Saturday, December 5, 2009

As For The Old Bones...

The Bucs have sent a lot of guys packing over the past few seasons. Here's what some of them are up to:

-- Ed Price of AOL Fan House tweeted that long-ago Bucco Jason Kendall got his Brewer pink slip because he wanted $5M to come back. Kinda pricey for a guy who hit .241/2/43 in 2009.

-- Kendall's running mate, Brian Giles, is a free agent, too. He hit .191/2/23 last season, will turn 39 in January, and earned $9M in 2009. Wonder how much of a market there will be for him?

-- Steve Gilbert of tweeted that the Diamond Backs inked reliever TJ Beam to a minor league deal with an invite to camp. He was 8-4 for Toronto's AAA Las Vegas club in 2009 after going 2-2-1 with a 4.14 ERA for the Pirates in 2008.

-- Dick Kaegel of reports that the KC Royals signed 25 year-old catcher Steve Lerud, who was removed from the Buc's 40-man roster last month. His line at Altoona last season was .240/4/26.

-- Jay Bay turned down a deal believed to be worth $60M over four years from the Red Sox to dive into the free agent pond. He's looking, we hear, for 5 years and $80M. His bat has been awesome, though there are still questions about him hitting away from Fenway's Green Monster (and awesome lineup) and that dang glove.

-- Mike Gonzalez is now represented by Scott Boras in his free agent year. Gonzo, 31, posted a 2.42 ERA in 80 relief appearances last season, with a 5-4-10 slate. The Braves offered him arbitration, which is expected to net him $5-6M in 2010; he may turn it down.

-- Adam LaRoche ended up with the Braves, too. He wasn't offered arbitration, but Atlanta is still supposed to have interest in bringing him back in a less costly deal than the probable $8M he would have earned in front of a judge. LaRoche hit .325 with 12 homers and a .957 OPS in the 57 games he played for the Braves.

-- John Van Benschoten is a minor league free agent after pitching in the White Sox organization last year. Brad "Big Country" Eldred is in the same boat after playing in the Washington system (as is Daryle Ward). Ditto for JR House, who caught in the Royals minors. Bryan Bullington recently signed a minor league contract with Kansas City.

The entire list of minor-league free agents is available at Baseball America.

Hot Stove Notes:

-- The Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday, and Jen Langosch of posts that her sources say the Bucs cleared a spot on their forty-man roster in anticipation of claiming a warm body. The player waived is infielder Luis Cruz, who hit .214 last season.

-- Tim Williams of Bucco Fans has put together a pretty comprehensive list of the top Rule 5 candidates available this year.

-- Jonathan Etkowicz of MLB Notebook has an article on the good fit between free agent RHP Justin Duchsherer and the Buccos.


WilliamJPellas said...

Hmmm...I sure hope the Pirates are not going to live to regret losing Lerud, since they also DFA'd Robinzon Diaz and then unconditionally released him. Lerud, in my mind, is no great loss, though he was not the worst emergency fallback to have hanging around in your upper minor league system.

But Diaz---I still think he's got a chance to be a good backup or platoon catcher someplace. There's no doubt he's got a better stick than Lerud, though Diaz's defense was mediocre. But as young as he was, you'd think he could still be "coached up" with the mitt to the point at which he'd be at least serviceable, given his better-than-most-number-two-catchers bat.

On the other hand, there's lots of backup catchers floating around, so you wouldn't think it'd be hard to get someone else in here. It's still a bit of a head scratcher for me, though, to cut BOTH Lerud and Diaz. One, I could see. Both....well, again, neither is going to be a starter, but normally you give younger guys the benefit of the doubt and cut the mediocre veterans, not the other way around. I'm just concerned because when (not if, but when) Doumit goes down for three months because he fell down some steps and got an infected toenail and then had tonsillitis, that leaves only Jaramillo in the entire organization.

Ron Ieraci said...

Lerud is easy enough to figure; I guess Tony Sanchez is ticketed for Altoona. Diaz is a puzzler.

Jaramillo has terrible splits against lefties (.161), and so Diaz was quite complementary. It's especially odd if they're trying to move Doumit, or as you say, he trips over the plate again.

He was supposed to be pretty vocal about being sent down; maybe he got under the suits thin skin with his yap. If so, they need to grow up.

But you're right that Raul Chavez types are always available; possibly that's how the suits view Eric Kratz. And the Bucs like a 20 year-old Venezuelan kid named Ramon Cabrera, though he'll be in low A this season.

Still, not much depth at all, especially big-league ready guys.