Mitch Atkins Rumors

International Notes: Fanning, Capitales, Atkins

Jim Fanning, the first general manager of the Montreal Expos, has passed away at age 87, as Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun notes (on Twitter). Fanning played briefly for the Cubs as a catcher in parts of the 1954 through 1957 seasons, but he was better known for the career he built after he was through as a player. He assembled the original 1969 Expos team, beginning with the 1968 expansion draft, and, during his tenure, acquired Expos greats like Rusty Staub, Ellis Valentine, Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. After Charlie Fox replaced Fanning in 1976, he continued to work for the Expos, eventually taking over as manager in 1981 in time for their first and only playoff appearance. Later in his career, he worked in the Rockies and Blue Jays organizations. In 2000, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Here are more notes on baseball throughout the world.

  • The Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League have announced (link in French) that they will have four Cuban players this season, via an agreement with the Cuban government. Those include outfielder Yuniesky Gourriel, the son of the legendary Lourdes Gourriel and the the brother of star Yulieski Gourriel and the promising Lourdes Gourriel Jr. Outfielder Alexei Bell, shortstop Yordan Manduley, and pitcher Ismel Jimenez will also join the Capitales. It’s unclear whether any of them are big-league talents, although it’s worth noting that the Can-Am League (from which, for example, the Twins signed Chris Colabello) will make it easier for scouts for affiliated teams to see them.
  • Former Cubs and Astros pitcher Mitch Atkins has signed with the Lamigo Monkeys in Taiwan, J.M.G. Baseball announces (via Twitter). The 29-year-old Atkins last appeared in the big leagues in 2011. He pitched much of the last two seasons in the Braves organization, also pitching in independent ball and in winter ball in the Dominican.

Released: Bello, Herndon, Accardo, Rodriguez, Rogers

Here are the latest minor moves, all via the transactions page, the PCL transactions page, and/or the International League transactions page:

  • The Braves have released catcher Yenier Bello. Bello, of course, signed out of Cuba for a $400K bonus last year, but the 30-year-old obviously did not show enough to stay in the system. He slashed .308/.315/.404 over just 55 plate appearances last season split between the Rookie and low-A levels.
  • Brewers right-hander David Herndon will also be in search of a new organization after being released. The 29-year-old carries a 3.85 career ERA over 117 big league frames, but has not seen action at the game’s highest level since 2012.
  • The Diamondbacks have released big league veterans Jeremy Accardo and Henry Rodriguez. Both righties, Accardo (eight years) and Rodriguez (six years) each have seen their share of time at the major league level, including action in a closing role. Accardo owns a 4.30 ERA with 6.5 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 across 284 2/3 big league innings, but last saw action at that level in 2012. Rodriguez, still just 28, has worked to a 4.31 ERA over his 150 1/3 lifetime frames, striking out 9.0 and walking 6.4 per nine.
  • The Rangers also released a couple of right-handers in Mark Rogers and Mitch Atkins. Rogers, once one of the game’s brightes pitchign prospects, has struggled with a variety of injury issues and was not able to gain traction in camp. Atkins, 29, had worked to a 3.76 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 141 1/3 innings last year in the upper minors. Both players have some big league experience to their credit, but none in recent campaigns.
  • Reds right-hander Wilmer Font and oufielder Felix Perez have both been released. Font is just 24 and has reached the bigs briefly in each of the last two seasons with the Rangers. But he ended last season with an elbow injury and never played in major league camp this spring. The 30-year-old Perez, meanwhile, hit .280/.325.450 at the Triple-A level last year but struggled in camp this spring.

Minor Moves: Weathers, Marinez, Atkins

Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball.

  • The Indians have signed Casey Weathers to a minor-league deal, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets. The hard-throwing righty and former Rockies first-round pick has struggled with his control throughout his career. He also has a lengthy injury history and missed most of the past two seasons with elbow trouble, although he says he’s now pain-free, and Passan links to a recent video of Weathers throwing 106 MPH after getting a running start.
  • The Rays have signed another hard-throwing righty reliever, Jhan Marinez, according to the International League transactions page. Marinez, 26, posted a 6.69 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 7.1 BB/9 in 40 1/3 innings in the Dodgers and Tigers systems in 2014, struggling badly with his control. He last appeared in the big leagues with the White Sox in 2012.
  • The Rangers have signed righty Mitch Atkins, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Atkins, 29, pitched for Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system in 2014, posting a combined 3.76 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 141 1/3 innings. He pitched briefly in the big leagues for the Cubs (2009-2010) and Orioles (2011).

Minor Moves: Mitch Atkins, Alex Burnett

Today's minor moves…

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Mitch Atkins, Steve Holm

Let's keep track of the day's minor league signings right here…

  • The Nationals have signed right-hander Mitch Atkins, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). Atkins, 26, allowed ten runs in 10 2/3 innings for the Orioles last season, and has thrown a handful of big league innings in each of the last three years.
  • The Rockies have signed catcher Steve Holm, tweets Eddy. The 32-year-old had two hits and a walk in 18 plate appearances for the Twins last year, his first big league action since 2009. Eddy notes that Holm is the sixth catcher Colorado has signed to a minor league deal this offseason.

Odds & Ends: Sandberg, D’Backs, Lee, Huff

Here are today's links as we await the Rookie of the Year announcements…

  • I'll be in Orlando covering the GM Meetings this week. Follow @mlbtrorlando on Twitter for the latest news, quotes and observations from Florida.
  • The Phillies have hired Ryne Sandberg to manage their Triple-A affiliate nearly 29 years after they traded the future Hall of Famer to the Cubs. Sandberg played 15 seasons in Chicago and nearly won the Cubs managerial job this winter. 
  •'s Todd Zolecki takes us back to 1982, when the Phillies sent Sandberg to the Cubs.
  • The Orioles signed former Cubs pitcher Mitch Atkins to a minor league deal, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The 25-year-old has solid minor league numbers and a 5.25 ERA in 12 big league innings.
  • The D'Backs announced that Rico Brogna, who was appointed director of player development last month, resigned and will be replaced by Mike Bell.
  • Arizona also announced the hiring of Billy Ryan as assistant GM. He will work on arbitration cases and draft bonus recommendations.
  • Cliff Lee’s agent is one person who can skip the GM meetings altogether. “We're not going to have to go there to drum up interest," Darek Braunecker told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
  • Tyler Kepner of the New York times explains that every team is looking for the next Aubrey Huff.

Cubs Designate Mitch Atkins For Assignment

The Cubs have designated Mitch Atkins for assignment, according to's Carrie Muskat (via Twitter). The DFA was part of a series of moves in Chicago, as the team also placed Tyler Colvin and Geovany Soto on the disabled list.

Atkins, who turns 25 next Friday, appeared in five games for the Cubs this year. The right-hander struck out a batter per inning, but recorded a 6.30 ERA and allowed 18 baserunners in just ten innings pitched. Atkins had more success for Triple-A Iowa, with a 3.63 ERA over 106.2 IP.