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The Mets announced today that closer Jenrry Mejia will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 5, due to posterior elbow inflammation. Mejia’s injury adds another to a long list of pitching injuries for the Mets early in the season, but his injury does appear to be of the short-term variety. Jeurys Familia will step into Mejia’s spot in the closer’s role in the interim. (Fantasy players looking to stay on top of closer situations can follow MLBTR’s fantasy-focused @closernews handle on Twitter.)
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg explained to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki the team’s thought process in its final roster decisions at the end of Spring Training. Signing right-hander Dustin McGowan upon his release from the Dodgers was a welcome move for Philadelphia, as they’d had interest in him earlier in the offseason before he signed in L.A. Jeff Francoeur was selected for a roster spot despite others performing better in spring because the team wanted a right-handed bat on the bench and felt that Francoeur’s clubhouse presence would benefit the young players on the roster. Cesar Hernandez was outperformed by Cord Phelps, but the Phillies wanted a shortstop on the bench, and Hernandez was out of Minor League options, paving his way to the Opening Day roster.
- Nationals center fielder Denard Span may be back from core muscle surgery sooner than expected, writes MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Span has already begun performing hard sprint drills and has played defense in a pair of Minor League games. Span tells Ladson that he he thinks he could potentially return to the lineup before the calendar flips to May, potentially putting him about two weeks ahead of schedule.
- Freddie Freeman was among the Braves players to speak to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman about the difficulty of losing Craig Kimbrel as a teammate following Kimbrel’s trade to the Padres. “He got sent down from High A to Low A, and then all of the sudden became Craig Kimbrel,” Freeman reminisced. “It’s the craziest thing. When a guy gets traded, you think about all those stories in the Minor Leagues. … It’s definitely tough seeing him go. But I think everybody’s mentality in this clubhouse is to prove everybody wrong.” Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he felt the players handled the news well, and veteran Jonny Gomes worked to make sure that the trade wasn’t something dwelled upon as the team geared up for Opening Day, Bowman adds.
The Padres expressed some mild interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon earlier in the offseason, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Obviously, San Diego no longer looks like an even hypothetical landing spot for Papelbon. It seems likely that Papelbon’s greatest appeal will ultimately lie with a club that suffers an injury or wants a chance to add late-inning depth over the summer.
Here’s more from the National League:
- With the Padres having taken on significant salary commitments and given up young talent to acquire Craig Kimbrel from the Braves, reactions to the move have been divided somewhat between front office and uniformed personnel, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes (Insider link). Atlanta has the backing of most executives, says Olney, while players and coaches have understandably focused on the impact that Kimbrel could have in San Diego.
- The Padres received immediate trade interest in their bullpen after adding Kimbrel, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. “Within minutes, probably, of the (Kimbrel) deal, four or five teams have checked in,” said GM A.J. Preller. “So that’s part of making the deal. Hopefully, you add depth and it may help us in another area down the road.” Of course, that depth could be put to use either to fill in the pen or to shore up another area of need via trade.
- The shortstop position is an obvious area to watch for the Cubs, but Olney says (in the above-linked piece) that it may not all be positive. Starlin Castro has proven he can hit, but Olney says there are real concerns about how committed he is to grinding things out on defense. Chicago informed other teams this winter that it was open to trade scenarios involving the 25-year-old.
The rosters for Opening Day have been officially submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today’s additions:
- The Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s contract on Monday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The 25-man roster that the Orioles announced today included Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger at catcher, but not Lavarnway, who they had reassigned to the minors.
- The Padres have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Wil Nieves. With Tim Federowicz out with a knee injury, Nieves will back up Derek Norris. As we noted when Nieves signed, his big-league salary will be $850K.
- Ryan Madson has made the Royals‘ Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Madson caps his comeback from multiple elbow injuries and his first appearance for Kansas City will be his first in the Majors since 2011.
- The Nationals have announced on Twitter that second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson have made their Opening Day roster.
- The Braves announced they have officially purchased the contracts of outfielders Eric Young, Jr. and Kelly Johnson, left-hander Eric Stults, and right-hander Cody Martin. The Braves cleared space on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and outfielder Dian Toscano on the restricted list.
- One name missing from the Braves‘ roster is Pedro Ciriaco, who was reported yesterday to have made the club. This is likely a procedural move, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), because the Braves placed Josh Outman on the 25-man roster instead of releasing him after the left-hander complained of shoulder tenderness. The move will also buy the Braves some time to look for an upgrade over Ciriaco, tweets Bowman.
- The Phillies have announced outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Andres Blanco have made the team. Francoeur is just one of four outfielders on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so he could see time as Grady Sizemore‘s platoon partner in right field. The Phillies are now at their 40-man limit.
- The Marlins have selected the contract of utility player Don Kelly, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Kelly earned his spot with solid Spring Training line of .270/.357/.324 in 42 plate appearances. Frisaro reports the 35-year-old will backup both the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as serving as the team’s emergency third catcher.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andres Blanco | Arodys Vizcaino | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Dan Uggla | Dian Toscano | Don Kelly | Eric Stults | Eric Young, Jr. | Grady Sizemore | Jeff Francoeur | Josh Outman | Kansas City Royals | Kelly Johnson | Miami Marlins | Pedro Ciriaco | Philadelphia Phillies | Reed Johnson | Ryan Lavarnway | Ryan Madson | San Diego Padres | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Wil Nieves
Washington hasn’t had a baseball all-star game since the Senators hosted the game at RFK Stadium in 1969, but that’s about to change. An announcement naming Nationals Park the host of the 2018 All-Star Game is expected to come on Monday, a source tells James Wagner of the Washington Post. The Montreal Expos, the franchise that was moved to the District by MLB, hosted the game in 1982, but this will be the first game hosted by the Nationals. Here’s more out of the NL East..
- The feeling among some baseball executives is that Phillies star second baseman Chase Utley will eventually give in to a deal as the losing escalates in Philly, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Cafardo adds that Utley, who has a no-trade clause, could be attracted to West Coast teams such as the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, or A’s. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently wrote that the Padres, Angels, and possibly the Giants could be among the teams with interest in the California native.
- The Marlins‘ first order of business was signing Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill knew that there was much more to be done beyond that, as Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald writes. Hill and GM Dan Jennings spoke to Spencer about the inner workings of some of the club’s biggest offseason moves, including the signing of Michael Morse and the Martin Prado deal.
- Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald spoke former GMs Jim Bowden and Dan O’Dowd plus Hall Of Fame journalist Peter Gammons to get their thoughts on the Marlins. While going through each unit on the roster, they also touched on the new contracts given to outfielders Stanton and Christian Yelich.
Here’s a roundup of some 40-man roster news as teams decide who will break camp for Opening Day….
- The Diamondbacks have announced (via Twitter) that Archie Bradley, Gerald Laird, and Jordan Pacheco have made the roster. Bradley, a top prospect, will join the rotation. Laird will serve as the backup catcher while Pacheco will probably take on a super utility role that includes some catching.
- The Astros have selected the contract of Roberto Hernandez, per the MLB transactions page. The right-handed sinker specialist has a 4.60 ERA in 1,264 innings. He split the 2014 season between the Phillies and Dodgers.
- The Dodgers have released right-handed pitcher Barry Enright, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Enright is a veteran of four major league seasons, although he struggled at the top level. He owns a 5.57 ERA, 4.60 K/9, and 3.15 BB/9 in 148 innings.
- The Nationals will select the contract of outfielder Clint Robinson, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Times. Robinson, 30, is a career minor leaguer with just 14 major league plate appearances. In 1,771 Triple-A plate appearances, he’s hit .303/.392/.494. Janes also notes that the club is almost certain to retain second baseman Dan Uggla. He’s one of just five healthy infielders with the club.
- The Blue Jays have opted to roster eight relievers for the start of the season with Liam Hendriks making the cut, writes Sean Farrell of MLB.com. The righty appeared for the Jays and Royals last season. He has a career 5.92 ERA in 188 innings. Second baseman Ryan Goins was optioned in a corresponding move.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that utility man Pedro Ciriaco and pitcher Cody Martin will probably make the team. Ciriaco is a career .270/.299/.372 hitter over 498 plate appearances split over five seasons. The pair were added at the expense of outfielder Todd Cunningham and pitcher Michael Foltynewicz.
- Also making the Atlanta roster is pitcher Eric Stults, writes Bowman. The soft-tossing lefty has a solid big league career with a 4.12 ERA, 5.69 K/9, and 2.53 BB/9. His best season came with the Padres in 2013 when he pitched 203 innings with a 3.93 ERA.
- The Yankees have selected the contract of infielder Gregorio Petit, reports Chad Jennings of LoHud. Petit, 30, is a career .278/.301/.391 hitter in 156 plate appearances.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says Anthony Bass will travel with the club to Oakland, reports Stefan Stevenson (via Twitter). He’ll make the team barring a last minute acquisition. The 27-year-old reliever struggled with the Astros last season. In 27 innings, he allowed a 6.33 ERA with 2.33 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9.
- The Phillies have selected the contracts of right-handed reliever Jeanmar Gomez and left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez, the team announced on Twitter. Gomez owns a career 4.41 ERA with 5.23 K/9 and 3.14 BB/9. He pitched well this spring in 12 and two-thirds innings, allowing a 0.71 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk. Jimenez is familiar with the Phillies as he’s bounced between Philadelphia and Triple-A over the past two seasons. In 81 innings, he has a career 4.32 ERA with 6.09 K/9 and 3.09 BB/9.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Anthony Bass | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Wilson | Buddy Carlyle | Cesar Jimenez | Chicago White Sox | Clint Robinson | Delino DeShields Jr. | Eric Stults | Geovany Soto | Gregorio Petit | Jeanmar Gomez | Juan Francisco | Liam Hendriks | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Albers | Micah Johnson | Mike Carp | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pedro Ciriaco | Philadelphia Phillies | Rule 5 Draft | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals
Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Diamondbacks have optioned Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, the team reports via Twitter. The club signed Tomas for $68.5MM over the offseason. He struggled both defensively and offensively this spring. A stint in Triple-A should give him time to adjust to the outfield and improve his plate approach.
- Phillies Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver has elected free agency after he was outrighted, the club announced via Twitter. The hard throwing lefty has struggled with walks throughout his career. That continued this spring with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts in 12 and two-thirds innings. The club also announced on Twitter that they reassigned catcher Rene Garcia, first baseman Russ Canzler, and infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A.
- Marlins utility infielder Reid Brignac has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. In 905 major league plate appearances, Brignac has a .222/.266/.314 line.
- Athletics pitcher Barry Zito has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com. The former star is working his way back from a one-year hiatus. He posted a 4.79 ERA in 20 and two-thirds spring innings. The 37-year-old struck out 14 and walked five. A former ninth overall pick of the A’s, the southpaw struggled after moving across the Bay to San Francisco on a seven-year, $126MM contract. That deal concluded after the 2013 season.
- The Red Sox have released Casey Crosby, Bryan LaHair, and Matt Hoffman per the MLB transactions page. Crosby was once a top prospect with the Tigers, but the 26-year-old lefty has yet to develop command. Lahair, 32, had a nice run with the Cubs in 2012 when he hit .259/.334/.450 with 16 home runs in 380 plate appearances. He spent the 2013 season in Japan and split 2014 between Cleveland’s Double and Triple-A clubs.
- The Phillies have released shortstop Tyler Greene according to the MLB transactions page. Greene, an 11th round pick, was once rated among the Phillies’ best prospects. He missed the entire 2014 season and has never posted a strikeout rate below 33 percent at any level.
- The Giants have released pitcher Edgmer Escalona per the MLB transactions page. Escalona pitched in parts of four seasons for the Rockies, accruing 100 innings. He has a career 4.50 ERA with 6.39 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9.
- The Cubs have released lefty pitcher Francisley Bueno according to the transactions page. The 34-year-old has pitched in parts of four season for the Braves and Royals. The soft tossing lefty has a career 2.98 ERA with 4.92 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 60 innings. He’s a pure platoon pitcher.
- The Braves released former closer Matt Capps per MLB.com. The righty last appeared in the majors in 2012. He has a career 3.52 ERA with 6.53 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. He’s thrown just 12 minor league innings over the last two seasons – both with the Indians.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andy Oliver | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Barry Zito | Boston Red Sox | Bryan LaHair | Casey Crosby | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Cord Phelps | Detroit Tigers | Edgmer Escalona | Francisley Bueno | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marc Topkin | Matt Capps | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | Oakland Athletics | P.J. Walters | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Reid Brignac | Russ Canzler | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Susan Slusser | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Tyler Greene
8:51pm: Philadelphia has confirmed it’s a one-year, major league deal via Twitter. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen.
8:05pm: MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki confirmed the deal and implied McGowan will make the Opening Day bullpen. The club has announced six relievers. They have a seventh – Luis Garcia – in camp. However, Garcia still has options.
7:12pm: The Phillies have agreed to a deal with right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN (via Twitter). No word yet on whether it’s a major or minor league deal. He was released by the Dodgers on Tuesday.
The oft-injured 33-year-old posted a 6.75 ERA with five strikeouts and one walk in eight spring innings. He appeared for the Blue Jays last year with a 4.17 ERA, 6.70 K/9, and 3.62 BB/9 in 82 innings split between eight starts and 45 relief appearances.
Rafael Soriano is talking with multiple teams at the moment but doesn’t appear close to signing, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Soriano is still looking for a team as Opening Day approaches despite a largely successful season with the Nationals in 2014. Some scouts felt, however, that his stuff deteriorated late in the season, and Soriano did indeed lose his grip on the closer’s role in September. The last team connected to Soriano was the Twins, though team officials have since downplayed their interest. Here’s some more from around baseball…
- The Astros are looking to add another starting pitcher, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.
- Also from Heyman, he opines that the recently-released Wandy Rodriguez could be of interest to the Phillies. Rodriguez almost joined the Phils earlier this winter but failed a physical, which led him to sign with the Braves instead.
- While the relationship between Josh Hamilton and the Angels seems strained at best, the two sides “like it or not…are stuck with each other,” ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only piece. Hamilton’s big contract, lack of production and off-the-field issues make him virtually impossible to trade, while Hamilton will likely have to accept a reduced role when he returns to the club.
- The Nationals are facing the most pressure of any team in baseball this season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes in his rundown of the top 12 teams who have a particularly big need for strong results in 2015.
The list of players “available…in final days of spring” on the trade market includes Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin and Phillies outfielder Ben Revere, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). It is difficult to move higher salaries at this time of the season, Rosenthal notes, which would seem to indicate a tougher market for the pricier Maybin, though Revere isn’t an inexpensive asset himself.
Maybin signed a five-year, $25MM extension with San Diego in March 2012 but has yet to deliver on the contract, hitting just .235/.297/.336 over 890 plate appearances over the last three seasons. This stretch of Maybin’s career has also been marred by injuries and a 25-game suspension for amphetamine usage in 2014.
His struggles were already hurting his playing time in San Diego even before the Padres added Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers this offseason. It’s not surprising that the Padres are having a difficult time shopping Maybin given his expendable role on the team and hefty remaining contract — Maybin (who celebrates his 28th birthday today) is owed $7MM this season, $8MM in 2016 and the Padres hold a $9MM club option on his services for 2017 that can be bought out for $1MM. The Padres would surely have to eat a big chunk of that contract to make a deal work, or take on another big contract in return.
Revere, meanwhile, is a bit younger (he turns 27 in May) and cheaper (owed $4.1MM in 2015) than Maybin and was a much more productive player in 2014. Revere collected a league-leading 184 hits while going 49-for-57 in stolen base attempts and slashing .306/.325/.361 over 626 PA. This still added up to only a 92 wRC+ for Revere, however, due to his lack of walks and near-total lack of power, and he has also been a below-average defender over the last two seasons according to both the Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 metrics.
With Revere’s limitations in mind, it makes sense that the Phillies would explore a trade now since he’ll only get more expensive over his two final seasons of arbitration eligibility. The Phillies drew some trade interest in Revere early in the offseason though no firmer details were ever revealed about the depth of that interest or which teams were involved.
Revere had been penciled in as Philadelphia’s regular left fielder this season, as Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera has won the center field job after an impressive spring camp. The Phillies’ outfield mix includes the likes of Grady Sizemore, Darin Ruf, the injured Domonic Brown, and veterans Jeff Francoeur and Jordan Danks also in camp, leaving the club with some unremarkable replacement options should Revere be dealt.
Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the latest moves at the top of the post…
- The Reds outrighted right-hander Dylan Axelrod off their 40-man roster and down to Triple-A, according to the team’s official transactions page. This move will help free up space for one of the several veterans Cincinnati is looking to add to its 40-man roster. Axelrod posted a 2.95 ERA in 18 1/3 IP for the Reds last season and a 4.01 ERA in 103 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level in the Reds and White Sox organizations.
- The Phillies have put Rule 5 Draft pick Andy Oliver on waivers, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports. If Oliver clears waivers, Salisbury notes that the Phils could try to fully obtain the lefty’s rights from the Pirates in a trade. As a Rule 5 Draft player, Oliver must spend the entire season on a 25-man roster or else be offered back to his original club (Pittsburgh).
- The Giants seem to have released left-hander Travis Blackley, as per the southpaw’s own Twitter page. Blackley tweeted his thanks to the organization for giving him a chance to pitch this spring (on a minor league deal) and used the past tense in describing the Giants as “a very classy organization that I was proud to play for!” Blackley posted a 5.23 ERA over 192 2/3 innings spread over four MLB seasons between 2004-13 with the Mariners, Giants, A’s, Astros and Rangers, and he spent the 2014 campaign pitching in Japan.
- The Twins have released left-hander Wil Ledezma, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (via Twitter). Ledezma, 34, signed a minor league deal with the Twins in December and was looking to reach the big leagues for the first time since 2011.
- The White Sox released outfielder Brian Anderson, CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes reports (via Twitter). The Sox also parted ways with two more veterans according to their team transactions page, releasing right-hander J.D. Martin and infielder Andy LaRoche.