Baltimore Orioles Rumors
The Orioles announced (via Twitter) that they have selected the contract of Travis Ishikawa and designated infielder Yamaico Navarro for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. A 25-man roster space has been opened by placing Miguel Gonzalez on the paternity list.
Navarro, 25, hit .286/.333/.357 in 31 plate appearances for the O's this year, though he's just a career .206/.258/.267 hitter. Despite his youth, he's seen Major League action with four different clubs -- the Red Sox, Pirates, Royals and O's. He's fared significantly better in 190 games at the Triple-A level, batting .268/.354/.440.
Ishikawa exercised the out clause in his minor league contract, giving the Orioles 48 hours to decide whether or not to add him to the roster. General manager Dan Duquette said earlier this morning they were leaning toward selecting the contract. Ishikawa, who was hitting .316/.413/.525 with seven homers in 208 plate appearances at Triple-A, will start at DH for the Orioles tonight and bat eighth.
TUESDAY: Orioles general manager Dan Duquette tells Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com that the team is "leaning toward" adding Ishikawa to the roster, but nothing has been finalized yet. The team has until midnight to make a decision (Twitter link).
SUNDAY: Travis Ishikawa has filed a written request to exercise his opt-out clause and become a free agent, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The Orioles have 48 hours to add Ishikawa to their 25-man Major League roster, or he will be granted his release from the organization. The Orioles could also trade Ishikawa during this 48-hour period, MLBTR has learned.
As reported by MLBTR last week, Ishikawa had the ability to opt-out of his contract on Saturday. While he has performed quite well at Triple-A Norfolk, the O's haven't been able to find room for him on the roster. The 29-year-old has a .316/.413/.525 slash line with seven homers in 208 Triple-A plate appearances.
Here are today's notable signings from the second and third days of the amateur draft. Information on the assigned slot values is provided by Baseball America...
- The Rangers have signed tenth-rounder Cole Wiper, Fox Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro tweets. Wiper signed for a $700K bonus, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports, a far above-slot number that dwarfs the recommended bonus ($135.5K) for the 310th spot in the draft. Wiper was taken in the 14th round of the 2011 draft by the Blue Jays but he chose college instead, pitching at Oregon and missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. Wiper, a right-hander, has only thrown 12 innings for Oregon this season.
- The Athletics have agreed to terms with third-rounder Ryon Healy and sixth-rounder Kyle Finnegan, the team announced on its Twitter feed. Terms weren't disclosed but Healy's draft position (100th overall) has a slot value of $515.6K and Finnegan's position (191st overall) has a $214.3K slot value. Healy, an Oregon first baseman, was rated as the draft's 86th-best prospect by Baseball America while ESPN's Keith Law ranked right-hander Finnegan as the 93rd-best member of the 2013 draft pool.
- The Brewers have signed fourth round pick Taylor Williams, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets. Williams, a right-hander from Kent State, signed for a $400K bonus, slightly less than the recommended $417K bonus for the 122nd overall pick.
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Jonah Heim, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Heim signed for a $389.7K bonus, exactly matching the recommended slot value for the 129th pick. Heim, who is advised by Frye McCann Sports, is a switch-hitting high school catcher who had committed to Michigan State.
With the Dodgers beginning a history-rich interleague series with the Yankees tomorrow in the Bronx, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal looks back at how Vin Scully was offered a chance to be the voice of the Yankees in 1964. Here are some more items revolving around the AL East...
- Brian Cashman expects to continue to be busy leading up to the trade deadline, the Yankees GM told reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) today. "I’m always open for business, if it feels like they’re incremental upgrades or significant ones," Cashman said. "Listen, because of the injuries that have hit us from the winter and March, we’ve been active and open to try to do something that would make sense for us. I think we’ve done a lot and we’re going to continue to try to do a lot."
- MLB.com's Ian Browne addresses a number of Red Sox trade deadline possibilities in a reader mailbag. Browne "highly doubts" that Jon Lester would be moved despite his current struggles, Stephen Drew could be brought back for next season depending on Will Middlebrooks' development and the Sox wouldn't have to give up much in a potential trade for Jonathan Papelbon though they would have to take on most of the remaining $33.6MM on Papelbon's contract.
- In another MLB.com fan mailbag piece, Bill Chastain looks at Wil Myers' callup to the Rays and how the heavily-touted prospect could fare in the Major Leagues.
- Orioles first round pick Hunter Harvey could come to terms with the club before their remaining two unsigned draftees from the first 10 rounds, a team source tells Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. It could take the O's right up until near the July 12 deadline to sign supplemental first-rounder Josh Hart.
Now that the draft is over, teams are focusing more on bolstering their rotations with one more piece, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. No one more aggressive in the pursuit of pitching than Orioles GM Dan Duquette who knows that one veteran starter could make all the difference. While they're anxious to improve their starting five, it doesn't sound as if the O's will be in the mix for someone like Cliff Lee. “We’re looking for a starter and a reliever,” said Duquette. “We’d like to solidify our pitching all around because that’s the name of the game, really. We have to look at everything. Don’t think we’re going to be in the market for a big-money pitcher, but there seem to be some guys out there that we might focus on and see where it takes us.” Here's more from today's column..
- The Astros will craft a game plan early this week for how to approach their veteran assets. Teams are already calling about Bud Norris, who has a cheap $3MM salary, but won't be cheap to acquire. The Orioles, Giants, and Pirates have kicked around the idea of acquiring Norris, but one National League exec says there will be about a dozen teams interested before all is said and done.
- It seems like a no-brainer for the A’s to pick up Coco Crisp's 2014 option for $7.5MM, but he'll be in demand if they don’t. Even though he's 33-years-old, there aren’t many top center fielder/leadoff hitter types out there. Jacoby Ellsbury will be the No. 1 guy in that department, but , one American League special assignment scout said Crisp might be a better low-cost option because “he can do everything Ellsbury can do. Neither of them have an arm, but Coco is still fast, a very good outfielder, and can still be a game-changer.”
- The Phillies believe there are at least three teams — Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals — that may have some interest in Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline and the Phillies are scouting those teams with a potential deal in mind. General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that he’s not ready to “blow up” the Phillies, but a Papelbon trade could help retool the club.
- Teams continue to nudge Javier Vazquez into coming back to pitch, but the right-hander seems to be content with staying with his family, according to a source familiar with Vazquez’s thinking.
- The Red Sox can trade Stephen Drew now that June 15th has come and gone, and they would have no problem finding a taker given the lack of shortstops around baseball. However, Boston firmly believes that Drew is their guy. One National League GM doesn't quite understand their infatuation with the shortstop. “They’re either trying to justify the $9.5MM they paid him, or they’re not sold on [Jose] Iglesias, who could start for 29 other teams.”
- If the White Sox decide to finally bolster their farm system, they could get some helpful prospects back by moving right-hander Jesse Crain. The reliever is becoming a top name on wish lists around baseball.
- While many baseball people remain focused on Giancarlo Stanton’s availability in a deal, 25-year-old Logan Morrison is now healthy and has returned to the lineup. The Marlins first baseman/outfielder is a big lefthanded hitter who will be monitored closely by scouts over the next month.
The Orioles have agreed to terms with second-round draft pick Chance Sisco, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (via Twitter). The deal will become official if Sisco passes a physical on Monday. Terms of the contract weren't released, though the draft slot value (as listed by Baseball America) for the 61st overall pick is $913.3K.
Cisco is a left-handed hitting high school catcher who just began playing behind the plate last season, according to Connolly. Cisco's scouting report on MLB.com describes the 6'2", 193-pounder as having "an average arm and...good hands," and as a former shortstop switching to catcher, Cisco "should develop into a solid all-around defender" as he learns his new position.
Here are Thursday's notable signings from Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America) ...
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Scottsdale Community College lefty Stephen Tarpley, the team's third-round choice, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (via Twitter). Tarpley, who reportedly touches 95 with his fastball, was signed for just $500 under the recommended $525,500 bonus for the 98th overall choice.
- Third-round draft choice Brandon Dixon has signed with the Dodgers for the slot recommendation of $566,500, tweets Callis. The University of Arizona third baseman could become a corner outfielder, according to Callis, and is noted for his power potential.
- The Dodgers have signed fourth-round choice Cody Bellinger, a high-school first baseman, for $700k, tweets Callis. Los Angeles pried Bellinger away from the University of Oregon with the largest over-slot signing to date (by percentage), nearly doubling the recommended $409k bonus. Bellinger is being advised by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
- The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with their fourth round pick, left-handed high-schooler Evan Smith, according to Callis (on Twitter). Smith, who stands at 6'5", has reportedly touched 93 with his fastball. $96.1k
- Cody Dickson, a "projectable" left-hander out of Sam Houston State, will sign with the Pirates for $375k, Callis says on Twitter. The fourth-round pick's bonus falls $54,200 under the slot recommendation.
- The Reds have signed fourth-rounder Ben Lively for $350k, Callis tweets. The righty mixes four pitches, including a 90-93 MPH heater. His signing bonus comes in at a modest $17.9k under slot.
- The Rockies inked fifth-rounder Blake Shouse for $353,900, his exact slot allocation, according to a Callis tweet. Per Callis, the two-way player sits in the low-to-mid 90's with his fastball and also features a hard curve.
- Third round pick Patrick Murphy signed with the Blue Jays for $500K, Callis tweets. The Arizona high school right-hander missed the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In the past, he has displayed a 93 mph fastball and solid curveball. Murphy is advised by Jonathan Pridie of Sosnick Cobbe.
- The Yankees signed third-rounder Michael O'Neill for $501K, according to Callis (via Twitter). The Michigan outfielder is quick and could wind up in center field.
- Rangers fourth-round pick Isaiah Kiner-Falefa signed for $202K, per Callis (on Twitter). The Hawaiian high school shortstop is a solid defender with a contact-oriented approach. He signed for nearly $184K under slot.
- Catcher/right-hander Tanner Murphy, a fourth-round pick of the Braves, agreed to a $250K bonus to forego his commitment to Southern Illinois, Callis tweets. Murphy has power in his bat and a strong throwing arm behind the dish, and he's also been clocked at 92 mph on the mound. He signed for a healthy $125K below slot.
- The Angels have signed third-round pick Kenyan Middleton for a bonus of $450K, tweets Callis. Middleton is a two-sport athlete out of junior college in Oregon who touches 95 mph with his fastball and features a tight slider as well. He signed $91K under slot.
- The Rays have signed fifth-round selection Johnny Field for a bonus of $250K, Callis reports (on Twitter). Field, an outfielder out of the University of Arizona, will convert to second base and provides most of his value with his bat. He signed for nearly $45K under slot.
The Mariners' promotion of Mike Zunino will give the club some 40-man roster issues down the line, writes Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner. While none of the players on the chopping block for future roster shuffling project to be superstars, "the reality is that if you toss a half dozen fringe prospects overboard, you’re going to end up regretting it," Cameron writes. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Tigers have been looking hard for a closer and will continue to do so, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Jose Valverde had a rough outing today versus the Royals as he surrendered a game-tying two run homer in the bottom of the ninth to Lorenzo Cain.
- Travis Ishikawa can opt out of his deal with the Orioles soon and Dan Duquette wouldn't be surprised if he lands a big league job, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Tim Dierkes first learned that the first baseman can opt out of his minor league deal on Saturday.
- Michael Foltynewicz is evolving into the Astros' best pitching prospect, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The No. 19 overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in the club’s farm system, according to Baseball America, and he has only added to his buzz since then.
- The Angels considered drafting former Florida football star Tim Tebow years ago but he had to be scrubbed from the draft board when he didn't send a completed information card to them, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- It's too early to determine who will and won't be available at the trade deadline this year, opines Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
Tonight's Brewers vs. Marlins matchup surely was of interest to teams that might pursue starting pitching in the trade market, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted at the beginning of the game. Yovani Gallardo started for the Brewers and pitched eight shutout innings, striking out four and walking one. The Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, another trade candidate, didn't fare so well, allowing four runs while striking out five and walking two over 5 1/3 innings. Here are more notes from around the league.
- Last November, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks expressed interest in Alex Rodriguez, Ken Belson and David Waldstein of the New York Times report. The Yankees never discussed the matter with the Japanese team, because they knew Rodriguez required hip surgery that would limit him in 2013, and because they knew Rodriguez would not consent to playing overseas.
- Ike Davis' poor performance (and subsequent demotion) may make him a non-tender candidate in the coming offseason, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York argues. Davis will make $3.125MM this season, and will be eliglble for arbitration next season. He hit .161/.242/.258 in 207 plate appearances this year before the Mets shipped him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Last month, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes discussed many potential non-tender candidates, including Davis, Clayton Richard, and Chris Perez.
- The Pirates have had a number of surprisingly good pitching performances this year, and what connects them is catcher Russell Martin, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Martin's pitch-framing is highly-regarded, and he also wins praise for his game-calling. His impact on the Pirates' pitching staff makes the two-year, $17MM contract to which the Bucs signed him this offseason look like a very good one, Sawchik argues.
- The Astros are rebuilding the right way, says ESPN's Jim Bowden in a new video. Bowden argues that GM Jeff Luhnow, manager Bo Porter and new president Reid Ryan are the right leaders for the Astros. Bowden also says the Astros' top draft picks help set them up to the future. The Astros selected Carlos Correa first overall in 2012, then grabbed Mark Appel with this year's top pick. They'll also have a very high pick next year. Not trying to spend their way out of last place is the right strategy for the Astros, Bowden says, because of the top picks they get as a result.
- The Orioles are not interested in Jon Garland, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko tweets. The Rockies released Garland this afternoon after he posted a 5.82 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 for them.
First baseman Travis Ishikawa is able to opt out of his minor league contract with the Orioles this coming Saturday, MLBTR has learned.
The 29-year-old has torn apart International League pitching this season, posting a batting line of .318/.414/.532 with seven homers and 16 doubles in 203 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk. He enjoyed a partiularly torrid month of May, which was good enough for him to be named the Orioles' minor league player of the month. Originally a 21st-round pick of the Giants in the 2002 draft, Ishikawa a career .264/.328/.405 triple-slash line.
The Orioles are set at first base, with Chris Davis is enjoying a better season than nearly any hitter in baseball, but it seems logical that Ishikawa could be considered for a bench role or get a look at DH. Presently, Orioles' designated hitters are batting just .233/.292/.425, with Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce getting the bulk of the playing time in that role. That, of course, is just speculation on my part.