White Sox pick up reliever Pena from Diamondbacks

Leave a comment

So much for that idea
of Brandon Allen being sent to the Blue Jays in a Roy Halladay trade.
The White Sox just used him to bolster their bullpen with the
acquisition of Tony Pena from the Diamondbacks.

Pena, once known as Adriano Rosario, was considered a future closer
for Arizona when he debuted in 2006, but his stuff had only
occasionally translated into the expected results. After a strong 2007
in which he had a 3.27 ERA and 30 holds, he was overlooked in favor of
Brandon Lyon for the closer’s role in 2008. He was later passed by Chad
Qualls, so he remained a setup man this year with Lyon gone. He did
well in that role early on, amassing a 1.85 ERA through the end of May,
but he had given up 15 runs — 13 earned — in his last 15 appearances,
leaving him at 4.24 for the year. Pena makes barely more than the
minimum now and is under control through 2012, so this isn’t just a
trade for this year.

Pena still seemed like a possibility to close for the Diamondbacks with
Qualls likely to attract suitors before the deadline. With the White
Sox, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever get that opportunity. Bobby
Jenks, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton are all ahead
of him on the depth chart. Fantasy leaguers should now be looking at
Jon Rauch as a possible sleeper for saves.

Allen gives the Diamondbacks something they didn’t have in their
system: a possible first baseman of the future. The 23-year-old hit
.290/.372/.452 with seven homers in 241 at-bats for Double-A Birmingham
to begin the year. Since a promotion to Triple-A last month, he was at
.262/.262/.377 with no walks in 61 at-bats. He’s a potential 25-homer
guy, and he’s shown better on-base ability with every move up the
ladder, at least until a couple of weeks ago. He’s probably not going
to be a regular to begin 2010, but the move suggests that the
Diamondbacks aren’t interested in turning either Mark Reynolds or Conor
Jackson into a full-time first baseman going forward.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
2 Comments

Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.

Report: MLB, union making progress on new slide rule at second base

New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada falls after a slide by Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley during the seventh inning of an NL Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)
John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP
2 Comments

After Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula on a takeout slide from Chase Utley during the playoffs, there was momentum for a new rule about slides at second base. We haven’t heard much about it since the Owners’ Meetings in November, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that talks between MLB and the players’ union are making progress and a change is expected for the 2016 season.

The exact wording of the new rule is still unclear, but Olney hears that there’s a focus toward “ensuring that sliding runners either touch the base or make an effort to touch the base.” Below are some more details:

Sources said that in the union’s internal discussions, players made it clear they had been taught since they first began playing baseball to go into second base with the intent of breaking up double-play attempts. Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players’ aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play.

However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders.

There’s already a rule in place for a situation like we saw with Utley, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. It’s unfortunate that Tejada’s fractured fibula had to be the catalyst for change or clarification with the rules, but hopefully this will result in fewer injuries in the future. Similar to the “Buster Posey Rule” for plays at home plate, get ready for life with the “Chase Utley Rule.”

Here’s the video of the Tejada/Utley play:

And here’s the video of another high-profile play from 2015 which resulted in a torn lateral meniscus and a fractured tibia for Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang:

Report: Tigers and J.D. Martinez agree to a two-year, $18.5 million deal

J.D. Martinez
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
1 Comment

UPDATE: Jason Beck of MLB.com confirms that it’s a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

8:00 p.m. ET: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with outfielder J.D. Martinez by agreeing to a two-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved, but Robert Murray of Baseball Essential reported earlier today that he was hearing rumblings about a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

Martinez filed for $8 million and was offered $6 million by the Tigers when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. There has been some talk about a long-term extension, but we heard last week that the two sides were discussing both one- and two-year deals. This new deal will buy out Martinez’s final two years of arbitration, so as of now, he’s still on track to go into free agency after 2017.

After a breakout 2014, Martinez batted .282 with 38 home runs and an .879 OPS over 158 games last season.