Willie Harris Rumors
We'll keep track of today's outright assignments right here, with the latest up top...
- The Reds have outrighted Willie Harris to Triple-A according to MLB.com's transactions page. Cincinnati signed the 34-year-old utility player to a minor league contract this offseason and has already outrighted him once before this season. Harris has hit .114/.170/.205 in 48 plate appearances for the Reds and .245/.309/.318 in 123 plate appearances for their Triple-A affiliate this year.
We’ll track the latest outright assignments here...
- The Reds announced that they have outrighted Willie Harris to Triple-A (Twitter link). The utility player has appeared in 19 games this year, but has just three hits and two walks.
- The Tigers outrighted first baseman/designated hitter Brad Eldred to Triple-A, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. Eldred hit .388/.444/1.013 with 13 homers in 90 Triple-A plate appearances to start the season and the Tigers called him up for five games. In parts of eight Triple-A seasons, the 31-year-old has a .260/.327/.536 line.
3:22pm: The sides agreed to a minor league deal, according to Fay on Twitter. Harris can earn an $800K salary if he makes the Reds out of Spring Training and the deal includes another $200K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
Harris spent the 2011 campaign with the Mets after a three-year stint in Washington. He posted a .246/.351/.317 line in 283 plate appearances last year, when he earned a base salary of $800K. He can play all three outfield positions plus second and third and owns a .330 on-base percentage in 11 seasons. The Nationals and Mets were also linked to Harris this offseason.
The Mets officially signed Scott Hairston to a Major League deal today, but it could be a while before the team signs someone else to a big league contract. Here's the latest on the NL East, starting in New York...
- The Mets appear to have finished adding players to their 40-man roster, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets. They may add a player or two on a minor league deal before Spring Training, but no major moves seem likely.
- The Nationals are looking for bench help and Willie Harris could re-join the team, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson tweets. We heard the Nationals were interested back in December and it has since become apparent that the Mets aren’t likely to bring the 33-year-old back. Harris spent the 2011 campaign with the Mets after a three-year stint in Washington. He can play all three outfield positions plus second and third and owns a .330 on-base percentage in 11 seasons.
- There’s less than a 50% chance that right-hander Todd Coffey will re-sign with the Nationals, Ladson tweets. The Brewers, Angels and Mets have also been linked to Coffey, who averaged 72 appearances and a 3.68 ERA from 2009-11.
Sandy Alderson told reporters that it's fair to assume the Mets won't sign free agents who cost more than $1.5MM before Spring Training, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The GM also explained that teams generally have "a greater reluctance to make a big deal" as Spring Training draws closer. Here are more details on the Mets:
- Alderson said he's looking to fill out his bench and bullpen, according to Rubin. The GM said he wants a backup shortstop and a "swingman" for the pitching staff.
- Alderson recently met with free agent Chris Young in San Diego, according to Rubin. "He's the kind of guy we might re-sign under the right circumstances," the GM said.
- Johan Santana is in a normal progression toward Spring Training, Alderson said.
- The Mets continue looking at Ronny Cedeno as a backup shortstop option, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- The Mets aren’t likely to attempt to re-sign Willie Harris after agreeing to terms with Scott Hairston earlier today, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets.
The latest Nationals news...
- The Yankees shot down the Nationals' attempts to trade for Brett Gardner, according to Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters today he doesn't think anything has changed on the Upton front.
- The Angels have no interest in trading Peter Bourjos and the Mets plan to keep Angel Pagan, writes Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.
- The Nationals and Rays discussed center fielder B.J. Upton recently, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday we heard the Rays would have to be overwhelmed to move Upton. The Nationals are "fixated" on leaving the Winter Meetings with a new center fielder, a team source told Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com.
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson has talked to free agent Mark DeRosa about joining the team, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The Nats also have interest in bringing Willie Harris back.
- The Nationals are letting teams know Roger Bernadina is available in trade, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The 27-year-old posted a .243/.301/.362 line in 337 plate appearances this year.
The Mets announced that they're lowering their outfield fences and moving them in for the 2012 season. The wall will be as much as 12 feet closer to home plate in some places, which should make Citi Field -- currently the 28th hardest park to homer in -- more hitter-friendly. Here are some more updates on the club...
- MetsBlog has graphics of the new look for Citi Field.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets don't expect Jose Reyes to sign in November. The Mets will decide whether to make a competitive offer for Reyes once other teams set the market for him. Martino reports that the Mets won't sign free agents Willie Harris or Scott Hairston until much later in the offseason, if at all.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson asked Reyes' representatives how much it would take to lock him up, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). When Reyes didn't respond, the Mets decided to wait and see how the market develops.
- Alderson told reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, that he expects David Wright to return to the Mets in 2012.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com gets the impression that the Mets' payroll could dip below $100MM on Opening Day (Twitter link). The Mets have had a payroll of at least $100MM every season since 2004.
The 76-84 Mets have assured themselves of a protected first round pick in next year's draft. They can sign another team's Type A free agent over the winter without losing a first rounder in 2012. The latest on the Mets before they host the Reds in the second-last game of the season...
- Willie Harris told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Mets are his "first choice" when he hits free agency this offseason. The Mets could have interest in Harris and Scott Hairston after the season, but they intend to consider all free agent bench players before deciding whether to pursue their own players, according to Martino. It would be a while until Harris and Hairston are aware of the Mets' level of interest.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson reflected on his first year on the job with Newsday's Ken Davidoff in a Q&A that's well worth your time. Alderson says the Wilpons' financial situation hasn't been the obstacle that most people perceive it to be and confirmed that the Mets' 2012 payroll will sit in the $110-120MM range.
- Alderson says he's not disappointed with the Mets' medical practices and doctors, despite the injuries his team has sustained.
- The Mets would like to have more certainty with Ike Davis' health, but they're "increasingly confident" in his ability to play in 2012.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm
- Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Dontrelle Willis, Reds - Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list. He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
- Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs - Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
- Chris Capuano, Mets - Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds - His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th. $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest. The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however. At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
- Bruce Chen, Royals - Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window. But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013. He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.
- Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals - His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals - Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
- Ted Lilly, Dodgers - He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball. With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.
- Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Chad Qualls, Padres - Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
- Bill Bray, Reds - Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties. He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers - A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
- Huston Street, Rockies - Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
- Brian Fuentes, Athletics - He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
- Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
- Mike Gonzalez, Orioles - Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties. The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
- John Grabow, Cubs - He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
- D.J. Carrasco, Mets - The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December - their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April. He stayed there until mid-June.
- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart. The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - This one was also obvious. SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals - Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency. Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
- Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
- David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
- Conor Jackson, Athletics - Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
- David DeJesus, Athletics - DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
- Hideki Matsui, Athletics - The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
- Jason Bay, Mets - With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected. It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
- Willie Harris, Mets - The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
- Angel Pagan, Mets - It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
- Carlos Lee, Astros - No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year. El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
- Johnny Damon, Rays - Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
In his latest blog post regarding Carlos Beltran, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com also has some interesting notes on some of the Mets' other potential trade candidates. Rosenthal cautions, however, that the Mets will proceed carefully leading up to the deadline, because they don't want to give up on their season altogether.
- The Mets are likely to retain catcher Ronny Paulino and right-hander Mike Pelfrey. Paulino, a righty, has split time with left-handed-hitting Josh Thole behind the plate this season. He's under team control through 2012. Pelfrey's trade value, meanwhile, is down, according to Rosenthal, and he's under team control through 2013, so the Mets are less inclined to move him.
- The Mets will be more willing to move some of their free-agents-to-be, like lefty Chris Capuano, lefty reliever Tim Byrdak, outfielder Scott Hairston and utility man Willie Harris. Each of these players were signed to one-year deals prior to this season and could be useful, if unspectacular, additions for teams looking to patch minor holes.
- Jason Isringhausen is likelier than the others to stay in New York because he has value to the Mets as a late-inning reliever and in helping to develop setup man Bobby Parnell into a closer. We heard last night that Izzy would like to remain with the Mets but would be receptive to returning to St. Louis, where he still has "unfinished business," per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Jon Heyman of SI.com first tweeted of the Mets' preference to hold Isringhausen yesterday. For the fantasy implications of closers on the move at the deadline, be sure to check out CloserNews.com.