Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

Toronto Blue Jays trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL East Notes: Middlebrooks, Sox, Teixeira, Martinez, Morrow

The Red Sox are planning on having Will Middlebrooks play winter ball this offseason in an attempt to get him back on track, and they’re telling teams that they won’t simply give the soon-to-be 26-year-old away, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Middlebrooks may seem a good buy-low candidate, as the former top prospect has followed a strong rookie campaign with a .213/.264/.375 line over a pair of injury-plagued seasons in 2013-14, but it sounds as if the Red Sox aren’t ready to give up on him.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke with reporters before tonight’s game, and Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com has some highlights from the session. Cherington says that “barring something unforeseen,” Rusney Castillo will join the Major League club this month. He also said that the club will continue to have Mookie Betts focus on center field, noting that having three plus center fielders isn’t a bad thing if Castillo, Betts and Jackie Bradley all pan out. “We believe we’re better off having more than one major league center fielder,” said Cherington. “In the long run, in terms of long-term control, hopefully we have three at the upper levels.”
  • While there’s been an unthinkable amount of ink dedicated to the Phillies’ Ryan Howard problem, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees have a similar issue on their hands with Mark Teixeira. Sherman reports that while the Phillies have aggressively shopped Howard, the Yankees haven’t even tried to move Teixeira, knowing that he would be nearly impossible to jettison due to his injuries, his no-trade protection and the $45MM he’s owed in 2015-16. Teixeira, who turns 35 next April, has batted just .213/.316/.404 in 493 plate appearances over the past two seasons.
  • Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is interested in the Astros’ managerial opening, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry. Martinez, who was on a short list of candidates for the last Astros managerial search, called the opening a “great opportunity” but made it clear that his current focus is on helping the Rays. “I interviewed for them a couple years ago, and they had good baseball people, very creative minds over there, and I kind of like that whole situation over there,” said Martinez. “Right now, my concern is being the bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and hopefully we win as many games as possible this month.” As Berry points out, Martinez is a good fit with the Astros after watching the way in which longtime Rays manager has Joe Maddon has built a rapport with an analytically inclined front office. Martinez noted that he got along well with Astros owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow in his previous interview, adding that he thinks Houston has a very bright future.
  • Brandon Morrow wants to pitch in the rotation in 2015 and beyond, he tells MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm. As Chisholm notes, Morrow may soon have the opportunity to dictate where that could happen, as his $10MM club option is likely to be declined by the Blue Jays after another injury-plagued season. Morrow doesn’t seem to fit into Toronto’s rotation moving forward, with R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris all at the Major League level.

Blue Jays Designate Darin Mastroianni, Matt Hague; Neil Wagner Released

The Blue Jays announced a flurry of roster moves with rosters expanding for the month of September. Both Darin Mastroianni and Matt Hague have been designated for assignment, while right-hander Neil Wagner, who was designated yesterday, has been released. Additionally, Brett Lawrie has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

The 40-man moves create space for the selection of top prospect Dalton Pompey‘s contract, the selection of veteran George Kottaras‘ contract and the reinstatement of Brandon Morrow from the 60-day disabled list. Additionally, Toronto has activated Dan Johnson from the DL and recalled Ryan Goins, Anthony Gose, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Daniel Norris from Triple-A.

Mastroianni, 29, hit .156/.156/.250 in 32 plate appearances with the Blue Jays after they claimed him on waivers from the Twins earlier this season. The Jays had lost Mastroianni to the Twins on waivers two years prior, and the speedster looked to have carved out a spot for himself in Minnesota as a fourth outfielder following a solid .252/.328/.350 batting line in 77 games. However, a series of ankle injuries kept Mastroianni off the field, and he’s yet to again show the respectable bat and plus speed that made him an asset in that 2012 season.

Hague, also 29, has posted strong Triple-A numbers this season between the Pirates and Blue Jays organizations. He’s totaled a .282/.371/.465 batting line with 15 homers in his fourth season at that level. Hague has never received an extended look in the Majors, though the first baseman does have 76 PA in the bigs. He’s hit just .222/.263/.250 in that limited chance, however.

Wagner underwent Tommy John surgery in August, which will likely sideline him for the majority of the 2015 season. He was a reasonably effective bullpen piece for the Jays in 2013, posting a 3.79 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 innings. Those numbers aren’t too dissimilar from his career marks at Triple-A, where he’s posted a 3.91 ERA with a superior 10.1 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 rate.


Top Prospect Promotions: Pompey, Franco, Norris

The September roster expansions mean that some of baseball’s most notable prospects will be called up to the big leagues for the first time.  Here are some of the familiar names from various prospect rankings (from MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law) who will soon debut in the Show…

  • Blue Jays outfield prospect Dalton Pompey will also get a September call-up, the youngster himself tweeted (hat tip to John Lott, via Twitter). Pompey cracked the top fifty midseason prospect list of Baseball America, while checking in at 91st on MLB.com’s latest listing. The 21-year-old has seen only limited action at the Triple-A level, and started out this season at High A, but has compiled a strong .313/.388/.462 line across 494 plate appearances at three levels on the year. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets the full, and lengthy, list of Toronto’s expanded roster additions.
  • The Phillies will promote third baseman Maikel Franco, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.  Franco, who just turned 22 last week, has a modest .257/.298/.427 slash line and 16 homers over 553 PA at Triple-A this season, though he has hit much better over the last two months.  Franco was ranked 50th and 57th, respectively, on Baseball America and MLB.com’s midseason prospect lists and ranked 63rd on Law’s preseason top 100 list.
  • The Blue Jays will promote left-hander Daniel Norris, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reports.  Norris, 21, was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft who began this season at high-A ball but pitched well enough to earn promotions to both Double-A and Triple-A.  The southpaw has a 2.53 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and 3.79 K/BB rate over a combined 124 2/3 IP at all three farm levels in 2014.  Norris, who was ranked 25th by Baseball America and 28th by MLB.com, is expected to begin his Major League career pitching out of the Jays’ bullpen.


Minor Moves: Hill, Gwynn, Berry, Rangers, Reds

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the most recent moves at the top of the post…

  • Lefty Rich Hill has been outrighted to Triple-A by the Yankees, according to the International League transactions page. Hill was designated to make room for fellow southpaw Josh Outman. Though he has seen little time at the MLB level this year and posted an unsightly 6.28 ERA last year, the 34-year-old has historically been quite tough on same-handed hitters and could make sense as an extra lefty specialist on an expanded roster. Having previously been outrighted, Hill will have the right to elect free agency.
  • The Phillies announce that they have selected the contract of outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. To make room on their 40-man roster, they transferred Cliff Lee to the 60-day DL. The Phillies outrighted and then released Gwynn earlier this summer, only to re-sign him to a minor league deal. He’s a career .239/.310/.311 hitter in parts of eight big-league seasons.
  • The Orioles will select the contract of outfielder Quintin Berry, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com tweets. Berry had a good season for Triple-A Norfolk, hitting .285/.382/.367 in 432 plate appearances, and did his usual good job on the bases, stealing 25 of them while being caught six times. In his brief big-league career with the Tigers and Red Sox, Berry has stolen 24 bases without being caught, making him an ideal September promotion candidate for a team seeking speed.
  • The Rangers have announced that they will select the contract of lefty Michael Kirkman as a September call-up tomorrow. Also, they will select the contract of fellow pitcher Spencer Patton on Thursday. Kirkman has posted a 4.47 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 while pitching 54 1/3 innings of relief this season at Triple-A Round Rock. The Royals outrighted him in April. Patton has posted a combined 3.90 ERA with 12.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings with Round Rock and the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate in Omaha. The Rangers acquired him for reliever Jason Frasor in July.
  • The Reds have selected the contracts of outfielder Jason Bourgeois and lefty Ryan Dennick, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. They have also cleared one spot on their roster by transferring Homer Bailey to the 60-day DL. The veteran Bourgeois hit .278/.329/.364 in 595 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Louisville. Also at Louisville, the 27-year-old Dennick posted a 2.36 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 49 2/3 innings of relief.
  • The Giants will select the contract of pitcher Brett Bochy, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Bochy, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, has had a solid season in the bullpen at Triple-A Fresno, posting a 3.57 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 53 innings. The 27-year-old was a 20th-round draft pick out of the University of Kansas in 2010.
  • The Rockies have selected the contract of infielder Rafael Ynoa, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Ynoa, 27, played for eight years in the Dodgers organization before signing with the Rockies last winter. This season, he posted a .297/.356/.419 line in 473 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs, playing shortstop, second base and third base.
  • The Athletics have selected the contract of catcher Bryan Anderson, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. The A’s acquired Anderson in a minor trade with the Reds late last month, apparently in a bid to acquire more catching depth due to John Jaso‘s injury. The 27-year-old Anderson hit .320/.397/.538 in 293 plate appearances in the minors in 2014. He’s played briefly at the big-league level with the Cardinals and White Sox.
  • The Blue Jays have outrighted reliever Sergio Santos to Double-A New Hampshire, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Last week, the Jays designated Santos for assignment for the second time this year. He’s posted an 8.57 ERA in 21 innings with the big club, striking out 29 batters but walking 18.
  • The Padres have selected the contracts of pitcher Leonel Campos and 2B/3B/OF Cory Spangenberg and moved Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso to the 60-day DL, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Campos has posted a 6.34 ERA with 5.6 BB/9 in a season split between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, but with 11.8 K/9. He can start or relieve. We noted earlier this week that the Padres appeared likely to promote Spangenberg, a former first-round draft pick.
  • The Orioles purchased the contract of left-hander Joe Saunders, the team announced.  Saunders signed a minor league deal with the O’s last month and posted a 1.50 ERA in 12 relief innings for Triple-A Norfolk.  The veteran southpaw has never pitched out of the bullpen in the majors but the Orioles intend to use him as a reliever down the stretch.  Buck Showalter told reporters (including MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli) that Saunders could also make a spot start when the O’s face the Yankees in a double-header on September 12.
  • The Twins will purchase the contracts of utilityman Doug Bernier and right-handers Lester Oliveros and A.J. Achter prior to Tuesday’s game, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  The trio are three of eight players Minnesota is adding to its expanded September roster.
  • Rays catcher Ali Solis has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter).  Solis was outrighted yesterday to create a spot on the Rays’ 40-man roster for right-hander Steve Geltz, who will be promoted today.
  • The Brewers purchased the contract of catcher Matt Pagnozzi, the team announced.  Jeff Bianchi was shifted to the 60-day DL in a corresponding move.  Pagnozzi has 105 career PA since 2009 with the Cardinals, Rockies, Pirates and Astros and he’s also spent time with the Braves’ and Indians’ Triple-A affiliates over the last two seasons.  Pagnozzi has a career .219/.297/.318 slash line over 3026 career PA in the minors.
  • The Angels selected the contract of shortstop Shawn O’Malley, according to Tim Mead, the team’s VP of communications (Twitter link).  O’Malley will join the Halos on Tuesday and add some versatility to the bench; he has mostly played short over his pro career but has played all over the diamond this season.  Originally a fifth-round pick of the Rays in the 2006 draft, O’Malley is looking to make his Major League debut after nine years in the minors, hitting .258/.351/.338 over 2982 PA.

Blue Jays Designate Neil Wagner For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated reliever Neil Wagner for assignment, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Wagner had Tommy John surgery in August. He pitched ten innings for the Blue Jays this year, all of them in April and May.

The 30-year-old Wagner was a late-round draft pick by the Indians in 2005, and he made his way to the Athletics in a minor trade in 2010. He briefly appeared in the big leagues with the A’s in 2011, then briefly pitched in the Padres organization before signing with the Jays in 2012. He had his only significant stint in the big leagues in 2013, when he pitched reasonably well, posting a 3.79 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 innings.


Blue Jays Acquire John Mayberry Jr.

The Phillies announced that they have traded outfielder/first baseman John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Gustavo Pierre.

Mayberry, 30, has hit .213/.304/418 on the season, good for a 104 wRC+ (roughly league average). He’s best used as a lefty masher, as evidenced by his .255/.339/.582 line against southpaws this season. The Blue Jays are currently the 24th ranked team against lefties per wRC+, so the acquisition of Mayberry should help reinforce the July trade for Danny Valencia. Mayberry is owed about $250K  of his $1.59MM salary for the remainder of the season. He’s currently on the disabled list, but he can help Toronto beyond the 2014 season if they wish, as he is controlled through 2016 via arbitration.

Pierre, a 22-year-old utility infielder, has hit .260/.281/.389 on the season while spending most of the year at High-A Dunedin. He’s not ranked by Baseball America or any similar organization.

 


AL East Links: Jeter, Beckham, Orioles

Derek Jeter has been worth only 0.1 fWAR in his final season, and the Yankees‘ insistence on keeping him as the regular shortstop and in the No. 2 spot in the batting order is hurting the team, CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa writes.  Jeter is too proud and/or competitive to ask to be dropped in the lineup or take anything less than an everyday role, and the Yankees seem fine with the status quo given Jeter’s stature, Axisa opines.  The problem is that Jeter’s lack of production in a key lineup spot might cost the Yankees a playoff spot.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • The Orioles have talked to multiple clubs about trading for an infielder, and they checked in on Gordon Beckham at some point before the White Sox dealt him to the Angels, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports.  Since the Angels (who own the best record in baseball) claimed Beckham on waivers, that would mean the O’s had an initial chance to claim the second baseman themselves but chose to pass.
  • Also from Kubatko’s piece, he notes that the Orioles had a potential trade fall through once word got out about Manny Machado‘s season-ending knee surgery.  Presumably, the Machado news meant that the other team raised its asking price.  As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier this week, O’s officials were upset that Machado’s injury status became public, as it lowered their leverage in trade talks.
  • Allen Craig‘s career is profiled by WEEI.com’s Nick Canelas, detailing the Red Sox first baseman’s early days to how the Cardinals scouted and drafted him to his current status in Boston.
  • The Red Sox have a lot of decisions to make about their 2015 bullpen, and assistant GM Mike Hazen tells Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com that the team would be open to “spend more money on the back-end guy” if necessary.  Such a move could be needed if Koji Uehara isn’t re-signed.
  • The development of young pitchers like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Drew Hutchison is a big reason why Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos will likely keep his job despite the Jays’ fade from contention, Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair writes.  Anthopoulos is also helped by the fact that modern organizations generally give their general managers at least enough time on the job to see what their drafting and player development plans can produce.

Diamondbacks Claim Nolan Reimold From Blue Jays

The Diamondbacks announced, via press release, that they have claimed outfielder Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Blue Jays. CompletePhillyCoverage.com writer Seamus Doyle, who is Reimold’s cousin, first tweeted the claim.

The 30-year-old Reimold, a long-time member of the Orioles, was designated for assignment by Baltimore in early July after spending the entire season prior to that point on the disabled list. The Blue Jays claimed him in hopes of receiving an offensive boost with Edwin Encarnacion on the shelf, but Reimold struggled in his time with Toronto, slashing just .212/.283/.404.

Reimold has undergone two neck surgeries in addition to ankle operation in an injury-plagued career, and he’s also spent time on the DL with calf and hamstring injuries in the past two seasons. He owns a career .250/.324/.437 batting line, however, which translates to an OPS+ of 103, indicating that he’s been about three percent better than a league-average hitter when healthy.

Reimold can be controlled through the 2015 season via arbitration and earned just $1.03MM in 2014, so the D’Backs likely view him as a contributor next season as well.


Placed On Revocable Waivers: Wednesday

We’ll use this post to track the players placed on revocable waivers today …

  • The Blue Jays also placed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on waivers on August 25th, Cafardo tweets. That means that he will either clear or have his claim awarded to a team at some point today. (Of course, that does not mean he will ultimately change hands.) Dickey is owed $12MM next year and comes with a $12MM club option ($1MM buyout) for 2016. He has not shown his Cy Young form since coming to Toronto, and owns a 4.11 ERA over 400 1/3 innings across the last two seasons.
  • The Red Sox placed a series of younger players on revocable waivers yesterday, Cafardo tweets. Bryce Brentz, Drake Britton, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Anthony Ranaudo all hit the wire on Tuesday, and would all appear to be unlikely to clear or be included in any deal.

Earlier Updates

  • Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle has been placed on revocable waivers, according to a tweet from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The 35-year-old lefty has had one of his finest seasons, posting a 3.41 ERA over 161 frames, but is guaranteed $19MM next year in the last season of his heavily backloaded four-year, $58MM contract. Toronto had figured to be a buyer for much of the year, and may well still hold onto its veteran pieces for next year, but now looks to be a longshot for the postseason after slipping back to .500. It is not clear precisely when Buehrle went on the wire.

For a more complete explanation of how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR’s August Trades primer. You can also check out MLBTR’s list of players that have cleared revocable waivers to see who is eligible to be traded to any team.


Blue Jays Designate Sergio Santos For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated right-hander Sergio Santos for the second time this season, according to a team press release. The move makes room on the roster for fellow right-hander Chad Jenkins.

The 31-year-old Santos has had a difficult time remaining healthy since being acquired by the Blue Jays in a 2012 trade that sent right-hander Nestor Molina to the White Sox. Santos underwent shoulder surgery that season, battled a triceps injury last year and has missed time with a forearm strain in 2014.

Following his previous DFA, the Jays immediately placed Santos on outright waivers, hoping that his contract — he’s earning $3.75MM in 2014 and has a $750K buyout on a $6MM option for next season — would allow him to clear. That’s exactly what happened, and the Jays sent him to Triple-A with the hopes that he could rediscover his 2010-11 form. He fired 10 2/3 shutout innings in the minors and was promptly brought back to the club, but he’s struggled again in his return. Santos made just two appearances and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He surrendered a pair of homers in that time, although he did also record three strikeouts.

Santos, who converted from shortstop to the mound, has consistently shown the propensity to miss bats, but command has been an issue for him. It’s possible that he could rejoin the team in September, but even if that happens, it certainly seems unlikely that Toronto would exercise the club option given his recent struggles.