Kila Ka’aihue Rumors

Hiroshima Toyo Carp Sign Kila Ka’aihue

First baseman Kila Ka'aihue has signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, according to reports from JapanBall.com and Japanese outlet Chugoku Shimbun last week.  Ka'aihue is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council, according to the MLBTR Agency Database

Ka'aihue is set to arrive in Japan on on the 17th, according to Chugoku.  Carp Owner Hajime Matsuda is excited about the addition of Ka'aihue, saying, "His swing is sharper than [Carp first baseman Brad] Eldred's. We're expecting him to provide power and hopefully encourage [outfielder Fred] Lewis."  The Chugoku Shimbun reports that Ka'aihue received a glowing report from Erik Schullstrom, a former MLB and NPB pitcher who now works as a U.S.-based scout for Hiroshima.

The 29-year-old hit .313/.426/.620 in 235 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks' triple-A affiliate before being released earlier this month.  Ka'aihue has a .221/.305/.382 line across parts of four big-league seasons with the Royals and the A's, although he has seen more success in the minors, with a .858 OPS over 5076 PA. 

MLBTR Contributor Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


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Minor Moves: Kila Ka’aihue, Erik Hamren

We'll keep track of today's minor moves here..

  • The Braves have traded minor league right-hander Erik Hamren to the Rays and he will report to Double-A Montgomery, tweeted the Mississippi Braves (Atlanta's Double-A affiliate). The Rays will give up future considerations, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. Hamren has 14 MLB appearances to his credit, all with the Padres in 2011, good for a 4.38 ERA, 7.3K/9, and 6.6 BB/9 in 12 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old has made 13 relief appearances for Double-A Mississippi this year with a line of 2.55 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 4.1 BB/9 in 17 2/3 innings.  
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they have released Kila Ka'aihue from Triple-A Reno.  The first baseman had an out clause in his minor league deal with the club, according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).  The Hawaiian has spent parts of four seasons at the big league level – most recently with the A's last year – with a slash line of .221/.305/.382.  Ka'aihue did quite well at Reno this year, hitting .313/.426/.620 with 16 homers in 235 plate appearances.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Minor Moves: Maier, Sutton, Lewis, Ka’aihue, Reed

We'll track the day's minor league signings right here:



Minor Moves: Ka’aihue, Hinshaw, Luna, Pirates

We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves here…

  • The White Sox signed catcher Bryan Anderson and left-hander David Purcey to minor league deals, Eddy reports (on Twitter). 
  • The Diamondbacks signed Kila Ka'aihue, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old appeared in 39 games for the Athletics this past season, posting a .234/.295/.398 batting line.
  • The Blue Jays announced that they signed outfielder Ricardo Nanita and left-hander Alex Hinshaw to minor league contracts. Nanita played for the Blue Jays' Triple-A team in 2012, hitting 12 home runs. Hinshaw appeared in 33 games for the Padres and Cubs in 2012, posting a 6.04 ERA. The team also confirmed its minor league contracts with infielder Jim Negrych and right-hander Neil Wagner.
  • The Chunichi Dragons have agreed to sign utility player Hector Luna to a one-year, $450K deal that includes $200K in incentives, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports (on Twitter). Luna, 32, appeared in 28 games for the Phillies this past season, playing first base, third base and left field. In seven seasons at the MLB level, he has a .262/.314/.385 batting line.
  • The Pirates announced that they’ve agreed to sign right-handers Brooks Brown and Erik Cordier to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. The club also announced minor league deals with right-handers David Bromberg and Luis Sanz, and infielder Alex Valdez. Finally, the Pirates officially announced their minor league deal with former MLB outfielder Felix Pie.

Minors Moves: Hill, Carlson, Ka’aihue

We'll keep track of today's minor league moves here, with the latest up top..


Athletics Designate Kila Ka’aihue For Assignment

The Athletics announced that they designated first baseman Kila Ka'aihue for assignment. They selected the contracts of Brandon Moss and Evan Scribner and placed Andrew Carignan on the 15-day disabled list in related moves.

Ka'aihue appeared in 39 games for the A's this year, posting a .234/.295/.398 batting line in 139 plate appearances. The 28-year-old has a .687 OPS with 15 home runs in 465 career plate appearances for the Royals and A's. Oakland acquired him from Kansas City for Ethan Hollingsworth last September.


AL West Notes: Sizemore, Ka’aihue, Abreu, Rangers

This time next year the Houston Astros will be about to join the AL West, but for now it remains baseball's only four-team division. Here's the latest news, starting with a serious injury…

  • The Athletics announced that third baseman Scott Sizemore has a torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the 2012 season.
  • An A's official tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the club is high on Josh Donaldson as a possible replacement for Sizemore (Twitter link). However, today's news makes the A's person "want to vomit." 
  • The Athletics would likely have interest in Angels infielder Alberto Callaspo if they explore the trade market for a third baseman, Slusser wrote Sunday. The A's probably wouldn't part with a significant prospect for him, however.
  • Athletics first baseman Kila Ka'aihue told Jane Lee of MLB.com that he was always looking over his shoulder with the Royals. "They never really wanted me there," he said. "I always did well enough to hang around but was always passed up." Ka'aihue is competing for the first base job in Oakland. 
  • The Angels plan to find Bobby Abreu regular playing time –perhaps 400 plate appearances or so — and the left-handed hitter is ‘fine’ with the arrangement, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Earlier this month Abreu told ESPN Deportes that he would like to be traded if the Angels don't find him an everyday role. 
  • Not counting team president Nolan Ryan and special assistant Greg Maddux, do the Rangers have an ace? Jerry Crasnick asks this question at ESPN.com, pointing out that the two-time defending AL Champions have lost Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson to free agency since 2010. "If we don't have a No. 1, we're stacked with 2s," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "And that's OK.''

Athletics Acquire Kila Ka’aihue

The Athletics acquired first baseman Kila Ka'aihue from the Royals for minor league pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth, according to press releases from the teams.  The A's recalled and transferred Joey Devine to the 60-day DL to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Ka'aihue.

Ka'aihue was designated for assignment by the Royals last Wednesday.  The 27-year-old had a crack at the Royals' first base job coming into the season but was benched before the end of April.  In four separate Triple-A stints, Ka'aihue has proven his ability to draw a walk in 15-20% of his plate appearances.  His power has seemed to come and go, however.  The A's had penciled in another walk-happy first baseman before the season in Daric Barton, but he was optioned to Triple-A in June and went down with a torn labrum the following month.

Hollingsworth, 24, posted a 3.76 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 105 1/3 innings this year between Double and Triple-A.  The A's had acquired him in January from Colorado for Clayton Mortensen.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star first reported the trade on Twitter.


Royals Designate Kila Ka’aihue For Assignment

It wasn't long ago that Kila Ka'aihue seemed like a promising piece of the Royals' future. But the Hawaiian first baseman doesn't appear to fit into their long-term plans any more, despite the career minor league on-base percentage of .390 that has endeared him to the statistically minded. Kansas City designated the 27-year-old for assignment to create 40-man roster space for right-handed reliever Kelvin Herrera, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

Ka'aihue has excelled in ten minor league seasons, posting a career line of .266/.390/.458 that includes a .272/.379/.433 line this year in his fourth stint at Triple-A. The 2002 draft pick has had some opportunities against Major League pitching, but has just a .216/.309/.375 line in 326 MLB plate appearances.

Though Ka'aihue has admittedly poor stats in the Major Leagues, he also appears to have been unlucky on balls in play (.242 BABIP). It won't be surprising if a small market team without a long-term answer at first base claims Ka'aihue or works out a trade for him (the Rays have an open 40-man spot; the Pirates don't).


Royals Notes: Escobar, Cabrera, Ka’aihue

Royals GM Dayton Moore tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Alcides Escobar is different from some other players he has acquired in trades. Here are the details on Escobar and others in the Kansas City organization…

  • "Very rarely do you feel as good or better about a move after you get the player," Moore told Olney. But the Royals are happy with Escobar so far because he has been throwing well and making consistent contact at the plate. The Royals believe the shortstop has the potential to become a No. 2 hitter.
  • Melky Cabrera arrived to camp in good shape, but he isn’t guaranteed playing time. He, Jeff Francoeur, Kila Ka'aihue and Alex Gordon will all be competing for at bats.
  • As Olney reported yesterday, teams are expressing interest in Gordon, but Kansas City isn’t inclined to deal the former second overall pick because they think he could still flourish.
  • Though rival executives are in awe of Kansas City’s developing talent, the Royals want to see Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and others thrive in the big leagues before they get too excited.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan points out that Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection likes Ka'aihue and projects a 25 homer, .860 OPS output from him in 2011. Ka'aihue says he doesn't really buy into the projections, but says he thinks the forecasted stats are plausible.