Kila Ka'aihue Rumors
We'll track the day's minor league signings right here:
- The Red Sox announced five minor league signings, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal: Mitch Maier, Terry Doyle, Drew Sutton, Oscar Villarreal, and Jose De La Torre.
- The Diamondbacks have signed a handful of players to minor league contracts, adding left-handed pitchers Rommie Lewis and Eddie Bonine along with Kila Ka'aihue, Humberto Cota, and Brad Snyder, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com. All five guys have Major League experience at some point in their careers.
- Jeremy Reed also received a minor league contract and an invite to spring training from the Diamondbacks, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (via Twitter).
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.
We'll keep track of today's minor league moves here, with the latest up top..
- The Cubs outrighted catcher Koyie Hill to Triple-A Iowa, writes Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. Hill, who appeared in 11 games with the North Siders this season, was designated for assignment Thursday.
- The Red Sox released reliever Jesse Carlson, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Carlson, a left-hander, missed most of 2010 and all of 2011 due to a shoulder injury. He signed a split contract with Boston last offseason.
- The A's announced that first baseman Kila Ka'aihue cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. The Hawaiian, acquired from the Royals for Ethan Hollingsworth last September, was designated for assignment by Oakland last week.
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.
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.''
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.
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 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.
Royals GM Dayton Moore told John Sickels of Minor League Ball that it takes time to develop prospects and turn them into major leaguers. Moore says he understands fans' concerns about the Royals' recent history of losing and shares their excitement about the players currently in the Royals' highly touted system. Here are the details:
- Moore says players can take a few years to develop, pointing to Billy Butler. The Royals extended Butler earlier in the year because he has improved every year and they "think he's about to take that to another level."
- Hitters take time to develop, since it's hard for them "to develop beyond their level of competition." In other words they need to face good pitching to learn to hit it.
- The Royals are "very optimistic" about Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, partly because the two top prospects have experienced failure.
- Moustakas "can stick at third base, no question," according to Moore, who likes the infielder's arm and body control.
- Hosmer and Moustakas could push Kila Ka'aihue into a reserve role, but the Royals say he's capable of more. "We think he can hit .240-.260, hit 20-25 homers, .370 OBP," Moore said. "It will be a nice problem fitting all these guys in the lineup."
- Christian Colon, the team's top pick in 2010, "can be an Orlando Cabrera type at short, or a Placido Polanco if he moves to second," Moore said.
- Moore says the Royals need more speed and athleticism. The GM says his ideal team would have a center fielder like Adam Jones or Torii Hunter - someone with speed, defense and power.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star answered a number of Royals-related questions during an online chat with fans today. Here are a few of the more notable items...
- The Royals' highly-touted farm system has more depth than ever, so Dutton explains that this wave of prospects will be different than past (failed) "youth movements" in Kansas City. "Will some guys flop? Absolutely," Dutton writes. "But the depth is so good that not ALL of them will flop. Some should be really good."
- Dutton thinks Mike Moustakas will be in the majors by June, but Eric Hosmer may be a September call-up at best since K.C. wants to give Kila Ka'aihue "an extended look."
- Speaking of Ka'aihue, Dutton notes that if Hosmer lives up to expectations, the question for Kansas City becomes whether Ka'aihue or Billy Butler is the better long-term DH. You'd expect Butler would have the edge given his proven hitting abilty and recent contract extension, but that team-friendly deal (four years/$30MM, plus a 2015 team option) could make Butler very attractive on the trade market.
- Moustakas' arrival could turn Wilson Betemit into "trade bait," but Dutton notes that Betemit could take over at second if Chris Getz can't handle the job.
- The Royals have no interest in Michael Young. He's both too costly and would block "high-quality alternatives" from the minors at various infield positions.
- "The Royals appear committed to opening the season with Melky Cabrera in center," Dutton writes. Kansas City signed Cabrera before they acquired Lorenzo Cain from Milwaukee, but Dutton notes that Cain could he called up from the minors should he play well. Cabrera is only slated to earn $1.25MM in 2011, so the Royals wouldn't be sending a lot of money to the bench if Cain usurped the center field job. Dutton mentions later in the chat that the Royals can be flexible with Cain since he has minor league options left.
- Dutton thinks the Blue Jays and Braves will regret trading minor league left-hander Tim Collins. The 21-year-old was sent to Atlanta in the Yunel Escobar deal last summer and then became a Royal at the trade deadline as part of the package that sent Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel to the Braves.
- "It's a long shot" that the Royals would try to sign Zack Greinke after the right-hander's contract expires after 2012.