Andy LaRoche Rumors
We'll track the day's minor moves here...
- The Blue Jays announced that they signed infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. LaRoche, who last appeared at the MLB level with the 2011 A's, posted a .251/.335/.422 batting line at Triple-A in 2012.
- The Orioles signed relievers Rob Delaney and Manny Delcarmen and outfielder Chris Pettit to minor league deals, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). Delcarmen, 30, last pitched at the MLB level in 2010 with the Red Sox and Rockies. He pitched for the Yankees' top affiliate in 2012, posting a 4.42 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in 57 innings. The 28-year-old Delaney pitched in four games for the 2011 Rays and spent the 2012 season with the Marlins' Triple-A team, posting a 2.29 ERA in 63 innings. Pettit played briefly for the Angels in 2009 and 2011. The right-handed hitting 28-year-old posted a .282/.354/.454 batting line in the upper minors this past season.
- The White Sox signed right-hander Andrew Brackman, Eddy reports (on Twitter). The former first round pick posted a 6.71 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 in the Reds' minor league system last year.
A total of 549 minor league players became free agents after the season, and Baseball America's Matt Eddy lists each and every one by team and position. Some are big league veterans (Joel Pineiro, Conor Jackson), some are former top prospects (Andy LaRoche, Brandon Wood), and most fall somewhere in between.
Players who have been in the minor leagues for at least parts of seven seasons are automatically granted free agency, though there are other conditions that allow players to hit the open market earlier in their careers.
Here's a recap of today's minor league transactions, courtesy of Baseball America's Matt Eddy...
- The Red Sox have signed Andy LaRoche after the Indians released him late last month. The 28-year-old infielder has already played in six games for their Triple-A affiliate and is hitting .265/.352/.418 in 193 minor league plate appearances overall this season.
- The Cubs have released Hong-Chih Kuo. They signed him to a minor league deal in early-June. The 30-year-old left-hander has not appeared in a game yet this season after battling back and anxiety issues last year. Kuo owns a 3.73 ERA in parts of seven big league seasons, all with the Dodgers.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves right here...
- The Indians announced that infielder Andy LaRoche has been released from Triple-A Columbus (via Twitter). LaRoche, 28, was once a modest prospect with the Dodgers but hasn't been able to make the most of big league playing time with Los Angeles, the Pirates and Athletics.
- The Yankees have signed Jonathan Meloan and assigned him to Double-A, reports Mike Ashmore of The Trentonian. The 27-year-old right-hander had been pitching in an independent league and turned down offers from Mexico and Asia to sign with New York. Meloan owns a 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 big league innings with the Dodgers, Indians, and Athletics.
- The Braves have signed Fabian Williamson according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 23-year-old left-hander had been pitching in an independent league and has previously been involved in trades for David Aardsma and Eric Patterson. Williamson owns a 4.00 ERA in 472 minor league innings and has never appeared in the show.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported over the weekend that the Indians were in talks with both LaRoche and Mike Cameron. While the Tribe missed out on Cameron, who agreed to sign a contract with the Nationals, they'll bring LaRoche into the fold to provide depth and injury insurance. GM Chris Antonetti said LaRoche will compete for a spot on the Major League roster, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter link).
LaRoche, 28, has posted a career slash line of just .226/.305/.337 in parts of five Major League seasons, including a .654 OPS in 104 plate appearances for Oakland in 2011. However, he was long considered a top prospect, having ranked among Baseball America's top 20 prior to both the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
The Indians have had "serious talks" with Mike Cameron and have also talked to Andy LaRoche, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian confirms (via Twitter) that the Tribe have had discussions with both players and could sign them to minor league contracts.
Cameron, 38, saw a dip in production in 2011 with the Red Sox and Marlins, hitting .203/.285/.359 in 269 overall plate appearances. However, the Indians view him as an insurance policy for center field if Grady Sizemore continues to be plagued by health problems, according to Pluto.
The 28-year-old LaRoche, meanwhile, would likely just provide the organization depth at the Triple-A level. The former top prospect spent the past season with the Athletics, splitting time between the big league club and Triple-A Sacramento.
A total of 22 players that finished the year in Triple-A elected free agency after the end of the regular season according to the transaction pages of the Pacific Coast and International Leagues. All but one of those 22 players (Matt Carson, formerly of the Rays) played in the big leagues this season. Here's the full list:
Dusty Brown (Pirates), Travis Buck (Indians), Armando Galarraga (D'Backs), Jay Gibbons (Dodgers), Edgar Gonzalez (Rockies), Steve Holm (Twins), Wil Ledezma (Blue Jays), Andy LaRoche (Athletics), Felipe Lopez (Brewers), Lastings Milledge (White Sox), Pat Misch (Mets), Pat Neshek (Padres), Mike O'Connor (Mets), Matt Palmer (Angels), Felix Pie (Orioles), Brad Snyder (Cubs), Brett Tomko (Rangers), Wyatt Toregas (Pirates), P.J. Walters (Blue Jays), Randy Williams (Red Sox), and Reggie Willits (Angels).
Jemile Weeks collects walks just like his older brother Rickie, but while the elder Weeks hits for power, Jemile is more of a contact hitter, writes Fangraphs' Jack Moore in his analysis of the two Weeks brothers. Jemile went 0-for-4 in his Major League debut last night for the A's, leading off and playing second base.
Here are some more items from Oakland, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle...
- "Hideki Matsui's future is cloudy" with the A's, but the veteran may get one more stint of regular playing time to see if he can turn around his disappointing season. As Slusser notes, Matsui has been a better hitter in the second half of the season (a career .855 OPS after the All-Star break), but the team might not want to wait that long. I'd suggest Oakland could probably trade Matsui to a contender for a low-profile prospect rather than release him for nothing.
- Right-hander Graham Godfrey will make his Major League debut in a start against the White Sox on Friday. The A's will have to make a 40-man roster move to make room for Godfrey and Slusser guesses the team will have to designate someone for assignment. That is, unless, the A's have already gotten word that Brett Anderson will need Tommy John surgery and he can be moved to the 60-day DL. Anderson will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week.
- While the A's are struggling right now, "I don't see Billy Beane pulling the plug in early June no matter how many injuries they've absorbed, or even if Anderson does need Tommy John surgery." Slusser notes that "Josh Willingham's name is definitely out there" in terms of trade rumors.
- Oakland's late-round draft picks included Brett Geren (manager Bob Geren's son) in the 42nd round and Shane Boras (son of agent Scott Boras) in the 39th round. Shane is the second Boras child to be drafted in this year's amateur draft; his brother Trent was taken in the 30th round by the Brewers.
- Andy LaRoche has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, Slusser tweets. LaRoche was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Monday.
LaRoche had served as a part-time third baseman and utility infielder for the A's, earning starts at all four infield positions in the season's first two months. He appeared in 40 games for the team, batting .247/.320/.333 in 104 plate appearances. The 27-year-old ranked among Baseball America's top 20 minor league prospects before both the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but has struggled in the bigs, posting a .642 career OPS across parts of five seasons.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that the decision to designate LaRoche was made in part because infielder Adam Rosales is so close to returning from his right foot injury. LaRoche tells Slusser (Twitter link) that he hopes another team will have interest in him for a major league role.
Some links for Saturday evening as the cold weather makes its way back to the Northeast..
- Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic that the team will "spend the money necessary to sign the players that are the best players out there when our turn comes," referring to the draft. The D'Backs hold two of the first seven picks after failing to sign sixth overall pick Barret Loux last year.
- Before landing with the Athletics on a minor league contract, Andy LaRoche drew interest from the Red Sox and Indians according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- Astros outfielder Hunter Pence tweeted that he found the arbitration process to be fascinating but is glad to have it in the rear view mirror. Earlier today, Pence won his arb case, meaning that he'll earn $6.9MM in 2011.
- The Diamondbacks' 2011 payroll should be in the low $60MM range, managing partner Ken Kendrick told Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (via Twitter).
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn't sound too upset about the status of his relationship with Michael Young in this tweet from Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.
- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is ready to embrace his new role in Chicago, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Former Yankees prospect Zach McAllister is looking forward to a new start with the Indians, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.