- The Diamondbacks signed pitcher J.C. Ramirez and re-signed catcher Blake Lalli. The 26-year-old Ramirez pitched 24 innings for Philadelphia in 2013, but performed poorly. He spent 2014 in the Indians system. Scouts like his 94 mph fastball, but he struggles with command and control as evidenced by a 5.63 BB/9 in his major league sample. Lalli, 32 next season, hit .275/.340/.373 in 2014 at the Triple-A level. He briefly appeared in the majors for the Cubs and Brewers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
- Utility infielder Ramiro Pena has elected free agency after the Braves outrighted him off the 40 man roster. Pena owns a career .244/.288/.330 line over 610 plate appearances in parts of six seasons. Capable of playing shortstop, second, and third base, the 29-year-old offers plenty of flexibility. He’s spent his entire career with the Yankees and Braves.
- The Reds signed pitchers Jose De La Torre, Marcus Walden, and utility infielder Irving Falu. De La Torre, 29, offers big strikeout stuff with control issues out of the bullpen. He appeared briefly for the Red Sox in 2013. Walden is less flashy than De La Torre, and he has spent most of his minor league career in the rotation. The 26-year-old has posted a 3.92 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 over 622 minor league innings. His results in the upper minors have been markedly worse. Falu, 32 next season, has appeared briefly for the Royals, Brewers, and Padres over the past two years.
- The Indians have signed outfielder Destin Hood. Possibly one of the gems of the minor league market, Hood hit .298/.348/.460 across three levels last season – mostly with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. The former second round pick struggled prior to the 2014 campaign, which is probably why the Nationals did not add him to their 40 man roster. As Eddy notes, Hood hit .315 and slugged .556 against left-handed pitching last season, making him a good fit for a lefty heavy Cleveland lineup. He’s 25 next season.
- The Angels signed 26-year-old pitcher Alex Sanabia. The former Marlin has 138 major league innings to his name with a 4.15 ERA, 5.58 K/9, and 2.86 BB/9. The righty should serve as rotation depth.
- The Marlins signed pitcher Chris Narveson and outfielder Cole Gillespie. Narveson, a former Brewer and Cardinal, has a 4.65 ERA over 396 innings. He pitched in Japan last season with similar results. He’ll turn 33 later this month. Gillespie, once a prospect with the Diamondbacks, has bounced around the league. He’s briefly appeared with five major league clubs and owns a .230/.295/.329 batting line in 270 plate appearances. He’s 31 next season.
- The Padres have re-signed left-handed pitcher Jason Lane. The former Astros outfielder reached the majors as a pitcher last season and performed well in 10 and one-third innings. He allowed just one run on a home run, struck out six, and walked none in his age 37 season.
- The Mariners signed 32-year-old pitcher Justin Germano. The soft-tossing righty is best used as minor league depth, although he’s appeared with eight major league clubs over nine seasons. He owns a 5.40 ERA, 5.70 K/9, and 2.92 BB/9 in 330 career innings. His fastball averaged 85.5 mph last season.
Let’s take a look at the day’s minor moves:
- Scott Elbert of the Dodgers has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The lefty was designated for assignment on Tuesday. He has been trying to work back to form after not throwing a big league pitch over the last two seasons. Elbert had the right to refuse the assignment, but will stay with the organization, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- The Padres have outrighted lefty Jason Lane, according to the MLB transactions page. Lane had an outstanding first big league start, but will serve as depth at Triple-A if he accepts his assignment.
- Tony Abreu has also been outrighted by the Giants, per the PCL transactions page. The second baseman received only four plate appearances during his brief call-up. He will have the option of electing free agency.
San Diego will hope to get Lane through waivers and back to Triple-A, says Brock, as they have done previously. Lane just made his first MLB start at age 37, tossing a six-inning, six-hit, one-run gem against the Braves. Though he was also successful in two prior relief appearances, the converted outfielder will apparently have to wait in El Paso for his next opportunity.
Jason Lane‘s improbable comeback story will add another chapter today when the outfielder-turned-pitcher will receive his first Major League start, getting a spot appearance in place of Padres ace Ian Kennedy (who’s battling a sore oblique). Lane began making regular mound appearances in 2012 in the minors in an attempt to revive his career, and the decision paid off earlier this season when he was called up by San Diego and threw 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings. That cup of coffee marked Lane’s first big league action since playing as an outfielder with the Astros and Padres from 2002-07. At age 37, Lane will be the oldest first-time starter since 38-year-old Troy Percival started a game for St. Louis in 2007.
Here’s some hot stove buzz from around the NL West…
- Despite already trading two of their better prospects in the Jake Peavy deal, the Giants have maintained an interest in Ben Zobrist and had two scouts watching the Rays this weekend, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links). San Francisco is one of “multiple teams” who are “ready to act” if Tampa indeed makes Zobrist available, sources tell Morosi and Ken Rosenthal.
- Multiple teams have shown interest in Diamondbacks right-hander Brad Ziegler, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports, though the Snakes aren’t likely to move him. Earlier this month, we heard the Tigers were known to be one of the clubs who asked about Ziegler. Gilbert’s piece also summarizes some of the trade rumors circulating about what Arizona may do at the deadline.
- Troy Tulowitzki would welcome a trade to the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe hears from a source (Twitter link). Given Tulowitzki’s controversial appearance in the stands at Sunday’s Blue Jays/Yankees game, expect more trade buzz than ever about the Rockies‘ star shortstop both over the next several weeks and through the offseason.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said over the weekend that his club “may not do anything” at the trade deadline, and Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles thinks this might not necessarily be a concern given how the current roster performed in sweeping the Giants.
We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves here …
- The Padres have outrighted lefty Jason Lane, according to the PCL transactions page. Lane, an outfielder-turned-hurler who just returned to the bigs seven seasons after his last tour, was designated for assignment on Saturday.
- Righty Mike MacDougal was released by the Mariners, also via the PCL transactions page. The 37-year-old righty carries an 8.25 ERA through 12 innings for Triple-A Tacoma. He last threw in the bigs in 2012, and owns a lifetime 4.00 ERA through 394 MLB frames over parts of 12 seasons.
- Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, the following players have yet to have their situations resolved: Jordan Pacheco (Rockies), David Huff (Giants), Jason Kubel (Twins), Trevor Cahill (Diamondbacks), and Wilton Lopez (Rockies).
The Padres have designated lefty Jason Lane for assignment, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. His roster spot will be taken by Andrew Cashner, who is set to come off the DL to start tonight.
A veteran of six MLB seasons as an outfielder, Lane received his first big league action as a pitcher at age 37. While it took quite an effort for Lane to return to the bigs, his stay was short. He tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit with four strikeouts and no free passes.
Of course, Lane could well find his way back to San Diego this year. He currently owns a 4.36 ERA through 11 starts at Triple-A, and even remains a threat at the plate with a .407/.484/.667 triple-slash in 31 plate appearances.
Jason Lane is a former outfielder who’s now a pitcher, and Jeff Francoeur is an outfielder who occasionally pitches. Both of them are with the Padres‘ Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, trying to get back to the Majors, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports. Lane, the former Astros outfielder, converted to pitching two years ago and is still working on it as a 37-year-old, posting a 4.36 ERA with 3.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 64 innings so far this season. He also pinch-hits. Francoeur, who played for the Royals and Giants last season, is hitting .278/.309/.450 for the Chihuahuas and occasionally taking his turn as a reliever, appearing in six games on the mound so far this season. Kepner notes that Francoeur is “pitching for fun,” so presumably he won’t be looking for a similar role in the Majors. Also, he still has hope as an offensive player. “If I keep hitting like this, I’ve got a chance to go to the Futures Game!” he says. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- At 23-34, the Rays‘ season hasn’t gone as planned, but owner Stuart Sternberg isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, Bill Chastain of MLB.com writes. Sternberg certainly isn’t ready to commit to selling at the trade deadline — not that there’s much urgency on that front at this point. “[I]f you think you’re in striking distance, and more importantly, if you have confidence in the guys here that they’ve got a good stretch of baseball in them, in a week or two, you look back and you could be in a different position,” he says.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is pleased with the results of a recent trip to Japan with pro scouting coordinator Kevin Goldstein, writes MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Luhnow and Goldstein met with Japanese teams and interviewed candidates for a scouting position in Japan. “[W]e really felt like this is an important first step for us in re-engaging our activity in Japan and hopefully, eventually signing some good Japanese players,” says Luhnow, who says one motivation for the trip was that the Yankees had a scout watching all of Masahiro Tanaka‘s starts in Tanaka’s last two years in Japan.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- Lefty pitcher Jason Lane, recently of the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, has signed with the Padres and has been assigned to Triple-A Tucson, the Skeeters announce (via the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith on Twitter). This is the same Jason Lane who played outfield for the Astros (and, briefly, the Padres) from 2002 through 2007. Since then, he's bounced around Triple-A and independent baseball, both as a hitter and as a pitcher. He posted a 2.79 ERA in 99 2/3 innings with Sugar Land in 2013, with 4.3 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9.
Here are Wednesday's minor moves…
- The Rangers have signed Brandon Snyder to a minor league contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The 26-year-old former first round pick of the Orioles hit .277/.309/.446 in 69 plate appearances with Texas last year while playing first base, third base, and both corner outfield spots.
- The Padres have re-signed Juan Oramas to a minor league deal according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). The 22-year-old left-hander was non-tendered last month and is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- The Padres have also signed right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, infielder Gregorio Petit, and catcher Rene Rivera to minor league contracts, the team announced. All three players received invitations to Spring Training.
- The Twins have signed outfielder Brandon Boggs, infielder Ray Olmedo, right-hander Bryan Augenstein, first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, right-hander Scott Elarton, right-hander Virgil Vasquez, left-hander Mike O'Connor, and left-hander Jason Lane to minor league deals according to MLB.com's Adam Berry. Boggs, Olmedo, and Augenstein received invitations to Spring Training.
Here's some news from around the majors as we head into the end of the work week…
- Edwin Jackson tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he didn't receive any interest from the Cardinals about returning to the team. "There was no involvement with the Cardinals. Pitching wasn't a department they needed help in. Their rotation is pretty much set," Jackson said. "It was a place I wouldn't have minded going back to…but, coming into the offseason, it was never a place I realistically thought I had a chance to go back to."
- Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio details Glen Perkins' path from filing a grievance against the Twins in 2009 and seemingly being on the outs with the club to today's three-year extension that keeps the southpaw in Minnesota through 2015.
- Jason Lane talks to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic about his attempt to return to the Major Leagues as a pitcher, and how a chance meeting with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers last summer led to Lane getting a minor league deal with Arizona.
- C.J. Nitkowski, who last pitched in the majors in 2005, threw a bullpen session with the Mets on Thursday, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Nitkowski pitched in Japan and Korea from 2007-2010 and, as MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince details, underwent a controversial blood-and-stem cell treatment last year. Nitkowski was the ninth overall pick of the 1994 amateur draft and pitched for eight teams in a 10-year Major League career, including a five-game stint with the Mets in 2001.
- The long-term effects of Lucas Giolito's UCL strain have yet to be determined, but Baseball America's Conor Glassey examines how the injury could impact Giolito's position in the 2012 amateur draft.
- The Mexican Baseball League has announced that Jose Canseco will not play for Quintana Roo Tigers after the slugger allegedly took a banned substance and refused to take a drug test, reports ESPN's news news services. League president Plinio Escalante told ESPN Deportes that testosterone was the banned substance. Canseco has denied the charge on his Twitter account.