Dan Johnson Rumors

Minor Moves: Cards, Carpenter, Murphy, Clemens

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Cardinals outrighted right-hander Marcus Hatley and first baseman Dan Johnson off the 40-man roster and sent them to Triple-A, according to the club’s official transactions page.  Both players were designated for assignment earlier in the week.
  • Braves right-hander David Carpenter has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Carpenter was designated for assignment last week and had the option of becoming a free agent, which he declined to stay in the Braves organization.  Carpenter has only appeared in four games for Atlanta this season, posting a 7.36 ERA over his 3 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Brewers released infielder Donnie Murphy, as per the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Murphy signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in February and had a .257/.352/.371 line over 162 PA at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  The 32-year-old Murphy has appeared in parts of nine Major League seasons with five different teams since 2004.
  • The Royals signed righty Paul Clemens to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  Clemens posted a 5.51 ERA over 98 innings with the Astros in 2013-14 and a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in the Phillies’ minor league system this season.  He was released by the Phils in June.
  • Chris Capuano has accepted his outright assignment from the Yankees and reported to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran southpaw had the option of becoming a free agent, though doing so would’ve forfeited the roughly $1.7MM still owed to him on his Yankees contract for the rest of the season.
  • Angels right-hander Jeremy McBryde has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club’s communications department tweets.  McBryde was designated for assignment earlier in the week.  McBryde has a 4.07 ERA over 659 1/3 career minor league innings, though he’s struggled to a 5.63 ERA in 46 1/3 relief frames for the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • While McBryde’s case has been settled, over 20 players are still in DFA limbo.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker for a full accounting of the players still awaiting their next assignment.

Cardinals Designate Dan Johnson

The Cardinals have designated veteran first baseman Dan Johnson for assignment, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old lost his roster spot to make way for the just-acquired Brandon Moss.

Johnson has seen only scattered big league action for most of his career, and has not taken more than 100 MLB plate appearances since 2010. All told, he’s slashed .234/.335/.405 over 1,625 plate appearances in his career. While waiting for his next chance at the big leagues, Johnson has swatted 250 total minor league home runs.


Cardinals Designate Aledmys Diaz For Assignment

The Cardinals have designated infielder Aledmys Diaz for assignment, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports on Twitter. A 40-man spot was needed for the promotion of veteran first baseman Dan Johnson.

Per Langosch, St. Louis hopes that Diaz will clear waivers given that he’s still owed a significant amount of salary. The Cardinals signed Diaz as an amateur free agent in March of last year, guaranteeing him four years and $8MM.

After entering the year as the organization’s 11th-rated prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, the 24-year-old Diaz has taken a step back in 2015. Playing at Double-A, he owns a .235/.292/.344 slash over 268 plate appearances on the year. Those numbers are down from a partial showing in the minors last season, when he put up a .765 OPS in 125 turns at bat at the High-A and Double-A levels.

Baseball America noted in its evaluation that Diaz had a more advanced bat than glove, though the Cards have remained hopeful that he could turn into a big league shortstop. The youngster has spent virtually all of his time at short thus far as a professional. Over sixty games there this year, Diaz has committed eleven errors.



Cardinals, Dan Johnson Agree To Minors Deal

Veteran first baseman Dan Johnson‘s brush with free agency didn’t last long, as the recently released 35-year-old has agreed to a Minor League pact with the Cardinals, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link).

Johnson, a client of Excel Sports Management, began the season with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, and although he collected 10 walks against nine strikeouts in 40 plate appearances, he also picked up just three hits — all singles. With Joey Votto seemingly healthy and productive in Cincinnati, there may not have been much of an opportunity for Johnson to make his way to the big league roster anyhow.

Of course, the path to the MLB roster in St. Louis may not necessarily be an easier one for Johnson. Matt Adams is hitting well at first base and, as a fellow lefty swinger, there’s no possibility of any platoon situation emerging between the two. Johnson will seemingly hope to re-emerge as a bench bat with the Cards. He’s a lifetime .236/.337/.409 hitter in 431 Major League games, and his excellent .279/.400/.505 career slash line at Triple-A makes him a nice depth piece for a club to have.


Minor Moves: Dan Johnson, Daniel Schlereth

Here are some of the more notable Minor League transactions from around the league over the past week, courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy

  • The Reds have released veteran first baseman Dan Johnson from Triple-A Louisville, per Eddy. Cincinnati acquired Johnson from Houston in Spring Training, and while the 35-year-old showed his typically discerning eye at the plate (10 walks vs. nine strikeouts in 40 plate appearances), he also picked up just three hits in 29 official at-bats for a .069 batting average. Johnson picked up 48 PAs for the Blue Jays last season and is a lifetime .236/.337/.409 hitter in 1604 PAs at the Major League level. Former Cubs/Red Sox right-hander Chris Carpenter (not to be confused with the former Cy Young winner of that same name, of course) was also released by the Reds after allowing 12 runs in 6 2/3 innings with Louisville.
  • After being released by the Tigers, left-hander Daniel Schlereth has signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs. Schlereth hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2012 with Detroit, and his best season came in 2011 when he worked to a 3.49 ERA with 44 strikeouts against 31 walks in 49 innings.

Reds Acquire Dan Johnson From Astros

The Reds announced that they’ve acquired veteran first baseman Dan Johnson from the Astros in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The 35-year-old had been with Houston on a minor league contract.

Johnson hasn’t seen much in the way of regular playing time since his tenure with the Athletics ended in 2008, but he’s appeared in the bigs in each season dating back to 2010. His 2014 work came north of the border, as he picked up 48 plate appearances for the Blue Jays and batted .211/.333/.342. The type of plate discipline and strike zone knowledge displayed by Johnson in that small sample is indicative of his career to date. Johnson has a 13.2 percent walk rate in 1604 Major League plate appearances and, perhaps not surprisingly, has walked six times in 25 plate appearances with Houston this spring. He’s also collected just three hits in 19 at-bats, however.

Johnson will report to minor league camp, the Reds have added, making his acquisition one for depth purposes. He reportedly has an opt-out date in his contract, but it does not come until after the season has started. Additionally, Johnson isn’t an Article XX(B) player, so the Reds wouldn’t need to offer him a $100K retention bonus to option him to Triple-A. Johnson had positive things to say about his brief time with the Astros, per the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich.


Latest On Astros’ Roster Decisions

The Astros have listened to trade ideas regarding their surplus of position players, but are not actively looking to deal, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. There’s currently no way to get Jason Castro, Evan Gattis, Jon Singleton, George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Jake Marisnick and Chris Carter in the lineup all at the same time, Drellich points out. But their depth gives them options in case players get hurt or struggle. In particular, Gattis and Rasmus have significant injury histories, while Singleton and Marisnick are unproven. The team could also platoon Gattis and Rasmus in left field. Here’s more from Drellich on the Astros.

  • If the Astros were to make a trade this Spring, it might involve a depth player like Alex Presley rather than one of the more regular players mentioned above. Robbie Grossman could beat out Presley for the last outfield spot. Presley is out of options, and there’s at least some possibility the Astros could lose him if they expose him to waivers. From this vantage point, the risk seems minimal, given that Presley didn’t hit well last year and is making above the league minimum (at $1MM). But given the depth he represents, that possibility is at least worth considering.
  • Hank Conger has struggled this spring, but he’s still penciled in as Castro’s backup at catcher.
  • Three players whose situations are unresolved are minor-league free agent pitchers Joe Thatcher, Roberto Hernandez and first baseman Dan Johnson, Drellich says. Thatcher and Hernandez are Article XX(B) free agents, so before Opening Day, the Astros must decide whether to add them to the active roster, release them, or pay them $100K retention bonuses (and give them June 1 opt-out date). Thatcher is likely to make the team as the Astros’ second bullpen lefty. Johnson, who is not an Article XX(B) free agent, also has an opt-out date, although not until after the start of the regular season.

Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

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

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

Quick Hits: Towers, Zimmermann, A-Rod

Kevin Towers considered another front office job with the Diamondbacks after being fired as the team’s general manager, but Towers told AZCentral.com’s Zach Buchanan that he chose to leave rather than possibly make things awkward for new GM Dave Stewart and his staff.  “It didn’t feel right, and I didn’t want to be that elephant in the room when they’re making roster decisions or maybe letting people go,” Towers said. “‘I know K.T. likes him…’ I didn’t want them to have to worry about that.”  Towers said he’s spoken to a few teams and thinks he’ll be in a new job before the year is out, also hinting he likely wouldn’t return to one of his other ex-clubs (the Padres, Yankees and Pirates).

As we enjoy two LCS games today, here’s some news from around baseball…

  • With offense dropping around the game and a number of top-tier pitchers available in trades or free agency this offseason and next, this year’s free agent aces may find their markets slightly diminished, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (ESPN Insider subscription required).
  • Also from Olney’s piece, he reports that rival officials feel Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will test the free agent market when he is eligible after the 2015 season.  Zimmermann’s long-term status in Washington will be one of the biggest questions facing the Nats this winter.
  • Alex Rodriguez “is the most expensive mystery in baseball history,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  The Yankees currently have no idea if A-Rod will be able to handle third base on a regular basis, provide first base depth, hit well enough to earn DH at-bats or be healthy enough to play whatsoever.  This makes the team’s winter planning rather difficult, as just releasing Rodriguez would mean the Yankees have no way of recovering any of the $61MM remaining on his contract via insurance payments.
  • First baseman Dan Johnson is looking to add to his skillset by learning the knuckleball, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes.  “Why not have something else in the bag? Give yourself every chance,” Johnson said. “I’m not 24 anymore. I want to help out as much as possible and still be relevant in this game.”  Johnson, best known for his dramatic Game 162 homer for the Rays in 2011, recently elected to become a free agent after the Blue Jays outrighted him off their 40-man roster.
  • MLB.com’s Corey Brock profiles Dan Kantrovitz, a St. Louis native who rose from a teenage internship (mostly handling Mark McGwire’s fan mail) with the Cardinals to becoming the club’s scouting director.
  • The Astros are next up for Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel in his rankings of each team’s top prospects and their overall farm system depth.

Minor Moves: Free Agents, Blue Jays

Here are the latest minor moves from around the game.