Juan Carlos Oviedo Rumors

Rays Designate Juan Carlos Oviedo For Assignment

The Rays have designated reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo for assignment, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The move clears space on the Rays’ active roster for Jeremy Hellickson, who has been recalled from the minors.

Oviedo finally made it back to the big leagues after spending 2012 and 2013 dealing with injury issues and posted a 3.69 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for the Rays in 2014, albeit with underwhelming underlying numbers (7.4 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 33% ground ball rate). The 32-year-old (who formerly played as Leo Nunez) has 92 career saves, all but one of them coming in 2009 through 2011 with the Marlins.


AL East Notes: Ortiz, Sizemore, Machado, O’s, Oviedo

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino chatted with Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com yesterday and informed Edes that his club and designated hitter David Ortiz have continued to work on an extension over the past few weeks. Ortiz himself told Edes that things were looking good in extension talks, and Edes feels that there's "little doubt" the two parties will agree on a new contract, perhaps before the end of Spring Training.

More news and rumors out of the AL East as you gear up for the weekend…

  • MLB.com's Phil Rogers takes a look at Grady Sizemore's remarkable Spring Training, noting that the former Indians All-Star is improbably closing in on a job as Boston's Opening Day center fielder. Rogers offers several quotes from manager John Farrell, who was the Indians' director or player development when Sizemore was working his way through their minor league ranks.
  • Stephania Bell of ESPN.com reports that Dr. Neal ElAttrache has lifted all physical restrictions for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado in his rehab from last season's knee injury. Machado has been slowed a bit by mild calf and hamstring strains but is nonetheless free to proceed to the final stages of his rehab. Opening Day is still questionable for the 2013 All-Star, however.
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter was irritated that ESPN received quotes from ElAttrache before the doctor had relayed the information to himself and the team, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Connolly adds that the Orioles might keep Machado playing in minor league games so they can increase the amount of at-bats he gets and also back-date a potential DL stint earlier so that he can be activated before the 15th day of the regular season if ready.
  • Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that he's proud of his scouting and player development departments, as they've taken a bottom-three farm system and progressively improved it. Asked if he felt that the club's core players would be homegrown five years from now, Duquette said, "That is the only way to do it. I don't know any other way to do it."
  • After arriving to camp late due to a visa issue, Juan Carlos Oviedo threw a simulated game to live hitters yesterday, according to MLB.com's Bill Chastain. However, Rays manager Joe Maddon still thinks it could be a long-shot for Oviedo to make the club. Said Maddon: "It became obvious, in spite of the fact that he's throwing the ball well, what really comes rushing to your mind is this guy hasn't been pitching in a while. … And so now you're going to rush him back under these circumstances? It might not be a good idea."

Rays Re-Sign Juan Carlos Oviedo

The Rays officially announced that they have re-signed righty Juan Carlos Oviedo to a one-year, Major League deal. The contract reportedly guarantees the Wasserman Media Group client a base salary of $1.5MM and contains another $1.4MM worth of incentives. Tampa recently declined its $2MM club option for the 31-year-old, who spent all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Once the Marlins closer, Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) signed on with the Rays last year as he continued his TJ rehab. He never made it back to throw in 2013, but presumably will be ready for Spring Training next year. Before his suspension for assuming the identity of his best friend Nunez, Oviedo had registered 357 big league innings with a 4.34 career ERA.

Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first reported that Oviedo would receive a one-year, Major League deal (on Twitter). Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the $1.5MM value and incentives (Twitter links).



Rays Decline Juan Carlos Oviedo’s Option

The Rays have declined Juan Carlos Oviedo's $2MM 2014 option, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. They will instead pay a $30K buyout.

The former Marlins closer did not pitch at all in 2013, as he had Tommy John surgery during the 2012 season. The Rays purchased his contract anyway in March, then placed him on the 60-day DL. Oviedo has a 4.34 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in seven big-league seasons.


Rays Designate Robinson Chirinos, Stephen Vogt

The Rays have announced they have designated catchers Robinson Chirinos and Stephen Vogt for assignment. The Rays now have ten days to trade, release, or outright Chirinos and Vogt to the minors.

The moves were needed to open space on their 40-man roster for first baseman/DH Shelley Duncan and relievers Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo. Oviedo was then transferred to the 60-day disabled list, as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Duncan's promotion was necessitated by a right calf strain suffered by Luke Scott, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), Duncan won the job due to his extra base-hit ability and because he adds value with his power.

Chirinos was acquired in the Matt Garza trade and appeared in 20 games for the Rays in 2011 producing a slash line of .218/.283/.309 in 60 plate appearances. He sat out the 2012 season due to a concussion.

Vogt, a 12th-round selection by the Rays in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season, but went hitless in 25 at-bats. He has fared much better at the plate during his six-year minor league career (.290/.360/.448), including numbers of .272/.350/.424 in 396 plate appearances in 94 games at Triple-A Durham in 2012.


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).  


Rays Sign Oviedo, Duncan, Wright, Sandoval

The Rays have signed outfielder Shelley Duncan and right-handers Jamey Wright, Juan Sandoval, and Juan Carlos Oviedo to minor league deals, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).  All four deals include invites to major league spring training, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.

Oviedo is the former Leo Nunez, who finished 142 games for the Marlins from 2009-2011.  The 30-year-old was disciplined for identity fraud prior to last season and appeared in just three minor league games before an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery ended his campaign.  For his career, Oviedo has a 4.34 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.

Because his injury will likely cost him the bulk of the 2013 season, the Rays' deal with Oviedo includes an option for 2014, Topkin tweets.

Duncan, 33, spent much of the season as Cleveland's left fielder and posted a .203/.288/.388 batting line in 264 MLB plate appearances.  The left fielder/first baseman refused a minor league assignment in October, making him a free agent.

Wright, 38, has 17 major league seasons to his credit.  The veteran spent 2012 with the Dodgers and made 66 relief appearances, posting a 3.72 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.  Sandoval, 32, had a 2.97 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in the Mexican League last season.


NL East Links: Oviedo, Nationals, Hamels

A few items of note out of the National League East, where the Nationals held a 2.5-game lead over the Braves entering Tuesday night's action. …

  • Marlins president Larry Beinfest said right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo will become a free agent after this season, regardless of whether he makes it back to the Major Leagues in 2012, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). Oviedo, formerly known as Leo Nunez, was nearing the conclusion of an eight-week suspension for identity fraud but suffered a sprained elbow ligament during a minor league rehab stint. The severity of the injury is not yet known. Just reading between the lines, it sounds like Miami is not interested in re-signing Oviedo.
  • The Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said he will approach this year's trade deadline as he has in years past, with an emphasis on deals that will make the team better for the long-term, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats are intrigued by, but not committed to, the idea of trading for a pitcher who can account for the innings they'll lose when Stephen Strasburg rests in accordance with his innings cap, although the price of brand-name arms like Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster and Francisco Liriano is probably too high, not to mention that those pitchers are all free agents at season's end and therefore don't fit into the aforementioned long-term plans.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is facing a difficult decision in determining what to do with lefty Cole Hamels, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (subscription required). Bowden examines the plusses and minuses of extending and trading Hamels, as well as letting him walk.

Marlins Notes: Stanton, Samson, Oviedo

Marlins All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery this morning. Stanton had loose bodies removed from his right knee and is expected to be out four to six weeks. He will miss the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. As a result, the Marlins will not have a representative in Kansas City for the Midsummer Classic. This was one topic Marlins President David Samson addressed in his meeting with reporters, including Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

  • "I spoke to MLB. I think there were a lot of different ways that Tony [La Russa] and MLB could have gone. I think it’s unfortunate. I think that every team should be represented on the line in an All-Star Game," Samson said. "Obviously MLB or Tony or whoever makes the decision had their own view of it, and it’s certainly disappointing."
  • Samson flashed a sense humor regarding the All-Star snub when asked about Showtime's The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins. "Instead of sending a player to the All-Star Game, I guess we’re going to send the Showtime crew and it’s going be like Where’s Waldo. We’re going to have the Showtime crew just looking for the Marlin."
  • On the loss of Stanton, Samson says "it hurt. He is such an imposing force in the lineup. Carlos Lee was brought in to combine him with Stanton in the lineup. Now it’s sort of back to where you are. But Giancarlo will be back in time to help us. We’re not nearly out of it –- the second wild card or even the division.
  • Samson was asked about the team's inconsistent first half, "I think when you talk about all the excitement going into the season, that’s what leads to this level of disappointment because you don’t expect to be below .500 at the break. But the way things went I think we’re pretty happy to be this close to 500. It could have been a lot worse."
  • Samson again showed his sense of humor when asked about the issues with the turf at the new Marlins Park. "The grass sort of reflects our season. It’s brown right now but getting greener."
  • Manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters, including Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, that he is looking forward to the return of Juan Carlos Oviedo calling it the "biggest trade of the year." The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez finishes his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 22. Upon his return, Guillen says Oviedo and Heath Bell could be sharing closer duties. "We’ll see how Bell’s throwing and we’ll flip-flop each for whatever reason. It’s going to be a big lift."

Quick Hits: Vazquez, Oviedo, Acosta, Montero

Happy Memorial Day! Here are today’s links…

  • It doesn't sound as though Javier Vazquez has baseball at the forefront of his mind.  When asked what he's up to, friends of the pitcher told Peter Gammons of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he's playing semi-pro tennis.  In April, the right-hander said that he's not planning on playing but also wasn't ready to announce his retirement.
  • MLB announced an eight-week suspension for Juan Carlos Oviedo, the right-handed pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, for engaging in age and identity fraud (Twitter link). Oviedo is making his way back to the Marlins after a prolonged absence.
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post wonders if Manny Acosta's days with the Mets could be numbered (Twitter link). Acosta has an 11.86 ERA after allowing three runs to the Phillies this afternoon.
  • The Diamondbacks were willing to pay up to keep Miguel Montero’s two-way play on the roster, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. While Montero isn’t hitting much so far this year, he has thrown out 39.2% of potential base stealers since the beginning of the 2011 season. He recently signed a five-year, $60MM contract with Arizona.