Bryan LaHair Rumors

Minor Moves: Tomas, Oliver, Brignac, Zito

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Diamondbacks have optioned Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, the team reports via Twitter. The club signed Tomas for $68.5MM over the offseason. He struggled both defensively and offensively this spring. A stint in Triple-A should give him time to adjust to the outfield and improve his plate approach.
  • Phillies Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver has elected free agency after he was outrighted, the club announced via Twitter. The hard throwing lefty has struggled with walks throughout his career. That continued this spring with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts in 12 and two-thirds innings. The club also announced on Twitter that they reassigned catcher Rene Garcia, first baseman Russ Canzler, and infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A.
  • Marlins utility infielder Reid Brignac has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Joe Frisaro of In 905 major league plate appearances, Brignac has a .222/.266/.314 line.
  • Athletics pitcher Barry Zito has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Jane Lee of The former star is working his way back from a one-year hiatus. He posted a 4.79 ERA in 20 and two-thirds spring innings. The 37-year-old struck out 14 and walked five. A former ninth overall pick of the A’s, the southpaw struggled after moving across the Bay to San Francisco on a seven-year, $126MM contract. That deal concluded after the 2013 season.
  • The Red Sox have released Casey Crosby, Bryan LaHair, and Matt Hoffman per the MLB transactions page. Crosby was once a top prospect with the Tigers, but the 26-year-old lefty has yet to develop command. Lahair, 32, had a nice run with the Cubs in 2012 when he hit .259/.334/.450 with 16 home runs in 380 plate appearances. He spent the 2013 season in Japan and split 2014 between Cleveland’s Double and Triple-A clubs.
  • The Phillies have released shortstop Tyler Greene according to the MLB transactions page. Greene, an 11th round pick, was once rated among the Phillies’ best prospects. He missed the entire 2014 season and has never posted a strikeout rate below 33 percent at any level.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Edgmer Escalona per the MLB transactions page. Escalona pitched in parts of four seasons for the Rockies, accruing 100 innings. He has a career 4.50 ERA with 6.39 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9.
  • The Cubs have released lefty pitcher Francisley Bueno according to the transactions page. The 34-year-old has pitched in parts of four season for the Braves and Royals. The soft tossing lefty has a career 2.98 ERA with 4.92 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 60 innings. He’s a pure platoon pitcher.
  • The Braves released former closer Matt Capps per The righty last appeared in the majors in 2012. He has a career 3.52 ERA with 6.53 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. He’s thrown just 12 minor league innings over the last two seasons – both with the Indians.


Minor Moves: Paulino, LaHair, Marjama

Here are today’s minor league transactions, with the latest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Red Sox announced the signings of righty Felipe Paulino and 1B/OF Bryan LaHair to minor league deals with Spring Training invites.  Paulino posted an 11.29 ERA over 18 1/3 IP with the White Sox last season, his first taste of MLB action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.  LaHair also last appeared in the majors in 2012, when he rode a big first half to an All-Star selection but came back to earth after his hot start.  LaHair played in Japan in 2013 and spent last season in the Indians’ minor league system.
  • The Rays acquired catcher Mike Marjama from the White Sox, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter).  Chicago will receive cash or a player to be named later in return.  Marjama was a 23rd-round pick for the Sox in the 2011 draft and the 25-year-old backstop has a .270/.307/.376 slash line over 888 minor league plate appearances.  Marjama has yet to play above the high-A level, and Topkin notes that the catcher isn’t expected to be in the Rays’ Major League Spring Training camp.

Indians Sign Bryan LaHair

The Indians have officially signed first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair to a minor league deal that includes a Spring Training invite, tweets's Jordan Bastian. The 31-year-old will have a chance to earn time as a DH or bench bat, tweets Bastian, and would provide depth at first.

LaHair was released by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks after spending last year in Japan. For the Hawks, LaHair hit 16 home runs in 389 plate appearances, but slashed just .230/.306/.428.

LaHair's incredible first half in 2012 made him an MLB All-Star that year, but he ended the campaign with a .259/.334/.450 line for the season. He did hit 16 long balls in just 380 plate appearances, however. His prior employers have clearly viewed LaHair as a righty-masher only, as he has just 96 career plate appearances (and a rough .380 OPS) against lefties. LaHair has seen time at both first and the corner outfield over his MLB career.

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Release Bryan LaHair

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball league of Japan have released former big leaguer Bryan LaHair, reports Chris Cotillo of (via Twitter). LaHair was transferred to the Hawks from the Cubs after the 2012 season, agreeing to a two-year, $4.7MM deal that included an opt-out provision.

LaHair had a breakout 2012 season as a 29-year-old, posting huge first-half numbers that led to an unlikely All-Star appearance. But he faded in the back half of the year, ultimately ending up with a .259/.334/.450 line for the season, including 16 home runs, over 380 plate appearances. In Japan last year, LaHair matched that tally of homers over a similar 389 plate appearances, but saw his line dip to .230/.306/.428.

The left-handed swinging LaHair has seen time at both first and the corner outfields, increasing his versatility. He was limited almost exclusively to facing righties in his big 2012 season, and has only 96 career MLB plate appearances against southpaws, over which he has a meager .380 OPS. In his last full season in the minors, 2011, LaHair posted a 1.120 OPS against righties and a .875 mark against same-handed hurlers.

LaHair joins a thin group of corner options with left-handed power, and could prove attractive to MLB clubs looking for some pop off of the bench.

SoftBank Hawks, LaHair Nearing Deal

8.38pm: MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that LaHair can opt-out of the contract after 2013, and the deal includes $2MM in incentives each year. The total value is $4.7MM when you include his signing bonus and buyout.

7:42pm: LaHair's agreement with the Hawks is worth $4MM over two years, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Cubs received about $950K in the transaction.

11:12am: The SoftBank Hawks are close to an agreement with Bryan LaHair, according to a Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The Cubs designated LaHair for assignment yesterday, announcing that the team and player were "pursuing an opportunity" for LaHair to sign with a Japanese team. 

LaHair, 30, made the NL All-Star team in 2012, but his production diminished in the second half. He finished the season with 16 home runs and a .259/.334/.450 batting line in 380 plate appearances as a corner outfielder and first baseman.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Cubs Designate Bryan LaHair For Assignment

The Cubs have designated Bryan LaHair for assignment, according to a club press release.  The team and LaHair are "pursuing an opportunity" for LaHair to sign with a Japanese team.

LaHair had a peculiar 2012 season, beginning the campaign as Chicago's regular first baseman and breaking out to 12 homers and a .988 OPS over his first 51 games.  This hot start was enough for LaHair to make the NL All-Star team, though he cooled off considerably after May and ended up on the bench as Anthony Rizzo took over at first and the Cubs had too many other options in the outfield. 

LaHair finished 2012 with a .259/.334/.450 line and 16 homers in 380 plate appearances with almost all of that damage coming against right-handed pitching — the left-handed hitting LaHair had an .865 OPS against righties and a .292 OPS against southpaws.

NL Central Notes: Correia, LaHair, Snyder, Brewers

With tonight's 3-0 win over the Cubs, the Astros have now recorded three straight shutouts for the first time since 1986.  It's a small measure of consolation for a team that has already clinched the worst record in baseball and the first overall pick in next year's amateur draft.  Here's the latest from Houston and elsewhere around the NL Central…

  • Kevin Correia cracked the 170-inning plateau with tonight's start, earning him a $100K bonus, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Correia will be a free agent this winter and is rumored to be parting ways with the Pirates, given that he's already requested a trade earlier this season.
  • Bryan LaHair thinks he has a 50-50 chance of being traded by the Cubs this offseason, he tells ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla.
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is undecided about bringing back Chris Snyder next season, though he's been impressed by Snyder's veteran leadership, reports's Brian McTaggart.  The Astros and Snyder have a $4MM mutual option for 2013, an option that seems unlikely to be exercised by the club given Snyder's poor hitting this season and the fact that $4MM is a high price for a backup catcher.  It's possible the Astros could decline the option and still bring Snyder back on a smaller contract.
  • Ron Roenicke tells reporters (including's Adam McCalvy) that the Brewers will bring their current coaching staff back next season.

Quick Hits: Baker, Varitek, LaHair, Padres, Berkman

Reds manager Dusty Baker suffered a minor stroke on Friday, the team told reporters (including's Mark Sheldon).  Baker was already in hospital being treated for an irregular heartbeat and was supposed to be released on Friday.  The 63-year-old was released instead on Sunday and is reportedly in good condition, addressing the Reds clubhouse this afternoon.  Bench coach Chris Speier has managed the team in Baker's absence and will continue to do so at least through Cincinnati's weekend series with the Pirates, though Baker is hopeful of returning for the Reds' final series of the year.

Here's some more news from around the baseball world…

Dodgers, Cubs Have Discussed Soriano, LaHair

The Dodgers and Cubs have had some discussions about including Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair in a trade for Ryan Dempster, Danny Knobler of reports. The Dodgers continue seeking offense as well as pitching, but it’s a definite longshot that they’ll acquire Soriano or LaHair, Knobler writes.

The Cubs are “desperate” to trade Soriano, who earns $18MM per season through 2014. The Cubs have offered to pay almost all of Soriano’s salary, but he’s drawing minimal interest from other teams, according to Knobler. At least one team has checked in on Soriano, who has 19 home runs and a respectable .274/.324/.503 batting line.

The Dodgers have also talked about the possibility of acquiring Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham of the Twins, Knobler reports.

Orioles Have Inquired On Polanco, LaHair, Headley

The Orioles have been making calls to other teams in search help at their corner infield positions, and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they've made calls specifically regarding Placido Polanco, Bryan LaHair and Chase Headley.

General manager Dan Duquette is in search of a high on-base percentage who can hit near the top of the Orioles' batting order. An industry source cautioned Connolly in telling him that the O's talks regarding the trio have been preliminary.

Orioles third basemen have combined to hit .233/.291/.383, and their first basemen haven't fared much better at .237/.316/.415. They've primarily used a combination of Wilson Betemit, Mark Reynolds, and Chris Davis at the positions this season, but all are defensive liabilities and Davis has been shifted to an outfield role.

Connolly speculates that Polanco may be the best fit, as he would cost the cheapest of the three to acquire. Headley figures to be one of the most coveted players that is potentially available this summer, and LaHair is controllable through the 2017 season. Polanco earns $6.25MM this season and has a $5.5MM mutual option with a $1MM  buyout for the 2013 season.