Ryan Roberts Rumors

Players Who Have Elected Minor League Free Agency

A total of 43 players have elected to become minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy in his latest round-up of minor league transactions.  MLBTR has already reported on some of these moves over the last few days, and here is the rest of the list, with players grouped by their most recent team…


Quick Hits: Bruce, Lueke, Phillies, Roberts

The Reds will spend the next three to four weeks without right fielder Jay Bruce, who needs surgery to fix a partially torn meniscus in his knee, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay initially tweeted that Bruce might need surgery. Here are notes from around the big leagues.

  • The slow start by Curtis Granderson of the Mets is worthy of panic, whereas Brian McCann‘s slow start with the Yankees is not, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes in a piece about stars, and teams, who have struggled in 2014 so far. Passan cites the holes in Granderson’s swing, which could end up making his four-year, $52MM deal a poor one. Meanwhile, Passan suggests there isn’t anything glaringly wrong with McCann’s game — he has walked less than usual and swung at more pitches outside the zone, but Passan thinks those issues are correctable.
  • Joe Maddon says the Rays decided to designate Heath Bell for assignment rather than Josh Lueke because they like Lueke’s potential, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. “From a scouting perspective, we still see a really big upside with [Lueke],” Maddon says. “At times, you have to be more patient with a more youthful player … We still think if he gets everything together that we’re going to be rewarded by that patience.” In 18 2/3 innings so far this season, Lueke has a 4.82 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro’s moves down the stretch last season and this offseason have helped the team in 2014, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer argues. A.J. Burnett has pitched well so far, and Roberto Hernandez has been at least moderately helpful. Also, Amaro didn’t break up the team’s veteran core, and Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have all hit well so far. Jonathan Papelbon has gotten good results as well. (Of course, the Phillies are still just 15-14, so they’re only performing modestly ahead of expectations.)
  • Ryan Roberts of the Red Sox could have declined his outright assignment and become a free agent two weeks ago, but he opted to stay in the organization in order to get regular playing time at Triple-A Pawtucket, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. “I didn’t need to go wait for another team to pick me up and go somewhere else,” says Roberts. “I didn’t have time to do any of that stuff. What I needed to do was start playing baseball. Sitting at home for a couple of weeks was enough for me.” Roberts spent most of the last three seasons in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks and Rays, but did spend a chunk of 2013 at the Triple-A level.

Ryan Roberts Accepts Outright Assignment

Infielder Ryan Roberts has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket, the Red Sox announced yesterday.

The 33-year-old Roberts collected just two hits and three walks in 22 plate appearances for the Sox after signing a Major League deal with them when Will Middlebrooks went down with an injury. Though he didn’t perform particularly well in that very small sample, Roberts has demonstrated in the past that he has enough pop and speed to post double-digit totals in homers and stolen bases, particularly in his 2011 campaign with the D’Backs when he slashed .249/.321/.427 with 19 homers and 18 steals.

For his career, Roberts owns a .243/.320/.388 batting line with 46 homers and 35 stolen bases. He’s been particularly useful against left-handed pitching, hitting at a .261/.337/.435 clip. Defensive Runs Saved feels that he’s an average defender at third base and has been worth +5 runs in about a season’s worth of innings at second base (1357), while UZR/150 feels he’s a plus defender at each position.



Red Sox Designate Ryan Roberts For Assignment

Not long after signing him, the Red Sox have designated infielder Ryan Roberts for assignment, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Brock Holt was brought up to take the active roster spot.

Signed 11 days ago, Roberts struggled in his limited time in Boston, hitting safely only twice in 22 plate appearances and drawing three walks against seven strikeouts. Roberts' a one-year, MLB deal was not guaranteed, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, so the club will only be on the hook for the approximately $61K he has already earned. As the 33-year-old looks for a new job, he will hang his hat on his defensive versatility and solid lifetime stats against lefties (.261/.337/.435).


Red Sox Sign Ryan Roberts

6:50pm: Roberts would earn at a rate of $200K if he ends up back in the minors, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

4:21pm: Roberts can also earn $250K worth of incentives, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

1:17pm: The Red Sox have officially announced the deal, and Roberts will be in uniform and active for tonight's game. To make room on the 40-man roster, Steven Wright was transferred to the 60-day DL. Brock Holt was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear a spot on the 25-man roster.

12:57pm: The base salary on Roberts' deal is $1MM, an industry source tells Speier (Twitter link).

10:26am: WEEI.com's Alex Speier writes that although BHSC has deleted the tweet announcing the deal, an industry source has confirmed to him that there's an agreement between the Red Sox and Roberts, pending a physical.

9:24am: Infielder Ryan Roberts has agreed to a Major League contract with the Red Sox, according to Roberts' agents at the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter). The 33-year-old Roberts previously opted out of his minor league deal with the Cubs at the end of Spring Training.

Roberts will provide some third base depth for the Red Sox with Will Middlebrooks currently on the disabled list. The veteran infielder, often referred to as "Tat-Man" due to his plethora of tattoos, enjoyed his best season back in 2011 with the Diamondbacks. He slashed .249/.341/.427 with 19 homers and 18 stolen bases that year, and though his rate stats suffered in 2012, he was still able to post double-digit homer and stolen base totals.

Roberts is a career .245/.321/.392 hitter that has thrived against left-handed pitching to the tune of a .261/.341/.444 batting line. He has extensive experience at both second base and third base and is generally regarded as a solid defender. He spent the 2013 campaign with the Rays, appearing in 60 games at the Major League level and another 32 at Triple-A.


Ryan Roberts Opts Out Of Deal With Cubs

Utilityman Ryan Roberts has opted out of his contract with the Cubs and will become a free agent, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The 33-year-old has spent time at second, third, and the corner outfield in his MLB career.

Though he has put up a few very strong seasons, Roberts has been underwhelming over the last two campaigns. Last year, with the Rays, he hit .247/.295/.377 in 173 plate appearances. Of course, Roberts looks like a more attractive possible bench piece when one considers his versatility and the fact that he is still capable of doing damage against lefties. In 87 trips to the plate against southpaws last year, he put up a .305/.345/.500 line with four home runs.


Cubs Sign Ryan Roberts

The Cubs announced that they've signed infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Roberts is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

The 33-year-old Roberts batted .247/.295/.377 with five homers in 173 plate appearances for the Rays in 2013. Though he hasn't matched a strong 2011 season that saw him post a .249/.341/.427 line with 19 homers and 18 stolen bases, Roberts remains a solid defensive player with some pop in his bat. He has experience at second base, third base and in the outfield corners. Roberts does most of his damage against left-handed pitching, as evidenced by his .261/.341/.444 line against southpaws.


NL Central Notes: Cubs, Cards, Weeks, Carpenter

We've already passed along several of Scott Boras' more newsworthy comments from Wednesday's scrum with reporters in Orlando, but one of the superagent's most notable barbs was reserved for the Cubs. Boras likened Chicago's rebuilding process to a lollipop that takes all day to dissolve, suggesting that a major-market team should be retooling more rapidly. Although team president Theo Epstein wasn't surprised by Boras' remarks, he declined to shoot back.

"We’re not going to get into a war of words with Scott other than to say the folks who work for the Cubs probably have a better understanding of our situation than he does," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Here's more from around the NL Central:


Minor Moves: Rays, Cubs, Purcey, Okajima

We'll keep track of today's minor moves here..

  • Infielder Ryan Roberts, 1B/OF Shelley Duncan, outfielder Jason Bourgeois and right-hander J.D. Martin have all elected to become free agents, MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter links).  All four players were outrighted off the Rays' roster earlier this season.
  • Also from Cotillo (Twitter links), catcher J.C. Boscan and outfielder Darnell McDonald have elected to become free agents.  Both players were outrighted off the Cubs' 40-man roster last week.
  • The White Sox announced they have outrighted David Purcey to Triple-A Charlotte. Purcey, 31, posted a 2.13 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 in 24 relief appearances. The club's 40-man roster is now at 36.  Purcey was one of Chicago's arbitration eligible players this winter.
  • Left-hander Hideki Okajima and right-hander Chris Resop have elected free agency from the Athletics, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (Twitter link).  Okajima, 38 in December, pitched in five big league games for the A's but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A where he posted a 4.22 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 37 appearances.  Resop, 31 in November, also spent the lion's share of the year in Triple-A and had a 6.81 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
  • Reds right-hander Jose Arredondo, Angels right-hander Robert Coello, and Marlins third baseman Gil Velazquez have elected free agency under Article XX(D), according to Eddy (via Twitter).  Arredondo struggled at the Triple-A level in 2013, posting a 5.87 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9.  Coello made 16 big league relief appearances in 2013 and put up a 3.71 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
  • At Baseball America, Eddy has the full list of the past week's minor league transactions.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post


Minor Moves: Astros, Ryan Roberts, Doug Mathis

Here are Sunday's minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Astros will sign first baseman Japhet Amador and outfielder Leonardo Heras from Diablos Rojos in the Mexican League, according to a team press release. The 26-year-old Amador, who is listed at 6'4" and 315 pounds, was hitting .368/.419/.693 with 36 home runs in 449 plate appearances. Heras, 23, was hitting .310/.398/.519. The amounts of their bonuses are unclear.
  • Ryan Roberts has cleared waivers and has accepted the Rays' outright assignment to Triple-A Durham, tweets the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith. Roberts was designated for assignment Thursday after hitting .247/.295/.377 with five home runs in 173 plate appearances for Tampa Bay. 
  • The Pirates have acquired right-hander Doug Mathis from the Marlins for a player to be named later or cash, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mathis, who has spent the entire season at Triple-A New Orleans, will be assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Mathis, who last appeared in a MLB game in 2010 with the Rangers, has posted a 3.85 ERA, 6.7 K/9, and 4.2 BB/9 over 114 2/3 innings with the Zephyrs covering 24 games (21 starts). 

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.