Diamondbacks Designate Mike Bolsinger, Charles Brewer

The D’backs have designated a pair of righties in Mike Bolsinger and Charles Brewer, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). The move was done in concert with the team’s 40-man additions today.

The 26-year-old Bolsinger threw 52 1/3 innings of 5.50 ERA ball at the MLB level last year, mostly as a starter. He managed a solid 8.3 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in that stretch, along with a 52.4% groundball rate, but was victimized by the long ball and the dreaded high BABIP/low strand rate combo. Across 193 2/3 career frames at the Triple-A level, Bolsinger has a 4.32 ERA with 8.6 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9.

As for Brewer, also 26, his six innings of big league action last year are insufficient to say much about his future. He has amassed 399 2/3 innings at Triple-A, putting up a 5.29 ERA along the way. Brewer has struck out 6.9 and walked 2.5 batters per nine, but has also allowed 10.8 hits per nine in that stretch.


Mariners Claim Edgar Olmos

The Mariners have claimed lefty Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Marlins, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old has moved to a relief role in recent seasons.

Olmos had a promising 2013, at least in terms of outcomes, that led to his first cup of coffee at the MLB level. But he saw his ERA rise to 4.06 in the upper minors last year, and Olmos did not earn a call-up. On the other hand, he did post a 3.5 BB/9 walk rate that was by far the best of his young career.


Players Added To The 40-Man Roster

Midnight EST is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the notable prospects who are newly Rule 5 eligible. Of course, the decision whether or not to protect a player has as much to do with roster flexibility and his expected ability to stick on a big league roster for a full season as it does the player’s overall prospect value.

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s 40-man additions here, and you can also check Baseball America’s running updates, which includes breakdowns of the players added.

Earlier Updates

  • After clearing some roster space, the White Sox have made several promotions, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). The team has purchased the contracts of righty Frank Montas, infielders Rangel Ravelo and Tyler Saladino, and catcher Kevan Smith.
  • Third baseman Renato Nunez has been added to the Athletics‘ 40-man, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Jane Lee.
  • The Indians have protected third baseman Giovanny Urshela even as he arrives in town to have his injured knee checked out, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com tweets. Cleveland will also purchase the contracts of righties Cody Anderson and Shawn Armstrong, lefty Ryan Merritt, and catcher/infielder Tony Wolters.
  • Joining the big league roster for the Red Sox are infielder Sean Coyle, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, catcher Blake Swihart, and first baseman Travis Shaw, the club announced. That leave Boston with a full 40-man.
  • The Blue Jays have added righty Ryan Tepera to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.
  • Four players are also joining the Twins 40-man, per a team announcement: top-100 prospects Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer, along with second baseman Eddie Rosario and lefty Jason Wheeler.
  • The Brewers have added three players to their 40-man, per the club’s player development Twitter feed. Righty Taylor Jungmann, lefty Michael Strong, and middle infielder Yadiel Rivera will all be protected from the Rule 5.
  • The Tigers have added righty Angel Nesbitt and infielder Dixon Machado to the 40-man roster, the team announced. Both are young Venezuelan ballplayers who reached the Double-A level last year. Nesbitt has worked exclusively as a reliever in recent years, while Machado has spent all his time at short and had something of a breakout performance at the plate last year.


Pirates Claim Pedro Florimon

The Pirates have claimed infielder Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Nationals, Washington announced today.

Florimon, 28 next month, is a switch-hitting shortstop with a questionable bat and outstanding glove. He saw the lion’s share of playing time at shortstop for a last-place Twins club in 2013 and batted .221/.281/.330, hitting a somewhat surprising nine homers and swiping 15 bases. That offense certainly isn’t much to look at, but combined with his glove, he generated 1.8 rWAR and 1.3 fWAR. Defensive Runs Saved pegs Florimon as 21 runs above average over the course of 1700 big league innings at short.


Pablo Sandoval Rumors: Thursday

Yesterday was an active one for Pablo Sandoval chatter, and today is shaping up in like fashion. As his market continues to develop, we’ll keep tabs on the latest here:

  • The Blue Jays do not have an offer out to Sandoval or anyone else, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Neither does the team have plans to make any offers in the next 24 hours, he said. Prior reports have suggested that Toronto was lining up a bid for Sandoval.

Earlier Updates

  • The Red Sox have not yet made Sandoval an offer, his brother and agent Michael Sandoval tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).
  • The Giants feel they are very much in the hunt for Sandoval’s services, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports“We’ve got every indication that we’re right in the middle of it,” said assistant GM Bobby Evans, who went on to say that he believes “the interest is sincere” and that he thinks the player’s affinity for his long-time club could play some role. Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, has requested that San Francisco submit its best offer, according to Evans.
  • Evans also said in a radio appearance on KNBR today that he expects Sandoval to sign fairly quickly, possibly before Thanksgiving. (Via Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News, on Twitter.) “I sense Pablo really edging towards trying to wrap this up,” said Evans.

Latest On Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann

The Nationals have not re-started extension talks with righty Jordan Zimmermann since they broke off last winter, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. The homegrown star says that he still hopes to stay with the team in the long run and remains interested in an extension — “if the deal is right.”

“I like D.C.,” he said. “I like the ownership. I like the manager, the coaches. I like everything about D.C. It’s just a waiting game right now to see what happens.”

While recent reports suggested that Zimmermann had rejected a five-year, $85MM offer last year, Wagner reports that the actual offer is believed to have been lower. As he also notes, the Homer Bailey deal (five years, $105MM) would appear to set a practical starting point, as Zimmerman has a better track record than the Reds hurler.

Meanwhile, the club has informed competitors that it is willing to deal Zimmermann and fellow righty Doug Fister in the right scenarios, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (Twitter links). Fister, like his compatriot, is poised to hit free agency after the coming season.

Of course, Rizzo has emphasized in the past that he will listen to proposals on any player, and in that regard this report does not appear to change the club’s stance. But the notion that the Nationals have told other clubs of an openness to fielding trade proposals could, potentially be an added development.

With a roster that puts the organization firmly in contention mode, it will surely take a big offer to pry either arm loose. Indeed, per Nightengale, the Nats will not move Zimmermann for less than a “strong return,” and will not pursue a deal simply to shed salary.

It is worth recalling that we previously heard more specific rumors involving Zimmermann, though those were quickly shot down. But in concept, the idea of a trade is not as far-fetched as it might seem at first glance. As I explained a few weeks back in my outlook for the Nats, it makes eminent sense for the club to at least dangle both starters to see if an overwhelming return — particularly, one that can fill a current need (most likely, second base) while delivering future value — can be found.

Of course, payroll flexibility always must be considered. Though Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told me at the GM Meetings that the organization is not feeling the pinch, every team has its limits. Zimmermann is earning $16.5MM in the second half of his backloaded, two-year deal from last season, while Fister is projected by MLBTR/Matt Swartz to take home $11.4MM through arbitration.

Replacing the production of one of those outstanding performers would no doubt be difficult, and the Nationals unquestionably hope to put another World Series-contending club on the field next year. But there are plenty of internal options, and the free agent market is plentiful. In past seasons, Rizzo has looked to high-upside rebound candidates; how he would act in a post-deal scenario is anyone’s guess, but would likely be opportunity-driven.


Rockies Designate Juan Nicasio

The Rockies have designated righty Juan Nicasio for assignment, the club announced. Projected to earn $2.4MM through arbitration by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, the 28-year-old proved too costly a gamble for new Colorado GM Jeff Bridich.

Nicasio should draw interest around the league given his big arm, even if it has never quite all come together for him. Odds are he will clear waivers, as that price tag is substantial for a player who owns a career 4.85 ERA.

Of course, Nicasio’s future role remains a question mark. He had started in all 55 of his MLB appearances heading into this year, but transitioned to the bullpen after a rough early going. He proved better in that capacity, posting stronger overall run prevention (3.48 ERA  vs. 5.92 ERA as a starter) and better metrics across the board.


Angels Designate Michael Roth, Jackson Williams

The Angels have designated left-hander Michael Roth and catcher Jackson Williams to free 40-man space, the club announced.

Roth, 24, has seen Major League time with the Halos in each of the past two seasons, although the former ninth round pick has yet to replicate his minor league success in the Majors. Roth pitched to an 8.76 ERA in 12 1/3 innings this season and has a 7.79 mark in a total of 32 1/3 big league innings. However, his numbers at Double-A this year were a significant improvement, as he posted a 2.62 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 140 2/3 innings as a starter. This marks the second time the Angels have designated Roth, although the pitcher himself seems to be in good spirits about the move based on this tweet.

Williams, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Rockies less than a month ago. Selected 43rd overall by the Giants in 2007, the former Sooner is a .235/.307/.361 hitter in five seasons at the Triple-A level and made his big league debut with the Rox in 2014. Williams twice ranked among the Giants’ top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America, placing 18th and 16th, respectively, following the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. BA listed him as the best defensive catcher in San Francisco’s system on three separate occasions, most recently before the 2011 season.


Yasmany Tomas Rumors: Braves In, Phillies Wary Of Overpay

Here’s the latest on Yasmany Tomas, the 23-year-old Cuban slugger who is among the exciting international players demanding attention:

  • The Padres are still in on Tomas up to around the $70MM level, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs hears (Twitter link).

Earlier Updates

  • The Braves are set for a private workout and should be considered part of the sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. As Heyman noted earlier today, Tomas has a visa and could be in attendance at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported recently that several dark horses could be in the race, and Atlanta would certainly qualify.
  • The Phillies are increasingly concerned with the defensive part of the equation on Tomas, reports MLB.com’s Paul Hagen. The club is “backing off” somewhat, despite generally being viewed as the front-runner to land him. Philly sees Tomas more as a DH, per Hagen, but could be more intrigued if his asking price begins to creep down.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com echoes those thoughts (Twitter links). He says the team believes in Tomas’s bat, but is worried about both his defense and conditioning and is not interested in guaranteeing him nine figures.
  • For his part, Ben Badler of Baseball America sees the Giants and Phillies as the most likely landing spot for Tomas. A rival executive tells ESPN.com’s Jayston Stark (Twitter link) that he believes the Phils remain the easy favorite, with Stark noting that the bidding on Tomas has been making “furious progress.”

White Sox Claim Onelki Garcia, Designate Ronald Belisario, Outright Jared Mitchell

The White Sox have designated reliever Ronald Belisario for assignment, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports on Twitter. The club also claimed lefty Onelki Garcia from the Dodgers and outrighted outfielder Jared Mitchell, per the Tribune’s Colleen Kane (Twitter links).

Garcia is an intriguing pick-up for Chicago. The 25-year-old has only limited big league experience, but has already racked up over a year of service time due to injury. But he has one solid season under his belt in the upper minors, back in 2012, and his live arm was intriguing enough that Baseball America rated him the Dodgers’ ninth-best prospect heading into 2014 in spite of his having undergone an elbow procedure. As BA wrote, the Cuban has a big fastball and good curve with plenty of upside if he can improve his control and add polish.

Belisario, 31, spent some time as Chicago’s closer in his first season with the Pale Hose, but he struggled overall. The former Dodger pitched to a 5.56 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 66 1/3 innings. However, Belisario’s FIP and SIERA feel that he was markedly better than his ERA. Indeed, much of those struggles seem to have come from a fluke 57.7 percent strand rate — significantly lower than his career mark of 70 percent. Belisario was also plagued by a .339 BABIP despite having posted a .288 mark for his career in that department. There were some positives to his game this past season, including an average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph and a strong 59.3 percent ground-ball rate. Nonetheless, Chicago apparently wasn’t comfortable with his projected arbitration salary of $3.9MM.

Mitchell, 26, was the Sox’ No. 1 pick back in 2009 (23rd overall) and ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus that offseason. However, the LSU product has yet to show the offense one would hope for from a first-round outfielder, as he’s batted just .219/.341/.348 in parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level.


Tigers Claim Josh Zeid, Designate Ezequiel Carrera

The Tigers have claimed reliever Josh Zeid off waivers from the Astros, the club announced. Detroit designated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment to create roster space.

Zeid is a 27-year-old righty who has made over twenty appearances in each of the last two years for Houston. After a solid, if unspectacular 2013, he hit a wall last year with a 6.97 ERA and 6.33 FIP in 20 2/3 innings. While Zeid’s K:BB numbers (7.8 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine) were not problematic, he allowed 13.1 hits per nine and surrendered a troubling 27.3% HR/FB rate. On the positive side, both his xFIP (3.87) and SIERA (3.64) marks were within range of league average.

Carrera, also 27, swings from the left side and has seen scattered MLB action over the last several years. All told, he owns a .253/.305/.340 line through 478 total MLB plate appearances. It would seem that his usefulness in Detroit was undermined by the addition of Anthony Gose.


Dioner Navarro Seeks Trade; Three Teams Interested

1:31pm: GM Alex Anthopoulos says that, while a deal is not a fait accompli, he “wouldn’t be surprised if [a trade] were to occur,” as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter.

11:05am: Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro expressed interest in being dealt after the club inked free agent Russell Martin, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While the club informed him that it believes he’ll receive plenty of time in a reserve and DH capacity, Heyman writes that Navarro prefers an everyday catching role.

Three teams have shown interest already in the 30-year-old Navarro, who has been a solid producer over each of the last two years. His relatively meager $5MM salary in 2015 would make him interesting to plenty of clubs, and the catching market is lacking in supply.

Navarro’s concerns are not unfounded, it should be noted. It took some time for him to work his way back into a starter’s role, which he last held in 2009 with the Rays, and he no doubt hopes to set himself up for another run at free agency after this year.


Astros, Tigers Trade Talks On Catcher Did Not Progress

1:08pm: The discussions occurred before Detroit exercised Avila’s option and did not progress, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com.

12:22pm: The Astros and Tigers have had “preliminary trade contact” regarding backstops, according to a report from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The report indicates that the discussion involves the possibility of a catcher moving from Houston to Detroit.

The Tigers, of course, have reportedly expressed a willingness to listen on their own incumbent behind the dish, Alex Avila. The left-handed-hitting veteran, still just 27 years old, has battled concussions of late and has seen his offensive production decline from a 2011 peak. Bryan Holaday and the rising James McCann are also factors in Detroit’s backstop mix.

For its part, Houston has a bevy of options at the catching position after dealing for Hank Conger. The club is said to have placed a high asking price on starter Jason Castro, while preferring to deal Carlos Corporan. The younger Max Stassi is also a major league option for the Astros.


MLB Trade Rumors Podcast: Episode 7

After running down a busy week of transactions, Jeff is joined by Steve Adams to discuss where their free agent predictions stand after the early market moves (1:30), and goes on to recommend some resources for assessing the payroll obligations that will set the parameters for teams in the winter to come (29:10).

Podcast

Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and please leave a review! You can download the episode directly with this link.

You can access the podcast via SoundCloud at this link. The podcast is also available via Stitcher at this link.

The MLB Trade Rumors Podcast runs weekly on Thursday afternoons.


Orioles Claim Alex Hassan

The Orioles have claimed outfielder Alex Hassan off waivers from the Athletics, Baltimore announced.

After missing out on a chance to add the 26-year-old a few days ago, when he was claimed by the A’s from the Red Sox, the Orioles apparently jumped when he was again exposed to waivers. Hassan has a lengthy track record at Triple-A, where he has established himself as a reliable on-base threat. His career line over 1,082 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors is .282/.387/.411.