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On this date in 1977, the the Athletics traded Mike Torrez to the Yankees for Dock Ellis, Larry Murray, and Marty Perez. If you don't remember Ellis' stint with the A's, you're probably not alone. The enigmatic right-hander wound up spending just two months in Oakland.
Nearly seven years after throwing his storied no-hitter, Ellis was the centerpiece of the three-player package headed cross-country. The 32-year-old hurler wasn't able to find his groove with the Athletics, however, posting a 9.69 ERA in seven starts totalling 26 innings. The A's, figuring that Ellis had jumped the shark, promptly sold him to the Rangers.
Ellis, however, got back on track in Texas in a big way. In 22 starts and one relief appearance, Ellis turned in a 2.90 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. The right-hander stayed on with the Rangers until the summer of 1979, when he was dealt to the Mets. Ellis brought everything full circle later in the year when his contract was purchased by Pittsburgh, allowing him to retire as a Pirate.
Meanwhile, Torrez became part of Yankees lore despite only spending the 1977 season in pinstripes. The right-hander earned two complete-game victories in the club's six-game World Series over the Dodgers and even caught the final out to seal the deal. Torrez went on to pitch for another five seasons and change, four of which were spent with the rival Red Sox.
Today's minor signings..
- The Marlins signed third baseman Russ Mitchell to a minor league contract, according to CBSSports.com's transactions page. The 27-year-old hit .283/.372/.503 in 93 games for the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate last season but was designated for assignment in February. Mitchell saw time in 40 games for Los Angeles in 2010 and '11.
- The Rangers have signed right-hander Ross Wolf and will assign him to their Double-A affiliate, accoridng to Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com (via Twitter). Wolf appeared in eleven games for the A's in 2010 but hasn't appeared in the majors since. The 31-year-old was cut loose by the Orioles earlier this week.
The Rangers have anxiously awaited MLB's ruling on the signing of Dominican prospect Jairo Beras and the club could have an answer as soon as next week, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. The league launched an investigation in late March to determine if Beras is in fact 17-years-old and that the $4.5MM contract is legal.
Until late February, Beras presented himself as a 16-year-old, which would have made him eligible to sign on July 2nd and subject to the new CBA's restrictions on international amateur spending. While team officials won't talk about the situation, sources tell Ben Badler of Baseball America their assertion is that they simply outworked other clubs.
While the Rangers want to stress that they did nothing wrong, the greater focus will be on the 6'5" outfielder and why he previously claimed a different date of birth. However, sources told Badler that they would not be surprised if MLB allowed Beras to sign without any sanctions.
6:05pm: The Athletics have legitimate interest in Inge, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. General Manager Billy Beane would not comment on Inge specifically, saying only that he is looking to "upgrade at third base, as well as all other positions."
10:23am: Brandon Inge might not be on the free agent market for long despite his struggles at the plate. The Twins, Athletics, Orioles and Diamondbacks are among the teams that may have interest in the recently-released ACES client.
There are indications that the Twins will at least have a discussion about Inge, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Minnesota could demote Danny Valencia to Triple-A and rely on Inge and Sean Burroughs at the hot corner.
The Athletics are expected to have some interest in Inge, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. However, the 34-year-old must clear release waivers before becoming eligible to sign with a new team. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group noted yesterday that he expects the Athletics to consider Inge.
The Orioles have some interest in Inge, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reported yesterday. Meanwhile, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com wouldn’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks take a look at the veteran third baseman (Twitter link).
Inge has just two hits in 20 trips to the plate so far this season and he posted a .548 OPS last year. The Tigers are responsible for his $5.5MM salary, so any team that signs him would only owe him a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum for the remainder of the season.
Hank Aaron joined Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the 600 home run club with a round tripper against the Giants on this date in 1971. Here are today's links…
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak joined Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo on MLB Network Radio and said his team's starting pitching has been better than expected. Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn have pitched well for the Cardinals in the early going, so the team hasn't had to seek external reinforcements even with Chris Carpenter sidelined.
- High school shortstop Corey Seager, the younger brother of Mariners infielder Kyle Seager, is now seen as a likely first round pick in the upcoming amateur draft, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. Law won't be surprised if Seager's a top-20 pick this year, though he may have to change positions eventually.
- J.J. Cooper of Baseball America points out that Bryce Harper will be more than two years younger than the next youngest Major Leaguer when he debuts tomorrow. The Nationals are calling up the 19-year-old Harper, who's considerably younger than Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners and Jose Altuve of the Astros.
The Nationals have announced that they're promoting outfielder Bryce Harper to the Major Leagues tomorrow (Twitter link). Harper will take Ryan Zimmerman's place on the active roster and the third baseman will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Harper's service clock begins now, but the Nationals delayed his debut long enough to postpone his free agency by a full year. Even if Harper sticks in the Major Leagues — a big 'if' for any 19-year-old — the Nationals will control his rights through 2018.
As I explained earlier this week, teams can now call up players, even those on 40-man rosters, without losing their rights for the 2018 season. Harper's service clock could stop and start many times over the course of the next few years, but at the moment he projects to become arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2014 season. He projects to go to arbitration four times and hit free agency following the 2018 campaign.
The Nationals selected Harper first overall in the 2010 draft, but he signed late and his pro career didn't begin in earnest until 2011. Harper posted a .297/.392/.501 line with 17 home runs and 26 stolen bases across three levels last year and has a .250/.333/.375 line at Triple-A Syracuse this year.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
We'll keep track of today's outright assignments here…
- Rich Thompson has cleared waivers and will go to Sacramento, the Athletics' Triple-A affiliate, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The A's claimed the right-hander off of waivers one week ago, but have since designated him for assignment. Thompson, 27, posted a 3.00 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 54 innings for the Angels a year ago.
“The rhythm and roles in the bullpen, the flow of the lineup, consistency of the lineup… we haven’t gotten anything going,” GM Jerry Dipoto told Rosenthal when asked about his team’s slow start.
As the first month of the season nears completion, Angels relievers have a 4.96 ERA (28th in MLB) with 6.8 K/9 (27th in MLB) and 4.6 BB/9 (24th in MLB). Stark hears that the Angels are dangling second-tier prospects for relievers at the moment and notes that other teams are eyeing center fielder Peter Bourjos as a possible trade candidate. Bourjos is off to a slow start at the plate and could be deemed expendable given the presence of top prospect Mike Trout at Triple-A. Other clubs don’t expect the Angels to trade Mark Trumbo, Stark notes.
MLBTR has looked at trade candidates such as Huston Street, Grant Balfour and Brett Myers in recent weeks. However, Rosenthal points out that the Angels would likely have to overpay to obtain such a pitcher now.
In his latest column at ESPN.com, Jayson Stark asks MLB scouts and executives for some help determining which teams are legitimate contenders and which ones will fade as the season progresses. Here are some highlights from the piece:
- The Blue Jays are “hunting diligently for another masher and another top-of-the-rotation arm,” Stark writes. It’s no surprise the Blue Jays have an eye on rotation help given the uncertainty at the back of their rotation. Though Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Henderson Alvarez are meeting or exceeding expectations, the Blue Jays don’t have much depth or experience in the rotation relative to other teams. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has acknowledged he’d like to add a hitter
- Scouts say the Red Sox don’t resemble a playoff team because they are thin on quality relievers and outfield depth. The Red Sox are "canvassing every bullpen option out there," Stark hears from other teams.
- Stark’s sources believe the Angels need bullpen help. "They've got major issues at the back end of the game," one person said.
Four years ago today, the Pirates released Matt Morris after he allowed 31 runs in 22 1/3 innings across his first five starts of the season. Pittsburgh acquired Morris from the Giants in exchange for Rajai Davis and a player to be named later at the 2007 trade deadline, then ate $10M by releasing him. Two days after being released, Morris called it a career. Here's the latest from around the web…
- River Ave. Blues calls the Michael Pineda trade a disaster for 2012.
- Rising Apple thinks Mike Pelfrey may have thrown his last pitch for the Mets.
- The Brewers Bar comes up with some ways for the Brewers to replace Chris Narveson.
- Chicken Friars wonders if Jedd Gyorko's position change indicates an extension is coming for Chase Headley.
- Jays Journal wrote about a potential Kelly Johnson contract extension.
- Wahoo's on First analyzed the Indians' upcoming roster decision.
- Know Hitter explored Kurt Suzuki's trade value.
- Full Spectrum Baseball looked at Francisco Liriano as a trade candidate.
- The Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan took a long look at Brian Fuentes.
- Southpaw Yakker wrote about the human element of Philip Humber's perfect game.
- NASORB wrote about the silver lining of Humber's perfecto.
- Camden Crazies says the Jason Hammel trade is working out well for the Orioles.
- Over The Monster wrote about Marlon Byrd's fresh start.
- Capitol Avenue Club explains what the Braves could learn from the Brewers.
- Warehouse Worthy examined the Orioles' bullpen improvement.
- Rays Colored Glasses wrote about the Rays and no-hitters.
- Call to the Pen wrote about the dangers of being a closer.
- The True Fan's Sports Blog listed some ways to fix the Angels.
- Twins Daily wrote about the Twins and college pitchers.
- MLB Reports unveiled their Tommy John Surgery Tracker.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here. Only one email per week, please.