Mark Townsend

  • Fredi Gonzalez announces A.J. Pierzynski signing in ham store

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    The Atlanta Braves are keeping busy around the holidays. On Tuesday, they announced the signing of veteran reliever Jason Grilli to a two-year contract. On Wednesday, it was reported the Braves have also signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, though credit for that scoop doesn't go to the usual suspects in the baseball reporting field, or even the next wave of teenage reporters hoping to make a name.

    Nope. It was actually reported by Aaron Lunsford (@darrenstains on Twitter), whose father learned of the signing while speaking to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez while they shopped at Honeybaked Ham. Lunsford then tweeted this information to several baseball reporters and his near 3,000 followers on Twitter.

    Source: @braves and AJ pierzynski agree to deal. No details. Check it @Buster_ESPN @Ken_Rosenthal @jcrasnick @jessespector not kidding

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  • Braves beef up bullpen with addition of Jason Grilli

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    New Atlanta Braves president John Hart has already put his stamp on the team by trading away offensive centerpieces Jason Heyward and Justin Upton for a collection of prospects and a viable young starter in Shelby Miller. He's also added a pair of free agent bats in Nick Markakis and Alberto Callapso to help offset the lost production. Now the time has come to address an already impressive bullpen.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Braves have reached an agreement with veteran reliever Jason Grilli on a two-year deal that includes a third-year team option. David O'Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution has since confirmed those details. MLB.com's Mark Bowman added the financial details.  

    Grilli will receive $4.25M in 2015 and $3.5M in 2016. He has a $3M option for 2017 ($250K buyout). Contract includes a $250K signing bonus

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  • Ryan Lavarnway joins fourth different team in December

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Roster moves around Major League Baseball have slowed considerably in wake of the chaotic Winter Meetings. With the holidays fast approaching, that's not likely to change much between now and the new year. However, one major league player in particular, veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway, has done enough moving over the past three weeks that he'd be wise to keep his figurative bags packed and his cell phone handy while enjoying the holiday festivities.

    On Tuesday, Lavarnway was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles, meaning he's officially represented four different teams since Dec. 5.

    Lavarnway's winding holiday road comes after six years of stability with the Boston Red Sox. He was drafted by Boston in the 6th round of the 2008 amateur draft and worked his way up their system, spending parts of four seasons as their backup catcher. After appearing in nine games in 2014 and 97 overall for Boston, he was designated for assignment on Nov. 25 to make room on the roster for Pablo Sandoval.

    That brings us to today's transaction and Lavarnway's new team, the Baltimore Orioles.

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  • Mystery surrounds winning bid for Korean SS Jung-Ho Kang

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    We know for a fact somebody won the rights to negotiate with shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, who on Dec. 14 became the first Korean position player ever to be posted.

    We also know for a fact that the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organzation (KBO), Kang's current employer, have accepted the higher than expected winning bid, which reportedly came in at $5,002,015.

    Per source: Nexen was expecting about $2 million in posting (low expectations after two KBO players before Kang got around that money)

    The first tweet is in reference to Kwang-hyun Kim and Hyeon-jong Yang, a pair of Korean pitchers who were posted earlier this winter. Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu commanded a Korean record $25.7 million bid in 2012, so Kang was nowhere near that neighborhood.

    The 'No' List RT @MaxWildstein: Jung-ho Kang Update: pic.twitter.com/v7qJMKBFEN

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  • Festive photo: Corey Kluber in full elf costume

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    When you're the American League Cy Young winner, apparently your holiday cheer is elevated to a level matching your on field performance. That's the only explanation that seems plausible when it comes to the potentially developing trend of pitchers going all out — and we mean way, way out there — on holiday attire.

    For example, here's this year's reigning AL Cy Young winner, Cleveland Indians left-hander Corey Kluber, decked out in a full elf suit on Saturday.

    I guess this all but confirms manager Terry Francona's assertion that even though Kluber is typically reserved, he has his moments where he comes out of his shell to entertain and amuse his teammates.

    Anybody can do ugly sweater... No one can dare top those red corduroy pants! #UglyOutfit pic.twitter.com/ihS5X12plO

    Whoever wins the AL Cy Young in 2015, we wish you the best of luck. These are tough acts to follow.

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  • Catcher David Ross to join Cubs, reunite with Jon Lester

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Not to suggest Jon Lester has any pull with the Chicago Cubs after signing a six-year, $155 million contract, but he surely can't be disappointed to hear veteran catcher David Ross will be joining him. According to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, Ross and the Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal, which means the former Boston Red Sox batterymates will be reunited on the north side.

    It's not a signing that will steal headlines or earn lengthy discussion on television. The 37-year-old backstop has essentially been a backup throughout his 13-year career. Ross appeared in 90 and 112 games respectively for the Cincinnati Reds in 2006 and 2007, but never topped 70 games in any other season. He's a .233/.318/.435 career hitter with 95 home runs, 38 of which came in those two years with Cincinnati.

    He had two separate stints with the Red Sox. In 2008, he appeared in eight games after being released by Cincinnati. After four seasons with the Atlanta Braves, he returned to Boston in a backup role in 2013. In two seasons, he appeared in 86 games, hitting .197/.276/.374 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. told Ryan Howard Phillies better off without him

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    How's this for brutal honesty? In a radio appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Friday, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. revealed that he's spoken with first baseman Ryan Howard recently and admitted to telling him point blank the Phillies would be better off "not with him but without him."

    Here's the full quote from Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media:

    "We've talked to Ryan," Amaro said. "And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he's with us, then we'll work around him. We'll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we'll see where it goes from there."

    But still, ouch. 

    It's business. 

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  • Trea Turner's agent may file grievance to free client from Padres

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The trades have been coming so fast and so furiously since last week's Winter Meetings that it's difficult to fully digest and sort out everything that has happened. One trade in particular though, the three-team 11-player deal involving the Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals, has proven so complex, that it will literally take months to sort out, and that has one agent seeking a faster resolution.

    Trea Turner, the 13th overall pick by San Diego during the 2014 draft, was not so secretly included in that deal. Eventually, he'll be moving to the Washington Nationals as their shortstop of the future. However, due to what's known around MLB as the Pete Incaviglia rule — aka Major-League Rule 3(B)(6) — Turner's name doesn't appear on the paperwork.

    “It’s a deal that was fairly complicated,” Rizzo said. “It’s something that has not been done many times in the history of baseball and something we really had to think through.”

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  • Jimmy Rollins says goodbye to Philadelphia in full-page ad

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    The deal sending Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers is official now, meaning he's no longer the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia.

    Rollins was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round of the 1996 amateur draft. He went on to spend his first 15 major league seasons in a Phillies uniform, accumulating 2,306 hits, 1,325 runs scored, 216 home runs, 887 RBIs, 453 stolen bases and 111 triples. He also earned three All-Star selections and one MVP award in 2007, while helping the Phillies win five division championships and a World Series championship in 2009. 

    A lot of great numbers. A lot of memories. But now it's time to say goodbye, at least for now. 

    Jimmy Rollins did just that on Saturday, taking out a full-page ad in the Philadelphia Enquirer. 

    Jimmy Rollins bought a full-page ad in Saturday’s @PhillyInquirer: pic.twitter.com/ct2rRiw2sU

    The print is a little small so here's the full text:

    To the City of Philadelphia,

    Love you all! Peace.

    Jimmy, Johari, Cam & Lolo

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  • Dodgers officially release Brian Wilson, eat $9.5M salary

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Three days after designating veteran reliever Brian Wilson for assignment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have officially released the 32-year-old, allowing him to pursue a free agent contract with another team.

    In doing so, the Dodgers will be on the hook for the balance of Wilson's $9.5 million salary in 2015 if and when he signs elsewhere. But that would seem like a small price to pay for a new front office focused on eliminating liabilities.

    And a liability Wilson truly was in 2014, posting a 4.66 ERA with a disappointing 29 walks 48 1/3 innings. Wilson's command issues were compounded by a dip in velocity, which raises flags about a bulky elbow. Wilson missed two weeks in April with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow, which is alarming considering he was two years removed from Tommy John surgery. 

    It's entirely possible he was never near one-hundred percent. Just how much that arm has left is the Dodgers main concern, and those questions may make it difficult for Wilson to find anything other a minor-league deal. The Dodgers, who had 10 days to trade or release Wilson after his designation, obviously didn't find much interest on that front.