Brandon Laird Rumors

Minor Moves: Solano, McCoy, Lombardozzi

Today’s minor moves..

8:27pm:

4:57pm:

  • The Orioles announced that they have outrighted left-hander Pat McCoy and infielder Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A Norfolk. ┬áThe O’s 40-man roster is now down to 37.
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters have signed third baseman Brandon Laird, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The 27-year-old former Yankee farmhand spent 2014 with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. He posted a healthy .300/.350/.490 line in 506 plate appearances. The Ham Fighters are also reportedly close to signing outfielder Jeremy Hermida.

Nationals Acquire Brandon Laird

The Nationals have acquired infielder Brandon Laird from the RoyalsBill Ladson of MLB.com tweets. The Royals will receive a player to be named later or cash.

The younger brother of Braves catcher Gerald Laird, the 26-year-old has seen sporadic big league time over the last three seasons with the Yankees and Astros. The right-hander slugged five home runs in just 76 plate apperances last year with Houston, but hit just .169 over the same span. In 138 total big league plate appearances, Laird has a .197/.255/.370 line. 

The minor leagues have been much kinder to Laird, as he's hit .272/.323/.454 over parts of seven seasons there. While he's split his time almost evenly between first and third base in the majors, Laird has primarily been a third baseman in the minors.


Minor Moves: Laird, Wells, Lerud, Maya, Sappelt

We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:

  • The Royals announced a series of minor league signings, including for third baseman Brandon Laird, outfielder Paulo Orlando and right-hander Wilking Rodriguez. Laird, 26, is the younger brother of Gerald Laird and joins the Royals from the Astros, where he received major league playing time in 2013. Orlando, 28, is re-upping with the Royals after six seasons in the organization. The 23-year-old Rodriguez will transition to the Royals after seven seasons in the Rays' farm system. He has a career 3.90 ERA, mostly as a starter, but has never reached Double-A.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America has updates on a number of clubs' minor league signings. Among those with MLB experience (with links to Twitter): The Rockies will return Bobby Cassevah and Matt McBride, and have added righty Greg BurkeHeaded to the Tigers is righty Jhan Marinez, while Gorkys Hernandez and Edinson Rincon will stick with the Royals organization. The Phillies have brought back shortstop Andres Blanco. And the Dodgers inked utility infielder Brendan Harris. Other clubs with new signings include the OriolesReds, Marlins,  White Sox, and Athletics
  • The Cubs have signed outfielder Casper Wells, according to a tweet from Eddy. The team also added righties Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel, along with shortstop Jeudy Valdez. Wells got 102 plate appearances with three different clubs last year, posting a meager .126/.186/.147 line that is perhaps understandable given his constant movement and scant playing time. In 2012, over 316 plate appearances with the Mariners, Wells was good for a .228/.302/.396 slash. 
  • In addition to bringing back righty Benino Pruneda and catcher Jose Yepez on minor league deals, the Braves have added former Phillies backstop Steven Lerud, tweets Eddy. Lerud appeared in nine games for the Phils between 2012-13. At Triple-A last year, he had an interesting .217/.353/.311 line over 219 plate appearances, as he drew nearly as many walks (35) as he had hits (39).
  • Cutting ties with a major international acquisition, the Nationals have released righty Yunesky Maya, Eddy tweets. Washington saw little return on its $6MM investment in Maya, who had been outrighted off of the club's major league roster early in the 2013 season. After struggling in two brief call-ups in 2011-12, Maya's last stint with the Nats was even more regrettable. In his only MLB appearance of the 2013 season, Maya retired one batter in the bottom of the tenth before surrendering a walk-off home run to Pablo Sandoval
  • The Cubs have released outfielder Dave Sappelt, tweets Eddy. As Eddy notes, Sappelt was one of the pieces — along with lefty Travis Wood and second baseman Ronald Torreyes — picked up by Chicago in the deal that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati. The 26-year-old Sappelt has a .251/.301/.343 slash line in 274 plate appearances spread over the 2011-13 seasons. He has spent most of his time in Triple-A over that time frame, and posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of his two years at Iowa.


Astros Claim Raul Valdes, Decline Humber’s Option

The Astros have issued a press release announcing that they have claimed left-hander Raul Valdes off waivers from the Phillies and declined their 2014 club option for right-hander Philip Humber. Humber is one of four players that has been outrighted off the team's 40-man roster; the others are infielder Brandon Laird and catchers Cody Clark and Matt Pagnozzi. Perhaps more noteworthy is the fact that top prospect Jonathan Singleton has been added to the team's 40-man roster to fill one of the new vacancies.

Valdes, 35, posted an alarming 7.46 ERA in 35 innings for the Phillies this season, but his peripheral numbers suggest that he was far better than that unsightly number. Valdes averaged 9.5 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings, leading advanced metrics like FIP (4.39), xFIP (3.74) and SIERA (3.10) to project better days on the horizon. He also held opposing lefties to a .229/.275/.375 line.

Houston held a $3MM option on Humber, but declining it proved to be an easy decision. The former No. 3 overall pick turned in a 7.90 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings for the Astros this season after signing for just $800K last offseason. Humber was designated for assignment in May and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where posted a 4.68 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.

Laird hit .169/.224/.423 with five homers in 76 plate appearances for the Astros in 2013. Pagnozzi, who was acquired from the Braves at the beginning of September, went 3-for-21 in 22 plate appearances for the Astros in the season's final month. The 32-year-old Clark, a career minor leaguer, reached the Majors at last in 2013 and recorded his first big league hit with the Astros. Clark went 4-for-38 with Houston and hit .212/.250/.265 in 46 minor league contests this season.


Outrighted To Triple-A: Miller, Beato, Nunez, Pearce

The latest outright assignments from around MLB…

  • The Astros outrighted infielder Brandon Laird and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin to Triple-A after the players cleared waivers, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees announced that they outrighted right-hander Jim Miller to Triple-A. They had designated him for assignment two days ago to create 40-man roster space for Ichiro Suzuki.
  • The Red Sox outrighted Pedro Beato to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports (on Twitter). The Red Sox designated the right-hander for assignment two days ago to create roster space for Ryan Dempster
  • The Diamondbacks outrighted shortstop Gustavo Nunez to Detroit's Triple-A affiliate, the Tigers announced. Nunez, a 2011 Rule 5 Draft selection, spent the 2012 season on the Pirates' disabled list recovering from right ankle surgery. The Diamondbacks claimed him off of waivers from Pittsburgh on October 26th before returning him to Detroit today. 
  • The Orioles announced that they outrighted outfielder Steve Pearce to Triple-A. The club now has one open 40-man roster spot.
  • The Cubs announced that they outrighted Gerardo Concepcion to Class A Kane County after the left-hander cleared waivers. Chicago's 40-man roster now includes 39 players.
  • The Blue Jays announced that they outrighted right-hander Mickey Storey to Triple-A Buffalo. Toronto had claimed Storey off of waivers earlier in the week.

Astros Claim Brandon Laird From Yankees

The Astros have claimed Brandon Laird off of waivers from the Yankees, according to Chad Jennings of The Journal News (via Twitter).  The move essentially works as a trade between the two clubs as the Yankees acquired Steve Pearce off waivers from the Astros earlier this week.

The Yankees designated Laird for assignment on August 27th to make room on the roster for Pearce.  Laird, 24, posted a .254/.307/.414 slash line with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 550 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year.


Yankees Designate Brandon Laird For Assignment

The Yankees have designated corner infielder Brandon Laird for assignment, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The move creates roster space for Steve Pearce, who was acquired from the Astros today.

Laird hasn't appeared in a game for the Yankees this year, but he played in 11 games for the 2011 team. The 24-year-old has spent the 2012 season with New York's top minor league affiliate, where he has posted a .254/.307/.414 batting line with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 550 plate appearances. Laird, a right-handed hitter, has considerable minor league experience at first base and third base.


Detroit’s 2011 Payroll Situation

Once the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for four pre-arbitration eligible players, the thought was that owner Mike Ilitch was trimming payroll after the recession hit Detroit especially hard. However, he then approved a massive extension for ace Justin Verlander as well as the signing of Johnny Damon, and now his team's Opening Day payroll is expected to be somewhere around $130MM, up from $115MM last year.

Lynn Henning of The Detroit News wrote about the payroll savings GM Dave Dombrowski will enjoy after the season, which are pretty significant. Here's a look at the money the Tigers have coming off the books after the 2010 season…

That's $57.025MM in savings right there, and the team would be wise to avoid letting Magglio Ordonez reach the 540 plate appearances needed for his $15MM option to vest.

Ilitch isn't shy about spending big on the free agent market, and he'll have the money available to add a big bat to complement Miguel Cabrera (Jayson Werth, Aramis Ramirez if he declines his option?) as well as another elite starter to a rotation that already includes Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer (Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee?) after the season. Keep in mind that I was just throwing some names out there off our 2011 free agents list, and that the Tigers have not been linked to any of those players in any rumors we've seen.

The Tigers are already in a position to compete in the AL Central, and once they shed some dead money after the season, they'll have a chance to jump ahead of the pack if they spend wisely. 


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.

(more…)


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Odds & Ends: Bay, Byrd, Liriano, Duchscherer

Some links on the last day of a year we'll remember for Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols and the World Series Champion New York Yankees…

  • Tigers catcher Gerald Laird and his younger brother Brandon Laird, a prospect in the Yankees farm system, were arrested following a brawl at the Celtics-Suns NBA game in Phoenix, Arizona, according to the Associated Press.  Gerald lives in Arizona during the offseason while Brandon played in the Arizona Fall League this past year.
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via his newly minted Twitter account) that Chan Ho Park's name has come up in the Giants' front office.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears that Jason Bay was indeed interested in joining the Mets. The two sides didn't go longer than a day without talking once negotiations got started. An interesting note: Speier hears that the Mets never offered Bay a guaranteed five-year deal.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs considers Marlon Byrd an average player, but likes the Cubs' decision to sign him.
  • Cameron tweets that the Mariners are "kicking the tires" on Francisco Liriano.
  • Mike Lowell's thumb surgery was a success, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Lowell appears to be available, but health concerns may prevent the Red Sox from dealing the third baseman and some of his $12MM salary (the D'Backs face a similar challenge with Chris Snyder). 
  • Just because Lowell's still in Boston doesn't mean the Red Sox won't consider other third basemen. Adrian Beltre is one option and R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs doesn't think $10-15MM is an unfair asking price for the Scott Boras client. 
  • Justin Duchscherer tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he returned to the A's because he's comfortable in Oakland and appreciates the club's support through his struggles with depression. Slusser also has details on the incentives in the righty's contract. 
  • Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues wants the Yankees to stay away from free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd. 
  • Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates' failure to sign Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano was one of the club's low points this year. As Kovacevic says, "not every signing can be an absolute steal."