Mariners trade Rob Johnson to Padres for PTBNL or cash


Designated for assignment by the Mariners last week, Rob Johnson has been traded to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Presumably something like $1.75.

Johnson hit .200 with a .282 on-base percentage and .302 slugging percentage in 534 plate appearances for the Mariners, which adds up to a .584 OPS that ranks third-worst in team history behind Brian Hunter and the legendary Mario Mendoza.

And while most catchers who hit that horribly are great defenders behind the plate, Johnson has more passed balls than anyone in baseball over the past two seasons despite playing about half as much as the average starting catcher.

He figures to serve as Nick Hundley’s backup in San Diego.

Orioles “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche


Baltimore is “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.

Craig wrote this morning that the Orioles, Nationals, and Padres are seemingly fighting it out for LaRoche and Derrek Lee, so perhaps Lee could generate a nice little bidding war now.

Arizona declined its $7.5 million option on LaRoche for 2011, choosing a $1.5 million buyout instead, and then LaRoche turned down the Diamondbacks’ arbitration offer, so they’ll receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for letting him walk.

LaRoche drove in a career-high 100 runs this year, but also had his lowest batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.320), and OPS (.788) since 2005.  He’s typically been a slightly above-average first baseman offensively and adds some extra value with a good glove.

If the Orioles end up signing LaRoche he’ll join trade acquisitions Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy as part of a new-look infield that includes just one holdover in second baseman Brian Roberts.

What’s the hold up? Rays and Padres still haven’t finalized Jason Bartlett trade

Jason Bartlett

It’s been six days since the Rays and Padres were said to have agreed upon a trade sending Jason Bartlett to San Diego for relievers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell, yet the deal is still “on hold” and no one seems quite sure what’s going on.

According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune “a strange silence has fallen over both camps” and “calls and e-mails” to both teams “got no response” over the weekend.

What makes the whole thing particularly strange is that Bartlett revealed last Wednesday the Rays had contacted him to inform him of the trade, only to admit later that he actually learned of the supposed deal from a television report.

Center speculates that the trade could be contingent on the Padres working out a contract with Bartlett, who’s due for a raise to around $5 million via arbitration. He also speculates that perhaps someone raised a red flag regarding one of the two pitchers heading to Tampa Bay.

In the meantime several other shortstop options have either signed or been traded, leaving the Padres with significantly fewer choices to fill the position if the Bartlett deal ultimately falls through.

Monday, 7:23 PM: This isn’t confirmed by the team, but someone tipped off Jason Collette of Dock of the Rays that Cesar Ramos is currently listed on the 7-day disabled list for Hermosilo in the Mexican Winter League. A source told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune last Friday that the Rays wanted a second opinion on one of the pitchers involved in the trade, so this find could have some merit. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: This one just keeps getting weirder. Cesar Ramos told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that he is healthy and that he was only placed on the disabled list for his team in the Mexican Winter League in order to clear a roster spot. Ramos even tells Hayes that the Padres called him on Monday to make sure that he was healthy. Sounds like even they don’t know why this thing is on hold…