Justin Thomas Rumors
Five years ago today, the Athletics traded Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs for Josh Donaldson, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, and Eric Patterson. At the time, Gallagher was considered the centerpiece for Oakland, though Donaldson, an A ball catcher, had been drafted in the first round the year prior and had promise despite offensive struggles to that point in '08. Donaldson reached the Majors as a catcher in 2010, but was moved back to third base and became the A's starter there last year. Now, after a huge first half, Donaldson had the honor of being snubbed for the All-Star team. Perhaps he'll find his way onto the roster as various players bow out. On to today's minor moves:
- 12-year MLB veteran Kip Wells is contemplating retirement, agent Burton Rocks tells MLBTR's Zach Links. Wells was released by the Angels in late May. He's looking for a minor league opportunity with a realistic shot of being brought up to contribute at the big league level. If nothing materializes by season's end, Wells is considering moving into the player development/scouting side of baseball. Wells was drafted by the White Sox in the first round in 1998; he posted a 3.43 ERA over 395 2/3 innings for the Pirates from 2002-03 and earned over $17MM in his career.
- Red Sox infielder Jonathan Diaz was outrighted to Triple-A today, tweets Jenny Dell of NESN. The move brings the team's 40-man roster count down to 39. Diaz, 28, made his big league debut June 29th, starting at third base and popping out against Toronto's Esmil Rogers. He was hitting .242/.350/.341 in 220 Triple-A plate appearances. Diaz was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 12th round in '06, a dozen picks before the Angels snagged Jordan Walden.
- Lefty Justin Thomas is headed to Japan to join the Nippon Ham Fighters, he announced on Twitter today. Thomas, who exercised an out clause in his minor league contract with the Athletics earlier this month, joins former big leaguers Micah Hoffpauir, Brian Wolfe, and Kaz Tadano. Thomas, 29, was drafted by the Mariners in the fourth round in 2005, a round which later produced Major Leaguers Jeremy Hellickson, Justin Maxwell, Gaby Sanchez, Sam LeCure, Chris Getz, Mike Baxter, Mat Gamel, and Brent Lillibridge.
- Six players currently reside in DFA limbo: Jeremy Bonderman of the Mariners, Adam Rosales of the Athletics, Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, Brandon Lyon of the Mets, Hector Gimenez of the White Sox, and Shawn Camp of the Cubs. The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on Jeff Francoeur on Friday, so he'll likely be a free agent soon. The Twins' P.J. Walters cleared waivers and is likely to accept an outright assignment.
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).
The Athletics reportedly had meetings lined up in Nashville today with the representatives for Hiroyuki Nakajima and Stephen Drew, as the team's search for a shortstop continues. Here's more on that front, along with the rest of the latest A's notes:
- Oakland is "kicking the tires" on just about every shortstop out there, but isn't close on anyone, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Yunel Escobar was appealing to the A's in part because he wasn't expected to have significant trade value, so Oakland doesn't want to get in a bidding war for him, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Within the same piece, Slusser notes that GM Billy Beane's preference is for a shortstop that can make an impact in 2013. A long-term piece isn't necessarily something the team wants, with prospect Addison Russell in the pipeline.
- The A's finalized a number of minor league signings, according to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). Kyler Newby, Luke Montz, Justin Thomas, Garrett Olson, Scott Moore, Darwin Perez, and Mike Ekstrom were added by Oakland.
Here's a fresh batch of minor moves courtesy of Baseball America's Matt Eddy (on Twitter)...
- The Athletics have signed left-hander Justin Thomas and utility man Darwin Perez to minor league deals. The 28-year-old Thomas allowed seven runs in 7 2/3 innings for the Red Sox and Yankees this year.
- The Nationals have signed left-hander Fernando Abad and right-hander Caleb Clay to minor league contracts. Abad, 26, has pitched to a 5.10 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 84 2/3 innings for the Astros over the last three seasons.
- The Dodgers have signed righty Juan Abreu, lefty Kelvin De La Cruz, infielder Miguel Rojas, righty Hector Correa, catcher Wilkin Castillo, and righty Gregory Infante to minor league deals. The 27-year-old Abreu struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings for the Astros this year, his big league debut.
We'll track the day's minor moves here...
- Outfielder Brett Carroll and catcher Carlos Maldonado also elected free agency, Matt Eddy reports (on Twitter). Carroll appeared in five games for the Nationals this past season and Maldonado appeared in four.
- Catcher Rob Johnson is a free agent after being removed from the Mets' 40-man roster, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. Johnson, 30, appeared in 17 games for the Mets this year plus 45 contests for their Triple-A affiliate.
- Orioles catcher Ronny Paulino and left-hander Dana Eveland also elected free agency, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (Twitter links). Eveland appeared in 14 games for the Orioles, posting a 4.73 ERA, and Paulino appeared in 20 games.
- Yankees left-hander Justin Thomas also elected free agency, according to Eddy. The Yankees outrighted Thomas to Triple-A earlier in the month.
- Blue Jays reliever Juan Abreu has also elected free agency, Eddy reports. Abreu posted a 6.80 ERA in 42 minor league relief outings this past season.
- The Brewers announced that Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba elected free agency after refusing outright assignments to Triple-A. The moves are procedural, as Hernandez and Torrealba were expected to hit free agency.
The latest outright assignments from around MLB...
- The Yankees outrighted Justin Thomas to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. The Yankees had designated Thomas for assignment a week ago after the 28-year-old appeared in four games for New York. Thomas posted a 3.45 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year.
The Yankees have designated left-hander Justin Thomas for assignment, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). After the Red Sox removed Thomas from their 40-man roster in May, he was claimed by the Yankees and posted a 3.45 ERA, a 2.45 K/BB ratio and a 7.7 K/9 rate in 30 games (six of them starts) for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season. Thomas also appeared in four Major League games for New York, allowing three runs in three innings of work.
In a corresponding move, David Aardsma has been activated from the 60-day disabled list and will take Thomas' place on the Yankees' 40-man roster. Aardsma hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2010 due to hip surgery during the 2010-11 offseason and Tommy John surgery last July. The Yankees also activated Brett Gardner from the 60-day DL today and designated Steve Pearce for assignment.
The Yankees have claimed left-handed reliever Justin Thomas off of waivers from the Red Sox, Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger confirms (via Twitter). The move was first reported by Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com (via Twitter).
Thomas, 28, was removed from Boston's 40-man roster earlier this week and has one minor league option remaining. The reliever has a 4.14 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in eight seasons as a minor leaguer.
The Red Sox have removed left-hander Justin Thomas from their 40-man roster, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets. In corresponding moves, the Red Sox optioned Clayton Mortensen to the minor leagues and selected the contract of Daniel Nava. It's not clear if the Red Sox designated Thomas for assignment or released him.
Thomas, 28, appeared in seven games for the Red Sox this year, allowing ten hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings while striking out four. He has a 4.14 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in eight seasons as a minor leaguer.
The Red Sox have announced the signings of minor league free agents Carlos Silva, Brandon Duckworth, Charlie Haeger, Will Inman, Doug Mathis, Tony Pena Jr., Chorye Spoone, Jesse Carlson, Rich Hill, Justin Thomas, Pedro Ciriaco, and Nate Spears. The signings of Spoone, Thomas, Inman, Pena, Carlson, and Hill had been reported previously.
Silva, 32, was released by the Cubs in March of 2011 with $11.5MM remaining on his contract. He signed with the Yankees in April, but was released in July amid shoulder problems after seven minor league starts. The control artist was useful upon his initial change of scenery, posting a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts for the 2010 Cubs after the Milton Bradley trade. As the Red Sox press release notes, "No active hurler with at least 750.0 innings pitched has fewer walks per nine innings than Silva (1.73)." Silva will make a prorated $1MM while in the Majors, reports WEEI's Alex Speier.
Ciriaco, 26, was non-tendered by the Pirates in December. The middle infielder hit .231/.243/.300 in 289 plate appearances in his second career Triple-A stint. Spears, a versatile 26-year-old, spent the last two years in Boston's minor league system. In 2011 he hit .248/.355/.397 in 378 plate appearances, getting his first cup of coffee with the big club.
Haeger, a 28-year-old knuckeballer, spent 2011 with the Mariners' Triple-A club and the Red Sox' Double-A team. He posted a 5.44 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, and 0.92 HR/9 in 97 2/3 innings. Mathis, a 28-year-old righty, last appeared in the bigs in 2010 with the Rangers. As a starter for the Giants' and Athletics' Triple-A affiliates, he put up a 4.27 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, and 0.63 HR/9 in 86 1/3 innings. Duckworth, 35, last appeared in the Majors in 2008. He spent 2011 with Boston's Triple-A affiliate, posting a 3.97 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 0.84 HR/9 in 118 innings.