Jerry Dipoto Likely Out As Angels GM

Angels players believe Jerry Dipoto is out as the Angels’ GM, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick quotes a source within the game who says that Dipoto is “definitely out” (via Twitter). The team has yet to make any move official, and what might have happened isn’t yet entirely clear, but various writers late reported news similar to Passan and Crasnick’s Tuesday night, painting a fairly consistent picture.

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reported that Dipoto was considering resigning in the wake of the Angels’ organizational tensions. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, tweeted that two sources told him Dipoto had packed up his office (though he noted the possibility that Dipoto might simply have been acting “out of emotion”). Crasnick tweeted that strife between Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia had only increased since Rosenthal reported earlier this week that the two again weren’t getting along (after having also had significant disagreements in 2012). Crasnick also indicated that Dipoto approached Angels owner Arte Moreno with an ultimatum that “backfired.”

According to Rosenthal, a pair of meetings called by Dipoto — one with Scioscia and his staff, and the other will both uniformed staff and players — turned “contentious” last weekend. The club’s top baseball decision maker reportedly drew strong reactions from an unnamed coach as well as Hall of Fame-bound first baseman Albert Pujols.

The immediate issue seemed to involve the manner in which information on in-game decisions (e.g., shifting, strategies against certain hitters) was distributed to players. But Rosenthal raised the possibility that there were deeper philosophical and relational differences between the club’s two key leaders.

The working relationship between Dipoto and Scioscia was once said to be nearly irreconcilable, but they had seemingly worked together in at least a reasonably workable truce. When asked about the report earlier this week, Scioscia said that the pair continued to “work together the same way that we’ve worked the last couple years” (via Gonzalez, on Twitter).

In recent days, however, those former hostilities had seemingly been rekindled. Two club officials spoke anonymously with Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, with one telling him that there were “a lot of closed doors” around the club’s facility Tuesday, given the persistent tension.

The second source indicated that he or she felt the end result could be rather drastic change. “Something’s going to give this time,” said the source. “Looks irreparable.” Owner Arte Moreno had managed to patch things up previously, at least for a good stretch, but it remains to be seen what can be salvaged this time around.

Then, there’s the reported involvement of Pujols, the team’s highest-paid player, who has finally played up to his massive contract this year. The highly respected veteran said today that he was not going to comment on what had gone on in the clubhouse, as Gonzalez reported.

But Pujols did address the idea, as reported by Rosenthal, that he had said that the club simply does not have as good a roster as it did last year. As Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted, Pujols said he would never disrespect his teammates in the manner implied in that supposed comment. According to Gonzalez’s sources, however, Rosenthal’s report was quite accurate (Twitter link).

Regardless of what actually happened, there’s yet another layer to the controversy. Gonzalez writes that there was “anger” among the players that the story was leaked in the first place. And Pujols also called it “really embarrassing” (to whoever revealed the information) that the story had reached the public sphere. “We’re supposed to be a family here,” he said.


Athletics Sign First-Rounder Richie Martin

10:43pm: Martin will earn $1.95MM, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets. It would appear, then, that Oakland has just under $300K to play with for selections made after the tenth round. Bonuses for players selected outside of the slotted rounds count against a team’s total allocation only to the extent that they exceed $100K.

5:33pm: The Athletics have announced the signing of first-round draft pick Richie Martin. The University of Florida shortstop was taken with the 20th overall selection.

Bonus terms have not yet been reported, and unsurprisingly were not announced by the club. Oakland’s first pick came with a $2,214,000 pool allocation (via Baseball America).

Most prospect writers placed Martin in the 30 to 40 range among draft-eligible prospects. Baseball America ranked him highest (31st), citing Martin’s strong overall athleticism and defensive ability. At the plate, BA says that the infielder is a line-drive hitter who could have some future power potential.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law was somewhat less impressed, rating Martin 75th on his board. While he praised Martin’s improvement as a hitter, Law says that the former Gator “projects as an average hitter with below-average power” and could add value on the bases.

Martin becomes the last of the A’s picks from the first ten rounds to reach agreement (via MLB.com’s bonus tracker). As things stand, the club has undertaken $827,800 in above-slot obligations to sign high school righty Dakota Chalmers and UNC outfielder Skye Bolt, and has saved $632,900 on its remaining picks. The team can go up to 5% over its total pool allocation without losing draft picks (instead only paying a tax on the overage), freeing an additional $272,205.

Put it all together, and the A’s were capable of spending up to $77,305 over slot on Martin (in total, $2,291,305). If the bonus comes in below that number, the difference could be applied toward later-round selections.


Red Sox Sign Andrew Benintendi, Austin Rei

10:23pm: Boston has announced the signings of both Benintendi and third-rounder Austin Rei. The catcher will receive an at-slot, $724,400 bonus, Callis tweets.

Rei is a defensive specialist; indeed, Callis calls his work behind the plate the best of all this year’s draft-eligible collegians. The questions come with the bat, though there are signs that Rei can contribute on offense. As MLB.com wrote in ranking him 87th on its board, Rei rates solidly in terms of bat speed and approach.

10:30am: The Red Sox have agreed to terms with No. 7 overall draft pick Andrew Benintendi, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). The lefty-swinging outfielder out of the University of Arkansas will receive the full slot bonus of $3,590,400, per Callis, who feels that Benintendi possessed the best all-around tools of any college hitter in this year’s draft class.

Andrew Benintendi

Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Benintendi eighth among draft prospects, while Benintendi ranked ninth per Baseball America and per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Benintendi a bit lower at No. 21, though he noted that, “No one has improved his stock this spring more than the sophomore draft-eligible Benintendi…” which is lofty but likely deserved praise after Benintendi led the SEC in OBP, homers and slugging percentage.

Callis and Mayo praised Benintendi’s smooth swing and ability to consistently barrel up the ball. That’s complemented by plus speed, the MLB.com duo notes, giving Benintendi a chance to be a base-stealing threat and to stick in center field. BA notes that Benintendi didn’t play summer ball last year and wasn’t even on some clubs’ radars entering the season, but he quickly caused a “who’s-who of scouting directors and front-office officials” to fly in to watch his performance as the season progressed. McDaniel pegs the potential of each of Benintendi’s five tools as solid-average or better, and BA notes that the only real knocks on the 5’10” outfielder are his size and lack of a lengthier track record.

With Benintendi’s agreement in place, eight of the Top 10 picks in this year’s draft have either signed or agreed to terms, though just three have signed for the full slot value of their pick. (Minnesota’s Tyler Jay and Philadelphia’s Cornelius Randolph are the others.)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Rays Designate Ronald Belisario

The Rays designated reliever Ronald Belisario for assignment after tonight’s game, the club told reporters including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).

Tampa Bay recently decided to add the 32-year-old to its big league roster when he exercised an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. Since that time, Belisario has thrown eight innings for the club — including his appearance tonight — and allowed seven earned runs. He has compiled six strikeouts against four walks on the year.

Belisario was throwing rather well in Triple-A, sporting a 3.26 ERA with 5.3 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 30 1/3 frames. And he’s had success in the big leagues in the past. But clubs considering Belisario will surely note that his fastball velocity (in his few big league outings this year) was down about two miles per hour from recent seasons.


Pirates Face Roster Decision On Clayton Richard

Pirates lefty Clayton Richard has a clause in his deal that provides a 72-hour window during which Pittsburgh must make him available to other clubs, Nathan Baird of JConline.com reports. That “upward mobility” provision went into effect today.

Here’s how it works, per the report: If another team is willing to put the veteran hurler on its big league roster, then the Pirates must either deal him to that club or, instead, add him to their own 25-man roster. In the event that no suitor emerges, however, then the Bucs can keep Richard at Triple-A.

Once a 200-inning starter for the Padres, the 31-year-old fell apart in 2013, struggling to a 7.01 ERA and ultimately undergoing shoulder surgery. He has not returned to the big leagues since, but is thriving this year at Triple-A Indianapolis. Over 62 frames in ten starts, Richard owns a 1.89 ERA with 4.4 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.

Richard expressed interest in continuing his career with the Pirates, but said he is ready to do so at the major league level. “I can’t say what they see,” said Richard. “I know what I feel, and I’m to the point now where I’m ready to face big league competition.”

He also tells Baird that he’s more than willing to work from the pen to get back to the majors. Richard previously declined an opportunity to opt out of his deal at the start of the season, though this time around the decision seems to be out of his hands entirely.


Cuban Outfielder Yadiel Hernandez Defects

Highly regarded outfielder Yadiel Hernandez has left Cuba’s national team — which was playing in North Carolina — in hopes of achieving MLB free agency, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Hernandez placed 16th on BA’s most recent list of top Cuban prospects.

That being said, Hernandez is not a prospect in the sense we use the term for players already playing within the MLB hierarchy. He is already 27 years old and an established player in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, so it would seem that he profiles more as a near-term contributor. Because of his age and experience, Hernandez will not be subject to international spending limitations (as with countryman Hector Olivera, most recently).

Badler explains that Hernandez is a small and not overly toolsy player who profiles as a corner outfielder. That seems to be a rather unexciting profile, at least at first glance.

But the left-handed hitter has excellent on-base ability. Indeed, he slashed .369/.509/.535 over 369 plate appearances in his most recent campaign in Cuba, walking 77 times — good for a 20.9% walk rate (which is higher than all currently qualifying MLB hitters, for some frame of reference). In its full scouting report (subscription required, and recommended), Baseball America likened his overall skill set to that of Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava.


Astros Sign Daz Cameron To $4MM Bonus

TODAY: The Astros have officially announced Cameron’s signing.

YESTERDAY, 2:20pm: Cameron’s bonus will indeed come in right at $4MM, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter).

2:04pm: The Astros and No. 37 overall selection Daz Cameron have an agreement in place, and Cameron is in Houston to sign his contract, reports Mark Berman of FOX Houston. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets that an introductory press conference will be held tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. Cameron, a Scott Boras client and the son of former Major Leaguer Mike Cameron, has been widely expected to require a significantly over-slot bonus in order to forgo his commitment to Florida State.

Cameron, a high school outfielder from Georgia, was rated by most as a Top 15 talent in this year’s draft, but signability issues caused him to slip to the Astros with the 37th selection. Baseball America ranked Cameron as the fifth-best prospect in this year’s draft, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked him sixth on their Top 200. Both ESPN’s Keith Law and Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated Cameron as the No. 12 prospect in this year’s draft, and many mock drafts leading up to the actual event had him going in the top five or six picks.

BA’s scouting report notes that Cameron is a divisive player, as some scouts are put off by the fact that he doesn’t always perform against premium pitching. However, BA notes that he has elite bat speed and hand-eye coordination, which position him well to make necessary adjustments down the line. BA notes that he could have average-or-better tools across the board and can stick in center field as a regular at the position. Both Law and McDaniel agree that Cameron could one day be a big league center fielder, although his tools didn’t develop into the potential No. 1 overall type of talent that some had expected earlier in his high school career.

As I noted when the Astros signed No. 2 pick Alex Bregman, the team has saved $2.3MM on other picks, which it can put toward offering Cameron a well above-slot bonus. The No. 37 pick’s slot bonus is $1.669MM, so the Astros could reasonably offer roughly $4MM to Cameron in order to sign him.


Pete Mackanin To Manage Phillies For Rest Of Season

Pete Mackanin will manage the Phillies for the remainder of the 2015 season, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today. Mackanin, formerly Ryne Sandberg’s third base coach, has been managing the team since Sandberg’s sudden resignation last week. The Phillies also announced that Jorge Velandia, the team’s assistant minor league field coordinator, will join the Major League staff as an assistant coach.

The 63-year-old Mackanin had a nine-year career as a Major Leaguer and is now, strangely, in the midst of his third stint as a team’s interim manager following a midseason firing/resignation. Mackanin was the Pirates’ interim manager for the final month of the 2005 season after Lloyd McClendon was fired, and he served as a temporary skipper for the Reds in 2007 after Jerry Narron was dismissed. Mackanin has also served as a manager in the minor leagues, and he’s occupied various Major League coaching roles over parts of 13 Major League seasons (including a stint as the team’s bench coach). Earlier today, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that he got the sense the Phillies simply needed to make sure that Mackanin was comfortable managing the club for the rest of the year.

The Phillies yesterday announced the hiring of Andy MacPhail as the successor to president Pat Gillick, adding that MacPhail’s title of president would become official following the season when Gillick retires. It stands to reason that MacPhail will oversee the hiring of a permanent manager, although it’s certainly possible that Mackanin would be in the mix for that position if he desires. He’s been with the Phillies organization since 2009.


Rays Sign First-Rounder Garrett Whitley

The Rays announced that they have signed first-round draft pick Garrett Whitley (Twitter link). The high school outfielder from New York will receive the full slot value of $2,962,100 that comes with the 13th overall selection, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Scouting director R.J. Harrison made the following comment on the team’s top pick (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times):

“Garrett has all the tools we look for in a young prospect, both physically and mentally. He has the tools to play center field and hit in the middle of a lineup, and has the potential to impact the game with his legs, bat and glove. On top of that, Garrett is an intelligent young man with a great mental foundation for playing our game. We are very excited to welcome him to the organization and get him started on his professional journey.”

Whitley ranked as the seventh-best prospect in this year’s draft class in the eyes of Baseball America. ESPN’s Keith Law, meanwhile, ranked him 11th. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs rated Whitley as the draft’s No. 15 prospect, and he placed 17th on the Top 20 of MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis.

Whitley’s draft stock took a step forward after he made adjustments based on input from pro scouts at last year’s Area Code Games, per BA’s report. As of right now, the only one of his tools that doesn’t project to be above average is his arm, but he takes “gazelle-like strides” in center thanks to plus speed and projects to hit for power. McDaniel calls Whitley a “linebacker-looking athlete” that can play center and has power, though he notes some questions about consistent contact. Law feels he has more upside than fellow first-rounders Kyle Tucker and Trenton Clark but less certainty due to concerns around his hit tool, and MLB.com feels that he has average-or-better tools across the board with an advanced approach at the plate. Whitley had been committed to Wake Forest.


AL East Notes: Buchholz, Donaldson, Warren, Norris

Though Clay Buchholz figures to draw plenty of interest on this year’s trade market, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines that the Red Sox should be steadfast in their refusal to trade him. Lauber notes that Buchholz, earning $12MM in 2015, is slated to earn $13MM and $13.5MM via club options over the next two seasons — bargain rates for a pitcher with his talent, even if it comes with inconsistency and injury risk. Meanwhile, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a different approach, opining that the Red Sox owe it to themselves to at least entertain offers for Buchholz. MacPherson looks back to last year’s return for 1.5 years of Jeff Samardzija and notes that 2.5 years of Buchholz could bring a similarly strong return. Though the team will need pitching in 2015, MacPherson writes that Buchholz’s value is unlikely to ever be higher, and a team willing to pay for the type of pitching he’s been doing over his past 10 starts (2.33 ERA) may very well make too good of an offer to refuse. MacPherson wonders if old friends Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, now with the Cubs, would be interested in parting with some premium young talent to acquire Buchholz.

A few more notes from the AL East…

  • Prior to the Red Sox‘ signing of Pablo Sandoval last year, the team inquired with the Athletics about Josh Donaldson but were told he was not available, reports Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. That would seem to line up, to some extent, with comments from A’s officials early last winter indicating that little consideration would be given to moving Donaldson. (“That would be stupid,” one official told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser last October.) Donaldson, of course, wound up with the division-rival Blue Jays and is enjoying a monster season.
  • With Ivan Nova now healthy and back in the Yankees‘ rotation, Adam Warren will shift into the team’s bullpen, the right-hander tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. As Feinsand notes, Warren was the likeliest candidate to do so, given his recent success in the bullpen and the fact that he’s already exceeded last year’s innings total while working as a starter.
  • Bud Norris has struggled a good deal for the Orioles this season, but there’s no current talk of removing him from Baltimore’s rotation, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Some have speculated that Norris is pressing in light of his upcoming free agency, and as Connolly writes, Norris indirectly touched on that topic following another rough start Monday. “I don’t know where my future’s gonna take me,” he said. “All know is I can handle what’s in front of me right now and trying to work through this is the No. 1 priority and getting back out there and helping my team win games.” Norris said he’s not worried about the possibility of losing a starting spot to Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright or Tyler Wilson, but Connolly wonders how long the club will stick with the struggling veteran.
  • Manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli, that the Orioles are trying to get Norris on a roll. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Showalter. “He has some periods where he’s pitched well, but not as consistent as he did for a long period of time last year, and will again. I try to keep in mind we haven’t even played half the season yet and Bud will do some good things for us.”

Jared Burton Granted Release By Rangers

Right-handed reliever Jared Burton asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).

Burton inked a minor league deal with New York this offseason but failed to make the club in Spring Training, so he re-signed a new minor league deal and went to the team’s Triple-A affiliate, where yielded three runs in four innings before being released. Burton latched on with the Rangers in late May and has pitched quite well for Triple-A Round Rock, surrendering just one run with an 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 10 innings there.

Now 34 years old, Burton was a key member of the Twins’ bullpen from 2012-14. He signed a minor league deal prior to the 2012 season as he worked his way back from shoulder injuries and proved to be one of the better bargain pickups in all of baseball that winter. Burton worked to a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent ground-ball rate in 62 innings for the Twins in 2012, prompting the team to re-up with the righty on a two-year, $5.4MM contract.

Burton was solid in the first season of the deal before taking a step back in 2014. Last year, his K/9 rate, BB/9 rate, ground-ball rate and velocity all went in the wrong direction. Burton, however, still displayed an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s previously termed a “splangeup”).

The veteran was plagued by a lat injury earlier in the season while with the Yankees, but he’s back to full strength now and could be a bullpen option for a club that is thin on experienced arms. Given the sheer volume of teams that are on the lookout for affordable bullpen help, I’d imagine that Burton and agent Dave Pepe of Pro Agents, Inc. will have interest from multiple clubs.


Giants Designate Casey McGehee For Assignment

The Giants announced this morning that Casey McGehee has been designated for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for infielder Ehire Adrianza, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A.

There was some confusion surrounding McGehee’s first removal from the roster this year. The Giants announced that he’d been designated for assignment, but McGehee had merely been designated off the 25-man roster in order to be optioned to Triple-A. As a player with five-plus years of big league service, he had the right to refuse the option, but he accepted and remained on the 40-man roster.

Today, the Giants explicitly stated in the announcement that McGehee has been removed from the 40-man roster, making this a standard DFA in which the team will now have 10 days to trade McGehee, release or attempt to outright McGehee. (He could refuse an outright assignment without forfeiting his 2015 salary due to service time.)

McGehee was acquired from the Marlins this offseason in a trade that sent Luis Castillo and Kendry Flores to Miami. San Francisco had hoped that McGehee would produce something similar to the .285/.355/.357 batting line he posted in his return to the Majors last season, helping in part to offset the loss of former franchise cornerstone Pablo Sandoval.

That hasn’t been the case, however, as McGehee has struggled to a .213/.275/.299 batting line in 138 plate appearances this season. He did hit well in his initial demotion to Triple-A, slashing .357/.391/.571 with two homers in 46 plate appearances, though, and he’s batted 5-for-17 with a pair of doubles and three walks since rejoining the big league club.

McGehee, though, didn’t receive a crack at regular playing time upon being brought back from Triple-A due to the strong play of Matt Duffy at the hot corner. Duffy has slashed .303/.349/.491 this season, usurping McGehee as the everyday third baseman and leaving him without a clear path to playing time as a member of the Giants.

This offseason, McGehee avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.8MM contract. He’s still owed $2.54MM of that salary, so it seems unlikely that a team would claim him off waivers and take on the remainder of that deal. However, the Giants will have the ability to eat some cash in a potential trade of McGehee, and teams with interest could also simply wait to see if McGehee ends up a free agent, at which point he could be signed for the pro-rated version of the league minimum. (That portion of his salary would then come off the Giants’ books, though they’d still be responsible for the lion’s share of his remaining contract.)


Which Rule 5 Picks Are Still With Their New Teams?

There were 13 players selected in the Major League phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and nearly halfway through the year, a surprising percentage remain with their new clubs. Here’s a look at each of the Rule 5 picks, where they’re currently playing and if they have a chance to remain with their team…

  • Oscar Hernandez, C, Diamondbacks: Selected out of the Rays organization despite never having appeared above Class-A, Hernandez broke his hamate bone in Spring Training and has been on the DL all season.  As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at the time, that actually made it a bit easier to get some time to evaluate Hernandez, as the D-Backs can see him on a Minor League rehab assignment and don’t have to roster such an inexperienced bat all season. Hernandez is on his rehab assignment now, and the early returns at the plate aren’t good (.200/.259/.280 in nine games). Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s hit poorly, though, so perhaps the team will prefer Hernandez’s big arm for that spot.
  • Mark Canha, 1B/OF, Athletics: Selected by Rockies out of the Marlins organization, Canha was immediately traded to Oakland for right-hander Austin House and cash. Canha hasn’t been great for the A’s, but he’s provided league-average production at the plate to go along with passable corner defense. At this point, it would be a surprise if Canha didn’t finish the season with the team.
  • Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Rangers: The Rangers plucked the former No. 8 overall pick out of the Astros organization, perhaps hoping that DeShields could be a speedy bench piece. DeShields, like the Rangers club as a whole, has been far better than most expected, hitting .269/.358/.386 and going 13-for-15 in stolen base attempts. A hamstring injury has had him on the DL for much of June, but he’s on a rehab assignment right now and should return to the team in short order. DeShields’ .368 BABIP will likely regress, but he’s been the game’s second most-valuable baserunner, per Fangraphs, despite his limited playing time. He certainly seems likely to remain with the Rangers.
  • Jason Garcia, RHP, Orioles: The Astros were the team to technically select Garcia out of the Red Sox organization, but Houston quickly traded him to Baltimore for cash. Garcia pitched poorly in 13 innings to open the season before landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that has since seen him transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • J.R. Graham, RHP, Twins: A former top prospect with the Braves, Graham was selected by the Twins on the heels of an injury-shortened 2014 season. He’s seen a lot of time in mop-up duty, but Graham has delivered a solid ERA, albeit with less encouraging peripherals. In 35 2/3 innings, hs has a 3.03 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 39.1 percent ground-ball rate. The Twins have said they plan to retain Graham, who’s averaging better than 95 mph on his fastball.
  • Jandel Gustave, RHP: Gustave was selected by the Red Sox out of the Astros organization, then traded to the Royals. Kansas City tried to put him through waivers this spring but lost him to the Padres, who ultimately returned him to Houston. He has a 2.54 ERA but a 17-to-13 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings with Houston’s Double-A affiliate.
  • Taylor Featherston, INF, Angels: The Angels acquired Featherston for cash considerations after the Cubs selected him from the Rockies. The Halos seem committed to keeping Featherston, as he’s still on their roster despite just 60 plate appearances this season. The 25-year-old hasn’t hit — .127/.169/.218 — but he’s provided sound defense at three positions late in games and in his rare starts.
  • Odubel Herrera, CF, Phillies: The Phillies nabbed Herrera out of the Rangers’ organization after a strong Double-A showing in 2014, and the infielder-turned-outfielder has seen the bulk of time in center for the Phils. He’s hitting just .251/.282/.359, but the Phillies are the exact kind of team that can afford to give a Rule 5 pick regular at-bats as opposed to costing him valuable reps via limited usage. He’ll remain with the team.
  • Andrew McKirahan, LHP, Braves: The Marlins were the team to select McKirahan, but the Braves claimed him off waivers in Spring Training. McKirahan cracked the Opening Day roster with the Braves, but he pitched just 4 1/3 innings before being suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. The Braves will get a second look at him on a rehab stint in the minors before they have to make a call. He’s eligible to be activated on July 20.
  • Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Mets: The Mets took Gilmartin out of the Twins organization and converted the former first-round pick (Braves, 2011) from a starter into a reliever. The result has been a 1.88 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.8 B/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate in 24 innings. Curiously, Gilmartin has significant reverse platoon splits in his first taste of big league action.
  • Daniel Winkler, RHP, Braves: Winkler was the Braves’ actual selection out of the Rule 5. Winkler is recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch in 2015 at any level. He’s on Atlanta’s 60-day DL.
  • David Rollins, LHP, Mariners: Seattle took Rollins out of the Astros organization, and the lefty made a strong case in Spring Training to break camp with the team’s bullpen. However, he was suspended 80 games for PED usage and wound up on the restricted list. Rollins is on a rehab assignment now and could still pitch with the Mariners in 2015. Rollins has tossed 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in rehab and will have served his suspension after four more games.
  • Logan Verrett, RHP: The only other player to be returned to his team at this point, Verrett was selected by the Orioles out of the Mets organization. Baltimore lost him on waivers to the Rangers, who carried him on the roster briefly before eventually returning him to the Mets. Since being returned, Verrett has debuted with his original organization at the big league level.

Follow MLB Trade Rumors On Instagram

Today, MLB Trade Rumors is proud to announce the launch of our new official Instagram account: @TradeRumorsMLB.  No, we won’t be posting pictures of our lunches.  Instead, each day, we’ll be sharing conversation-inspiring images about the hottest topics in baseball.  From there, we invite you to give us a like, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section, and even share the link with a friend.

Today’s Instagram picture asks you to predict which team will acquire Cole Hamels.  Will it be the Rangers, who have had talks with the Phillies this month regarding the left-hander?  Will the Yankees win the Hamels sweepstakes now that they’re not ruling out a pursuit of the superstar pitcher?  Could the surprising Astros make a run at the Philadelphia ace?  Or will it be one of the many other contending clubs that have interest in the 31-year-old?  Follow us on Instagram today and let us know!


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AL West Notes: Angels, Astros, L.J. Hoes, Athletics

As the Angels continue to hover around the .500 mark, internal tensions have arisen, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It appears that the particular issue that has led to some discord involves the respective roles of the front office and field staff regarding the use of data in on-field decisionmaking. Of course, GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia have had some well-publicized differences of opinion in the past, and Rosenthal suggests that there are signs of a new rift.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Astros have a variety of difficult 40-man decisions upcoming, as they did last year when they ultimately left Delino DeShields Jr. unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes (in a piece we cited yesterday regarding the club’s pitching needs). That could seemingly drive a deal or two this summer or in the future. GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledges the roster pressure, but rejects the idea that he’ll move valuable assets solely for that reason. “Yeah, I mean, you could argue that we have a lot of guys to protect, and we’re going to leave some unprotected, so why not turn that into something we can use right now? It’s a fair argument,” Luhnow said. “At the same time, we’re looking for the best 25 players, and we never know if that’s going to come from those guys that need to be added to the 40-man (roster) down the road or now. You have to balance the short term and the long term. We’re certainly going to be open to trading players. Whether they’re already on the 40-man or have to be added to the 40-man this offseason to ease the logjam a little bit, we wouldn’t trade someone just to ease it.”
  • Per Drellich, one Astros 40-man occupant who could conceivably be dealt is L.J. Hoes, who is currently playing at Triple-A. The Orioles have some interest in Hoes — who they shipped to Houston as part of the Bud Norris deal a while back — as well as Alex Presley, who is not on the 40-man. Likewise, the Angels are “thought” to be giving some consideration to Hoes, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The 25-year-old Hoes has slashed an excellent .335/.417/.466 over 255 plate appearances at Fresno this year, with eleven stolen bases and three long balls.
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane is still considering his trade deadline options, as Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports. Oakland had been on a nice run before being swept by the Royals over the weekend. “Time will tell, it’s an important time period,” said Beane. “Despite having played better in the last couple weeks, we’re still in quite a hole. Any definitive direction would be decided by how we do moving forward.” If the club does ultimately pull the trigger on a sell-off, Beane suggested that he may be inclined to seek younger assets to bolster the club’s prospect pool. “At some point, if we consider going another direction,” he said, “we’re probably best served to take a [look at] depth and rebuild our farm system. That’s the currency for us. We fully expected [the farm system] i not to be at its peak because we’ve traded a lot of players.”