Tony Gwynn Jr. Rumors

Minor Moves: Gwynn, Abreu, Noonan, Joseph, Tekotte

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Rays have released Erik Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo, according to MiLB.com. The Rays had designated both pitchers for assignment earlier in the week.
  • The Phillies have announced that they’ve re-signed OF Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor league deal. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Gwynn hit .163/.281/.204 in 119 plate appearances for the Phillies this season. They released him last week.
  • Instead of electing free agency, infielder Tony Abreu has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A by Giants, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Abreu was designated for assignment Tuesday after appearing in only four games. The 29-year-old owns a .280/.329/.428 slash line in 259 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Fresno.
  • The Giants announced infielder Nick Noonan has cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment July 25. Noonan, the 32nd overall selection in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season slashing .219/.261/.238 in 111 plate appearances, but has struggled this year with a .239/.281/.302 line in 340 plate appearances between Triple-A Fresno and Class-A Advanced San Jose. 
  • The Marlins tweeted left-hander Donnie Joseph has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. The 26-year-old was designated for assignment Thursday after the Marlins acquired Jarred Cosart from the Astros. Joseph was picked up from the Royals for cash considerations June 30 and has spent his entire time in the Marlin organization at Triple-A posting an 11.05 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 9.8 BB/9 in six relief outings covering 7 1/3 innings.
  • The Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Blake Tekotte from the White Sox for cash, per the MLB.com transactions page. Tekotte, who made 36 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2013 good for a slash of .226/.306/.355, will report to Triple-A Reno. The 27-year-old posted a .251/.324/.438 line in 318 plate appearances for the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate.
  • The Padres have released right-hander Billy Buckner from their Triple-A affiliate, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page. The 30-year-old made one spot start for the Padres on May 24 allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. In 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A El Paso, Buckner has posted a 5.80 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.
  • Also from the PCL transactions page, the Angels have released catcher Luis Martinez from their Triple-A affiliate. The 29-year-old, whose last MLB action was with the Rangers in 2012, hit .262/.329/.403 in 212 plate appearances for Salt Lake this season.
  • Martinez didn’t stay unemployed very long as he was signed by the A’s and assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. The roster causality is catcher Luis Exposito, despite producing at a .303/.410/.394 clip since Oakland signed him June 26 after being released by the Tigers.
  • Ten players find themselves in DFA limbo, as tracked by MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin (Giants), Jeff Francis and Brian Roberts (Yankees), Josh Wall and Dean Anna (Pirates), Ryan Feierabend (Rangers), David Carpenter (Angels), Nick Christiani (Reds), and Pedro Hernandez (Rockies).

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Phillies Release Tony Gwynn Jr.

The Phillies have released outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., the club announced.  Gwynn had been designated for assignment last week.

The 31-year-old outfielder hit .163/.281/.204 in 119 PA this season and saw time at all three outfield spots.  Gwynn signed a minor league deal with the Phillies this past offseason after spending the previous three seasons in the Dodgers’ organization.  Gwynn’s father and namesake, Hall-of-Famer Tony Sr., passed away in June.

Eight players remain in ‘DFA limbo’ according to MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Darwin Barney (Cubs), Matt Guerrier (Twins), Jim Johnson (A’s), George Kottaras (Cardinals), Juan Carlos Oviedo (Rays), Esmil Rogers (Blue Jays), Jose De Paula and Nick Noonan (both Giants).


Phillies Outright Koyie Hill, Designate Tony Gwynn Jr.

The Phillies announced that they have outrighted veteran catcher Koyie Hill off the 40-man roster and designated center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment. The team also announced that Cesar Hernandez has been optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The series of roster moves creates space for Cliff Lee, Wil Nieves and Reid Brignac to be activated from the disabled list.

The 35-year-old Hill appeared in 10 games and collected 22 plate appearances this season with Nieves on the disabled list. He hit .238/.273/.286 in that brief sample. As a player who has been outrighted in the past, he will have the ability to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, though Hill is no stranger to playing at the Triple-A level, so he may simply accept.

The 31-year-old Gwynn batted .163/.284/.204 in 119 plate appearances and played his typical brand of solid defense in center field (a few misplays in left field appear to have created some negative defensive marks for his brief, 33-inning sample there). It’s been a rough few weeks for Gwynn, who tragically lost his father — Hall of Famer and Padres legend Tony Gwynn Sr. — to cancer last month.

Lee will come off the disabled list to start tonight’s contest, meaning that he should be able to make at least two starts in the trade deadline (his third start would currently project to fall on the day of the trade deadline, though he could make one earlier than that if he pitches on short rest). The Philadelphia ace last pitched on May 18 and has been sidelined by a left elbow strain. He’s posted a 3.18 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a career-best 49.1 percent ground-ball rate in 68 innings this season. If you subtract a disastrous Opening Day outing, he’s been even better this year, pitching to a 2.29 ERA in 63 innings (nine starts). Though Lee can block trades to 20 teams, some reports have indicated that he’d be open to waiving his no-trade rights in order to move to a contending team. His name figures to be heavily discussed in the coming 10 days, though he could also be an August trade candidate.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Saturday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • The Angels have purchased the contract of infielder Ian StewartBill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The former top prospect, now 28, was brought in on a minor league contract in January.
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith will make the Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster, GM Kevin Towers disclosed (via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). Rowland-Smith was in camp on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but was excellent last year for Boston's Triple-A club.
  • The Giants announced that right-hander J.C. Gutierrez and infielder Brandon Hicks have been chosen for the Opening Day roster. Hicks had been competing with rookie Ehire Adrianza for a backup infield job, but both have made the team.
  • The Braves announced via press release that pitchers Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas have been added to the Opening Day roster.
  • Reds manager Bryan Price announced that reliever Trevor Bell and outfielder Roger Bernadina have made the club's Opening Day roster, according to a tweet from the team's Triple-A affiliate. Bell hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011, but threw very well this spring in 8 2/3 innings.
  • The Mets are set to add Omar Quintanilla to their Opening Day roster, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Quintanilla figures to serve as the back-up at short. He rejoined the club on a minor league deal after being non-tendered.
  • Xavier Nady will break camp with the Padres, tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, and thus will be added to the 40-man roster. The 35-year-old had a solid spring, and will fill in while Kyle Blanks and Cameron Maybin work back from injury. 
  • The Tigers have purchased the contract of Tyler Collins, the club announced. The 23-year-old, left-handed-hitting outfielder has not played above the Double-A level, but now grabs an Opening Day roster spot for a Detroit club that is without Andy Dirks to start the year. In 530 plate appearances at Double-A last year, Collins put up a .240/.323/.438 line with 21 home runs (and 122 strikeouts against 51 walks).
  • The Rangers will add minor league free agent Daniel McCutchen to the roster, according to a tweet from his representatives at Sosnick Cobbe Sports. Texas will need to add the reliever to the 40-man roster in order to activate him.
  • Yangervis Solarte will make the Yankees Opening Day roster, tweets Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Fellow utility infielder Eduardo Nunez, meanwhile, will be optioned to Triple-A to start the year. Solarte earned the position after a torrid spring.
  • The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster, which includes three players — Tony Gwynn Jr., Mario Hollands, and Jeff Manship — who must be added to the 40-man. Meanwhile, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been put on the 60-day DL to create roster space while infielder Reid Brignac and reliever Shawn Camp have been reassigned to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (Twitter links).
  • The Athletics have selected the contract of infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and optioned him to Triple-A, according to the MLB transactions page. After failing to see MLB action in the first year of his two-year, $6.5MM deal with Oakland, Nakajima was outrighted and ultimately re-signed to a minor league deal.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Phillies Sign O’Sullivan, Sappelt, Gwynn, Marson

The Phillies announced that they've signed right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, outfielders Dave Sappelt and Tony Gwynn Jr. and catcher Lou Marson to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training.

O'Sullivan, 26, posted a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings (three starts, four relief appearances) for the Padres last season. However, the former Angel and Royal also walked more batters (14) than he struck out (12) in that time. O'Sullivan has struggled overall at the Major League level, pitching to a 5.89 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 218 2/3 innings. The former third-round pick has a 4.40 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 486 1/3 career innings at Triple-A.

Sappelt, 27 in January, batted .240/.269/.280 in 78 plate appearances for the Cubs in 2013. One of three players acquired by Chicago in the trade that sent Sean Marshall to the Reds (the others were Travis Wood and Ronald Torreyes), Sappelt is a career .251/.301/.343 hitter in 274 big league plate appearances. He's been much better at Triple-A, batting .279/.332/.402 in 1356 PAs.

Gwynn spent the bulk of the 2013 campaign with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate, where he batted .300/.393/.384 with a pair of homers and 12 steals in 391 plate appearances. The 31-year-old is an outstanding defender in center field, making him a nice depth piece for the Phils.

Marson, 27, was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. Philly traded him to the Indians along with Jason Knapp (who is attempting a comeback), Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald in the 2008 blockbuster that netted Cliff Lee. Marson spent most of the 2013 season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Yan Gomes' breakout with the Indians displaced Marson as the team's backup catcher. He is a .219/.309/.299 career hitter in 882 Major League PAs.


Outrighted To Triple-A: Conrad, Kelly, Gwynn

The latest outright assignments…


Dodgers Designate Tony Gwynn Jr. For Assignment

The Dodgers announced that they designated outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment. Los Angeles recalled outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands from Triple-A in a related move.

Gwynn, 29, hit .232/.276/.293 in 277 plate appearances this season while missing some time with a shoulder contusion. He saw lots of action in center field while Matt Kemp was on the DL and is considered to be a strong defender in all three outfield spots by the various advanced metrics. Gwynn is in the first year of a two-year, $2MM contract.


Players To Avoid Arbitration

Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:

  • The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
  • The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
    The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
  • The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
  • The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
  • The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
  • The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
  • The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
  • Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.

Dodgers, Tony Gwynn Jr. Sign Two-Year Deal

The Dodgers announced that they signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal. Gwynn will earn $850K in 2012 and $1.15MM in 2013 for a total of $2MM, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter).

Gwynn, 29, posted a .256/.308/.353 line in 340 plate appearances this past season, playing all three outfield positions. The non-tender candidate had been projected to earn $1.1MM through arbitration in 2012. Gwynn is a Legacy Sports client.


Ned Colletti Talks Offseason

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times has a slew of information from Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti regarding the team's offseason plans. Colletti feels that his team's pitching and defense have been sufficient, but that the offense is lacking and needs to be bolstered:

"I say the most dramatic way we can improve the offense, that would be the way we would go," Colletti said.

Obviously, that could be an allusion to Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, but the Dodgers' uncertain ownership and financial situations make a signing of that magnitude a stretch. Dilbeck points out that Colletti has never signed a player to a $100MM+ deal, and that Kevin Brown is the only player in Dodgers' history to receive such a contract. At the same time, however, Dilbeck also notes that the Dodgers do have $25MM in contracts coming off the books, so a run at one of the Top 2 free agents isn't necessarily unfathomable.

In the likely event that neither player comes to the Dodgers, Colletti says that James Loney is someone they'd "love to have back." Loney's overall numbers don't appear all that productive, but he's batting .355/.435/.653 with seven homers in his last 37 games. A strong finish could persuade the Dodgers to bring him back, although doing so would require giving him a raise on this year's $4.875MM salary — a risk given Loney's mostly underwhelming numbers.

Colletti also mentions re-signing Hiroki Kuroda as a priority; even if they were to retain Kuroda though, they'd require a fifth starter. Nathan Eovaldi and Dana Eveland can both be candidates, and of course the free agent market figures to offer plenty of low-budget reclamation projects that could be brought in to fill that role as well.

Beyond that, role players such as Tony Gwynn Jr., Casey Blake, Aaron Miles, and Juan Rivera may all return "in the right situation." For what it's worth, Gwynn told Dilbeck's colleague Jim Peltz that he hopes to return to the Dodgers next season.