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The Diamondbacks have signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Reno, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Frandsen is a client of All Bases Covered Sports Management.
Frandsen, 32, spent the 2014 season serving as a utility infield option for the Nationals. In 236 plate appearances with Washington, he batted .259/.299/.309 and appeared at second base, third base, first base and in left field. The Nats tendered a contract to Frandsen this offseason and agreed to a $1MM salary, but the team released him late in Spring Training.
Frandsen can serve as a depth option for the D-Backs, as he has experience at all four infield positions as well as both corner outfield spots. With Jake Lamb set to miss a few weeks due to a stress reaction in his foot, it’s possible that Frandsen could find his way onto the big league roster in the near future.
The Cubs have announced that top infield prospect Addison Russell has been promoted to the Majors. To create roster space for the 21-year-old, Arismendy Alcantara has been optioned to Triple-A and Mike Olt has been transferred to the 60-day DL in corresponding moves. Russell, usually a shortstop, will play second base, where the Cubs have struggled this season.
Russell was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Athletics. He hit a combined .295/.350/.508 at the Class A+ and Double-A levels in 2014, spending part of the year in the Athletics’ system before they shipped him to Chicago as the key to the Cubs’ side of the Jeff Samardzija trade. He had been hitting .297/.308/.432 for Triple-A Iowa in a 39 plate appearances this season. Baseball Prospectus ranked Russell the No. 2 prospect in the game heading into the 2015 season, while Baseball America ranked him No. 3. MLB.com placed him at No. 5, praising his offensive game and noting that he’s received comparisons to Barry Larkin and Miguel Tejada.
The Cubs, of course, also recently promoted another top prospect, Kris Bryant, to play third base. The timing of Bryant’s promotion caused controversy due to the perception that the Cubs delayed his arrival so that they could control him for another season. Russell’s promotion could conceivably attract similar criticism, although he has less experience at Triple-A than Bryant and has not been nearly as dominant at that level. If anything, the Cubs could easily have postponed Russell’s promotion until June, which would have prevented him from being a Super Two player. If he sticks in the big leagues now, he will likely receive that designation, becoming arbitration-eligible for the first of four times starting in 2018 before becoming eligible for free agency following the 2021 season.
Nonetheless, Russell gives the Cubs yet another top young talent to go along with Bryant, Jorge Soler, and young veterans Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. The Cubs’ future has looked very bright for quite some time, and now, with a team loaded with excellent young players and off to a strong 7-5 start, that future seems to be coming quickly.
Russell’s promotion was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Here are the latest minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Braves signed southpaw Greg Smith to a minor league deal, as announced by the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett. Smith posted a 4.51 ERA over 40 starts (229 1/3 innings) with the A’s and Rockies from 2008-10, and he has spent the last four seasons with the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Phillies farm systems, plus a short stint with an independent team.
- The Mets announced that righty Zack Wheeler has been moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. The move creates a 40-man roster spot for catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, whose contract was officially purchased by the club today. Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in late March and will miss the entire 2015 season.
- The Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Trayvon Robinson to a minor league contract, as announced by the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Robinson signed a minor league deal with the Padres in December but was released on April 2, and he signed his deal with the Ducks just over a week ago. Robinson posted a .602 OPS over 319 plate appearances with the Mariners in 2011-12 and hasn’t been back to the majors since, spending the last two seasons in the Orioles and Dodgers farm systems.
The Marlins have designated left-hander Matt Tracy for assignment, the team announced. Miami has also selected the contract of right-hander Nick Masset from Triple-A while righty Jose Urena has been sent down to Triple-A in corresponding moves.
Tracy has now been DFA’ed by two different teams in a nine-day span. The Yankees designated the southpaw last week and the Marlins claimed him on Saturday. Tracy made his MLB debut this season, tossing two innings for the Yankees and allowing three unearned runs on two walks and two hits. The 26-year-old lefty was a 24th-round draft pick for the Yankees in 2011
Miami signed Masset to a minor league deal during the offseason, released him prior to the Article XX(B) deadline and then re-signed the veteran righty to a new contract earlier this month. Masset posted a 5.80 ERA over 45 relief innings with the Rockies last season, his first taste of MLB action since 2011 thanks to a variety of shoulder problems that threatened to end his career. Over seven seasons and 378 innings with the Rockies, Reds, White Sox and Rangers, Masset has a 4.02 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 1.93 K/BB rate.
It’s already been a busy day for the MLBTR DFA Tracker, as the Cardinals’ Gary Brown and the Brewers’ Brandon Kintzler have also been designated today. In addition to Brown, Kintzler and Tracy, Grant Balfour (Rays), Xavier Cedeno (Nationals), Kyle Drabek (White Sox) and Todd Redmond (Blue Jays) are also currently residing in “DFA limbo.”
The Brewers have designated right-hander Brandon Kintzler for assignment, the club announced on Twitter. In a corresponding move, the Brew Crew selected the contract of utilityman Elian Herrera from Triple-A.
Kintzler has spent much of this young season on the minor league disabled list with a finger injury. The righty has posted a 3.26 ERA, 57.3% ground ball rate and 6.6 K/9 over 174 career innings (all out of the bullpen) with Milwaukee since 2010. As you might suspect, that high grounder rate and low strikeout total has led to some variance between his ERA and advanced metrics, such as last season when he posted a 3.24 ERA but a 4.68 FIP, 3.87 xFIP and 3.71 SIERA. Kintzler has displayed reverse-splits tendencies over his career, as right-handed batters have a .733 OPS against him while left-handed hitters have only managed a .624 OPS.
Kintzler was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and he avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.075MM deal with the Brewers. He joins Grant Balfour (Rays), Gary Brown (Cardinals), Xavier Cedeno (Nationals), Kyle Drabek (White Sox) and Todd Redmond (Blue Jays) in “DFA limbo” according to the MLBTR DFA Tracker.
Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yomiuri Giants have announced the signing of third baseman Juan Francisco to a one-year contract, The Japan Times reports. Francisco will receive 140 million yen (or roughly $1.17MM) in the deal.
Francisco hit .220/.291/.456 with 16 homers in 320 plate appearances with the Blue Jays last season, though most of that production came early in the season — Francisco posted a .961 OPS over his first 126 PA and just a .613 OPS in his other 194. He also struck out 116 times in 2014, and his 36.3% strikeout rate was the second-highest of any hitter in baseball with at least 300 PA.
This combination of power and strikeouts has defined Francisco’s career, as he has a .236/.297/.439 slash line, 48 homers and 375 strikeouts over his 1091 career PA with the Jays, Brewers, Braves and Reds. He was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox this offseason, non-tendered and then signed to a minor league deal by the Rays before opting out after he didn’t make their Major League roster.
St. Louis claimed Brown off waivers from the Giants earlier this month, and the 26-year-ols has a .352 OPS over 26 plate appearances at Triple-A Memphis. Brown was the 24th overall pick of the 2010 draft and a highly-touted prospect prior to the 2012 season; Baseball Prospectus (18th), Baseball America (38th) and MLB.com (48th) all had Brown ranked amongst the top 50 prospects in the sport. He didn’t produce much at the Triple-A level, however, though he did reach the majors for the first time last season in the form of a seven-game cup of coffee with the Giants.
According to the MLBTR DFA Tracker, Brown is one of five players currently in DFA limbo, along with Grant Balfour (Rays), Xavier Cedeno (Nationals), Kyle Drabek (White Sox) and Todd Redmond (Blue Jays).
The White Sox announced that they have designated right-hander Kyle Drabek for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for top prospect Carlos Rodon, whose contract has officially been selected from Triple-A Charlotte.
Chicago claimed the 27-year-old Drabek off waivers from the Blue Jays in late March, and the former top prospect secured a spot in the Sox bullpen to open the season. Drabek, who was one of the centerpieces of the trade that sent Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays to the Phillies, totaled 5 1/3 innings with the South Siders, allowing three runs on nine hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts.
Drabek was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft and, at one point ranked as high as 25th on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list and 14th on Baseball Prospectus’ version of that same list. Tommy John surgery in 2012 was among the injuries that have slowed the development of Drabek, and to date, his body of work at the Major League level is rather unimpressive. In 177 2/3 innings, he’s recorded a 5.27 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9.
Here are today’s minor transactions from around the league…
- The Braves have agreed to a Minor League pact with veteran right-hander Mitchell Boggs, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The 31-year-old Boggs didn’t appear in the Majors last season and struggled greatly in 2013, but he was a reliable member of the Cardinals’ bullpen prior to that. From 2010-12, Boggs, worked to a 3.08 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 52.3 percent ground-ball rate, averaging 63 appearances and 67 innings per season. Boggs had disastrous results in a 2014 season split between the Triple-A affiliates for the White Sox and Giants, posting an 8.29 ERA with more walks (26) than strikeouts (23) in 51 innings of work.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Cubs have announced they have purchased the contract of right-hander Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Iowa and transferred right-hander Jacob Turner to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 25-man and 40-man rosters, respectively. German, who was claimed by the Cubs on waivers from the Rangers in January, did not allow a run in his four appearances (4 2/3 innings) for Iowa while striking out five. The 27-year-old posted a 4.31 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 54 relief outings for the Mets over the past two seasons.
- The Dodgers have outrighted left-hander Ryan Dennick to Double-A Tulsa, per the club’s transactions page. It has been a whirlwind week for the 28-year-old who was claimed by the Dodgers off waivers from the Reds and then designated for assignment two days later.
- Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, Grant Balfour (Rays), Todd Redmond (Blue Jays), and Xavier Cedeno (Nationals) remain in DFA limbo.