Chad James Rumors

Minor Moves: McGrady, Willis, James, Olmsted, Wang

Former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, who had been trying his hand as a pitcher with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, announced his retirement from baseball today, writes Brett Dolan of CBS Houston. T-Mac totaled just 6 2/3 innings with Sugar Land, and his lone strikeout came against the final hitter he faced. “That is definitely going in the trophy case,” McGrady said after his announcement. He called the opportunity to get to know and learn from his teammates “an honor.”

Here are the rest of the day’s minor moves:

  • Dontrelle Willis was briefly considering a career in coaching, but the former Rookie of the Year and Cy Young runner-up will instead pitch for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The D-Train is familiar with the Atlantic League, as he made 14 starts for the Long Island Ducks (producing a 2.57 ERA) in 2013. His debut will come on Friday.
  • Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers have signed former first-rounder Chad James to a minor league deal and assigned him to Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. The Marlins selected James 18th overall in 2009, but he never made it past High-A. Now 23 years old, James had been pitching for the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. He has a career 4.71 ERA between the minor leagues and indy ball.
  • The Portland Sea Dogs (the Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate) announced on Twitter that they have released right-hander Michael Olmsted. The longtime Mets farmhand returned for a second stint in Boston’s farm system when he inked a minor league deal this spring. Olmsted posted a 4.45 ERA with a 37-to-24 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings.
  • The White Sox have made a series of transactions at the minor league level, according to a tweet from its Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights (h/t to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin). The team has added righty Chien-Ming Wang on a minor league deal. Wang, who has thrown at least 27 MLB innings over each of the last three seasons, was recently let go by the Reds after opting out of his deal.
  • Meanwhile, the Reds have acquired righty Dylan Axelrod from the White Sox for an as-yet unknown return. The 28-year-old threw 128 1/3 innings last year for Chicago, including 20 starts, but managed only a 5.68 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He currently sports a 4.50 ERA through 88 frames at Triple-A on the year, logging 7.8 K/9 versus 3.7 BB/9.
  • The White Sox also released Deunte Heath, a 28-year-old righty who has tossed 9 2/3 MLB innings over the past two seasons. Heath will evidently be signing with a Japanese club after posting generally excellent numbers at the Triple-A level over the past several seasons.

Odds & Ends: Kazmir, Rays, Hoffman, Byrd

We can link to it, we have the technology…

  • ESPN's Keith Law feels the Rays received "a tremendous return for a pitcher whose value had really nose-dived over the past 10 months" when they dealt Scott Kazmir to the Angels late Friday evening.
  • Manager Joe Maddon says that the team feels they have the depth to cover the loss of Kazmir, and that it won't hurt their chances of getting back to playoffs this year. The depth Maddon speaks of comes in the form of Andy Sonnanstine and prospect Wade Davis, though Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times says Sonnanstine will get the call against the Red Sox on Tuesday.
  • Topkin was all over the Kazmir saga yesterday, and now that the dust has settled he says the team can use the savings to keep it's core intact. Several veterans, such as Carl Crawford, have raises built into their contracts, and several of the club's young players will be due big raises in arbitration.
  • When asked if closer Trevor Hoffman might go to the Giants after being claimed on waivers, Brewers GM Doug Melvin said "probably not," according to Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel.
  • Boston reportedly agreed to give Paul Byrd a September callup, but it looks like his shot may come sooner than that. With Tim Wakefield's back acting up again, the Sox will send Byrd to the mound tomorrow night according to John Tomase of The Boston Herald.
  • Sheldon Ocker of The Akron Beacon Journal takes an early look at some of the players that could help get the Indians back on track in 2010.
  • The Marlins officially introduced first round pick Chad James to the masses this afternoon, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.

Marlins Ink First-Round Pick

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Marlins have agreed to terms with first-round pick Chad James.  The young left-hander, taken 18th overall in June, was handed a $1.7MM signing bonus.  He boasts a high-velocity fastball and promising curve, but is just 18 years of age and is likely to spend several seasons navigating the Marlins' farm system.