Jo-Jo Reyes Rumors

Jo-Jo Reyes Released; Signs In Korea

THURSDAY, 10:12am: The SK Wyverns announced they've signed Reyes (via Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net).

WEDNESDAY, 8:49pm: Reyes and his representatives are still negotiating with SK Wyverns and the Angels are still negotiating the compensation they will receive for releasing the southpaw, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (Twitter link).  The transaction is expected to be finalized by tomorrow.

11:33am: The Angels are giving left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes his unconditional release to allow him to sign with the SK Wyverns of the Korean League, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  The Paragon Sports International client signed a minor league deal with a big league spring training invite in November.

This isn't the first time Reyes has drawn interest from Korea as he fielded interest from the KBO around this time last year before hooking on with the Pirates.  The 28-year-old posted a 2.67 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in nine starts and eight Triple-A relief appearances last season.  Despite strong numbers in the minors over the years, Reyes has a career 6.05 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in the majors.


Minor Moves: Wagner, Angels, Rhymes, Wood

Some minor league deals from around the baseball world…

  • The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Neil Wagner to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, MLBTR has learned.  Wagner has a 3.77 ERA, 2.95 K:BB ratio and 10.2 K/9 rate in 312 career minor league relief appearances in the Padres, A's, and Indians' systems, plus pitched five Major League innings with Oakland in 2011.
  • The Angels signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes and J.B. Shuck to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
  • The Nationals have signed infielder Will Rhymes to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite, reports the Beverly Hills Sports Council's Twitter page.  (Rhymes is represented by the BHSC.)  Rhymes was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay in September and has a .266/.328/.343 line in 449 career plate appearances over three seasons with the Tigers and Rays.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions, including news of Brandon Wood signing a minor league deal with the Royals.  Wood, the former Angels third baseman who was once considered one of the top prospects in the game, last appeared in the Majors with the Pirates in 2011 and posted a .722 OPS for the Rockies' Triple-A team in 2012.

Pirates To Sign Jo-Jo Reyes

The Pirates have agreed to sign free agent left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes to minor league contract, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. MLBTR has learned that the sides agreed to a split contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training and incentives. He drew interest from Korean teams before agreeing to terms with the Pirates.

Reyes has struggled through parts of five MLB seasons despite his success in the minors (3.51 ERA, 8.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9). He has a career ERA of 6.05 in the Majors and has never posted an ERA below the 5.57 mark he posted with the Blue Jays and Orioles in 2011. The Orioles non-tendered Reyes after the 2011 season.

Despite the high ERA, there are reasons the Paragon Sports International client drew interest this offseason. He's young, controllable (arbitration eligible through 2014), left-handed and his average fastball checks in at 90 mph. He posted respectable rates of 5.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 40.6% ground balls all while pitching in the AL East. Ten of his 25 starts (40%) came against the four best offenses in MLB: the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers and Tigers and SIERA (4.60) and xFIP (4.58) suggest Reyes' unsightly 5.57 ERA was inflated by a run or so.

The 27-year-old spent the 2011 season starting for the Blue Jays and Orioles, but he could intrigue the Pirates as a reliever. Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens and Kevin Correia project to start for the Pirates and southpaws Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos figure to contribute out of the bullpen.



NL Central Notes: Reyes, Astros, Molina, Pujols

The Cardinals not only won the World Series, but they've also been named Baseball America's 2011 Organization Of The Year.  This is the first time the St. Louis organization has taken top honors since Baseball America instituted the award in 1982. 

Here's some other news from around the NL Central….

  • The Pirates are talking to southpaw Jo-Jo Reyes about a minor league contract, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link).  Reyes posted a 5.57 ERA in 29 games with the Blue Jays and Orioles in 2011 and was non-tendered by the O's earlier this week.
  • The Astros will give several of their young arms a shot at the closer's job in Spring Training, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.  Houston also has Brandon Lyon returning to provide some veteran closing experience.  Stay tuned to Closer News for the latest on the Astros' late-game situation.
  • Yadier Molina's contract is up after 2012 and Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if Molina's friendship with Albert Pujols could make the catcher less inclined to re-sign with the Cardinals.  Molina would be one of the most-sought after members of the 2013 free agent class if he and the Cards don't agree on a new deal.  Miklasz suggests the Angels could target Molina this winter if he hits free agency, but I'd think such a move would only happen if Chris Iannetta is a big disappointment behind the plate in Anaheim.
  • Tony La Russa tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Pujols was "conflicted' about leaving the Cardinals to sign with the Angels.  "I know it was a painful decision and it pains him now," La Russa said. "He deserves what he got. He earned it. There's no bad guy here."  La Russa also felt the situation was "unavoidable" and that Pujols "was disappointed there wasn't more enthusiasm from the Cardinals" when the Angels and Marlins made big pushes to sign the superstar at the Winter Meetings.

American League Non-Tenders

Today's American League non-tenders are below, but you can keep track of all teams in our non-tender tracker.

  • The Mariners announced that they non-tendered Dan Cortes and Chris Gimenez.
  • The Orioles announced that they non-tendered Willie Eyre, the right-handed reliever who was designated for assignment last week. They non-tendered Jo-Jo Reyes, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). The Orioles also non-tendered Luke Scotttweets Connolly. Scott, who battled a shoulder injury in 2011 and underwent surgery this summer, projected to earn $6MM through arbitration. 
  • The Rays non-tendered Andy Sonnanstine, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers non-tendered right-hander Fabio Castillo, according to Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com (Twitter link).
  • The Red Sox announced that they non-tendered Rich Hill.
  • The Royals announced that they will non-tender left-hander Aaron Laffey.
  • The Twins announced that they've non-tendered left-hander Jose Mijares (Twitter link).
  • The Tigers non-tendered second baseman Will Rhymes, announced the team.  Rhymes is not yet close to being arbitration eligible, as he has less than one year of big league service time.  Rhymes, 28, hit .306/.377/.390 at Triple-A this year.

Orioles Claim Jo-Jo Reyes

The Orioles claimed Jo-Jo Reyes, MLBTR has learned. The Orioles have since confirmed the claim and announced that they transferred Luke Scott to the 60-day disabled list to create 40-man roster space for Reyes. The Blue Jays had designated the left-hander for assignment last week.

Reyes, 26, made the Blue Jays' rotation out of Spring Training and posted a 5.40 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 110 innings of work. Reyes appears to have been the victim of bad luck, based on his 4.59 xFIP. Acquired in the trade that sent Yunel Escobar to Toronto, Reyes should provide the Orioles with a swingman with experience in the tough AL East.


Blue Jays Designate Jo-Jo Reyes For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated Jo-Jo Reyes for assignment according to the team (on Twitter). The move frees up a roster spot for Wil Ledezma, who was called up from Triple-A.

Reyes, 26, posted a 5.40 ERA in 110 innings across 20 starts this season. He struck out 5.2 batters per nine innings while walking 2.9 per nine. Opponents hit .306 off of him, the highest batting average against in baseball. Ledezma pitched to a 4.63 ERA in 46 2/3 relief innings for Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, though he struck out 63 while walking just 18 during that time.


Quick Hits: Peavy, Kontos, Rowand, Reyes

Some links to round out this Monday evening..


Rosenthal On Athletics, Montero, Utley, Ackley

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports shared some Sunday morning notes from Spring Training. Let's check out the highlights….

  • With Adam Rosales recovering from December foot surgery, the Athletics would like to add an affordable utility infielder. Even someone like the Tigers' Ramon Santiago would be too expensive for the A's though, so they'll probably opt for an in-house option instead.
  • The Yankees figure to start the year with Jesus Montero as Russell Martin's backup in New York. One scout cautions that the team needs to ease the top prospect into an expanded role, as he adjusts to catching at the big league level.
  • The Phillies' utility infielder candidates have been playing well this spring, so they may not have to explore a contingency plan even if they expect Chase Utley to miss significant time. According to Rosenthal's sources, the Phils can't take on much salary. If the club were to pursue a player like Michael Young, the Rangers would have to take Joe Blanton and include cash in any deal, which Texas isn't inclined to do.
  • With Kyle Drabek and Jesse Litsch the favorites to earn the Blue Jays' two open rotations spots, skipper John Farrell told reporters that Jo-Jo Reyes could crack the 25-man roster as a reliever. Earlier this week, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined the possibility of Reyes being a trade candidate.
  • Teammate Chone Figgins likens Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley to "a more athletic Todd Walker," a comparison Rosenthal says is more flattering than you'd initially think.

Trade Candidate: Jo-Jo Reyes

The Blue Jays have four out of options players with less than five years of big league service time, according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm: Rajai Davis, Dustin McGowan, David Purcey, and Jo-Jo Reyes.  Davis and Purcey are expected to make the team and McGowan will start the year on the DL, leaving Reyes as the one member of this group who is on the bubble for Toronto.

As Chisholm explained on February 28th, Reyes is currently part of a four-man battle for the last two spots in the Blue Jays' rotation, along with Jesse Litsch, Marc Rzepczynski and Kyle Drabek.  Reyes could wind up in the bullpen instead.  The Blue Jays risk losing Reyes if they can't find a spot for him on the 25-man roster, as he's out of options.  Reyes struggled in his first Spring Training appearance, but pitched well on Saturday with three scoreless innings.

Reyes, 26, was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Braves in the July Yunel Escobar trade.  Baseball America regarded him as the Braves' eighth-best prospect heading into the 2007 season, calling him a "thick-bodied lefthander who does a good job of keeping hitters off balance."  Reyes has only 194 big league innings to his credit, as he's dealt with injuries and command and control problems. 

One team exec I spoke to feels that Reyes would not clear waivers, as a lefty with decent stuff.  He doesn't think it will come to that, as the Blue Jays can probably find a trade partner if they don't have a spot for the southpaw.