Tyler Walker Rumors

Nationals Release Tyler Walker

The Nationals released Tyler Walker, according to the team (on Twitter). Washington signed the right-hander to a one-year deal in January and got 35 1/3 inning of 3.57 ball from him in 2010. The 34-year-old posted 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, so the Nationals obtained value for their $650K investment.

However, the team shut Walker down in June because of a sore shoulder. He did not pitch after June 19th, so health concerns no doubt contributed to the Nationals' decision to release Walker instead of offering arbitration. The team would have non-tendered him, but today's move gives Walker another month to look for a job.

Nationals Need To Make Room For Livan Hernandez

The Nationals were able to play out the first week of the season with just four starters, but they're going to call up Livan Hernandez tomorrow to take over as the fifth member of the rotation. Hernandez signed a minor league deal this offseason, so the Nats kept him off the roster until they absolutely needed the extra starter.

The team will have to clear a spot on the 25-man roster to call Livan up, but they do have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so that's not that problem. However, as MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling notes, relievers Tyler Walker and Jason Bergmann could be candidates for demotion, and both are out of options. They would have to clear waivers to head to the minors. 

Walker, 33, signed a one year deal worth $650K this offseason, but he's allowed three runs in 3.1 innings on the young season. The 28-year-old Bergmann has appeared in two games so far, allowing a pair of runs in one inning of work. If the team choose to ignore the obviously small sample sizes, they could option 25-year-old Jesse English to Triple-A, who has allowed two runs in 1.2 innings of work on the season. Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post adds Miguel Batista's name to the mix, who's given up six runs in 4.1 innings so far. 

Nationals To Sign Tyler Walker, Chuck James

The Nationals officially signed Tyler Walker to a one-year deal that will pay the reliever $650K if he's in the majors and $120K if he's in the minors.  They also added lefty Chuck James on a minor league deal.

Walker, 34 in May, posted a 3.06 ERA, 6.9 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 in 35.3 innings for the Phillies last year.  He tossed an additional strong 19.3 innings in the minors.  Despite Walker's efforts, the Phillies outrighted him in November and he elected free agency.

James, 28, had rotator cuff and labrum surgery in November of '08 and was subsequently non-tendered by the Braves.  He missed all of 2009, but Rosenthal says Nats assistant GM Roy Clark saw James throwing 88-90 on Saturday.  James was once serviceable, logging a 4.05 ERA over 280.3 innings for the Braves in 2006-07.

Walker and James join a long list of Nationals pitching acquisitions this winter: Jason Marquis, Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Eddie Guardado, Doug SlatenRyan Speier, and Joel Peralta.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the two deals and MLB.com's Bill Ladson and CBS Sports added the value of Walker's contract.

Marlins Rumors: Chapman, Capps, Walker

Barry Jackson has a couple of Marlins-related notes in his latest piece for the Miami Herald. Here are the highlights:

  • Jackson hears that the Marlins have made a five-year offer worth about $13MM to Aroldis Chapman. Chapman will certainly receive higher offers from other clubs, but it's worth a shot for the Marlins, in case the Cuban defector prefers South Florida.
  • Replacing departed relievers Matt Lindstrom, Kiko Calero, and Brendan Donnelly is a priority for Florida.
  • Among their bullpen targets: Matt Capps, Tyler Walker, and Jose Veras.

Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker Become Free Agents

Four Phillies – Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Andy Tracy, and Paul Hoover - were removed from the 40-man roster and became free agents today, according to Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bruntlett, 32 in March, hit .171/.224/.238 in 118 plate appearances, spending time all around the diamond.  He came over in the November '07 Brad Lidge trade with the Astros.

Walker, 34 in May, tossed 35.3 innings of 3.06 ball in the Majors as well as 19.3 fine innings in Triple A.  He was used in low-leverage situations this year with the Phils.

Tracy and Hoover spent most of the year at Triple A.

Phillies Free Agent Notes

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:

  • The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
  • Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
  • The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
  • Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
  • If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
  • The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.

Phillies DFA Tyler Walker

The Phillies designated Tyler Walker for assignment to make room for Clay Condrey, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Walker, 33, has only pitched 11 innings for the Phillies this year, but he's done well, allowing ten hits and a walk to go along with five Ks and a 1.64 ERA.

Phillies Sign Tyler Walker

From Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Aaron Rowand just got a text from Tyler Walker saying he's just been signed by the Phillies. Apparently it's a minor-league deal because Walker said he is reporting to Clearwater, Fla. Walker was released by Seattle at the end of spring training.

Walker, 33 in May, posted a 4.56 ERA in 53.3 innings last year with a 8.3 K/9.  He had something of a roller coaster season, alternating between good and bad months for the Giants.  Since Walker has less than five years service time, the Phillies could potentially retain him in 2010 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Morrow To Close, Walker Released

This is not a trade rumor, but it's somewhat related. Larry LaRue of the The News Tribune reports Brandon Morrow is the likely closer for the Mariners. Geoff Baker writes that with no chance of making the starting rotation, according to manager Don Wakamatsu, the would-be starter approached coaches with a desire to close. Says LaRue,

"The only thing Morrow needs to prove now is that he can close regularly despite diabetes, a disease that can rock him unexpectedly. On Sunday, for instance, Morrow’s blood sugar level was high and his energy level down.He dealt with using his insulin pump – and last year, closing was not a problem for Morrow when J.J. Putz went down. Now that Putz is gone and he closing job wide open, Morrow wants it badly. Barring an unforeseen physical problem, it’s his."

This sounds vaguely familiar.

Morrow's decision spelled the end of Tyler Walker's time with the Mariners, according to Baker. He was released earlier this morning after pitching 5.2 innings this Spring. He allowed 3 ER with 8 hits, 4 Ks, 2 BBs, and one hit batter.

Mariners Sign Tyler Walker

From mlb.com, the M’s have signed right-handed reliever Tyler Walker to a one-year deal. Contract details have yet to be announced, per club policy. In a release put out by the team, GM Jack Zduriencik said:

"Tyler is a pitcher we had identified early on as a guy who could help us in the bullpen. He has the ability to pitch in any role: middle relief, set-up and he has experience as a closer."

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times shares some positive opinion of Walker.