Ender Inciarte Rumors
Not long after breaking camp with the Phillies, outfielder and Rule 5 selection Ender Inciarte has been returned to the Diamondbacks, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Inciarte was designated for assignment by Philadelphia on Tuesday when the club claimed Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers from Cleveland.
Having failed to get a chance to swing the bat for the Phils, Inciarte still has not seen a plate appearance above the High-A level. He hit .307/.376/.421 across Class-A and Advanced-A last year as a 21-year-old.
The Phillies announced that they have claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers from the Indians. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Phillies have designated fellow outfielder Ender Inciarte for assignment.
Carrera, 25, has appeared in 116 big league games for the Indians across the last two seasons, posting a .255/.306/.347 slash line. He has spent parts of the last three seasons at the Triple-A level where he has hit .286/.351/.372. Carrera first came to Cleveland by way of Seattle in the deal that sent Russell Branyan to the M's.
Inciarte, 22, was plucked from the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft by the Phillies in December. The youngster, who is said to be strong defensively but lacking a major league-ready bat, split time between Class-A and Advanced-A ball in 2012. Last season, he had a combined slash line of .307/.376/.421
It's "possible," though not likely, that the Nationals could sign shortstop Ian Desmond to a contract extension before the season begins Monday, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Desmond is eligible for free agency after 2015, and the Nationals would likely look to acquire the rights to some of Desmond's free agency years if he were to sign with them, Kilgore suggests. Desmond hit .292/.335/.511 in a breakout year for the Nationals in 2012. He avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.8MM contract for 2013. Here's more from the East Coast.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes the depth that new acquisition Freddy Garcia provides, Eduardo A. Encina and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun report. "He is inventory. He can help us if we have a need," says Showalter. "He can pitch as a starter and out of the bullpen. I like it." Encina and Connolly write that Garcia will start five or six games for Triple-A Norfolk before the Orioles reevaluate how they plan to use him.
- Outfielder and rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte has won a job with the Phillies, meaning Philadelphia won't be offering him back to the Diamondbacks, Tim McManus of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Inciarte will be required to stick on the Phillies' 25-man roster throughout the season. Inciarte spent 2012 at Class A South Bend and Class A+ Visalia. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says Inciarte "may be a little overmatched offensively," but can provide help on defense.
Let's take a quick trip around four of baseball's five most valuable franchises, according to Forbes:
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed the team's offseason strategy and looked ahead to the new season in a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News. When asked about the decision to add yet more older players to his club, Amaro said that "age is a factor," but not the only factor. "I've said this before and [Yankees GM] Brian Cashman has said this before," said Amaro. "I don't worry so much about age as I do about production." Amaro did note that the team figures to get younger in the outfield with Ben Revere and Domonic Brown expected to occupy two starting spots.
- Meanwhile, the club has announced its Opening Day roster, which includes outfielder Ender Inciarte, according to a team tweet. As MLBTR previously noted, the 22-year-old Rule 5 draftee has yet to appear above High-A ball. Inciarte will remain Phillies property so long as he sticks on the club's 25-man roster (or is placed on the DL) for the duration of the season. Click here for an explanation of the Rule 5 Draft. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com tweets that he expects Inciarte to be returned to the Diamondbacks when Delmon Young is ready to join the club.
- Turning to Cashman's Yankees, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman pulled no punches when reviewing the club's offseason, writing that "no one had a worse spring training than baseball's most storied team, maybe ever." Heyman further reports that, in spite of their public proclamations and massive payroll, the Yanks' brass is very concerned internally about the club's prospects for 2013. Likewise, ESPN's Jim Bowden predicted that New York would finish last in the AL East, writing that the club could sport a losing record for the first time since 1992.
- Meanwhile, first baseman Lyle Overbay has made the Yankees Opening Day roster, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reported on Twitter. The 36-year-old was inked shortly after being released by the Red Sox. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch previously reported that Overbay signed what Cashman described as "a three-day, NBA-style contract" to allow the club to get "a quick peek" at the veteran. As McCullough wrote, Cashman has described his recent scramble to add players by evoking the famous Emma Lazarus line featured on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to break [sic] free."
- While nothing is yet official, Red Sox prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. is heading with the club to New York, where the team opens against the Yankees on Monday, tweets Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. The club will need to clear a 40-man roster spot before it can select the contract of the young outfielder, notes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (on Twitter).
- The Cubs' front office is working hard to make final additions to the roster, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune (must register to access article). After adding players like Luis Valbuena and Shawn Camp around this time last year, Rogers says, the club could be active on the waiver wire.
The Astros and GM Jeff Luhnow are drawing polarized opinions this spring, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Luhnow argues that the Astros are closer to building a strong organization than some outside commentators might think, citing Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and Lucas Harrell as players who could be part of a strong core in Houston. "I think the core is already here," says Luhnow. "I really do." Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Phillies could look outside the organization to fill their last outfield spot, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. Salisbury cites Casper Wells and Ryan Sweeney as examples of the sorts of players the Phillies might pursue. If the Phillies don't acquire a new player, Rule 5 Draft pick Ender Inciarte might end up taking the job.
- As spring training nears its end, the Dodgers still have all eight of their starting pitchers, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times notes. The Dodgers had been rumored to be looking to trade at least one of them. Dilbeck projects that the team's rotation will include Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chad Billingsley, with Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang on the outside looking in.
- The Dodgers have signed 16-year-old pitcher Jesus Canizales out of Venezuela, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter).
To get the weekend started with some fascinating insight into the use of analytics by agents, look for the audio link at the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference Player Agent Panel page. Let's take a look at a few updates on some Rule 5 draftees who are hoping to stick with their new clubs:
- Chris McGuiness has impressed the Indians at first and in the outfield, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, and the team is loath to return him to the Rangers. According to manager Terry Francona, "in a perfect world, I wish he wasn't a Rule 5 pick and he was in our minor league system." If the Indians are unable to keep McGuiness on the big league roster, Francona "hope[s]" that a trade can be worked out to keep him in the system, adds Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Jeff Kobernus, primarily an infielder in the Nationals system, continues to battle with Quintin Berry for a spot in the Tigers outfield, writes Jim Hawkins of MLB.com. While it is "possible" that both players could make the roster, according to manager Jim Leyland, that scenario is a "longshot."
- Another player plucked from the Nationals, left-handed pitcher Danny Rosenbaum, "has put up a nice argument for himself in the competition for a middle-relief spot" with the Rockies, writes Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Rosenbaum, who never saw a big league camp while in the Washington organization, spoke with Nats' reliever Craig Stammen to learn how to transition from the rotation to the bullpen.
- Outfielder Ender Inciarte is in the midst of a solid spring and is making a play for the Phillies' fifth outfielder role, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Just 22 years old, Inciarte never played above High-A ball in the Diamondbacks organization.
- Josh Fields came to the Astros from the Red Sox with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, and acknowledges being "really, really excited when Houston picked me up." As Adam Berry of MLB.com writes, the rebuilding Houston franchise hopes that the 27-year-old, righthanded reliever is ready for the big leagues after he posted a solid 2012 season in Triple-A Pawtucket.
Each year, Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, MLBTR offers an in-depth description, but here's a quick overview.
Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren't on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. Teams draft in the reverse order of the previous season's standings but aren't required to make a selection. If they do choose a player, they pay his former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K.
The results from the Major League phase:
- Astros take righty Josh Fields from Red Sox
- Cubs take righty Hector Rondon from Indians
- Rockies take lefty Danny Rosenbaum from Nationals
- Twins take righty Ryan Pressly from Red Sox
- Indians take first baseman Chris McGuiness from Rangers
- Marlins take outfielder Alfredo Silverio from Dodgers
- Red Sox take second baseman Jeff Kobernus from Nationals; traded to Tigers for infielder/outfielder Justin Henry
- Blue Jays
- Mets take lefty Kyle Lobstein from Rays; traded to Tigers for cash considerations
- Diamondbacks take righty Starling Peralta from Cubs
- Phillies take outfielder Ender Inciarte from Diamondbacks
- White Sox take infielder Angel Sanchez from Angels
- Orioles take lefty T.J. McFarland from Indians
- Rangers take righty Coty Woods from Rockies
Second round of Major League phase: