Bobby Wilson Rumors

East Notes: Bell, Rays, Braves

Reliever Heath Bell, who just retired after being released by the Nationals, recently spoke to MLB Network Radio (audio link) about the difficulty in having a family while playing in the big leagues. The constant need to travel is a problem, Bell suggests — a ballplayer can have his family travel with him, but that prevents his kids from having long-lasting friendships as they get older. Bell describes watching his kids grow up through videos and photos. Now that his career is over, he’ll finally get to watch them grow up in person. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • The Rays face several upcoming roster moves, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Due in part to injuries, they have a number of non-roster players (Everett Teaford, Jake Elmore, Bobby Wilson, and others) seemingly under consideration to break camp with the team. A player like Tim Beckham, who is on the 40-man roster and who has plenty of experience in the upper minors, is a good bet to make the team if only because they won’t have to use an additional spot to clear space for him. The Rays can open one spot on their full 40-man by moving Matt Moore to the 60-day DL, and they could also trade David DeJesus, which would clear another. Nonetheless, they’ll face some tough decisions as they prepare for the start of the season.
  • The Braves are happy to have more veteran leadership in their clubhouse this year, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. After losing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Tim Hudson in recent seasons, the 2014 Braves were low on veterans who could step up, but they believe this year will be different now that they’ve added Jonny Gomes, Nick Markakis, Jason Grilli and A.J. Pierzynski. Jason Heyward and Justin Upton both were serious competitors, but hadn’t been around long enough to be leaders in a big-league clubhouse, Bowman says. “When you see Gomes, you make sure you do the right thing,” says Andrelton Simmons. “He’s scary, but he’s a nice guy.” It is, perhaps, debatable whether someone like Pierzynski, whose clubhouse presence came into question as recently as last season, will provide the sort of veteran leadership the Braves are looking for. But it’s interesting to see Braves players’ responses to what was apparently a deliberate strategy by their front office to acquire more veterans.

Quick Hits: Concussions, Red Sox, Rays, Richard, Tomas

It may seem obvious, but a study has now shown that concussions diminish offensive performance, reports Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times. The study appeared in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. A total of 66 position players were included in it. The group hit .249/.315/.393 in the two weeks prior to injury and .227/.287/.347. Some of the players involved never went on the disabled list. Based on the Times article, it’s unclear if more detailed analysis was performed. For example, missing time for any reason would hypothetically reduce performance some unknown amount. So it’s probably incorrect to attribute the entire decline to concussions alone.

Here’s more from around baseball:

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney has “real concerns about the Red Sox,” reports Nik Beimler on WEEI.com. Olney identified problems with four of the five members of the rotation. Rick Porcello was the one guy who didn’t draw a negative comment. While Cole Hamels is often connected to the Sox, Olney thinks they should wait on any trades. “I think there will be a lot of opportunities to trade for pitching during the course of summer.” Even with inconsistent pitching, the club could still hit enough to reach the postseason.
  • The Rays may need to play roster roulette while they wait for Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Alex Colome to recover, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The rotation will affect the number of NRIs the club can add. Presently, Bobby Wilson, Jake Elmore, Brandon Gomes, and Everett Teaford are battling for one or two spots (pending a trade of David DeJesus). Teaford may have a temporary advantage since he can provide long relief or a spot start.
  • Pirates pitcher Clayton Richard can opt out of his contract at the end of spring training, tweets Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Per Richard, he can opt out if not on the 40-man roster. He’s the latest in a long string of reclamation projects for the Pirates. His last successful season came in 2012 when he allowed a 3.99 ERA with 4.40 K/9 and 1.73 BB/9 in 218 innings.
  • Based upon interviews of rival scouts and executives, nobody believes Diamondbacks third baseman Yasmany Tomas can remain in the infield, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Most cited his thick body type, although they also said he doesn’t have the hands for the position. If Tomas moves to the outfield, it will create a roster crunch for Arizona. The current plan is to share playing time in left field between David Peralta, Ender Inciarte, and Cody Ross. Of course, the club could option Tomas to the minors too.

Minor Moves: Roe, Wilson, Brown, Velez, Lopez, Gindl, Fox, Sizemore

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Orioles have agreed to a minor league pact with righty Chaz Roe, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old reliever has only seen 24 1/3 innings at the big league level, but has posted strong numbers in the upper minors over the past two seasons, including attractive K/BB rates.
  • The Rays have announced the signing of three players to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, via Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Catcher Bobby Wilson, outfielder Corey Brown, and utilityman Eugenio Velez will be joining the Tampa organization. Wilson has not seen much MLB time since serving as a backup with the Angels, and the same holds of Velez, who was a semi-regular with the Giants five years back. Brown, 29, spent most of last year at Triple-A in the Red Sox system.
  • Likewise, the Blue Jays have added a trio of minor league contracts that include spring invites, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). Righty Wilton Lopez, outfielder Caleb Gindl, and corner infielder Jake Fox will take a shot at making the Toronto roster. Lopez, 31, was a pen mainstay for the Astros and then the Rockies before suffering through a rough 2014 in Colorado. Gindl, just 26, showed some promise in 2013 with the Brewers but struggled last year at Triple-A and in a brief big league stint. And the 32-year-old Fox has not reached the bigs since 2011, but launched 38 home runs in the upper minors last year with the Phillies.
  • The Marlins have added outfielder Scott Sizemore on a minor league deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets (a deal that Chris Cotillo of SB Nation recently said was in the works). Sizemore, 29, has seen action in parts of four MLB seasons, and owns a useful .240/.327/.383 slash with 14 home runs over 614 career plate appearances.


Minor Moves: Reimold, Wilson, Cedeno, Bianchi, Pagnozzi

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:


Minor Moves: O’Sullivan, Jackson, Paterson, Wilson, Bianchi

As outrights pick up pace across the league, here are the latest minor moves:

  • After outrighting him yesterday, the Phillies have released righty Sean O’Sullivan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. O’Sullivan was set to become a minor league free agent anyway, so this just moves up his appearance on the open market.
  • After seeing three players fail to clear waivers today, the Diamondbacks did manage to get another trio through. Per the PCL transactions page, outfielder Brett Jackson, lefty Joe Paterson, and catcher Bobby Wilson have all cleared and been outrighted to Triple-A. Jackson, a 26-year-old former top prospect, had another disappointing season at Triple-A, posting a .208/.299/.350 line in 271 plate appearances. Paterson, 28, again posted solid numbers in Triple-A (2.95 ERA over 42 2/3 frames) but failed to return to the regular MLB pen role that he had in 2011. And Wilson, 31, saw his first MLB action since 2012 with the Angels, but spent most of his time putting together a .267/.324/.341 slash over 299 trips to the plate at Triple-A.
  • Also clearing waivers and being outrighted was Jeff Bianchi of the Brewers. Bianchi, who turned 28 on Sunday, struggled in limited MLB action this year. The utility infielder owns a lifetime .534 OPS through 402 plate appearances in the bigs. Over three seasons at Triple-A, he has posted a more attractive .299/.349/.428 line.

D’Backs Select Bobby Wilson’s Contract

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

  • The Diamondbacks selected the contract of catcher Bobby Wilson, according to a team press release.  The veteran backstop signed a minor league deal with Arizona last November and he will look to appear in his first Major League game since 2012.  Wilson hit .208/.272/.321 in 447 career PA, all with the Angels from 2008-12, and he spent 2013 playing for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.  In a corresponding move to open a 40-man roster spot for Wilson, the D’Backs transferred Bronson Arroyo on the 60-day DL.

Angels Looking For Backup Catcher

SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.

FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  

The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta.  As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin.  Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.  

Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish.  While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday.  Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake.  For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.

If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade.  A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop.  Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Minor Moves: Wilson, Powell, Yankees, Mets

We'll keep track of tonight's minor moves here..

  • The Yankees signed veteran catcher Bobby Wilson to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).  Wilson will vie for playing time with Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and rookie Austin Romine this spring.  The backstop hit .208/.272/.321 in five seasons with the Angels.
  • The Mets announced that they have signed catcher Landon Powell to a minor league contract with an invite to major league Spring Training.  The former first-round pick hit .207/.284/.328 in three seasons with the A's.
  • The Yankees inked second baseman Reegie Corona, who was once a well-regarded prospect in their system, Eddy tweets.  He was playing in Venezuela and has been out of affiliated ball since 2010.
  • The White Sox signed shortstop turned right-handed pitcher Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal, tweets Eddy.  Pena switched positiions back in 2009.
  • The Brewers signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor league deal with an invitation to early minor league camp, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  Diaz spent time in theRangers and Angels systems last year.  

Minor Moves: Slaten, Manzella, Acosta, Gaudin

Here are the latest minor transactions from around the league…

  • SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization announced the signing of left-handed reliever Doug Slaten.  Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (Twitter link) first reported the deal earlier this week.  Slaten has a 3.52 ERA in 216 games for the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Pirates since 2006, including a 2.16 ERA in 10 games with the Bucs in 2012.
  • The Rockies have signed shortstop Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Manzella last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Astros and has bounced around the minors with four different organizations over the last two seasons.
  • Right-hander Manny Acosta has signed a one-year, $1.65MM contract with the Yomiuri Giants, according to Gene Mato, Acosta's agent (Twitter link).  The deal could be worth another $500K in bonuses.  Acosta, 31, was non-tendered by the Mets following a season that saw him post a 6.46 ERA over relief appearances.
  • The Giants have agreed to a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, reports Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (via Twitter).  Gaudin posted a 4.54 ERA in 46 relief appearances for the Marlins last season.
  • The Yankees have signed catcher Bobby Wilson to a minor league deal that contains a Spring Training invite, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).  Wilson hit .211/.277/.292 batting line in 201 plate appearances with the Angels last season and was both claimed on waivers and non-tendered by the Blue Jays earlier this offseason.
  • The Yankees have also signed infielder Gil Velazquez to a minor league deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).  The 33-year-old Velazquez received 57 PAs with the Marlins last year and also has Major League exerperience with the Angels and Red Sox.
  • The Cardinals have signed 18-year-old Dominican right-hander Alex Reyes to a contract worth $950K, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
  • The Nationals signed 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Neivy Pilier to a $225K deal, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.
  • The Nationals signed infielder Brian Bocock to a minor league contract, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter link).  Bocock last played in the majors in 2010 and has spent the last two seasons playing in the Phillies, Pirates and Blue Jays organizations.
  • The Padres acquired left-hander Chris Rearick from the Rays in exchange for infielder Vince Belnome, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).
  • The Phillies have announced the signings of Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Jermaine Mitchell, Pete Orr and Humberto Quintero to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

American League Non-Tenders

Here are today’s American League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.