Rod Barajas Rumors
- Heath Bell told Ephraim Fischbein of New York Baseball Digest that he's happy in San Diego, but would like to return to the Mets if the Padres decide to go in a different direction.
- Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter) applauds the Giants' signings of Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff, who cost the club roughly $3MM each.
- Mark Tracy is excited to be a part of the Rockies along with his father, manager Jim Tracy, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Colorado selected the skipper's son in the 22nd round of the 2010 Draft.
- Contrary to a report late last night, the Angels and Red Sox did not agree to a swap of Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Lowell over the winter, a major league source told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- David Lennon of Newsday (via Twitter) writes that it's an 80% possibility that the Mets non-tender John Maine after this season.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Indians are likely to move some veterans in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but they could be a dangerous team to face until then because of Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, and Jake Westbrook (Insider req'd).
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch says to expect negotiations between the Pirates and their top draft picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie to go right down to the August 16th signing deadline.
- The Pirates had a long debate about who to take with the second overall pick in last week's draft according to Chuck Finder of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and it wasn't until last weekend that they decided on Jameson over Manny Machado.
- Meanwhile Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says the Pirates won't rush their top prospects. Once those prospects are promoted to the big league team, their minor league roster spots will be filled by players currently on ML roster (after they're optioned down) or by "signing low-cost, minor league free agents."
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn't see the Indians offering anyone but Shin-Soo Choo a multi-year deal, including the resurgent Austin Kearns.
- Newsday's David Lennon thinks it might make sense for the Mets to "consider opening extension talks" with catcher Rod Barajas before the season ends and he hits the free agent market.
The Rangers' search for a reliable catcher may be taking them to a former Ranger who they pursued in the offseason. T.R. Sullivan and Chris Cox of MLB.com report that if the Mets put Rod Barajas on the market, the Rangers will have an interest in the veteran catcher. Sullivan and Cox notes that Texas is contacting several clubs about finding a solution to their catching problems.
Barajas turned down a minor-league contract from Texas over the winter, eventually signing a one-year deal with New York worth $500K. He has already earned a $400K bonus for making the Opening Day roster, and another $1MM is also available if Barajas reaches other incentive plateaus. Even if he gets to that maximum price, Barajas has been a bargain for the Mets, hitting a club-leading 10 homers and carrying an OPS of .893 into Friday's game with the Yankees.
Sullivan and Cox cite sources who say that if the Mets do choose to deal Barajas, it won't be until much closer to the July trade deadline. This could be to try and create a bidding war for the catcher's services, or maybe the Mets still think they can get back into contention.
FRIDAY, 4:32pm: Rubin reports that Lopez has cleared waivers and will return to Mets' camp as a non-roster invitee.
WEDNESDAY, 3:48pm: The Mets designated lefty Arturo Lopez for assignment to make room for Rod Barajas, tweets Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. Lopez, 27, posted a 3.82 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 while allowing just one home run in 61.3 Triple A innings last year. The Mets had claimed Lopez off waivers from the Padres in June.
A year ago today, the Giants renewed reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum's contract for $650K. One year and a second Cy Young later, San Francisco bought out Lincecum's first two years of arbitration eligibility for $23MM. I'm sure they enjoyed paying him just six figures while it lasted.
Let's take a look at what's being written around the baseball blogosphere...
- The Friarhood looks at what some other teams could offer the Padres in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez.
- Crashburn Alley breaks down the possibility of the Phillies trading Ryan Howard so they could re-sign Jayson Werth.
- Meanwhile, TAUNTR thinks it's going to be tough for the Phillies to retain their right fielder.
- Statistician Magician says that letting Derek Jeter walk is an option for the Yankees.
- Mets Paradise takes a look at the Mets' catching situation with Rod Barajas now on board.
- More Hardball constructed a 25-man roster out of players that were signed to minor league contracts this offseason.
- River Ave. Blues wonders what CC Sabathia will do with his opt-out clause following the 2011 season.
- Baseball Bloggers Alliance challenges readers to put together Toronto's 25-man roster.
- The Sports Banter ranks each team's offseason, with two AL East powers leading the way.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
The Mets officially signed free agent catcher Rod Barajas to one-year Major League deal today. He's guaranteed $500K, with another $400K to come if he's on the team's Opening Day roster. Easily attainable games played incentives could put another $1MM in Barajas' pocket.
Since the Type B free agent agreed to a Major League deal, the Blue Jays will receive a supplemental first-round pick (#41 overall) as compensation. Barajas turned down an offer of arbitration earlier in the winter and it probably cost him. He made $2.5MM with the Blue Jays last year and it would have been a surprise to see the club offer a significantly reduced salary. The Blue Jays, who signed catchers Jose Molina and John Buck, would not have obtained the compensation pick if Barajas had signed a minor league contract.
Mets' catchers hit a league-worst .254/.305/.380 last season. The 34-year-old Barajas hit .226/.258/.403 for the Blue Jays in 460 plate appearances, hitting 19 home runs.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
FRIDAY, 7:20pm: Barajas is now weighing multiple minor league offers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. In addition to the Mets' $1MM proposal, Barajas is considering a $1.5MM offer from the Rangers, according to Rosenthal's source.
THURSDAY, 7:57am: Barajas is likely to accept the Mets' offer, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). The minor league deal would be worth $1MM.
WEDNESDAY, 12:57pm: Speaking to Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger, a Mets official denied that they're making a "hard push" for Barajas. They have interest on a minor league deal.
7:40am: The Mets are making a "hard push" to sign free agent catcher Rod Barajas on a one-year deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Barajas is the only starter available at the position, and the Mets still have a need. The Mets offered a low-dollar, minor league deal, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
Barajas, 34, hit .226/.258/.403 in 460 plate appearances for the Blue Jays last year, earning $2.5MM. Consider him the poor man's Bengie Molina.
Jose Molina is the Rangers' "No.1 target" in the free agent catching market, reports Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Molina and Rod Barajas each turned down minor-league deals from Texas, with Wilson saying that Molina "isn't in a hurry to sign until some other catchers set the early-spring market."
Molina could also be holding out for a situation where he would have a better chance at a steady role, given that he would be one of seven catchers in the Rangers camp. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the favorites to win or share the starting job, but Saltalamacchia's September shoulder surgery has left Texas looking for a veteran backstop in case their young star isn't ready for Opening Day. Wilson points out that Toby Hall (another experienced catcher signed to a minor-league deal by Texas last month) and Molina share the same agent.
Molina .217/.292/.268 in 155 plate appearances for the Yankees last season. He has a career OPS of .609 in 10 major league seasons.
A few links to pass along....
- Jon Daniels says "it's less than 50-50" that the Rangers make any more moves before spring training, reports Jeff Wilson of The Dallas Morning News. Wilson adds that Rod Barajas and Rocco Baldelli have been connected to Texas this winter, and the Rangers might also be interested in a platoon partner for Chris Davis.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are out of the Chien-Ming Wang sweepstakes. We've already learned that the Nationals are the favorites to sign the right-hander.
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer answers some reader mail that covers such topics as a possible Grady Sizemore trade and Omar Vizquel's somewhat surprising criteria for picking a new city.
- Orlando Cabrera and Aaron Miles aren't exactly the first two names that leap to mind when you're thinking about October baseball, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that the duo's playoff experience was a factor in their acquisition, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times provides a general recap of the 2009-10 offseason.
The Mets will pursue trades if positional battles at first base and catcher don't result in enough production, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. For now, they seem content to let those positional battles play out. They have decided not to sign Rod Barajas, since they don't consider him the answer behind the plate.
Links for Thursday...
- Nomar Garciaparra told Lou Merloni of WEEI.com that he would like to play in 2010, if the right situation presents itself. Garciaparra played in 65 games for the A's last season, hitting .281/.314/.388 with 3 homers.
- RotoAuthority discusses the fantasy prospects of Rangers starter Colby Lewis.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says that while an arbitration hearing is likely for Edwin Jackson and the Diamondbacks, "the team has broached the idea of a two-year deal."
- Piecoro also says the D'Backs are considering bringing recently-designated lefty Dana Eveland back.
- Talking to agents who dealt with the Mets this winter, Murray Chass believes the team was incapable of multitasking. On a related note, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone believes the team remains interested in free agent catcher Rod Barajas.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Russell Branyan was seeking a three-year deal in the $20-30MM range earlier this offseason. At this point I'd say he's looking at a one-year deal at maybe $3MM.
- Unlike CEO Jeff Moorad, Padres GM Jed Hoyer said all the right things regarding Adrian Gonzalez (Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reporting).
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Twins are in a position of strength in that they don't need Orlando Hudson or Jarrod Washburn. He doesn't feel they'd still be willing to offer $5MM to Washburn. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports notes that if the Mariners re-sign Erik Bedard, as has been rumored, they probably wouldn't sign Washburn.
- Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times says the grievance has been settled regarding the Ramirez Provision, involving forced charity donations as part of contracts.