Archive for February, 2012

AL East Rumour Roundup – Thursday, February 23

Some big stories breaking today from around MLB, here are a few highlites:

-Huge news out of Milwaukee as Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension has been overturned in the appeal process.  Mike Axisa at MLB Trade Rumours writes:

Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his failed banned substance test and will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the season, reports Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel. The union officially announced the win, saying both parties agreed to the announcement despite what is usually a confidential process. MLB has issued a statement saying it “vehemently disagrees” with the decision.

“It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” said Braun in a statement passed along by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “We were able to get through this because I am innocent … This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully the process worked.”

Haudricourt says the appeal went Braun’s way not because of the test result, but because of a technicality with the testing process. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman and The New York Post’s Joel Sherman report that part of Braun’s argument was that the sample was not shipped in a timely fashion and that the chain of custody was broken for two days, meaning the sample was left unprotected (Twitter links). Independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of the technicality, giving Braun the win by a 2-1 margin.

The reigning NL MVP is the first player to have a suspension successfully overtuned through the appeals process.

-ESPN’s Jim Bowden graded the offseason for each American League and National League team (Insider req’d). The Marlins, Angels, and Yankees each received an A, the Blue Jays received a B.

-Ben Nicholson-Smith reports  Roy Oswalt has told MLB teams that he may sign midseason, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnickreports. The free agent right-hander explained that he intends to stay ready in case an appealing opportunity emerges before midseason.

The Red Sox, Rangers, Cardinals and Reds were among the many clubs to express interest in Oswalt this offseason. It appears that they didn’t have enough room in their rotations or budgets for the 34-year-old, who seeks a one-year deal and a job as a starter.

Roger Clemens, a former teammate of Oswalt’s, sat out the beginning of the season in 2006 and 2007 before signing midseason and Pedro Martinez had a similar approach to the 2009 campaign.

-Blue Jays infielder Omar Vizquel said he’ll likely become involved in coaching next year, according to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (on Twitter). The 44-year-old doesn’t anticipate playing after 2012 and would eventually like to manage in the Major Leagues.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discusses the Rays’ impressive rotation depth and explains why it’s a good ‘problem’ to have. Manager Joe Maddon told Rosenthal the club could use a six-man rotation at times this year and said top prospect Matt Moore won’t be relegated to the bullpen.

***AL EASTBOUND & DOWN UPDATE***

I am ‘gone fishin’ for the next ten days and updates might be sparse, I will try my best to keep up with all the happenings of the Toronto Blue Jays as spring training starts to kick into high gear!

AL East Rumour Roundup – Wednesday, February 22

A few odds and ends:

-A cool story from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports as he reports on the energic Bobby Valentine during his first official workout as the Red Sox’s manager.

-It is expected that oft-rumoured free agent SP Roy Oswalt will finally decide on his new team.  It appears it has come down to three teams with the Red Sox, Cardinals and Rangers having shown the most interest in the veteran hurler.

-The New York Yankees signed reliever David Aardsma to a one-year deal worth $500K.  In his last season (2010) Aardsma saved 31 games and posted a respectable 3.44 ERA with a solid 8.9 K/9 in 49.2 IPs.  This low key signing could turn out to be a bargain if Aardsma can regain his prior form and stay healthy.

 

Blue Jays Sign Rick VandenHurk

As per MLB trade rumours:

The Blue Jays announced that they signed Rick VandenHurk to a non-guaranteed split Major League contract. The Orioles released the right-hander earlier this month, making him a free agent. 

VandenHurk, 26, has experience in five big league seasons, but he appeared in just four games for the 2011 Orioles. He spent most of the season as a starter at Triple-A, where he posted a 4.43 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 154 1/3 innings. The 6’5″ native of the Netherlands has a 5.97 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 27.9% ground ball rate in 181 career innings with the Marlins and Orioles. 

The Blue Jays created 40-man roster space for VandenHurk by placing right-hander Alan Farina on the 60-day DL.

Analysis: Not much to see here, just another non-roster invitee to spring training as the Jays hope to catch lightning in a bottle.   The bullpen will be a team strength and VandenHurk is not expected to factor.

Four Blue Jays Make Baseball America’s Top 100

The list has not come out yet but we have learned that four Toronto Blue Jays have made the top 100 prospect list produced by one of the most respected sources Baseball America.

Catcher Travis D’Arnaud, outfielders Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick along with starting pitcher Daniel Norris have made the cut.

**UPDATE** the list has been released, here are the official rankings.

#17 Travis D’Arnaud – brother Chase beat him to the big leagues but ceiling is higher for Travis.

#39 Anthony Gose – physical dead finger for Nyjer Morgan, has bigger tools than T-Plush.

#67 Jake Marisnick – scouts have doubted his bat, he is putting those concerns to rest.

#91 Daniel Norris – Toronto has tremendous pitching depth and although Norris hasn’t made his debut he tops them all.

Athletics To Sign Manny Ramirez

As per Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumours:

Manny Ramirez is going to the A’s on a minor league deal, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The deal is worth about $500K in the Majors, reports ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.  The signing has been expected for several weeks.  Though the story is interesting, the A’s took an insignificant financial risk and didn’t commit a roster spot, and the likely reward is small as well.  Ramirez is represented by Praver/Shapiro.

Manny must first serve a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy a second time, making his earliest possible debut June 2nd at Kansas City, according to Gomez.  Ramirez retired when news of the suspension hit in April of last year, but was reinstated in December.

Ramirez, 39, would be a certain Hall of Famer if not for his PED issues.  He owns a .312/.411/.585 line with 555 home runs in 19 seasons for the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, and Rays.  He’s projected to serve as the A’s designated hitter for the latter two-thirds of the season.

Analysis: Some Blue Jays fans might be disappointed but given the uncertainty surrounding his eroding skills, aging body and PED suspension I say good riddance.

AL East Recap: The Weekend Update

A few odds and ends, including a starting pitcher the Jays have been linked to, read below:

-A pitcher I am sure the Jays would love to add if the price of prospects was a tad more reasonable is discussing a contract extension with the Chicago Cubs.

Mike Axisa writes the Cubs spent most of the winter gauging trade interest in Matt Garza, but now it appears they’re willing to discuss a long-term commitment. GM Jed Hoyer spoke to reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times) upon arriving at the team’s Spring Training facility today, and said the two sides could being extension talks soon.

“We focused really hard on getting the one-year number done a few weeks ago,” said Hoyer, referring to the one-year, $9.5MM contract the two sides agreed to a few weeks ago, avoiding arbitration. “We didn’t have any kind of long-term discussions before that, but certainly there was some dialogue about possibly having some long-term discussions at some point maybe this spring … I think we probably will sit down and talk.”

Garza, 28, can’t become a free agent until after the 2013 season. He made at least 30 starts and threw at least 180 innings for the fourth straight year in 2011, pitching to a 3.32 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 during his first season on Chicago’s north side. Garza has said he’s open to an extension with the Cubs earlier this offseason.

There has not been many reports lately stating the Jays and Cubs have started talks again and it appears the Jays will begin the season with the pitchers currently in camp, possibly opening up a spot for a surprise candidate depending on how spring training goes.

-MLB Trade rumours reports the Yankees have been negotiating extensively with representatives for Raul Ibanez, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.  An agreement seems very likely once the A.J. Burnett trade is finalized.

This morning, we learned that the Yankees still prefer Ibanez to Johnny Damon because he’s better against right-handers and in the field.  The club is reportedly intent on adding two bats to the fold.

-The Red Sox know that they won’t be getting Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters from the Cubs in the compensation agreement for Theo Epstein leaving the club but still hope to come away with a quality prospect, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

-Manny Ramirez worked out for the Athletics and the club could sign the slugger within the next week, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.

-Mike Axisa also discusses former Blue Jays hurler Shaun Marcum, as he reports last offseason, the Brewers traded Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum, who helped the club to the NLCS. Now they’re faced with his impending free agency. Marcum is scheduled to hit the open market after this season, and he told Todd Rosiak of The Journal Sentinel that the two sides have yet to talk about an extension.

“There hasn’t been (talks),” said Marcum. “When we were doing the arbitration thing, we were told they just wanted to do a one-year deal. I’m assuming that’s what that means — we’re just doing one year and they’re going to let me walk.”

-Johnny Damon will not be signing with the New York Yankees.  “We both are looking at other options now,” said Damon, adding that it’s “unfortunate”.

-The latest on the Jorge Soler situation from MLB trade rumours:

Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for.  Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value.  The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.

AL East Rumour Roundup: Friday February 17

Slow day outside of a few links and stories:

-The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates finally consumated the long rumoured AJ Burnett trade with Burnett heading to Pittsburgh in exchange for minor leaguer pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.

Scouts like the power arm of Diego Moreno, but there are a lot of questions about his maturity, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) had the early reads on the Yankees’ imports from the Pirates.  Moreno can reach 98 mph on the gun but has command issues while Exicardo Cayones can hit but doesn’t have much in the way of power.

-Boston Red Sox hurler Tim Wakefield called it a career at age 45 after a 19-year career.  He owns a career 200-180 record, a 4.41 ERA and 2156 strikeouts over a whopping 3226.1 IPs.  He is Boston’s all time  leader in starts and innings pitched and was only 6 wins behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young for the all-time franchise mark.

Before deciding to call it a career, Tim Wakefield had offers from four clubs, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  Agent Barry Meister says that one of the four offers was a guaranteed big league deal.

Wakefield didn’t consider any of those offers for long, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.  Upon hearing of the offers, the pitcher asked his agent, “Do they play for Boston?”

-In other Red Sox news veteran catcher Jason Varitek is leaning towards retiring.


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