Adam Loewen Rumors

Adam Loewen Returns To Majors With Phillies

The Phillies have selected the contract of lefty Adam Loewen, a noteworthy story since Loewen’s first appearance with the Phillies will mark the third time in nine years that he’s debuted with a new big-league team, and his last opportunity came as a hitter, not as a pitcher.

The Orioles made Loewen the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft as a pitcher, ahead of future stars like Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels and Prince Fielder. He quickly climbed through the minors despite control problems, joining the Orioles’ rotation in 2006, when he was 22.

Two years later, though, elbow injuries necessitated a career change, and Loewen announced that he would instead become an outfielder and first baseman instead. “That was a crazy decision,” says Loewen, via Baseball America’s Alexis Brudnicki. “I don’t know where I came up with the (guts) to do that.”

The Orioles allowed Loewen to depart via free agency after the 2008 season, and the Canadian-born player signed on with the Blue Jays. He had several modestly productive offensive seasons in the Jays and Mets systems and currently boasts a .262/.355/.429 minor league line, and he returned to the big leagues as a hitter in 2011, but only briefly.

After becoming a free agent following the 2013 season, Loewen played in the Venezuelan Winter League. There, he discovered that his arm no longer hurt when he tried to pitch, as CSNPhilly.com’s John Finger wrote last year. “I had five years to rest my arm from the injury that ended my pitching career at the time,” Loewen explained.

The Phillies heard that Loewen was working out as a pitcher, and they signed him after a tryout in Arizona. Loewen spent most of last season in the rotation at Double-A Reading, where he battled control problems (4.6 BB/9) but was effective overall. Then he took a big step forward in the high minors in 2015, still walking plenty of batters but increasing his strikeout rate to a robust 11.3 K/9 and posting a 2.01 ERA in 58 1/3 innings.

That’s earned him a spot on the big-league roster with the rebuilding Phillies, and he’s hoping to make the most of it, as CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes. “I’ve been really blessed to have a third opportunity,” Loewen says. “I feel lucky to be here.”

Loewen is 31, but he only has two-plus years of service time under his belt, so the Phillies could conceivably control him for several more years if the experiment goes well. If the Phillies do retain him, he’ll likely be eligible for arbitration after the season.


Minor Moves: Perez, Loewen, Neil

Here are the day's minor transactions:

  • The Rangers have released minor league southpaw Rafael Perez, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. The 31-year-old was a valuable member of the Indians' bullpen from 2007-12 (with the exception of a disappointing '09 campaign) but hasn't pitched in the bigs since that time due to shoulder surgery. Perez put up solid numbers with the Twins' and Red Sox' minor league affiliates last season and had yielded three runs with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year.
  • The Phillies have signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Loewen, 30, was once rated as high as the 13th overall prospect in the game by Baseball America — as a pitcher. He transitioned to the field since having his career derailed by elbow issues, and last year posted a .267/.359/.435 line in 496 plate appearances, most of them coming at the Double-A level. But Loewen will return to the hill with Philadelphia, according to a tweet from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
  • Righty Matt Neil has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rays, also via the MLB transactions page. The 27-year-old had spent his first three years in the Marlins organization. Last year, splitting time between starting and relieving at both upper-minor levels, Neil threw to a 3.70 ERA in 109 1/3 frames. 
  • As MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows, White Sox reliever Donnie Veal has just joined Lucas Harrell (Astros) and Sam Fuld (Athletics) in DFA limbo.

Minor Moves: Young, Loewen

The latest minor moves from around MLB…

  • The Nationals have signed Delwyn Young to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Young has a career line of .258/.317/.393 in 779 plate appearances for the Dodgers and Pirates. He posted just a .569 OPS for the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League last season. The second baseman/outfielder did not receive an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
  • The Blue Jays signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced. The 28-year-old native of Surrey, British Columbia returns to the Blue Jays organization following a season with the Mets’ top affiliate. Loewen played at Triple-A Buffalo (now Toronto's International League affiliate) last year and posted a .227/.328/.391 batting line with eight home runs in 238 plate appearances. The former pitching prospect spent the 2009-11 seasons in the Blue Jays organization.


Minor Moves: Braves, Loewen, Garrison

The latest minor moves from around MLB via Matt Eddy of Baseball America…

  • The Braves have signed 14 players to minor league contracts according to a press release, including righty reliever Adam Russell, utility man Drew Sutton, lefty reliever Dusty Hughes, and infielder Josh Wilson. The full list can be found here.
  • The Mets signed outfielder Adam Loewen, according to Eddy. Loewen, the fourth overall selection in the 2002 draft, successfully completed the transition from left-handed pitcher to outfielder in 2011. He posted a .306/.377/.508 line with 46 doubles at Triple-A before appearing in 14 games with the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays removed the Surrey, British Columbia native from their roster after the regular season, but maintained some interest in him.
  • The Mariners signed left-hander Steve Garrison, according to Eddy. Garrison, 25, appeared in one game for the Yankees this past season and posted a 5.58 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 as a starter in the minors.
  • The Red Sox signed right-hander Will Inman and left-hander Justin Thomas for bullpen depth, according to Eddy.
  • The Twins re-signed left-hander Phil Dumatrait, according to Eddy.

Minor Moves: Braves, Johnson, Orr, Blue Jays

Here are today's minor moves…

  • The Braves signed outfielder Jordan Parraz to a minor league deal with an adjusted big league salary, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training
  • Dan Johnson, who was outrighted earlier today, has elected free agency, according to the Tampa Tribune (on Twitter).
  • Utility player Pete Orr re-signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training.
  • The Blue Jays signed 16-year-old right-hander Jesus Tinoco out of Venezuela, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Meanwhile, the Reds signed 16-year-old righthander Soid Marquez.
  • Here's a note for the diehard transactions fans out there: the Blue Jays actually released Adam Loewen, tweets Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (the team announced that it had outrighted Loewen this morning). The Blue Jays would have interest in re-signing Loewen to play at Triple-A if he doesn't find a better offer. Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi tweets that Loewen became a six-year minor league free agent.
  • The A's signed right-hander Edgar Gonzalez to a minor league deal, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old appeared in one game with the Rockies in 2011, but spent most of the season at Triple-A. He posted a 5.00 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 133 1/3 innings for the top affiliates of the Rays and Rockies.

Outrighted To Triple-A: Johnson, Vasquez, Blue Jays

The latest outright assignments from around MLB…

  • The Rays might not have made the playoff were it not for Dan Johnson's heroics in the final game of the regular season, but he's no longer on Tampa Bay's roster. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Rays outrighted Johnson to Triple-A (Twitter links). The first baseman can elect free agency.
  • The Mariners announced that they outrighted left-hander Anthony Vasquez to Triple-A. The 25-year-old posted a 8.90 ERA with 4.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 29 1/3 innings for Seattle in 2011. Vasquez must accept the assignment.
  • The Blue Jays announced that they outrighted outfielder Adam Loewen and reliever Jesse Carlson off of their 40-man roster. Loewen, the fourth overall selection in the 2002 draft, successfully completed the transition from left-handed pitcher to outfielder in 2011. He posted a .306/.377/.508 line with 46 doubles at Triple-A before appearing in 14 games with the Blue Jays. 
  • Carlson, 30, spent the 2011 season on the disabled list after experiencing arm soreness in Spring Training and undergoing season-ending rotator cuff surgery in May. Carlson would have been arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and his projected salary of $700K made him a clear non-tender candidate.

Quick Hits: Pirates, Cabrera, Realignment, Oeltjen

Links for Saturday, as a pair of offseason headliners (Cliff Lee and Matt Garza) prepare to face off in Philadelphia this afternoon…

  • The Pirates have been asking around for a catcher but have found that the asking prices are high as clubs want to take advantage of their situation, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.  Pittsburgh is in a bind with Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder on the disabled list.
  • As the Giants look for infield help, ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) says that Orlando Cabrera is a name to keep an eye on.  The veteran just lost his everyday job in Cleveland and the Giants were close to inking him over the winter.
  • After the Orioles tabbed Dylan Bundy with the fourth overall pick in the draft, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun takes a look at Adam Loewen, the No. 4 pick that got away.
  • Major League Baseball and the players' association have discussed doing away with divisions altogether and balancing out the leagues to 15 teams each, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney.  The new structure would have teams vying for five playoff spots in each league.  The odds of this happening, however, are still less than 50-50, according to one source.
  • Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times says that Trent Oeltjen could have become a free agent if the Dodgers didn't add him to the Major League roster by June 15th (Twitter link). Oeltjen was called up two days ago.
  • In a piece for ESPN, Jim Bowden wrote about how GM's prepare to make trades, a process that usually begins with low-ball offers being exchanged.
  • The writers at FanGraphs conducted a franchise player draft, selecting a player they would build a team around. Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki were the first two off the board.
  • The Royals have signed 16 draft picks according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. The highest signed pick was ninth rounder Aaron Brooks.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Lee, Orioles, Gomes, Loewen

On this date back in 1996, catcher Chris Anderson delivered a run scoring single for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the short season New York-Penn League. It was the first hit ever recorded by a member of the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. Anderson was the team's 66th round draft pick that year, but he never made it out of A-ball and hit just .170/.236/.298 in 432 plate appearances before calling it a career in 1999. Every team starts somewhere.

Here are a few links from the baseball blogosphere…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.


Jays Add Loewen, Bullington

3:01pm: Loewen is a Blue Jay, according to the Globe and Mail. The Jays also claimed Bryan Bullington off waivers from the Indians.  Loewen talked to Kubatko today about his tough decision.

1:57pm: It sounds like Gaston’s pitch worked – Orioles president Andy MacPhail expects Loewen to sign with the Blue Jays.  It’s not about money, but rather Loewen’s lifelong dream to play ball in Canada.

FRIDAY, 10:02am: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says Jays manager Cito Gaston called Loewen to sell him on the organization.  Elliott says the Mariners and Orioles also want to sign the converted outfielder.  Roch Kubatko is convinced Loewen will re-sign with Baltimore.

THURSDAY: Loewen cleared waivers; he’s now a free agent.  He’s receiving more interest than anticipated.

TUESDAY: According to Roch Kubatko at  MASN Online, the Orioles released Adam Loewen yesterday.  Loewen was chosen fourth overall in the 2002 draft.

Loewen reached the Majors and tallied 164 innings, but elbow problems prompted him to reinvent himself as an outfielder this summer.  According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles hope Loewen will clear waivers today so they can sign him to a minor league deal.  He is out of options, but the Orioles want to be able to send him to the minors.  If claimed, Loewen would need to remain on the 40-man roster and would earn $700K.  Orioles GM Andy MacPhail doesn’t expect that to happen, nor does he expect Loewen to ink a minor league deal with another club.