Transactions Rumors

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

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/1/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Mets have outrighted infielder Danny Muno, the club announced (via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, on Twitter). His 40-man spot was needed for the activation of outfielder Eric Young Jr., which is expected today. Muno, 26, managed just four base hits and four walks in his first 32 big league plate appearances this season. He has played exclusively at Triple-A otherwise over the past two seasons, slashing a cumulative .274/.374/.408 in 723 turns at bat.
  • Outfielder Jose Constanza, meanwhile, has signed a minor league deal with the Rays, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Constanza, who turns 32 today, had a nice (albeit brief) run with the 2011 Braves but saw his MLB opportunities dwindle in Atlanta over the next three years. He’s spent much of his career at the Triple-A level, registering an even .300 batting average, a sturdy .356 OBP, and rather light .350 slugging percentage in over 2,000 plate appearances. Constanza has also swiped 128 bags over that span.

Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes

TODAY: Atlanta will pay half of Gomes’ salary the rest of the way, or about $380K, per Heyman (via Twitter).

YESTERDAY, 8:42pm: The Royals have officially acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Braves, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter. Atlanta will send cash along with the veteran and will receive minor league infielder Luis Valenzuela in return, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported (Twitter links).

Aug 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Jonny Gomes (7) reacts after getting a strike out after pitching in the ninth inning of their game against the New York Yankees at Turner Field. The Yankees won 15-4. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Gomes, 34, is a highly-regarded clubhouse presence and noted lefty killer at the plate. Though he’s seen his power numbers drop off this year, and owns only a 93 OPS+ overall, Gomes has still slashed a productive .247/.412/.466 against opposing southpaws.

The Braves signed Gomes to a one-year, $4MM free agent contract this winter. It includes a $3MM club option that would vest at different amounts based on various plate appearance thresholds. With Gomes likely to see only part-time duty, it’s unlikely that he’ll meet the minimum of 325 plate appearances (which would cause the option to vest at $3MM).

Kansas City is all but certain to win the AL Central at this point, so the move was presumably made with the post-season in mind. It isn’t hard to imagine Gomes seeing some important at bats in potential playoff matchups against pitchers such as David Price, Dallas Keuchel, and Cole Hamels.

It remains to be seen, though, what kind of alignment the Royals are pondering. Obviously, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain will receive regular playing time so long as they are healthy. Among the club’s other righty outfield bats, neither starter Alex Rios nor fill-in Paulo Orlando have done much against left-handed pitching.

In Valenzuela, who just turned 22, the Braves will receive a player who reached the Class A level for the first time this year. Over 184 plate appearances, he’s slashed .339/.368/.483 with three home runs and eight stolen bases.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Giants Acquire Alejandro De Aza

The Giants have officially acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Red Sox, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter. Lefty Luis Ysla will return to Boston in the deal, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Twitter.

Jul 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Alejandro De Aza (31) during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox will pay $650K of De Aza’s salary in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Having agreed to a $5MM salary to avoid arbitration in his final year of eligibility, De Aza is still owed just under $930K the rest of the way. But Boston reportedly only took on around $1MM in total commitments to De Aza when it added him on June 4. With $650K said to be going with the veteran to San Francisco, it appears that the Giants will not be paying much (if anything) of the tab.

De Aza, 31, turned around a sluggish start upon his move to the Red Sox. The free agent-to-be has slashed .292/.347/.484 over 178 plate appearances since that trade. Once an everyday center fielder with the White Sox, De Aza now profiles more as a platoon corner defender. He’s continued to perform much better against right-handed pitching, with increasing platoon splits in 2015.

For San Francisco, the month of August has required some injury-driven leak plugging. The club reportedly pursued infield help, including Chase Utley, before adding Marlon Byrd and now De Aza to help account for injuries to outfielders Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence.

By squeezing in the deal in advance of midnight eastern time tonight, San Francisco will be able to utilize the veteran De Aza on its post-season roster, if it qualifies. He has now changed teams via trade for the second time this summer and for the third time in the last two seasons.

Ysla, 23, turned in a nice season last year as a starter at the Class A level, but has struggled in High-A ball this year. Serving mostly out of the pen, Ysla has allowed 12.3 hits per nine and 4.6 BB/9 while retiring 10.7 opposing batters via strikeout per nine innings thrown. In 79 2/3 frames, he’s worked to a 6.21 ERA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Giants Designate Ryan Lollis

The Giants have designated outfielder Ryan Lollis for assignment, the club announced. His 40-man spot was needed for the acquisition of outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

Lollis, 28, received his first big league action this year, but made just 13 plate appearances. He has only seen 500 turns at bat in parts of two seasons at the highest level of the minors, though his .319/.385/.451 Triple-A batting line is better than any of his marks in the lower levels of the San Francisco system.

Though he doesn’t have much pop, with just 32 career home runs, Lollis has always hit for a high average and rarely strikes out. He’s split his time about evenly between center and the corner outfield, with occasional work at first base, over his professional career.


Dodgers To Acquire Justin Ruggiano

The Dodgers have acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Mariners, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports on Twitter. A player to be named later or cash considerations will head back to Seattle in the deal.

Ruggiano, 33, has spent much of the season at Triple-A after a slow start to the year. He agreed to an arbitration salary of just over $2.5MM over the winter (with about $465K left to go on that salary), and will be eligible for another arb year if his new club tenders him a contract.

While Ruggiano failed to match his productive 2014 in the earlygoing, he wasn’t actually that bad, putting up a .214/.321/.357 batting line over 81 plate appearances. And he’s slashed .296/.385/.514 with ten home runs in 205 plate appearances at Triple-A since being outrighted.

Most importantly, even during his MLB time this year, Ruggiano continued to hit lefties hard, as he has throughout his career. He’ll presumably be looked upon as an option against southpaws in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were in need of another right-handed-hitting outfield bat down the stretch after seeing both Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez go down to injuries in recent days.


Cubs Designate Mike Olt For Assignment

The Cubs have designated infielder Mike Olt for assignment, the club announced. His roster spot was needed for the acquisition of Austin Jackson, which Chicago also made official.

Olt, 27, has never regained his trajectory after topping out as a prospect that rated as high as 22nd on league-wide rankings. In the midst of a disappointing 2013 season, he was dealt to Chicago as part of a package deal that sent righty Matt Garza to the Rangers. Vision issues were noted as a cause for concern at the time, and Olt has dealt with a right wrist fracture more recently.

Last season represented Olt’s first real opportunity at the big league level, in spite of that rough 2013, but he did not make the most of it. Over 258 plate appearances, Olt swatted 12 home runs but slashed just .160/.248/.356 while striking out an even 100 times.

He cracked the Opening Day roster as Chicago’s starting third baseman, but that run was short-lived. Olt suffered the aforementioned wrist injury and was ultimately replaced, as had been expected anyway, by Kris Bryant — after the team was assured of keeping another year of future control.

Nevertheless, another team will likely be glad to take a shot on Olt’s upside. He’s always been regarded as a potentially solid defender at third base and has shown plenty of pop in his right-handed bat. And despite his struggles in relatively scant action at the big league level, Olt has hit will at Triple-A over the last two years. In 246 turns at bat there this season, he’s slashed .273/.346/.477.


Cubs Acquire Austin Jackson

6:26pm: The deal is now official, with the Cubs making an announcement.

6:20pm: Chicago will cover $1MM of Jackson’s remaining salary, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The Mariners will pay the $430K or so of obligations otherwise left on his deal.

5:04pm: The Cubs have agreed to acquire outfielder Austin Jackson from the Mariners, Shannon Drayer of 710 AM ESPN in Seattle reports (Twitter link). Jackson had reportedly cleared revocable trade waivers, and by adding him today, the Cubs will have the option of utilizing him on their post-season roster.

A player to be named later and a $211,100 international signing slot will reportedly head to Seattle in the deal. Chicago also obtains cash to offset some of the remainder of Jackson’s $7.7MM annual salary.

Aug 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson (16) runs the bases after hitting a two RBI home run during the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Already set to hit free agency after the season, Jackson will end his disappointing tenure in Seattle earlier than had been planned. He was acquired with high hopes last summer in the three-team David Price deal, with the Mariners sending Nick Franklin to the Rays to add the center fielder from the Tigers. Needless to say, things have not worked out for the player or the team.

At the time, Jackson was putting up slightly-above-average offensive numbers in Detroit. But he’s been significantly worse with the M’s, slashing just .257/.297/.343 over 684 plate appearances between this year and last. Jackson has contributed only eight home runs in that span as his power has fallen off, and he’s been caught 11 times on steal attempts while successfully taking 26 bags.

Jackson remains an approximately league-average defender up the middle. And at just 28 years of age, he still holds at least some promise of more given his quality early-career production. Between 2010 and 2013, Jackson racked up 18.9 rWAR with a .278/.344/.416 cumulative slash, a solid power/speed mix, and defensive ratings that ranged from good to excellent.

Mariners interim GM Jeff Kingston explained that there was relatively little interest in the veteran this month, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes on Twitter. While there had been an outside chance that the club would hold onto Jackson and make him a qualifying offer, that is no longer an option with the mid-season trade. That seemed at least plausible given Jackson’s age, but it seems that Seattle decided against the risky move and chose instead to get what it could for him now.

For Chicago, Jackson represents another right-handed-hitting outfield option as Jorge Soler deals with an oblique injury, though it’s worth noting that he traditionally carries fairly neutral platoon splits. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Jackson can play in center, but he seems unlikely to take much time from the switch-hitting Dexter Fowler, who traditionally performs better against left-handed pitching. While Jackson is still owed about $1.43MM of salary this year, at least some of that obligation will remain Seattle’s responsibility.

MLB.com’s Greg Johns first suggested an international slot may be involved (via Twitter), as to which Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (also via Twitter) provided details. Divish first reported that a PTBNL was part of the return (on Twitter) provided details. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Diamondbacks Designate Kevin Munson

The Diamondbacks have designated righty Kevin Munson for assignment, Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com tweets. Munson is a 26-year-old reliever who has yet to see MLB action.

After being by the Phillies in last year’s Rule 5 draft, Munson was sent back to Arizona in mid-March. Since that time, he’s posted some uneven results at the Triple-A level.

Munson looked like a future piece last year, running up 62 1/3 innings of 2.60 ERA ball with 11.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. But he’s reversed course in 2015 after experiencing arm soreness in the spring. Over his 31 1/3 frames at the highest level of the minors, Munson has issued 7.2 walks to go with only 8.6 strikeouts per nine while accumulating a 4.60 earned run mark.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/31/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league, all of which are reported by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, unless otherwise noted…

  • The Nationals and Scott Sizemore have agreed to a minor league contract. Now 30 years old, Sizemore was once a prospect of great intrigue in the Tigers’ system — a potential long-term answer for Detroit. However, after a trade to Oakland, Sizemore wound up missing consecutive seasons when he tore his ACL in 2012 and tragically did so once again after just two games in 2013. Sizemore spent most of the 2015 campaign with the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate and didn’t hit much, though he’s been great in six games with the Nats’ Triple-A club since signing: .375/.412/.563. Sizemore can play both second base and third base.
  • The Blue Jays have released right-hander Phillippe Aumont, whom they’d previously inked to a minor league pact back in July. Formerly the No. 11 pick in the draft (2007, Mariners), Aumont was one of the key pieces sent to Philadelphia in Seattle’s acquisition of Cliff Lee. However, Aumont’s big league career has never panned out; he’s 26 years old and has a 6.80 ERA in 43 2/3 innings in the Majors. The former Top 100 prospect has battled his control all season long, working to a solid 3.14 ERA in 83 Triple-A innings with 8.8 K/9 but a very troubling 6.8 BB/9 rate in that time. His control worsened upon joining the Jays organization, as he walked 22 batters in 18 innings (he did whiff 23 in that time as well, though).

Padres Claim Chris Rearick, Designate Caleb Thielbar

The Padres claimed left-hander Chris Rearick off waivers from the Rangers, the team announced (via Twitter).  In a corresponding move, San Diego designated southpaw Caleb Thielbar for assignment.

Rearick is back with the Padres just a few days after the Rangers themselves claimed him off waivers.  Rearick had been designated for assignment by San Diego and was quickly DFA’ed again by Texas to make room for young lefty Andrew Faulkner.  Rearick made his MLB debut earlier this season with the Padres, and he has a 12.00 ERA over three innings in the Show.

San Diego claimed Thielbar off waivers after Minnesota designated him assignment on July 31.  The lefty has a 2.41 ERA over 41 innings for the Padres’ and Twins’ Triple-A affiliates, despite an unimpressive 1.09 K/BB rate (25 strikeouts and 23 walks).  This year’s peripherals aside, Thielbar has posted solid numbers over his minor league career and he has a 2.74 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.63 K/BB rate over 98 2/3 Major League innings with the Twins.

Thielbar joins five other players in “DFA limbo,” and you can keep track of their status via the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.