- The contract Ron Villone signed with the Nationals is non-guaranteed and worth $750K, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman.
- Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has officially vested himself of the portion of the Diamondbacks he owned, reports MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com profiles a handful of prospects, including a pair of Royals, who could have an impact for subpar teams this year.
- One scout discussed Brad Lidge with ESPN's Jayson Stark: "If I were the Phillies, I'd be worried. He's having a tough time getting his arm strength this spring." 2011 is the last guaranteed year of Lidge's contract, with the Phillies holding a $12.5MM club option ($1.5MM buyout) on 2012.
- Ozzie Guillen says he doesn't care who emerges as the White Sox closer, since he has full confidence in both Chris Sale and the recently extended Matt Thornton, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- For the latest updates on the closer situations in Philadelphia, Chicago, and everywhere else, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter.
Today's minor deals include a number of former Major Leaguers…
- The Nationals re-signed Ron Villone, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). As Eddy points out, the 18-year veteran has been traded for Greg Vaughn and Andy Benes.
- The Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League signed Mike Lamb, Toby Hall and Jason Johnson, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat (on Twitter). Lamb, 35, was a pinch hitter for the Marlins last year after missing the 2009 season; Hall, a nine-year veteran, hasn't spent time in the majors since 2008 and Johnson, a 37-year-old right-hander with 11 years of MLB experience, has been out of the majors for two years as well.
- The Dodgers signed right-hander Steven Jackson to a minor league deal, according to Eddy (on Twitter). He appeared in 11 games for the Pirates last year, but got much more exposure in 2009 when he posted a 3.14 ERA in 40 relief appearances despite walking more batters than he struck out.
- The Reds signed right-hander Tyree Hayes, the son of former MLB third baseman Charlie Hayes, according to Eddy (on Twitter). Hayes, 22, has yet to advance past Class A in five pro seasons.
- The Twins signed former Royals prospect Joe Dickerson, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter). The 2005 fourth rounder didn't play last year.
- The Angels signed former A's prospect Jeff Baisley, according to Goldstein (on Twitter). The 28-year-old played in 14 games for the 2008 A's and posted an .845 OPS in the upper minors of their system last year.
- The Indians signed tenth round pick Tyler Holt according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Holt's $500K bonus is the largest we've seen for a player drafted in a double-digit round this year.
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News wonders how much the Texas heat will play into Cliff Lee's decision about whether or not to re-sign with the Rangers after the season.
- MLB.com' Brittany Ghiroli tweets that Orioles' third rounder Dan Klein is expected to report to one of the team's minor league affiliates once he passes his physical, indicating that the two sides have a deal in place.
- Someone familiar with Bobby Valentine’s thinking tells Larry Stone of the Seattle Times that Valentine considers the Mariners managerial opening one of "the most appealing jobs in baseball.”
- The Nationals released Ron Villone, according to Syracuse Chiefs broadcasters Jason Benetti and Mike Couzens (on Twitter). The veteran left-hander, who last pitched in the majors in 2009, posted a 6.59 ERA in Triple A this year.
- The sale of the Rangers is now final, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom writes.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker previews some of the players who could soon make the jump from Japan to MLB. Wei-Yin Chen, a 25-year-old lefty represented by Alan Nero may be posted this offseason.
- Veracruz, the Mexican team that holds the rights to pitching prospect Luis Heredia, will not entertain offers from MLB clubs until next Wednesday, August 18th, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Tim Chambers, Bryce Harper's college coach, told Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com that Harper, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, is “begging to play.” Chambers expects the Nationals to work out a deal by Monday night’s deadline.
- Angels scouting director Eddie Bane told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that the Angels are "fairly close" to an agreement with first rounder Kaleb Cowart, though he expects negotiations to last until Monday, the deadline for signing draft picks.
- Jamey Newberg counts down the ten biggest August trades in recent Rangers history for MLB.com. Rick Helling and Ryan Dempster have prominent roles on the list, which is worth checking out.
8:26pm: Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post clears things up. He says Villone was re-signed to a minor league and assigned to Extended Spring Training, presumably for conditioning purposes.
3:06pm: The Nationals have apparently retained lefty reliever Ron Villone, based on this tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Ladson says Villone is "back in the Nats organization, working out in Viera, Florida right now." The Nationals had released Villone in March after three spring appearances. Ladson notes that Villone had a leg injury prior to the release, which probably explains why they were unable to let him go.
Villone, 40, posted a 6.66 K/9 and 4.81 BB/9 in 24.3 innings against lefties last year. Control was a problem in '08 as well, through he had a better strikeout rate. Villone has pitched for a dozen different teams in his 15 seasons.
The Nationals released lefty reliever Ron Villone, tweets NatsTown News. Villone, 40, was given three spring appearances to show his stuff. He at least got more of a look than Eddie Guardado, who the Nats cut after two games.
Villone posted a 4.25 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 5.4 BB/9 in 48.6 innings for the Nationals last year. Lefties have hit .293/.379/.414 against him over the past three seasons.
The Nationals re-signed lefty reliever Ron Villone to a minor league deal, tweets NatsTown News. Villone, 40, posted a 4.25 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 5.4 BB/9 in 48.6 innings for the Nationals last year. The veteran was unable to shut down lefties in '09, but he did a decent job against them the two previous years.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informs us that while it may be an unlikely scenario, general manager Neal Huntington does have the payroll flexibility to make a big move at the meetings if he sees value in it for the Pirates. Says Huntington:
"The key word you're going to be hearing from us is value… We could do something big just so that we can feel good about ourselves and show everybody that we did something or that we're spending up to a certain level. But we're not going to do that unless it makes sense and unless there's a real value to the Pittsburgh Pirates."
The Pirates are currently projected to have a $34MM payroll, down significantly from the $49MM they spent on their 40-man roster in 2009. So the "value" that Huntington mentions doesn't necessarily have to mean "inexpensive."
Still, Kovacevic calls any real interest in Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Rich Harden, or Mike Gonzalez "unlikely," and reminds us that the Pirates free agent contact so far has consisted of Rick Ankiel, Hank Blalock, Justin Duchscherer, Noah Lowry, J.J. Putz, Ron Villone, and Kameron Loe.
Danny Knobler from CBS Sports seems to think the Pirates have some money as well though, as he's heard them linked to Juan Pierre. Knobler reports that the Dodgers would like to acquire Zach Duke or Paul Maholm in any deal, meaning they'd have to eat a significant portion of Pierre's salary. Personally, I'd assume they'd have to include some prospects as well to make the deal make sense for Pittsburgh.
While the Pierre scenario may not entirely make sense for the Buccos on the surface level, it does add to the thought that Pittsburgh may be in line to surprise us at this year's meetings. Any thoughts on an ace that Huntington may have up his sleeve?
Some links for Thursday…
- John Manuel of Baseball America ranks all 30 MLB farm systems at SI.com. The Rangers, Rays and Giants top the list.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick lists nine potential free agent bargains.
- Keith Law, Dave Cameron and Tyler Hissey don't like the Placido Polanco deal from the Phillies' standpoint.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have tentative interest in Xavier Nady and Ron Villone, who are both Scott Boras clients.
- Sam Borden of the Journal News wonders how many long-term contracts the Yanks can take on.
- The Yankees get the sense that Andy Pettitte isn't done yet, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- They aren't expected to consider an extension for Joe Girardi this offseason.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the White Sox have begun preliminary talks with arbitration-eligible reliever Bobby Jenks.
- Placido Polanco appears to be nearing a three-year deal with the Phillies, but the Astros have some interest in the Gold Glover, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
- Curtis Granderson tells MLB.com's Jason Beck that he doesn't let the trade talk get to him.
- The Rockies have tentative plans to meet with Rafael Betancourt's representatives this coming Monday, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- As Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, Donavan Tate, the Padres' third overall selection in the June draft, was injured in an ATV accident. He broke his jaw, but should be ready for Spring Training.
- Jason Marquis had a falling out with the Rockies, so Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests he isn't likely to accept the team's offer of arbitration.
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach explains why long-term deals are becoming less frequent in MLB.
- Juan Castro passed his physical, so his deal with the Phils is now offiicial, according to Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Some news tidbits that aren't arbitration-related on this busy day in the majors…
- Rays general manager and executive VP Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that the team has no plans to deal Carl Crawford, and said that the "mutual goal" of both Crawford and the Rays was to work out a long-term contract.
- From Topkin's same post, he notes that Tampa Bay won't go after an established free agent closer this winter but relief pitching is still the club's top need.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi use the Marlins' negotiations with Josh Johnson as a springboard to speculate about how much it would cost Seattle to sign Felix Hernandez to an extension.
- CBS Sports' Danny Knobler discusses how the Tigers aren't acting very desperate for a team that's allegedly having a fire sale.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson says that Ron Villone might be the only Nationals free agent who the team would want back in 2010.
- Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that if any free agents are curious about playing for the Yankees, Derek Jeter says they're welcome to call and ask him any questions they might have. Jeter could save himself some time by simply mailing every prospective free agent a picture of his hand wearing five World Series rings.
Executives tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that we saw the "softest deadline ever" last week because there's still the possibility for trades this month. Here's an explanation of how trades can occur after the deadline and here are the players Heyman deems likely to clear waivers (player who clear waivers may be traded):
- Bronson Arroyo, Adam Dunn, Jose Guillen, Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, Aubrey Huff, Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Miguel Batista, Juan Cruz, Ty Wigginton, Ron Mahay, Willie Bloomquist, Lyle Overbay, Willy Taveras.
Some players who could clear waivers:
- Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Gil Meche, Alex Rios, Carl Pavano, Mark Hendrickson, Jhonny Peralta, Jamey Carroll, Ron Villone.
And some players who probably won't clear waivers, but who could be dealt to a claiming team:
- Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Chad Qualls, Michael Wuertz, Brian Bannister, Josh Willingham, Gary Sheffield, David Eckstein, Jason Frasor, Mark Teahen.