Randy Wells Rumors
Less than 12 months ago, right-hander Randy Wells announced his retirement from the game of baseball. Now, however, the former Cub is looking to make a comeback, he told David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat.
The 31-year-old Wells recently threw for a Diamondbacks area scout in St. Louis and is hoping to prove his health to teams with the end goal of securing a minor league deal and an invitation to big league Spring Training. Wells admits that his comeback attempt may be "far-fetched," but renewed health has him looking for a chance regardless:
"I can't expect a whole lot. It's not like people are knocking down my door or anything like that. I quit because of injury. Not a lot of people are going to take a flier on a 31-year-old guy just to bring him into minor-league camp to see if he's healthy."
Wells last appeared in the Majors with the Cubs in 2012, posting a 5.34 ERA in 28 2/3 innings before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow. The ACES client inked a minor league deal with the Rangers in the 2012-13 offseason and made five rocky starts for their Triple-A affiliate last season before deciding to hang it up due to his elbow issues.
Despite the rough couple of seasons, Wells has shown that he can succeed at the big league level. He finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 after pitching to a 3.05 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 165 1/3 innings for the Cubs. In 529 career big league innings, Wells has a 4.08 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 45.8 percent ground-ball rate. He is interested in coaching if he cannot find an opportunity to pitch, he told Wilhelm.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Reds acquired infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen from the Diamondbacks for cash or a player to be named later, according to the D'Backs. Teahen, 31, was hitting .209/.321/.254 in 81 Triple-A plate appearances after struggling offensively in the Washington organization at that level last year. He was drafted in the first round by the A's in 2002 and spent five seasons with the Royals, hitting 18 home runs in '06.
- The Dodgers have signed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor-league deal, Chris Cotillo of CLNS Radio reports. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has confirmed the signing. Laffey has been designated for assignment by the Mets and Blue Jays so far this season, and he elected free agency yesterday instead of accepting an outright assignment from the Jays. Laffey has appeared in five big-league games so far this year.
- Rangers minor-leaguer Randy Wells has retired, FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro reports (on Twitter). Wells, 30, finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009, when he was with the Cubs. He appeared in 98 big-league games, mostly with Chicago, posting a 4.08 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He made five starts in 2013 for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock.
- The Mariners have signed outfielder Corey Patterson to a minor-league deal, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports (on Twitter). Patterson will report to extended spring training. Patterson, 33, hit .251/.285/.410 for the Brewers' Triple-A team in Nashville in 2012. He has played for the Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Nationals, Brewers, Blue Jays and Cardinals.
The Rangers signed reliever Evan Meek, starter Randy Wells, first baseman Brandon Allen, and starter Jake Brigham to minor league deals with invites, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Meek, 29, made the All-Star team during a 2.14 ERA campaign for the Pirates in 2010. Since then, he's been limited by a shoulder injury.
Wells, 30, made 82 starts for the Cubs from 2009-11, even placing sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in '09. He spent much of this year struggling at Triple-A Iowa.
Allen, 26, never caught on in the Majors and spent the second half of this season in Japan.
A total of 28 players -- all with big league time under their belts -- recently elected free agency after finishing the year in Triple-A. Here is the full list, courtesy of the International League and Pacific Coast League transaction pages...
- Infielders: Brian Bixler (Astros), Sean Burroughs (Twins), Blake DeWitt (Cubs), Alberto Gonzalez (Rangers), Angel Sanchez (Astros), Nate Spears (Red Sox), Drew Sutton (Pirates)
- Outfielders: Travis Buck (Astros), Ryan Langerhans (Angels), Mitch Maier (Royals), Darnell McDonald (Yankees), Jai Miller (Orioles), Trent Oeltjen (Dodgers), Jason Pridie (Phillies), Mike Wilson (Mariners)
- Right-handed Pitchers: Roman Colon (Royals), Mike Ekstrom (Rockies), Jack Egbert (Mets), Ryota Igarashi (Yankees), Evan Meek (Pirates), Scott Richmond (Blue Jays), Kip Wells (Padres), Randy Wells (Cubs), Dan Wheeler (Indians)
- Left-handed Pitchers: Alex Hinshaw (Cubs), Cesar Jimenez (Mariners), Zach Kroenke (Diamondbacks), Garrett Olson (Mets)
The latest outright assignments from around MLB...
- Randy Wells cleared waivers and the Cubs outrighted him to Triple-A Iowa, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter). The Cubs designated the right-hander for assignment two days ago after he posted a 5.34 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 7.5 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings of work.
The Cubs have designated pitcher Randy Wells for assignment, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (via Twitter). The club also announced that fellow right-hander Rafael Dolis has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.
Wells allowed four walks in just three innings against the Mets on Tuesday, leading manager Dale Sveum to hint that he could be bumped from the rotation. In four starts and eight relief appearances this season, Wells has a 5.34 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 7.5 BB/9. The 29-year-old also made six Triple-A starts, posting a 7.71 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
A "tense three-week period that will shape [baseball's] landscape for the following year" begins today, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. His latest:
- Agent Scott Boras has pared down Prince Fielder's sales pitch binder but still has 70 pages worth, he tells Morosi. Morosi says Fielder's suitors are believed to be the Cubs, Nationals, Rangers, and Mariners.
- The Cubs are open to moving Randy Wells, indicates Morosi as he lists available starting pitchers. Wells, 29, is under team control through 2014. MLBTR projects him to earn $2.2MM in 2012.
- The Angels and Orioles discussed the possibility of a Jeremy Guthrie trade in recent days. Guthrie, 33 in April, projects to earn $8.3MM in 2012 before hitting free agency.
- Japanese players including righty Hisashi Iwakuma, lefties Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, and second baseman Kensuke Tanaka can begotiate with MLB teams after free agency in Japan begins Thursday. The Yakult Swallows intend to post outfielder Norichika Aoki after the Winter Meetings, adds Morosi.
Following Friday's meltdown against the Braves, Carlos Zambrano cleared out his locker and threatened to retire, leading the Cubs to place him on the disqualified list. The union will file a grievance tomorrow, and Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider required) writes that the Cubs may be left with a "thin defense" for their decision. Regardless of the outcome though, Olney thinks the team's actions make it clear that they're done with Big Z's antics, and that the right-hander won't be a Cub by next spring. Here's the latest chatter on the situation:
- The Cubs will call up Casey Coleman to take Zambrano's spot in the rotation, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Ryan Dempster tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that there's a positive vibe in the clubhouse now, and said of Zambrano, "He's made his bed; he's got to sleep in it."
- With Zambrano likely out of the picture for 2012, Randy Wells' performance down the stretch could affect how much pitching help the Cubs pursue this winter, as Wittenmyer writes in a separate piece.
- Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times says Zambrano only ever cared about himself, and that the Cubs should have been done with him long ago.
- Ozzie Guillen, a good friend of Zambrano's, said the pitcher "should feel embarrassed, should regret what he said or what he did," according to the Tribune's Dave van Dyck.
- Although a report yesterday suggested Zambrano had moved his belongings back into his locker, Sullivan says that isn't the case, and that Wells has moved his things into the empty locker.
The Cubs' rotation has run into some bad injury luck early this season, with both Andrew Cashner (shoulder) and Randy Wells (forearm) now on the disabled list. The former was a first round pick that spent just one full season in the minors, the latter an unheralded 38th round pick that spent parts of six seasons in the minors before getting to the big leagues. If it wasn't for a transaction that took place three years ago today, one of them wouldn't even be in the organization.
Wells, now 28, was originally drafted as a catcher out of Southwestern Illinois Community College in 2002, but the team moved him to the mound in late 2003 even though he'd never pitched in high school or college. He posted a 4.43 ERA in 107 2/3 innings the next season (Single-A), then was even better in 2005 (2.87 ERA in 106 2/3 IP at Single and Double-A). Baseball America didn't consider him much of a prospect though, and it wasn't until 2007 that Wells got some attention.
In his second crack at Triple-A, Wells made nine starts and 31 relief appearances for the Iowa Cubs in 2007. Although his 4.52 ERA was hardly noteworthy, he did strike out 9.5 men per nine innings. That's what caught the eye of the Blue Jays, who selected Wells with the 11th pick of the 2007 Rule 5 Draft. He made the team out of Spring Training in 2008, though he appeared in just one game with them (scoreless inning with one walk).
Apparently that was all Toronto needed to see. Nine games into the season, the Jays designated Wells for assignment, making room on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters for left-hander Jesse Carlson. After toiling in limbo (and on waivers) for a week, Wells was returned to the Cubs on April 16th as per Rule 5 Draft protocol. He made four relief appearances in Chicago later that year, and has pitched to a 3.67 ERA in 60 starts (365 2/3 innings) in the two years since.
Wells is a true player development success story, a guy that changed positions (more like vocations, really) as a professional and climbed the ladder one step at a time. He was ranked as one of his organization's top 30 prospects just once by Baseball America, when they placed him 22nd in Toronto's system prior to the 2008 season. Wells may be hurt now, but he's done some fine work for the Cubs over the last few years. The only reason they have him around though is because the Blue Jays cut ties with him three years ago today.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.