December 2010

Hampton done, Blanco not

The D-backs have agreed to terms with left-hander Mike Hampton on a one-year contract and are expected to announce it later today.

It is a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training.

In other news, the D-backs have strong interest in veteran backup catcher Henry Blanco, but a baseball source said a deal at the moment was “not close.”

Hampton was signed by the D-backs last August and in 10 games down the stretch for them, Hampton did not allow a run in 4 1/3 innings.

D-backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters Tuesday that he expected to hear back from Hampton on the team’s offer to him Wednesday.

Towers has remade the bullpen in recent weeks, but the one thing he was still looking to add was a left-hander.

Tidbits from Day 2 of Winter Meetings

Here are a few tidbits that didn’t make it into my story Tuesday from the Winter Meetings:

— When asked about who would pitch the eighth inning for him, GM Kevin Towers said he would have to wait and see before adding, “It might be Jarrod Parker. You never know.”

Parker, of course, is the team’s top pitching prospect and a starter, who missed last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. So naturally when Towers mentioned it, all of our ears pricked up and he was asked if he was serious.

“We’ll wait and see how the spring goes,” Towers said. “I would say it’s probably highly unlikely. He needs to be built up. I view him a little like [Jake] Peavy. To me he is a guy you put right into the rotation.”

So don’t look for Parker to be coming out of the pen any time soon. Although, with The Gunslinger, you never know.

— A few new contract details about LHP Zach Duke’s mutual option for 2012. It is worth $5.5 million, but goes up to $6 million if he throws 175 innings in 2011, $6.5 if he throws 190 innings and $7 million if he throws 205. The buyout of $750,000 remains the same regardless.

— Heard that the D-backs had interest in Matt Diaz, but felt he was too expensive.

— Free agent Marcus Thames could be a possibility for left field.

— D-backs don’t seem inclined to sign a front-line first baseman.

D-backs pushing hard to get Putz

The D-backs are pushing hard to get free agent right-hander J.J. Putz signed to a two-year deal with a club option for 2013.

Putz would slide into the role of closer as new GM Kevin Towers continues to try and remake the Arizona bullpen.

Putz, who will be 34 in February, was 7-5 with three saves and a 2.83 ERA in 60 games for the White Sox in 2010. The D-backs had attempted to sign him last offseason.

D-backs agree with Melvin Mora

The D-backs filled their hole at third base by signing Melvin Mora to a one-year contract.

Mora, who will be 39 in February, hit .285 with seven homers and 45 RBIs in 354 plate appearances for the Rockies in 2010.

Mora will get the bulk of the playing time now that the D-backs have dealt Mark Reynolds to the Orioles.

David Hernandez on trade to D-backs

My colleague Brittany Ghiroli got a hold of David Hernandez for his reaction to the deal to the D-backs. Here’s what he had to say.

“It’s bittersweet,” Hernandez said. “I have a weird feeling,  I don’t know what to expect. But at the same time its exciting I’ll be close to home [California] all my family will be able to come out. The only bad thing is all the relationships and friendships I’ve made since 2005. I’ve made a lot of friends through the years.”

“I thought I was going to be there to see them turn it around in the next three or four years,” Hernandez said of the Orioles. “It’s something I wanted to do. But it just didn’t work out.”
“It’s always good when other teams value you, it makes you feel like you are definitely needed and wanted. I look at it as a fresh start.”

Who’s on third?

Assuming the medicals are approved and Mark Reynolds gets dealt to the Orioles right-handers David Hernandez and Kameron Mickolio, the most pressing question is: Who plays third for the D-backs.

Look for them to make a big push to sign Melvin Mora, maybe swing a deal for Kevin Kouzmanoff and they also will use veteran Geoff Blum over there as well.

D-backs and Orioles closing in

The D-backs and Orioles are closing in on a deal that would send Mark Reynolds to Baltimore in exchange for right-handers David Hernandez and Kameron Mickolio.

More details to follow.

MacPhail on Reynolds

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail said the two teams are “making progress” towards a Reynolds deal.

“We have a few things going and you never really know when you are going
to be able to reach across and do something,” MacPhail said. “We have a
variety of things and what comes to fruition and when you just don’t

David Hernandez is the player the D-backs are looking at as the centerpiece of the deal.

When Josh Byrnes was GM in Arizona he tried to acquire Hernandez and
interim-GM Jerry Dipoto also tried prior to last season’s trade

More on Reynolds

Things are heating up on the Mark Reynolds trade front and it looks like the Orioles and D-backs are really making progress. Look for David Hernandez to be a key part of the deal.

When Josh Byrnes was GM in Arizona he tried to acquire Hernandez and interim-GM Jerry Dipoto also tried prior to last season’s trade deadline.

Strong progress on Reynolds to Orioles

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail says there has been strong progress on talks regarding Mark Reynolds. More to follow.