Russ Springer Rumors
Russ Springer has pitched in 740 total games for ten different teams since making his big league debut in 1992, and is finally ready to hang up his cleats. The 42-year-old tells Bob Tompkins of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk that for the first time in his career, retirement "feels right."
"Last year when I thought I was going to retire," Springer said. "I had a desire to go to the gym. This year, I've had no pull towards going to the gym. I'm totally content to be with the family. There comes a time when you can ask only so much of your body physically, and you've got to stop beating it up."
Springer enjoyed the best stretch of his career pitching for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008, recording a 2.24 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in 116 1/3 innings over the two years. The right-hander signed with the Reds last summer, but only appeared in two games before a hip injury ended his season prematurely. For his career, Springer posted a 4.52 ERA and earned over $15MM, according to Baseball-Reference.
The Reds agreed to sign Russ Springer to an $850K deal, according to Bob Tompkins of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk. The 41-year-old right-hander threw for five teams and received offers from all of them, but he couldn’t turn away the team he rooted for as a boy.
“All of a sudden I went from being not really excited to looking at it as a kid again when I was pulling for [the Reds] during the Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster days,” Springer said.
He will report to Triple A Louisville and pitch for ten days to two weeks before joining the major league team. Springer, who pitched for the A’s and Rays last year, will make a pro-rated portion of $850K.
Springer has posted a 4.52 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over the course of a 17-year career that began on the 1992 Yankees. His deal with the Reds is not a surprise, since they were known to be in the market for right-handed relievers.
After looking at the latest updates on the remaining unsigned starting pitchers and position players, we have one more group to examine: the relievers. Earlier in April, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes named some relief pitchers who could be dealt this season, and that list is certainly more intriguing than the current free agent market. But for teams looking to take an inexpensive gamble, there are a handful of recognizable, if not overly exciting, names available. Here are a few:
- Juan Cruz: After a disappointing stint in Kansas City, the 31-year-old was released by the Royals a week ago. Now that clubs won't have to assume the $3.25MM figure he's owed this season, the right-hander certainly looks more like a risk worth taking. In 2007 and 2008, Cruz appeared in 110 games for the Diamondbacks, posting a 2.88 ERA and striking out 12.6 batters per nine innings. It's unlikely he'd regain that form this year, but he could be a bargain at a league-minimum salary. The Diamondbacks don't appear interested in bringing him back though, and the Marlins, often willing to take on cheap bullpen reclamation projects, probably won't take the plunge either.
- Russ Ortiz: The veteran righty elected free agency last week after being designated for assignment by the Dodgers. Although he pitched poorly for Los Angeles this April, allowing eight runs in seven innings, his career numbers as a reliever (3.33 ERA over 78.1 IP) are respectable. While there hasn't been any reported interest in him yet and he won't be an integral part of anyone's bullpen, he'll probably be able to land a minor league contract soon.
- Russ Springer: We know Springer would like to pitch this year, preferably for the Cardinals, but we haven't heard much more than that lately. The right-hander was extremely effective in two seasons in St. Louis, posting a 2.24 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in 146 appearances in 2007 and 2008. His ERA rose to 4.11 last season, but his ratios were still excellent. Even at 41, Springer could be a worthy addition to quite a few bullpens around the league, but perhaps he's holding out for an offer from the Cards.
- David Weathers: Like Springer, Weathers was reasonably effective in 2009 (3.92 ERA), despite turning 40 last September. However, his peripherals declined and there hasn't been a whole lot of reported interest in the righty this spring. The last we heard, Weathers was still open to pitching this season for a contender, though he'll probably retire if the right situation doesn't arise.
The Cubs and Twins have seen top relievers get hurt this spring and already both clubs are interested in relievers (specifically Jason Frasor). Don't expect Jim Hendry to sign one of the free agent options remaining; the Cubs are reportedly uninterested in that group. But as more pitchers get injured, some of the free agents will gain appeal. Here's a look at the remaining relievers who have attracted at least some interest this offseason.
- Russ Springer wants to pitch and would like to return to the Cardinals.
- As of last week, Joe Beimel still had a major league offer from the Mets, who hadn't ruled out pursuing Ron Mahay, either.
- Mahay turned down a minor league offer from the Red Sox last month. Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Mahay still wants a major league deal.
- The Phillies had interest in Mahay and Alan Embree on minor league deals earlier in the offseason. Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies reported in October that there was a good chance Embree would retire.
- The Nationals released Eddie Guardado yesterday. He had considered retirement late last season, but decided his knees were healthy enough to pitch.
Some links for Sunday...
- As A's were unable to land Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro this offseason, GM Billy Beane says that the club had to work harder than ever to fill their holes, writes MLB.com's Jane Lee.
- Cody Ross' arbitration hearing with the Marlins will take place tomorrow morning at 10:00, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Ross - who is one of seven remaining players who has an arbitration hearing scheduled - is seeking $4.45MM while the Marlins are countering with $4.2MM.
- Maury Brown of Biz of Baseball brings us the record of each club in arbitration hearings since the process was first put into place in 1974. In this span, the A's have had the most hearings with 35.
- Brady Gardiner of Sirius XM Radio tweets that Ryan Franklin's agent said that in 2007, his client turned down a more lucrative offer from Toronto to sign with the Cardinals in order to play for Dave Duncan. Franklin signed a one-year, $1MM deal with St. Louis in January of '07.
- Dustin Pedroia takes exception to those who question Boston's offense in 2010, writes WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Pedroia feels the Red Sox lineup can score more runs than the 2009 club. He also voices high praise for Josh Beckett and says he wants Beckett around "for a long time."
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch answers 10 questions for Cardinals fans, and notes that Russ Springer would take a marked-down contract to return to St. Louis. St. Louis stands to enter camp with rougly a $92,625,000 payroll
- Sid Hartman of The Minneapolis Star Tribune says that Twins' owner Jim Pohlad may have to change his policy of not deferring money if they want to re-sign Joe Mauer. Hartman says Mauer would save millions in income tax by deferring some payments until after he retires.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post names his winners and losers of the offseason. Roy Halladay and the Twins head the winners, while the Dodgers and Royals highlight the losers.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe runs down each team's offseason, and looks at what lies ahead for each during the 2010 season.
Some links for your Friday afternoon...
- Jermaine Dye mentioned to Frank Thomas that he's considering retirement, according to a tweet from CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien.
- Adam Rubin of The New York Daily News tweets the Mets' players that are out of options: Pat Misch, Anderson Hernandez, Nelson Figueroa, and Fernando Nieve. All four seem to be on the bubble.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says Tim Lincecum left "a lot of money on the table" this morning when he agreed to a two-year $23MM deal.
- A number of unnamed GMs tell ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that they haven't figured out how to find good middle relief consistently.
- Javier Vazquez tells Carlos Gonzalez of Primera Hora that he doesn't see himself playing until he's 38 or 39. Vazquez, 33, doesn't expect to retire this year or next year, though. (Translated by Nick Collias).
- Bartolo Colon's agent tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the former Cy Young Award winner wants to pitch this coming season (Twitter link).
- Tom Glavine tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he won't rule out a future as a pitching coach. Now it would be too much of a time commitment for him.
- Ryan Rowland-Smith says via Twitter that he's glad the Mariners re-signed Mike Sweeney.
- The Rays signed infielders Angel Chavez and J.J. Furmaniak to minor league deals and invited the pair to Spring Training, according to a team press release.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News shows that the Phillies have already made major commitments for 2011. They may not be able to re-sign Jayson Werth.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that Russ Springer intends to pitch this coming season.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has details on Khalil Greene's deal with the Rangers. The infielder makes $250K if he spends one day on the team's roster.
- Neftali Feliz leads USA Today's list of 100 names we need to know.
- Like most, Jack Moore of FanGraphs finds it hard to imagine 2011 free agent Derek Jeter finishing his career with a team other than the Yankees. One reason Moore believes Jeter's a fit in the Bronx: the shortstop's inside-out swing is perfect for Yankee Stadium.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy guesses that Corey Hart's reps successfully compared their client to Jeff Francoeur and Josh Willingham. Hart won his arbitration hearing with the Brewers.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Giants and Tim Lincecum went right to the door of their arbitration hearing this morning before settling.
The Cardinals committed $120MM over seven years to Matt Holliday yesterday; he'll be paid $17MM in each year of the deal (with $2MM deferred annually). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the contract "leaves the club with little financial space to address the No. 5 starter, the opening at third base and the wish to add a reliever."
Miguel Tejada and Felipe Lopez are known third base targets for the Cardinals, but Goold says either player would be difficult to fit into the budget based on current demands. Goold's colleague Joe Strauss says Tejada and Lopez are probably out "unless their market collapses." Goold expects David Freese to get a crack at the hot corner, with internal candidates filling the fifth starter role as well. The CHONE projection system has Freese hitting .269/.335/.442 in 2010, which wouldn't be any worse than Tejada and Lopez's projections.
The Cards could add an affordable left-handed bench bat via free agency, and Goold says Ryan Church is one name on the radar. As for the bullpen, Goold speculates on Octavio Dotel and notes that a Russ Springer reunion has been discussed. The Cardinals' offseason financial flexibility will hinge on the arbitration cases of Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker. Goold wouldn't be surprised to see March bargains or midseason additions if the Cardinals stay quiet over the next few months.
10:31pm: Topkin tweets that the Rays declined to offer arbitration to Springer.
6:53pm: Tampa Bay has made arbitration offers to two of its three Type B free agents, reports Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Topkin tweets that catcher Gregg Zaun and reliever Brian Shouse were given offers, while no decision has yet been made about pitcher Russ Springer. Topkin notes that "it appears unlikely" the Rays will make an offer to the veteran right-hander.
The offers to Zaun and Shouse come as a bit of a surprise, though both players had decent years. Shouse's innings were limited due to an elbow strain, but he continued to shut down lefties.
A fresh batch of links as we move into the evening...
- According to Adam Sobsey of The Independent Weekly, the Rays have released 30-year-old reliever Jorge Julio. The right-hander had a 5.96 ERA and a 24/15 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings this season with Triple-A Durham.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times Saturday that he is open to a waiver deal if it will make his club better. "We'll see," said Hendry. "If we find something that makes us better, we'll try.''
- Need a refresher on the way waiver deals work? Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus has you covered.
- The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser gathered a quote from Russ Springer moments after he learned he was headed to the Rays: "It will be nice to play in some playoff-race type games and hopefully I can go to Tampa Bay and carry my load."
2:46pm: It's a straight waiver claim, according to Slusser, so the A's will receive nothing in return (besides a small payroll cut). Here's A's assistant GM David Forst:
"We felt like it was a good opportunity to see some guys in Triple-A the last month of the season, and it gives Russ the chance to pitch in a pennant race. That's something he deserves at this point in his career. He's done a great job for us and he's been a great mentor for our youngsters."
2:31pm: According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Rays have claimed reliever Russ Springer off waivers from the Athletics.
Springer, a 40-year-old right-hander, had a 4.10 ERA and a 47/14 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings out of the Oakland bullpen this season.