Baltimore Orioles Rumors
While the Indians didn't get much for Cliff Lee, they did get one significant player in their 2008 trade of another Cy Young winner, C.C. Sabathia, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer argues. That would be outfielder Michael Brantley. Pluto stops short of defending that trade (which also included Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson) but notes that Brantley's hitting has gradually improved -- he's hitting .312/.366/.399 this season. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- With the fifth pick in the upcoming draft, the Indians would consider selecting Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel or Kris Bryant, if any of them fall that far, Paul Hoynes of the Plain-Dealer reports. That seems unlikely, however. Beyond that, Indians scouting director Brad Grant says Cleveland will "take the best available player," although he doesn't tip his hand about who that might be.
- Mark Hendrickson of the Orioles is busy in Triple-A trying to make it back to the major leagues at 38, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports. Hendrickson signed a minor-league deal with the O's in February. Now he's pitching entirely as a sidearmer. Dubroff notes that Hendrickson has played for four NBA teams (the 76ers, Kings, Nets and Cavaliers) as well as five MLB teams (the Blue Jays, Rays, Dodgers, Marlins and Orioles). He last appeared in the big leagues with the Orioles in 2011.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia is happy with his team's pitching depth, reports Robert Falkoff of MLB.com. Billy Buckner, who started on Saturday for the Angels, is the team's 10th starting pitcher of the season, and its 29th pitcher overall. "The organizational depth has been tested," says Scioscia. "It's an important part of what we need to do. I think we've seen the last couple of weeks that our pitchers have performed better. The fact that we've used so many is obviously not the template, but these guys are important to us."
We'll keep track of Friday's minor transactions right here...
- Dan Klein, once a highly-rated Orioles prospect, was been placed on the club's voluntary retirement list, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. A third round pick in the 2010 draft, Klein was dominant in the short time he spent on the mound, putting up a composite 1.11 ERA over 32 1/3 innings split between High-A and Double-A in the 2011 season as a 22-year-old. Since then, however, Klein has struggled with a series major shoulder injuries. As MASN's Steve Melewski detailed last fall, Klein was hopeful of getting back on track this year, but he ultimately never advanced far enough to make a minor league appearance.
- The Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Orioles, have announced the release of left-hander Zach Braddock (on Twitter). The 25-year-old Braddock has a 4.41 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 51 Major League innings -- all coming with the Brewers from 2010-11. Big strikeout numbers and high walk totals have been the norm for the New Jersey native since he was selected by the Brewers in the 18th round of the 2005 draft.
- Left-hander Royce Ring has signed with the Long Island Ducks, tweets ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Royce, 32, was selected by the White Sox with the 18th overall pick in the 2002 draft. In parts of five Major League seasons with the Mets, Padres, Braves and Yankees, the San Diego State University product has a 5.29 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9.
There were plenty of headlines made in both the AL East and NL East last night, with Kevin Gausman making his Major League debut and Chase Utley hitting the 15-day disabled list. More news and rumors from baseball's Eastern divisions...
- The addition of a second wild card team in each league hurts teams such as the Braves that have early-season needs, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Few teams are ready to pack it in and declare themselves sellers at this stage, but Atlanta could use some left-handed relief help with Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters out for the season. Olney's Insider-only piece runs down some potentially available lefties.
- The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Sean Nolin from Double-A New Hampshire and transferred J.A. Happ to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster space, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Darren Oliver hit the 15-day DL to clear a 25-man roster spot.
- The New York Post's Mike Puma cites a "high-ranking club official" as he reports that Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler should join the club in two to three weeks, barring any injury setbacks. Puma's source told him that were it not for a minor shoulder injury that caused Wheeler to miss a start, he might already be with the big league club. Jeremy Hefner is the most likely rotation casualty, Puma adds.
- The Orioles have about three weeks to make a decision on what to do with rehabbing lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore. The Japanese lefty has yet to throw a pitch for the O's since signing a two-year, $8.15MM contract thanks to Tommy John surgery.
Burnett was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays from the Twins on March 29th and quickly designated for assignment, at which point the Orioles claimed him. The 25-year-old made two relief appearances for Baltimore, surrendering three runs in his most recent outing. For his career, he has a 4.73 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and 0.74 HR/9 in 171 1/3 innings in parts of four seasons.
Earlier today, we learned that the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury have yet to discuss a new deal this season. The outfielder can land a monster deal this winter if he recaptures his 2011 form, but so far he's hitting just .242/.307/.335 in 2013. Here's more on Ellsbury and the latest out of the American League East..
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com tweets that Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette weighed considerations beyond service time when promoting top prospect Kevin Gausman. "It shows a commitment to the club," said Duquette. "I think it tells the team we want to win." While the team will still control Gausman through 2019, the right-hander can now potentially gain Super Two status and enter arbitration a year earlier than if the club had waited until mid-June.
- In an interview with WEEI's Mut & Merloni, ESPN's Buster Olney described the circumstances of a possible Jacoby Ellsbury trade this summer, writes Kevin Dillon of WEEI.com. Olney points out that even if Ellsbury falls out of favor with the Red Sox, they would still have to find a contender in need of a center fielder to swing a deal.
- Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona stopped by WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show and discussed the fallout from his book released earlier this year, Dillon writes. The current Indians skipper says that he hasn't gotten the chance to talk with Red Sox owners since releasing the book in which he claimed that they cared more about making money than baseball.
Max Fogle contributed to this post.
Here's your rundown of today's minor moves...
- Sugar Land Skeeters outfielder Dustin Martin has signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks according to a press release from the Skeeters (via MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez on Twitter). Martin, 29, has spent time in the Mets and Twins organizations. He was part of the return the Twins received when they traded Luis Castillo to the Mets in 2007. The lefty swinger is a career .259/.328/.397 hitter in 420 games at the Triple-A level.
- The Orioles have acquired minor league infielder Josh Horton from the Athletics in exchange for cash or a player to be named later, assistant GM David Forst told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Horton is hitting .224/.246/.373 this season at Triple-A. He has experience at second base, shortstop and third base. Horton was a second-round pick by the A's in 2007 and ranked as their No. 26 prospect prior to the 2008 season, according to Baseball America. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports tweets that Horton will be assigned to Double-A Bowie.
The Orioles are calling up right-hander Kevin Gausman, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Gausman will make his big league debut on Thursday night, taking the mound against the Blue Jays.
Gausman ranked No. 26 on both Baseball America's and Keith Law's prospect rankings for ESPN, while MLB.com listed him ten spots lower at No. 36. Prior to the season, BA wrote that Gausman's "aptitude and intelligence help set him apart." The youngster, who is second only to Dylan Bundy in Baltimore's system, is praised by BA for his premium fastball and changeup.
If he sticks on the O's roster, Gausman could potentially gain Super Two status and trigger arbitration a year early. Had the the Orioles waited until mid-June or later to promote the pitcher, they could have avoided the possibility of him becoming a Super Two player after the 2015 season. For now, the 22-year-old is slated to be under team control through 2019.
Today's minor moves...
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports that the Orioles have signed Ronny Paulino to a minor league deal. Eddy's piece contains a wealth of information, as it includes a complete rundown of minor league transactions that have taken place from May 9-16 among all 30 teams.
- Athletics reliever Chris Resop cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's had designated Resop for assignment on Friday to open a 40-man roster spot for Hideki Okajima. Resop, 30, had a 6.00 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 5.0 BB/9, 1.50 HR/9, and 41.9% groundball rate in 18 innings this year. Having been outrighted once before, Resop had the ability to reject this assignment, but it made sense to accept and keep his $1.35MM salary. That salary also may explain why he went unclaimed. The A's acquired Resop from the Pirates in November last year for 25-year-old minor league reliever Zach Thornton.
- Mark Teahen has asked for and been granted his release from the Diamondbacks and is a free agent, MLBTR has learned. The versatile veteran played in the Majors from 2005-11, compiling a .264/.327/.409 line for the Royals, White Sox, and Blue Jays. Teahen began the year with Arizona's Triple-A club before being traded to the Reds earlier this month. The deal fell through due to the Reds' concerns about his physical, though the D'Backs and the player consider him healthy. Teahen had been playing in extended spring training due to a lack of roster spots in Reno.
- Five players currently reside in DFA limbo: Derek Lowe of the Rangers, Daric Barton of the A's, Jon Rauch of the Marlins, Alberto Gonzalez of the Yankees, and Scott Cousins of the Angels. The Cubs' Michael Bowden will join that group when Matt Garza is activated. Should he clear waivers, Rauch would reject an outright assignment, at which point he'd be released and another team could sign him at the league minimum with the Marlins paying the rest of his $1MM salary.
While the Blue Jays may be the only AL East team currently under .500, the club is 7-3 in their past 10 games, and injured shortstop Jose Reyes may return sooner than expected. The club was a major mover last offseason, but additions such as Reyes, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Johnson have been unable to provide much of an impact. Here is a look at today's news out of the ultra-competitive American League East..
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com notes that the Yankees now have players making a total of $97MM currently on their disabled list. Andy Pettitte became the latest high-priced Yankee to head to the DL, as Vidal Nuno will be promoted in his place.
- Travis Ishikawa has extended the opt-out in his contract with the Orioles, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The 29-year-old first baseman is currently batting .304/.383/.504 over 154 PA with Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles are likely to seek a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher but are completely unwilling to include top prospects Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy in a package, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Orioles starters currently rank 23rd in ERA, and they recently lost Wei-Yin Chen to the disabled list with an oblique strain. There's no exact timetable no Chen, though Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun speculated today that he could be sidelined for as long as six weeks.
The Orioles were very interested in R.A. Dickey this offseason, according to Heyman, but even with the Blue Jays' disastrous start there's no guarantee that he would be available. Dickey can be controlled through the 2016 season, so the Blue Jays can hang onto him even if they don't contend this year. Baltimore has "little, if any" interest in mending Cubs ace Matt Garza, Heyman adds.
The Orioles went out and got some pitching help last summer by adding Joe Saunders in an August trade, but it sounds like GM Dan Duquette and his staff are eyeing bigger targets this time around. Heyman notes that before pursuing second tier options again (e.g. Ricky Nolasco, Edinson Volquez and Jason Vargas), the team is likely to exhaust its internal options.
I imagine that the Orioles will have an incredibly difficult time putting together a package for an ace-caliber pitcher without Gausman and Bundy, as the rest of their farm system lacks elite talent. Neither Baseball America or MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo listed an Orioles prospect besides those two in their respective Top 100 lists this offseason. ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required) ranked infielder Jonathan Schoop 50th overall (noting that he prefers him at third base) and lefty Eduardo Rodriguez 100th, but neither is the type of impact talent typically required to land a front-line starter.