Yesterday the Giants lost for the 21st time in 31 games, falling six games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and today the front office had a mini-house cleaning by designating veterans Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand for assignment.
Tejada was signed to a one-year, $6 million contract to take over as the Giants’ starting shortstop despite all kinds of evidence that he couldn’t handle the position defensively at age 37.
He was quickly moved to third base and then the bench, hitting just .239 with four homers and a .596 OPS in 91 games. And the final straw may have been the former MVP’s public complaints about being asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt earlier this week.
Rowand still has another season remaining on a five-year, $60 million contract, so the Giants will be paying him $12 million in 2012 whether he’s still on the roster or not. Rowand got that deal following a career-year in 2007, but has hit just .253 with a .704 OPS in 509 games since then and had started just 16 games since the All-Star break. It’s possible the Giants will be able to find a taker for Rowand if they eat all of that salary.
That the moves come one day before rosters expand from 25 to 40 is awfully telling. Pat Burrell was called up from the minors to fill one of the roster spots along with Triple-A first baseman Brett Pill.
Ben Cafardo of the Boston Globe speculated on Sunday that there might be a connection between the Giants and veteran free agent right-hander John Lackey, and now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that San Francisco is indeed in pursuit.
Rosenthal says the Giants, “like most clubs seeking pitching, [are] examining [a] wide range of options” in this starter-heavy free agent market. Lackey would make a ton of sense for any contender on something like a two-year deal. His free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t be much of a deterrent.
The 37-year-old right-hander registered a career-best 2.77 ERA across 218 innings (33 starts) this past season for the National League Central-champion Cardinals and he was St. Louis’ most reliable starter during the playoffs.
It’s well known that he wants to remain in the National League.
As first reported by beat writer Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have signed free agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year major league contract. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says the deal is worth $2.8 million guaranteed.
Soto will offer some veteran presence at catcher for the Halos alongside 25-year-old Carlos Perez, who hit .250/.299/.346 as a rookie in 2015.
Soto slashed .219/.301/.406 with nine homers in 78 games this summer for the White Sox.
The 32-year-old backstop is a .246/.331/.434 career hitter at the major league level.
According to the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox, the club acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies on Tuesday evening in exchange for minor league pitcher Yency Almonte.
Kahnle was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week in a flurry of moves made in preparation of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old former fifth-round pick posted an ugly 4.86 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and 39/28 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings this past season for Colorado and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Almonte, 21, had a 3.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 110/38 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings this past season between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.
It’s a straight one-for-one deal of two non-prospects, and the timing of it — in the evening, with Thanksgiving approaching — has our Craig Calcaterra wondering whether an executive was just trying to get out of some family responsibilities …
The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.
McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.