Kevin Kouzmanoff Rumors

Minor Moves: Arencibia, Kouzmanoff

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Catcher J.P. Arencibia and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff have elected free agency rather than accepting outright assignments with the Rangers, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports on Twitter. The pair was set to reach free agency anyway, but will be eligible to test the market now rather than waiting until after the World Series.

Rangers Outright J.P. Arencibia, Kevin Kouzmanoff

The Rangers announced today that they have outrighted catcher J.P. Arencibia, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, infielder Guilder Rodriguez, outfielder Engel Beltre, right-hander Wilmer Font and left-hander Pedro Figueroa off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Round Rock. Both Kouzmanoff and Arencibia are eligible to become free agents, and will likely do just that. The moves drop the Rangers’ 40-man roster to 37, as three of the players (Beltre, Kouzmanoff and Figueroa) all had to be activated from the 60-day DL in order to be outrighted.

Arencibia, previously of Blue Jays fame, hit .177/.239/.369 in 222 plate appearances for Texas this year, appearing at both catcher and first base. His .196/.263/.427 batting line following a recall from the minors and a shift to first base was an improvement over his numbers while serving as a catcher, but his 28 percent strikeout clip this past season was still troubling.

Kouzmanoff was outstanding in 13 games for Texas before hitting the 60-day DL due to a back injury that required surgery. The former Padre/Athletic hit .362/.412/.617 with a pair of homers in 51 trips to the plate as he filled in for a then-injured Adrian Beltre.

Beltre spent the entire season on the DL as he recovered from surgery on each of his legs, and Figueroa saw just 10 games of action before going down to Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez was a feel-good story that made his big league debut and collected two hits after 13 seasons in the minors. Font didn’t pitch in the Majors this season and underwent elbow surgery in August before being designated for assignment last week when the team claimed Alfredo Figaro from the Brewers.

Rangers Designate Seth Rosin For Assignment

The Rangers have designated right-hander Seth Rosin for assignment and purchased the contract of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter).

Texas has a need at third base following a quad injury to Adrian Beltre in yesterday's game. Kouzmanoff, a veteran of six Major League seasons, can fill that role should Beltre need to miss time, though he hasn't appeared in the Majors since splitting the 2011 season between the A's and Rockies. Kouzmanoff, 32, blasted at least 16 homers and 30 doubles in each season from 2007-10 with the Padres and A's but also struggled to get on base in that time (combined .303 OBP). He's a career .255/.300/.420 hitter that has spent the past few seasons in Triple-A with the Royals and Marlins.

Rosin, 25, was the Mets' selection in last December's Rule 5 Draft (from the Phillies). He was immediately traded to the Dodgers for cash before being claimed off waivers by Texas in late March. Rosin made his big league debut with the Rangers this season, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts in four innings of work. The former fourth-round pick has a 4.00 career ERA in the minor leagues to go along with solid ratios of 8.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Prior to his selection in the Rule 5 Draft, Rosin had never appeared in a game above the Double-A level.

Rangers Sign Lillibridge, Wilson, Kouzmanoff

The Rangers announced that they've signed Kevin Kouzmanoff, Brent Lillibridge, Armando Rodriguez and Josh Wilson to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training.

Lillibridge, 30, batted .119/.133/.136 in 61 plate appearances between the Cubs and Yankees last season. The utility man showed promise with the White Sox in his age-27 season back in 2011, batting .258/.340/.505 with 13 homers in 216 plate appearances. Over the course of his career, however, he's a .205/.267/.332 hitter.

Wilson, 32, batted .200/.262/.300 in 65 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2013. He's a career .225/.278/.317 hitter in 1077 plate appearances between the D-Backs, Mariners, Rays, Padres, Nationals, Marlins and Brewers. 

Kouzmanoff, 32, spent four seasons as the everyday third baseman for the Padres and A's, slashing .259/.303/.426 with 75 homers. He spent 2013 in the Marlins organization, batting .294/.344/.440 at Triple-A.

Rodriguez, 25, split the 2013 season between Double-A and Triple-A with the Mets, posting a combined 4.81 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.

The Rangers also announced that they inked righty Doug Mathis to a minor league pact, though Mathis' deal doesn't contain an invite to Spring Training. Mathis posted a 4.84 ERA in 87 1/3 innings for the Rangers from 2008-10 and split last season between the Triple-A affiliates for the Marlins and Pirates.

Marlins Sign Kevin Kouzmanoff & Jordan Smith

Here are the day's minor league signings…

  • The Marlins have signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel (on Twitter). The 31-year-old infielder hit .276/.309/.382 in 355 Triple-A plate appearances this year. He hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011.
  • The Marlins also signed Jordan Smith to a minor league pact with an invite to Spring Training according to Rodriguez. Smith, 26, pitched to a 4.76 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate this year. The right-hander posted a 4.94 ERA in 62 relief innings for Cincinnati from 2010-2011.

Royals Agree To Minor League Deal With Kouzmanoff

The Royals have agreed to terms on a minor league deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff that includes an invite to Spring Training, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Kouzmanoff, who will serve as an insurance policy for Mike Moustakas, will earn $1MM if he makes the big league club and has $300K worth of incentives based on plate appearances. The deal allows Kouzmanoff to opt out of his contract if he's not in the Majors by May 1 (All Twitter links).

The 30-year-old Kouzmanoff has never been able to match the offensive production he posted in his first two full seasons with the Padres, when he batted .266/.313/.443 (105 OPS+) with 41 homers. Since that time he's hit only .248/.291/.401 with 41 more home runs for the Padres, A's, and Rockies.

His defense has really turned a corner though, as he's posted positive UZRs in every year since 2008, including UZR/150 marks of 7.5 and 16.1 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Kouzmanoff is represented by agents Matt Sosnick and Paul Cobbe.

AL Central Rumors: Slowey, Picollo, Choo, Tigers

The major move in the AL Central today was the Twins' re-signing of Matt Capps, but there may be more action in the division by week's end. Here are the latest rumors from the AL Central:

  • Kevin Slowey, viewed as a non-tender candidate, is being shopped by the Twins, according to Buster Olney of (on Twitter).
  • Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo interviewed for the Astros' GM position tonight, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Indians are still interested in discussing a contract extension with Shin-Soo Choo, tweets's Jordan Bastian.
  • Bastian also tweets that the Indians checked in on free agent Kevin Kouzmanoff, though their interest is likely minimal.
  • The Tigers aren't ruling out the possibility of one of their young, in-house arms earning the fifth spot in the rotation, writes James Schmehl of If the Tigers turn to the free agent market for a veteran, they prefer one-year deals.

NL Central Notes: Cordero, Cubs, Pirates

The Astros are likely to leave the NL Central after the 2012 season. Here's the latest on some teams that are staying in the division…

  • Seven or eight teams, including the Reds, have inquired on free agent closer Francisco Cordero, agent Bean Stringfellow told Mark Sheldon of Cordero is interested in returning to the Reds on a multiyear deal.
  • The Cubs announced that Shiraz Rehman joined their front office as an assistant to GM Jed Hoyer. The 34-year-old spent six seasons with the Diamondbacks after interning with Hoyer, Theo Epstein and the Red Sox in 2005. He'll provide Hoyer with scouting and statistical information for possible acquisitions and coordinate the Cubs' technological efforts.
  • Compensation talks between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein are progressing amicably, Epstein told Alex Speier of “I know I’m right, because I know my own faults better than Ben does," Epstein said. "I know my limitations. I’m just not worth that much. But I’m sure it will work out, one way or the other, in a way that satisfies all the parties involved."
  • The Cubs will conduct a second round of managerial interviews, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin are the candidates for the position.
  • The Pirates checked in on Josh Willingham and Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to Jenifer Langosch of Pittsburgh has Pedro Alvarez at third and Alex Presley in the outfield, but the team appears to be considering depth options at those positions.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington jokes that he has tried to forget the 2008 trade that sent Jason Bay to Boston, according to Speier. The Pirates obtained Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen, Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris in a deal that Huntington considers his worst trade ever.
  • Rod Barajas told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he had offers from other teams before signing with the Pirates. He'll be the primary catcher in Pittsburgh, which figured in to his decision.

NL West Notes: Kemp, Kuroda, Goldschmidt, Rox

The Diamondbacks, winners of the NL West in 2011, have pushed the Brewers to a decisive fifth game in the NLDS, and they may not have gotten there without the help of rookie slugger Paul Goldschmidt. Here's more on him and a few other items of note regarding NL West clubs …

  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said that extending Matt Kemp is an offseason priority but he won't set a firm deadline to get a deal done, according to Ramona Shelburne of Last week, Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, set an extension deadline of Opening Day 2012, and Colletti told Shelburne he too prefers to work out deals in the offseason, but he doesn't have any hard and fast rules: "I've done a handful of deals during a season, but the total number is very small compared to those that have been done in the offseason," Colletti said. "You take every situation case by case, you never say no to anything."
  • That Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda vetoed pre-deadline trades to the Tigers and Red Sox bodes well for Los Angeles' chances of re-signing the free agent, opines Jim Bowden of ESPN (via Twitter). We heard late last month that Kuroda is on the fence about re-signing with the Dodgers or returning to Japan.
  • The Diamondbacks were awarded an August waiver claim on White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, two sources tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today, but trade discussions didn't progress, as the South Siders were targeting Goldschmidt, whom the Snakes weren't interested in trading. Konerko, who would have had to approve the trade because of his 10-and-5 rights, said a deal was never brought to him — and he's not sure whether he would have accepted.
  • The Rockies haven't ruled out bringing back third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes first reported that Kouzmanoff had elected free agency today after being outrighted on Tuesday.
  • The Rox also are interested in retaining minor leaguers Jose Morales and Matt Daley, who were also outrighted, according to Renck (via Twitter).

Kouzmanoff Elects Free Agency

THURSDAY: Kouzmanoff has elected free agency after clearing waivers, MLBTR has learned.  Word is that multiple teams are interested in signing him to a big league deal.  

TUESDAY: The Rockies are in the process of outrighting third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff from the roster, MLBTR has learned.  The 30-year-old third baseman is expected to reach free agency once he clears waivers.

The alternative for Colorado would have been to tender Kouzmanoff a contract and pay him at least $3.8MM for 2012.  Since that's not in the cards, they're removing him from the 40-man roster now rather than wait until the December 12th non-tender deadline.

The Rockies had acquired Kouzmanoff on August 25th, giving him a 27-game trial for the remainder of the season.  He has a .243/.284/.389 line for 2010-11, failing to match the moderate power he showed in San Diego.  The offensive issues will hurt Kouzmanoff's earning power, though his defense is above-average according to UZR.