Neal Cotts Rumors

AL West Notes: Angels, Jesus Montero, Cotts

The Angels are the only AL West team playing today, with Joe Blanton facing Ervin Santana and the Royals in Kansas City.  Having won their last four games, the Halos have climbed to a 19-27 record.  They'll need to play .612 ball moving forward to have a shot at 90 wins and the playoffs.  The latest out of their division:

  • Angels righty Jered Weaver had a successful extended spring training start yesterday, reports Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times.  Weaver is recovering from a fractured elbow suffered in April, and he may be ready to return to the Angels next week.  It's quite possible Blanton, owner of a 6.62 ERA in nine starts, is auditioning for his rotation job tonight despite signing a two-year, $15MM deal in December.  I was surprised to see today that Blanton still has a positive FanGraphs WAR, because that calculation does not consider his 86 hits allowed in 50 1/3 innings.
  • Reliever Ryan Madson seemed like a solid signing for the Angels in November, with only a $3.5MM guarantee.  The 32-year-old had Tommy John surgery in April 2012, but suffered a setback in a rehab appearance last week.  Madson and the Cubs' Scott Baker, both signed to one-year free agent deals, serve as reminders that pitchers are not a lock to return to a Major League mound 12 months after Tommy John surgery.
  • The Mariners have dropped six in a row, and at 20-27, and Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner explains that "the season is lost."  Cameron's plan calls for Brandon Maurer, Dustin Ackley, and Jesus Montero to be optioned to Triple-A and Nick Franklin to get a look at second base in the bigs, among other things.  UPDATE: Montero will indeed be sent to Triple-A today, reports Ryan Divish of The News Tribune.
  • Rangers reliever Neal Cotts has an amazing story, with a four-year gap between Major League appearances.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has the details on Cotts' comeback from Tommy John and four hip surgeries.

Minor Moves: Cotts, Boyer, Barton

The latest minor moves…

  • The Rangers plan to purchase the contract of lefty reliever Neal Cotts if tonight's game is played, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.  The 33-year-old hasn't seen big league action since 2009, but he's been dominant in 23 Triple-A innings this year.  The Rangers already have an open spot on their 40-man roster for him.
  • The Hanshin Tigers have a basic agreement with righty reliever Blaine Boyer, according to Sanspo (via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker). Boyer, 31, pitched 15 relief innings for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate before exercising his out clause to pursue the opportunity in Japan.
  • The Mariners signed 17-year-old Brazilian righty Daniel Missaki, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Badler notes that he was the youngest player in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
  • The Athletics announced that first baseman Daric Barton cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, after he was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot for Chris Young.  He's earning $1.1MM this year, which may have limited interest.  Barton led the American League in walks as a 24-year-old in 2010, but has battled injuries since.  He's still a walk machine at Triple-A, though, with a .422 OBP through 128 plate appearances.
  • The Angels outrighted outfielder Scott Cousins to Triple-A yesterday, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page.  Cousins had been designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Chris Nelson.
  • The Yankees outrighted infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A yesterday, according to the International League transactions page.  Gonzalez had been designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Reid Brignac.
  • Three players currently reside in DFA limbo: Jon Rauch of the Marlins, Derek Lowe of the Rangers, and Michael Bowden of the Cubs.  Rauch and Lowe figure to be released by their clubs in the coming days, while Bowden will have to decide whether to accept an outright assignment if he clears waivers.

Cafardo On Lee, Phillies, Angels, Scioscia

The Yankees and Dodgers are the two most expensive teams in baseball and similarly beset with injuries, but things couldn't be more opposite in terms of results, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The Bombers have a big chunk of their payroll on the disabled list but the understudies are doing so well that one American League scout quipped, “Do they really want those injured guys [Alex RodriguezDerek JeterCurtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira] back?”  Meanwhile, the Dodgers have not been able to overcome injuries to pitchers Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley and shortstop Hanley Ramirez.  Here's more from today's column..

  • There’s always a lot of talk about Cliff Lee being trade bait if the Phillies slip, but one team insider said, “Every time I hear a Lee rumor, I don’t believe it. Don’t think we’d be that dumb unless what we got back in return was so overwhelming that we’d be dumb to pass it up. Will that happen? My gut is it won’t.
  • Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was once considered invincible, but the club's struggles have many saying that his job is in jeopardy.  One Angels exec doesn't see a shakeup coming anytime soon, saying, “I doubt it. It’s Mike Scioscia. Did he get dumb all of a sudden? Or do we have a few issues with our pitching and a couple of our big hitters?
  • Left-hander Neal Cotts had a streak of 14 and 1/3 scoreless innings for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate and has retired 21 of the last 22 batters he’s faced.  Cotts, who has completely shut down lefthanded batters, could be had, as the Rangers don't have room for him on the big league roster and have a team policy that they will let go of players in that position.


Minor Moves: Rangers, Bourgeois, Hill

The latest minor moves…


Rangers Notes: Cotts, Perez, Hamilton

Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine joined Bryan Dolgin on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and addressed trade talks, extensions and the composition of the team's roster. Here are the details (audio here):

  • Levine explained that relatively innocent conversations with scouts can turn into full-blown trade talks because they highlight needs and surpluses. 
  • The Rangers don’t have an established left-handed reliever after losing Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez in free agency, but they’re pleased with the increased velocity non-roster invitee Neal Cotts is showing early on in camp.
  • Young pitchers such as Martin Perez have impressed the Rangers' front office and Levine expects contributions at the MLB level in the 'not-so-distant future.'
  • The Rangers consider Josh Hamilton an elite center fielder, but they continue to play him in left field since they generally believe he's more likely to stay in the lineup as a corner outfielder.
  • Though Levine didn't comment in detail on extension talks with Hamilton, he did say the club intends to keep as many of its core position players in place for as long as possible. Hamilton is eligible for free agency after the season, but the Rangers haven't ruled out in-season talks for their top position players.

Rangers Sign Neal Cotts

The Rangers signed lefty reliever Neal Cotts to a minor league deal, MLBTR has learned.  Cotts will not be in Major League camp, notes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.  Cotts, 32 in March, last pitched in the Majors for the Cubs in '09 before going down for Tommy John surgery.  He later signed minor league deals with the Pirates and Yankees, though the Yankees released him in February last year.


Minor Moves: Geary, Perkins, Cotts, Petit

Some minor league moves from early Spring Training…

  • The Padres signed righty reliever Geoff Geary, tweets Baseball America's Matt Eddy. He did not pitch in the majors last season, instead appearing in 31 games for the Triple-A affiliates of the Rangers and Dodgers (4.32 ERA). 
  • The Padres also released infielder Gregorio Petittweet Eddy. He signed on with San Diego back in December.
  • The Yankees signed righty reliever Fernando Hernandez, tweets Eddy. The 26-year-old pitched in three games with the 2008 A's as a Rule 5 Pick, though he spent last year with their Triple-A affiliate (4.77 ERA in 77 1/3 innings).
  • The Yankees also released Neal Cotts, reports Marc Carig of The Star Ledger (Twitter link). Cotts signed a minor league deal in November, but was still coming back from Tommy John and hip surgeries. 
  • The Blue Jays signed Vince Perkins, who they originally drafted back in 2000, tweets Eddy. The Canadian-born right-hander last pitched in 2009, when he made 53 appearances in the Cubs' minor league system (3.02 ERA).
  • The Braves signed left-hander Jose Lugo, tweets Eddy. The 25-year-old posted a 6.72 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 85 2/3 innings with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate last season.

Minor Deals: Mariners, Sutton, Braves, Burroughs

Here is today's batch of minor league deals, with the most recent updates at the top:

  • The Mariners signed Luis Rodriguez, a shortstop who played in the majors from 2005-09 with the Twins and Padres, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). The light-hitting 30-year-old exploded with 16 homers and 17 doubles in 400 plate appearances for the White Sox at Triple-A in 2010.
  • The Yankees signed Neal Cotts, the Marlins signed Josh Kroeger and the A's signed Adam Heether and Anthony Lerew, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (all links go to Twitter). Cotts, a 30-year-old left-hander, has pitched parts of seven seasons in the majors, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and didn't pitch in 2010 because of hip surgery. Kroeger, 28, has 47 homers and 51 steals over the course of the past three seasons at Triple-A.
  • The Red Sox signed former Reds outfielder Drew Sutton, according to Eddy (on Twitter). The 27-year old has a .229/.302/.381 line in 118 major league plate appearances, but he did hit 20 homers at Double-A two seasons ago.
  • Eddy reports that the Cubs have re-signed longtime minor leaguer Bobby Scales (Twitter link).
  • The Braves have signed four players, according to Eddy (all links go to Twitter). Outfielder Jose Constanza, 27, batted .319/.373/.394 at Triple-A for the Indians; 28-year-old infielder Ed Lucas hit .307/.398/.480 at Triple-A for the Royals; utilityman Wilkin Castillo can catch and play in the infield and outfield, but hasn't hit Triple-A pitching and Shawn Bowman, 25, hit 22 homers at Double-A.
  • The Mariners signed left-hander Fabio Castro to a minor league contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (on Twitter). The 25-year-old hasn't appeared in the majors since 2007; he posted a 4.93 ERA with 8.8 K/9 for Boston's Triple-A affiliate in 2010.
  • The White Sox claimed releiver Waldis Joaquin off of waivers from the Giants, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. The 23-year-old made the Giants' Opening Day roster, but allowed six earned runs and seven walks in 4 2/3 innings, so he was demoted to the minors. He posted a 4.43 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 in 40 2/3 innings split between Rookie ball and Triple-A.
  • The Brewers signed signed right-hander Zack Segovia to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. The 27-year-old has big league experience with the Phillies and Nationals. He spent the 2010 season with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate and posted a 4.19 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings.
  • The D'Backs signed Sean Burroughs, according to minor league transactions cited by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter). The third baseman is reunited with GM Kevin Towers, who signed Burroughs in 1998 to what was then the biggest amateur bonus in team history. Now 30, Burroughs hasn't played pro ball since 2007.

Odds & Ends: Rangers, Pirates, Cotts, Marlins

Links for Friday, before Dan Haren celebrates his 30th birthday by taking on one of baseball's most potent offenses…

  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan lists ten decisions that have been critical to the Rangers' success this season.
  • The Pirates have released lefty Neal Cotts according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America and this week's edition of minor league transaction.
  • Padres' first base coach Rick Renteria is on the Marlins radar with regards to their managerial opening, says MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. He adds that Yankees bench coach Tony Pena is a candidate as well. 
  • Chipper Jones told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that it would be hard to stop playing before his body prevents him from doing so, partly because “you can make absurd amounts of money” as a baseball player.
  • Former Orioles manager Dave Trembley told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that he’d like to coach in the major leagues next year (Twitter link).
  • The Pirates' minor league success has been a major positive this year, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette questions how the Pirates also allowed for "near-total destruction of the major-league product." The team is 50 games below .500 with the worst record in baseball.
  • Carl Crawford told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that his impending free agency hasn't been hard to handle, since the Rays are winning. Click here for Bradford's analysis of how Crawford would fit in Fenway.
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald breaks down Boston's options behind the plate for 2011, from free agents Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek to new acquisition Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
  • John Dewan of the Fielding Bible explained to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Adam Dunn's poor defense wouldn't necessarily prevent the Nationals from building a better defensive team.

Pirates To Sign Brian Burres, Neal Cotts, Tyler Yates

The Pirates agreed to terms on minor league contracts with pitchers Brian Burres, Neal Cotts, and Tyler Yates today, according to a team press release.

Burres, 29 in April, spent the season with the Blue Jays' Triple A affiliate after being claimed off waivers from Baltimore in February.  He posted a 7.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and seemingly-undeserved 4.76 ERA in 107.6 innings.

Cotts, 30 in March, had Tommy John surgery in July and was non-tendered by the Cubs after the season.  Yates, 32, also had Tommy John surgery in July and was outrighted by the Bucs in October.