Results tagged ‘ nationals ’

Nats hire Wetzel as special assistant

Veteran scout Terry Wetzel has joined the Washington Nationals as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, according to Major League sources.

Wetzel has 32 years of experience scouting, the last 15 with the Colorado Rockies as a special assistant to the general manager. He also spent 17 years with the Kansas City Royals, starting out as an area amateur scout and eventually becoming the Royals scouting director.

A 2011 inductee into the Texas Baseball Scouts Hall of fame, Wetzel was honored as the Ewing Kaufmann scout of the Year with the Royals in 1993, and the Pat Daugherty Scout of the Year award with the Rockies in 2003.

–Tracy Ringolsby

Cubs deny Zimmermann report

Cubs officials denied a report they were in contact with the Nationals regarding a potential trade for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that the teams have mutual interest, with the Cubs sending one of their middle infielders to the Nationals for the pitcher. However, a Cubs official told MLB.com Tuesday night that the report was not true. FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal also reported Cubs officials denying the Sun-Times report.

The Cubs are in the market for starting pitching, but are more likely to be exploring the free agent pitchers on the market, including Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields. If the price for those players is too high, they could wait for next year’s free agent market that will include Zimmermann, David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Theo Epstein has said repeatedly that they are looking at players over the next 15 months, not just this offseason.

Zimmermann, who turns 29 in May, is due to make $16.5 million in 2015, the last year of his contract. He was 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 32 starts in 2014.

– Carrie Muskat

Nats declined to exercise options on LaRoche, Soriano; Cabrera, Hairston, Schierholtz become free agents

WASHINGTON — Nationals second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and outfielders Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz are now free agents.

The Nationals also declined to exercise their options on first baseman Adam LaRoche and right-hander Rafael Soriano. None of the players are expected to be back with the team in 2015.

LaRoche reached the 90-RBI plateau for the fourth time in his career, but he is not coming back because the Nationals plan to put Ryan Zimmerman at first base. Recently, LaRoche said Zimmerman will be a quality first baseman.

“I think he is going to be an outstanding first baseman. I said that last year,” LaRoche said about Zimmerman. “He has one of the best gloves I’ve ever seen. He is an athlete. When the time comes, whether it’s next year or the following year or this postseason, he can handle that bag for sure.”

Soriano had a 6.48 ERA after the All-Star break. Soriano simply couldn’t keep his slider down in the strike zone and lost his closer’s job to Drew Storen

General manager Mike Rizzo decided to acquire Cabrera from the Indians before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cabrera provided steady defense at second, as Anthony Rendon shifted over to third base.

After coming from Cleveland, Cabrera expressed his desire to play shortstop, but after the Nationals were eliminated from the National League Division Series, he said he was willing to stay at second base. Going to the World Series is more important to him than playing shortstop. It is believed that the Nationals will not pay a lot of money to keep Cabrera.

Hairston and Schierholtz were part of the bench this past season. Hairston got off to a great start, but he tailed off dramatically starting in June and was taken off the roster during the NLDS.

As a pinch-hitter, Schierholtz ranks sixth among active players with at least 150 pinch-hit appearances. He started the season with the Cubs, but after getting released on Aug. 13, he signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals five days later. He made $5 million in 2014. It’s doubtful the Nationals will pay Schierholtz that kind of money in ’15, though he could be back on a Minor League deal.

– Bill Ladson

Span’s option picked up by Nats

WASHINGTON — To the surprise of no one, the Nationals picked up Denard Span’s $9 million option Thursday afternoon.

Span said general manager Mike Rizzo called to inform him that he would be back with the team in 2015. Had the Nationals declined the option, Span would have been given a buyout worth $500,000.

“I’ll be back,” Span said by telephone. “I’m very excited. I told Mike I’m excited to be coming back another year. I’m looking forward to working with the coaching staff and getting back with the guys and go on another run.”

Span is one of the reasons the Nationals won their second National League East title in three years. Besides being one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, Span is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. He was among the NL leaders in multi-hit games, hits, doubles and stolen bases. Span is a finalist to win his first Gold Glove Award this year.

– Bill Ladson

2/13 Roundup

Several teams followed the lead of the Dodgers and D-backs and officially opened Spring Training for pitchers and catchers on Thursday. The rest will follow between Friday and Monday.

But that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove has been switched off, with a handful of free agents still available and some clubs continuing to look for ways to improve via trade. The Nationals, for instance, found a strong backup for catcher Wilson Ramos on Thursday, acquiring switch hitter Jose Lobaton and two prospects from the Rays for young right-hander Nathan Karns.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Indians announced their four-year, $25 million extension with outfielder Michael Brantley. The deal buys out his arbitration eligibility and includes a fifth-year option.
  • The Orioles have agreed to a three-year contract with South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. However, physicals have led Baltimore to void two other deals this offseason. Yoon could fit as a starter or a reliever with the O’s.
  • Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said his team isn’t likely to spend more this offseason, meaning free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew won’t be coming to Queens.
  • Cuban free-agents Aledmys Diaz and Odrisamer Despaigne worked out for Major League scouts during a showcase in Arizona. Diaz, an infielder, and Despaigne, a right-handed pitcher, both hope to sign with a team by the end of the month.
  • The Mariners officially signed free-agent closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract and inked veteran lefty Randy Wolf to a Minor League deal. They also placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the restricted list after he informed them that he will miss the season with a chronic gastrointestinal issue.
  • The Cubs officially reached deals with free-agent righties Jason Hammel and James McDonald, on the same day they revealed Jake Arrieta has been dealing with shoulder tightness that will push him behind schedule.
  • The Phillies released veteran righty Chad Gaudin after he failed a physical. The two sides had agreed to a Minor League contract in January.
  • The Rays are likely to sign free-agent lefty Erik Bedard, according to multiple reports. The 34-year-old went 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 32 games, including 26 starts, for the Astros last season.

– Andrew Simon

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

2/1 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

Angels bring in lefty bench haul

The Angels have signed quite the collection of potential left-handed bench bats, with Brennan Boesch, Carlos Pena and Chad Tracy all reportedly signing minor league deals with invitations to major league Spring Training. 

MLB.com‘s Alden Gonzalez has the news here about Pena and Boesch, whom Gonzalez says will compete for a bench spot this spring. 

Pena, also a solid defensive first baseman, signed a one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Astros last winter and hit .209 with 8 HRs and 25 RBIs in 85 games before he was released on July 31. The 35-year-old signed with Kansas City in August, but had a season-ending appendectomy in September. 

Boesch, who played at UC Berkeley before being drafted in the third round by the Tigers in 2006, played in 380 major league games from 2010-12 in Detroit and appeared in 23 for the Yankees last season. 

The Baltimore Sun‘s Dan Connolly reported Wednesday that the Angels also signed veteran Chad Tracy (not to be confused with former manager Jim Tracy’s son, who signed with the Orioles) to a minor league deal with an invite to big-league Spring Training. The former D-back and National has proven valuable off the bench in Washington the last two seasons.

– Joey Nowak

1/17 Roundup

On a day when the Dodgers announced their seven-year, $215 million contract extension with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, numerous smaller deals were completed across the Major Leagues.

Friday was the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players, leading many to work out compromises, albeit none that carry the financial impact of Kershaw’s. For those who didn’t reach agreements, negotiations can continue until hearings take place from Feb. 1-21, at which point the decisions will be in the hands of three-judge arbitration panels.

Here is a look at some of Friday’s big arbitration-related news:

  • The Nationals signed five of their seven eligible players, including All-Star right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond. Washington bought out the final two years of arbitration for both players, locking them up for $24 million and $17.5 million, respectively.
  • Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer agreed to a $15.525 million contract with the Tigers, who still have a lot of work to do if they want to prevent him from reaching free agency next offseason.
  • Chris Davis headlined the Orioles’ five signings, getting a raise of roughly $7 million in his second year of arbitration after leading the Majors in home runs and RBIs. Catcher Matt Wieters, also two years from free agency, has yet to reach a deal.
  • Third baseman Chase Headley was among the players to settle with the Padres as he readies for his final season before free agency.
  • While the Braves were able to sign four arbitration-eligible players, they will have to exchange figures with closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
  • The Marlins put a stop to all three of their arbitration cases, handing $6.5 million to slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the process. Stanton’s salary will jump from $537,000 in his first year of arbitration.
  • The Yankees also locked up all of their arbitration-eligible players, as outfielder Brett Gardner led the way with a $5.6 million settlement.
  • Another club set to sit out the hearings is Toronto, which rewarded center fielder Colby Rasmus’ strong 2013 with a $7 million deal in his final year of club control.
  • Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who bounced back in a big way after going through a rough ‘12, settled on a $3.6 million contract in his first year of arbitration.
  • Josh Reddick is the only A’s player who remains unsigned after the club came to agreements with four more players on Friday, including offseason acquisitions Craig Gentry and Luke Gregerson.
  • Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker were among the players to come to terms with the Pirates, who closed all of their arbitration cases.
  • A day after settling with ace lefty David Price, the Rays avoided arbitration with each of their six remaining players, including righty Jeremy Hellickson.
  • The Reds have negotiating left to do with starter Homer Bailey and closer Aroldis Chapman and are hoping to ink Bailey to a long-term deal.

– Andrew Simon

1/16 Roundup

With Major League teams scheduled to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players on Friday, Thursday’s most popular Hot Stove activity was finding a way to prevent the awkwardness of continuing the arbitration process.

The Rays’ David Price was the most high-profile of several players who agreed to one-year deals, thereby avoiding arbitration. The 2012 American League Cy Young winner will make $14 million in his second-to-last season of club control.

Price, the subject of frequent trade rumors, told reporters during a conference call that he wants to remain with Tampa Bay, although the deal does not guarantee the club won’t trade him before or during this season.

In other news from around the league:

  • Others who avoided arbitration with one-year deals included Ike Davis with the Mets, Jim Johnson and John Jaso with the A’s, Chris Heisey with the Reds, Ross Detwiler with the Nationals, Wilton Lopez with the Rockies and Tim Collins with the Royals.
  • Even with Clayton Kershaw locked up with a massive contract extension, the Dodgers could be far from done making big moves, writes MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Los Angeles remains a possible destination for Japanese free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and shortstop Hanley Ramirez could be in line for his own extension heading into the last year of his contract.
  • Kershaw’s seven-year, $215 million deal could have implications for the other defending Cy Young Award winner, the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. As MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes, Scherzer figures to benefit as he enters his third year of arbitration. The Tigers will have to pay up big if they want to keep him off next winter’s free-agent market.
  • Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he was part of a contingent that met recently with Tanaka in California. Many MLB owners apparently are convinced the Cubs will “blow away the field and sign Tanaka to a monster deal,” according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
  • The Orioles and free-agent righty Bronson Arroyo are engaged in “ongoing discussions,” according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who adds that the Dodgers are also involved.
  • The Brewers have drawn close to signing first baseman Mark Reynolds to a Minor League contract. Reynolds would figure to compete for playing time at first base, a weak spot for Milwaukee.
  • The Indians announced their Minor League deal with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who is bringing his Tony Plush persona back to the U.S. after spending 2013 in Japan.
  • The Mariners added to their catching depth by signing veteran John Buck to a one-year deal.
  • The Royals brought in a pair of veteran pitchers on Minor League contracts, signing righties Brad Penny and Guillermo Mota.
  • Other Minor League signings on Thursday included catcher Michael McKenry with the Rockies, infielder John McDonald with the Angels, pitcher Henry Rodriguez with the Marlins and infielder Chris Getz with the Blue Jays.

– Andrew Simon

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