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We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:
- The Royals announced a series of minor league signings, including for third baseman Brandon Laird, outfielder Paulo Orlando and right-hander Wilking Rodriguez. Laird, 26, is the younger brother of Gerald Laird and joins the Royals from the Astros, where he received major league playing time in 2013. Orlando, 28, is re-upping with the Royals after six seasons in the organization. The 23-year-old Rodriguez will transition to the Royals after seven seasons in the Rays' farm system. He has a career 3.90 ERA, mostly as a starter, but has never reached Double-A.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has updates on a number of clubs' minor league signings. Among those with MLB experience (with links to Twitter): The Rockies will return Bobby Cassevah and Matt McBride, and have added righty Greg Burke. Headed to the Tigers is righty Jhan Marinez, while Gorkys Hernandez and Edinson Rincon will stick with the Royals organization. The Phillies have brought back shortstop Andres Blanco. And the Dodgers inked utility infielder Brendan Harris. Other clubs with new signings include the Orioles, Reds, Marlins, White Sox, and Athletics.
- The Cubs have signed outfielder Casper Wells, according to a tweet from Eddy. The team also added righties Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel, along with shortstop Jeudy Valdez. Wells got 102 plate appearances with three different clubs last year, posting a meager .126/.186/.147 line that is perhaps understandable given his constant movement and scant playing time. In 2012, over 316 plate appearances with the Mariners, Wells was good for a .228/.302/.396 slash.
- In addition to bringing back righty Benino Pruneda and catcher Jose Yepez on minor league deals, the Braves have added former Phillies backstop Steven Lerud, tweets Eddy. Lerud appeared in nine games for the Phils between 2012-13. At Triple-A last year, he had an interesting .217/.353/.311 line over 219 plate appearances, as he drew nearly as many walks (35) as he had hits (39).
- Cutting ties with a major international acquisition, the Nationals have released righty Yunesky Maya, Eddy tweets. Washington saw little return on its $6MM investment in Maya, who had been outrighted off of the club's major league roster early in the 2013 season. After struggling in two brief call-ups in 2011-12, Maya's last stint with the Nats was even more regrettable. In his only MLB appearance of the 2013 season, Maya retired one batter in the bottom of the tenth before surrendering a walk-off home run to Pablo Sandoval.
- The Cubs have released outfielder Dave Sappelt, tweets Eddy. As Eddy notes, Sappelt was one of the pieces — along with lefty Travis Wood and second baseman Ronald Torreyes — picked up by Chicago in the deal that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati. The 26-year-old Sappelt has a .251/.301/.343 slash line in 274 plate appearances spread over the 2011-13 seasons. He has spent most of his time in Triple-A over that time frame, and posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of his two years at Iowa.
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Here are today's outright assignments and minor moves from around the league…
- Outfielder Aaron Cunningham has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported yesterday (on Twitter). A former top prospect, Cunningham has batted just .219/.280/.347 in 501 Major League plate appearances between the A's, Padres and Indians. He spent the 2013 season with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, slashing .247/.337/.401 in 115 games.
- The Rockies have signed right-hander Greg Burke to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The 31-year-old Burke hurled 31 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2013. His 5.68 ERA doesn't look very pretty, but Burke whiffed eight hitters per nine innings and averaged 4.3 walks per nine. His 3.93 FIP and 3.95 xFIP give plenty of reason for optimism.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Sanspo article reporting that the Hanshin Tigers have an agreement in place to acquire Mauro Gomez (Twitter link). Gomez, 29, spent most of the season in the Blue Jays system but was claimed off waivers by the Nationals on Sept. 5. The powerful righty swatted 29 home runs for Triple-A Buffalo this season and slashed .249/.332/.521 in 453 plate appearances.
- Athletics right-hander Pat Neshek has elected free agency, per the A's Transactions page. Neshek, 33, has played an important role in Oakland's bullpen over the past two seasons, totaling 60 innings of 2.70 ERA ball with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. The side-armer has faced 555 right-handed hitters in his career, holding them to a paltry .181/.257/.315 batting line. As shown in our A's Arbitration Eligibles post, Neshek is just short of six full years of service time and would have qualified for arbitration one more time this winter, projecting to earn $1.2MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
- The Braves have outrighted second baseman Philip Gosselin to Triple-A Gwinnett, according to the team's Transactions page. The 25-year-old Gosselin made his MLB debut this year, collecting a pair of singles and a walk in seven plate appearances. In 469 minor league plate appearnces split between Double-A and Triple-A, Gosselin batted .254/.299/.318.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Astros have outrighted outfielder Trevor Crowe and pitcher Jorge De Leon, according to a team press release. Crowe, a former first-round pick of the Indians, hit .218/.287/.291 in 181 plate appearances with the Astros in 2013. With Crowe's departure, the only Astro remaining who is eligible for arbitration is Jason Castro. De Leon pitched ten innings of relief for Houston after spending much of the year with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- The Mets have outrighted relievers Greg Burke and Sean Henn, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets. Burke, 31, pitched 31 2/3 innings for New York in 2013, posting a 5.68 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. He also made 31 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas. Before 2013, Burke had not appeared in the Majors since 2009, when he was with the Padres. Henn appeared in four games with the Mets in 2013, pitching most of the season in Las Vegas.
- The Phillies outrighted four players to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: outfielders Casper Wells and Roger Bernadina, left-hander Cesar Jimenez, and right-hander J.C. Ramirez. Wells, who also spent time with the White Sox and Mariners in 2013, had a dismal .126/.186/.147 combined slash line in 102 plate apparances. Ramirez posted a 7.50 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 18 relief appearances but posted stronger numbers at Lehigh Valley. Bernadina hit .291/.372/.405 for the Nats in 2012 but he had an OPS of just .545 in '13.
- Correcting an earlier item, the Phillies did not re-sign Michael Martinez. We regret the error.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Here are Wednesday’s minor moves…
- The Diamondbacks have signed Garrett Mock to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 3.79 ERA in 61 2/3 relief innings in Triple-A this season.
- The Mets have signed right-hander Greg Burke to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, the team announced (on Twitter). Burke, 30, pitched to a 1.53 ERA in 64 2/3 relief innings in Triple-A this year.
- Indians right-hander Kevin Slowey has elected free agency, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 28-year-old spent 2012 with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The Red Sox have signed Mitch Maier to a minor league deal, reports Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (on Twitter). The 30-year-old outfielder hit .172/.260/.313 in 74 plate appearances for the Royals this year.
- The Pirates have signed Darren Ford to a minor league pact, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .273/.326/.385 with 26 steals in 329 Triple-A plate appearances this year.
- The Pirates have signed infielder Jared Goedert to a minor league deal, reports Rosenthal (on Twitter). The 27-year-old hit .311/.373/.502 with 19 homers in 504 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A this season.
- The Royals have agreed to re-sign catcher Manny Pina to a minor league contract, reports Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Pina, 25, hit .278/.415/.417 in 183 minor league plate appearances this summer. Dutton notes that he will be exposed in next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
The Padres have signed righty reliever Greg Burke to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training according to a press release.
The 28-year-old Burke has been with the Padres' organization since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2006, spending the entire 2010 season with their Triple-A affiliate. He posted a 5.68 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 58 2/3 innings last season. Burke got a taste of the big leagues in 2009, when he put up a 4.14 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings for San Diego.
Links for Thursday…
- GM John Mozeliak and manager Tony LaRussa both mentioned to MLB.com's Matthew Leach that the Cardinals are not in a rush to add an infielder despite Brendan Ryan's recent wrist surgery.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels knows that it's far from a foregone conclusion that his team will win 87 games again, according to ESPNDallas.com reporter Richard Durrett.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that Aroldis Chapman has looked "very impressive" so far.
- Jose Reyes tells Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he wants to finish his career with the Mets. Reyes says he's not thinking about the $11MM option the Mets have for his services in 2011.
- The Nats outrighted Doug Slaten to Triple A, according to the team's Twitter. They designated him for assignment two days ago.
- The Rockies and Mariners offered Mark McGwire hitting coach positions, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Mariners made their offer in 2003; the Rockies made theirs a few years ago.
- Victor Martinez tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he'd "obviously" like to stay in Boston. The catcher says the negotiations are now under the team's control.
- Carlos Zambrano tells Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald that he would have vetoed a trade had the Cubs approached him about one this offseason.
- Andrew Friedman says he and his front office have assembled "the most talented team in Rays history," according to the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter).
- USA Today's Peter Barzilai looks back at some historically good free agent signings.
- Greg Burke cleared waivers, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times. The club placed Burke on unconditional waivers ten days ago.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the club find its fifth starter outside of the organization. "We'd love to have a bona fide No. 5 starter," Colletti said.
- Mariano Rivera tells MLB.com's Brian Hoch that he doesn't know how long he's going to continue playing (Twitter link).
- Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Denver Post readers that he helps Dan O'Dowd make personnel decisions when the GM is looking for input.
- In anticipation of the club's scheduled arbitration hearing with Ryan Theriot, Cubs GM Jim Hendry tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that the arbitration process is sometimes unavoidable.
- The Braves signed 17-year-old infield prospect Alejandro Sanchez Martinez to a seven-year contract out of Spain earlier in the winter, according to David Menayo of Marca.com. Thanks to Nick Collias for the translation.
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The Padres have placed righty Greg Burke on unconditional waivers to free up a roster spot for Yorvit Torrealba, tweets Dan Hayes of The North County Times. Burke will become a free agent if he goes unclaimed, but he also has the right to refuse any claims so he can hit the open market.
The 27-year-old reached the majors for the first time in 2009, posting a 4.14 ERA with a 1.43 K/BB ratio in 45.2 innings of relief. Burke had surgery to repair a debridement in his throwing shoulder in early October, and it's unclear if he'll be healthy for Spring Training.