Shawn Camp Rumors

Cubs Notes: Camp, Pitching, Bush

The Cubs flirted with the idea of trading Alfonso Soriano during the season and many have speculated that they could once again try to find a fit for him this winter.  Last week, however, Soriano said that he would be reluctant to join an AL club as a designated hitter.  Here's more out of Wrigley..

  • Right-hander Shawn Camp is the Cubs' only free agent this winter and team President Theo Epstein says that he is interested in having him back, tweets Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.  Camp, who hooked on with the Cubs on a minor league deal in March, posted a 3.59 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 80 appearances last season.
  • Epstein added that the Cubs will likely pursue two starting pitchers, either through trades or free agency, this winter, Miles writes.  The deadline deals of Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm combined with the elbow injury to Matt Garza left the rotation short-handed last year.
  • The Cubs gave Assistant GM Randy Bush a three-year contract extension, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (via Twitter).  Bush is entering his seventh season in the position and his ninth season overall with the organization.

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Cubs Sign Shawn Camp

The Cubs signed right-hander Shawn Camp to a minor league deal, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (Twitter links). The Mariners released the reliever five days ago.

Camp spent the last four seasons with the Blue Jays, and posted a 4.21 ERA with 4.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 53.5% groundball rate in 66 1/3 innings a year ago. The Blue Jays did not offer the right-hander arbitration after the season despite his Type B status.


Mariners Release Shawn Camp

The Mariners announced that they have released reliever Shawn Camp. The 36-year-old Dave Meier client had signed a Major League deal worth $750K in February. Seattle now has 38 players on its 40-man roster.

Camp spent the last four seasons with the Blue Jays, and posted a 4.21 ERA with 4.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 53.5% groundball rate in 66 1/3 innings a year ago. The Blue Jays did not offer the right-hander arbitration after the season despite his Type B status. Greg Johns of MLB.com first reported the news.



Mariners Sign Shawn Camp

FEBRUARY 16: Camp's deal is worth $750K, MLBTR has learned.

FEBRUARY 6: The Mariners signed reliever Shawn Camp to a Major League deal, tweets Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle.  The Mariners announced the signings of Camp and Hong-Chih Kuo, noting they've designated catcher Chris Gimenez and outfielder Mike Wilson to open spots on the 40-man roster for the new relievers.

Camp, 36, posted a 4.21 ERA, 4.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.41 HR/9, and 53.5% groundball rate in 66 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays last year.  His agent Dave Meier did well in scoring a Major League deal this late in the offseason.  Camp was a Type B free agent this winter, but the Blue Jays did not offer arbitration and will not receive draft pick compensation.  The Mariners have added to their bullpen on the cheap this winter with Camp, Kuo, George Sherrill, and Aaron Heilman.

Gimenez, 29, was non-tendered in December but then quickly re-signed to a big league deal.  Wilson, 28, hit .331/.418/.555 with 16 home runs in 388 plate appearances in his third pass at the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:


Quick Hits: Aramis, Manny, Royals, Blue Jays

Albert Pujols has a .304/.373/.551 line after tonight's four-hit performance, but the Cardinals' win didn't bring them any closer to the Braves, who still hold a 2.5 game advantage in the Wild Card standings. Here are tonight's links…

  • Aramis Ramirez told Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald that he has "probably" played his last game as a Cub at Wrigley Field (Twitter links). As Ramirez points out, he can't negotiate a new deal with the Cubs at the moment since they don't currently have a permanent GM. I took a look at possible suitors for the third baseman last week.
  • Manny Ramirez intends to play in the Dominican winter league for the Cibao Eagles, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). 
  • The Royals are promoting Kelvin Herrera, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). They will need to create 40-man roster space to promote the right-hander, as their roster is at its full complement. The Royals don't have any players on the 15-day DL, so there's no way of transferring a player to the 60-day DL for an easy fix.
  • Shawn Camp and Edwin Encarnacion told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that they'd like to return to Toronto in 2012. Camp hits free agency after the season, while the Blue Jays control Encarnacion's rights for '12 with an option that I discussed earlier in the month.

Blue Jays Aim For Bullpen Depth

San Diego's relievers combined to strike out more than a batter per inning over the course of the 2010 season, while limiting hits, walks and homers. Manager Bud Black saw five of his relievers appear in 30 or more games and emerge with ERAs under 2.00 at the end of the season and the Padres' NL West rivals weren't the only ones to notice.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he'd like to have a deep bullpen in 2011, like the Padres did last year. He says he's happy to keep more relievers than usual on his roster this year and that the acquisition of Frank Francisco doesn't mean a trade is imminent. The Blue Jays' plans for their relievers haven't changed.

"No impact at all," Anthopoulos said yesterday on a conference call to announce the acquisition of Francisco from the Rangers. "They're all quality relievers and we love having depth in the bullpen one through seven."

Or maybe one through eight. The Blue Jays have discussed the possibility of opening the season with an eight-man bullpen to accomodate their arms and provide manager John Farrell with a variety of options. Though the Jays could open the year with an extra arm in the 'pen, Anthopoulos said a traditional seven-man ensemble is more likely at this point. The Blue Jays' rotation is relatively young and inexperienced, so the team's front office would like to support starters like Brett Cecil and, possibly, Kyle Drabek with steady relief pitching.

"It's certainly part of it," Anthopoulos said. "We don't want to overtax our young starters."

The Blue Jays don't want to overtax their relievers, either. Anthopoulos says there can be a ripple effect when teams have deep bullpens. If every reliever is capable of performing in meaningful situations, no pitcher gets overused. But Anthopoulos has no illusions; even qualified, well-rested relievers struggle and the 2011 Blue Jays won't be any different.

"We all know that they will get hurt," he said. "Some of them won't perform. They'll have bad months."

Take Jason Frasor (pictured), one of the holdovers in the team's new-look bullpen. He walked nearly a batter per inning in April, 2010 and posted an 8.38 ERA through the season’s first month, but recovered from his turbulent start and put together a fine year. He'll join Francisco and free agent signings Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel, the relievers Anthopoulos expects to compete for the Jays' closing job.

Frasor

Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva are also right-handed relievers under team control for $1MM-plus in 2011, so the Blue Jays have a surplus of big league arms and could hear from pitching-starved teams before the season begins.

The Jays have seven established right-handed relievers, but Toronto's left-handers have considerably less experience. David Purcey, an out-of-options 28-year-old, was reasonably effective in 2010. He's a leading candidate to make the club, though his walk rate and fly ball rate have been high throughout his brief MLB career. Jo-Jo Reyes is also out of options, but he has made just 11 relief appearances as a pro. Jesse Carlson, who was a mainstay in 2009, could also crack the team's roster.

While their AL East rivals to the south, the Rays, had to lower payroll this offseason and rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Anthopoulos reaffirmed that he has the flexibility to ask for more money if necessary. The Blue Jays can continue spending on their bullpen, even as their young starters become more expensive.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Monday

Teams and players exchange arbitration figures tomorrow if they haven't already come to terms for 2011. That means plenty of players will likely avoid arbitration today. We'll keep track of them all right here and with our Arbitration Tracker; the latest updates are at the top of this post:


Downs, Frasor, Gregg, Camp All Claimed Off Waivers

SATURDAY, 12:24pm: ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Jays will probably not be moving any of their relievers at this point.

FRIDAY, 8:09pm: Blue Jays relievers Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg, and Shawn Camp were all claimed off trade waivers according to The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott (Twitter link). It's unknown who any of claiming teams were. 

The Jays made all of their relievers available before the trade deadline, but no one stepped up and met their asking price(s). There has also been no indication that the team is trying to move any of the four, but Downs and Frasor are scheduled to become free agents after the season while there is a club option for Gregg's services. Camp is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next season as well.


Poll: The Blue Jays’ Bullpen

The Blue Jays made most of their relief pitchers available before the trade deadline, but no team stepped forward to meet their asking price for Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, and/or Shawn Camp. There was plenty of interest in each, but nothing came of it. 

Yesterday we learned that all four were claimed off trade waivers by unknown teams (or perhaps it was just one team), but we don't know how sincere GM Alex Anthopoulos is about moving his top late game relievers. With Frasor and Downs scheduled to become a free agents after the season, it's possible he'll look to move them for prospects now rather than gamble on compensation draft picks later (both project to be Type-A free agents).

Which relievers will the Blue Jays trade?

Click here to take the poll, and here to see the results.