Brian Stokes Rumors

Minor Moves: Flores, Stokes, Ward, Carson

Let's keep track of the day's minor moves here…

  • The Yankees will release Triple-A left-hander Randy Flores tomorrow according to Danny Knobler of (on Twitter). Both sides agreed to the move. Flores pitched to a 2.54 ERA in 28 1/3 innings for New York's top minor league affiliate, but he gave up 14 hits in 14 innings against lefties.
  • The Diamondbacks have signed Brian Stokes and assigned him to Triple-A Reno according to the team's Twitter feed. The righty reliever spent last season with the Angels organization, throwing 16 2/3 innings in the majors and 17 2/3 innings in the minors.
  • The D'Backs also signed infielder Daryle Ward according to the club's Twitter feed. The 36-year-old had been playing with the independent Newark Bears, and he hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2008. He's headed to Double-A Mobile.
  • The Rays have acquired Matt Carson from the Athletics according to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League transactions page. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .285/.338/.538 with 19 homers and 11 stolen bases in exactly 400 plate appearances for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate this season. He's seen time with the A's in each of the last two seasons, posting a .200/.210/.370 batting line with five homers in 105 plate appearances from 2009-2010.
  • The Astros have released right-hander Brad Hennessey according to Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched to a 7.76 ERA in 26 2/3 innings for Houston's Triple-A affiliate,

AL Central Notes: Raburn, Twins, Indians

The Tigers lost Joel Zumaya to a season-ending elbow injury on this date last year, the same day they took over first place with a win against the Twins. A year later, Zumaya hasn't made it back to the big leagues, but the Tigers have returned to first place, at least for now. Here’s the latest from their division… 

  • The Tigers offered outfielder Ryan Raburn to the Mets for reliever Brian Stokes a couple of years ago, according to ESPNNewYork’s Adam Rubin (on Twitter). The Mets eventually acquired Gary Matthews Jr. for Stokes. 
  • Longtime Twins executive Howard Fox died at the age of 90 earlier today, the team announced. Our condolences to the family and friends of Minnesota's former club president.
  • The Twins signed fourth round pick Matt Summers, according to Rhett Bollinger of The 21-year-old right-hander will report to Rookie League.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he doesn’t necessarily prefer right-handed hitters to left-handed hitters (Twitter link).

Minor Deals: Stokes, Diaz, Barton, Brewers

Rounding up today's minor signings:

  • The Blue Jays signed Brian Stokes, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). The 31-year-old struggled through 16 2/3 innigns for the Angels last year, but was useful for the Mets from 2008-09 before they sent him to L.A. for Gary Matthews Jr..
  • The A's signed right-hander Jonathan Ortiz, who combined a sinker and an above-average changeup to post 11.8 K/9 in the Yankees system this year, according to Eddy (all links go to Twitter).
  • The Tigers signed shortstop Argenis Diaz, who was non-tendered by the Pirates despite his strong glovework.
  • The Angels signed Ryan Braun – not the Brewers slugger, but the 30-year-old right-hander who posted a 2.20 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte last year. He last pitched in the majors for the 2007 Royals.
  • The Twins signed Matt Brown, a former Angel who should provide corner infield depth.
  • The Pirates re-signed Tyler Yates, who missed last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
  • Brian Barton, who hit 19 homers and stole 18 bases in the Atlantic League this year, signed with the Reds, according to Eddy (on Twitter).
  • The Cubs signed lefty Polin Trinidad, who posted a 4.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 149 2/3 innings in the upper minor for the Astros last year (Twitter link).
  • The Brewers signed Edwin Maysonet and Shawn Riggans to minor league deals and invited them to Spring Training, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Maysonet, 29, appeared in 46 games as a backup infielder for the Astros in 2008-09 and hit .248/.308/.329 in 356 minor league plate apperances last year. Riggans, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rays, barely played in 2010.
  • The Twins inked lefty Chuck James, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  The 29-year-old former Brave had rotator cuff surgery in September of 2008.
  • The Nationals announced seven signings, including previously unreported contracts for Ryan Mattheus, Michael Aubrey, and Brian Bixler.  Mattheus, a 27-year-old right-handed reliever, was acquired by the Nats at the '09 trade deadline in the Joe Beimel deal, the same month he had Tommy John surgery.  His is a Major League deal.  Aubrey, drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003, hit .235/.310/.495 at Triple-A this year.  Bixler, a defensive-minded utility infielder, was acquired by Washington from the Pirates in August.

Angels Release Brian Stokes

The Angels released right-hander Brian Stokes, according to the transactions page. The Halos acquired Stokes last winter when they sent Gary Matthews Jr. to New York in a trade that didn't help either team. The center fielder struggled in New York and the Mets released Matthews in June.

Stokes, who turns 31 today, posted an 8.10 ERA in 16.2 innings for the Angels with as many walks as strikeouts (16). He was more effective in 14 minor league outings this year, posting a 4.08 ERA with more than twice as many strikeouts as walks. 

Mets To Acquire Gary Matthews Jr.

The Mets will acquire Gary Matthews Jr. and cash from the Angels for Brian Stokes. Matthews, who receives $500K for being traded, is set to make $11MM in 2010 and $12MM in 2011. The Angels will pick up all but $2MM of the $23.5MM remaining on the deal.

Matthews joined the Angels before the 2007 season, signing a $50MM deal. He leaves without much fanfare, as he's coming off a season in which he combined poor defense with a .250/.336/.361 line. That's far from the .866 OPS he posted in his 2006 walk year.

The 30-year-old Stokes allowed 72 hits and 38 walks in 70.1 innings last year, striking out 45 for a 3.97 ERA.

Jon Heyman of first reported the deal. Heyman, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and's Jerry Crasnick followed up with details, all via Twitter.