May 2013

Marlins Designate Nick Green For Assignment

The Marlins have announced that Nick Green has been designated for assignment to clear roster space for Ed Lucas, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

This marks the second time that the Marlins have designated the 34-year-old Green for assignment this season. Green cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A following his first DFA. The infielder is hitting .236/.302/.327 for the Fish in 65 plate appearances, and he's gone just 4-for-27 since being selected to the big league roster for a second time this season.

Lucas is being called up to a Major League roster for the first time despite being 31 years of age. The Dartmouth product was an eighth-round pick by the Royals back in 2004. In 196 plate appearances for Triple-A New Orleans this season, the versatile infielder is hitting .304/.354/.453 — a marked improvement from his career .265/.337/.403 Triple-A batting line.

Quick Hits: O’Day, Pedroia, Royals, Upton

On this date seven years ago, the Angels signed an undrafted amateur free agent named Darren O'Day. Such transactions typically don't amount to much, but like his delivery, O'Day's story is anything but typical. He began his career as a 23-year-old at the Rookie-level Pioneer League but quickly ascended to Triple-A. By age 25, O'Day was in the Angels' bullpen but didn't replicate his minor league success. One Rule 5 selection and two waiver claims later, O'Day finds himself as a mainstay in the Orioles' bullpen. The 30-year-old signed a two-year, $5.8MM extension with a club option for 2015 in the offseason, which is probably exactly how he envisioned his life after he graduated from Florida with a degree in agricultural and life sciences and took the MCAT with hopes of becoming a plastic surgeon.

Here's more from around the league…

Kyuji Fujikawa To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, that right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo Tommy John surgery (Twitter link). Sullivan adds (also on Twitter) that the injury is not a result of Fujikawa's two-inning appearance over the weekend. Hoyer informed reporters that Fujikawa's elbow popped on one pitch to Cincinnati's Joey Votto.

The 32-year-old Fujikawa was a significant offseason signing for the Cubs. A legendary closer in Japan, he signed a two-year deal worth $9.5MM with a vesting option for the 2015 season. In 12 innings for the Cubs this season, he's allowed seven runs but also fanned 14 against just two walks. The loss of Fujikawa is a significant blow to an already struggling Cubs bullpen.

Manager Dale Sveum told Sullivan that it's too early to worry about who will handle the ninth inning for the Cubs in 2014, but Fujikawa was signed with that role in mind (Twitter link).

Blue Jays Designate Clint Robinson For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated first baseman Clint Robinson for assignment, according to a team press release. The team also confirmed last night's DFA of Ramon Ortiz.

In related moves, the team has placed Brett Lawrie on the DL with a sprained ankle, recalled right-hander Todd Redmond and selected the contracts of Juan Perez and Neil Wagner (which MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported earlier today).

The 28-year-old Robinson was claimed off waivers at the end of March from the Pirates organization. Originally a 25th-round selection by the Royals in 2007, Robinson posted a .270/.381/.404 batting line in 47 games at Double-A New Hampshire this season. He is a .306/.382/.512 hitter in parts of seven Minor League seasons and received four plate appearances with the Royals last season.

New York Notes: Tejada, Overbay, Davis, Wang

The Yankees and Mets currently stand on opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Yankees nine games above .500 and the Mets at nine games below. The Bombers have dropped three in a row, however, and the Mets have won three straight. Game two of their Subway Series will get underway later tonight, but here's some news on both teams to tide New York fans over until then…

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he will continue to pursue stopgap options at shortstop rather than look to trade for an established player at the position.
  • Within that same piece, Martino notes that there's been talk of sending Ruben Tejada down for Omar Quintanilla, but Quintanilla isn't on the 40-man roster. Plus, if the Mets call Quintanilla up, he would need to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minors. If he were claimed by another team, the organization would be thin on shortstop depth.
  • With Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis on rehab assignments, the Yankees face a decision on Lyle Overbay, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Overbay seems headed for a reduced role or a new team, but he voiced his preference to remain with the Yankees rather than play elsewhere, even if it means less at-bats: “Do I want to play every day and be miserable?” Overbay said. “That opportunity might not be as good as it is here. I think it will work itself out.”
  • Ike Davis will not be optioned to the Minor Leagues today, reports the Post's Mark Hale. There's been plenty of speculation that some time at Triple-A is coming for Davis, who went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and batted eighth last night for the Mets. He's currently in a 4-for-53 slump and batting just .152/.237/.247.
  • Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his contract on Friday, but he won't do so unless he has a Major League offer from another club, writes the Post's Joel Sherman. A Mets official told Sherman that they wouldn't be interested in Wang as a replacement for Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee. Sherman writes that the sense is that Wang's stuff is nowhere near as good as it was from 2006-07 with the Yankees.
  • Also from Sherman's piece, a panel of eight Post writers and seven New York executives were asked to rank the Top 10 rookies from last year's class, and Matt Harvey ranked fifth behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish (in that order). 

Quick Hits: Boras, Draft, Cubs, Dietrich

Scott Boras isn't generally in favor of pre-free agency extensions, but he ultimately lets his players decide for themselves, he tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. "I don’t think there’s any question that the reason a club offers a player guarantees when they don’t have to is they deem it to be beneficial to them — just by the nature that they offer them," says Boras. "So if the club is doing something beneficial for the club, obviously most likely it’s not beneficial to the player." Regardless, Boras' general stance doesn't mean he's not open to pre-free agency deals in certain situations — he himself cites the Carlos Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus deals, both of which he negotiated. The discussion comes in the context of questions about a potential extension for the Mets' Matt Harvey, but that doesn't sound particularly likely, given that Boras represents him and he turned down a substantial bonus offer after being drafted out of high school by the Angels. Here are more notes from around the majors.

  • The Cubs, who have the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, will choose between four players: Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, and UNC third baseman Colin Moran.'s Carrie Muskat notes that they'll get another chance to watch all except Appel, since Oklahoma, USD and UNC are all in the field of 64 for the NCAA Division I baseball championship. Just over 50% of you predict that Astros will select Gray with the first overall pick, which would leave the Cubs to choose from Appel, Bryant and Moran.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos characterizes this year's draft as "a down year" in a podcast interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. "It's just not nearly as deep. That being said, there's going to be a bunch of really good big-league players that come out of this draft," just as is the case every year, Anthopoulos says. Anthopoulos also notes the Blue Jays have had a difficult time figuring out who might fall to them with the No. 10 overall pick and who to select when the time comes. "There's really no clear-cut player with the players who are going to be remaining," he says.
  • Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg isn't interested in talking about the trade deadline, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports. "I almost look at it as a little disrespectful to the guys on the team that are here because this is a good product," says Gregg. "This isn’t like we’re getting our butts kicked on a daily basis and they’re looking to clean house. … To be looking at what the future holds in June or July is worthless to me." Gregg says he still hopes the Cubs will wind up in contention, although that possibility seems remote, given that the team is 13 games back in the NL Central and that the three teams ahead of them all have one of the best records in baseball so far this year.
  • Second baseman Derek Dietrich, who was traded from the Rays to the Marlins last December for Yunel Escobar, is finding it strange to be at Tropicana Field as a visiting player,'s Joe Frisaro reports. "It is a little weird being in this side of the clubhouse," says Dietrich. "The Rays do a great job in raising their players. They really prepare you to be a successful big leaguer. I definitely got better in their organization. I appreciate everything they did for me, giving me that first opportunity. But I'm happy to be here, and be with the Marlins." The Rays picked Dietrich in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He's hitting .237/.308/.424 in 59 at bats in his rookie season with Miami.

AL Notes: Blanton, Rangers, Indians

Joe Blanton will start for the Angels against the Dodgers Tuesday night, and with the imminent returns of Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson, it would appear to be a crucial start. But that's not how Blanton sees it, Alden Gonzalez of reports. "I don't have anything to prove," says Blanton. "This is my ninth [full season]. If I have to prove something my ninth yearyou know, obviously I want to throw the ball well." Blanton has a 6.19 ERA with 5.7 K/9 in 56 2/3 innings, although he has only walked 2.1 batters per nine. "I feel like I've pretty much thrown the ball the way I want to throw. Stuff's been fine, and they've just hit balls where people aren't," Blanton says. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Shohei Otani made his NPB debut as a starting pitcher last Thursday, and a member of the Rangers' front office was in attendance, Sponichi reports. "I was aware of him, but his pitching really left an impression," Scott Littlefield, a special assistant to Rangers GM Jon Daniels, said. "I think he's got a bright future ahead of him if he can stay healthy." Otani, who at one point seemed likely to sign with an MLB team directly out of high school, gave up two earned runs over five innings in his debut, striking out two and walking three. Sponichi also notes that Littlefield was on hand to watch Masahiro Tanaka's start on Wednesday. Tanaka, 24, has a career 2.47 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in seven seasons for Rakuten.
  • The Indians' bullpen is a bit banged-up right now, but with the trade deadline still two months away, GM Chris Antonetti is optimistic about the relievers he has, the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes reports. Closer Chris Perez headed to the disabled list Monday with a shoulder injury. "Losing your closer is never easy, but we still feel the solutions are in our clubhouse," says Antonetti. Perez's replacement, Vinnie Pestano, has had lower velocity since his own return from the disabled list two weeks ago. Still, trading for a reliever at this early point in the season would be a little unusual. Hoynes mentions signing Brian Wilson as a possibility, but Wilson had Tommy John surgery last year and hasn't pitched in 2013.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.

Cardinals Notes: Pujols, Wacha, Taveras

The Cardinals' selection of Albert Pujols (13th round, 1999) is the best draft pick in MLB history, says Dan Szymborski of ESPN (Insider-only). Szymborski uses a non-linear model to assess the WAR value of each draft pick, then compares actual picks to their expected value over nine years to create a list of the top 100 picks in draft history. Szymborski notes that the fact that Pujols was so good from the very beginning of his career made him particularly valuable as a draft pick, since the Cards didn't have to wait for a few years after his debut for him to become a superstar. Here are more notes on the Redbirds.

East Notes: Mets, Yankees, Papelbon

Even though the Mets aren't contending, GM Sandy Alderson says they could be buyers at the trade deadline, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. "It’s a possibility. It depends on what is available," says Alderson. "I have been involved in deals in the past whose first consideration was not the current season but the following season…The possibility of making an acquisition that has implications not just for the second half of this season? Yes." It sounds like we shouldn't expect the Mets to pursue rentals, but they might be open to a splashy acquisition of a veteran who is under team control through at least 2014. Martino notes that the Mets could look for outfielders in particular. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Lots of former Yankees and Mets are doing well with other teams, Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes. Sherman singles out former Yankees Russell Martin (Pirates), Nick Swisher (Indians) and Eric Chavez (Diamondbacks) in particular.
  • The Red Sox are one of eight teams to which Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon can refuse a trade, Rob Bradford of reports. That Papelbon would have his old team on his no-trade list initially seems strange, but Bradford notes that it's not uncommon for a player to put a large-payroll team on his no-trade list, reasoning that he might be able to use his ability to nix a trade as leverage to negotiate an extension if a large-payroll team wants him. When asked, Papelbon said he could see himself playing for the Red Sox again.

Yankees Designate David Huff For Assignment

The Yankees have designated David Huff for assignment, Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets. The Yankees needed to clear roster space for Joba Chamberlain, who has been activated from the disabled list.

New York claimed Huff three days ago after he had been designated for assignment by the Indians. The Indians had also designated Huff for assignment in late March, so Huff has now been designated three times in the past two months.

Huff has pitched one innings for the Yankees and three for the Indians this season. In 289 1/3 career innings, Huff has a 5.41 ERA, with 5.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.