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Some minor transactions from around the league and the independent circuit…
- The Cubs have released right-hander Blake Parker, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Parker, designated for assignment yesterday, had not appeared in the big leagues this year. In his 3 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level, Parker permitted one earned run to score while striking out one and walking three batters. He does own a 3.68 career ERA in the majors, with a healthy 10.4 K/9 against just 2.9 BB/9.
- Righty Daniel Cabrera has been released by the Reds, the club’s Triple-A affiliate tweets. The 33-year-old has not appeared in the big leagues since 2009, and spent each of the last two seasons playing in Japan. He made just one appearance at Louisville this season, going three innings and allowing one earned run but issuing four free passes and striking out only one opposing batter.
- The Dodgers have signed right-hander P.J. Walters, who had been pitching with the independent Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers, reports Mike Ashmore of the Trentonian (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Walters should join L.A.’s Minor League ranks following the move. Though Walters has posted just a 6.28 ERA in parts of five Major League seasons with the Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays, he does have a lifetime 4.70 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in Triple-A.
- Former Twins left-hander Pedro Hernandez has signed a contract with the independent St. Paul Saints, the team announced. Hernandez was acquired along with Eduardo Escobar in the 2012 trade that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. The now-26-year-old Hernandez struggled to a 7.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 26 walks in 66 1/3 Major League innings with the Sox, Twins and Rockies from 2012-14. He posted solid, if unspectacular numbers throughout much of his Minor League career until reaching the Triple-A level.
- Right-hander Robert Stock‘s contract has been purchased by the Pirates, according to a tweet from the Normal CornBelters of the independent Frontier League. The 25-year-old hit the indy circuit after posting a 4.12 ERA with 43 strikeouts against 46 walks in 63 1/3 innings between the Cardinals’ Class-A and Class-A Advanced affiliates in 2014.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Daniel Cabrera | Eduardo Escobar | Francisco Liriano | Los Angeles Dodgers | Minnesota Twins | P.J. Walters | Pedro Hernandez | Pittsburgh Pirates | St. Louis Cardinals | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions
Cardinals reliever Jordan Walden will miss six to ten weeks with a muscle strain in his right shoulder, GM John Mozeliak told reporters including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter links). Seth Maness is set to fill in for Walden in a set-up role in front of closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Having an arm like Maness provides some consolation, but hardly makes up for a significant amount of time without Walden. The 27-year-old righty had been outstanding through 10 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out a dozen batters and permitting only four walks. Though his average fastball velocity has been down by about 1.5 mph as against his numbers last year, continuing a general trend, he still has worked regularly in the 94-95 mph range.
Over six years of MLB action with the Angels, Braves, and now Cardinals, Walden has racked up 222 frames of 3.00 ERA pitching. He has averaged 10.8 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 with a 41.9% groundball rate over that time.
Walden came to St. Louis as a significant secondary piece in the same deal that brought Jason Heyward from the Braves. The Cardinals wasted little time in extending their commitment to him, inking a two-year deal that bought out Walden’s final two arbitration-eligible seasons for a guaranteed $6.6MM and left the club with a $5.25MM option for 2017.
It seems that the Cards will know much more about Walden’s status in advance of the trade deadline, which should help the team assess its pitching needs. The club is already without top starter Adam Wainwright for the year, of course, which has reduced its overall flexibility in moving players between the rotation and pen.
After a more in-depth look at the Brewers earlier today, here’s a look around the rest of the NL Central…
- The Reds will not pursue catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia despite an injury that could force Devin Mesoraco to undergo hip surgery, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Mesoraco will serve as a pinch-hitter/interleague DH and try to delay surgery for as long as he is able. The Reds have 8 games in AL parks over the coming two weeks, Rosenthal adds. The decision not to place Mesoraco on the disabled list is strange, to say the least, as he’s contributed a mere eight plate appearances to the Reds dating back to April 12. By opting not to place Mesoraco on the DL, the Reds have given manager Bryan Price a limited bench with which to work and prevented themselves from perhaps adding some defensive versatility or speed to the bench.
- Oft-injured Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia has ramped up his throwing program to a 70-pitch live BP, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports on Twitter. At this point, St. Louis probably cannot count on much from Garcia, given his significant shoulder problems, but would surely welcome the opportunity to get what it can from him with Adam Wainwright down for the year.
- The Pirates ought to seriously consider giving more time to infielder Jung-ho Kang, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review opines. Pittsbugh’s offense has scuffled badly, of course, with shortstop Jordy Mercer and third baseman Josh Harrison among the struggling starters. It would not be surprising to see Kang appear more frequently in the lineup, particularly given that he has exhibited some promising signs with a 10.3% walk rate, 17.9% strikeout rate, and sturdy .265/.333/.412 overall batting line, along with solid-enough defensive ratings, all in a short sample. Harrison, at least, presumably has a reasonably long leash after signing a significant extension over the offseason.
Anthony Rendon‘s return to the Nationals appears to be on hold, as the infielder has suffered a strained oblique muscle during his rehab assignment, manager Matt Williams told reporters, including James Wagner of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Rendon was on the mend from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee but had his rehab assignment shut down after the oblique issue popped up. The severity of the issue and timeline of his return are unknown at this point, per Williams, but the plan for now is for Rendon to rest more.
More injury news pertaining to the Nats and from around the league…
- Nationals outfielder Reed Johnson underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his foot over the weekend, Wagner wrote earlier in the week. Wagner writes that the 38-year-old Johnson is expected to be able to rejoin the club later this summer. Williams didn’t sound sure, however, as MASNsports.com’s Dan Kolko tweeted yesterday. Asked whether Johnson would be able to return to the Nats this season, Williams simply replied, “I don’t know.”
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak expressed some concern over the shoulder and biceps of setup man Jordan Walden, who is currently on the disabled list, writes MLB.com’s Jen Langosch. Walden is getting a second opinion of the MRIs taken on his arm, but surgery has not been ruled out as a possibility. Mozeliak said at this time, Walden is leaning toward pitching through the injury.
- The White Sox will be without right-hander Matt Albers longer than expected, tweets Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Albers injured a finger on his right hand in the Sox’ benches-clearing brawl with the Royals earlier this season, and the digit ultimately wound up requiring surgery which will keep him on the shelf for six to eight weeks.
- After a slew of bad news in this post, we’ll touch on some good news for the Brewers; Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that the early signs on Jonathan Lucroy‘s broken toe are positive, and he currently hopes that he can return on the low end of his projected four- to six-week timeline for recovery.
Veteran first baseman Dan Johnson‘s brush with free agency didn’t last long, as the recently released 35-year-old has agreed to a Minor League pact with the Cardinals, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link).
Johnson, a client of Excel Sports Management, began the season with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, and although he collected 10 walks against nine strikeouts in 40 plate appearances, he also picked up just three hits — all singles. With Joey Votto seemingly healthy and productive in Cincinnati, there may not have been much of an opportunity for Johnson to make his way to the big league roster anyhow.
Of course, the path to the MLB roster in St. Louis may not necessarily be an easier one for Johnson. Matt Adams is hitting well at first base and, as a fellow lefty swinger, there’s no possibility of any platoon situation emerging between the two. Johnson will seemingly hope to re-emerge as a bench bat with the Cards. He’s a lifetime .236/.337/.409 hitter in 431 Major League games, and his excellent .279/.400/.505 career slash line at Triple-A makes him a nice depth piece for a club to have.
Here are the latest minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- Rays lefty Everett Teaford has accepted an assignment to Triple-A after clearing waivers, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets. Teaford could have elected free agency as he has previously been outrighted. The southpaw made only one appearance during his stint with the big league club this year, but will serve as a useful depth piece for the organization as it works to bring back a host of arms off of the DL.
- The Cardinals have selected the contract of left-hander Tim Cooney, the team announced. In corresponding moves, Adam Wainwright was moved to the 60-day disabled list and catcher Cody Stanley was optioned to Triple-A to create room for Cooney on the 40-man and 25-man rosters, respectively. Cooney, 24, was a third-round pick in the 2012 draft and he has a career 3.50 ERA, 3.95 K/BB rate and 7.6 K/9 over 385 1/3 minor league innings. The southpaw is ranked by MLB.com as the tenth-best prospect in the St. Louis farm system, and he’ll make his Major League debut today when he starts for the Cardinals against the Phillies.
- Infielder Tony Abreu and outfielder Greg Golson have signed with the Mexican League’s Veracruz Red Eagles, according to the team’s official Twitter feed. Abreu elected to become a free agent last fall after appearing in 56 games for the Giants in 2013-14. Abreu has a career .254/.283/.373 slash line over 615 plate appearances with the Giants, Royals, D’Backs and Dodgers since 2007. Golson, who has 42 MLB plate appearances to his name between 2008-11, has spent the last three seasons playing in the minors, the independent Atlantic League and the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
An incalculable amount of ink has been dedicated to the Cole Hamels saga and whether or not Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is asking too much in trade talks, but the GM himself added another layer to the story Tuesday in telling USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that the Phillies would pay down some of Hamels’ contract in a trade.
“We are very open-minded,” Amaro told Nightengale. “We’re not afraid to subsidize contracts. We never told a club that we would not absolutely subsidize his contract. That is not a realistic way to do business. If there’s a deal to be made, and we have to subsidize part of it, we’ll do it.”
As recently as Spring Training, reports indicated that the Phillies were looking to add multiple top prospects and get an acquiring club to take on the entirety of Hamels’ four years and $96MM. (His contract also has a $20MM club option that can vest at $24MM based on innings pitched.)
Amaro again took a patient approach when discussing the Hamels situation, noting that it’s understandable if teams want to assess their internal options before making a more drastic move to acquire someone from another organization. “It’s no secret that one team lost an ace and two or three teams have lost very important starters,” said Amaro. “Some teams want to move quickly. Other teams want to ride things out. I think all of us would rather do deals only after exhausting their own internal possibilities and go from there.”
The Cardinals’ recent loss of Adam Wainwright has fueled quite a bit of Hamels-to-St. Louis speculation, and Nightengale also touched base with Cards GM John Mozeliak to discuss Hamels. Mozeliak noted that the team will certainly do its due diligence on trade candidates. Asked if the team could make a deal without including Carlos Martinez, a key member of the 2015 rotation, Mozeliak replied, “There’s probably always a deal worth making.”
Nightengale lists the Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers and Blue Jays as teams that could desperately use Hamels in their rotation. The Blue Jays wouldn’t seem to have the payroll capacity to add Hamels’ contract, but perhaps with enough money being paid down, something could be worked out. And for what it’s worth, Amaro did mention Toronto GM when making a tongue-in-cheek comment about his stress levels regarding the Hamels negotiations, stating: “I guarantee I’ll get more grey hairs from my daughter [taking her driving test] than any trade talks with Mozeliak, Anthopoulos and Cherington.” Nightengale adds that Amaro had talks regarding Hamels with a team as recently as Tuesday morning, and “some desperation” began to creep into those talks.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports took a lengthy look at the market for Hamels earlier today, noting that the Phillies do indeed covet Martinez, though it’s unclear if they’ve formally asked for Martinez in trade negotiations with the Redbirds. Per Heyman, the Phillies are also taken with Jorge Alfaro and Nomar Mazara of the Rangers as well as Luis Severino and Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Despite a brutal month for the Red Sox’ rotation, there’s been no change to their refusal to part with Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart, and the Dodgers similarly won’t part with any of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias, even with injuries ravaging their own rotation.
One rival exec noted to Heyman that, “A few things have lined up in the Phillies’ favor. There’s a little bit of a crescendo. And now is the time to act.” However, a GM explained to Heyman that he’d be more inclined to part with significant pieces to add someone controllable like Seattle’s Taijuan Walker than an aging star like Hamels. (That comment, for what it’s worth, was made prior to Amaro’s comments to Nightengale about absorbing some of the money on Hamels’ contract.)
It strikes me as unlikely that a deal would come together in the near future, but the early rash of pitching injuries, which grew with tonight’s news that Masahiro Tanaka is lost for at least a month, has likely increased the demand for Hamels. Though Amaro’s refusal to budge has drawn a great deal of criticism, it’s certainly easy to make the claim that he’s in a better spot to trade Hamels than he was late in the offseason.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Blake Swihart | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Martinez | Cole Hamels | Corey Seager | Joc Pederson | Jorge Alfaro | Julio Urias | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mookie Betts | New York Yankees | Newsstand | Nomar Mazara | Philadelphia Phillies | St. Louis Cardinals | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays
There’s a belief in the industry that the 4-16 Brewers could begin selling off pieces in the near future if they don’t turn their season around, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman hears that veteran right-handers Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza could both be in play. Lohse, 36, is a free agent at the end of the year and is owed $11MM in 2015. The 31-year-old Garza has quite a bit more remaining on his deal, as he’s in just the second year of a four-year contract. Garza is owed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn that same sum in both 2016 and 2017 as well. His contract also contains a $13MM vesting option that becomes a $5MM club option if it does not vest.
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak spoke with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about how the club will handle the loss of Adam Wainwright. While the short-term fix will be to rely on internal options, Mozeliak acknowledged that the bulk of innings the team expects from Wainwright might eventually lead him to look outside the organization. As Goold notes, a desire to limit the innings of young pitchers Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha only further adds uncertainty to how the team will replace those innings. Goold notes that the team has spoken to the Phillies about Cole Hamels in the past but found the asking price unreasonable. Whatever route the team winds up taking to overcome this roadblock, Mozeliak has stated that he has the flexibility to add significant payroll this season if necessary, Goold reminds.
- Reds skipper Bryan Price explained to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com why Tony Cingrani isn’t viewed as an option to step into the rotation even after a potentially season-ending injury to Homer Bailey. “I made the decision – I was involved, a big supporter of putting him in the bullpen – not because that’s what we needed for this club at the time,” said Price. “What I felt was it was where he was best suited coming off a year of a lot of injury and shoulder concerns and the limited development of his off-speed pitches.” Price added that he certainly isn’t ruling out the possibility of Cingrani proving him wrong and one day being an excellent starting pitcher, but for the time being, he appears locked into the Cincinnati bullpen.
TODAY: Wainwright has a torn Achilles and will miss the year after undergoing surgery, GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link).
YESTERDAY, 11:41am: Cards GM John Mozeliak told KMOX Sports (on Twitter) that he “would imagine” that the injury is season-ending, but the team will wait for official word on Monday.
9:58am: The Cardinals confirmed (on Twitter) that Wainwright suffered an Achilles injury.
9:00am: Wainwright will see a doctor on Monday and receive a prognosis then, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
8:30am: The expectation is that Adam Wainwright is done for the season after suffering an Achilles injury last night, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Cardinals pitcher has yet to undergo an MRI, however.
Wainwright suffered his injury in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Brewers as he was running out a pop-up. Wainwright, who has pitched four scoreless innings, was running to first when he came up lame after hurting his left ankle, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The veteran left the park in a walking boot and was stunned by the freak injury.
“I’ve never had anything down there to compare it to. I’m thinking what in the heck just hit me. I thought the catcher’s mask must have hit me. Or the bat must have hit me. It was crazy,” said Wainwright. “I wasn’t even going that hard. I just popped it up. I saw that it was in play so I started to run and my foot just shut down on me. It’s in the back of my ankle. Everything right now is all speculation. I’ve not got my hopes up or down.”
Wainwright was doubly disappointed because, as he told reporters, he felt the best he had all year heading into Saturday night. If Wainwright is in fact done for the year, it’ll be the second time in his career that he has suffered a lost season. The 33-year-old (34 in August) missed the entire 2011 season thanks to Tommy John surgery.
Through four starts this season, the three-time All-Star has posted a 1.44 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. For his career, Wainwright has pitched to a 2.98 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.
News of Adam Wainwright‘s potentially season-ending Achilles injury has already led to speculation about the Cardinals trading for an ace like Cole Hamels. But GM John Mozeliak says the team’s first move will be to try to replace Wainwright from within, according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If you get into May and early June and you don’t feel like the internal options are the solution you were hoping for then you might have to look outside,” says Mozeliak. Triple-A pitchers Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney and Zach Petrick could all be short-term options to fill Wainwright’s spot in the rotation. Marco Gonzales and Jaime Garcia, who are both hurt, could help later on.
Mozeliak adds that he’s not optimistic about Wainwright’s injury. “I don’t like to speculate until you have the full information, but if you ask me how I feel … not good,” he says. “All those rumors floating around seem to have some validity to them.”
It makes sense that the Cardinals would turn first to internal depth options, if only because it’s relatively rare for teams to make major trades so early in the season. Using their own pitchers for the next month or two would allow the Cardinals time to assess how much those pitchers can help and how strong their team is. Lyons, Cooney and Gonzales, at least, do have track records that suggest they can help in the short term, while Garcia is a wild card due to his injury history.