The Red Sox added some left-handed depth to their pitching staff on Wednesday, signing veteran southpaw Dana Eveland to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
Eveland, 31, spent last season in a relief role with the Mets, racking up a respectable 2.63 ERA over 27 1/3 innings in 30 appearances. Eveland has pitched for eight teams during his nine-year Major League career, often bouncing back-and-forth between the rotation the the bullpen.
If Eveland indeed makes the club out of Spring Training, he has the potential to land a middle relief role with the Red Sox, while also providing some added insurance for the rotation.
– Paul Casella
Former two-time All-Star Dontrelle Willis is making another comeback attempt, signing a Minor League deal with the Brewers with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
The 33-year-old has spent the past three seasons pitching in the Orioles, Angels and Giants organizations, though his 2014 campaign ended after just four outings due to a left elbow injury that he suffered in April while pitching for Triple-A Fresno. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2011, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA over 13 starts with the Reds.
Willis began his career by compiling a 58-39 record to go along with a 3.44 ERA over his first four Major League seasons with the Marlins from 2003-06, all while winning the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year Award and making two All-Star appearances. Though Willis made 127 starts during those four seasons, injuries limited the left-hander to just 78 appearances over the next five years, during which he racked up a 14-30 record and an unsightly 5.65 ERA.
– Paul Casella
Former All-Star Dontrelle Willis is attempting to make a comeback with the Brewers, agreeing to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.
Willis, now 33, has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011 with the Reds. Between 2009 and 2011, he played for the Tigers, D-backs and Reds but has also since been in the Phillies, Orioles, Cubs, Angels and Giants organizations.
An All-Star in 2003 -— when he won the National League Rookie of the Year with the Marlins -— and 2005, Willis owns a 72-69 career record with a 4.17 ERA.
– Joey Nowak
Johan Santana‘s latest comeback attempt has been halted by discomfort in his left shoulder, according to Nelson Medina Arnías of LVBP.com.
Santana, who will turn 36 in March, had been pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League as he attempts to work his way back to the Majors. He will now miss the league final due to the shoulder issue, though an MRI reportedly showed no structural damage.
The latest injury is a significnat blow for Santana, especially considering that he’s already had multiple shoulder surgeries in the past four years. Those shoulder problems forced him to miss all of both the 2011 and 2013 seasons, while he also missed the 2014 campaign after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon during extended Spring Training with the Orioles last June.
The southpaw last pitched in the Majors in 2012, going 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA and two complete game shutouts over 21 starts. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Santana led his respective league in ERA three times from 2004-08 and had a strong 2010 campaign (11-9, 2.98 ERA, 1.176 WHIP) before injuries derailed his career over the past five years.
Prior to the injury news, at least six teams — including the Yankees, Blue Jays and Padres — had been rumored to have interest in signing Santana to what would presumably be an incentive-laden deal. It’s unclear at this point exactly what affect this shoulder soreness will have on Santana’s comeback bid, but the chances of him breaking camp with any Major League club have certainly taken a serious hit.
– Paul Casella
The Rangers have traded for Astros catcher Carlos Corporan, who was designated for assignment this week when Houston signed outfielder Colby Rasmus.
“I was hoping to be part of what Houston is doing right now, but it’s a business,” Corporan told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “That news yesterday, when Luhnow called me, caught me off guard, but it is what it is. It’s a new beginning for me. And I will try to do my best.”
Corporan, 31, was more or less out of a job when the team traded for Hank Conger to be the backup catcher. He said it’s unclear what kind of role he’ll have with the Rangers, but Corporan is ready for anything.
In 55 games last year, Corporan hit .235 with a .678 OPS.
“It was exciting for me because I was part of an organization last year that won 70 games and this year might have a winning record,” Corporan said. “I was hoping to be part of that, but it’s time to close the chapter and it’s a new beginning. I’m excited to play for my new team. And I really like blue.”
— Joey Nowak
Though the Mariners have a plethora of outfielders heading into Spring Training — Nelson Cruz, Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith are all now in the mix, along with incumbents Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson — they are reportedly still interested in reuniting with Endy Chavez.
ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick reported Tuesday that Chavez, 36, would likely have to sign a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training and try to win a spot.
The veteran utility man has spent his last two seasons with Seattle, appearing in 177 games. He also spent time with the Mariners in 2009. Last season, he hit .276 with a .688 OPS and saw action at all three outfield spots.
– Joey Nowak
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is still talking with other clubs regarding prized trade chip Cole Hamels, but evidently there is nothing on the immediate horizon in terms of a deal, and Hamels seems likely to start the season in Philadelphia.
“We continue to have dialogue with other clubs about making more change,” Amaro told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki before Tuesday’s Phillies winter banquet. “I don’t know if anything is going to happen. Nothing is really imminent.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Amaro doesn’t feel any pressure to move Hamels. He even said he expects to see Hamels on the mound for Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park.
“I think Cole Hamels is going to be in our uniform, frankly,” Amaro told the Inquirer. “I don’t really foresee him being moved. It is possible, because we’re literally keeping our minds and eyes and ears open on every player that we have on our roster. That said, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. And so, if we were to move him, we’re going to have to get some of the best prospects in baseball back.”
The Padres, Red Sox and Cardinals are among the teams rumored to be interested in Hamels, who is scheduled to make $23.5 million per year over the next four years — with a $20 million team option for a fifth.
Pat Gillick, the team’s interim president, echoed Amaro’s sentiment about a Hamels trade not being likely any time soon. But Gillick seemed slightly more optimistic that something could get done before Opening Day.
“If somebody is interested in a top-of-the-line pitcher I think [Hamels] would be somebody you’d have to consider,” Gillick told MLB.com. “It’s funny. In this game, things change. People are not in the mood to do something, then they go to Spring Training and all of a sudden … they realize they want to be competitive and want to do something. A lot of this maybe will shake out in Spring Training. I’d look for probably more interest in a lot of our players come Spring Training.”
— AJ Cassavell
When the off season started, there were three frontline starters looking for a team. Now that Jon Lester has inked a deal with the Cubs and Max Scherzer has joined the Nationals, James Shields is the lone man standing.
Shields, 33, has been linked to several teams – including the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Tigers – throughout the off season, but now that he’s the last big name pitcher left, things are starting to get interesting.
“What I see now is a lot of teams jumping back in,” an executive told ESPN. “But part of the reason is, they’re saying, ‘We know now he’s not getting $110 million, so why not jump back in?’ But the problem is, now everyone is bottom-feeding. And when you’re someone like him, that’s the last thing you want, is a lot of teams bottom-feeding on you in late January.”
On Sunday, USA Today reported that Shields has been seeking a five-year deal worth $125 million, but that offers were falling short of that.
Shields posted a 3.21 ERA in 227 innings last season and has made 31 or more starts in eight straight seasons.
- William Boor
The Braves are still pursuing free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, according to MLB.com’s own Mark Bowman.
Atlanta reportedly believes Gomes would be a good platoon option with Zoilo Almonte in left field.
Gomes, a veteran outfielder who’s spent nine years in the Majors, played for the Red Sox and A’s last season. He combined to hit .234 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.
– Quinn Roberts
About a half-dozen teams — including the Yankees, Blue Jays and Padres — are reportedly considering signing free agent left-hander Johan Santana, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Santana needed just 17 pitches and worked two perfect innings for his start on Jan. 13, his first since June when he tore an Achillies tendon in his left foot while pitching for Baltimore in extended Spring Training. His fastball ranged between 86 and 89 mph and he faced three Major League hitters: Yangervis Solarte, Josmil Pinto and Avisail Garcia.
His next start is scheduled for Thursday.
Santana is a former two-time American League Cy Young award winner (2004 and 2006) but has undergone two major shoulder surgeries since September 2010 and has not pitched in the majors since August of 2012 with the Mets.
Santana will turn 36 in March, but is hoping to earn at least an invite to Spring Training. Darren Wolfson of ABC Minneapolis has reported Santana already has one offer, although it is not from the Twins.