Cardinals Hire Randy Flores As Director Of Amateur Scouting

The Cardinals have hired former Major League left-hander Randy Flores as their new director of amateur scouting, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards looked at candidates from other teams before turning to Flores, who retired from the game as a player following the 2010 season, per Goold.

Since retiring, the now-40-year-old Flores returned to USC to complete a master’s degree in education and serve as the baseball team’s assistant coach. He also founded his own company, OnDeck Digital, which uses video capture technology to allow baseball and softball players to critique their own game. Scouts also use the technology to gain access to of video on prospects/players, and 11 Major League teams currently use the service, Goold adds.

Flores spent parts of five seasons in the Cardinals’ bullpen, totaling a 4.35 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 178 innings. He totaled 250 innings in the Majors, working primarily as a left-handed specialist and accumulating a career ERA of 4.61. Flores won a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2006.

The need for a scouting director, of course, is due to the firing of former director Chris Correa, who was dismissed earlier this summer after admitting to having a role in the Cardinals’ breach of the Astros’ computer network.


Denard Span To Undergo Season-Ending Hip Surgery

AUG. 28: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports (on Twitter) that Span is set to undergo season-ending hip surgery next Tuesday.

AUG. 27: Nationals center fielder Denard Span is headed back to the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip, and as Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington writes, this most recent injury may very well bring his season to a close.

This will be Span’s third and seemingly final trip to the disabled list in 2015 — an unfortunate series of events for any player, but particularly for Span, who is eligible for free agency for the first time at season’s end. If his season is indeed done, injuries will have limited the 31-year-old to just 61 games. Of course, his production in those 61 games has been excellent; Span has totaled a .301/.365/.431 batting line with five homers and 11 stolen bases.

Defensive metrics were down on Span in 2015, though injuries may have played a part in his deteriorated rankings, as Span does come with a reputation as a plus defender in center field. After beginning the season on the disabled list due to offseason core muscle surgery, Span again landed on the disabled list in early July due to back spasms. He returned from the DL just three days ago, but his stay on the active roster will be a brief one. As Zuckerman writes, the string of injuries were very likely related to one another.

Manager Matt Williams told Zuckerman and other reporters that while it’s not clear if Span will return in 2015, he would “imagine it’s going to be very tough for him to get back.” The loss of Span, of course, further dampens the playoff hopes of what has been a disappointing Nationals club in 2015. Though Washington emerged victorious tonight, so too did the division-leading Mets. Picked by most (myself included) to win the division, the Nationals instead trail the Mets by 6.5 games and are an even more distant nine games back in the NL Wild Card race.

Compounding matters for the Nationals is the fact that rookie outfielder Michael Taylor — Span’s likely replacement — left tonight’s game with a knee injury suffered when crashing into the outfield wall. It’s not known how long Taylor will be sidelined, but Zuckerman notes that center fielder Matt den Dekker, who would’ve been a September call-up anyhow, will presumably be called up as a corresponding move to replace Span.


Unknown Team Claims Kimbrel On Revocable Waivers; Trade Unlikely

Padres closer Craig Kimbrel has been claimed on revocable waivers by an unknown club, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, a club official tells Rosenthal that the Padres have no intention of trading Kimbrel.

Kimbrel is earning $9MM in 2015 as part of a four-year, $42MM contract extension signed with the Braves, and he’s owed about $1.87MM of that sum through season’s end. He’s owed $25MM on top of that sum through the 2017 season, including a $1MM buyout on a $13MM club option for the 2018 season.

After a rocky start to the season in which Kimbrel posted a 5.93 ERA through his first 15 appearances, Kimbrel has been characteristically outstanding. Since May 16, Kimbrel has a 1.73 ERA with a 49-to-13 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings and collecting 26 saves in 27 opportunities.

Acquired in a stunning blockbuster trade on the eve of Opening Day, Kimbrel came to the Padres alongside Melvin Upton Jr. in exchange for outfield prospect Jordan Paroubeck, right-hander Matt Wisler, a Competitive Balance (Round A) Draft Pick and the contracts of Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin (the latter of whom was immediately designated for assignment and released). Kimbrel drew significant interest prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but GM A.J. Preller elected to hold onto the four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.



Early Notes On The Mariners’ GM Search

Earlier today, the Mariners announced that they’ve dismissed GM Jack Zduriencik. Assistant GM Jeff Kingston will serve as GM on an interim basis as the Mariners look for a new GM. Here are some takeaways from president Kevin Mather’s press conference with the Seattle media and comments/rumors on the search for a new GM…

  • Mather will begin his search immediately and hopes to have a new GM in place by early October, tweets MLB.com’s Greg Johns. He plans to spend the month of September looking at and interviewing candidates.
  • Mather’s preference is to hire an experienced general manager, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He will handle the search personally, Divish adds, and he specifically referenced that he doesn’t want to waste the remaining prime years of Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz while a new GM learns on the job for an offseason or two. Meanwhile, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets that Mather will not wait for candidates that aren’t able to interview until after the postseason; he does not want to wait that long to have a new top decision-maker in place.
  • Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN tweets that Mather spoke to manager Lloyd McClendon and expressed full confidence in him, telling his skipper, “at the end of the day, you will work for [the] new GM.” That, of course, could be a problematic source of conflict. Any incoming GM would undoubtedly prefer to have say over the team’s on-field leadership, and forcing a new GM to sign off on McClendon already limits the new executive’s power. If a new GM is allowed to replace McClendon, Mather will have gone against a very public statement/promise to his skipper.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Mariners have already been quietly reaching out to potential GM candidates. Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd is one exec to whom Seattle has spoken. O’Dowd’s name has also come up in connection to the Red Sox’ GM opening.
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that former Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, who is looking to return to a front office, first broke in with the Mariners (Twitter links). Other names that have been speculatively linked to the Mariners include Rangers AGM Thad Levine, former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, Indians AGM Mike Chernoff and Yankees AGM Billy Eppler, he adds.
  • Zduriencik’s final move as GM was to option Mike Zunino to Triple-A, tweets Drayer. Zduriencik said the demotion was in Zunino’s best interest. “Just a breather, a break,” Zduriencik explained. “We would have liked to have done it sooner.” Zunino, of course, will likely be back before too long. Rosters expand on Sept. 1, and the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate will see its regular season close on Sept. 7. In the meantime, John Hicks will be promoted and make his Major League debut.

Mariners Fire GM Jack Zduriencik

The Mariners announced today that general manager Jack Zduriencik has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Assistant GM Jeff Kingston will assume Zduriencik’s responsibilities on an interim basis through season’s end, according to the team. In a press release announcing the front office shakeup, Mariners president Kevin Mather offered the following statement:

Jack Zduriencik

“We have reached the point when change of leadership of our baseball operations is needed for the Seattle Mariners to reach our goal of winning championships. We are very disappointed with the results this season, and are not satisfied with the current operation. The search for a permanent general manager will begin immediately, and while there is no deadline, we expect to have a new GM in place as soon as practical. We have great respect for Jack and his work ethic. He was an excellent representative of the Mariners both within the game of baseball and in the community. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish him and (his wife) Debbie all the best, and thank him for all his efforts.”

Zduriencik came to the Mariners with a scouting background from his time with the Brewers, but Seattle hasn’t drafted well under his watch. The Mariners twice had the No. 2 overall pick under Zduriencik, but neither player selected — Dustin Ackley (2009) or Danny Hultzen (2011) — has contributed much, if anything, to the Mariners’ success. Seattle selection of Mike Zunino with the No. 3 overall pick in 2012 may yet prove to be a successful move, but Zunino was rushed to the Majors and has batted just .193/.252/.353 as a big leaguer. Of course, the selection of Kyle Seager in the third round back in 2009 will go down as one of the best picks made that year. James Paxton and Taijuan Walker may yet prove to be prudent selections, though both have battled health issues, and neither has established himself relative to his lofty prospect status just yet.

Building a productive lineup in an environment that naturally suppresses offense has long been an issue for the Mariners, and Zduriencik was unable to solve the problem either. His offseason signing of Nelson Cruz has helped guide the Mariners to their best offensive output in Zduriencik’s seven-year tenure as GM (at least in terms of park-adjusted metrics like wRC+ and OPS+), but the Mariners still rank 24th in runs scored this season. Under Zduriencik, Seattle has never ranked better than 19th in the Majors in runs scored (the only time they ranked better than the bottom third of the league), and they’ve twice scored the fewest runs in all of Major League Baseball.

The decision to sign Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240MM was made with an eye on winning immediately, and while the Mariners came very close in 2014, they’re nowhere near contention in 2015. That contract will likely hinder the organization for years to come, even if Cano can continue his second-half rebound and perform well over the next couple of seasons, and the opportunity to capitalize on his prime seasons will wane with each non-contending year.

Zduriencik, of course, did have his successes as a general manager. Under his watch, the team signed ace Felix Hernandez to a seven-year, $175MM contract that included five years and $135.5MM of new money. That contract runs through the 2019 season and includes a conditional $1MM club option that comes into play in the event that King Felix ever spends more than 130 consecutive days on the disabled list due to elbow surgery. To this point, Hernandez has made good on his end of the deal, which will conclude after his age-33 season. Zduriencik also made one of the most shrewd pitching acquisitions in recent history when he landed righty Hisashi Iwakuma on a one-year, $1.5MM contract prior to the 2012 season. Iwakuma proved to be an excellent buy, and the two-year, $14MM extension (which included a $7MM club option for the current season) yielded one of the highest returns on investment in recent memory.

On the trade front, Zduriencik notably oversaw the acquisition of Cliff Lee from the Phillies — a move in which he acquired one of baseball’s best arms but gave up virtually nothing in the way of future value. However, Zduriencik also failed to recoup much value when eventually dealing Lee away to the division-rival Rangers, as centerpiece Justin Smoak had a middling career with Seattle. Smoak was one of several high-profile hitting prospects that didn’t pan out with the Mariners; Jesus Montero stands out as another much-ballyhooed prospect that has not developed as hoped, and Zduriencik parted with Michael Pineda in order to bring him to the Pacific Northwest. Acquisitions of Austin Jackson and Mark Trumbo, more recently, have failed to yield dividends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


MLB Wins Collusion Case Versus Barry Bonds

Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has ruled in favor of Major League Baseball over Barry Bonds in the case of Bonds’ allegations of collusion against him following the 2007 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.

Word of Bonds’ plans to pursue legal action first broke back in May, and Heyman reported at the time that Bonds had waited until the resolution of successfully-challenged felony charges (obstruction of justice) before attempting to take action against the league. Heyman now writes that Bonds worked with MLBPA lawyers in an effort to use circumstantial evidence to prove that teams conspired against him to keep him out of the game following what was a brilliant 2007 season.

Though he played much of that 2007 campaign at the age of 42 and would’ve been 43 heading into the 2008 season, Bonds put together a .276/.480/.565 batting line with 28 homers. That sky-high .480 OBP unsurprisingly led the league — the sixth time he had led the league in that category in a span of seven seasons. Nevertheless, Bonds’ then-agent Jeff Borris said early in the 2008 season that he did not receive a single offer — even one at the league minimum — for his client. Bonds even went so far as to publicly offer to play for the league minimum midway through that offseason, Heyman notes, but no offers emerged.

Heyman writes that “there was no smoking gun” in Bonds’ case, and Horowitz did not find Bonds’ side to be compelling enough to rule in his favor. Indeed, it’d be difficult to necessarily prove that there was definitive conspiracy against Bonds in spite of the fact that it was surprising at the time that no team — even an AL team with a need at DH — was willing to take on Bonds’ baggage and defensive limitations in exchange for the upside of one of the most potent bats in the game’s history.


Francisco Rodriguez, Darren O’Day On Revocable Waivers

There are just four days remaining for teams to make trades that will allow an acquired player to be eligible for his new team’s postseason roster. If the past two seasons are any indication (MLBTR Transaction Tracker links), we’ll see a handful of trades between now and Monday, as players acquired next Tuesday (Sept. 1) or later won’t be postseason eligible. Here’s a reminder on how the August trade process works, and here’s Friday’s list of players that have reportedly been placed on revocable waivers…

  • Peter Gammons reports that Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez and Orioles right-hander Darren O’Day are both on revocable waivers at the moment (Twitter link). It seems as though the pair was placed on waivers Wednesday afternoon, as Gammons notes that waivers on each expire today.
  • Rodriguez, 33, is the likelier of the two to clear, as he’s owed about $10.23MM through the end of the 2016 season (though $2MM of his $7.5MM salary in 2016 is deferred, as is the $2MM buyout on his 2017 option, per Cot’s Contracts). If Rodriguez does clear, it’ll almost certainly be due to his salary, because his performance in 2015 has been outstanding. In 43 2/3 innings, K-Rod has a 2.06 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate to go along with 30 saves. A fluky homer-to-flyball ratio bloated his home run rate in 2014 and dragged down his peripheral stats, but that number regressed toward Rodriguez’s career norm in 2015, leading to very strong numbers in spite of diminished velocity (89.6 mph average fastball).
  • The 32-year-old O’Day seems like a surefire bet to be claimed, as he’s earning just $4.25MM in 2015 (with $882K remaining on the deal) and is in the midst of a career year. O’Day has been dominant in each of his four years with the O’s, but his current 1.63 ERA and 11.4 K/9 rate both represent career bests. The side-arming setup man is averaging just 2.2 walks per nine innings, and he’s held right-handed hitters to a feeble .195/.233/.244 batting line. It should be noted that lefties have had more success, posting a .237/.333/.407 line against O’Day.

MLBTR has kept track of all players to reportedly clear revocable waivers (list here), though there are, of course, numerous players who clear waivers and go unreported in doing so.


AL West Notes: Keuchel, Newcomb, Profar, Stearns

In light of recent reports about preliminary extension talks between the Astros and ace Dallas Keuchel, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards examines the impact that a potential Cy Young Award would have on Keuchel’s arbitration case. Keuchel already has a very good chance at breaking the outdated record for a first-year arbitration-eligible pitcher (Dontrelle Willis’ $4.35MM record is, as Edwards notes, about a decade old). However, as Edwards explains, the arb process treats award-winners differently, and securing the Cy Young Award could boost his first-year arb price even further. As such, taking home the hardware for being the AL’s best pitcher in 2015, if it happens — and Keuchel indeed has a strong case — could make it difficult for team and player to agree to a fair price to put on Keuchel’s three arbitration seasons, let alone on his free agent years.

A few more items pertaining to the AL West…

  • In his latest Prospect Pipeline Inbox column, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo kicks off by answering the question of whether or not Angels southpaw Sean Newcomb could pitch in the Majors in 2016. Mayo explains that while he wouldn’t have thought so prior to the 2015 campaign, Newcomb has impressively pitched at three levels this season, showing a consistent propensity for strikeouts and ground-balls and thereby placing himself on the fast track to the Majors. While the former No. 15 overall pick (2014) needs to hone his command and improve upon his 4.8 BB/9 rate, Mayo does feel that Newcomb is capable of reaching the Majors in the second half of the 2016 season.
  • Jurickson Profar played in his first regular-season game since Sept. 27, 2013 today, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. The former No. 1 overall prospect served as the designated hitter for the Rangers‘ Class-A affiliate today. He’ll continue to rehab there but only in a DH capacity for the remainder of this season. Profar, still just 22 years of age, has missed the past two seasons due to a pair of torn shoulder muscles. He was a consensus Top 10 prospect heading into the 2012 season before emerging as the game’s No. 1 prospect (per Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus) heading into the 2013 campaign. The Rangers will hope to have him healthy again in 2016.
  • As teams trend toward the hiring of younger, analytically savvy general managers, Astros assistant GM David Stearns’ name could become a target, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. While Drellich notes that it’s perhaps a bit early for Stearns to garner serious consideration from other clubs, GM Jeff Luhnow does feel that his lieutenant has the chops to handle a GM role down the line. “There’s several people in our organization that have GM potential, and David’s one of them,” Luhnow said. “I expect over the coming years, as we have success, they’ll get opportunities at least to interview.”

Mets Unlikely To Add Reliever Via Trade

The Mets have struggled for much of the season when it comes to left-handed relief, but Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets that a source says the team is “unlikely” to trade for another reliever. Mike Puma of the New York Post, too, tweets that the Mets don’t expect to add a reliever from outside the organization.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson acquired both Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins late in the offseason and selected Sean Gilmartin from the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft in an effort to bolster the team’s left-handed relief corps. Blevins was excellent in a handful of appearances early this year, but he suffered a fractured forearm when he was hit by a comebacker and re-fractured the arm last month, so the Mets will receive just five (perfect) innings from him all season. Torres, on the other hand, struggled immensely against left-handed hitters, yielding a .268/.406/.393 batting line to same-handed batters before being designated for assignment.

Gilmartin has proved to be one of the better selections in the most recent Rule 5 Draft, as he’s posted a 2.34 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 42 1/3 innings, pitching effectively against both right-handed hitters (.605 OPS) and left-handed hitters (.607 OPS). Despite his strong showing, the Mets have just one reliable lefty reliever in the bullpen at the moment. The team acquired Eric O’Flaherty from the A’s earlier this month, but he’s surrendered 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings since the trade.

As DiComo wrote last night at greater length, the Mets do have internal options. Dario Alvarez has a 2.68 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and he’s averaged 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings against 4.2 walks per nine. Likewise, former first-round pick Josh Smoker (31st by the Nationals, 2007) has had a career resurgence with the Mets and worked his way up to Double-A this season, posting a 2.76 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings this season. DiComo notes that Smoker appears to be behind Alvarez on the depth chart at this time, however.


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Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter

The Mariners announced that they’ve traded right-hander Fernando Rodney to the Cubs in exchange for cash considerations (Twitter link). Lefty Zac Rosscup has been optioned to Triple-A, while righty Brian Schlitter has been designated for assignment, according to an announcement from the Cubs, which states that either a player to be named later or cash will head to Seattle in the deal.

Fernando Rodney

Signed to a two-year, $14MM contract prior to the 2014 season, Rodney served as the Mariners’ closer all last season and for parts of the 2015 campaign as well. However, while he worked to a strong 2.85 ERA with 10.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 48.6 percent ground-ball rate in 2014, Rodney imploded in 2015, totaling a 5.68 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a career-worst 1.4 HR/9 rate. Those struggles ultimately led to the 38-year-old being designated for assignment over the weekend. Rodney is owed about $1.49MM through season’s end as part of that $14MM pact.

His 2015 struggles notwithstanding, Rodney enjoyed a late career resurgence from 2012-14, posting a 2.21 ERA in 207 2/3 innings. The Cubs will hope they can bring out some of that form to help what has been an up and down season for the team’s relief corps. The team is currently without Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez and Rafael Soriano, each of whom is on the disabled list, so Rodney will provide manager Joe Maddon with another veteran relief arm. Maddon, for that matter, is quite familiar with Rodney, having managed him in 2012-13 when Rodney posted a record-setting 0.60 ERA in 74 2/3 innings. While Rodney’s velocity isn’t as strong as the 96.3 mph he averaged over the course of those two seasons, he’s still averaged a very healthy 94.8 mph on his heater this season. Because he’s been acquired prior to Sept. 1, Rodney will be eligible for the Cubs’ postseason roster.

Schiltter, 29, has been up and down with the Cubs over the past six seasons after debuting as a 24-year-old back in 2010. The former 16th-round pick didn’t appear in the Majors from 2011-13 but resurfaced to deliver 56 1/3 innings of 4.15 ERA ball with 5.0 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. He’s totaled only 7 1/3 innings with the Chicago ‘pen in 2015, though, allowing six runs on 12 hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts. Schlitter does have an outstanding 1.09 ERA in 41 1/3 Triple-A innings this season, though that seemingly pristine mark comes with just 7.0 K/9 against a troubling 5.0 BB/9.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL East Notes: Phillies, Papelbon, Nats, Storen, Marlins

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick looks at the future of the Phillies‘ front office, noting that industry insiders mention Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo and former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington as possible successors to Ruben Amaro Jr. in the event that president-to-be Andy MacPhail makes a change. Interim president Pat Gillick, who’s stepping down after the season, tells Crasnick that he’s not sure if he’ll remain with the club in some capacity. Though the Phillies are one of the worst clubs in baseball this season and have long been on the downswing, there’s hope in the future due to Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, Odubel Herrera, shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford and others, to say nothing of a favorable payroll and television deal. “That organization is a gold mine,” one rival exec opined to Crasnick. “Look at the ballpark. Look at the spring training facility. Look at the television deal. This is a goose that’s going to lay a golden egg. No wonder Andy MacPhail came out of retirement.”

Elsewhere in the NL East…

  • Jonathan Papelbon has thrown just eight innings since being acquired by the Nationals a month ago, and James Wagner of the Washington Post spoke to the D.C. closer about how he handles long bouts of inactivity. “For me, it’s about mentally staying prepared,” said Papelbon. “Staying mentally focused on the task at hand and not losing sight of that even though you’re not pitching. It’s easy to get out of that mode.” Papelbon says he feels he’s adjusted well to his new team and that his lack of usage is part of the “ebb and flow” of a season, Wagner writes. However, plenty have been critical about manager Matt Williams’ bullpen usage and his reluctance to use his top relievers in anything other than traditional save/hold situations.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tells the Post’s Thomas Boswell that August has been his “worst month ever.” Rizzo notes to Boswell that the Nats have a group of star players that combined for 28.5 wins above replacement in 2014 but are collectively negative in 2015. “That’s a swing of 29 wins,” said Rizzo, likely in reference to struggles from Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth (among others). Rizzo referenced that swing as a means of defending Williams, stating: “It’s injuries. It’s coming back without your timing and not hitting for a while. It is bad years [for good players]. It’s everything. Twenty-nine lost wins [in player production] — and that’s on the manager?”
  • Within his piece, Boswell also notes that the Nationals are unlikely to pursue any top starting pitchers this winter and that Drew Storen wants a trade “that he’ll almost certainly get this winter.” Storen, of course, was reportedly unhappy to be displaced from his ninth-inning role by Papelbon in the midst of a strong season.
  • Jose Fernandez‘s most recent bullpen session for the Marlins was described as a “wow” by manager Dan Jennings, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Jennings called mid-September a realistic return date for Fernandez, whom the Marlins previously feared might not pitch again in 2015.
  • Mike Morse spoke to the Herald’s Barry Jackson about his disappointing tenure with the Marlins, expressing that he wishes he’d have gotten a longer leash to sort things out at the plate. “I came out really bad [but] I wish they would have given me more at-bats just to prove myself,” said Morse. “…When you sign as a free agent, you expect to play on that team those years and you expect to get at least some time to play. But I got this opportunity to come to an amazing ball club [Pittsburgh]. It’s a gift and a curse.” Morse said he was very appreciative that owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson took the time to personally call and inform him of his trade out of Miami, however. Morse is hitting a much-improved .310/.394/.379 with the Pirates, albeit in a minuscule sample of 33 plate appearances.

Braves Release Jason Frasor

The Braves have released righty Jason Frasor, as reflected on the MLB.com transactions page and as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirms (on Twitter). Frasor was signed by Atlanta in mid-July after being released by the Royals.

Though he just turned 38, Frasor had no trouble keeping runs off the board this season. All said, he made it through 28 frames while allowing just four earned runs on 27 hits. But he walked 18 batters to go with his 22 strikeouts, which was likely the reason he was sent packing by a contending Kansas City organization.

Frasor has been on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder since early August. It’s not clear whether he’ll attempt to hook on with another team now or wait until the coming offseason to ramp back up.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/27/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Orioles have outrighted outfielder Nolan Reimold to Triple-A, the club announced. While Reimold could have declined the assignment and elected free agency, he’s chosen to accept it, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter. The 31-year-old put up a .227/.306/.340 batting line over 108 plate appearances in his return to Baltimore this year.
  • Infielder Alberto Callaspo has been given his release by the Dodgers, the club announced (per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, on Twitter). Callaspo was designated for assignment when the Dodgers recently added Chase Utley. He signed with the Braves over the winter but was dealt to Los Angeles in the Juan Uribe deal. All told, Callaspo, 32, has slashed .235/.315/.278 over 261 turns at bat.

Nate McLouth Unlikely To Return In 2015

It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard any news on Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth, who has yet to return to action since suffering a labrum tear in his right shoulder last July. MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports that McLouth has undergone a cleanup procedure to address the injury.

Per the report, the 33-year-old McLouth is not expected to return this year, which is not terribly surprising at this point given his lack of recently-reported baseball activity and prior indications of setbacks. He did attempt to return to action this spring, but only made it through two games before shutting things down.

On the bright side, the veteran left-handed hitter is expected to be ready to go for 2016, Ladson adds. That won’t necessarily mean much for the Nationals, however, who signed McLouth to a two-year, $10.75MM free agent contract prior to 2014. That deal includes a $6.5MM club option for next season, but Washington seems all but certain to buy out the option for $750K.

McLouth inked with the Nats after a solid run with the Orioles over 2012-13 over which he put up 829 plate appearances of .261/.333/.409 hitting with 42 steals and 19 home runs. He looked like a nice finishing piece to his new club’s roster, but scuffled to a .173/.280/.237 batting line over 162 trips to the plate before suffering the injury.


Podcast: European Ball With Agent Josh Chetwynd

Host Jeff Todd chats with Josh Chetwynd of Elite Sports Group about his experiences in European baseball as both a player and a player representative. Chetwynd, who has been elected into the British baseball hall of fame and negotiated a European-record $1.3MM bonus for Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini, discusses the key differences between that emerging market and other international arenas.

For listeners with interest in all things international, be sure also to check out prior episodes featuring MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (with a focus on Cuba) and former big league and KBO hurler Ryan Sadowski (talking Korean ball).

Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and please leave a review! The podcast is also available via Stitcher at this link.

The MLB Trade Rumors Podcast runs weekly on Thursday afternoons.