Chris Nelson Rumors

Minor Moves: Beck, Constanza, Pineiro, Nelson

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The White Sox have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Chris Beck to be the 26th man for the second game of their doubleheader today. Beck, 24, has made his way through the minors with few strikeouts but strong control, posting 5.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 since the White Sox drafted him in the second round in 2012. This season, he had a 4.78 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 26 1/3 innings with Triple-A Charlotte.
  • The Reds have signed outfielder Jose Constanza to a minor-league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. The 31-year-old Constanza collected 240 plate appearances with the Braves from 2011 through 2014, batting .273/.316/.323. He spent most of last season with Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves released him last month.
  • The Blue Jays have signed veteran starter Joel Pineiro to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Double-A New Hampshire, Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner tweets. Pineiro, 36, last pitched in the big leagues with the Angels in 2011. He pitched briefly in the Cubs and Angels systems in a comeback bid last season, then pitched winter ball in Puerto Rico.
  • The Brewers will sign infielder Chris Nelson to a minor-league deal, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). The Phillies recently released Nelson from their minor-league deal with him. The five-year veteran played briefly with the Padres in 2014. The former first-round pick has a career line of .265/.311/.388, with many of his at-bats coming in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
  • The Padres have outrighted catcher Wil Nieves to Triple-A El Paso, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The Padres designated Nieves for assignment earlier this week to make room for top prospect Austin Hedges. It’s unclear whether Nieves will accept his outright assignment or opt for free agency. Nieves appeared in just six games for the Padres this year.
  • The Cubs have outrighted righty Anthony Varvaro, also according to the MLB.com transactions page. The Cubs recently claimed Varvaro from the Red Sox and then designated him for assignment on Wednesday. He did not appear in a game for them. He pitched in nine games for Boston earlier this season.
  • The Athletics have released outfielder Alex Hassan, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. That news might actually come as a relief to Hassan, who had been claimed five times in the past seven months. The A’s designated Hassan for assignment yesterday.
  • The Angels have released corner infielder Ryan Wheeler, via the Pacific Coast League transactions page. They had claimed the 26-year-old from the Rockies last August. Wheeler, who played briefly in the big leagues in 2012, 2013 and 2014, was hitting .291/.304/.418 for Triple-A Salt Lake, although he has a track record of hitting for better power at the Triple-A level.
  • The Rays have announced that they’ve placed Alex Cobb, who’s having Tommy John surgery, on the 60-day DL and selected the contract of 23-year-old righty Andrew Bellatti. Bellatti had struck out 20 batters in 21 1/3 innings at Triple-A Durham this season, posting a 2.11 ERA, pitching as a starter even though he had spent most of the previous three seasons working in relief. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times explains, it’s been a strange path to the Majors for Bellatti, a 2009 draft pick who spent a few months in jail for vehicular manslaughter following a 2010 car accident.

Chris Nelson To Sign Minors Deal After Release By Phillies

5:28pm: Nelson is indeed pursuing an opportunity with another team, but it is with a major league organization rather than a KBO club, MLBTR has learned. Nelson has agreed to a minor league pact with an unknown team after being released by the Phillies for that reason.

3:25pm: Nelson was indeed released to pursue an opportunity in Korea, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). It’s unclear at this point which team is interested in Nelson or if he’s received interest from multiple clubs.

10:39am: The Phillies announced that they’ve released infielder Chris Nelson from his Minor League contract. It’s unclear whether the utility infielder requested his release due to an opt-out clause, but he’ll now be free to pursue other opportunities.

Nelson, 29, was the ninth overall draft pick by the Rockies in 2004. He’s seen a fair share of Major League action in each of the past four seasons, averaging 218 plate appearances per year between the Rox, Angels, Yankees and Padres. In that time Nelson has batted .265/.311/.391, with much of his success coming in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 with Colorado. A good deal of that success was driven by his batting average on balls in play and the positive effects of Coors Field, however, and he’s yet to recreate that level of productivity since.

Nelson has experience at second base, third base and shortstop in the Major Leagues, though defensive metrics aren’t particularly high on his work at any of the three. Nonetheless, there’s value in that versatility, and he’s a career .307/.362/.473 hitter in Triple-A that had relatively solid marks in a small sample this season, so one would imagine that he could draw interest from another big league team or, perhaps, a club in Japan or Korea.


Phillies To Sign Chris Nelson

The Phillies have reached agreement on a minor league deal with infielder Chris Nelson, according to a tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Nelson, 29, now joins his sixth organization since the start of 2013.

Nelson has seen his opportunities at the MLB level diminish since a highly productive 2012 season with the Rockies in which he slashed .301/.352/.458. But that line was BABIP-driven and inflated by playing in Coors Field, and Nelson has fallen well shy of that pace since. Over the last two seasons, Nelson has carried a .229/.279/.313 line acrosss 308 plate appearances.

Nelson would seem likely to provide Philadelphia with a utility bench option. Though he has seen only scant time at short, he does have a good number of innings at second and, especially, third base.



Players Who Have Elected Minor League Free Agency

A total of 43 players have elected to become minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy in his latest round-up of minor league transactions.  MLBTR has already reported on some of these moves over the last few days, and here is the rest of the list, with players grouped by their most recent team…


Outrighted: Gindl, Carp, Triunfel, Savery, Nelson

Here are today’s minor moves and outright assignments from around the league…

  • Brewers outfielder Caleb Gindl has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, according to the MLB.com transaction page. Gindl hit .242/.340/.439 last season in an extended look while Ryan Braun was serving his suspension but struggled in both the Majors and minors this season. Gindl, who turned 26 just four days ago, is a career .273/.345/.434 hitter in Triple-A.
  • Mike Carp has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Rangers, via the MLB.com transactions page. Carp, who had an excellent season for the World Series champion Red Sox in 2013, struggled in both Boston and Texas this season. He collected just five hits in 46 PA with the Rangers prior to his DFA.
  • The Dodgers have outrighted shortstop Carlos Triunfel to Triple-A Albuquerque, according to MLB.com transactions page. The 24-year-old hit just .133/.188/.333 in 16 PA with the Dodgers this season and is a lifetime .160/.188/.235 hitter in 87 big league trips to the plate. The former top 100 prospect wasn’t able to deliver on his upside, as evidenced by his career .260/.301/.374 batting line at Triple-A.
  • Also from the MLB.com transactions page, left-hander Joe Savery has been sent outright to Triple-A Sacramento by the Athletics. The 28-year-old fired four shutout innings for the A’s this season, allowing three hits and a walk without a strikeout. He was designated for assignment as the A’s made a series of September callups.
  • Infielder Chris Nelson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A El Paso by the Padres, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune (on Twitter). The former first-round pick batted .233/.296/.274 in 81 plate appearances with the Padres this season and can become a free agent now or at season’s end if he wishes. Nelson, who has experience at both second and third base, is a lifetime .265/.311/.388 hitter in 901 PA between the Rockies, Angels, Yankees and Padres.

Padres Designate Troy Patton, Chris Nelson

The Padres have designated lefty Troy Patton and infielder Chris Nelson for assignment, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports on Twitter. Like many of the day’s other DFAs, these moves are related to the team’s September call-up plans.

Patton, 28, was picked up from the Orioles in the deal that sent Nick Hundley to Baltimore. He had been a reasonably effective reliever before struggling out of the gate this year for the O’s. Over 7 1/3 frames in San Diego, Patton actually showed quite well, allowing just two earned runs and striking out eight and walking only one. Over his career, Patton has limited lefties to a .633 OPS while also managing right-handed batters reasonably well (.718 OPS-against).

Nelson, also 28, has bounced around quite a bit in recent years. This season, he spent time at Triple-A with both the Reds and Pads, posting a combined .279/.355/.389 slash over 363 plate appearances. He failed to hit the .300 mark in any of those categories in his 81 trips to the MLB dish this year for San Diego.


Padres Sign Chris Nelson

8:41pm: Nelson’s contract contains an August 1 opt-out date, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).

7:33pm: The Padres have signed infielder Chris Nelson to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock (on Twitter). A client of agent Jon Fetterolf, Nelson was recently released by the Reds and will report to Triple-A El Paso.

Nelson, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2004 draft (by the Rockies), batted .274/.330/.363 in 261 plate appearances with Triple-A Louisville in the Reds organization earlier this season. He’s a career .268/.312/.399 hitter in the Majors and had a particularly strong showing in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 with nine home runs (though a good deal of that production came at Coors Field).

Nelson has experience at both second and third base, though defensive metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved aren’t particularly high on him at either position. He should serve as a nice depth piece for the Padres, who have lost Jedd Gyorko to injury and traded away some of their infield depth in the offseason by dealing Logan Forsythe to Tampa Bay.


Reds Release Chris Nelson After He Exercises Opt-Out

The Reds have released third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets Jamie Ramsey, the club’s assistant director of media relations. The 28-year-old exercised an opt-out in his minor league deal, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter).

Nelson re-signed with Cincinnati after opting out of his original minor league deal at the end of the spring. On the year, he has logged 261 plate appearances with a .274/.330/.363 triple-slash and four home runs at Triple-A Lousiville.

He bounced around last year, going from the Rockies to the Yankees and then the Angels. All said, he compiled a .227/.273/.327 line in 227 plate appearances. Once a top prospect, Nelson’s best year as a big leaguer was his .301/.352/.458 campaign for Colorado in 2013.


Quick Hits: Drew, Morales, Nelson, Taveras, Bukauskas

With Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales still unsigned with less than a month to go before the amateur draft, it is looking increasingly plausible that the pair will wait to shed their accompanying draft pick compensation before finding a new club. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter, teams will be able to ink either of the two free agents without giving up a pick as soon as the first day of the draft is completed on June 5. Of course, that is also the point at which their former clubs — the Red Sox and Mariners, respectively — would no longer stand to gain a compensatory choice should they sign elsewhere after declining qualifying offers.

Here’s more from around the league …

  • Reds third baseman Chris Nelson will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract that came due today, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 28-year-old will continue on with Triple-A Louisville for the time being, though his deal includes another opt-out date a month from now.
  • A rival talent evaluator tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider link) that the Cardinals‘ decision on the promotion of star prospect Oscar Taveras is complicated by the team’s defensive issues. In that source’s estimation, Taveras is better suited to the corner outfield than center. The team’s best method of creating space, he opines, would be to deal first baseman Matt Adams and put Allen Craig back in the infield. As Olney notes, Adams would figure to draw plenty of trade interest given his solid bat (career .803 OPS) and lengthy team control (through 2018).
  • 17-year-old high-school hurler Jacob Bukauskas, a potential first-round choice in the upcoming draft, has notified scouts that he plans to attend the University of North Carolina, according to John Manuel of Baseball America. The hard-throwing righty had pitched himself into consideration for selection in the late first or early second round, though some scouts believe he may not be able to stick as a starter. As Manuel notes, the Stone Bridge High School product will not be eligible for the draft again until 2017 if he matriculates at UNC.

Reds Re-Sign Chris Nelson

2:57pm: Nelson's contract contains a May 6 opt-out clause, tweets MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo.

2:28pm: Infielder Chris Nelson, who opted out of his minor league contract with Cincinnati at the end of Spring Training, has re-signed a minor league contract with the Reds and will report to Triple-A Louisville, the team announced on Twitter.

Nelson, 28, enjoyed a strong Spring Training with the Reds, batting .317/.348/.463 with a homer and three walks in 46 trips to the plate. Nelson bounced around to three teams last year, seeing time with the Rockies, Yankees and Angels. The Williams & Connolly client was originally selected by the Rockies with the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft. Though he hasn't put together an impressive Major League stat line to this point, Nelson has raked at Triple-A, hitting .320/.367/.516 in 205 games. His best season in the Majors was in 2012, when he batted .301/.352/.458 with nine homers in 377 plate appearances.