Jarrett Hoffpauir Rumors

Minor Moves: Royals, Stavinoha, Santiago, German

Today's minor moves…

  • The Royals signed Juan Gutierrez to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter).  The right-hander posted a 5.40 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings with Arizona this past season.
  • The Astros released Nick Stavinoha so that he can sign with a Japanese team, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.  The 29-year-old spent the 2011 season at Triple-A, where he hit .270/.329/.488 in 586 plate appearances.  The Hiroshima Carp are working toward a deal with Stavinoha, according to a Japanese report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
  • The Nationals signed Jarrett Hoffpauir to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter).  Hoffpauir, 28, posted a .281/.356/.428 for the Padres' top affiliate this past season.
  • The Royals announced that the club has granted the release of minor league pitcher Mario Santiago in order for the right-hander to sign a contract with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization.  Santiago, who turns 27 on Friday, split time between the Royals' Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2011.
  • Japan's Seibu Lions signed former Rangers utility man Esteban German for $1MM, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.  The 33-year-old was removed from the Rangers' 40-man roster in November.

Padres Claim Jarrett Hoffpauir

The Padres claimed Jarrett Hoffpauir off of waivers from the Blue Jays, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter). To create roster space for their new acquisition, the Padres designated catcher Chris Stewart for assignment.

Hoffpauir, 27, hasn't done much in 53 big league plate appearances, but he has succeeded in the minor leagues. He batted .295/.376/.494 in Triple-A this year, belting 16 homers. Las Vegas is a hitter-friendly environment, but Hoffpauir posted similar numbers in the Cardinals system a year ago when he batted .291/.357/.486.

Hoffpauir has spent most of his minor league career at second base, but he has played third and short, too. The 2004 sixth rounder provides the Padres with organizational depth and the promise of some offense.

GM Jed Hoyer has already made a number of low-risk additions in his first year leading the Padres. He added Jody Gerut, Nick Green, Wily Mo Pena, Josh Barfield, Mark Worrell and Chris Denorfia on minor league deals and claimed Radhames Liz off of waivers.

Blue Jays Claim Hoffpauir From Cardinals

The Toronto Blue Jays claimed infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir off of waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Left-handed pitcher Bill Murphy was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Hoffpauir.

Hoffpauir, 26, is an intriguing pickup. He posted a .291/.357/.486 batting line in 402 plate appearances for Triple-A Memphis, and also held his own in 16 plate appearances with St. Louis. In other words, he's right around the same part of his career Marco Scutaro was when Oakland gave him a chance to play every day.

One wonders if this is a sign that Toronto doesn't plan to bring Scutaro back. For what it's worth, Hoffpauir has played 10 games at shortstop in the minor leagues, while Aaron Hill, Toronto's second baseman, came through the minor leagues as a shortstop.

Murphy, 28, had posted a 7.59 ERA in Triple-A, so this move can't be considered much of a surprise.