Cameron thrilled to return to Brewers
Center fielder surprised to have his option picked up
Mike Cameron received some good news while grocery shopping on Monday -- the Milwaukee Brewers picked up his option for the 2009 season.
"This was a surprise, to be honest with you," the center fielder told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
General manager Doug Melvin said it made sense to bring Cameron back for the 2009 season.
"In a statistical analysis, he ranked as the sixth-best center fielder [offensively] in the Major Leagues," Melvin said. "And he improved our pitching by playing center field the way he did. That was important to us."
In 120 games this past season, Cameron hit .243 with 25 home runs and 70 RBIs while swiping 17 bases. In 119 starts, the slick-fielding Cameron made only one error.
"I just thought they'd go in other areas," Cameron said. "From an economic standpoint, and with so many young guys getting pay raises, I didn't think my option would be picked up. I can't tell you how excited I am. I'm just thankful to get another opportunity to be involved with a team on the verge of breaking down doors on a yearly basis. This is a blessing."
Free agent Floyd doesn't rule out Rays return: Cliff Floyd wasn't surprised that the Rays declined their 2009 option for his services. The veteran outfielder contributed 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 80 games in 2008.
"It was awesome, man," Floyd told the St. Petersburg Times. "If this is the way I'm supposed to go out, it's unbelievable. The guys were great, we had a great time. Everybody in the organization is first-class. We went through a lot this year, we grew up as a team and as a family. And it was a treat to be around guys that really wanted to work hard and make this change. I'm definitely happy to be part of it.
Floyd didn't rule out a return to the Rays, either.
"You never know what will happen. I can come back at a different rate, I can come back with a less amount. We'll see what direction they go in. If it sounds good and everybody's happy, you'll see me in camp."
Victorino says Phillies couldn't be denied: Shane Victorino was a huge part of bringing a championship to Philadelphia, but says it was a team effort that put the Phillies over the top.
"We never gave up at any point," he told MLB.com. "We always knew we could do this and we weren't going to stop. This was the goal all along, and we were going to figure out a way to accomplish it."
Indians consider Blake return: Free agent Casey Blake is getting plenty of attention not only for his bat and his play at third base, but also for his ability to play several other positions. The Indians, his former club, recognize that versatility.
"Casey fits in a lot of different ways, and the Indians have always recognized that," his agent, Jim McDowell, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "If an organization had a third-base prospect who was a year or two away and they brought in Casey on a multi-year deal, assuming the kid developed, Casey could move somewhere else when the prospect was ready."
Fasano back on free-agent market: After starting the 2008 season with Triple-A Richmond in the Braves' organization, Sal Fasano wound up getting plenty of playing time as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Now, though, he's filed for free-agency.
"If it was up to me, I would have only played on one team, not 13," Fasano told MLB.com. "I should be getting at least 10 percent [pension] from every organization I've been with. Then I could retire."
Olivo in Royals' plans behind plate: Miguel Olivo wanted to hear one thing -- and he heard it. When the Kansas City Royals let him know that he would get the bulk of the playing time in 2009, he knew that's where he wanted to be.
"We talked," Olivo told the Kansas City Star, "and that's what they told me. That made me happy. So I said fine, let's do the deal."
Fields targeted for third base with White Sox: As the Chicago White Sox look to the future, Josh Fields is very much in their plans. With the third-base job his to lose, the White Sox and general manager Ken Williams are certain he can step in and do the job.
"I have all the confidence that a healthy Josh Fields will give us what we need at third base," Williams told the Chicago Tribune.
Griffey searching for a new team: After moving from the Reds to the White Sox for the 2008 stretch run, Ken Griffey Jr. will join yet another team in 2009. The White Sox did not pick up his option, and he has filed for free agency.
"When I talked to him about not picking up the option, he was nothing but a class individual, unbelievably positive," White Sox general manager Ken Williams told MLB.com. "There's just not a fit."
Burnett back on the market: A.J. Burnett has decided to opt out of his contract with the Blue Jays.
"I think the things that have to be important are the things that are important to him," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "He likes the team, he likes the city, he likes pitching with Doc [Roy Halladay] and Jesse [Litsch] and the rest of the guys. ... He likes [pitching coach] Brad Arnsberg a lot. He likes our trainers a lot.
"There's a lot of things that he likes that have to be important to him and are important to us. If it's ultimately the last dollar, which I don't believe it is, we're never going to be that team."
Burnett was 18-10 this year with a 4.07 ERA while leading the American League with 231 strikeouts. He made a career-high 34 starts and threw a career-high 221 1/3 innings.
Bradley to test free-agent waters: Milton Bradley hopes to turn his 2008 success into a multi-year contract.
"Milton had a great year, and it may be best for him to get a feel for the market," general manager Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "We'll keep the lines of communication open."
Fuentes likely to get a new locale in 2009: Left-hander Brian Fuentes, who had a 2.73 ERA this year in 67 games and saved 30 of his 34 opportunities, will command a strong position in the relief pitcher market.
"It's one of the best times to be on the market [as a closer]," his agent, Rick Thurman, told the Denver Post.
Fastball entices Marlins to claim Meyer: The Marlins claimed Dan Meyer off waivers from the A's. The left-hander was the key player acquired by Oakland in the Tim Hudson deal in a December 2004 trade.
"We liked him in the past when he was a prospect with the Braves," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "We think he has a good feel to pitch. He's shown an above-average fastball out of the pen. He was worthy of a look."
Ibanez hears from new Mariners GM: New general manager Jack Zduriencik reached out to free agent Raul Ibanez and spoke with him via telephone. Ibanez said he appreciated the gesture.
"He just said that he wanted me to know he'd heard good things about me as a person and a player," Ibanez told the Seattle Times. "He wanted me to know that he'd extended me the courtesy and respect as a player, by talking to me a bit.
"I didn't want to pry further than that. He's the boss. I told him I thought it can be done in Seattle. He told me he thought that, too. He thought it could get turned around. He just didn't give any specifics or say how long it was going to take. But he did say he'd get back to me when he had a little better idea of how things were going to go."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.