Sidney Ponson Rumors

Rangers Sign Sidney Ponson

The Rangers have signed Sidney Ponson to a minor league deal, and he will arrive in camp on Monday, according to Richard Durrett of The Dallas Morning News.  GM Jon Daniels says Ponson is in good shape.  If he’s indeed touching 94 mph and has turned over a new leaf, he might just be able to do some good.  The Rangers aren’t risking anything here.

Ponson, 32, made seven lousy starts for the Twins last year.  This winter, he pitched 14.2 innings while allowing two runs for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.  He struck out eight and walked four in the stint.  He also had the opportunity to hang out with Quinton McCracken and Danny Graves, among others (note: not sure if he actually hung out with those two.  I would’ve.)

Odds and Ends: Johnson, Ponson, Nady

Ever lose a contact in the bathroom and scour for it for hours?  That was my morning.  Good times.  On to the links.

  • Friend of MLBTR Susan Slusser notes that the Giants had two scouts watching the A’s on Wednesday.  One guy they might have been eyeing is first baseman Dan Johnson.  It seems that Johnson, who is out of options, may be able to linger around on the A’s roster until at least mid-April given the expanded rosters for the Japan series.  And since Slusser’s article we’ve learned that Daric Barton‘s hand injury is more serious than initially thought.  That could buy Johnson even more time if the A’s aren’t ready to trade him.
  • The Cardinals, Mariners, Royals, and Diamondbacks, Astros, and Rangers were among teams with scouts watching Sidney Ponson touch 94mph today.  He’s stopped drinking and lost some weight; who knows, maybe he can help an NL club.
  • Peter Abraham views Joba Chamberlain‘s recent comments with a little skepticism.
  •’s Marty Noble calls a Mets trade for Xavier Nady "quite unlikely," though an anonymous Mets player likes the idea.

Odds and Ends: Ponson, Inge, Papelbon

Let’s round up some Monday morning links.

  • The Cardinals are taking another look at Sidney Ponson.  Insert your own punchline in the comments.
  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun could see the O’s making a minor trade for a veteran second baseman if they acquire Ronny Cedeno but not Eric Patterson in a Brian Roberts deal with the Cubs.
  • Brandon Inge is trying his best to talk his way out of town.  The Dodgers’ recently reported nibble hasn’t been publicly shot down, so that’s a plus.
  • South Side Sox thinks speedy infielder Eugenio Velez is the type of player the White Sox could desire for Joe Crede.
  • Jonathan Papelbon wants $900K in his last year before arbitration eligibility.  Ryan Howard set a scary precedent last year.  If Papelbon doesn’t get offered something close, he’d rather make a statement and be renewed near the minimum.
  • Buster Olney suggests Dan Johnson and Doug Mientkiewicz could be possibilities for the Mets in their quest for a backup first baseman.  Olney speculated on Nick Johnson, Scott Hatteberg, Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, and Kevin Millar the day before.

Stark’s Latest: Prior, Lofton, Otsuka

ESPN’s Jayson Stark dishes some good rumorage in his latest column.

  • Stark dug around to find all the Mark Prior suitors and came up with this list: Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Mariners, Mets, Cardinals, Padres, Astros, Giants, Reds, Nationals (11 teams).  Let’s compare notes.  MLBTR readers have seen the Yankees, Mets, Cards, Padres, Astros, Reds, and Nats linked to Prior already.  So Stark has added the Red Sox, White Sox, Mariners, and Giants.  The idea of the Mariners runs contrary to this article.  Stark did not name the Rangers, who are said to be aggressively pursuing Prior.  Prior is dead set on a one-year deal and would take a big league mound in May in the best case.
  • The Phils are focused on Geoff Jenkins and Mike Cameron, offering two year deals to each.  They might just take the first one to accept.  Stark says Kenny Lofton could be an option if both decline.  Lofton batted a career-best .335 for the Phils in ’05.
  • Stark rattles off a laundry list of pitchers the Phillies are interested in: Akinori Otsuka, Byung-Hyun Kim, Roberto Hernandez, Kris Benson, John Parrish, Sidney Ponson, Chad Durbin, Kyle Lohse, and Jeremy Affeldt.  Given Stark’s 21 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, I imagine he has a connection or two.  Most of those are new names besides Benson, Lohse, Ponson, and Affeldt.
  • A source of Stark picks the Yankees as the favorite for Johan, but it should be noted that they’re having internal debates about pulling Phil Hughes off the table.
  • For all the crazy Cubs fans we’ve got here: Stark says they’ve talked to the Orioles about both Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard, but couldn’t pull off a deal for both.  They favor Roberts even though they need Bedard much more.

Phillies Interested In Cameron, Benson

ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote recently that the Phillies have expressed interest in center fielder Mike Cameron, now that the Padres are out of the mix.  Pat Gillick, who had Cameron back in Seattle, may have warmed to the idea of a two-year contract.  Back on December 6th Todd Zolecki said the Phils didn’t even want to go that far.  Stark says the White Sox and Rangers are other contenders for Cameron.

Also, both the Phillies and Padres remain on the trail of Geoff Jenkins, according to Zolecki.  His choices have been narrowed down to those two clubs since Friday.

The Phils will be among many teams watching Kris Benson throw tomorrow.  Benson is a popular bargain option; we’ve known that the Yankees, Cardinals, Royals, and Marlins may be watching on Monday as well.  Nick Cafardo says ten teams will observe Benson, adding the Rockies and Dodgers as new ones.  We’re still three short! 

The Phils also could give a minor-league deal to Sidney Ponson.  I’ll let you add your own punchline there. 

Twins Notes: Morneau, Ponson

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has a few Twins tidbits for us this morning:

  • He says the Twins want a fifth option year on Justin Morneau‘s multiyear pact in the range of $14MM.  Three days ago, Morneau said the two sides were "pretty close."  At that time, Morneau confirmed that he was never offered the 4/33 deal that Joe Mauer received.
  • Walters also writes: "It will be a shock if pitcher Sidney Ponson isn’t released by the Twins."  Back in late February, Ron Gardenhire said he viewed Ponson as being one of the team’s starters.  If his neck is OK, it would be nice to see Matt Garza win the job instead. 

Buzz Around The Game

Believe it or not, there’s a ton of stuff going on today that doesn’t involve the words "Prior" or "Tejada."

A tentative Troy Glaus trade has been reached.  The Diamondbacks dumped Glaus and his contract on the Blue Jays for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista.  Brandon Webb, far and away the most extreme groundball pitcher in baseball, benefits greatly from the addition of Hudson.  Another effect is the breakup of a highly rated defensive infield, at least in the eyes of Dayn Perry.  The Blue Jays now have a logjam of 1B/3B/DH guys, and Rosenthal speculates that Shea Hillenbrand is the most likely to go.  Should Shea stay true to his word, he’ll be a nice pickup.  It’s a homecoming for Miguel Batista; let’s hope the team correctly employs him as a starter.  Even with Glaus gone, the Diamondbacks still haven’t cleared up a corner outfield spot for #1 prospect Carlos Quentin.  The kid’s more than ready; let’s hope GM Josh Byrnes can unload Luis Gonzalez or Shawn Green as his next trick.   

Jason Johnson makes a sweet pickup for the Indians’ rotation.  Like Millwood last year, the Indians found a starting pitcher and only had to commit to one year.  In Paul Byrd, Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, and Johnson, the Tribe has built a deep rotation.  Combined, the five of them threw 1023 innings in 2005.  Seems Mark Shapiro has taken a page from Kenny Williams’s book, especially considering that he also has an excellent bullpen in place.

The Cards snagged Juan Encarnacion and Junior Spivey.  The reaction at Viva El Birdos to the revamped 2006 lineup:

"To be honest and blunt, i don’t see a single position where the Cardinals have meaningfully improved." 

That sentiment includes the bullpen and starting rotation as well.  Which reminds me – how can the Cardinals possibly justify blocking Anthony Reyes with Sidney Ponson?  The Ponson signing means one of three things:

1.  There are concerns about Reyes’s health that have not been revealed to the public.
2.  Jason Marquis will be traded this winter.
3.  Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are so loathe put a rookie starter out there every fifth day that they’d prefer yet another fixer-upper.  Even if said fixer-upper had a 5.64 ERA over his last 346 innings.

Cardinals fans have got to be hoping for option #2.