Transactions Rumors

MLB transactions of all kinds, delivered to you before the player even finds out.

Cubs Designate Clayton Richard

The Cubs have designated lefty Clayton Richard for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets. Outfielder Matt Szczur has been called up to take his roster spot.

This marks the second time that Chicago has DFA’ed the veteran since acquiring him from the Pirates earlier this year. Previously, Richard was designated off of the active roster (but not the 40-man). He was sent to Triple-A after clearing optional assignment waivers and accepting the assignment. It remains to be seen what precise transaction has taken place this time.

Richard came back up to start yesterday, twirling six innings of one-run ball, allowing only five baserunners to reach (all via base hits) and striking out three. Over 21 total innings on the season, he’s permitted ten earned runs and logged nine strikeouts against five walks. Richard has been quite strong at the Triple-A level this season, as he carries a 1.70 ERA over 69 frames.


Brandon Beachy Clears Waivers, Accepts Outright Assignment

Dodgers right-hander Brandon Beachy has cleared outright waivers after being designated for assignment last week, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter).

Beachy, who turns 29 in one month, signed a one-year, $2.75MM contract with the Dodgers this winter after being non-tendered by the Braves on the heels of his second Tommy John surgery. He’s spent most of the season on the 60-day disabled list, but he did reach the point last month where the Dodgers felt he could join the big league rotation. After pitching to a 3.28 ERA in six rehab starts, Beachy made a pair of starts with the Dodgers, allowing seven runs in eight total innings.

Beachy will have the option to reject an assignment to the minor leagues in favor of free agency, but as a player with fewer than five years of Major League service time, he would have to forfeit the remaining $947K on his contract to do so. His deal comes with a $3MM team option that jumped to $3.5MM upon making his first start of the season and will jump another $500K upon making five and 10 total starts. A $250K buyout would be added if he were to reach 10 total innings on the season. (Contract details via Cot’s Contracts.)

Because of that, it seems rather unlikely that Beachy would test the free agent waters at this juncture, though the Dodgers’ additions of both Mat Latos and Alex Wood have obstructed his path to another look in the big league rotation for the time being. Beachy, of course, has an excellent track record in the Majors when healthy. From 2010-13 with Atlanta, he posted a 3.23 ERA, 9.2 K.9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 267 2/3 innings. Durability has been an issue since reaching the Major Leagues, however, as he’s topped 100 innings just once in his career and made 10 starts in a season just twice.


Athletics Claim Danny Valencia

The Athletics have claimed infielder Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays, the A’s announced (on Twitter). Valencia was claimed from outright waivers as opposed to revocable trade waivers, so no trade will need to be worked out.

Valencia, 30, was a surprise casualty of the Blue Jays’ flurry of trade deadline activity, as the team designated him for assignment late last week in spite of excellent numbers at the plate. The right-handed-hitting Valencia is hitting .296/.331/.506 with seven homers in 173 trips to the plate this season.

Throughout Valencia’s career, most of his production has come versus left-handed pitching (a very robust .326/.368/.497 batting line), but he’s actually recorded better numbers versus right-handed pitching in 2015. Valencia has seen most of his action at third base throughout his career — he was the Twins’ regular third baseman for two and a half seasons and finished third in the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year voting — but he’s played some left field, first base and second base over the past couple of seasons as well. As a player that has notable platoon splits and the ability to bounce around the diamond a bit, he fits the quintessential Athletics mold.

Valencia will have four-plus years of service time at season’s end, meaning he can be controlled through the 2017 season. Valencia and his representatives at MVP Sports won an arbitration hearing against the Blue Jays this winter, resulting in a $1.675MM salary. He’s owed about $577K of that sum through the end of the year. The Athletics had top waiver priority in the American League, so the first team that had the option of picking up Valencia is the team on which he ultimately landed.



Blue Jays Claim Ben Rowen From Cubs

The Blue Jays announced today that they have claimed right-handed reliever Ben Rowen off waivers from the Cubs and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo.

Rowen, 26, has made his way around the league over the past half-year or so. Signed to a minor league deal by the Dodgers this winter, Rowen was traded from L.A. to the Orioles in the trade that sent a Competitive Balance draft pick and Ryan Webb to the Dodgers. Despite outstanding minor league numbers, the O’s didn’t feel they had a roster spot for Rowen, and he was released from his contract, after which he inked a minors pact with the Cubs. Chicago selected his contract to the big league roster last week, but he didn’t get into a game with the Cubs before being designated for assignment.

The addition of Rowen to the Blue Jays organization makes particular sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Blue Jays bullpen has been shaky for much of the season, although activity at the trade deadline has helped to shore up the relief corps. (Aaron Sanchez should be pitching out of the bullpen full-time for the rest of the season, Mark Lowe‘s addition adds a power arm, and LaTroy Hawkins will add stability as well.) Additionally, Rowen has outstanding Triple-A numbers and a sidearm delivery that generates a huge amount of ground-balls — undoubtedly an appealing trait to a team in a homer-friendly park like the Rogers Centre.

In 46 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015, Rowen has posted a 1.93 ERA with 6.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9. Minor League opponents batted a paltry .235/.267/.302 versus Rowen this season, so at the very least one can imagine that he’d be an option for the Blue Jays in September when rosters expand. However, strong enough numbers with Buffalo could also prompt the Jays to make a move prior to that cutoff.


Cubs Option Yoervis Medina

AUG. 3: The transactions page has been updated to reflect that Medina was not designated for assignment but instead optioned to Triple-A. MLBTR has confirmed that Medina was optioned and remains on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

AUG. 2: The Cubs have designated pitcher Yoervis Medina for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Medina, who turned 27 last week, came to the Cubs in the May deal sending Welington Castillo to the Mariners.

The right-hander has tossed a combined 21 innings for the Cubs and Mariners this season, adding up to a 4.71 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in a small sample size.  In 20 Triple-A appearances, the hurler has posted a skyhigh 7.03 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.  Medina struggled in Triple-A Iowa and, at this time, doesn’t seem like a candidate to receive tremendous outside interest.

Earlier today, the Cubs also designated Taylor Teagarden for assignment.  To keep up with all of the players in DFA limbo, check out the MLBTR DFA Tracker.


Rockies To Promote Jon Gray

The Rockies will promote top pitching prospect Jon Gray to the majors on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link).  Gray, a 23-year-old right-hander, will make his Major League debut that evening at Coors Field in a start against the Mariners.

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich expressed some caution over Gray’s timeline to the Show earlier this month, saying that he wanted Gray to be fully prepared before coming to Denver, possibly influenced by how Eddie Butler, another Rockies prospect, has struggled since coming to the majors.  Given how the Rockies have long been lacking in reliable starting pitching, it’s hard to fault Bridich for being careful with such a vaunted homegrown prospect, though it remains to be seen how Gray will adjust to the unique challenge of Coors Field.

Gray’s impressive performance in July may have swayed Bridich’s mind, as the righty has posted a 2.70 ERA and 43 strikeouts (against just 13 walks) over his last 30 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque.  For the season as a whole, Gray has a 4.33 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.68 K/BB rate over 114 1/3 innings; respectable numbers considering it’s his first taste of Triple-A action and the Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly.

Colorado selected Gray with the third overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft, and he’ll join Kris Bryant, Marco Gonzales, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Michael LorenzenCorey Knebel and Matt Marksberry as 2013 draftees to reach the Major Leagues.  A University of Oklahoma product, Gray is a 6’4″, 235-pound righty who the 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook projected as a possible No. 2 starter at the big league level.  According to the BA Handbook, Gray owns an above-average changeup, a slider that could also become an above-average out pitch and a booming fastball that touched the 102mph plateau as recently as 2013, though he was working in the 94mph range last season.

Gray entered 2015 ranked highly top-100 prospects lists from MLB.com (#16th), ESPN’s Keith Law (#22), Baseball America (#24) and Fangraphs (#28).  The midseason BA top-50 prospects list bumped Gray down to 35th, noting that “scouts who have seen Gray wish they saw dominant outings on a more consistent basis.”  It’s worth mentioning that this list was released on July 7, prior to much of Gray’s recent strong work.


Minor Moves: Cards, Carpenter, Murphy, Clemens

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

  • The Cardinals outrighted right-hander Marcus Hatley and first baseman Dan Johnson off the 40-man roster and sent them to Triple-A, according to the club’s official transactions page.  Both players were designated for assignment earlier in the week.
  • Braves right-hander David Carpenter has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Carpenter was designated for assignment last week and had the option of becoming a free agent, which he declined to stay in the Braves organization.  Carpenter has only appeared in four games for Atlanta this season, posting a 7.36 ERA over his 3 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Brewers released infielder Donnie Murphy, as per the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Murphy signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in February and had a .257/.352/.371 line over 162 PA at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  The 32-year-old Murphy has appeared in parts of nine Major League seasons with five different teams since 2004.
  • The Royals signed righty Paul Clemens to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  Clemens posted a 5.51 ERA over 98 innings with the Astros in 2013-14 and a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in the Phillies’ minor league system this season.  He was released by the Phils in June.
  • Chris Capuano has accepted his outright assignment from the Yankees and reported to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran southpaw had the option of becoming a free agent, though doing so would’ve forfeited the roughly $1.7MM still owed to him on his Yankees contract for the rest of the season.
  • Angels right-hander Jeremy McBryde has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club’s communications department tweets.  McBryde was designated for assignment earlier in the week.  McBryde has a 4.07 ERA over 659 1/3 career minor league innings, though he’s struggled to a 5.63 ERA in 46 1/3 relief frames for the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • While McBryde’s case has been settled, over 20 players are still in DFA limbo.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker for a full accounting of the players still awaiting their next assignment.

Red Sox To Promote Henry Owens

Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens will be called up to make his Major League debut on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (including the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson).  Owens gets the call to replace Rick Porcello, who was placed on the 15-day DL today with a right triceps strain.  By coincidence, Owens will pitch a day before Yankees prospect Luis Severino makes his own much-anticipated debut.

Owens, 23, was chosen with the 36th overall pick of the 2011 draft and the lefty has since become not only Boston’s top pitching prospect, but one of the more well-regarded young arms in baseball.  Owens rated highly on preseason top-100 prospect lists from MLB.com (19th), ESPN’s Keith Law (20th) and Baseball America (44th).  The 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook described Owens as showing “an advanced feel for pitching that exceeds his age” in terms of reading and adapting to hitters’ swings.  Owens can touch 94mph on his fastball through he usually works in the 89-92mph range, with an “excellent” changeup and a promising curve that needs some more development.

Despite this praise, however, Baseball America actually downgraded Owens on their midseason prospect list, slotting him at #47.  The list, published on July 7, may have reflected Owens’ somewhat rocky start to his Triple-A season, though he has an overall 3.16 ERA in 122 1/3 innings.  Owens only has a 7.6 K/9 rate, a notable drop from his K/9 over his first three pro seasons, and he has continued to have some control issues.  He has a 4.1 BB/9 this season, in line with the 4.0 BB/9 he has posted over 518 career innings.


Cubs Designate Taylor Teagarden For Assignment

The Cubs announced that they have designated Taylor Teagarden for assignment.  In a related move, left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

The 31-year-old Teagarden hit .303/.403/.579 in 211 plate appearances with the Mets’ hitter-friendly Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas last season.  This season, he has slashed .294/.375/.437 with four homers in 144 plate appearances for Triple-A Iowa.  Teagarden also made 15 plate appearances for the Cubs’ varsity squad this season.

Teagarden now joins a whole host of players in DFA limbo.  To keep track of everyone’s status following a DFA, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/1/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Mets have signed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a minor league contract, according to the MLB transactions page. Stauffer was released by the Twins earlier this summer and signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in mid-July. He posted a 6.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Twins. Over a 590 inning major league career, he has a 3.94 ERA with 6.73 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9. In his heyday, he worked between 90 and 92 mph. He averaged just 88 mph with his fastball during his stint with Minnesota.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Erik Cordier, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. MLBTR has learned that Cordier’s deal included opt out clauses on July 1, August 1, and September 7. The 29-year-old righty performed well in the minors. In 34 Triple-A innings, he posted a 1.04 ERA and 11.16 K/9. However, his command and control left something to be desired with 6.49 BB/9.
  • The White Sox have signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the Knights have announced. Viciedo was, of course, a longtime staple of the White Sox outfield, but they released him in February, avoiding paying most of what would have been a $4.4MM arbitration salary. He played briefly this year for Triple-A Nashville in the Athletics system, hitting .221/.282/.336.
  • The Red Sox have outrighted infielder Jemile Weeks and assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets. The Red Sox designated Weeks for assignment on Wednesday when they added Josh Rutledge to their roster. Weeks has hit .207/.307/.310 in 199 plate appearances for Pawtucket this year.
  • Former Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers is headed to Korea, where he’ll get $1MM to play for the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. In the midst of yesterday’s trade deadline madness, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted that the Yankees had released Rogers. The 29-year-old Rogers posted a 6.27 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 33 innings with New York this season.