Thomas Neal Rumors

Reds To Sign Jeff Francis, Thomas Neal

4:38pm: The Reds have also signed Thomas Neal, the outfielder tweeted himself. Neal, 26, spent the 2013 season in the Cubs and Yankees organizations. He batted .325/.391/.411 in 297 Triple-A plate appearances and collected two hits and a walk in 17 Major League PAs. Neal is represented by Jeff Berry of CAA Sports.

3:08pm: The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with southpaw Jeff Francis, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Francis is represented by Frontline Athlete Management. His deal includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

This will be Francis' second stint with the Reds, as he also inked a minor league pact with Cincinnati prior to the 2012 season. Francis exercised an opt-out clause in June that year and has spent the past season-and-a-half with the Rockies — the team that originally selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2002 draft. In that time, Francis has pitched to a 5.84 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.

Francis is the second starter with notable big league experience that the Reds have brought in on a minor league deal this offseason. Cincinnati also inked right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Cubs Outright McDonald, Dolis, Four Others

The Cubs announced that outfielder Darnell McDonald, catcher J.C. Boscan, and right-hander Trey McNutt have cleared waivers and were outrighted off of the 40-man roster.  In addition, the Cubs activated right-handers Rafael Dolis and Zach Putnam and outfielder Thomas Neal off of the 60-day disabled list and subsequently outrighted them from the 40-man.

McDonald, 35 in November, slashed .302/.351/.434 in 57 plate appearances for the Cubs this season but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .236/.307/.346.  Dolis made 34 relief appearances for the Cubs in 2012, but pitched to a 6.39 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 and saw just five games this season before a June injury.  McNutt, 24, was rated by Baseball America as the 48th best prospect in the country prior to the 2011 season.  The well-traveled Neal was claimed on August 5th and played in two games before suffering a separated right shoulder. 

With the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37 players.

Cubs Claim Thomas Neal

The Cubs have claimed outfielder Thomas Neal off waivers from the Yankees, according to's Carrie Muskat (Twitter link). Neal, 25, was designated for assignment by the Yankees over the weekend. To make room on the 40-man roster, Rafael Dolis was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Neal received only thirteen plate appearances over four games with the Yankees this season after signing a minor league deal over the winter. Across 297 Triple-A plate appearances, Neal was producing at an attractive .325/.391/.411 clip. Once a highly-regarded prospect with the Giants, Neal is still only 25 years old. The move makes sense from the Cubs' standpoint, as the team recently designated Julio Borbon for assignment.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Yankees Designate Thomas Neal For Assignment

The Yankees have designated outfielder Thomas Neal for assignment, reports's Bryan Hoch (via Twitter). After a brief call-up, he had been optioned to Triple-A by the club last week to make way for Alfonso Soriano.

Neal received only thirteen plate appearances over four games with the Yankees this season after signing a minor league deal over the winter. Across 297 Triple-A plate appearances, Neal was producing at an attractive .325/.391/.411 clip. Once a highly-regarded prospect with the Giants, Neal is still only 25 years old. 

Minor Moves: Rottino, Head, Neal

Today's minor moves..

  • The Orix Buffaloes have signed infielder Vinny Rottino to a one-year deal worth $350K plus another $100K based upon performance, writes Peter Jackel of The Journal Times. Rottino, 32, saw significant action in the big leagues for the first time in 2012 as he split his season between the Mets and Indians. The journeyman has enjoyed success at the plate throughout his minor league career (.294/.362/.424 in 10 seasons) but struggled at the Major League level. 
  • The Nationals have signed outfielder Jerad Head to a minor league deal, reports Bill Ladson of (via Twitter). Head, 30, spent the 2012 season with the Tigers organization where he posted a .268/.353/.451 batting line for Triple-A Toledo. The former Washburn University standout made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2011. 
  • The Yankees have signed outfielder Thomas Neal to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.  Neal joins a list of righty-hitting, corner-outfield options in Yankees camp including Russ Canzler, Matt Diaz, and prospects Zoilo Almonte (a switch-hitter) and Melky Mesa.  Neal was released by the Indians earlier this month.

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Dickerson, Cabrera, Hendrickson, Neal

Earlier today we learned the Phillies signed Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal, now here are the rest of Saturday's minor moves…

  • The Yankees have released Chris Dickerson according to the transactions page. New York designated the 30-year-old outfielder for assignment after claiming Russ Canzler last week. Dickerson hit .316/.417/.515 in Triple-A last year and received a September call-up.
  • Fernando Cabrera signed a minor league deal with the Angels, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Cabrera, 31, owns a 5.24 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 across parts of seven career big league seasons. The right-handed reliever spent last season with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate.
  • Mark Hendrickson will have a tryout with the Orioles during their mini-camp next week, reports Roch Kubatko of (Twitter links). The 39-year-old left-hander has not appeared in the big leagues since 2011, and Kubatko says he's trying to reinvent himself as a sidearmer.
  • The Indians have released Thomas Neal, the team announced (Twitter links). The 25-year-old outfielder was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Nick Swisher earlier this month. The team says they have interest in re-signing Neal, who hit .314/.400/.467 in Double-A last season.

Indians Designate Thomas Neal For Assignment

The Indians announced that they have designated outfielder Thomas Neal for assignment.  The move will allow them to make room for Nick Swisher on the 40-man roster.

Neal, 25, was rated as a top 100 prospect before the 2010 season as a member of the Giants organization.  He was then traded to the Indians in July 2011 for Orlando Cabrera in a deal that allowed Cleveland to give their own youngsters more playing time.  Neal spent the 2012 season with Double-A Akron and posted a .314/.400/.467 slash line in 470 plate appearances.  He also spent nine games on the Tribe's varsity squad last year.