The Phillies released outfielder Brad Wilkerson and 11 other minor leaguers, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Wilkerson was thought to have retired, but he signed a minor league deal with no Spring Training invite back in February.
Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal writes that Brad Wilkerson has decided to retire after an eight-year Major League career.
Wilkerson, 31, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox this winter to compete for a job as a backup outfielder/first baseman after Mark Kotsay underwent surgery. He struggled through Spring Training, however, hitting below .200 and striking out in nearly fifty percent of his at-bats. He was assigned to AAA to begin the season, and accepted his assignment.
After his second game in AAA-Pawtucket, he informed manager Ron Johnson that he no longer had the fire and that his time in baseball was finished.
Wilkerson originally came up with the Expos in 2001. His best season was in 2004, when he hit 32 home runs and put up a line of .255/.374/.498. He finishes his career with 122 home runs, and a line of .247/.350/.440. Good luck in life after baseball, Brad.
Rob Bradford reports that Terry Francona confirmed Brad Wilkerson's departure from the Red Sox earlier this morning.
Wilkerson, 31, was in camp on a minor-league deal, competing for the job of the fifth outfielder and backup first baseman. His contract allowed him to opt-out prior to April 1, which he elected to do after hitting just .119 through 42 ABs, with 18 strikeouts. The position battle will now likely come down to Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey, both of whom are having strong a strong Spring Training, hitting .350 and .357, respectively.
Links for Wednesday as we enter the short post-Manny phase of the offseason…
- RotoAuthority has 18 undrafted players to watch for mixed leagues.
- WEEI’s Rob Bradford talked to Bill Lajoie, who was behind Boston’s acquisition of Andy Marte while Theo Epstein was on hiatus. Lajoie admitted he acquired Marte with the intent of flipping him.
- SI.com’s Melissa Segura writes about fraud involving Dominican prospects.
- Nothing cooking yet with the Red Sox and Jason Bay, says Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.
- Jorge Says No! says shortstops Bobby Crosby and Khalil Greene are at the crossroads of their careers.
- WEEI’s Alex Speier notes that Boston outfielders Jeff Bailey and Brad Wilkerson have opt-out clauses if they’re not in the bigs by certain dates.
- Fire Jim Bowden has the ten best moves of their namesake GM.
- Nick Piecoro wonders if Randy Johnson took a subtle jab at Chris Snyder.
- Updated June draft order at Baseball America.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday looks at each team’s 2012 commitments.
The latest on the Red Sox, courtesy of WEEI’s Alex Speier.
- Julio Lugo says he’s in the best shape of his career. The $9MM shortstop won’t be happy if he’s on the bench this year. Speier believes he’ll ask for a trade if he doesn’t win the competition with Jed Lowrie. Lugo was following the Tigers trade rumors earlier this winter.
- Jason Bay remains open to an extension, but admitted "it’s not the end-all, be-all." Bay will be part of the 2009-10 free agent class if the Sox don’t lock him up.
- According to the AP, catcher Jason Varitek spoke of spending the rest of his career with the Red Sox.
- WEEI’s Rob Bradford spoke to Josh Beckett, who hopes to remain in Boston past his current contract. The Red Sox have a $12MM club option for a $2MM buyout for 2010.
- Bradford also reports that the Brad Wilkerson signing is official; he’s in camp on a minor league deal.
Some Odds and Ends around the league:
- In a good piece by Chico Harlan of the Washington Post, Nats GM Jim Bowden says Stephen Strasburg is "as good a pitcher as we’ve seen in the draft in 10 or 15 years." He could be in the rotation as soon as September. Amusingly, Strasburg’s mother described Scott Boras, who is advising the phenom, as a "Rottweiler."
- WEEI’s Alex Speier lists the Red Sox 19 non-roster invitees. 13 of them have Major League experience. Brad Wilkerson is also expected to be present.
- David Lennon of Newsday.com reports that Omar Minaya has achieved his offseason goals. "The reality is that we’ve pretty much filled all our priorities," Minaya said. "I’m set to go with this team."
- Phil Rogers touches on the absence of interest in Frank Thomas who is not working out while he’s out of camp. Rogers notes the Players Association needs to organize a spring training camp for out-of-work players. He suggests the White Sox abandoned Tucson complex.
MONDAY, 11:03pm: MLBTR has learned tonight that the Red Sox have signed outfielder Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal with roster and playing time incentives. Wilkerson, 31, hit .220/.308/.326 in 309 plate appearances for the Mariners and Blue Jays in 2008. The Ms signed Wilkerson last year for $3MM but designated him for assignment before May.
On this date 32 years ago, commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended Braves owner Ted Turner for one year for tampering. Turner had announced publicly that the Braves would sign free agent-to-be Gary Matthews. Unfortunately, 30 years later, nobody was disciplined when the Angels signed free agent Gary Matthews Jr. to a $50MM contract. In the first two years of the deal, Matthews has been paid $15MM and his play has been worth -$600K (yes, that is negative) according to Fangraphs. With several big free agents still looking for new teams, will any of them be the next Matthews Jr? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s see what is being written in the Blogosphere…
- The Eddie Kranepool Society is not worried about Derek Lowe, feeling the deal will get done once the Mets add a fourth option year and sweeten the pot just a tad. They are also putting the Mets front office on notice about the possibility of letting Manny Ramirez slip through their fingers.
- Mets Geek feels the Mets still need to add one more piece to their revamped bullpen and suggest Wil Ohman or Joe Beimel are better options as a lefty specialist than what is already in-house.
- The Southpaw takes a look at some young players the Jays should try to target in the trade market, with Chin-Lung Hu at the top of the list.
- My Baseball Bias is not satisfied with just Mark Teixeira and wants to see the Yankees sign Manny Ramirez.
- Fire Brand of the American League makes a case for three players to be the Red Sox fourth outfielder, including Rocco Baldelli, Brad Wilkerson and Eric Byrnes.
- MLB Notebook takes a look at how the Nationals could spend the $20MM that would have gone to Mark Teixeira.
- River Ave. Blues says this offseason is proving to be a test of just how good Scott Boras can be.
- Sully Baseball is running a series of posts breaking down each team’s all-time home grown versus all-time acquired teams. Here he looks at the Astros.
A lot of links today, so let’s get to what is being said about some trade and signing possibilities in the Blogosphere…
- The Darth Boss George Brigade wants Hank Steinbrenner to sign David Wells to prove that Hank is indeed his father’s son.
- River Ave. Blues says the Yankees are too smart to sign Wells and then goes on to list about 87 pitchers that should be given a shot in the Highlanders’ rotation before Wells.
- Redlegs Rant feels that Ken Griffey Jr. is behind the recent stories that speculate on him being traded.
- Mariners Central speculates on some of the names that it might take to land Ken Griffey Jr., noting that the M’s are not likely to part with either of their top two prospects, Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement.
- The Tribe Time Report sees plenty of holes in Buster Olney’s recent theory that Garret Atkins would be a good fit for the Indians.
- Brewers Nation agrees with Olney that the Brewers should trade Ben Sheets.
- Sox & Pinstripes doesn’t want to just give away Julian Tavarez but they also note that the bullpen needs help and Tavarez isn’t the answer.
- Batter’s Box says Brad Wilkerson should fit in well with the rest of the Jays lineup, which also lacks the ability to hit for average or power.
- One writer at Fanhouse doesn’t understand why Kevin Towers is so disappointed in the play of Jim Edmonds. They feel it was pretty obvious that the Pads were getting a player well past his prime.