Oakland Athletics Rumors
MONDAY: Kirkman was placed on outright waivers shortly after being designated for assignment, and the Rangers will learn tomorrow whether he has been claimed, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
FRIDAY: The Rangers have claimed backstop Chris Gimenez off of waivers from the Athletics, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). To create roster space, lefty Michael Kirkman was designated for assignment.
The 31-year-old Gimenez provides yet another depth option for a Texas club that just inked Chris Snyder after losing Geovany Soto to start the year. Gimenez most recently saw MLB time with the Rays, but has never stepped up to the plate more than 130 times in any of his five MLB stints. In Triple-A last year, Gimenez hit .224/.350/.305 in 375 plate appearances, though he had much better numbers (.310/.389/.483 in 301 plate appearances) the year prior.
Kirkman, 27, has failed to maintain his form consistently at the MLB level, going from a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings (2010) to a 6.59 ERA in 27 1/3 (2011), 3.82 ERA in 35 1/3 (2012), and finally to a 8.18 ERA in 22 innings last year. His peripherals reveal a struggle with throwing strikes, as he has struck out 8.9 per nine over his career but walked 4.8 batters for every nine frames thrown.
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- The Angels have purchased the contract of infielder Ian Stewart, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The former top prospect, now 28, was brought in on a minor league contract in January.
- Ryan Rowland-Smith will make the Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster, GM Kevin Towers disclosed (via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). Rowland-Smith was in camp on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but was excellent last year for Boston's Triple-A club.
- The Giants announced that right-hander J.C. Gutierrez and infielder Brandon Hicks have been chosen for the Opening Day roster. Hicks had been competing with rookie Ehire Adrianza for a backup infield job, but both have made the team.
- The Braves announced via press release that pitchers Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas have been added to the Opening Day roster.
- Reds manager Bryan Price announced that reliever Trevor Bell and outfielder Roger Bernadina have made the club's Opening Day roster, according to a tweet from the team's Triple-A affiliate. Bell hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011, but threw very well this spring in 8 2/3 innings.
- The Mets are set to add Omar Quintanilla to their Opening Day roster, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Quintanilla figures to serve as the back-up at short. He rejoined the club on a minor league deal after being non-tendered.
- Xavier Nady will break camp with the Padres, tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, and thus will be added to the 40-man roster. The 35-year-old had a solid spring, and will fill in while Kyle Blanks and Cameron Maybin work back from injury.
- The Tigers have purchased the contract of Tyler Collins, the club announced. The 23-year-old, left-handed-hitting outfielder has not played above the Double-A level, but now grabs an Opening Day roster spot for a Detroit club that is without Andy Dirks to start the year. In 530 plate appearances at Double-A last year, Collins put up a .240/.323/.438 line with 21 home runs (and 122 strikeouts against 51 walks).
- The Rangers will add minor league free agent Daniel McCutchen to the roster, according to a tweet from his representatives at Sosnick Cobbe Sports. Texas will need to add the reliever to the 40-man roster in order to activate him.
- Yangervis Solarte will make the Yankees Opening Day roster, tweets Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Fellow utility infielder Eduardo Nunez, meanwhile, will be optioned to Triple-A to start the year. Solarte earned the position after a torrid spring.
- The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster, which includes three players -- Tony Gwynn Jr., Mario Hollands, and Jeff Manship -- who must be added to the 40-man. Meanwhile, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been put on the 60-day DL to create roster space while infielder Reid Brignac and reliever Shawn Camp have been reassigned to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (Twitter links).
- The Athletics have selected the contract of infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and optioned him to Triple-A, according to the MLB transactions page. After failing to see MLB action in the first year of his two-year, $6.5MM deal with Oakland, Nakajima was outrighted and ultimately re-signed to a minor league deal.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
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.
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.
After a busy transactional day yesterday, here are some American League notes that we did not quite get to:
- The Orioles are trying to decide what to do with Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, who looks to be unlikely to make the club's Opening Day roster. One possibility is a trade of the rights to the former Red Sox third base prospect, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. But that scenario could be complicated by the fact that Almanzar is dealing with a knee problem that will require an MRI, as MLB.com's Adam Berry reports. Of course, if Almanzar were to require a DL trip to start the year, it would offer Baltimore some added time to sort things out. Manager Buck Showalter said the team would not use the injury as pretext, however, emphasizing that Almanzar would only go to the DL if the injury required it.
- The Athletics raised some eyebrows by spending significant cash on relievers this offseason, taking on the salaries of Jim Johnson ($10MM) and Luke Gregerson ($5.065MM) while committing $7MM to Eric O'Flaherty over two years. For the notoriously tight-fisted, analytical ballclub, this spending pattern led to an obvious question: what edge had GM Billy Beane found this time? As Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports, the explanation may be fairly simple. With limited payroll to add to a ready-to-win roster, the club simply got the best "bang for its buck (Beane's words) while avoiding long-term commitments. Of course, as Passan notes, the team also knows that allowing Johnson to rack up the saves will result in arbitration savings on in-house relievers like Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
- With just days remaining until the deadline to settle on an Opening Day roster, the Blue Jays still have several roster battles taking place. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes, there still seems to be plenty of wiggle room in the final composition of the Toronto club. The rotation has two spots in play given J.A. Happ's struggles, the middle infield mix could be impacted by the recent injury to Jose Reyes, the backup catching situation is still not finalized, and the fourth outfielding spot is suddenly open to a last-minute competition between Moises Sierra and the newly-added Matt Tuiasosopo. Of course, as Nicholson-Smith notes, options will play a big role in the final determinations and no MLB roster is static throughout the season.
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- The Brewers have announced Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay made their Opening Day roster as a first base platoon. Both signed minor league deals within a three-day span in late-January. Reynolds will earn $2MM plus incentives while Overbay, in his second tour of duty with Milwaukee, will bank $1.5MM plus incentives. Reynolds leads the team in RBI's this spring while Overbay, mired in an 3-for-30 slump (all three hits coming after news of his promotion broke) is valued for his defense. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Brewers still have yet to make an official announcement regarding the status of Juan Francisco, who lost out to the veteran duo and cleared out his locker yesterday. The Brewers now have a full 40-man roster, but a spot could be cleared pending the outcome of Francisco's situation.
- With Craig Gentry being placed on the disabled list by the A's, Sam Fuld is expected to make the club as the fourth outfielder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. Fuld, whose minor league contract signed in February contained opt-out dates of this week and June 1, will earn $800K plus incentives. The A's will have to clear a 40-man roster spot before adding Fuld.
- The Cardinals have outrighted right-hander Angel Castro off their 40-man roster to create room for fellow right-hander Pat Neshek, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Neshek will earn $1MM from the deal he signed last month. Castro signed a Major League pact with the Cardinals last December after spending 2013 with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate posting a 3.48 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 19 starts and six relief appearances. Castro was one of several players mentioned by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes in his examination of the trend in signing six-year minor league free agents, with little to no MLB experience, to Major League contracts.
The Athletics announced that they've claimed outfielder Kent Matthes off waivers from the Rockies and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. Jarrod Parker, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster (Twitter links).
Matthes, 27, ranked among the Rockies' Top 30 prospects (per Baseball America) as recently as last winter, when he was 16th on the list. A former fourth-round pick out of Alabama, Matthes has a solid .275/.332/.505 batting line in his minor league career, although he did not reach the Triple-A level until last year -- his age-26 season. As BA notes, a torn patellar tendon, a broken hand and an oblique strain have severely shortened three of his minor league campaigns. However, he was still good enough in 2011 to take home California League MVP honors for batting .334/.378/.642 with 23 homers in 93 games before his hand was broken when it was hit by a pitch.
BA noted in the 2013 edition of its annual Prospect Handbook (highly recommended) that Matthes is an average runner with one of the strongest arms in the Rockies' system and profiled as a solid defender in right field.
Aroldis Chapman suffered fractures above his left eye and nose after being hit by a Salvador Perez line drive in a terrifying moment during tonight's Reds/Royals game. Chapman was on the ground for over 10 minutes while medical personnel attended to him, and the closer was eventually taken off the field on a cart and taken to hospital. Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters (including C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that Chapman "never lost consciousness. He was able to communicate, he was able to move his hands, his feet, his legs." The Reds' official Twitter feed said that Chapman was staying overnight in hospital for further observation. All of us at MLB Trade Rumors send our best wishes to Chapman in his recovery from that horrific incident.
Here are some items from around baseball...
- The Pirates are open to dealing right-handed relievers Jeanmar Gomez and Bryan Morris, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports, though they'd prefer to keep Gomez since he can also start. Both pitchers are out of options, and with the Pirates facing a crowded bullpen situation, it's no surprise that they're listening to offers for Morris, Gomez and (as reported yesterday) Vin Mazzaro.
- With the Pirates shopping relievers and looking for catching, Davidoff notes that the Yankees match up as trading partners due to their catcher surplus. A rival talent evaluator feels that the bullpen may be the Yankees' "biggest concern" due to a lack of proven arms, though several of those young pitchers have performed well in Spring Training.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos denied that the Jays' lack of offseason spending had anything to do with a new CEO at Rogers Communications, the team's parent company, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "There’s been no suggestion of any type of cutback, there’s no suggestion of anything other than support and of everything being positive," Beeston said.
- The Red Sox aren't particularly interested in trading Mike Carp, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (ESPN Insider subscription required). The Sox aren't sure if they "could get something particularly appealing" in a deal involving Carp. The Pirates, Brewers and Tigers have all been linked to Carp in rumors this offseason, and with Grady Sizemore's strong Spring Training, Carp could be an expendable piece on the Boston roster.
- Between Jarrod Parker's Tommy John surgery and injuries to A.J. Griffin and Scott Kazmir, MLB.com's Jane Lee feels the Athletics could be forced to look for external pitching help in the case of any more injuries or if any of their current starters struggle. Lee also addresses several other A's topics as part of her reader mailbag piece, including Hiroyuki Nakajima's status in the club's minor league camp.
- With the Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera controversies still lingering in the franchise's recent past, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer told Henry Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle that his club is more inclined to avoid players with drug suspensions. "We don't have a blanket policy saying we'll never touch a player that has a PED history. But I'd say that for us, it's a larger mountain to climb than others," Baer said. The Giants will look at such players "on a case-by-case basis" (like recent signing Mike Morse, suspended for 10 games in 2005) but players like Nelson Cruz who were coming off PED suspensions and required draft pick compensation to sign seem out of the question. "Qualifying offer and a PED association - that's a bad combination. Brian [Sabean] and I both feel very strongly about that," Baer said.
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.
2:49pm: Athletics assistant GM David Forst tells reporters, including MLB.com's Jane Lee, that Kazmir's injury is very minor, and he could have pitched today (Twitter link). Slusser tweets that Kazmir may even start tomorrow.
Forst also adds that the team has no plans to look outside the organization to acquire additional pitching depth (Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet reporting via Twitter).
It's a big blow for the defending AL West champions, and though the team has more pitching depth than most clubs, they also shut right-hander A.J. Griffin down for three weeks over the weekend and will likely be without him for at least the first month of the season, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser (on Twitter). Beyond that, offseason signee Scott Kazmir was scratched from today's Spring Training start due to triceps stiffness.
With Parker and Griffin on the shelf, the A's would figure to open the season with Kazmir (if his triceps injury is minor), Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, Tommy Milone and one of Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez or Josh Lindblom in the rotation (Slusser earlier tweeted that it would likely be Chavez). Obviously, that's a considerably weaker group than it would be with a healthy Parker and Griffin in the mix, and it's fair to wonder if the A's will pursue a trade to add further depth -- perhaps an out-of-options starter from another club.
Parker, 25, has given the A's 378 1/3 innings of 3.73 ERA ball with 6.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over the past two seasons, helping the club to a pair of AL West division titles. Oakland originally acquired him from the Diamondbacks along with Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill in the trade that sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona. His first Tommy John surgery came back in October 2009 when he was still in the Diamondbacks organization.
The news is the latest in a slew of Tommy John surgeries, as Kris Medlen is all but certain to require Tommy John, while Brandon Beachy also faces that possibility and Patrick Corbin will seemingly suffer that same fate as well. Beyond that, Padres right-hander Joe Wieland is undergoing an MRI today that could reveal UCL damage and lead to his second Tommy John operation.