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The Arizona Diamondbacks keep looking to improve their pitching staff this offseason as Jayson Stark reports that the D-backs are interested in free agent starter Batrolo Colon
The 38 year-old right-hander earned himself a 4.00 ERA along with a 7.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 for the New York Yankees last season in 164 1/3 innings of work. Colon signed a minor league contract with the Yanks last winter and was productive as their 5th starter in 2011, though seemed to slow down as the season went on a bit.
Colon didn't pitch in 2010 due to injury, and has already had some questionable stem cells treatments to his elbow and rotator cuff. But for the right price, Colon could prove to be a nice pickup for Arizona.
The Arizona Diamondbacks reportedly signed free agent OF Jason Kubel to a substantial contract. This move raises a few questions about how Kubel will be used and what the signing means to the rest of the line up.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have officially signed one of their key targets of the offseason. Takashi Saito is on his way to Phoenix. The deal is reportedly for one year and around $1.75 million. Here is part of the official press release on the subject.
PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with All-Star right-handed pitcher Takashi Saito on a one-year contract, according to D-backs’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers.
"Takashi brings a great veteran presence to our bullpen and strengthens an area where we already feel very good about our options," said Towers. "He has closed, been a set-up man and is versatile enough to fill any role."
At 41, Saito is still going strong. He posted a 2.03 ERA last year, striking out 23 and walking only nine batters in 30 appearances for the Brewers. He didn't allow a single run in the postseason and was 10th among all NL relievers. His best years came when he was with the Los ANgeles Dodgers in 2006-2007, making the All-Star team the second year and finishing fifth among all relievers in 2006. He is undoubtedly one of the most consistent relief men in the game.
With the Diamondbacks signing Craig Breslow, Arizona probably has one of the strongest bullpens in the National League, and will look to use that to help return to the playoffs next season.
To discuss Diamondbacks baseball, head to Arizona Snake Pit.
Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers made contract offers to both Joe Saunders and Micah Owings but weren't able to come to an agreement. Both pitchers played a significant role in 2011's success and are now free agents.
Saunders finished 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA and 108 strikouts as a starter in 2011. Owings was 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 games in 2011.
The Diamondbacks did sign right-handed pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo and assigned him to the 40-man roster.
Albaladejo's signing adds depth to the team and even if he doesn't make the final roster, he gives the Diamondbacks system another arm to have on deck when needed.
Albaladejo last played in the majors in 2010 with the New York Yankees where he pitched 11.1 innings. He's also played for the Washington Nationals and has a career 4.15 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 73.2 innings. He recorded a 1.42 ERA in 63.1 innings in 57 games with the Yankees AAA affiliate in 2010.
Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers wasn't kidding when he said (many times) that he believes pitching wins championships. He proved that yet again by landing yet another solid piece to the D-backs bullpen that was already vastly improved in 2011. According to a report from the reliable Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Diamondbacks agreed to terms with valuable reliever, RHP Takashi Saito.
Twitter / @JonHeymanCBS: hearing saito has agreed t ...
hearing saito has agreed to terms with #dbacks. another good pickup for them.
Towers said just a few days ago after the trade that added starting pitcher Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow that he wasn't done dealing and was still looking for either another starter, more bullpen help, or both.
Saito will turn 42 before the season so that will be a concern. He's been extremely effect, however, in his six seasons in Major League Baseball. Saito has a career ERA of 2.18 and posted a 2.03 in 30 appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers last season.
Contract terms with the D-backs aren't available. The free agent made a reported $1.75 million last season.
If he can remain healthy and effective, Saito adds even more depth to the Diamondbacks bullpen that already received an upgrade in with the addition of Breslow.
The free agent signing of Takashi Saito has not been officially confirmed.
For more on the Arizona Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.
After acquiring Trevor Cahill on Friday from the Oakland Athletics, the Arizona Diamondbacks now have a decision to make with Joe Saunders. The club currently has four starters in place with Cahill, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter and have multiple options. According to this update from MLB Trade Rumors, Saunders would not come cheap:
Saunders was considered a non-tender candidate earlier this offseason, but the D'Backs apparently offered him a two-year contract earlier this week, as GM Kevin Towers indicated he'd rather sign or trade Saunders than go to an arbitration hearing. Saunders' camp countered Arizona's offer, but nothing yet has come of that.
MLBTR's arbitration projection pegs Saunders for a salary of $8.7MM in 2012. He's logged no fewer than 186 innings in each of the past four seasons but was worth just 6.6 WAR in that span, according to Fangraphs.
While discussing the Cahill deal on Friday night, D-backs GM Kevin Towers insisted the team would continue to look at any and all options and that the club had a big decision to make before the non-tender deadline of December 12. The D-backs and Team Saunders have exchanged offers and, according to Towers, there remains a "significant gap" between the two parties.
With the price of starting pitchers being through the roof on the free agent market, one could expect Arizona to go with an in-house option to find their No. 5 starter if a deal can't be reached with Saunders. Towers, however, also said he might not be done trading for pitching either in the rotation or for the bullpen.
For more on Saunders and the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland A's have reportedly completed a trade featuring D-backs prospect, Jarrod Parker and A's young pitcher, Trevor Cahill. Multiple media outlets are reporting the deal with Steve Gilbert and Jane Lee of MLB.com the first to say it's been completed. Also included in the deal are Arizona outfielder Collin Cowgill and RHP Ryan Cook and Oakland lefty reliever Craig Breslow.
Cahill is just 23-years-old but has three years experience pitching for the A's with 96 starts and 583 innings under his belt with a solid 3.91 ERA over that span. The righty is listed at 6-4, 225 pounds and was drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft. He grew up and went to high school in southern California.
Cahill had the fifth-highest ground ball rate in the major leagues in 2011 which makes him a good fit in a rotation with Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson who are more fly-ball pitchers. Trevor's primary pitch is a high 80's sinker. He also throws a slider, change-up and curve ball.
Here's what the A's had to say about him a few years ago:
Trevor Cahill Top 50 Prospects Profile | MLB.com: Minors
"Trevor Cahill has the unique combination of being able to induce groundballs at a very high rate and still be able to have a very high strikeout-to-innings-pitched ratio. Trevor is the quiet assassin type that is extremely competitive and is driven to achieve at the top level. Combine that desire with athleticism, a heavy natural sinking fastball, an out pitch knuckle-curve, intelligence and strike-throwing ability and that equals an elite starting-pitching prospect." -- Billy Owens, A's director of player personnel
Cahill's contract is reported to be $3.5m in 2012, $5.5m in 2013, $7.7m in 2014, $12m in 2015, $13m option in 2016, $13.5m option in 2017 with $800k total buyouts.
Breslow, 31, is a six-year vet who's pitched well as a lefty specialist. He owns a career 3.06 ERA with a total of 279 total innings over 295 games. He was drafted by the Brewers in the 26th round of the 2002 draft out of Yale. Breslow is arbitration eligible after making $1.4 million last year. He's under club control for two more years.
The Diamondbacks are giving up one of their top pitching prospects, Jarrod Parker, who was called up in September and even made the playoff roster. He was expected to compete for a rotation spots in 2012. Losing Parker will be painful for many Diamondbacks fans who have waited since 2007 to see him make the team only to have him traded right before getting his big chance.
Arizona also gave up OF Collin Cowgill and RHP Ryan Cook.
Cowgill, 25, served well as a fourth outfielder but doesn't appear to have a ton of upside as a hitter although he is a solid defender at all three positions. Cook, 24, struggled in 12 relief appearances with the D-backs last season (7.04 ERA).
The deal adds a proven pitcher to the D-backs rotation who is under control with a good contract and a veteran lefty to the pen. There's no question the trade makes the D-backs more formidable heading into 2012 without sacrificing too much of the future.
The Oakland A's are in cost-cutting mode as they position the team to possibly move to San Jose.
For more on the Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.
The 2011 MLB Winter Meetings ended on Thursday but that doesn't mean the Hot Stove is turned off. According to multiple reports, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics are deep in negotiations for a trade that would send one or more prospects from Arizona in exchange for RHP Trevor Cahill and possibly LHP Craig Breslow.
Both Cahill and Breslow have experience at the major league level and could bolster the D-backs staff. It's not clear what prospects the D-backs would have to give up, but according to reports RHP Jarrod Parker may or may not be included and OF Collin Cowgill has been mentioned.
Trevor Cahill, 23, has three seasons with the A's with 96 total starts and a career ERA of 3.91 over 583 innings. He's known as a ground ball pitcher with his strongest pitcher a 88-92 mph sinker. He also throws a change-up and curve.
Breslow, 30, is a reliever with six seasons of major league experience with a career ERA of 3.06. Last season he pitched 59 innings with 44 strikeouts and 21 walks as a lefty specialist. He's considered one of the smartest players in the league.
Who Has the Brainiest Team in Baseball? - WSJ.com
Judging by his résumé, Craig Breslow is the smartest man in baseball, if not the entire world. A lefty reliever for the Athletics, Mr. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry before trying his hand at professional sports.
Here's a few reports on the on-going trade discussions from respected baseball writers. As is common with these situation, there are conflicting reports which indicates how fluid the situation is:
Twitter / @nickpiecoro:
Hearing talks have advanced between Dbacks-A's regarding RHP Trevor Cahill. RHP Jarrod Parker thought to be involved.
Twitter / @Ken_Rosenthal: .
#Dbacks expected to receive Breslow as well as Cahill from #Athletics. #MLB
Twitter / @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources:
Sources: #Dbacks close on Cahill. RHP Jarrod Parker, OF Collin Cowgill in play for #Athletics. Could be others coming from A's. #MLB
Twitter / @BNightengale:
The #Dbacks are hopeful that #Athletics will accept their offer of prized pitching prospect for Trevor Cahill. #mlb
Twitter / @BNightengale:
The #Dbacks plan on Parker being their 5th starter so he is NOT in potential deal
The previously reported discussions involving A's pitcher Gio Gonzalez seem to have cooled with Oakland seeking what Fox Sports Arizona described as a "Dan Haren package" that would be too pricey.
For more on the Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks haven't made the kind of splash their former interim GM Jerry Dipoto made Thursday morning with the signings of Mr. Albert Pujols and Mr. C.J. Wilson. They are reported, however, to be discussing trade options for one or both of the A's young pitchers (Gio Gonzalez and/or Trevor Cahill). The team has also reportedly agreed to a one-year, $1m deal with 1B Lyle Overbay.
Amid all that, GM Kevin Towers did make one move Thursday by way of the Rule 5 Draft. They D-backs announced they selected right-handed pitcher Brett Lorin Pirates organization.
Here's Lorin's numbers from the press release:
Lorin, 24, was 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA (37 ER in 117.1 IP) and .230 opponents average (103-for-447) with 19 walks and 99 strikeouts in 25 games (17 starts) for the Single-A Advanced Bradenton Marauders in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
In 17 starts, he went 4-5 with a 3.26 ERA (31 ER in 85.2 IP) and .239 opponents average (79-for-330) with 15 walks and 70 strikeouts. In 8 relief appearances, he went 3-1 with a save, a 1.71 ERA (6 ER in 31.2 IP), a .205 opponents average (24-for-117) with 4 walks and 29 strikeouts.
Over parts of four seasons in the farm systems for the Seattle Mariners and Pirates, Lorin was 18-16 with a save, a 3.03 ERA (115 ER in 341.1 IP) and .232 opponents average (295-for-1272) with 91 walks and 318 strikeouts.
The D-backs used the Rule 5 Draft last year to acquire LHP Joe Paterson who pitched well for the Snakes out of the pen in 2011. The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to snag players out of other team's minor league systems under circumstances. Here's a scouting report on Lorin from SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish:
2011 Rule 5 Baseball Draft Results and Reports - Minor League Ball
He has a mediocre fastball in the upper-80s, but has a good slider, changes speeds well, and throws strikes. He could be a fifth starter or long reliever.
Lorin was drafted by the Mariners as their fifth-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He was acquired along with first baseman Jeff Clement, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and pitchers Aaron Pribanic and Nathan Adcock by the Pirates on July 29, 2009 for infielder Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell. He played collegiately at Long Beach State in 2008 and the University of Arizona in 2006-2007.
The D-backs didn't lose any players from their system in the Rule 5 Draft.
For more D-backs discussion, visit AZ Snake Pit.
Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers took some time to speak to media Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, and spoke candidly on his thoughts on trading top prospects to improve the team, and that the time is now for the D-backs to be great.
Towers spoke largely about the bigger picture of where the organization is and where it is headed, and was adamant that the front office thinks the team has a great opportunity to bring another championship to Arizona:
"We see an opportunity in the next couple of years -- and this is just in our eyes, the way we view it. After winning a division, expectations of the fan base, looking kind of at our competition -- this is probably an opportune time to hopefully stay on top, if we make the right moves, and are able to make our club better, even if it means giving up prospects."
This comes on the heels of the team looking into current Oakland A's pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, either of which would fit nicely into the D-Backs rotation. Towers wasn't specific about any players, but was once again blatant in the fact that trading top prospects could be in their future:
"I've never said anybody is untouchable if the right deal presents itself," Towers said. "If we can justify the dollars and it makes us better now and in the future, you've got to be open to (trading) all of your best guys. Not that any of them are easily moved, but prospects are prospects...there's no guarantees of what they're ultimately going to do."
The Rockies will be a dangerous club, the Dodgers will likely be an improved ball club, and the Giants will probably be in the hunt in the division as well. Towers is smart to want to fill his quiver with quality players now, as it might come down to the wire next October for the NL West title.
For more on the Diamondbacks, head over to AZ Snake Pit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks went to the MLB Winter Meetings in Dallas with a pretty short shopping list: One veteran starting pitcher. A couple of names (Mark Buehrle and Hiroki Kuroda) have popped up before and the D-backs already made an offer to Joe Saunders. Now a new name has entered the mix, Oakland A's All-Star lefty, Gio Gonzalez.
The A's are said to be holding a fire sale and Gonzalez, 26 and arb 1 eligible, is apparently being shopped.
Gonzalez hottest lefty - MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN
No, the lefty generating the most attention is the Athletics’ Gio Gonzalez, who is attracting trade interest from nearly a dozen teams, major league sources say. The Tigers, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Reds and Phillies are the known suitors for Gonzalez, according to sources.
It's possible that cost is a factor here with vets like Saunders, Buehrle and Kuroda likely commanding upwards of $8m or more on a yearly basis while a younger guy like Gio could be had for less via arbitration or extension.
It would, however, cost Kevin Towers some trade assets to pry him away from the A's with so many other teams interested. The D-backs have a lot of depth in their farm system and could offer any number of young pitchers who are not as ready to contribute as guy like Gio.
Gonzalez won 16 games with a pretty poor (74-88) A's team last season and pitched a 3.12 ERA in 202 innings. In 2010 he went 200 innings with a 3.23 ERA. The biggest concern is walks: He recorded 92 in 2010 and 91 in 2011 which was the most in the American League.
MLB Winter Meetings are all about rumors and many don't happen but this one certainly is interesting for the D-backs and seems legit:
Twitter / @BNightengale: Arizona #Dbacks pushing ha ...
Arizona #Dbacks pushing hard with #Athletics trying to get Gio Gonzale
For more on the Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.
The annual MLB Winter Meetings have opened at the Anatole Hilton Hotel in Dallas, TX. Unlike years past, the Arizona Diamondbacks don't come to this free agent swap-fest with a long list of needs to fill. They've already solidified their infield with the re-signings of Aaron Hill, John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist. The outfield was already set and the bullpen and starting rotation are largely good to go.
There are three open questions although none of them are major. GM Kevin Towers told us last month that he's interested in adding a veteran starting pitcher to the mix that already will include Ian Kennedy, Dan Hudson, Josh Collmenter and a bevy of young arms that will compete for a spot in spring training.
The D-backs have Joe Saunders under control through arbitration and have until December 12 to tender him an offer or lose him to free agency with no compensation. Towers was clear about his intent to explore the market before making a decision on Saunder.
"If we get out there and find that the price for free agent pitching is above and beyond where we think the value is for those guys, we've got a great internal candidate in Joe (Saunders)," Towers said in November.
Twitter / @HensonYahoo: Dbacks are after a starter ...
Dbacks are after a starter. Kuroda is the target and if he'd drop demand for 2nd year player's option, official sez cld get done this week.
We'll see how that goes.
Other than the search for a veteran pitcher, the D-backs have an offer out to Lyle Overbay to backup first base. They are also going to try and work on an extension for catcher Miguel Montero but he still isn't arbitration eligible until next season so there's time with him.
For more on the D-backs, visit AZ Snake Pit.
Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero is coming off a career-year in 2011 and is under contract through 2012. While his short-term future with the organization already in place, there is mutual interest between the D-backs and Montero to sign a contract extension. Unfortunately, the two sides cannot come to an agreement on the length of any potential contract.
According to this report, General Manager Kevin Towers said he has spoken with Montero this off-season about a contract extension, but talks are at a standstill because Montero is seeking more guaranteed years than the Diamondbacks are comfortable offering.
He's a big part of our organization," Towers said Tuesday at the Pfister Hotel, where he spent the day in meetings with fellow general managers. "I'm hoping at some point in time there's a meeting of the minds on where we go and we can find middle ground where we'd be comfortable."
"I would really like to stay here, but at the same time I have confidence in myself and I know what I'm capable of doing," Montero said by phone Tuesday. "I feel like I'm in great shape now and for years to come. I'm still 28 years old. I could be one of the youngest free-agent catchers out there next year.
There is no denying that Montero is one of the better catchers in all of baseball and he will be a hot commodity should he hit the open market in 2012. With mutual interest on both sides, one has to believe a contract extension will be worked out sometime in the next 12 months. Montero is too good of a catcher to let go and Arizona knows it.
For more on the D-backs, check out AZ Snake Pit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have continued shopping during the 2012 MLB offseason and turn their attention to pitching. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Diamondbacks have interest in pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle.
The 36-year-old Kuroda has spent his four season pro career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning on average 47.1% of his pitching match-ups. Last season, Kuroda recorded a 13-16 record with a 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts.
Buehrle, 32, has spent his entire 11-year MLB career with the Chicago White Sox. The left-handed pitcher posted a 13-9 record last season with a 3.59 ERA and 109 strikeouts. He won 59.1% of his games last season and has made three All-Star Game appearances during his career (2002, 2005 and 2009).
The Diamondbacks signed Aaron Hill to a two-year contract over the weekend and will look to bolster their roster with pitching next. Arizona will continue surveying the free agent market as the organization builds its roster for the 2012 season.
The deal is reportedly worth just over $10 million for two years and shores up the D-backs infield for 2012. As Arizona GM Kevin Towers mentioned on Friday, the offer to Hill would have expired shortly after the weekend. Now that Hill will return, the offseason focus will move on to looking at veteran free agent pitchers.
The Diamondbacks will see their 2011 infield return. Along with Hill manning second base, they will have Paul Goldschmidt at first, Ryan Roberts at third and Stephen Drew returning from injury to be the everyday shortstop. If Drew manages to come back completely healthy, the D-backs will have a lot of depth in the infield with Geoff Blum able to back up Roberts at 3B, John McDonald as the backup shortstop, Willie Bloomquist as the utility infielder and the very likely possibility of either Xavier Nady or Lyle Overbay returning to back up Goldschmidt.
The 2012 Diamondbacks are shaping up to look very much like the 2011 model, which should be good news for Arizona fans hoping for another run at the postseason.
For more news and information about the Arizona Diamondbacks, please visit AZ Snake Pit.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a lot of depth at pitching. We counted ten guys who could possibly compete for a starting job in the rotation and forgot to in include Micah Owings in that list. All of those guy, except for Owings, are young and inexperienced which is why we argued for the D-backs to retain the services of veteran lefty Joe Saunders.
General Manager Kevin Towers seems to be on the same page. At a charity golf event benefiting veterans, Towers talked about his search for veteran pitching options. And while Saunders is still in the mix, he's also kicking the tires on the free agent market.
"The scenario we've looked at is we could add some more veteran pitching to our club we would. We've reached out to a couple of pitchers who are free agents but the primary focus has been our infield," Towers said on Friday which happened to be his 50th birthday.
Towers has an offer out to Hill that expires early next week. He is expecting an answer one way or another by Monday which would give him a clear idea of team needs heading into the general manager meetings in Milwaukee next week.
"If we get Aaron (Hill) back our focus will change to pitching," Towers said.
As for Saunders, the D-backs have until December 12 before then have to tender him an offer and begin the arbitration process. If they non-tender Saunders and allow him to leave as a free agent, the D-backs wouldn't receive a compensation draft pick.
"If we get out there and find that the price for free agent pitching is above and beyond where we think the value is for those guys, we've got a great internal candidate in Joe (Saunders)," Towers said.
"We might, when it's all said and done, find out that most of the best options are here internally with Saunders and the kids that we currently got in our system."
Stephen Drew update
Stephen Drew's status still remains a question mark coming off a serious ankle injury. He's currently slated to start baseball activities about six weeks before spring training. At that point the team would know more about his timeline and status for the start of the season.
Towers points out that it's a contract year for Drew and he will be highly motivated to do everything he can to prove he can play. If he's not healthy, the Bloomquist and McDonald signings give the team ample protection.
Towers said the Diamondbacks have seven or eight players in Venezuela where Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was recently kidnapped. Players such as Colin Cowgill and Barry Enright are there along with hitting coach Don Baylor. Other players who are from the country and there as well.
The D-backs have had discussions about bringing their players home but haven't made a decision. Towers, who played in Columbia and other Latin American countries said it's safe for guys who stay around their hotels and avoid the wrong areas.
Charity Golf event
The event at Wild Horse Pass on veterans day brought together a mix of current and former players. Guys like former second baseman Junior Spivey and current first basemen Paul Goldschmidt got together to have a little fun and raise money that benefits a variety of organizations and programs aimed at military veterans.
"Just to be able to come out here and gold and remember the veterans and support out troops is what this whole things about. I feel like it's a fun thing for everybody to do," pitcher Ian Kennedy explained.
It's a good day for the Arizona Diamondbacks if early reports prove true. Utility man (and former ASU Sun Devil) Willie Bloomquist is said to have agreed to terms with the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to Scott Miller, of CBS Sports the contract is a two-year, $3.8 million deal.
Bloomquist was a big part of the Diamondbacks success in 2011 thanks to the versatility he brings on the field and the example he sets for his teammates.
Willie was originally brought in as a back up at various infield and outfield positions but was elevated into a larger role at short stop after Stephen Drew's season-ending injury. His glove as an everyday player at short was exposed but he's a great fit in a utility role.
The D-backs already brought back short stop John McDonald who is known more for his defense than his bat and with Stephen Drew expected to recover from ankle injury the Bloomquist signing does create a bit of a logjam at short.
The Bloomquist and McDonald signings, however, give the D-backs some insurance should Drew suffer a setback or take longer than expected to return to form. Drew could miss spring training and a the first few weeks of the season. After that much time off, it might take him awhile to get back to be productive starting player.
Bloomquist has also played second and third base and left field during his career which makes him a valuable bench player who gives the team great depth.
Bloomquist hit .266 on the season with an on-base percentage of .317. He stole 20 bases on the season and was the lead-off hitting in five playoff games. Bloomquist had seven hits and three stolen bases in five playoff games.
For more on this signing and the Arizona Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.
Jakubauskas played for the Seattle Mariners in 2009 before spending the 2010 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in a total of 36 games with those two teams before playing 33 games with the Orioles last season.
During his time with the Pirates, Jakubauskas took a shot to the head on a line drive, shown here, but didn't suffer a concussion or any other serious injury as a result.
In 72 1/3 innings last year, Jakubauskas posted a 5.72 ERA- just a shade under his 5.58 ERA career average- with 52 strikeouts. He struck out 6.47 batters per nine innings last season, the best mark of his three-year major league career and a significant notch above his career 5.37 strikouts-per-nine-innings average.
Jakubauskas appears ready and willing to join the Diamondbacks franchise after a few years on the East Coast, judging by his comment on Twitter about the signing:
One of the most important players on a 25-man roster is the backup catcher. With the signing of Henry Blanco on Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be set at the position in 2012, as well as potentially in 2013.
The D-backs announced the official agreement:
(PHOENIX) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with catcher Henry Blanco on a one-year contract with a mutual option, according to D-backs' Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers.
Blanco, 40, hit .250 (25-for-100) with 3 doubles, a triple, 8 home runs and 12 RBI in 37 games along with a .330 on-base percentage and .540 slugging percentage. Defensively, he appeared in 37 games (31 starts) at catcher, posted a .995 fielding percentage, committing 1 error in 192 total chances, and threw out 38.1 percent of attempted basestealers (8-for-21).
Blanco is as good as they come in terms of backup catchers. A true veteran and teacher of the game, he does a phenomenal job handling the pitching staff and can still handle his own at the plate. This is a solid move by Arizona and gets their offseason underway.
For more on the D-backs, check out AZ Snake Pit.
You can argue which Arizona Diamondback's player was the MVP of the magically 2011 season. Ian Kennedy pitched fantastic and Justin Upton took his five-tool game to another level. You could even make the case that Miguel Montero's improved defense, solid offense and work with the pitchers made him the most valuable.
But if you ask most people who are familiar with the team who gets credit for the incredibly fast turnaround from 97 losses (2010) to 94 wins (2011), the answer is simple -- Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers.
Towers and Gibson worked well together through the offseason assembling a team that reflected their shared philosophy about baseball. They brought in coaches and veteran players with championship experience who understood how to play the game and what it takes to have the right mental attitude needed to survive and win during the grind of a long season.
Gibson pushed all the right buttons and got the most out a team with a pure talent level that didn't impress many outsiders. The result, a NL West Title in their first year together and an even brighter future to come with a bevy of young pitchers on the way to the big league team.
"I really enjoyed watching the two of them work together," CEO Derrick Hall told the Arizona Republic. "Obviously I was pleased with the results from the first season. Kirk Gibson, in particular, proved that he is a major league manager, as prepared as any I've ever seen, and I felt they were both worthy of extension."
The Diamondbacks rewarded their general manager and skipper with new contracts that ensure the pair will be with the team through 2014 with options for 2015 and 2016 according to the report in the Republic. The deals haven't been officially announced by the team but that should happen soon.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with shortstop John McDonald on a two-year contract. McDonald appeared in 19 games with the Diamondbacks in 2011 after playing 65 games with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 37-year-old McDonald fills a need at shortstop for the Diamondbacks. His signing likely means the end of Willie Bloomquist's time in Arizona. Stephen Drew is recovering from an ankle injury and may not be ready to play once the 2012 season starts. Arizona can use McDonald as needed if Drew does not return for the early part of next season.
McDonald played 18 games at shortstop for the Diamondbacks last season and made 15 starts. He hit .169 with two doubles and two RBIs last season after being traded by the Blue Jays.
McDonald has batted .238 with 93 doubles, 14 triples, 21 home runs and 179 RBIs in his 13 MLB seasons. He has played second base, third base and left field during his career, though most of his time has been spent at shortstop.
With McDonald's signing, the Diamondbacks have 32 players on their 40-man roster.
The 2012 MLB offseason is officially underway as players and coaches alike start planning out moves in anticipation for next year. The Arizona Diamondbacks got right to work on Monday, making key decisions on certain players and learning about free agent decisions from some of their own players.
The Diamondbacks have decided to pick up the mutual option on catcher Henry Blanco and infielder Willie Bloomquist. Arizona also decided to decline options on left-handed pitcher Zach Duke and infielder Aaron Hill, who was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in late August. Hill's option, accounting for $8 million, is a little too high for the Diamondbacks and the team will try to negotiate a slightly cheaper contract with Hill for the coming seasons.
Four Diamondbacks have decided to pursue free agency: right-handed pitcher Jason Marquis (who also came over with the Aaron Hill trade) and infielders John McDonald, Xavier Nady and Lyle Overbay. All four players spent their first season with the Diamondbacks in 2011.
Arizona will take a good look at all of its free agent options before starting to consider its options with players. The Diamondbacks currently have 33 players on their 40-man roster and will have seven roster spots to fill as the offseason continues.
The MLB offseason is just barely underway, but already the Arizona Diamondbacks front office is helping solidify that a large part of its successful 2011 team will remain intact. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports that the D-Backs coaching staff have been given contract extensions, retaining them through 2013.
The only coach that has not been signed to an extension as of yet is Don Baylor, who is currently in Venezuela and has not yet been contacted. The Diamondbacks front office made it clear that he would also receive an extension. The coaching staff was previously under contract through 2012, but this new move will keep the coaching team intact for the next two years.
It's a smart move by a Diamondbacks organization that is entering as close to a no-brainer of an offseason as you can get. The spectacular coaching of Kirk Gibson and his crew is a huge reason that Arizona found so much success in 2011. Best to lock up the front-runner for this year's NL Manager of the Year for as long as you can.
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