around the league…
- Outfielder Willy Taveras is trying to get back to the big leagues after a year away from the game, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich. "I just need a chance to get back in baseball. That's what I love, I love to play baseball," said the 30-year-old speedster.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos approached Travis Snider about a contract extension a few years ago, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Talks became less of a priority as the team focused on trading Vernon Wells and extending Jose Bautista, however.
- Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune looked back at all the contract extensions the Padres handed out this year. Check out our Extension Tracker for the full list.
- The Mariners have named Tom Allison their new director of pro scouting, the team announced. Allison had previously spent time in the Brewers' and Mets' front offices.
FRIDAY: The Orioles officially announced the deal (on Twitter).
Wolf, a Wasserman Media Group client, led the National League in hits and earned runs this year, the final season of his three-year, $29.75MM contract with Milwaukee. The 36-year-old started 24 games for the Brewers in 2012, posting a 5.69 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 43.4% ground ball rate in 142 1/3 innings. The Brewers will be responsible for most of Wolf's $9.5MM salary, with the Orioles covering the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum.
MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli first reported that the sides were nearing a deal (on Twitter).
The newly-acquired Joe Saunders makes his Orioles debut tonight against the White Sox as the O's look for their fifth straight victory. A Baltimore win would put the Orioles just 2.5 games behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Here are some notes from Charm City…
- Dylan Bundy won't be called up for the Orioles' pennant drive, manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli). The right-hander will instead pitch in the instructional league once the Double-A season concludes. While Showalter "couldn’t ask for a better progression” of Bundy's minor league development, he and the team feel that the 19-year-old Bundy isn't yet ready for Major League hitters.
- The Orioles don't appear to be interested in left-hander Erik Bedard, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The Pirates released Bedard yesterday after the southpaw posted a 5.01 ERA, 8.5 K/9 rate and a 2.11 K/BB ratio in 24 starts in Pittsburgh. Bedard spent five seasons with the O's before being traded to the Mariners in 2008 in the deal that brought Adam Jones and Chris Tillman (among others) to Baltimore.
- Showalter also told reporters (including Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore) that the team is looking at Randy Wolf as a starting pitcher, though he isn't ruling out using Wolf out of the bullpen. The Orioles will sign Wolf and activate him before Friday but the deal hasn't yet been officially finalized.
- GM Dan Duquette hasn't been afraid to make moves this year, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes how the Orioles' willingness to shuffle their roster has helped the team to their surprising record.