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Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Marlins have outrighted center fielder Brent Keys to Triple-A Jacksonville, according to the club’s transactions page. Miami designated Keys for assignment over the weekend when they acquired lefty Donnie Joseph from the Royals.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Edgmer Escalona to a minor league deal, according to the club’s transactions page. The hard-throwing 27-year-old rejected an outright assignment from the division-rival Orioles and elected free agency a couple weeks back. Curiously, the Orioles transitioned Escalona to their Triple-A rotation, where he made the first three starts of his professional career. He didn’t fare particularly well, posting a 6.10 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. He has some MLB experience with the Rockies and averaged 94.2 mph on his heater from 2012-13.
- Escalona will take the roster spot of righty Robert Coello at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, after Coello opted out of his minor league deal, the team has officially announced (hat tip: Donnie Collins of the Scranton Tribune-Times on Twitter). Coello posted a pristine 1.69 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings, but he also walked a troubling 21 batters in that time.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (via Twitter) that right-hander Sean O’Sullivan has accepted his outright assignment with the Phillies. O’Sullivan was outrighted yesterday after being designated for assignment last week and had the option to elect free agency.
Here are today’s outright assignments and minor moves from around the league…
- UPDATE: Maikel Cleto has not, in fact, been released by the White Sox, according to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin (via Twitter). The International League transactions page indicates that the righty has been released, apparently erroneously. Cleto, 25, has seen his most extended MLB time this year after enjoying cups of coffee in each of the last three seasons. But he has not taken advantage, and owns a 5.14 ERA through 14 frames with an ugly 6.4 K/9 against 9.6 BB/9. Cleto’s 20 2/3 innings in Triple-A have not been much better, as he has worked to a 6.53 mark, though he has managed 12.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.
- Righty Joel Pineiro, recently released by the Angels, has been hit with a 50-game PED suspension, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). The prohibited substance at issue was heptaminol, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (tweet in Spanish). The 35-year-old, who had been attempting a comeback, owns a 5.93 ERA through 44 innings in the upper minors on the year.
- Shortstop Paul Janish has been released by the Rockies, according to the PCL transactions page. Janish opted out of his minor league pact, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 31-year-old has spent the entire year at Triple-A, putting up a .234/.284/.301 slash in 226 plate appearances.
- Righty Chris Resop has opted out of his contract with the Red Sox, tweets Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. The 31-year-old owns a 4.42 ERA through 38 2/3 frames at Triple-A. He has made MLB appearances in eight of the last nine seasons.
- The Dodgers have acquired first baseman Brock Peterson from the Nationals in exchange for cash considerations, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Peterson, 30, owns a .250/.332/.367 line through 301 plate appearances at Triple-A this year. He has, however, shown much more power in recent seasons in the high minors with the Cardinals.
- The White Sox have released righty Mitchell Boggs from Triple-A, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter). The move will clear space for the addition of fellow reliever Henry Rodriguez, who signed a minor league deal recently, as Scott Merkin of MLB.com reported on Twitter. Boggs struggled to a 9.50 ERA in 36 innings with the Sox’ top affiliate this year, while Rodriguez was utterly unable to throw strikes consistently during his tenure with the Marlins.
- The Phillies announced that right-hander Sean O’Sullivan has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 26-year-old allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his lone start of the year with the Phillies and has a career 5.90 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 224 1/3 innings of work. O’Sullivan has been outrighted in the past and has the option to reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency.
The Phillies have announced that they’ve designated pitcher Sean O’Sullivan for assignment. The move clears space for infielder Andres Blanco, whose contract the Phillies purchased from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies added O’Sullivan to their roster yesterday so that he could start the second game of a doubleheader yesterday against the Braves. He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking none. The Phillies made space for him yesterday by outrighting infielder Ronny Cedeno, so it makes sense that they would replace O’Sullivan on their active roster with an infielder. The veteran Blanco has appeared in parts of six seasons with the Royals, Cubs and Rangers, hitting .255/.301/.333. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2011.
The Phillies announce that they have outrighted shortstop Ronny Cedeno and selected the contract of pitcher Sean O’Sullivan. The Phillies added Cedeno to their roster in June, and he has played very sparingly since then, only collecting seven plate appearances in three weeks. The 31-year-old veteran has hit .245/.289/.353 in parts of ten seasons with the Cubs, Mariners, Pirates, Mets, Astros, Padres and Phillies.
O’Sullivan, 26, had posted a 4.31 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 87 2/3 innings with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He will start the second game of the Phillies’ doubleheader against the Braves today.
O'Sullivan, 26, posted a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings (three starts, four relief appearances) for the Padres last season. However, the former Angel and Royal also walked more batters (14) than he struck out (12) in that time. O'Sullivan has struggled overall at the Major League level, pitching to a 5.89 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 218 2/3 innings. The former third-round pick has a 4.40 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 486 1/3 career innings at Triple-A.
Sappelt, 27 in January, batted .240/.269/.280 in 78 plate appearances for the Cubs in 2013. One of three players acquired by Chicago in the trade that sent Sean Marshall to the Reds (the others were Travis Wood and Ronald Torreyes), Sappelt is a career .251/.301/.343 hitter in 274 big league plate appearances. He's been much better at Triple-A, batting .279/.332/.402 in 1356 PAs.
Gwynn spent the bulk of the 2013 campaign with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate, where he batted .300/.393/.384 with a pair of homers and 12 steals in 391 plate appearances. The 31-year-old is an outstanding defender in center field, making him a nice depth piece for the Phils.
Marson, 27, was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. Philly traded him to the Indians along with Jason Knapp (who is attempting a comeback), Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald in the 2008 blockbuster that netted Cliff Lee. Marson spent most of the 2013 season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Yan Gomes' breakout with the Indians displaced Marson as the team's backup catcher. He is a .219/.309/.299 career hitter in 882 Major League PAs.
Here are Friday's minor moves from around the league…
- Padres right-hander Sean O'Sullivan has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Tucson, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. O'Sullivan, 25, was designated for assignment on Monday. In 25 innings for the Padres this season, he posted a 3.96 ERA but issued more walks (14) than strikeouts (12). He has a 5.89 career ERA in 218 2/3 innings but has been better at Triple-A, where he owns a 4.43 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 473 1/3 frames.
- With O'Sullivan's outright, just Wade LeBlanc of the Astros, Jeff Francoeur of the Giants, and Jason Bourgeois of the Rays remain in DFA limbo, as can be seen in MLBTR's new DFA Tracker.
The Padres announced on Twitter that they have designated right-hander Sean O'Sullivan for assignment to clear a roster spot for fellow righty Brad Boxberger, who will be recalled from Triple-A Tucson.
O'Sullivan, 25, signed a minor league contract with the Friars this offseason after the Blue Jays released him last November. The right-hander was drafted by the Angels and traded to the Royals along with Will Smith in exchange for Alberto Callaspo. Toronto later acquired him from Kansas City for cash considerations.
O'Sullivan posted a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings with the Padres this season but walked more batters (14) than he struck out (12) in the process. In 218 2/3 Major League innings, the San Diego native has a 5.89 ERA with 4.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate.
Baseball is seeing the emergence of numerous quality young shortstops at the same time, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required). Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, Brandon Crawford, and Starlin Castro are among the young shortstops already making an impact in the big leagues. All play on National League clubs. One of these players (Castro) has already been locked up long-term, while another (Segura) is an early extension target for his club. It will be interesting to see whether and when the rest of this deep group of middle infielders are approached about extensions. Elsewhere in the National League …
- The Cardinals, one of baseball's most storied franchises, are perhaps its best-run present organization, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Prioritizing continuity and foregoing excuses, the Cards are respected in the front office, field staff, and active roster. Sherman explains that the Cardinals' success in acquiring and developing players has been accompanied by a consistent philosophy of professionalism. This has allowed the team to weather significant injuries without missing a beat. As former manager Tony LaRussa describes it: "The Cardinals are winning because they have done things right for years to be in a position to be successful. Don't get me wrong, the Cardinals' talent level is really good, but their team chemistry is off the charts."
- Former Phillies' prospect Michael Bourn fully bloomed after leaving the club, but thought he might return as a free agent this past offseason. As MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes, when Bourn's asking price looked too steep, the Phils went after another center fielder in Ben Revere. By the time Bourn's price had dropped, then, the position was filled, and Bourn signed with the Indians. From his perspective, Bourn says: "I think I might have been on their hit list. I don't know how high or what their target was, or if they were worried about what Scott [Boras] was going to do. There are a lot of teams that say they want you to be part of their organization, but you don't know if they really do. … Yeah, I guess the Phillies were interested a little bit. But that's not how it went down."
- With long-term deals locking up cornerstone infielders Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs could turn their attention to spending on pitching, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Of course, the club intends to fill two rotation spots with Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson for the foreseeable future. While Wittenmyer says that extension talks have not been planned with starter Matt Garza, the soon-to-be free agent says he would be amenable. Garza, of course, has yet to appear this season. Likewise, rotation member Travis Wood says he would love to make his career in Chicago. Though he says "that's out of my hands," Wood has done everything he can this year to lock down a spot going forward. If nothing else, he is setting himself up nicely for his first season of arbitration eligibility. As manager Dale Sveum noted, and Wittenmyer documented, Wood has posted a 3.50 ERA and logged 192 2/3 innings over his last 31 starts (extending into last year).
- The Padres have several players in their minor league system whose contracts contain out clauses that are approaching, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Pitcher Tim Stauffer can elect free agency on June 1, while fellow righty Sean O'Sullivan's date is June 15. It was previously believed that both pitchers had opt-out dates around June 1. Other players with June 15 opt-out dates are catcher Rene Rivera and outfielder Travis Buck. Each has made a reasonable case in Triple-A that they can contribute. Stauffer has pitched to a 3.16 ERA in 42 2/3 innings. O'Sullivan's ERA is 4.19 across 43 innings, but he has put up 8.2 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. Meanwhile, Rivera has a .375/.430/.477 line in 101 plate appearances, and Buck has hit .275/.321/.480 in 112 appearances.
When players with significant Major League experience settle for minor league contracts, it's commonplace for these deals to contain opt-out clauses. If the player hasn't been added to the 25-man roster by a certain point, he can exercise the clause and seek employment with another organization. Such clauses aren't always made publicly available, but here's a list of some of the pitchers who have known opt-out dates that are nearing…
- Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees: Wang can opt out of his contract on May 31. In five starts spanning 31 2/3 innings at Triple-A thus far, the 33-year-old has a 2.84 ERA, 4.3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. The Yankees have said they don't feel Wang's minor league success will translate to the Majors just yet, as they want him to rely more on his breaking pitches than just his sinker.
- Tim Stauffer, Padres: Stauffer can opt out of his deal "around June 1," according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He appeared in just one game for San Diego before needing season-ending surgery but posted a 3.24 ERA in 341 1/3 innings for the Friars from 2009-11. So far in Triple-A, the 30-year-old has a 3.16 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings.
- Sean O'Sullivan, Padres: Currently Stauffer's rotation-mate, O'Sullivan has the same opt-out clause in his contract (near June 1) despite being just 25 years of age. O'Sullivan has a 4.19 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 43 innings for Triple-A Tucson. He's had a rough time in the Majors, however, as evidenced by his 6.13 ERA in 193 2/3 big league innings.
- Jeremy Bonderman, Mariners: Bonderman's opt-out date is June 1, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Still just 30 years of age, Bonderman has been solid for Triple-A Tacoma. He's pitched to a 3.70 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in eight starts spanning 48 2/3 innings. Olney feels Bonderman will opt out if he's not called up in the next couple of weeks, and I'm inclined to agree.
- Jair Jurrjens, Orioles: Jurrjens has an opt-out date of June 15. After a drastic fall from grace in the Braves organization, the 27-year-old has looked sharp at Triple-A Norfolk in 2013. He's compiled a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings.
All of the pitchers listed here have pitched well enough that they could make a case for helping a Major League team with a struggling rotation. It seems likely that by mid-June, each could force his way onto a Major League roster, even if it's with a new organization. If you see a notable omission with a known opt-out date, speak up in the comments section.
Commissioner Bud Selig says he wants his stewardship of the game to be judged by the value of MLB's franchises, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. He called the Dodgers' sale "stunning," and said that "every franchise is worth a lot more today … because the game is healthy." Selig also weighed in on the DH, saying that "some cataclysmic event" would be needed to keep the bat out of National League pitchers' hands. Here are some more notes from around the National League:
- Padres GM Josh Byrnes is taking a hard look at the club's farm system to find a solution to the team's pitching woes, writes Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. According to Fangraphs, the Padres' rotation has put up negative 1.4 WAR thus far, a full .5 WAR worse than the second-to-last Astros staff. Jenkins says that the front office's "unwillingness or failure" to supplement the team's less-than-promising rotation over the offseason is to blame for the club's present difficulties.
- Two in-house options for San Diego are minor league arms Tim Stauffer and Sean O'Sullivan, both of whom possess similar out clauses in their contracts, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Center says that both pitchers can opt out around June 1 if they have not been elevated to the Padres' big league roster.
- The emergence of catcher Evan Gattis could ultimately have an impact on the Braves' plans behind the dish, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The team has benefitted enormously from his performance as stalwart Brian McCann works his way back from injury. But as Bowman says, the first-place Braves have every reason to try and work McCann back into his starting role, and still have Gerald Laird locked up for this year and next. On the other hand, with the Braves already unlikely to re-sign McCann after this season, Gattis's continued performance could make that decision much easier for the team.
- Meanwhile, Bowman says the Braves were interested in locking up outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Freddie Freeman during the offseason. Despite the team's efforts to initiate talks, however, they were rebuffed by the young stars. Heyward currently stands to reach free agency in 2016, with Freeman following him in 2017.
- Cubs starter Matt Garza suffered yet another setback, failing to make his first rehab start after suffering from what Cubs manager Dale Sveum called a "dead arm," writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribute. Garza is, however, scheduled for long toss tomorrow and should be set up for a comeback start soon, David Furones writes for MLB.com. Of course, the Cubs would like not only to benefit from Garza's work on the mound, but to begin his audition for teams looking for rotation help at the trade deadline. In addition to the already-noted Chase Utley, Garza is one of several players that ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Insider) to keep an eye on as trade season approaches. Others include Mets catcher John Buck and Indians reliever Chris Perez.