In search of under the radar signings


One of my favorite free features of Baseball America is their minor leagues tractions column. This usually comes out weekly, and contains items such as reassignments, releases, and signings. There are a couple of tidbits in this week’s edition that are worth at least glancing at, especially in this time of baseball news lull.

For starters, the Yanks have but one transaction. They have granted Billy Traber free agency. Whoo-pee. Signing him last winter was a decent idea, but it never worked out. In the end, he took up a roster spot for a bit too long, on account of his throwing with his left arm. Perhaps some other team will give him a shot next spring.

The Rockies released 2B Jayson Nix. After losing Kaz Matsui to the Astros last winter, the Rox had a few candidates to take over at second, among them Nix, whose older brother Laynce is also a free agent. The now 26-year-old’s run didn’t go so well, as he owned an ugly .111/.216/.133 line when he was finally benched on April 25. He returned for a few games in July and picked up just two hits in 10 plate appearances. He did excel in the minors, though, posting a .303/.373/.591 line in AAA in 2008, after a .292/.342/.451 line in 2007. Note, though, that this is the league in which Bubba Crosby hit .361/.414/.635 in 277 at bats in 2003.

The Angels parted ways with reliever Chris Bootcheck, their first round pick in 2000. He’s never excelled at the major league level, though his only prolonged appearances was in 2007, when he posted 77.1 innings to the tune of a 4.77 ERA. Considering he’s 30 and hasn’t had much minor league success, I can’t see him getting anything beyond a minor league deal heading into ’09. With the Yanks bullpen depth, a flier like this doesn’t seem worth it.

The Phillies have pulled the plug on the Chris Snelling experiment. Here’s another story of a guy with potential who just couldn’t stay healthy. Philadelphia was his fourth team in the past three years, and it doesn’t seem like anyone would give him more than a Spring Training invite. I don’t think he’d fit with the Yankees, but he’ll get a chance somewhere.

The Giants surprisingly released 28-year-old Kevin Correia. He had a rough time this year, posting a 6.05 ERA in 110 innings over 19 starts. I know Mike mentioned liking his arm. His problem, as it is with so many pitchers, is with the walks. Just too many, even though he misses a decent number of bats. There is some hope that he’ll rebound a bit in 2009, and can be at the bottom of a team’s rotation, or possibly out of the bullpen. If all it takes is a Spring Training invite, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take a chance.

(On a side note, the Giants also released Scott McClain, who has hit 287 minor league home runs.)

Perhaps the most interesting name on the list is now-former Blue Jay Gustavo Chacin. He was solid in his 203 innings in 2005, but couldn’t stay healthy after that. That wasn’t a massive jump from his 168 innings in 2004, though he did make the leap from 69 innings in 2003 (he had previously topped out at 140 in 2001). He was neither healthy nor effective in 2006 and 2007, and didn’t make the majors in 2008 after shoulder surgery. He posted a 7.88 ERA down in the Florida State League, over 45.2 IP. He hasn’t posed an ERA below 7.45 at any minor league stop since 2004. Yet he throws left-handed, so he’ll surely get at least an audition in 2009.

So crap, crap, and more crap. Is there anyone on the scrap heap worth looking at?

Categories : Minors


  1. Mike Pop says:

    For the Yanks it would have to be Correia… Hes the only guy on this list for the Yanks I think he has good stuff right ?

    • Baseballnation says:

      Right, all though I don’t think the Yankees are hurting in pitching depth. Anyway, a shot is worth taking.

      • No such thing as too much pitching.

      • Slugger27 says:

        the yankees arent hurting in pitching depth??

        right now their under contract pitching staff for 2009 is:
        CMW, joba, ?, ?, ?

        pettitte wants to come back, but isnt signed…
        we all want CC, but he isnt signed…
        moose would be nice, he isnt signed…

        if we cant land the FA pitchers we want, u better get ready to watch IPK, hughes, aceves and igawa battle for the rotation

        i think this 2008 season proves that pitching depth is actually where we are hurting the most

    • Nick says:

      How about Adam Loewen, the Orioles released him and I know the Yanks may find it to be a pain to keep him on the 40 man roster and give 700k , but we dont have to give up anything put a roster spot and 700 k for him and didn’t we keep Carl “Ameican Idle”Pavano on there , so why not Loewen, a lefty with a lot of upside, if he can get healthy. To me this is a no brainer, let’s hope Cashman pulls the trigger and picks him up off waivers. Plus we are taking a possible good picther away from the O’s , the team that single handedly keep us from the postseason, just look at our record against them.

  2. jsbrendog says:

    well chacin did pretty well in the al east that oneyr. if he wants to come bring him in, just nothing guarnateed……

    and hey, i hear sidney ponson is available :-P

  3. jsbrendog says:

    mark prior is making a comeback according to olney…. i know i know but if he falls and no one else takes a shot give him a minor league deal. he can take the place of a victor zambrano

  4. Slugger27 says:

    cano sucks, and we should part ways immediately… lets sign jose vidro for 2B and win a title already

  5. Mike Pop says:

    Bring in Correia put him in the Trip A rotation that would be good

  6. Mike A. says:

    Chris Bootcheck’s 30 already? How the hell did that happen.

  7. Old Ranger says:

    Nope! 27/09.

  8. kevin says:

    Adam Loewen was dropped by the O’s. He has good stuff, and was a first round pick, he could be a good signing. Prior is also a good option. Sean Casey won’t be in high demand and could fill our 1B role. He showed he can handle pressure in Boston and he is the nicest guy in baseball, the press would love him. Another low risk high reward could be Omar Vizquel. he didn’t hit at all this year, but he’d be a good glove to have as a backup, not sure if hed settle for that role though. Josh Fogg, Jason Jennings, and Livan Hernandez could be interesting pickups. Could add depth. And we know that Fogg is a great big game pitcher. DRAGON SLAYER. You can never have too many arms, so if these guys are available for under a million or two they would be better than Zambrano in the minors. And I think that Casey is a MUCH MUCH MUCH better signing than Teixiera. Teixiera is called the ultimate Boras client. Meaning, like Arod, he only cares about the money. He is going to make too much money, for too many years, and I don’t want that to happen on the Yankees. Casey is a great clubhouse guy who loves baseball and just wants to win. Sign him for a year or two. I wouldn’t mind Mientkiwiecz at first either. And as much as I am a fan of Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder, they aren’t worth trading Hughes for. And Garrett Atkins can’t hit outside of Coors. I say the Yankees look into acquiring Todd Helton, despite all the injuries and his age, because he wouldn’t cost much at all in terms of players, and he could definitely be a good member of the team. The Yanks should offer some salary relief, but not for the whole contract, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of it, and then throw in Justin Christian or someone like that. However, the Best move the Yankees could make in terms of finding a bargain is trading for Dontrelle Willis. Kid has great stuff, as we saw in the 03 WS. He’s lefty. The tigers have all but given up on him, and noone else want shis contract. How bout we swap Igawa for WIllis

    • pat says:

      im kind of hoping that you were joking when you said we should sign sean casey over mark texiera, and the whole trading for dontrelle willis thing and well pretty much everything else

    • Mike A. says:

      Adam Loewen was dropped by the O’s. He has good stuff, and was a first round pick, he could be a good signing.

      He’s an outfielder now. Too many arm issues to keep pitching.

      And I’m intrigued by the idea of Helton, but the contract is as bad as it gets.

      • I can’t believe you read that. You’re a better man than me.

      • A.D. says:

        Helton’s contract is awful, I had this thought a month ago, then I realized he’s signed through 2012, if it was through 2009 or even ’10 I could maybe get on board, change of scenery and the fact the rockies will probably give him away if you take on the salary. But to ’12, why not just pick up big Gs option, cheaper, and only 1 year.

        Garett Atkins can hit outside coors, his splits aren’t that terrible, and the skew is quite normal to other great hitter who spent some time at Coors (Walker & Gallaraga)

        No reason to go near Willis or Fogg

        Casey isn’t a better signing than Tex, just a cheaper one, and one the Yanks should have made last year

        • Sean Casey OPS’ed .682 and .485 in August and September. He had one XBH in 70 plate appearances down the stretch.

          When Mike Lowell went down and the Sox moved Youkilis to third, they gave first base to Mark Kotsay, a converted outfielder, rather than to Casey.

          He looks done, IMO.

          • A.D. says:

            his season numbers were still OPS + of 101, and maybe he lost his ability to play baseball permanantly in July, or maybe he had a shitty stretch at the end (think Giambi & Cano’s beginning of the season).

            Either way figure he can put up Betemit-ish numbers, good enough for a back-up and and we currently have 0 1B with legit major league experience signed to a contract. I don’t want Casey instead of Tex, but if we don’t get Tex he could be a nice back-up & defensive player with Miranda. Else its a different free agent, or jumping Malec to the majors

        • Jamal G. says:

          Todd Helton is signed through 2011 with a club option of $23M ($4.6M buyout). Helton’s remaining contract is 3-years for $56.9M (again, this assumes that the team would buyout Helton’s 2012 year for $4.6M instead of picking up the $23M club option)

          For three years at an annual of $18.96M, Helton’s contract isn’t horrible. This season was the only full year in Helton’s Major League career where he did not play in at least 144 games and garner 595 Plate Appearances. This season also broke a streak of eight straight campaigns with a OBP of .404 or higher. In 2007 he hit .308/.407/.460 away from Coors Field. Lastly, Helton did post the second highest Zone Rating amongst National League First Basemen in 2007 (.905, Albert Pujols: .912)

          Is Doug Mientkiewicz (I’m so glad I can spell that without double-checking it.) a more cost-effective option? Yes. However, Todd Helton is right up there with him in terms of alternatives to Mark Teixeira.

          Also, wouldn’t the Rockies look to accept lesser talent in favor of ridding themselves of Helton’s contract and allowing Ian Stewart to take over full-time at Third Base?

          I actually like this move.

          • Andy In Daytona says:

            I believe the correct spelling is Doug MYXLPLYX.

          • A.D. says:

            My bad on the contract, i must have counted the option as a must, maybe because he has a blanket no trade… which could lead to a force pick-up of the 2012 option if he was willing to waive it. I think 18M for an aging slugger with nagging back issue isn’t so bad, you wouldn’t want to sign him as a FA for that much.

            Helton hitting away from coors isn’t an issue, .888 career OPS and hitting at coors usually causes hitters to hit worse on the road then their numbers fore coors.

            My issue is contract + chronic back injury + recent power drop. This would be a move if nothing else pans out in the 1B dept.

      • A.D. says:

        He could be intriguing as an OF, I believe when he was drafted he made the choice to pitch….give him a shot, Ankiel style

    • Slugger27 says:




    • Slugger27 says:

      “and we know that fogg is a great big game pitcher”

      josh fogg 2008 ERA = 7.58
      josh fogg career ERA = 5.08
      josh fogg career postseason starts = 2
      josh fogg career posteason ERA = 5.91

      conclusion: there is nothing big game about this guy… and as for the not so big games, hes actually worse than sidney ponson

  9. Ol Dirtay says:

    Mark Mulder? Lefty, wouldn’t take much, maybe he can finally turn it around.

  10. kevin says:

    K I wasn’t joking. The reason the Yankees have been getting worse and worse. Look at Giambi, we thought we were getting a .330 hitter, instead for the most part he was injured or batting .250-.280. Look at Carl Pavano, another bad free agent signing. Look at Jaret Wright. Look at Johnny Damon, he was good this year, but he’s not the guy we thought we were getting. Look at Mussina, he was a good pitcher for us, but not the Moose of the O’s. Look at the Yankees that fans love, Oneill, Tino, Brosius, those are the kind of guys we need. Guys that worry about baseball and only baseball. Not guys who are in it for the $$ as in arod. Willis and Igawa would be a great bad contract swap. Igawa will never be accepted as a yankee, and willis could make it back to his prime level with proper coaching.

    • Mike A. says:

      Johnny Damon and Mike Mussina have done everything they were supposed to be, especially in Moose’s case.

      • Ivan says:

        It’s amazing how nobody gives Cashman credit on the signing of Damon. Oh well.

      • ceciguante says:

        hang on guys, i like damon, but he’s failed to do something very important that he was signed to do: play CF.

        the effect of him not being able to man his old position — arguably the most important position — has really hurt this team. then again, cashman could’ve signed, say, torii hunter when he had the chance, but that would’ve been too smart for him to do. i mean, why plug CF with a known commodity when you can try out melky?

        give that man a new 3 year contract!

    • Slugger27 says:

      “willis and igawa would be a great bad contract swap”

      great bad contract swap? oxymoron????

      they both suck, and nobody is quite sure who sucks worse… that wouldnt accomplish anything except add 5 mill more to the yanks payroll cuz i think willis makes 10M a year ((not positive))

      furthermore, moose’s signing before 01 i think worked out great… dude didnt win any cy youngs, but he gave us quality pitching for those 6 years, and again in 08

      u spend all this time talking about the yanks bad contracts, and then suggest trading for helton?? isnt he one of many poster children for bad contracts??

    • Kevin says:

      Now there are two Kevins? Oh well I dont comment on here much but at least your name starts lower case and mine is capital. By the way, what happened to Willis? I heard he got sent down to the minors this year, how did that happen?

  11. A.D. says:

    Better chance for bargains is if there is anything intriguing available on the rule IV draft. Though given the yanks have their own guys to worry about protecting chances are they don’t have 40 man spots to spare

  12. gil says:

    im not necessarily against going after texiera but how bout we move matsui to first, damon to left and then sign either edmonds or griffey jr. to split time in center and left with damon and brett gardner. edmonds would love the short porch.

  13. Slugger27 says:

    we are all dancing around the obvious… ALEX CORA is a free agent

    according to steve phillips, that guy wins ballgames!!! even game 7s that hes inexplicably staring in!!!

    oh wait……

    • These ten things are true:
      1.) Alex Cora wins ballgames.
      2.) Josh Fogg is a dragonslayer.
      3.) Jason Varitek is an all-star catcher.
      4.) Austin Jackson is uninspiring.
      5.) Ian Kennedy doesn’t throw hard enough to be a good pitcher.
      6.) Phil Hughes, sadly, is not Chinese.
      7.) Brian Cashman has never made a good decision.
      8.) Jonathan Papelbon deserved to close out the 2008 All-Star Game.
      9.) Hitman’s posts are more or less for the intelligent fans.
      10.) You can’t make lemonade with lemons.

      • Slugger27 says:

        lmao, #9 gets me every time

      • Mike Pop says:

        lol tsjc gets my vote for funniest rab contributor !!!

      • Brad K says:

        Do you ever bring anything meaningful to the conversation. I swear most of what you post is complete shit…no really. I know you’ll have some snarky, albeit, amusing response…because that’s all you ever really bring to the table.

        Why use snarky?

        After all these are your words.

        “For the record, I had the long run-on lowercase name and the pithy Dennis-Millerian obscure snarkiness first. I call dibs”.

        For the record here is the definition that best suits you and your commentary:

        Adjective – Any language that contains quips or comments containing sarcastic or satirical witticisms intended as blunt irony. Usually delivered in a manner that is somewhat abrupt and out of context and intended to stun and amuse. Origin: Snark=”snide remark”.

  14. Mike Pop says:

    What bout making a trade for Aubrey Huff as an under the radar trade ?

    • A.D. says:

      O’s will make a division rival or really anyone pay for that, especially since he’s only making 8M in ’09, plus he’s a FA after next year

    • whozat says:

      He’s another defensively limited slugger. Who’s performance last year was out of line with his recent trends of mediocrity. DANGER!!!

  15. Kevin says:

    Josh Fogg was a big game pitcher in the 07 regular season…beating aces in multiple games including the one game playoff against peavy and the pads. That is why he was called dragon slayer. I messed up the Loewen thing, my bad. The Willis Igawa swap would add 5 or 6mm to payroll, but is smart because he has a higher ceiling than Igawa. By a good bad contract swap I mean that they both have bad contracts and it would be a good swap.The Helton pickup was just an idea because the Rox can get rid of him and we could take on the contract. The Rox would have to pitch in some cash, but Helton is a guy people want to cheer for. Fogg would cost about a million and would just be veteran insurance in case we have injuries yet again. And Casey at 2 years/5mm is better than Tex at 7years/140mm. Do you really want to pay a 41 year old shortstop, a 40 year old 3rd baseman and a 35 year old 1st baseman 75mm in 2016? You have to plan for the future to some extent. Not to mention we need the 1B slot for Posada when he can’t catch anymore, or when matsui or damon get injured, or for Juan Miranda who is tearing up the fall league. O and Teixiera plays for money not victory or love of the game, while caseyloves the game and is exactly the kind of guy we need in the clubhouse.

  16. Kevin says:

    O and the reason I wrote about Casey, Fogg, and Willis is because of what this thread is about…under the radar transactions. Moves that could potentially be steals. We won’t win a championship with the kindof moves that Hank wants to make. We have to adopt the Gillick Philosophy. It is the Jayson Werths, the Greg Dobbs, the Paul Oneills, the Tino Martinezs, the yorvit Torrealbas, the Jason Bartletts, scott brosiuses, those kind of guys that win world series, not the Arods and the Teixieras. And no I’m not a red sox fan, I’d rather kill myself than root for them. The sox and red sock nation are the worst collection of human beings in the world of sports today.

    • whozat says:

      Yeah. Ortiz and Manny had nothing to do with the 04 and 07 Sox championships. Nor did Josh Beckett or Curt Schilling.

      It was all Alex Cora. He wins ballgames.

      • andrew says:

        as much as kevin’s previous posts have been ridiculous, his last one is slightly more coherent. Although i disagree with almost every player he named bringing in, except for sean casey as a back up, maybe, the yankees do need to grab some of those guys that play hard and to win and put the team first. most guys on the yankees are “me first” type guys, and it wouldnt hurt to have some of the hard workers around

      • Kevin says:

        Yea Ortiz, Manny, Schilling, and Beckett all helped win the sox rings but where would they have been in 04 without Dave Roberts. And what about without Varitek. I hate him to death and he is way overrated, but he is the one who has been able to handle their pitchers well. The champion yankees teams had their Jeter, Rivera, Clemens, Cone, Knoblauch, Posada and Williams, but they still couldn’t have won without Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius. Do you guys understand what I mean? We shouldn’t just be putting an all star team together. That doesnt work. Look at the WBC. We all thought the US would win, but Cuba won because their guys play together as a team. Korea, a major underdog, did well because they were a team not a collection of players. I hate to say it, but the 04 red sox won because they were such a tight team they had their stars, but it was how close they were as a team that led them to victory. Same with Rockies pennant run last year. Same with the Phillies this year. why do you all think cash wants to develop the farm so much? players who come up to the bigs together play well together. Veteran consistency is a necessity as well. mix these two together and you can have a championship team.

  17. Mike Pop says:

    Kevin…..How do you know he plays for the money and not the love of the game ? Of course he wants money but who doesnt. LEt me remind you he turned down an 8 yr 140 million dollar deal from Texas. He turend down 17.5 mill a year but your telling me he only cares bout money ? No matter how you look at it Casey is not a better signing then Tex regardless. Maybe Tex turned down that deal becasue he wants a chance to win because he doesnt like losing ? Maybe he declined it because he wanted to get more idk ? But if you are just playing for the money you dont turn down that kind of money. He obviously wants a chance to win or else he woulda signed that HUGE deal with Texas. He took the risk of injury and all that lol he took a 140 mill risk.. This dude loves the game thats why he keeps himself in greeat shape and he is such a good ballplayer… This is the dude Hank Hal and Cash should bring to the Bronx

    • Kevin says:

      Tex turned the deal down because he knew he could get more… Look I’m not trying to rag on Tex, I’m just saying that we need more hard nosed, anything to win kind of guys. Yes, it is important to have some guys who are stars, but that is not how you win. You win by having good chemistry and working as a team. I keep hearing that Tex is the “ultimate Boras client.” Which means he is going wherever he gets the most money. And as I said above, we need to keep that slot open for our diminishing players. And seriously if we commit long term to him, as well as Jeter and Arod, then we are going to be paying three aging superstar north of 70mm. In a fan’s mind Casey is not a better signing, for the next few years he wouldn’t be, but eventually injuries and age will start to wear on Tex and we will wish we weren’t paying him 25mm. And in 2010 when Jorge won’t be able to catch anymore we will wish we hadn’t signed him, because now we’ll have to put Jorge at DH. Or when Miranda bats .400 in spring training, we’re going to wish we had a spot for him, but instead we’re going to have Tex there. Who knows whether Miranda will break out or Jorge will need to take a break from catching, I’m just saying that having Teixiera on a long term contract is not the greatest idea. I mean who isn’t sick of listening to other fans tell us that the Yankees always buy their players. I am. I would not sign him purely to shut up other fans. Tex is a great player, but do you seriously want to commit 55mm to your two corner IF spots for the next 8 years? O, and I think I was misunderstood on the Fogg, Livan, and Jennings thing. I was talking about guys that could be bargains, under the radar signings, I wasn’t saying their my first choices. I would love to have Sabathia who is young and would be a great ace. He also works really hard and seems to love what he is doing. After him I don’t love a lot of the other popular free agents. Burnett isn’t even that good, not to mention he is a walking injury. Sheets is an injury risk as well. Lowe will want too many years. Garland’s era is too high. Moose and Pettitte could be welcomed back, but who knows whether you’ll get the 07 Moose or the 08 Moose, and Pettitte is getting old so he’s no sure thing either. The fact that the high ranked starters aren’t exactly what we need, and are going to require serious financial commitments brings up the idea of signing a back end of the rotation kind of guy. If the rotation next year could be Sabathia, Wang, Joba, and then two of Kennedy, Aceves, Hughes, Horne, Sanchez, Coke, Fogg, Livan, Jennings, or Prior, I’d be happy. I mean we had sir sidney for most of this year, we just had him to eat innings and give us some chance to win. We should have another guy like that as insurance in case we need it. Injuries are inevitable, and if we have someone that even has an era just under 5 we can have a chance to stay in the game. You might be thinking, well have kennedy and hughes do that, I would, but with young guys there are inning limits, and you don’t want to throw out their arms, dont want to hamper their confidence, you just have to let them work their way to the top, so have some vets eat up inning for you. Hell 3mm for those guys and then add incentives, that isn’t a bad investment. I mean Fogg doesn’t have to be your ace, he should just be there as insurance and to add innings.

      • Mike Pop says:

        Ok I see your point but there was no gaurantee he could get more than 140 mill thats a lot to turn down if your a “wherever money is”player

        • infernoscurse says:

          i see his point also but relying that our future consisnt in playing posada or matsui at 1b means its a sad future for the yankees

          i suggest signing Tex with an opt out clause half way, we use his services, if he really wants to stay in NY he stays or he opts out and signs for another bigger contract when hes reached super stardom from hitting in yankee stadium that way you have tex for a couple of years and if he opts out you dont have to commit to an aging contract :P

  18. Hitman says:

    Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia are among the best out of all FA scrapheap pitchers. I’d sign both to minor league deals or something very small.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.