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Brennan Boesch Rumors
This time of year is full of minor moves, as teams have finalized not only their Opening Day rosters at the MLB levels but also their minor league assignments. As always, Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a full rundown of all the comings and goings. While we have covered the more notable among those transactions over recent days, be sure to check Eddy's list for all of your team's maneuverings. Here are some more moves from the day:
- Outfielder Brennan Boesch will stay with the Angels organization after not making the club's Opening Day roster, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). Boesch had a "soft out" date in his contract that came due yesterday. After a nice run in the spring, the 28-year-old will apparently wait for a major league opportunity while working in Triple-A for the Halos. In four years at the MLB level, Boesch has a cumulative .260/.315/.418 triple-slash.
- As reported earlier today, Henry Rodriguez of the Marlins will likewise stay with that organization rather than looking for a new opportunity on the open market.
- The Braves have inked southpaw Luis Perez, who was recently cut loose by the Blue Jays, reports Cotillo (Twitter links). The 29-year-old had some success at the big league level with the Jays in 2012, putting up a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings. Perez missed much of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery and recently underwent another procedure to remove scar tissue, but will go to Atlanta with hopes of finishing his rehab and returning to the MLB mix. As David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, the team is hopeful that he can be a significant contributor later in the season.
- Outfielder Brandon Boggs has been released by the Braves, according to the International League transactions page. The 31-year-old has seen 382 plate appearances in parts of four big league seasons, posting a cumulative .209/.315/.380 line. Last year, at Triple-A, he slashed .236/.331/.353 in 476 trips to the dish.
- Former major league righty Mike MacDougal has signed on with the Atlantic League's Camden Riversharks, Cotillo tweets. The 37-year-old last saw MLB time in 2012, and was a regular as recently as 2011, when he threw 57 innings of 2.05 ERA ball with the Dodgers. MacDougal worked to a 5.40 ERA in 45 Triple-A frames last year.
- The MLBTR DFA Tracker is, perhaps, as full as it has ever been, with eighteen players in DFA limbo. Among those whose resolution dates are fast approaching are Carlos Peguero (Royals), Raul Valdes (Astros), and a trio of Mariners (Bobby LaFromboise, Xavier Avery, and Carlos Triunfel).
Longtime Athletics starter Rich Harden is still pursuing his throwing program and is planning to hold a mid-season showcase, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Over 624 1/3 innings in seven seasons with the A's, the 32-year-old threw to a 3.65 ERA. Here are a few quick notes out of the AL West:
- Angels outfielder Brennan Boesch has a March 30 "soft out" in his deal, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. In essence, the clause requires the club to add him to its 25-man roster or allow him to go to any other team that is willing to do so. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a strong spring, putting up a .278/.350/.472 line in 40 plate appearances.
- Mariners infielder Nick Franklin has been spending some time working in the outfield, and says that he is simply "trying to be versatile," reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. The 23-year-old has been a hot subject of trade speculation, as he lacks a regular spot in the Seattle infield and could appeal to a variety of clubs. But his focus is on getting to the bigs with his current organization. "Some way, somehow I want to get on the field, whatever it takes," said Franklin. "What am I going to do, wait around for someone to get hurt?"
- Athletics outfielder Michael Taylor has learned that he will not make the Opening Day roster, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. As the 28-year-old is out of options, he figures to be dealt or plucked off of the waiver wire, though a move has yet to be made. Once a top prospect, Taylor has certainly put his best foot forward this spring with a .274/.348/.532 line and three long balls in 69 plate appearances, though he has struck out 17 times while drawing six walks. Last year, in 481 trips to the plate at Triple-A, Taylor had a .281/.360/.474 triple-slash with 18 home runs.
- The division has two new additions from this morning, as the Mariners added starter Chris Young and the Astros claimed outfielder Alex Presley.
WEDNESDAY: Boesch would earn $800K if he makes the MLB roster, while Pena would make $1MM.
TUESDAY: The Angels have reached agreement on minor league deals with outfielder Brennan Boesch and first baseman Carlos Pena, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Boesch, 28, is represented by CAA Sports, while the 35-year-old Pena is a client of the Boras Corporation. Both deals include Spring Training invites, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Boesch saw only 53 MLB plate appearances last year, posting a .275/.302/.529 line, before he was released by the Yankees in July. The Yanks had signed Boesch to a $1.5MM deal after he was let go by the Tigers, for whom he had been a regular between 2010-12. Over that stretch, Boesch posted a .259/.315/.414 triple-slash with 42 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 1,487 plate appearances. With just over three years of MLB service to his name, Boesch comes with team control beyond the 2014 season.
Pena, a 13-year MLB veteran, was an everyday player until last season. Spending most of 2013 with the Astros, Pena slashed .207/.321/.346 in 328 plate appearances. As that line would indicate, Pena has hung his hat on his ability to get on base via the walk, which he has done at about twice the league-average rate throughout his career. Once a major power threat — he hit 172 home runs between 2007 and 2011 — Pena's HR/FB rate has dropped from a peak of 29.1% down to around the 15% level in recent seasons.
As regular season baseball returns, let's have a look in at some links involving the American League East, which is the only MLB division to feature four teams with winning records:
- The Red Sox will emerge from the All-Star break down yet another bullpen arm, with reports emerging that Andrew Bailey will likely be lost for the season. In addition to making Boston's acquisition of Bailey look even less beneficial than it already did, the news could increase the likelihood that the Sox will return to the reliever market before the trade deadline. The team already moved to add two prominent names — Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon — on minor league deals earlier today.
- Boston GM Ben Cherington says that Bailey's loss will "move the needle" in determining whether the team will look to pick up another reliever, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. He did maintain that the Red Sox have adequate internal options and said that he is disinclined to do anything major. "As I said when [Andrew] Miller went down, when a guy goes down you have to replace him somehow," said Cherington. "You hope that the guys are already here internally, but you've got to keep an open mind and continue to do that over the course of the next couple days."
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman also discussed the deadline today, telling reporters including Jack Curry of the YES Network that his club has active in trying to work up a deal but that the trade market is "a tough one." (Twitter link.) Cashman described the market for offensive players as "an offensive offensive market," tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- There could be a structural reason for the trouble the Yanks are finding, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. With the two-wild card system leaving more teams in contention longer, he reasons, New York is less able to utilize its deep pockets to take on late-year salary dumps.
- The reason that the Yankees dropped injured outfielder Brennan Boesch earlier today, his agent tells Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com, is not Boesch's ability. "The Yankees' decision to release Brennan Boesch is a matter of timing, not talent," said agent Brodie Van Wagenen. "Brennan's rehab on his shoulder is going well and he expects to be full strength and able to make a meaningful contribution to a major league team in August."
- After designating outfielder Chris Dickerson for assignment earlier today, the Orioles are hoping to work out a trade to get some value back for him, writes MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli. Manager Buck Showalter says that he believes Dickerson is a big league player who will catch on with another club. To complete a busy day for the O's, the club learned that it will likely go without backup outfielder Nolan Reimold for the rest of the year.
The Yankees have unconditionally released outfielder Brennan Boesch, the team announced via press release. The 28-year-old had not seen action with the big league club since the end of May, and had reportedly been battling a shoulder injury in the minors.
New York signed Boesch to a $1.5MM deal late in the spring after he was released by the Tigers. Over 53 plate appearances early this year with the Yankees, he posted a .275/.302/.529 line and hitting three home runs. He also saw 37 Triple-A plate appearances, he managed only a .200/.351/.267 triple-slash. Boesch's best season as a big leaguer came in 2011, when he provided Detroit with .283/.341/.458 production — and 16 long balls — over 472 plate appearances.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner commented on contract talks with second baseman Robinson Cano to David Lennon of Newsday on his way out of the MLB owners meetings today in Manhattan, saying, "We've had several conversations with [agent] Brodie [Van Wagenen], just as we did with [former agent] Scott [Boras] and a lot of it is procedural. But we're going to continue in the weeks to come to work through things and try to come to an agreement." Steinbrenner later added, "We want him to end his career here." Cano has sat atop our 2014 Free Agents Power Rankings since the beginning. More on the Yankees:
- Can a team with a $228MM payroll earn the designation "scrappy?" Steinbrenner used that adjective, expressing admiration for the Yankees' young players and cheap veterans that have allowed them to successfully weather injuries to key players so far. As for getting below the $189MM luxury tax threshold next year, Steinbrenner said, "The math works to me if the young kids do their job. It has to happen. And I've been saying that for over a year now — that's the goal we're going to push for. But again, I'll reiterate what I always reiterate, which is we're always going to field a championship-caliber team. That's what the fans expect. That's what we expect. It's going to happen. Not going to win every year. Nobody ever does. But we're going to do what we can to field the best team we can."
- "We're going to sit down and figure out what to do when this season ends, hopefully the beginning of November," said Steinbrenner in regard to manager Joe Girardi and his expiring contract.
- Yankees outfielder Brennan Boesch says he left his agent, Scott Boras, and returned to his old agent, Van Wagenen of CAA, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times on May 1st. Boesch will be arbitration eligible for the first time after this season and can hit the open market after the 2015 season. Stay on top of the representation for over 1,000 players with MLBTR's agency database.
- "He’s a good guy and I think he can be a really good player, too. He’ll be back. I just wanted to let him know that it’s up to him," Yankees infielder Jayson Nix told Waldstein, recounting a conversation with the recently-designated Chris Nelson.
- The shift from center to left field shouldn't damage Curtis Granderson's free agent value much, opined multiple executives in speaking with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Granderson isn't concerned, saying, "Not an issue for me at all. Just want to help this team in any way I can. If they need me to go back to shortstop like I did in high school, I’ll do that."
The Indians have told Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps that they'd like to keep them in the organization, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Neither pitcher will make the team's Opening Day roster, but Matsuzaka said he intends to remain with the Indians, Hoynes reports. Meanwhile, Capps has yet to decide whether he’ll stay with the Indians or elect free agency.
Here are some more links for Monday…
- Free agent infielder Ryan Theriot is considering a new career path, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Schulman hears that the 33-year-old is thinking of becoming an agent.
- Chris Carpenter doesn’t sound optimistic about pitching at the MLB level again, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports (on Twitter). "I want to, but I don't think I can," Carpenter said, adding that he still feels numbness and weakness. His contract with the Cardinals expires after the 2013 season, and he’s not expected to pitch again.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he's open to the possibility of acquiring another player before the regular season begins. Cashman also said that he considers the Brennan Boesch deal a low-risk, high-reward signing. "The only downside is wasting time and a small amount of money … Nothing’s been promised to him at all.”
Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times expressed concern the Rays don't have enough power in their lineup to compete over the long haul. As if to add an exclamation point to Shelton's column, the Rays were stymied this afternoon by Jon Lester of the Red Sox, who was perfect for six innings (79 pitches, 53 for strikes) with six strikeouts. The Rays were on the verge of being the victim of a Spring Training perfect game until an infield single by non-roster invitee Jason Bourgeois with one out in the top of the ninth. In other American League news and notes:
- One solution to the Rays' power shortage could be Wil Myers, who was sent to Triple-A yesterday. Manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin, that he believes the timing of Myers' recall will be a baseball decision and not based on service time considerations in order to avoid an extra year of arbitration eligibility.
- The Indians have yet to make a decision on Daisuke Matsuzaka even after a meeting this morning between manager Terry Francona and the front office, tweets the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. Francona could speak with Dice-K tomorrow.
- The Indians will approach Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley about contract extensions at some point this spring, writes Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- The trade market for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will be a free agent after this season, is not good, tweets the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.
- "The door's not locked. It may not even be cracked open, but it's not locked, either," a Red Sox source told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com about the chances of Jackie Bradley Jr. making the Opening Day roster.
- The Yankees only signed Brennan Boesch because he has minor league options remaining, according to ESPN's Buster Olney in his Insider blog (subscription required). Olney added, given the apparent lack of interest in Boesch, the Yankees might have the ability, if he struggles in the next few weeks, to get him through waivers, take him off the 40-man roster, and outright him to the minor leagues.
- The Angels have acquired minor league pitcher Mike Cisco from the Phillies for no compensation. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com explains the Phillies had an excess of pitching in Double-A and Triple-A and they wanted to make sure he’d go somewhere he’d have an opportunity to pitch. The Angels liked him and have a spot for him in their system.
SATURDAY: Yanks General Manager Brian Cashman says that Boesch is on a split contract and will earn $1.5MM in the majors and $500K if he's in the minors, according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter).
The Yankees agreed to terms with the free agent outfielder earlier today, as reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (all Twitter links). The Scott Boras client obtained a Major League deal worth $1.5MM plus incentives, Heyman reports. Boesch will earn $600K in incentives based on plate appearances.
The Tigers released Boesch two days ago after discussing possible trades with a number of interested teams. Ultimately Boesch's $2.3MM salary proved to be an obstacle, and the Tigers released him without getting anything in return. After Boesch's release, the Mets, Red Sox and Astros appeared to have some interest in signing him.
Boesch appeared in 132 games for the Tigers last year, posting a .240/.286/.372 batting line with 12 home runs in 503 plate appearances. The left-handed hitting 27-year-old remains on track to remain under team control through 2015.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details the latest from Major League Baseball Players Association chief Michael Weiner on the union's views on drug testing. Weiner also discussed the qualifying offer system, expressing that he is "pleased that the number of players that carried compensation dropped way down, from in the thirties to nine," while noting that neither the league nor the union "expected that a player the caliber of Kyle Lohse would have the difficulty he's having," an issue which he "would like to find a way out of … sooner rather than later, before 2016." Elsewhere around the league:
- Brennan Boesch detailed the series of events that led to him joining the Yankees yesterday, as Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger reports. Boesch was told "earlier this week" that he would be released by the Tigers despite still having multiple minor league options, which the outfielder viewed as "a favor" despite being surprised at the news. When Boesch learned from agent Scott Boras of the Yankees' interest, he instructed Boras to just "get it done" because New York was his top choice.
- The Mets, unlike their New York neighbors, "weren't enthused" about Boesch because they saw him "as another Lucas Duda" and feel comfortable with their in-house options, tweets Jon Heyman. Meanwhile, the club may need to fill in for star third-baseman David Wright to start the season, and Michael Baron of MetsBlog breaks down the internal options.
- Left-handed reliever Franklin Morales is out indefinitely as he deals with a bulging disk in his back, which potentially opens a spot in the Red Sox bullpen for Clayton Mortensen, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Morales' injury situation also makes it is less likely that Boston will deal Alfredo Aceves, Lauber explains, because "manager John Farrell has identified Aceves [as] the primary long man in the Red Sox' bullpen and their best option to provide a spot start in the event of injuries in the rotation."
- As the Angels look over the market for available backstops, they are joined by the Phillies, Pirates, and Rays in looking for "experienced catching," tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network.