Ryan Rowland-Smith Rumors

Minor Moves: Royals, Rowland-Smith, Hessman

Some minor transactions from around the majors…

  • The Royals signed Cuban outfielder Roman Hernandez Jorrin, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Twitter link).  Hernandez Jorrin, 22, is a right-handed hitter who escaped from Cuba in November 2010.
  • The Cubs have signed Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.  The Australian southpaw compiled a 4.57 ERA and a 1.64 K/BB ratio in 362 2/3 innings with the Mariners from 2007-10.  Rowland-Smith spent last season in the Astros' minor league system, posting a 6.19 ERA in 22 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
  • The Astros signed Mike Hessman to a minor league contract, reports Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.  The deal doesn't include an invite to the Astros' big league Spring Training camp.  Hessman has a .694 OPS in 250 career plate appearances with the Mets, Tigers and Braves on the Major League level and also has 335 career minor league homers.  The 33-year-old played for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan last season.
  • The Reds have signed right-hander Wirfin Obispo to a minor league contracts, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Signed as an 18-year-old shortstop by the Red Sox in 2002, Obispo was converted to pitching by the Reds in 2004 and put up solid numbers for Cincinnati's Dominican summer league team over the next three seasons.  Obispo has since pitched in Japan, posting a 3.25 ERA, a 7.8 K/9 rate and a 3.22 K/BB ratio in 46 games (28 of them starts) with the Yomiuri Giants and the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Rowland-Smith Remains With Astros

Pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith cleared waivers, elected free agency, and re-signed with the Astros on a minor league deal according to this tweet from Alyson Footer.  The Astros signed Rowland-Smith to a big league deal in December, so these machinations allow him to remain with the organization without taking up a spot on the 25 or 40-man rosters.  He can join the Oklahoma City RedHawks in Triple-A and await a potential opening with the big club.


Astros To Designate Rowland-Smith For Assignment

The Astros plan to designate Ryan Rowland-Smith for assignment Thursday, the team announced. The Astros signed Rowland-Smith to a deal that could have been worth $725K last December, but he didn't crack the team's Opening Day roster.

The 28-year-old Australia native posted a 6.75 ERA with 4.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 37.1% ground ball rate last year before the Mariners non-tendered him. He missed time with a triceps injury in 2009 and a lower back strain in 2010. 

The Astros' rotation is set with Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Nelson Figueroa. The Astros will have ten days to outright Rowland-Smith to the minor leagues, trade him, or release him, assuming they go ahead with the DFA tomorrow. If outrighted, Rowland-Smith has the right to elect free agency.



Astros Sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

The Astros have signed left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith to a one-year contract worth $725K plus incentives, according to a team press release.  Rowland-Smith will join Nelson Figueroa and others in a competition for the team's fifth starter job.  The Astros will have the opportunity to control Rowland-Smith through 2013 as an arbitration eligible player.

Rowland-Smith, 28 in January, posted a 6.75 ERA, 4.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.1 HR/9, and 37.1% groundball rate in 109 1/3 innings this year before being non-tendered by the Mariners.  The Australia native spent time on the DL with a lower back strain this year after battling a triceps injury in '09.

News of the agreement was first reported by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.


Astros Notes: Rowland-Smith, Hall, Cust, Rodriguez

The Rangers are grabbing all the headlines, but the other Texas team has been busy, too. The latest on the Astros:

  • Houston is interested in Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).
  • The Astros think they could get more offense from second base and have expressed interest in Bill Hall, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The Yankees and Dodgers have also shown interest in Hall this offseason. Clint Barmes and Jeff Keppinger figure to play short and second for the Astros unless GM Ed Wade makes an addition.
  • The Astros and Mariners are pushing for Jack Cust, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Seattle's interested in a number of free agents, including the former A's slugger.
  • Hall and Cust are free agents, but the Astros haven't ruled out making a trade or two. Wade told McTaggart that he exchanged trade proposals with teams today, though Houston's advances weren't embraced by rival clubs (Twitter link).
  • Wandy Rodriguez changed agents from Barry Praver to Adam Katz, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Rodriguez is set to discuss an extension with Houston.

American League Non-Tenders

This post will list all the American League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.


Odds & Ends: Dye, Mets, Lincecum, Vazquez, Colon

Some links for your Friday afternoon…


Odds & Ends: Brewers, Pierre, Webb, Mariners

Here's a few links on a gorgeous Saturday, at least around these parts…

  • Acquiring Carlos Gomez allows the Brewers to wave goodbye to Mike Cameron, and Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel says they'll use the savings on pitching. "We're going to have to take our resources that we gave to Mike and distribute them to fill other needs for our ballclub," said GM Doug Melvin. "We've said pitching is our focus. We still have other needs, like any club. And the salaries of our other players go up, too."
  • The return of Manny Ramirez allows the Dodgers to resume searching for a trade partner for Juan Pierre, according to Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times. Pierre still has two-years and $18.5MM remaining on his contract.  
  • In today's blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says that Brandon Webb will be prime trade bait in the middle of next season if he makes it all the way back and the Diamondbacks aren't in contention.
  • Jason A. Churchill of Prospect Insider takes a look at some offseason options for the Mariners.
  • Meanwhile, former Mariner Kenji Johjima can provide some additional input on American pitchers the Hanshin Tigers may pursue, notes Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Patrick also passes along a report that lists some pitchers Hanshin is looking at, including two Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith and Chris Jakubauskas
  • Rowland-Smith is on Twitter, and was a little surprised by the news.
  • Bob Dutton of The KC Star takes a look at the newest Royals, Chris Getz and Josh Fields.
  • Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball lists all 39 players who filed for free agency on Friday.

Hideki Matsui-Mariners Rumor

From Yahoo’s Tim Brown:

One source mentioned a potential three-way deal that would send outfielder Hideki Matsui from the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners for a pitching prospect, perhaps Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Yankees would package the prospect with second baseman Robinson Cano and another young player to the Rockies for Matt Holliday.

Matsui has a full no-trade clause.  He’s owed $13MM next year, the last of his deal.  He hit .294/.370/.424 this year in 378 plate appearances, missing much of the season with knee problems.  He now has two surgically repaired knees, so he’s questionable to play the outfield.

At any rate, it doesn’t seem like the Yankees would seriously explore a Holliday trade unless Mark Teixeira signs elsewhere first.  And does it make sense for the Mariners to give up a young pitcher and take on a risky DH like Matsui?