Donnie Murphy Rumors

Minor Moves: Johnson, Leroux, Murphy, Axelrod

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

  • The Tigers will select the contract of reliever Jim Johnson on Sunday, MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets. To make room on the 40-man roster, they’ll option fellow reliever Melvin Mercedes to Triple-A Toledo. Johnson, of course, struggled with Oakland after two strong years as the Orioles’ closer and ultimately got released before signing a minor league deal with Detroit. He has since pitched 4 2/3 innings for Toledo, allowing three runs, two earned.
  • The Yankees have outrighted pitcher Chris Leroux, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Earlier this week, the team designated Leroux for the third time this year, and he’s only made two appearances this season in pinstripes, the last coming in early May. He has a 4.37 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings so far this season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
  • The Braves have signed infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. As MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets, that likely means Murphy opted out of the minor league deal he signed with the Reds last month. Murphy, 31, hit .196/.268/.330 in 128 plate appearances with the Rangers earlier this year, mostly playing second base.
  • The Reds announce that they have selected the contract of righty Dylan Axelrod. They’ve also moved Homer Bailey (neck) to the 15-day DL and Joey Votto (quadriceps) to the 60-day DL. Axelrod will start tonight’s game against the Rockies. The Reds acquired Axelrod from the White Sox in a minor trade in July, and since then he’s posted a 3.06 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 35 1/3 innings at Triple-A Louisville.
  • The Diamondbacks have released outfielder Blake Tekotte, according to MiLB.com. Arizona acquired Tekotte from the White Sox in a minor deal less than two weeks ago. This season, the 27-year-old has hit .249/.320/.439 in 340 plate appearances. From 2011 through 2013, he made brief big-league appearances with the Padres and then the White Sox.
  • The Phillies have released lefty Jo-Jo Reyes, according to the International League transactions page. The 29-year-old pitched for the Braves, Blue Jays and Orioles from 2007 through 2011. He spent 2012 in the Pirates’ farm system, then headed to Korea in 2013. He made 13 starts in Korea in 2014 and struggled there, then headed to Lehigh Valley, where he pitched 20 2/3 innings, striking out nine batters and walking eight en route to a 10.45 ERA.

Reds Sign Donnie Murphy

The Reds have signed infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league deal, according to a tweet from Jamie Ramsey, the club’s assistant director of media relations. Murphy will report to Triple-A.

Murphy, recently released by the Rangers, will provide useful depth for a Cincinnati club that is currently without starting second baseman Brandon Phillips. The 31-year-old has a .196/.268/.330 line through 128 plate appearances. Murphy has never taken more than 163 trips to the plate in a MLB season; he set that high water mark (and several others) last year when he slashed an impressive .255/.319/.530 with 11 home runs.


Rangers To Release Donnie Murphy

WEDNESDAY: Blake now announces that Murphy rejected an outright assignment and has been placed on unconditional release waivers (Twitter link).

MONDAY: Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake has announced a series of roster moves (on Twitter): Texas will recall right-hander Roman Mendez and purchase the contract of outfielder Jake Smolinski from Triple-A Round Rock, with Michael Choice being optioned to Round Rock and Donnie Murphy being designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Murphy, 31, batted .196/.268/.330 in 128 plate appearances for the Rangers this season — a far cry from the .255/.319/.530 batting line and career-high 11 homers he produced for the Cubs in 2013. The nine-year MLB veteran has career experience at all four infield positions, though his experience at first base is extremely limited.

The 24-year-old Choice — a consensus Top 100 prospect the Rangers landed from the A’s in the offseason’s Craig Gentry trade – struggled mightily in his first extended taste of big league action. Choice batted .177/.247/.318 with eight homers, but he has an outstanding minor league track record — a .290/.376/.482 batting line.

Smolinski has a career .259/.345/.407 batting line in 103 games at the Triple-A level. The 2007 second-rounder signed as a minor league free agent this offseason after failing to make the Majors with either the Nationals (who drafted him) or the Marlins (who acquired him in the 2008 Josh Willingham trade). Mendez, 23, had a 4.02 ERA with a 30-to-12 K/BB ratio this season with Round Rock –his first experience at the Triple-A level.



AL Notes: Scheppers, Rangers, Blanton, Worley

Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has not only made his team's rotation, but he'll be Texas' Opening Day starter after Yu Darvish injured his neck. Scheppers has never started a game in the big leagues, having appeared in 115 games in the past two seasons as a reliever. As Elias notes (via FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro on Twitter), that's unusual — the last pitcher to make his MLB starting debut on Opening Day was former Dodgers phenom Fernando Valenzuela, all the way back in 1981. Here are more notes from around the American League.

  • GM Jon Daniels says he expects recently-claimed infielder Donnie Murphy to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says signing Joe Blanton was his fault, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. "It’s a mistake on my part, there's no one else to blame, I made the call on signing Joe," Dipoto says. The Angels released Blanton this week after he posted a 6.08 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 132 2/3 innings last season, then continued to struggle in spring training.
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony says a lack of consistency was one reason his team traded pitcher Vance Worley to the Pirates, reports Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. "He didn't throw as hard as he did in the past and couldn't get the ball down. He couldn't change some of the things he knew he had to," says Antony. Worley, who struggled badly in 2013, was out of options, and the Twins outrighted him before trading him for cash considerations.

Rangers Acquire Donnie Murphy From Cubs

12:24pm: The transaction was actually a waiver claim by Texas, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter). The Rangers will take on Murphy's $825K salary. Meanwhile, for the Cubs, prospect Mike Olt, who was acquired from Texas last year, could be headed for an Opening Day gig.

12:16pm: The Rangers have acquired infielder Donnie Murphy from the Cubs, reports ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Presumably, Murphy will serve as the fill-in for Jurickson Profar while he rehabs.

Murphy, 31, saw the most extensive action of his career last season, posting a surprising .255/.319/.530 line in 163 plate appearances. Over parts of eight years in the bigs, Murphy has accumulated a .215/.280/.405 line in 803 trips to the plate.


Players To Avoid Arbitration

With tonight’s non-tender deadline looming, several players figure to not only be tendered contracts but agree to their 2014 salaries prior to 11pm CT. We’ll run down the players to avoid arbitration with their respective clubs in this post, and remember that you can track the progress on all arbitration eligible players by using MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker. For a reminder on the projected salaries for each of these players, check out Matt Swartz’s projections in MLBTR’s Arbitration Eligibles series.

  • The Nationals announced they’ve avoided arbitration with righty Ross Ohlendorf, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Ohlendorf’s deal will guarantee him $1.25MM and can reach $3MM via incentives that can be achieved as a starter or reliever, per the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with utility infielder Donnie Murphy, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com (via Twitter), agreeing to a one-year, $825K pact that includes incentives.
  • The Orioles have avoided arbitration with outfielder Steve Pearce for $850K, tweets Rosenthal.
  • The Padres have reached terms with pitcher Eric Stults on a $2.75MM deal to avoid arbitration, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He had been projected by Swartz to earn $3MM through arbitration. Unlike most arbitration deals, tweets Rosenthal, this one will be guaranteed.  Also getting a guaranteed deal from the Padres, per Rosenthal, is righty Tim Stauffer at $1.6MM.
  • The White Sox have avoided arbitration with catcher Tyler Flowers with a $950k contract, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Athletics have avoided arbitration with righty Fernando Rodriguez, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Rodriguez, who is represented by Metis Sports Management, LLC, will earn $600K plus award bonuses, MLBTR has learned.  The A’s will tender contracts to its remaining arb-eligible players, Slusser notes via Twitter.
  • The Indians have avoided arbitration with relievers Frank Herrmann and Blake Wood, the club announced. Each player will earn $560k, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, which falls below their respective projections from MLBTR’s Matt Swartz.
  • Newly-acquired catcher George Kottaras has reached agreement on a one-year, $1.075MM deal to avoid arbitration with the Cubs, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The contract includes incentives, according to Heyman. A left-handed batter, Kottaras managed only a .180 batting average last year, but got on base at a .349 clip in addition to posting a .370 slugging mark in his 126 plate appearances.
  • The Orioles have avoided arbitration with outfielder Nolan Reimold, sources tell Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (link to Twitter). The 30-year-old will get a one-year, $1.025MM deal that includes incentives. Reimold lost most of the last two seasons to injury, but has a career .252/.327/.439 slash in 1,056 plate appearances dating back to 2009. His salary will be guaranteed, tweets Connolly.
  • The Phillies have avoided arbitration with infielder Kevin Frandsen, the club announced. Frandsen will receive a one-year, $900k deal that includes performance incentives. Last year, Frandsen had a .234/.296/.341 slash line in 278 plate appearances. The deal is guaranteed, Rosenthal tweets.
  • The Braves announced that they have avoided arbitration with infielder Ramiro Pena and left-hander Jonny Venters (Twitter link). Pena, 28, batted a solid .278/.330/.443 in 107 PAs this season before shoulder surgery ended his season. Venters’ contract was first reported two weeks ago and is said to be worth $1.625MM.
  • MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with Don Kelly by agreeing to a one-year, $1MM contract for 2014. Kelly will turn 34 in February and batted .222/.309/.343 in 2013 — all numbers that are nearly mirrored by his career .229/.290/.344 batting line. He is represented by LSW Baseball.
  • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Chris Stewart, according to Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal (on Twitter). Barbarisi reports that the trade sending Stewart to Pittsburgh was actually in place on Friday but was also contingent on Stewart agreeing to a new contract with the Pirates. Stewart, a client of James A. Kuzmich, PLLC, agreed to his new contract today, thereby finalizing the trade. He projected to earn $1MM, per Swartz.

Cubs Sign Donnie Murphy

The Cubs have signed infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league contract, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). The 30-year-old infielder will report to Triple-A Iowa. He is represented by Lapa/Leventhal.

Murphy hit .216/.281/.379 with a trio of home runs for the Marlins last season. He has significant MLB experience at second base, third base and shortstop with three teams scattered across parts of seven Major League seasons.


Minor Moves: Olivo, Rays, Murphy

We'll keep track of today's minor moves here..

  • Catcher Miguel Olivo has asked for and been granted his release by the Reds, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). It was previously reported that Olivo was mulling whether to accept a $100k bonus and report to Triple-A, or instead test the market. Olivo could be an option for the Marlins, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
  • The Rays have released minor leaguer righties Nick Barnese and Joe Cruz, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter. Barnese, a third-rounder from 2007, threw 56 2/3 innings over 12 starts in Double-A last year and mustered only a 5.72 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
  • Infielder Donnie Murphy exercised his out clause with the Brewers today and took his release, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  The 30-year-old hooked on with Milwaukee in December and hit hit .216/.281/.379 in 129 plate appearances with the Marlins last season.  Murphy is a .205/.270/.373 career hitter in 640 big league plate appearances and a .285/.351/.556 career hitter 738 Triple-A plate appearances.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Brewers Sign Donnie Murphy

The Brewers have signed Donnie Murphy to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. The infielder is a Lapa/Leventhal client.

Murphy, 29, hit .216/.281/.379 in 129 plate appearances with the Marlins last season while playing the three non-first base infield positions. He's a .205/.270/.373 career hitter in 640 big league plate appearances and a .285/.351/.556 career hitter 738 Triple-A plate appearances.


Donnie Murphy Hits Free Agency

The latest minor moves from around MLB…

  • Donnie Murphy refused a minor league assignment, choosing instead to hit free agency, according to the transactions page at CBSSports.com. The Marlins outrighted the utility player to their Triple-A affiliate two days ago. Murphy, 29, appeared in 52 games for the Marlins this past season, playing second base, third base and shortstop. He posted a .216/.281/.379 batting line in 129 plate appearances and missed some time with a strained hamstring.