Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News says that while the Giants would welcome Bengie Molina back, they only want to give him a single year and don’t want to give him a raise. Molina, on the other hand, wants more money and two years. Given that Buster Posey is waiting in the wings in San Francisco there’s no reason for the Giants to make anything approaching that kind of a commitment to Molina. And of course, given the Law of Conservation of Molinas, there will always be a roster spot for Bengie someplace else, so he’s as good as gone. Possibly to the Mets, Baggarly thinks.
Not that San Francisco is completely sold on Buster Posey yet. For reasons that remain totally baffling, the Giants sent him to the Arizona Fall League this year, where he has struggled mightily. This, according to ESPN’s Jason Grey, is because he simply looks worn out, which is to be expected after a season behind the plate in San Jose, Fresno and San Francisco. A great season to boot, which makes one wonder why on Earth Brian Sabean feels it necessary to put more innings on the knees and back of his top prospect. The kid has nothing to prove apart from his mortality and injury recovery prowess, but I guess Sabean wants to test that stuff too.
Based on Sabean’s history, it’s probably also because he thinks any player under 30 is still too green to contribute at the big league level and needs some seasoning. This is consistent with Baggarly’s speculation that the Giants are thinking about bringing in Pudge Rodriguez in the event Molina walks. If they do, I’d bet you an order of garlic fries and an Anchor Steam that Rodriguez, and not Posey, gets the Opening Day start.
Or, at the very least, thank his bat.
Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:
If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.
In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.
Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”
Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.
Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.
Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.
Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.
Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.