Fu-Te Ni Rumors

Minor Moves: Rogers, Geltz, Sappelt, Ni, Rodriguez, Hottovy

Here are today’s minor league transactions, with the latest moves atop the post…

  • The Mariners have released hurler Mark Rogerstweets Tacoma Rainiers announcer Mike Curto (hat tip to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Rogers, 28, is now far removed from his days as one of the game’s better pitching prospects. He was given a Spring Training invite in the offseason, but Seattle pulled the plug on his comeback attempt after Rogers walked 7 in his first 7 innings on the year.
  • Rays minor league reliever Steve Geltz has been hit with a 50-game suspension after a second positive test for a drug of abuse, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The 26-year-old righty, who came to Tampa last year in exchange for Dane De La Rosa, threw to a 2.82 ERA in 67 frames last year (10.7 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9) and was off to a 3.86 ERA start in his first 16 1/3 innings in 2014.
  • Outfielder Dave Sappelt has signed with los Acereros de Monclova in Mexico, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Sappelt has split the past three seasons between the Cubs and Reds, posting a .251/.301/.343 batting line in 274 big league plate appearances.
  • Former Tigers lefty Fu-Te Ni has signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers in hopes of eventually landing a Major League or Triple-A opportunity, tweets Cotillo. Ni had a solid rookie campaign with Detroit in 2009 but struggled to a 6.65 ERA in 23 innings in 2010. Now 31 years of age, Ni has a strong Triple-A track record but didn’t pitch in affiliated ball last season.
  • The Rays have released catcher Eddy Rodriguez, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy tweets.  Rodriguez, 28, signed a minor league deal with Tampa in the offseason but had only a .443 OPS in 49 PA for Triple-A Durham.  The veteran catcher has a career .235/.286/.386 slash line over 2271 minor league PAs and he received a two-game cup of coffee in the majors with the Padres in 2012.
  • The Cubs have released southpaw Tommy Hottovy, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (as part of his full recap of the week’s minor league moves).  Hottovy signed a minor league contract with Chicago in December but had yet to pitch this season due to injury.  The left-hander threw 13 1/3 innings for the Red Sox and Royals in 2011-12 and spent last season in the Blue Jays’ farm system.
  • The Angels have signed left-hander Dustin Richardson to a minor league contract, according to the team’s MLB.com transactions page.  Richardson will report to Triple-A Salt Lake City.  The 30-year-old southpaw appeared in 20 games in Salt Lake last season, as well as six games with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters.  Richardson has 16 1/3 Major League innings to his name (with the Red Sox in 2009-10) and he has also spent time with the Braves’ and Marlins’ Triple-A affiliates and served a 50-game PED suspension.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Lin, Sanchez, Sosa, Ni, Burriss

We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves right here …

  • The Rangers have inked Taiwanese outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin to a minor league deal, Baseball America's Matt Eddy tweets. Signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2007, Lin got his only 12 major league plate appearances in 2012 with Boston, swatting three singles in 12 plate appearances. He's hit .253/.349/.339 in his seven minor league seasons.
  • The Dodgers have signed two right-handed pitchers, Romulo Sanchez and Henry Sosa, and lefty Fu-Te Ni to minor league deals, according to Eddy (via Twitter). Sanchez spent 2013 in the Mexican League, while Sosa pitched for a Korean team last year. Ni last pitched in 2012, when he amassed a 4.56 ERA in 23 2/3 innings for the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate.
  • Eddy tweets that the Nationals have signed three minor league free agents: shortstop Emmanuel Burriss, catcher Mitch Canham and first baseman Brock Peterson. Burriss, 28, has seen 801 plate appearances in parts of five MLB seasons, but has struggled to a .243/.304/.269 line. He last appeared in the majors in 2012 with the Giants. The 29-year-old Canham has never appeared in the majors, but has seven minor league seasons under his belt and a lifetime line of .255/.340/.364. Now 30, Peterson got 28 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2013, his first taste of the big leagues, managing just a .077 batting average. His career minor league triple slash of .274/.354/.464 is much better, however.
  • The Nationals have also signed backstop Chris Snyder to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, the club announced via Twitter. The soon-to-be 33-year-old Snyder should have a chance to compete for the club's backup job with younger options Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon. Snyder's last substantial MLB action came in 2012 with the Astros, when he put up a .176/.295/.308 line in 258 plate appearances. Snyder did, however, post an OPS over .800 last year in his time at Triple-A with the Orioles and Angels. His career MLB line stands at .224/.328/.382 in 2,459 plate appearances. The Steamer and Oliver projection systems (via Fangraphs) both like Snyder to put up an 84 wRC+ at the plate next year while adding solid defense. Snyder spent part of the spring with the Nationals last year, but requested his release when he failed to make the big league roster. Snyder would earn $1MM plus incentives if he makes the roster out of the spring, reprots ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). 
  • The Brewers have released righty Cody Scarpetta, tweets Eddy. As Eddy notes, Scarpetta was twice ranked among the ten best prospects in the Milwaukee organization, and occupied a 40-man spot for three seasons. The 25-year-old posted a 3.85 ERA in 117 innings at Double-A Huntsville in 2011 before missing the 2012 season to undergo Tommy John surgery. Scarpetta mustered only a 7.15 ERA in 34 innings at the High-A level last year, including an ugly 9.5 BB/9.
  • As always, MLBTR's DFA Tracker is your guide to players currently (or previously) facing DFA limbo. At the present, seven players have been removed from their clubs' 40-man rosters while they wait to learn their fate: Eric Surkamp of the GiantsBrett Marshall of the YankeesTrey Haley of the IndiansChance Ruffin of the Mariners, Ryan Reid and Jerry Sands of the Pirates, and Alex Castellanos of the Red Sox. Decisions are due today on Castellanos and tomorrow on Reid and Sands, but the others could be forced to sweat things out over Christmas.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Tigers Release Fu-Te Ni

We'll keep track of the day's minor moves right here…

  • The Tigers announced that they released left-hander Fu-Te Ni from Triple-A Toledo (Twitter link). Ni, 29, appeared in 36 games for the 2009 Tigers and 22 games for the 2010 team. He has a 4.56 ERA with 14 walks and as many strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year.

Quick Hits: Yankees, Bonderman, Reds, Thome

The Giants signed Aubrey Huff on this date in 2010. The first baseman hit .290/.385/.506 and the Giants won the World Series. Here are some links and news items to look through while we await the bargain signing of the 2010-11 offseason…

Minor League Transactions

Here's a look at some notable names involved in minor transactions between November 16-21, as compiled by Baseball America's Matt Eddy

  • Left-hander Scott Rice signed with the Cubs.  Rice was picked 44th overall by Baltimore in the 1999 amateur draft, but has yet to get a cup of coffee in the majors after appearing in 377 minor league games.
  • Right-hander Jon Huber re-signed with the Dodgers.  Huber last pitched in the majors in 2007 with Seattle.
  • Veteran right-hander Scott Patterson re-signed with the Mariners.  Patterson has four major league games to his name, with the Padres and Yankees in 2008.
  • The Marlins re-signed Vinny Rottino, and also signed relievers Victor Garate and Frank Mata.  The Fish also removed right-hander Brett Sinkbeil from their 40-man roster.  Sinkbeil was Florida's first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2006 draft, drafted ahead of such notables as Daniel Bard, Joba Chamberlain and Chris Perez.
  • Former Tigers outfielder Jeff Frazier signed with the Nationals.  Frazier made his major league debut with Detroit last season, posting a .511 OPS in 24 plate appearances.
  • The Orioles removed right-hander Armando Gabino and first baseman Rhyne Hughes from their 40-man roster, and Gabino elected free agency.  Gabino has a 15.12 ERA in 8 1/3 major league innings with Baltimore and Minnesota.  Hughes posted a .530 OPS in 51 plate appearances for the O's last season.
  • Pittsburgh released a number of minor leaguers, including a few notable international players.  Taiwanese prospects Sheng-Cin Hong and Chih-Wei Hsu, both signed by the Pirates at the start of the 2009 international signing period, have been let go by the club.  Also released was Dinesh Patel, signed by Pittsburgh in 2008 after being a finalist on the Indian reality show "Million Dollar Arm." Patel, a cricket player, had never pitched or even picked up a baseball before appearing on the show.
  • The Rangers reinstated Nathan Haynes from the inactive list and released the outfielder.  Haynes hasn't actually played since 2008.  Drafted 32nd overall by Oakland in the 1997 amateur draft, Haynes never caught on in the bigs, managing 95 career plate appearances with the Angels and Rays in 2007-08.
  • Right-hander Chad Reineke, best known for being traded straight-up for Randy Wolf in 2008, has re-signed with the Reds.
  • The Tigers outrighted Fu-Te Ni to Triple-A and removed the Taiwanese southpaw from their 40-man roster.  Ni had an impressive 2.61 ERA in 36 outings in his 2009 rookie season, but his ERA ballooned to 6.65 in 22 games with Detroit last year.

Top Trade Chips: AL Central

Let's continue our look at each club's top trade chips today with the AL Central…

  • Indians: The Tribe have dealt their Opening Day starter in each of the last two seasons, and there's a good chance they'll do it again with Jake Westbrook in 2010. The 32-year-old righty will earn $11MM this season, the last one on his contract. After dumping Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez in cost-cutting moves last year, expect them to shop Westbrook around for prospects this summer.
  • Royals: All four of Kansas City's outfielders come off the books after this season (assuming some options are bought out for six figures), so Rick Ankiel, David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, and even Jose Guillen could be moved in a deal for a young player. The team would obviously have to eat a lot of money to move Guillen. The contracts of relievers Juan Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth also expire after the season, so there might be some interest in them.
  • Tigers: Detroit isn't going to move any of their young power arms, but if they eat a large chunk of salary like they did with Nate Robertson, there might be interest in Jeremy Bonderman and/or Dontrelle Willis. Young backstop Alex Avila could make Gerald Laird expendable as well. The Tigers have four lefty relievers on their 40-man roster (Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, Daniel Schlereth, and Brad Thomas), and that demographic is always in demand.
  • Twins: Minnesota has one of the best trade chips in the league, blocked catching prospect Wilson Ramos. Lefty Glen Perkins is pitching in Triple-A and seems to have fallen out of favor with the club after filing a grievance, so he could be made available as well. He has four years of team control left.
  • White Sox: GM Kenny Williams isn't shy about emptying out the farm system in a trade for an established big leaguer, which has left him with little minor league ammo. Their best young prospects are catcher Tyler Flowers and starter Daniel Hudson, who would seem to have a future with the club, but I'm not going to put anything past Williams. Flowers could make A.J. Pierzynski or Ramon Castro expendable, ditto Hudson and Freddy Garcia. Gordon Beckham should be untouchable, obviously.

Odds and Ends: Andruw, Manny, Hudson

Links for Monday…

Odds and Ends: Mariners, Jeter, Penny

Links for Wednesday…

Odds and Ends: Wigginton, Andruw, Royals

Links and notes for Tuesday…