Richard Hidalgo Rumors
UPDATE: The deal is done.
Astros GM Tim Purpura is optimistic about signing Richard Hidalgo to a minor-league deal soon. Hidalgo, 31, is hitting well in the Venezuelan Winter League. He'll compete for the right field job. He boasts well above average defense, so he just needs to put up a decent offensive showing.
Last offseason was interesting. Hidalgo tried holding out for a Major League deal, but could only get a minor league one with Baltimore. In spring, he left camp to be with his ill wife. Later in March, the O's released him to pursue offers in Japan. He resurfaced in May auditioning for the Yankees, but that didn't pan out either. Hidalgo ended up playing 32 games in the Gulf Coast League and did not fare well.
Now they say he got himself into shape and is looking good. The Astros could have a nice bargain on their hands, and risk is minimal.
Some interesting rumor bits courtesy of the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice this morning...
Justice mentions that Tim Purpura is discussing a contract with Paul Wilson and examining Pedro Astacio's medical records. Wilson had a second labrum surgery in June and has been unable to regain velocity. Astacio tossed just 90 innings this year because of a strained forearm (often a precursor to an elbow injury).
The Astros could invite right fielder Richard Hidalgo to compete for a fourth outfielder job. I like the idea; Hidalgo has always been one of the game's best defensive RFs.
Justice also adds that after reviewing Taylor Buchholz's medical reports, the White Sox requested that Hunter Pence be added to the package of Jason Hirsh, Willy Taveras, and Buchholz for Jon Garland. Now that's just silly.
Finding cheap free talent has never been a strong suit of the Yankees. That's why I was surprised to see them in contact with Richard Hidalgo's agent. Hidalgo will work out for New York and could get a minor league contract. The 30 year-old outfielder was last seen in Baltimore's spring training camp.
Though he hasn't posted an OPS over .800 since 2003, Hidalgo is still a good low-risk gamble. It's possible the time off helped him recover from last year's wrist injuries. A healthy Hidalgo could still hit something like .260/.340/.480, good for a couple of cheap wins. He'd also make an above average left fielder and an average right fielder. It's worth a shot.
With Jayson Werth possibly out til May, the Dodgers are in the market for a good fourth outfielder. Word is that Los Angeles is considering signing Richard Hidalgo to fill the role. The source is an emailer citing 1540 The Ticket, a radio station in California. Hidalgo was last seen entertaining offers to play in Japan.
Reportedly, the station's related rumor is that the Dodgers could ship Joel Guzman and Greg Miller to the A's for Barry Zito before picking up Hidalgo. Despite what Billy Beane has said, a source of mine tells me that at least twelve teams have inquired about the southpaw. Guzman is the Dodgers' third best prospect according to Baseball America and ranks anywhere from 12th to 29th among all prospects.