Ramon Vazquez Rumors

Minor Moves: Thurston, Vazquez, Edell, Cantrell

The latest minor moves via Matt Eddy of Baseball America…

  • The Twins have signed Joe Thurston according to their manager of baseball communications Dustin Morse (on Twitter). The 32-year-old infielder was released by the Phillies earlier this week and has a .226/.305/.323 line in 384 MLB plate appearances with the Dodgers, Phillies, Red Sox, Cardinals and Marlins.
  • Ramon Vazquez signed with the Birdgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The 35-year-old hasn’t played in the Major Leagues since 2009, but has experience in nine MLB seasons.
  • The Orioles released Ryan Edell, Eddy tweets. Edell, 28, pitched for the Phillies' top affiliate last year, posting a 3.27 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 77 innings.
  • The Royals released right-hander Eric Cantrell, Eddy tweets. The Royals selected Cantrell in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. The 22-year-old has a 5.43 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in parts of three seasons as a professional.

Quick Hits: Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers, Vazquez

The latest links from around MLB…

  • Placido Polanco, John Mayberry Jr. and Jim Thome aren't hitting, and David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News points out that this puts the Phillies in an uncomfortable situation. Murphy looks back at some of the Phillies' offseason decisions and wonders if the team should have prioritized a hitter over a closer.
  • Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald points out that two of Boston's primary offseason additions – Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon — are no longer contributing on the big league roster just two weeks into the season. Bailey is recovering from thumb surgery and the Red Sox optioned Melancon to Triple-A.
  • Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says the Rangers might have the best 25-man roster in baseball. Davidoff believes Texas can sustain its success even if prominent players leave as free agents.
  • Infielder Ramon Vazquez is looking to make a comeback and some teams are showing interest, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The 35-year-old hasn’t played in the Major Leagues since 2009.

Marlins Notes: Ramon Vazquez, Morrison, Fernandez

The latest on the Marlins…

  • The Marlins signed infielder Ramon Vazquez, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  The 34-year-old last appeared in the Majors with the Pirates in '09; this year he's played for the Triple-A affiliates of the Cardinals and Blue Jays.  Presumably he'll head to Triple-A for Florida.
  • The Marlins took a hit in credibility in optioning Logan Morrison to Triple-A and telling him it was because of his batting average, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.
  • Marlins' first round draft pick Jose Fernandez has an interesting back story as a Cuban defector.  Drafted 14th overall, the Fish appear to have offered Fernandez a bonus right around the $1.6MM slot so far.  His advisor, Richard Arena of Team One Management, told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on August 7th, "It’s definitely going to get done. There’s no question."

Minor Moves: Vazquez, Diamond

Let's keep track of all the day's minor moves here…

  • The Blue Jays have released infielder Ramon Vazquez according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. The 34-year-old hit .288/.367/.363 in 90 Triple-A plate appearances after signing a minor league deal in mid-June.
  • The Twins released right-hander Thomas Diamond according to the International League transactions page. Diamond, 28, pitched to a 8.25 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 24 innings for Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate after landing a minor league contract last month.

Minor Deals: Castillo, Vazquez, Gotay, Carter

We'll keep track of all of the day's minor deals right here:

  • The Diamondbacks have signed left-handed pitcher Alberto Castillo, according to CBSSports.com. Castillo, 35, was designated for assignment by the Orioles on June 10th.  The veteran has a 2.89 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 across four seasons of play at the Triple-A level.
  • The Blue Jays signed infielder Ramon Vazquez to a minor league deal, according to the CBSSports.com transactions page.  The 35-year-old last appeared in the majors in 2009 when he spent the year with the Pirates.  Vazquez has experience playing shortstop, second base, and third base.
  • The Braves signed infielder Ruben Gotay and outfielder Chris Carter to minor league deals and assigned them to Triple-A Gwinnett, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Gotay last appeared in the bigs with Atlanta in 2008, while Carter played in 100 games with the Mets last season.

Cardinals Release Ramon Vazquez

The Cardinals have released Ramon Vazquez according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. St. Louis signed him to a minor league deal back in January.

Vazquez, 34, hit a respectable .275/.362/.321 in 150 plate appearances for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, playing all three non-first base infield spots. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2009, when he followed up a breakout .290/.365/.430 performance with the Rangers with a .230/.335/.279 effort with the Pirates.

Minor League Transactions: Vazquez, Rabelo, Calero

The focus at this point in the season is on major league transactions – trades, to be precise. But that doesn't mean the minor league transactions stop. Matt Eddy of Baseball America has the latest on the minor league transactions that occurred between July 6th and July 13th:

  • One year after posting a 1.95 ERA in 67 major league games, Kiko Calero finds himself a free agent once again. He signed with the Mets and then with the Dodgers, but the Dodgers released him after he posted a 3.00 ERA in 15 minor league appearances. Calero struck out 11 and walked seven in 15 innings.
  • The Tigers released Mike Rabelo, a backup catcher who spent parts of 2006-08 with Detroit. The 30-year-old struggled through 36 plate appearances at Triple A before the Tigers let him go.
  • Ramon Vazquez hit much better in the Astros' system than he did in the Mariners', but the Astros released the former Pirate anyways. The 33-year-old had a .900 OPS in 64 plate appearances.

Astros Sign Ramon Vazquez

The Astros signed infielder Ramon Vazquez to a minor league deal on Friday, the team confirmed to MLBTR.  Vazquez has already appeared in four games for the Triple A Round Rock Express, playing shortstop and second base.  The Astros' middle infield currently features Jeff Keppinger, Oswaldo Navarro, and Geoff Blum as they wait for Tommy Manzella's broken finger to heal.

The Pirates released Vazquez on April 8th, assuming his $2MM salary in the process.  He was signed to a minor league deal by the Mariners eleven days later.  Vazquez's '09 offensive struggles carried over to his Tacoma stint, and Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported his recent release.

Minor League Transactions: Worrell, Vazquez

Russell Branyan, Garrett Atkins and Gary Matthews Jr. have been making headlines at the major league level, but some under-the-radar moves have been completed, too. Matt Eddy of Baseball America has the latest minor league transactions for June 14th-21st:

  • The Padres released right-hander Mark Worrell, who had been pitching in Triple A. His 5.45 ERA isn't pretty, but his 9.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 suggest that the 27-year-old could contribute on a team whose bullpen is a little thinner than San Diego's.
  • The Mariners released Ramon Vazquez, who appears to have signed with the Astros. The M's picked Vazquez up soon after the Pirates released him this spring, but the infielder wasn't the bargain pickup Jack Zduriencik was hoping for; Vazquez posted a .599 OPS at Triple A.
  • The Mariners signed David Winfree not long after the Yankees released him. The 24-year-old has posted a .700 OPS while playing first base, left and right at Triple A in 2010.

Helping The Mariners Find Some Offense

It's no secret that the Mariners came into the season with a plan for extreme run prevention through pitching and top shelf defense, but through 23 games they've scored the third fewest runs in the American League (82) thanks to a paltry .312 team OBP. The problem was as obvious as can be last night, when the Mariners twice had the bases loaded with less than two outs in extra innings, but scored a total of zero runs.

Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider took a look at the team's offensive plight, noting that the farm system offers a little help and that the arrival of Jack Hannahan and possibly Ramon Vazquez will provide just a marginal improvement for the bench. Seattle's designated hitters are hitting just .186/.263/.198, so Churchill offers up some trade suggests to help that situation. Note that the trade talk is based on his speculation only.

The names are not strangers to this space, including Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Luke Scott, and Jorge Cantu. All four would represent a demonstrative offensive upgrade, and by slotting them in at DH the team would maintain their run prevention strategy. Seattle has good but not great trade chips, but they might have the ability to absorb some salary, the best trade chip of all.

The Mariners are just half a game back in the league's most winnable division after the season's first month, so it's hardly time to panic. Though the sooner they can improve the DH position, the better.