Brad Lincoln Rumors

Minor Moves: Butler, Robinson, Solano, Marcum, Lincoln

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Cardinals have outrighted right-hander Keith Butler off the team’s 40-man roster, according to the MLB.com transactions page. St. Louis has also released center fielder Shane Robinson. The 25-year-old Butler has yet to establish himself in the bigs, but has been quite good in the upper minors. Robinson, 30, has seen his role reduced and was no longer a valuable piece for a Cardinals club that just picked up Jason Heyward.
  • The Nationals have released catcher Jhonatan Solano, also per MLB.com. Solano, the older brother of Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano, has seen minimal big league time over the past two years and did not have a clear role in the organization moving forward.
  • The Indians announced that they’ve re-signed right-handers Shaun Marcum and Dustin Molleken to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training. Marcum, 33 next month, was of course a fixture in the Blue Jays and Brewers rotations from 2007-12, though he dealt with his share of injuries in that time. Still, he posted a 3.67 ERA in 830 1/3 innings in that span before thoracic outlet syndrome in 2013 required surgery and has kept him on the shelf since. He did make it back to a minor league mound with Cleveland last season, posting a 2.35 ERA in 15 1/3 Triple-A innings in August.
  • Molleken, 30, made 54 relief appearances for Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate last season and posted big strikeout numbers but also struggled with his command, to an extent. In 74 1/3 innings, he pitched to a 4.84 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
  • The Pirates have signed a familiar name to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training in the form of Brad Lincoln, per the club’s transactions page. Lincoln was selected fourth overall by the Bucs in 2006. He struggled through the early portion of his career but got off to a good start as a reliever in 2012 and was flipped to the Blue Jays for the man who was drafted 10 picks after him in ’06 — Travis Snider. Toronto would eventually deal Lincoln to the Phillies for Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen. Lincoln struggled with Philly but had success in Pittsburgh and Toronto, posting a 3.76 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 119 2/3 innings from 2012-13.
  • The Pirates also announced a host of other signings, including righties Collin Balester, Blake Wood, and Deolis Guerra, lefty Jeremy Bleich, and shortstop Gustavo Nunez.
  • The Twins have re-signed infielder/outfielder Eric Farris to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (on Twitter). The 28-year-old hit .280/.316/.356 with Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate last season, playing primarily center field.

Phillies Outright Brad Lincoln

The Phillies have announced that they’ve outrighted pitcher Brad Lincoln. The move clears space on the Phillies’ active roster for Jonathan Pettibone.

Lincoln, 28, has a career 4.74 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 222 1/3 innings in the big leagues. He came up as a starter with the Pirates, then briefly established himself as a reliever in Pittsburgh before heading to Toronto for Travis Snider. The Blue Jays shipped him to Philadelphia in December for catcher Erik Kratz and minor-leaguer Rob Rasmussen. Lincoln pitched just two outings for the Phillies, allowing three runs in a two-inning stint against the Brewers April 8.


Phillies Acquire Brad Lincoln

The Phillies announced that they acquired right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz and minor league left-hander Rob Rasmussen.

Lincoln, 28, appeared in 22 games for Toronto in 2013 and posted a 3.98 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9.  Over parts of four big league seasons, Lincoln owns a 4.66 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 for the Pirates and Blue Jays.

Rasmussen combined to post a 4.11 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 28 games (24 starts) for the Dodgers Triple-A and Double-A affiliates.  The 5-9, 160-pound left-handed pitcher was traded from Los Angeles to the Phillies in exchange for Michael Young on August 31st.  The 24-year-old is no stranger to being moved around, as he has now been involved in four career trades, including the aforementioned Young deal.

Kratz, 33, hit just .213/.280/.386 in 218 major league plate appearances last season.  For his career, the backstop owns a slash line of .220/.281/.407 across four seasons with the Pirates and Phillies.  Kratz is expected to compete with Josh Thole for the backup job behind Dioner Navarro.



Blue Jays Notes: Catching, Arencibia, Kawasaki, Davis

Here's the latest on the Blue Jays, who look set for another busy offseason…

  • The Jays have made inquiries about such catchers as Carlos Ruiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports.  Davidi also suspects Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has checked in on Brian McCann, to boot. 
  • The Jays were known to be looking to improve behind the plate this winter and current catcher J.P. Arencibia has drawn trade interest from other teams.  Davidi says there is some feeling that Arencibia has too much "accumulated baggage" in Toronto and might not reach his potential in a Blue Jay uniform.  Arencibia is projected to earn $2.8MM as a first-time arbitration eligible player this winter and the Jays would certainly prefer getting something back for him in a trade than simply non-tendering him.
  • Ervin Santana, Tim Hudson and Hiroki Kuroda have all received calls from the Blue Jays, Davidi reports, noting that Hudson and Kuroda probably don't have any mutual interest.  Hudson is being courted by over 10 teams while Kuroda seems to be set on either re-signing with the Yankees, returning to pitch in Japan or retiring.
  • Also from Davidi, Munenori Kawasaki could sign a new minor league deal with the Jays that would pay him more than the $600K base salary he earned last season.
  • In another piece from Davidi, Melky Cabrera is looking much healthier and fit after a tumor was surgically removed from his spine, Anthopoulos said.  Cabrera looks to be the Jays' everyday choice in left field, though obviously that could change if he suffers a setback in his rehabilitation.
  • Rajai Davis is likely to leave the Jays for a team that can offer him more playing time, Davidi reports.  The club's hope is that Anthony Gose or Moises Sierra can be a low-cost replacement for Davis as a backup outfielder.
  • Sierra is out of options and "is a prime candidate to be shopped," MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes.  Brad Lincoln could also be part of a trade package, as Chisholm breaks down possible scenarios for the Jays' nine out-of-options players. 

NL Central Notes: Drew, Marte, Cardinals

The Reds have been nearly unbeatable since losing their top player to injury and now have the best record in baseball at 64-41. Here are today's NL Central links after another Reds win…


Blue Jays, Pirates Swap Snider, Lincoln

The Blue Jays and Pirates have agreed to swap outfielder Travis Snider for right-hander Brad Lincoln, the teams announced. Both players were selected in the first half of the first round of the 2006 amateur draft.

Snider, now 24, has spent considerable time in the Major Leagues since debuting as a 20-year-old in 2008. However, he has battled injuries and the Blue Jays have optioned him to the minor leagues for extended periods, so his career high in games is 82 (reached in 2010). The left-handed hitter has a career batting line of .247/.305/.429. He has a .235/.270/.559 line in 37 plate appearances this year, including three homers against left-handed pitching.

Snider is on track for arbitration eligibility following the 2013 season. He's under team control through 2016. He joins a left field mix that currently includes Starling Marte, Drew Sutton and Alex Presley.

Lincoln has developed into a dependable late inning reliever for the Pirates, though that's not necessarily what they had in mind when they selected him fourth overall six years ago. He has a 2.73 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 37% ground ball rate in 59 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh this year. The 27-year-old has also started at least five games in three consecutive seasons. His average fastball checks in at 93.2 mph.

Lincoln could be arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2013 season, but he'll remain under team control though 2017. He'll join a Blue Jays bullpen that doesn't have many sure things other than Casey Janssen going forward.


Stark On Greinke, Headley, Indians, Wells

The market for Zack Greinke appears to consist of the Rangers, Angels, White Sox and Braves, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. Rival teams say the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Dodgers aren’t involved on Greinke, and the Indians and Orioles have limited interest in pitchers headed for free agency, Stark writes. Here are more notes from Stark:

  • The Yankees are exploring their third base options with Alex Rodriguez out, Stark reports. Marco Scutaro could be an option for New York.
  • There’s an expectation that Chase Headley will be traded, but the Padres continue saying they’re happy to keep him, Stark writes.  One team says the Padres are looking for a Mat Latos-like return if they trade the third baseman.
  • The Phillies are looking for a proven, young setup reliever and a young outfielder or third baseman for Victorino, Stark reports. They’ve asked about relievers Brad Lincoln, Wade Davis and Logan Ondrusek in trade talks.
  • It’s already been a busy month for the Astros, but they’re still willing to consider trades for anyone but Jose Altuve.
  • The Indians and Cardinals have talked to the Rays about James Shields, Stark reports.
  • The Angels are telling teams they’d rather trade Vernon Wells than keep him when he returns from the disabled list. They’re looking for a trade partner and saying they don’t want to eat all of his salary, Stark reports. It’ll be challenging to find a taker for Wells’ salary; he earns $21MM per season through 2014.
  • The Indians aren’t likely to deal Chris Perez or Shin-Soo Choo, but they’ll listen on either player.

Quick Hits: Drew, Arrieta, Pirates, Mariners

A few odds and ends to pass along as this busy Tuesday night winds down …

  • The Diamondbacks are less likely to trade shortstop Stephen Drew now that they've removed Ryan Roberts from the roster, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com. GM Kevin Towers said there's no deal out there for Drew "that's going to make us better."
  • The Orioles may not have a choice but to trade starter Jake Arrieta if they'd like to improve their Major League roster without dealing any of their prized prospects, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Baltimore has told potential trade partners that Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
  • The Pirates made a bid to acquire Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, but talks hit a snag when Philly asked for right-hander Brad Lincoln, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The Pirates are "definitely going for it" and would like to acquire an outfielder or first baseman, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
  • The Mariners have released minor league pitcher Jeff Marquez, tweets Triple-A Tacoma announcer Mike Curto. In his place, D.J. Mitchell, acquired from the Yankees in the Ichiro Suzuki trade, will start.

Pirates Notes: Upton, Quentin, Lincoln

The Pirates, who lead the NL Central with a 48-37 record, aim to improve their roster for the second half of the season. “We’re in a buying mode,” manager Clint Hurdle said, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates have inquired on Carlos Quentin and Justin Upton, two of the top bats available this summer. Here are the details on the Pirates…

  • “Our focus is to exhaustively search all opportunities to add to this club and to execute the right move(s) to make this club better,” GM Neal Huntington said, according to Biertempfel.
  • The Diamondbacks and Padres might have some degree of interest in right-hander Brad Lincoln in potential deals involving Upton and Quentin, Biertempfel reports (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks are scouting the Pirates’ Triple-A team and the Padres are scouting the Pirates’ Class A West Virginia team, Biertempfel adds.
  • Biertempfel suggests the Pirates could use starting pitching depth.
  • Within Biertempfel’s piece a handful of former general managers share thoughts on what the Pirates should do this year.

AL East Notes: Bundy, Cervelli, Upton, Red Sox

Some news from the AL East…

  • The Orioles have begun negotiations with fourth-overall draft pick Dylan Bundy, reports Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.  Denver Bundy, Dylan's father and also part of his representation team from BBI Sports Group, said today's meeting was "a feeling out process" and the two sides would hopefully discuss figures at their next session on August 10.
  • The Yankees and Pirates almost agreed to a deal that would've seen Francisco Cervelli go to Pittsburgh in exchange for right-hander Brad Lincoln, reports George A. King of the New York Post.  King hears from a Pirates source that the trade "was very close but [the teams] couldn’t agree on the value of the players."  Such a move would have given the Yankees room to call up Jesus Montero as both a backup catcher and as a potential DH platoon partner for Jorge Posada.  Brian Cashman said Montero could potentially be called up once the rosters expand in September.
  • The trade deadline has passed and B.J. Upton is still wearing a Rays uniform, so Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog is already thinking about what a potential Upton extension might cost Tampa Bay.
  • With the Red Sox facing a crunch of prospects for 40-man roster spots this winter, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal wasn't surprised that the Sox moved three of those on-the-bubble prospects in the Erik Bedard trade.  Boston would've risked losing Chih-Hsien Chiang, Tim Federowicz, and Stephen Fife for nothing in the Rule 5 draft had the club not been able to send Chiang to the Mariners and Federowicz/Fife to the Dodgers.
  • By acquiring two first basemen (Chris Davis and prospect Aaron Baker) from their deadline deals, the Orioles appear to be taking themselves out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes this winter, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.  I respectfully disagree with Schmuck — if the O's have a chance at Fielder, they won't hesitate to sign him for the sake of Davis (who has struggled against lefties at the Major League level) or a minor prospect like Baker.  Davis could also be moved into a DH role, or moved to third base while Mark Reynolds become the designated hitter.