Aaron Cunningham Rumors

Minor Moves: Aaron Cunningham, Luis Marte

Here are today's minor moves and outright assignments from around the league…

  • The Cubs granted outfielder Aaron Cunningham his release, the team announced.  Cunningham, 27, signed a minor league deal with Chicago in November and had appeared in six Spring Training games for the Cubs.  Cunningham last appeared in the majors with the Indians in 2012, and he has a career .628 OPS over 501 PA with Cleveland, San Diego and Oakland.
  • The Tigers have released right-hander Luis Marte, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. The 27-year-old posted a 2.77 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate in 26 innings for Detroit from 2011-12. However, a great deal of that success was tied to an unsustainable 92.1 percent strand rate. Though Marte has a solid minor league track record — a 3.23 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 454 innings — he has just 56 career innings above Double-A and missed nearly all of 2013 due to shoulder surgery. Manager Brad Ausmus told Fenech that the team knew Marte wouldn't make the club and didn't have room for him in the minors.

Minor Moves: Cunningham, Burke, Gomez, Neshek

Here are today's outright assignments and minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Aaron Cunningham has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported yesterday (on Twitter). A former top prospect, Cunningham has batted just .219/.280/.347 in 501 Major League plate appearances between the A's, Padres and Indians. He spent the 2013 season with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, slashing .247/.337/.401 in 115 games.
  • The Rockies have signed right-hander Greg Burke to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The 31-year-old Burke hurled 31 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2013. His 5.68 ERA doesn't look very pretty, but Burke whiffed eight hitters per nine innings and averaged 4.3 walks per nine. His 3.93 FIP and 3.95 xFIP give plenty of reason for optimism.
  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Sanspo article reporting that the Hanshin Tigers have an agreement in place to acquire Mauro Gomez (Twitter link). Gomez, 29, spent most of the season in the Blue Jays system but was claimed off waivers by the Nationals on Sept. 5. The powerful righty swatted 29 home runs for Triple-A Buffalo this season and slashed .249/.332/.521 in 453 plate appearances.
  • Athletics right-hander Pat Neshek has elected free agency, per the A's Transactions page. Neshek, 33, has played an important role in Oakland's bullpen over the past two seasons, totaling 60 innings of 2.70 ERA ball with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. The side-armer has faced 555 right-handed hitters in his career, holding them to a paltry .181/.257/.315 batting line. As shown in our A's Arbitration Eligibles post, Neshek is just short of six full years of service time and would have qualified for arbitration one more time this winter, projecting to earn $1.2MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
  • The Braves have outrighted second baseman Philip Gosselin to Triple-A Gwinnett, according to the team's Transactions page. The 25-year-old Gosselin made his MLB debut this year, collecting a pair of singles and a walk in seven plate appearances. In 469 minor league plate appearnces split between Double-A and Triple-A, Gosselin batted .254/.299/.318.

Minor Moves: Rangers, Bourgeois, Hill

The latest minor moves…



Outrighted To Triple-A: Cunningham, Astros

Let's keep track of today's outright assignments right here…

  • Aaron Cunningham has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The 26-year-old outfielder hit .175/.245/.247 in 109 plate appearances for the Tribe before being designated for assignment last week.
  • The Astros have outrighted Aneury Rodriguez to Triple-A, reports Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched to a 6.67 ERA in Triple-A this year but allowed three runs in six innings in his lone big league start.
  • The Astros have also outrighted Enerio Del Rosario to Triple-A according to Levine. Del Rosario, 26, allowed 14 runs in 15 relief innings for Houston this year.

Indians Designate Aaron Cunningham For Assignment

The Indians have designated Aaron Cunningham for assignment, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer (on Twitter). The move creates room on the roster for the recently acquired Brent Lillibridge.

Cunningham, 26, hit .175/.245/.247 with one homer in 109 plate appearances for the Tribe, including .179/.304/.308v against lefties. The Indians originally acquired him from the Padres back in December.


Indians Acquire Aaron Cunningham

The Indians have acquired outfielder Aaron Cunningham from the Padres for minor leaguer Cory Burns,  the teams announced. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first tweeted news of the deal.

Cunningham, who is out of options, posted a .178/.257/.367 line in 101 plate appearances for the Padres in 2011, playing right and left field. The 25-year-old also posted a .931 OPS in 384 plate appearances for the Padres' top affiliate this past season. He has a .231/.290/.375 career line in four seasons with the Padres and A's as a corner outfielder.

Burns, 24, posted a 2.11 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings of relief at Double-A in 2011. He has saved 88 of the 130 minor league games he's appeared in since being selected in the 2009 draft. Sosnick Cobbe Sports represents both Cunningham and Burns.


Athletics Acquire Kevin Kouzmanoff

The A's acquired Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Sogard from the Padres for Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham. Oakland GM Billy Beane dealt from outfield depth to add certainty at third base, while San Diego GM Jed Hoyer strengthened his outfield with a former Padre.

Kouzmanoff, 28, hit .255/.302/.420 in 573 plate appearances for the Padres last year. He's arbitration-eligible for the first time. His glovework grades out as slightly above average, according to UZR/150.

Baseball America ranked Sogard as San Diego's 17th best prospect coming into the 2009 season, before he hit .293/.370/.400 with more walks (58) than strikeouts (47) in Double-A.

Former Padres GM Kevin Towers dealt Hairston to the A's in July.  Now the 30-year-old heads back to San Diego. He hit well with the Padres last year but struggled with the A's. He's arbitration-eligible for the second time.

Cunningham, 24 in April, spent most of '09 at Triple A where he hit .302/.372/.479.  ESPN's Jerry Crasnick mentions in a tweet that Cunningham recently underwent surgery for a sports hernia. This is Cunningham's third time being dealt. 

MLBTR first reported the trade, with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle naming the players involved and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports pointing to the deal's completion.

Our apologies for initially naming Gio Gonzalez as part of this deal.


Perrotto’s Latest: Position Battles, Roberts, Pudge

John Perrotto’s Every Given Sunday column is up over at Baseball Prospectus. This week, he takes a look at some of the position battles teams will face entering Spring Training. And, as always, there’s some interesting items in his Rumors & Rumblings section. Let’s take a look:

  • Some of the more interesting position battles mentioned: 1B/DH/RF in Oakland (Daric Barton, Jack Cust, Jason Giambi, Aaron Cunningham, and Travis Buck all in the mix), Tampa’s closer if Troy Percival gets hurt or falters (Dan Wheeler, J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour), and the White Sox rotation behind John Danks, Mark Buerhle, and Gavin Floyd (Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Bartolo Colon, Jeff Marquez).
  • Brian Roberts still wants a four-year deal before Spring Training starts up, or he’ll cut off negotiations. Does Roberts make more sense as a cornerstone in Baltimore or as a trade chip?
  • Perrotto feels Tom Glavine will inevitably re-sign with the Braves.
  • The White Sox have minor interest in signing Ivan Rodriguez as a backup for A.J. Pierzynski. I’m sure Pudge would prefer a starting gig, but at this point, it’s tough to be picky.
  • We’ve heard a lot about the Orioles having interest in Rich Hill lately, but Perrotto reminds us that the Mariners are interested in the 28-year-old lefty as well.

Dan Haren Trade Analysis

The first domino fell tonight as an ace starter, Dan Haren, was dealt to the Diamondbacks for a bevy of prospects.  I believe the D’Backs won this one.  Let’s dig into the details.

Take Haren, a horse of an American League pitcher, and throw him in the easier league.  The D’Backs got themselves a bona fide ace to pair with Brandon Webb, and they get him for three years at a reasonable price.  He makes a mere $16.25MM over 2008-10; he’s worth at least three times that amount.   (Arizona also gets 26 year-old reliever Connor Robertson, who hasn’t really conquered Triple A yet.)

To balance out the immense value of Haren, the A’s get six young players.  Four of them represent the #1, 3, 7,  and 8th ranked prospects on Baseball America’s top ten for the team.

Carlos Gonzalez, 22, is the stud of the group.  He can play right or center and has definite star potential.  However, he’s no lock to become Carlos Beltran or Jeff Francoeur.

Southpaw starter Brett Anderson turns 20 in February.  He’s more about polish and command than stuff, and is a curious guy to be the main pitching prospect in the Haren deal.  He’ll try to tackle Double A in 2008.

We’ve discussed 21 year-old first baseman Chris Carter recently; the D’Backs just acquired him for Carlos Quentin.  Who knew it was setting up a Haren deal.  He’s a slow guy with massive power and plenty of strikeouts.  He’ll give High A ball a try in ’08.

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham turns 22 in April.  He’s one of those guys who doesn’t do anything poorly but isn’t great at any one skill either.  Baseball America thinks he’ll become a solid fourth outfielder.

24 year-old southpaw Dana Eveland came to Arizona along with Doug Davis.  He’s drawn David Wells comparisons and has proven himself in the high minors.  He missed a lot of ’07 with a torn tendon in his pitching hand. 

Greg Smith is a 24 year-old southpaw starter with a good curveball and mediocre fastball.  His strikeout rate was just 5.85 per nine at Triple A in ’07.

I’m surprised Billy Beane didn’t get more "sure thing" young players for his best trading chip.  Gonzalez will probably pan out, but he really needed a high octane near-MLB young gun starter too and he didn’t get it.  I will give him credit for spreading out his risk over six prospects, though.  Josh Byrnes gets an ace without giving up anyone he needed in ’08.