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- Minor Moves: Lavarnway, Asencio, Beltre, Kobernus, Redmond, Quiala, Black
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- Cubs Expected To Pursue Ben Zobrist
- Erik Cordier Declines Assignment, Re-Signs With Giants
- Brewers Rescind Brandon Kintzler DFA
- Rangers To Promote Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez
- Rafael Soriano To Change Agents
- Matt Adams Out At Least 4 Months With Quad Tear
- Scott Feldman To Miss Six Weeks Following Knee Surgery
- Marlins Claim Chad Smith From Angels
- Phillies Designate Grady Sizemore For Assignment
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Here are Friday’s minor moves from around baseball…
- Catcher Ryan Lavarnway has elected free agency rather than taking an outright assignment from the Orioles, the club announced. The 27-year-old received just 32 plate appearances with Baltimore, registering only three hits. He has yet to make good on his former promise, but should have no trouble finding another club interested in giving him a slot at Triple-A to get back on track.
- The White Sox released Jairo Asencio, according to a tweet from its Triple-A affiliate. Asencio, 31, has tossed 55 2/3 big league innings in parts of four years, but has not appeared in the majors since 2013. He worked to a 5.03 ERA in 19 2/3 innings at Triple-A, but did rack up an impressive 28 strikeouts against just six walks.
- Both outfielder Engel Beltre and utilityman Jeff Kobernus have signed minor league deals with the Giants, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports on Twitter. Both have a smattering of big league experience, though neither has hit much in limited action. Beltre was a long-time Rangers farmhand, while Kobernus has only previously appeared professionally in the Nationals organization (though he did spend a spring with the Tigers as a Rule 5 pick before being returned).
- The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Todd Redmond has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Buffalo. Redmond was designated for assignment a week ago and will have the option to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. He pitched well in more than 70 innings for the Jays in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but he’s struggled in 2015, yielding 11 runs in 8 1/3 innings of work thus far.
- The Astros and Cuban right-hander Yoanis Quiala have agreed to terms on a minor league contract, reports Scout.com’s Max Wildstein. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Astros view Quiala as a starting pitcher, though he did work mostly in relief in his lone pro season in Cuba. The 22-year-old Quiala made 16 appearances (nine in relief, seven from the rotation) in the 2012-13 season in Cuba, totaling 52 2/3 innings with a 2.22 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald reported (Spanish link) back in November that Quiala had been granted free agency by Major League Baseball, adding that he can run his fastball up into the mid-90s. Given his age and limited experience, Quiala would be subject to international signing limitations. Because the Astros have already spent the vast majority of their 2014-15 budget, it seems unlikely that Quiala received a significant bonus; even $1MM would put Houston well over their allotted pool. Ben Badler of Baseball America ran down all of Houston’s significant expenditures in his April review of their international signings.
- The KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization have signed first baseman Dan Black, who had been playing with the Triple-A affiliate for the White Sox, Han Lee of Global Sporting Integration reports (on Twitter). Black, 27, is a former 14th-round pick of the White Sox (2009) that was hitting an impressive .324/.457/.568 with six homers in 34 games for Triple-A Charlotte this season. He’ll be paid $300K, according to the Yonhap News Agency, and will be replacing former big league right-hander Andy Sisco on the Wiz’s roster. Sisco, who was recently released by the Wiz (according to the Yonhap), posted a 6.23 ERA with 42 strikeouts but 25 walks in 39 innings of work with the Wiz in what was his only KBO action to this point of his career.
Right-handed reliever Erik Cordier declined an outright assignment with the Giants but re-signed with the club on a minor league deal, Chris Haft of MLB.com tweets. The live-armed hurler had been designated for assignment and cleared waivers.
Cordier, who works in the triple digits with his fastball, struck out nine and walked only two in six MLB innings last year for San Francisco. He has steadily improved over a lengthy minor league career, with his strikeout tallies soaring after moving to a pen role.
The 29-year-old had been on a rehab assignment to start the year. He owns a 1.50 ERA with twenty strikeouts against eight walks over a dozen minor league frames in 2015.
Cordier’s new deal contains several opt-out dates, per Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News, which explains the procedural moves.
6:13pm: Milwaukee announced that it has rescinded the move and instead placed Kinzler on the 15-day DL, with the team apparently learned that Kinzler was suffering from a pre-existing knee issue.
1:23pm: The Brewers announced that they have designated right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for shortstop Jean Segura, who has been activated from the disabled list. Segura had been on the shelf with a broken pinkie finger.
The 30-year-old Kintzler has allowed five runs in seven innings since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier this month, and his 6.35 ERA in 5 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year wasn’t much more inspiring. Still, as Adam McCalvy notes, Kintzler could have simply been optioned to Triple-A but was instead designated for assignment. He becomes the third relatively long-tenured reliever to be designated by the Brewers over the past few weeks, as the team outrighted Rob Wooten to Triple-A last night and did the same with Jim Henderson earlier this month.
Kintzler has been an effective middle relief option for the Brewers over the past two seasons, however. From 2013-14, he notched a 2.93 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 135 1/3 innings of work, thanks in part to a 57.2 percent ground-ball rate. Milwaukee’s 40-man roster drops to 37 with Kintzler no longer on board.
The Rangers will bring up top pitching prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez to make his first big league start on Saturday, the club announced. Gonzalez came to Texas as the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Gonzalez is a consensus top-100 pitching prospect, though most outlets have placed him near the back of that list. But Baseball Prospectus is particularly bullish on him, rating him inside the thirty best pre-MLB players in the game before the season.
Most view Gonzalez as a mid-rotation starter, with his upside limiting his value. Indeed, the 23-year-old has slowed somewhat in his first run at Triple-A, striking out 5.4 and walking 3.9 batters per nine innings while working to a 4.15 ERA over 43 1/3 innings.
Texas apparently intends to give Gonzalez every chance of entrenching himself in the rotation. GM Jon Daniels says that a regular starting job is “his spot to lose,” as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. That would make him an unlikely Super Two candidate: the cutoff was most recently projected at 2.140 years of service, while Gonzalez can accrue as many as 128 days on the active roster this year.
The Phillies announced today that they have designated veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for Cody Asche, who will return from Triple-A and presumably see the bulk of playing time in left field as he transitions away from third base.
The 32-year-old Sizemore returned to baseball last season after missing two full seasons due to knee and back injuries. After a slow start with Boston got him released, Sizemore latched on with the Phillies and hit well enough in 60 contests — .253/.313/.389 with three homers — that Philadelphia re-signed him to a one-year, $2MM extension back in October.
The early returns on Sizemore’s second season in Philly haven’t been pretty, however, as he’s batted just .245/.288/.296 and displayed questionable defensive skills in the outfield corners — perhaps to be expected after enduring the type of injuries that he’s dealt with since 2010.
Sizemore, of course, was one of the game’s truly elite players early in his career Cleveland. From 2005-09, he batted .276/.368/.488, averaging 25 homers and 28 steals per season to go along with a penchant for highlight-reel catches in center field. Baseball-Reference pegs him at 26.8 wins above replacement in that stretch, whereas Fangraphs was even more bullish, crediting him with 29.4 WAR.
Injuries have derailed what looked to be one of the game’s most promising young talents, however, and he’ll now step aside in large part so that the Phillies can give extended tryouts to two young talents of their own. Asche’s move from third base to left field was necessitated by the emergence of Maikel Franco as an option at third base, and Philadelphia will hope that both can settle in as regulars and contribute for years to come.
Wooten, 29, appeared in four games for the Brewers this season, yielding eight runs on five hits and six walks. Never a flamethrower in previous seasons, Wooten’s fastball velocity dipped to 87.9 mph in his small sample of work in 2015. This season’s unsightly results aside, Wooten has some encouraging career peripherals, including a 48.1 percent ground-ball rate, a 3.21 FIP and a 3.61 SIERA.
Wooten becomes the second reliever removed from Milwaukee’s 40-man roster in recent weeks, as the team also outrighted former closer Jim Henderson‘s contract to Colorado Springs. Wooten’s outright brings the Brewers’ 40-man roster to 38.
The Angels have designated Marc Krauss for assignment, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. The first baseman/outfielder had options remaining, Fletcher notes, but the team needed a 40-man roster spot for Alfredo Marte, whose contract was selected today. It was previously expected that Krauss would be optioned to Triple-A following the team’s acquisition of Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the Mets.
Krauss, 27, appeared in 11 games for the Halos this season, batting .143/.211/.286 with a homer and two doubles. A former second-round pick, Krauss has been up and down with the Astros and Angels over the past two seasons, totaling a .603 OPS. Krauss has struck out in 28 percent of his plate appearances, but he’s shown some decent home run pop in that time, belting 11 homers in 392 plate appearances. He also has a strong track record at Triple-A, where he’s batted .267/.376/.434 in parts of four seasons.
Amid a flurry of roster moves, the Red Sox announced that infielder Jeff Bianchi has been designated for assignment. That move creates room on the roster to add outfielder Carlos Peguero, who was acquired yesterday in exchange for cash considerations. Additionally, Eduardo Rodriguez has now officially been recalled, with righty Heath Hembree being optioned to Triple-A. The team has also recalled Robbie Ross Jr. and placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 15-day DL with a sprained thumb.
The 28-year-old Bianchi picked up just a single plate appearance with the Sox before being designated for assignment. He’d signed a minor league contract with Boston this winter and found himself called up after posting a .302/.373/.340 batting line with Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
Prior to the 2015 season, Bianchi played parts of three Major League seasons with the Brewers. In 163 games and 402 big league plate appearances, he’s a .216/.251/.283 hitter with notable experience at second base, shortstop and third base.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Indians catcher Brett Hayes has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Hayes was designated for assignment after Yan Gomes was activated from the disabled list, and he could have elected free agency rather than heading back to Triple-A.
- The Giants have outrighted reliever Erik Cordier after he cleared waivers, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News tweets. Cordier, 29, allowed just one earned run and struck out nine (versus two walks) in six MLB innings last year, but has yet to receive another MLB opportunity. The fireballing righty will return to Triple-A, where he carries a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings on the back of twenty strikeouts against eight walks. Cordier will have an opportunity to reject the assignment in preference for free agency.
- Third baseman Deibinson Romero has received his release from the Pirates to pursue an opportunity in Korea, as had been expected. The 28-year-old has been tearing up Triple-A thus far, and will now look to provide the same blend of power and patience to the KBO’s Doosan Bears.
The Red Sox have acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Rangers, Boston announced. Cash is headed back to Texas in the deal. Peguero, who had been designated for assignment by the Rangers last week, will join the Red Sox in Arlington for their upcoming weekend series against his former teammates.
Boston certainly does not appear in want of options in the outfield, but its current mix includes only one left-handed bat: Daniel Nava (a switch-hitter). It is conceivable — though far from certain — that the addition of Peguero could ultimately lead to a transaction involving Nava, though the team has alternative means of clearing active roster space in the near term.
Peguero, 28, brings poor on-base ability but strong power numbers to the table, as his .186/.310/.414 line this year suggests. He did hit 38 home runs at the Triple-A level last year, though he struck out over a third of the time on the way to that prodigious long ball output.