Michael Aubrey Rumors
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.
Orioles players Scott Moore, Cla Meredith, Alberto Castillo, and Michael Aubrey elected free agency, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. They appear to be minor league free agents, having finished the season at Triple A and off the 40-man roster.
Moore, 27 in November, hit .209/.274/.337 in 96 plate appearances for the Orioles this year, playing mostly second base. He joined the Orioles in August of '07 in the Steve Trachsel deal with the Cubs. Moore was designated for assignment in '09 and '10, clearing waivers both times. He hit .280/.345/.476 at Triple A this year while playing mainly third base.
Meredith, 27, tallied 15 relief innings for the Orioles this year with a 5.40 ERA, 4.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and four home runs allowed. The sidearmer racks up groundballs and handles righties well on his best days. The Orioles acquired him from the Padres for Oscar Salazar in July of last year. He was designated for assignment and cleared waivers in June.
Castillo, 35, whiffed 11 but allowed five homers and 12 earned runs in his 10.6 inning stint with the O's this year. He was designated for assignment in June to clear a 40-man spot for Jake Arrieta. Castillo's work in Triple A: a 4.54 ERA, 9.8 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 in 39.6 innings. He was done in by 46 hits allowed. His previous work in Triple A was more encouraging.
Aubrey, 28, was drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003. It appeared that he might get a shot at first base for the Orioles heading into this season, but they signed Garrett Atkins and ended up designating Aubrey on April 1st. He spent the season at Triple A, hitting .235/.310/.495 with 22 home runs in 419 plate appearances.
Some links on what promises to be one of the best days of the year...
- Chris Haft of MLB.com writes that the Giants' bench is lacking in right-handed bats, though he doesn't suggest they'll look to make a trade.
- The Red Sox have expressed reluctance in the past to sign pitchers to long-term contracts, but MLB.com's Ian Browne notes that Josh Beckett's extension means the club has four important starters under team control through 2014.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Beckett extension was directly motivated by the Red Sox' rivalry with the Yankees.
- Beckett told reporters that he focuses on the security that comes with his extension, not the money he could potentially have obtained on the open market, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The San Francisco Chronicle had some nice things to say about MLBTR in its business report. Check it out.
- The Mariners remain the favorites to sign Dominican pitcher Rafael DePaula, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Michael Aubrey cleared waivers and was outrighted to the minors, according to an Orioles press release. The team designated Aubrey for assignment last week.
- Check out this two-sport star: the White Sox hired former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause to oversee the team's scouting in the Dominican Republic, according to ESPNChicago's Bruce Levine.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out that the Pirates will have the lowest Opening Day payroll in baseball and asks when the future starts for the Pirates. His answer? Once Pedro Alvarez takes over third base at PNC Park. If all goes well for Pittsburgh, that could happen before midseason.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has the Mariners' payroll at about $89MM, a little higher than USA Today's $86.5MM figure.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that speculation that the Rangers are looking for reasons to fire manager Ron Washington is "silly."
- As Jeff Powalisz of the Boston Globe points out, Boston's free agent acquisitions are already contributing.
- Matt Stairs will become the first modern-day position player to suit up for 12 different teams when he takes the field for the Padres, as MLB.com's Corey Brock points out.
The Orioles designated first baseman Michael Aubrey for assignment to make room for Julio Lugo, according to a team press release. Officially, the O's acquired Lugo and cash from the Cardinals for a player to be named later or cash.
Aubrey, 28 in a few weeks, hit .290/.323/.436 in 407 Triple A plate appearances last year and .289/.326/.500 in a 95 plate appearance stint in the bigs.
Aubrey was drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003 out of Tulane. He dealt with back and hamstring injuries in the Indians' organization, and was eventually designated for assignment in January of '09. He cleared waivers, but was traded to the Orioles for a player to be named later in June.
The Orioles aren't expected to be major players on the free-agent market this winter, but if the team does make a move, it will likely be to acquire a veteran presence at first and/or third base.
Speaking to MASN Sports' Steve Melewski, Baltimore team president Andy MacPhail said that given the Orioles' young outfield and second-year catcher Matt Wieters, he would "like to put more proven bats" in the lineup to compliment the team's young stars. The O's have prospects Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell in the pipeline at first and third, respectively, but since MacPhail said he doesn't see either making the leap to the majors in 2010, the experienced hitters that MacPhail wants will have to come at the corner infield spots.
Baltimore already has Luke Scott (a team-leading 25 homers in 2009) penciled in at either first base or DH, and utilityman Ty Wigginton is available to play third. Prospect Michael Aubrey (an .826 OPS in 95 plate appearances last season) is also in the 1B mix, possibly in a lefty-righty platoon with Wigginton that would lock Scott into a DH/LF split with Nolan Reimold and would then leave third base open for either a free agent or a player to be acquired in a trade. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly predicted the O's would sign Pedro Feliz, while there has been some speculation that the Orioles will make a trade with Florida for Dan Uggla and then move Uggla from second to third base.
In his Offseason Outlook series entry about Baltimore, Tim Dierkes listed names like Adrian Beltre, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson as possible targets for the Orioles. These players would fit the "short-term" designation that MacPhail mentioned, but since MacPhail didn't rule out the possibility of "the right deal for the right player, even if it was a longer-term deal," would there be any other bigger-name corner infielders that you could realistically see Baltimore signing?