Brennan Boesch Rumors

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Thursday

With rosters being finalized around the league, it’s a busy time for players departing and ascending to the 40-man roster. Here’s the latest:

  • The Twins announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Shane Robinson, who had been in camp on a Minor League deal. The 30-year-old Robinson had previously spent his entire career in the Cardinals organization and will presumably serve as the right-handed half of a center field platoon with Jordan Schafer. Minnesota entered Spring Training hoping that Aaron Hicks would show progress and win the center field job outright, but he struggled throughout the month and was optioned to Triple-A, paving the way for Robinson to make the roster. In parts of five seasons with St. Louis, Robinson is a .231/.303/.308 hitter in 452 plate appearances. He’s received strong marks at all three outfield spots, per UZR and DRS, and he hit .283/.340/.370 in Grapefruit League action this year.

Earlier Updates

  • The Reds are set to add several veterans to their 40-man roster, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Veteran righties Kevin Gregg and Jason Marquis will be joined by reserves Brennan Boesch and Chris Dominguez on the Opening Day roster, and all will need a 40-man spot. That crunch already led the team to outright reliever Sam LeCure, and several other slots will need to be created before things are official.
  • The Rockies have selected the contract of right-hander Rafael Betancourt, the team announced last night (on Twitter). Betancourt, who will turn 40 at the end of this month, has gone through a somewhat remarkable comeback, recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent as a 38-year-old to return to the 40-man roster. The former Rox closer has had an excellent spring, yielding just one run on eight hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He adds another arm with closing experience to what is looking like a fairly murky bullpen situation in Colorado. It’s worth mentioning that setup man Rex Brothers was optioned to Triple-A and won’t be a factor in the ‘pen in the season’s early stages.

NL Central Notes: Bryant, Kang, Reds, Cardinals

Cubs president Theo Epstein said yesterday that he’s never taken a Minor Leaguer and put him on an Opening Day roster with zero prior big league experience, but super-prospect Kris Bryant feels like he could be the exception to that rule, writes ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers“I look at it as ‘Why not me?” Bryant said on Friday. “I think I’m the type of guy that can go out there and do it. I’ve made it a point of mine to come out here and show them that I can.” Bryant, of course, is the talk of Spring Training with nine homers and a ludicrous .406/.472/1.313 batting line in 36 plate appearances. The Cubs, though, can delay his free agency by a full season if they keep him in the Minors for a bit less than two weeks to open the season. While Cubs management and ownership naturally insists that any decision would be baseball-related as opposed to business-related, it seems likely that Bryant would be recalled early in the season once the year of team control is gained.

More from the NL Central…

  • Jung-ho Kang has struggled to a .111 average in Spring Training thus far, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington is still planning on bringing the Korean infielder north with the club to open the season, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’ve seen some really good things,” Huntington told Biertempfel in regard to Kang.
  • Chris Dominguez, Brennan Boesch, Ivan De Jesus and Irving Falu are all competing for the Reds‘ final bench spots, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, and each has performed well in Spring Training. Manager Bryan Price also noted that the rotation isn’t yet settled. Anthony DeSclafani, Jason Marquis and Raisel Iglesias are all in the mix for the final two spots, and Price explained how his club is looking beyond statistics to determine who will fill those roles. In general, he spoke very highly of DeSclafani, so it seems likely that he’ll be in the rotation to open the year.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak spoke with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (subscription required/recommended) about his tendency to hang onto young pitching and his deviation from that process by trading players such as Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to land John Lackey and Jason Heyward“Believe it or not, even though in these deals it appears like we’re giving up the control factor, we felt they were fair deals for both sides,” said Mozeliak. “Put it this way: We understand the risk.” Mozeliak went on to discuss the increased importance teams now place on prospects as opposed to the 1990s and early 2000s, noting that cost control has become an increasingly large factor in trades. The Cardinals, Goold writes, have an in-house algorithm and scouting process to assign dollar values to players, which they use in free agency and in trades. Said Chairman Bill Dewitt, Jr.: “Our model is value-based, and what we want to do is get value back for value given. Because there is always opportunity to use resources to acquire talent.”

Minor Moves: Pena, Boyer, Gutierrez, Swarzak, Belisario, Kohn

Some minor moves from around the league…

  • Also outrighted today was Ramiro Pena of the Braves, per the MLB.com transactions page. The utility man was designated recently, presumably in large part due to his rising arbitration salary.
  • Righty Blaine Boyer (Padres), Anthony Swarzak (Twins), and Juan Gutierrez (Giants) have elected free agency rather than accepting outright assignments, also via the MLB transactions page.
  • The White Sox have outrighted righty Ronald Belisario, per the MLB.com transactions page. Belisario was designated recently to make room for the claim of reliever Onelki Garcia.
  • Likewise, the Rays have outrighted righty Michael Kohn. It has been an odd start to the offseason for Kohn, who was signed to a MLB deal before being designated within weeks by Tampa.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reported a number of new transactions in his weekly Minor League Transactions roundup on Monday. Of particular note is a crop of Phillies signings: catcher Koyie Hill, right-hander Paul Clemens, and infielders Chase d’Arnaud and Cord Phelps. Clemens gives them some pitching depth, as he’s totaled 98 innings with the Astros over the past two seasons, albeit with a 5.51 ERA.
  • Also from Eddy, the Reds have inked outfielder Brennan Boesch to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old Boesch hit .269/.330/.436 in 248 games with the Tigers from 2010-11, but since that time, he’s batted just .237/.277/.376 in 635 plate appearances with the Tigers, Yankees and Angels.
  • The Tigers have announced that outfielder Ezequiel Carrera has elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A after being outrighted (Twitter link). The 27-year-old hit .261/.301/.348 in 73 plate appearances with Detroit this season and is a lifetime .253/.305/.340 hitter in the Majors. Carrera hasn’t hit much in 478 big league PAs, but he brings some speed and solid baserunning to the table and is capable of handling all three outfield spots.


Outrighted: Tabata, Buck, Boesch

After being designated for assignment last week, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata has been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis and accepted the assignment, reports MLB.com’s Tom Singer. The move is not a surprise, as had Tabata rejected the assignment he would have forfeited the remaining $8.5MM on his contract.

Here are some more outright-related moves from around the league…

  • Both John Buck and Brennan Boesch have rejected outright assignments from the Angels in lieu of free agency, Angels director of communications Eric Kay announced (on Twitter). Buck, 34, picked up five plate appearances with the Halos this season after spending much of the season with the Mariners. The veteran batted .225/.289/.281 in 97 plate appearances overall on the year. Boesch, 29, hit .187/.203/.293 with a pair of home runs in 79 PA for the Angels. The duo was designated for assignment earlier this week when the Angels claimed Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick on waivers.

Angels Claim Alfredo Marte, Roger Kieschnick; Designate John Buck, Brennan Boesch

The Angels have claimed outfielders Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick off waivers from the Diamondbacks, the club announced. In a corresponding move, the team has designated catcher John Buck and outfielder Brennan Boesch for assignment.

Marte and Kieschnick have each seen fairly minimal time at the MLB level over the last two years, and neither has been productive in those short samples. But the 25-year-old Marte is fresh off of a .319/.407/.519 campaign at the Triple-A level, his best line as a professional. And while Kieschnick, 27, was less impressive in his first season in the D’backs organization (.260/.317/.461), he put up two productive Triple-A campaigns in the Giants system in the years prior.

Meanwhile, Buck was slated to become a free agent after the season. He signed on with the Halos after losing his backup job with the Mariners, with whom he signed a one-year, $1MM deal before the season. On the year, Buck slashed a meager .225/.289/.281 in his 97 big league plate appearances. Boesch, who could have been controlled through arbitration, will also get a slight head start on free agency. After joining the Angels on a minor league deal, Boesch struggled in 79 plate appearances with the big club but did tune up the PCL with a .332/.381/.636 slash over 407 plate appearances.


Minor Moves: Boesch, Perez, Boggs, MacDougal

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).

AL West Notes: Harden, Boesch, Franklin, Taylor

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.

Angels To Sign Brennan Boesch, Carlos Pena

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.


AL East Notes: Red Sox, Yankees, Boesch, Dickerson

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.

Yankees Release Brennan Boesch

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.