Michael Taylor Rumors

Minor Moves: Urbina, Korecky, Whelan, Fuenmayor

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league, via Baseball America’s Matt Eddy on Twitter.

  • The Mets have released Juan Urbina, reports Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (via Twitter). In five years with the Mets, the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher failed to pass Low-A ball. While he generally posted strong strikeout rates in limited work, he walked nearly the same number of hitters. The once-prospect signed for $1.2MM in 2009 and is the son of former big leaguer Ugueth Urbina.
  • The Phillies have signed outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darin Mastroianni to minor league deals. Bogusevic last appeared in the big leagues in 2013 and spent last season hitting .260/.349/.411 in 311 plate appearances for Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins system. Mastroianni appeared briefly for the Twins and Blue Jays in 2014 but spent most of the season with Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .267/.349/.369 in 393 plate appearances.
  • The Blue Jays have re-signed righty Bobby Korecky. The 35-year-old had a strong season in the Buffalo bullpen, posting a 1.97 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 64 innings.
  • The Athletics have signed righty Kevin Whelan, who briefly appeared with the Tigers in 2014 and a 2.70 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 43 1/3 innings with Triple-A Toledo.
  • The Royals have signed 24-year-old corner infielder Balbino Fuenmayor, who hit .347/.383/.610 in 413 plate appearances with Quebec in the Canadian-American Association, earning BA’s Indy League Player Of The Year award. The Blue Jays released Fuenmayor in 2013.
  • Cubs outfielder Ryan Kalish, White Sox outfielder Michael Taylor and Phillies shortstop Andres Blanco have all elected free agency. All three players were recently outrighted.
  • The Tigers have re-signed third baseman Mike Hessman. The 36-year-old Hessman has gotten few chances in the big leagues, but he’s still a feared slugger in the International League, where he hit 28 home runs and batted .248/.330/.500 in 2014. The veteran has 417 career minor league home runs, including 307 at the Triple-A level.

Royals Claim Moises Sierra From White Sox

The Royals have claimed outfielder Moises Sierra off outright waivers from the White Sox, according to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin (Twitter link). Additionally, the Sox have outrighted outfielder Michael Taylor to Triple-A Charlotte.

The move comes at a somewhat unexpected time for the Royals, who are in the midst of the World Series, but Sierra will add to the team’s outfield depth for the 2015 season. The 26-year-old batted .276/.311/.417 with a pair of homers in 135 plate appearances for the White Sox this season after they claimed him on waivers from the Blue Jays. Sierra has played mostly right field in his career, and while defensive metrics didn’t like his work with the Blue Jays, both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating gave him positive reviews in a small 372-inning sample this season. Sierra has less than two years of Major League service and can be controlled through the 2019 season if Kansas City sees fit.

Taylor, 28, at one time ranked as high as the No. 29 prospect in the game, according to Baseball America, but his career stalled after a few promising seasons at the Triple-A level. Taylor was one of three players, along with Travis d’Arnaud and Kyle Drabek, traded by the Phillies to the Blue Jays in exchange for Roy Halladay. Toronto traded him to Oakland for Brett Wallace (another top prospect who ultimately did not pan out), who eventually flipped him to the White Sox in a minor deal for right-hander Jake Sanchez. Taylor is a career .167/.254/.216 hitter in 114 big league plate appearances, though he sports a .278/.369/.441 batting line at Triple-A.

With these moves, Chicago’s 40-man roster is down to 37, Merkin notes.


Minor Moves: Rapada, Gimenez, Cabrera, Taylor

We'll keep track of the day's minor moves here:

  • The Mariners have signed lefty Clay Rapada and added him to the roster at Triple-A Tacoma, according to Rainiers announce Mike Curto (on Twitter). Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune first reported (via Twitter) that Rapada was working out for the team. The left-hander has a 4.06 ERA in 94 big league innings but has never been able to hold down a consistent big league job despite dominant numbers against left-handed hitters; Rapada has held lefties to a minuscule .164/.255/.231 batting line in his career. However, righties have roughed him up at a .345/.464/.611 clip.
  • Catcher Chris Gimenez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Round Rock, according to the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant (Twitter link). Gimenez, who has been outrighted previously, has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. He was claimed off waivers by the Rangers last week but quickly designated for assignment when the club promoted Daniel McCutchen to the Majors.
  • The Cubs have outrighted reliever Alberto Cabrera to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). The 25-year-old righty was designated on Saturday. 
  • Outfielder Michael Taylor has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 28-year-old will take up residence in Sacramento for the fifth straight year since joining the Oakland organization.
  • Brian Bogusevic has accepted an outright assignment from the Marlins, reports Cotillo (via Twitter). Bogusevic, a 30-year-old outfielder who was acquired over the offseason for Justin Ruggiano, could have elected free agency since he has previously been outrighted.
  • The Red Sox have released outfielder Scott Cousins, Cotillo also tweets. Cousins, 29, has seen bit action in parts of four MLB seasons. The news was first reported yesterday by Mike Andrews of SoxProspects (via Twitter). According to Andrews, longtime minor leaguer Juan Carlos Linares was also among the players cut loose from the Boston system.
  • Pitcher Armando Galarraga is working on securing a visa after receiving an offer from the Taiwanese club Brother Elephants, his agent tells Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Cotillo tweeted earlier this morning that the former big leaguer was close to a deal to move to Taiwan. In 542 career MLB innings, Galarraga has a 4.78 ERA  with 5.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9.
  • Outfielder Dave Sappelt has been released by the Phillies, tweets Cotillo. Sappelt himself said on Twitter that he appreciates the club carrying him while undergoing offseason surgery. The 27-year-old has seen limited action in three big league seasons.
  • The Astros have outrighted reliever Raul Valdes to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. Though he lacks an extensive MLB track record at age 36, Valdes still has an intriguing recent stat line and looks to be a good bet to see time in Houston at some point. His ERA was a ghastly 7.46 last year, but he put up 9.5 K/9 (against just 2.1 BB/9), good for a 3.10 SIERA. Valdes posted numbers more line with those peripherals in 2012 and even during limited action this spring.
  • Likewise, Hiroyuki Nakajima has been outrighted to the top affiliate of the Athletics, also via the PCL transactions page. The move is not surprising, given that Nakajima had only been added to the 40-man in the first place to fill it up to allow for the team to designate Taylor for assignment, according to a report from John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).

Steve Adams contributed to this post.



Athletics To Designate Michael Taylor For Assignment

The Athletics will designate Michael Taylor for assignment, Taylor told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The move comes as no surprise, as it was reported on Thursday that Taylor would not make the club and he is out of options.

Taylor is a once-hyped prospect who, at age 28, has never really seen much time at the MLB level. After a strong effort this spring, he figures to draw some interest from around the league.


AL West Notes: Harden, Boesch, Franklin, Taylor

Longtime Athletics starter Rich Harden is still pursuing his throwing program and is planning to hold a mid-season showcase, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Over 624 1/3 innings in seven seasons with the A's, the 32-year-old threw to a 3.65 ERA. Here are a few quick notes out of the AL West:

  • Angels outfielder Brennan Boesch has a March 30 "soft out" in his deal, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. In essence, the clause requires the club to add him to its 25-man roster or allow him to go to any other team that is willing to do so. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a strong spring, putting up a .278/.350/.472 line in 40 plate appearances.
  • Mariners infielder Nick Franklin has been spending some time working in the outfield, and says that he is simply "trying to be versatile," reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. The 23-year-old has been a hot subject of trade speculation, as he lacks a regular spot in the Seattle infield and could appeal to a variety of clubs. But his focus is on getting to the bigs with his current organization. "Some way, somehow I want to get on the field, whatever it takes," said Franklin. "What am I going to do, wait around for someone to get hurt?"
  • Athletics outfielder Michael Taylor has learned that he will not make the Opening Day roster, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. As the 28-year-old is out of options, he figures to be dealt or plucked off of the waiver wire, though a move has yet to be made. Once a top prospect, Taylor has certainly put his best foot forward this spring with a .274/.348/.532 line and three long balls in 69 plate appearances, though he has struck out 17 times while drawing six walks. Last year, in 481 trips to the plate at Triple-A, Taylor had a .281/.360/.474 triple-slash with 18 home runs.
  • The division has two new additions from this morning, as the Mariners added starter Chris Young and the Astros claimed outfielder Alex Presley.

Athletics Notes: Parker, Taylor, Beane, Wolff

Jarrod Parker is trying to be as hopeful as possible as he prepares to undergo his second Tommy John surgery.  "I've done it before, and I can do it again," Parker told reporters, including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  "You can't put statistics on individual guys….I don't want to be a statistic, really. I want to be different. Hopefully things can work out and I'm going to do anything and everything to make it work."  The right-hander is scheduled for surgery next week and will miss at least the entire 2014 season during the rehabiliation process.

Here's some more from news out of Oakland…

  • Also from Slusser, outfielder Michael Taylor still isn't a fit for the A's roster, despite his impressive Spring Training performance.  There's no chance the A's would be able to get the out-of-options Taylor through waivers without losing him, however, as the former top prospect is drawing interest from a number of teams.  One scout tells Slusser that his team either already has, or is preparing to offer Oakland a deal for Taylor, while another rival scout figures his team is too low in waiver priority and would need to trade for Taylor to bring him into the fold.
  • In a must-read interview with Grantland's Jonah Keri, Athletics GM Billy Beane discusses how his club has tried to stay current now that the "Moneyball" tactics are known and widely-used throughout baseball.  With so much data available to teams, Beane said that implementation of that information has become the more important factor, praising manager Bob Melvin's openness to new ideas and predicting that teams will eventually have "an IT coach" in the dugout.
  • I don’t want a lot of guys like me who played the game,” Beane told Keri about building a front office. “Quite frankly, I want blank canvases, I want people to come in with new ideas. I don’t want the biases of their own experiences to be a part of their decision-making process. Listen, our whole staff…didn’t really play. The bottom line is that any business should be a meritocracy. The best and brightest. Period. This game is now evolving into that.”
  • CSNBayArea.com's Joe Stiglich looks at the Athletics' roster configuration, shoots down a few trade suggestions and covers several other topics and as part of an online chat with fans.  Of note, Stiglich hasn't heard anything about the possibility of the A's making a play for Bay Area native Jimmy Rollins, who is rumored to be on thin ice with the Phillies.  Rollins, however, has said that he won't consider waiving his no-trade protection unless the Phils completely fall out of the race.

Athletics Notes: Drew, Peralta, Nakajima, Rule 5

The A's have been pursuing a reunion with Stephen Drew, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has some information on the team's fallback plans should they fail to do so…

  • A major league executive tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) that he believes Drew will sign with the A's for one year with an additional player option for 2014.
  • If Drew ends up signing elsewhere and the Tigers do indeed find a new shortstop (possibly Drew himself), the A's would likely make a move to acquire Jhonny Peralta. Peralta and his $6MM salary would obviously be expendable to the Tigers in that scenario.
  • The two don't immediately line up on paper as a fit given the Tigers' need for a right-handed hitting outfielder (the Tigers aren't interested in Michael Taylor). However, Slusser writes that Detroit likes Jemile Weeks and would contemplate moving him to the outfield. There's no guarantee the A's would move Weeks, however, even though they demoted him to Triple-A this season.
  • Hiroyuki Nakajima is still in play for the A's, and he's seeking a three-year deal worth about $5MM annually. Most believe he'll have trouble doing better than one year and an option, though.
  • Contrary to some national reports, Grant Green and Brad Peacock were not on the table in the team's Yunel Escobar trade discussions with the Marlins.
  • The A's aren't likely to select a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow, but there's a good chance that they lose 2007 first-rounder James Simmons to another club. Simmons, the 26th overall selection that year, posted a 2.98 ERA, 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 K/9 in 63 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. The 26-year-old also turned in a dominant performance in the Arizona Fall League.

A’s Notes: Taylor, Gomes, Damon, Outman, Moscoso

On this date in 1986, the Mets and Twins completed a five-player trade involving former first rounder Billy Beane. Now the Athletics’ GM, Beane completed a trade today, obtaining Seth Smith from Colorado for Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman. Here are the latest Athletics-related links… 

  • Beane says the Athletics are still looking for right-handed hitting outfielder depth, Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group tweets. Michael Taylor will have to play his way into the picture, according to Stiglich.
  • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the A's are pursuing a Jonny Gomes/Ryan Ludwick type for depth. The A's haven't ruled out Johnny Damon, Shea tweets.
  • Outman told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the trade was "bittersweet," but that he's "not mad by any means," Pitching so far above sea level will be an adjustment for the fly ball pitcher, however.
  • Moscoso told Slusser that he's "in shock," although he's looking forward to the opportunity in Colorado.

Quick Hits: Leyland, Phillies, Trumbo, Taylor

Some notes from around the majors as Casey Kotchman is a walkoff hero for Tampa Bay….


Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee Trade Finalized

3:27pm: Over at BlueJays.com, Blue Jays Alex Anthopoulos talked about the players the Jays received in the Halladay deal, as well as recent signing John Buck.  A few notes: Anthopoulos sees Wallace as a first baseman, and he has still has ongoing trade talks about other players.

1:48pm: The Mariners announced the trade in a press release, with GM Jack Zdruriencik congratulating the Phillies and Blue Jays on the way the deal was handled.  ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that the deal will be complete all-around once Bud Selig signs off on the $6MM going to the Phillies.  Elliott says an MRI on Wallace's shoulder cleared the Taylor part of the swap.

1:31pm: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail heard that the report of a failed physical is a "totally false rumour."  ESPN's Shannon Drayer tweets that the deal is official and Lee is a Mariner.  MLB.com's Todd Zolecki agrees, saying a Halladay press conference is set for 4pm CST.

12:38pm: Davidi passes along an AP report that has Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. saying he's hopeful the trade can be completed today but talks may go into Thursday.  Larry Stone of the Seattle Times doesn't expect the deal to unravel, and is hearing it's not a Mariners prospect who failed a physical.

11:47am: The three/four-way trade involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is not yet official; here's our post yesterday for a refresher.  The latest bit of news kicking off today's post: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun tweets that he heard someone involved in the trade flunked their physical (one of the minor leaguers).  Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press says Phillippe Aumont passed.  There appears to be six other prospects involved in the deal, if you include the Michael Taylor-Brett Wallace component.  Drabek had Tommy John surgery in July of '07, while Aumont had elbow issues toward the end of the '08 season.

A recap of the expected deal:

  • The Phillies get Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Juan Ramirez, and $6MM.  The Phillies will give Halladay a three-year extension plus vesting options.
  • The Mariners get Cliff Lee.
  • The Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis d'Arnaud.
  • The A's get Michael Taylor.