- The Angels will start top prospect Mike Trout at Double-A. GM Tony Reagins says it's "unlikely" that Trout makes the majors this year. The 19-year-old hit .341/.428/.490 with 56 stolen bases last year in his first full season as a pro.
- Reagins did not offer to meet Jered Weaver at the midpoint before the sides went to an arbitration hearing yesterday. The Angels' decision paid off when they beat the Scott Boras client and saved themselves over $1.4MM.
- Arbitration hearings can be uncomfortable for teams and players alike, but Reagins points out that some players are still open to extensions after going to arbitration with their clubs. Corey Hart of the Brewers is one player who agreed to an extension soon after going to arbitration (though he won his hearing with Milwaukee).
- The Angels are not in discussions with any free agent leadoff hitters, Reagins said. The Angels were interested in Scott Podsednik earlier in the winter.
The Blue Jays locked up Rajai Davis for the next two seasons earlier today, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that isn't stopping the team from pursuing leadoff-type hitters. Both Scott Podsednik and Johnny Damon are now on Toronto's radar according to Rosenthal's sources.
Podsednik has drawn interest from several teams this winter, including the Reds, Dodgers, and Angels, but the first two clubs solved their outfield problems by signing Fred Lewis and Marcus Thames, respectively. A number of teams have kicked the tires on Damon, most recently the Yankees and Rays. Both players are left-handed bats and have plenty of experience hitting leadoff, Podsednik over 3,300 plate appearances and Damon one shy of 7,200.
Rosenthal mentions that the Angels are also looking for a leadoff type, which is consistent with what we've heard throughout the winter.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that he isn't pursuing Johnny Damon. The club could pursue a left field platoon partner for Jay Gibbons, but right-handed hitters are preferable for the Dodgers. That rules out Damon and suggests Scott Podsednik, another left-handed hitter, is not a fit in L.A. either.
Manny Ramirez is not an option, but Marcus Thames and Scott Hairston are potential fits (in my opinion). Gibbons, who boasts a career .259/.319/.464 line against right-handers, could be effective in a platoon with a righty batter like Thames (.838 career OPS against southpaws) or Hairston (.829 career OPS against southpaws). Both free agents have spent the majority of their careers in left field.
Colletti told Shaikin that he's open to adding relief help.
The Reds signed Fred Lewis to a one-year deal earlier today, presumably taking them out of the running for Scott Podsednik. The market for the outfielder has been anything but robust after he declined his half of a $2MM mutual option back in November, but let's see if we can find a potential fit for Podsednik with pitchers and catcher due to report in a little less than a month…
- Angels: The Angels showed interest in Scott Pods back in December, but we haven't heard of any dialogue since. Anaheim could use a speedy, lefty hitting leadoff type hitter, something they hoped to secure with Carl Crawford.
- Braves: Atlanta can certainly use a fourth outfielder, but Eric Hinske, Nate McLouth, and Jason Heyward all swing it from the same side as Podsednik. It's not a great fit.
- Dodgers: We know the Dodgers have interest in bringing Podsednik back and they still haven't solved their left field problem since he opted out. Could they get him for less guaranteed money than his original option?
- Mariners: The M's figure to give Michael Saunders a chance to sink or swim with regular playing time in left.
- Marlins: The Fish are counting on Chris Coghlan to transition from left field to center after the trade of Cameron Maybin, a position that he has played exactly zero innings at, majors or minors. Podsednik could give them a cheap fill-in at the position, allowing Coghlan move back to the infield.
- Mets: Carlos Beltran's knees are still a bit of a question mark, though they need a reserve outfielder anyway.
Podsednik has hit .300/.347/.397 with back-to-back 30+ steal seasons in the last two years, a nice rebound from five consecutive seasons with no better than a .700 OPS. His defense isn't what you'd expect from a speedy player, with negative UZR scores at all three outfield spots in recent years. Still a useful player with an albeit limited skill set, Podsednik doesn't have a ton of suitors and could end up settling for a platoon/bench job.
Let's take a look at some Reds-related tidbits courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay..
- Fay writes that "it is believed" that the Reds have made an offer to free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria. The veteran said that the Giants' offer of $1MM showed "a lack of respect", leaving the Reds with a chance of signing the 2010 World Series MVP.
- The news of Carlos Gonzalez's impending seven-year, $80MMM deal with the Rockies will likely have a ripple effect on the Reds' talks with Joey Votto. Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that he hasn't seen the numbers on Cargo's new contract but Cincy can expect Votto to ask for even more money. The 27-year-old, Fay writes, had two very good years prior to his brilliant season in 2010 while last year was Gonzalez's first in the majors. Jocketty says that he hasn't talked to Votto's representation in recent weeks however due to the holidays.
- The Reds are reportedly close to signing Jeremy Hermida to a minor league deal but they may continue to look for a left-handed hitting outfielder. Jocketty confirmed that he talked to the agents for Fred Lewis and Scott Podsednik before the holidays.
- Speaking of left-handed hitting outfielders, the Reds haven't had any recent contact with Laynce Nix. The Reds were under the impression that Nix was Seattle-bound after receiving a contract offer from the M's in December, but no deal has been reached.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
FRIDAY: ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas tweeted in Spanish yesterday evening that the Reds actually made an offer to Renteria "several weeks ago," and that if he hasn't signed yet, it's because of a difference in money between the two sides. On the other hand, the amount of years could also be an issue, since Renteria said in an interview yesterday that he's planning to play two more years, according to El Universal in Venezuela (link in Spanish). –Nick Collias
THURSDAY: GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Arthur Rhodes’ agreement with the Rangers frees up money for the Reds. The club has spoken to the agents for Scott Podsednik and Edgar Renteria, since they are potential fits for the 2011 roster.
“What we’re looking for is veteran outfielder, preferably a left-handed hitting outfielder and an infielder who can back up at shortstop,” Jocketty told Fay.
Renteria suggested the Giants' $1MM offer showed a "lack of respect" from the team and the Marlins don't appear interested, so the Reds have a chance at signing the veteran infielder. Renteria played for the Cardinals from 1999-2004, while Jocketty was the St. Louis GM. Podsednik, who bats from the left side, has also drawn interest from the Angels this winter.
The Reds have spoken to other unnamed free agents and likely have about $4MM to spend, Fay writes. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes anticipated this week that the Reds needed a "lefty reliever, left-handed hitting outfielder/leadoff hitter [and] backup shortstop."
Here's the latest from the Queen City, courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay…
- With Arthur Rhodes set to join the Rangers, the Reds now have money to spend elsewhere, including on a shortstop, lefty hitting outfielder, and potentially a rehabbing starting pitcher.
- Assistant GM Bob Miller told Fay that the Reds have not had any recent conversations with Brandon Webb.
- Miller also confirmed that there have been no further talks with Johnny Cueto about a long-term extension. Earlier this month we heard that the two sides had some preliminary discussions about a contract.
- "That's not going to happen quick," said Miller when asked about an extension for NL MVP Joey Votto. The two sides have had some talks, however.
- Miller confirmed the team's interest in Scott Podsednik.
It's no secret that the Angels may add an outfielder. They lost out on Carl Crawford, but have interest in a couple free agents. Here's the latest:
- Along with the Rays and Yankees, the Angels are one of Johnny Damon’s top three choices, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff. The Yankees have discussed financial parameters about a deal that would pay Damon a “respectable” amount, but less than the $8MM he earned in 2010. Damon has been linked to the Yankees and Rays this offseason, but it's the first time we've seen him connected to the Angels.
- The Angels and Reds are two of "a few" teams interested in Scott Podsednik, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
The Reds are interested in Scott Podsednik, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. As the FOX writers point out, Podsednik could platoon with Jonny Gomes in left field. Podsednik has a career .283/.344/.391 line against right-handers and Gomes has a career .276/.371/.507 line against southpaws.
Podsednik can still run, make good contact and get on base (.342 OBP last year, .352 in 2009). However, he isn't the base stealer he once was and doesn't hit for much power. Now 34, Podsednik is probably not going to steal 70 bases or be an elite leadoff hitter, but he's in position to command a raise from the $1.75MM salary he earned last year.
The Angels are interested in Podsednik and, earlier in the winter, the Dodgers seemed open to bringing the outfielder back. It will not cost a draft pick to sign Podsednik, who was not offered arbitraiton.
The Angels are showing interest in Scott Podsednik, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal writes that Podsednik would likely play left field, a position many fans and analysts thought Carl Crawford might occupy for 2011 and beyond.
As MLBTR's Steve Adams explained last month, Podsednik can still run, make good contact and get on base (.342 OBP last year, .352 in 2009). However, he isn't the base stealer he once was and doesn't hit for much power. Now 34, Podsednik is probably not going to steal 70 bases or be an elite leadoff hitter, but he's in position to command a raise from the $1.75MM salary he earned last year.