In order to make room for the recently-acquired Reid Brignac, the Yankees have designated fellow infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. As McCullough further tweets, Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he wanted Brignac's left-handed bat to platoon on the left side of the infield with the right-handed swinging David Adams and Jayson Nix.
Gonzalez was acquired by New York just over two weeks ago, and saw only nine plate appearances for the team. Over a total of 35 plate appearances this year with the Yankees and Cubs, Gonzalez has put up a .250/.286/.375 line.
The Rockies have traded utility infielder Reid Brignac to the Yankees, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman adds (via Twitter) that the Rockies will receive $75,000 cash in the deal. Brignac was designated for assignment by the Rockies on Thursday.
Brignac, 27, has made versatility his calling card. As MLBTR's Mark Polishuk recently explained, Brignac has been trusted to man both middle infield positions, as well as third base and the corner outfield, at the big league level. He has not done much with the stick in his career, however, posting a lifetime .228/.270/.321 line.
For a Yankees team that continues to be hit with new injuries, Brignac will provide flexibility. He joins a middle-infield mix headlined by Robinson Cano but otherwise featuring less-than-inspiring names like Alberto Gonzalez and Jayson Nix. Brignac follows third baseman Chris Nelson as a Rockies castoff that ended up in New York this year. He will hope to stick longer than Nelson, who only wore pinstripes for 37 plate appearances.
We will start the weekend off with a few notes from around baseball:
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that the Pirates and Twins may have interest in infielder Reid Brignac. The Rockies recently designated Brignac for assignment to clear room for DJ LeMahieu. The 27-year-old Brignac had slashed .250/.294/.375 over 53 plate appearances in his first season in Colorado. He owns a career line of .228/.270/.321 in 719 plate appearances for the Rays and Rockies.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden (subscription required) suggests some key adjustments for the Mariners, who he believes can compete this season. Bowden argues that the Mariners could improve their disappointing offense by trading from their pitching depth, as well as by promoting top prospects Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino.
- Highly-rated prospect Jake Odorizzi could throw his first pitch for the Rays as soon as Monday, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, as he appears first in line to fill in for injured starter David Price. If he is called up, Odorizzi would become the first of the four prospects acquired in the James Shields trade to see action for the big club. Baseball America rated Odorizzi as the Rays' fifth-best prospect going into the season, and he has been solid at Triple-A so far, posting a 3.83 ERA over 44 2/3 innings to go with 9.5 K/9 and 3 BB/9.
One of baseball's rising stars recently told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he was concerned about the flurry of contract extensions in baseball and the effect it could have on all players. Free agency, the player argued, helped to make the players union into the powerhouse that it is today. More extensions around baseball means fewer top players reaching free agency, which leads some to believe that there won't be anyone to drive the top of the market. However, agent Scott Boras and union chief Michael Weiner don't view the increasing number of contract extensions as a problem.
Weiner says that he only asks that players exercise their Basic Agreement rights and is fine with players taking extensions over free agency when it suits their needs. Boras has a slightly different take on things, saying that some players don't have the right agent representing them in contract talks with their club.
“The biggest problem the union faces is that there should be more criteria and practical experience before agents can be qualified to represent players with the decisions at hand,” Boras said. “A large number of players believe that a social relationship is the primary foundation — in other words, ‘I like the guy,’ rather than qualifications."
Rosenthal goes on to note that precautions against deals that are too team-friendly are built into the regulations. Agents are required to consult with the union when representing arbitration-eligible players or working on a contract that will cover arbitration years. Meanwhile, agents without arbitration experience must consult with an attorney who has gone through the process before. That means that Anthony Rizzo's seven-year, $41MM pact - which was widely viewed as a win for the Cubs - had input from the union along the way.
While the money is still flowing in for players with extensions, its hard to entirely dismiss what the open market can do in terms of pushing the ceiling. Justin Verlander, for example, would have given a bigger boost to David Price if he had waited to hit the open market after the 2014 season and signed for $30MM rather than $25.7MM per year in his extension with the Tigers. For now, the union is fine with the status quo, but Rosenthal could see things changing if the union feels as though its not getting its fair share of revenue.
The Marlins have announced that right-hander Jon Rauch has been designated for assignment. The move creates a spot on the 40-man roster for Duane Below, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Tigers.
Rauch signed a one-year, $1MM deal with the Marlins in February, but pitched to a 6.89 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old owns a career 3.88 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over 594 big league innings. Before he signed with Miami, the Brewers were among the clubs with interest in Rauch.
While the Blue Jays may be the only AL East team currently under .500, the club is 7-3 in their past 10 games, and injured shortstop Jose Reyes may return sooner than expected. The club was a major mover last offseason, but additions such as Reyes, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Johnson have been unable to provide much of an impact. Here is a look at today's news out of the ultra-competitive American League East..
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com notes that the Yankees now have players making a total of $97MM currently on their disabled list. Andy Pettitte became the latest high-priced Yankee to head to the DL, as Vidal Nuno will be promoted in his place.
- Travis Ishikawa has extended the opt-out in his contract with the Orioles, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The 29-year-old first baseman is currently batting .304/.383/.504 over 154 PA with Triple-A Norfolk.
The Twins announced that they have released left-hander Rafael Perez. Perez signed a minor league deal with the team in February, but had yet to pitch for the big league club.
The 29-year-old logged just four innings for Triple-A Rochester, pitching to a 2.25 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 6.8 BB/9. Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins had agreed to release Perez if he was not able to make their roster, and felt that he was not ready for big league hitters. Perez has a 3.64 ERA with 7.3 K/ and 3.2 BB/9 over 329 Major League innings, all with the Indians.
Max Fogle contributed to this post.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that one GM thinks Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel, and Kris Bryant should be the first three players drafted next month. While the trio has generally been regarded as the best available talent, the GM thinks "those 3 have separated themselves" from the rest of the pack. Here's a look at other news on this June's amateur draft...
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down highly-rated Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea. Manaea went undrafted out of high school, but figures to be selected early, ranking as the No. 9 prospect according to Mayo.
- The Twins will not select Minnesota high school right-hander Logan Shore with their second round pick, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Shore ranked as the No. 199 draft prospect by Baseball America and the publication writes that the Florida recruit could go as high as the third round.
- White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann was on hand to watch Oral Roberts' right-hander Alex Gonzalez start today, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Gonzalez, who BA sees as a potential No. 3 starter, pitched well as he struck out 13 over eight innings.
There's been plenty of speculation that the Padres will trade Chase Headley this July after he stated his unwillingness to negotiate an extension mid-season, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the team still has no intentions of moving him.
Majority owner Ron Fowler went on record earlier this month as saying that the team wanted to offer Headley a multiyear contract that would be the largest in franchise history, which seemed to take the 28-year-old by surprise. Headley stated that he told the team before the season that he didn't want to negotiate once the 2013 campaign commenced, and he's stuck by that.
Heyman reports that it's believed the Padres preferred to get something done this offseason without crossing the $100MM barrier. It's believed that ownership and GM Josh Byrnes were hoping for something in the five-year, $75MM range.
Earlier in May, when the extension rumors began, I speculated that a five-year, $85MM deal would work for both sides. However, agents not involved in the negotiations told Heyman that Ryan Zimmerman's six-year, $100MM contract would likely have to be a baseline for a Headley extension. In spite of that speculation, Byrnes repeated that the team's preference is to sign him long-term, adding:
"We can't wait forever. We have a group that's trying to take it to the next level. And that's what we're hoping to do.''
Byrnes conceded that many teams have made an attempt to acquire Headley over the past year, with Heyman noting that the Pirates made "an especially spirited" effort. Heyman also adds that the Indians, Diamondbacks and and Dodgers tried to a lesser extent and came up short. Byrnes added that since those trade efforts took place, the Padres have only come to value Headley even more.
Last month, a poll showed that MLBTR readers were evenly divided on the issue, with 51 percent feeling he'd be traded and 49 percent feeling he would sign an extension.
Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that the Padres have selected the contract of Tim Stauffer and designated right-hander Thad Weber for assignment (Twitter link). In a related move, Carlos Quentin has been placed on the paternity list.
The 28-year-old Weber allowed just two runs in nine innings for the Friars this season, though he walked five and struck out only six in that time. The Padres claimed him off waivers from the Tigers last August. Weber has just 13 innings of big league experience and averages 89.8 mph on his fastball. He does have a stellar 68.2 percent ground-ball rate in that admittedly tiny sample.
Stauffer, 30, was a key member of the Padres' pitching staff from 2009-11. After a strong year-plus in the bullpen, he shifted to the rotation for the end of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 campaign. He made one start in 2012 before elbow surgery cut his season short. From 2009-12, the former No. 4 overall pick in the draft had a 3.27 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 346 1/3 innings of work.
Stauffer signed a minor league contract this offseason after being waiver in the fall. His deal had an opt-out clause around June 1, so the Padres were nearing a decision on him. Stauffer had a 3.16 ERA through 42 2/3 innings at Triple-A Tucson this season.