Results tagged ‘ A.J. Burnett ’

Lee’s Monday night wasn’t that disastrous

Cliff Lee didn’t help his cause last night, but Phillies fans shouldn’t panic about it.

He struggled in his return from the DL against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park, allowing 12 hits, six runs and failing to command his pitches in 5 2/3 innings. You’d think the guy forgot to pitch, but one scout afterward correctly pointed out that Lee maintained his velocity throughout the night, which indicates he is healthy. The struggles? Most likely the result of a two-month layoff.

If Lee is healthy there is no reason to think he will not return to form as one of the top starting pitchers in baseball. If the Phillies can’t trade him before the July 31 Trade Deadline, perhaps he clears waivers next month. If he does, the Phillies have until Aug. 31 to trade him. If he doesn’t clear waivers, there is nothing to prevent the Phillies from trading him in the offseason.

A couple more months isn’t going to hurt anybody, if Lee is healthy and pitching well. In fact, it would get more teams involved in the offseason because right now the only teams interested in Lee are contending teams.

* ESPN.com reported Lee can be traded to nine teams without his consent: the Braves, Indians, Astros, Marlins, Twins, Mets, Padres, Rays and Nationals.

ESPN.com also reported that A.J. Burnett, who shares the same agent as Lee, can be traded to nine teams without his permission: the Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Cardinals and Nationals.

* I still think the three Phillies most likely to be traded before the deadline are Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies are listening, but not actively shopping Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I would be incredibly surprised if any of those three are traded.

- Todd Zolecki

Phillies Busy As Trade Deadline Approaches

The Phillies return to action tonight in Atlanta, and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is 13 days away. The Phillies are busy trying to find trade partners for several veteran players, but just because they have players to trade it doesn’t mean they’ll trade them. They’re not pressured to make something happen before July 31. The front office hasn’t been told by ownership to shed payroll no matter what.

Remember, the Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason.

Let’s repeat that: The Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason. Especially if they’re not getting much of a return in their current discussions.

A report Sunday had the Mariners hot and heavy for Marlon Byrd, but reports since said their interest has cooled or talks have stalled. Keep this in mind as you read countless reports between today and July 31: 95 percent of this stuff is teams kicking the tires and reporters taking a kernel of information and writing it. For example, when you read a team with a need for starting pitching has inquired about Cole Hamels, don’t say to yourself, “Oh my God! The (insert team here) are going to get Cole Hamels!” Say to yourself, “Well, no kidding! Of course they’re interested in Cole.”

A team expressing interest in a Phillies player and a team actually making a legitimate offer are two totally different things. Maybe the Mariners called the Phillies last weekend and said, “We’d really like Marlon Byrd, but we’ll only give you a marginal prospect for him.” In that scenario, Ruben Amaro Jr. most likely said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and hung up the phone.

A few reminders as the July 31 deadline approaches:

  • The Phillies are absolutely open to trading Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The contracts and limited no-trade clauses for Papelbon, Lee, Burnett and Byrd could be stumbling blocks, but I just don’t see the Phillies making deals if they’re only getting a light-hitting outfielder or a middling reliever in return.
  • They would need to receive a huge package of prospects to trade Cole Hamels.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have 10-and-5 rights and have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain in Philadelphia. The Phillies will listen to offers for Hamels, Utley and Rollins, but they are not going to give them away.

So, yes, the Phillies are not “looking” to trade Hamels. And they absolutely prefer to trade Lee over him. They would welcome a Papelbon trade, and they are willing to part with Bastardo because they have two younger, less expensive left-handers in Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands.

It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks for the Phillies. Like I said, they are active. But like I also mentioned, there are no indications they’re going to just get rid of players, either.

- Todd Zolecki

Burnett signs with Phillies

Shortly after the news broke that Cole Hamels will not be available to start the season, the Phillies brought in some rotation help. The team has signed right-hander A.J. Burnett to a one-year deal, a source told MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. 

It’s a blow to the Pirates rotation that helped lead the club last season to its first postseason berth since 1992, with Burnett expected for much of the offseason to return to Pittsburgh if he did not retire. But in the last couple weeks he had reportedly re-opened his free agency, and now lands with a different NL club.

Because the Pirates did not make him a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, they will not receive a compensatory draft pick. FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal reported the deal is worth $16 million.

– Joey Nowak

2/7 Roundup

And then there were three. With free-agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo agreeing Friday to a two-year deal with the D-backs that includes a club option, the remaining big-name starters on the market are A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Like Arroyo, whichever club signs Burnett will not lose a first round pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. Santana and Jimenez, on the other hand, don’t fall into that category. So where will Burnett land?

The Pirates could have the inside track, writes MLB.com’s Tom Singer, but the Orioles and Nationals are also in the running. Burnett and his camp have kept their thought process secret thus far, but with Spring Training on the horizon, something is likely to happen soon.

The Phillies appear to be out of the Burnett sweepstakes, and will instead turn their attention to former closer Ryan Madson, who has not pitched since 2011 because of Tommy John surgery and complications following the procedure.

In other Hot Stove news:

• Nelson Cruz remains on the market, and MLB.com’s Mike Bauman examined the potential risks and rewards for clubs looking to sign the outfielder. Cruz would significantly boost any lineup, however, the slugger has a history of injury, will turn 34 in July and served a 50-game PED suspension last year.

• Meanwhile, the A’s locked up outfielder Coco Crisp through at least 2016 with a two-year contract extension that includes a vesting option for 2017. Last year, Crisp became just the 10th player in Oakland history with at least 20 doubles and 20 home runs in a single season.

• The Brewers brought back reliever Francisco Rodriguez, this time on a one-year deal worth at least $3.25 million. In a corresponding roster move, pitcher Donovan Hand was designated for assignment.

• The White Sox also added to their bullpen mix, signing right-hander Mitchell Boggs to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.

• Outfielder Jimmy Paredes was designated for assignment by the Marlins to open a roster spot for infielder Jeff Baker, who agreed to a two-year deal this week.

• The Nationals agreed to terms with veteran reliever Luis Ayala on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Ayala, 36, is one of the few remaining players to have appeared with the Expos.

• The Pirates inked catcher Omir Santos to a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to big league camp.

• First baseman Matt LaPorta and the Orioles agreed to a Minor League contract. LaPorta has not appeared in a Major League game since 2012, when he played 22 games with the Indians.

• Royals pitcher Everett Teaford cleared waivers and remained in the organization with an assignment to Triple-A Omaha. The left-hander has been invited to Major League Spring Training.

-Austin Laymance

2/4 Roundup

Arbitration hearings are never the most enjoyable part of Hot Stove season. And now, two high-profile young players won’t have to worry about them anymore.

The Braves made Tuesday’s biggest splash, avoiding arbitration with two of their three remaining eligible players. While closer Craig Kimbrel still is headed toward a hearing, the club signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a deal that buys out his final two arbitration years, while inking first baseman Freddie Freeman to a franchise-record eight-year, $135 million extension.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Mariners could be on their way to adding another power source to a lineup that already has gained the services of Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison this offseason. Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Seattle is discussing a multiyear deal with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, who clubbed 27 home runs in 109 games for the Rangers last year.
  • Seattle also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with Morrison.
  • The Rangers are among several teams interested in Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, who worked out for the club in Arizona.
  • The Orioles are interested in Yoon, too, and in fact have made the righty an offer. But they also are pursuing a more established arm, such as A.J. Burnett or Bronson Arroyo.
  • The Marlins added a veteran right-handed bat, bringing in Jeff Baker on a two-year deal. Baker could platoon with Garrett Jones at first base and also could see time at third and second.
  • The A’s signed former Rays outfielder Sam Fuld to a Minor League deal that includes two opt-out dates if he has not been added to the active roster.

– Andrew Simon

2/1 Roundup

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Spring Training in less than two weeks, time is running out for free-agent starters A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo to find work. However, the Orioles are rumored to be in talks with those big-name arms, writes MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.

Baltimore executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Saturday his club has “some more work to do this offseason.” In addition to talking to several free-agent starters, Duquette and the Orioles would also like to avoid an arbitration hearing with catcher Matt Wieters. For his part, Wieters said he’s staying out of the contract negotiations.

Perhaps once Burnett, Santana, Jimenez or Arroyo reaches a deal with a club, the rest will follow suit. Although that quartet remains on the market, there was still movement on the Hot Stove on Saturday:

• The Nationals and right-handed starter Doug Fister agreed to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. With Fister under contract for 2014, reliever Tyler Clippard is the only player expected to take Washington to arbitration this month. Clippard seeks $6.35 million, while the Nationals have offered $4.45 million.

• In a similar development, the Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a 2014 contract worth $3.55 million plus incentives. That leaves closer Kenley Jansen as the only remaining Dodgers player eligible for arbitration. Jansen is looking for $5.05 million and the club has offered $3.5 million.

• Veteran utility man Emilio Bonifacio was designated for assignment by the Royals in a move to clear roster space for left-handed starter Bruce Chen, who recently inked a new contract. Kansas City has 10 days to place Bonifacio on waivers, release him or trade him.

• Giants head of baseball operations Brian Sabean said the organization would still consider signing a veteran reliever, though “it would have to be at a minimal price.”

-Austin Laymance

1/29 Roundup

In a free-agent market light on shortstops, Stephen Drew would figure to be a hot commodity, coming off a year in which he played solid defense at the position and produced a .777 on-base-plus-slugging percentage for the Red Sox. Yet the 30-year-old seems to be running out of options, with Spring Training rapidly approaching.

On Tuesday night, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo that it is “unlikely” his club will sign Drew. On Wednesday, our Bryan Hoch reported that the Yankees are not considering bringing in Drew, while Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network wrote that the A’s also are not interested.

All of those factors could make a return to Boston more likely for Drew, who is tied to Draft pick compensation after receiving a qualifying offer.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Phillies could be a team to watch in the competition for veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett, a free agent who recently decided to pitch this season. Signing Burnett would be a great move for Philadelphia, one that just might get it back to the postseason, writes MLB.com columnist Richard Justice. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Tom Singer offers an idea for how the Pirates could manage to bring back Burnett.
  • Bronson Arroyo told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that while 12 teams have contacted his agent this offseason, he has not come close to a deal with any of them. Arroyo and Burnett are drawing some interest from the Blue Jays, but Toronto appears more focused on fellow free-agent right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, according to Rosenthal.
  • After a 15-year career that included six All-Star teams, a World Series title and 366 home runs, Lance Berkman told MLB.com that he has decided to retire. Berkman spent an injury-plagued 2013 with the Rangers.
  • Right-hander Scott Baker, who returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of last season, signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners and figures to compete for a spot in their starting rotation.
  • Former Phillies closer Ryan Madson, who has missed the past two seasons due to injury, held a private workout for an unknown team on Tuesday and is planning a public audition for more clubs on Feb.7 in Phoenix, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • The Cardinals and infielder Daniel Descalso agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, while the Cubs did the same with outfielder Justin Ruggiano.
  • The Reds bolstered their infield depth by signing veteran Ramon Santiago to a Minor League contract.
  • For the third time this offseason, the Twins signed a former member of the organization to a Minor League deal, this time bringing back reliever Matt Guerrier.
  • The Angels added Chad Tracy to the mix in their crowded competition for bench spots.
  • The Royals acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Mariners for a player to be named later and designated left-hander Everett Teaford for assignment.

– Andrew Simon

1/26 Hot Stove Roundup

Any loose ends in the Brewers’ deal with Matt Garza were tied up on Sunday afternoon, as Milwaukee finalized and made official its four-year contract with the right-hander.

MLB.com‘s Adam McCalvy reported the four-year contract guarantees $50 million with another $4 million available in incentives, plus a vesting option for a fifth year at $13 million, depending on Garza’s workload over the first four years.

It’s the first of the free agent starting pitching dominoes to fall since the Yankees’ signing of Masahiro Tanaka, and there could be plenty more this week. But before getting too far ahead, let’s take a look at some more of Sunday’s Hot Stove news.

  • Reds starter Homer Bailey was “diplomatic” when talking about contract negotiationsMLB.com‘s Mark Sheldon wrote from the Reds Caravan in Cincinnati. Bailey is one of two Reds players eligible for arbitration (the other is closer Aroldis Chapman) and will be a free agent after the 2014 season. His agent Casey Close — who represents Tanaka, among other stars — has been engaged in talks with general manager Walt Jocketty about a multi-year deal. “There is [interest], but it has to be something that works out for both ends,” Bailey said. “That’s kind of tough to do. You see a lot of the signings that are going on, so, of course, it’s going to raise eyebrows on my behalf. Obviously, with a mid-market team, it’s tougher for them, also. We’re just going to have to see how everything goes.”
  • Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is also open to negotiating a long-term contract, MLB.com‘s Jordan Bastian reported Sunday, but he wants to take care of that business before Opening Day. “We haven’t talked about it yet [this offseason],” Kipnis said. “My guess is, if we were going to, it’d probably start in Spring Training, when everybody comes there. They’ve got their hands full with other stuff to take care of first. There’s arbitration cases on other players. It’ll come after — when the time is right.” The Indians are still working on contract talks with Justin Masterson, Michael Brantley, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin, who are all arbitration-eligible.
  • After a dismal 2013 that included rotator cuff and wrist injuries and a Triple-A demotion, Danny Espinosa is intent on working his way back onto the Nationals’ big-league roster, and potentially even the starting lineup. According to Chase Hughes from Nats Insider, Espinosa has been assured by general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams that he will have plenty of chances to work for that opportunity.
  • The Pirates “probably won’t go after a pitcher” if A.J. Burnett decides to hang up his spikes and retire, the Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo reported. Burnett is still mulling the decision. Cafardo has that news and plenty more tidbits in his weekly Sunday baseball notes column.
  • The Mariners made one of the largest splashes of baseball’s offseason by signing second baseman Robinson Cano, but general manager Jack Zduriencik said the team is not yet finished. “We need to do a few more things,” Zduriencik said. “I’d like to add a couple more things to help us.” MLB.com‘s Greg Johns wrote from Mariners FanFest that Zduriencik will meet with new team president Kevin Mather in the next few days to discuss moves, which are most likely to include complementary additions.

– Joey Nowak

Searage expecting Burnett to retire

Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage went on the radio Thursday morning and told 93.7 in Pittsburgh that he expects A.J. Burnett to retire.

“I’m on that percentage point where he’s not going to come back,” Searage said. “Right now I’m leaning that way, where he’s going to retire.”

There has been speculation since the Pirates were eliminated by the Cardinals in last year’s playoffs as to whether the veteran would return for his 16th season (third with the Pirates). After struggling during his time in New York, Burnett experienced a renaissance of sorts in Pittsburgh, where he’s gone 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA.

–  Joey Nowak

12/17 Roundup

The pool of potential closers available on the free-agent market shrank on Tuesday, when the Hot Stove was focused on relief pitching.

The Orioles were on the hunt for a closer after trading Jim Johnson to the A’s earlier this offseason, and they now appear set to use some of the savings from that deal on Oakland’s former closer. Grant Balfour, who saved 38 games for the A’s in 2013, reportedly is in agreement on a two-year contract with Baltimore.

The Cubs also might have snatched up a new ninth-inning man after reaching a reported one-year pact with Jose Veras. That would leave Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez among a dwindling group of free agents with recent success as closers. The Padres appear to be targeting Benoit for an eighth-inning role in front of Huston Street.

In other news from around the league:

  • Highly touted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has informed his Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, that he wants to be made available to Major League teams. But even with NPB and MLB having a new posting agreement in place, the Eagles do not have to post Tanaka, and it appears they might be reluctant to do so.
  • One club that figures to pursue Tanaka if he becomes available is Arizona, which is looking to add more starting pitching this offseason.
  • The Yankees are close to signing a pair of veteran players, reportedly reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. Meanwhile, New York still would like to add free agent Mark Reynolds but is facing competition from the Angels and Twins, among others, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network. Jeff Baker is another veteran bat drawing interest from the club, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
  • The Braves’ search for additional starting pitching likely concluded with Monday’s signing of Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract, despite the fact that the righty won’t be ready until May as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Atlanta had explored trades for the likes of the Rays’ David Price and the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija but found the asking prices too steep.
  • Our Tom Singer checks in on free-agent righty A.J. Burnett, who has yet to make a decision about whether to retire, return to the Pirates or perhaps pitch for another team. It’s a delay that is making things difficult for Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington.
  • After losing out on Juan Uribe, the Marlins continue to search for a third baseman. The club is looking at both free agents and trade possibilities.
  • The Mets’ top priority is to trade one of its first basemen, Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. The Brewers and Pirates are the two remaining clubs that seem like obvious trade partners for such a deal. Pittsburgh is interested in both Davis and the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, according to Heyman.
  • The Cardinals’ recent signing of free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis likely will turn out to be their last significant move of the offseason, as GM John Mozeliak acknowledged on Tuesday.
  • On the other hand, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said his club still is looking hard at free agents, with the bullpen one area to address. Houston already has signed relievers Chad Qualls and Matt Albers.

– Andrew Simon

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