Minor Moves: Santos, Padres, Saunders, Twins, Solis

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the most recent moves at the top of the post…

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted reliever Sergio Santos to Double-A New Hampshire, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Last week, the Jays designated Santos for assignment for the second time this year. He’s posted an 8.57 ERA in 21 innings with the big club, striking out 29 batters but walking 18.
  • The Padres have selected the contracts of pitcher Leonel Campos and 2B/3B/OF Cory Spangenberg and moved Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso to the 60-day DL, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Campos has posted a 6.34 ERA with 5.6 BB/9 in a season split between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, but with 11.8 K/9. He can start or relieve. We noted earlier this week that the Padres appeared likely to promote Spangenberg, a former first-round draft pick.
  • The Orioles purchased the contract of left-hander Joe Saunders, the team announced.  Saunders signed a minor league deal with the O’s last month and posted a 1.50 ERA in 12 relief innings for Triple-A Norfolk.  The veteran southpaw has never pitched out of the bullpen in the majors but the Orioles intend to use him as a reliever down the stretch.  Buck Showalter told reporters (including MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli) that Saunders could also make a spot start when the O’s face the Yankees in a double-header on September 12.
  • The Twins will purchase the contracts of utilityman Doug Bernier and right-handers Lester Oliveros and A.J. Achter prior to Tuesday’s game, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  The trio are three of eight players Minnesota is adding to its expanded September roster.
  • Rays catcher Ali Solis has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter).  Solis was outrighted yesterday to create a spot on the Rays’ 40-man roster for right-hander Steve Geltz, who will be promoted today.
  • The Brewers purchased the contract of catcher Matt Pagnozzi, the team announced.  Jeff Bianchi was shifted to the 60-day DL in a corresponding move.  Pagnozzi has 105 career PA since 2009 with the Cardinals, Rockies, Pirates and Astros and he’s also spent time with the Braves’ and Indians’ Triple-A affiliates over the last two seasons.  Pagnozzi has a career .219/.297/.318 slash line over 3026 career PA in the minors.
  • The Angels selected the contract of shortstop Shawn O’Malley, according to Tim Mead, the team’s VP of communications (Twitter link).  O’Malley will join the Halos on Tuesday and add some versatility to the bench; he has mostly played short over his pro career but has played all over the diamond this season.  Originally a fifth-round pick of the Rays in the 2006 draft, O’Malley is looking to make his Major League debut after nine years in the minors, hitting .258/.351/.338 over 2982 PA.

Mariners Place Jesus Montero On Suspended List

The Mariners have placed first baseman Jesus Montero on the suspended list for the remainder of the 2014 season, the team announced.  The move comes as no surprise given that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik recently said that Montero wouldn’t play again this year in order to focus on off-the-field issues.  Montero’s suspension and Willie Bloomquist being moved to the 60-day DL creates two spots on the team’s 40-man roster that have been filled by catcher Humberto Quintero and right-hander Carson Smith, who had their contracts selected in corresponding moves.

It was only a few years ago that Montero was considered one of the very best prospects in all of baseball, yet his star has almost completely dimmed after three tumultuous years in Seattle.  Montero has hit only .251/.291/.378 with 19 homers over  680 PA as a Mariner while battling injuries, weight issues and a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis case.  Just last Thursday, Montero got into a heated altercation with a Mariners scout that apparently stemmed from the crosschecker sending an ice cream sandwich to the dugout as a taunt about Montero’s weight.

Montero was hitting well (an .839 OPS in 409 PA) at Triple-A this season and it seems far too early to write off his career given that he’s just 24 years old.  It remains to be seen, however, whether he’ll get another chance with the Mariners organization following this latest incident.


Adam Dunn To “Probably” Retire After Season

MONDAY: Dunn kept the door slightly open for a 2015 return, telling Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) that he only said he will “probably” retire following the season.  He has no intention of continuing his career to chase the 500-homer mark unless he’s on a contending team.

SUNDAY: Adam Dunn says he will retire after the season, Bruce Levine of 670theScore.com tweets. The news comes in the wake of the slugger being traded to Oakland, and comes as no great surprise — he’s in the last season of his $56MM contract, and he’s discussed the possibility of retiring before.

USATSI_7995765_154513410_lowresHe’s also 34, and his best days as a player seem to be behind him. He remains a prolific power hitter, with 20 home runs in 435 plate appearances this year, and he’s always drawn more than his share of walks. But his batting average has fallen to very low levels — he hasn’t batted above .220 since 2010. And his defense, while never good, has gotten so poor that he’s a liability anywhere other than DH, even considering his obvious offensive skills.

Nonetheless, Dunn will leave behind an impressive body of work, and his extreme homers/walks/strikeouts offensive game makes him an historically unique player. He has 460 career home runs (good for 36th all-time), including at least 38 in seven consecutive seasons from 2004 through 2010. He’s also drawn an impressive 1,311 walks in his career, fourth among active players (behind Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi and Manny Ramirez). Of course, he’s been one of the game’s most frequent strikeout victims — five of his seasons are in the top 20 all time in strikeouts, and he ranks third all-time in whiffs, behind Reggie Jackson and Jim Thome.

Dunn made his mark on Major League pitching immediately, finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2001 (despite only playing half the season in the bigs) and emerging as a poster boy for the sabermetric movement with his “Three True Outcomes” (homers, walks and strikeouts) offensive style. He then blossomed into one of the game’s most feared power hitters as an outfielder and then a first baseman with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Top Prospect Promotions: Franco, Norris

The September roster expansions mean that some of baseball’s most notable prospects will be called up to the big leagues for the first time.  Here are some of the familiar names from various prospect rankings (from MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law) who will soon debut in the Show…

  • The Phillies will promote third baseman Maikel Franco, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.  Franco, who just turned 22 last week, has a modest .257/.298/.427 slash line and 16 homers over 553 PA at Triple-A this season, though he has hit much better over the last two months.  Franco was ranked 50th and 57th, respectively, on Baseball America and MLB.com’s midseason prospect lists and ranked 63rd on Law’s preseason top 100 list.
  • The Blue Jays will promote left-hander Daniel Norris, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reports.  Norris, 21, was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft who began this season at high-A ball but pitched well enough to earn promotions to both Double-A and Triple-A.  The southpaw has a 2.53 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and 3.79 K/BB rate over a combined 124 2/3 IP at all three farm levels in 2014.  Norris, who was ranked 25th by Baseball America and 28th by MLB.com, is expected to begin his Major League career pitching out of the Jays’ bullpen.

Royals Designate Chris Dwyer, Blake Wood

The Royals have designated left-hander Chris Dwyer and righty Blake Wood for assignment, the team announced.  The moves create 40-man roster spots for outfielder Carlos Peguero and lefty Brandon Finnegan, whose contracts were purchased today.

Dwyer, a fourth-rounder in the 2009 draft, showed up on a few top-100 prospect rankings prior to the 2011 but he has struggled since, particularly due to control issues.  This season saw him pitch primarily out of the bullpen at Triple-A Omaha, and he has a 5.59 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 over 66 innings.  Dwyer’s only Major League experience came in the form of three scoreless innings with the Royals last September.

Wood has now been designated for assignment by two different organizations this year, as he was previously DFA’ed by the Indians in May, which led him to be claimed off waivers by Kansas City.  Wood struggled at the upper levels of the Royals’ farm system (posting a 6.84 ERA over 25 combined innings at Double- and Triple-A) and he also had a 7.11 ERA in 6 1/3 relief innings with the Tribe this season.  It appears as though Wood is still trying to find his way back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Dwyer and Wood join Bruce Chen as Royals currently in “DFA Limbo,” according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker., along with Mike Carp (Rangers), Rich Hill (Yankees), Chris McGuiness (Pirates) and Sergio Santos (Blue Jays).


Pirates Designate Chris McGuiness

The Pirates have designated first baseman Chris McGuiness for assignment, the club announced.  The move creates a 40-man roster spot for right-hander John Holdzkom, whose contract was selected last night.

McGuiness was originally acquired by the Bucs from the Rangers last December in exchange for righty Miles Mikolas.  He didn’t see any action at the big league level for Pittsburgh this season and hit .264/.358/.412 with nine homers in 489 PA for Triple-A Indianapolis.  Originally drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 draft by the Red Sox, McGuiness has an .801 OPS over 2438 career PA in the minors.  The 26-year-old made his Major League debut in June 2013, appearing in 10 games with Texas.

McGuiness joins Mike Carp (Rangers), Bruce Chen (Royals), Rich Hill (Yankees) and Sergio Santos (Blue Jays) in DFA limbo, according to MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Astros Fire Bo Porter

The Astros have fired manager Bo Porter, according to a team press release.  Bench coach Dave Trembley has also been relieved of his duties.  Tom Lawless will be the club’s interim manager for the rest of the 2014 season.

As reported last week by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, a divide had grown between Porter and Houston GM Jeff Luhnow.  Porter felt that Luhnow was overly critical of his in-game strategy, and he also didn’t think his own opinions were being heard within the front office.  Porter was also upset that he wasn’t consulted when Mark Appel was brought to Minute Maid Park for a throwing session in July, a move that also drew complaints from several Astros players.MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

As part of the team’s official statement, Luhnow predictably didn’t address any specific issues between he and Porter, yet hinted at differences of opinion by saying “I believe we need a new direction in the clubhouse.”

What we will seek going forward is a consistent and united message throughout the entire organization.  It is essential that as an organization we create an atmosphere at the Major League level where our young players can come up and continue to develop and succeed.  Ultimately, I am responsible for creating that culture and I will do everything in my power to do so — even when it means making difficult moves like the one we made today.”

Porter was hired as the Astros’ manager in September 2012 and officially took over the job on Opening Day 2013.  He had a 110-190 record with the rebuilding club, and Luhnow noted in his statement that Porter’s record wasn’t the issue: “I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible.”

This has not been a stellar year for the Astros front office, as the Porter firing is the latest in a series of controversies that have emerged in Houston this season.  There was a dispute over George Springer‘s promotion, several of the team’s trade discussion notes were leaked online and the Astros were heavily criticized for both their failure to sign first overall pick Brady Aiken and their subsequent decision to pull out of an agreement with fifth-rounder Jacob Nix.  It’s not surprising that Luhnow won this apparent power struggle with Porter given how much the franchise has invested in Luhnow’s rebuilding plan, yet the questions about Luhnow’s stewardship of the team will inevitably continue until the Astros start to produce on the field.

This is Lawless’ first time managing at the Major League level, as he has worked as a manager, coach and roving instructor within the Astros’ organzation for several years.  Former Astro Adam Everett has also been hired to take over as bench coach.  According to the club’s press release, the Astros will “immediately” begin looking for next long-term manager.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports Images


NL West Notes: Hanley, Kemp, Ross, Rosario

It was on this day in 1890 that the Dodgers (then playing in Brooklyn and using the rather non-intimidating “Bridegrooms” nickname) swept a triple-header over the Pirates.  This was one of the season’s many highlights for the Dod..er, Bridegrooms as they went on to win the franchise’s first National League pennant.

Here’s some news from around the NL West…

  • If Hanley Ramirez leaves the Dodgers in free agency, it could be for an American League team that could give him the occasional rest day at DH, Peter Gammons writes.  Ramirez could also go to a team in need of third base help if he’s willing to switch positions.  As recently reported, the Dodgers are wary of giving Ramirez a long-term contract due to concerns about his durability and defense.
  • Ramirez’s departure would also make it very unlikely that the Dodgers would trade Matt Kemp, Gammons adds.  Without Ramirez, the Dodgers will need Kemp to help balance a lineup that would have only one other notable right-handed bat in Yasiel Puig.
  • Cody Ross knows he’ll be fighting for playing time with the Diamondbacks next season, but the veteran outfielder tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he plans to be fully recovered from the career-threatening hip fracture he suffered in August 2013.
  • The Rockies could use an upgrade at catcher next season, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post opines.  Wilin Rosario has struggled with injuries and performance this season, plus his defense is still a work in progress; Saunders thinks that Rosario’s focus on his glovework may have also been a reason for his dropoff at the plate.  Rosario will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

AL West Notes: Dunn, Porter, Beimel

The balance of power in the AL West has swung heavily in the Angels’ direction after the Halos completed a four-game sweep of the Athletics on Sunday.  Los Angeles now own both baseball’s best record (83-53) and a five-game lead over the struggling A’s, who are looking for answers after an 12-17 August.  Oakland is still on track to reach the postseason, as they hold a four-game lead in the AL wild card race.

Here’s the latest from around the AL West…

  • The A’s will cover $1MM of the roughly $2.3MM remaining on Adam Dunn‘s 2014 salary, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Oakland’s willingness to take on this much of Dunn’s salary was part of the reason why the A’s were able to acquire the slugger.  The Giants, Dodgers and at least one other team were also reportedly talking to the White Sox about a Dunn trade.
  • Astros manager Bo Porter tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila that his relationship with Houston’s front office “is what he expected coming in,” which seems to counter recent rumors of tension between Porter and GM Jeff Luhnow.  “My staff and I take all the information from our baseball ops and use it to the best of our ability. Every last component of that is needed to be successful,” Porter said.
  • Also from Laurila’s piece, 37-year-old lefty Joe Beimel not only has no plans to retire, his 12-year career might only be half-over.  “I plan on pitching until I’m at least 50….I don’t see any reason I can’t do what Jamie Moyer did,” Beimel said.  “He was starting games at 49 years old and getting guys out with 80 mph. I’m not down that low yet and I figure if he could go six, seven innings, I could at least come in and get one or two guys out.”  After missing 2012 and 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, Beimel is enjoying a nice comeback year out of the Mariners‘ bullpen.  The veteran southpaw has a 2.03 ERA, 5.2 K/9 and 1.92 K/BB ratio in 40 innings, and he’s held left-handed batters to only a .480 OPS.

Rays Outright Ali Solis

The Rays have outrighted catcher Ali Solis to Triple-A, according to the Rays’ transactions page. Tampa’s 40 man roster now stands at 39 players.

The 26-year-old catcher has struggled with the bat. In 258 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham, Solis has hit .210/.238/.292. In 11 major league plate appearances spread over the last two seasons, Solis is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts and one walk. He appeared briefly with the Pirates last season.


MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:

    • Agent Eric Izen of the Legacy Agency told MLBTR a showcase would be held in Florida for a pair of his Cuban clients: first baseman Jozzen Cuesta and left-hander Misael Siverio.
    • MLBTR was the first to learn Siverio held a workout in June with the Yankees, Cubs, and Astros among those in attendance.
    • Steve Adams hosted the MLBTR live chat this week.
    • Zach Links put together the best of the baseball blogosphere in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.

Full Story | Comments | Categories: MLBTR Originals

Blue Jays Acquire John Mayberry Jr.

The Phillies announced that they have traded outfielder/first baseman John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Gustavo Pierre.

Mayberry, 30, has hit .213/.304/418 on the season, good for a 104 wRC+ (roughly league average). He’s best used as a lefty masher, as evidenced by his .255/.339/.582 line against southpaws this season. The Blue Jays are currently the 24th ranked team against lefties per wRC+, so the acquisition of Mayberry should help reinforce the July trade for Danny Valencia. Mayberry is owed about $250K  of his $1.59MM salary for the remainder of the season. He’s currently on the disabled list, but he can help Toronto beyond the 2014 season if they wish, as he is controlled through 2016 via arbitration.

Pierre, a 22-year-old utility infielder, has hit .260/.281/.389 on the season while spending most of the year at High-A Dunedin. He’s not ranked by Baseball America or any similar organization.

 


Minor Moves: Wilkins, Snodgress, Dominguez

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The White Sox purchased the contracts of first baseman Andy Wilkins and left-handed pitcher Scott Snodgress prior to today’s game, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Wilkins, 25, takes the place of Adam Dunn, who was traded earlier today. Wilkins hit 30 home runs at Triple-A with a .293/.338/.558 line. Snodgress, 24, made 21 starts at the Double-A level before appearing eight times as a reliever in Triple-A. He has a 4.01 ERA on the season with 6.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
  • The Giants have purchased the contracts of Chris Dominguez and Guillermo Quiroz, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Dominguez is a 27-year-old third baseman. He hit .274/.307/.460 for the Giants Triple-A affiliate with 21 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Quiroz, 32, is a long time back up catcher. He’s appeared with six different clubs and 2014 will mark his tenth season with major league action – assuming he gets into a game. Quiroz also 95 plate appearances for the Giants last season.
  • The Royals selected the contract of outfielder Terrance Gore and optioned him from Triple-A to Double-A, the team announced via press release. Gore isn’t on any prospect lists, but he has been useful as a base running threat. In the minors, he has 47 steals on the season despite only 313 plate appearances. Ostensibly, he’ll be summoned to Kansas City to serve as a pinch runner.
  • In the same press release, the Royals indicated they will select the contract of left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan. He will be the first 2014 draft pick to reach the majors. Since signing, Finnegan has thrown 27 innings with strong peripherals. The club had him tabbed for about 45 to 50 innings, tweets Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star.
  • The Tigers have selected the contract of catcher James McCann, MLive.com’s Chris Iott tweets. The 24-year-old McCann will be among the Tigers’ September call-ups after hitting .295/.343/.427 in 460 plate appearances for Triple-A Toledo this season.
  • The Twins have outrighted pitcher Edgar Ibarra and assigned him to Double-A New Britain, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger tweets. Ibarra, 25, has pitched 61 innings of relief in a season split between New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, posting a 4.13 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
  • The Mets have announced that they’ve selected the contract of lefty Dario Alvarez. They’ll also promote catcher Juan Centeno, who will join Alvarez as a September call-up. Alvarez, 25, hasn’t played above the Double-A level, but he’s had a dominating season with three Mets affiliates, with a 1.10 ERA, 14.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 73 innings, mostly in relief.
  • The Tigers have announced that they’ve outrighted pitcher Justin Miller, who they designated for assignment earlier this week. Miller has pitched 12 1/3 innings in relief for the Tigers this season and has had a good season in the bullpen at Triple-A Toledo, posting a 1.81 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 there.
  • The Tigers have also outrighted reliever Jose Ortega, according to the International League transactions page. They designated him for assignment on Friday. The righty has spent most of the season with Triple-A Toledo, posting a 3.70 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 5.8 BB/9.

Quick Hits: Twins, Colon, Cosart

The Twins should look to the Cardinals, Braves, and A’s as role models, writes Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Like the Twins, those three clubs are middle class franchises, yet they also consistently succeed against the top payrolls in baseball. Mackey highlights a few traits to emulate. Minnesota should seek to supplement their upcoming prospects with affordable trade and free agent acquisitions. They can’t be afraid to trade a player at the height of his value (Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau come to mind). It also wouldn’t hurt to avoid bad contracts and exploit platoon hitters like Trevor Plouffe.

  • While Mackey highlights Plouffe as somebody the Twins could platoon, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune thinks the club should trade him before the waiver deadline later tonight. Plouffe was considered a bridge to top prospect Miguel Sano, who missed this season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but now the club can get similar offense and better utility from Eduardo Escobar. Danny Santana, who Souhan considers the Twins shortstop of the future, could move from center field to shortstop with Escobar shifting from short to third base. Lastly, Aaron Hicks could get another shot at the big leagues before Byron Buxton blocks him.
  • Bartolo Colon is still expected to remain with the Mets through the trade deadline, tweets Matt Ehalt of the North Jersey Recorder. As Ehalt notes, things could change between now and the end of the day.
  • Jarred Cosart has an “extra chip on his shoulder” following his trade from the Astros to the Marlins, reports Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel. Cosart has helped to keep the Marlins long shot playoff hopes alive with a 1.64 ERA in five starts. Based on the pitcher’s comments, he was a little irked by the surprise deadline deal. Miami received quite a bit of criticism for the package they sent to Houston (Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick, and a 2015 competitive balance pick), but pundits will sing a different tune if Cosart continues to dominate opponents. Looking at his peripherals, Cosart’s short term success seems to depend on a 1.91 BB/9 that’s roughly half his typical walk rate.

Quick Hits: Orioles, Athletics, Brewers, Pirates

The Orioles made two trades last night, adding infielder Kelly Johnson and outfielder Alejandro De Aza, and any trade involving big-leaguers has an effect on not only a team’s 25-man roster, but its clubhouse. Via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, manager Buck Showalter provides an interesting look into how trades affect players who aren’t being dealt. Showalter says, for example, that following the acquisition of De Aza, he spoke to Delmon Young and other players about what the trade meant for them. “It’s unknown that drives players crazy and you want them to understand things,” says Showalter. “I had a real good idea what they were going to say. They’re usually pretty short conversations, but you have them nonetheless.” Here’s more from around the big leagues.

  • The Athletics‘ trade for Adam Dunn might not have been needed had they not traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox in the Jon Lester deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opines. Oakland’s offense has struggled since the trade, and while Cespedes’ departure isn’t entirely to blame (there have been slumps and injuries throughout the Athletics lineup), it hasn’t helped.
  • In the wake of the Brewers‘ acquisition of Jonathan Broxton today, Rosenthal notes (via Twitter) that Milwaukee also went after David Price last month. Talks with the Rays did not progress very far, however, because the Brewers were unwilling to give up top young pitcher Jimmy Nelson.
  • The Pirates appear unlikely to make any trades today, David Manel of Bucs Dugout writes. “It’s been a lower percentage of successful claims than ever before,” says GM Neal Huntington. “You expect the American League guys not to make it through the American League. But there have been some guys in the National League that have been claimed before they’ve gotten to us, which has been a bit of a surprise.”