August 2012

Braves Release Jack Wilson

The Braves have released shortstop Jack Wilson, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). Wilson has been on the disabled list with a dislocated finger since July 14th and the Braves have come to rely on Paul Janish and Tyler Pastornicky at shortstop.

Wilson, a PSI Sports Management client, will become a free agent after the season when his one-year, $1MM contract expires. The 34-year-old appeared in 40 games before getting injured, playing shortstop and a little second base. He posted a .169/.189/.211 batting line in 77 plate appearances this year, but he has a career batting line of .265/.306/.366 in 12 MLB seasons.


Soriano, Ellsbury, Ross, Marcum Likely Staying Put

There’s generally a fair amount of activity on August 31st, the last day for teams to trade for players who are eligible for postseason rosters. We’ll be sure to pass along news of any trades but in the meantime let’s check in on some players who aren’t getting dealt:

  • There are no trades on the horizon for the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
  • No deal involving Alfonso Soriano seems likely, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Cubs could wait until the winter to trade Soriano, who has cleared waivers.
  • The Red Sox won’t trade Jacoby Ellsbury or Cody Ross today, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hears the Brewers aren't likely to trade Shaun Marcum or Francisco Rodriguez (Twitter link).
  • The Cardinals don’t plan to pursue a shortstop from outside of the organization to replace Rafael Furcal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Furcal is likely headed for the disabled list with an elbow injury, but St. Louis can rely on internal options such as Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso.
  • It looks as though it'll be a quiet day for the Rangers, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports (on Twitter).

Orioles Sign Randy Wolf

FRIDAY: The Orioles officially announced the deal (on Twitter).

TUESDAY: The Orioles will sign free agent left-hander Randy Wolf, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Brewers released the veteran starter last week.

Wolf, a Wasserman Media Group client, led the National League in hits and earned runs this year, the final season of his three-year, $29.75MM contract with Milwaukee. The 36-year-old started 24 games for the Brewers in 2012, posting a 5.69 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 43.4% ground ball rate in 142 1/3 innings. The Brewers will be responsible for most of Wolf's $9.5MM salary, with the Orioles covering the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum.

MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli first reported that the sides were nearing a deal (on Twitter).



Tigers Designate Jeff Baker For Assignment

The Tigers have designated Jeff Baker for assignment, according to the team's director of media relations, Brian Britten (on Twitter). Detroit recalled Avisail Garcia from Double-A Erie in a related move.

Baker, a right-handed hitter, appeared in 15 games for the Tigers after they acquired him from the Cubs on August 5th. The 31-year-old has played second base and all four corner positions this year, posting a line of .254/.293/.408 in 181 total plate appearances. A noted lefty masher, Baker has a career batting line of .298/.346/.505 against southpaws. He's a potential fit for the Giants, who are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees

Two years ago today, left-hander Aroldis Chapman made his Major League debut with the Reds. The $30.25MM man topped 100 mph four times in his perfect inning of work. These days Chapman is arguably the most dominant closer in baseball, with 113 strikeouts in just 64 innings this season. Here's the latest from around the web, with a large helping of Red Sox-Dodgers blockbuster reactions…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here. Only one email per week, please.


Millwood Clears Waivers; Vargas, Felix Claimed

Kevin Millwood cleared waivers but two other Mariners starters were claimed by rival teams, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Jason Vargas and Felix Hernandez were claimed, but they aren't going anywhere, according to Morosi. 

Millwood, a free agent this offseason, can now be traded to any team. He'd be eligible for postseason rosters if Seattle trades him before midnight tonight. Otherwise he can still be traded, but only as a regular season player. He earns a $1MM salary and has a 4.28 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 145 innings.

Vargas would be more than a rental, since he’s arbitration eligible again this offseason. The left-hander earns $4.85MM this season and can expect a raise to $8MM or so for 2013. Vargas, 29, has a 3.90 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings with Seattle. 

It would be a major surprise if Hernandez were traded. The 26-year-old is a leading Cy Young candidate again with an AL-best 2.43 ERA in 196 2/3 innings. He'll earn $19.5MM in 2013 and $20MM in 2014 under his current contract.

If the Mariners are serious about trading Vargas or Hernandez — and there’s no indication this is the case — they could wait until the offseason when more bidders emerge. For now GM Jack Zduriencik can only discuss trade scenarios with the team(s) that won the claims on his pitchers.


Juan Pierre Clears Waivers

Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre has cleared waivers, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). If the Phillies trade Pierre before midnight, he'll be eligible to play in the postseason.

Pierre, 35, has hit .300/.343/.363 with 32 steals in 37 attempts for the Philadelphia this year. He's owed approximately $160K the rest of the season, so his salary shouldn't be much of a factor in any trade. The Orioles, Reds, and other teams expressed interest in Pierre before the trade deadline.


Jon Lester Claimed On Waivers

Jon Lester was claimed on waivers, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). It's not clear which team(s) claimed the left-hander, who was on waivers one week ago. Evidently the Red Sox decided to pull Lester back off of waivers instead of trading him or assigning his contract to the claiming team.

Lester will earn $11.625MM next year and his contract includes a $13MM team option for 2014. Here’s a recap of which players have cleared waivers, plus a list of players who have been placed on revocable waivers.


Latest On Giants’ Search For Outfielders

The Giants are discouraged about their chances of adding a left fielder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Giants have interest in adding a right-handed hitting outfielder by midnight tonight, the deadline for teams to acquire players eligible for postseason rosters. 

It’s possible the Giants will complete a trade, but their current plan is to promote Xavier Nady when rosters expand, Rosenthal reports. Nady has posted a .270/.343/.528 batting line in 99 plate appearances since joining the Giants' Triple-A affiliate at the beginning of August. The 33-year-old has a career batting line of .284/.350/.440 against left-handed pitching at the MLB level.


Red Sox Notes: Ellsbury, Hunter, Crawford

The Red Sox are 69-90 since last September 1st, ESPN.com's Buster Olney notes (on Twitter). As a disappointing season winds down it’s time to look ahead to some possible offseason moves. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox…

  • It’s likely that the Red Sox will “kick the tires” on a possible long-term contract for Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, but it’d be a surprise if the sides find common ground, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. Agent Scott Boras will present Ellsbury as a superstar, but the Red Sox probably wouldn’t be comfortable paying him like one after 2013, his final season as an arbitration eligible player. It’s unlikely the Red Sox will look to trade Ellsbury, Speier writes. The outfielder told Speier he’s not focused on his contract status. “I just go out and play, man, prepare," he said.
  • Torii Hunter said he’s open to the possibility of signing in Boston when he hits free agency this offseason, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. "I'm open to anybody, especially if David [Ortiz] is there," Hunter said. He noted that his first choice remains a new deal with the Angels.
  • Hunter suggested that Carl Crawford will be pleased to start fresh with the Dodgers. “I'm sure he's a lot happier," Hunter said.