Transactions Rumors

Blue Jays Outright Brad Mills To Triple-A

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted lefty Brad Mills to Triple-A, according to the International League transactions page. Mills was designated for assignment after making just one rough outing for Toronto, which claimed him off waivers from the Athletics. Mills will have the opportunity to elect free agency.

Yankees Acquire Chris Capuano From Rockies

The Yankees have acquired lefty Chris Capuano from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced via press release. Capuano joined Colorado on a minor league deal after he was released by the Red Sox.

The 35-year-old starter had not been given a chance to pitch for a Rockies club that is desperate for pitching, despite throwing 19 1/3 strong innings at Triple-A (2.79 ERA, 9.8 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9). He had less success at the MLB level this year as a member of the Boston bullpen, however, as he worked to a 4.55 ERA in 31 2/3 frames while striking out 8.2 and walking 4.3 batters per nine.

Offering the potential to start or relieve, Capuano represents a solid and flexible depth piece for the Yankees. It is not yet clear whether or when he will get a chance at the MLB level for New York.


Mariners Acquire Kendrys Morales

The Mariners have acquired Kendrys Morales from the Twins in exchange for right-hander Stephen Pryor, the team announced.

Kendrys Morales

Morales’ stay with the Twins didn’t prove to be a lengthy one, as his tenure in Minnesota lasted just 39 games. The switch-hitting slugger’s overall numbers with the Twins don’t look like much, as he’s batted just .234/.259/.325. He did, however, just wrap up a 12-game hitting streak that saw him bat .292/.314/.417, so he’s showing some signs of life at the dish. Seattle designated hitters have batted just .217/.294/.343, so the bar for improvement isn’t set that high with the Mariners.

The Twins signed Morales shortly after the draft, paying him the prorated version of a $12MM base salary on a one-year deal. In other words, the Twins paid about $3.08MM for less than two months of Morales and turned that into the hard-throwing but control-challenged Pryor. The Mariners, on the other hand, appear to be on the hook for the remaining $4.3MM on Morales’ contract.

Pryor, who turned 25 yesterday, has spent much of the season with Triple-A Tacoma as he recovers from surgery to repair his latissimus dorsi muscle that he underwent in 2013 (as noted by Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN on Twitter). In 31 innings with Tacoma this season, Pryor has posted a 4.65 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9. However, Pryor does have some big league experience under his belt, as he has compiled a 2.81 ERA with a 35-to-16 K/BB ratio in 32 Major League innings. He’s averaged 96 mph on his fastball in his brief time in the Majors and can be controlled at least through the 2018 season. Pryor will report to Triple-A Rochester, per the Twins.

Morales was said by agent Scott Boras to be interested in working out a long-term deal with the Twins. Morales also said (via interpreter) on a road trip to Seattle that the reason he didn’t sign with the M’s this past offseason was that didn’t want to be in the same situation (presumably referring to the possibility of taking a one-year deal and again being hit with a qualifying offer in the 2014-15 offseason). It’s possible that the Twins could again show interest in Morales as a free agent this winter, and if he can hit well over the final two-plus months with the Mariners, he figures to do better on the open market than he did last time around. Because he did not spent the entire regular season with one team, he is now ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Orioles Acquire Jimmy Paredes

The Orioles have acquired infielder/outfielder Jimmy Paredes from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, the team announced. Paredes, who had been designated for assignment by the Royals last week, has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

This isn’t the first time that Baltimore has shown interest in Paredes, as they briefly claimed him off waivers from the Marlins this offseason before losing him on waivers to the Royals just a couple of days later.

Paredes went from the Astros to the Marlins to the Orioles to the Royals on waivers this offseason and ultimately received just 10 plate appearances (which yielded a pair of singles) for Kansas City’s big league club. Most of his season was spent at Omaha, where he produced a strong .305/.332/.457 batting line in 280 plate appearances.

As a career .306/.343/.468 hitter that bats from both sides of the plate and can play multiple positions, it’s not surprising that Paredes continues to find clubs willing to give him a 40-man roster spot. However, he’s yet to produce in 406 big league plate appearances, having totaled just a .233/.272/.308 batting line.


Athletics Designate Jim Johnson For Assignment

12:04pm: The A’s announced that they have actually designated Johnson for assignment, not released him (though that could obviously be the ultimate outcome of the move). Evan Scribner has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to fill his roster spot.

11:55am: The A’s have released right-hander Jim Johnson, a source tells Jane Lee of MLB.com (Twitter link).

The 31-year-old Johnson was acquired by the A’s this offseason in a salary dump that sent Jemile Weeks and David Freitas to the Orioles. While many Baltimore fans were shaken by the deal after seeing Johnson lead the league in saves in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the move proved to be a wise decision by the O’s, as Johnson has struggled to a 6.92 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 56.8 percent ground-ball rate in 40 1/3 innings this season with Oakland. He lost his ninth-inning role to Sean Doolittle early in the season.

Johnson is earning $10MM in 2014 after avoiding arbitration for the final time this past winter. The A’s will eat the remaining $3.66MM on his contract if he is ultimately released. It seems unlikely that any team would claim him on waivers or trade for him as a result of that salary, though a team could show some interest if Oakland pays a large portion of the deal.


Tigers Acquire Joakim Soria

10:25pm: The Tigers have announced the deal, making it official.

9:23pm: The Tigers have agreed to acquire reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com was first to report on Twitter. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirmed that an agreement is in place (via Twitter).

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers

With the acquisition of Soria, the Tigers now possess both of the Rangers’ most recent closers (having signed Joe Nathan as a free agent over the offseason). It appears that Nathan will retain the closer’s mantle for the time being, but regardless the team will now have an additional premium arm to throw into high-leverage situations. At the moment, the team owns the fifth-worst relief ERA in baseball.

Soria, a 30-year-old righty, owns a 2.70 ERA with a spectacular strikeout to walk ratio of 11.3 K/9 against only 1.1 BB/9. Indeed, his FIP stands at a miserly 1.07, which handily leads all pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings. Other ERA estimators (2.25 xFIP; 1.84 SIERA) concur in Soria’s excellence to date in 2014.

He is playing out the back end of the two-year, $8MM deal he signed to join the Rangers after Tommy John surgery led to the end of his tenure with the Royals. But Soria also comes with a seemingly reasonable $7MM club option. (That option would increase to $8MM if he finishes 55 games; he is sitting on 32 at present. The contract also includes performance bonuses.)

The return would appear to be substantial. Both Thompson and Knebel rated among Detroit’s ten best prospects coming into the year, per Baseball America, with the former landing at fourth and the latter at sixth on BA’s list. If anything, their stock has risen since that time.

Thompson, a 20-year-old starter, just earned a promotion to Double-A after posting a 3.14 ERA over 83 innings with 8.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 at the High-A level. Baseball America says he has mid-rotation upside. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball and promising slider, but profiles as a mid-rotation arm if he can develop a consistent third pitch from amongst his other offerings (curve and circle change).

The 22-year-old Knebel, meanwhile, has already made his big league debut after being selected 39th overall in last year’s draft. Though he surrendered six earned runs in 8 2/3 MLB frames, he also notched 11 strikeouts against just three walks and has dominated minor league hitters. He profiles as a potential future closer, says BA, though Detroit had weighed the possibility of trying him as a starter.

With Soria and Huston Street now taken, the relief market now lacks somewhat for obviously available closers. Jonathan Papelbon is surely available, but of course comes with a still-sizable contract. The Padres will presumably listen on Joaquin Benoit, but may want a large return to part with him after dealing Street. And it remains to be seen whether names like Koji Uehara and Steve Cishek could be had.


Buddy Carlyle, Jair Jurrjens, Sergio Santos Outrighted

Here are today’s outright assignments from around the league…

  • Mets righty Buddy Carlyle has also been outrighted to Triple-A, per the MLB transactions page. He was recently designated by the club in spite of the fact that he has allowed just one earned run in five appearances on the year (with seven strikeouts and three walks). The 36-year-old has the option of choosing to test the open market.
  • The Rockies have outrighted right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. Like Santos, the 28-year-old Jurrjens will have the opportunity to refuse the assignment and elect free agency.
  • Blue Jays right-hander Sergio Santos has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. He has accepted the assignment rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. GM Alex Anthopoulos said earlier in the week, when Santos was designated for assignment, that he had placed the righty directly on waivers and was hopeful that he would clear. Santos did just that, and he’ll have a chance to sort out his command issues in the minors, with the Jays hoping that he can resurface and make an impact later in the season.

Twins Designate Matt Guerrier For Assignment

The Twins have designated reliever Matt Guerrier for assignment, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (via Twitter). His roster spot will go to fellow righty Ryan Pressly.

Guerrier, a 35-year-old righty, had been fairly steady for Minnesota for much of the season, though he saw his ERA rise by more than a full run after last night’s rough outing. He still sports a 3.86 ERA over 28 innings, though he’s averaging only 3.9 K/9 (by far the lowest in his career) against 3.2 BB/9. Guerrier, who has seen time in each of the last 11 MLB seasons, was signed to a minor league deal over the offseason.


Phillies Designate Jeff Manship For Assignment

The Phillies announced that they have designated right-hander Jeff Manship for assignment. The DFA comes as a series of roster moves that will see Carlos Ruiz reinstated from the disabled list, Phillippe Aumont recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and catcher Cameron Rupp optioned to Triple-A.

Manship, 29, posted a 6.65 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 5.5 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 23 innings for the Phillies this season. The former Twins and Rockies hurler has struggled throughout his big league career but owns a much more palatable 4.22 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 358 innings at the Triple-A level.


Yankees Designate Bruce Billings For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they’ve designated right-hander Bruce Billings for assignment to clear a roster spot for fellow righty Chris Leroux, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Additionally, Kelly Johnson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain.

In a brief stint with the Yankees this season, the 28-year-old Billings allowed four runs in four innings. Most of his time has come at Triple-A, where he’s posted a 4.94 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 71 innings for the Rail Riders.

Leroux, 30, also had a short stint with the Bombers earlier in the year, in which he allowed five runs in a pair of innings. The Canadian hurler has posted a 5.08 ERA with a 23-to-10 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings for the Rail Riders this season.