Transactions Rumors

Blue Jays Outright Munenori Kawasaki, Dan Johnson

The Blue Jays have outrighted infielder Munenori Kawasaki and first baseman Dan Johnson, according to the team’s official transactions page.

Kawasaki, 33, batted .258/.327/.296 in 274 plate appearances in his second season with the Blue Jays. The Japanese infielder’s outgoing nature and quirky sense of humor have made him popular with both fans and teammates, but he hasn’t hit much in either of his two seasons in the Majors. He does grade out as a solid defender at shortstop, and both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved gave positive reviews to a small sample of work at third base this season.

The 35-year-old Johnson saw some action with Toronto this season as a replacement for the injured Adam Lind. The AL East veteran (he’s also been with the Rays, Orioles and Yankees) batted .211/.333/.342 with a homer in 48 trips to the plate. Johnson posted yet another gaudy OBP total at Triple-A, slashing .232/.381/.434 with 18 homers in 459 PA. In parts of 11 seasons at the Triple-A level, the former seventh-round pick is a .281/.401/.509 hitter, so he should be able to find a home rather easily this winter if he wishes.


White Sox Outright Frank De Los Santos

The White Sox announced that they have outrighted left-hander Frank De Los Santos to Triple-A, dropping their 40-man roster to 39 (Twitter link).

Chicago acquired the 26-year-old De Los Santos from the Rays last September in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. In his first season with the ChiSox, De Los Santos posted a 4.84 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte. In parts of eight minor league seasons, the Dominican hurler has a 4.09 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 657 1/3 innings.

Many teams figure to follow suit and begin outrighting players over the coming weeks as they perform some 40-man roster maintenance to gear up for the offseason.


Mariners Designate Corey Hart For Assignment

The Mariners have re-instated Jesus Montero to their 40-man roster and designated pending free agent Corey Hart for assignment in order to make room, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter link).

Because Hart is a pending free agent, the move is a largely procedural one; he’d have been off the team’s 40-man roster following the postseason anyway and wasn’t a candidate for a qualifying offer base on a down season. The former Brewer batted just .203/.271/.319 in his lone season with the Mariners — a clear disappointment for a team that was undoubtedly hoping to have secured something closer to the .279/.343/.514 batting line he posted from 2010-12 in Milwaukee. Anything close to that production would’ve made his $6MM base salary a bargain, but Hart was a known risk after missing all of 2013 due to a pair of knee surgeries.



Twins Remove Ron Gardenhire From Manager Role

3:15pm: Gardenhire has been offered a different position within the organization, Ryan said at today’s press conference. Gardenhire says that he hasn’t decided whether or not he would have interest.

1:05pm: La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports that the “entire coaching staff is not being brought back,” though he does note that because the new manager will get to choose his staff, some of the current coaches could find their way onto next year’s staff (Twitter links). Presumably, that would happen if the Twins were to hire an internal candidate such as Paul Molitor or Terry Steinbach, both of whom were coaches on this year’s staff.

12:08pm: The Twins have fired longtime manager Ron Gardenhire, the team announced.  The 2010 AL Manager of the Year will be replaced following four straight seasons of 90+ losses, and the Twins will immediately begin looking for Gardenhire’s replacement.  The status of the other members of the Minnesota coaching staff will be determined by both the new manager and by Twins GM Terry Ryan.

Gardenhire, 56, has been with the Twins organization since 1988, first aMLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigerss a minor league manager and then for 11 years as the team’s third base coach.  He took over from Tom Kelly prior to the 2002 season and enjoyed immediate success, leading the Twins to three straight AL Central titles.  “Gardy” managed three more AL Central winners from 2006-10, though in all six of his postseason appearances, only won one playoff series.

The last four seasons have been a different story for both Gardenhire and the Twins, as the team struggled to a 265-383 record and finished in last place in three of those four years.  Poor roster construction and a lack of minor league depth was generally blamed for Minnesota’s problems rather than Gardenhire, though even in the winning years, he took some criticism for his lineup construction.

Gardenhire has an 1068-1039 record over his career, and given his strong pedigree and reputation around baseball, one would think he’d be an instant candidate for other managerial openings around the game.  The Rangers, Diamondbacks and Astros are currently looking for new managers.

This will be the first managerial search in over a generation for the Twins — since September 1986, Kelly and Gardenhire have been the club’s only two skippers.  USA Today’s Bob Nightengale predicts that either Terry Steinbach or Paul Molitor (both current members of the Twins coaching staff) will be the next manager.  Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could also be an external candidate, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets.

Gardenhire’s firing was reported by Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (Twitter link).  Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that “the word is not good” on Gardenhire’s status with the club, though the report was unconfirmed at the time.

Photo courtesy of Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports Images


Yankees Outright Josh Outman

Here are today’s minor transactions, with the latest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Yankees have outrighted southpaw Josh Outman off the 40-man roster, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports (via Twitter).  Outman was designated for assignment last week.  The left-hander posted a 2.86 ERA and 8.3 K/9 over 28 1/3 IP with Cleveland and New York this season, though he battled control issues, walking 16 batters in those 28 1/3 innings.  Outman has a 4.43 ERA over 274 1/3 career innings during six Major League seasons with the Yankees, Indians, Rockies and A’s.
  • With Outman’s situation now resolved, that leaves the Orioles’ Preston Guilmet as the only player currently in “DFA limbo,” according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.

Minor Moves: Cory Burns, Matt Hague

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays have claimed right-handed reliever Cory Burns from the Rays. Toronto announced the move via press release. Burns, who will turn 27 on October 9, has a 4.60 ERA in 29 1/3 Major League innings. He spent the entirety of 2014 in the minors, splitting time between the Rays and Rangers organizations.
  • Also via press release, the Blue Jays have selected the contract of first baseman Matt Hague. The 28-year-old was acquired off waivers from the Pirates in mid-August. Since joining Toronto, Hague has hit .377/.411/.566 in 56 Triple-A plate appearances. He managed two major league plate appearances with the Pirates, going 0-for-2. Melky Cabrera and Chad Jenkins were moved to the 60 day disabled list to clear room for the pair.

Minor Moves: Rusin

Here are the minor moves of the evening:

  • The Rockies have claimed left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin off waivers from the Cubs, according to the MLB.com transactions page. From 2012 through 2014, Rusin pitched to a 4.97 ERA in 108 and two-thirds innings for the Cubs, including 20 starts and four relief appearances. The relief outings all came this season, in which he contributed a 7.11 ERA in 12 and two-third innings. The 27-year-old also made 23 starts this year for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate.

Orioles Designate Preston Guilmet For Assignment

The Orioles have announced that they’ve designated reliever Preston Guilmet for assignment. In a corresponding move, they’ve purchased the contract of infielder Alexi Casilla.

Guilmet, 27, pitched 10 1/3 innings for the Orioles this year, striking out 12 batters and walking just two but giving up two homers and six earned runs. Guilmet, a long-time closer in the Indians’ system, has always posted strong numbers in the minor leagues, but hasn’t gotten a clean shot at a big-league job, perhaps in part because of his underwhelming stuff — most of his fastballs don’t top 90MPH, and he doesn’t get many ground balls.

Casilla tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter) that he thought his season was over, and that he had been getting ready to play winter ball in the Dominican. The 30-year-old Casilla hit .264/.315/.320 in 213 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk this year. He has not played since August 30 due to a hamstring injury. He is in the Orioles’ lineup today, playing third base.


Braves Outright Ryan Buchter, Carlos Perez

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Braves have outrighted Ryan Buchter and Carlos Perez off the team’s 40-man roster, according to the International League transactions page. Buchter, a 27-year-old lefty, has just one career MLB outing but worked to a 3.29 ERA over 63 frames this year at Triple-A. Perez, also a southpaw, has yet to advance past the Double-A level (where he struggled mightily this year) as a 22-year-old.

Pirates Claim Chaz Roe

The Pirates have claimed right-hander Chaz Roe off waivers from the Yankees, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 27-year-old Roe was designated for assignment by New York last week. Charlie Morton was placed on the 60-day DL in order to make room for Roe on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees acquired Roe from the Marlins on Aug. 31 this season, and the righty went on to make three appearances in pinstripes, yielding three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts against three walks in a two innings. Roe split the 2013 season between the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate and big league club last year, with a 4.03 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.

This season, Roe enjoyed a strong campaign at Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins organization, posting a 3.66 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 64 innings of relief.