Koyie Hill Rumors

Minor Moves: Chris Leroux, Zach Jackson

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.

Phillies Outright Koyie Hill, Designate Tony Gwynn Jr.

The Phillies announced that they have outrighted veteran catcher Koyie Hill off the 40-man roster and designated center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment. The team also announced that Cesar Hernandez has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The series of roster moves creates space for Cliff Lee, Wil Nieves and Reid Brignac to be activated from the disabled list.

The 35-year-old Hill appeared in 10 games and collected 22 plate appearances this season with Nieves on the disabled list. He hit .238/.273/.286 in that brief sample. As a player who has been outrighted in the past, he will have the ability to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, though Hill is no stranger to playing at the Triple-A level, so he may simply accept.

The 31-year-old Gwynn batted .163/.284/.204 in 119 plate appearances and played his typical brand of solid defense in center field (a few misplays in left field appear to have created some negative defensive marks for his brief, 33-inning sample there). It’s been a rough few weeks for Gwynn, who tragically lost his father — Hall of Famer and Padres legend Tony Gwynn Sr. — to cancer last month.

Lee will come off the disabled list to start tonight’s contest, meaning that he should be able to make at least two starts in the trade deadline (his third start would currently project to fall on the day of the trade deadline, though he could make one earlier than that if he pitches on short rest). The Philadelphia ace last pitched on May 18 and has been sidelined by a left elbow strain. He’s posted a 3.18 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a career-best 49.1 percent ground-ball rate in 68 innings this season. If you subtract a disastrous Opening Day outing, he’s been even better this year, pitching to a 2.29 ERA in 63 innings (nine starts). Though Lee can block trades to 20 teams, some reports have indicated that he’d be open to waiving his no-trade rights in order to move to a contending team. His name figures to be heavily discussed in the coming 10 days, though he could also be an August trade candidate.

Phillies Acquire Koyie Hill

The Nationals have traded veteran catcher Koyie Hill to the Phillies in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Hill had been reassigned to minor league camp by the Nats earlier today after inking a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp this offseason.

Hill, who turned 35 last week, has racked up a fair amount of playing time as a backup catcher despite underwhelming numbers at the Major League level. In parts of 10 Major League seasons, the switch-hitter has compiled a .206/.266/.287 batting line with eight homers in 1027 plate appearances. Hill spent the 2013 campaign with the Marlins, batting .155/.183/.190 in the Majors (61 PAs) and .237/.291/.326 at Triple-A. He's a career .268/.326/.411 hitter at the Triple-A level. He should provide some veteran leadership for the remainder of camp and serve as depth for the Phillies, who figure to open the season with Wil Nieves as the primary backup to starter Carlos Ruiz.

Nationals Sign Koyie Hill

10:59am: Hill's contract contains a July 1 opt-out clause that allows him to elect free agency if he's not on the Major League roster by that time, tweets MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo.

9:50am: The Nationals announced that they have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with veteran catcher Koyie Hill (Twitter link). The Turner Gary Sports client also received an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Though he's a career .206/.266/.287 hitter, Hill has carved out a nice career for himself as a backup catcher. The switch-hitting 34-year-old (he turns 35 in March) has tallied 1027 plate appearances in the Major Leagues and recorded at least 10 big league games per season dating back to 2007. He spent the 2013 campaign with the Marlins, batting .155/.183/.190 in the Majors (61 PAs) and .237/.291/.326 at Triple-A. Hill is a career .268/.326/.411 hitter at the Triple-A level.

The Nationals have been on the lookout for catching depth of late as they look to find a backup for starter Wilson Ramos. They've reportedly had recent discussions with the Rays about a Jose Lobaton deal.

Minor Moves: Slowey, Rapada, Orioles, Marlins

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

  • In addition to the names mentioned below, the Marlins announced that they outrighted right-hander Kevin Slowey, lefty Zach Phillips and catcher Koyie Hill. Of this most recent trio, Slowey is the most notable. The former Twin and Indian hurled 92 1/3 innings of 4.11 ERA ball with 7.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. The 29-year-old's 28.7 percent ground-ball rate makes him among the game's most extreme fly-ball pitchers. Slowey projected to earn $1.8MM via arbitration this offseason, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Phillips, 26, posted a strong 2.44 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 59 Triple-A innings this season. Hill, 34, hit .155/.183/.190 in 61 plate appearances for the Fish. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that both Slowey and Hill were non-tender candidates last week.
  • The Indians outrighted lefty Clay Rapada today after he was designated for assignment last week, the team announced. Rapada, 32, pitched to a 1.12 ERA with 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 24 innings at Triple-A Columbus while in the Cleveland organization. He held lefties to a .188/.240/.261 batting line in the minors this season.
  • The Orioles have re-signed two of their minor league free agents, right-hander Marcel Prado and infielder/outfielder Garabez Rosa, according to Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Prado, 25, was sharp was sharp in 56 2/3 innings between High-A add Double-A, posting a 2.38 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Rosa's numbers were less impressive, as the 23-year-old batted .276/.291/.374 with six homers in 477 plate appearances.
  • The Marlins have outrighted right-handers Steve Ames and Jose Ceda, first baseman Joe Mahoney, infielder Gil Velazquez Triple-A New Orleans, according to the team's transactions page. The 25-year-old Ames was one of three pitchers the Fish acquired from the Dodgers for Ricky Nolasco and the second who was waived since season's end (the Angels claimed Josh Wall last week). The 25-year-old allowed two runs in four big league innings and posted a 3.69 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 46 1/3 Triple-A innings this season. Ceda pitched just four minor league innings in an injury-plagues season. Mahoney hit .190/.200/.262 in 200 Triple-A plate appearances. The 33-year-old Velazquez hit .254/.350/.278 in 392 Triple-A plate appearances between the Yankees and Marlins.
  • As can be seen in MLBTR's DFA TrackerVictor Marte of the Cardinals is the only player that is currently in DFA limbo.

Minor Moves: Kvasnicka, Koyie Hill

Today's minor moves:

  • The Twins acquired 24-year-old right fielder/catcher Mike Kvasnicka from the Astros, tweets La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Kvasnicka, a Minnesota native, was drafted by the Twins out of high school but attended the University of Minnesota and was taken 33rd overall in the 2010 draft by Houston.  Prior to the 2012 season, Kvasnicka was ranked 25th among Astros prospects by Baseball America.  The Astros received 21-year-old righty reliever Gonzalo Sanudo in the deal.
  • The Marlins signed catcher Koyie Hill to a minor league deal, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  Hill, 34, spent most of 2012 at Double and Triple-A, posting a .190/.251/.275 line in 221 plate appearances.  Needless to say, he's a glove-first backstop.

Minor Moves: Cubs, Koyie Hill

Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a complete breakdown of the latest minor league transactions. Here are some highlights…

  • The Cubs released right-hander Frankie de la Cruz, Eddy reports. The 28-year-old posted a 3.80 ERA with more walks (58) than strikeouts (57) in 94 2/3 innings as a starter and reliever at Triple-A this year. Chicago had claimed him off of waivers from the Brewers in March.
  • The Rangers signed veteran catcher Koyie Hill, Eddy reports. The Nationals recently released Hill, who appeared in 11 games with the Cubs this year.

Minor Moves: Neshek, Wise, Mock, Hill

Some minor transactions from around the league…

  • The A's acquired right-hander Pat Neshek from the Orioles in exchange for cash, according to the Athletics' official Twitter page.  Neshek will report to the A's Major League bullpen, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).  Neshek signed a minor league deal with the O's last winter and has a 2.66 ERA, a 7.00 K/BB ratio and 49 strikeouts in 35 relief appearances (44 innings) for Triple-A Norfolk this season.  Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) was the first to report the deal.
  • The White Sox agreed to terms with Dewayne Wise to a minor league deal, reports CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes (via Twitter). Wise had a .262/.286/.492 line in 63 plate appearances for the Yankees this season before being released on Wednesday.  This is Wise's second stint with the White Sox, as he played for Chicago in 2008-09 and earned a place in team history with an outstanding ninth-inning catch that saved Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009.
  • The Astros acquired Garrett Mock from the Red Sox in exchange for future considerations, reports Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.  Mock last pitched in the Major Leagues with Washington in 2010.  Mock, a Houston native, posted a 3.33 ERA, a 9.8 K/9 rate and a 2.3 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings as a reliever for Triple-A Pawtucket this season after signing a minor league deal with the Sox last winter.
  • The Nationals released catcher Koyie Hill, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Hill appeared in 11 games with the Cubs this season before being designated for assignment and choosing free agency, upon which he signed with the Nats in June.

Nationals Sign Koyie Hill

The Nationals announced that they signed catcher Koyie Hill and assigned him to Triple-A Syracuse (Twitter link). Hill elected free agency this past weekend after the Cubs designated him for assignment and outrighted him to Triple-A.

Hill appeared in 11 games for the Cubs this year, collecting six singles and a double in 39 plate appearances. The 33-year-old has experience in nine MLB seasons, but most of his professional career has been spent at the minor league level, where he has a .278 /.344/.410 batting line. Sandy LeonCarlos Maldonado and Wilson Ramos are all on the disabled list, so the Nationals don't have much catching depth right now.

Koyie Hill Elects Free Agency

Koyie Hill is a now a free agent after declining his outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa, tweets Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. The switch-hitting catcher was outrighted by the Cubs on Friday, a day after being designated for assignment.

Hill appeared in 11 games with the Cubs this year compiling a slash line of .179/.179/.205. Hill has a career line of .210/.271/.294 over 313 games in nine years. The 33-year-old will be looking to hook on with his fourth major league organization in 2012 after spending Spring Training with the Cardinals and playing for the Reds' Double-A affiliate.