Russ Springer Rumors
Susan Slusser at the San Francisco Chronicle says that the A's will be pressed to make a roster move upon the return of Jason Giambi this Tuesday, though it's unclear what the move will be. She notes that the A's essentially have five first basemen on their roster and wonders if one could be traded.
Slusser suggests that Nomar Garciaparra could generate interest as a bench bat in a waiver deal, but Billy Beane would likely ask for Garciaparra's approval before any move. She also notes that four teams' interest in Russ Springer before the deadline could spell a deal this month (the Cardinals were known to have some interest in Springer). No teams have reportedly made a call about Bobby Crosby, and she believes it's unlikely he is waived.
WEDNESDAY: Strauss has more on the proceedings. He says the Cardinals are "definitely pushing" for a right-handed setup man. There's "strong internal support" to obtain Chad Qualls, but the search is "apparently directed elsewhere."
TUESDAY: Joe Strauss at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Cardinals are in "hot pursuit" of right-handed relievers. He also says that they had tried to include former Redbird Russ Springer in the deal for Matt Holliday from the A's, but balked when they learned they'd have to throw in another starting pitching prospect. Still, with the bullpen struggling, Strauss says they "may revisit" a deal for Springer.
Contenders are always in the hunt for relief help this time of year. Let's scope out the latest on that front:
- After refusing to deal Eric Young Jr. for John Grabow or Joe Beimel, the Rockies have lowered their aim, notably toward the Orioles' Mark Hendrickson, says Joel Sherman at the New York Post.
- The Marlins are in the mix for Grabow's services, says Joe Frisaro at MLB.com.
- CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says the Yankees have steered their focus toward middle relief help, but too many of their desired names reside in the AL East.
- The Cardinals are indeed still interested in bringing back righty Russ Springer, says Mychael Urban at MLB.com.
Just about every team could improve its bullpen and some clubs, like the Marlins and Rockies, are working aggressively to add relievers. Here are some of the names to consider, ordered from highest 2009 salary to lowest.
- Kerry Wood - He's been a disappointment in Cleveland, and the Indians owe him about $15MM before the end of next year, and possibly more in 2011.
- Rafael Soriano - Could the Braves get creative and deal Soriano ($6.1MM) or Mike Gonzalez ( $3.5MM), who will also become a free agent this winter.
- Danys Baez - At $5.5MM, he's an expensive option, but he could help a contender.
- LaTroy Hawkins - He's been effective in 38 appearances for the Astros, who are still in contention and may hold onto Hawkins ($3.5MM) and fellow reliever Jose Valverde ($8MM).
- Rafael Betancourt - He's still nowhere near as effective as he was in 2007, but Betancourt's pitched well enough this year; he'll make $3.35MM this season.
- Russ Springer - He's been hittable, but he can still strike major leaguers out. He makes $3.3MM this year.
- George Sherrill - Affordable and effective, Sherrill ($2.75MM) is under team control through 2011.
- Chad Qualls - The D'Backs already traded Tony Pena, so they may be reluctant to part with Qualls, who makes $2.5MM this season.
- John Grabow - Makes $2.3MM this year, before hitting free agency this winter. He's pitching well, but his control's been off this season.
- Matt Capps - Like Grabow, he makes $2.3MM this year, but Capps will likely hit free agency after 2012.
- Juan Cruz - Still tough to hit, but not as effective as last year, Cruz makes $2.25MM this year and more in 2010.
- Joe Beimel - The 32-year-old lefty makes $2MM this year. He's pitched well, but not quite as well as his 3.57 ERA suggests.
- Takashi Saito - A relative bargain at $1.5MM plus incentives, especially when you consider the affordable team option for next year.
- Heath Bell - At an affordable $1.3MM, the All-Star closer would be appealing to many clubs, especially since he's under team control through 2011.
- Cla Meredith - By far the cheapest option on this list at just $431k, he's had three respectable seasons in a row since his breakout 2006 campaign.
The Twins, Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Rockies and Dodgers are among the teams that could make deals to improve their respective ‘pens.
A new Rumblings and Grumblings column from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- Even if they don't acquire Jake Peavy, the White Sox are apparently "open for business." Stark takes that to mean names such as Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Octavio Dotel, and A.J. Pierzynski could hit the market.
- The Mariners are not quite yet at the point of making Erik Bedard available. They figure to price him like an ace if they do so.
- If A's GM Billy Beane decides to fold on 2009, he could make veterans such as Matt Holliday, Orlando Cabrera, Jason Giambi, and Russ Springer available.
- It's very unlikely that the D'Backs shop Brandon Webb this summer, since he'll be coming off a shoulder injury.
- Indians GM Mark Shapiro seems to be leaning toward hanging on to Cliff Lee for now. Shapiro may look to add pitching by trading Mark DeRosa or an outfielder.
- The Red Sox are "actively listening" on Brad Penny. My opinion: the Phillies, Indians, White Sox, or Mets could make sense.
ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog post up. Let's take a look.
- Gammons writes in praise of North Carolina's Dustin Ackley, who is likely to be chosen by the Mariners at #2 in June. Ackley may wind up at center field or second base.
- The Red Sox don't appear willing to trade young pitchers like Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone. The Sox have looked at bats such as Colorado's Matt Murton and Ryan Spilborghs, but for now aren't desperate enough to trade pitching. Gammons wonders if, for the right bat, Boston would part with Manny Delcarmen. He believes Delcarmen could close in the NL.
- Gammons says the Mets think they could have Carlos Delgado back by August if he has hip surgery, allowing them to stay in-house for his replacements.
- The Dodgers, Indians, Yankees, and Twins are looking for relief help. Gammon names Jose Valverde, Huston Street, Danys Baez, Russ Springer, and John Grabow as future trade candidates.
FRIDAY: Slusser says Springer will earn $3.3MM plus another possible $300K for games pitched.
THURSDAY: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Springer deal is official and is worth more than $3MM plus incentives.
WEDNESDAY: Springer apparently took his physical today, though his deal with the A's is not yet official. The A's told reliever Andrew Brown they're releasing him to make room for Springer, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MONDAY: The AP says the A's are "close to finalizing" the Springer deal, with the physical the final step remaining. Not sure why they didn't say an agreement has been reached, then.
SATURDAY: According to Ken Rosenthal, the A's are "closing in on" a deal with Russ Springer. Rosenthal's source says the A's and Springer are "making progress, but not done." They're working towards a contract worth about $3MM plus incentives.
Rosenthal adds that the A's are ready to make a strong attempt to sign Orlando Cabrera if his asing price isn't too high.
Unlike Cabrera, Springer wasn't offered arbitration, so the A's won't have to surrender a draft pick to the Cardinals if the deal becomes official, despite Springer's status as a Type A free agent.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal...
- The Mariners and Giants are interested in Bobby Abreu, if the price is right. Yesterday Buster Olney suggested that Abreu is willing to take a one-year deal. The A's and Nationals have other targets, while the Mets, White Sox, and Braves are seen as long shots.
- Rosenthal examines the nuances of Jon Garland's December 7th decision to reject arbitration, saying that it wasn't an obvious mistake at the time.
- Tom Glavine's agent Gregg Clifton did not attend yesterday's meeting with Frank Wren; it was a health update and not a contract negotiation. Rosenthal says Glavine figures to seek a Freddy Garcia-like deal. The Braves need to save money to add an outfielder, with Nick Swisher atop their list. The Yankees' goal in moving Swisher or Xavier Nady would be to recoup prospects.
- The Brewers are not interested in projects such as Kris Benson, Jason Jennings, Mark Redman, and Victor Zambrano. They're just lukewarm on Mark Mulder. Benson is drawing interest from the Dodgers, Rangers, and Cardinals; one exec reviewed his audition as "so-so."
- Rosenthal doesn't seem to buy the idea that Jason Varitek and Scott Boras feared the Red Sox could cut him if he accepted arbitration, noting that Boras client Travis Lee was advised to accept years ago.
- The Braves have reservations about re-signing Andruw Jones, who could be a Spring Training cut.
- The A's deal for Russ Springer will be worth more than $3MM plus incentives. They're also eyeing Brian Shouse and Andrew Sisco as possible pen additions. Sisco, recovering from Tommy John, has also auditioned for the Rockies and Giants.
3:30pm: A bunch of reporters played telephone with Rosenthal's "inside track" report on Wolf, saying the Dodgers were close to a deal. You can see that Stark rejected that notion below, and Tony Jackson agrees that they are not close.
12:50pm: According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Dodgers have intensified their talks with free agent starters Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, and Braden Looper. Stark says that rather than favoring Wolf, the Dodgers have equal interest in all three and hope to sign one within a few days. He adds that the Dodgers haven't spoken to Wolf's agent Arn Tellem in several days.
Stark says the Dodgers continue to pursue Dennys Reyes, Luis Ayala, and Russ Springer, and plan to take care of their pitching staff before addressing Manny Ramirez.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the A's, Twins, and Dodgers are pursuing Russ Springer. Rosenthal adds that the Twins prefer Springer to Eric Gagne. The Twins' interest in Springer was first reported by Seth Stohs, while Buster Olney mentioned the A's a few days ago. Ken Gurnick had the Springer-Dodgers connection back in December.