Transactions Rumors

Minor Moves: Trent Oeltjen, Clay Schrader

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Trent Oeltjen, who had been loaned to los Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League, has been returned to the Diamondbacks‘ Triple-A affiliate in Reno, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Oeltjen, 31, hit just .139/.273/.250 with a homer in his time with Tijuana, is a career .295/.359/.481 hitter in 735 Triple-A games. He’s seen big league time with the D’Backs and Dodgers but hasn’t been in the Majors since 2011.
  • The Braves have signed righty Clay Schrader to a minor league deal, per their official transactions page. The 23-year-old was Baltimore’s 10th-round pick in the 2010 draft and has a 2.62 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9 in 172 innings of relief in the minors. Schrader, who will turn 24 in four days, reached Double-A in 2012 as a 22-year-old and has 79 innings at that level — the furthest he’s ascended in his minor league career to date.

Twins Claim Kenny Wilson From Blue Jays

The Twins have claimed outfielder Kenny Wilson off waivers from the Blue Jays, the club announced. Wilson, 24, has yet to see MLB action.

Interestingly enough, Wilson hit the waiver wire after being designated for assignment by the Jays in order to make room for the claim of fellow outfielder Darin Mastroianni from Minnesota. In effect, then, the clubs swapped the two players.

In Wilson, Minnesota is adding a toolsy player with upside who seemingly still needs some time to develop. The 22nd ranked prospect in the Jays system entering the year, according to Baseball America, Wilson has not yet mastered Double-A. He started there this year after a solid (if unspectacular) run in his first go at that level at age 23. According to the Twins’ announcement, Wilson will begin his time with the Twins at that level as well.


Minor Moves: McGrady, Gonzalez, Robertson, Wade

Former NBA star Tracy McGrady has made the independent Sugar Land Skeeters roster, Chris Cotillo tweeted earlier today. The club confirmed that the swingman-turned-hurler has been inked, as Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports Houston reports. “He showed enough progress,” said manager (and 20-year MLB veteran) Gary Gaetti. He showed enough ability and we’re going to see where this goes.”

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Infielder Alberto Gonzalez was released by the Padres, according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock (via Twitter). The 31-year-old had been working in Triple-A, but presumably was supplanted by the just-acquired Tyler Greene at Tucson. Gonzalez, who has seen action in seven MLB seasons, was off to a tough .208/.218/.264 start in 56 plate appearances.
  • The Rangers announced that they have acquired outfielder Dan Robertson from the Padres in exchange for cash considerations. Texas has purchased Robertson’s contract and will bring the 28-year-old to Oakland, where he will be available to play today. The move likely comes as an unexpected thrill for Robertson, who was a 33rd-round pick in 2008 and has spent the past two-plus seasons in Triple-A, where he has compiled a triple-slash line of .295/.371/.394 with six homers and 41 steals in 270 games. Texas had an open spot on its 40-man roster and placed Pedro Figueroa on the 15-day disabled list in order to clear a 25-man roster spot for Robertson.
  • The Royals have released right-hander Cory Wade from Triple-A Omaha, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). The 31-year-old Wade posted a 6.57 ERA in 12 1/3 innings for Omaha this year, with just four strikeouts against four walks in that short time. Wade was a solid relief option for the Dodgers in his 2008 rookie campaign (2.27 ERA in 71 1/3 innings) and again for the Yankees in 2011 (2.04 ERA in 39 2/3 innings). He last appeared in the Majors with the Yanks in 2012, posting a 6.46 ERA in 39 innings of work. Wade inked a minor league deal with Kansas City back in November.


Travis Ishikawa Elects Free Agency

3:50pm: Ishikawa has elected free agency, reports MLBTR’s Zach Links (on Twitter).

10:38am: First baseman Travis Ishikawa has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis by the Pirates, reports MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Because Ishikawa has been previously outrighted, he has the option of rejecting the assignment in favor of free agency, which he is likely to do.

Ishikawa, 30, hit .206/.263/.382 with a homer, a triple and a double in 38 plate appearances for the Bucs this season. He was initially part of a platoon with lefty masher Gaby Sanchez until the Pirates, in search of an upgrade, swung a deal for Ike Davis (Pittsburgh sent Zack Thornton and a PTBNL to the Mets).

Ishikawa is a lifetime .257/.321/.397 hitter, and his splits are indicative that he is best suited to be part of a first-base platoon (as he was in Pittsburgh). Both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating feel that Ishikawa’s glove at first base is above average — an attribute that he and agent Jim McDowell can use as a selling point should he ultimately elect to become a free agent.


Rangers Designate Hector Noesi For Assignment

The Rangers have designated pitcher Hector Noesi for assignment, the club announced via press release. The righty made only three appearances with the club after being acquired ten days ago from the Mariners.

Noesi, 27, has had a forgettable start to the 2014 season. His ERA stands at 14.21 through 6 1/3 frames. Over parts of four seasons in the bigs, Noesi has allowed 5.81 earned runs per nine in just under 200 total frames. He has struggled roughly equally against batters from both sides of the plate: over his career, lefties have touched him for a .866 OPS while righties have managed a .832 mark.


Astros Outright Lucas Harrell

Righty Lucas Harrell has been outrighted by the Astros after clearing waivers, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (via Twitter). Harrell had been designated for assignment a week ago.

Once viewed as a useful piece with valuable control, Harrell has seen his stock plummet since the start of the 2013 season. He notched a solid in 2012 — 193 2/3 innings of 3.76 ERA ball with a 57.2% ground ball rate and 6.5 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 — but has been ineffective since. Last year, Harrell’s control faded (5.2 BB/9) even as he missed less bats (5.2 K/9, career-low 5.1% swinging strike rate).

Houston finally moved him off of the club’s 40-man roster after Harrell stumbled out of the gates in 2014. The good news for the Astros is that the out-of-options hurler managed to pass through waivers, meaning that the club will have the chance to let him try to rediscover his form in the upper minors. Depending upon whether and when he makes it back to the bigs this year, Harrell will come with three or four years of team control still in place.


Padres Acquire Tyler Greene From Braves

The Padres have acquired infielder Tyler Greene from the Braves in exchange for a player to be named later, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter).

Greene, 30, was playing at Triple-A for the Atlanta organization. He has seen action at the MLB level in each of the last five seasons, though never more than the 116 games he appeared in over the 2012 campaign. For his career, Greene has a .224.289/.356 triple-slash in 746 plate appearances. He has appeared mostly at short and second, but has seen time at every other position on the diamond except the battery.


Orioles To Designate Steve Pearce For Assignment

The Orioles will designate outfielder Steve Pearce for assignment, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Pearce agreed with Baltimore on a $700K deal to avoid arbitration this winter.

Pearce, 31, had only seven plate appearances in the early portion of the 2014 season. Last year, in 138 trips to the dish at the MLB level, he put up a .261/.362/.420 line. The club has previously outrighted Pearce, so he would have the right to decline a minor league assignment (assuming he is ultimately exposed to outright waivers).


Blue Jays Claim Darin Mastroianni, Designate Kenny Wilson

The Blue Jays have claimed outfielder Darin Mastroianni off waivers from the Twins, the club announced via press release. To make room on the 40-man roster, Toronto designated fellow outfielder Kenny Wilson for assignment.

Mastroianni originally came to Minnesota from the Jays via waiver claim in February of 2012, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes on Twitter. The 28-year-old has not produced much in limited MLB time since,: he possesses a .220/.228/.295 career line, virtually all of which has come with the Twins. Mastroianni is known for his ability to get on base: he has a lifetime .372 OBP at both the Double-A and Triple-A level, having spent parts of four seasons at each.

Wilson, 24, has yet to see time in the bigs or the highest level of the minors. He is off to a slow start at Double-A (.210/.239/.306 in 68 plate appearances) after putting up a .259/.333/.375 line with 16 stolen bases in 242 plate appearances in his first stint at that level last year. Wilson opened the year at the 22nd spot on Baseball America’s list of the team’s prospects. The speedy center fielder is said to have starter upside if he can translate his tools into production.


Yankees Outright Cesar Cabral

Left-hander Cesar Cabral has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Yankees, according to the team’s official transactions page. Cabral, who has been outrighted before, will have the option to refuse the assignment and elect free agency if he wishes.

The 25-year-old Cabral, who was designated for assignment on April 18, originally came to the Yankees back in 2011. The Royals selected him fifth in that year’s Rule 5 Draft and promptly traded him to New York for cash considerations. A stress fracture in his elbow caused him to miss most of the 2012 campaign and a good deal of 2013 as well, which is the reason that he has just 4 2/3 innings at the big league level. Within that small sample of Major League experience, Cabral has allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. Most of the damage against him came in his final outing this year, in which he hit three batters without recording an out and was charged with three runs.

Cabral has a pretty solid minor league track record, having turned in a 3.77 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 384 career innings. However, just 10 1/3 of those innings have come at the Triple-A level, and the results (eight earned runs) haven’t matched up with his success at lower levels just yet.