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Grady Sizemore Rumors
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post. All moves were announced by the teams themselves unless otherwise cited.
- Vin Mazzaro has elected to become a free agent, according to MLB.com’s official transactions page. The veteran righty was designated for assignment by the Marlins earlier this week and then outrighted, giving him the option of accepting the assignment or choosing free agency. Mazzaro has a 3.75 ERA, six strikeouts and six walks over 12 relief innings for Miami this season.
- The Rays selected the contract of Grady Sizemore prior to today’s game, and the veteran outfielder delivered three hits in his Tampa debut. Sizemore was released by the Phillies and signed to a minor league deal by the Rays earlier this month. In corresponding roster moves, righty Matt Andriese was sent to Triple-A and outfielder Desmond Jennings was moved to the 60-day DL.
- The Indians purchased the contract of right-hander Toru Murata, who is making his MLB debut in a start tonight against the Orioles. Murata was signed as a free agent out of Japan in 2010 and he owns a 3.88 ERA, 3.01 K/BB rate and 6.8 K/9 over 489 2/3 minor league innings. In a corresponding move, the Tribe released right-hander Scott Atchison.
- The Yankees selected the contract of righty Esmil Rogers, who was just outrighted off the roster two weeks ago. Rogers has a 6.27 ERA over 33 bullpen innings for New York this season, though he has been hamstrung by a .356 BABIP and a very low 56% strand rate.
- The Pirates selected the contract of utilityman Gorkys Hernandez. Once a top-100 prospect, Hernandez appeared in 70 MLB games with the Pirates and Marlins in 2012 and hasn’t since been back to the Show. Hernandez has a .278/.342/.376 slash line, 33 homers and 213 steals (out of 285 chances) over 4055 career minor league plate appearances.
- The Braves selected the contract of right-hander Ryan Kelly, who is getting his first taste of the majors after nine pro seasons. Kelly was a 26th-round draft pick for the Pirates in 2006 and he’s compiled a 3.99 ERA, 3.10 K/BB rate and 8.2 K/9 over 462 2/3 innings (mostly as a reliever).
The Rays announced today that they have signed veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore to a minor league contract (h/t: Matt Stein of Sports Talk Florida, on Twitter). Sizemore, who was recently released by the Phillies, will report to the team’s facility in Port Charlotte to begin workouts.
Sizemore, a CAA client, struggled through 104 plate appearances with the Phillies this season, hitting just .245/.288/.296. Back and knee injuries have taken their toll on what at one point was one of the most promising careers in baseball. From 2005-09, Sizemore hit .276/.368/.488 and averaged 28 homers and 28 steals per 162 games. Paired with outstanding value both in center field and on the basepaths, he was one of the game’s brightest young stars.
Now, he’ll hope to rejuvenate his career with the Rays, though for the time being, it’s tough to see a way for him to crack the 25-man roster. David DeJesus, Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza and Brandon Guyer are the team’s big league outfield options, and each is performing relatively well on the year. Additionally, Sizemore’s injury history likely limits him to the outfield corners at this point, further complicating his road to the Majors with Tampa. However, he does give the team some depth following Desmond Jennings‘ knee surgery. Should another Tampa outfielder go down, Sizemore could be a theoretical option for the team as its injured players mend.
JUNE 1: Philadelphia has announced Sizemore’s release.
MAY 29: The Phillies announced today that they have designated veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for Cody Asche, who will return from Triple-A and presumably see the bulk of playing time in left field as he transitions away from third base.
The 32-year-old Sizemore returned to baseball last season after missing two full seasons due to knee and back injuries. After a slow start with Boston got him released, Sizemore latched on with the Phillies and hit well enough in 60 contests — .253/.313/.389 with three homers — that Philadelphia re-signed him to a one-year, $2MM extension back in October.
The early returns on Sizemore’s second season in Philly haven’t been pretty, however, as he’s batted just .245/.288/.296 and displayed questionable defensive skills in the outfield corners — perhaps to be expected after enduring the type of injuries that he’s dealt with since 2010.
Sizemore, of course, was one of the game’s truly elite players early in his career Cleveland. From 2005-09, he batted .276/.368/.488, averaging 25 homers and 28 steals per season to go along with a penchant for highlight-reel catches in center field. Baseball-Reference pegs him at 26.8 wins above replacement in that stretch, whereas Fangraphs was even more bullish, crediting him with 29.4 WAR.
Injuries have derailed what looked to be one of the game’s most promising young talents, however, and he’ll now step aside in large part so that the Phillies can give extended tryouts to two young talents of their own. Asche’s move from third base to left field was necessitated by the emergence of Maikel Franco as an option at third base, and Philadelphia will hope that both can settle in as regulars and contribute for years to come.
The rosters for Opening Day have been officially submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today’s additions:
- The Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s contract on Monday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The 25-man roster that the Orioles announced today included Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger at catcher, but not Lavarnway, who they had reassigned to the minors.
- The Padres have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Wil Nieves. With Tim Federowicz out with a knee injury, Nieves will back up Derek Norris. As we noted when Nieves signed, his big-league salary will be $850K.
- Ryan Madson has made the Royals‘ Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Madson caps his comeback from multiple elbow injuries and his first appearance for Kansas City will be his first in the Majors since 2011.
- The Nationals have announced on Twitter that second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson have made their Opening Day roster.
- The Braves announced they have officially purchased the contracts of outfielders Eric Young, Jr. and Kelly Johnson, left-hander Eric Stults, and right-hander Cody Martin. The Braves cleared space on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and outfielder Dian Toscano on the restricted list.
- One name missing from the Braves‘ roster is Pedro Ciriaco, who was reported yesterday to have made the club. This is likely a procedural move, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), because the Braves placed Josh Outman on the 25-man roster instead of releasing him after the left-hander complained of shoulder tenderness. The move will also buy the Braves some time to look for an upgrade over Ciriaco, tweets Bowman.
- The Phillies have announced outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Andres Blanco have made the team. Francoeur is just one of four outfielders on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so he could see time as Grady Sizemore‘s platoon partner in right field. The Phillies are now at their 40-man limit.
- The Marlins have selected the contract of utility player Don Kelly, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Kelly earned his spot with solid Spring Training line of .270/.357/.324 in 42 plate appearances. Frisaro reports the 35-year-old will backup both the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as serving as the team’s emergency third catcher.
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The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $2MM extension with Grady Sizemore that will keep the outfielder in Philadelphia for 2015, the club announced. Sizemore’s contract includes performance incentives that could boost its value to $5MM, per MLBDailyDish.com’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter).
Sizemore, 32, was one of the game’s most interesting stories last year, when he returned from a long layoff and had a big spring with the Red Sox. The fairytale took a turn when Sizemore struggled to keep pace in Boston, however, and he ultimately was designated for assignment as his OPS dipped to .612.
Philadelphia gave Sizemore a late run, however, and he had better overall success there. With the Phillies, Sizemore put up a .253/.313/.389 slash with three home runs over 176 plate appearances.
Spending most of his time in the corner outfield with the Phillies, Sizemore ultimately landed with approximately average defensive ratings there. His time in center, mostly with Boston, was less promising, as both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved viewed him as a below-average performer.
For the Phillies, the move does offer some cost certainty, and opens renewed questions about the team’s intentions as the offseason nears. All three of the team’s Opening Day starters — Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd, and Ben Revere — have been mentioned as trade candidates (the former two in particular). Brown and Revere both swing from the left side of the plate, as does Sizemore.
Here’s the latest out of the National League East:
- The Phillies could well attempt to trade outfielder Domonic Brown in an offseason change-of-scenery swap, according to a report from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Looking at Philadelphia’s options in the outfield next year, Gelb indicates that a return for Grady Sizemore could be attractive given the dearth of options on the free agent market. Meanwhile, the club could remake the rest of its mix if it were to deal Brown and/or veteran Marlon Byrd.
- “There seems to be genuine internal debate and uncertainty over what the [Mets] will do” regarding manager Terry Collins, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino spoke with another club official that thinks it’s difficult to get a feel for Collins’ job security, while another added, “I think we have a ways to go before that’s decided.”
- General manager Sandy Alderson is a different story, Martino writes. Not only is Alderson’s job safe, Martino reports, but there are signs that he’s likely to receive a contract extension from the Mets. Alderson, currently under contract through the 2015 season, has been the Mets’ general manager since taking over for Omar Minaya following the 2010 season.
- Alderson discussed some of the team’s current and future roster maneuvers regarding younger players in an interview with Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun Bulletin (h/t to MetsBlog). The club will look to give both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki a look behind the plate next spring, though Alderson noted that the latter does not yet need to be given a 40-man spot. Looking ahead at filling needs at shortstop and in the outfield, Alderson said he is still evaluating internal options — he mentioned Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, and Matt den Dekker as younger players who had played well recently — before deciding on a strategy for the open market. “[W]e’ve got to assess what we have before we start going out and canvassing the free-agent market,” he said.
With the Phillies having retained most of their veteran players through the trading season, Ryne Sandberg is trying to figure out how to juggle playing time for his current roster, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer writes. That could get even tougher next month, as rosters expand and players like infielders Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez come aboard, Gelb points out. “As of right now, it’s to give everybody looks and playing opportunity,” says Sandberg. “Let everybody participate. Now, September could be a little tricky, too, with some added numbers. It’ll be more challenging then.” GM Ruben Amaro recently said the Phillies are still trying to win as much as they can, which likely means playing veterans, even thought the Phillies are 54-68. Here’s more from Philadelphia.
- If the Phillies were to trade Cole Hamels, they would want three or four top prospects in return, and they’d want to avoid eating any of the $96MM remaining on his contract after 2014, Gelb writes. The Phillies think Hamels could provide a big head start as they attempt to change their fortunes. “He’d be tough to replace,” Says Sandberg. “We have question marks about Cliff [Lee]. Cliff, we won’t know. A.J. [Burnett], we don’t know. You have to start your staff somewhere and he’d be a good place to start.”
- The Phillies could have interest in bringing veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore back next season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “He’s played well enough to certainly be in consideration for 2015 and beyond,” says Amaro. “But again that’s one of those questions we’ll continue to assess.” Sizemore has hit .305/.347/.432 in 101 plate appearances with the Phillies since being released by the Red Sox in June. Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and Ben Revere all now figure to be part of the Phillies’ outfield in 2015. As Zolecki points out, Sizemore has out-hit both Brown and Revere, although both of them are much younger than Sizemore.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. offered a frank assessment of his team’s offense to reporters, including CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury: “I didn’t anticipate our guys being this poor. Because they are. They are this poor. We think that they’re better. But they haven’t shown it. So at some point we’re going to have to make some changes.”
More from Salisbury’s piece, and some other Phillies-related notes…
- Amaro listed Darin Ruf, Grady Sizemore and Freddy Galvis as possible players who could be recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he wouldn’t rule out top prospect Maikel Franco either. When referring to Franco, he noted that Franco can also play first base, indicating perhaps that the struggling Ryan Howard could see his playing time diminish.
- Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reminds that last season, one of the reasons Amaro gave for not wanting to shop Jonathan Papelbon was a lack of a clear replacement. That excuse is no longer valid, Gelb writes, due to the emergence of Ken Giles. The 23-year-old Giles has dominated Major League hitters in his first 11 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks with 17 strikeouts. Papelbon, who is pitching as well as he ever has in a Phillies uniform, could be moved if the Phils kick in $13MM to cover his potential vesting option, Gelb opines.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required) feels that the Orioles are the most logical landing place for A.J. Burnett in a trade. Bowden writes that while Pittsburgh and Cleveland make some sense, both are long shots. He also speculates on what it would cost each team to acquire Burnett.
- Cliff Lee is now slated to return after the All-Star break because one of his rehab outings was delayed by rain, according to a report from ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Stark has previously reported that rival clubs expect the Phillies to aggressively shop Lee upon his return, though with a July 19 return target, he’d only have roughly three starts to impress.
5:26pm: Sizemore’s deal calls for him to make the MLB minimum if he is called up, tweets ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. Of course, the Red Sox are already obligated to pay Sizemore $1.25MM.
5:02pm: Sizemore’s opt-out can be exercised if he is not in the majors by the All-Star break, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
4:25pm: The Phillies have signed Grady Sizemore to a minor league deal, the club announced. He will join the club’s Triple-A affiliate, and will have an opt-out opportunity in July, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
After coming on strong in the spring and early portion of the season, the 31-year-old faded for the Red Sox before being released. Through 205 plate appearances with Boston — his first since 2011 — Sizemore posted a .216/.288/.324 line. Once an above-average baserunner and center fielder, Sizemore’s marks in those areas were at or below average.
Nevertheless, the former All-Star did show flashes of his former excellence and managed to stay on the field. For a Phillies club that has received average-to-awful performances from its current outfield alignment, the move provides another option moving forward.
The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.
- Grady Sizemore is likely to decide on a new team early this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Sizemore became a free agent Friday after the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In his first big-league action since 2011, Sizemore hit .216/.288/.324 in 205 plate appearances in Boston.
- The Blue Jays and Giants have had interest in Daniel Murphy, but the most likely outcome is that the Mets keep him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. In a “mediocre” NL East division, Martino writes, the Mets do not seem to view themselves as sellers. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t deal Murphy, of course — GM Sandy Alderson sent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last year soon after indicating the Mets wouldn’t deal him, so his actions can be hard to predict.
- The Yankees need a starting pitcher, but they probably won’t be able to get top trade possibilities like David Price or Jeff Samardzija, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Rays won’t want to trade Price to a divisional opponent. For Samardzija, the Cubs want a highly-rated young pitcher who’s close to being ready for the big leagues, and the Yankees don’t have that type of player. That means the Yankees could get someone like John Danks of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of the Cubs or Ian Kennedy of the Padres.
- As the trade deadline approaches, the Dodgers‘ greatest need is in their bullpen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t count on improvements from relievers they already have, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon writes. Kenley Jansen, in particular, has been working on his mechanics, and he pitched very well on Saturday and Sunday. In any case, Saxon notes that the Dodgers likely won’t let guaranteed contracts for relievers they already have (presumbably, players like Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who have struggled) prevent them from adding talent on the trade market.
- The Tigers‘ bullpen has an unexpected look recently, with the additions of minor league veterans Pat McCoy, Chad Smith and Blaine Hardy. Hardy, 27, has pitched well in four appearances so far even though he hadn’t pitched in the big leagues before last week. “You’ve got to stick with it, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. Just keep playing, hopefully get the opportunity, and here I am,” the lefty told MLive.com’s Chris Iott. The Royals drafted Hardy in the 22nd round out of college, then released him during spring training in 2013. He pitched three scoreless innings against them in his first two big-league appearances last week.