Russ Ortiz Rumors

Astros Release Russ Ortiz

According to Alyson Footer via Twitter, the Astros released pitcher Russ Ortiz.  Ortiz's nine earned run drubbing today was apparently the last straw, as his ERA rose to 5.57.  The Astros had signed Ortiz to a minor league deal in January and named him the fifth starter in April.

Odds And Ends: Hinske, Pirates, Astros

Links for Tuesday…

Rosenthal On Free Agents, Orioles, Ortiz

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up.

  • Rosenthal discusses the unprecedented number of decent free agents available, a few games into the season (click here for our free agent list).  He suggests the hitters will have a harder time getting jobs than the pitchers due to the time needed to shake off the rust.  In talking with execs, Rosenthal learned that the trade market for mediocre players (Jarrod Washburn, Nate Robertson, Austin Kearns) may be depressed this summer due to the available free agents.
  • As he wrote in February, Rosenthal says that Braden Looper turned down more money to play for the Orioles due to his preference for the NL.  Tim Redding also preferred the easier league.  The result of those rejections: a very questionable '09 rotation.
  • Rosenthal spoke to an executive who was shocked to discover that Russ Ortiz seems to be back to his peak form.
  • Rosenthal speculates that Paul Bako could help the Twins.

Odds and Ends: Smoltz, Cordero, Colon, Byrd

Links for Thursday…

Astros Sign Russ Ortiz

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Astros signed pitcher Russ Ortiz to a one-year deal.  Ortiz had Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery in August of ’07.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Huff, Hardy, Russ Ortiz

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up.

  • Mark Attanasio set a dangerous precedent by firing Ned Yost.  Will he interfere with GM Doug Melvin’s plans in the future?
  • Rosenthal considers Aubrey Huff a "highly desirable trade commodity" this winter.  That begs the question – why did Huff pass through waivers unclaimed in August?
  • Trading J.J. Hardy is more likely than moving him to third base.  Hardy is under team control for two more seasons.  The Jays, Tigers, Royals, Twins, Giants, Dodgers, and Cardinals could be in the market for a shortstop.  Demand certainly outstrips supply.
  • Rosenthal believes Rafael Furcal would be a nice fit for the Blue Jays.  He agrees that GM J.P. Ricciardi is likely to return.
  • The Orioles might prefer affordable veterans to A.J. Burnett as they try to improve their pitching staff this winter.
  • Russ Ortiz wants to pitch in 2009, and he worked out for ten days a week ago.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the workout yesterday.  He says the Royals, Astros, Brewers, and Red Sox had scouts at the audition.