Matt Tuiasosopo Rumors

Minor Moves: Hewitt, Lutz, Tuiasosopo, Piazza

We’ll keep tabs on today’s minor moves in this post …

  • The Phillies have released former first-round pick Anthony Hewitt, the team’s Class-A affiliate announced. The third-baseman-turned-outfielder was selected 24th overall in 2008 but failed to progress beyond the Double-A level and has authored a .223/.264/.370 slash line in his minor league career.
  • The Mets have granted infielder Zach Lutz his release so that he may sign with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported yesterday. In a followup tweet, he added that Lutz’s rights were sold to the Golden Eagles, so there will be some monetary compensation for the Mets. The 28-year-old Lutz was in the midst of a solid season with Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .291/.386/.449 with seven home runs (albeit in a very hitter-friendly environment). He appeared with the Mets’ big league club in 2013, slashing .300/.462/.400 in 26 trips to the plate.
  • The White Sox have acquired outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations, the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate (Buffalo Bisons) announced on Twitter (h/t to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star). Toronto claimed the out-of-options Tuiasosopo off waivers late in the spring and then outrighted him to Triple-A. The 28-year-old has a .206/.289/.271 slash in 242 plate appearances on the year for Buffalo.
  • The Rockies have signed free agent righty Mike Piazza to a minor league deal, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Not to be confused with the catcher by the same name, Piazza is a 27-year-old righty who spent his entire career in the Angels organization, never moving past the Double-A level, before joining the independent Laredo Lemurs this year.
  • Buddy Carlyle has accepted a minor league assignment from the Mets, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 36-year-old righty was designated for assignment on June 4.
  • The Blue Jays have acquired outfielder Adron Chambers from the Astros in exchange for two young minor leaguers, reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter). Chambers, 27, saw limited action with the Cardinals over 2011-13 before signing a minor league deal with Houston. He has posted a .281/.356/.416 line in 102 plate appearances at Triple-A. Heading back to the Astros in the deal are youngsters Alejandro Solarte, a left-handed pitcher, and Will Dupont, an infielder.
  • The Marlins have released right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez, according to the PCL transactions page. Rodriguez signed a minor league deal with the Fish over the offseason, but lasted only 1 2/3 frames at the big league level when he issued five free passes in that span. He had worked to a 4.26 ERA in 25 1/3 minor league innings, though that mark came with 14 wild pitches and an interesting strikeout-to-walk ratio of 14.6 K/9 against 13.5 BB/9. Rodriguez possesses a huge arm with a devastating slider and change, but has simply never been able to control his stuff consistently.
  • After today’s moves, MLBTR DFA Tracker shows the following names in limbo: Jason Kubel (Twins), Wilton Lopez (Rockies), Wade LeBlanc (Yankees), and Nick Evans (Diamondbacks).

Blue Jays Outright Matt Tuiasosopo

SATURDAY: Tuiasosopo has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, according to the MLB.com transactions page.

WEDNESDAY: The Blue Jays have notified out-of-options outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo that he will not make the roster, tweets MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star tweeted this morning that this appeared likely, since Tuiasosopo's locker had been packed up.

While the precise transaction that will result has yet to be reported, it seems likely that he will ultimately hit the waiver wire. The outfielder was claimed off of waivers by Toronto less than a week ago, but faced an uphill battle to unseat Moises Sierra as the club's fourth outfielder. If he makes it through waivers, the Jays would like to stash Tuiasosopo in Triple-A, Kennedy tweets.


Blue Jays Claim Matt Tuiasosopo, Release Luis Perez

The Blue Jays have claimed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo off waivers from the Diamondbacks and released left-hander Luis Perez in order to clear room on the 40-man roster, according to Alex Seixeiro of Sportsnet (on Twitter).

The 27-year-old Tuiasosopo spent the 2013 campaign with the Tigers, batting .244/.351/.415 with seven homers in 191 plate appearances. That was by far his best season at the plate, having spent parts of three years with the Mariners but slashing just .176/.234/.306 in 210 PAs with Seattle.

As a right-handed swinger, the natural assumption would be that Tuiasosopo could platoon with Adam Lind, but that's not necessarily the case; Tuiasosopo has actually been less effective against opposite-handed pitching than same-handed pitching throughout his career, and that was the case in 2013 as well. He batted just .216/.336/.371 against lefties — clearly demonstrating a keen eye at least — and a robust .313/.389/.521 against right-handers. The latter of those splits came in a sample of just 54 plate appearances and was bolstered by a .481 batting average on balls in play, which is sure to regress going forward.

Perez, 29, tallied just five innings for the Jays last season and allowed a pair of runs in the process as he returned from Tommy John surgery. He was an important part of the club's bullpen in 2012 prior to that operation, posting a 3.43 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 47.8 percent ground-ball rate in 42 innings. He's held lefties to a .239/.311/.341 batting line in his career, but he underwent surgery this January to remove some scar tissue from his surgically repaired elbow.



Diamondbacks Claim Matt Tuiasosopo

The Tigers announced, via press release, that the D-Backs have claimed infielder/outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo off waivers.

The 27-year-old Tuiasosopo batted .244/.351/.415 with seven homers for the Tigers in 2013, seeing most of his time in left field but also appearing in 13 games at first base and one at the hot corner. Despite being a right-handed swinger, Tuiasosopo hit just .216/.336/.371 against southpaws, and his career numbers against lefties aren't any better: .196/.293/.345.


AL Central Notes: Tuiasosopo, Indians, Royals

IF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo won a spring training invite with the Tigers after emailing GM Dave Dombrowski his resume, MLive.com's James Schmehl reports. "I just sent it to Dave and told him I was interested in being a part of the organization," says Tuiasosopo. "At the end of the day, it’s my career and I wanted to fight for myself." The Dodgers, Reds, Rockies and Twins were all possible options for Tuiasosopo. Here are more notes from around the AL Central:


Minor Moves: Sweeney, Tuiasosopo, Redding, Cabrera

The latest minor league deals…

  • The Mariners signed former MLB reliever Brian Sweeney to a minor league contract, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports. Sweeney spent the 2011 season with the Mets' top affiliate and last appeared in the Majors with the 2010 Mariners.
  • The Twins signed left-hander Luke French, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports (Twitter links). French owns a 4.99 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 155 Major League innings.
  • The Mets signed infielder Matt Tuiasosopo, who picked up MLB experience with the Mariners from 2008-10, Eddy reports.
  • The Blue Jays signed right-hander Tim Redding and left-hander Bill Murphy, according to Eddy. Redding has substantial MLB experience as a starter for the Astros, Nationals and Mets.
  • Eddy reports that four catchers signed minor league deals: Mitch Canham joined the Rockies, Orlando Mercado agreed to terms with the Marlins, Kyle Phillips caught on with the Blue Jays and Max St. Pierre signed with the Red Sox. Phillips appeared in 36 games for the 2011 Padres and St. Pierre made his debut with the 2010 Tigers after 14 minor league seasons.
  • Former MLB starter Daniel Cabrera signed a minor league deal with the Pirates, Mario Rojas of CandelaDeportiva reports. Cabrera, 30, was a fixture in Baltimore's rotation from 2004-08, but hasn't pitched in MLB since 2009.
  • The Cubs re-signed infielder Bobby Scales, who started the 2011 season in Chicago before going to Japan, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweets.
  • The Phillies re-signed former Tigers outfielder Brent Clevlen, Goldstein tweets.
  • The Orioles signed 18-year-old outfielder Andres Aguilar, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The speedy Guatemala native has a strong throwing arm.

Mariners Release Matt Tuiasosopo

The Mariners have released minor league infielder Matt Tuiasosopo, according to a club press release. The move makes room on Seattle's 40-man roster for lefty Cesar Jimenez, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding transaction.

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Tuiasosopo that the release was the result of a roster squeeze and the M's would like to have the 25-year-old back in the spring, tweets Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 radio in Seattle.

Tuiasosopo, a third-round draft pick in 2004, had spent all of 2011 with Tacoma, where he hit .226/.341./.394 with 14 homers. He played in parts of three seasons with the Mariners from 2008-10, hitting .176/.234/.306 in 210 plate appearances.


Mariners Release Eric Byrnes

The Mariners have released Eric Byrnes, according to Larry LaRue of The News Tribune.  The veteran outfielder has posted a .443 OPS this season in 34 plate appearances.

The 34-year-old agreed to a one-year deal with Seattle in late January.  While Byrnes is earning $11MM in the final year of the three-year pact he signed with the D'Backs, the Mariners are responsible for just $400K of that sum.

Seattle has also made a trio of in-house adjustments, sending Matt Tuiasosopo to Triple-A while promoting Ryan Langerhans and Josh Wilson.  All four roster moves have been confirmed by a team press release. 

Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle (via Twitter) points out that Langerhans and Wilson were not on the 40-man roster, meaning that another move is on the horizon.  She later tweeted that the move will not be shifting a player to the 60-day DL and it will likely not involve a player on the 25-man roster (also via Twitter).

Earlier this evening, both Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and Larry Stone of The Seattle Times predicted that Byrnes' days in Seattle were numbered.


Erik Bedard Rumors: Mariners, Reds, Indians

Erik Bedard staying put in Baltimore this winter?  Maybe not.  Ken Rosenthal and Jason Churchill both busted out brand new material this evening with the latest Bedard chatter.  The upshot is that the Mariners seem to have a decent shot at him.

  • Rosenthal says the Mariners will put Adam Jones, Jeff Clement, and Matt Tuiasosopo in the deal.  He indicates that the Orioles could push to substitute and get one of Tony Butler, Chris Tillman, and Carlos Triunfel.  Looks like Bill Bavasi is sticking to the idea of keeping Brandon Morrow.  Rosenthal hedges his bets, but admits to "growing indications that the teams could be moving closer to a deal."
  • Churchill says something similar: the Mariners and Orioles "may very well be making significant progress."  Churchill sees a package of Jones, Triunfel, and George Sherrill as the likely scenario. 
  • Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein recently listed his Top 11 Prospects for the Mariners.  Clement was a five-star, Tillman and Triunfel four-stars, Butler a two-star, and Tuiasosopo an honorable mention.  Jones would be first were he still considered a prospect.
  • Both Ohio teams have interest in Bedard as well, but a trade to the Indians or Reds seems less likely.  The Reds still won’t give up Jay Bruce.