Tsuyoshi Wada Rumors

Tsuyoshi Wada Becomes Free Agent

The Orioles declined their $5MM 2014 option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, making him a free agent, the MLB Players Association announced. Wada signed a two-year, $8.15MM deal with the O's before the 2012 season, but never appeared in a major league game for the club, as he required Tommy John surgery shortly after signing.

Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun tweets that the Orioles are interested in retaining Wada on a minor league deal. In 102 2/3 innings this season for Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate, the 32-year-old posted a 4.03 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.


Quick Hits: Alburquerque, Wada, Francis

Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque has changed agencies from ACES to Beverly Hills Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Major League Baseball investigates ACES' possible ties to the Biogenesis scandal. Alburquerque has pitched 71 innings in his big-league career, posting a 1.90 ERA with 16.3 K/9 and 8.2 BB/9. He has 14 1/3 innings pitched for the Tigers this year. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • MLB's latest PED scandal could impact pennant races and the trading deadline, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider-only). Teams don't know the identities of all the players in the Biogenesis scandal and who might be suspended as a result, Bowden writes, and that could make it difficult for GMs as they head down the stretch. Melky Cabrera's abrupt departure from the Giants last August — after the trading deadline — is the sort of scenario that might be faced by some GMs, who will have a hard time preparing for suspensions they might not be sure are coming. The Giants, of course, won the World Series even without Cabrera, but they didn't have one of their most productive hitters in the final six weeks of the regular season. This year, the Rangers, for example, will have to consider their backup plan in case Nelson Cruz, who has been named in the scandal, is suspended.
  • The list of sellers at this year's trade deadline could be large, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal's list of potential sellers includes three teams that entered the season with lofty aspirations (the Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays), along with the Astros, Marlins, Phillies, Padres, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Royals, Mariners and Mets. That's a very long list, which suggests that it might be a buyer's market at the deadline. Rosenthal says, however, that some of those teams (the Angels, Blue Jays, Phillies and Royals, in particular) might not actually sell, even though some of their records right now might dictate that they would.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada of the Orioles could agree to remain in the minor leagues once his rehab stint is over, reports MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko. Wada has not pitched well for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 5.87 ERA in 23 innings, and after having elbow surgery, he has yet to make his big-league debut despite being in the second year of a two-year, $8.15MM deal. That deal hasn't worked out well, but Kubatko quotes a scout who says it made sense at the time. "[Wada] was worth the gamble. When he came in, (Miguel) Gonzalez wasn't there, (Wei-Yin) Chen wasn't established, (Jason) Hammel wasn't there yet. So he was worth the gamble. And it wasn't a lot of money."
  • Jeff Francis will likely start on Saturday for the Rockies, but his future with the organization is in question, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. "I think I can help this team, and I think I can do a lot of things," says Francis. "But I know that the reality of baseball is that if you don’t do them enough, then your time runs out." Francis had posted a 6.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 before landing on the disabled list with a strained groin. Tyler Chatwood, who Francis will replace on Saturday, will still have his rotation spot when he returns from a sore triceps, and Roy Oswalt, currently at Double-A Tulsa, is slated to join the big-league team shortly.

East Links: Braves, Nolin, Wheeler, Wada

There were plenty of headlines made in both the AL East and NL East last night, with Kevin Gausman making his Major League debut and Chase Utley hitting the 15-day disabled list. More news and rumors from baseball's Eastern divisions…

  • The addition of a second wild card team in each league hurts teams such as the Braves that have early-season needs, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Few teams are ready to pack it in and declare themselves sellers at this stage, but Atlanta could use some left-handed relief help with Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters out for the season. Olney's Insider-only piece runs down some potentially available lefties.
  • The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Sean Nolin from Double-A New Hampshire and transferred J.A. Happ to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster space, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Darren Oliver hit the 15-day DL to clear a 25-man roster spot.
  • The New York Post's Mike Puma cites a "high-ranking club official" as he reports that Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler should join the club in two to three weeks, barring any injury setbacks. Puma's source told him that were it not for a minor shoulder injury that caused Wheeler to miss a start, he might already be with the big league club. Jeremy Hefner is the most likely rotation casualty, Puma adds.
  • The Orioles have about three weeks to make a decision on what to do with rehabbing lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore. The Japanese lefty has yet to throw a pitch for the O's since signing a two-year, $8.15MM contract thanks to Tommy John surgery.


Orioles Facing Roster Decisions On Wada, Jurrjens

The Orioles will soon face roster decisions on left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and right-hander Jair Jurrjens, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports. If all goes well in Wada's extended Spring Training game today, the Orioles can send him on a minor league rehab assignment for as many as 30 days. Wada's contract — a two-year, $8.15MM pact — stipulates that he cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent.

Wada has yet to appear in a game for the Orioles since signing that contract prior to the 2012 season. He made just one appearance for the O's at Triple-A before being diagnosed with a torn UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to the signing, Wada was coming off a two-year stretch in which he posted a 2.29 ERA in 354 innings in Japan.

The Orioles could consider a relief role for Wada, but the team already has three left-handers in Troy Patton, Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland. Patton has drawn trade interest, according to Kubatko, but there's no indication that the Orioles would move him — especially before ascertaining that McFarland can succeed over the course of a full season. McFarland, a Rule 5 pick, has allowed a .318/.348/.545 batting line to opposing lefties thus far.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Jurrjens has a June 15 opt-out clause in his minor league contract. Jurrjens has posted a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate thus far.

The O's are currently deploying a rotation that consists of Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Steve Johnson and Freddy Garcia. Johnson will make his first start Saturday due to the fact that Miguel Gonzalez hit the disabled list with a blister on his thumb. Obviously, that ailment won't keep Gonzalez out for a significant period of time. Garcia seems to be the odd man out, but Kubatko notes that he's pitched well in both of his starts for Baltimore aside from a one-inning hiccup in each.

Beyond all the names listed by Kubatko, the Orioles also have intriguing arms in Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton currently pitching at Triple-A. Each former top prospect has looked sharp at Norfolk, but neither has a clear-cut rotation spot at the Major League level.

It's a bit early in the season to be working out significant trades — and this is just my speculation — but the Phillies have made it known that they are considering outside candidates to replace Roy Halladay in their rotation. Perhaps the two sides could line up as trade partners sometime in the next month.


AL East Notes: Rays, Pauley, Encarnacion, Wada

Here's the latest from the AL East…

  • The Rays' success with low-budget acquisitions stands out in contrast to other teams' lack of return on expensive free agents, writes Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times.  The Rays had a modest offseason and have baseball's second-best record, while Shelton notes the Marlins have only a .500 record after spending big last winter.
  • Rays ownership's patience with the Andrew Friedman/Matt Silverman/Joe Maddon management team is a big reason why Tampa Bay has become a consistent contender, writes MLB.com's Bill Chastain.
  • The Blue Jays offered David Pauley a minor league contract in March, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.  Pauley decided to sign with the Angels instead since "there was an opportunity to come and play" in Los Angeles.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos "deserves a lot of credit" for Edwin Encarnacion's success in 2012, manager John Farrell tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  "[Anthopoulos] is the one that has talked about him repeatedly, and consistently, with the belief that there is an above-average offensive player in there," Farrell said.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list, the Orioles announced today.  The move creates space on the 40-man roster for right-hander Stu Pomeranz (brother of Rockies' hurler Drew Pomeranz), who had his contract selected from Triple-A.  Wada is set to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the 2012 season.
  • Fangraphs' Matt Klaassen looks at J.J. Hardy as "an excellent trade chip," though the Orioles' decision to move Hardy or any other veterans has been impacted by the club's surprising rise to the top of the standings.
  • The Yankees might be wise to retain impending free agent Nick Swisher, opines Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog, though signing him could be difficult given the Yankees' plan to fit their payroll under the luxury tax threshold by 2014. 
  • For more on the Bronx Bombers, check out this collection of Yankees notes compiled earlier today by MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Wada Requires Tommy John Surgery

Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada requires Tommy John surgery, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Japanese starter has yet to appear in a game for the Orioles, who signed him to a two-year, $8.15MM contract this offseason.

Wada posted a 1.51 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2011, but has been sidelined so far this year. The Orioles have a 2014 club option for Wada, who's now 31.


Orioles Sign Tsuyoshi Wada

The Orioles announced that they have signed Japanese starter Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year deal that includes a club option for 2014. The contract guarantees the free agent left-hander $8.15MM and the option is worth $5MM, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun The Orioles are also seriously interested in Japanese starter Wei-Yin Chen, as Connolly reported yesterday.

Wada posted a 1.51 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2011. The 30-year-old is a  Dallas Braden type with "a 86-87 mph fastball, a good circle change, and a solid slider," according to Patrick Newman of FanGraphs. Manager Buck Showalter can now add Wada to a rotation that will include some of the following pitchers: Jeremy Guthrie, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Zach Britton and Dana Eveland.

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that the Orioles would sign Wada, who placed 34th on MLBTR's list of top free agents. Connolly first reported that the sides were nearing a deal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports added detail.


Orioles Nearing Deal With Tsuyoshi Wada

11:22am: The Orioles are "really working on" a deal for Chen as well, tweets Connolly. There's more competition for Chen, who will likely cost more than Wada in terms of years and dollars.

9:35am: The sides are nearing a two-year, $8.15MM deal that will include an option for 2014, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links).

8:46am: The Orioles are closing in on a multiyear deal with Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles haven't finalized an agreement with the free agent, but they're "getting there." 

Wada posted a 1.51 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2011. The 30-year-old is a Dallas Braden type with "a 86-87 mph fastball, a good circle change, and a solid slider," according to Patrick Newman of FanGraphs

Connolly notes that the Orioles remain interested in left-hander Wei-Yin ChenMLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested in November that a four-year, $20MM deal might be enough to sign the 26-year-old free agent. He posted a 2.68 ERA with 5.1 K/9 in 164 2/3 innings this past season.


Pirates Interested In Cespedes, Chen, Wada

The Pirates are interested in outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and free agent left-handers Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter links). However, they'll quickly back away if the bidding on Cespedes gets "crazy." Cespedes is expected to become a free agent relatively soon and Wada and Chen have been able to negotiate with MLB teams since free agency began Thursday.

Wada posted a 1.51 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2011. The 30-year-old is a Dallas Braden type with "a 86-87 mph fastball, a good circle change, and a solid slider," according to Patrick Newman of FanGraphs

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested last month that a four-year, $20MM deal might be enough to sign Chen. The 26-year-old posted a 2.68 ERA with 5.1 K/9 in 164 2/3 innings this past season.


Morosi On Fielder, Randy Wells, Guthrie

A "tense three-week period that will shape [baseball's] landscape for the following year" begins today, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  His latest:

  • Agent Scott Boras has pared down Prince Fielder's sales pitch binder but still has 70 pages worth, he tells Morosi.  Morosi says Fielder's suitors are believed to be the Cubs, Nationals, Rangers, and Mariners.
  • The Cubs are open to moving Randy Wells, indicates Morosi as he lists available starting pitchers.  Wells, 29, is under team control through 2014.  MLBTR projects him to earn $2.2MM in 2012.  
  • The Angels and Orioles discussed the possibility of a Jeremy Guthrie trade in recent days.  Guthrie, 33 in April, projects to earn $8.3MM in 2012 before hitting free agency.
  • Japanese players including righty Hisashi Iwakuma, lefties Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, and second baseman Kensuke Tanaka can begotiate with MLB teams after free agency in Japan begins Thursday.  The Yakult Swallows intend to post outfielder Norichika Aoki after the Winter Meetings, adds Morosi.