Steve Garrison Rumors
Here are some of today's notable minor moves -- a rather interesting group on the whole -- all courtesy of Baseball America's Matt Eddy unless otherwise noted:
- Catcher Chris Robinson will retire, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 29-year-old, who was a 3rd round pick of the Tigers back in 2005, had a chance to see his first MLB action (and hit his first home run) last year with the Padres. At Triple-A with the Pads and Orioles, Robinson put up a .282/.307/.320 line in 255 plate appearances.
- The Rangers have signed righty Jason Knapp to a minor league deal, tweets Eddy. As MLBTR's Steve Adams recently explained, Knapp is attempting a comeback after washing out of baseball following successive shoulder surgeries. The big hurler was once a top prospect, and headlined the deal that sent Cliff Lee from the Indians to the Phillies. Though he hasn't thrown a professional pitch since 2010, Knapp is just 23 years old and reportedly has managed to build his heater back up into the 90s.
- Reliever Pat Egan has signed with the Reds, Eddy tweets. Though he has yet to crack the bigs at age 29, the towering righty has found success in recent seasons at the upper reaches of the minors. In 2013 with the Braves organization, Egan notched a 2.95 ERA in 73 1/3 innings (though he was better at Double-A than Triple-A). And in 2012, he was good for 67 innings of 1.61 ERA ball for the Orioles' top affiliates.
- Reliever Juan Morillo has signed a minor league deal with the Orioles, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun recently reported. The 30-year-old fireballer struggled in four MLB cups of coffee, and washed out of American professional baseball after 2012 as his walk totals reached unsustainable levels. According to Encina, Morillo served as the closer for the Taiwanese EDA Rhinos, during which time his heater registered at a league-record 99.4 mph.
- The Orioles have also signed lefty Steve Garrison and first baseman Henry Wrigley to minor league deals, tweets Eddy. Garrison, 27, has thrown in just one big league game, and worked 43 2/3 innings of 3.30 ball for the Diamondbacks' Double-A affiliate last year, his first as a reliever. In the process, he boasted significantly higher strikeout totals (10.1 K/9) than he carried as a starter. Wrigley, also 27, spent his entire career in the minors with the Rays before moving to the Rockies in 2013. Previously a solid (if strikeout-prone) hitter with 20-home run power, Wrigley struggled to a .188/.227/.348 line in 119 Double-A plate appearances last year.
- Righty Josh Geer has re-signed with the Padres, Eddy tweets. Geer battled back from Stage III melanoma before the 2012 season. Now 30, the RIce University product saw time in the bigs over 2008-09 but has thrown in the upper minors since. Working mostly as a reliever for the first time last year, he threw 104 1/3 innings of 3.54 ERA baseball with 6.9 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.
- Longtime catcher Rob Johnson will attempt to move onto the mound with the Padres organization, Eddie notes in the same tweet. The 31-year-old saw MLB action behind the dish in every season between 2007-13, carrying a lifetime .200/.275/.295 line in the process. Though a surprising number of converted catchers have found success as pitchers, far fewer can say they appeared at both positions at the big league level.
- One example that Johnson can hope to emulate is Chris Hatcher, who has seen MLB time as a catcher and pitcher. Hatcher was recently designated by the Marlins and remains in DFA limbo. As MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows, two others join Hatcher in waiting to learn their fates: Henry Rodriguez (Reds) and Jimmy Paredes (Marlins).
We'll keep track of the day's minor moves right here...
- The Mariners have signed right-hander Josh Kinney to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, reports MLB.com's Greg Johns (on Twitter). The 32-year-old allowed 13 runs in 17 2/3 innings for the White Sox last season, though he did strike out 20 and get a ground ball nearly 60% of the time. It was Kinney's first big league action since 2009. The Mariners also announced ten other minor league signings: infielder Luis Rodriguez, righties Jeff Marquez, Matt Fox, Jarrett Grube, and Scott Patterson, lefties Steve Garrison, Sean Henn, and Philippe Valiquette, outfielder Darren Ford, and catcher Guillermo Quiroz. Rodriguez, Marquez, Garrison, and Ford logged time in the Majors this year.
- The Royals announced that they signed right-hander Juan Gutierrez, left-hander Francisley Bueno, catcher Max Ramirez and outfielder Greg Golson to minor league deals. Golson appeared in nine games with the Yankees in 2011, but they released him last week. Ramirez didn't play in the Major Leagues in 2011, but he has MLB experience with the Rangers.
- The Diamondbacks have signed Jonathan Albaladejo, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). The 29-year-old right-hander spent the 2011 season in Japan after posting a 4.15 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in four seasons with the Nationals and Yankees. The Mets were a finalist for Albaladejo.
The latest minor moves from around MLB via Matt Eddy of Baseball America...
- The Braves have signed 14 players to minor league contracts according to a press release, including righty reliever Adam Russell, utility man Drew Sutton, lefty reliever Dusty Hughes, and infielder Josh Wilson. The full list can be found here.
- The Mets signed outfielder Adam Loewen, according to Eddy. Loewen, the fourth overall selection in the 2002 draft, successfully completed the transition from left-handed pitcher to outfielder in 2011. He posted a .306/.377/.508 line with 46 doubles at Triple-A before appearing in 14 games with the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays removed the Surrey, British Columbia native from their roster after the regular season, but maintained some interest in him.
- The Mariners signed left-hander Steve Garrison, according to Eddy. Garrison, 25, appeared in one game for the Yankees this past season and posted a 5.58 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 as a starter in the minors.
- The Red Sox signed right-hander Will Inman and left-hander Justin Thomas for bullpen depth, according to Eddy.
- The Twins re-signed left-hander Phil Dumatrait, according to Eddy.
Garrison, who the Yankees claimed off waivers from the Padres just over a year ago, spent most of the year in the starting rotation for Double-A Trenton. He posted a 5.95 ERA in 75 2/3 innings, with 5.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
The Yankees designated Wilkin De La Rosa for assignment today in order to make room for Steve Garrison, who they claimed off waivers from the Padres, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat (via Twitter).
Former Padres GM Kevin Towers had a hand in the Yankees' claim on Garrison, who was designated for assignment by San Diego on Monday. Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings of The Journal News that Towers "obviously was involved in that process," as someone familiar with the Padres' farm system. The left-handed Garrison struggled in his first Triple-A stint this year, but has had some success in the lower minors and will only turn 24 this weekend.
The removal of De La Rosa from the Yanks' 40-man roster comes just two weeks after the New York Post reported that MLB was investigating De La Rosa and Ivan Nova for allegedly injecting one another with B-12 shots. De La Rosa denied the Post's report, and according to Jennings, the Yankees are hoping that the 25-year-old clears waivers.
Linebrink turns 31 in early August. Trade rumors swirled around him this offseason, especially involving the Phillies. His strikeout and walk numbers over the past three seasons have been consistent. However, in 2006 his less controllable numbers like hits allowed and home runs spiked somewhat. He was still worth a good 3-4 wins last year according to Baseball Prospectus.
However, Linebrink fell off a cliff this year. From Day 1 his strikeout rate has been way down; he's allowed a ton of home runs. You almost have to wonder whether he's healthy. He got by for the first two months with the reduced strikeout rate, but it caught up to him in June and especially July. Even as a seventh inning guy his value is very questionable. The Crew should recoup a draft pick or two when he leaves after the season, so that's something.
My trusty Baseball America Handbook tells me that 20 year-old righty Inman is clearly the jewel of the trade. He's a tough competitor; his 1.71 ERA in Low A ball last year was ridiculous. He does not offer dazzling stuff or projectability, however. He succeeds on the strength of his command and breaking stuff rather than velocity. He breezed through High A this year, posting a 1.72 ERA in 13 starts.
However, Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein questioned how his "below-average stuff and elite-level command" would play at Double A. The results in his first eight starts at that level have been mixed at best. He's taken a couple of shellackings, but has looked solid in his last three efforts. Goldstein wonders whether he may be a Yusmeiro Petit type, a guy who used deception to post some great minor league numbers despite mediocre stuff. Petit fooled the Marlins enough for the Mets to snag Carlos Delgado, at least.
Inman is very young for Double A; put him in PETCO in 2009 and I don't see why he can't keep his ERA under 5. Doesn't blow you away but innings eaters are fetching $8MM annually these days. Great move by Kevin Towers, because he won't miss Linebrink. He can't lose.
Didn't know much about the other two prospects. Thatcher is a 25 year-old southpaw reliever, another guy with average stuff. The results have been excellent through Triple A though. He's got a cut fastball, sweeping slider, and fine control. He was ranked 23rd among Brewers prospects by Baseball America.
Garrison is a 21 year-old southpaw starter, ranked 27th on the Brewers' list. He's working in High A currently. He too has average stuff without great velocity, another command guy. See a theme here? The pitchers plucked by Kevin Towers don't light up radar guns or make scouts drool, but still look like big league contributors.
You have to give this one to Towers, who traded from a position of strength to snag three pitchers known less for projection than probability.