- Mets Acquire Eric O’Flaherty, Designate Alex Torres
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- Blue Jays Designate Danny Valencia, Ezequiel Carerra
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- Dave Dombrowski Out As Tigers GM; Al Avila Named Replacement
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P.J. Walters Rumors
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Nationals announced today that they’ve acquired right-hander P.J. Walters from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. Walters, 30, has had an interesting eight months or so. Initially signed to a minor league deal by the Phillies, Walters wound up pitching on the independent circuit to open the season before the Dodgers picked him up. He then worked to a 4.70 ERA in 23 innings with L.A.’s Triple-A affiliate before today’s trade, which will send him to Triple-A Syracuse, where he’ll serve as rotation depth for the Nats. Walters has 152 big league innings between the Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays.
- Left-hander Eric Stults will accept an outright assignment to Double-A Tulsa and remain with the Dodgers‘ organization, reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Stults was acquired from the Braves in last week’s six-player Alberto Callaspo/Juan Uribe trade, and the Dodgers immediately designated him for assignment. Stults could have rejected a minor league assignment after clearing outright waivers and instead tested free agency. However, doing so would have meant forfeiting the $1.44MM or so remaining on his contract. He’ll serve as a depth piece for the Dodgers, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him end up back on the big league club and take some turns in the rotation down the line.
- Cotillo also tweets that Blue Jays righty Todd Redmond has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Buffalo. Toronto designated Redmond for assignment for the second time this season last week. He, too, had the option to reject the outright assignment and look for employment with a new club, but the 30-year-old opted to remain with the Jays. Redmond was a nice bullpen piece for Toronto from 2013-14, totaling 152 innings of 3.79 ERA ball in a decisively hitter-friendly environment.
Some minor transactions from around the league and the independent circuit…
- The Cubs have released right-hander Blake Parker, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Parker, designated for assignment yesterday, had not appeared in the big leagues this year. In his 3 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level, Parker permitted one earned run to score while striking out one and walking three batters. He does own a 3.68 career ERA in the majors, with a healthy 10.4 K/9 against just 2.9 BB/9.
- Righty Daniel Cabrera has been released by the Reds, the club’s Triple-A affiliate tweets. The 33-year-old has not appeared in the big leagues since 2009, and spent each of the last two seasons playing in Japan. He made just one appearance at Louisville this season, going three innings and allowing one earned run but issuing four free passes and striking out only one opposing batter.
- The Dodgers have signed right-hander P.J. Walters, who had been pitching with the independent Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers, reports Mike Ashmore of the Trentonian (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Walters should join L.A.’s Minor League ranks following the move. Though Walters has posted just a 6.28 ERA in parts of five Major League seasons with the Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays, he does have a lifetime 4.70 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in Triple-A.
- Former Twins left-hander Pedro Hernandez has signed a contract with the independent St. Paul Saints, the team announced. Hernandez was acquired along with Eduardo Escobar in the 2012 trade that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. The now-26-year-old Hernandez struggled to a 7.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 26 walks in 66 1/3 Major League innings with the Sox, Twins and Rockies from 2012-14. He posted solid, if unspectacular numbers throughout much of his Minor League career until reaching the Triple-A level.
- Right-hander Robert Stock‘s contract has been purchased by the Pirates, according to a tweet from the Normal CornBelters of the independent Frontier League. The 25-year-old hit the indy circuit after posting a 4.12 ERA with 43 strikeouts against 46 walks in 63 1/3 innings between the Cardinals’ Class-A and Class-A Advanced affiliates in 2014.
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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.
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Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has this week’s edition of his Minor League Transactions feature up, which, as usual, features several recent minor league signings. Here are a few highlights from his piece, as well as other minor moves from around the league…
- After releasing him on Friday, the Nationals have re-signed lefty Matt Purke to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. Purke has never thrown to the potential that the team saw when they gave him a massive bonus to sign out of the 2011 draft, but now he will have a chance to rehab from Tommy John surgery without occupying a 40-man roster spot.
- The Dodgers have acquired right-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman Kyle Jensen from the Marlins, the clubs announced. Jensen, 26, has yet to see playing time at the MLB level, but slashed .260/.331/.481 with 27 home runs last year in the PCL. Miami will receive cash or a player to be named later in return.
- The Phillies have signed right-hander P.J. Walters, according to Eddy. The 29-year-old comes with 152 innings of big league experience, though he’s struggled to a 6.28 ERA in that time. Much of that work came with the 2012-13 Twins, where he posted a 5.79 ERA in 101 innings. Walters has a 4.70 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 735 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level.
- The D’Backs and left-hander Justin Marks have agreed to a minor league deal, also per Eddy. The 26-year-old Marks picked up his first two big league innings in 2014 and has a lifetime 5.02 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in Triple-A. Marks struggled overall in 2014 but was previously excellent against lefties, holding them to a .191/.301/.268 batting line in 2013. He, along with Vin Mazzaro, was one of two players acquired by the Royals from the A’s in exchange for David DeJesus back in 2010.
- The Brewers announced last week that they have re-signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida and infielder Pete Orr to minor league deals. The 30-year-old Hermida once carried a significant amount of promise — he was the 11th overall pick in 2002 and hit .296/.369/.501 as a 24-year-old in 2007 — but hasn’t seen Major League action since 2012 with the Padres. Orr, 35, has seen MLB action parts of eight seasons, most recently with the Phillies in 2013. He is a career .257/.289/.328 hitter that is capable of playing all over the diamond. He hit .301/.329/.423 with the Brewers in Triple-A last year.
- The Marlins have inked indy league second baseman Omar Artsen, Eddy reports. The 24-year-old Artsen spent last season playing in the Pecos League where he boasted a gaudy stat line of .397/.480/.576 with nine homers and 52 steals in 353 PA.
Here are some recent minor moves from around MLB:
- The Blue Jays have released right-hander P.J. Walters, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 29-year-old, acquired by the Blue Jays in May from the Royals, pitched to a 4.82 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 142 innings this year covering 27 appearances, 25 of which were starts. Walters last saw MLB action in 2013 with the Twins.
- Infielder Cutter Dykstra has avoided minor league free agency by re-signing with the Nationals, Eddy reports. Dykstra, perhaps better known for being the son of ex-MLB outfielder Lenny Dykstra or the fiance of The Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, slashed .279/.356/.399 in 433 plate appearances for Washington’s Double-A and Class A-Short Season affiliates.
- The Dodgers‘ Red Patterson is the only player currently in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.
The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander P.J. Walters and outfielder Melky Mesa from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports (Twitter link). Both players had been playing with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate after signing minor league deals in the offseason, and Walters and Mesa will likely also serve as organization depth for Toronto.
Walters, 29, had a brief stint in the Jays organization in 2011 when he came to Toronto from the Cardinals as part of the Colby Rasmus trade package. The righty pitched only one Major League inning as a Blue Jay before becoming a free agent that winter. Walters posted a 5.79 ERA, 5.7 K/9 and a 1.6 K/BB rate over 22 starts (for a -1.2 bWAR) with the Twins in 2012-13 and he also struggled with Triple-A Omaha this year, only managing a 7.97 ERA in 40 2/3 innings.
Mesa, conversely, had been enjoying a nice year in Omaha, slashing .284/.346/.527 with five homers over 81 PA. The 27-year-old has a career .754 OPS over 2892 minor league plate appearances since debuting in the Yankees’ farm system in 2006. Mesa has 16 Major League PA to his name (with New York in 2012-13) and made the most of them, posting a .971 OPS in his brief time in the Show.
The Royals' signing of Jason Vargas will draw more headlines, but the team also inked right-hander P.J. Walters to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training today. The pitcher himself announced the signing on Twitter, and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has confirmed that it's a minor league deal. Walters is represented by Aspire Sports Management.
The 28-year-old Walters pitched 39 1/3 innings for the Twins in 2013, posting a 5.95 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and 39.7 percent ground-ball rate in eight starts. He made a dozen starts for Minnesota the year prior but encountered similar struggles. Walters is a decent depth signing for the Royals, as his 4.50 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 645 career Triple-A innings are serviceable numbers.
3:49pm: Walters accepted the assignment to Rochester and will report tomorrow, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
1:35pm: Walters intends to accept the assignment, though the decision is not yet official.
11:00am: Righty P.J. Walters has cleared outright assignment waivers, MLBTR has learned. Having been outrighted previously in his career, Walters now has to decide whether to accept this assignment or elect free agency. Walters has until Wednesday to decide, and will likely do so before then.
Walters, 28, was designated for assignment Thursday upon the Twins' activation of Mike Pelfrey. A former 11th round draft pick by the Cardinals, Walters was traded to the Blue Jays in 2011 as part of the Colby Rasmus deal and later joined the Twins as a free agent. Walters made eight starts for the Twins this year, posting a 5.95 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, and 39.7% groundball rate in 39 1/3 innings. He was better at Triple-A, with a 3.31 ERA in nine starts. Prior to the 2011 season, Baseball America noted Walters' plus change-up helps him mask average velocity. At that time, they projected him for a long relief/swingman role.
Walters, 28, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 11th round in 2006, a round that also produced Mat Latos. He was traded to the Blue Jays in 2011 as part of the Colby Rasmus deal, and later joined the Twins as a free agent. Walters made eight starts for the Twins this year, posting a 5.95 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, and 39.7% groundball rate in 39 1/3 innings. He was better at Triple-A, with a 3.31 ERA in nine starts.
Prior to the 2011 season, Baseball America noted Walters' plus change-up helps him mask average velocity. At that time, they projected him for a long relief/swingman role.
The latest minor moves from around MLB…
- The Mets announced that they agreed to sign left-hander Scott Rice to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Rice, 31, has a 4.08 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 14 minor league seasons.
- The Mets also signed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann to a minor league contract, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. The 28-year-old spent this past season with the Orioles' Triple-A team.
- The Cardinals agreed to a minor league contract with first baseman/right fielder Jamie Romak, MLBTR has learned. The Cardinals acquired the 27-year-old from the Royals midway through the 2012 season. In 442 total plate appearances in the upper minors, Romak posted a .260/.336/.406 batting line and hit 10 home runs and 21 doubles this past season.
- The Blue Jays signed infielder Jim Negrych to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports (on Twitter).
- The Twins announced that they signed 12 players to minor league contracts that include invitations to MLB Spring Training: right-handers Samuel Deduno, Shairon Martis, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez and P.J. Walters; outfielders Brian Dinkleman and Wilkin Ramirez; infielders James Beresford and Deibinson Romero and catcher Eric Fryer. Right-hander Tom Boleska and infielder Jason Christian also signed minor league deals with the Twins.