P.J. Walters Rumors

Minor Moves: Purke, Jensen, Walters, Marks, Hermida, Orr

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.

Minor Moves: P.J. Walters, Cutter Dykstra

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 DodgersRed Patterson is the only player currently in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.

Blue Jays Acquire P.J. Walters, Melky Mesa

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.



Royals Sign P.J. Walters To Minor League Deal

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.


Twins Outright P.J. Walters

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.  


Twins Designate P.J. Walters For Assignment

The Twins designated righty P.J. Walters for assignment to open a roster spot for Mike Pelfrey, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Pelfrey had been on the DL with a back strain.

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.


Minor Moves: Rice, Romak, Twins

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.

Minor Moves: Gomez, Ekstrom, Walters

Here's a look at some of the Minor League signings that have come in tonight…

  • The Brewers have re-signed infielder Hector Gomez to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, the team informed MLBTR via email. Other non-roster invitees for the Brewers currently include right-hander Darren Byrd and catcher Dayton Buller. The 24-year-old Gomez once cracked Baseball America's Top 100 Prospect list (No. 95 in 2008) but hit just .131 in 95 minor league plate appearances last season.
  • The Athletics have signed right-hander Mike Ekstrom to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee. Ekstrom pitched 15 2/3 innings out of the Rockies' bullpen this season, allowing 11 earned runs but posting a solid 9:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • The Twins have re-signed right-hander P.J. Walters to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, tweets MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. Walters' free agency didn't last long; he refused an outright assignment from the Twins just hours ago and elected free agency. The 27-year-old made a dozen starts for the Twinkies in 2012.

P.J. Walters Hits Free Agency

Right-hander P.J. Walters is a free agent after refusing a minor league assignment from the Twins, according to the transactions page at CBSSports.com. The Twins outrighted the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster last week.

Walters started 12 games for the Twins this past season, posting a 5.69 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 61 2/3 innings. In four seasons with the Twins, Cardinals and Blue Jays, the 2006 draft pick has a 6.39 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. He has allowed 24 home runs in 112 2/3 career innings.


Outrighted: Vasquez, Walters, Carson

The latest outright assignments from around MLB…

  • The Twins announced that they have outrighted right-handers Jeff Manship, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, Kyle Waldrop and P.J. Walters and outfielder Matt Carson off of the MLB roster. All six players contributed to the MLB team in 2012. Vasquez (six starts) and Walters (12 starts) pitched out of the rotation while Manship (12 relief appearances), Perdomo (15 relief appearances) and Waldrop (17 relief appearances) spent time in the bullpen. Carson, the lone position player to lose his roster spot, appeared in 26 games as a corner outfielder. The Twins now have 35 players on their 40-man roster.