Tim Byrdak Rumors
Some items from the AL and NL East as the eastern clubs dive into Grapefruit League action...
- Joba Chamberlain won't be a Yankee by this time in 2012, predicts Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Matt Wieters is listed as one of "the most disappointing prospects of all time" by Steven Goldman of Baseball Prospectus. "His glove and the dream of what might have been will keep him around for years, but stardom now seems spectacularly unlikely," Goldman writes. Given that Wieters is entering just his third Major League season and hasn't turned 25 yet, this ranking seems awfully premature.
- The Orioles' farm system lacks depth, especially in comparison to its AL East rivals, writes FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "The team’s offseason moves...represent nothing more than a Band-Aid," Rosenthal says, noting that the O's "are practically a zero" when it comes to international scouting. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined these issues in his offseason-in-review piece about Baltimore earlier today.
- Johnny Damon tells Ken Davidoff of Newsday that his free agent discussions with the Yankees this past winter involved a scenario that would have seen Damon make three starts per week for New York. Damon turned the deal down since the lack of playing time would have hurt his quest for 3000 hits.
- Damon also tells Peter Gammons (Twitter link) that had he known the Tigers weren't going to bring him back, he would have gone to the Red Sox when Boston claimed him on waivers last August.
- The Phillies made Chad Durbin a $2MM offer in December, considerably more than the $800K deal Durbin eventually signed with Cleveland, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Once Philadelphia signed Cliff Lee, however, the team pulled back the contract and instead offered just a minor league deal. "When Cliff signed, it took any ability to go back there on a Major League deal off the table," Durbin told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Durbin doesn't have any hard feelings towards the Phillies over the move: "You know, I'd take Cliff Lee over Chad Durbin."
- Anthony DiComo of MLB.com looks at the twists and turns of Tim Byrdak's baseball career. The veteran left-hander is trying to make the Mets' Opening Day roster after signing a minor league deal with the team in January.
The Mets have agreed to sign left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak to a minor league deal, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). Mike Silva of the New York Baseball Digest first reported the deal.
Byrdak posted a 3.49 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings for the Astros last year before they outrighted him off of their 40-man roster in November. Byrdak has a career ground ball rate of 40.9%, but that figure dropped to 28.6% in 2010, the 37-year-old's ninth big league season.
The Mets and left-hander Tim Byrdak have "mutual interest" in each other and have been discussing a contract, according to Mike Silva of the New York Baseball Digest. Silva thinks a deal could be finalized within "the next couple of days."
We heard earlier today that the Mets were looking for southpaw relief help, and Byrdak fits that bill, holding left-handed batters to a .202/.296/.380 line in his nine Major League seasons. Byrdak, 37, has a 3.46 ERA over the last four seasons but also averaged five walks per nine innings in that stretch; it's actually an upgrade from his career 5.5 BB/9 rate. Byrdak spent the last three seasons with the Astros, who released the southpaw in November.
MONDAY, 10:31am: The Astros have released Byrdak, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
WEDNESDAY, 1:26pm: The Astros outrighted Tim Byrdak, Gustavo Chacin and Matt Nevarez off of the 40-man roster, according to a team press release. Byrdak and Chacin were both arbitration eligible, but MLBTR had identified them as non-tender candidates earlier in the month. Nevarez will be assigned to the Astros’ Triple-A Oklahoma City roster; Byrdak and Chacin can become free agents.
Byrdak, a 37-year-old lefty, posted a 3.49 ERA in 64 relief appearances (38 2/3 innings) with 6.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9. Chacin, also a left-hander, posted a 4.70 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 38 1/3 innings of work. It was his first appearance in the major leagues since 2007, when he was still with the Blue Jays.
The team also signed catcher Carlos Corporan to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. The 26-year-old has just one major league plate appearance to his name (he singled), but he has a .251/.306/.377 line in over 2,000 minor league plate appearances.
Sunday night links..
- The Astros have agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM with pitcher Tim Byrdak, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The dollar figure is the midpoint between Houston's offer and Byrdak's submission. The agreement leaves Wandy Rodriguez as the team's last remaining arbitration eligible player.
- Boston's international scouting efforts are starting to yield some results, writes Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal. Of the twelve minor leaguers at this year's rookie development program, six of them were foreign-born.
- Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) hears that Chuck Greenberg's group will pay $570MM for the Texas Rangers, though he notes that is unconfirmed.
- While all eyes are on Stephen Strasburg in Washington, right-hander Drew Storen is trying to make the Opening Day roster, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The Nationals used their other first-round selection, tenth overall, to select Storen in the 2009 draft.
The Astros have avoided arbitration with Hunter Pence, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $3.5MM, tweets Alyson Footer of MLB.com. The signing leaves Houston with two remaining arbitration-eligible players: Wandy Rodriguez and Tim Byrdak.
Pence received his first All-Star selection in 2009, hitting .282/.346/.472 with 25 homers. He also played a solid right field, recording a UZR/150 of 5.3.
This was the 26-year-old outfielders' first time being arb-eligible. The two parties met in the middle as Pence submitted a figure of $4.1MM and Houston submitted $3.1MM.
Some links for Friday...
- Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that the Nationals have put Josh Willingham on the market once again. If they move the soon-to-be 31-year-old, it could clear the way for Adam Dunn to be moved to the outfield. Willingham recently avoided arbitration with the Nats, agreeing to a one-year, $4.6MM pact.
- Mike Puma of the New York Post hears that the Mets could bring Fernando Tatis back if they don't re-sign Carlos Delgado. However, the Mets have not contacted Tatis' agent.
- The Astros appear unwilling to talk multi-year deals with arbitration-eligible players Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence and Tim Byrdak, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (via Twitter).
- The Cards and Ryan Ludwick avoided arbitration and agreed on a one-year $5.45MM deal for 2010, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- A's prospect Grant Desme is retiring from baseball to "pursue the priesthood," according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Baseball America ranked Desme the club's eighth-best prospect this offseason.
- Craig Brown of Royals Authority doesn't see why the Royals signed Scott Podsednik if they were going to add Rick Ankiel, too.
- Tyler Hissey ranks the remaining free agents. Check out our comprehensive free agent list right here.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Mariners have been working on possible deals involving Jose Lopez.
- Olney says Jim Thome is talking with a few teams.
- Could the Brewers lock Prince Fielder up to a deal that keeps the first baseman in Milwaukee after the 2011 season? MLB.com's Adam McCalvy asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin if the club might extend Fielder soon and Melvin said: "I don't know the answer to that."
- Meanwhile, another big left-handed slugger is just looking for a job. Jim Thome remains available, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he's happy to rotate players in and out of the DH spot this year.
- The Pirates, who are likely done making major moves this offseason, project to have an Opening Day payroll of $35.65MM, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog tweets that the Mets are close to making a deal.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says he's going to "tweak and add" before the season starts, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.
- Washington tendered contracts to Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Jason Bergmann, and Sean Burnett.
- Zach Duke was tendered an offer by the Pirates.
- The Marlins reached an agreement with Ronny Paulino. The deal will be for one-year, $1.1MM.
- The Royals avoided arbitration by reaching one year deals with Brian Bannister ($2.3MM) Roman Colon ($660K), and Kyle Davies ($1.8MM).
- Dioner Navarro will remain with the Rays on a one-year deal worth $2.1MM.
- The White Sox will offer contracts to Bobby Jenks, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Tony Pena.
- Milwaukee will tender offers to six players: Dave Bush, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Corey Hart, and Carlos Gomez.
- Toronto will tender an offer to Jeremy Accardo.
- Kevin Correia will remain with the Padres for one-year, $3.6MM.
- The Rangers have signed Esteban German to a 2010 contract. He'll earn $600K in the majors and $200K in the minors. They offered contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players including Scott Feldman, Chris Ray, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and Josh Hamilton.
- Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Lance Cormier by inking him to a one-year deal. The contract will pay Cormier $1.2MM.
- The Twins will tender contracts to all 30 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. That means Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Delmon Young, and many more figure to be in the Twins' plans in 2010.
- The following eight Cubs will receive offers from the team: Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, and Mike Fontenot.
- Atlanta tendered offers to relievers Peter Moylan and Boone Logan.
- The Marlins will tender offers to almost all of their arbitration-eligible players - Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Cody Ross, Josh Johnson, Leo Nunez, and Renyel Pinto.
- The Astros will tender offers to all remaining arbitration-eligible players. This means Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Jeff Keppinger, and Humberto Quintero are invited back.
- Matt Albers and Cla Meredith have agreed to terms with the Orioles. Albers' deal is worth $.68MM for one-year. Meanwhile, Meredith will recieve $.85MM in 2010.
- Randy Choate agreed to a one year deal. Terms of the deal are one-year, $700K.
4:10pm: MLB.com's Alyson Footer says the Astros signed Byrdak for $1MM.
12:03pm: According to the Houston Chronicle's Brian McTaggart:
Astros general manager Ed Wade said today the club signed righthander Brandon Backe to a one-year, $1.55 million contract worth more than $1 million more in incentives.
The Astros filed figures for Tim Byrdak, Geoff Geary, and Wandy Rodriguez, but will continue negotiating in advance of the scheduled February hearings.
- J.J. Putz is out for at least a few weeks; the fantasy baseball world reacts.
- The Astros inked Tim Byrdak, selling him on an easy path to the big leagues. The 34 year-old southpaw had a 3.20 ERA last year, albeit with poor control.
- The Twins added former closer Danny Graves to their Triple A club. He's also 34. His peripherals weren't too impressive last year for the Long Island Ducks despite 33 saves.
- I did a Q&A with Dexter Sports.
- Unfortunately Corey Koskie doesn't seem anywhere close to coming back.
- Joe Sports Fan looks at baseball's "bespectacled heroes."
- Correcting an SI.com report from yesterday, MetsBlog says there's been no contact between the Mets and Edgardo Alfonzo.