Marlins Designate Donnie Joseph For Assignment

The Marlins have designated lefty Donnie Joseph for assignment, according to the MLB transactions page. Presumably, the move relates to the team’s recent acquisition of Jarred Cosart.

Joseph, 26, had just one very rough outing this year at the major league level. Through 33 innings at Triple-A, he had worked to a 5.45 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against a troubling 7.6 BB/9. With his strikeout levels down and walk issues still prevalent, Miami saw fit to take his 40-man spot when the need arose.


Outrighted: Scott Elbert, Jason Lane, Tony Abreu

Let’s take a look at the day’s minor moves:

  • Scott Elbert of the Dodgers has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The lefty was designated for assignment on Tuesday. He has been trying to work back to form after not throwing a big league pitch over the last two seasons. Elbert had the right to refuse the assignment, but will stay with the organization, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • The Padres have outrighted lefty Jason Lane, according to the MLB transactions page. Lane had an outstanding first big league start, but will serve as depth at Triple-A if he accepts his assignment.
  • Tony Abreu has also been outrighted by the Giants, per the PCL transactions page. The second baseman received only four plate appearances during his brief call-up. He will have the option of electing free agency.

Braves Release Luis Vasquez

The Braves have released righty Luis Vasquez, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). The move will help clear roster space for the club’s recent deadline acquisitions.

Vasquez, 28, had struggled to a 11.91 ERA in 11 1/3 frames at Triple-A this year, with 11.9 K/9 but a troubling 8.7 BB/9. He came to Atlanta over the winter after spending all of his career with the Dodgers. Vasquez has always struggled with his control, but an increase in his strikeout numbers last year presumably made him interesting to the Braves.



Cliff Lee Re-Injures Elbow

Cliff Lee walked off the mound during his start against the Nationals today, indicating that he was dealing with elbow discomfort. The veteran has experienced the same injury that just cost him two months — a flexor pronator strain — according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

It seems likely that Lee is headed for another DL stint, and at this point it would not be surprising to learn that he will miss the rest of the season. Needless to say, barring a fortunate turn, it seems that Lee will not be an August trade target.

The bigger question for the Phillies, of course, is whether he can return to form for 2015. Lee is owed $25MM next year and his deal includes a $27.5MM club option for 2016 (with a substantial $12.5MM buyout).


Matt Cain Weighing Surgery For Bone Chips

THURSDAY: Cain and the Giants are weighing whether the righty will undergo a procedure on his right elbow to clean up bone chips and other debris, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Tommy John surgery is not on the table, says Baggarly.

If Cain has the procedure now, he would likely be out for the rest of the year, but would be expected to be ready for a standard ramp-up to the 2015 season.

TUESDAY: Giants starter Matt Cain is set for a visit with Dr. James Andrews regarding his ongoing difficulties with inflammation in his right elbow, CSN Bay Area analyst (and former big leaguer) Shawn Estes tells 95.7 The Game (Twitter link). Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com confirmed the report via Twitter.

Certainly, the club will hope that good news comes out of the consultation, but the necessity of the visit presumably only adds to the team’s reported desire to add a starter at the trade deadline. Cain is owed $67.5MM after this season, including a buyout of a $21MM club option for 2017. He owns a cumulative 4.06 ERA over 274 2/3 innings dating to the start of 2013.


Athletics Designate Jake Elmore For Assignment

The Athletics designated Jake Elmore for assignment earlier today, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Twitter. Elmore, a 27-year-old utilityman, was picked up in a minor trade over the offseason.

Elmore did not crack the Oakland roster this season, but does have 209 MLB plate appearances under his belt. In 211 plate appearances at Triple-A, he owns a .282/.374/.365 line. Though he doesn’t offer much pop, and has yet to hit a long ball in 2014, Elmore has contributed nine stolen bases.


Recapping The Day’s Activity

Now that the flurry of rumors and deals is over, let’s quickly take stock of what actually went down on deadline day:

Also, there were several other deals and roster moves that took place during the course of a busy day (with more likely to come):


Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2014 Trade Market

Tigers Acquire David Price In 3-Team Deal With Rays, Mariners

The Tigers have officially agreed to acquire David Price from the Rays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The deal is a three-way trade between the Tigers, Rays, and Mariners.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Tampa Bay Rays

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson will go to the Mariners, with Nick Franklin (from Seattle) and Drew Smyly (from Detroit) heading to Tampa in the blockbuster. Minor league shortstop Willy Adames is also going to Tampa from Detroit in the deal, per a tweet from Rosenthal.

The move brings and end to near-ceaseless speculation regarding the now-former Rays lefty, who has been one of the game’s best pitchers in recent seasons. Still only 28, Price is under control for one more season through arbitration, though he will certainly not come cheap.

Playing this year on a $14MM salary, Price will be in line for a big raise next year. Of course, one key element of his value lies in the fact that his new club will have an opportunity to explore an extension. The reason that Price figures to draw a big salary next year is obvious: he has continued to be outstanding. At present, he owns a 3.11 ERA with a remarkable 10.0 K/9 against just 1.2 BB/9 over 170 2/3 innings.

The return for the Rays is not particularly splashy, but delivers obvious value. Smyly, 25, was outstanding last year as a reliever and has since converted into a solid starting option. He carries a 3.77 ERA through 100 1/3 innings, with 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.9% groundball rate. While his strikeout numbers are down since moving to the rotation, he can be controlled through 2018.

The 23-year-old Franklin, meanwhile, seemed without a future in Seattle after the club added Robinson Cano. Though he has spent time at both short and second, many observers believe he is better suited for the keystone going forward. He had a solid 2013 at the MLB level (.225/.303/.382 in 412 plate appearances), and though his numbers were off this year in limited action, Franklin has continued to swing a big stick against Triple-A pitchers.

Then, there is Adames, who could be something of a wild card in the deal. Just 18, he has a promising .269/.346/.428 slash line through 400 plate appearances at the low-A level this year. He entered the year as Baseball America’s 30th-ranked Tigers prospect, but appears to be raising eyebrows around the game.

That brings us to Seattle, which quietly managed to address its center field need without giving up an indispensable piece of the future. In fact, the 27-year-old Jackson will be at least a mid-term piece for Seattle. He is playing on a $6MM salary this year before hitting arbitration for the final time. He currently sports a .270/.330/.397 line that is approximately league average (as it was last year). With solid contributions in the field and on the bases, he is certainly an above-average big league regular.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Jackson and Smyly were part of the deal (via Twitter). Mike Salk of 710 ESPN tweeted that Jackson would head to Seattle. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune first reported Franklin’s inclusion (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Marlins Acquire Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez For Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick, Comp Pick

The Marlins have announced a multi-player trade with the Astros that will bring starter Jarred Cosart, shortstop Enrique Hernandez, and outfielder Austin Wates to Miami in exchange for third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, pitcher Francis Martes, and the Marlins’ 2015 compensation pick.

MLB: Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox

In short, both of baseball’s worst teams from 2013 have shuffled a series of young players in a deal that could have wide-ranging repercussions for both franchises. Miami was said to be chasing a young arm, and that’s exactly what they got. But it came at a fairly steep price.

In Cosart, the Marlins are getting a pitcher who came to Houston in the 2011 Hunter Pence deal and has blossomed somewhat in the last two seasons. The 24-year-old has a 4.41 ERA through 116 1/3 frames with 5.8 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 and a sterling 56.5% groundball rate. That has been good for a 4.02 FIP, 4.28 xFIP, and 4.42 SIERA — hardly ace-level numbers, to be sure, but useful and promising enough given his age. Of course, much of Cosart’s value lies in the fact that he will not even be eligible for arbitration until 2017.

Miami also added some other useful pieces in the trade. Hernandez reached the big leagues this year at just 22 years of age, and owns an impressive .284/.348/.420 slash line through 89 plate appearances. He had slashed .336/.379/.503 in the upper minors, which itself represented a major step up in his results for the youngster. Wates, 25, is something of an on-base machine: he owns a .303/.381/.415 career triple-slash in the minors. Though he does not bring much power to the table, he does have 31 stolen bases this year in his first extended action at Triple-A.

For Houston, the deal brought a variety of goodies in return. Moran was the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft, and numerous reports suggest that he was seriously under consideration with the Astros’ first overall selection. Though he has not exactly dominated at High-A at age 21 (.294/.342/.393), he is not far removed from the amateur ranks and has plenty of time to develop.

Marisnick, meanwhile, is expected to slot right into the club’s lineup. A perennial top-100 prospect who was somewhat blocked in Miami, he has struggled in limited MLB exposure (.183/.231/.248 line in 169 total plate appearances). But the right-handed hitting outfielder, still only 23, has a .277/.326/.434 line in his 377 Triple-A plate appearances.

And then there is the compensation pick, which will come in the first available slot and carries a good bit of value (delivering immense flexibility to a Houston club that will have two high first-round choices next year). The final piece, Martes, is just 18 years old. The Dominican native has worked at the Rookie level this year, tossing 29 innings of 4.97 ERA ball and working both in relief and as a starter.

Brian McTaggart (via Twitter) first reported the deal. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) all reported details of the players involved.


Yankees Designate Brian Roberts For Assignment

The Yankees will designate Brian Roberts for assignment to create space for Stephen Drew, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (via Twitter).

Roberts, a long-time division rival of the Yankees after spending his entire career in Baltimore prior to 2014, signed a one-year, $2MM deal as a free agent in the offseason. He struggled at the plate in his lone season in Yankee pinstripes, slashing .237/.300/.360 with five homers and seven stolen bases.

Roberts was among the league’s top second basemen last decade, but injuries derailed many of his would-be peak years. He’s undergone hip surgery and hamstring surgery in recent years in addition to dealing with concussion symptoms. In his career, the switch-hitter is a .276/.347/.409 hitter with 97 homers and 285 stolen bases.


Braves Acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio

3:38pm: ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tweets that the Cubs are sending cash to Atlanta as well. It will be about $1MM going to Atlanta, tweets Wittenmyer.

3:33pm: Wittenymyer tweets that a minor league catcher is headed to Chicago. Peter Gammons tweets that Chicago receives Victor Caratini from Atlanta.

3:24pm: The Braves have acquired left-hander James Russell and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).

James Russell

Russell, 28, has posted a 3.51 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a career-best 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. While he’s picking up more grounders than ever, Russell has also shown the worst command of his career — a trend he will hope to correct with the Braves. Russell has typically handled left-handed hitters pretty well, but the opposite has been true in 2014; right-handed batters have a meager .364 OPS against Russell, while same-handed batters have an alarming .295/.358/.525 batting line against him. In his career, however, lefties have batted .240/.276/.416 against Russell. He is earning just $1.9MM in 2014 and is controlled through 2015.

The switch-hitting Bonifacio, 29, had a solid debut season for the Cubs before being included in the trade. He’s hitting .279/.318/.373 with a pair of homers and 14 steals (in 20 attempts). Defensive metrics have liked his work at second base, third base and in center field this season, though his career marks aren’t as strong.

Bonifacio had an interesting offseason, as he was tendered a contract by the Royals and agreed to a $3.5MM salary before being released (and subsequently paid only a portion of his still non-guaranteed deal). The speedster latched on with the Cubs in Spring Training and played well, though he’s spent a portion of the year on the disabled list.

As for Caratini, he was a second-round pick by the Braves in 2013 and ranked as the organization’s No. 7 prospect on MLB.com’s midseason top 20 list. The 20-year-old Caratini has batted .279/.352/.406 in 87 games at Class-A this season. He’s a switch-hitting catcher who also plays third base. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com feel that he’s a good enough defender to handle either position, but clearly he would have more value behind the dish. Though Callis and Mayo praise his defense, they feel that his bat is a better tool.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Twins Extend Kurt Suzuki

The Twins have signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $12MM contract extension with a third-year vesting option, according to director of communications Dustin Morse.  The vesting option, like his annual salary, is for $6MM and can be triggered based on plate appearances in 2016. Suzuki is represented by MVP Sports Group.

MLB: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins

Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base, inking Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75MM deal as the star’s replacement behind the dish. Suzuki has performed well, hitting .304/.367/.386 in 347 plate appearances and making his first All-Star team.  He hit .235/.290/.353 in the three years prior, so his offense has been a nice surprise for the Twins.

Defensively, Suzuki certainly passes the eye test and has tons of experience behind the plate. He also seems to have a good reputation among the pitchers who he is responsible for tending to, and is an able blocker. But he has struggled in the pitch-framing department, ranking dead last in baseball with -17.1 runs on the year according to Stat Corner. Baseball Prospectus, likewise, rates Suzuki as a positive in stopping balls in the dirt but a negative at winning strikes.

It does not seem that the Twins achieved much of a discount by locking up Suzuki, but they certainly did prevent him from finding a bigger deal and bolting after the season. That has plenty of value for a club that will surely be looking to bring several young pitchers on line this year and next. For Suzuki, signing now not only let him choose to stay in place (after bouncing around quite a bit in recent years) but also protected him from a market that can often be hard to gauge. While he looked like one of the few desirable catchers set to hit free agency, neither are there many teams that looked to be big players for his services.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the extension.  Yahoo’s Tim Brown first reported the term, with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter) and Phil Miller of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) providing information on the vesting option.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Yankees Acquire Martin Prado

The Yankees acquired infielder Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks, tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network.  The D’Backs will receive catching prospect Peter O’Brien and a player to be named later or cash considerations and are not contributing cash to the deal, tweets MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.  The Yankees have now officially announced the deal.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

Prado, 30, is hitting .270/.317/.370 in 436 plate appearances for Arizona this year while playing mostly third base.  He was a major piece of the January 2013 trade that brought Justin Upton to the Braves.  Shortly after the acquisition, Prado signed a four-year, $40MM extension with the D’Backs.  He has about $3.6MM remaining this year, and $11MM in each of the 2015 and ’16 seasons.

Minutes before this trade, the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew from the Red Sox for Kelly Johnson.  On July 22nd, the Yankees added third baseman Chase Headley.  Drew will play second base, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, while it’s not exactly clear how Prado will be employed.

O’Brien, 24, is hitting .267/.312/.593 with 33 home runs between High-A and Double-A in 413 plate appearances.  Baseball America ranked him 23rd among Yankees prospects prior to the season, praising his power but questioning his defense.


Yankees, Red Sox Swap Johnson For Drew

3:17pm: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com tweets that the Yankees will pay nearly all of the nearly $5MM that remains on Drew’s deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Drew will play second base for the Yankees.

2:46pm: WEEI’s Alex Speier tweets that New York is sending Kelly Johnson to Boston.

2:43pm: The Yankees are acquiring Stephen Drew from the Red Sox, reports ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes (Twitter link).

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

The 31-year-old Drew was linked to the Yankees for much of the offseason but elected to wait until midseason before signing a one-year deal worth the pro-rated verstion of the $14.1MM qualifying offer which he rejected. His return to Boston hasn’t gone well, as he’s slashed just .176/.255/.328 in 145 plate appearances. D

rew’s bat has picked up over the past two weeks, as he’s hit .267/.377/.511 with a pair of homers, but the overall numbers still look grim. He seems likely to see time at some combination of second base and third base, with Derek Jeter still manning shortstop. Drew is a free agent at season’s end and cannot receive a qualifying offer.

The departure of Drew will allow the Red Sox to shift Xander Bogaerts back over to shortstop, while Johnson can serve as a stopgap at third base while Will Middlebrooks heals from an injury.


Nationals Acquire Asdrubal Cabrera

2:32pm: The Indians are paying the entirety of the $3.33MM remaining on Cabrera’s deal, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, who says that Cleveland is very high on Walters.

2:21pm: The Nationals have officially announced the acquisition of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians in exchange for  infielder Zach Walters and cash considerations.

Asdrubal Cabrera

The 28-year-old Cabrera is hitting .246/.305/.386 with nine homers and seven steals on the season. While defensive metrics have never liked his glovework at shortstop, his bat is above average for the position, and he could fill in for the Nationals at second base, with Anthony Rendon sliding back over to third base on a full-time basis in the wake of Ryan Zimmerman‘s injury.

Cabrera grades out better in his career at second base than his career at shortstop, albeit in a much smaller sample size (1341 innings at second base). Cabrera has about $3.33MM of this season’s $10MM salary remaining, and he is a free agent at season’s end.

The 24-year-old Walters entered the season as Washington’s No. 14 prospect, per Baseball America. He received a brief promotion to the Majors but didn’t capitalize on his time there, hitting just .205/.279/.462 in 43 plate appearances. While he did belt three homers, he also whiffed 16 times in that small sample. BA praised his raw power but questioned his plate discipline and noted a high number of seemingly careless throwing errors. While he has a chance to stick at shortstop with some offensive upside, BA feels he likely profiles as a utility infielder that can fill in at various positions.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported that Cabrera had been traded (Twitter link). MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian added that the Nats were his destination (Twitter link).  Hoynes then tweeted Walters was going to Cleveland, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted details on the cash considerations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.