Brendan Harris Rumors
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 Burke. Headed 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 Orioles, Reds, 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.
The Dodgers have signed Brendan Harris to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Harris, a client of RMG Baseball, will earn $700K if he makes the Major League club.
Harris, 33, appeared in 44 games for the Angels and totaled 117 plate appearances in 2013, slashing .206/.252/.355 with four homers. HIs appearance in Anaheim marked his first big league action since 2010 with the Twins, where he was a semi-regular player for parts of the 2008-09 seasons.
Harris was one of the players Minnesota acquired from the Rays in the Matt Garza trade, and he enjoyed reasonable success between Tampa and Minneapolis as a part-timer from 2007-09, hitting .272/.328/.400 with 25 homers in 390 games. Harris has experience at all four infield positions, and he's logged 899 or more innings at third base, shortstop and second base.
The Rangers announced that they have signed Brendan Harris to a minor league contract. The veteran infielder had a cup of coffee in the Yankees' system before signing with Texas today. Harris will help provide extra infield depth for the Rangers who have been thin since Leury Garcia was traded to the White Sox in the Alex Rios trade.
Harris, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Monday, signed with the Yankees on July 26th and hit just .233/.356/.315 with one homer in 22 games. Prior to that, Harris was batting .206/.252/.355 in 117 plate appearances this year for the Angels. The veteran has big league experience at all four infield positions with the bulk of it at shortstop. Harris, who last saw regular action in 2009 with the Twins, is a career .256/.314/.381 hitter.
Here are today's minor moves...
- The Yankees have signed infielder Brendan Harris, and have assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter). The Angels recently designated Harris for assignment, and he cleared waivers and became a free agent. Harris hit .206/.252/.355 in 107 at bats for the Angels this season.
- Former top prospect Brandon Wood has been released by the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). Wood, 28, was ranked as a Top 10 prospect according to Baseball America prior to the 2006 and 2007 seasons. However, his prodigious power never carried over to the Majors, and strikeouts were a serious problem. In 751 Major League plate appearances, Wood hit just .186/.225/.289, and his .215/.250/.309 batting line in 198 Triple-A plate appearances this season wasn't much better. Wood hasn't appeared in the bigs since 2011.
- The Phillies have announced that catcher Humberto Quintero has cleared waivers and elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the team earlier in the week. In a small sample size of 68 plate appearances, Quintero batted .250/.294/.406 with a pair of homers. The 33-year-old Venezuelan has appeared in parts of 11 Major League seasons with the Astros, Padres, Royals and Phillies.
- Former Cubs right-hander Esmailin Caridad has signed with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization, according to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (on Twitter). The 29-year-old pitched for the Cubs in 2009-10 but hadn't appeared in the Majors since. Caridad has spent the three seasons since pitching between Double-A and Triple-A in the Cubs' organization and has a career ERA of 4.33 with 7.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 436 2/3 minor league innings.
- Seven players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ted Lilly of the Dodgers, Billy Buckner of the Angels, Hunter Strickland of the Giants, Brandon Inge of the Pirates, Carlos Pena and Ronny Cedeno of the Astros, and Chris Dickerson of the Orioles.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
TUESDAY: Harris has cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A, the Angels' communications department announced (via Twitter).
SATURDAY: The Angels have designated infielder Brendan Harris for assignment, team communications director Eric Kay announced via Twitter. The team has recalled infielder Tommy Field in a corresponding move, Kay adds.
Harris, 32, was batting .206/.252/.355 in 117 plate appearances this year for the Angels. He has major league experience with all four infield positions, though he's spent the most time at shortstop. A career .256/.314/.381 hitter, Harris last saw regular action in 2009 with the Twins.
Some minor league deals from around the baseball world...
- The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Neil Wagner to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, MLBTR has learned. Wagner has a 3.77 ERA, 2.95 K:BB ratio and 10.2 K/9 rate in 312 career minor league relief appearances in the Padres, A's, and Indians' systems, plus pitched five Major League innings with Oakland in 2011.
- The Angels signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes and J.B. Shuck to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- The Nationals have signed infielder Will Rhymes to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite, reports the Beverly Hills Sports Council's Twitter page. (Rhymes is represented by the BHSC.) Rhymes was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay in September and has a .266/.328/.343 line in 449 career plate appearances over three seasons with the Tigers and Rays.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions, including news of Brandon Wood signing a minor league deal with the Royals. Wood, the former Angels third baseman who was once considered one of the top prospects in the game, last appeared in the Majors with the Pirates in 2011 and posted a .722 OPS for the Rockies' Triple-A team in 2012.
The latest minor moves...
- The White Sox have agreed to sign catcher Damaso Espino to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old posted a .292/.347/.381 line in 224 plate appearances for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in 2011.
- The Rockies announced that they signed infielder Brendan Harris and catcher Jose Gonzalez to minor league deals (Twitter link). Harris, 31, spent the 2011 season with the Orioles' top affiliate, where he posted a .225/.282/.331 line with ten home runs in 565 plate appearances. The seven-year veteran has MLB experience at all four infield positions.
- The Indians announced that they signed infielder Argenis Reyes and right-hander Willy Lebron to minor league deals that don't include invitations to big league Spring Training. The club also confirmed the signing of infielder Chin-lung Hu to a minor league deal. Reyes started the 2011 season in indy ball then signed a minor league deal with the Indians in August. The 29-year-old has MLB experience with the Mets. Lebron, 32, posted a 3.02 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings in the upper levels of the Royals' system last year.
Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.
With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season...
- Angels: Gary Matthews Jr. ($11.4MM)
- Astros: Roy Oswalt ($7MM)
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells ($5MM)
- Cubs: Carlos Silva ($7.25MM, plus $2MM in 2012)
- Diamondbacks: Chris Snyder ($3MM)
- Dodgers: Manny Ramirez ($8.33MM per year through 2013), Andruw Jones ($3.2MM per year through 2014), Juan Pierre ($3.5MM)
- Mariners: Carlos Silva ($5.5MM), Yuniesky Betancourt ($1MM), Josh Wilson ($179K)
- Mets: Oliver Perez ($4MM), Luis Castillo ($6MM), Gary Matthews Jr. ($1MM)
- Rockies: Manny Corpas ($3.55MM, $250K in 2012)
- Royals: Yuniesky Betancourt ($2MM)
- Twins: Brendan Harris ($500K)
- White Sox: Scott Linebrink ($3.5MM)
This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.
Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.
Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony recently sat down for a chat with Jesse Lund from Twinkie Town to discuss a variety of topics. Let's recap the hot stove talk...
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka first popped up on the team's radar after Antony mentioned to his agent that the team was looking to get more athletic on the infield. This was long before they decided to trade J.J. Hardy.
- The Twins believe Nishioka is a good player, but they understand there might be a bit of a transition period. Not just for the move to MLB, but the move to the United States. They've hired an interpreter for Nishioka, and don't believe the additional Japanese media will be an issue in the clubhouse.
- The three-year, $9MM contract Nishioka signed was "exactly what we pretty much anticipated and were willing to give." They were trying to add speed and athleticism to the lineup, but no one on the free agent market jumped out at them, hence the pursuit of Nishioka.
- Hardy was expected to make $5MM+ in 2011 (he eventually signed for $5.85MM), and the team "just decided that we wanted to put that money into other areas." Carl Pavano, Jim Thome, and most of the bullpen were free agents, so they had to prioritize. "Trying to fit all those guys into a budget was going to be impossible."
- The Twins had conversations with other teams about Hardy, but there were never any real offers. The trade with Baltimore was "by far [their] best opportunity to make a deal." It became apparent that Brendan Harris wasn't a fit anymore, hence his inclusion in the trade.
- Antony says the Twins like Rule 5 Draft pick Scott Diamond in long relief, and Dusty Hughes' success against Minnesota last year played a role in claiming him off waivers.
- Although they would have liked to retain Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes, the Twins just "couldn't compete" with the multyear offers they were receiving as free agents.
- Thome decided that Minnesota was where he wanted to be after talking with his family, and the money didn't appear to be much of an issue.
- Antony expected Pavano to get two or three years at $10-11MM per season, and he knows the Brewers had some interest in the right-hander. Pavano's agent basically told the Twins he wanted to play there, and he wasn't a guy that was "chasing the last dollar."
- Rumors of Francisco Liriano being available in a trade were just that, rumors. As far as a multiyear deal with the lefty, Antony said there "can be many reasons why you don't consummate a multiyear deal, and sometimes the player doesn't want to, sometimes the club doesn't want to, sometimes you just don't agree on numbers, or whatever. So we're not going to talk about any of our negotiations with that or anything else, but he was a big part of our rotation. We're not talking to anybody right now on Francisco Liriano."
- The team is at the "far reaches" of where they can go with payroll, so they tried to maintain flexibility for 2012 by not doing any multiyears deals this offseason (aside from Pavano).
- "If the right deal arises and we can improve our ballclub, we could look at it from that point of view," said Antony, regarding a potential trade involving one of the team's excess starting pitchers. "I don't think we'd trade away one of our starting pitchers for a middle reliever or something. It would have to be something that would make sense for us. And a trade isn't even the most likely scenario, it's a possible scenario."
As the Orioles' roster rounds into shape heading into Spring Training, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has a few items of note ...
- The Orioles still have interest in free-agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, although the O's were not one of the two teams for which the right-hander recently worked out, as reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Duchscherer will likely hold another open workout for any interested teams to check him out in the next week or so, Zrebiec notes, and he thinks the O's will be there. Duchscherer's son lives in New Jersey, which is relatively close to Baltimore, and the righty is looking to join a team he can start for, which the Orioles can offer.
- The Orioles have not been aggressively pursuing free-agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero, contrary to a report by ESPNDeportes.com earlier on Thursday. If Guerrero's market shrinks enough, the O's may be interested, Zrebiec writes, but otherwise they plan on moving forward with Luke Scott as their designated hitter, and Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie platooning in left field.
- The Orioles have not officially announced their list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training, but Zrebiec reports the following players will be among them: Armando Gabino, Raul Rivero, Josh Rupe, Adam Donachie, Michel Hernandez, Caleb Joseph, Ryan Adams, Brendan Harris and Tyler Henson.