Transactions Rumors

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

Orioles Designate Delmon Young For Assignment, Will Seek Trade Partner

5:44pm: Kubatko says that GM Dan Duquette sounded confident that he’ll be able to trade Young, though a deal won’t be completed today (Twitter link).

5:20pm: The Orioles announced (Twitter link) that they have designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment. A little more than an hour ago, manager Buck Showalter indicated to reporters that a move was coming soon in order to clear a spot on the roster for right-hander Tyler Wilson. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that the O’s will try to trade Young, and GM Dan Duquette has spoken to execs in both the AL and the NL about him.

The 29-year-old Young is in the midst of his second season with the Orioles after signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract this offseason to return to Baltimore. However, after enjoying a nice run as a part-time player with the Orioles in 2014 when he batted .302/.337/.442 in 255 plate appearances, Young has struggled to a .270/.289/.339 batting line in 2015. Though he has a strong throwing arm, Young’s range is limited in the corner outfield spots. He is still owed $1.19MM through season’s end and would earn $125K bonuses for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, with another $100K kicking in for every 50 PAs beyond that point — up to 600 PAs.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier today that the Orioles have been exploring trade possibilities for Young, and he again tweets that one NL club has shown some definite interest in Young. It’s not known at this time which team is showing the most interest, but from a speculative standpoint, I’d think that both the Giants and Pirates make some sense. San Francisco recently lost both Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to the disabled list, and over in Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco has looked overmatched by left-handed pitching all season. Young, for all of his flaws, is a weapon against lefties; he’s batted .302/.337/.461 in his career when holding the platoon advantage.


Twins To Promote Miguel Sano

The Twins will promote top prospect Miguel Sano prior to tomorrow’s contest, an industry source tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). It would seem, then, that Sano will be recalled to replace DH Kennys Vargas, who was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga earlier today.

Miguel Sano

Sano, 22, is considered the best right-handed power prospect in the game and draw scouting grades for his raw power that are parallel to those of Joey Gallo. He entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 11 prospect by MLB.com and placed 12th and 13th on the respective lists of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. Fangraphs ranked the Dominican third baseman 15th among all prospects, as did ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets that in eight seasons covering the July 2 international prospect market, Sano is, to this day, the best position-player prospect that he’s covered.

As mentioned, Sano’s calling card is what most scouts rank as 80-grade power (on the 20-80 scale). MLB.com’s scouting report notes that Sano has “as much power as anyone in the minor leagues,” adding that his 2013 output of 35 homers between Class-A and Double-A could become an annual occurrence. Defensively speaking, Sano was signed as a shortstop but quickly outgrew the position and moved to third base, where the 6’4″, 260-pounder is said by most to be below average.

Third base is presently occupied by Trevor Plouffe for the Twins, and while Plouffe isn’t necessarily a star-level player, he’s quietly developed into a solid regular at the position. It seems possible, especially since he’s taking Vargas’ spot on the roster, that Sano will cut his teeth in the Majors primarily as a designated hitter, though he could certainly spell Plouffe at the hot corner on occasion.

Sano missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and opened the 2015 campaign at Double-A for a second stint as he reacclimated himself to the rigors of playing every day. He started the season slow, but since the beginning of May, Sano has been an absolute juggernaut for the Lookouts. In that time, he’s batted .315/.400/.601 with 11 homers in 210 plate appearances.

If Sano is to stick in the Majors from this point forth, he’ll accrue 97 days of big league service, leaving him well shy of Super Two designation. As such, he’d be arbitration-eligible the standard three times before qualifying for free agency following the 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Yankees Outright Esmil Rogers

The Yankees announced today that right-hander Esmil Rogers has been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in order to clear a spot on the 40-man and 25-man roster for outfielder Taylor Dugas.

The 29-year-old Rogers has already been designated for assignment and outrighted this season, but the Yankees selected his contract over the weekend to add some depth to the bullpen. Rogers didn’t make an appearance with the team in his most recent stint with the team and currently sports an unsightly 6.27 ERA on the season. He’s averaged 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 with a 42.5 percent ground-ball rate this season in addition to being quite unlucky on balls in play, leading to significantly better marks in FIP (4.63), xFIP (4.10) and SIERA (3.72). Having been previously outrighted, Rogers does have the option of rejecting the Triple-A assignment in favor of free agency.

As for Dugas, the 2012 eighth-rounder has struggled quite a bit in the minors this season. In 199 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, he’s batted .198/.316/.235 with no homers and six steals (in eight tries). Taylor didn’t rank among the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, per MLB.com and Baseball America, but Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel noted that he could have a future as a fourth or fifth outfielder due to above-average speed and an ability to play all three outfield spots. Dugas does have a keen eye at the plate, as BA wrote prior to the 2013 season that he had the best plate discipline in the Yankees’ farm system.



Angels GM Jerry Dipoto To Resign

Jerry Dipoto has made “a final decision” to resign as the Angels GM, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That appeared to be where things were headed last night, though a report indicated that the club’s owner and president were attempting to convince Dipoto to stay on.

February 21, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (left) talks to general manager Jerry Dipoto (right) during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While not unexpected at this point, the overall situation is rather stunning. The Angels are facing some tough decisions over the next month as the team tries to keep up with the Astros in the AL West after opening play today four games back. All said, it’s rather an inopportune time to be making such significant changes in the front office. It remains to be seen how the team will fill the void left in Dipoto’s wake.

The base cause for the signing appears, by all accounts, to be an authority struggle between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia. Prior differences seemed to have been resolved with ownership intervention, and the organization had already exercised Dipoto’s option for the 2016 campaign. But tensions re-emerged over the last several days, according to reports. Without rehashing all the information that has come out, suffice to say that Angels owner Arte Moreno was ultimately unable to maintain a workable allocation of power between the pair of key baseball men.

Dipoto took the GM seat for Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 after the firing of predecessor Tony Reagins. He oversaw major free agent acquisitions, including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and C.J. Wilson, although those major outlays have often been connected to Moreno’s involvement.

More recently, Dipoto has looked to build the team’s pitching staff through the trade market. He shipped away starting second baseman Howie Kendrick to acquire young lefty Andrew Heaney this offseason after moving slugger Mark Trumbo to acquire Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.

Dipoto also bolstered last year’s club with relievers Joe Smith (signed to a three-year pact) and Huston Street (added in a summer trade). Street ultimately agreed to an extension recently, with the team getting two more years of his services, plus an option year, for a seemingly reasonable $18MM commitment.

But the crowning achievement of Dipoto’s transactional history with the Halos is probably the Mike Trout extension. Having already established himself as the game’s very best player at just 22 years of age, Trout signed on to a six-year, $144.5MM deal. It’s a significant commitment, to be sure, but that money pales in comparison to the overall cash later promised by the Marlins to Giancarlo Stanton. Notably, Stanton was in a much different situation given his service time. But the Trout contract looks to be rather an incredible bargain, given that the club is committed only through his peak prime years with relatively little overall risk.

The Dipoto-constructed Angels had some disappointments along the way, missing the post-season in his first two seasons at the helm despite the major free agent signings. But the club put up 98 wins and an AL West title last year before running into the Royals buzzsaw in the playoffs.

Los Angeles has had its issues this year, with the team’s overall offensive production sagging despite big seasons from Trout and Pujols. Offseason acquisition Matt Joyce has simply not hit, and the club was backed into an awkward situation with Hamilton that ultimately saw him shipped to the Rangers for some salary savings.

Despite the turmoil, however, the club is as noted still very much in the thick of things heading into trade deadline season. As good as Houston has been, putting up an AL-leading 46 wins at the start of the day, the Angels have every opportunity to take another division crown. That’s especially true, perhaps, given that the club reportedly reserved payroll capacity to be deployed over the summer. Now, the question is not only how it will put those funds to use, but who’ll make that decision.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images


Minor Moves: Tabata, Romak, Wheeler

We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

  • The Pirates have outrighted outfielder Jose Tabata to Triple-A, per the International League transactions page. Recently designated for assignment, Tabata still has another year left on the extension he signed early in his career. It’s no surprise, then, that Tabata appears on the Triple-A Indianapolis roster (Twitter link), meaning that he’s accepted his assignment rather than sacrificing his remaining guaranteed money to become a free agent.
  • Pursuant to an upward mobility clause like the one we explained yesterday, the Diamondbacks have notified the rest of the league that infielder/outfielder Jamie Romak is available to any club that is willing to add him to its active roster, MLBTR has learned. The 29-year-old is obviously hoping for a chance at big league playing time, but has also asked the team to sell his contract to a Japanese or Korean club if an MLB job is not available. Despite a very strong recent track record at Triple-A, Romak has only received 23 big league plate appearances in his career (all coming last year with the Dodgers). Thus far in 2015, he’s slashed .299/.375/.541 with 13 home runs over 323 trips to the plate. Notably, Romak has also spent time at second base this season for the first time in his career, adding to his versatility after logging plenty of minor league innings in the corner outfield and at both first and third.
  • The Twins have released third baseman Ryan Wheeler, Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports on Twitter. Wheeler, who’ll soon turn 27, signed with Minnesota in May after being released by the Angels. He’s struggled ever since, putting up a .233/.243/.315 slash in 74 plate appearances at Triple-A. Wheeler received limited MLB playing time in each of the last three years with the Diamondbacks and Rockies. All said, he has put up a .233/.280/.335 slash in 225 turns at the plate.

Blue Jays Designate Steve Tolleson

The Blue Jays have activated infielder Steve Tolleson from the DL and designated him for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. With Tolleson’s rehab assignment done, the club was forced to make a decision on his roster status.

With Devon Travis and Jose Reyes both healthy and set to play regularly, and Ryan Goins and Danny Valencia set to take the club’s reserve infield slots, Tolleson simply didn’t fit on the 25-man. But he has been useful this year in limited action, hitting a solid .268/.333/.439 over 45 plate appearances.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the 31-year-old will remain in the Toronto organization. If he clears waivers, he’ll have a choice whether to elect free agency, as is his right given that he’s previously been outrighted.


Athletics Sign First-Rounder Richie Martin

10:43pm: Martin will earn $1.95MM, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets. It would appear, then, that Oakland has just under $300K to play with for selections made after the tenth round. Bonuses for players selected outside of the slotted rounds count against a team’s total allocation only to the extent that they exceed $100K.

5:33pm: The Athletics have announced the signing of first-round draft pick Richie Martin. The University of Florida shortstop was taken with the 20th overall selection.

Bonus terms have not yet been reported, and unsurprisingly were not announced by the club. Oakland’s first pick came with a $2,214,000 pool allocation (via Baseball America).

Most prospect writers placed Martin in the 30 to 40 range among draft-eligible prospects. Baseball America ranked him highest (31st), citing Martin’s strong overall athleticism and defensive ability. At the plate, BA says that the infielder is a line-drive hitter who could have some future power potential.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law was somewhat less impressed, rating Martin 75th on his board. While he praised Martin’s improvement as a hitter, Law says that the former Gator “projects as an average hitter with below-average power” and could add value on the bases.

Martin becomes the last of the A’s picks from the first ten rounds to reach agreement (via MLB.com’s bonus tracker). As things stand, the club has undertaken $827,800 in above-slot obligations to sign high school righty Dakota Chalmers and UNC outfielder Skye Bolt, and has saved $632,900 on its remaining picks. The team can go up to 5% over its total pool allocation without losing draft picks (instead only paying a tax on the overage), freeing an additional $272,205.

Put it all together, and the A’s were capable of spending up to $77,305 over slot on Martin (in total, $2,291,305). If the bonus comes in below that number, the difference could be applied toward later-round selections.


Red Sox Sign Andrew Benintendi, Austin Rei

10:23pm: Boston has announced the signings of both Benintendi and third-rounder Austin Rei. The catcher will receive an at-slot, $724,400 bonus, Callis tweets.

Rei is a defensive specialist; indeed, Callis calls his work behind the plate the best of all this year’s draft-eligible collegians. The questions come with the bat, though there are signs that Rei can contribute on offense. As MLB.com wrote in ranking him 87th on its board, Rei rates solidly in terms of bat speed and approach.

10:30am: The Red Sox have agreed to terms with No. 7 overall draft pick Andrew Benintendi, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). The lefty-swinging outfielder out of the University of Arkansas will receive the full slot bonus of $3,590,400, per Callis, who feels that Benintendi possessed the best all-around tools of any college hitter in this year’s draft class.

Andrew Benintendi

Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Benintendi eighth among draft prospects, while Benintendi ranked ninth per Baseball America and per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Benintendi a bit lower at No. 21, though he noted that, “No one has improved his stock this spring more than the sophomore draft-eligible Benintendi…” which is lofty but likely deserved praise after Benintendi led the SEC in OBP, homers and slugging percentage.

Callis and Mayo praised Benintendi’s smooth swing and ability to consistently barrel up the ball. That’s complemented by plus speed, the MLB.com duo notes, giving Benintendi a chance to be a base-stealing threat and to stick in center field. BA notes that Benintendi didn’t play summer ball last year and wasn’t even on some clubs’ radars entering the season, but he quickly caused a “who’s-who of scouting directors and front-office officials” to fly in to watch his performance as the season progressed. McDaniel pegs the potential of each of Benintendi’s five tools as solid-average or better, and BA notes that the only real knocks on the 5’10” outfielder are his size and lack of a lengthier track record.

With Benintendi’s agreement in place, eight of the Top 10 picks in this year’s draft have either signed or agreed to terms, though just three have signed for the full slot value of their pick. (Minnesota’s Tyler Jay and Philadelphia’s Cornelius Randolph are the others.)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Rays Designate Ronald Belisario

The Rays designated reliever Ronald Belisario for assignment after tonight’s game, the club told reporters including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).

Tampa Bay recently decided to add the 32-year-old to its big league roster when he exercised an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. Since that time, Belisario has thrown eight innings for the club — including his appearance tonight — and allowed seven earned runs. He has compiled six strikeouts against four walks on the year.

Belisario was throwing rather well in Triple-A, sporting a 3.26 ERA with 5.3 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 30 1/3 frames. And he’s had success in the big leagues in the past. But clubs considering Belisario will surely note that his fastball velocity (in his few big league outings this year) was down about two miles per hour from recent seasons.


Astros Sign Daz Cameron To $4MM Bonus

TODAY: The Astros have officially announced Cameron’s signing.

YESTERDAY, 2:20pm: Cameron’s bonus will indeed come in right at $4MM, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter).

2:04pm: The Astros and No. 37 overall selection Daz Cameron have an agreement in place, and Cameron is in Houston to sign his contract, reports Mark Berman of FOX Houston. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets that an introductory press conference will be held tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. Cameron, a Scott Boras client and the son of former Major Leaguer Mike Cameron, has been widely expected to require a significantly over-slot bonus in order to forgo his commitment to Florida State.

Cameron, a high school outfielder from Georgia, was rated by most as a Top 15 talent in this year’s draft, but signability issues caused him to slip to the Astros with the 37th selection. Baseball America ranked Cameron as the fifth-best prospect in this year’s draft, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked him sixth on their Top 200. Both ESPN’s Keith Law and Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated Cameron as the No. 12 prospect in this year’s draft, and many mock drafts leading up to the actual event had him going in the top five or six picks.

BA’s scouting report notes that Cameron is a divisive player, as some scouts are put off by the fact that he doesn’t always perform against premium pitching. However, BA notes that he has elite bat speed and hand-eye coordination, which position him well to make necessary adjustments down the line. BA notes that he could have average-or-better tools across the board and can stick in center field as a regular at the position. Both Law and McDaniel agree that Cameron could one day be a big league center fielder, although his tools didn’t develop into the potential No. 1 overall type of talent that some had expected earlier in his high school career.

As I noted when the Astros signed No. 2 pick Alex Bregman, the team has saved $2.3MM on other picks, which it can put toward offering Cameron a well above-slot bonus. The No. 37 pick’s slot bonus is $1.669MM, so the Astros could reasonably offer roughly $4MM to Cameron in order to sign him.