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Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Brewers have added infielder Donnie Murphy on a minor league deal, the team announced through the Twitter account of its player development group. Murphy, soon to turn 32, has seen action in nine MLB seasons, compiling a .212/.279/.395 line over 931 plate appearances. He experienced his most sustained success in 2013 with the Cubs, but struggled last year in a prolonged stint with the Rangers. Murphy, who has spent most of his time at third and second, could compete with some younger players for a utility role with Milwaukee.
- Casper Wells has joined the Tigers on a minor league deal according to multiple reports, the first of which was made by Baseball Prospectus’ Mark Anderson (Twitter link). Chris Iott of MLive.com reports (also via Twitter) that Wells will head right to minor league camp on March 15. The 30-year-old Wells, a former Tiger, is a career .230/.299/.395 hitter that is capable of handling all three spots in the outfield. The right-handed hitter has solid numbers against left-handed pitching in his career: a .248/.329/.450 batting line.
- The independent Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish announced that they’ve signed former Phillies top prospect Jiwan James. The 25-year-old James ranked among Philadelphia’s top 30 prospects on multiple occasions, per Baseball America, who also ranked him as the organization’s best athlete, fastest runner and best outfield defender multiple times. However, his bat has yet to line up with those standout defensive tools, as he’s hit .265/.317/.364 in his minor league career. James dealt with a knee injury in 2013 and had offseason surgery due to Crohn’s disease last winter, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com wrote, so perhaps with a display of better health in the Atlantic League he can jump back into affiliated ball.
It has been a busy day as the league returns to action out of the All-Star break. Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball …
- First baseman Carlos Pena has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Pena, 36, was designated for assignment yesterday after a rough start to his tenure in Texas.
- Veteran backstop Yorvit Torrealba has requested and been given his release from the Cubs, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old has a .256/.315/.379 career MLB triple-slash over 13 seasons of work. He has only seen time at the Cubs’ rookie-league affiliate this year since signing last month.
- The Angels have signed hurler Chris Volstad to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. Volstad, a towering righty, has a 4.94 ERA over parts of six MLB seasons, working mostly as a starter until a stint last season with the Rockies. He had been pitching for the Korean Doosan Bears this season, working to a 6.21 ERA over 87 frames with just 3.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.
- Free agent righty Jeremy Berg has signed a minor league pact with the Cardinals, also via the MLB transactions page. Berg, 28, has yet to pitch in the big leagues and owns a 4.43 ERA in 256 innings at the Triple-A level. He had spent his entire career in the Angels organization.
- The Phillies released right-hander Barry Enright today, according to the International League transactions page. The 28-year-old has struggled mightily in his most recent stints at the major league level, and carries a 5.58 ERA through 101 2/3 Triple-A innings this season with 5.7 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.
- The Brewers have inked catcher Hector Gimenez to a minor league deal and assigned him to Double-A Huntsville, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter). The 31-year-old Gimenez spent some time as the White Sox’ backup catcher in 2013 but posted just a .191/.275/.338 batting line in 80 trips to the dish. He’s a lifetime .216/.280/.330 hitter in 100 big league plate appearances and is a veteran of 12 minor league seasons. He’ll provide some minor league catching depth for Milwaukee.
- Outfielder Casper Wells has signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish, the club announced on its web site. Once a nice fourth outfielder for the Mariners, Wells’ stock has dropped after hitting just .126/.186/.147 for the White Sox, A’s and Phillies in 2013. He began the year with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate but batted just .197/.290/.230 in 69 PA with Iowa before being released.
- The Brewers have also acquired outfielder Josh Fellhauer from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations, the team’s player development department announced (on Twitter). A former seventh-round pick, the 26-year-old Fellhauer was hitting .239/.338/.313 in 155 PA between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He’ll also report to Double-A Huntsville with the Brewers.
We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments and minor moves from around the league right here…
- The Nationals announced today that they have released right-hander Christian Garcia (hat tip: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post). Garcia battled back from Tommy John surgery to throw 12 2/3 excellent innings for the Nats in 2012, but he missed 2013 with a partially torn flexor tendon and was once again on the shelf with right shoulder issues. He had posted a 2.75 ERA with a 17-to-4 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season.
- The Cubs have released outfielder Casper Wells, Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register tweets. Not long ago, Wells was considered by many to be a valuable platoon bat capable of handling all three outfield spots, but he struggled greatly between three teams last season and was hitting just .197/.290/.230 through 69 plate appearances with Triple-A Iowa this year.
- Southpaw Josh Outman has cleared waivers and accepted the Indians‘ outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Acquired this offseason in exchange for Drew Stubbs, Outman posted a strong 3.28 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. While that ERA may have caused some to question the move, he walked 16 hitters in that time as well.
- MLBTR’s DFA Tracker reveals a slew of players in DFA limbo, including: Greg Dobbs (Nationals), Jonathan Diaz (Blue Jays), Jamie Romak (Dodgers), Chris Capuano (Red Sox), Brad Snyder (Rangers), Donnie Joseph (Royals), Roger Bernadina (Reds), Jake Dunning (Giants), J.J. Putz (D’Backs) and Evan Reed (Tigers).
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.
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We'll keep tabs on today's minor moves via updates to this post.
- Righty J.C. Ramirez joined outfielders Roger Bernadina and Casper Wells as now-former Phillies players who have elected free agency, according to the International League transactions page. The trio was recently outrighted by Philadelphia. Ramirez, 25, struggled mightily in his first 24 big league innings this year and has not posted a sub-4.00 ERA campaign in the minors since he was 17. Bernadina, 29, was a major contributor for the Nationals in 2012 (.291/.372/.405 slash in 261 plate appearances) before falling off a cliff this season (.181/.250/.295 in 250 plate appearances). And Wells, 28, saw scant MLB action with three teams in 2013, putting up a sub-zero OPS+ after having been an approximately league average hitter over the first three years of his major league career.
- Sidearming left-handed reliever Clay Rapada has elected free agency from the Indians, also per the International League transactions page. In his first season as a regular big leaguer in 2012, Rapada posted an impressive 2.82 ERA in 38 1/3 innings over 70 appearances. The 32-year-old didn't surrender a run or a walk in 2013, but that was in large part because he threw just four innings for the Indians. Rapada did, however, put up a stellar 2.14 ERA in 33 2/3 Triple-A innings, though he managed only 6.4 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.
- Righty Jeff Manship has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment from the Rockies, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. In eleven appearances, including four starts, Manship threw 30 2/3 innings of 7.04 ERA ball for Colorado's top club, matching the general ineffectiveness the 28-year-old has exhibited throughout his career at the highest level.
- Remember to follow MLBTR's DFA Tracker for the latest on players that have been designated for assignment by their clubs. At present, only Alex Castellanos of the Dodgers is stuck in DFA limbo.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Astros have outrighted outfielder Trevor Crowe and pitcher Jorge De Leon, according to a team press release. Crowe, a former first-round pick of the Indians, hit .218/.287/.291 in 181 plate appearances with the Astros in 2013. With Crowe's departure, the only Astro remaining who is eligible for arbitration is Jason Castro. De Leon pitched ten innings of relief for Houston after spending much of the year with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- The Mets have outrighted relievers Greg Burke and Sean Henn, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets. Burke, 31, pitched 31 2/3 innings for New York in 2013, posting a 5.68 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. He also made 31 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas. Before 2013, Burke had not appeared in the Majors since 2009, when he was with the Padres. Henn appeared in four games with the Mets in 2013, pitching most of the season in Las Vegas.
- The Phillies outrighted four players to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: outfielders Casper Wells and Roger Bernadina, left-hander Cesar Jimenez, and right-hander J.C. Ramirez. Wells, who also spent time with the White Sox and Mariners in 2013, had a dismal .126/.186/.147 combined slash line in 102 plate apparances. Ramirez posted a 7.50 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 18 relief appearances but posted stronger numbers at Lehigh Valley. Bernadina hit .291/.372/.405 for the Nats in 2012 but he had an OPS of just .545 in '13.
- Correcting an earlier item, the Phillies did not re-sign Michael Martinez. We regret the error.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Phillies announced that they have claimed Casper Wells off of waivers from the White Sox.
To call Wells a well-traveled outfielder this season would be putting it lightly, as the Phillies will be the fifth organization he has been with this season. Wells went to Spring Training with the Mariners before being designated for assignment and claimed by the Blue Jays. His next stop was Oakland before ultimately landing in Chicago for the majority of the season.
In 38 games with the White Sox, the 28-year-old hit just .167/.225/.182 — a far cry from the .246/.317/.435 batting line that he carried into the 2013 campaign. Wells is capable of playing all three outfield positions and is a career .249/.330/.450 hitter against left-handed pitching. He was selected by the Tigers in the 14th round of the 2005 draft and remained with that organization until being included in the 2011 Doug Fister trade with the Mariners.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The White Sox have acquired Casper Wells from the Athletics in exchange for cash considerations, both teams have announced via press release. In order to clear room on the 40-man roster, the White Sox placed left-hander Leyson Septimo back on the 60-day disabled list.
Wells, 28, has garnered quite a bit of media attention due to the constant fluctuation of his roster status this month. After being designated for assignment by the Mariners at the end of Spring Training, he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays ten days later. Following a short stint with Toronto during which he did not appear in a game, he was designated once again, this time being traded to the A's.
Wells' Oakland tenure wasn't much more noteworthy, as he received five plate appearances before being designated for assignment yet again. Casey Pratt of CSN Bay Area tweets that the A's promised Wells they'd try to work something out quickly following his most recent DFA, and they look to have honored that pledge.
Wells is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has posted a strong .264/.349/.489 batting line versus left-handed pitching in his career. Last season with the Mariners, he hit .228/.302/.396 in 316 plate appearances.
The well-traveled outfielder cost the A's $100K when they picked him up from the Blue Jays but he wound up making just one start for Oakland. The 28-year-old is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has posted a strong .264/.349/.489 batting line versus left-handed pitching in his career. Last season with the Mariners, Wells hit .228/.302/.396 in 316 plate appearances.
The Orioles entered the eighth inning of yesterday's game with a lead and held on to pick up the victory. That might not seem all that noteworthy on the surface, but as MLB.com's Matthew Leach writes, yesterday marked the 100th straight win in games where the Orioles have held a lead through seven innings. Leach examines all the aspects of the Orioles' roster that have led to their improbably success with late inning leads. Here's more on the AL East…
- Alex Burnett spoke candidly with Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca regarding the waiver process that led him to end up in the Orioles' organization, and he didn't sound happy about his brief stint with the Blue Jays. Burnett said he was "shocked" to be designated for assignment by Toronto and wondered what the point of his claim was. He also adds that he's had to have his car shipped across the country twice, break two leases and send his pregnant wife home because the constant moving would have been too difficult. Burnett said he's thankful that his process has been relatively quick, and he feels bad for Casper Wells, who spent the better part of three weeks in waiver limbo. Burnett hopes that the process will be brought up at the next Players Association meeting. MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth recently looked at the waiver process in depth.
- Davidi notes that the silver lining for these players is that they do collect a Major League salary and Major League service time while they are on waivers.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick spoke with an AL scout regarding Orioles' right-hander Jake Arrieta and was told, "I know 29 teams that would be takers" (Twitter link). Arrieta's raw stuff draws consistent praise despite poor results. He was optioned to Triple-A yesterday.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports also talked to scouts regarding Arrieta, who said that he has "electric stuff." Knobler writes that Arrieta is simply too talented for the Orioles to give up on.
- Another scout told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Yankees should be very concerned about Ichiro Suzuki: "His timing is all off. He looks terrible." Ichiro signed a two-year, $13MM contract with the Yankees this offseason.