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Chien-Ming Wang Rumors
Here were the day’s notable minor moves:
- The Mariners have selected the contract of former core player Franklin Gutierrez, the team announced. Fresh off a huge 2009 campaign, the outfielder signed a four-year, $20.5MM extension with Seattle. But a variety of ailments derailed his career and he provided the club with just 3.6 rWAR over the life of that deal. Gutierrez sat out the 2014 season while dealing with gastrointestinal issues, and came back on a minor league deal. Over 209 plate appearances at Triple-A this year, the 32-year-old has slashed a promising.317/.402/.500 with seven home runs and two steals.
- Another player looking for a comeback is Pirates righty Chris Volstad, who also received a call-up today per a club announcement. The towering, 28-year-old righty has not seen substantial big league time since 2012. He’s been solid in 76 Triple-A frames, putting up a 3.43 ERA with 5.9 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.
- Shortly after being released by the Braves, veteran righty Chien-Ming Wang has signed with the independent league’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the club confirmed to Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com (on Twitter). The 35-year-old owns a career 4.37 ERA over 792 1/3 big league innings, though he hasn’t reached the majors since 2013. He scuffled to a 6.10 ERA in 62 frames at the Triple-A level this year.
We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:
- The Braves have released a pair of players from Triple-A Gwinnett, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. Veteran Taiwanese righty Chien-Ming Wang will be looking for a new home after throwing 62 innings of 6.10 ERA ball, with 4.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He has not seen the big leagues since 2013, and it’s been some time since he was a durable and effective pitcher. Outfielder Joe Benson will also be on the move. The 27-year-old, who has seen only one brief call-up in his career, was slashing .246/.346/.331 over 137 plate appearances.
In the course of a broader post, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported several opt-out dates for veteran Braves pitchers in camp on minor league deals. Lefty Eric Stults can exercise his clause on April 3, just prior to Opening Day, while Chien-Ming Wang does not have the right to make himself a free agent until July 1.
Here’s more from Atlanta and the rest of the NL East:
- Though the Braves have had plenty of discussion with the representatives for Hector Olivera, the club is indicating that it will not spend a “huge” amount of money for the free agent infielder, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.
- The Nationals will face an early-season challenge now that center fielder Denard Span is set to miss significant time after undergoing surgery for a “right core muscle” injury, as Chelsea James of the Washington Post reports. A “league medical official” tells James that the surgery is particularly concerning since it comes right on the heels of a December sports hernia procedure. The immediate effect of the injury is to provide a full-time audition for prospect Michael Taylor. Depending upon how it proceeds, it could impact Washington’s trade deadline needs and Span’s upcoming free agency.
- Yankees starter CC Sabathia tells MLB Network Radio (audio link) that he is at “one hundred percent” health at this point. He expects his next outing to be live game action after throwing a simulated game today. Sabathia is just one of several high-variable starting pitchers in the New York stable. His ability to bounce back this year will go a long way not only towards determining the club’s short-term success, but also toward assessing the value the team can hope to return out of the $30MM in guaranteed money (and potential for $20MM more through a vesting clause) left on Sabathia’s deal.
Other teams asked Major League Baseball about the Rockies‘ decision to add John Axford to their roster so early in the spring, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Axford signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies in early February, but the team added him to its roster March 1, effectively turning a minor-league deal into a big-league one. To clear space on their roster, they moved Tyler Chatwood to the 60-day DL, a move they were not allowed to make in the offseason. The idea is that the team might have effectively agreed to a big-league deal with Axford but signed him to a minor-league deal purely to manipulate its roster. The Rockies, of course, could plausibly claim that they were impressed by Axford early in the spring and wanted to roster him so that he couldn’t exercise his out clause later in the month, perhaps making the decision early as a vote of confidence in Axford and in their team. Here are more highlights from Rosenthal’s latest notes column.
- Scouts have doubts about Stephen Drew as the Yankees‘ second baseman, Rosenthal writes. The Yankees signed Drew for $5MM in the offseason with the idea that he would provide veteran stability in the middle infield, given that they’re going with youngster Didi Gregorius at shortstop and their backup plans at second, Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, are also inexperienced.
- The Padres are reportedly among the teams most interested in Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, but Rosenthal reports that they are unlikely to pay more than the $70MM Olivera expects to get.
- Teams interested in starting pitching depth could turn to the Braves‘ collection of minor-league signees, including Eric Stults, Chien-Ming Wang and Wandy Rodriguez. Stults can opt out of his deal April 3, while Wang can opt out July 1. Whether Rodriguez has an out, and when, is unknown.
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.