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Chien-Ming Wang Rumors
The Braves announced that they’ve signed outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year, Major League contract. The team also officially announced its minor league deal with Chien-Ming Wang and added that they’ve signed lefty Donnie Veal to a minor league contract. Both Wang and Veal receive invites to Spring Training.
Almonte, 25, has seen previous big league action with the Yankees in parts of two Major League seasons. He’s batted .211/242/.282 in 149 total plate appearances in the bigs, but his Triple-A track record is far better. In 173 games at that level, Almonte has authored a .275/.333/.431 triple-slash line. He has more than 100 games of experience at each outfield spot in the minor leagues, though he’s spent more time in the corners, specifically right field, than in center.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has published his latest round of Minor League Transactions, and within the piece he notes that the Rockies have re-signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league deal. Additionally, the Royals have re-signed Cuban lefty Noel Arguelles, Jordan Norberto re-signed with the Rays and Russ Canzler is back with the Phillies. Each of these is a minor league deal.
- The Braves have signed right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (on Twitter). The Braves are known to be seeking rotation depth, and Wang should provide just that. The former Yankee totaled 172 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level in 2014, posting a 4.12 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 57 walks.
- The Nationals have re-signed right-hander Manny Delcarmen and infielder Emmanuel Burriss to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson (Twitter links). Burriss, 30 in January, hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2012 but batted .300/.377/.412 in 510 Triple-A plate appearances for the Nats this past season. The 32-year-old Delcarmen hasn’t seen big league action since 2010, but he, too, had a strong season at Triple-A Syracuse for the Nats in 2014. Delcarmen posted a 3.13 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings of relief.
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.
FEBRUARY 14, 2014: Wang can opt out on May 31st or June 30th, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
DECEMBER 19, 2013: The Reds have signed right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to a news release in Taiwan from Wang's agency, Octagon (via Focus News Taiwan). Wang would earn $1.25MM upon making the Major League roster and could see his salary hit $3MM should he reach all of the incentives in the deal.
Wang, 34 in March, turned in a pair of brilliant starts for the Blue Jays last season but saw those two excellent starts sandwiched by a series of poor outings that led to a 7.67 ERA with 4.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 58 percent ground-ball rate in 27 frames. The Taiwanese hurler was very solid between the Triple-A affiliates for the Blue Jays and Yankees though, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 109 2/3 innings.
Wang's big league career got off to a promising start, as he posted a 3.79 ERA in 628 2/3 innings over parts of four seasons (2005-08) with the Yankees. That run included a pair of sub-4.00 ERA, 200-inning seasons — one of which landed him second in the AL Cy Young voting.
Injuries are the likely reason for Wang's 6.60 ERA in 163 innings since the 2009 season. His 2008 season was cut short by a Lis Franc fracture in his foot, and he then required shoulder surgery in 2009. It's been an uphill battle for the veteran since that time, though last year's Triple-A work and an impressive showing in the World Baseball Classic give some reason for a bit of optimism.
Here are today's minor moves from around baseball.
- The Blue Jays have outrighted pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to Triple-A Buffalo, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports (on Twitter). The Jays designated Wang for assignment on Monday. Wang, 33, has a 7.67 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 27 innings with the Jays this season.
- For the latest on DFAs and outrights, check out MLBTR's new DFA Tracker.
The Blue Jays announced, via press release, that they have designated right-hander Chien-Ming Wang for assignment in order to clear roster space for lefty Aaron Loup, who is returning from the paternity list.
Wang, 33, was recalled over the weekend to make a start but lasted just three innings and allowed four earned runs. In 27 innings for Toronto this season, he's posted a 7.67 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He's been significantly better in 17 Triple-A starts between the Yankees and Jays this season, compiling a 2.72 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.
As is the case with all players following a DFA, Wang's status can be tracked using MLBTR's new DFA Tracker. Wang joins Edinson Volquez and Edgmer Escalona in DFA limbo as he will now wait to learn what the future holds for him. The Jays will have 10 days to trade, outright or release the Taiwanese righty.
Here are today's minor moves…
- Royals lefty Francisley Bueno has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Bueno was designated last Tuesday.
- The Indians announced on Twitter that right-hander Chris Jakubauskas has been released from Triple-A Columbus. The 34-year-old appeared in 11 games for the Clippers, totaling 14 innings of 3.86 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9. He has also appeared in the Brewers organization this year.
- Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets that Kyle McClellan, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, will remain with in the Rangers organization after clearing waivers. McClellan will accept an outright assignment to Double-A Frisco. The 29-year-old allowed eight runs in 9 1/3 innings of work with the Rangers this season.
- Miguel Olivo has cleared waivers and elected free agency, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun Sentinel (on Twitter). Olivo was designated for assignment earlier this week after hitting .203/.250/.392 and informing the Marlins that he was quitting due to a lack of playing time.
- The Blue Jays announced that Chien-Ming Wang has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Buffalo, the team announced (hat tip: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet on Twitter). Wang's agent told Nicholson-Smith on Wednesday that he would accept an assignment to Triple-A rather than electing free agency if he cleared waivers. Wang was roughed up in his final two outings with the Jays to send his ERA soaring to 7.13.
- Seven players are currently in DFA limbo: Brandon Lyon (Mets), Hector Gimenez (White Sox), P.J. Walters (Twins), Shawn Camp (Cubs), Travis Ishikawa (Orioles), Alex Liddi (Mariners), and Eric Hinske (D-Backs).
WEDNESDAY: Wang would accept an assignment to Triple-A Buffalo instead of electing free agency, agent Alan Chang of Octagon told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
TUESDAY: MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays have designated right-hander Chien-Ming Wang for assignment. Toronto has confirmed the move and announced that a corresponding roster move will be made tomorrow, and Chisholm tweets that it will be Todd Redmond who is promoted.
The 33-year-old Wang pitched to a 2.61 ERA with 10 strikeouts and five walks in 20 2/3 innings over his first three starts for the Jays, but his last two outings have been disastrous. Wang allowed six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Tigers tonight, giving him 13 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings over his past two outings. He's been solid in Triple-A this season, posting a 2.33 ERA in 58 innings for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate.
Here are some Twins-related items, courtesy of 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson…
- The Twins "are dealing…heavily" with Amauris Nina, a trainer/agent tied to several international prospects, most notably 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Elon Jimenez. The Cubs are considered to be a "heavy favorite" to sign Jimenez once the international signing period begins on July 2.
- The Twins didn't have any interest in right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who signed with the Blue Jays earlier this week.
- Club vice president Mike Radcliff said he expects the Twins will sign 27 or 28 of their 40 picks from this year's amateur draft. He doesn't expect the club will sign 29th-round pick Logan Shore, a high school right-hander who is committed to the University of Florida. Shore was ranked as the 202nd-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America, who speculated that Shore could've gone as high as the third round had he found a particularly interested suitor.
- A Twins source tells Wolfson that "they fully expect" to sign fourth round pick Stephen Gonsalves. The high school southpaw has committed to the University of San Diego and was ranked by MLB.com as the 98th-best member of this year's draft class.
Jose Reyes ran the bases yesterday and today practiced taking double-play relays. The big question posed to GM Alex Anthopoulos, when he met with reporters before the Blue Jays' three-game winning streak ended with a 6-4 loss to the Rangers, was the timing of Reyes' return. "Our medical staff had said about 10 days or so, maybe a little bit less, but he’s certainly getting close and it’s great to see," Anthopoulos said (as quoted by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca). "Then it will be a question of how many at-bats is he going to need and how do his legs feel playing seven innings, nine innings, and so on. We’re definitely going to be anxious to have him back." Based on that timeline, Davidi speculates Reyes, on the disabled list since April 13 with a left ankle sprain, could begin his rehab June 19 and rejoin the Jays for the start of a four-game series in Boston June 27. In other Blue Jay notes:
- The injury news isn't as encouraging for Brett Lawrie, who is now wearing a protective boot to speed the healing of his high left ankle sprain. "I don't really have a timeline [for his return], because it just takes time to heal," said Anthopoulos (as quoted by MLB.com's Evan Peaslee). "Again, he's going to have to get back to running and all those kind of things. It's not as severe as Reyes, but it seems like it's certainly healing very slowly right now."
- Anthopoulos is taking a game-by-game approach with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who was signed Friday to a $500K contract, reports Davidi. "We hope he makes a lot of starts for us, but we don’t want to go in and promise x-number amount of starts," the GM said. "Hopefully, he does well and we catch lightning in a bottle with him. But he understands, his agent understands, that if things don’t work out, we have the right to turn the page."
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star feels the offseason moves made by Anthopoulos will only be judged as a total failure if he starts a firesale at the Trade Deadline and continues in the off-season to quickly turn some of his off-season acquisitions into prospects because he would invariably receive less in return than what he surrendered.
- Asked in a readers' mailbag about the possibility of trading slumping catcher J.P. Arencibia, Griffin writes this is one question the organization has to really think about moving forward, but there are no internal, minor-league options after trading away Travis d'Arnaud. If Arencibia (owner of a .220/.240/.436 line with 72 strikeouts and five walks in 225 plate appearances this year) were to be dealt, Griffin thinks it would only happen during the off-season when a quality replacement could be acquired.
- Griffin still sees the Blue Jays as contenders in the AL East because, even though all five clubs could finish with winning records, it is unclear whether there is a 100-win team in the division and 90 wins could quite possibly be enough for the second Wild Card berth.