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Sean White Rumors
Keeping track of the day’s minor moves…
- The Padres signed right-hander Daniel Stange to a minor league contract, according to the transactions page at CBSSports.com. Stange, 26, has a 4.34 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in seven minor league seasons. He has MLB experience with the 2010 Diamondbacks.
- The Angels signed right-hander Sean White to a minor league contract, according to the transactions page at CBSSports.com. The 31-year-old pitched in 105 games for the Mariners from 2007-10, posting a 4.16 ERA with 4.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves right here..
The Rockies have signed Sean White to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. He was outrighted by the Mariners earlier this offseason and became a free agent soon thereafter.
The 29-year-old right-handed reliever posted a 5.24 ERA with just 3.9 K/9 in 34 1/3 innings for Seattle in 2010. White made up for the low strikeout rate with an equally low walk rate (2.9 BB/9) and a decent ground ball rate (44.6%). His big league career consists of 134 innings, all with the Mariners, and a 4.16 ERA with 4.0 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 48.4% ground balls.
The Rockies can control White for at least three more years as an arbitration-eligible player if they choose.
La Velle E. Neal III from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is having a busy offseason. Here's his latest on the Twins:
- Neal doesn't think the Twins have to match the best offer to sign Carl Pavano, who's told his teammates and club officials that he really wants to stay in the Twin Cities.
- The Twins' trade of J.J. Hardy isn't enough to shore up the bullpen, writes Neal. They've been in contact with several relievers, including Chad Qualls, Jeremy Accardo, Kevin Gregg, and perhaps Sean White. Neal linked the Twins to Gregg last week as well, but noted that he's probably too pricey. Their in-house candidates include Anthony Slama, Kyle Waldrop, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, and Alex Burnett.
- There are rumblings that Tsuyoshi Nishioka is set to fly to Minneapolis to take a physical this week, an obvious sign that the two sides are getting closer to a deal.
As I get ready to settle in for more overnight coverage for our around-the-clock coverage of the 2010 Winter Meetings, here's some Twins info for you fellow creatures of the night, courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III:
- It will be up to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire whether or not Tsuyoshi Nishioka will play second base or shortstop if the Twins sign the Japanese batting champ. That decision, of course, will likely impact the club's plans for J.J. Hardy, who is known to be on the trading block. Earlier tonight we learned that the Twins offered Nishioka a multiyear deal.
- Twins GM Bill Smith wouldn't rule out the possibility of Hardy, Nishioka, and Alexi Casilla all being on the roster in 2011, but remember that Gardenhire did voice a desire for more speed (which Casilla has and Hardy does not).
- Neal wonders if the Twins would pursue Joel Hanrahan in a potential Hardy deal with Pittsburgh. It's a logical target, but we heard earlier today that any return for Hanrahan or Evan Meek would need to be "very significant." One year of Hardy doesn't fit that bill if you ask me.
- Smith told Neal that he doesn't think the ship on Carl Pavano has sailed. Pavano and agent Tom O'Connell are in no hurry to sign, though Neal mentions that Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony was supposed to meet with O'Connell today.
- Justin Morneau's doctor doesn't think there's any doubt that he'll be ready to take the field in Spring Training. Morneau was enjoying perhaps the best season in all of MLB prior to suffering a concussion just before the All-Star Break.
- Another injured Twins All-Star, Joe Nathan, is making strong progress in his return. The Twins tendered Matt Capps a contract this past week, likely as insurance for the ninth inning should Nathan not be ready early on in 2011. Even with a healthy Nathan, Minnesota's bullpen needs some work, as four of their relievers are hitting free agency.
- Neal doesn't think the Twins have a chance to bring back Jesse Crain or Matt Guerrier in 2011. Both relievers have been connected to multiple teams. Neither will cost a draft pick to sign.
- Neal heard that the Twins have some interest in Sean White, though he cautions that he's checking to see if that rumor is still current.
The Mariners declined their 2011 options for Erik Bedard, Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez. The Mariners had a $5MM mutual option with Branyan and an $8MM mutual option with Bedard. Lopez is still arbitration-eligible, but he’s a candidate to be non-tendered next month.
The Mariners also announced that the Diamondbacks claimed righty Brian Sweeney off of waivers. Kevin Towers’ bullpen reconstruction has begun. Sweeney, 36, pitched for the Padres in 2004 and 2006 when Towers was the GM in San Diego. More recently, the right-hander posted a 3.16 ERA with 3.4 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 37 innings for the Mariners this year.
Outfielder Ryan Langerhans and catcher Guillermo Quiroz elected free agency after the Mariners outrighted them to Triple-A. The Mariners also outrighted lefty Ryan Feierabend, lefty Chris Seddon and righty Sean White to Triple-A and all three can become free agents.
Believe it or not, the Mariners have not used a left-handed reliever all season long. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that every bullpen needs a lefty or two to retire opponents' best left-handed bats in close games. But Mariners pitching coach John Wetteland is willing to challenge conventional wisdom.
"You don't need to have a lefty in the 'pen just because it's obvious that lefties do well against lefty hitters," Wetteland told MLB.com's Doug Miller last week.
Wetteland knows that as well as anyone. The righty allowed a .223/.292/.346 career line against lefty batters – not far from the line Wetteland allowed against righties. But not every reliever is as well-equipped to shut batters on both sides of the plate down.
To find out if Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik needs to add a left-handed reliever, let's see how the bullpen has done against lefties. Five weeks of data isn't much, so let's take a look at the numbers Mariners relievers have posted against lefties in their respective careers.
- Shawn Kelley – He has done much better against lefties in his career, limiting them to a .219/.268/.314 line.
- Sean White – His .219/.312/.322 line against lefties is quite good. However, left-handed batters are hitting just .225 on balls in play and homering on 4.5% of their fly balls against White. Both of those figures can be expected to rise and when they do, White's slash line will likely rise, too.
- David Aardsma – His .248/.363/.331 line is actually better than his line against righties.
- Kanekoa Texeira – Though Texeira has faced lefties just 26 times in the majors, his .208/.269/.292 line looks promising. Texeira struck out 106 batters in as many innings against lefties in his minor league career.
- Brandon League – His .284/.343/.453 line against lefties does not inspire much confidence, but League has allowed homers on 18.4% of fly balls against him and allowed a batting average of .321 on balls in play, which suggests he has been unlucky against lefties in his career.
- Mark Lowe – He has an ugly .298/.382/.514 line against lefties in his career. As Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner noted earlier in the month, Lowe is "something of a glorified right-handed specialist." Lowe is now on the DL with an inflamed disc in his lower back.
- Jesus Colome – Lefties have hit .275/.382/.449 against Colome, so the Mariners should minimize his exposure to lefties.
- Ian Snell – Snell has allowed lefties to post a .294/.386/.484 line against him in his career. He should face righties whenever possible.
It turns out that Don Wakamatsu has more than enough weapons to retire opposing left-handers, especially now that Kelley's back on the team. But the Mariners have to use their 'pen carefully. Aardsma, Texeira and Kelley can succeed against lefty batters, but Colome, Snell and eventually Lowe should not face lefties in close games. The Mariners have their share of issues these days and their bullpen could be better, but Zduriencik can ignore conventional wisdom and proceed without acquiring a lefty.
More links as the rumors keep flowing in…
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune "heard the Twins might be sniffing around Seattle reliever Sean White." White's best skill is a decent groundball rate; his strikeout and walk rates do not impress.
- The White Sox inked second-round pick Trayce Thompson, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. The high school outfielder, chosen 61st overall, gets $625K.
- Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe is fairly sure the Red Sox won't trade Daniel Bard this week.
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post believes the Nats should keep Josh Willingham because he's relatively affordable, powerful and plays well enough defensively.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says Ryan Garko is a small upgrade for the Giants at first base.
- The Rangers believed they were frontrunners to acquire Garko yesterday, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They'd still like a right-handed hitting first baseman.
- The Mets signed former big leaguer Adam Pettyjohn to a minor league deal, according to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.