Sergio Santos Rumors

Minor Moves: Hill, Gwynn, Berry, Rangers, Reds

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the most recent moves at the top of the post…

  • Lefty Rich Hill has been outrighted to Triple-A by the Yankees, according to the International League transactions page. Hill was designated to make room for fellow southpaw Josh Outman. Though he has seen little time at the MLB level this year and posted an unsightly 6.28 ERA last year, the 34-year-old has historically been quite tough on same-handed hitters and could make sense as an extra lefty specialist on an expanded roster. Having previously been outrighted, Hill will have the right to elect free agency.
  • The Phillies announce that they have selected the contract of outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. To make room on their 40-man roster, they transferred Cliff Lee to the 60-day DL. The Phillies outrighted and then released Gwynn earlier this summer, only to re-sign him to a minor league deal. He’s a career .239/.310/.311 hitter in parts of eight big-league seasons.
  • The Orioles will select the contract of outfielder Quintin Berry, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com tweets. Berry had a good season for Triple-A Norfolk, hitting .285/.382/.367 in 432 plate appearances, and did his usual good job on the bases, stealing 25 of them while being caught six times. In his brief big-league career with the Tigers and Red Sox, Berry has stolen 24 bases without being caught, making him an ideal September promotion candidate for a team seeking speed.
  • The Rangers have announced that they will select the contract of lefty Michael Kirkman as a September call-up tomorrow. Also, they will select the contract of fellow pitcher Spencer Patton on Thursday. Kirkman has posted a 4.47 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 while pitching 54 1/3 innings of relief this season at Triple-A Round Rock. The Royals outrighted him in April. Patton has posted a combined 3.90 ERA with 12.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings with Round Rock and the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate in Omaha. The Rangers acquired him for reliever Jason Frasor in July.
  • The Reds have selected the contracts of outfielder Jason Bourgeois and lefty Ryan Dennick, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. They have also cleared one spot on their roster by transferring Homer Bailey to the 60-day DL. The veteran Bourgeois hit .278/.329/.364 in 595 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Louisville. Also at Louisville, the 27-year-old Dennick posted a 2.36 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 49 2/3 innings of relief.
  • The Giants will select the contract of pitcher Brett Bochy, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Bochy, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, has had a solid season in the bullpen at Triple-A Fresno, posting a 3.57 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 53 innings. The 27-year-old was a 20th-round draft pick out of the University of Kansas in 2010.
  • The Rockies have selected the contract of infielder Rafael Ynoa, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Ynoa, 27, played for eight years in the Dodgers organization before signing with the Rockies last winter. This season, he posted a .297/.356/.419 line in 473 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs, playing shortstop, second base and third base.
  • The Athletics have selected the contract of catcher Bryan Anderson, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. The A’s acquired Anderson in a minor trade with the Reds late last month, apparently in a bid to acquire more catching depth due to John Jaso‘s injury. The 27-year-old Anderson hit .320/.397/.538 in 293 plate appearances in the minors in 2014. He’s played briefly at the big-league level with the Cardinals and White Sox.
  • The Blue Jays have outrighted reliever Sergio Santos to Double-A New Hampshire, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Last week, the Jays designated Santos for assignment for the second time this year. He’s posted an 8.57 ERA in 21 innings with the big club, striking out 29 batters but walking 18.
  • The Padres have selected the contracts of pitcher Leonel Campos and 2B/3B/OF Cory Spangenberg and moved Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso to the 60-day DL, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Campos has posted a 6.34 ERA with 5.6 BB/9 in a season split between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, but with 11.8 K/9. He can start or relieve. We noted earlier this week that the Padres appeared likely to promote Spangenberg, a former first-round draft pick.
  • The Orioles purchased the contract of left-hander Joe Saunders, the team announced.  Saunders signed a minor league deal with the O’s last month and posted a 1.50 ERA in 12 relief innings for Triple-A Norfolk.  The veteran southpaw has never pitched out of the bullpen in the majors but the Orioles intend to use him as a reliever down the stretch.  Buck Showalter told reporters (including MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli) that Saunders could also make a spot start when the O’s face the Yankees in a double-header on September 12.
  • The Twins will purchase the contracts of utilityman Doug Bernier and right-handers Lester Oliveros and A.J. Achter prior to Tuesday’s game, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  The trio are three of eight players Minnesota is adding to its expanded September roster.
  • Rays catcher Ali Solis has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter).  Solis was outrighted yesterday to create a spot on the Rays’ 40-man roster for right-hander Steve Geltz, who will be promoted today.
  • The Brewers purchased the contract of catcher Matt Pagnozzi, the team announced.  Jeff Bianchi was shifted to the 60-day DL in a corresponding move.  Pagnozzi has 105 career PA since 2009 with the Cardinals, Rockies, Pirates and Astros and he’s also spent time with the Braves’ and Indians’ Triple-A affiliates over the last two seasons.  Pagnozzi has a career .219/.297/.318 slash line over 3026 career PA in the minors.
  • The Angels selected the contract of shortstop Shawn O’Malley, according to Tim Mead, the team’s VP of communications (Twitter link).  O’Malley will join the Halos on Tuesday and add some versatility to the bench; he has mostly played short over his pro career but has played all over the diamond this season.  Originally a fifth-round pick of the Rays in the 2006 draft, O’Malley is looking to make his Major League debut after nine years in the minors, hitting .258/.351/.338 over 2982 PA.

Blue Jays Designate Sergio Santos For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated right-hander Sergio Santos for the second time this season, according to a team press release. The move makes room on the roster for fellow right-hander Chad Jenkins.

The 31-year-old Santos has had a difficult time remaining healthy since being acquired by the Blue Jays in a 2012 trade that sent right-hander Nestor Molina to the White Sox. Santos underwent shoulder surgery that season, battled a triceps injury last year and has missed time with a forearm strain in 2014.

Following his previous DFA, the Jays immediately placed Santos on outright waivers, hoping that his contract — he’s earning $3.75MM in 2014 and has a $750K buyout on a $6MM option for next season — would allow him to clear. That’s exactly what happened, and the Jays sent him to Triple-A with the hopes that he could rediscover his 2010-11 form. He fired 10 2/3 shutout innings in the minors and was promptly brought back to the club, but he’s struggled again in his return. Santos made just two appearances and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He surrendered a pair of homers in that time, although he did also record three strikeouts.

Santos, who converted from shortstop to the mound, has consistently shown the propensity to miss bats, but command has been an issue for him. It’s possible that he could rejoin the team in September, but even if that happens, it certainly seems unlikely that Toronto would exercise the club option given his recent struggles.


Minor Moves: Link, Santos, Miller, Schierholtz

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

  • Former Rangers outfield prospect Jamie Jarmon will attend the University of Delaware to play football, writes Gerry Fraley of SportsDayDFW. Jarmon retired from baseball in July after failing to hit over .200 at any level. Jarmon was selected with the 83rd pick of the 2012 draft as compensation for the loss of C.J. Wilson.
  • The Marlins have signed pitcher Jon Link to a minor league contract, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish. Link, 30, made nine relief appearances for the Dodgers in 2010, but has not pitched in the majors since. He posted a 4.15 ERA with 4.15 K/9 and 4.15 BB/9 in his 8.2 innings of work.
  • The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Sergio Santos. They’ll make a corresponding move tomorrow. The Jays outrighted Santos last month after he struggled through 19 2/3 innings with the big club. He pitched well for Triple-A Buffalo, striking out 16 batters and walking six in 10 2/3 innings.
  • The Yankees have released righty Jim Miller, Chad Jennings of Lohud Yankees Blog tweets. Miller pitched in two games for the Yankees earlier this season, but spent most of the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he posted a 3.30 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings. The Yankees outrighted him last month.
  • The Nationals have selected outfielder Nate Schierholtz‘s contract today, as James Wagner of the Washington Post originally tweeted. Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington tweets that Michael Taylor has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Nate McLouth has been placed on the 60-day DL to clear space for Schierholtz on the 40-man roster. The Nats signed Schierholtz to a minor league deal earlier this week after the Cubs released him. After a productive season in Chicago in 2013, he was a disappointment in 2014, hitting .192/.240/.300 in 341 plate appearances. The Nationals will hope he’ll provide them with left-handed hitting off the bench.


Buddy Carlyle, Jair Jurrjens, Sergio Santos Outrighted

Here are today’s outright assignments from around the league…

  • Mets righty Buddy Carlyle has also been outrighted to Triple-A, per the MLB transactions page. He was recently designated by the club in spite of the fact that he has allowed just one earned run in five appearances on the year (with seven strikeouts and three walks). The 36-year-old has the option of choosing to test the open market.
  • The Rockies have outrighted right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. Like Santos, the 28-year-old Jurrjens will have the opportunity to refuse the assignment and elect free agency.
  • Blue Jays right-hander Sergio Santos has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. He has accepted the assignment rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. GM Alex Anthopoulos said earlier in the week, when Santos was designated for assignment, that he had placed the righty directly on waivers and was hopeful that he would clear. Santos did just that, and he’ll have a chance to sort out his command issues in the minors, with the Jays hoping that he can resurface and make an impact later in the season.

Blue Jays Designate Sergio Santos For Assignment

3:02pm: Anthopoulos tells reporters, including Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, that he made no effort to trade Santos and has already placed him on waivers (Twitter link). Santos did not ask to be traded, either. Toronto’s hope is that Santos will clear waivers and head to Triple-A to rediscover his form.

2:18pm: The Blue Jays announced that they have designated right-hander Sergio Santos for assignment and recalled southpaw Rob Rasmussen from Triple-A Buffalo.

Santos, 31, has rarely been healthy since the Blue Jays surprisingly acquired him from the White Sox prior to the 2012 season. He missed the majority of his first season north of the border following surgery to repair a frayed labrum in his shoulder, and last season he was sidelined by triceps injuries. This year, a forearm strain has shelved Santos and likely contributed to some significant struggles on the mound.

Santos looked excellent in 25 2/3 innings last season — he posted a 1.75 ERA with a 28-to-4 K/BB ratio — but he’s been lost in 2014. The former ChiSox stopper has a 7.78 ERA wit 26 strikeouts and 17 walks in 19 2/3 innings. His command issues haven’t just been limited to free passes, as he’s also uncorked four wild pitches in that relatively short amount of time.

Suffice it to say, if this is the end of his time with the Jays, Santos’ tenure in Toronto didn’t pan out as well as GM Alex Anthpoulos had hoped when he plucked him from the South Siders in exchange for prospect Nestor Molina. However, it appears that Anthopoulos still did a commendable job of selling high on Molina, who had a 2.21 ERA in 130 1/3 innings in 2011 but has posted a combined 4.56 ERA across three levels in Chicago’s minor league system since. Now 25 years old, he has thrown just four innings at the Triple-A level — all of which came in 2012.

The Jays still owe Santos roughly $1.43MM of this season’s $3.75MM salary, as well as a $750K buyout on the first of three club options in the three-year, $8.25MM extension he originally signed with the Sox.


Blue Jays Pursued Trades For Kinsler, Anderson

The Blue Jays almost finalized trades that would've seen them acquire Ian Kinsler from the Rangers and Brett Anderson from the Athletics earlier this winter, but both deals ended up as "near-misses," Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports.

Kinsler, of course, was part of the offseason's biggest blockbuster to date, when he was traded to the Tigers in exchange for Prince Fielder and $30MM.  Before that deal occurred, however, the Jays' proposed swap for the second baseman fell through due to Kinsler's partial no-trade clause that allowed him to block deals to up to 10 teams.  It's unknown what the Jays would have given up for Kinsler, though I would guess it would've been on a much lesser scale than Fielder; it wouldn't have made much sense for Toronto create another hole in the lineup by dealing the likes of Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion.

The Jays had long been rumored to be suitors for Anderson and they discussed a trade with the A's that would've sent Sergio Santos to Oakland in return for the southpaw.  Anderson's extensive injury history, however, ended up dimming Toronto's interest and Anderson was instead traded to the Rockies in December.  Interestingly, the Jays also had Santos tabbed to go to the Rangers as part of a potential three-team deal in November that was scuttled when another player in the deal failed his physical.

Second base and the starting rotation were the Blue Jays' two biggest areas of need going into the offseason, so had these two would-be deals gone through, GM Alex Anthopoulos' winter shopping could have essentially been complete.  With January almost over, however, the Jays are still looking for rotation upgrades and a Ryan Goins/Maicer Izturis platoon is still penciled into the keystone position.


Trade Involving Blue Jays, Rangers Fell Through

The Rangers, Blue Jays, and an unknown third team agreed on a trade about two weeks ago that would have sent Sergio Santos to Texas, reports Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, according to the FOX duo, the agreement fell through when another player involved in the swap failed his physical (Twitter links).

It's not clear if Texas and Toronto will attempt to revisit the deal in another form, but as Morosi notes (via Twitter), the news suggests that the Rangers are still looking to bolster their bullpen. The Jays, on the other hand, seem very open to using their crop of relievers as trade bait to improve in other areas.

Santos, 30, has missed a good chunk of the last two season with injuries, but was excellent when he was healthy this past season, recording a 1.75 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 29 appearances.


Blue Jays Claim Thad Weber

The Blue Jays have announced they have claimed right-hander Thad Weber off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. To make room for Weber on the 40-man roster, the team transferred right-hander Sergio Santos to the 60-day disabled list.

Weber, who was designated for assignment on Friday, made three relief appearances for the Padres allowing two runs over nine innings while striking out six and walking five. The 28-year-old began the season in Triple-A posting a 3.93 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, and 10.0 H/9 in six starts.

This is the second time in nine months Weber has been claimed through the waiver process, as the Padres plucked him from the Tigers last August. Per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, this is the 12th waiver claim made by the most active waiver wire GM, Alex Anthopoulos, in 2013.


Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Izturis, Bonifacio

The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose ReyesJosh JohnsonMark BuehrleEmilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.

  • The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm. 
  • The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
  • It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
  • Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
  • The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.    

AL East Notes: Yankees, Pimentel, Santos, Orioles

It was on this day in 1974 that the first real "free agent" signing in modern baseball history was made by (who else?) the Yankees when they inked Catfish Hunter to a five-year, $3.75MM deal.  Hunter was freed from his previous contract with the A's after an arbitrator ruled that the club has breached the terms of the right-hander's deal, thus paving the way for Hunter to sign with New York.  The deal was a record for its time, as Hunter was earning three times as much money as any other Major League player.

Here are some items from around the AL East…

  • The Yankees have learned several lessons in 2012 including Alex Rodriguez is less dependable than ever and their fiscal cliff is real, according to LoHud.com's Chad Jennings.
  • Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel was part of the trade package the Red Sox sent to the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal.  WEEI.com's Alex Speier looks at Pimentel's career arc and wonders if his departure could signal a change in how the Sox value their prospects in terms of their trade value.
  • Sergio Santos spent almost all of the 2012 season on the DL but his ability to provide depth at closer will be a major factor in the Blue Jays' playoff drive in 2013, writes Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star.  Santos was expected to be the Jays' closer last year but Casey Janssen stepped into the job and performed well, making him the incumbent late-game choice heading into next season.  Griffin thinks Santos will be the choice to take over the job if he stays healthy, though I don't see the Jays making a switch unless Janssen struggles.  Just a reminder that you can keep track of all the closer news on MLBTR's sister Twitter feed @CloserNews.
  • If the Nationals re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche but miss out on free agent southpaw J.P. Howell, MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko suggests that the Nats and Orioles could match up on a trade.  In Kolko's proposed deal, the O's would send one of their several left-handed relief options to Washington as part of a package in exchange for Michael Morse, who would be expendable for the Nats if LaRoche was back in the fold.
  • In other AL East news from earlier today, we learned the Rays are in the market for more relief pitching.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.