Scott Hatteberg Rumors
Let's discuss Ken Rosenthal's lastest column.
- There's some chatter that the '09 draft class will be weak. This could motivate teams to trade their impending free agent stars this July rather than collect compensation picks.
- Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson has "fallen out of favor with some in the organization." Rosenthal believes he'd be a hot commodity if fired.
- The Rangers are open to trading Vicente Padilla, as you'd expect. We've heard some crazy things about the asking price.
- While the Royals don't seem to consider Zack Greinke untouchable, they'd have to be bowled over to trade him.
- The Yanks probably don't have room for Ben Broussard, and the Orioles could swoop in and sign him if he's granted free agency this month.
- Look for Scott Hatteberg to become a free agent today; interest appears to be tepid.
- The Florida teams are willing to spend money for midseason upgrades. They're understandably reluctant to trade prospects.
- Doesn't seem like Orlando Cabrera will be signing long-term with the White Sox.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes of "mounting speculation" about Richie Sexson's situation with the Mariners and "a growing call among fans" for Seattle to acquire recently DFA'd Scott Hatteberg from the Reds to replace him. The Mets are reportedly also in the mix for Hatteberg, who was designated on May 27. Hatteberg is 38 and hitting .173. He did, however, hit .310 last year.
Sexson, only 33, is struggling to clear the Mendoza line at present. The struggle began last year when he hit .205 in 121 games. However, of his 31 hits this year, nine have been homers. It's also worth noting that his average has been much better (.333) against lefties, though of course, it's a piteously small sample size (36 plate appearances). Even so, he wouldn't be very useful as a role player considering that he has been a DH/1B since 2000. He's in the last year of his contract, he's not fragile, and yet I can't think of a single team who would sign him if Seattle does release him. Possibly the Indians? The Rangers? Any other ideas?
THURSDAY: MLB.com's Marty Noble says the Mets have already discussed Hatteberg internally. They could move quickly to sign him after he clears waivers, but Marlon Anderson's injury is a factor here.
Additionally, the Mariners are "actively pursuing" Hatteberg. The Ms actually started Miguel Cairo at first last night.
WEDNESDAY: According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, "the Mets have some, but only some" interest in recently-designated first baseman Scott Hatteberg. Davidoff says the Mets will wait until Hatteberg clears waivers and then perhaps see if Hatteberg is open to a minor league deal.
Hatteberg is a left-handed hitter who succeeds against righties (as is often the case). Carlos Delgado hasn't succeeded against anyone this year, but previously he had the same splits as Hatteberg. The two don't match up for a platoon, but it'd make sense for the Mets to keep Hatteberg at Triple A until they decide whether to cut Delgado (.215/.294/.387 in 204 PAs).
1:42pm: It's done - the Reds have designated Hatteberg for assignment to make room for Bruce.
9:30am: The Reds haven't announced the corresponding move to Jay Bruce's callup yet. John Fay wonders whether they'll opt to designate Scott Hatteberg for assignment, noting his well-diminished role on the team. I speculated back in April that Hatteberg might be a good replacement for Carlos Delgado or complement to Richie Sexson.
Corey Patterson has to be worried as well, since Bruce is expected to take over as the regular center fielder. Patterson is hitting just .201/.242/.354 in 155 plate appearances.
The Padres stuff got its own post; let's see what else Ken Rosenthal has for us today.
- Rosenthal thinks it makes sense for the Phillies to shop Shane Victorino for pitching, since Jayson Werth is playing well. That'd increase reliance on Geoff Jenkins, though. The Marlins expressed some interest in Victorino last year.
- Rosenthal expects the Reds to move Scott Hatteberg and a catcher before they get down to the more serious business of mullling offers for Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr.
- Trading Paul Byrd would make sense for the Indians. Rosenthal says the Brewers, Braves, and Astros "likely would show interest." Byrd sports a 3.61 ERA and 4.4 K/BB.
Ken Rosenthal has a new column; let's take a look.
- Aside from Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., Rosenthal suggests Walt Jocketty could look to trade veterans Paul Bako, Scott Hatteberg, David Weathers, Jeremy Affeldt, and Kent Mercker.
- Most of the Marlins' best players will reach arbitration for the first time after this season, which could prompt a trade or two.
- Rosenthal expects collusion investigations to go nowhere.
- The Brewers don't plan on paying any of the $2.5MM remaining on Derrick Turnbow's contract in order to trade him. They might end up losing him and paying it anyway, however.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, first baseman Scott Hatteberg would welcome a trade. Joey Votto, off to a .310/.319/.549 start (AVG/OBP/SLG), seems to have taken Hatteberg's job. When asked about the situation, new GM Walt Jocketty said he hasn't had inquiries on the veteran. He makes just $1.85MM, so that won't be an obstacle.
Hatteberg, 38, hit .310/.394/.474 in 116 games last year for the Reds while facing mostly righties (he's a lefthanded hitter with a major platoon split). For that reason, Hatteberg wouldn't pair well with Carlos Delgado on the Mets. He'd be better suited to replace Delgado if the Mets release him. Delgado might have bought himself some time with a two homer game yesterday.
One first baseman who doesn't hit righties well is Richie Sexson. Hatteberg could be a good fit in Seattle.
Is Carlos Delgado the next Frank Thomas? Or worse yet, is he the next Mike Piazza? Sammy Sosa? Barry Bonds? (steroid implications aside). So asks Joel Sherman of the NY Post who's headline - always in that in-your-face extra-bold verdana - reads "DELGADO ON HIS WAY OUT AT FIRST". With aging veterans out of work, and a rash of young talent being locked up, 2008 really feels like the end of one era and the marked beginning of the next.
An arbitrary fun-fact from Sherman, "In the past 25 years, just one champion has had a regular first baseman older than 32 (the 2001 Diamondbacks with 37-year-old Mark Grace)." Delgado's making $16MM this season, and although 35 is often a notorious age at which batters decline, this cliff fall is not the norm. Still, a contract of that magnitude will keep Delgado in New York for at least a short while longer.
In Buster Olney's latest, he speculated Delgado's release, which seems to be slightly more than speculation at this point. Olney cited Xavier Nady or Scott Hatteberg as potential replacements should the Mets want to trade for a replacement. Nady, however, might not be available until the Pirates say "uncle."
Should the 35-yr old Delgado reenter free agent land, what kind of interest will there be? Most likely less than there was for Frank Thomas, but someone would throw him a bone as he'd be low risk, high reward. Not unlike Thomas, PECOTA projects a .265-20-80 season from the veteran and while that's not a $16MM season, it's still adequate production for many teams from a corner infielder or DH.
By Nat Boyle
Buster Olney has some thoughts. Let's have a looksee.
- He thinks that Xavier Nady could fit with the Mets or the Indians, but notes that the Pirates are sitting tight for now, hoping to compete this year. They'll be singing a different tune in July.
- Olney goes on to speculate that the Mets could release Carlos Delgado if he continues his weak hitting. Nady would seem a decent replacement, though he hasn't played first since 2006. Scott Hatteberg could be another option.
- In what he calls "pure speculation," Olney suggests that the Mariners trade Jeff Clement to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp and some pitching. It's a rather vague trade idea, and I'd think that the Mariners could fetch a lot more than Crisp if they opted to trade Clement, who is having his way with AAA pitching.
- It appears Jake Peavy wants the Padres to sign Kenny Lofton. With the way Jim Edmonds and Scott Hairston are hitting, I can't blame him.
Posted by Joe Pawlikowski.
And now for more Odds and Ends around the league:
- In his latest "Full Count" audio piece at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal expects the Reds to do some roster shuffling that could come down to trades. Scott Hatteberg has become "expendable" with the recent emergence of Joey Votto and by the fact that the Reds have too many lefty hitters.
- Cork Gaines latest Baseball Blogs Weigh In delved into the Evan Longoria signing. To add to that, Ken Rosenthal, also in his Full Count piece, notes favorably that Longoria has set himself for life without having to establish himself and that his payday will come at age 31, still in time for a 4-5 year deal.
- The Boston Herald's reporting Bartolo Colon could opt to leave the Red Sox if he's not in the bigs by May 1st. Manager Terry Francona hopes he will "forego the decision for a while (most likely until May 15)." With a recent setback being the reason he's not in the majors, I don't see him going anywhere just yet.
- An amusing quote from columnist John Mehno of the Beaver County Times on whether the Pirates can be expected to lock up any of its young talent: "Given the lack of can’t-miss prospects in the system, Pirates rookies intent on becoming instant millionaires should probably keep buying lottery tickets."
By Nat Boyle