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Justin Maxwell Rumors
Here are today’s minor moves:
- The White Sox have acquired righty Bobby Doran from the Astros, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (via Twitter). Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that shortstop Jeffry Santos is headed to Houston (Twitter links). Doran, 25, has pitched in the upper minors since 2012, working as a starter and out of the pen while compiling a 3.83 ERA at the Double-A level and 4.90 mark at Triple-A. He was taken in the fourth round out of Texas Tech back in 2010. The 21-year-old Santos is old for his current Arizona Rookie League club, where he’s posted a .295/.483/.386 batting line in 60 PA.
- The Phillies have released outfielder Steve Susdorf, tweets the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb. The 29-year-old outfielder is a veteran of seven minor league seasons (all with the Phils) and was very well-liked by his teammates, Gelb adds. He’s a career .291/.360/.379 hitter in 964 PA in Triple-A.
- Justin Maxwell has accepted an outright assignment with the Royals rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. This is the second time this year that the veteran outfielder has taken a demotion from Kansas City.
- Ramon Ramirez has signed a new deal to remain with the Orioles after being outrighted, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported yesterday (via Twitter). The right-handed reliever could have sought a new home through free agency, but will instead return to Triple-A Norfolk.
- The Angels have released southpaw Rich Hill, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Hill was designated for assignment on Saturday just four days after being acquired via trade from the Red Sox. The veteran had three very rough outings with the Halos, and has a roller coaster history in the majors, but had been quite effective at Triple-A this year.
Here are today’s outright assignments from around the league…
- Outfielder Justin Maxwell cleared waivers after being designated for assignment, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Maxwell has until tomorrow to decide whether to accept his outright assignment or elect free agency. The 30-year-old hit just .150/.222/.175 in 45 PA for the Royals, but he hit .239/.314/.450 from 2012-13 with the Astros and Royals.
The Royals have designated infielder Pedro Ciriaco and outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment, the team announced. This is the second time that each player has been designated for assignment this season.
Ciriaco has seen limited action this season, posting a .484 OPS in 49 PA as the Royals’ utility infielder, and he has a more impressive .295/.318/.475 line at Triple-A (albeit in only 66 PA). Ciriaco originally came to K.C. in July 2013 when the Royals claimed him off waivers from the Padres.
Maxwell came to the Royals in a trade deadline deal with the Astros last July and hit very well in the last two months of 2013, posting an .857 OPS in 111 PA. The 30-year-old outfielder avoided arbitration with Kansas City by agreeing to a one-year, $1.325MM contract after avoiding arbitration last winter, yet he has struggled badly this year, with just a .397 OPS and one extra-base hit over 45 PA. Maxwell has dominated Triple-A pitching, however, to the tune of an .899 OPS in 106 PA.
Ciriaco and Maxwell join southpaw Donnie Joseph as Royals players currently in “DFA limbo,” according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker. Five more players around the league are also in limbo — Michael Almanzar (Orioles), Chris Capuano (Red Sox), Greg Dobbs (Nationals), Scott Downs (White Sox) and Sean O’Sullivan (Phillies).
Here’s a look at today’s minor moves from around the league.
- The Braves have purchased the contract of Carlos Fisher from the Somerset Patriots and assigned him to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Fisher, 31, previously spent parts of three seasons with the Reds, most recently in 2011. He posted a 4.74 ERA, 7.84 K/9, and 5.02 BB/9 in 98 2/3 innings.
- The Angels have signed Caleb Clay from the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles and assigned him to Triple-A, according to Cotillo (via Twitter). Clay was selected 44th overall by the Red Sox during the 2006 amateur draft. He’s since pitched for the Sox and Nationals organizations but never reached the majors. The 26-year-old right-hander struggled in his first season overseas, with a 8.33 ERA, 4.50 K/9, and 5.63 BB/9.
- Once again from Cotillo (on Twitter), the Diamondbacks have signed 27-year-old Argenis Diaz to a minor league deal. Diaz was with the Reds until recently. Interestingly, Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate has only used Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed at shortstop to date in 2014. Diaz will presumably provide depth up the middle.
- The Tigers will promote lefty Pat McCoy, Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com tweets. McCoy will have to be added to their 40-man roster. McCoy, 25, has posted a 2.94 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 33 2/3 innings this season divided between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers signed McCoy, a product of the Nationals system, to a minor league deal last fall.
- The Giants will promote prospect Joe Panik, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Panik, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, will need to be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster. The second baseman was hitting .321/.382/.447 in 326 plate appearances for Triple-A Fresno.
- The Orioles have announced that pitcher Josh Stinson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles designated Stinson for assignment on Tuesday. He has pitched 13 innings for the Orioles this season, allowing nine runs while striking out six and walking six.
- The Rockies have purchased the contract of pitcher Wilton Lopez, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding tweets. They’ve made space for Lopez by optioning pitching Chris Martin to Triple-A Colorado Springs and moving Michael Cuddyer to the 60-day DL. The Rockies outrighted Lopez last week.
- The Yankees have released 1B/OF Russ Canzler, Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune tweets. Canzler last appeared in the big leagues with the Indians in 2012. He hit .263/.332/.389 in 199 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014.
- The Royals have added selected the contract of OF Justin Maxwell, Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City tweets. Maxwell will take Norichika Aoki’s place on the active roster as Aoki heads to the disabled list with a groin injury. The Royals outrighted Maxwell in May, and he’s hit .316/.358/.541 in 106 plate appearances since then.
- The Astros will add Jake Buchanan to their 40-man roster to start Saturday, and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that fellow pitcher Jose Cisnero will head to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Buchanan on the 40-man roster. Buchanan, 24, has posted 5.2 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Outfielder Justin Maxwell has cleared outright waivers and accepted his assignment to the Royals‘ Triple-A affiliate, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Though Maxwell has struggled in limited action this year, he has been a valuable contributor in the past and owns a career .225/.312/.420 triple-slash. He was tendered a contract over the offseason and avoided arbitration with a $1.325MM deal.
- MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports (via Twitter) that the Nationals have released catcher Brandon Bantz. The 27-year-old Bantz batted .271/.320/.343 this season in 76 PA with Double-A Harrisburg. Bantz received the briefest of Major League callups last season when picked up two PAs with the Mariners.
- The Phillies have inked outfielder Chris Swauger to a minor league deal, per the team’s transactions page. Swauger, 27, struggled in Triple-A last season with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate but has a solid .284/.331/.435 batting line in 1218 games at the Double-A level.
Maxwell, 30, had just four hits and two walks to go with 15 strikeouts in a meager 32 trips to the plate this year for Kansas City after agreeing to a $1.325MM deal to avoid arbitration. He came to the Royals from the Astros on a trade deadline deal last summer in exchange for a mid-level prospect.
Maxwell has been useful at times in his career, including down the stretch last year, and has a lifetime .225/.312/.420 line in parts of six seasons. Given his reasonably solid track record and versatility (he can play all three outfield positions), Maxwell should draw a decent amount of interest, though his salary could be an obstacle to a trade or claim.
WEDNESDAY: Maxwell will earn $1.325MM next year, MLB.com's Dick Kaegel reports.
TUESDAY: The Royals have avoided arbitration with outfielder Justin Maxwell, the club announced via press release. Kansas City did not disclose the terms of the deal other than its one-year duration.
The 30-year-old Maxwell was picked up from the Astros last year just before the trade deadline. He was excellent in his 111 plate appearances for his new club, posting a .268/.351/.505 line (including five home runs) in 35 games. Maxwell's career stats, however, do not back up that performance. In 874 lifetime plate appearances over five seasons, Maxwell has a .228/.316/.430 line.
Maxwell will be eligible for arbitration two more times before qualifying for free agency after the 2016 season.
Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips have been two of the offseason's biggest names rumored to be on the trade market, and there was a chance the two could've been dealt for each other in a blockbuster. The Dodgers and Reds "briefly spoke about" swapping the two All-Stars earlier this winter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but the Dodgers didn't have much interest. L.A. wasn't keen on adding an older player (Phillips is 32) who is owed $50MM through 2017, plus the Dodgers felt the deal wouldn't have been a fair swap if Kemp returned to full health.
Here are some more items from Chavez Ravine…
- There isn't any truth to rumors of a Dodgers/Royals trade that would sent Dee Gordon to Kansas City in exchange for Justin Maxwell, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers fully intend to rebuild their minor league depth, team president Stan Kasten said tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, and while they've moved some minor leaguers in trades, Kasten is pleased that "we kept adding pieces while keeping the guys we valued the most." Speaking in general, Kasten said "what would have interested us — and might still — is to trade one of our veterans if we can get back young, controllable players and prospects." In addition, while Kasten says the Dodgers don't plan to trade any of their key youngsters, "there are deals on the table that include top prospects."
- The Dodgers could consider trading pitching prospects in order to obtain more position player prospects, Kasten said, as the club is lacking in youngsters who can play the field.
- Earlier today on MLBTR, the Dodgers acquired righty Seth Rosin from the Mets, and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal shared a few items about the Dodgers in his most recent column.
Justin Maxwell's walkoff grand slam yesterday helped the Royals earn their 82nd win of the season, thus ensuring that the club will enjoy a winning record for just the second time in the last 19 seasons (and first time since 2003). The Royals sit 3.5 games behind the Indians for the last AL wild card slot, so while it would take a big finish to reach the postseason, K.C. will go into the offseason on a high note for the first time in years. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star looks ahead to potential winter moves for the Royals as part of a reader Q&A piece…
- "It's not a slam dunk" that Ned Yost returns as the Royals manager in 2014, as Dutton believes that the lack of rumors about contract talks could indicate that the club is considering a change in the dugout. Dutton recently reported that owner David Glass was leaving Yost's fate up to GM Dayton Moore, and Moore said he is waiting until after the season to discuss contracts with Yost and the coaching staff.
- Moore and his staff should be credited, Dutton opines, for getting major contributions from Maxwell and Emilio Bonifacio in what seemed like minor trades at the time. Maxwell, acquired from the Astros on deadline day, has a .972 OPS in 89 PA as a Royal, while Bonifacio is hitting .287/.359/.353 over 155 PA and is 15-for-17 in steal attempts since being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in mid-August.
- Bonifacio's emergence means that the Royals no longer have to make second base a major priority this offseason. Bonifacio could start and the team is happy with Pedro Ciriaco as the utility infielder, though Bonifacio would return to his original utility role if the club does pick someone else up. With Bonifacio and Ciriaco in the fold, Dutton doesn't see much room for Chris Getz or Johnny Giavotella on the roster.
- The Royals will probably check in on Shin-Soo Choo this winter but Dutton suspects the free agent outfielder will be too expensive for the team. Choo is the fifth-ranked player on Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings and will draw a lot of interest from several teams, so Dutton is probably right in assuming that K.C. will be priced out.
- An outfielder could be an offseason target for the team, as Dutton feels this would be the easiest spot to add a much-needed bat to the lineup. Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain are locks to return, with Maxwell, David Lough and Jarrod Dyson all currently in the mix for the third OF spot or a bench role.
- In terms of big-name free agent outfielders, Dutton sees Carlos Beltran as a likelier bet to sign with the Royals than Curtis Granderson, but while Beltran would be more open of the two to sign with K.C. for market value, Dutton still deems a Beltran return as "not likely." As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth noted yesterday in his Beltran vs. Nelson Cruz Free Agent Faceoff piece, Beltran is a defensive question mark at this point in his career, so he might not be a fit with the Royals given how Billy Butler is entrenched at DH.
The Royals have acquired Justin Maxwell from the Astros, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Astros receive minor league pitcher Kyle Smith, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Maxwell, 29, can play all three outfield positions and is hitting .241/.311/.387 with a pair of homers and four steals in 151 plate appearances this season. He slugged 18 homers last season for Houston and has hit lefties at a .253/.370/.455 clip throughout his career. Maxwell is controllable through the 2016 season and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.
Smith, 20, has a 2.85 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.78 HR/9 this year in 104 1/3 High-A innings. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him 12th among Royals prospects, noting a No. 3 starter ceiling.
While many have speculated that the Royals should ultimately be sellers, the team certainly took a win-now approach this offseason in trading a prospect package highlighted by Wil Myers for James Shields and Wade Davis. They're riding a seven-game winning streak that has pushed them back above .500. Maxwell should be able to platoon with David Lough in right field and fill in around the outfield when needed.
Maxwell is the second significant piece to be moved by the Astros this week, as general manager Jeff Luhnow traded closer Jose Veras to the Tigers in exchange for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a PTBNL earlier this week.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.