Jonathan Sanchez Rumors

Minor Moves: Clark, Ayala, Robinson, Sanchez, Janish

Here are today’s minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Brewers have signed first baseman Matt Clark to a minor league deal, the club’s player development department announced on Twitter. Clark had been hitting .297/.380/.498 at Double-A for the Mets before he was released recently. He will take the roster spot of Hunter Morris, the club’s tenth overall prospect coming into the year (per Baseball America), who was DL’ed after breaking his arm.
  • Veteran righty Luis Ayala has been released by the Blue Jays, according to the International League transactions page. The reliever had been working at Triple-A. As MLBTR’s Zach Links reported at the time of the signing, Ayala did not have the right to opt out of his deal. Though he worked to a 2.90 ERA with 5.8 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 over 31 innings last year for the Braves, Ayala has not had an opportunity to throw in the bigs yet this season. Through 17 innings at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, he owns a 5.29 ERA (7.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9)
  • The Braves officially acquired minor league right-hander Andrew Robinson from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later, as per a Houston media release.  Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reported yesterday that the trade was imminent.
  • The Cubs released left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports (Twitter link).  The Cubs signed Sanchez to a minor league deal in December but the southpaw has been injured for most of the season and only pitched 2/3 of an inning for Triple-A Iowa.  After being traded from the Giants following the 2011 season, Sanchez’s numbers ballooned to the tune of an 8.73 ERA over 78 1/3 IP with the Royals, Rockies and Pirates in 2012-13.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Paul Janish to a minor league deal, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Janish opted out of his previous minors deal with the Rockies on Tuesday.  Janish provided some good defense but only a .572 OPS in 1206 PA with the Reds and Braves from 2008-13, and he spent all of his season with Triple-A Colorado Springs.
  • The Blue Jays have released outfielder Brett Carroll, as announced via Twitter by the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.  Carroll posted only a .438 OPS in 63 Triple-A plate appearances after signing a minor league contract with the Jays in February.  Carroll appeared in 173 games with the Marlins from 2007-10 and had cups of coffee with the Brewers and Nationals in 2011-12 before spending 2013 with the Pirates’ Triple-A franchise.

Cubs Sign Jonathan Sanchez

The Cubs have signed Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal, a source tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  The deal includes incentives if the left-hander makes the big league roster.

Sanchez, 31, was cut loose after five atrocious games to open the 2013 season and ended up with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. There, he pitched 66 2/3 innings, posting a 5.13 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9.  Sanchez has held lefties to a .218/.313/.363 batting line in his big league career and limited them to a .215/.276/.418 line in the minors this season.

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune previously reported that the Cubs were eyeing Sanchez as a reliever.  The veteran is represented by the McNamara Baseball Group, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.


Cubs Interested In Sanchez, Wada

Though the Cubs have already inked Wesley Wright this offseason, they don't appear to be done looking for left-handed depth. Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs are interested in Jonathan Sanchez as a reliever, and a Sponichi report (Japanese link) indicates that they've already made a minor league offer to fellow left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada.

If the Cubs were to sign Sanchez, it would surely be on a minor-league deal. The 31-year-old opened the 2013 with a miserable five games with the Pirates, ending up with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. There, he pitched 66 2/3 innings, posting a 5.13 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9. He has not had much experience as a reliever, and might have some upside out of the bullpen. Sanchez has held lefties to a .218/.313/.363 batting line in his big league career and limited them to a .215/.276/.418 line in the minors this season.

According to the Sponichi report, many teams are interested in Wada, but the Cubs are "enthusiastically" pursuing him. Within the report, Cubs president Theo Epstein is quoted: "He had a great second half [in 2013]. We think he's a pitcher who can compete in the Majors."

Wada, 32, posted a 2.76 ERA with a 60-to-22 K/BB ratio over his final 78 1/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in 2013 as he worked his way back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Though he inked a two-year, $8.15MM contract with the O's prior to the 2012 campaign, Wada's injury prevented him from ever pitching in Baltimore. Epstein did not confirm to Sponichi that his team had made an offer.

Thanks to MLBTR's Aaron Steen for the Japanese translation. Charlie Wilmoth also contributed to this post.



Minor Moves: Owings, Ramirez, Jurrjens

Today's minor moves from around the league…

  • Justin Thomas exercised his out clause with the Athletics and is now a free agent, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links).  Thomas made 16 starts for the club's Triple-A affiliate, posting a 4.48 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
  • The Nationals have granted Micah Owings his release from Triple-A Syracuse, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. The former pitcher had been trying to make the team as a position player. He batted .265/.305/.480 with eight homers and played primarily left field in 57 games for the Chiefs this season.
  • In addition to the two Rays moves below, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the team signed recently released right-hander Ramon Ramirez. The 31-year-old was an elite setup ma from 2008-11, posting a 2.77 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 for the Royals, Red Sox and Giants, but he's struggled the past two seasons in San Francisco.
  • The Rays have released Triple-A right-hander Will Inman and signed outfielder Evan Frey, the team announced on Twitter. Inman, 26, posted a 6.47 ERA with more walks than strikeouts in 32 innings. Frey is a .271/.369/.357 hitter in 213 career games at Triple-A. 
  • Jonathan Sanchez has decided against exercising his July 1 opt-out clause with the Dodgers and instead negotiated a new opt-out date, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The lefty signed with the Dodgers in May but only got the opportunity to start two games for Triple-A Albuquerque. Sanchez began the year with the Pirates but didn't last long as he was designated for assignment after just five appearances and an 11.85 ERA.
  • Jair Jurrjens has been officially optioned to Triple-A, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles optioned Jurrjens rather than technically designating him for assignment, though he had the right to refuse the assignment. Jurrjens accepted, and will report to Norfolk in 72 hours (All Twitter links).
  • Nine players are in DFA limbo: Carlos Marmol (Cubs), Francisley Bueno (Royals), Eric Hinske (D-Backs), Luis Cruz (Dodgers), Alex Liddi (Mariners), Clayton Mortensen (Red Sox), Travis Ishikawa (Orioles), Jeff Francoeur (Royals) and Matt Guerrier (Dodgers).

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Dodgers To Sign Jonathan Sanchez

4:00pm: Sanchez has a July 1 opt-out date if he's not on the Major League roster, according to Chris Cotillo of CLNS Radio (on Twitter). Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles confirms the report (Twitter link).

2:17pm: The Dodgers will sign Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal, according to Pedro Gomez of ESPN (on Twitter). The contract is pending a physical, and Sanchez is likely to report to Triple-A Albquerque. Sanchez is represented by the McNamara Baseball Group.

The 30-year-old Sanchez began the year with the Pirates, but his Pittsburgh tenure didn't last long. He was designated for assignment and subsequently released following a six-game suspension for throwing at Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig. He posted a ghastly 11.85 ERA in his five appearances with the Buccos.

Sanchez was a staple in the Giants rotation from 2009-11 when he totaled 458 innings of 3.75 ERA ball and averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He's always struggled with his command, and it's really gotten away from him since the beginning of last season. In his past 78 1/3 innings, Sanchez has walked 69 batters and fanned 68. His ERA in that time is a sky-high 8.73.


Pirates Release Jonathan Sanchez

Jonathan Sanchez has cleared waivers and been released by the Pirates, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The Pirates had designated Sanchez for assignment on April 30.

Sanchez, 30, was a staple in the Giants rotation from 2009-11 when he totaled 458 innings of 3.75 ERA ball and averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He's always struggled with his command, and it's really gotten away from him since the beginning of last season. In his past 78 1/3 innings, Sanchez has walked 69 batters and fanned 68. His ERA in that time is a sky-high 8.73.

The Pirates added Sanchez on a minor league deal this offseason, and injuries to Francisco Liriano and Jeff Karstens earned him a brief chance in Pittsburgh's rotation. Prior to his DFA, Sanchez was suspended six games for throwing at Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig.


Pirates Designate Jonathan Sanchez For Assignment

The Pirates announced that they have designated pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for assignment.  The move will open up a roster spot for right-hander Bryan Morris.

Sanchez, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Pirates in February.  He was an Article XX(B) signing and hooked on with the big league roster thanks to injuries in the Bucs' rotation.  

On the year, Sanchez owns a 11.85 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 through four starts and one relief appearance.  The left-hander's contract called for him to earn $1.375MM this season and Pittsburgh will be on the hook if they cannot find a taker in the next ten days. 


Pirates DFA Strickland, Robinson

The Pirates announced that the team has designated right-hander Hunter Strickland and first baseman Clint Robinson for assignment. (Twitter links.) In corresponding moves, the club selected the contracts of lefty Jonathan Sanchez and infielder Brandon Inge, it also announced.

Strickland, 24, has yet to appear above the Double-A level and put up a 4.46 ERA in 42 1/3 innings at that level last season, while also compiling a 2.98 ERA in 45 1/3 innings at High-A. Robinson, 27, made his first big league showing last year with Kansas City but played primarily in Triple-A, putting up a .292/.393/.452 line in 570 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired Robinson from the Royals in the offseason after he was designated for assignment.

 


Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  


NL Central Notes: Figgins, Cedeno, Wainwright, Bucs

Some news from around the NL Central…

  • The Cubs haven't been in contact with Chone Figgins, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports.  Figgins was released by the Marlins earlier this week and, as Rogers notes, is one of the few veteran options available if the Cubs want to bring in a third baseman.
  • Ronny Cedeno has cleared waivers after being released by the Cardinals three days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter).
  • Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com analyzes the cost of an Adam Wainwright extension with the Cardinals and figures Wainwright will end up being paid between $21-$23.5MM per season.  Talks are ongoing between Wainwright and the Cards and the ace right-hander feels positive that an extension will be settled before Opening Day.  Wainwright is eligible for free agency after this season.
  • Jonathan Sanchez can opt out of his minor league deal with the Pirates on Sunday if he hasn't been added to the club's Major League roster, but the Bucs have until Tuesday to respond, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports.  Sanchez's one-year contract will guarantee him $1.375MM if he makes the roster.
  • Also from Singer, he opines that the Pirates' trade for John McDonald is the kind of veteran acquisition a team makes when it believes it will contend.  Otherwise, Singer wonders why Pittsburgh would add McDonald to an already-deep middle infield mix.