Raul Valdes Rumors

Minor Moves: Free Agents, Blue Jays

Here are the latest minor moves from around the game.

Blue Jays Acquire Raul Valdes

The Astros announced (on Twitter) that they have traded left-handed reliever Raul Valdes to the Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Astros claimed the 36-year-old Valdes off waivers from the Phillies this past offseason and opened the season with him in their bullpen, but the results were less than favorable. Valdes yielded five runs in 3 2/3 innings with the Astros before being designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City (he accepted the assignment rather than electing free agency).

Valdes didn’t reach the Majors until the age of 32 back in 2010, and since that time he’s posted a 5.13 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 30.2 percent ground-ball rate in 140 1/3 innings for the Phillies, Mets, Yankees, Astros and Cardinals. His best season came in  2012, when he posted an outstanding 2.90 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 31 innings for Philadelphia.

Toronto’s bullpen has been an issue for the team all season, posting the third-highest combined ERA in the Majors (5.26) and totaling the sixth-most innings of any Major League team (145 1/3). Valdes provides the team with depth and has looked strong since reporting to Triple-A, posting a 3.48 ERA with 13 strikeouts against zero walks in 10 1/3 innings.

While opposing left-handers have a career .265/.315/.465 batting line against Valdes, he’s also had quite a bit of misfortune against them. Left-handed hitters have a career .370 BABIP against Valdes, which has offset his outstanding 11.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 (6.8 K/BB) against same-handed opposition.

Minor Moves: Raul Valdes, Nik Turley, Ryan Searle

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Astros lefty Raul Valdes has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Valdes was designated and then outrighted after an ugly eight-appearance stint in Houston this year (five earned in 3 2/3 with four strikeouts and three walks).
  • The Yankees have agreed to re-sign lefty Nik Turley to a minor league deal, reports Cotillo (Twitter link). The 24-year-old was recently released to clear a 40-man roster spot. Turley has dealt with arm issues and is yet to throw a competitive pitch this year, but has posted intriguing strikeout totals across his time in the minors since being taken in the 50th round of the 2008 draft. Last year, working mostly as a starter at the Double-A level, Turley threw to a 3.79 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 over 145 innings.
  • Australian righty Ryan Searle has been given his release by the Cubs, Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old had been working at the Double-A level this year, pitching to a 6.63 ERA in 19 innings with 8.1 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9.
  • As reflected in MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, the following players remain in DFA limbo: Elliot Johnson (Indians), Heath Bell (Rays), Xavier Nady (Padres), George Kottaras (Indians), and Omar Quintanilla (Mets). Joining that group today is Buddy Boshers of the Angels.

Minor Moves: Mustelier, Valdes, Leroux

Here are some of today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Yankees have released third baseman Ronnier Mustelier, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (via Twitter). Mustelier, 29, signed with the Yankees out of Cuba, but never saw minor league action until he was 26 years of age. He raised some eyebrows at the Triple-A level in 2012, when he put up a solid .303/.359/.455 line in 385 plate appearances. Mustelier took a slight step backward last year (.272/.319/.398), however, and failed to earn an invitation to MLB camp during the spring.
  • The Astros announced that lefty Raul Valdes has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after being designated for assignment over the weekend. Valdes, 36, was sent to DFA limbo after the team recalled lefty Darin Downs. Because he’s been outrighted before, Valdes can reject the assignment in favor of free agency. He has a rather unsightly 5.13 ERA in his big league career, but he’s averaged 9.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 throughout his career, which could intrigue some clubs in need of lefty relief.
  • The Yankees have outrighted Chris Leroux to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to the team’s transactions page. The 30-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment over the weekend when the team purchased the contract of Alfredo Aceves. Leroux has previously been outrighted and can therefore elect free agency, as he did last April when the Pirates outrighted him. Leroux has a 6.03 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 71 2/3 innings but has a strong Triple-A track record.

Astros Designate Raul Valdes For Assignment

The Astros announced (via Twitter) that they have designated left-hander Raul Valdes for assignment.  In a related move, Houston recalled fellow southpaw Darin Downs from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Valdes, 36, allowed five runs over 3 and 2/3 innings for the Astros this season.  For his career, the veteran owns a 5.13 ERA across 9.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 across five big league campaigns.

Downs, 29, appeared in 29 games for the Tigers last season, posting a 4.84 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.  Over parts of five seasons in Triple-A, Downs has pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.

Minor Moves: Rapada, Gimenez, Cabrera, Taylor

We'll keep track of the day's minor moves here:

  • The Mariners have signed lefty Clay Rapada and added him to the roster at Triple-A Tacoma, according to Rainiers announce Mike Curto (on Twitter). Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune first reported (via Twitter) that Rapada was working out for the team. The left-hander has a 4.06 ERA in 94 big league innings but has never been able to hold down a consistent big league job despite dominant numbers against left-handed hitters; Rapada has held lefties to a minuscule .164/.255/.231 batting line in his career. However, righties have roughed him up at a .345/.464/.611 clip.
  • Catcher Chris Gimenez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Round Rock, according to the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant (Twitter link). Gimenez, who has been outrighted previously, has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. He was claimed off waivers by the Rangers last week but quickly designated for assignment when the club promoted Daniel McCutchen to the Majors.
  • The Cubs have outrighted reliever Alberto Cabrera to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). The 25-year-old righty was designated on Saturday. 
  • Outfielder Michael Taylor has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 28-year-old will take up residence in Sacramento for the fifth straight year since joining the Oakland organization.
  • Brian Bogusevic has accepted an outright assignment from the Marlins, reports Cotillo (via Twitter). Bogusevic, a 30-year-old outfielder who was acquired over the offseason for Justin Ruggiano, could have elected free agency since he has previously been outrighted.
  • The Red Sox have released outfielder Scott Cousins, Cotillo also tweets. Cousins, 29, has seen bit action in parts of four MLB seasons. The news was first reported yesterday by Mike Andrews of SoxProspects (via Twitter). According to Andrews, longtime minor leaguer Juan Carlos Linares was also among the players cut loose from the Boston system.
  • Pitcher Armando Galarraga is working on securing a visa after receiving an offer from the Taiwanese club Brother Elephants, his agent tells Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Cotillo tweeted earlier this morning that the former big leaguer was close to a deal to move to Taiwan. In 542 career MLB innings, Galarraga has a 4.78 ERA  with 5.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9.
  • Outfielder Dave Sappelt has been released by the Phillies, tweets Cotillo. Sappelt himself said on Twitter that he appreciates the club carrying him while undergoing offseason surgery. The 27-year-old has seen limited action in three big league seasons.
  • The Astros have outrighted reliever Raul Valdes to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. Though he lacks an extensive MLB track record at age 36, Valdes still has an intriguing recent stat line and looks to be a good bet to see time in Houston at some point. His ERA was a ghastly 7.46 last year, but he put up 9.5 K/9 (against just 2.1 BB/9), good for a 3.10 SIERA. Valdes posted numbers more line with those peripherals in 2012 and even during limited action this spring.
  • Likewise, Hiroyuki Nakajima has been outrighted to the top affiliate of the Athletics, also via the PCL transactions page. The move is not surprising, given that Nakajima had only been added to the 40-man in the first place to fill it up to allow for the team to designate Taylor for assignment, according to a report from John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Astros Claim Alex Presley, Designate Raul Valdes

The Astros have claimed outfielder Alex Presley off of waivers from the Twins, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. To clear a roster spot, the team has designated lefty Raul Valdes for assignment.

Presley, 28, came to Minnesota last year in the Justin Morneau trade. Over parts of four years of MLB action, he has a .264/.304/.411 line in 821 trips to the plate. Presley has also hit 17 long balls and swiped 20 bags, though the latter figure comes against 15 times in which he's been caught stealing.

Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Valdes was claimed off of waivers in October from the Phillies. Though his 7.46 ERA in 35 innings last year with Philadelphia is unsightly, his 9.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 (to say nothing of a 3.10 SIERA) make things look much better. Indeed, he posted a 2.90 ERA (10.2 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.742 WHIP) in 2012 with the Phils, and had put up similar figures this spring (one earned, one walked, and six struck out in 5 1/3).

Astros Claim Raul Valdes, Decline Humber’s Option

The Astros have issued a press release announcing that they have claimed left-hander Raul Valdes off waivers from the Phillies and declined their 2014 club option for right-hander Philip Humber. Humber is one of four players that has been outrighted off the team's 40-man roster; the others are infielder Brandon Laird and catchers Cody Clark and Matt Pagnozzi. Perhaps more noteworthy is the fact that top prospect Jonathan Singleton has been added to the team's 40-man roster to fill one of the new vacancies.

Valdes, 35, posted an alarming 7.46 ERA in 35 innings for the Phillies this season, but his peripheral numbers suggest that he was far better than that unsightly number. Valdes averaged 9.5 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings, leading advanced metrics like FIP (4.39), xFIP (3.74) and SIERA (3.10) to project better days on the horizon. He also held opposing lefties to a .229/.275/.375 line.

Houston held a $3MM option on Humber, but declining it proved to be an easy decision. The former No. 3 overall pick turned in a 7.90 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings for the Astros this season after signing for just $800K last offseason. Humber was designated for assignment in May and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where posted a 4.68 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.

Laird hit .169/.224/.423 with five homers in 76 plate appearances for the Astros in 2013. Pagnozzi, who was acquired from the Braves at the beginning of September, went 3-for-21 in 22 plate appearances for the Astros in the season's final month. The 32-year-old Clark, a career minor leaguer, reached the Majors at last in 2013 and recorded his first big league hit with the Astros. Clark went 4-for-38 with Houston and hit .212/.250/.265 in 46 minor league contests this season.

Phillies Sign Brian Sanches, Scott Elarton

The Phillies announced today they've signed eight players to minor league deals with spring training invites: righty Scott Elarton, infielder Kevin Frandsen, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, lefty Pat Misch, infielder Pete Orr, outfielder Scott Podsednik, righty Brian Sanches, and lefty Raul Valdes.  The signings of Podsednik, Misch, Frandsen, Orr, and Valdes were reported previously.

Sanches, 33, posted a 3.94 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 1.02 HR/9, and 33.9% groundball rate for the Marlins in 61 2/3 innings this year.  He was outrighted by the Marlins in October.  If the soft-tosser does find his way to the Phillies' 40-man roster and succeeds, they can retain him in future seasons as an arbitration-eligible player.

Elarton, 35, pitched parts of ten seasons in the Majors, most recently in 2008 with the Indians.  He last pitched professionally in 2010, tossing 19 2/3 innings for the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox.  Elarton won 17 games for the 2000 Astros, though his best season might have been '99.

Gosewisch, 28, played in 109 games last year for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate.

Minor Moves: White Sox, Indians, Valdes

The latest minor moves…

  • The White Sox announced that they signed left-handers Donnie Veal and Jose Quintana. Veal, 27, posted a 4.22 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in the Pirates' system this past season. Quintana, 22, posted a 2.91 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 for the Yankees' Class A team in 2011.
  • The Indians announced that they signed catcher Michel Hernandez to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. The 33-year-old hit .273/.384/.381 in the upper minors of the Indians' and Orioles' systems in 2011.
  • The Phillies have signed left-handed reliever Raul Valdes to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Valdes pitched 12 total innings for the Yankees and Cardinals in 2011 after spending the 2010 season with the Mets. In 63 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A this past season, Valdes posted a 4.38 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
  • The Twins re-signed Brian Dinkelman to a minor league deal, according to Morosi (on Twitter).
  • The Brewers re-signed Erick Almonte, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 33-year-old utility player appeared in 16 games for the Brewers in 2011, playing first base and right field. Almonte spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he hit .303/.380/.447.
  • The Mariners signed right-hander Jeff Marquez to a minor league deal, according to his agency, Sosnick Cobbe Sports (via Twitter). Marquez, a first-round pick in 2004, was granted free agency by the Yankees last week.