The San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins have reportedly swapped relievers. According to the AP, the Marlins are receiving the struggling veteran Armando Benitez in exchange for Randy Messenger. The Giants will also reportedly pay over $4 million of Benitez’s $7 million contract.
While Benitez has the name recognition in this deal, it would appear to be a great one for the Giants. In Messenger, they get a 25 year old reliever with a 2.66 ERA so far this year and rid themselves of a troubled player. Benitez has recently been under fire for criticizing the San Fran offense as well as his hefty 4.67 ERA. The Marlins are presumably hoping Benitez will return to his 2004 form when he saved 47 games while compiling a minuscule 1.29 ERA.
You’ll have to allow me to indulge in a bit of home-town biased for a moment. As if things weren’t going poorly enough for the defending World Series Champs, their catcher, Yadier Molina, is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured wrist. So, while this is hardly the type of news I’d like to cover, it has generated some interesting trade rumors.
Cardinals GM, Walt Jocketty, told reporters that "none of the free-agent catchers available moved the needle," implying the club will have to fill the void via a trade. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article goes on to say that "according to reports, Anaheim catcher Jose Molina, Yadier’s brother, has been the subject of trade inquiries." The older Molina certianly wouldn’t be expected to ignight the offence batting only .224, but he would certainly help cut down opponents’ running game nailing 20 would-be base stealers last year (a .426 average) in just over 600 innings played. That’s quite an improvement over currently starting Gary Bennett, who last year allowed 26 stolen bases in 300+ innings while throwing out only 3.
Alright baseball fans, the Rumor Mill wants YOU! That’s right, I’m looking for a guest blogger or two to help me keep this blog cranking on all cylinders. While I’ll still be blogging regularly, I’m often limited in the number of stories I can cover. I try to pick the most interesting ones each day, but there always seem to be a couple I just don’t get to. So, what better place to turn to than our regular readers and MLBlogs? MLBlogs is full of great writers and more importantly, fantastic baseball fans. Unfortunately, I’m not able to offer cash payment for your efforts. However, there will be some return. The guest blogger(s) will get a byline and exposure on one of the most popular MLBlogs (last week alone we had nearly 16,000 visitors) as well as links to the blog of your choice. So, if you’d like to become a contributor to the Rumor Mill, either drop me a line in the comments or send me an email to RumorMillRumblings[at]gmail.com. A brief sample of previous writings would be good to include as well as our readers are our top priority. So whataya say? You in?
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I am still recovering from over eating but who can resist a grill full of hotdogs, burgers, and brats? Well not me, that’s for sure. But, the Rumor Mill stops for no fan. On to the rumor!
It looks like Wade Miller won’t be reclaiming that 5th starter spot with the Chicago Cubs. The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Miller "looks to be the latest lost cause in the Cubs’ ill-fated
fifth-starter’s derby that was all the rage during spring training." This hardly comes as a surprise given the veteran’s struggles in his rehab assignments and the article goes on to suggest that "the Cubs might option Miller to Iowa or release the right-hander who signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal for 2007."
The Cubs and Miller have had a very good working relationship so it might seem natural for the team to let the pitcher try to figure things out in triple A but you don’t see many million dollar players in the minors. If the veteran pitcher is in fact released there are more than a few teams looking for pitching. Miller’s certainly not going to be the staff ace anyone is looking for but if he can eat up some innings at the back of a rotation, the Cardinals, Royals, Devil Rays, and Rangers could all use some help.
Yankees fans have been looking forward to Roger Clemens return to the mound since the 7th inning stretch two weeks ago when he announced that he would once again don the pinstripes. However, according to the New York Daily News, it looks like they’ll have to wait just a bit longer.
"A source with knowledge of the Yankees’ plans said Clemens would probably make his third and final start on Tuesday with Triple-A Scranton against Toledo instead of making his big-league season debut in Toronto against the Blue Jays."
That would likely mean Clemens’ return to a big league mound would happen on June 4th agains the White Sox rather than the series before that, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. While it might not be the storybook version people in New York and the media hoped to see, I’m willing to bet Yankees fans would rather see the 44 year old (explain to me again why people don’t think he’s done steriods?) not get shelled in his first game back, especially if it were in Fenway. And, with the way the Bombers have been playing lately, there is less sense of desperation, and more hope that Clemens will be helping them beat the Sox in October, not just early June.
There’s a saying that says "A deal’s not a deal until it’s inked and sealed." I’m not sure where I learned it but Chicago Cubs fans might very well be taught it by Carlos Zambrano before this year is over. After reportedly being practically done with a long term extension, the Cubs have still not signed the pitcher many believed to be their staff ace. Zambrano of course hasn’t helped things by going 4-4 with a startlingly high 5.61 ERA. Combine that with the Cubs recent struggles and their 21-24 record, and you’ve got yourself a trade rumor.
The Chicago Sun-Times today posed the question "Are the Cubs preparing for life without Carlos Zambrano?" And you know what? It’s a good question. The team is up for sale (thus throwing all contract negotiations and spending projections way out of whack), Zambrano hasn’t performed well and yet still will likely command a high dollar contract should he hit free agency, and the Cubs could easily slide Ryan Dempster into the rotation should the decide to deal the "Big Z."
"The fact is, the only starting pitcher or prospective starting pitcher the Cubs have who’s not under contract or club control for next season is Zambrano.
And what if the Cubs continue this current slide toward the All-Star break?
Suddenly something that would have seemed absurd just two months ago — a trade of the pitcher who was supposed to lead them out of the Prior-Wood era — looks feasible, if not reasonable."
If the Cubs do decide to shop Zambrano before the trade deadline, look for just about every team in contention to at least inquire about him. Of course leading the pack will be the usual suspects, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox. Basically any team with the money to trade for him and quickly sign him to an extension. After all, the Cubs will demand a hefty price for their ace, and I don’t forsee any team being willing to pay much for a rental.
As if the story of deceased Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock wasn’t tragic enough, it appears the Hancock family is determined to make it worse. Hancock of course was the Cardinal reliever who drove a rental SUV into the back of a tow truck on Highway 40 in St. Louis killing himself but luckily injuring no one else. It was later revealed that Hancock had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit, was speeding, and was using his cell phone at the time of the crash.
Now, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Hancock’s family is suing the restaurant that Hancock was leaving, as well as the towing company, the tow truck driver, and the motorist being assisted by the tow truck. The suit alleges
"The restaurant, operated by Cardinals broadcaster and onetime player Mike Shannon, seeks patronage of sports celebrities who become drunk there. It alleges that Hancock ‘regularly became visibly intoxicated’ at Shannon’s and that, ‘The intoxication of Joshua Morgan Hancock on said occasion was involuntary."
I’m sorry… WHAT? The intoxication was involuntary? As in one of the defendants named in the suit forced Hancock to get drunk? Now don’t get me wrong, I think restaurants and bars do share some responsibility to not over serve their patrons. The restaurant’s manager reportedly offered the pitcher a cab ride home but was told he was only heading a couple of blocks down the street. Obviously having not been there I have no idea whether they over served him or not.
That being said, this law suit might be the most telling event of this whole tragic episode. How does one get involuntarily drunk? More importantly, how in the **** do you decide to sue the tow truck company, driver, and motorist? I mean what are you saying to these people – You shouldn’t have clipped the median (apparently after another driver cut him off) and been stuck on the road that my idiot son was going to be speeding down drunk and on the phone? Get a CLUE!
I’d like to think that this is simply a grief stricken family lashing out, perhaps on some bad legal advice. However, as I said earlier, I think it gives us a glimpse into Hancock’s life. The young man made the worst possible choice at the worst possible time. He killed himself and was fortunate not to have killed other innocent people. But rather than apologizing to the victims and the community for their son’s idiotic and criminal activity, the family sues everyone in sight. I’m surprised they didn’t name the St. Louis Cardinals and maybe even Anheuser Busch in the suit as well!
You see, according to Hancock’s family and their lawsuit, it was everyone else’s fault. The blame does not belong to their son. No, no, certainly not. The bartender shouldn’t have served him, the motorist shouldn’t have gotten cut off, and the tow truck shouldn’t have stopped to help him (even though the truck’s flashing lights and heavy frame likely saved the motorist’s life in this case).
Now maybe I’m reading too much into this but it certainly seems to me that by blaming everyone else, the family is trying to make excuses their son’s actions. If they are unwilling to blame their son in this case, where he is so obviously the one at fault, chances are that they’ve never held him accountable for his actions. "Oh, you drove drunk son? It’s not your fault. You put everyone on the road that night in danger? That bar shouldn’t have served you. You ran into a truck and ended your young life? Someone has got to pay because it couldn’t have been your fault."
I’m sorry, Hancock family, when your son decided to put the key into the ignition and drive off even though he was drunk, he alone was responsible for his actions. Those actions and your son’s subsequent death were unfortunate and saddening. This lawsuit, the logic behind it, and the message it sends, however, are truly tragic.
This isn’t a rumor and I know it’s not nice to kick a team while their down but when it’s the Yankees, I think I get a pass. The New York Post reports today that Carl Pavano will undergo Tommy John surgery which could keep the pitcher sidelined until the 2009 season. The surgery effectively ends Pavano’s stint with the Yankees or "one of the most disappointing chapters in Yankees history." I have to admit, at first I thought that was quite an exaggeration…. Then I looked at some numbers.
Assuming Pavano is indeed done with the Bombers he earned roughly
- $7.99 million per win or
- $2.1 million per start or
- $359,000 per inning pitched or
- $666,000 per strike out or
- $23,400 per pitch thrown.
Wow. That, for those of you who didn’t take business 101, is not what you’d call a good return on your investment. There have been plenty of big contracts handed out by the Yankees, but this one is undoubtedly one of the worst busts in free agent history.
Baseball might not be the constant fast paced action like basketball, but make no mistake, it’s a fast game and it will pass you up in a flash. In the fall of 2004, Craig Wilson was a member of the Pirates and several teams were hoping to pry him away from Pittsburgh for their final playoff push. Fastforward two and a half years later (give or take, math’s no longer my strong suit) and just like that, the game has seemingly passed Wilson by. The firstbaseman/outfielder was released by the Atlanta Braves after batting only a buck seventytwo over the course of 24 games and 58 at bats. However, a few teams seem to think Wilson may have a bit left in his tank. Since he can be had for the league minimum he wouldn’t cost a team much and if he can regain a bit of that 29 home run form of 2004 he’d be a great asset to any number of clubs. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres are considering making a move for Wilson. The Twins has also been considered possible suitors, however, the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twinkies don’t appear to be interested. The Cardinals would probably take a chance on anyone that could provide some pop off the bench at this point and Wilson’s old Pirates may also be interested.
On a side note, someone should tell Craig that when you’re applying for a job, you should really cut your hair and go in looking sharp. Nothing quite says down and out player like a mighty flowing semi-mullet.
It appears that retired reliever, turned comeback kid, Troy Percival won’t be getting an offer… at least not from his long time team, the Angels. The LA Times quoted Angels GM Bill Stoneman as saying "With the strength of our pen — we have as strong if not stronger a pen than when we did not ask him back — I think that’s probably out. To think we’re looking for help for the bullpen, that’s not where our priorities are at."
However, Percival and his agent shouldn’t be worried just yet as papers from several other cities are reporting the home town team has interest in the reinvigorated reliever. The bulk of the buzz is coming from Detroit, where Percival spent two injury plagued years before retiring. The Detroit News says the Tigers are "intrigued" by Percival and report that the team has been in contact with the pitcher’s agent.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that the Phils "like many teams" have been in contact with Troy’s agent. It also isn’t exactly a stretch to say that "the Phillies badly need bullpen help." Given that need, Percival would certainly seem to make sense there as well.
And last but not least The Plain Dealer (out of Cleveland) today insinuated the Indians might have interest in the pitcher as well although GM Mark Shapiro would not give an indication one way or the other. But, when is the last time someone refused to comment on a player that they really weren’t looking into?
So, while it may not happen in Anaheim, er I mean LA, by all indications there seems to be great interest in Percival’s services. Isn’t it nice to be wanted?