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Today’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Mets announced that they’ve signed outfielder Alex Castellanos to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Castellanos, 28, has bounced around to many clubs on waivers over the past 18 months due to his strong Triple-A numbers. He’s a career .286/.372/.497 hitter at the Triple-A level, though he’s batted just .171/.186/.390 in 43 big league plate appearances.
- The Cardinals have signed third baseman Scott Moore and right-handers Marcus Hatley and Miguel Socolovich to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training, per the team’s transactions page. The 26-year-old Hatley has spent his whole career with the Cubs and has big strikeout numbers in Triple-A but a career ERA around 5.00 at that level. Moore, 30, has 152 games of MLB experience but hasn’t been in the Majors since 2012 with Houston. He hit .238/.326/.397 with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate last year. Socolovich, 28, saw big league action with the Cubs and Orioles in 2012 and spent last year in the Mets’ system, posting a 3.64 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 59 1/3 innings of relief at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Pour a tall cup of coffee and open up a Baseball Reference tab. It’s time for this Saturday morning’s minor moves, via the Pacific Coast League and International League transaction pages (except where otherwise noted) …
- The White Sox have signed lefty David Purcey to a minor league deal. The 31-year-old had rejected an outright assignment from the Sox in late October to become a free agent. Purcey made 24 apperances for the Sox’s major league club in 2013, posting a 2.13 ERA but walking 6 batters per nine innings.
- The Dodgers signed first baseman/outfielder Jamie Romak to a minor league deal, according to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). Romak’s deal includes a July 1st opt out. The 28-year-old posted a .242/.322/.461 slash line with 22 homers in 134 games for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate last season.
- Right-handed reliever Mark Lowe, 30, has signed with the Rays, reports ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Lowe was battered in just eleven appearances with the Angels last year, but posted a 3.60 ERA across 2009-12 and has continued to notch high strikeout totals while being stashed in the upper minors.
- The Cardinals signed third baseman Scott Moore, a thirty-year-old who has thrived at Triple-A but has yet to have a real shot in the bigs. Last year, over 485 plate appearances in the Oakland and San Diego organizations, he hit .271/.353/.448 with fourteen long balls. In his most extended MLB action, a 2012 stint with the Astros, Moore hit a more-than-respectable .259/.330/.448 with nine home runs in 228 plate appearances.
- Right-hander Jim Miller is back with the Yankees on a minor league pact after making just one MLB appearance last year, an ill-fated inning-and-a-third that resulted in three earned runs. The 31-year-old had been a solid member of the A’s pen just one year prior, however, as he registered a 2.59 ERA in 48 2/3 innings for Oakland. Miller did flash a 13.1 K/9 rate during his 63 1/3 Triple-A innings last year, a somewhat intriguing mark given his manageable walk rates. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com had the news first on Twitter.
- Lefty reliever Will Startup will stay with the Tigers after he notched a 3.41 ERA in 58 Double-A innings last year. Startup reached Triple-A as a 21-year-old back in 2006, but before joining Detroit had landed with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012.
- The Giants have inked two righties to minor league deals, bringing aboard Jason Berken and Daryl Maday. Berken, 29, has thrown in 110 MLB games, including 28 as a starter, and recorded a 5.36 ERA over 248 2/3 innings. He spent last year at the White Sox’ Triple-A affiliate, where he managed a 3.80 ERA in 161 innings — all as a starter — and posted 6.5 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9. Meanwhile, at 28 years of age Maday has yet to see San Francisco, but will continue to keep the dream alive in the Giants system. He has bounced between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008, and now serves primarily as a reliever. Last year, Maday notched a cumulative 4.17 ERA in 49 2/3 innings, with 7.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
- The Pirates signed first baseman Miles Durham and catcher Francisco Diaz to minor league deals. At age thirty, Durham has spent his entire career in the Pittsburgh organization, other than a brief Independent League stint, and apparently served as a player-coach last season. Dia, 23, has all the markings of a light-hitting backstop (two career home runs in 1,115 plate appearances), though he has reached base at a productive clip in the low minors.
- Longtime Yankees farmhand Walter Ibarra has agreed to play short in the Cubs organization on a minor league pact. The 26-year-old reached Triple-A for the first time last year. Known for his defense, Ibarra failed to himpress with a cumulative .276/.308/.367 slash across 212 Double-A and Triple-A plate appearances in 2013.
- And the Nationals have reached agreement with a player by the name of Josh Johnson — not the starting pitcher, but the middle infielder and third baseman who has been in the Nats’ system since 2010. Last year, playing at both of the two highest minor league levels, the 27-year-old Johnson put up an impressive .293/.390/.458 line in 300 trips to the plate. He was especially impressive in his short time at Syracuse, where he had a .924 OPS and was a perfect six-for-six in stolen bases in just 111 plate appearances. Washington also added catcher Sean McCauley to the fold on a minor league pact. The 24-year-old was brought back to professional baseball by the Nats last year in a coaching capacity after losing his career to injury.
- The Rangers have signed righty Zach Russell away from the Cards’ system. The 24-year-old reliever topped out with a brief Double-A stint last year, but struggled there.
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Here's your rundown of minor moves from around the league for Friday…
- Left-hander Danny Herrera has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). The 5'6" hurler has a 3.72 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 101 2/3 career innings at the Major League level. He's still just 28 years of age as well, though he hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2011.
- Henry Rodriguez has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Iowa the Cubs announced (hat tip: Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald on Twitter). The 26-year-old was designated for assignment by the Cubs five days ago. Rodriguez has a 4.09 ERA with an alarming 20 walks in 22 innings between the Nationals and Cubs this season.
- The Athletics released third baseman Scott Moore from their Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento yesterday, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reported (on Twitter). This morning, Cotillo reported (also via Twitter) that Moore has now signed a minor league deal with the Padres and been assigned to Triple-A Tucson. The 29-year-old Moore hit .276/.361/.478 in 339 plate appearances at Sacramento this season. Moore was selected eighth overall by the Tigers in 2002 but has just a .712 OPS in 430 big league plate appearances.
- Following Rodriguez's outright, J.C. Gutierrez of the Royals and Chris Heston of the Giants remain in DFA limbo.
The Athletics reportedly had meetings lined up in Nashville today with the representatives for Hiroyuki Nakajima and Stephen Drew, as the team's search for a shortstop continues. Here's more on that front, along with the rest of the latest A's notes:
- Oakland is "kicking the tires" on just about every shortstop out there, but isn't close on anyone, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Yunel Escobar was appealing to the A's in part because he wasn't expected to have significant trade value, so Oakland doesn't want to get in a bidding war for him, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Within the same piece, Slusser notes that GM Billy Beane's preference is for a shortstop that can make an impact in 2013. A long-term piece isn't necessarily something the team wants, with prospect Addison Russell in the pipeline.
- The A's finalized a number of minor league signings, according to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). Kyler Newby, Luke Montz, Justin Thomas, Garrett Olson, Scott Moore, Darwin Perez, and Mike Ekstrom were added by Oakland.
Moore, 29, appeared in 72 games for the Astros this past season, playing first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield positions. In 228 plate appearances with Houston, the 2002 first rounder posted a .259/.330/.448 batting line and hit nine home runs.
Teams have until tonight at 10:59 PM CST to set their 40-man rosters before the Rule 5 draft, hence explaining the flurry of transactions around the majors today. Here are the players who have been outrighted off their teams' 40-man rosters, with the most recent at the top of the page (all roster moves were announced by the teams unless otherwise stated)….
- The Indians outrighted Matt LaPorta and Brent Lillibridge to Triple-A Columbus. According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (via Twitter), Lillibridge has the option to refuse the assignment and become a free agent.
- The Rockies have outrighted Andrew Brown and Matt McBride to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
- The Astros have outrighted infielder Scott Moore to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Moore has the option of accepting the assignment or electing free agency.
- Cubs right-hander Carlos Gutierrez has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.
Today's minor moves…
- Jason Pridie has signed a minor league deal with the Athletics, according to a tweet from Sosnick Cobbe Sports. The 28-year-old earned his first extended look in the bigs in 2011, hitting .231/.309/.370 in 236 plate appearances with the Mets.
- The Diamondbacks signed Ryan Budde to a minor league deal, according to the same tweet. Budde, 32, earned 35 Major League plate appearances over the span of four seasons with the Angels from 2007 to 2010. He spent 2011 at the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
- The Astros announced they've signed infielder Scott Moore to a minor league deal. The 27-year-old hit .295/.380/.444 with nine home runs in 425 Triple-A plate appearances this year, playing mostly first base, second base, and third base for the Iowa Cubs. The Astros have also signed Brad Snyder, Nick Stavinoha, Travis Buck, Brandon Barnes, Alberto Arias, Jose Valdez, and Xavier Cedeno to minor league deals this offseason. They've added Brian Bixler and Craig Tatum through waiver claims.
A look at the minor deals struck today…
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that Esteban German is returning to the Rangers on a minor league deal. German, 33 in January, hit .280/.371/.388 in 567 Triple-A plate appearances this year, playing all around the diamond. He was outrighted on November 5th and chose to become a free agent.
- The Royals signed outfielder Brett Carroll to a minor league contract, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). The 28-year-old is a .205/.284/.325 career hitter in 319 plate appearances with the Marlins.
- Infielder Scott Moore signed a minor league deal with the Cubs, reports Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He originally broke in with the Cubs back in 2006, but was later traded to the Orioles for Steve Trachsel.
- Infielder Chad Tracy signed with the Hiroshima Carp for about $1.3MM according to a report passed along by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman (Twitter link).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
- Adrian Gonzalez said on XX 1090 in San Diego that he had surgery in October and may not swing a bat until late March, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter). The Padres have said they’re willing to listen to offers on Gonzalez, but the surgery could limit the number of offers GM Jed Hoyer gets.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch explains why the Pirates might have some interest in Adrian Beltre and why the third baseman isn't likely to end up in Pittsburgh.
- Free agent outfielder Carl Crawford says he's "just kind of sitting back waiting" to hear from interested teams, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
- Dennis Sarfate, Scott Moore, Joel Guzman, Chris George and Mike Hinckley became minor league free agents over the weekend, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- ESPN.com's Mark Simon explains that we aren't necessarily going to see "a strict adherence to baseball analytics and a formulaic, stats-over-scouts approach" from the Mets, who now have Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi in their revamped front office.
- The friendship between free agent first baseman Paul Konerko and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf likely means Chicago will have the chance to match any offers Konerko receives from other teams, according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com.
- Patrick Newman of FanGraphs says Tsuyoshi Nishioka is a pretty good player who can hit well from both sides of the plate and handle second base. The Chiba Lotte Marines may post the Pacific League batting champion and make him available to MLB teams.
Orioles players Scott Moore, Cla Meredith, Alberto Castillo, and Michael Aubrey elected free agency, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. They appear to be minor league free agents, having finished the season at Triple A and off the 40-man roster.
Moore, 27 in November, hit .209/.274/.337 in 96 plate appearances for the Orioles this year, playing mostly second base. He joined the Orioles in August of '07 in the Steve Trachsel deal with the Cubs. Moore was designated for assignment in '09 and '10, clearing waivers both times. He hit .280/.345/.476 at Triple A this year while playing mainly third base.
Meredith, 27, tallied 15 relief innings for the Orioles this year with a 5.40 ERA, 4.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and four home runs allowed. The sidearmer racks up groundballs and handles righties well on his best days. The Orioles acquired him from the Padres for Oscar Salazar in July of last year. He was designated for assignment and cleared waivers in June.
Castillo, 35, whiffed 11 but allowed five homers and 12 earned runs in his 10.6 inning stint with the O's this year. He was designated for assignment in June to clear a 40-man spot for Jake Arrieta. Castillo's work in Triple A: a 4.54 ERA, 9.8 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 in 39.6 innings. He was done in by 46 hits allowed. His previous work in Triple A was more encouraging.
Aubrey, 28, was drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003. It appeared that he might get a shot at first base for the Orioles heading into this season, but they signed Garrett Atkins and ended up designating Aubrey on April 1st. He spent the season at Triple A, hitting .235/.310/.495 with 22 home runs in 419 plate appearances.