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Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was a guest on MLB Network’s Hot Stove earlier this morning and spoke with hosts Ron Darling and Fran Charles to discuss his team’s aggressive offseason (video link). Chicago, of course, has added Jeff Samardzija via trade in addition to signing David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, Emilio Bonifacio and Geovany Soto.
Here are some highlights from Hahn’s appearance as well as another White Sox item…
- Chicago’s plan goes back to the 2013 trade deadline, Hahn said. “…The die was cast on that season being a disappointment fairly early on,” he explained, “which gave us the opportunity to take a step back and assess where we needed to go as an organization and areas we had to get better.” The Sox flipped Jake Peavy for not only Avisail Garcia but top prospect Francellis Montas, whose stock has soared since the deal. That trade, as well as the trade of Alex Rios, freed up enough cash for the Sox to add Jose Abreu last winter, and his immediate impact helped the team decide to make a push this winter.
- Early in the offseason, Hahn sat down with owner Jerry Reinsdorf, president Kenny Williams, manager Robin Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper and hitting coach Todd Steverson to assess the state of the organization. The “marching orders” from Reinsdorf after that meeting “were to go out and put us in a position to contend,” Hahn explained, noting that Reinsdorf did not want to waste the primes of players such as Abreu, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
- One reason that the club added LaRoche, according to Hahn, was that Abreu “ran out of a gas” a bit down the stretch. The team is hopeful that by giving Abreu a little more time at DH and using LaRoche at first base on those days, Abreu can sustain his production throughout the year. Abreu hit only five homers over the final two months of the season, and he posted a relatively pedestrian (by his standards, anyhow) .799 OPS over the final 21 games of 2014. That, of course, could be nothing more than a small sample size, though the lack of home runs could be seen as a sign of fatigue.
- Asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports/MLB Network whether the state of the division impacted the Sox’ aggressive push (referring to the fact that the Tigers and Royals are seen by some as worse than they were in 2014). “We don’t look around and see the team that won the AL Championship in Kansas City or the team that’s won the division the last four years in Detroit as necessarily coming back to the pack,” Hahn replied. Rather, he explained, the decision was more about a belief that the White Sox are in a position where they can reach the same level as those clubs and contend for a division title.
- Non-roster invitee Tony Campana suffered a torn ACL in a recent training session and will likely miss the entire 2015 season, the Sox announced on Twitter. It’s a tough break for the 28-year-old speedster, who was looking to make the club as a fourth outfielder after posting a solid .277/.336/.340 batting line in Triple-A with the D-Backs and Angels last season.
12:32pm: Campana’s contract is a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
The 28-year-old Campana is a veteran of parts of four Major League seasons, where he’s batted a combined .249/.296/.288. Not known for his bat, Campana possesses blistering speed, as can be seen in his 66-for-75 track record in stolen base attempts. Those 66 swipes have come in a total of just 477 plate appearances/257 games. Unsurprisingly those wheels allow him to cover a significant amount of ground in the outfield, leading to plus defensive marks in both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved (although both metrics feel he’s better suited to play a corner position than center field).
Camapana, who broke into the bigs with the Cubs in 2011, split this past season between the D’Backs and Angels and should give the ChiSox some additional outfield depth. He’s a career .291/.348/.361 hitter at the Triple-A level.
Here are today’s minor moves and outrights from around the league…
- The Angels have outrighted righty Ryan Brasier and outfielder Tony Campana off the 40-man roster, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Brasier, 27, threw nine innings of relief for the Halos last year but has worked above the 4 earned-per-nine level at Triple-A over the last two seasons and missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old Campana, who joined the Angels on a mid-season waiver claim from the Diamondbacks, owns a .249/.296/.288 slash over 477 plate appearances in parts of four seasons at the MLB level.
- The Phillies announced that right-hander B.J. Rosenberg has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 29-year-old Rosenberg has 56 2/3 innings of big league experience, but he’s struggled to a 5.72 ERA in the Majors. At the Triple-A level, however, Rosenberg owns a much more palatable 3.87 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 148 2/3 innings. He’s worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen since being selected in the 13th round of the 2008 draft; in 257 games between the Majors and Minors, he’s made 224 relief appearances against just 33 starts. Philadelphia’s 40-man roster is now down to 38.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes (via Twitter) Borenstein was the Angels’ minor league player of the year in 2013 (.337/.403/.631 at Class A-Advanced Inland Empire). The 23-year-old (the Angels’ 23rd-round selection in 2011), however, hasn’t been able to replicate those numbers this season while bouncing back and forth between Double-A (.266/.338/.440 in 207 plate appearances) and Triple-A (.256/.279/.342 in 123 plate appearances).
Krehbiel is an interesting bullpen arm with a fastball sitting between 92-95 MPH with a good slider, tweets Piecoro. The 21-year-old (taken in the same draft as Borenstein, but in the 12th round) has compiled a 2.00 ERA, 11.5 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 with five saves in 17 appearances covering 18 innings this season for Class-A Burlington and Class A-Advanced Inland Empire.
10:00am: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) heard last night that the Halos would be giving up a minor league second baseball in a Thatcher deal. Either Taylor Lindsey or Alex Yarbrough makes sense, according to Passan.
9:33am: The D’Backs are receiving a prospect and another minor leaguer in the deal, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Rosenthal reported late last night that the Angels were on the hunt for a left-handed reliever and Thatcher was high on their wish list. Thatcher, who will be a free agent at season’s end, has a 2.63 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 through 37 appearances this season.
For his career, the 32-year-old owns a 3.26 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across eight seasons with the Padres and Diamondbacks. Now, he’ll ply his craft for the Halos in what will be his first time outside of the NL West. Thatcher is a rather inexpensive addition for the Halos as they’re on the hook for the prorated portion of his $2.375MM deal.
Campana, 28, hasn’t done much offensively this season, hitting .150/.164/.200 in 61 plate appearances. In four years for the Cubs and D’Backs, Campana has hit .246/.294/.286 in 239 total games. Still, the speedy outfielder has managed to provide value even when he’s not doing much with his bat. He has 66 career stolen bases and a career 14.6 UZR/150 in the outfield.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
The Dodgers signed Roberto Clemente on this date in 1954, beating out a number of interested clubs in the process. The Dodgers would lose the future Hall of Famer in the following Rule 5 draft and he'd spend his entire 18-year career with the Pirates. Here are the latest AL-West related links…
- Jerry Hairston Jr. won't necessarily retire if the Dodgers win the 2013 World Series, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports. “It’s February. A lot can happen, really, in a year,” he said. The 36-year-old utility player previously indicated he would retire at the end of the season if the Dodgers won it all.
- The Rockies continue challenging conventional wisdom while constructing their roster. The team is considering the idea of using eight relievers at home and seven relievers on the road, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Director of Major League operations Bill Geivett said "it's a fluid situation" but acknowledged the approach could be used to limit scoring at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
- Tony Campana hasn't produced much as an MLB hitter, but as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains those shortcomings don't prevent the speedy outfielder from adding value. Cameron suggests Campana might be able to add one win of value as a pinch runner, especially now that offense has dropped off across MLB. The Diamondbacks acquired Campana from the Cubs for Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo yesterday.
The Cubs announced that they have traded outfielder Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo. The Cubs designated Campana for assignment last week to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Scott Hairston.
Campana, 26, finished 2012 with a slash line of .264/.308/.299 in 192 plate appearances. The speedster also racked up 30 stolen bases last season, good for ninth in the National League. The Diamondbacks are already more than set in the outfield, so its not clear what kind of role they have in mind for Campana.
Venezuelans Leal and Castillo are both just 17-years-old and spent time with the D'Backs Dominical Summer League affiliate in 2012. Leal posted a 2.44 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 12 starts and two relief appearances. Meanwhile, Castillo had a 5.40 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in eight starts and six games out of the bullpen.
Here's the latest from the AL Central…
- The Indians offered Michael Bourn a deal in November worth roughly as much as the four-year, $44MM offer the team eventually made to Shane Victorino, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Victorino rejected the Tribe to sign with Boston, but Bourn eventually ended up taking a similar offer (four years/$48MM with a $12MM vesting option on a fifth year) from the Indians once a larger contract failed to materialize on the open market. Cleveland's ownership was willing to make the signing since Bourn's deal is backloaded and the Indians will be receiving extra money from a new TV contract.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn likes his young catching corps and doesn't believe the team needs to add a veteran catcher to the mix, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports. Tyler Flowers is slated to be Chicago's everyday catcher, with Hector Gimenez as the backup and non-roster invitee Bryan Anderson also present in camp. The three catchers have a combined 337 Major League at-bats.
- The White Sox haven't spoken to the Cubs about outfielder Tony Campana, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine reports. Campana was designated for assignment by the Cubs earlier this week and was claimed on waivers by the White Sox last August before the Cubs pulled him back. The Pale Hose are known to be looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder, though Campana is better known for his speed (54-for-59 in steals over the last two seasons) than his bat (.605 OPS in 347 career PA).
- Rich Harden tells MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that he was determined to keep playing and didn't consider retirement after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in January 2012. Harden is trying to revive his career in Minnesota after signing a minor league deal with the Twins two months ago.
- In other AL Central news from earlier today, the Twins signed Rafael Perez to a minor league contract.
The Cubs have announced outfielder Tony Campana has been designated for assignment. The move was made to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Scott Hairston, whose two-year contract was made official in a team press release.
Campana's main asset is his speed as he led the Cubs in stolen bases last year with 30, the ninth best total in the National League. The 26-year-old finished 2012 with a slash line of .264/.308/.299 in 192 plate appearances. Campana became expendable after the Cubs bolstered their outfield this winter, according to MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, with the free agent signings of Hairston and Nate Schierholtz.
"It was a difficult call for us," Cubs President Theo Epstein was quoted as saying by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I think it speaks to the fact that our 40-man roster is starting to have better depth on it. We preferred not to take a pitcher off at this juncture. So, looking at the position player group, it seemed to make sense to us to make this procedural move with Tony."
Epstein said he would like to keep Campana in the organization, but added he could be a weapon for a contending team in a certain role. The Cubs have 10 days to trade Campana or place him on waivers.