Transactions Rumors

Minor Moves: P.J. Walters, Cutter Dykstra

Here are some recent minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Blue Jays have released right-hander P.J. Walters, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 29-year-old, acquired by the Blue Jays in May from the Royals, pitched to a 4.82 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 142 innings this year covering 27 appearances, 25 of which were starts. Walters last saw MLB action in 2013 with the Twins.
  • Infielder Cutter Dykstra has avoided minor league free agency by re-signing with the Nationals, Eddy reports. Dykstra, perhaps better known for being the son of ex-MLB outfielder Lenny Dykstra or the fiance of The Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, slashed .279/.356/.399 in 433 plate appearances for Washington’s Double-A and Class A-Short Season affiliates.
  • The DodgersRed Patterson is the only player currently in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.

Blue Jays Outright Darin Mastroianni, Matt Hague

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s minor moves right here:

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted outfielder Darin Mastroianni and corner infielder Matt Hague, according to the International League transactions page. Both 29-year-olds were designated on the 2nd in order to clear roster space for the team’s September call-ups. Mastroianni struggled in limited action in Toronto this year. Hague, meanwhile, has yet to see much of a chance at the MLB level but posted solid numbers at Triple-A this year.

Dodgers Designate Red Patterson For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated righty Red Patterson for assignment, the club announced via press release. His 40-man roster spot will go to lefty Scott Elbert, who will join the big league club after being designated and outrighted earlier in the year.

Patterson, 27, had made just one appearance on the year — a 4 2/3 inning start in which he allowed just two hits and one run. One year after posting a solid 3.03 ERA at the Triple-A level (including 12 starts), however, Patterson struggled at the highest level of the minors in 2014. He has allowed 5.79 earned runs while striking out 7.7 and walking 3.2 batters per nine.

For Elbert, the move represents an opportunity to see some action on a big league hill for the first time since 2012. He tossed 66 innings of 2.32 ERA ball for Los Angeles over 2011-12, but faced a long recovery from Tommy John surgery.



Rays Sign Neil Wagner To Two-Year Minor League Deal

1:40pm: The Rays have officially announced the signing of Wagner.

9:48am: The Rays and right-hander Neil Wagner are in agreement on a unique two-year minor league deal that contains an invitation to 2016 Spring Training, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link).

The 30-year-old Wagner, a client of Munsey Sports Management, underwent Tommy John surgery this August and is expected to miss most, if not all of the 2015 campaign. That injury is the reason behind the deal’s rather uncharacteristic nature, as Wagner will spend all of 2015 rehabbing with the Rays before attempting to break camp with the club in 2016.

Wagner has spent the past two seasons with the Blue Jays, and though he posted an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings this season, he pitched to a 3.79 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate in 38 frames with the Jays in 2013. He was designated for assignment and eventually released by Toronto last month.

The way in which Wagner was compensated for his solid 2013 season was the subject of ire from agent Jim Munsey, who explained back in April how his client came to earn the league minimum ($500K) this year despite the fact that his initial contract with Toronto was a $525K minor league deal. Toronto’s pre-arbitration pay scale is based on service time, and the salary they offered was just $506,250. Munsey refused the salary in protest, at which point the Blue Jays renewed his contract for just $500K, as was their right. (MLBTR’s Zach Links looked at pre-arb pay scales in depth earlier this year.)

The contract with Wagner is somewhat reminiscent of Juan Carlos Oviedo‘s deal with Tampa. Oviedo (who formerly pitched as Leo Nunez) inked a minor league deal prior to the 2013 season that contained a $2MM club option for the 2014 campaign as he recovered from Tommy John. Oviedo’s contract was a bit more significant given his previous success closing games for the Marlins from 2010-12 (when pitching as Nunez).


Outrighted: Ryan Wheeler, Blake Wood, Chris Dwyer

Here are the day’s minor moves …

  • The Angels have outrighted corner infielder Ryan Wheeler, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Wheeler, 26, was designated on Monday. He has a career .310/.354/.471 slash over three seasons at the Triple-A level, but has yet to find success in limited MLB action.
  • Royals pitchers Blake Wood and Chris Dwyer have cleared outright waivers and accepted their assignments to Triple-A, the club announced on Twitter. The 29-year-old Wood has seen action in parts of four MLB seasons, including 119 1/3 relief innings with the Royals over 2010-11, while Dwyer has enjoyed only a brief cup of coffee last year with K.C.

Reds Acquire Shackelford, Astin To Complete Broxton Trade

The Reds announced that they have acquired right-handers Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin from the Brewers to complete the Jonathan Broxton trade. Cincinnati originally sent Broxton to Milwaukee in exchange for a pair of players to be named later on Aug. 31 — the last significant deal before the deadline for newly acquired players to be eligible for postseason play.

Shackelford and Astin ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively, among Brewers prospects heading into the 2014 season, according to Baseball America. However, neither player cracked Milwaukee’s top 20 list on MLB.com’s midseason list.

The 25-year-old Shackelford is the more advanced of the two prospects, as he reached Double-A this season and posted a combined 3.69 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 70 2/3 relief innings between that level and Class-A Advanced. BA felt that he should have reached Triple-A, if not the Majors, this season in their preseason scouting report, but Shackelford’s Double-A struggled (4.86 ERA in 50 innings) may have held him back. BA noted that he can touch 97 with his fastball and gets whiffs on his slider, making him a potential late-inning reliever. They did, however, note that the slider can be inconsistent — something he’ll likely look to improve upon in 2015. However, the fact that he’ll turn 26 next season and has yet to reach Triple-A suggests that Shackelford is far from a sure thing to end up as a consistent piece in the Cincinnati bullpen.

Astin, 23 next month, was the Brewers’ third-round pick in 2013. He served as Arkansas’ closer as the team pushed to the College World Series, and BA noted that while he may not be durable enough to remain a starter, he could move quickly as a reliever. Indeed, Astin posted a 5.55 ERA as a starter this season in 96 2/3 innings, but he turned in a terrific 2.27 ERA in 26 relief innings. Overall, he posted a 4.96 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 121 1/3 innings at Class A.

While neither prospect is particularly highly regarded, GM Walt Jocketty picked up a pair of arms that could potentially help his bullpen within the next two years, and he shed more than $11MM in salary in the process. To this point, Broxton has done his job for the Brewers, firing four shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks, helping to bridge the gap to closer Francisco Rodriguez.


Cardinals Outright Audry Perez, Rafael Ortega

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

  • The Cardinals have outrighted catcher Audry Perez and outfielder Rafael Ortega, both of whom were designated for assignment on Monday, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 25-year-old Perez is a career .270/.293/.413 hitter in the minor leagues and has seen sparing time in the Majors, appearing in just three games and totaling just three plate appearances. Ortega, once a somewhat promising prospect with the Rockies, was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals this past offseason following an injury-shortened 2013. (The Rangers had first claimed him, indicating that multiple clubs had some degree of interest.) He hit .249/.331/.346 in 414 Double-A plate appearances and made a brief appearance with Triple-A Memphis as well. The speedster does have six big league plate appearances — each of which came with the Rockies back in 2012.

Minor Moves: Chris Dwyer, Blake Wood, Chris Dickerson

We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments here..

  • The Royals have placed both Chris Dwyer and Blake Wood on outright waivers, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Both hurlers were designated recently to clear space for September call-ups. Once a top prospect, Dwyer has struggled to a 5.59 ERA working mostly in relief at Triple-A this year, while Wood has yet to re-establish himself since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
  • The Indians announced that they have outrighted outfielder Chris Dickerson to Triple-A Columbus.  Cleveland acquired Dickerson from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later back in July.  GM Chris Antonetti traded for Dickerson because he valued his ability to play all three outfield positions and ability to hit against right-handed pitching.

Minor Moves: Michael Kohn, Jairo Diaz, Mike Zagurski

Here are the latest minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • Now-former Angels righty Michael Kohn has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Kohn was designated for assignment earlier this month in spite of his 3.04 earned run average, having struggled to stay in the zone all year.
  • The Angels have purchased the contract of right-hander Jairo Diaz, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.  The Halos will need to make another move to create a spot for Diaz on their 40-man roster (Twitter links).  Diaz, 23, has a 3.48 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and 4.25 K/BB rate over a combined 64 2/3 relief innings at the high-A ball and Double-A levels in 2014.
  • The Blue Jays granted left-hander Mike Zagurski his release earlier this week, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently reported on Twitter. Zagurski signed a minor league deal with Toronto in May and he has a combined 2.08 ERA, 12.3 K/9 and 2.86 K/BB rate over 60 2/3 relief innings with the Jays’ and Indians’ Triple-A affiliates this season.  The southpaw has been largely dominant in the minors over his career but his control issues have caused problems at the Major League level, as Zagurski has a 7.05 ERA, 5.5 BB/9 and 75 strikeouts over 75 1/3 career innings in the Show.

Cardinals Designate Rafael Ortega, Audry Perez

The Cardinals have designated outfielder Rafael Ortega and catcher Audry Perez for assignment, the team announced via its Twitter feed.  In corresponding moves, outfielder Tommy Pham, right-hander Sam Tuivailala and infielder Greg Garcia have been called up.

Ortega was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in January and he has a .669 OPS over 441 combined PA at the rookie league, Double-A and Triple-A levels this season.  The left-handed hitting outfielder has a .289/.353/.403 slash line and 175 steals over 2536 minor league PA in the Colorado and St. Louis farm systems since 2008, plus a two-game cup of coffee with the Rockies in 2012.

Perez has a similarly limited Major League resume, appearing in three games with the Cards over the last two seasons.  The 25-year-old backstop has a .270/.293/.413 slash line over 1738 minor league PA, all in the Cardinals’ system.

Ortega and Perez are the latest duo from the same organization to enter “DFA Limbo,” as they join Chris Dwyer and Blake Wood (Royals), Matt Hague and Darin Mastroianni (Blue Jays), Michael Kohn and Ryan Wheeler (Angels) as unresolved cases on the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.