J.C. Ramirez Rumors

Minor Moves: Ramirez, Pena, De La Torre, Hood, Sanabia

We’ve already covered quite a few minor moves today, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America has plenty more to consider. Here’s the latest on the minor league front:

  • 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.

Indians Sign J.C. Ramirez

The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have signed right-hander J.C. Ramirez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Cleveland has also re-signed infielder Ryan Rohlinger to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training as well.

Ramirez, 25, allowed 20 runs in 24 innings for the Phillies this season en route to an ugly 7.50 ERA. He walked nearly as many batters as he struck out (15 BB, 16 K) but posted a respectable 4.04 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 49 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

The 30-year-old Rohlinger hit .266/.353/.367 with five homers in 372 plate appearances at Triple-A Columbus this season, splitting his time between shortstop, third base and second base. Rohlinger also has big league experience, totaling 72 plate appearances with the Giants from 2008-11, though he managed just a .134/.183/.194 batting line.


Minor Moves: Ramirez, Bernadina, Wells, Rapada, Manship

We'll keep tabs on today's minor moves via updates to this post.

  • Righty J.C. Ramirez joined outfielders Roger Bernadina and Casper Wells as now-former Phillies players who have elected free agency, according to the International League transactions page. The trio was recently outrighted by Philadelphia. Ramirez, 25, struggled mightily in his first 24 big league innings this year and has not posted a sub-4.00 ERA campaign in the minors since he was 17. Bernadina, 29, was a major contributor for the Nationals in 2012 (.291/.372/.405 slash in 261 plate appearances) before falling off a cliff this season (.181/.250/.295 in 250 plate appearances). And Wells, 28, saw scant MLB action with three teams in 2013, putting up a sub-zero OPS+ after having been an approximately league average hitter over the first three years of his major league career.
  • Sidearming left-handed reliever Clay Rapada has elected free agency from the Indians, also per the International League transactions page. In his first season as a regular big leaguer in 2012, Rapada posted an impressive 2.82 ERA in 38 1/3 innings over 70 appearances. The 32-year-old didn't surrender a run or a walk in 2013, but that was in large part because he threw just four innings for the Indians. Rapada did, however, put up a stellar 2.14 ERA in 33 2/3 Triple-A innings, though he managed only 6.4 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9. 
  • Righty Jeff Manship has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment from the Rockies, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. In eleven appearances, including four starts, Manship threw 30 2/3 innings of 7.04 ERA ball for Colorado's top club, matching the general ineffectiveness the 28-year-old has exhibited throughout his career at the highest level. 
  • Remember to follow MLBTR's DFA Tracker for the latest on players that have been designated for assignment by their clubs. At present, only Alex Castellanos of the Dodgers is stuck in DFA limbo.


Minor Moves: Astros, Mets, Phillies

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.