Ryan Raburn Rumors

Marlins Links: Beinfest, Union, Escobar, Raburn

The Marlins' controversial blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays "will be a factor" in Miami's ability to attract future free agents, club president of baseball options Larry Beinfest admitted to media members (including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro).  Though the Marlins could face "some disdain in the marketplace," Beinfest said his team has no plans to change its policy of not offering no-trade clauses.

"It is what it is. We will deal with it," Beinfest said.  "We won't know until we get into those negotiations with free agents, or we show over a sustained period of time that we operate in a certain manner. It's definitely not great for the club, and we're going to have to deal with it."

Here are some more items from south Florida…

  • MLBPA head Michael Wiener said the union will monitor the Marlins during the 2013 season to make sure that the team is complying with the collective bargaining agreement, reports Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
  • Though the Marlins didn't officially acquire Yunel Escobar from Toronto until yesterday, they were shopping the shortstop to other teams last week, reports Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan (Twitter link).  Escobar is set to make $5MM in 2013 and the Fish hold $5MM club options on him in both 2014 and 2015, though even this team-friendly deal might be too pricey for the Marlins at this time.
  • Ryan Raburn, released today by the Tigers, is "a realistic option" for the Marlins, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  The versatile Raburn could provide depth at several positions for Miami and has a career slash line of .256/.311/.430 over seven seasons in Detroit.

Tigers Release Ryan Raburn

The Tigers announced that they released utility player Ryan Raburn. By releasing Raburn, a non-tender candidate, the Tigers open up a 40-man roster spot.

Raburn projected to earn $2.1MM through the arbitration process. However, after a season that saw him post a .171/.226/.254 batting line in 222 plate appearances, that salary seemed excessive. Raburn averaged 15 home runs per season from 2009-11 and owns a career batting line of .256/.311/.430. He played second base and both corner outfield positions in 2012.

Tigers Won’t Pursue Young Or Valverde

It's been a busy morning for the Tigers, who announced today that they're bringing back Jhonny Peralta, Octavio Dotel and manager Jim Leyland. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski recently addressed the media, discussing the 2012 team and the Tigers' offseason plans. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press has the highlights from the briefing (all links go to Twitter):

Dombrowski On Verlander, Raburn, Worth, Betemit

Justin Verlander won the the 2011 American League Cy Young Award unanimously and he gets an extra — though unofficial — vote from Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. 

"He's a real special player who means a lot to our community," Dombrowski explained at the MLB General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee. "He's been a Tiger since the day he was drafted and he'll be with us for a long time."

Verlander would have been a free agent this offseason had he not signed his current five-year, $80MM contract before the 2010 season. There's no telling what Verlander would have been worth coming off a season like this, so it's no surprise Dombrowski's glad to have locked the right-hander up for three of his free agent seasons. 

Looking ahead to 2012, the Tigers want to get Ryan Raburn's bat in the lineup and may play him at second base at times next year. Danny Worth is another second base candidate for the Tigers, who are also weighing external options.

Wilson Betemit met Dombrowski's expectations after joining the Tigers in a midseason trade, but the GM anticipates adding an extra catcher this offseason, which will limit the Tigers' roster flexibility in 2012. The Tigers haven't pursued Betemit aggressively to this point and Dombrowski didn't suggest that will change. The Tigers want to keep Victor Martinez in the everyday lineup, so adding a backup for Alex Avila is on the agenda this winter.

AL Central Notes: Raburn, Twins, Indians

The Tigers lost Joel Zumaya to a season-ending elbow injury on this date last year, the same day they took over first place with a win against the Twins. A year later, Zumaya hasn't made it back to the big leagues, but the Tigers have returned to first place, at least for now. Here’s the latest from their division… 

  • The Tigers offered outfielder Ryan Raburn to the Mets for reliever Brian Stokes a couple of years ago, according to ESPNNewYork’s Adam Rubin (on Twitter). The Mets eventually acquired Gary Matthews Jr. for Stokes. 
  • Longtime Twins executive Howard Fox died at the age of 90 earlier today, the team announced. Our condolences to the family and friends of Minnesota's former club president.
  • The Twins signed fourth round pick Matt Summers, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. The 21-year-old right-hander will report to Rookie League.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he doesn’t necessarily prefer right-handed hitters to left-handed hitters (Twitter link).

Tigers, Ryan Raburn Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Tigers announced that they agreed to a two-year deal with Ryan Raburn, avoiding arbitration. The 29-year-old will earn $3.4MM for 2011-12, according to the AP (on CBSSports.com). The deal pays him $1.3MM in 2011 and $2.1MM in 2012, according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News (on Twitter). Raburn was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, so the Tigers will control his rights for a year after the extension expires.

Raburn established career highs in runs scored (54), hits (104) and doubles (25) last year. He added 15 homers and posted a .280/.340/.474 line in 410 plate appearances. Raburn did a bit of everything last year, playing all three outfield positions, logging 18 games at second base and appearing at first and third.

The right-handed hitter figures to pick up regular at bats in left field next year, and he's a candidate to sub in at other positions. That flexibility should give manager Jim Leyland some options. Meanwhile, GM Dave Dombrowski must come to terms with Armando Galarraga and Joel Zumaya, the team's unsigned arbitraiton eligible players. Keep track of the developments with our Arbitration Tracker.

Tigers Talk: Avila, Raburn, Ordonez, Inge, Boesch

The Tigers made quite a bit of noise yesterday, declining to pick up Magglio Ordonez's option and announcing that they would not pursue Cliff Lee or another top tier free agent starting pitcher, among several other things. John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press has some more today…

  • First base (Miguel Cabrera) and centerfield (Austin Jackson) are the only positions set in stone for next year, and they plan to fill several others from within. Alex Avila (.228/.316/.340 in 333 plate appearances) will take over as the starting catcher, and Ryan Raburn (.280/.340/.474 in 410 PA) will essentially have a full-time outfield job. Second base will also be filled from within, with Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore representing the early favorites. Once he returns from knee surgery, Carlos Guillen is expected to be a "jack of all trades."
  • The Tigers do have interest in bringing Ordonez back, presumably at a rate much lower than the $15MM option they declined. That could fill the hole at designated hitter.
  • Dave Dombrowski acknowledged that Brandon Inge's defense is why they want him back, but they feel he can chip in double digit homers as well. Yesterday we heard that the two sides were discussing a multi-year contract.
  • Brennan Boesch, who hit .163/.237/.222 in the second half after a .342/.397/.593 first half, will "have to step up" like any young player who wants a full-time job according to the GM.
  • Dombrowski told Tom Gage of The Detroit News that he wants to add a middle-of-the-order bat, and he would prefer it to be a lefthanded hitter (Twitter link). Cabrera led the league with 32 intentional walks, so finding him some protection is a must. Some notable lefty bats that will be on the free agent market: Adam Dunn, Russell Branyan, Brad Hawpe, and Hideki Matsui, though all of those guys are defensively challenged. 

Dodgers Moving Closer On Scott Podsednik

3:06pm: The Dodgers also have interest in Tigers outfielder Ryan Raburn, according to Stark (via Twitter).

2:37pm: The Dodgers are considering a second outfielder, along with Podsednik, according to Rosenthal on Twitter. Earlier in the afternoon, Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers are “in conversation” with the Royals regarding Podsednik (via Twitter). A second source tells Rosenthal that the Giants are still in on Podsednik.

1:23pm: The Dodgers are moving closer on Podsednik, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.

WEDNESDAY, 12:43pm: The Dodgers are making the strongest push for Podsednik, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, but the Giants remain involved.

MONDAY, 10:40pm: NL West teams are bombarding the Royals with interest in Scott Podsednik, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star confirms the report (via Twitter) and so does Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. Rosenthal suggests the Giants, Padres and Dodgers could be fits. The Giants and Padres have been linked to outfielders for weeks now and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti recently said he wants to add outfield depth.

Podsednik, 34, has a .309/.353/.399 line with 29 steals in 41 attempts. It's a carbon copy of the season he put together last year, when he batted .304/.353/.412 with 30 steals in 43 attempts. Teams know what they're getting in Podsednik: a speedy left fielder who can play center and get on base. 

The Royals signed Podsednik to a team-friendly deal that guarantees the outfielder $1.65MM this season (about $580K remains). The team has an option for 2011 worth $2MM, but Podsednik will likely be able to void it. He had 421 plate appearances entering today's action and needs just 525 to neutralize the option.

Odds & Ends: Upton, Jackson, Tigers, Lopez

Friday night linkage..

  • B.J. Upton and the Rays had their arbitration hearing today and the decision from that hearing is expected tomorrow, writes Bill Chastain of MLB.com.  Tampa Bay is offering $3MM while Upton wants $3.3MM.
  • Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets that there is still no movement in talks between the D-Backs and Edwin Jackson.  Jackson is seeking $6.25MM while Arizona is offering $4.6MM.
  • If the Tigers ink Johnny Damon, the club may look make a trade to free up their glut in the outfield, writes James Schmehl of MLive.comRyan Raburn and Clete Thomas could be shipped elsewhere in order to make room for Damon in the lineup.  Schmehl also writes that GM Dave Dombrowski may try to move Nate Robertson and Carlos Guillen, though their hefty contracts will be an impediment.
  • Phil Wood of MASNSports.com fails to understand the Nats' interest in pitcher Kris Benson.  The 35-year-old has not pitched a full season since 2006, when he posted a 4.82 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 for the Orioles.
  • Australian catcher Guy Edmonds has signed with the Texas Rangers, according to Christian Nicolussi of The Daily Telegraph.  Nicolussi writes that the 16-year-old has the potential to outperform the country's greatest baseball export, Dave Nilsson.
  • ESPN's Rob Neyer defends Tim Lincecum's signing of a two-year deal with the Giants.  Tiny Tim was seeking $13MM in arbitration with the club.
  • Rangers pitchers Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando – banned for the past five years due to their involvement in a visa fraud scandal – have received their visas and are expected in Spring Training, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  In total, the Rangers are expecting 56 players in camp.
  • On his website, MetsBlog.com founder Matthew Cerrone was asked by a reader if reporters in the mainstream media "make up" hot stove rumors.  While he says that this is not the case, the seriousness of talks between clubs are, at times, not communicated effectively.  Because of the strange nature of the baseball rumor mill, Cerrone says that he and Tim Dierkes provide an important service to fans by adding context to hot stove rumblings.

Stark On Deadline Deals

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says this year's deadline will be different than others, since more players will clear waivers, allowing teams to deal until the end of August. Matt Holliday, Jarrod Washburn and Jack Wilson are all "likely to zip through waivers" next month. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • The Phillies are as motivated as ever to acquire Roy Halladay. Their goal is to win the World Series, not make the playoffs.
  • The Phils don't want to trade Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ, but one GM believes they should include Drabek if one of the two has to go.
  • The Phillies may have to decide which outfielder to include in a deal: Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown. One scout says there's "nothing not to like" about Taylor.  
  • Acquiring Cliff Lee would take a "four-for-one, Halladay-esque Package."
  • The Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Rays and Brewers are scouting Lee. 
  • Both the Blue Jays and Indians want top young arms for their aces, but the Indians aren't demanding big-league ready prospects, as long as they get a high-upside group.
  • Expect Lee to be traded close to the deadline, if he's moved at all, because the Halladay saga will need resolution first.
  • The Orioles have two prices for George Sherrill. Teams willing to take on his salary have to give up a premium prospect and another prospect, but if the O's have to pay Sherrill, they want a premium prospect and two other players.
  • Danys Baez's value has plummeted recently.
  • The Braves, unsure of how much Tim Hudson can contribute, are leaning heavily towards keeping Javier Vazquez.
  • Adding a reliever is now the Dodgers' top priority.    
  • The Phillies have some interest in Ryan Spilborghs, Scott Hairston and Ryan Raburn.
  • The Reds would like to deal some of their expensive pitchers.
  • July 31st is also the deadline for Japanese teams to acquire foreign players for the rest of their season, so if Scott Boras is going to send Stephen Strasburg overseas, this will have to be the week.
  • The Cubs are looking at left-handed relievers, including Sherrill, John Grabow and Joe Beimel.