Results tagged ‘ Scott Downs ’

Madson to Anaheim possible?

That still remains to be seen. But on Wednesday afternoon — after the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Athletics in exchange for three young players — it became more possible than ever.

With the Red Sox, a team with money to spend, filling a huge need in the back end of its bullpen by acquiring the young Bailey, the market for Madson has reached a new low. It’s now pretty clear that the 31-year-old right-hander won’t get anything close to what the Phillies reportedly offered him before turning their attention to Jonathan Papelbon (a four-year, $44 million contract).

But just how much of a pay cut he takes is the big question.

It’d have to be a pretty sizeable one for the Angels to be a fit, now that the team has committed more than $330 million to Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. But it’s interesting to note that Wilson turned down a larger contract from the Marlins in order to sign with the Angels and return to Orange County, Calif. — where Madson was also born.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said during the Winter Meetings that his mission was to “complement [closer] Jordan Walden, not replace Jordan Walden.” In tune with that, he signed veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to potentially help lefty Scott Downs in a setup role. But getting Madson would be a far bigger step towards improving a bullpen that was tied for first in the American League in blown saves last season.

So far, it appears the Rays and Reds are the two main teams that still need a closer. But the Reds and Francisco Cordero reportedly want a reunion, and the Rays don’t have the financial wherewithal to allocate a lot of money to the ninth inning.

Time for Scott Boras to get creative with Madson.

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels may still be in play for bullpen help

Despite a lack of financial flexibility, the Angels continue to seek ways to address their bullpen situation.

Depending on his price, one option may be veteran closer Francisco Cordero. His agent, Bean Stringfellow, told WEEI.com on Tuesday that the Angels are one of four teams in play for the right-hander, along with the Reds — his former team, which reportedly wants him back — the Red Sox and a fourth, unidentified club.

Cordero is perhaps the best — and most expensive — free-agent reliever remaining after Ryan Madson, making the Angels the least likely fit among the above-mentioned clubs. Stringfellow told WEEI.com Cordero is looking for a multi-year deal and is only interested in going into a situation where he’s the clear-cut closer (which, in Anaheim, would mean the young Jordan Walden is supplanted).

The Angels have also reached out to the representative of former reliever Darren Oliver, a source familiar with his thinking told MLB.com. Oliver’s preference is to return to Texas, but is “not ruling out other contending teams,” the source said, adding that in order to accommodate the Angels, Oliver would be willing to defer most of his salary. Oliver put up a 2.29 ERA in 61 appearances last year, but is 41 and would give the Angels three lefties in the bullpen — along with Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.

Another interesting candidate is Joel Zumaya, the former Tigers flame-thrower who missed all of 2011 after undergoing exploratory surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Zumaya performed in front of what was believed to be about 50 scouts in Houston last Wednesday, and some of them were members of the Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed. Someone in attendance told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal he threw his fastball from 93-96 mph and had a decent curveball and OK command.

Some other, cheaper, right-handed options in the free-agent bin: Luis Ayala, Juan Cruz, Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler and Jamey Wright. Most of them, however, may not sign deals until more materializes later in the offseason. Sources told MLB.com the Angels have yet to reach out to Ayala or Wheeler in particular.

The Angels previously added LaTroy Hawkins – on a one-year, $3 million contract — in hopes of improving a bullpen that was tied for the American League lead in blown saves last season. Dipoto previously said he’s looking for someone to “complement Jordan Walden; not replace Jordan Walden.”

Alden Gonzalez 

Big move looks unlikely for Angels

CLEVELAND – There has been considerable talk about the need of another bat or a reliever, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia seems content with his roster. Before Monday night’s game against the Indians, Scioscia didn’t dismiss outright the notion of a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal being made by Sunday – but didn’t sound overly encouraged or even enthused about the prospect.

Owner “Arte Moreno has spent enough money,” Scioscia said. “We need to get it in-house. It’s realistic. It’s not a wing and a prayer. I think we’ll get better, and I’ve already seen signs of it.”

In Scioscia’s mind, a return to form by Fernando Rodney after missing five weeks with upper back issues “is like a huge trade acquisition.” Rodney couldn’t have looked much better in his first appearance since returning to the bullpen, striking out two of the three hitters he faced in Baltimore on Saturday with fastballs only.

“It’s hard to get a guy who can throw anywhere from middle [relief] to late in the game and have the possibility to close,” Scioscia said, referring to Rodney. He brings back-end balance in the form of two right-handers (with closer Jordan Walden) and two lefties (Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi).”

There have been reports connecting the Angels to the Padres and Heath Bell, but the Angels have been down that road before and the asking price was way too high for their taste.

Scisocia seems convinced the Angels’ offense has the right pieces but just needs Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Maicer Izturis and Vernon Wells to produce closer to the level of their track records. – Lyle Spencer

Angels surveying relief market

ANAHEIM — Fernando Rodney makes his second Minor League rehab appearance on Wednesday night from a strained back muscle, pitching for Inland Empire in the California League.

How Rodney looks and feels could play into how active the Angels are in pursuit of a reliever by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Rodney, if he’s healthy, can be the bridge to Scott Downs and Jordan Walden in the eighth and ninth innings.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated on Wednesday that the bullpen is one area the club is exploring in the market. General manager Tony Reagins has been spending a lot of time on the phone, Scioscia said.

“There are some areas as a team where we’d like to see an upgrade,” Scioscia said. “I’m not going to say what it is, because we have guys playing there now. There are a number of areas that are hopefully going to come up to help us have a deeper club. We’re definitely looking at depth in the bullpen.”

But at what cost? The Angels would have to be convinced they have a legitimate shot at toppling the high-flying Rangers to commit another premium prospect for a setup reliever. Hisanori Takahashi was superb in the role on Saturday in Oakland. 

Veteran southpaw Horacio Ramirez, summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake, hopes to be one of the answers, joining Downs and Takahashi on the left side in Scioscia’s balanced bullpen.– Lyle Spencer

 

Angels excited about opener

Frigid weather notwithstanding, the Angels are geared up for their season opener against the Royals.

“Every Opening Day is a new experience,” clubhouse leader Torii Hunter said. “We have a great blend here of young guys who can’t wait to get started with their careers and older guys like Vernon [Wells], Bobby [Abreu] and myself who can teach them some things and show them the way. I really like our team. I think we’re ready for a big year.”

Angels manager Mike Scioscia echoed Hunter’s sentiments, adding that he’ll feel even better when Kendrys Morales returns from his foot ailment to fortify the heart of the lineup.

“We’re definitely excited, ready to get after it,” Scioscia said from the visitors’ dugout about 2 1/2 hours before game time at Kauffman Stadium. “We feel good about where we are. I know we have some growth. I hope we can continue to improve as we get into the season and get a little deeper.”

That depth was a reference not only to Morales, who could be back in about three weeks, but also setup man Scott Downs, whose recovery from a broken bone in his left big toe is right on schedule. — Lyle Spencer

Yankees intrigued by Romero

Derek Jeter’s contract may be stealing all the headlines right now, but a left-handed reliever is also on the list of Brian Cashman’s objectives this winter. J.C. Romero has surfaced among the names on that front, according to FOX Sports.

Cashman said after the season that a lefty out of the bullpen would be a target, now that the Yankees expect Damaso Marte to miss most or all of 2011 following surgery. Boone Logan served as the Yankees’ lone lefty reliever for most of this year.
In addition to the 34-year-old Romero, the Yankees have also been linked to Pedro Feliciano and Scott Downs. New York engaged the Blue Jays about a trade for Downs during the season.
– Bryan Hoch 

Giants focus on relief help as Deadline nears

Thursday, July 29

SAN FRANCISCO — As Saturday’s 1 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline crept closer, indications grew that the Giants were almost exclusively concentrating on acquiring bullpen help and had abandoned their pursuit of a hitter.

Sources familiar with the Giants’ trade talks said team officials constantly found that the “prices” for competent hitters, in terms of players San Francisco would have to part with, were far too costly. Giants general manager Brian Sabean has stated his unwillingness to trade left-handers Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner, who routinely appear on other teams’ most-wanted lists.

San Francisco’s most immediate division rivals have fortified themselves. The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for outfielder Scott Podsednik while the San Diego Padres got slugging infielder Miguel Tejada.

But the Giants believe they aren’t so desperate offensively that they must overpay for a proven hitter. Despite Thursday’s 5-0 loss to Florida, they lead the National League with 141 runs scored in July. They’re 18-8 this month. As a result, they’re willing to stand pat.

“I like this club, I do,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “If it’s the right fit, I’m sure something would happen, but this is a good team with a lot of moveable parts. …”

This enables the Giants to throw even more energy into obtaining a reliever — preferably a left-hander, since injuries have sidelined southpaws Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler.

“You know the obvious. We lost two left-handers,” Bochy said. “There’s been a lot of talks. I’ll leave it at that.”

San Francisco reportedly has expressed interest in Toronto lefty Scott Downs, who has limited left-handed hitters to a .182 batting average. Downs also has been effective against righties, who have batted .232 off him.

By contrast, another lefty who captures the Giants’ fancy, Baltimore’s Will Ohman, is the quintessential situational reliever. Left-handers own a .207 batting average against him, compared to .340 for righties.

A handful of right-handers also intrigue the Giants, including Florida’s Leo Nunez, who has a .210 opponents’ batting average against lefties. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Giants are eyeing Seattle’s Brandon League, against whom lefties are batting .235.

Chris Haft, Cash Kruth

Yankees balk at Joba for Downs

The Yankees have interest in trading for Blue Jays lefty Scott Downs, but not at the prices Toronto is requesting, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said that the Blue Jays asked for right-hander Joba Chamberlain, who has struggled in his eighth-inning role and is on the verge of being bounced out of it with Dave Robertson pitching well. The Yankees debated parting with Chamberlain in talks with the D-backs for Dan Haren, but do not appear to be primed to do so for Downs.
When the Red Sox contacted the Blue Jays about Downs, a source told the newspaper that Toronto asked for highly regarded infield prospects Casey Kelly or Jose Iglesias.
The 34-year-old Downs would fill a need for the Yankees with Damaso Marte on the disabled list and Boone Logan as the only left-handed option in the bullpen. The Post also again noted the Yankees have spoken to the Orioles about infielder Ty Wigginton.
– Bryan Hoch

Roundup: Rangers seemingly not done yet

The Rangers already nabbed the big prize of the trade market by snagging Cliff Lee recently, and they’ve reportedly been hot after an infielder, with Jorge Cantu being their primary focus
But that may not be all. 
Texas is also keeping its eye on the seemingly depleted market for Roy Oswalt, SI.com and FOXSports.com wrote. Oswalt to the Rangers, however, is still considered a longshot. Oswalt, who has a full no-trade clause, insisted location doesn’t matter, as long as he goes to a contender. The Phillies are still hopeful of obtaining the pricey right-hander, but reports have indicated that the Cardinals — in the same division as the Astros — are pretty much out of the race. 
With Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline fast-approaching, here’s more from around the league … 
* The Yankees and Red Sox are the favorites to acquire Scott Downs, the most sought-after lefty reliever in the trade market, according to FOXSports.com. 
* According to ESPNChicago.com, six teams are in the running for Adam Dunn: The White Sox, Tigers, Angels, Rangers and two unidentified National League clubs — with one of those likely being the Giants. In order for the White Sox to get him, the Nationals require top pitching prospect Daniel Hudson, plus one of outfielder Jordan Danks, catcher Tyler Flowers and infielder Brent Morel

* Cody Ross really wanted to stay with the Marlins. Now, after Chris Coghlan tore his MCL while celebrating on Sunday, Ross may seemingly get his wish, which would deprive the trade market of a valuable outfielder. 

* Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez is leaning towards exercising his $14.6 million player option for 2011, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. The news comes as no surprise, considering he likely wouldn’t get anything close to that in the open market at this point. Ramirez, who also has a $16 million club option for 2012, has a pretty good perspective on the Trade Deadline. 
* The Braves reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with backup catcher David Ross, a club source confirmed to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Ross, making $1.6 million while in the final year of his contract, will now stay on through 2012. First-string catcher Brian McCann is also signed through 2012, with a club option for 2013. 
* In need of more punch in their lineup, the Giants have been “heavily” scouting Royals outfielder Jose Guillen, Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network wrote via Twitter. Meanwhile, Guillen’s teammate, Scott Podsednik, is also drawing intrigue. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote via Twitter that Kansas City is being “bombarded” by National League West teams interested in the speedy left fielder. 
* Not only may Ross be staying, but the Marlins are also strongly considering a long-term deal with Dan Uggla, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, will continue selling, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. 
Alden Gonzalez

Red Sox need relief

The Red Sox’s primary need at the trade deadline came into clearer focus on Sunday when Hideki Okjaima again couldn’t get the job done with the game on the line. Manager Terry Francona only has two relievers he can truly count on in any situation — Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard. The problem is that the cost for relief help around the game is exceedingly high when it comes to pitchers like Toronto’s Scott Downs, but perhaps the price will drop a bit in the final hours leading up to July 31.

As for players the Red Sox might part with, Mike Lowell continues to top that list. The veteran corner infielder is continuing his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket this week and is swinging the bat well. The Rangers and Tigers are two teams who have expressed some degree of interest in Lowell, who simply doesn’t have a spot on a Boston team that has Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre at the corners with David Ortiz DH-ing.

With a time-table for Jason Varitek’s return to the team still uncertain, the Sox are also looking for catching.

Ian Browne

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