Baltimore Orioles Rumors

Baltimore Orioles trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL Notes: Jays, Orioles, Twins, Red Sox

The Blue Jays need to do some navel-gazing heading into trade season, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. The rotation leads the AL with 35 wins, but other stats like ERA and total bases allowed stack up less promisingly. Veteran Mark Buerhle has provided a timely career season, while other members of the rotation have been solid but volatile. Improvements to the rotation may rank at the top of the Jays’ trade deadline wish list.

  • In the same piece, Davidi speaks with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. He acknowledges there will be inconsistency with the rotation and points to health as something that is particularly difficult to predict. He also reiterated his preference for in-season trades since it’s easier to gauge which teams and players are performing well.
  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette recently addressed fans at the “State of the Orioles” address, reports MASNsports.com Steve Melewski. One of the topics discussed was Nolan Reimold‘s role with the club. He’s currently hitting .326/.433/.522 at Double-A. Said Duquette “we’ll have to see if he can help our ballclub.” The Orioles must add Reimold to the active roster by Monday or else designate him for assignment. Given his current performance, it’s likely they will lose him if he’s placed on waivers.
  • Despite rumors that the Yankees plan to spend upwards of $30 million in the international market, the Twins intend to participate aggressively, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. According to Twins GM Terry Ryan, “we aren’t going to lie low.” He also expressed skepticism about the rumors of other teams blowing past their budget, saying “Once you start paying some of that tax, all of a sudden other people get involved.”
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke with reporters about the club’s direction, reports MassLive.com’s Jason Mastrodonato. Cherington highlights the team’s talent base as a reason to stay positive for the current season. While he wasn’t “sugarcoating” their 7.5 game deficit in the AL East, he didn’t rule out a trade deadline addition. It’s widely speculated that the Sox will deal from their depth of starting pitchers.

Minor Moves: DePaula, Exposito, Snyder, Smith

Here are the day’s minor moves…

  • Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the Orioles have signed right-hander Julio DePaula to a minor league deal and assigned him to Double-A Bowie (Twitter link). The 31-year-old hasn’t appeared in the bigs since a 2007 stint with the Twins. He’s bounced around since that time, appearing at Triple-A, pitching in the Korea Baseball Organization and also pitching in independent ball. This season, he had a 2.48 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 29 innings with the Atlantic League’s York Revolution.
  • The Athletics have signed catcher Luis Exposito to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Sacramento, tweets Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com. Exposito, 27, spent time with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate earlier this season, hitting .177/.252/.313 with three homers in 107 PA. The longtime Red Sox farmhand is a career .260/.317/.408 hitter in the minors and appeared briefly in the Major Leagues with the Orioles in 2011.
  • After being designated for assignment by the Rangers on Tuesday, outfielder/first baseman Brad Snyder has cleared waivers, reports Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (via Twitter). The 32-year-old is still deciding whether or not to accept his assignment or instead become a free agent.
  • The Padres have signed righty Chris Smith away from the indy league Sugar Land Skeeters, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). Smith, 33, threw 67 2/3 MLB innings between 2008-09, and last played in the minors in 2011. But he has tossed 50 1/3 frames of 2.13 ERA ball for the Skeeters, with 9.8 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Orioles Outright Francisco Peguero

TODAY, 7:49pm: Peguero has accepted his assignment and is in the lineup for Norfolk this evening, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

7:39pm: Peguero has rejected the assignment and elected free agency, according to the MLB transactions page.

YESTERDAY: The Orioles announced that they have outrighted the contract of outfielder Francisco Peguero to Triple-A Norfolk.

Baltimore signed Peguero, 26, to a Major League contract this offseason despite the fact that he has just 46 big league plate appearances under his belt. Peguero batted a combined .200/.217/.289 from 2012-13 with the Giants and was released after the season. Once considered one of San Francisco’s top prospects, Peguero is a career .306/.337/.427 hitter in the minors, which is nearly identical to the .307/.338/.429 batting line he’s put together this season with Norfolk. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette explained his thinking behind the Major League contract to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes this offseason.

Peguero was one of three minor league free agents signed to Major League deals by the O’s this winter; right-hander Edgmer Escalona — who was also outrighted just yesterday — and lefty Kelvin De La Cruz were both signed to big league deals as well despite having little to no Major League experience.



AL Notes: Orioles, Webb, Walker, Martinez

Though they’ve lost Matt Wieters for the season to Tommy John surgery, the Orioles aren’t actively shopping for upgrades at the catcher position, executive VP Dan Duquette told reporters (including Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com). “It’s always a challenge to change catchers during the season because the catcher is involved in so many factors of the game,” said Duquette. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see the O’s eventually poke around in the catcher market, though, as Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley haven’t shown much value at the plate. Joseph, at least, has been outstanding on defense. He ranks as one of the best pitch-framers in the game (via Baseball Prospectus and Matthew Carruth’s StatCorner), and his 47 percent success rate in catching base stealers leads the league.

Here are a few more items from the O’s and the rest of the American League …

  • Randy Wolf spent more than a year away from the Orioles organization between the end of the 2012 season and the minor league deal he signed to return on Sunday, but he seems to have helped the Orioles even when he wasn’t with the club. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Duquette credits Wolf for Ryan Webb signing with the team this offseason, as Wolf gave a ringing endorsement of the organization to Webb when he was a free agent. Webb’s strong command and elite ground-ball rate have led to 32 2/3 innings of 2.48 ERA ball out of the Baltimore ‘pen — a bargain considering the two-year, $4.5MM deal he signed with the O’s.
  • The Mariners‘ trade deadline plans could be dictated in part by how top prospect Taijuan Walker throws over his next several outings, notes Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Though Seattle is not necessarily intent on dealing him, a return to health and top form would provide options, says Morosi. Presumably, Walker could also be looked to for a boost to the club’s own rotation.
  • It is no accident that J.D. Martinez has had his sudden breakout with the Tigers, according to a report from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit assistant GM Al Avila, who has had his eye on Martinez for quite some time, says that he “always felt [Martinez] was a good hitter” and saw him going through highs and lows much like many other young players. Of course, Avila acknowledges that he has still been surprised by Martinez’s stunning .310/.344/.593 line and seven home runs through 122 plate appearances since signing a minor league pact with the Tigers late in the spring.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Draft Signings: Kevin McAvoy, Tanner Scott

Here are the latest draft signings of note:

  • Fourth-rounder Kevin McAvoy has agreed to terms with the Red Sox, tweets Callis. McAvoy will get a $300K bonus, saving the club $77.6K against his 134th slot allocation. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal profiled the Bryant University righty after he was selected.
  • The Orioles have agreed to sign sixth-round choice Tanner Scott, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). Scott takes home a $650K bonus, which nearly triples the $240K slot value allocated to the 181st choice. Scott, a high school lefty out of Texas, was rated the 184th-best prospect by Baseball America but did not crack the top-200 list of Callis and his MLB.com colleague Jonathan Mayo.

Edgmer Escalona Rejects Outright, Elects Free Agency

The Orioles have announced that right-hander Edgmer Escalona has rejected his outright assignment and elected free agency instead.

Escalona, 27, signed a Major League deal with the O’s this offseason despite lacking a significant Major League track record. He opened the season on the 60-day disabled list as he recovered from an impingement in his right shoulder but was activated and began pitching for Triple-A Norfolk in late May.

Curiously, after making three relief appearances, the Orioles transitioned Escalona to the Tides’ rotation, where he made the first three starts of his professional career. All 262 of his minor league appearances and all 70 of his Major League appearances had come out of the bullpen prior to that point.

Escalona didn’t fare particularly well in the Norfolk rotation, and he leaves the Orioles’ organization with a 6.10 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. He struck out 14 batters in that time and showed solid command, yielding only five walks.

Prior to his time with the Orioles organization, Escalona had spent his entire career with the Rockies. In exactly 100 innings at the Major League level, he has a 4.50 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 36.7 percent ground-ball rate. Escalona’s strong 94.2 mph average fastball velocity from 2012-13 likely enticed the Orioles. That marked a significant uptick in his velocity from 2010-11, but unfortunately for the Rockies, the increased velocity also came with a 5.80 ERA in 68 1/3 innings of work, which likely led to his departure from the Rockies organization.


Minor Moves: Despaigne, Wolf, Stinson, Escalona

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Padres are set to promote Odrisamer Despaigne, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. They’ll need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster to make space for him. Despaigne, a Cuban pitcher who the Padres signed to a minor league deal in May, had two good starts for Double-A San Antonio before posting a 7.61 ERA in five starts for Triple-A El Paso. He did, however, post 11.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 23 2/3 innings there. Despaigne will start in place of Andrew Cashner on Monday, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman suggests (via Twitter). (The Padres are merely being “conservative” in scratching Cashner, Heyman says, although he does not give an exact reason why Cashner won’t be starting.)
  • The Orioles have signed Randy Wolf to a minor league contract and he will pitch three innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, tweets David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot. The deal is pending a physical, tweets MASNsports.com Roch Kubatko.
  • Right-hander Josh Stinson has accepted his outright assignment by the Orioles to Triple-A Norfolk, tweets Kubatko and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.
  • The Orioles have outrighted right-hander Edgmer Escalona to Triple-A, tweets Hall. In a separate tweet, Hall reports Escalona is still processing the move and will consult his agent as to whether to accept the outright or declare free agency. The 27-year-old has appeared in six games (three starts) for Norfolk this year posting a 6.10 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 20 2/3 innings.
  • The Cubs added left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to their 40-man roster and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa, the club announced.  Wada has been pitching for Iowa all season but, as Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald tweets, the Japanese southpaw had an opt-out clause in his contract, so putting Wada on the 40-man allows the Cubs to keep him.  Signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, Wada has an impressive 2.81 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.61 K/BB rate in 14 Triple-A starts in 2014.
  • The Phillies released outfielder Tyson Gillies, the team announced.  A career .284/.364/.411 hitter over 2060 minor league PA, Gillies struggled at the Triple-A level over the last two seasons.  Gillies joined the Phillies from the Mariners organization in December 2009 as part of the trade package (along with J.C. Ramirez and Phillippe Aumont) that Philadelphia acquired from Seattle in exchange for Cliff Lee.
  • The Tigers shifted right-hander Luke Putkonen from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to create a 40-man roster spot for the newly-recalled Pat McCoy, the team announced.  In another corresponding move, Ian Krol was put on the 15-day DL to make room for McCoy on the 25-man roster.  Putkonen only pitched 2 2/3 innings for Detroit and five total minor league innings this season due to elbow problems, and he is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks after recently undergoing surgery.
  • Per MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker, there are six players in DFA limbo: Kevin Slowey (Marlins), Josh Outman (Indians), Evan Reed (Tigers), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jake Dunning (Giants), and Roger Bernadina (Reds).

Edward Creech and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Minor Moves: Fisher, Clay, Diaz, Panik, Stinson

Here’s a look at today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Braves have purchased the contract of Carlos Fisher from the Somerset Patriots and assigned him to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Fisher, 31, previously spent parts of three seasons with the Reds, most recently in 2011. He posted a 4.74 ERA, 7.84 K/9, and 5.02 BB/9 in 98 2/3 innings.
  • The Angels have signed Caleb Clay from the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles and assigned him to Triple-A, according to Cotillo (via Twitter). Clay was selected 44th overall by the Red Sox during the 2006 amateur draft. He’s since pitched for the Sox and Nationals organizations but never reached the majors. The 26-year-old right-hander struggled in his first season overseas, with a 8.33 ERA, 4.50 K/9, and 5.63 BB/9.
  • Once again from Cotillo (on Twitter), the Diamondbacks have signed 27-year-old Argenis Diaz to a minor league deal. Diaz was with the Reds until recently. Interestingly, Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate has only used Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed at shortstop to date in 2014. Diaz will presumably provide depth up the middle.

From earlier…

  • The Tigers will promote lefty Pat McCoy, Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com tweets. McCoy will have to be added to their 40-man roster. McCoy, 25, has posted a 2.94 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 33 2/3 innings this season divided between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers signed McCoy, a product of the Nationals system, to a minor league deal last fall.
  • The Giants will promote prospect Joe Panik, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Panik, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, will need to be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster. The second baseman was hitting .321/.382/.447 in 326 plate appearances for Triple-A Fresno.
  • The Orioles have announced that pitcher Josh Stinson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles designated Stinson for assignment on Tuesday. He has pitched 13 innings for the Orioles this season, allowing nine runs while striking out six and walking six.
  • The Rockies have purchased the contract of pitcher Wilton Lopez, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding tweets. They’ve made space for Lopez by optioning pitching Chris Martin to Triple-A Colorado Springs and moving Michael Cuddyer to the 60-day DL. The Rockies outrighted Lopez last week.
  • The Yankees have released 1B/OF Russ Canzler, Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune tweets. Canzler last appeared in the big leagues with the Indians in 2012. He hit .263/.332/.389 in 199 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014.
  • The Royals have added selected the contract of OF Justin Maxwell, Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City tweets. Maxwell will take Norichika Aoki’s place on the active roster as Aoki heads to the disabled list with a groin injury. The Royals outrighted Maxwell in May, and he’s hit .316/.358/.541 in 106 plate appearances since then.
  • The Astros will add Jake Buchanan to their 40-man roster to start Saturday, and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that fellow pitcher Jose Cisnero will head to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Buchanan on the 40-man roster. Buchanan, 24, has posted 5.2 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

Quick Hits: Hardy, Betts, Mets, Hinshaw

In his 65th game of the season, J.J. Hardy launched his first home run of 2014 off Yankees reliever Jose Ramirez. Hardy, who will turn 32 years old in August, has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the last three seasons. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $22.5MM contract with the Orioles. Despite the power outage, he hasn’t been a total loss at the plate with a .288/.317/.354 line entering today. Aside from home runs, Hardy is best known for superb defense at shortstop, so he should have suitors lined up regardless of his offensive value. Obviously, a return to his previous home run bashing ways will improve his leverage as a free agent.

  • Mookie Betts may be moving closer to a major league promotion, speculates Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Red Sox manager John Farrell mentioned Betts unprompted when asked about recent signee Andres Torres, saying “I know Mookie Betts is swinging the bat well.” Betts natural position is second base, but he’s been learning the outfield due to the presence of incumbent Dustin Pedroia. According to leaderboards available at FanGraphs, Red Sox outfielders rank third to last in baseball with a .233/.310/.339 line. A shot in the arm appears justified.
  • Rather than trade for an elite slugger like Giancarlo Stanton, the Mets may employ a strategy similar to the Rays and Athletics, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. To further reinforce Martino’s point, one Mets official asks “what big bat is out there to trade for?” With the Marlins in the playoff race, Carlos Gonzalez on the disabled list, and Matt Kemp underperforming his contract, there aren’t many places to look for franchise altering bats. Instead, it might be easier to find and develop hidden values like Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, and Ben Zobrist. Mets fans who are waiting to turn Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler into a superstar are liable to be disappointed.
  • The Cubs are the only team jumping into the trade market with both feet according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. GMs are cautious about pulling the plug too quickly, which keeps negotiations from moving forward until the deadline approaches. League wide parity and the second Wild Card have conspired to allow most teams to dream of contention. There’s also the annual game of roster chicken. Says one AL executive, “Everyone overvalues their prospects and they wait because they are always convinced the prices are going to come down.”
  • Former big league lefty Alex Hinshaw is once again drawing the interest of major league teams, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith. The 31-year-old is now pitching for the Independent League Wichita Wingnuts, with 18 strikeouts in eight and two-thirds innings. He last spent time in the majors in 2012, when he threw 28 innings for the Padres and one-third of an inning for the Cubs. Walks plagued Hinshaw, as evidenced by his 6.04 ERA, 11.44 K/9, and 6.67 BB/9.

Orioles Designate Josh Stinson For Assignment

The Orioles have designated righty Josh Stinson for assignment, the club announced. The move creates active roster space for the activation of fellow righty Miguel Gonzalez.

Baltimore claimed Stinson off waivers from the Athletics in early April, then outrighted him on the first of May. He mad only one scoreless appearance in relief since returning to the MLB roster. On the year, Stinson has tossed 13 innings, allowing nine earned runs while both striking out and walking six batters.