Radhames Liz Rumors

Pirates To Sign Radhames Liz To Major League Deal

DECEMBER 13: The Pirates have made the Liz deal official, and it’s not a two-year deal, but rather a one-year deal worth $1MM. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains that the Pirates were uncomfortable with the results of Liz’s physical, which led to the lesser deal.

NOVEMBER 21: The Pirates have signed right-hander Radhames Liz to a Major League contract, tweets ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net was the first to report that he’d been signed to a big league deal, reporting it as a two-year, $3MM contract (Twitter link).

Some may remember the hard-throwing Liz from his days with the Orioles, with whom he pitched from 2007-09. Liz ranked as a Top 100 prospect per Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, but he struggled greatly in those three seasons, pitching to a 7.50 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 6.2 BB/9 in 110 1/3 innings. Following his time with Baltimore, the Dominican hurler spent a season with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate before heading overseas to pitch in Korea.

Liz reinvented himself as a member of the LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization, compiling a 3.51 ERA with 454 strikeouts against 240 walks in 518 2/3 innings over a three-year stint. Those numbers are no small feat in the hitter-friendly KBO, and Liz’s best season was his last in Korea — a 3.06 ERA with a league-leading 188 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings.

The righty returned to pro ball in North America in 2014, notching a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings with the Blue Jays’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Liz was said to be mulling over multiple seven-figure offers to return to Japan or Korea, but the Pirates were able to convince him to stay, apparently with a two-year contract that comes with little financial risk.

Pittsburgh is known for revitalizing pitchers under coordinator Jim Benedict and pitching coach Ray Searage. The team has worked wonders with the likes of A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli, Vance Worley and Edinson Volquez in recent seasons. Liz will be the next reclamation project, it seems. He averaged nearly 94 mph on his heater back in his Orioles days and has what one scout from the Dominican Republic described to Stark as “power stuff” and a “vicious curve.”

Pirates Designate Josh Lindblom

The Pirates have designated reliever Josh Lindblom for assignment, the team announced. The move was made in conjunction with the team’s announcement of the signing of Radhames Liz.

Pittsburgh claimed Lindblom off waivers from the Athletics just five days ago. Lindblom, 27, only made one appearance at the big league level last year in Oakland. Over 84 minor league frames, he posted a 5.79 ERA while striking out 6.4 and walking 2.8 batters per nine. In parts of four seasons in the bigs, Lindblom owns a 3.82 ERA.

Minor Moves: Martinez, Erbe, Liz, Olmsted

Here are some minor moves from around the league…

  • The Angels have signed righty Joe Martinez to a minor league pact, per the club's official transactions page. The 31-year-old Martinez made a pair of appearances for the Indians last season, allowing one run in five innings. He has a 5.82 ERA in 55 2/3 career innings between the Giants, D'Backs, Pirates and Indians and a 4.75 ERA in 548 Triple-A innings. 
  • Right-hander Brandon Erbe has signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, according to the team's transactions page. Erbe, 26, ranked as the game's No. 27 prospect heading into the 2007 season, per Baseball Prospectus, but 2010 shoulder surgery has stalled his once-promising career. The former third-round pick has thrown just 45 minor league innings over the past three seasons as he's battled back from a torn labrum. 
  • The Blue Jays signed right-hander Radhames Liz to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy tweeted this weekend. The 30-year-old was once among the game's Top 100 prospects, per BA, but hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2009. Liz has spent the past three seasons pitching for the LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization and led the league in strikeouts last season with 188. However, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported (via Twitter) that he'll begin the season rehabbing a knee injury. Liz had a 7.50 ERA in 110 1/3 Major League innings with the Orioles from 2007-09.
  • Brewers senior director of media relations Mike Vassallo tweets that the club has released right-hander Michael Olmsted. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with manager Ron Roenicke about the decision to release the 6'6", 282-pound right-hander. Roenicke said they simply wanted to give Olmsted a chance to get an opportunity elsewhere rather than releasing him later in the spring. Olmsted posted a 5.88 ERA in 59 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A for the Brew Crew last season, but the 26-year-old has an excellent 3.02 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in his minor league career.

Quick Hits: Liz, Rangers, Cubs, Nationals, Gonzalez

Links for Saturday evening…

Padres Release Radhames Liz

The Padres have released right-hander Radhames Liz, according to the club's official transactions page.  Liz was claimed off waivers from Baltimore last winter, and posted a 4.83 ERA in 25 games (22 of them starts) for San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in Portland in 2010.

Liz, 27, was touted by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Orioles' system (behind Matt Wieters) before the 2008 season and ranked as the 69th-best prospect in the game overall.  He has yet to live up to that potential in his limited Major League experience; Liz has a 7.50 career ERA, accumulated in 28 appearances with the Orioles from 2007 to 2009.

International Links: Maya, Rodriguez, Minarik

A peck of links on the second day of the Venezuelan Summer League…

  • Cuban righthander Yuniesky Maya is about to be unblocked and become available to sign, according to his agent, tweets the Toronto Star's Morgan Campbell. In April El Nuevo Herald's Jorge Ebro wrote that interest was heating up for the hard-throwing starter, though he has almost entirely been connected thus far to a single team, the Red Sox. At 28, Maya is a bit older than the new crop of Cubans such as Aroldis Chapman and Juan Yasser Serrano, but Maya told Terreno de Pelota upon defecting last September that after two World Baseball Classics, numerous international tournaments and six Cuban National Series, he was ready to jump straight to the majors a la Orlando Hernandez.
  • The Tigers signed 17-year-old righthanded pitcher Jose Rodriguez last Thursday, according to the Venezuelan paper El Sol de Margarita. Rodriguez reportedly throws a strong slider, changeup, and a fastball that tops out at around 90, though that number could rise un poco once he packs a few more arepas onto his 6-foot, 154-pound frame. For now, he's headed to the aforementioned Venezuelan Summer League.
  • The Phillies have signed 16-year-old Czech pitcher Marek Minarik, reports Baseball de World. Minarik has most recently played for Lokomotiva Louny in the Czech Republic and reportedly received offers from four teams after participating in the recent MLB European Academy Tryout in Prague.

Odds & Ends: Johnson, Cabrera, Mets, Contreras

Here's some discount links on Black Friday…

Padres Claim Radhames Liz

According to a team press release, the Padres have claimed righthander Radhames Liz off waivers from the Orioles. The 26-year-old appeared in two games for the O's in 2009, allowing eight hits and ten runs in just 1.1 innings. He made 17 starts for Baltimore in 2008, putting up a 6.72 ERA in 84.1 IP.

Prior to the 2008 season, Baseball America ranked Liz as the Orioles' number two prospect behind Matt Wieters.