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Today's minor moves…
- The Athletics announced (via Twitter) that Vinnie Catricala has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Double-A Midland. The 24-year-old third baseman was designated for assignment yesterday morning after hitting .219/.292/.297 in 33 games at Midland following a trade from the Mariners.
- The Royals released Willy Taveras, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Taveras, 31, hit .239/.308/.340 for Kansas City's Triple-A club in 279 plate appearances this year. The speedster last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Nationals.
- Marlins infielder Chris Valaika cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans, announced the team. Valaika, who has missed most of the season due to wrist surgery, was designated for assignment Tuesday. The 27-year-old was drafted by the Reds in the third round in '06, one pick before the Orioles took Zach Britton and 20 before the Yankees grabbed Zach McAllister.
- The Giants re-signed starter Chris Heston, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. They had designated Heston for assignment on July 13th, and later released him. The 25-year-old has a 5.80 ERA in 108 2/3 Triple-A innings.
- Righty David Pauley signed with the Sugarland Skeeters of the Atlantic League, tweets Cotillo. Pauley, who spent time with the Diamondbacks' Triple-A club this year, has pitched for the Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Angels, and Blue Jays.
- Eight players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ted Lilly of the Dodgers, Billy Buckner of the Angels, Humberto Quintero of the Phillies, Hunter Strickland of the Giants, Brandon Inge of the Pirates, Carlos Pena and Ronny Cedeno of the Astros, and Chris Dickerson of the Orioles.
Steve Adams and Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Today's minor moves…
- The Padres have purchased left-hander Clay Zavada from the independent league Gary SouthShore RailCats, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Zavada had a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings for the RailCats. The former Diamondback was known more for his mustache than his pitching in 2009, but he posted a 3.35 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 51 innings for the D-Backs that year. Brock tweets that Zavada will report to Double-A.
- Luis Cruz has refused an outright assignment to Triple-A and elected free agency, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times (Twitter links). Cruz, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and can sign with any team. He hit just .127/.175/.169 in 128 plate appearances for the Dodgers this season — a far cry from the solid .297/.322/.431 line he posted in 296 plate appearances last season.
- The Nationals announced that they have outrighted right-hander Cole Kimball off the 40-man roster (Twitter link). The 27-year-old has appeared in just four minor league innings for the Nats this season and hasn't pitched with the big league club since 2011.
- Aaron Laffey has opted out of his minor league deal with the Dodgers, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has confirmed the move. Laffey, 28, has a 5.61 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 61 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque this season. He also allowed 10 runs in 12 2/3 innings between the Mets and Blue Jays at the MLB level.
- Righty David Pauley was released by the Diamondbacks' Triple-A club on Saturday, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Pauley had joined them on a minor league deal on June 10th, but the 30-year-old struggled in four relief appearances. Pauley was originally drafted by the Padres in '01, three picks before the Red Sox took Kevin Youkilis. Pauley was later a minor piece in Dave Dombrowski's July 2011 heist of the Mariners, in which the Tigers acquired Doug Fister.
- Six players are currently in DFA limbo: Francisley Bueno of the Royals, Eric Hinske of the Diamondbacks, Alex Liddi of the Mariners, Clayton Mortensen of the Red Sox, Travis Ishikawa of the Orioles and Jeff Francoeur of the Royals.
The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander David Pauley to a minor league deal, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The Octagon client will report to Triple-A Reno tomorrow.
Pauley has a career 4.68 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 across 71 big league relief appearances and 20 starts. However, he's spent the bulk of his career at the Triple-A level, where he has posted a 4.00 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in parts of six seasons.
The Tigers opened the 2011 season with a rotation that consisted of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and Brad Penny. With the non-Verlanders of that group (particularly Coke and Penny) underperforming, the team sought help for the back end of the rotation in July.
They got that help by acquiring Doug Fister (and reliever David Pauley) from the Mariners in exchange for four players: 20-year-old third baseman Francisco Martinez, 26-year-old outfielder Casper Wells, 25-year-old southpaw Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later that would be 22-year-old right-hander Chance Ruffin.
It's hard to believe that the Tigers, Mariners or even Fister himself were prepared for the results of this trade, so let's look at it on a player-by-player level…
The Major League Side
- Doug Fister: Fister was 27 at the time of the trade and had less than two years of Major League service time. He'd been solid but not spectacular in his brief career, as he was the owner of a 3.81 ERA, 5.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 378 innings for the Mariners. He was in the midst of his best season when he was dealt, having pitched to a 3.33 ERA in 146 1/3 innings. Fister channeled his inner Greg Maddux upon arriving in Detroit though, allowing just 14 earned runs with a 57-to-5 K/BB ratio in 70 1/3 innings for the AL Central champs. He's significantly upped his strikeout rate in Detroit, and all told he's given them 232 innings of 2.95 ERA ball with a 7.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. Fangraphs pegs Fister's tenure in Detroit at a whopping 5.8 wins above replacement. He's under control for another three seasons and is set to earn $4MM this year after being eligible for arbitration for the first time this past winter.
- David Pauley: Pauley is perhaps the forgotten man in this trade, although there's probably a reason for that. The right-hander threw just 19 2/3 innings for the Tigers after the trade, allowing 10 runs on 26 hits and six walks with just 10 strikeouts. Pauley was ulimately released by the Tigers the following spring and appeared in just 16 2/3 innings for the Angels and Blue Jays last year.
- Charlie Furbush: Furbush floundered in Seattle's rotation in 2011, posting a 6.62 ERA in 10 starts. He thrived when moved to a bullpen role in 2012, however, thanks in large part to trading his curveball-changeup mix for a devastating slider to complement his heater. A triceps strain cost him a month of action last season, but when he was healthy he dominated lefties (.404 OPS) and held right-handed hitters in check as well (.637 OPS). Furbush can be a key bullpen piece in Seattle for a long time; he's not eligible for arbitration until the 2014-15 offseason, and he's under team control through 2017.
- Casper Wells: Wells brought a good amount of power and some excellent defense to the Mariners. He clubbed 17 homers in addition to a .225/.304/.406 batting line (102 OPS+) and was eight runs above average in 893 innings for Seattle, per The Fielding Bible. Wells is capable of handling all three outfield positions, but the Mariners made the questionable decision to designate him for assignment last week to give Jason Bay a chance.
The Prospect Side
- Francisco Martinez: Martinez was ranked as the Tigers' No. 4 prospect heading into the 2011 season, per Baseball America. He had reached Double-A at just 20 years of age — a rare feat that was a testament to the "live-bodied, athletic" label that BA slapped on him. He hit .310/.326/.481 for the Mariners' Double-A affiliate in 2011 following the trade, prompting BA to rank him as the team's No. 6 prospect entering 2012. BA praised his bat speed, stating that he "all the raw tools to fit the profile of an everyday third baseman, with the added bonus of plus speed." Martinez took a huge step backward in 2012, however, hitting just .227/.315/.295 in his second Double-A stint. He's dropped to No. 22 on BA's list of Top 30 Mariners prospects and No. 19 according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Mariners tried Martinez in center field for 15 games in 2012 because of his plus speed, and Mayo notes that he'll play there exclusively in 2013. Mayo also points out that despite Martinez's struggles in 2012, he did improve his plate discipline — an area in which he'd previously struggled. He'll repeat Double-A in 2013, which isn't as grim as it sounds when considering he just turned 22 in September.
- Chance Ruffin: Ruffin had to be included as a PTBNL because he had been selected by the Tigers in the 2010 draft (48th overall). He had entered the 2011 season as the Tigers' No. 7 prospect, per BA, and he carried the same designation with the Mariners into the 2012 season. Ruffin actually pitched 14 innings for Seattle in 2011 (3.86 ERA, 15-to-9 K/BB ratio) but reported to Triple-A in 2012. The results were ugly. The Texas alum posted a gruesome 5.99 ERA in 70 2/3 innings and saw his K/9 plummet from 11.1 to 6.9, while his BB/9 increased to 4.5. The brutal season was enough to drop him off Mayo's Top 20 list and knock him back to 27th on BA's Top 30 entering the 2013 season. BA cites erosion of his solid command in college and inconsitent mechanics as the reason for his downfall: "He lands on a stiff front leg and throws across his body, hurting his ability to locate his pitches where he wants. His long arm swing in the back and lower release point make it easy for lefthanders to pick up his pitches, and they hit .294/.348/.516 against him last year." The good news is that BA still likes his stuff, praising a 90-93 mph fastball that can touch 95 mph when needed and a plus slider with late break, which BA calls a true out pitch.
It's easy to see why the Tigers look like big winners in this trade, as the two key pieces of the deal for the Mariners have both taken large steps backward in their development. However, Martinez won't be 23 until September — the same month in which Ruffin will turn 25 — and the team does seem to have a solid bullpen piece already at the Major League level in Furbush. Martinez won't be at such a large age disadvantage in the Southern League this year, which could benefit his numbers. Ruffin will also open the season at Double-A as the Mariners plan to convert him to a starting pitcher (hat tip: Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune).
At the time of the trade, ESPN's Keith Law wrote that the Mariners did well to acquire such a strong package for Fister and Pauley, but clearly the scales have tipped in Detroit's favor. A rebound from Martinez or successful to transition to starting for Ruffin would make this trade look fair, but even if that happens I doubt you'll ever hear the Tigers or their fans complaining about the Doug Fister trade.
Baseball America's 2013 Prospect Handbook was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Mariners have signed David Pauley to a minor league deal, reports Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Radio Seattle (Twitter link). This is the right-hander's second stint with the M's, after being dealt from Seattle to Detroit as part of the Doug Fister trade last July. Pauley was released by the Tigers in Spring Training and had short stints with the Angels and Blue Jays earlier this season.
Pauley, who turned 29 last month, has a 6.48 ERA and a 14.6 H/9 rate in 16 2/3 innings with the Angels and Jays this season. Pauley's best stretch as a Major Leaguer came during his previous stint in Seattle, when he posted a 3.35 ERA in 145 innings with the Mariners between 2010-11.
The latest minor moves from around MLB…
- The Blue Jays signed right-hander Chris Jakubauskas, according to the team's website. Jakubauskas, 33, appeared in 33 games for the 2011 Orioles, posting a 5.72 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 72 1/3 innings.
- Right-hander David Pauley elected free agency last week, according to the Blue Jays' site. The Blue Jays removed Pauley from their roster seven days ago after he made five appearances for the team.
- The Royals released catcher Ryan Eigsti from Triple-AA Omaha, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter). Eigsti, 26, appeared in 11 games for the Royals' top affiliate this year. He has a .213/.310/.322 batting line in parts of six minor league seasons.
Pauley, 29, was designated for assignment by the Angels on two different occasions earlier this year. The Jays picked him up off waivers on June 20, following his second DFA. The right-hander appeared in just four games for Toronto, allowing seven runs in 6 1/3 innings (three of those runs came over three innings in tonight's game).
The Blue Jays were Pauley's fifth Major League team. He's seen time with the Mariners, Red Sox, Tigers, and Angels as well, pitching to a 4.68 ERA in 209 2/3 career innings.
The Blue Jays announced that they claimed right-hander David Pauley off of waivers from the Angels. Toronto's 40-man roster is now full.
Two days ago the Angels designated Pauley for assignment for the second time in as many months. The 29-year-old has appeared in five MLB games this year and has a career ERA of 4.51 with 5.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 47.7% ground ball rate. The Blue Jays have lost three fifths of their starting rotation to injuries, so Pauley will be a welcome addition to John Farrell's bullpen.
The 29-year-old Pauley appeared in five games for the Angels this season, totaling a 4.35 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of work. He struck out just four batters while walking three (one intentional) and allowing a whopping 16 hits. Pauley, typically known as a groundball pitcher, induced them at just a 29.3% clip in this season's small sample.
For his career, he sports a 4.51 ERA (which matches his 4.51 FIP exactly), 5.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 47.7% groundball rate over 203 1/3 Major League innings. In addition to the Angels, he's seen time with the Mariners, Red Sox, and Tigers.
The latest outright assignments from around baseball…