Ryan Roberts Rumors

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.

Rays Designate Ryan Roberts For Assignment

The Rays have designated infielder Ryan Roberts for assignment, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The move will clear a 40-man roster spot for Alex Cobb to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.

Roberts, who turns 33 next month, hit .247/.295/.377 with five homers in 173 plate appearances for the Rays this season. He was used primarily at second base for the Rays this season, but he does carry more than 1700 innings of Major League experience at the hot corner as well. Roberts hit .305/.345/.500 against left-handed pitching but floundered against right-handers, hitting just .188/.244/.50. He's typically handled lefties much better throughout his big league career, which spans parts of eight big league seasons with the Blue Jays, Rangers, D-Backs and Rays.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements — those worth less than $4MM — right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.

Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB…

  • The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM).  Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
  • The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter).  Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
  • Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
  • The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
  • The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
  • The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
  • The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
  • The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
  • The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
  • The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter).  Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
  • The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter
  • The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
  • The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
  • The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. 
  • The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
  • Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).

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Rays Acquire Ryan Roberts From Diamondbacks

The Rays have acquired utility infielder Ryan Roberts from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league second baseman Tyler Bortnick, the clubs announced.

Roberts, 32 in September, was designated for assignment earlier today in what was a procedural move to clear space on Arizona's 40-man roster. The right-handed hitter owns a .250/.330/.398 career batting line in 1,288 plate appearances, most of which came with the Snakes. He enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011, when he mashed 19 homers and became something of a cult hero for his all-out style of play and trademark tattoos.

Bortnick, 25, was a 16th-round pick of the Rays in 2009 and has posted a career minor league batting line of .289/.396/.431 in 1,773 plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.

Roberts, meanwhile, will be under the Rays' control through 2015.

D’Backs Designate Ryan Roberts For Assignment

4:58pm: Roberts has been told a trade is on the one yard line, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports (on Twitter).

4:39pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they designated Ryan Roberts for assignment. The move creates roster space for John McDonald, who's returning from the 15-day disabled list, and will spark trade talk involving Roberts.

The Tigers and Rays appear to have interest in Roberts, so Arizona GM Kevin Towers has at least two potential trade partners (the Tigers' interest was reported before they acquired Omar Infante; it may have faded since). Roberts, 31, has handled second and third for the Diamondbacks this year while posting a .250/.306/.357 batting line in 280 plate appearances. He earns $2.01MM in 2012 and will remain under team control through 2015.

Rays Interested In Ryan Roberts

The Rays are interested in Diamondbacks infielder Ryan Roberts, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Roberts, who fits the typical Rays mold of being able to play multiple positions, could fill in at third base with Evan Longoria on the disabled list.

The 31-year-old Roberts enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, hitting .249./.341/.427 with 19 homers and 18 steals, but has failed to replicate his success in 2012. Through 276 plate appearances this year, he's batting .252/.307/.360 with six homers and six steals.

Roberts avoided arbitration this offseason, signing for a $2.0125MM salary as a Super Two player who was eligible for the first time. Roberts is controlled through the 2015 season, and has also drawn interest from the Tigers, although their interest is almost assuredly gone now that they've acquired Omar Infante.

Tigers Interested In Stephen Drew, Ryan Roberts

The Tigers have shown interest in infielders Stephen Drew and Ryan Roberts, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports report. The Tigers and Diamondbacks have discussed scenarios involving one or both players, but it’s not clear how advanced talks are, Morosi and Rosenthal report.

Drew, who recently returned from an extended stint on the disabled list with a broken ankle, drew interest from the Tigers two summers ago. He’s earning $7.75MM this year and on track to hit free agency after the season. The Diamondbacks could ask for Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta in trade talks, Morosi and Rosenthal suggest. The Tigers have a $6MM club option for Peralta in 2013.

Roberts, 31, is a utility player who could play second base in Detroit. He has played second and third for the Diamondbacks this year, posting a .239/.287/.353 batting line in 260 plate appearances. Roberts earns $2.01MM in 2012 and will remain under team control through 2015.

Diamondbacks infielder John McDonald is on the disabled list, but expected back soon. The Athletics are also interested in acquiring shortstop help. Here's a look at potentially available shortstops and third basemen.

Diamondbacks, Roberts Avoid Arbitration

The Diamondbacks and Ryan Roberts avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2.0125MM deal, the Beverly Hills Sports Council tweets. BHSC represents Roberts, a super two player who was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Roberts had filed for $2.275MM and the Diamondbacks had offered $1.65MM for a midpoint just shy of $2MM. Craig Breslow is Arizona's lone unsigned arbitration eligible player now that the Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Roberts and Miguel Montero.