Travis Ishikawa Rumors

Casey McGehee Accepts Minor League Assignment, Remains On 40-Man Roster

TUESDAY: The Giants announced that McGehee has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Sacramento, but the team announced that he has been optioned — not outrighted — to the minors.

MLBTR has confirmed that McGehee remains on the club’s 40-man roster and was never technically designated for assignment, despite a prior announcement. As a player with five-plus years of Major League service time and a minor league option remaining, McGehee did have to consent to being optioned to Triple-A, but he did not have to pass through optional or outright waivers.

Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that GM Bobby Evans told Matt Chisholm of the Giants’ media relations team that McGehee was designated off the 25-man roster, but not the 40-man.

SUNDAY: The Giants have announced they have designated third baseman Casey McGehee for assignment. McGehee was acquired from the Marlins last December for a pair of minor leaguers to replace Pablo Sandoval. The Giants have named Matt Duffy (.299/.330/.402 in 105 plate appearances) their new starting third baseman.

The 2014 Comeback Player of the Year has struggled during his stay by the bay slashing .200/.254/.282 while grounding into more double plays (a league leading 12) than RBIs (nine) in 118 trips to the plate.

I feel I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” McGehee told reporters including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). “I’m pretty sure yesterday was not the last baseball game I’ve played.

The Giants now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright McGehee to the minors. Giants GM Bobby Evans told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, he hopes McGehee will accept an assignment to Triple-A because “he was comeback player for a reason.” McGehee says he will consult with his family on his next step and will not rush into a decision, reports Schulman, because “that’s not a decision I’m capable of making in 10 minutes.” There is also a financial component to McGehee’s decision. He and the Giants avoided arbitration in February by agreeing to a $4.8MM contract, approximately $3.5MM of which remains due. McGehee would forfeit that salary if he passes through waivers and declines an outright assignment.

McGehee’s DFA could also have implications for Travis Ishikawa, who is eligible to be reinstated tomorrow from his rehab assignment. Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com notes the Giants, in the middle of a stretch of 17 games in 16 days, have opted to go with a 13-man pitching staff with the recall of right-hander Hunter Strickland and there may not be room to add Ishikawa. Baggarly writes the Giants may be forced to designate the first baseman/outfielder, who was the hero of last year’s NLCS.


Giants Designate Travis Ishikawa For Assignment

The Giants have designated first baseman and outfielder Travis Ishikawa for assignment, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweets. Ishikawa, 31, has not appeared in the big leagues this season — he opened the year on the DL with a back injury and recently finished a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento.

Ishikawa played his first four seasons in the big leagues with the Giants, then returned to them last season, when he played a memorable role in the Giants’ World Series run by hitting a walk-off homer against the Cardinals to end the NLCS. The Giants avoided arbitration with Ishikawa this offseason by signing him to a $1.1MM deal, but as GM Bobby Evans explains (via a tweet from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman), the Giants did not have a spot for Ishikawa on their current 25-man roster, with no time for him at first and the right-handed Justin Maxwell joining Hunter Pence, Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in the outfield. For his career, Ishikawa has a .259/.322/.397 line in parts of seven seasons.


NL West Notes: Tulo, Ishikawa, Dodgers, Ryu

The Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation has been plentiful over the past week, but Jon Morosi of FOX Sports asked Rockies owner Dick Monfort about the rumors at this week’s owners meetings (Twitter link) and was told, “We’re not trying to trade him. There’s no story there.” Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, couldn’t even get that level of an answer out of Monfort last week, as Rosenthal recently wrote that Monfort quickly hung up the phone when asked about the Tulowitzki trade scenario. Many, including Rosenthal, have written that the belief is that Monfort himself, not GM Jeff Bridich or Tulowitzki, is in control of whether or not the shortstop is traded. Monfort has a history of reluctance in trading veterans; a report from hall of fame journalist Peter Gammons last summer indicated that Monfort vetoed a trade of Jorge De La Rosa for highly touted prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. De La Rosa was signed to a two-year extension shortly thereafter.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Travis Ishikawa is nearing a return from the disabled list, and his impending activation creates a potentially uncomfortable roster crunch for the Giants, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants will have to either trim a member of their bullpen or cut a bench player to activate Ishikawa, neither of which is a desirable outcome for the club, Haft continues. Ishikawa is aware that with Brandon Belt and Nori Aoki playing well, at-bats with the big league club could be few and far between, but he’s ok with a reduced role. “If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be,” Ishikawa said. To this point, the veteran first baseman/outfielder said he hasn’t received any indication from the club as to what their decision will be.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Dodgers‘ glut of infielders could be leveraged in trades to address the starting rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are already out for the season, and as Saxon notes, Friedman told reporters (including MLBTR’s Zach Links) that an excess of good players can benefit a team by making trades easier to facilitate. Saxon quotes Friedman as saying, “…if we can add an arm, that would certainly be helpful.” I’d add that the Dodgers’ rotation is currently also banking on the injury-prone Brett Anderson to remain healthy, further increasing the possibility that the Dodgers may need to look outside the organization for rotation help. Of course, as Saxon notes, Brandon Beachy is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to return by June. Given that he’s returning from his second TJ operation, however, it would likely behoove the Dodgers to have depth beyond Beachy, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger.
  • Losing Ryu will make the Dodgers‘ efforts to acquire a starter significantly more difficult, opines Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Rival clubs already knew that they had leverage over the Dodgers, given the team’s rotation holes, and with Ryu slated to go under the knife, the Dodgers’ need has only been magnified. The Dodgers need to add a reliable mid-rotation arm, but teams can afford to demand a more premium asking price, Dilbeck feels, knowing that the Dodgers aren’t likely to be able to get by for the rest of the season with Anderson, Beachy, Bolsinger and Frias supporting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
  • For those who didn’t see earlier, the Rockies made the somewhat surprising decision to option Drew Stubbs, who has five-plus years of Major League service, to Triple-A. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd took a look at the situation in more detail.


Giants Avoid Arbitration With Travis Ishikawa

The Giants have agreed on terms to avoid arbitration with surprise postseason hero Travis Ishikawa, Chris Haft of MLB.com reports on Twitter. It will be a $1.1MM, one-year deal. The 31-year-old left-handed hitter was projected by MLBTR/Matt Swartz to earn $800K.

Ishikawa slashed .252/.311/.393 last year over just 119 MLB plate appearances, good for a precisely league average 100 OPS+. It seems likely that he will function as a bench bat and spot starter for the defending World Series champs.


NL West Notes: Friedman, Dodgers, Ishikawa

One of Jeff Bridich’s proudest accomplishments likely didn’t come up when he was bumped from senior directior of player development to GM of the Rockies.  As a junior at Harvard, Bridich hit a two-run homer over Fenway’s Green Monster against UMass.  Even though the Crimson ultimately lost 13-12, it remains a cherished family memory for Bridich, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.  “Hitting a homer at Fenway was cool, but it’s more special because my dad did the same thing when he played for Harvard,” Bridich said. “He hit his to almost the same spot. Of course, my father did it with a wood bat, so that’s a little bit more impressive.”  Here’s more out of the NL West..

  • If the Dodgers move on from General Manager Ned Colletti, their top target appears to be Rays GM Andrew Friedman, according to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.  A lot of great things happened under Colletti’s watch, including Clayton Kershaw becoming a Cy Young Award winner and Dee Gordon becoming an All-Star, but the new Dodgers owners view him as someone who gave away too much money to older players and built a shoddy bullpen.
  • While toiling away in Triple-A last season, Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa spent just two weeks with his family between February 1 and September 1.  With little hope of getting back to the bigs, he nearly gave up on baseball to spend more time with his family back home, writes Alex Pavlovic of The Mercury News. “I thought about retiring.  I was trying to figure out something else where I could be home and make money…Thank God I stuck with it,” the Giants’ unlikely hero said.
  • Bridich understands the value of catching and Saunders wonders if that could affect his offseason plans.  Russell Martin would be a tremendous get for the Rockies, but he’ll be a very hot commodity after the season he had in Pittsburgh.  While the Rockies have Wilin Rosario and Michael McKenry behind the plate, there are limitations to what they can do.

NL Notes: Johnson, Ishikawa, Garza

Padres pitcher Josh Johnson had Tommy John surgery Thursday, MLB.com’s Corey Brock notes. The surgery marks the end of another lost year for Johnson, who the Padres signed to an $8MM deal over the offseason. Because Johnson will start fewer than seven games this year, the Padres will have a $4MM option on him for 2015. It’s not yet clear whether they’ll exercise it, however. “We still have a lot of hurdles to clear before we make a decision on that,” says assistant GM A.J. Hinch. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • After being designated for assignment by the Pirates, Travis Ishikawa became a free agent and signed with the Giants, who sent him to Triple-A Fresno. That’s an assignment with which Ishikawa is familiar, Bryant-Jon Anteola of the Fresno Bee reports. Ishikawa also played for Fresno in the 2008 and 2011 seasons. Ishikawa is, of course, aiming higher than Triple-A, however. “When I was looking around, the Giants made contact, and I noticed there wasn’t a lot of left-handed hitting on the bench up there,” he says. “Figured this was a good chance to get back up there and try to repeat what I was able to do before with the Giants.”
    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/04/25/3896134/ishikawa-lands-back-with-grizzlies.html#storylink=cpy
  • Matt Garza, now with the Brewers, “[ran] out of hope” when he was with the Cubs, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “You go through three years of constantly hoping (with the Cubs), you kind of run out of hope,” he says. “You come to a team like this [the Brewers] where every day we’re going to win. We’re not going out to hope to win. We’re going out with the attitude we’re going to win.” Garza, who signed a $50MM contract with Milwaukee in the offseason, defeated his former team on Friday.

Giants Sign Travis Ishikawa

The Giants have signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa to a minor league contract, MLBTR’s Zach Links reports (Twitter links).  Ishikawa will report to Triple-A Fresno after taking his physical today, and the contract contains an out clause if Ishikawa doesn’t make the club’s 25-man roster.  Ishikawa is represented by Jim McDowell.

Ishikawa chose to become a free agent on Wednesday after he was outrighted off the Pirates’ roster and the 30-year-old now returns to the team that originally drafted him in the 21st round of the 2002 amateur draft.  Ishikawa made 665 PA for San Francisco between 2006-10, earning a World Series ring as part of the Giants’ championship team in 2010.  He has bounced around since then, spending time with the Brewers, Orioles, Yankees and Pirates over the last two seasons.

The left-handed hitting Ishikawa has a .259/.326/.407 career line against right-handed pitching and just a .603 OPS against southpaws, which is why Pittsburgh used him as a platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez at first base.  The Giants, of course, already have a notable lefty-swinging first baseman in Brandon Belt, though since Belt has virtually equal career numbers against left- and right-handed pitching, there’s room for Ishikawa to potentially win a job as a defensive-minded (career +13 UZR/150) backup to occasionally spell Belt at first base when a righty is on the mound.


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.


Pirates Designate Travis Ishikawa For Assignment

The Pirates have announced that they've designated Travis Ishikawa for assignment. The move comes as no surprise, after the Bucs' acquisition of another left-handed first baseman, Ike Davis, via a trade with the Mets yesterday. The move clears space for Davis on the Pirates' active roster.

Ishikawa, 30, hit .206/.263/.382 in 38 plate appearances with the Pirates this season after beating out fellow lefty Andrew Lambo to share first base with righty Gaby Sanchez. Ishikawa hit .290/.389/.465 at the Triple-A level in 2013. In addition to the Pirates, he has played for the Giants, Brewers, Orioles and Yankees.


Added To The 40-Man Roster: Tuesday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • After the Pirates optioned Andrew Lambo today, it appears that Travis Ishikawa will be in line for a spot on the Opening Day roster as a platoon mate for Gaby Sanchez at first base, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune (Twitter links). He would need to be added to the 40-man roster in that case, though obviously there is still some time for an outside acquisition to intervene in that outcome.
  • Outfielder Jason Kubel has made the Twins club, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported yesterday on Twitter. He will need to be added to the club's 40-man roster to make that possible. As an Article XX(B) free agent, Kubel had to either make the Opening Day roster today or receive a $100K bonus to be retained.