Transactions Rumors

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

Astros Release Darin Downs

The Astros have released left-handed reliever Darin Downs, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The 30-year-old was claimed off waivers out of the Tigers organization in 2013 but was outrighted to Triple-A following the 2014 season.

Downs spent significant time in the Houston bullpen last season but struggled to a 5.45 ERA with a 27-to-19 K/BB ratio with a 43.9 percent ground-ball rate in 34 2/3 innings of work. The cumulative result of Downs’ efforts in parts of three seasons at the Major League level is a 4.76 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate. Downs’ overall numbers aren’t particularly eye-catching, but he’s held left-handed hitters in check quite well as a big leaguer, allowing just a .202/.291/.310 batting line in 189 plate appearances. Downs has a 4.96 ERA with 11 strikeouts against three walks in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level this season.


Brewers Outright Jim Henderson

The Brewers announced today that they have outrighted reliever Jim Henderson to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The right-hander, who formerly served as the club’s closer in the 2013 season, has struggled with shoulder injuries since that time, however.

Henderson, 32, is a former 26th-round pick of the Expos (2003) that didn’t surface in the Majors until his age-29 campaign. He’s totaled 102 innings at the Major League level and posted a solid 3.44 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 32.5 percent ground-ball rate in that time, also accumulating 31 saves. He’s spent the 2015 season getting up to speed after labrum and rotator cuff debridement surgery in 2014. Henderson has reached the Triple-A level again, but he’s allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings there.

That he’s been outrighted means that he’s already cleared waivers, so every club in the Majors passed on an opportunity to claim the 6’5″ righty. With this move, Milwaukee opens a spot on their 40-man roster, which now has 39 players.


Minor Moves: Joe Paterson, Dan Hennigan

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

  • The Royals have released left-hander Joe Paterson from his minor league contract, tweets Matt DeFranks of FOX Sports Kansas City. Paterson, who turned 29 two days ago, was a non-roster invitee and had a solid Spring Training that put him in consideration for a roster spot. However, he’s struggled at Triple-A this season, yielding eight runs on 14 hits and five unintentional walks with 12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. Paterson has yet to replicate the strong numbers he put up in his 2011 rookie season with the D-Backs.
  • The Dodgers announced that they’ve signed infielder Dan Hennigan to a minor league contract and assigned him to Class-A Great Lakes, the team announced (on Twitter). The 25-year-old was a non-drafted free agent and had been playing with the independent Camden RiverSharks of the Atlantic League.


Rockies Option Drew Stubbs, Recall Brandon Barnes

The Rockies have optioned struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs to Triple-A, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). Taking his place on the active roster is Brandon Barnes.

Stubbs, 30, avoided arbitration with a $5.825MM contract this year — his final before hitting the open market. Notably, given his 5+ service time, Stubbs both had to pass through revocable optional waivers and consent to the assignment.

This season has been nothing but hardship for Stubbs, who is slashing just .118/.182/.255 in 56 plate appearances. That represents a notable disappointment for him after a stellar 2014 campaign in which he put up a strong .289/.339/.482 batting line. Though he only took 424 plate appearances, strong baserunning and solid defensive marks let him with 2.6 fWAR and 2.7 rWAR.

Barnes, meanwhile, joined Stubbs as a pre-2014 acquisition for Colorado, but the 29-year-old did not enjoy quite as much success. He has been working at Triple-A this year, where he has put up a .205/.266/.364 slash over 143 turns at bat.


Mariners Sign Kevin Gregg

The Marines have signed righty Kevin Gregg to a minor league deal, the team announced (via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, on Twitter). He will head to Triple-A, taking the place of the recently-traded Yoervis Medina in the Tacoma pen.

Gregg, 36, was designated recently by the Reds after opening the year with a prominent role in the Cincinnati pen. He struck out 14 batters in his 10 2/3 innings, walking five in the process, but nevertheless scuffled to a 10.13 ERA.

Over parts of 13 years in the big leagues, Gregg has posted 720 1/3 innings and averaged a 4.24 ERA. His best stretch came in the 2007-2010 time frame, when he closed for the Marlins, Cubs, and Blue Jays. (Since, he has also functioned in a 9th-inning capacity for the Orioles and again in Chicago.)


Minor Moves: Baker, Pimentel, Francis

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • It appears that the Mariners have released veteran backstop John Baker, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Obviously, Seattle just added an additional catcher to its organization with the acquisition of Welington Castillo. Baker, 34, has hit just .161/.185/.194 in 65 plate appearances this year with Tacoma. He has seen big league action in seven seasons.
  • The Rangers have assigned right-handed reliever Stolmy Pimentel to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Texas will no doubt be pleased to retain the rights to the 25-year-old, who owns a 3.97 ERA over 11 1/3 innings on the year. Pimentel has seen his strikeout numbers plummet from double figures last year to just 5.6 per nine thus far in 2015.
  • Blue Jays lefty Jeff Francis has cleared outright waivers and is expected to report to Triple-A, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The 34-year-old has given up nine earned runs over 12 innings thus far, though he has struck out 15 opposing batters while walking five.

Rangers Designate Carlos Peguero

The Rangers have designated outfielder Carlos Peguero for assignment, club executive VP of communications John Blake announced on Twitter.

The club needed a roster spot for righty Phil Klein, who will start tonight. But in the bigger picture, Peguero’s role — left-handed power bat at the outfield corner — will be taken over soon by Josh Hamilton.

Peguero, 28, has hit at about a league average clip  — with marginal on-base numbers (.314 OBP) offset by good power output (.414 slugging percntage with four home runs) — through his 84 plate appearances on the year. That continues a rather familiar narrative for the slugger, who launched 38 long balls at Triple-A last year while striking out 189 times in 556 plate appearances.


Red Sox Acquire John Cornely From Braves

The Red Sox announced today that the club has acquired right-handed pitcher John Cornely from the Braves. Atlanta will receive cash considerations in the deal.

The 26-year-old saw just one inning with the Braves, his first as a big leaguer, before being designated for assignment yesterday. He has posted 17 1/3 innings of 4.15 ERA pitching at Triple-A this season, showing promise with 11.9 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.

This is Cornely’s first season at the highest level of the minors. He earned the promotion after posting a 2.49 ERA in 68 2/3 Double-A frames last year. The former 15th-round pick will head to Pawtucket on optional assignment for Boston.


Blue Jays Sign Alex Hassan To Minors Deal

The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Alex Hassan to a minor league deal, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. Hassan will head to extended Spring Training to start his tenure with Toronto.

Hassan, 27, has had the good and bad fortune of being a popular waiver wire claimee numerous times in recent months. (See this post for documentation of his travels.) He has always put up strong average and on-base numbers in the minors, slashing a combined .278/.381/.402 in his time at Triple-A.

Those strong but not overwhelming numbers have led numerous teams to add and subtract him from their 40-man rosters as needs have changed, but the process has made it hard for Hassan to drive his career forward on the field. Despite the opportunity that a 40-man spot represents, he has only appeared in three big league games and has just one big league hit to his credit.

For his part, Hassan will likely be glad to have the chance to get his feet under him at Triple-A Buffalo, where he will presumably head in relatively short order. The Athletics released him recently after he finally cleared outright waivers, affording him the chance to choose his own home.

MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently analyzed the flaws in the DFA/waiver system that have led to so much movement for Hassan and others like him.


Minor Moves: Chris Leroux, Mike Baxter

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

  • The Brewers announced yesterday (via Twitter) that they’ve traded right-hander Chris Leroux to the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations. Leroux, 31, is a veteran of parts of six big league seasons and owns a career 6.03 ERA in the Majors. While he’s allowed his fair share of runs in 71 2/3 Major League innings and averaged 4.4 walks per nine, Leroux has also averaged 8.3 K/9 with a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.
  • The Cubs announced today that veteran first baseman/outfielder Mike Baxter‘s contract has been selected from Triple-A Iowa. The team also recalled Junior Lake from Iowa and activated Tsuyoshi Wada from the disabled list in a series of moves that saw Welington Castillo traded to Seattle, Phil Coke designated for assignment and righty Brian Schlitter optioned to Triple-A. The 30-year-old Baxter is a career .225/.331/.342 hitter in 423 big league plate appearances — most of which came with the Mets. As far as Triple-A production, Baxter has slashed a strong .286/.367/.452 in more than 1800 PAs.