Wilson Valdez Rumors
The Marlins have signed infielder Wilson Valdez to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league camp, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. Valdez, a 34-year-old infielder who is represented by Kinzer Management Group, was released by the Giants yesterday.
Valdez was a member of the Marlins' minor league system before being dealt in 2004 for Billy Koch, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel notes (Twitter link). Over 42 plate appearances with San Francisco this spring, Valdez posted a .194/.310/.222 line.
Valdez and Ramirez had opt outs in their contracts with the team, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea reports (Twitter links). The Giants would like to re-sign Ramirez to a minor league deal if he doesn't find a better opportunity elsewhere.
Valdez, a client of Wasserman Media Group, appeared in 77 games for the Reds in 2012, playing shortstop, second base, third base and even center field. The 34-year-old posted a .206/.236/.227 batting line in 208 plate appearances with Cincinnati.
The Giants signed Ramirez to a minor league deal last month. He appeared in 58 games for the Mets in 2012, posting a 4.24 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. The 31-year-old had a 46.7% ground ball rate and his fastball averaged 91.1 mph, according to FanGraphs.
Here are a few of the day's minor transactions...
- The Angels signed Mitch Stetter to a minor league contract, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The 31-year-old southpaw last pitched in the majors in 2011 with the Brewers, and he has a 4.08 ERA, a 9.3 K/9 rate and a 5.4 BB/9 rate over 86 career Major League innings since 2007. Stetter spent last season pitching in Milwaukee's minor league system.
- Left-hander Bill Bray and infielder Wilson Valdez have elected to become free agents, according to MLB.com's transactions page. With Valdez entering his second year of arbitration-eligibility and Bray his third, both players were seen as non-tender candidates by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes following their disappointing seasons for the Reds. Valdez, 34, posted a .463 OPS in 208 plate appearances as a backup infielder. Bray was limited to just 14 games due to groin and back injuries, but he'll surely draw interest from teams looking for lefty relief help; Bray posted a 2.98 ERA and recorded 44 strikeouts over 48 1/3 innings for Cincinnati in 2011.
- The Indians re-signed right-hander Hector Rondon and signed infielder Luis Hernandez to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training camp, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rondon originally signed with the Tribe as an 18-year-old in 2006 and has a 4.16 ERA, an 8.1 K/9 rate and a 4.17 K/BB ratio in seven minor league seasons, though he has only pitched in 13 games since 2010 due to a fractured elbow and Tommy John surgery. Hernandez appeared in two games for the Rangers last year and has a .580 OPS in 292 career PAs with the Rangers, Mets, Royals and Orioles.
On this date last year the Mets released Oliver Perez with one year and $12MM remaining on his contract. Perez, now a member of the Mariners organization, hasn't appeared in the Major Leagues since. Here are some links from his former division...
- After talking to a Mets official, "it doesn't seem" like the team has talked about cutting Mike Pelfrey, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). However, the Mets are "well aware of the fact" that Pelfrey's contract is non-guaranteed and, if the right-hander is cut, the Mets will only have to pay a portion of his $5.68MM salary. Pelfrey has had a very rough Spring Training, posting a 14.90 ERA in 9 2/3 innings of work.
- The Diamondbacks aren't going to trade Gerardo Parra to the Nationals, a D'Backs source tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
- The Phillies are looking for infield help but it's "doubtful" they would try to re-acquire Wilson Valdez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Phils dealt Valdez to the Reds in January since the Phillies felt they were already set for utility infield options --- somewhat ironic given their current position.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News argues that the Phillies need to add a veteran infielder give the questionable health of their projected starters. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Michael Martinez are all currently dealing with injuries.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney gets the sense that the Braves’ on-field personnel prefer Andrelton Simmons for the starting shortstop job, while the front office favors Tyler Pastornicky. Such divergences of opinion are common and not necessarily problematic, as Olney notes.
- Olney hears from talent evaluators who say Jair Jurrjens has struggled to command his fastball and that Jason Heyward is "still thinking about his mechanics" at the plate.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Here's the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love...
- "Industry insiders" consider the Phillies to be a longshot for Jorge Soler, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Though the Phils are known to be one of Soler's top suitors, the team has never been big spenders on the international market and may balk at Soler's price tag. Salisbury hears from one baseball executive who predicts Soler will end up with the Cubs, who are reportedly ready to offer the 19-year-old Cuban outfielder as much as $27.5MM.
- The Phillies traded Wilson Valdez to the Reds since GM Ruben Amaro felt his team already had several other utility options in place, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki as part of a reader mailbag. Zolecki says he was personally a little surprised by the Valdez deal.
- One of those other utility options, Ty Wigginton, is excited to play for a contender, reports Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In that piece, Amaro mentioned that Wigginton had been highly regarded by several Phillies scouts over the last few years.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at five key questions surrounding the Phillies as they open Spring Training.
The Reds announced that they acquired infielder Wilson Valdez from the Phillies for left-hander Jeremy Horst (Twitter link). Horst will be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player, according to the Phillies, who now have two open spots on their 40-man roster.
Valdez, 33, posted a .249/.294/.341 line in 300 plate appearances for the Phillies in 2011, playing second, third and short. He even pitched an inning, picking up a win against the Reds in May. He'll earn $930K in 2012.
Horst made his MLB debut in 2011, posting a 2.93 ERA with a 9K/6BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old also posted a 2.81 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 51 1/3 innings at Triple-A last year.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Here's the latest from the NL East...
- The Braves are not planning to bid on Yoenis Cespedes, despite having some front office officials at one of the Cuban outfielder's recent workouts in the Dominican Republic, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Atlanta officials were making the trip to visit the team's Latin American operations (both Twitter links).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was scouting Cespedes in the Dominican, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports Rizzo was also there to check out Cuban outfielders Jorge Soler and Henry Urrutia, plus right-hander Armando Rivero. Rizzo predicts Soler will receive a richer deal than Leonys Martin's $15.5MM contract with the Rangers.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson talked to reporters today (including Andrew Keh of the New York Times) and said he had had no contact with Jorge Posada's representatives. It was reported earlier today that Posada approached the Mets about a job and been rejected, though Posada's agent Seth Levinson denied the rumor.
- "The reliever market right now is a little bit hard to predict,” Alderson said. “The signings that have taken place so far I think have emboldened agents to this point.” Alderson was still confident the Mets will obtain some bullpen help at a reasonable price, pointing out that the number of quality arms still on the market.
- An unnamed NL executive tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Marlins have been "very active. It'd be no surprise to me if they opened [their] new stadium with Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson and a new good closer." The Marlins got the first piece of that puzzle tonight by agreeing to terms with Heath Bell.
- Wilson Valdez is a non-tender candidate, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks the Phillies should hang onto the utilityman.
7:30pm: According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Phillies haven't talked to the Nationals about Kennedy.
1:31pm: The Phillies learned today that Chase Utley will be out for several weeks due to thumb surgery, and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com chimes in with some possible replacement options. He notes that the replacement doesn't necessary have to be a second baseman (Twitter link), because the team can use Placido Polanco at that position once he's healthy. That opens up the possibility of a trade for a third baseman.
Rosenthal says that former Phillie Pedro Feliz is an unlikely target, citing a scout who says his bat speed is "gone." Feliz has hit just .229/.255/.317 in 255 plate appearances this year, and his trademark defense has declined back to a -4.3 UZR this season. The Fox Sports scribe throws the names of Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, Adam Kennedy, and Jose Lopez into the mix (Twitter links). The Mariners are actively trying to move Lopez, according to Rosenthal.
For the now, Philadelphia will try to tread water with the combination of Wilson Valdez and Greg Dobbs at second and third, respectively. They've combined to hit just .222/.252/.338 in 222 plate appearances this season, and Jack Moore at FanGraphs chronicled just how big of a downgrade this is for the Phillies.
FRIDAY: Valdez cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple A, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (via Twitter).
MONDAY: The Phillies designated infielder Wilson Valdez for assignment to make room for Jimmy Rollins, according to MLB.com's transactions page. The Phillies were expected to clear room for Rollins, who was on the 15-day DL with a calf injury, by designating Valdez. Because he is out of options, Valdez will have to clear waivers to remain with the Phillies.
Valdez, who turns 32 on Thursday, has been about average defensively in recent years, according to UZR. He has played outfield, second, third and short, so he makes up for his pedestrian bat with exceptional versatility. Valdez's .231/.231/.365 line means the Phillies are willing to risk losing him to another club - especially when it means making room for Rollins.