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Onelki Garcia Rumors
The White Sox have outrighted righty Maikel Cleto and lefty Onelki Garcia, the club announced (hat tip to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune). Both relievers will lose their 40-man roster spots with Chicago, though it is not yet clear whether the pair has passed through waivers.
Soon to turn 26, Cleto saw by far his most extensive MLB action last year for Chicago. He threw 29 1/3 innings of 4.60 ERA ball, striking out 9.8 but walking 7.1 batters per nine. Cleto still offers intriguing power, with his fastball averaging 97.0 mph last year.
Garcia, 25, has made just three big league appearances in his career and missed most of last season (and saw little game action this spring) after undergoing elbow surgery. Once a top-ten organizational prospect for the Dodgers, Garcia was claimed off waivers early in the offseason.
The White Sox have designated reliever Ronald Belisario for assignment, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports on Twitter. The club also claimed lefty Onelki Garcia from the Dodgers and outrighted outfielder Jared Mitchell, per the Tribune’s Colleen Kane (Twitter links).
Garcia is an intriguing pick-up for Chicago. The 25-year-old has only limited big league experience, but has already racked up over a year of service time due to injury. But he has one solid season under his belt in the upper minors, back in 2012, and his live arm was intriguing enough that Baseball America rated him the Dodgers’ ninth-best prospect heading into 2014 in spite of his having undergone an elbow procedure. As BA wrote, the Cuban has a big fastball and good curve with plenty of upside if he can improve his control and add polish.
Belisario, 31, spent some time as Chicago’s closer in his first season with the Pale Hose, but he struggled overall. The former Dodger pitched to a 5.56 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 66 1/3 innings. However, Belisario’s FIP and SIERA feel that he was markedly better than his ERA. Indeed, much of those struggles seem to have come from a fluke 57.7 percent strand rate — significantly lower than his career mark of 70 percent. Belisario was also plagued by a .339 BABIP despite having posted a .288 mark for his career in that department. There were some positives to his game this past season, including an average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph and a strong 59.3 percent ground-ball rate. Nonetheless, Chicago apparently wasn’t comfortable with his projected arbitration salary of $3.9MM.
Mitchell, 26, was the Sox’ No. 1 pick back in 2009 (23rd overall) and ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus that offseason. However, the LSU product has yet to show the offense one would hope for from a first-round outfielder, as he’s batted just .219/.341/.348 in parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level.
Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, entered the Rays' game as a pinch-hitter against the Rangers Thursday night and singled in his first big-league at-bat. It marked a milestone for the infielder, who crawled through the minor leagues, never hitting all that impressively at any level, before posting a line of .276/.342/.387 in 2013 for Triple-A Durham. All of the 20 players drafted immediately after Beckham made it to the big leagues before he did. (Many, of course, were drafted out of college; Beckham came out of high school.) Remarkably, as Baseball America's John Manuel notes (via Twitter), Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to make it to the big leagues with them. That's surprising, given how vital young players are to a low-payroll team like the Rays and how successful they've been in recent years. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has implied to first baseman Adam Lind that there's a good chance the team will pick up Lind's 2014 option, but nothing is certain yet, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated," says Lind, who will get either $7MM to play for the Jays or a $2MM buyout. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 and 2016. Lind has hit .282/.352/.486 so far this season. The team isn't required to make a decision about his option until shortly after the World Series ends.
- Mets manager Terry Collins wants Ruben Tejada to take command of the shortstop position next season, Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman of MLB.com write. "My message is real simple: this job is his," says Collins. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mets could pursue a shortstop from outside the organization. The offseason free-agent market isn't a strong one, but a trade might be a possibility. Tejada has hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances this season.
- The Cubs aren't ready to say whether Dale Sveum will remain their manager in 2014, but the notion that the Cubs would fire Sveum is "laughable," says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Morrissey raises the possibility that the Cubs hesitation on Sveum may have something to do with big-name managers like Joe Girardi and Ron Gardenhire being free agents this offseason. He argues that Sveum shouldn't be blamed for the struggles of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, suggesting that the pair might simply not be as good as the Cubs and their fans hoped.
- The Brewers claimed pitcher Josh Ravin off waivers from the Reds today, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy compares Ravin to Joe Nathan, noting that Ravin can throw in triple digits (Twitter link). Ravin wouldn't be the first player to find success as a reliever in the Majors after an unimpressive minor-league career, but Joe Nathan is a lofty name to drop when discussing a 25-year-old who posted a 5.82 ERA with 6.7 BB/9 in the minors this year.
- Dodgers lefty Onelki Garcia is now represented by BHS Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Garcia posted a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in the upper levels of the minors in 2013, and he made his big-league debut last week.
The deadline for signing draft picks is just three weeks away, now that it’s been moved up under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement. Here are the latest noteworthy signings from the second round of the draft and on…
- The Mets gave 14th round pick Chris Flexen an above slot $374,400 bonus, reports MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). The high school right-hander is represented by Adam Karon of Sosnick Cobbe Sports.
- The Dodgers signed third rounder Onelki Garcia for an under-slot $382K, reports Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The Cuban southpaw owns a 90-93 mph fastball and a good curveball according to Callis.
- The Dodgers also signed eighth rounder Scott Griggs for $135K, reports Callis (on Twitter). The UCLA right-hander received the full slot value.
- The Yankees signed third round selection Nathan Mikolas for $400K, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). The high school first baseman has a very good bat and some power potential, according to Callis.
- The Rays signed third round selection Andrew Toles for $397K, Callis tweets. The speedy outfielder is a strong defender in center field, Callis writes.
- The Nationals announced that they signed third rounder Brett Mooneyham, a left-hander out of Stanford University. Amanda Comak of The Washington Times says (on Twitter) that he received $429K.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
MLB's first year player draft takes place one week from today. The notes below should provide some hints as to what might happen on June 4th…
- Chicago GM Jed Hoyer says "pitching is a target” for the Cubs in next week’s draft, Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald reports (Twitter link) “As an organization, our pitching depth is one of our bigger concerns,” Hoyer said.
- In this week's edition of Ask BA Jim Callis of Baseball America explains why teams won't use top picks to draft players they don't intend to sign.
- Cuban left-hander Onelki Garcia has his eyes on a major payday with the draft looming. The 22-year-old is looking for a signing bonus of $7MM and will not sign unless he's taken in the first round, tweets ESPN.com's Keith Law.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America expects the Pirates to take a hitter with the eighth overall selection (all Twitter links). Callis keeps hearing the Pirates connected to Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero, and prep outfielder Albert Almora and University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino are also possibilities. Zunino draws comparisons to Jason Varitek, Callis notes.
- Callis expects the Twins to take the top talent available when they select second overall, but notes that they could use pitching.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.