Author Archives: Charlie Wilmoth

AL Central Notes: Swisher, Rodon, Royals

The Indians have announced that 1B/DH Nick Swisher will be out for the next eight to ten weeks after having surgery on both knees. That would suggest he’s out for the rest of the season. Swisher was in the midst of a disappointing season in the second year of his $56MM deal with Cleveland, hitting .208/.278/.331 in 401 plate appearances. Here’s more from the AL Central.

  • GM Rick Hahn says the White Sox haven’t yet decided whether they’ll promote 2014 third overall draft pick Carlos Rodon once rosters expand in September, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. If they do promote him, they could use him as a starter. The White Sox recently promoted Rodon to Triple-A Charlotte after pitching well in four appearances for Class A+ Winston-Salem.
  • We still can’t get a clear read on the 2013 James Shields / Wil Myers trade between the Royals and the Rays because some of the secondary players involved haven’t yet reached their potential, Rob Neyer of FOX Sports writes. For example, the Rays received minor league infielder Patrick Leonard in the deal, and he’s currently hitting .293/.372/.470 in 476 plate appearances for Class A+ Charlotte (the Charlotte team based in Florida, not the Triple-A team mentioned above) as a 21-year-old. Also, 25-year-old Mike Montgomery, another Rays acquisition, has gradually improved at Triple-A.

MLB Changes Rules For Scouting Int’l Players

MLB has changed its rules governing the signings of international players, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports. MLB has determined that teams may not host players at their facilities until they are 16 years old or are within six months of being eligible to sign, whichever comes first. Therefore, most players who will become eligible to sign on July 2 of next year will not be allowed at MLB team facilities until January 2 to showcase players who will be eligible to sign in July.

The news is significant, Badler notes, because teams currently invite players to their facilities to evaluate them there, using their own drills. Also, leagues like the Dominican Prospect League and International Prospect League currently use MLB team facilities, with games open to all teams to watch. Now those leagues won’t be able to use MLB facilities until January 2.

The rule changes will also limit the number of nights young prospects are allowed to stay at MLB team facilities, and will prevent prospects from living with MLB team employees.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Newsstand

Padres Designate Bobby LaFromboise For Assignment

The Padres have designated lefty Bobby LaFromboise for assignment, the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. They also reinstated Cameron Maybin from the restricted list and optioned infielder Jace Peterson to Triple-A El Paso. Maybin has finished a 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines.

LaFromboise made ten appearances with the Mariners in 2013, but he’s only pitched for El Paso so far in 2014, posting a 4.75 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 53 innings of relief. The Padres claimed him from the Mariners in April.



Minor Moves: Joe Gardner

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Braves have signed righty Joe Gardner to a minor league deal, according to MiLB.com. Gardner is best known as one of the four players the Rockies sent the Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez in 2011 (with Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Matt McBride being the others). Now 26, Gardner has spent part of the 2014 season with Double-A Tennessee in the Cubs system and part of it with the independent Lancaster Barnstormers, for whom he posted a 2.51 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 43 innings.

White Sox To Release Charlie Leesman

AUG. 20: The White Sox have requested unconditional release waivers on Leesman, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.

AUG. 16: The White Sox have designated lefty Charlie Leesman for assignment in a flurry of roster moves, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. The White Sox also activated Avisail Garcia, moved Moises Sierra (oblique) to the disabled list, promoted Eric Surkamp and moved Javy Guerra to the bereavement list. Garcia, the key return in last year’s Jake Peavy trade, has not played in the big leagues since April due to a labrum injury. His surgery was previously believed to be season-ending, so he’s coming back ahead of schedule.

Leesman, 27, has only appeared in one game for the White Sox this season, an April start in which he only averaged 86.5 MPH on his fastball. He has, however, proven to be a good pitcher at the Triple-A level. He performed well at Triple-A Charlotte in 2012 and 2013 and has pitched 68 innings there this season, posting a 4.10 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.


Quick Hits: Rodon, Bryant, Blue Jays, Russell

Top White Sox prospect and 2014 No. 3 overall draft pick Carlos Rodon has been promoted to Triple-A Charlotte, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets. As anticipated, Rodon has moved quickly through the minors — he pitched 9 2/3 innings with Class A+ Winston-Salem, striking out 15 batters while walking five. The promotion to Charlotte (for whom he’ll start on Tuesday) means he’s skipping Double-A, which in turn likely means the White Sox think he’s close to being ready for the Majors. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Top Cubs prospect Kris Bryant left Saturday’s Triple-A Iowa Cubs game with a foot injury, Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register writes (Twitter links). The injury was the result of a foul ball Bryant struck off his foot a few days ago. His foot is being X-rayed. The seriousness of the injury is unclear, but his coaches did seem to know about it before tonight. Bryant’s departure from the game set off speculation that he had been promoted to the big leagues, but it does not appear that he has been. He has a ridiculous .306/.415/.648 line in 234 plate appearances so far with Iowa.
  • Two MLB insiders believe that Addison Russell will eventually become the Cubs’ starting shortstop despite the team’s surplus there, Jorge Arangure of the New York Times reports. “From what I’ve seen, [Starlin] Castro moves for sure,” says one. “Russell has the edge over [Javier] Baez.” Baez, for his part, says he enjoys playing second base.
  • The Blue Jays have optioned reliever Chad Jenkins to the minors five times this season, and he’s just one of several Blue Jays who have been optioned four or more times this year, Brendan Kennedy of TheStar.com writes. Kennedy points out that the Jays have made more non-trade, non-injury roster moves than any team this season, about 40% more than the average team. GM Alex Anthopoulos says the Blue Jays option players in order to avoid having other players land on the disabled list. “We definitely haven’t used the waiver wire much this year, but we have consciously optioned players back and forth to avoid DL placements,” he says. For example, the Jays have had Liam Hendriks spot start three times in order to get their starting pitchers more rest. Of course, Kennedy writes, a limited number of players can be optioned, and so all the Jays’ roster moves can have the effect of moving one group of players up and down regardless of how they perform.
  • Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says the team is trying to improve its bullpen, making waiver claims for relievers as recently as today, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. The Brewers’ bullpen got off to an extremely hot start in April but has struggled a bit since.

Tigers Designate Kevin Whelan For Assignment

The Tigers have designated pitcher Kevin Whelan for assignment, John Wagner of the Toledo Blade tweets. The move clears space on the Tigers’ 40-man roster for Jim Johnson, who will be promoted Sunday.

Whelan was one of several relievers promoted earlier this week as the Tigers’ bullpen attempted to recover from a 19-inning game against the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old appeared in only one game with the Tigers before they optioned him back to Triple-A Toledo. (He also appeared in two games with the Yankees in 2011 in his only other year in the big leagues.) He has a 1.80 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 40 innings in Triple-A this season.


Minor Moves: Johnson, Leroux, Murphy, Axelrod

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

  • The Tigers will select the contract of reliever Jim Johnson on Sunday, MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets. To make room on the 40-man roster, they’ll option fellow reliever Melvin Mercedes to Triple-A Toledo. Johnson, of course, struggled with Oakland after two strong years as the Orioles’ closer and ultimately got released before signing a minor league deal with Detroit. He has since pitched 4 2/3 innings for Toledo, allowing three runs, two earned.
  • The Yankees have outrighted pitcher Chris Leroux, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Earlier this week, the team designated Leroux for the third time this year, and he’s only made two appearances this season in pinstripes, the last coming in early May. He has a 4.37 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings so far this season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
  • The Braves have signed infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. As MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets, that likely means Murphy opted out of the minor league deal he signed with the Reds last month. Murphy, 31, hit .196/.268/.330 in 128 plate appearances with the Rangers earlier this year, mostly playing second base.
  • The Reds announce that they have selected the contract of righty Dylan Axelrod. They’ve also moved Homer Bailey (neck) to the 15-day DL and Joey Votto (quadriceps) to the 60-day DL. Axelrod will start tonight’s game against the Rockies. The Reds acquired Axelrod from the White Sox in a minor trade in July, and since then he’s posted a 3.06 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 35 1/3 innings at Triple-A Louisville.
  • The Diamondbacks have released outfielder Blake Tekotte, according to MiLB.com. Arizona acquired Tekotte from the White Sox in a minor deal less than two weeks ago. This season, the 27-year-old has hit .249/.320/.439 in 340 plate appearances. From 2011 through 2013, he made brief big-league appearances with the Padres and then the White Sox.
  • The Phillies have released lefty Jo-Jo Reyes, according to the International League transactions page. The 29-year-old pitched for the Braves, Blue Jays and Orioles from 2007 through 2011. He spent 2012 in the Pirates’ farm system, then headed to Korea in 2013. He made 13 starts in Korea in 2014 and struggled there, then headed to Lehigh Valley, where he pitched 20 2/3 innings, striking out nine batters and walking eight en route to a 10.45 ERA.

Dodgers Acquire Roberto Hernandez

USATSI_7861895_154513410_lowresAUGUST 16: The Phillies have announced that one of the two players they’re acquiring from the Dodgers is second baseman Jesmuel Valentin, a 2012 first-round pick from Puerto Rico who was hitting .282/.352/.433 for Class A Great Lakes as a 20-year-old. Heading into the season, Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 listed him as the Dodgers’ 22nd-best prospect, projecting him as a utility player. MLB.com ranked him at No. 13 in the Dodgers’ system and was somewhat more optimistic, suggesting he lacks power but could be the sort of hitter who typically bats second in a team’s batting order. He is the son of former big-league infielder Jose Valentin.

AUGUST 7: The Phillies announce that they have traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations. ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that the Phillies will get two “lower-level minor leaguers,” and MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets that the Phillies will select them from a group of players. The Phillies placed Hernandez, along with a number of other players, on revocable waivers on Saturday.

The Phillies signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM deal last winter, and he posted a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 121 innings for them, with a strong 52.0% ground ball rate. He has gotten good results recently, with a 2.18 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break. Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has played parts of nine seasons, also spending time with the Indians and Rays.

Hernandez’s role with the Dodgers is unclear. Obviously, they have a strong rotation featuring Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Josh Beckett has, however, struggled in three outings since returning from the disabled list with a hip injury, and Matt Gelb of the Inquirer tweets that Hernandez will start in Beckett’s place Friday.

For the Phillies, the move marks their first trade of a veteran since their very quiet trade deadline. It may have helped them that Hernandez’s contract was a relatively easy one to trade. The Phillies are currently 51-63 and in last place in the NL East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Ramirez, Dodgers Won’t Negotiate Until Season’s End

Team president Stan Kasten says the Dodgers will not be discussing a new contract with free-agent-to-be Hanley Ramirez until after the season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Ramirez is currently on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

Both sides have agreed we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide,” says Kasten. “As difficult a season as he’s had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us.”

Ramirez and the Dodgers discussed an extension at the beginning of the season, and Ramirez has voiced his desire to be a “Dodger for life.” Ramirez’s injuries and defensive troubles will likely be issues, however — Shaikin cites one insider who says that Ramirez might not be able to get a contract of more than two years unless he’s willing to move from shortstop to a new position. (Obviously, his .277/.367/.455 line this year will play at any position.)

The consensus among those Shaikin polled suggested Ramirez would get two to three years at about $15MM per season, a total that seems surprisingly small, but reasonable, given the question of what position he’ll play and the likelihood that the Dodgers will extend a qualifying offer.