Transactions Rumors

Dodgers Designate Scott Elbert For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated lefty Scott Elbert for assignment, according to the MLB transactions page. Elbert, 28, had been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery (and subsequent toe injury) on the 60-day DL.

Elbert was a major contributor for the Dodgers over 2011-12, throwing 66 innings of 2.32 ERA ball (with 8.6 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9) over that span. But he has thrown only 20 frames over the last two years, all in the minors. He owns a 4.26 ERA in 12 2/3 innings this year, striking out 9.2 and walking 5.0 runners per nine.


Minor Moves: Joe Saunders, George Kottaras, Matt Guerrier

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Lefty Joe Saunders has been released, the Royals announced on Twitter. Saunders opted out of his minor league deal, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link). The 33-year-old lefty will presumably now look for his fourth organization of the year.
  • The Cardinals have released catcher George Kottaras after designating him for assignment to create room for the addition of A.J. Pierzynski, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com (via Twitter). Kottaras, 31, saw just six plate appearances for the Cardinals but owns a .269/.375/.615 slash on the year through just 33 plate appearances.
  • Twins reliever Matt Guerrier has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, but will elect free agency rather than accepting the assignment, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Guerrier could hold appeal to contenders as a depth piece, particularly on a minor league deal. The veteran righty has produced a solid 3.86 ERA in 28 innings, but has struck out just 3.9 batters per nine.

Giants Designate Tony Abreu For Assignment

The Giants have designated infielder Tony Abreu for assignment, the club announced on Twitter. Joining the big league roster are Juan Perez and Travis Ishikawa, with Adam Duvall being optioned back to Triple-A.

Abreu appeared to be on his way to the open market recently when he opted out of his deal with the Giants, but the team worked things out and called him up recently alongside Dan Uggla. But the 29-year-old received only four trips to the plate in the four games for which he was active. Abreu owns a .278/.325/.430 slash line in 253 Triple-A plate appearances on the year.



Padres Designate Jason Lane For Assignment

The Padres have designated Jason Lane for assignment, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter). Taking his active roster spot will be shortstop Everth Cabrera, who has been activated from the DL.

San Diego will hope to get Lane through waivers and back to Triple-A, says Brock, as they have done previously. Lane just made his first MLB start at age 37, tossing a six-inning, six-hit, one-run gem against the Braves. Though he was also successful in two prior relief appearances, the converted outfielder will apparently have to wait in El Paso for his next opportunity.


Royals Acquire Hendriks, Kratz For Valencia

6:10pm: The Blue Jays announced that they have acquired Danny Valencia from the Royals in exchange for Hendriks and Kratz.  Valencia, 29, posted a .282/.328/.382 slash line in 119 plate appearances for KC this season.  The veteran split 117 games between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk in 2013.  In 170 plate appearances last year for the O’s, he had a .304/.330/.553 slash line to go with eight homers.  The 29-year-old has seen scattered MLB action since a mediocre stint as the Twins’ everyday third bagger in 2011. 

5:51pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirms that Kratz is headed to Kansas City (Twitter link).

5:46pm: The Royals and Blue Jays have agreed to a trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Right-hander Liam Hendriks is heading to Kansas City in the deal, and Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets that catcher Erik Kratz is expected to be joining the Royals as well.

The 25-year-old Hendriks was once considered one of the Top 10 prospects in the Twins organization, but he made his rounds on waivers over the past season after failing to translate his excellent Triple-A numbers to the Major Leagues. Hendriks allowed nine runs in 13 1/3 innings for the Jays this season and has a 6.06 ERA in 169 1/3 innings throughout his big league career. The Aussie right-hander has a strong 3.23 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 362 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level. Baseball America tweets that he was impressive at the Triple-A All Star Game this season — a team that he was named to after posting a brilliant 2.33 ERA in 18 minor league appearances this year.

Kratz, who turned 34 last month, is expected to help the Royals at the big league level. The former Phillies backstop has seen limited time with the Blue Jays in 2014, slashing .198/.226/.346 with three homers. Low batting averages and plus pop have been the story of Kratz’s big league career, as he’s hit just .216 with a .271 OBP in 501 plate appearances but boasts a solid .181 isolated power mark (slugging minus batting average). Kratz is a career .268/.342/.474 hitter in 1618 Triple-A plate appearances. He has consistently rated as a strong pitch-framer and pitch-blocker, and he’s gunned down 32 percent of attempted base stealers in his big league career.


Dodgers Acquire Darwin Barney

5:43pm: MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that the Dodgers will pay $500K of what is owed to Barney this season (Twitter link).

2:32pm: The Dodgers have bolstered their infield depth and their defense with the acquisition of Darwin Barney from the Cubs, both teams announced. Chicago will send Barney and cash considerations to Los Angeles in return for a player to be named later, according to releases from each team. It was reported earlier today that Barney, who was designated for assignment last week, was garnering trade interest.

Darwin Barney

The 28-year-old Barney hit just .230/.265/.328 in 217 plate appearances with the Cubs this season, but his bat has never been his calling card. Barney consistently rates as one of the best defensive second baseman in the Major Leagues, and this year was no different. His Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games was +15.5, while Defensive Runs Saved pegged him at +7 runs in limited time. Per DRS, Barney has  saved 46 runs over the past three seasons.

Dee Gordon has established himself as Los Angeles’ everyday second baseman this season, so it doesn’t seem likely that Barney will be seeing everyday at-bats with the Dodgers. However, his glove makes him a nice bench piece that the team can use to improve its defense late in games. Barney was drafted as a shortstop and spent more time at short than at the keystone in his minor league career. Despite a lack of experience at the position in recent years, Barney could be used as a replacement if the team wants to either replace the defensively challenged Hanley Ramirez or shift him over to third base late in games.

Barney is earning just $2.3MM this season and is controllable through 2016 as an arbitration eligible player. His bat makes him a non-tender candidate in the offseason, but he will only cost the Dodgers about $804K from here through season’s end.

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune first reported that the two sides were nearing a trade (on Twitter), and Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweeted that it was a deal. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Cubs would receive a PTBNL in return (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Rakuten Golden Eagles Sign Nick Evans

5:40pm: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets that Evans’ deal is official, and he will fly to Japan tomorrow.

JULY 28, 2:49pm: The Diamondbacks now announce (via Twitter) that Evans has been released to make roster room for Jordan Pacheco (who is returning from the DL).

JULY 26, 10:23am:  Nick Evans has an agreement with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. The Diamondbacks will remove Evans from their 40-man roster.

Evans had collected 21 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks this season and had previously played parts of four seasons for the Mets between 2008 and 2011. The 28-year-old has spent most of the 2014 season with Triple-A Reno, where he hit .354/.423/.631 in 227 plate appearances.


A’s Designate Kenny Wilson For Assignment

The A’s have designated outfielder Kenny Wilson for assignment, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The move creates room for speedster Billy Burns, who will be recalled to replace Craig Gentry. Gentry has suffered a non-displaced fracture in his hand.

Wilson has been with the Blue Jays (twice), Twins and A’s this season, posting a combined .218/.295/.303 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A with those three organizations. He’s said to be a solid defender in center field, but his bat has taken a step back after a solid 2013 campaign in which he batted .270/.349/.386. Despite his meager on-base percentage in 2014, Wilson has swiped 24 bases. The fleet-footed 24-year-old has racked up 40 or more steals in three separate seasons.

Burns was acquired from the Nationals this offseason in the Jerry Blevins trade and has impressed Oakland with his blazing speed. After stealing 74 bases with a .425 on-base percentage in 2013, he’s batted .250/.333/.330 with a crazy 51-for-56 success rate in stolen base attempts at Double-A this season.


Yankees Designate Jeff Francis For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they have designated veteran lefty Jeff Francis for assignment and recalled outfielder Zoilo Almonte from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The 33-year-old Francis appeared in just two games for the Yanks, allowing a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings of work. In total this season between New York, Cincinnati and Oakland, he’s posted a 5.85 ERA with a strong 15-to-3 K/BB ratio.


Minor Moves: Torres, Flores, Thomas, Abreu

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

  • The Dodgers have signed Barry Enright to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).  Across four big league seasons, Enright has made 26 starts and five relief appearances, posting a 5.57 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the D’Backs and Angels.
  • Veteran outfielder Andres Torres left the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and is looking for an opportunity with a National League team, SB Nation’s Joon Lee reports (Twitter link).  Torres enacted an out clause in his minor league deal with Boston, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter).  Torres ended up making 95 PA in the Sox system, hitting .275/.298/.473.
  • The Royals released catcher Jesus Flores, according to the Pacific Coast League website’s transactions page.  Flores inked a minor league deal with K.C. in March and posted a .698 OPS over 150 PA with Triple-A Omaha this season.  The 29-year-old appeared in 311 games with the Nationals from 2007-12 and spent last season in the Dodgers’ and Rays’ farm systems.
  • The Angels released southpaw Justin Thomas, who has signed a $160K contract with KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net).  This is Thomas’ second taste of international baseball, as he made three starts last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.  Thomas posted a 5.99 ERA over 20 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake City after signing a minor league deal with the Angels in January.
  • The Dodgers released right-hander Juan Abreu, the team announced.  Abreu posted a 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 relief innings at Triple-A this season after signing a minor league pact with L.A. during the offseason.  The righty has 6 2/3 Major League innings to his name (with a 2.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts), all with the Astros in 2011.
  • The Nationals released right-hander Ryan Perry, the club announced.  Picked 21st overall by the Tigers in the 2008 draft, Perry posted a 4.36 ERA and 132 strikeouts (against 84 walks) over 169 1/3 relief innings with Detroit and Washington from 2009-12.

Zach Links contributed to this post.