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- Rangers, Angels Reach Agreement On Hamilton Deal
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- Blue Jays Release Ricky Romero
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Josh Lueke Rumors
Here are today’s outright assignments…
- Rays righty Josh Lueke cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Durham, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Tampa designated Lueke for assignment two days ago in order to clear roster space for fellow righty Kirby Yates.
- The Athletics have outrighted outfielder Kent Matthes to Double-A Midland, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Matthes was originally designated for assignment on Friday. The 27-year-old outfielder has a .217/.275/.370 slash line and five homers in a combined 200 PA for the Athletics’ Triple-A and Double-A squads this season.
The Rays have designated reliever Josh Lueke for assignment, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The move clears space on the Rays’ 25-man roster for fellow pitcher Kirby Yates, who had posted dominating numbers for Triple-A Durham (with a 0.36 ERA, 12.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 25 innings).
Lueke, 29, had posted a 5.64 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 30 1/3 innings with the Rays in 2014. He has been in the Rays organization since November 2011, when the team acquired him from the Mariners for John Jaso. Lueke posted extremely strong numbers for Durham in 2013, but has struggled to translate those results to the big-league level.
The Reds will spend the next three to four weeks without right fielder Jay Bruce, who needs surgery to fix a partially torn meniscus in his knee, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay initially tweeted that Bruce might need surgery. Here are notes from around the big leagues.
- The slow start by Curtis Granderson of the Mets is worthy of panic, whereas Brian McCann‘s slow start with the Yankees is not, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes in a piece about stars, and teams, who have struggled in 2014 so far. Passan cites the holes in Granderson’s swing, which could end up making his four-year, $52MM deal a poor one. Meanwhile, Passan suggests there isn’t anything glaringly wrong with McCann’s game — he has walked less than usual and swung at more pitches outside the zone, but Passan thinks those issues are correctable.
- Joe Maddon says the Rays decided to designate Heath Bell for assignment rather than Josh Lueke because they like Lueke’s potential, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. “From a scouting perspective, we still see a really big upside with [Lueke],” Maddon says. “At times, you have to be more patient with a more youthful player … We still think if he gets everything together that we’re going to be rewarded by that patience.” In 18 2/3 innings so far this season, Lueke has a 4.82 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro’s moves down the stretch last season and this offseason have helped the team in 2014, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer argues. A.J. Burnett has pitched well so far, and Roberto Hernandez has been at least moderately helpful. Also, Amaro didn’t break up the team’s veteran core, and Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have all hit well so far. Jonathan Papelbon has gotten good results as well. (Of course, the Phillies are still just 15-14, so they’re only performing modestly ahead of expectations.)
- Ryan Roberts of the Red Sox could have declined his outright assignment and become a free agent two weeks ago, but he opted to stay in the organization in order to get regular playing time at Triple-A Pawtucket, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. “I didn’t need to go wait for another team to pick me up and go somewhere else,” says Roberts. “I didn’t have time to do any of that stuff. What I needed to do was start playing baseball. Sitting at home for a couple of weeks was enough for me.” Roberts spent most of the last three seasons in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks and Rays, but did spend a chunk of 2013 at the Triple-A level.
Sunday evening linkage..
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner takes a look at the newest member of the Mariners, John Jaso. The M's traded pitcher Josh Lueke to the Rays for Jaso earlier this evening, and Cameron likes the move for Seattle.
- The Orioles have hired Gary Rajsich of the Blue Jays to be the club's new amateur scouting director, an industry source told Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. Rajsich, 57, has been with the Blue Jays since 2009 but spent most of his scouting career with Boston, where he worked with O's GM Dan Duquette.
- Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune spent some time with Josh Byrnes and found that the recently-appointed Padres GM is extremely optimistic about the club's future. When speaking to Norcross in his Petco Park office, Byrnes had one of his computer screens locked to MLBTradeRumors.
- Yankees skipper Joe Girardi says that he isn't so sure that this will be Mariano Rivera's final season, writes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. The closer will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Tuesday.
- Bud Selig, the same commissioner who canceled the World Series in 1994 in order to crush the union, deserves props for seeing the error of his ways and dramatically changing them, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday. However, Davidoff isn't a fan of the limits on amateur spending and doesn't see the point of HGH testing.
- On the other hand, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald argues that the newly-implemented HGH testing is a striking example of how far the sport has come in recognizing its issues with performance-enhancing drugs.
- Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer likes that MLB will be adding an additional wild card team in each league. The new system, he writes, puts an emphasis on winning the division, which only brings integrity to the 162-game season.
“[Jaso] gives us a left-handed hitting catcher with some big league time who is still young,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in the release. “His left-handed bat will be a nice compliment to our right-handed hitting group. He’s a tough kid with postseason experience and should be a nice fit with us.”
Last season marked Jaso's first full campaign in the Major Leagues and the 28-year-old hit .224/.298/.354 with five homers in 273 plate appearances. Jaso took over the Rays' catching job in 2010 as a rookie and hit .263/.378/.372 on the year.
Lueke, who turns 27 on December 5th, made 25 appearances for the Mariners last season and posted a 6.06 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. In 42 career Triple-A games, Lueke owns an ERA of 2.56 with 8.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
The right-hander was part of the 2010 trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Rangers. After the trade, it was revealed that Lueke had trouble with the law in 2008 and the M's were not aware of this when they made the deal.
Some links on the eve of playoff baseball..
- The Dodgers have asked Rick Honeycutt to return next season but the pitching coach is weighing his options, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner takes a look at potential second base candidates for the M's in 2011. Ryan Theriot, who was less-than-stellar for the Cubs and Dodgers this season, is among the players listed.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. told Jim Bowden of XM Radio (via Twitter) that he wants to return to the Padres in 2011.
- The Reds could be in position to contend for years to come if they keep their key pieces, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- While the O's projected rotation for 2011 is young, GM Andy MacPhail hasn't ruled out the possibility of bringing a veteran aboard to fill the place of pending free agent Kevin Millwood.
- The Nats probably won't have Bryce Harper play in the Arizona Fall League this year, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- You can expect a busy winter in San Diego, writes Bill Center of the Union-Tribune.
- Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and GM Jack Zduriencik sent a letter to fans promising better times ahead. Larry Stone of The Seattle Times notes that Josh Lueke was omitted from a list of the system's "hard-throwing pitchers".
- Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) believes that the Mets should hire Logan White as their next GM.
- The Pirates have interviewed Eric Wedge for their vacant managerial opening, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives his thoughts on John Russell's tenure as Pirates skipper.
Links for Thursday night..
- It will take time for Don Wakamatsu to rejoin the "hot list" of managerial candidates, opines T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
- The Cubs were wise to deal Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee rather than let them walk in free agency, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
- Manny Delcarmen was shocked to learn that he was dealt to the Rockies, according to the Associated Press.
- The Royals will keep their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska through 2014, writes MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays have extended their agreement with Double-A Montgomery through 2014.
Four years ago today, the Rays sent Aubrey Huff and cash to the Astros for Ben Zobrist and Mitch Talbot. The Astros finished 1.5 games out in '06 despite Huff contributing 13 home runs, and GM Tim Purpura chose not to offer arbitration after the season. On to today's links…
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees have no plans to acquire a starting pitcher – "Cliff Lee was a special case." Speaking of Lee, he told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that the trade from the Phillies did not sour him on the team, and he's not opposed to any club once he reaches free agency.
- The Blue Jays had a scout at this weekend's Cardinals-Astros series, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss wonders if shortstop Alex Gonzalez could be a match for the Cards, and he notes that the Jays have had previous interest in Brendan Ryan.
- Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln weren't aware of the full extent of pitcher Josh Lueke's 2008 trouble with the law, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Lueke went to Seattle as part of the Lee trade.
- Talking to WEEI's Alex Speier, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein explained that in the case of Casey Kelly and other prospects, he'd rather challenge them against advanced competition than allow them to compile numbers and trade value at more age-appropriate levels.
- In the same article, Speier notes that the Red Sox have agreements, pending physicals, with a pair of international free agents. One is a righthanded pitcher, the other an outfielder.
- As part of an extensive Q&A with Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, Commissioner Bud Selig says he would not consider contracting the Athletics or Rays if their ballpark situations are not resolved.