Ron Villone Rumors
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nationals signed lefty Ron Villone to a minor league deal. Villone is fourth on the depth chart in terms of southpaw relievers; he'll report to Triple A. He wasn't able to stick with the Mets earlier this spring.
Ladson adds that the Nats are in on free agent Chad Gaudin, but only for a minor league deal.
10:39pm: Frisaro says the Marlins released McPherson, as they were unable to find a trade.
10:36am: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the latest on the Marlins.
- Out of options Marlins shortstop Robert Andino remains on the Pirates' radar; the interest dates back to at least the Winter Meetings. Frisaro wonders if the idea of an Andino-Brian Bixler swap could be reignited. However, with Andino being out of options and Bixler raising his profile during Spring Training, that seems unlikely. My own speculation - the San Diego would be a good destination for Andino.
- Frisaro says the Marlins appear to be shopping third baseman Dallas McPherson, who is also out of options. McPherson, 28, hit .275/.379/.618 with 42 home runs in 448 at-bats last year at Triple A. Projection systems remain unimpressed, but I'd like to see what he could do in Minute Maid Park.
- The Marlins are eyeing lefty relief help, with Frisaro naming Pittsburgh's Sean Burnett and free agent Ron Villone as possibilities.
According to Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog, the Mets released lefty reliever Ron Villone today. Villone, 39, allowed eight hits and six runs in five spring innings. Cerrone guesses Pedro Feliciano will be the team's only southpaw reliever when they break camp.
Cerrone also reports via SNY that the Mets released infielder Jose Valentin. He hit .267/.320/.378 in 48 spring plate appearances. In February, Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News learned that Omar Minaya wants Valentin to be a player and unofficial coach at Triple A Buffalo.
According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, the Mets have agreed to terms with left-handed reliever Ron Villone on a minor league contract. Apparently the Scott Boras Corp. can still get things done in the midst of the Manny negotiations.
Villone, 39, posted a 4.68 ERA over 50 innings last season with the Cardinals. He's likely to join the Mets' spring training camp once he passes a physical.
9:48pm: The Rockies are moving forward on a deal for Rusch, according to Tracy Ringolsby. Ringolsby adds that the Rox may explore a long-term deal with Ubaldo Jimenez after the holidays, but aren't quite ready to do so with Chris Iannetta. Also, the Rockies like Josh Bard but they don't have room for him.
1:00pm: Joel Sherman adds Eddie Guardado as a lefty of interest for Colorado.
2:07am: Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post sums up the latest hot stove buzz around the Rockies.
- As you know, the Nationals are interested in Rockies outfielder Willy Taveras. Taveras might be just a step above a non-tender, so the price shouldn't be too high. The real question is whether the Nats are planning on starting four players in the outfield.
- Joe Beimel is dropping out of the picture, but the Rockies still like Alan Embree, Ron Villone, and Glendon Rusch.
- The Mets' asking price for Aaron Heilman was too high. Jason Marquis could be a trade target, he can at least eat innings at a cost of $6MM to the Rockies. Then again, a lot of guys can do that.
- No chance of multiyear contract talks between the Rockies and Brian Fuentes.
Let's gather up today's linkage.
- Andy Pettitte will probably pitch next year, but Mike Mussina remains an unknown.
- Reader Peter H. reminds us that the Brewers' playoff berth means the Indians get to choose the player to be named later in the C.C. Sabathia deal.
- Ross Newhan finds it indisputable that the Dodgers and Angels have to re-sign Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira at any cost. Manny generated an estimated $7.6MM in extra revenue for the Dodgers. T.J. Simers snagged all kinds of quotes from Manny in recent articles, including one about Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick dissing Manny in front of his teammates prior to the shoving incident.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News names some possible fits for Gerald Laird this winter - the Tigers, Brewers, Reds, and Red Sox.
- The Nationals will pick first in the 2009 draft. Will they go for Stephen Strasburg?
- Kerry Wood felt bad about his three-year, $32.5MM deal, and basically signed a blank check after the '07 season.
- Ron Villone would like to return to the Cardinals rather than attempt to tie Mike Morgan's record of playing for 12 different teams.
- Leo Mazzone or Rick Peterson for next Tigers pitching coach?
- Athletics Nation puts together a plan to compete in '09 without sacrificing the future.
- Chipper Jones wants to retire a Brave. But if he doesn't sign an extension beyond '09 and the Braves want to trade him next summer, he's got a short list of teams to which he'd accept a trade.
The Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss today reports that there is growing concern about the work of closer Jason Isringhausen, who has already blown five save chances this year. After his most recent blow-up, Izzy said he is sick of embarrassing himself and hurting the team. He suggested a meeting today with manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Dave Duncan and general manager John Mozeliak to find at least a temporary alternative to using him in the ninth inning.
In the short term, Ryan Franklin or Randy Flores could be called on to close games for the Cards, though neither pitcher strikes out many batters. Ron Villone currently has an ERA under 1.00 and is averaging almost one strikeout per inning, but the last time he finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 was 1997. Still, he might prove a capable option while Izzy works to get his groove back.
If Isringhausen can't correct his mechanics, St. Louis could be in the market for a closer come July. Closers who could be available include George Sherrill, Matt Capps, Chad Cordero and Huston Street (who has had his own struggles of late). Joakim Soria seems a logical trade candidate, though there is talk he could be converted to a starter.
The Cardinals inked 38 year-old lefty reliever Ron Villone to a minor league deal today. Randy Flores and Tyler Johnson seem to have the lefty bullpen roles locked up, but maybe Villone can squeeze his way in.
Villone is typically pretty tough to hit, but his control is questionable and he's a flyball pitcher.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun says the Orioles are looking at various one or two-year stopgap free agents.
- According to Scott Boras, he and Andy MacPhail have discussed six or seven of his clients. Among them are Kyle Lohse, Ron Villone, and Corey Patterson. Lohse would probably not sign for two years, I'm guessing. Or in the American League. Who else might they have discussed? Jeff Weaver? Anyway, it's nice to see the Orioles getting along with Boras!
- Zrebiec notes that the O's have had "preliminary talks" with the agents for Shawn Chacon and Steve Trachsel. Looks like MacPhail just wants some warm bodies for the back end of the rotation. Chacon seems to prefer to the Pirates, and a return to Pittsburgh looks "increasingly logical."
- Zbrebiec says Rod Barajas seems to be headed elsewhere despite "significant discussions" with Baltimore.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus checks in with his usual Sunday column. He's got some new hot stove material to consider.
- Perrotto says the Indians are holding firm at an offer of four years plus an option for C.C. Sabathia. As of a week ago, the Indians were said to have an offer on the table for him. I suggested that the Tribe might top out around four years, $72MM plus an option for 2013.
- Perrotto writes that "Boston is expected to sign catcher Jason Varitek to a two-year extension worth around $20 million." Varitek could retire after that.
- Perrotto suggests that Joe Crede is on the Giants' radar if they don't re-sign Pedro Feliz (hat tip South Side Sox). Crede seems like he'll be involved in one of those late Spring Training deals, given the need to prove his health.
- The Yankees, Mets, and Pirates are interested in free agent lefty reliever Ron Villone.