Transactions Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Hayes, Cordier, Romero

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Indians catcher Brett Hayes has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Hayes was designated for assignment after Yan Gomes was activated from the disabled list, and he could have elected free agency rather than heading back to Triple-A.
  • The Giants have outrighted reliever Erik Cordier after he cleared waivers, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News tweets. Cordier, 29, allowed just one earned run and struck out nine (versus two walks) in six MLB innings last year, but has yet to receive another MLB opportunity. The fireballing righty will return to Triple-A, where he carries a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings on the back of twenty strikeouts against eight walks. Cordier will have an opportunity to reject the assignment in preference for free agency.
  • Third baseman Deibinson Romero has received his release from the Pirates to pursue an opportunity in Korea, as had been expected. The 28-year-old has been tearing up Triple-A thus far, and will now look to provide the same blend of power and patience to the KBO’s Doosan Bears.

Red Sox Acquire Carlos Peguero

The Red Sox have acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Rangers, Boston announced. Cash is headed back to Texas in the deal. Peguero, who had been designated for assignment by the Rangers last week, will join the Red Sox in Arlington for their upcoming weekend series against his former teammates.

Boston certainly does not appear in want of options in the outfield, but its current mix includes only one left-handed bat: Daniel Nava (a switch-hitter). It is conceivable — though far from certain — that the addition of Peguero could ultimately lead to a transaction involving Nava, though the team has alternative means of clearing active roster space in the near term.

Peguero, 28, brings poor on-base ability but strong power numbers to the table, as his .186/.310/.414 line this year suggests. He did hit 38 home runs at the Triple-A level last year, though he struck out over a third of the time on the way to that prodigious long ball output.


Braves, Dodgers Swap Callaspo, Uribe In Six-Player Deal; Dodgers Designate Stults

WEDNESDAY, 3:30pm: The deal is official, with both teams announcing it. Stults has been acquired and designated in one fell swoop, indicating that he was included in large part to offset Uribe’s salary. With more than three but less than five years of service, Stults will have the right to elect free agency if he clears outright waivers, but would have to give up his guaranteed salary to do so.

On the Los Angeles side of the deal, only Callaspo will head to the club’s active roster. Jaime will look to work into form at extended spring training, while Thomas will take a job at Triple-A.

2:55pm: The Braves paid Callaspo $100K to waive his no-trade rights, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

8:41am: Callaspo received a “stipend” as inducement to agree the trade, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets.

TUESDAY: Trade talks between the Dodgers and Braves regarding Alberto Callaspo and Juan Uribe fell apart Tuesday morning after Callaspo vetoed the transaction, but talks rekindled just hours later after Callaspo had a change of heart, and the two sides have reportedly reached a deal, pending approval from the commissioner’s office. The Braves will acquire Uribe and right-hander Chris Withrow from the Dodgers in exchange for Callaspo, right-hander Juan Jaime and left-handers Ian Thomas and Eric Stults.

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As a player that signed as a free agent just this offseason, Callaspo was ineligible to be traded prior to June 15 without his consent. After news of the revitalized deal broke, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that Callaspo reconsidered after his initial decision to stay with a team that wanted him traded weighed on him further.

Though the Dodgers are surrendering talent to acquire him, it’s worth wondering how long Callaspo will be retained by his new team. The Dodgers, earlier this season, were content to acquire Ryan Webb and release him almost immediately in order to acquire a Competitive Balance draft pick from the Orioles. The Dodgers may view this as a means of shedding a bit of payroll and unclogging their logjam at third base, though that’s still purely speculative at this point.

The Dodgers have Alex Guerrero, Justin Turner, Hector Olivera and, eventually Corey Seager as potential in-house options at the hot corner, making both Uribe and Callaspo seem somewhat expendable. Callaspo has batted just .206/.293/.252 for the Braves this season, so his on-field production isn’t necessarily something the Dodgers would view as an upgrade, even though he has a superior track record to that output. Callaspo is capable of handling multiple infield positions, but while that versatility is appealing, the same could be said of Turner, who has experience at more positions and superior numbers at the plate.

From the Braves’ standpoint, the team likely views Uribe as an upgrade over Callaspo and, quite possibly, the injured Chris Johnson (who will be activated from the DL later this week). Uribe has posted consistently excellent defensive marks at third base over the past three seasons, and he batted .295/.334/.439 while playing half his games at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium from 2013-14. He’s off to a slow start in 2015 — .247/.287/.309 in 87 PAs — but he’s also been slowed by a hamstring injury.

Financially speaking, the Braves are actually taking on some money in this deal, assuming there’s none changing hands (and there has not been, to this point). Uribe is earning $6.5MM in 2015 — the final season of a three-year contract. That means he has about $4.69MM remaining on his contract, which is more than double the $2.16MM remaining on the one-year, $3MM contract signed by Callaspo with Atlanta this offseason. Stults’ minor league contract came with a $2MM base upon making the roster, meaning about $1.44MM is left on his commitment. In total, then, the Braves are taking on just over $1MM in additional salary in order to add Uribe and Withrow.

Withrow, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery at this time, is slated to return from his operation in the second half of the season after undergoing surgery 51 weeks ago, on June 3, 2014. A hard-throwing reliever and former first-round pick of the Dodgers (2007), Withrow spent parts of the 2013-14 seasons pitching in relief for L.A., and doing so quite effectively.

The 56 innings he accumulated in those two seasons are the only Major League work on his resume, but he made quite the impression, registering a 2.73 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 5.0 BB/9, a 39.7 percent ground-ball rate and a fastball that averaged 95.7 mph. It should be noted that while Withrow’s BB/9 rate looks a bit troubling, eight of his 31 Major League walks came over his final 8 2/3 innings prior to Tommy John; his control looked markedly better in 2013, and Baseball America noted prior to the 2014 season that he’d significantly improved upon his ability to locate his fastball.

The 28-year-old Thomas has worked to a 3.94 ERA with 18 strikeouts against 11 walks in 16 innings of relief for the Braves over the past two seasons. Thomas primarily throws a fastball, curveball and changeup, and he posted generally strong marks over the course of his minor league tenure after being signed out of indy ball. The Dodgers aren’t particularly short on left-handed relief, with J.P. Howell, Adam Liberatore and Paco Rodriguez all serving as MLB-caliber options, but Thomas will further give them some depth in that regard.

Stults, 35, was actually drafted by the Dodgers in 2002 and spent parts of four seasons with the team from 2006-09. Of course, that was under different ownership and a different front office. Since that time, Stults bounced around the league a bit before settling into the Padres’ rotation from 2012-14. Over those three seasons, the southpaw worked to a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 472 innings. Despite that relatively solid production, Stults was non-tendered this offseason and signed a minor league contract with the Braves, beating out Wandy Rodriguez for the fifth spot in Atlanta’s rotation. The results for Stults haven’t been particularly appealing, however, as he’s posted a 6.34 ERA with a 30-to-13 K/BB ratio in 44 innings out of the Braves’ rotation. The Dodgers may feel that a move back to the NL West will allow him to rediscover some success, and the team clearly is in need of some rotation depth after losing Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu for the season due to Tommy John and shoulder surgeries, respectively.

Jaime, the fourth piece headed to the Dodgers, is a hard-throwing right-hander that found himself designated for assignment earlier this season. He broke camp in the Braves’ bullpen but made just two appearances before being designated for assignment. The 27-year-old cleared waivers and remained with the organization at the time, but his 96 mph average fastball will now be property of the Dodgers. Jaime has just 13 2/3 innings of experience in the big leagues, but he’s posted a lifetime 3.12 ERA with 12.9 K/9 in the minors. However, Jaime has also walked 6.3 hitters per nine in his career, including an alarming 42 walks in 44 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the re-kindled talks, the completion of the trade, and the inclusion of Withrow and Stults (All links to Twitter). MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported that Thomas and Jaime were in the trade (Twitter links). Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez first told reporters, including Bowman, that Callaspo was being discussed in trades last night (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Dodgers Designate Sergio Santos

The Dodgers have designated reliever Sergio Santos for assignment, the club announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by outfielder Chris Heisey, though more broadly the move is presumably related to the six-player trade expected to be announced soon — which will deliver new relief arms to L.A.

Santos, 31, came to Los Angeles on a minor league deal but quickly ascended to the MLB roster. Over 13 1/3 big league innings, he owns a 4.73 ERA with 10.1 K/9 versus 4.7 BB/9 and a 46.2% groundball rate. Santos seems likely to receive another chance at some point, with the Dodgers organization or otherwise, particularly as advanced metrics suggest his mediocre ERA has masked somewhat more promising actual performance levels.


Orioles Designate Alejandro De Aza

The Orioles have designated outfielder Alejandro De Aza for assignment, the club announced. His roster spot will go to Ryan Flaherty, who is back from the DL.

De Aza, 31, was acquired last summer and tendered arbitration over the winter, ultimately receiving a $5MM salary after losing a hearing to the Orioles. That payday represented a fairly significant commitment from Baltimore, but the team has not been rewarded.

Over his first 112 plate appearances on the year, De Aza has slashed .214/.277/.359 with three home runs. He has also stolen two bases, but been caught on two other attempts. Of course, De Aza does have a track record of putting up at least league-average offensive production over full seasons of work.

While De Aza will presumably draw interest, his salary figures to be a major hindrance to a deal. Of course, that same factor also makes him a somewhat unlikely candidate to be claimed off waivers, but with more than five years of service he’d be able to elect free agency (without sacrificing salary) if he cleared. All said, then, the O’s should be motivated to find a deal and save what they can on the contract.


Angels Designate Chad Smith

The Angels have designated righty Chad Smith for assignment, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. His roster spot was needed for the just-acquired Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Smith, 25, had been optioned to Triple-A by the Halos after they added him in a DFA deal from the Athletics. On the year, he has posted a 5.40 ERA over twenty PCL frames, with 5.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Smith was hit hard in his brief time at the major league level with Oakland.


Angels Acquire Kirk Nieuwenhuis

11:56am: The Mets will receive cash in the deal, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

11:47am: The Angels have acquired outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports on Twitter. Nieuwenhuis had been in limbo after being designated by New York last week.

The 27-year-old was off to a terribly start in his first 40 plate appearances, hitting just .079/.125/.132 while striking out 17 times and walking only twice. He’s shown more in the past, though Nieuwenhuis has never received much in the way of consistent playing time at the big league level. Over parts of five seasons at Triple-A, he owns a .260/.345/.468 line.

For Los Angeles, the out-of-options Nieuwenhuis represents a low-risk turnaround candidate who may offer an alternative to the struggling Matt Joyce. It’s unclear as yet how the Halos will structure their roster, which includes Joyce and the right-handed hitting Collin Cowgill (himself a former Queens-to-Anaheim trade piece) as corner outfield options alongside the well-entrenched Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun.


Red Sox To Promote Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox will promote top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports (Twitter links).

Mar 12, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (79) throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game at McKechnie Field. The Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Rodriguez may only receive a spot start, per Britton, but regardless it’ll be the first MLB experience for the 22-year-old lefty. Acquired last summer from the Orioles for relief ace Andrew Miller, Rodriguez entered this year (as he did last) as a consensus top-100 prospect league-wide.

With a late May call-up, Rodriguez would stand some chance of achieving Super Two status if he can stick on the roster, but that’s hardly a sure thing. And it seems that he will need to pitch his way into a regular rotation spot, as the club is simply pushing back its current starting five.

Though his value had dipped somewhat at the time he was sent to Boston, Rodriguez was still quite a prize (the result of a trade deadline bidding war). He also quickly restored his former luster, according to reports at the time, by regaining fastball velocity in short order.

After a dominant end to his season at the Double-A level last year, Rodriguez earned a promotion to the highest level of the minors to open 2015. He has not disappointed, striking out 8.2 and walking just 1.3 batters per nine over 48 1/3 innings, posting a 2.98 ERA for Pawtucket.

Now, Boston will see what the youngster can provide at the big league level. It’s no secret that the club’s starting pitching has had its struggles, though the group has been somewhat better in recent weeks. It seems likely that Rodriguez could earn another start, at least, with a solid outing. Certainly, it behooves the Red Sox to give him a chance and see what they have as they weigh outside additions over the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Grant Balfour Opts Out Of Deal With Rays

Former Rays closer Grant Balfour has opted out of his minor league contract with the team and received his release, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (Twitter links). It’s not yet clear whether Balfour will look to catch on with another club.

The veteran righty had re-signed with Tampa Bay after being released from his major league deal earlier in the season. He was already owed the remainder of a $7MM salary on the year, which will not change with the move. At most, the Rays could receive an offset of a prorated portion of the league minimum salary if Balfour spends time at the major league level with another team.

Balfour had a long run of success before returning to to the Rays before the 2014 season, but things have never clicked in his second stint with the club. Over 66 2/3 total MLB innings across the last two years, he has allowed an even five earned runs per nine with 7.7 K/9 against 6.1 BB/9. Plummeting average fastball readings surely played a significant role, as Balfour dropped below 90 mph for the first time in his career this season.

Since re-joining the organization, Balfour sported a quality 2.79 ERA over 9 2/3 innings at Triple-A Durham. Even better, he’s done so by generating 11 strikeouts against just four walks. While those numbers obviously show much more promise than his work at the big league level, Topkin says it was clear that he was not likely to receive another shot at the team’s MLB  pen.


Cubs To Release Phil Coke

The Cubs have placed Phil Coke on release waivers, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Coke will become a free agent on Thursday afternoon once he clears waivers, and six clubs have reached out to Coke’s camp, according to Cotillo. Coke had been designated for assignment back on May 19.

The 32-year-old Coke signed a minor league contract with the Cubs this offseason and earned a guaranteed $2.25MM salary when he made the club’s roster. However, Coke’s tenure with the Cubs didn’t produce fruitful results, as he yielded seven runs on 14 hits and three walks (two intentional) in 10 innings with nine strikeouts. The resulting 6.30 ERA was hardly appealing, though FIP (3.54), xFIP (2.94) and SIERA (2.63) all showed more optimism regarding his small sample of work.

Coke’s velocity still checked in at a healthy 93 mph, and his 63.6 percent ground-ball rate was certainly a positive factor as well. Prior to his deal with the Cubs, Coke was most prominently connected to the Rangers, though there were also rumors linking him to the Royals and Marlins, among other clubs. Given the amount of teams consistently looking to add bullpen depth throughout the course of the season, Coke’s live arm will likely draw interest on the free agent market.