Toby Hall Rumors

Blue Jays Bid $50MM For Darvish

The Blue Jays bid over $50MM for Yu Darvish, falling just short of the Rangers' $51.7MM bid, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Here's the latest on the Blue Jays’ division, starting with a right-hander who spent three up-and-down seasons in Toronto… 

  • Several teams are kicking the tires on acquiring A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees will have to absorb significant salary to make a deal and Burnett can veto trades to ten teams per year, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
  • The Yankees bid less than $20MM for Darvish, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette explains the team's shrinking pro scouting department to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. "In an effort to make an impact on the franchise, I can argue that the scouts are most valuable to a team at the amateur level,” Duquette said. “They can have a bigger impact on this organization.”
  • Former Rays catcher Toby Hall has decided to retire, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The 36-year-old spent seven seasons with the Rays and last played in the Major Leagues in 2008. 
  • Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears the Rays are one of the teams that has asked the Padres about Anthony Rizzo (Twitter link). However, the Padres, who have been flooded with interest, aren't matching up that well with the Rays at this point, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • MLB executives expect Gio Gonzalez to be traded relatively soon now that Darvish is no longer available, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Red Sox are among Gonzalez’s suitors.

Minor Deals: Lamb, Hall, Johnson, Baisley

Today's minor deals include a number of former Major Leaguers…

  • The Nationals re-signed Ron Villone, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). As Eddy points out, the 18-year veteran has been traded for Greg Vaughn and Andy Benes.
  • The Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League signed Mike Lamb, Toby Hall and Jason Johnson, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat (on Twitter). Lamb, 35, was a pinch hitter for the Marlins last year after missing the 2009 season; Hall, a nine-year veteran, hasn't spent time in the majors since 2008 and Johnson, a 37-year-old right-hander with 11 years of MLB experience, has been out of the majors for two years as well.
  • The Dodgers signed right-hander Steven Jackson to a minor league deal, according to Eddy (on Twitter). He appeared in 11 games for the Pirates last year, but got much more exposure in 2009 when he posted a 3.14 ERA in 40 relief appearances despite walking more batters than he struck out.
  • The Reds signed right-hander Tyree Hayes, the son of former MLB third baseman Charlie Hayes, according to Eddy (on Twitter). Hayes, 22, has yet to advance past Class A in five pro seasons.
  • The Twins signed former Royals prospect Joe Dickerson, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter). The 2005 fourth rounder didn't play last year.
  • The Angels signed former A's prospect Jeff Baisley, according to Goldstein (on Twitter). The 28-year-old played in 14 games for the 2008 A's and posted an .845 OPS in the upper minors of their system last year.

Odds & Ends: Hall, Lowell, Myers, Valentine, Lee

Some links for Thursday as Rangers GM Jon Daniels decides exactly how he wants to dye his hair



Texas Pursuing Jose Molina

Jose Molina is the Rangers' "No.1 target" in the free agent catching market, reports Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Molina and Rod Barajas each turned down minor-league deals from Texas, with Wilson saying that Molina "isn't in a hurry to sign until some other catchers set the early-spring market."

Molina could also be holding out for a situation where he would have a better chance at a steady role, given that he would be one of seven catchers in the Rangers camp.  Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the favorites to win or share the starting job, but Saltalamacchia's September shoulder surgery has left Texas looking for a veteran backstop in case their young star isn't ready for Opening Day.  Wilson points out that Toby Hall (another experienced catcher signed to a minor-league deal by Texas last month) and Molina share the same agent.

Molina .217/.292/.268 in 155 plate appearances for the Yankees last season.  He has a career OPS of .609 in 10 major league seasons.


Rangers Sign Toby Hall

The Rangers have signed catcher Toby Hall to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  Sullivan writes that the move gives Texas some depth at catcher.

Hall has played in 686 major league games, mostly for the Rays and White Sox with a short Dodgers stint in between.  His last season in the big show was in 2008, when he played in 41 games for the White Sox, posting an OPS of .634.

Hall elected to undergo shoulder surgery roughly eleven months ago, which resulted in the Astros voiding his minor league deal.


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Astros Void Hall’s Contract

Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports the Houston Astros will void the minor league contract of Toby Hall.

Hall’s shoulder requires surgery, which will keep him out of the game for nearly four months. The Astros had expected Hall to recover from his injury via rehab over a timeframe closer to one month.

Presumably, Hall will re-enter the market once his health is firmly established. It’s not a stretch to suggest some competitive team might need catching help in the middle of the 2009 season, so Hall may find a job yet.

As for the Astros, their catcher competition going forward consists of a battle for two spots between Humberto Quintero, J.R. Towles, and Rule 5 pick Lou Palmisano.


Astros Toby Hall, Four Others

I don’t believe we have covered all of the Astros’ recent minor league signings.  Brian McTaggart reported yesterday that they’ve added Toby Hall, Danny Graves, Jose Capellan, Chad Paronto, and Brian Esposito.  Hall is the "big name" here; he hit .260/.304/.331 in 136 plate appearances for the White Sox while earning $1.75MM.


White Sox Looking To Trade Vazquez?

The latest on the White Sox…

  • GM Ken Williams wants a younger, more athletic club, but still expects to compete in 2009.  Players such as Chris Getz, Josh Fields, Jayson Nix, Jerry Owens, Brian Anderson, and Clayton Richard could play prominent roles on next year’s team.  Sox Machine offers their take on Williams’ comments.
  • Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times lists Brian Roberts, Coco Crisp, Chone Figgins, and Orlando Hudson as potential Sox targets.  Williams didn’t talk much about his wish list yesterday, suggesting that last year’s openness hindered his progress.  If the Sox sign Hudson, they’ll give their #24 pick in next year’s draft to the D’Backs.
  • Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times says trading starter Javier Vazquez is Williams’ top offseason priority.  Cowley believes Williams could look for an infielder in return.  Vazquez will earn $23MM over the next two seasons, and has a limited no-trade clause to block trades to NL and AL West teams.
  • Also in Cowley’s article – free agent catcher Toby Hall seems likely to re-sign.

White Sox Decline Options On Griffey, Hall

According to a press release, the White Sox have officially declined their options on Ken Griffey Jr. and Toby Hall for 2009.

The Sox chose Griffey’s $4MM buyout over his $16MM option (they’ll split the buyout with the Reds).  For Hall, they chose a $150K buyout over his $2.25MM option.  Hall may still be re-signed.


White Sox Offseason Possibilities

I did a White Sox Offseason Outlook earlier this month, rattling off available speedy players and also suggesting a Bobby Jenks trade be explored.  Today, Chicago Tribune beat writer Mark Gonzales offers his take on the Sox.

Gonzales sees Juan Uribe and Toby Hall as two players the White Sox hope to re-sign, with Hall at a lower salary than his $2.25MM option.  Orlando Cabrera, Ken Griffey Jr., and Joe Crede will be gone.  Cabrera is good for two draft picks if the Sox offer arbitration and he signs elsewhere.

Gonzales wonders if a Paul Konerko for Chone Figgins trade could take shape, but only if the White Sox add players.  Konerko is owed $24MM for 2009-10, with full no-trade rights. Figgins should earn $5MM+ in ’09 before he hits free agency for the first time.  It may be hard to get the Angels interested – Figgins fits their club, and they’ll try to re-sign Mark TeixeiraKendry Morales may be the backup plan at first.

Gonzales sees the Rockies as another potential trade partner for Sox GM Ken Williams, naming Garrett Atkins and Willy Taveras as potential matches. Taveras may be had for a song, but Atkins should require young pitching.

A few free agents to consider: Orlando Hudson, Dennys Reyes, and Alex Cora.