Mark Lowe Rumors
3:43pm: Lowe's deal includes an April 30th opt-out clause, and also allows him to leave for an MLB opportunity at any time, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
12:23pm: The Indians have agreed to sign reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league deal, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Lowe had been in camp with the Rays until he was released after learning he would not get an Opening Day roster spot.
Lowe had a tough go of things in a brief stint last year with the Angels, but had put up a 3.60 ERA across 2009-12. And the thirty-year-old righty has posted excellent strikeout tallies in the upper minors. In 10 1/3 spring innings with Tampa, Lowe surrendered only one earned run while striking out 12 and walking just one batter.
MLBTR's Offseason In Review series continued earlier today with my look at the Orioles' winter moves, covering everything from the Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz signings to the lack of progress on extensions for Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters. Here's some more from around the AL East...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews) that he's "hearing from a lot of people about" catchers John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine. The Yankees have been shopping their catching depth for weeks, and now that Francisco Cervelli has won the backup job, Murphy and Romine could be more expendable. Cashman, however, doesn't feel pressure to move either players. "They’re assets. We’re not in any position where we have to do anything, but if something made sense, we’d consider it. But right now, we’re happy with what we’ve got," Cashman said.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that he has informed Wilson Betemit and Jayson Nix that they won't be making Tampa's Opening Day roster, in order to give the two players extra time to find another Major League opportunity. The two veterans signed minor league deals with the Rays earlier this winter and have the ability to opt out, though Betemit told Topkin that he would play for Tampa's Triple-A affiliate if he couldn't find a roster spot elsewhere (Topkin believes Nix feels the same way).
- Mark Lowe is also open to returning to the Rays, the veteran right-hander tells Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Lowe's family lives in the Tampa area and he praised the Rays organization, saying that he would be willing to pitch at Triple-A unless, like Betemit and Nix, he finds a job with another team. The Rays granted Lowe his release earlier today after he was also told he wouldn't make the 25-man roster.
- The Blue Jays' decision to make Dustin McGowan their fifth starter raises concerns about whether McGowan is up to the task both performance-wise and health-wise, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. Since McGowan made the rotation almost by default given how the Jays' other options struggled, Davidi wonders "if he and the Blue Jays are playing a game of Russian Roulette with his career" by returning McGowan to a starting role before he's even fully stretched out. The injury-plagued McGowan missed three of the previous four seasons with shoulder and knee surgeries but pitched effectively over 25 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2013.
- Corey Brown didn't invoke the opt-out clause in his minor league contract with the Red Sox and will report to the club's Triple-A club, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.
Lowe, 30, had a strong spring for the Rays, allowing just one earned run in 10 1/3 innings while striking out 12 and walking just one batter. Of course, he struggled mightily in eleven MLB appearances last year for the Angels, issuing 8.5 free passes per nine against just 5.4 K/9.
If David Price isn't traded, "almost every baseball person one talks to mentions the Rays as the team to beat in the American League," Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece for his Gammons Daily website. Price has stayed in the fold despite multiple trade rumors this winter, with the Rays instead adding roster depth instead of moving another cornerstone player for prospects. The depth and continuity carrying over from 2013 is a big factor for Evan Longoria, who notes that "for the first time since I’ve been here, we have almost everyone back. We have a team that is going to play together two years in a row.”
Here's some more from around the AL East...
- The Rays' "laid back environment" was a key reason why Mark Lowe chose to sign a minor league deal with the club, MLB.com's Bill Chastain reports. Lowe notes that his choice came down to the Rays and Indians this winter, as those were the two clubs who "pushed the hardest" for his services. Tampa manager Joe Maddon said that the Rays originally tried to sign Lowe during the 2012-13 offseason.
- Jhonny Peralta said the Yankees offered him a three-year contract and the opportunity to play third base, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). The Yankees were Peralta's preferred Big Apple team since the Mets only offered him a two-year deal that Peralta described as "not really good." Of course, Peralta overcame the stigma of his 50-game PED suspension last season to sign a four-year, $53MM contract with the Cardinals as their everyday shortstop.
- Mike Napoli rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox last fall and the slugger felt the draft pick compensation limited his free agent options, Napoli tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “It’s tough because it’s kind of holding you back,” Napoli said. “You get (to free agency) and it should be all the teams that want you. The way it is now, if a team doesn’t want to give up a pick, they’re not going to be interested.” It ended up being something of a moot point for Napoli, as he openly wanted to return to Boston and re-signed for a two-year, $32MM deal.
- There isn't any new news about David Ortiz's contract talks with the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. The two sides apparently haven't had any further negotiations since their initial meetings two weeks ago. (Cafardo shared some more items about the AL East in his regular Sunday column, as reported earlier.)
- Quintin Berry talks to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford about why he signed with the Orioles and how he appreciated his time with the Red Sox last season, though the Sox didn't push too hard to re-sign him. “Supposedly [they tried] a little bit, but I know they had a couple of things in mind they wanted to do, some guys they wanted to try and give experience to,” Berry said. “So I just wanted to test the market and see what else I could do." Berry signed a minor league deal with the O's in January.
Pour a tall cup of coffee and open up a Baseball Reference tab. It's time for this Saturday morning's minor moves, via the Pacific Coast League and International League transaction pages (except where otherwise noted) ...
- The White Sox have signed lefty David Purcey to a minor league deal. The 31-year-old had rejected an outright assignment from the Sox in late October to become a free agent. Purcey made 24 apperances for the Sox's major league club in 2013, posting a 2.13 ERA but walking 6 batters per nine innings.
- The Dodgers signed first baseman/outfielder Jamie Romak to a minor league deal, according to MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). Romak's deal includes a July 1st opt out. The 28-year-old posted a .242/.322/.461 slash line with 22 homers in 134 games for the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate last season.
- Right-handed reliever Mark Lowe, 30, has signed with the Rays, reports ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Lowe was battered in just eleven appearances with the Angels last year, but posted a 3.60 ERA across 2009-12 and has continued to notch high strikeout totals while being stashed in the upper minors.
- The Cardinals signed third baseman Scott Moore, a thirty-year-old who has thrived at Triple-A but has yet to have a real shot in the bigs. Last year, over 485 plate appearances in the Oakland and San Diego organizations, he hit .271/.353/.448 with fourteen long balls. In his most extended MLB action, a 2012 stint with the Astros, Moore hit a more-than-respectable .259/.330/.448 with nine home runs in 228 plate appearances.
- Right-hander Jim Miller is back with the Yankees on a minor league pact after making just one MLB appearance last year, an ill-fated inning-and-a-third that resulted in three earned runs. The 31-year-old had been a solid member of the A's pen just one year prior, however, as he registered a 2.59 ERA in 48 2/3 innings for Oakland. Miller did flash a 13.1 K/9 rate during his 63 1/3 Triple-A innings last year, a somewhat intriguing mark given his manageable walk rates. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com had the news first on Twitter.
- Lefty reliever Will Startup will stay with the Tigers after he notched a 3.41 ERA in 58 Double-A innings last year. Startup reached Triple-A as a 21-year-old back in 2006, but before joining Detroit had landed with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012.
- The Giants have inked two righties to minor league deals, bringing aboard Jason Berken and Daryl Maday. Berken, 29, has thrown in 110 MLB games, including 28 as a starter, and recorded a 5.36 ERA over 248 2/3 innings. He spent last year at the White Sox' Triple-A affiliate, where he managed a 3.80 ERA in 161 innings -- all as a starter -- and posted 6.5 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9. Meanwhile, at 28 years of age Maday has yet to see San Francisco, but will continue to keep the dream alive in the Giants system. He has bounced between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008, and now serves primarily as a reliever. Last year, Maday notched a cumulative 4.17 ERA in 49 2/3 innings, with 7.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
- The Pirates signed first baseman Miles Durham and catcher Francisco Diaz to minor league deals. At age thirty, Durham has spent his entire career in the Pittsburgh organization, other than a brief Independent League stint, and apparently served as a player-coach last season. Dia, 23, has all the markings of a light-hitting backstop (two career home runs in 1,115 plate appearances), though he has reached base at a productive clip in the low minors.
- Longtime Yankees farmhand Walter Ibarra has agreed to play short in the Cubs organization on a minor league pact. The 26-year-old reached Triple-A for the first time last year. Known for his defense, Ibarra failed to himpress with a cumulative .276/.308/.367 slash across 212 Double-A and Triple-A plate appearances in 2013.
- And the Nationals have reached agreement with a player by the name of Josh Johnson -- not the starting pitcher, but the middle infielder and third baseman who has been in the Nats' system since 2010. Last year, playing at both of the two highest minor league levels, the 27-year-old Johnson put up an impressive .293/.390/.458 line in 300 trips to the plate. He was especially impressive in his short time at Syracuse, where he had a .924 OPS and was a perfect six-for-six in stolen bases in just 111 plate appearances. Washington also added catcher Sean McCauley to the fold on a minor league pact. The 24-year-old was brought back to professional baseball by the Nats last year in a coaching capacity after losing his career to injury.
- The Rangers have signed righty Zach Russell away from the Cards' system. The 24-year-old reliever topped out with a brief Double-A stint last year, but struggled there.
Mark Lowe has opted out of his contract with the Nationals and is now a free agent, MLBTR has learned. The right-hander signed a minor league deal with Washington in June and already passed one opt-out date back on July 31. Lowe is represented by Frye McCann Sports.
Lowe has signed minor league deals (and parted ways) with three different organizations this season after signing with the Dodgers in February, the Angels in late March and then the Nats in June. The 30-year-old righty posted a 9.26 ERA over 11 2/3 relief innings with the Halos but was much more effective with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, posting a 3.14 ERA, 11.6 K/9 and 3.70 K/BB over 28 2/3 IP with Syracuse.
Prior to this season, Lowe had amassed a 3.94 ERA over 262 2/3 innings with the Mariners and Rangers from 2006-12. Over his career, he has held right-handed batters to a .223/.309/.332 slash line.
Reliever Mark Lowe has the ability to opt out of his minor league deal with the Nationals tomorrow, MLBTR has learned. Lowe, 30, has a 4.26 ERA, 12.8 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 with two home runs allowed in 12 2/3 Triple-A innings this year. Earlier, he made 11 big league appearances with the Angels.
The Nationals announced (via Twitter) that they have signed veteran right-hander Mark Lowe to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals mark the third organization that Lowe, a client of Frye McCann Sports, has been a part of this calendar year.
Lowe was signed and released by both the Dodgers and Angels earlier this year. He saw big league action with the Angels -- his third Major League team -- but allowed 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings on 11 hits and 11 walks with only seven strikeouts.
Lowe used to sit at 95-96 mph with his fastball as a member of the Mariners and Rangers from 2009-11, but his once blazing heater averaged 92.9 mph this season. In 274 1/3 innings for the Mariners, Rangers and Angels, Lowe has a 4.17 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
The Angels have placed right-hander Mark Lowe on unconditional release waivers for the purpose of granting him an unconditional release, according to Angels director of communications Eric Kay (Twitter link). Lowe was designated for assignment by the Halos last week when Jered Weaver returned from the disabled list.
Lowe signed a minor league deal with the Angels in March and struggled over his 11 relief appearances with the team. He posted a 9.26 ERA in 11 2/3 IP and issued 11 walks against just seven strikeouts. This is the second time Lowe has been released within the last three months, as the Dodgers cut him in March.
The veteran righty turns 31 years old tomorrow and has spent his entire eight-year pro career in the AL West. Lowe has a 4.17 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and 1.9 K/BB rate over 264 relief appearances with the Angels, Rangers and Mariners.
The Angels have designated right-hander Mark Lowe for assignment in order to clear roster space for Jered Weaver, who is returning from a fractured left elbow, according to Angels director of communications Eric Kay (on Twitter).
Lowe, 30, struggled tremendously in his brief time with the Halos, yielding 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings. Lowe issued 11 walks and struck out only seven, and he also served up 11 hits (one homer). Lowe used to sit at 95-96 mph with his fastball as a member of the Mariners and Rangers from 2009-11, but his once blazing heater is averaging a more pedestrian 92.9 mph this season. In 274 1/3 innings for the Mariners, Rangers and Angels, Lowe has a 4.17 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
Weaver has been out of action since his second start of the season back on April 7. He broke his non-throwing elbow while avoiding a comebacker from Mitch Moreland (video link). The Angels' rotation has struggled in his absence, as their collective 4.57 ERA ranks 23rd in baseball.