More than 15 teams have called to express interest in free agent reliever Andrew Bailey, MLBTR has learned. The 29-year-old had season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and the Red Sox declined to tender him a contract earlier this month. Barring setbacks, he is expected to be Major League game ready by mid-May. Bailey burst onto the scene in 2009, saving 26 games with a 1.84 ERA for the Athletics and winning the Rookie of the Year award. He made the All-Star team in 2009 and ’10, though in 2010 he missed nearly a month with an intercostal strain. Bailey also had elbow surgery in late September that year. In 2011 he was injured in a spring training game, making his season debut on May 29th after recovering from a forearm strain. Bailey had thumb surgery in April 2012, making his season debut in mid-August. Bailey hasn’t had a completely healthy season since his rookie year. However, he still averages the same 94 miles per hour on his fastball he did then, and aside from a recent flyball tilt and a slip in control, Bailey has continued to show good skills in his limited mound time
MLB rejected an A’s request to move to San Jose six months ago, the Sports Law Blog reports (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). “MLB denied the Athletics’ relocation request on June 17, 2013, one day before this lawsuit was filed,” a case-management statement reads. “On that date, Commissioner [Bud] Selig formally notified the Athletics’ ownership that he was not satisfied with the club’s relocation proposal.” As Slusser notes, San Jose’s anti-trust lawsuit against MLB was filed the day after the June 17 rejection. However, a source tells Slusser that MLB only decided the specific proposal for a San Jose stadium was insufficient, saying it merely required more information. The league therefore hasn’t denied the A’s request to move outright, but hasn’t approved anything, either, placing things in a holding pattern of sorts
The Rockies and Athletics talked yesterday about a potential trade involving A’s left-handed starter Brett Anderson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but were not able to line up on a deal. The clubs are not expected to revisit the possibility of Anderson moving to Colorado, Rosenthal adds. Anderson has been one of the most interesting trade targets reportedly available. Though the 6’4 southpaw has seen his last several seasons derailed by Tommy John surgery and a fracture in his right foot, he is just 25 years of age and still has plenty of upside. Anderson threw 175 1/3 innings and posted a 4.06 ERA as a rookie in 2009, but has not maintained a full season of starting work since. When healthy, Anderson has generally been effective; he has a lifetime ERA of 3.81 in 450 2/3 innings. Last season was his roughest on the mound, as he posted a 6.04 ERA in 44 2/3 innings, though metrics like FIP (3.85) and xFIP (3.26) were much more favorable. Meanwhile, for the Rockies, MLBTR’s Zach Links wrote before the off-season that the rotation was an area that the club could make an impactful addition. After adding LaTroy Hawkins to the bullpen and Justin Morneau at first via free agency, but shedding the salary of Dexter Fowler via trade, Colorado might be in a position to take on payroll obligations for a starter. Anderson is due to be paid $8MM next season and comes with a $12MM option for 2015 ($1.5MM buyout).
The Orioles have been connected to some of the offseason’s major free agent names but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun isn’t sure that the O’s will be players for Shin-Soo Choo, Ubaldo Jimenez or Nelson Cruz. Choo will be too costly and Jimenez will demand too many years, while Connolly has “not found anyone in the organization that endorses Cruz as a viable option” and lists several reasons why Cruz isn’t a fit in Baltimore. Here’s some more from Camden Yards… Jim Johnson asked the Orioles for a four-year contract worth $45MM-$50MM in extension talks earlier this winter, sources tell MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. An extension would’ve been one way for the O’s to keep Johnson at a lower price rather than pay him a projected $10.8MM in arbitration, though obviously Johnson didn’t have a bargain in mind with his demands. The Orioles traded Johnson to the Athletics for Jemile Weeks on Tuesday. The Orioles didn’t attend Randy Wolf’s workout and don’t appear to have any interest in the veteran southpaw, Kubatko reports. Wolf pitched in five games for Baltimore at the end of the 2012 season and then underwent Tommy John surgery that October, sidelining him for all of 2013. Scott Feldman told reporters (including Dan Connolly) that he was “about 90 percent sure” the Orioles didn’t make him a former offer. “It’s really hard to get disappointed with the situation I am in, but I was at least expecting a little bit of interest from them. But it’s not like I’m mad or anything,” Feldman said in the wake of his three-year, $30MM deal with the Astros. That third guaranteed year was likely the breaking point for the Orioles, as they had been rumored to only be interested in giving Feldman two years and an option, at most. MLBTR’s Steve Adams has more from Feldman’s conference call. The Orioles have considered making Bud Norris their closer to replace Johnson, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. This move would only be a “fallback option,” Encina notes. While the O’s may yet add a starter and need to make room in their rotation, shifting an innings-eater like Norris to the bullpen would be a curious move, in my opinion. Also from Encina’s piece, Brian Matusz will be stretched out and given an opportunity to win a rotation job during Spring Training. Adam Jones’ six-year, $85.5MM extension signed in May 2012 looks like a better bargain in the wake of Jacoby Ellsbury’s deal with the Yankees, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com opines. In Baltimore news from earlier today, the Orioles signed outfielder Francisco Peguero and right-hander Ryan Webb
The Rangers are threatening to peak even before the Winter Meetings begin. But there will be more work to do when general manager Jon Daniels and his cadre of advisors and scouts assemble at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Monday for the Winter Meetings.
A’s officials will head to the annual Winter Meetings on Sunday with a short to-do list. Oakland already has been busy addressing many of the club’s offseason needs, but strengthening the farm system could be on the agenda.
The Orioles are “active” in discussions for multiple free agent pitchers and hitters, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Among them are outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz as well as starter Ubaldo Jimenez, according to Morosi. While Baltimore entered the off-season with several needs, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk explained that budget constraints — especially with Chris Davis and Matt Wieters entering their last year of team control — left it unclear just how much the club would be able to spend. After clearing the projected $10.8MM salary of closer Jim Johnson, however, GM Dan Duquette may have additional space with which to work. Discussing the Johnson deal, Duquette indicated that it was in large part driven by “resource allocation.” Looking forward, Duquette said the club was ”still looking for help in left field” and ”would also like to sign some other pitchers.” While any of the above-noted players would fill a need for Baltimore, it would seem to be something of a surprise for one to land there. As Duquette went on to note, ”I don’t think free agency is the way to build a strong team.” And the big dollars expected to be landed by Choo, Cruz, and Jimenez would certainly eat up a big chunk of the present and future payroll for the O’s.
Here’s the latest from the American League West: Rangers GM Jon Daniels says the club is still looking for a durable backup catcher, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Though the recent spat of catcher moves took away some hypothetical options, Daniels said that ”nobody has come off the board that we really pursued.” Sullivan notes that Kurt Suzuki is one player in whom Texas has interest. In looking to add a backstop, the Rangers were close to adding J.P. Arencibia via trade before he was non-tendered by the Blue Jays, Sullivan reports. But the club did not want to add Arencibia unless it could work out terms on a new deal, and ultimately that did not happen. He joins Suzuki as possible free agent options for Texas. The Athletics’ signing of left-handed starter Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22MM deal kicked off a flurry of big moves for the A’s. MLB.com’s Jane Lee provides a summation of the considerations that brought him to Oakland, with Kazmir saying he loves the team and fan base and looks forward to throwing in the Coliseum. For GM Billy Beane, the club liked Kazmir’s stuff, restored fastball velocity, overall body of work in 2013, and young age (29)
The A’s have designated left-hander Andrew Werner for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Scott Kazmir, the team announced on Twitter. Werner, 26, was one of two players received by the A’s in their trade of Tyson Ross to the Padres. The University of Indianapolis product spent the entire season in Triple-A this season and struggled to the tune of a 5.78 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. Right-handed batters tagged him for a .901 OPS, but he was able to hold lefties in check reasonably well, limiting them to a more respectable .688 OPS in 2013.
Though they have plenty of in-house rotation candidates, the Athletics clearly consider Scott Kazmir to be superior to many of them. Oakland officially announced today that they have signed the left-hander to a two-year contract that is reportedly worth $22MM. Kazmir is represented by the Legacy Agency. Kazmir, who turns 30 next month, reemerged as a legitimate Major League starter in 2013 after a two-year hiatus from significant big league action. After pitching to a 5.54 ERA in 299 innings from 2009-11 and seeing his average fastball velocity drop below 87 mph, Kazmir returned with a 92.5 mph heater and posted a 4.04 ERA In 158 innings for the Indians. He averaged 9.2 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings to go along with a 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. Sabermetric stats like FIP (3.51), xFIP (3.36) and SIERA (3.45) all pegged Kazmir as significantly better than his ERA would otherwise indicate. Because he did not receive a qualifying offer from Cleveland, Kazmir’s agreement won’t require the A’s to sacrifice their first-round pick.