Alex Presley Rumors

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/29/15

We’ve got some catching up to do on the minor moves front after a busy couple of days:

  • Reds outfielder/first baseman Chris Dominguez has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Dominguez has seen short big league stints in each of the past two seasons, but the 28-year-old has played mostly in the upper minors. He owns a .216/.264/.368 slash over 221 plate appearances on the year at Louisville.
  • The Pirates outrighted infielder Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A after recently designating him for assignment, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). Following two seasons as a significant utility piece for the Nationals, Lombardozzi has received only 85 big league plate appearances over the 2014-15 campaigns. He owns a .303/.362/.352 slash in his 291 turns at bat for Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • After he, too, cleared waivers, Pirates third baseman Brent Morel elected free agency, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). The 28-year-old has spent at least some time in the big leagues in every season since 2010, putting up a .601 OPS in 712 plate appearances. In 326 times coming to bat at Triple-A this year, he owns a .266/.322/.441 batting line.
  • As expected, Astros outfielder Alex Presley has accepted an outright assignment with the organization, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. He previously agreed to an outright assignment in order to preserve his $1MM arbitration salary, and chose to do the same once again.
  • The Mariners acquired righty J.C. Ramirez from the Diamondbacks, Seattle announced. Ramirez, 26, made it up to the big leagues for the second time this year, throwing 15 1/3 innings of 4.11 ERA ball from the Arizona pen. He’ll return to his first professional team, which shipped him to the Phillies in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade.

Alex Presley Clears Outright Waivers

JULY 24: Presley has cleared outright waivers, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Though he can decline an assignment to Triple-A, he already accepted an outright once earlier in the season to avoid sacrificing the remainder of his $1MM salary.

JULY 18: The Astros have designated outfielder Alex Presley for assignment, the Astros announced via Twitter. In a corresponding move, Scott Feldman has been activated from the disabled list and will start tonight.

Presley, 29, was recalled by the Astros in early July. He had three hits and five strikeouts in 13 plate appearances. At Triple-A, the left-handed outfielder hit .308/.345/.392. Presley has split his career between the Astros and Pirates, compiling 1,105 major league plate appearances across parts of seven seasons. Per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Tweet), Houston may find a suitor for Presley. The Orioles are among the teams with interest.

Feldman is returning from a right-knee injury that has sidelined him for a chunk of the 2015 season. He’s made 10 starts with a 4.80 ERA, 5.55 K/9, and 2.10 BB/9. His return will help Houston manage prospect Vincent Velasquez’s innings. He was optioned to Double-A 10 days ago despite a solid debut. Brett Oberholtzer was also optioned to Triple-A prior to the All Star Break.


AL West Notes: Angels, Astros, L.J. Hoes, Athletics

As the Angels continue to hover around the .500 mark, internal tensions have arisen, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It appears that the particular issue that has led to some discord involves the respective roles of the front office and field staff regarding the use of data in on-field decisionmaking. Of course, GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia have had some well-publicized differences of opinion in the past, and Rosenthal suggests that there are signs of a new rift.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Astros have a variety of difficult 40-man decisions upcoming, as they did last year when they ultimately left Delino DeShields Jr. unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes (in a piece we cited yesterday regarding the club’s pitching needs). That could seemingly drive a deal or two this summer or in the future. GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledges the roster pressure, but rejects the idea that he’ll move valuable assets solely for that reason. “Yeah, I mean, you could argue that we have a lot of guys to protect, and we’re going to leave some unprotected, so why not turn that into something we can use right now? It’s a fair argument,” Luhnow said. “At the same time, we’re looking for the best 25 players, and we never know if that’s going to come from those guys that need to be added to the 40-man (roster) down the road or now. You have to balance the short term and the long term. We’re certainly going to be open to trading players. Whether they’re already on the 40-man or have to be added to the 40-man this offseason to ease the logjam a little bit, we wouldn’t trade someone just to ease it.”
  • Per Drellich, one Astros 40-man occupant who could conceivably be dealt is L.J. Hoes, who is currently playing at Triple-A. The Orioles have some interest in Hoes — who they shipped to Houston as part of the Bud Norris deal a while back — as well as Alex Presley, who is not on the 40-man. Likewise, the Angels are “thought” to be giving some consideration to Hoes, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The 25-year-old Hoes has slashed an excellent .335/.417/.466 over 255 plate appearances at Fresno this year, with eleven stolen bases and three long balls.
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane is still considering his trade deadline options, as Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports. Oakland had been on a nice run before being swept by the Royals over the weekend. “Time will tell, it’s an important time period,” said Beane. “Despite having played better in the last couple weeks, we’re still in quite a hole. Any definitive direction would be decided by how we do moving forward.” If the club does ultimately pull the trigger on a sell-off, Beane suggested that he may be inclined to seek younger assets to bolster the club’s prospect pool. “At some point, if we consider going another direction,” he said, “we’re probably best served to take a [look at] depth and rebuild our farm system. That’s the currency for us. We fully expected [the farm system] i not to be at its peak because we’ve traded a lot of players.”


Minor Moves: White, Presley, Capps, Perez, Smoker

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Astros outfielder Alex Presley has cleared waivers and is now deciding whether to accept his outright assignment, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). He is expected to accept the assignment in order to retain his $1MM salary, per the report. Righty Alex White has also cleared waivers and has been assigned to Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets.
  • Veteran righty Matt Capps has re-signed with the Braves, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports on Twitter. The former Nationals closer had been with the club this spring but was released. Capps, 31, gave up two long balls in his only two innings of work, and has thrown just 12 professional innings over the last two seasons.
  • The Mariners have loaned lefty Rafael Perez to Mexico’s Quintana Roo Tigers, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets. Perez, 32, was once a mainstay in the Indians’ pen and owns a 3.64 ERA over 329 big league innings. His peripherals declined, however, and he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2012. Perez has put up strong numbers in the upper minors over the last two years, however, and even returned to working as a starter last year.
  • Former top draft pick Josh Smoker has signed with the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. The 26-year-old, who washed out of the Nationals’ system, is said to be working back into the mid-90s with his fastball.

Astros Place Alex Presley On Outright Waivers

APRIL 7: Houston is seeking outright waivers on Presley, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets. That means that a trade could not be arranged, leaving Presley open for the taking by any club willing to absorb his contract.

If Presley is not claimed, he would likely remain within the Houston organization as Triple-A depth. Though he could elect free agency because he is a Super Two player, Drellich tweets, that would mean giving up his guaranteed salary.

APRIL 1: The Astros have designated outfielder Alex Presley for assignment, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports on Twitter. While the club would like to keep him, they may attempt to work out a trade, McTaggart tweets.

Presley saw 271 plate appearances with Houston last year after being claimed off waivers. He slashed just .244/.281/.346 with six home runs and five steals. Playing mostly in the corner outfield, Presley was unable to stay above the replacement line. His work at the plate showed more of the same this spring.

Presley should draw interest from teams looking for some versatility. He is out of options, of course, meaning that a team would have to give him an active roster spot in claiming him. Presley also comes with a $1MM salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility (as a Super Two).


Latest On Astros’ Roster Decisions

The Astros have listened to trade ideas regarding their surplus of position players, but are not actively looking to deal, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. There’s currently no way to get Jason Castro, Evan Gattis, Jon Singleton, George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Jake Marisnick and Chris Carter in the lineup all at the same time, Drellich points out. But their depth gives them options in case players get hurt or struggle. In particular, Gattis and Rasmus have significant injury histories, while Singleton and Marisnick are unproven. The team could also platoon Gattis and Rasmus in left field. Here’s more from Drellich on the Astros.

  • If the Astros were to make a trade this Spring, it might involve a depth player like Alex Presley rather than one of the more regular players mentioned above. Robbie Grossman could beat out Presley for the last outfield spot. Presley is out of options, and there’s at least some possibility the Astros could lose him if they expose him to waivers. From this vantage point, the risk seems minimal, given that Presley didn’t hit well last year and is making above the league minimum (at $1MM). But given the depth he represents, that possibility is at least worth considering.
  • Hank Conger has struggled this spring, but he’s still penciled in as Castro’s backup at catcher.
  • Three players whose situations are unresolved are minor-league free agent pitchers Joe Thatcher, Roberto Hernandez and first baseman Dan Johnson, Drellich says. Thatcher and Hernandez are Article XX(B) free agents, so before Opening Day, the Astros must decide whether to add them to the active roster, release them, or pay them $100K retention bonuses (and give them June 1 opt-out date). Thatcher is likely to make the team as the Astros’ second bullpen lefty. Johnson, who is not an Article XX(B) free agent, also has an opt-out date, although not until after the start of the regular season.

Astros, Alex Presley Avoid Arbitration

The Astros and outfielder Alex Presley have agreed to a one-year, $1MM contract to avoid arbitration, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected the Sports Pro Services client to earn $1.2MM.

The 29-year-old, left-handed-hitting Presley came to Houston via waiver claim from the Twins late last spring. He put up a .244/.281/.346 line over 271 plate apearances last year with the Astros, his third straight campaign with a sub-.700 OPS. But Presley has always hit in the upper minors and did show promise at the MLB level back in 2011 with the Pirates.


Astros Claim Alex Presley, Designate Raul Valdes

The Astros have claimed outfielder Alex Presley off of waivers from the Twins, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. To clear a roster spot, the team has designated lefty Raul Valdes for assignment.

Presley, 28, came to Minnesota last year in the Justin Morneau trade. Over parts of four years of MLB action, he has a .264/.304/.411 line in 821 trips to the plate. Presley has also hit 17 long balls and swiped 20 bags, though the latter figure comes against 15 times in which he's been caught stealing.

Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Valdes was claimed off of waivers in October from the Phillies. Though his 7.46 ERA in 35 innings last year with Philadelphia is unsightly, his 9.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 (to say nothing of a 3.10 SIERA) make things look much better. Indeed, he posted a 2.90 ERA (10.2 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.742 WHIP) in 2012 with the Phils, and had put up similar figures this spring (one earned, one walked, and six struck out in 5 1/3).