Ryan Church Rumors

Odds & Ends: Giants, Yost, Red Sox, Blue Jays

Wednesday linkage…


Pirates Sign Ryan Church

The Pirates officially signed outfielder Ryan Church to a one-year, $1.5MM deal today.  The deal includes another $1.32MM in plate appearance incentives.  With 600 plate appearances, Church would slightly top his '09 salary of $2.8MM.  The Pirates can retain Church beyond 2010 as an arbitration-eligible player, if they choose.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the Pirates' extensive conversations with Church early Monday.  Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports followed a few hours later saying the sides were closing in on a deal.  Monday evening Kovacevic reported an agreement had been reached, and yesterday he added contract details.

Kovacevic says Church matches the Pirates' criteria in that he bats left-handed, plays strong defense, and could jump into an everyday role if necessary.  Kovacevic wrote Friday that the Pirates' outlook on Rick Ankiel dimmed due to Ankiel's expectation of an everyday job.  In a statement, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said Church "has the skills and tools to be a valuable player off the bench and could play regularly if the situation so dictates."

Church, 31, hit .273/.338/.384 in 399 plate appearances for the Braves and Mets last year.  Shipped to the Braves in July for Jeff Francoeur, Church's season included a sore hamstring, hyper-extended elbow, and back spasms.  The Braves designated him for assignment in December when Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration.  Church was non-tendered a few days later.

The Cardinals were the other club known to have Church on the radar.


Odds & Ends: Dukes, Astros, Twins, Giants

Some Saturday afternoon tidbits….

  • Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman spoke about what he thinks Elijah Dukes can do next season, writes Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com.
  • Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score thinks the Astros have overpaid for the players they've picked up this offseason.
  • Kelly Thesier of MLB.com points out that for all of the talk about the Twins' need for a third baseman, the club is only looking for a "short-term stopgap" given the presence of top prospect Danny Valencia.  Thesier's mailbag piece also shoots downs a couple of Twins-related trade rumors and discusses the club's attempt to re-sign Joe Mauer.  
  • In another MLB.com mailbag, Chris Haft says there hasn't been any talk of the Giants signing Carlos Delgado (though he would fit their need for a left-handed bat) and proposes that Ryan Church would be a better outfield option for San Francisco than Rick Ankiel.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Chris Capuano about the pitcher's attempt to return from (his second) Tommy John surgery.
  • The Reds' budget may limit them to just pinch-hitting options in their search for a hitter, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
  • John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com grades the top 20 prospects in the Mets and Indians systems.  The only player on either list to rate an A-grade was Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks at the youngsters who will be fighting to be the Dodgers' No. 5 starter next season.  Jackson points out that these pitchers might be going for the No. 4 spot too if L.A. doesn't sign a veteran starter before Opening Day.


Discussion: Left Field In The Bronx

The Yankees finished most of their offseason shopping when they traded for Javier Vazquez and Curtis Granderson, then signed Nick Johnson as a free agent, but the one spot left on the team that warrants an upgrade is left field. 

At the moment, Brett Gardner and Rule 5 Draft pick Jamie Hoffmann are scheduled to start the season in a defense-heavy platoon and hit ninth. GM Brian Cashman has indicated that the team is approaching it's 2010 payroll limit, and it appears they're only willing to spend about $5-6MM for an upgrade. This morning we learned that they're planning to wait out the free agent market before making any moves.

Looking at the list of available free agents, there appears to be plenty of second and third tier outfield options available. What do you think the Yankees should do about their left field situation? Should they stick with the Gardner/Hoffmann platoon, or bring in someone like Reed Johnson or Ryan Church or Rick Ankiel?


What’s Next For The Cardinals?

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.


Non-Tendered Players

The deadline for teams to offer contract to their players with less than six years of service time is midnight ET tonight, so let's keep track off all the non-tenders here in one post. Make sure you check back in, we'll be updating this post throughout the day.


Braves Designate Ryan Church For Assignment

The Braves designated outfielder Ryan Church for assignment, tweets Bill Shanks.  The move was done to make room for Rafael Soriano, who accepted arbitration last night.  Church had been considered a non-tender candidate anyway after hitting .273/.338/.384 in 399 plate appearances for the Braves and Mets in 2009.  He earned $2.8MM in '09 and would've been due a raise through arbitration.


Braves Notes: Lowe, Johnson, Church

The Braves are "really pushing" for a Derek Lowe trade, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The righty has three years and $45MM remaining on his contract, so the club would prefer to part with him than Javier Vazquez, who's more affordable ($11.5MM salary in 2010) and more effective.

The Braves are also getting "nibbles" on Kelly Johnson and Ryan Church. There's more interest in Johnson than Church.


Odds & Ends: Church, Macha, Farrell

Some more reading for the last Friday night of the 2009 regular season….

  • Mark Bowman of MLB.com wonders if Ryan Church has played his last game for the Braves. Bowman thinks, because of Church's back injuries, the Braves may not want to pay for a salary bump through arbitration.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin has not yet met with Ken Macha to discuss his future in Milwaukee, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It looks as if Macha will be back in the Brewers' dugout in 2010, but Melvin probably won't make it official until after Sunday's finale.
  • Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell attempts to dispel rumors that he'll be the next manager in Cleveland, via Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com.
  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer looks at the AL Rookie of the Year race and concludes that the candidate he'd most like to have for the next few seasons is Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter) is surprised the Orioles picked up Dave Trembley's 2010 option.
  • If Bobby Jenks is back in Chicago in 2010, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper expects a better season out of the closer, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
  • Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal writes that the Indians are still feeling the "punch to the gut" of losing Victor Martinez.
  • T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com notes that it's not certain whether Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo will be back in Texas in 2010.

Odds & Ends: Church, Macha, Farrell

Some more reading for the last Friday night of the 2009 regular season….

  • Mark Bowman of MLB.com wonders if Ryan Church has played his last game for the Braves. Bowman thinks, because of Church's back injuries, the Braves may not want to pay for a salary bump through arbitration.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin has not yet met with Ken Macha to discuss his future in Milwaukee, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It looks as if Macha will be back in the Brewers' dugout in 2010, but Melvin probably won't make it official until after Sunday's finale.
  • Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell attempts to dispel rumors that he'll be the next manager in Cleveland, via Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com.
  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer looks at the AL Rookie of the Year race and concludes that the candidate he'd most like to have for the next few seasons is Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter) is surprised the Orioles picked up Dave Trembley's 2010 option.
  • If Bobby Jenks is back in Chicago in 2010, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper expects a better season out of the closer, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
  • Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal writes that the Indians are still feeling the "punch to the gut" of losing Victor Martinez.
  • T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com notes that it's not certain whether Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo will be back in Texas in 2010.