John Ely Rumors

Minor Moves: Brignac, Bernier, Venditte, Almanzar

Here are the latest minor moves from around the game:

  • The Marlins have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder Reid Brignac, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Brignac, a former top prospect, hit .222/.300/.346 in 91 PA for the Phillies this season and is a lifetime .222/.266/.314 hitter in 905 PA. The 28-year-old has experience at shortstop, second base, third base and has made brief cameos in the outfield.
  • Utility infielder Doug Bernier has re-signed with the Twins, per Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The 34-year-old has seen minimal big league time with Minnesota over the last two years, and has put up strong numbers for the team’s Triple-A affiliate.
  • The switch-pitching Pat Venditte has inked a minor league deal to join the Athletics, per a tweet from his agent, Marc Kligman. While it is tempting to write him off as a novelty, Venditte owns a career 3.25 ERA against Triple-A competition and a 3.09 mark at the Double-A level, with solid K:BB numbers to boot.
  • The Orioles have re-signed infielder Michael Almanzar and lefty Chris Jones while adding utility option Derrik Gibson as well, all on minor league pacts, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Almanzar, 23, bounced between the O’s and Red Sox last year, being taken in the Rule 5 draft, returned to Boston, and then dealt back to Baltimore.
  • Baltimore went on to announce those signings and a series of others, including southpaws Frank Gailey and Ronan Pacheco and righties Tim Gustafson, Kenn Kasparek, and Mikey O’Brien. None of those hurlers has reached the MLB level yet in their careers.
  • The Angels have inked left-hander Atahualpa Severino to a minor league pact, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Mike DiGiovanna. Severino, 30, spent last year at Triple-A for the Braves. He has yet to make it back to the bigs since a brief cameo with the Nationals back in 2011.
  • Right-hander John Ely has agreed to a minor league deal with the Brewers, according to the team’s player development Twitter account. The 28-year-old saw sporadic playing time with the Dodgers over the 2010-12 time frame, missed virtually all of 2013, and re-emerged as a reliever last year in the Red Sox organization. He threw to a 3.04 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.

Minor Moves: Twins, Pirates, Cabrera, Ely, Alfaro

Here are today's minor transactions from around the league…

  • The Yankees announced that they traded right-hander Ben Paullus to the Padres for utility man Dean Anna.  Anna, who recently celebrated his 26th birthday, posted an .892 OPS in Triple-A last season.  Paullus, 24, worked his way up to Advanced-A Tampa last season.
  • Right-hander B.J. Hermsen has been outrighted from the Twins' 40-man roster, the team announced. The 23-year-old posted a 4.81 ERA In 86 Double-A innings this season, but his strikeout rate fell to just 3.7 per nine innings. The low whiff rate was likely to blame for the whopping 117 hits he allowed in those 86 frames.
  • Minnesota also announced that it has signed outfielder Chris Rahl to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. The 30-year-old spent 2013 with the Nats' Triple-A affiliate. Rahl is a .292/.325/.443 hitter in 700 Triple-A plate appearances and can play all three outfield spots.
  • The Pirates announced the signing of five players to minor league deals, three of whom have big league experience. Right-handers Seth McClung, Josh Kinney and Collin Balester are all veterans of multiple seasons. The others — right-handers Jay Jackson and Jake Brigham — each split last season between Double-A and Triple-A.
  • The Rangers announced that left-hander Edwar Cabrera has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A. Texas claimed the 26-year-old from the Rockies back in October. A shoulder injury cost him the entire 2013 season, but Cabrera has an impressive minor league resume: a 3.13 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 501 innings.
  • The Astros have released right-hander John Ely, according to the team's transactions page. Ely underwent Tommy John surgery after just four innings of work at the Triple-A level in April. The 27-year-old has a 5.70 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 115 1/3 career big league innings, though he was excellent for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in 2012. Ely pitched to a 3.20 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 168 2/3 innings that season.
  • The Nationals have signed right-hander Gabriel Alfaro to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. The 30-year-old has spent the past two seasons pitching for the Guerreros de Oaxaca in the Mexican League, compiling an impressive 2.58 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 52 saves in 129 innings as the team's closer.

Astros Notes: Luhnow, Ely, Rebuilding

Here's the latest news from the American League's newest team….

  • GM Jeff Luhnow's non-traditional baseball background, his history with the Cardinals and his belief in analytics are profiled by MLB.com's Richard Justice in a look at how Luhnow is exploring a wide range of methods to help rebuild the Astros.
  • Before John Ely was traded to the Astros in December, the right-hander was going to sign a contract with a South Korean team, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports.  Ely was looking for a chance to start since he knew he was far down the Dodgers' depth chart but is now excited about his opportunity with the Astros.
  • While the Astros would love to match the Rays' rise from last place to being a consistent contender, Houston assistant GM David Stearns tells ESPN's Jayson Stark that the Astros "want to find the next advancement and to be ahead of the curve yourself" rather than specifically duplicating the Rays' process.  As Stearns notes, the Astros have a major advantage over the Rays in that Houston is able to support a large payroll when the time is right.

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Astros Acquire John Ely

The Astros announced that they acquired right-hander John Ely from the Dodgers for minor league left-hander Rob Rasmussen. The Dodgers now have 39 players on the 40 man roster.

Ely appeared in two games for the Dodgers in 2012, but spent most of the season at Triple-A. The 26-year-old led the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with a 3.20 ERA in 168 2/3 innings. Ely, a former third round selection of the White Sox, started 18 games for the Dodgers in 2010, posting a 5.49 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 100 innings. He has just shy of one year of MLB service (167 days).

Rasmussen, 23, was a second round draft pick of the Marlins in 2010. The Astros acquired him from Miami along with Matt Dominguez for Carlos Lee this past summer. In 142 innings at Class A and Double A, Rasmussen posted a 4.25 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.


Odds & Ends: Pettitte, Marlins, Laird, Pirates, Ely

Sunday links, as the Rays look to extend their league-best winning streak to five games….


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Lowell, Padres, Sale, Buehrle

On this date last season, Randy Johnson threw six innings of one run ball to beat the Nationals and earn his 300th career victory. The Big Unit called it career in January with 303 career wins despite having just 64 on his 30th birthday. His 4,875 strikeouts are the second most all time, though his 10.61 career K/9 is the best mark in history.

The four year, $53.4MM deal the Diamondbacks gave Johnson prior to the 1999 season might be the greatest free agent signing of all time. All he gave them in return was 1030 innings, 81 wins, 1,417 strikeouts, four Cy Young Awards and a World Championship. I'd call that one a win.

Here are a few links from around the world wide netweb…

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Odds & Ends: Strasburg, Piniella, Ely, Marlins

Jamie Moyer, we are all witnesses.  Some quick notes as we finish up the work week….

  • Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit and one walk over six shutout innings in his debut for Washington's Triple-A affiliate, reports The Associated Press.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com predicts the Cubs' woes may drive Lou Piniella into retirement when his contract is up after this season.
  • The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers erred in sending rookie right-hander John Ely back down to the minors so quickly.
  • Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald has some details of Florida owner Jeffrey Loria's chat with reporters today.  Loria dismissed any problems between him and manager Fredi Gonzalez, though Spencer notes that Loria "never exactly came out and said Gonzalez's job was 100 percent secure."  Loria was vague about when Mike Stanton would be called up to the majors, but the owner noted that the Marlins "don't want him to come and fail. If he's going to come here, he's going to come here to stay."
  • Speaking of Stanton, his name came up more than once during Baseball America's J.J. Cooper's chat with fans today.  When asked if he'd rather have Stanton or Jason Heyward for the next 10 years, Cooper's answer was "Heyward and it didn't really take any time to think about it," though that's more of a nod to Heyward's limitless potential than a slight towards Stanton.
  • Brian McCann revealed today that he is having more vision problems, and he will again start wearing glasses in the field, reports David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via Tweets here and here) that the Mariners will still be paying Milton Bradley while he is on the team's restricted list.
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News writes that of all the catcher possibilities the Rangers looked at over the winter, little-regarded Matt Treanor became the team's "savior" due to his solid defensive and game-calling skills.  (Probably on purpose, Taylor doesn't mention Treanor's .619 OPS.) 
  • Aaron Rowand, like Barry Zito, is also starting to live up his big Giants contract, writes Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.  Urban notes that Rowand's early-season success may be due to a better offseason fitness regiment and a total swing overhaul.