Kip Wells Rumors

Minor Moves: Wells, Ambriz, Watts, Liddi

Here are today's minor moves from around the league…

  • Longtime starting pitcher Kip Wells has retired, although he's hoping to remain in baseball now that his playing career is over, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin tweets. Wells was released by the Angels in May, and was considering retirement as of early July. The righty pitched parts of 12 seasons, suiting up with the White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Cardinals, Rockies, Royals, Nationals, Reds and Padres, and posting a 4.71 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 1,338 1/3 career innings.
  • The Astros outrighted Hector Ambriz to Triple-A Oklahoma City, according to the International League transactions page. The 29-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment over the weekend after pitching to a 5.70 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 36 1/3 innings for Houston this season.
  • The Nationals released catcher Kris Watts, according to Bill Ladson of (via Twitter).  Watts, 29, hit just .211/.342/.328 in 43 Triple-A games this year.  The former 16th-round pick is a career .250/.351/.372 hitter in 2,006 career minor league plate appearances between the Nationals and Pirates organizations.
  • The Orioles announced that infielder Alex Liddi cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A.  Liddi was acquired from the Mariners along with a No. 3 international bonus slot for the M's No. 2 int'l slot.  Baltimore designated the 25-year-old for assignment last week to make a 40-man roster spot for Chris Dickerson.
  • With Liddi in Triple-A Norfolk, there are two players in DFA limbo, according to the MLBTR DFA TrackerJames McDonald of the Pirates and Cody Ransom of the Cubs.

Steve Adams and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Kip Wells, Diaz, Thomas

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.

Minor Moves: Wells, Reds, McPherson, Towles

Here are your minor moves for Wednesday…

  • Salt Lake Bees radio broadcaster Steve Klauke reports (on Twitter) that the Angels have released veteran Kip Wells to make room on the roster for the recently outrighted Billy Buckner. Wells, 36, had a 10.36 ERA, 3.3 K/9 and 8.1 BB/9 in 24 1/3 innings at Triple-A.
  • Reds assistant director of media relations Jamie Ramsey reports that the team has purchased the contract of 21-year-old outfielder Sebastian Elizalde from the Mexican League. In 147 career games in that league, Elizalde is a .301/.353/.450 hitter. He will report to extended Spring Training (Twitter links).
  • Dallas McPherson has signed a contract with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, according to Chris Cotillo of (on Twitter). McPherson has a pair of 40-homer minor league campaigns under his belt and was once one of the best power prospects in baseball. He's hit just .241/.292/.446 as a Major Leaguer, however.
  • The Dodgers have signed catcher J.R. Towles to a minor league contract, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The former top prospect is now 29 years old and has a .265/.361/.423 batting line in 223 career games at Triple-A. At the Major League level, he's just a .187/.267/.315 hitter in 484 plate appearances — all coming with the Astros. He last saw the bigs in 2011.
  • The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Triple-A Buffalo closer Neil Wagner, tweets MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. The Jays already had an open spot on their 40-man roster. The 29-year-old NDSU product has a 0.89 ERA with 32 strikeouts and eight walks in 20 1/3 frames at Buffalo this season.

Angels Sign Kip Wells

The Angels have signed pitcher Kip Wells to a minor league deal, according to Jon Heyman of (via Twitter). Heyman further tweets that the righty worked out for the team yesterday afternoon and had reached agreement by late last night. 

Wells, who turns 36 soon, was reportedly in good form during the spring as he looked to catch on with a club. Once an established member of the Pirates' rotation who posted a 3.28 ERA over nearly 200 innings in 2003, Wells did not appear in a major league game in 2010 or 2011. Last year, he returned with the Padres and tossed 37 1/3 innings of 4.58 ERA baseball in seven starts.  

For the last-place Angels, Wells provides options. The club's rotation has been a serious problem early on, and currently boasts MLB's third-highest composite ERA (per Fangraphs). It does not help that Jered Weaver will be on the DL for the next four to six weeks, leaving the Angels without their ace and straining their rotation depth. 

Cafardo On Norris, Rangers, Lilly, Dodgers, Tigers

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that baseball could eventually return to Montreal.  While it has always been known as a hockey town, Montreal has been responsible for such great baseball talent as Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Gary Carter, “Le Grand Orange,” Rusty Staub,  Tim Raines, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, Randy Johnson, Dennis Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga, Moises Alou, Vladimir Guerrero, and Tim Wallach.  The city is looking into the possibility of giving Expos fans something to cheer about again and they claim that the strength of the Canadian dollar coupled with revenue sharing can help make it work.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • Pitcher Bud Norris improved his stock after he beat the Rangers on Opening Day and he should bring the Astros a good haul between now and the trade deadline.  One longtime National League adviser believes that the Rangers might be the team to scoop him up.
  • After unloading Aaron Harang in yesterday's trade with the Rockies, the Dodgers would still love to find a taker for Ted Lilly, who earns $12MM this year.  However, there has been little to no interest in the veteran so far.  
  • There aren't many people who think that the recently re-signed Jose Valverde can be the Tigers' closer, but could add to their mix in the bullpen.  One AL evaluator feels that they have to move and get themselves a proven closer in a hurry.
  • Kip Wells, soon to be 36, is available and throwing 93 miles per hour, according to his agent, Burton Rocks.  The veteran reliever made seven starts over the summer for the Padres last season.

National League Notes: Cubs, Pirates, Wells

Manager Dale Sveum is prepared for the possibility that the Cubs could be sellers again at the July 31st trade deadline, Carrie Muskat of reports. Sveum said he hopes to be in contention but will understand if the team needs to re-focus on 2014. "If your team is out of it, to start building and getting a healthier organization, unfortunately or fortunately, that's part of the business," he said. Here are some more notes from around the National League…

  • Tom Singer of explains that the Pirates would probably like to lock up core players such as Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. While Walker would presumably like to stay with the Pirates, his hometown team, retaining him will be expensive, as Singer outlines. Alvarez, a New York native, might like the idea of playing for the Yankees in Singer's view. 
  • Jon Heyman of hears that Kip Wells looked good throwing for Phillies people yesterday (Twitter link). Wells, who started seven games for the Padres last year, had good off-speed pitches, Heyman writes.
  • Adrian Gonzalez said that he couldn't be happier to be playing for the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. "I'm really really happy and excited to be here and really excited about where the team is heading and what we have an opportunity to do here," Gonzalez said. The Dodgers acquired Gonzalez from the Red Sox in a blockbuster trade last August.

Quick Hits: Headley, Wells, Lowe, A-Rod, Mariners

Earlier tonight, the Padres avoided arbitration with Chase Headley by agreeing to a one-year, $8.575MM deal.  The third baseman is under team control through 2015 and General Manager Josh Byrnes started dialogue with Headley's representatives about a contract extension earlier this winter, writes's Corey Brock.  However, those talks have been tabled for now.  "We couldn't frame it up where it made sense for both sides," Byrnes said.  In today's poll, nearly 70% of MLBTR readers said that it would make sense to lock Headley up long-term.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Angels, Tigers, Orioles, Brewers, and Athletics were in Peoria, Arizona today to watch Kip Wells, Mark Lowe, and Ryan Rowland-Smith throw, according to Jerry Crasnick of (on Twitter).  Wells, 35, made seven starts for the Padres last season and posted a 4.58 ERA with 20 walks and 19 strikeouts.
  • The Yankees can dream about getting out from under Alex Rodriguez's contract, but there is very little chance of it happening, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times.  Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the Yankees could pay just 15% of the $114MM owed to A-Rod if his hip injury is diagnosed as career-ending and he misses the entire season.
  • Jim Bowden of (video link) has a gut feeling that aces Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander will work out new contracts with their respective clubs before they get the chance to hit the open market.
  • The Mariners need to add a dependable starting pitcher, opines Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  Baker suggests that the M's should try and swing a trade for the Dodgers' Chris Capuano by sending Franklin Gutierrez back to the club where he started his pro baseball career.

Quick Hits: Yankees, Cruz, Wells

We shouldn't be surprised if the Yankees spend aggressively on free agent starting pitching in the years ahead, Jim Bowden writes at Check out MLBTR’s 2014 free agent list to see which players will join Matt Garza, Josh Johnson and Adam Wainwright on the free agent market a year from now. Here are today’s links…

  • In a piece at ESPN Insider, Zachary Levine of Baseball Prospectus searches MLB rosters for some players who could be traded now that their salaries are essentially sunk costs. Luke Hochevar and Ted Lilly are among the players who make Levine's list.
  • Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal looks ahead at some of the starting pitchers who could be available in trades, suggesting that Yovani Gallardo, Jarrod Parker and Ian Kennedy could be dealt in future years.
  •’s Buster Olney wonders if Nelson Cruz’s alleged connection to performance enhancing drugs suppliers could lead to renewed interest in Michael Bourn from the Rangers (Twitter link).
  • Free agent right-hander Kip Wells threw a bullpen for the Mariners today, Evan Drellich of reports (on Twitter). Wells, 35, posted a 4.58 ERA with more walks (20) than strikeouts (19) in 37 1/3 innings with the Padres in 2012.

Quick Hits: Wells, Kinsler, Phillies, Robertson

MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Rangers, the Indians and offseason qualifying offers on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings Podcast. Click here to listen in.  Here are some news items from around the baseball world…

  • The Mets are one of three teams interested in right-hander Kip Wells, reports's Evan Drellich.  Wells, 35, posted a 4.58 ERA, a 4.6 K/9 rate and a 4.8 BB/9 rate in seven starts for the Padres last season, the first time Wells had pitched in the Majors since 2009.  Wells has pitched for nine different clubs over his 12-year career.
  • Ian Kinsler has reversed course and told Rangers management that he would prefer to remain at second base, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Kinsler said he was open to a position change back in November but has since decided that he isn't comfortable moving off second at this point in his career.  Had Kinsler been willing to move to first base, Texas could have explored using Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus as the team's double-play combo.
  • The incentive details of Mike Adams' and John Lannan's contracts with the Phillies are outlined by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Nate Robertson is looking for a spot in a Major League training camp as a left-handed relief specialist, Robertson's agent Steve Canter tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).  The 35-year-old Robertson's last Major League appearance came in 2010 and he has spent the last two seasons pitching in the minors for the Mariners, Cubs and Blue Jays.  Robertson could find success as a specialist given that he has held left-handed hitters to a .695 OPS over his nine-year career.
  • Shaun Marcum is still without a team and Fangraphs' Mike Axisa examines why the market for the free agent right-hander has yet to develop.  Marcum was ranked as the 19th-best free agent of the offseason by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes earlier this winter, though three players higher on the list than Marcum (Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Rafael Soriano) are also still available.
  • Baseball America's Matt Eddy has the list of minor league transactions from the first week of January.
  • Mike Trout unsurprisingly headlines the list of the 25 best players under the age of 25 as compiled by ESPN's Keith Law.  Trout and the other three players atop Law's list delivered a historically great performance that compares to the all-time best quartets of young hitters, as noted by ESPN's Dave Cameron.  (An ESPN Insider subscription is required for both pieces.)

Minor Moves: 28 Players Elect Free Agency

A total of 28 players — all with big league time under their belts — recently elected free agency after finishing the year in Triple-A. Here is the full list, courtesy of the International League and Pacific Coast League transaction pages…