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Steve Pearce Rumors
Here are the latest minor moves from around MLB…
- The Dodgers released Cory Sullivan and catcher Josh Bard, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The pair both signed minor league deals with L.A. in December.
- The Yankees have signed Steve Pearce to a minor league contract, reports Josh Norris of the Trentonian (Twitter link). Pearce, a former well-regarded prospect with the Pirates, signed a minor league deal with the Twins in December but was released on Tuesday.
- The Nationals released outfielder Jason Michaels, the team announced. The Nationals signed the 11-year veteran to a minor league contract in December.
- The Brewers signed catcher Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. The Cubs released the backstop a couple of days ago after signing him to a minor league deal in January.
- The Red Sox released catcher Max St. Pierre, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (on Twitter). SoxProspects.com first reported the transaction.
- The Brewers released Corey Patterson then re-signed him to another minor league contract, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Patterson, who signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee in January, will start the season at Triple-A.
- The Indians announced that they acquired right-hander Jairo Asencio from the Braves for cash. The right-handed reliever led the International League in saves in 2009 and 2011 and posted a 1.81 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings at Triple-A last year. Asencio is out of options.
- The Mets have signed infielder Josh Rodriguez to a minor league deal, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. The Pirates selected the 27-year-old in last year's Rule 5 draft, returned him to the Indians in April, and traded for him in June. Rodriguez, who played in seven MLB games last year, posted a .258/.323/.349 line in 330 plate appearances in the upper minors.
The latest minor moves from around MLB…
- The Twins released reliever Jason Bulger from minor league camp, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The 33-year-old right-hander appeared in five games with the Angels last year and signed a minor league deal with the Twins in November.
- The Twins released Steve Pearce, according to Dustin Morse of the team's communications department (on Twitter). Pearce, 28, appeared in 50 games for the Pirates last year, posting a .515 OPS in 105 plate appearances. He has MLB experience at all four corner positions.
- The Yankees released Preston Mattingly, according to the Associated Press (via the Miami Herald). Mattingly, the 24-year-old son of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, signed a minor league deal in January and had been playing with the Yankees' Double-A team.
The Twins announced a major signing today, and GM Terry Ryan also stayed busy on the minor league front. The Twins signed Steve Pearce and J.R. Towles to minor league deals, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter links). Scott McCauley first reported the Towles deal.
Towles, 27, posted a .184/.256/.293 line in 165 plate appearances with the Astros this past season. His career line is .187/.267/.315, though he picked up just 484 plate appearances over the course of five seasons in Houston. Like Rene Rivera, another recent minor league signing, Towles provides depth behind the plate. Pearce, 28, has MLB experience at all four corner positions. He posted a .202/.260/.255 line in 105 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2011.
Players outrighted off 40-man rosters today:
- The Reds announced that they outrighted Daryl Thompson and Jared Burton off of the 40-man roster. Burton would have been arbitration eligible for the second time and MLBTR projected a salary in the $900K range for the 30-year-old.
- The Pirates announced that they outrighted Brian Burres, Kevin Hart, Brandon Wood and Steve Pearce to Triple-A to create 40-man roster space. All four players can now elect free agency. Wood and Pearce would have been arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and though neither player projected to earn even $1MM, the Pirates decided to cut them loose instead of tendering contracts.
- The Tigers outrighted catcher Omir Santos and lefty Brad Thomas, tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck. Thomas would have been arbitration eligible, but it was clear he wouldn't make it to the point of being tendered a contract after missing much of the season with an elbow injury.
We've seen a bevy of players designated for assignment and/or released in the past few days as teams were finalizing their Opening Day rosters. The deadline for clubs to submit their 25-man roster is 2pm CT today, and perhaps no one has more decisions to make than the Pirates, as Karen Price of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains.
At the moment, Pittsburgh's 40-man roster is full, but they have to find room for relievers Jack Taschner and D.J. Carrasco, who've made the team. One spot can be freed up by placing reliever Jose Ascanio on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Price mentions that the other 40-man spot is likely to come at the cost of Hayden Penn, Ramon Vazquez, John Raynor, or Steve Pearce.
The Pirates claimed Penn off waivers just last week, but that doesn't mean they aren't willing to designate him for assignment today. He's out of options, so he'd have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors anyway. As a Rule 5 Draft selection, the Pirates have to keep Raynor on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Marlins. Pearce has a leg up on the other guys because he has a minor league option remaining.
Vazquez will earn $2MM this season, but was told that he wasn't on the team a few weeks ago, making him a candidate to be either traded or released. Cutting him loose and eating his salary isn't the most desirable move, but it's probably best for the team. After a breakout season with the Rangers in 2008, Vazquez hit just .230/.335/.279 in 239 plate appearances last year, but at least he's capable of playing all over the infield. With Bobby Crosby and Ronny Cedeno on board, that last point may be moot.
Joel Hanrahan is likely to start the year on the 15-day DL because of an elbow issue, so the team could carry Penn to start the season. Optioning Pearce and releasing Vazquez would give the team the 25-man and 40-man roster spots for Taschner/Carrasco, then they'd just have to figure out what to do with Raynor, who's in a unique spot. We'll find out their decision by this afternoon, one way or the other.
The Pirates' bullpen might have a new look soon. According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, they're working on deals for three free agent relievers.
"Productive talks" with Octavio Dotel and D.J. Carrasco "could result in agreements soon," writes Kovacevic. The Pirates appear to be working on a minor league deal for Carrasco, which is surprising given his solid work in 93.3 innings for the White Sox last year. Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps Carrasco is lured to the Pirates by an opportunity to compete for the fifth starter job. Interesting side note: Carrasco and new Pirate Brian Bass ranked #1-2 in relief innings for all of MLB last year.
Dotel would be the big-ticket bullpen acquisition; he could have a shot at replacing Matt Capps as the Pirates' closer. I imagine Dotel won't get much more than $3MM, which would be half his '09 salary. That contract with the White Sox was signed in January of '08, a different time for free agents.
The third Pirates bullpen addition would be an unknown free agent right-hander on a big league deal. Kovacevic speculates on several names, and also rules out Kevin Gregg while noting past Pirates interest in Jamey Wright.
One consequence of adding two relievers on Major League deals would be the need to clear a pair of 40-man roster spots. Kovacevic speculates that Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler, and Delwyn Young could be on the bubble.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, the Pirates designated outfielder Craig Monroe for assignment after last night's game to make room on the roster for Steve Pearce. Monroe hit just .215-.287-.354 in 87 plate appearances for the Bucs.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette turned up a few more Pirates rumors:
- Though the Pirates would like to sign a right-handed power-hitting outfielder, GM Neal Huntington says Steve Pearce is a "viable option."
- It doesn’t look like the talks between the Yankees and Pirates about Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher are going to amount to anything.
- The Pirates would like to add a major league starter, but they are more likely to strengthen pitching in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
- Jason Lane has agreed to remain a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee.
- Francisco Rodriguez would like to play nine more seasons. Four or five or those might come with his next contract, which may set a record for a reliever.
- Pirates prospect Steve Pearce is getting some time at first base in Triple A. Despite that development, Dejan Kovacevic says there is no Adam LaRoche trade chatter yet. LaRoche followed up his standard awful April with an .804 OPS in May.
- RotoAuthority looks at the fantasy studs of May.
- SI.com’s Jon Heyman speculates that it’d require at least two of a team’s best young players to get Matt Holliday.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest Pirates hot stove buzz.
- The Pirates and Adam LaRoche have reached an impasse in extension talks. LaRoche is set to reach free agency after the ’09 season; his free agency years have to be worth $10MM each. Kovacevic notes that the Pirates might be permanently done trying to sign LaRoche.
- Kovacevic reports "no recent movement" on a Matt Capps extension. Last time we checked, talks with Capps inexplicably fizzled after Manny Corpas signed a team-friendly deal with Colorado.
- Capps probably isn’t going anywhere, but LaRoche certainly could be traded. The presence of Major League-ready Steve Pearce may not be a factor since Pearce became a full-time outfielder this spring. Pearce is more likely to push Xavier Nady.
- In case you missed it, Kovacevic named his five Pirates most likely to be traded back on March 30th.
- Center fielder Chris Duffy didn’t make that list, but the Braves are still interested in him. He had surgery on his rotator cuff in August of last year and may be game-ready by month’s end.