Josh Outman Rumors

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

The rosters for Opening Day have been officially submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today’s additions:

  • The Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s contract on Monday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The 25-man roster that the Orioles announced today included Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger at catcher, but not Lavarnway, who they had reassigned to the minors.
  • The Padres have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Wil Nieves. With Tim Federowicz out with a knee injury, Nieves will back up Derek Norris. As we noted when Nieves signed, his big-league salary will be $850K.
  • Ryan Madson has made the Royals‘ Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Madson caps his comeback from multiple elbow injuries and his first appearance for Kansas City will be his first in the Majors since 2011.
  • The Nationals have announced on Twitter that second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson have made their Opening Day roster.
  • The Braves announced they have officially purchased the contracts of outfielders Eric Young, Jr. and Kelly Johnson, left-hander Eric Stults, and right-hander Cody Martin. The Braves cleared space on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and outfielder Dian Toscano on the restricted list.
  • One name missing from the Braves‘ roster is Pedro Ciriaco, who was reported yesterday to have made the club. This is likely a procedural move, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), because the Braves placed Josh Outman on the 25-man roster instead of releasing him after the left-hander complained of shoulder tenderness. The move will also buy the Braves some time to look for an upgrade over Ciriaco, tweets Bowman.
  • The Phillies have announced outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Andres Blanco have made the team. Francoeur is just one of four outfielders on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so he could see time as Grady Sizemore‘s platoon partner in right field. The Phillies are now at their 40-man limit.
  • The Marlins have selected the contract of utility player Don Kelly, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Kelly earned his spot with solid Spring Training line of .270/.357/.324 in 42 plate appearances. Frisaro reports the 35-year-old will backup both the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as serving as the team’s emergency third catcher.

East Notes: Vazquez, Braves, Navarro

Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez says his recent elbow MRI “found something,” but there’s no diagnosis yet, the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier tweets. Vazquez will seek a second opinion. If the Red Sox were to need to replace Vazquez, Ryan Hanigan would be the obvious choice. If Vazquez were to need to miss significant time, there would likely be speculation about the promotion of top prospect Blake Swihart, who the Red Sox optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket last week. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • James Russell and Josh Outman have struggled this spring, widening the field of decisions the Braves will have to make as they set their roster, Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes. The Braves could release either one and pay only about a quarter of their salaries. Outman, who’s set to make $925K after signing with the Braves in January, could be in particular danger, Bowman suggests. It now looks increasingly likely that Luis Avilan will make the team as one of the Braves’ bullpen lefties, with prospect Brady Feigl as another possibility.
  • There don’t appear to be any trades involving Dioner Navarro in the works, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Navarro, of course, became mostly superfluous to the Jays after they acquired Russell Martin. Navarro’s name had lately been connected to the Diamondbacks, although the D-backs have said they can’t afford his $5MM salary.

Quick Hits: Yankees, Hamels, Arb Cases

The Yankees finalized last summer’s trades for Martin Prado, Josh Outman and Jeff Francis with cash rather than minor leaguers, a team official tells Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog.  All three deals (with the Diamondbacks, Indians and Athletics, respectively) were made with either cash or a player to be named later going back to the other team in return.  Here’s some more from around the baseball world…

  • In an entry from Buster Olney’s latest Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, he notes that talent is a rarer commodity than money in today’s game, which is why he feels the Phillies should consider eating some of Cole Hamels‘ contract to bring back better prospects in a deal.  Looking at the Hamels-to-Boston trade rumors, Olney wonders why the Red Sox would deal top prospects for Hamels now when a number of ace-level pitchers will be available for only cash in free agency next offseason.
  • This offseason has already seen eight arbitration hearings and seven more outstanding cases could go to a hearing, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi notes.  It’s an unusually high number given that there were only 13 arb hearings in total over the previous four offseasons, though Morosi doesn’t yet think this could be an omen about the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
  • Former big leaguer-turned-FOX Sports analyst C.J. Nitkowski is no stranger to minor league contracts, and he details some of the many factors that a player must consider before signing such a deal.
  • Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron lists his ten least-favorite moves of the offseason, with the Padres‘ trade for Matt Kemp topping the list.  Cameron believes the Padres paid far too heavy a price in both talent and salary to acquire Kemp, whose best days are possibly behind him due to a checkered injury history.


Braves Sign Josh Outman

3:13pm: Outman’s deal guarantees him $925K and allows him to earn an additional $475K via performance bonuses, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.

2:34pm: The Braves announced today that they have signed left-hander Josh Outman to a one-year, Major League deal. The team also officially announced A.J. Pierzynski‘s one-year deal and Jason Grilli‘s two-year pact, both of which had been previously reported. Outman is a client of Turner Gary Sports.

The 30-year-old Outman posted a 2.86 ERA with 8.3 K/9 but a more troubling 5.1 BB/9 in 28 1/3 innings between the Indians and Yankees last season. Those control problems were a bit uncharacteristic for Outman, however, as he entered the season with a lifetime 3.6 BB/9 rate in 246 innings of work.

Outman registered a 53.9 percent ground-ball rate in 2014 — the highest mark of his career. If he can repeat that feat while rediscovering his previous command, his peripheral stats — he had just a 4.83 FIP and 4.18 xFIP in 2014 — should rebound, and a strong ERA is a definite possibility. Outman gives Atlanta skipper Fredi Gonzalez a particularly potent weapon against left-handed hitters, as he’s held same-handed opponents to a minuscule .186/.254/.283 batting line in 413 career plate appearances. And, as a bonus to Atlanta, he has just four years, 155 days of Major League service time. In other words, if Outman performs well, he can be controlled through the 2016 season via arbitration.

Outman will join James Russell and Luis Avilan as a third left-handed option to bridge the gap from the rotation to lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel. He and Grilli will join reclamation project Jim Johnson as newcomers to an Atlanta bullpen that also features Shae Simmons and possibly Arodys Vizcaino. By and large, it should be a new-look group in the Atlanta bullpen, as the team has parted with excellent setup men Jordan Walden and David Carpenter in separate trades this winter.


Players Who Have Elected Minor League Free Agency

A total of 43 players have elected to become minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy in his latest round-up of minor league transactions.  MLBTR has already reported on some of these moves over the last few days, and here is the rest of the list, with players grouped by their most recent team…


Yankees Outright Josh Outman

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

  • The Yankees have outrighted southpaw Josh Outman off the 40-man roster, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports (via Twitter).  Outman was designated for assignment last week.  The left-hander posted a 2.86 ERA and 8.3 K/9 over 28 1/3 IP with Cleveland and New York this season, though he battled control issues, walking 16 batters in those 28 1/3 innings.  Outman has a 4.43 ERA over 274 1/3 career innings during six Major League seasons with the Yankees, Indians, Rockies and A’s.
  • With Outman’s situation now resolved, that leaves the Orioles’ Preston Guilmet as the only player currently in “DFA limbo,” according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.

Yankees Designate Josh Outman For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they have designated left-hander Josh Outman for assignment in order to clear roster space for outfielder Eury Perez, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals earlier today. Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network first tweeted that Outman was packing up his locker, bringing about speculation that he’d be the corresponding roster move for Perez.

Outman, who turned 30 last week, appeared in nine games for the Yankees, totaling 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He faced a dozen hitters and set down 10 of them, dropping his season ERA to just 2.86. However, Outman’s lofty walk rate — he 16 free passes in 24 2/3 innings with Cleveland before being acquired by New York — kept him in the minors for much of the season and caused sabermetric marks such as FIP (4.82) to predict his ERA to be a mirage.

Right-handed hitters have always given Outman trouble, but he’s been lights-out against lefties in his career, yielding just a .186/.254/.283 batting line. Outman will finish the season with less than five years of Major League service, meaning that he can be controlled via arbitration for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns.


Yankees Acquire Josh Outman

The Indians announced that they have traded left-hander Josh Outman to the Yankees in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations (Twitter link).

Josh Outman

Outman, who had been pitching at Triple-A Columbus for the Indians, will report to the Yankees’ Major League roster. It’s unclear whether the Yankees claimed Outman off waivers or if they struck a deal with Cleveland after Outman had already cleared revocable waivers.

The 29-year-old Outman was acquired by the Indians this past offseason in a straight up swap for outfielder Drew Stubbs. While Stubbs has gone on to enjoy a strong season in Colorado, Outman saw his control decline with Cleveland, resulting in a demotion to the minor leagues. (The move did save the Indians $2.85MM, as Outman’s $1.25MM arbitration salary was significantly lower than the $4.1MM paid to Stubbs.) Though he posted a strong 3.28 ERA with 24 punchouts in 24 2/3 innings, Outman also walked 16 batters in that time, making for a career-worst 5.8 BB/9 rate.

What Outman has provided throughout his career is a strong option against left-handed batters. He held opposing lefties to a .180/.293/.380 batting line in 2014 and has limited them to a .188/.257/.287 triple-slash in 403 career plate appearances. Since his demotion, Outman had posted an inferior 4.41 ERA in 22 1/3 innings but had seen his command improve, walking just eight batters against 20 strikeouts in that time.

The Yankees are currently relying on David Huff and Rich Hill as the left-handed options in their bullpen, and Outman will provide manager Joe Girardi with another lefty to use if neither of those arms is removed from the roster in order to clear space. Outman is slated to finish the year with less than five years of Major League service time, meaning that the Yankees could control him through the 2016 campaign via arbitration if they wish.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Minor Moves: Christian Garcia, Casper Wells, Josh Outman

We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments and minor moves from around the league right here…

  • The Nationals announced today that they have released right-hander Christian Garcia (hat tip: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post). Garcia battled back from Tommy John surgery to throw 12 2/3 excellent innings for the Nats in 2012, but he missed 2013 with a partially torn flexor tendon and was once again on the shelf with right shoulder issues. He had posted a 2.75 ERA with a 17-to-4 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season.
  • The Cubs have released outfielder Casper Wells, Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register tweets. Not long ago, Wells was considered by many to be a valuable platoon bat capable of handling all three outfield spots, but he struggled greatly between three teams last season and was hitting just .197/.290/.230 through 69 plate appearances with Triple-A Iowa this year.
  • Southpaw Josh Outman has cleared waivers and accepted the Indians‘ outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Acquired this offseason in exchange for Drew Stubbs, Outman posted a strong 3.28 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. While that ERA may have caused some to question the move, he walked 16 hitters in that time as well.
  • MLBTR’s DFA Tracker reveals a slew of players in DFA limbo, including: Greg Dobbs (Nationals), Jonathan Diaz (Blue Jays), Jamie Romak (Dodgers), Chris Capuano (Red Sox), Brad Snyder (Rangers), Donnie Joseph (Royals), Roger Bernadina (Reds), Jake Dunning (Giants), J.J. Putz (D’Backs) and Evan Reed (Tigers).

AL Central Notes: Twins, Outman, Rodon

A new or upgraded stadium just represents a new revenue stream for a franchise, not a surefire promise of a winning team, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes.  Sullivan focuses his piece on the Cubs‘ planned renovations to Wrigley Field, though he uses the Twins and Target Field as an example of a team whose move into a new ballpark was undermined by moves that currently look like expensive mistakes (i.e. the Ricky Nolasco contract, Joe Mauer‘s extension).

Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune presents a different view of the Twins‘ future, listing four reasons why he feels the team is turning the corner back to respectability.
  • The Indians are trying to make a minor trade to send southpaw Josh Outman elsewhere, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  The Tribe designated Outman for assignment on Wednesday.  Outman’s strong numbers against left-handed batters should generate some interest, though as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted, Outman’s peripherals suggest his performance this season isn’t as solid as his 3.28 ERA would suggest.
  • Carlos Rodon was seen as perhaps the most Major League-ready pitcher of any 2014 draft pick, which is why White Sox assistant GM Buddy Bell feels Rodon would best be served by signing soon.  “You want to get started sooner than later….But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon,” Bell told reporters, including CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes.  “It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not.”  The Sox have until July 18 to sign Rodon, who is rumored to be looking for a bonus above the $5.72MM slot value for the No. 3 overall pick.