Ryan Raburn Rumors

Indians To Sign Ryan Raburn

The Indians have signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reported the CSE client was close to a deal with Cleveland earlier today.

Raburn, 31, 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 to the Tigers. 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. The Braves and Marlins had interest in Raburn earlier in the offseason.

Indians Interested In Ryan Raburn

SATURDAY: 3:59pm: The Tribe is closing in on a minor league deal with Raburn, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (on Twitter).  The deal is likely to be finalized next week.

THURSDAY, 1:12pm: The Indians have some interest in free agent utility player Ryan Raburn, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). CSE represents Raburn, who was released by the Tigers in November.

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 to the Tigers. 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. The Braves and Marlins had interest in Raburn earlier in the offseason.

The Indians also have some interest in Ryan Theriot, another right-handed hitting free agent capable of playing multiple positions.

This post was originally published on January 17th and updated on January 19th.

NL East Notes: Wright, Upton, Raburn, Lannan

Zack Greinke turned down a potential trade to the Nationals two years ago when he was a member of the Royals, but now that the Nats are the defending NL East champs and have added Denard Span as their latest upgrade, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal thinks that Greinke (or any free agent) would see Washington as a prime destination.  The Nationals have been mentioned as one of Greinke's top suitors this winter, along with the Dodgers, Angels and Rangers, so there's a possibility the right-hander could yet end up in D.C. two years later.

Here are some items from around the division…

  • David Wright may wait under after the Winter Meetings to decide on the Mets' seven-year, $124MM extension offer, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.  A Mets source speculates that Wright and his representatives may wait due to their unhappiness that negotiations were made public.  Wright and agent Seth Levinson told MLBTR earlier this week that rumors about the contract talks were inaccurate.
  • The Phillies' best offer to B.J. Upton was a five-year, $55MM contract, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Upton agreed to a five-year, $75.25MM pact with the Braves yesterday.
  • The Braves and Marlins are two of a half-dozen teams interested in free agent utilityman Ryan Raburn, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).  The Rays and Rangers are two of the other known teams.
  • The Nationals still have a minor league option remaining on left-hander John Lannan, reports Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider.  Washington could keep Lannan at Triple-A as rotation insurance again, though MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thinks Lannan will be non-tendered rather than earn a projected $5MM in his third year of arbitration eligibility.
  • Shane Victorino "might actually represent the best value on the market," writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, though Murphy doesn't think the Phillies will look for a reunion with their former outfielder.  The Phils haven't been linked to Victorino this offseason, though at least seven teams are known to be interested in the Hawaiian.

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.