Results tagged ‘ Scott Downs ’

1/2 Roundup

The Hot Stove tends to focus on what teams can add. But sometimes, a team’s best move could be to prevent one of its players from joining next offseason’s Hot Stove discussion.

The Tigers might be one of those clubs, writes MLB.com’s Jason Beck. While Detroit is no stranger to making significant trades or signings after Jan. 1, general manager Dave Dombrowski could choose to focus on a contract extension for reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. It will take a sizable offer to lock up the right-hander for the long term, but that might prove preferable than letting Scherzer hit the open market next winter.

In other news from around the league on Thursday:

  • After turning the calendar to 2014, MLB.com’s Doug Miller surveys the Hot Stove scene and takes stock of who remains available.
  • Baseball America’s Ben Badler made a list of the 10 teams most likely to sign Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka and put the Mariners at No. 1, followed by the Yankees and Dodgers. Wherever he goes, Tanaka is likely to taste plenty of success, writes our Mike Bauman.
  • The Twins are “kicking tires” on another free-agent righty, Matt Garza, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com.
  • The Phillies and Tigers are among at least six teams that have tried to trade for Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner this offseason, according to Peter Gammons of Gammonsdaily.com. However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman will only part with Gardner if he has to do so in order to acquire starting pitching, Gammons writes.
  • The White Sox announced their one-year deal with free-agent left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who will make $4 million and have a club option for 2015.
  • The Rays claimed left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa off waivers from the A’s, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Mariners signed a trio of players to Minor League deals, including veteran reliever Ramon Ramirez.

– Andrew Simon

Report: White Sox nearing deal with Scott Downs

The White Sox are closing in on a deal with lefty reliever Scott Downs, the FOX Sports duo of Rosenthal-Morosi reported on Thursday.

Ken Rosenthal tweeted Thursday that the one-year deal is in the $4 million range with a vesting option that could bring it to somewhere in the neighborhood of two years, $8 miliion. He added that the option will vest if Downs pitches to around his normal workload. The deal is pending a physical.

Downs, 37, went 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 68 appearances between the Angels and Braves last season.

– Joey Nowak

Angels fielding lots of phone calls …

The Angels — 14 games out of first place and eight games below .500 — have been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last couple of days, with a multitude of teams gauging their interest in parting ways with some of their position players. One person familiar with the team’s thinking said Tuesday afternoon that the chances they strike a deal before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline are “better than 50/50.”

“Vultures appear to be circling,” the source said.

Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar appear to be the most likely to be traded, given how solid they’ve been on both sides of the field and the team-friendly extensions they signed last year. The Royals — with Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada — are looking for a second baseman with offense and would be willing to include veteran starter Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar, who’s been effective out of the bullpen but hasn’t started all year, in a deal. They also have two top guys in the Minors in Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but Royals reporter Dick Kaegel doesn’t believe they’ll be included in a deal.

And according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are one of the 12 teams Kendrick could block a trade to this season.

Aybar, however, has no such no-trade protection in his contract. And if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, perhaps they get interested. So far, though, they’ve shown no signs of being on the lookout for a shortstop, per Tigers reporter Jason Beck.

So, we’ll see. There can be a lot of surprises this time of year, especially in the final hours. But there’s definitely incentive for the Angels to wait until the offseason to swap a position player for cost-controlled starting pitching. More teams can get involved, and plenty more time permits.

Early on Monday, the Angels traded veteran lefty reliever Scott Downs to the Braves in exchange for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus.

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels 7/25 Question of the Day, on Trade Deadline

Any indication the Angels will sell next week? — @ChrisSexton

All indications continue to point to a relatively quiet next six days for the Angels, leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Things change really fast this time of year. Teams get desperate, sentiments change, and there’s always the possibility that the Angels are blown away by an offer.

But here’s something you can pretty much count on: They won’t be picking up any rentals, a la Zack Greinke in 2012. And they’re not really going to be “sellers,” per se, because the construction of their roster — most notably Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols — doesn’t really allow for that. Somewhere in the middle is where I’d put them. If they can find a good deal for Scott Downs, they’ll probably take it. In August, if they don’t make progress in the standings, they can also look to trade Jason Vargas — at that point, they’d have to put him through waivers first — if he pitches well in his return from the DL.

And if there’s a deal they really like, which would allow them to turn an offensive player into controllable starting pitching, they’ll take it.

That deal hasn’t presented itself yet. And the chances of it coming this month are highly unlikely. That may have to wait until the offseason.

As one person familiar with the Angels’ thinking said recently, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they made just one minor trade.”

Alden Gonzalez

Downs would prefer to stay with Angels

Things tend to change very quickly this time of year, but indications around the Angels point to a relatively quiet next nine days leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. They’re too far back in the race and too close to the threshold at which teams are taxed 17.5 percent to be buyers; too burdened by big contracts to be all-out sellers.

One player who can very well be moved, though, is Scott Downs, the lefty reliever who will be a free agent at season’s end.

“I’ve been through this before,” the 12-year veteran said. “I can’t control what’s going on on the other side. The only thing I can control is what I do out on the field to help this team win. That’s the only thing I want to do, that’s the only thing I’m going to worry about.”

Downs figures to be an attractive name leading up to July 31, especially given the amount of teams that need relief help down the stretch. He’s having a very solid season (1.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). He’s affordable (owed the pro-rated share of a $5 million salary for 2013). He’s got a great track record (a 2.30 ERA while averaging 63 appearances from 2007-12). And the Angels entered Monday’s game 8 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the American League.

The Braves and Indians are among the teams that would have interest.

Downs is 37, has yet to pitch in the playoffs and would welcome appearing in meaningful October games. But he’d like to make that happen here, and would love to find a way to stay with the Angels past 2013.

“I signed out here because I wanted to win and because of the makeup of this team,” said Downs, in the final months of a three-year, $15 million contract. “I still believe, and I think everyone in this clubhouse believes, we have a chance to win; we have a chance to do something special here. So for me to say I want to leave here to go somewhere else, that’s not the case. I want to win with this team and that’s my mindset. Unless that changes, my mindset is on this team and this team only.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Dipoto satisfied with pitching staff after Meetings

Since they’re both pending physicals, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto couldn’t speak very candidly on the agreed-upon two-year deals for starter Joe Blanton and reliever Sean Burnett.

But speaking from the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Thursday morning, minutes after the Rule 5 Draft and just as he boarded a flight back to Southern California, the second-year GM sounded like a man who’s satisfied with the pitching depth and isn’t looking to make any other significant free-agent signings.

“Sometimes,” Dipoto said, “the smartest moves you can do is just make practical decisions.”

The likes of Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson and Brandon McCarthy will probably sign elsewhere now. Dipoto wouldn’t flatly say that they’re out on Zack Greinke, who’s expected to command a $150 million contract, but of course they are. “We’re prepared to,” he said. “You have to make smart decisions.”

In fact, if the Angels do make any other addition to their Major League roster, it would probably be to one more low-tier free agent — probably a reliever, but perhaps another starter.

Dipoto talked all offseason about building “one-through-12 pitching depth.” With Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Blanton, Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams as starters, and Ryan Madson, Burnett, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs as relievers, he feels he has “11 men in place on our Major League pitching staff, and every one of the 11 guys, when they take the field, is a competitive Major League pitcher and the innings are going to grow.”

Asked if he’d be satisfied if this were the same pitching staff that arrives in Tempe, Ariz., this spring, Dipoto said, “Oh yeah.”

The Angels’ payroll was never expected to be at $159 million like it was last season. The most likely scenario was that it would be somewhere between $140 and $145 million. Right now, it’s at roughly $140 million — and it may not go much higher than that.

“We’ve made a handful of decisions that we think are best for the club,” Dipoto added. “I can tell you there’s not another move coming today; I can’t tell you that there won’t be an addition to the club at some point. You’re always looking to get better. But I think what we did in the last few days is we put ourselves in a position where we’re stable. We’re not going to have to make further additions to be a competitive club.

“Right now, on paper, we have 11 guys that slot into Major League roles, and if the chance exists to better our club in some way, that makes sense for the Angels, we’ll take a look at it. But we have nothing imminent, we have nothing that I think is a certainty – nothing we have to do.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels sign left-hander Sean Burnett

The Angels finalized their bullpen search on Wednesday, signing left-handed reliever Sean Burnett to a two-year deal with a club option, a source told MLB.com.

The deal, which is still pending a physical, is expected to be just south of the two-year, $9.5 million deal Kyuji Fujikawa got with the Cubs, and way south of the three-year, $18 million deal Jeremy Affeldt signed with the Giants.

The addition of Burnett has “no effect” on the Angels’ pursuit of a starting pitcher. They’re still not totally out on Zack Greinke. Burnett joins a bullpen that includes fellow lefty Scott Downs in addition to Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and the recently signed Ryan Madson, who’s expected to take over the closer’s role after recovery from Tommy John surgery.

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels still not sounding confident on Greinke

The Angels continue to sound like a club that isn’t counting on resigning Zack Greinke.

Obviously, things can change very quickly, and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has a recent track record of being very coy about his pursuit of big-name free agents (see: 2011 Winter Meetings). But the price tags continue to be sky high — with Dan Haren signing for $13 million and Shane Victorino reportedly getting a three-year, $39 million deal from the Red Sox — and the Angels continue to seem content with simply adding one middle-tier starter and one back-end reliever.

On Tuesday afternoon, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted that the Dodgers “have become [the] clear favorite to land Greinke,” echoing a sentiment that has been widely reported/speculated for most of the offseason. The Angels, who continue to be portrayed as a dark horse, want to avoid what happened last season, when they committed a lot of money to the rotation and were essentially tapped out in August, unable to add to a bullpen that badly needed an upgrade.

The Nationals dropped out on Greinke with the Haren signing, seemingly making it a three-team race. If Greinke’s price gets to $150 million, the Angels are likely out. If he’s willing to settle for something less, they have a chance.

But this is still the most likely scenario for Dipoto: Sign one No. 3 starter to slot between Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and Tommy Hanson and Garrett Richards/Jerome Williams (Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, etc.); sign one more back-end reliever to complement Ryan Madson, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen (Mike Adams, Sean Burnett, Koji Uehara, etc.).

Dipoto wouldn’t go into much detail in his daily briefing with local reporters on Tuesday, but he did re-iterate that he’s “100 percent” only looking at pitchers and that free agency — not the trade market — is almost his sole focus. The Angels did circle back with Haren, talking to him as recently as Monday, and a source said they improved on their original offer (one-year at $4 million with an $8 million vesting option) before buying out his contract.

Asked whether he was close on any pitchers, Dipoto said …

“Can’t say for certain that I’m getting warm on anything, but again, we’ve picked up the targets that we’re most interested in, we’ve had great discussions — in some cases multiple layers. We’re making progress, the extent of which I can’t tell you. I don’t know if anything gets done today, tomorrow, or post-[Winter Meetings], but I am certain that we’ll line up with a team on the field, and time will make the proper decision.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels continue to search for relievers

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said after signing Ryan Madson that he’s not done addressing the bullpen “by any stretch.” And that search has intensified at the Winter Meetings here in Nashville, Tenn., where the Angels are focused on adding one starting pitcher but are keeping their ears open for additional bullpen options.

The Angels, a source confirmed, are one of several teams with a keen interest in former Nats left-hander Sean Burnett, who has posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 176 1/3 innings from 2010-12, averaging 7.8 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings. Acquiring Burnett would give the Angels a second lefty to complement Scott Downs, who has been reliable the last few years but struggled in the second half of 2012.

It would also let the young Nick Maronde start full-time in the Minor Leagues. Some in the organization, however, believe his future is as a reliever anyway.

Another option for the Angels is right-hander Mike Adams, who posted a 1.60 ERA and a .92 WHIP from 2010-11. The 34-year-old Adams finished last season with a 3.27 ERA with the Rangers, the highest since his rookie year in 2004, due in large part to a rough September that ended with him being shut down due to a right shoulder ailment.

The Angels checked in on Joakim Soria at the General Managers Meetings, but Soria’s preference is to sign somewhere he can close — and with Madson on board, that’s no longer a selling point for Dipoto.

Burnett, Adams and Soria are sure to use the three-year deals signed by Jeremy Affeldt ($18 million), Brandon League ($22.5 million) and Jonathan Broxton ($21 million) as a starting point. That means signing one of them would almost certainly take the Angels out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, though a source said they’re “not closing the door on anything.” According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels have checked in on the two starting pitchers a tier below Greinke — Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels reportedly front-runners for Fujikawa

Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa is nearing a decision and the Angels are believed to be the front-runners, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported via Twitter on Friday afternoon. Fujikawa’s agent, Don Nomura, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Fujikawa, 32, is one of the top relievers in the Far East, racking up 202 saves to go along with a 1.36 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a rate of 12.4 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings in 369 2/3 frames while pitching for the Hanshin Tigers.

Fujikawa met with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto in Anaheim last week, a source confirmed to MLB.com, as part of a five-team tour that also saw him make stops in the Dodgers’, Orioles’, Cubs’ and D-backs’ facilities. At least 10 teams are believed to have made him an offer, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, who said Fujikawa is seeking a multi-year deal.

The Angels signed Ryan Madson to potentially be their closer on Wednesday, adding him to a back end of the bullpen that also includes Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs. On Friday, they freed up a spot in the ‘pen by trading Jordan Walden to the Braves for starter Tommy Hanson.

If the Angels sign Fujikawa, they’d probably be out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, instead going with a cheaper alternative to fill their final rotation spot.

Alden Gonzalez

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