Scott Podsednik Rumors
Podsednik, 36, is currently hitting .158/.304/.158 in 23 plate appearances for the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. They are willing to trade him for a fair return despite their scuffling offense. The Red Sox are actively exploring the outfield market, but earlier tonight we heard that they have not inquired about J.D. Drew's availability.
AL MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury sublexed his shoulder in yesterday's game and there is no timetable for his return (Twitter link). The Red Sox will call up Che-Hsuan Lin to take his roster spot. Here's the latest from baseball's two East divisions...
- Scott Podsednik could be an option for the Red Sox following Ellsbury's injury, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Phillies would let Podsednik out of his minor league deal for a big league job, and Rosenthal says they could also trade for a Marlon Byrd or Coco Crisp type later in the season.
- With some help from a reader, Rosenthal speculates that the recently DFA'd Brett Carroll and Clete Thomas could also be fits for the Red Sox following Ellsbury's injury (Twitter links).
- "I’m still thankful they gave me the chance," said Angels reliever Jason Isringhausen to Dan Martin of The New York Post, referring to his time with the Mets last season. Izzy said he spoke to the Mets about a return this offseason.
- Alex Rodriguez hit his 630th career home run yesterday, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list. Joel Sherman of The New York Post says his homer bonuses will become an issue for the Yankees if they intend to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014. A-Rod will get $6MM each for his 660th, 714th, 755th, 762nd, and 763rd career homers.
Links for Thursday, as the first full day of the regular season wraps up...
- The Reds and Rangers are working towards contract extensions with Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler, respectively, and ESPN's Jim Bowden says (on Twitter) there's some work left to be done on each. Phillips is expected to get $12.5-13MM annually, Kinsler $13.5-14MM.
- Scott Podsednik will report to the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, his agent confirmed to David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News. Podsednik was not technically a Major League free agent this offseason since he spent all of last year in the minors, so he was unable to opt-out of his contract at the end of Spring Training.
- Jamie Moyer's can make $2MM in incentives op top of his $1.1MM base salary, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (on Twitter). The 49-year-old left-hander will open the season in the Rockies’ rotation.
- Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright took note when Matt Cain of the Giants signed earlier in the week, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. "Obviously, you have to pay attention to it,"Wainwright said. "It's a tremendous deal for him." Cain obtained $112.5MM in new money from the Giants, establishing a record for right-handed pitchers.
- Ivan Rodriguez is working out and says he's in shape, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Heyman suggests the Rays could be a fit for the veteran free agent.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
We already looked at some Phillies items in today's edition of NL East Notes, but here are a few more news bits from the five-time defending NL East champions...
- The Phillies are having a hard time finding infield depth since their payroll is "close to tapped out," tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but the club is still looking.
- Cole Hamels told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that nothing will change in his extension talks with the Phillies once the season begins, though Hamels did say, "My only understanding is if you sign anybody before opening day, you have to deal with the luxury tax...I understand that's where the Phillies are." This is actually no longer the case under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement but Gelb thinks Hamels bringing up this "unprompted detail" is an "interesting" hint. Hamels' agent, John Boggs, also represents Adrian Gonzalez, whose extension with the Red Sox was announced last April but allegedly finalized months earlier so Boston could avoid paying an extra luxury tax penalty.
- The Phillies announced the purchase of Juan Pierre's contract, so the veteran outfielder will now earn a guaranteed $800K salary in 2012, plus potentially more with incentives. Pierre will serve as a backup outfielder and pinch-runner, though he could see some starting time given the Phillies' unsettled left field situation.
- With Pierre filling that extra outfield role, Scott Podsednik told Matt Gelb that his chances of making the club are "not looking too good." When asked if he would accept an assignment to the minors, Podsednik said it "depends on the situation." As Gelb notes, Podsednik's minor league contract with the Phillies didn't have an opt-out clause, so Podsednik essentially would have to either accept the assignment or retire. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., however, said Pierre's roster spot didn't necessarily mean Podsednik also wouldn't make the team.
Here's where we'll keep track of today's minor moves...
- The Phillies have signed outfielder Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 35-year-old did not appear in the big leagues last year, instead hitting .254/.340/.396 in the Phillies' and Blue Jays' farm systems.
- The Pirates have signed Nick Evans to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports Andy Martino of The New York Daily News. The 25-year-old hit .256/.314/.403 line in 194 plate appearances with the Mets last season, playing all four corner positions
- The Red Sox re-signed Tony Pena to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to Stark. The converted shortstop would earn $625K if he makes the big league team.
- The Astros signed catcher Carlos Corporan to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training, according to Alyson Footer of the Astros (on Twitter).
- The White Sox signed Brian Bruney to a minor league deal, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The right-hander would earn $600K for making the big league team.
- Robert Ray signed a minor league deal with the Marlins, according to Crasnick.
- The Phillies signed left-hander Pat Misch and infielder Kevin Frandsen to minor league contracts, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (Twitter links). Misch, 30, appeared in six games for the Mets this past season, spending most of the year with Triple-A Buffalo. He posted a 4.00 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 141 2/3 innings as a starter for the Bisons. Frandsen, who last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2010, spent the 2011 season in the Phillies' minor league system and posted a .309/.361/.430 line in 338 plate appearances.
- The Diamondbacks signed right-handed reliever Jensen Lewis to a minor league deal, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned (Stark originally reported the Rangers signed him). Lewis, 27, would earn $675K in the Major Leagues, according to Stark. Lewis spent the 2011 season at Triple-A, but has a career ERA of 3.68 with 8.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in parts of four MLB seasons.
Podsednik, 35, is represented by Sports One Management. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays late this winter, but was released after hitting .254/.365/.352 through 85 minor league plate appearances. He also dealt with a bout of plantar fasciitis in Spring Training.
The former NL stolen base champion split 2010 between the Royals and Dodgers, hitting .297/.342/.382 with six home runs. Podsednik's speed has declined over the years and he's never been remarkably efficient (career success rate of 74.6%), but he's managed to leave the yard 13 times over the last two seasons after hitting just six homers from 2005-2008.
Podsednik provides affordable depth for a Phillies team that's seen its only productive outfielder this season, Shane Victorino, placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco have seen the majority of the time at the corners, but neither has managed to post even a .700 OPS. The team recently recalled top prospect Domonic Brown from Triple-A.
The Blue Jays released Scott Podsednik, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). The transactions page for the Pacific Coast League confirms the move and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com notes that Podsednik requested his release (Twitter link).
The Blue Jays signed Podsednik to a minor league deal in February and he would have earned $1MM for making the team. The 35-year-old posted a .297/.342/.382 line in 595 plate appearances for the Royals and Dodgers last year, stealing 35 bases in 50 attempts.
Podsednik was sidelined earlier this spring with plantar fasciitis on his left foot. He has since recovered and posted a .254/.365/.352 line in 85 minor league plate appearances. However, the Blue Jays have Rajai Davis, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera and Jose Bautista roaming the outfield already, so they didn't need the speedy Podsednik in the majors.
8:20pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Podsednik will earn $1MM if he makes the team (Twitter link). Declining the option with the Dodgers definitely didn't work out the way he would have liked.
3:01pm: The Blue Jays have signed Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced. The 34-year-old speedster joins the Blue Jays after back-to-back solid seasons spent in Chicago, Kansas City and Los Angeles. Sports One Athlete Management represents the Blue Jays' new addition.
Podsednik posted a .297/.342/.382 line in 595 plate appearances for the Royals and Dodgers last year. He stole 35 bases (50 attempts) so, along with fellow newcomer Rajai Davis, he'll help manager John Farrell realize his goal of creating a well-rounded offense instead of a homer-centric one.
Podsednik, a ten-year veteran, figures to be in competition with Davis and Juan Rivera for playing time. A left-handed hitter, Podsednik will provide Farrell with alternatives to Davis and Rivera, who both bat from the right side.
The Dodgers didn't offer Podsednik arbitration after the season, so they don't gain a pick for losing the Type B free agent. Podsednik turned down his side of his mutual option with the Dodgers after the team picked its side up for $2MM. Unless his minor league deal with Toronto is an unusually lucrative one, Podsednik would have obtained more guaranteed money by exercising his option back in November.
- The Angels will start top prospect Mike Trout at Double-A. GM Tony Reagins says it's "unlikely" that Trout makes the majors this year. The 19-year-old hit .341/.428/.490 with 56 stolen bases last year in his first full season as a pro.
- Reagins did not offer to meet Jered Weaver at the midpoint before the sides went to an arbitration hearing yesterday. The Angels' decision paid off when they beat the Scott Boras client and saved themselves over $1.4MM.
- Arbitration hearings can be uncomfortable for teams and players alike, but Reagins points out that some players are still open to extensions after going to arbitration with their clubs. Corey Hart of the Brewers is one player who agreed to an extension soon after going to arbitration (though he won his hearing with Milwaukee).
- The Angels are not in discussions with any free agent leadoff hitters, Reagins said. The Angels were interested in Scott Podsednik earlier in the winter.
The Blue Jays locked up Rajai Davis for the next two seasons earlier today, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that isn't stopping the team from pursuing leadoff-type hitters. Both Scott Podsednik and Johnny Damon are now on Toronto's radar according to Rosenthal's sources.
Podsednik has drawn interest from several teams this winter, including the Reds, Dodgers, and Angels, but the first two clubs solved their outfield problems by signing Fred Lewis and Marcus Thames, respectively. A number of teams have kicked the tires on Damon, most recently the Yankees and Rays. Both players are left-handed bats and have plenty of experience hitting leadoff, Podsednik over 3,300 plate appearances and Damon one shy of 7,200.
Rosenthal mentions that the Angels are also looking for a leadoff type, which is consistent with what we've heard throughout the winter.