Matt Brown Rumors

Minor Deals: Stokes, Diaz, Barton, Brewers

Rounding up today's minor signings:

  • The Blue Jays signed Brian Stokes, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). The 31-year-old struggled through 16 2/3 innigns for the Angels last year, but was useful for the Mets from 2008-09 before they sent him to L.A. for Gary Matthews Jr..
  • The A's signed right-hander Jonathan Ortiz, who combined a sinker and an above-average changeup to post 11.8 K/9 in the Yankees system this year, according to Eddy (all links go to Twitter).
  • The Tigers signed shortstop Argenis Diaz, who was non-tendered by the Pirates despite his strong glovework.
  • The Angels signed Ryan Braun – not the Brewers slugger, but the 30-year-old right-hander who posted a 2.20 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte last year. He last pitched in the majors for the 2007 Royals.
  • The Twins signed Matt Brown, a former Angel who should provide corner infield depth.
  • The Pirates re-signed Tyler Yates, who missed last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
  • Brian Barton, who hit 19 homers and stole 18 bases in the Atlantic League this year, signed with the Reds, according to Eddy (on Twitter).
  • The Cubs signed lefty Polin Trinidad, who posted a 4.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 149 2/3 innings in the upper minor for the Astros last year (Twitter link).
  • The Brewers signed Edwin Maysonet and Shawn Riggans to minor league deals and invited them to Spring Training, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Maysonet, 29, appeared in 46 games as a backup infielder for the Astros in 2008-09 and hit .248/.308/.329 in 356 minor league plate apperances last year. Riggans, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rays, barely played in 2010.
  • The Twins inked lefty Chuck James, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  The 29-year-old former Brave had rotator cuff surgery in September of 2008.
  • The Nationals announced seven signings, including previously unreported contracts for Ryan Mattheus, Michael Aubrey, and Brian Bixler.  Mattheus, a 27-year-old right-handed reliever, was acquired by the Nats at the '09 trade deadline in the Joe Beimel deal, the same month he had Tommy John surgery.  His is a Major League deal.  Aubrey, drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003, hit .235/.310/.495 at Triple-A this year.  Bixler, a defensive-minded utility infielder, was acquired by Washington from the Pirates in August.

Rangers Searching For Backup Corner Infielder

The Rangers are looking to acquire a backup corner infielder before Opening Day, writes Jim Reeves of  Manager Ron Washington had hoped that one of the club's young players – such as Matt Brown or Max Ramirez – would step up to fill the role, but that has not happened.

One Rangers source said that the team keeps coming back to Boston's Mike Lowell.  The same source indicated that Texas believes that they can basically get Lowell for the same player they agreed to deal over the winter, Max Ramirez.

Kevin Millar is also on the Rangers' watch list, though he may earn himself a bench spot with the Cubs.  Wes Helms of the Marlins and Fernando Tatis of the Mets could also fit the bill as corner infielders off of the bench.  Meanwhile, "super-utility" players like Houston's Geoff Blum and Kansas City's Willie Bloomquist are likely too rich for Texas' blood.

Rangers Looking For Reserve Infield Help

When the Rangers voided the contract of Khalil Greene last week, it appeared as if the club would look within their system for a replacement.  Indeed,'s T.R. Sullivan was told by Texas officials that there was a "100 percent probability" that this would be the case (via Twitter).

A week later, however, Sullivan reports that the team is changing its tune.  Greene provided both infield depth and a right-handed corner infield bat, and now the Rangers "are re-assessing the situation and early confidence that the roles could be filled from within may be eroding."  The team hopes that prospect Max Ramirez or former Angel Matt Brown can handle the corner infield job, but several options exist outside the Rangers organization for the utility infield spot.  Sulllivan noted the Dodgers have some extra infielders in camp and listed a few other specific names as options…

  • Julio Lugo.  He may be the odd man out in St. Louis given the Cardinals' recent signing of Felipe Lopez.  Sullivan noted the irony of Lugo possibly again being acquired to replace Greene, given that St. Louis did the same thing last summer.  Sullivan also said Lugo "is somebody [the Rangers] have talked about internally."
  • Augie OjedaWe heard last winter that Texas had some interest in the Diamondbacks infielder.
  • Ramon Vazquez.  Sullivan said "the Pirates may be willing to talk about" dealing the former Ranger.

Rangers Sign Matt Brown

The Rangers signed infielder Matt Brown to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training, according to's T.R. Sullivan. The 27-year-old has a career minor league line of .269/.349/.461 in parts of nine seasons.

Brown, who has played mostly at third and first, has 124 minor league homers to his name, but has yet to go deep in the majors. He's only batted 27 times in the big leagues; all of his plate appearances came in 2007 and 2008 with the Angels.