On this date six years ago, the Dodgers released a 20-year-old righty named Joakim Soria, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Soria was later signed by the Padres out of the Mexican League and then snagged by the Royals in the 2006 Rule 5 draft. He's now one of the game's best closers. On to today's links...
- The Astros signed Dominican righty Luis Abad for a low six figures bonus, tweets SI's Melissa Segura. Back in May, Blake Bentley ranked the new Dominican prospects for MLBTR, placing Abad in a tenth-place tie and calling him "one of the most projectable pitchers you'll see."
- I took a look at Neil Walker's fantasy baseball prospects for 2011 over at RotoAuthority.
- The Mariners are interested in Japanese middle infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, says U.S.S. Mariner's Dave Cameron. Nakajima may be posted by the Seibu Lions and could be a bargain this winter. Patrick Newman of FanGraphs has more on Nakajima.
- Royals first baseman Billy Butler changed agents, going from Doug Rogalski to Greg Genske of Legacy Sports, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Rogalski has to feel burned, as Butler is heading to arbitration for the first time this winter.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts interviewed Eric Wedge for the team's managerial opening yesterday, reports ESPN's Bruce Levine. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners interviewed Bobby Valentine yesterday and have Lloyd McClendon on the docket this week.
- Billy Wagner talked to MLB.com's Mark Bowman about his retirement.
Links for Monday, as the Yankees' Ivan Nova prepares for his first big league start in Toronto...
- RotoAuthority looks at the five first basemen who returned good value in fantasy baseball mixed leagues this year.
- The Dodgers led baseball by spending 224% of their estimated slot on the draft, according to Baseball America. Most clubs spent more than MLB suggested, but only eight exceeded 150% of MLB's preferred budget.
- BA's Jim Callis creates a fresh Pirates top ten prospects list, given all the new talent entering the system recently.
- U.S.S. Mariner's Dave Cameron would like to see the Mariners acquire recently-designated Matt Downs from the Giants.
- In a FanGraphs article, Cameron examines the Royals' situation with Wilson Betemit's last arbitration year coming up.
August 17th was a busy transaction day one year ago, as the Tigers acquired Aubrey Huff and the Rangers and Red Sox released Vicente Padilla and John Smoltz, respectively. Both pitchers performed well for their new teams; who will follow that script this year? While you ponder the question, here are today's links...
- Baseball fans are mourning the passing of Bobby Thomson, famous for his "shot heard 'round the world" with the New York Giants.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman and the AJC's David O'Brien have contrasting reports on whether the Braves explored acquiring Aramis Ramirez from the Cubs. Both seem to agree that it's not happening.
- RotoAuthority looks at five catchers who were undervalued in fantasy baseball drafts before the season.
- Agent Dave Stewart nearly lost Matt Kemp to Scott Boras during the offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. In January, Kemp signed a two-year deal covering his first two arbitration years.
- Neither Rosenthal nor Joel Sherman of the New York Post think the Mets can get Francisco Rodriguez's entire contract voided, but Sherman thinks they might win a case aiming to get out of the salary he has coming for the rest of the season.
- Agent Gregg Clifton left Gaylord Sports, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Clifton represented players such as Kris Benson and Mark Mulder and the now-retired Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, and David Wells. In another tweet Crasnick says Clifton joined Jackson Lewis LLP as a partner and will be part of their Sports Industry Practice Group.
Four years ago today, the Yankees released first baseman Carlos Pena. He signed a minor league deal with the Rays in January of '07 and went on to have a monster season. On to today's non-draft links...
- Luke Scott was claimed on waivers this month and pulled back, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Not a big surprise, but now we know Scott won't be traded in August.
- Ichiro Suzuki has talked to Mariners ownership about hiring Bobby Valentine to manage, tweets MLB Network's Peter Gammons. However, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times hears that Ichiro has not approached the Mariners about Valentine.
- The possibility of Manny Ramirez being claimed or traded is examined in columns by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Buster Olney of ESPN.
- RotoAuthority explores whether Jordan Zimmermann is worth stashing in fantasy leagues.
Those in keeper fantasy baseball leagues are already trying to figure out which current setup men might be given closing jobs in 2011. RotoAuthority has you covered with eight potential closers for next year.
12 years ago on this date, the Rangers sent Darren Oliver, Fernando Tatis, and Mark Little to the Cardinals for Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyre. Tatis was amazing in '99, while Oliver was solid as a starting pitcher. Clayton was pretty good for the Rangers, and Stottlemyre left as a free agent after the '98 season. For their loss, the Rangers got a supplemental draft pick in '99 and took a kid named Colby Lewis. Here in 2010, Lewis and Oliver are both Rangers again and make an excellent combo. Links for Monday...
- RotoAuthority explains why J.P. Arencibia is a player to target for 2011 in fantasy leagues.
- Jeremy Hermida, designated on deadline day, has been outrighted to Triple A according to this tweet from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.
- Similarly, Cody Ransom cleared waivers and accepted the Phillies' Triple A assignment according to this tweet from MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Ransom was designated four days ago when the Phils acquired Mike Sweeney.
- Athletics top prospect Chris Carter will be promoted today, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 23-year-old has a .262/.368/.531 line with 27 home runs in Triple A. It's amazing to look at the talent the Diamondbacks gave up in 2007 to get Dan Haren and Connor Robertson: Carter, Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith.
Mat Latos, Andy Pettitte, Brett Myers - what do these pitchers have in common? They were all dropped at least three separate times in a competitive fantasy league of mine. Over at my fantasy site RotoAuthority, I name the All-Dropped Pitching Staff for the league and wonder why it's so difficult to exercise patience.
Links for Monday, as Joe Blanton makes his 2010 debut...
- Washington GM Mike Rizzo scouted Bryce Harper in person for the first time, and he and scouting director Kris Kline came away confident in Harper's makeup, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com takes an in-depth look at the Pirates' arms throughout the organization.
- The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales writes that GM Ken Williams is exercising patience when it comes to trading, despite the White Sox' slow start.
- Kelvim Escobar will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in the front of his right shoulder, tweets MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Escobar signed a one-year deal with the Mets this winter for $1.25MM.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at the pitchers the Yankees were considering over Javier Vazquez, noting that they've all had concerns as well. The Yankees will delay Vazquez's sixth start until a week from today against the Tigers. John Harper of the New York Daily News wonders if the Yanks should ship Vazquez to the Mets.
- Joe Posnanski questions the Royals' decision to demote Alex Gordon. Gordon will play left field and first base in the minors, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out the Tigers' collection of young talent.
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times wonders what's happened to George Sherrill. The 33-year-old lefty has allowed 12 hits and 11 walks in nine innings so far. Given his $4.5MM salary this year, Sherrill is a prime candidate to be non-tendered after the season.
- RotoAuthority notes that while Vazquez and Ben Sheets have been brutal so far, they could still have fantasy value this year.
Links for Wednesday...
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick looks at nine revolving door positions for various teams, such as Red Sox shortstop and Braves' left fielder.
- RotoAuthority looks at a few potential buy-low candidates on the young fantasy season.
- Murray Chass takes USA Today to task for publishing inaccurate salary data.
- Jim Callis ranks Baseball America's #1 prospects from the last ten years, putting Jason Heyward behind only Matt Wieters and Josh Beckett.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince looks at the background of the Indians' GM-in-waiting, Chris Antonetti.
- ESPN's Keith Law agrees with Ben Goessling of MASN, saying the Nationals have "more or less settled on Bryce Harper." Law says the Nats would be nuts to take someone else.
- MLB.com's Ian Browne tweets that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has been in touch with Alan Embree's agent, perhaps regarding the lefty's April 15th out-out date.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star notes that the Blue Jays have to place Adeiny Hechavarria on the 2013 25-man Opening Day 2013 roster, or else place him on waivers.
- SI's Melissa Segura tweets that the Twins were impressed by outfielder Vicmal de la Cruz, "perhaps the jewel of the 2010 July 2 class." Click here to view Kiley McDaniel's video of the kid.
Action-packed links for Wednesday...
- NL offense rankings are up at RotoAuthority, courtesy of CHONE projections and the Baseball Musings lineup analysis tool. The Rockies are on top and the Padres bring up the rear, but plenty will change as the season unfolds.
- Two closers were named in recent days, and our Twitter account @CloserNews passed along the info instantly to allow you to make the winning fantasy pickups.
- The Rangers are attempting to work out a trade with the Giants that will allow them to retain Rule 5 lefty Ben Snyder, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Snyder already cleared waivers, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan also notes that Matt Treanor chose not to exercise his out clause; he's headed to Triple A.
- WEEI's Rob Bradford writes that although the Rangers are scouting Mike Lowell today and they're more interested in him than any other club, a deal is unlikely now and the Rangers would want the Red Sox to pay almost all of his salary. Bradford also notes that earlier this offseason, the Rangers expressed interest in Jed Lowrie.
- Free agent Kevin Millar hopes to continue his playing career, he explained on ESPN's Waddle & Silvy show.
- Diamondbacks second baseman Kelly Johnson strongly considered offers from the Blue Jays, Pirates, and Indians, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- The A's feel that out of options players Eric Patterson and Jake Fox would not clear waivers, so they're likely to send Landon Powell and Adam Rosales down (Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reporting).
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy offers analysis and predictions for seven out of options pitchers.
- The Orioles are looking for a suitor for catcher Chad Moeller, who is "shocked and disappointed" about not making the team according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltmore Sun. Peter Schmuck feels that Moeller was a better choice than Craig Tatum.
- Jeff Suppan explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he's not dealing with a phantom neck injury, despite the convenient timing.
- Though they could've saved $750K, the Nationals chose not to cut Scott Olsen according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs knows the Mariners, and he analyzes the organization's health in this article.