Aaron Miles Rumors
Miles, 33, was released by the Reds two weeks ago, and had garnered interest from the Rangers before signing with St. Louis. The switch-hitter was owed $2.7MM this season by Cincinnati, who will likely now pay $2.3MM of that figure, with the Cardinals picking up the remaining $400K.
Miles struggled through an injury-plagued 2009 season with the Cubs, hitting .185/.224/.242 in 170 plate appearances, but has enjoyed some success in St. Louis in the past. From 2006 to 2008, Miles posted a .289/.335/.363 slash line in 1328 plate appearances as a utility player for the Cardinals.
Miles could fill in for the injured Ian Kinsler, though he'd be unlikely to approach anything like Kinsler's production.
For instance, Miles has 16 career home runs in 2,423 plate appearances. Kinsler hit 31 home runs in the 2009 season alone.
Sullivan says that Miles would likely begin at Triple-A.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets the results of Aaron Miles and Wladimir Balentien being designated for assignment by the Reds. Both players cleared waivers. Miles was released, while Balentien was outrighted to Triple A.
Miles joins the free agent ranks; he'll likely be signed for $400K with the Reds paying the remaining $2.3MM on his contract. The 33-year-old infielder hit .185/.224/.242 in 170 plate appearances for the Cubs last year, battling shoulder and elbow injuries. He was acquired twice during the offseason - by the A's to help facilitate their acquisition of Jake Fox, and by the Reds as a way of dumping the inferior contract of Willy Taveras.
Balentien, a 25-year-old outfielder, hit .234/.305/.385 in 295 plate appearances for the Mariners and Reds last year. He's flashed big power at various minor league stops and was a well-regarded prospect as recently as 2008.
The Reds have designated Aaron Miles and Wladimir Balentien for assignment, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of CNati.com (Twitter link). We heard on the weekend that the Reds were likely to designate the pair for assignment to create roster space if GM Walt Jocketty didn't find a trade partner.
The Mariners designated Balentien for assignment last summer, before the Reds acquired the outfielder leading up to the trade deadline. The Reds would acquire Miles six months later for Adam Rosales and Willy Taveras in a bad contract swap.
Miles hit .185/.224/.242 in 170 plate appearances for the Cubs last year and followed that up with a .152/.222/.212 performance this spring. It's hard to imagine any team claiming him. Balentien hit a more robust .327/.353/.571 this spring; in 295 plate appearances last year, he hit .234/.305/.385.
A few Reds-related items to round up:
- The team has released Kip Wells, according to the club's official Twitter page. They had signed the veteran right-hander to a minor league deal earlier in the winter.
- Aroldis Chapman is among the players listed in the same tweet that will head to the Reds' Triple A affiliate in Louisville.
- Mike Leake, Cincinnati's first round pick in last year's draft, has earned a spot in the rotation as the team's fifth starter, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Sheldon points out that Leake will be the first drafted pitcher to skip the Minor Leagues entirely since Darren Dreifort, and ESPN.com's Rob Neyer adds that no starting pitcher has pulled off the feat since Jim Abbott in 1989.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Wladimir Balentien and Aaron Miles remain on the roster for now, but will not be on the team. GM Walt Jocketty says that the club will try to trade them in the next few days, if possible. Fay adds in a tweet that the pair will be designated for assignment on Sunday.
A few links to pass along....
- Jon Daniels says "it's less than 50-50" that the Rangers make any more moves before spring training, reports Jeff Wilson of The Dallas Morning News. Wilson adds that Rod Barajas and Rocco Baldelli have been connected to Texas this winter, and the Rangers might also be interested in a platoon partner for Chris Davis.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are out of the Chien-Ming Wang sweepstakes. We've already learned that the Nationals are the favorites to sign the right-hander.
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer answers some reader mail that covers such topics as a possible Grady Sizemore trade and Omar Vizquel's somewhat surprising criteria for picking a new city.
- Orlando Cabrera and Aaron Miles aren't exactly the first two names that leap to mind when you're thinking about October baseball, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that the duo's playoff experience was a factor in their acquisition, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times provides a general recap of the 2009-10 offseason.
The Reds traded outfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the Athletics today for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named later or cash, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Let's break down this bad contract swap.
Taveras will earn $4MM in 2010. The speedy 28-year-old was a bust for the Reds in '09, hitting .240/.275/.285 in 437 plate appearances. Rosales did not hit well in the bigs either, but he did crush Triple A pitching in 125 plate appearances. Before the season Baseball America said he profiles as a "good utiltyman." He's played all around the infield in the minors. Rosales' inclusion might even out the salary gap between Taveras and Miles.
Miles will earn $2.7MM in 2010, though the Cubs sent $1MM to the A's as part of a December '09 trade. Like Taveras, he was signed to a two-year deal despite being non-tendered by his former club and proceeded to have a terrible season. AOL FanHouse's Ed Price tweets that there's "zero chance" this trade opens a spot for Johnny Damon on the Reds.
Olney posits that the Reds' $1.3MM savings may go toward Orlando Cabrera. The A's were looking to add a cheap utlityman in Rosales. The A's have taken a $3MM hit on Taveras and given up Jeff Gray, Ronny Morla, Matt Spencer, and a PTBNL or cash to get Jake Fox and Rosales. They're not done, though, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Oakland is "not expected to hang on to Taveras for long."
Still, we don't have all the details on this trade yet. What else will be sent to Cincinnati? What will the A's do with so many outfielders?
10:36pm: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com provides us with a look at the newest Cubs, Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer.
Mayo characterizes Morla as a "solid mid-range" prospect and notes that he has been able to maintain a 93-94 MPH fastball as a starter. He also speculates that he could increase his velocity into the mid-90s if he is moved to the bullpen.
Spencer, meanwhile, is a solid athlete, especially when considering he is 6'4, 225 lbs. He has the versatility to play first base but his strong arm makes him more intriguing as an outfielder. In fact, there was once talk of him being drafted as a pitcher during his time at Arizona State.
5:51pm: Oakland will receive $1MM from the Cubs to help offset Aaron Miles' $2.7MM contract, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
5:35pm: The other two players in the deal are Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer, tweets Brent S. Gambill of Sirius XM. The Cubs will also give the Athletics cash considerations as part of the deal.
5:18pm: The Cubs have traded Jake Fox and Aaron Miles to the A's for Jeff Gray and two minor-leaguers, according to ESPNChicago.com.
Fox is the more attractive of the two for Oakland, as he has performed quite well in the Cubs' minor league system over the last three years. The 27-year-old took it to another level in '09 when he posted a remarkable slash line of .409/.495/.841 in 45 games for Chicago's Triple-A affiliate. This led to a promotion in late May in which he recorded a .779 OPS with 11 HRs in 241 plate appearances.
Miles disappointed the Cubs with his 2009 performance after receiving a two-year deal worth $4.9MM. The second baseman recorded an atrocious .466 OPS in 74 games.
One wonders if the addition of Fox could mean that Jack Cust's time in Oakland is through, as he may not be tendered an offer.
Bruce Miles of The Daily Herald has a few tidbits of information about the Chicago Cubs in his latest blog post.
Miles notes that the Cubs have an unusually high number of arbitration-eligible players this offseason, and singles out Carlos Marmol as an important case. Miles figures that the Cubs and Marmol's agent Barry Praver could disagree about the reliever's value, since his holds total and opponents' average are so strong, while his control is so unpredictable. The Cubs haven't had an arbitration case go to a hearing since early in the 1990s, but this one is a candidate for it.
Miles also writes that the number of raises through arbitration could affect the Cubs' payroll flexibility. GM Jim Hendry points out that since most of the players are in the first year of arbitration eligibility, there shouldn't be many massive raises, but says, "You do have guys that certainly are going to command an increase in salary, and yeah, you have to factor that all in with your total payroll. We'll see what the numbers look like."
Hendry was also asked whether middle infield was a priority this winter, and replies: "Not necessarily. I'm very happy with Ryan [Theriot]." He adds that Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles had disappointing 2009 seasons, but that he expects them to bounce back next year.
Some interesting facts are mentioned in Derrick Goold's article about Aaron Miles' departure from St. Louis.
Apparently, the Cardinals were prepared to offer $4.3MM themselves - only $600,000 less than the Cubs. What drew Miles to Chicago, however, was a more sincere interest demonstrated by Cub management. As reported previously, the Cardinals waited until the last minute to give Miles their offer. Goold suggests that offer was delayed by dealings with Adam Kennedy.