Travis Ishikawa Rumors


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. 



Minor Moves: Tanaka, Germano, Reynolds

Today's minor moves..

  • The Rangers have agreed to a minor league deal with Kensuke Tanaka, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link) passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).  The Giants released the second baseman/left fielder back in September after designating him for assignment.  The 32-year-old saw limited time with the Giants this season but excelled in 400 plate appearances at Triple-A Fresno, batting .329/.400/.397 with three homers and 22 steals.
  • The Rangers have signed right-hander Justin Germano to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas News (via Twitter).  Germano saw two innings of work for the Blue Jays last season but spent most of 2013 with their Triple-A affiliate, turning in a 4.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
  • Greg Reynolds signed to pitch for the Seibu Lions of NPB in 2014, according to CAA Sports (via Twitter).  Reynolds spent last season with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate, posting a 2.42 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 156 1/3 innings.
  • The Mariners announced that they've outrighted outfielder Travis Witherspoon to Triple-A Tacoma. The 24-year-old Witherspoon was designated for assignment last week to clear a roster spot for Corey Hart.
  • Rick van den Hurk is returning to the Samsung Lions of the KBO, where he helped them capture the the Korean Series title last year, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  The deal is pending a physical exam.  VandenHurk, 28, last appeared in the majors with the Pirates for a handful of games in 2012.  
  • The Pirates announced that they have signed seven minor league free agents, including Travis Ishikawa, Michael Martinez, Daniel Schlereth, Adam Wilk, and Kyle McPherson.  All of those deals are minor league contracts with invites to big league spring training.  Ishikawa had 20 combined plate appearances for the Yankees and Orioles last season, but spent the bulk of the year at the Triple-A level, where he hit .290/.389/.465 with nine homers.  Martinez, 31, had 40 big league PAs for the Phillies and posted a .300/.352/.407 line for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Schlereth, a first-round pick in the 2008 draft, has 94 career big league relief appearances to his credit.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

 



White Sox Sign Travis Ishikawa

The White Sox agreed to sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa, MLBTR has learned.  He'll join their Triple-A Charlotte club.  Ishikawa recently elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Yankees.

After signing a minor league deal with the Orioles in December, the 29-year-old Ishikawa hit .316/.413/.525 in 208 plate appearances.  His contract was selected as his opt-out date approached, but the Orioles designated him soon after.  A waiver claim by the Yankees led to even less playing time.  Ishikawa, a former 21st round draft pick of the Giants, did fine work at Triple-A but has yet to find a consistent opportunity in the Majors this year.  Lars Anderson and Andy Wilkins have played first base for the Charlotte Knights this year; both have struggled offensively.  For the big league club, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko have combined for a .750 OPS at the position.



Travis Ishikawa To Elect Free Agency

SATURDAY: Ishikawa cleared waivers and will elect free agency, MLBTR has learned.

THURSDAY: The Yankees designated first baseman Travis Ishikawa for assignment to open a roster spot for Derek Jeter, they announced today.  Ishikawa, who received only two plate appearances with the Yankees, is expected to go on waivers today, MLBTR has learned.  Jeter makes his season debut tonight following his long recovery from ankle surgery, batting second at designated hitter.

Ishikawa, 29, received most of his playing time with the Orioles' Triple-A club, hitting .316/.413/.525 in 208 plate appearances.  He had signed a minor league deal with Baltimore and was added to the big league club upon reaching his opt-out date.  He was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Yankees shortly thereafter given their lack of depth at first base after Mark Teixeira's season ended.



AL East Notes: Red Sox, Johnson, Yankees, Ishikawa

Let's take a look at the latest news and notes involving the American League East:



Yankees Claim Travis Ishikawa

The Yankees have claimed Travis Ishikawa off of waivers from the Orioles, an industry source tells Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).  The O's designated the first baseman for assignment towards the end of June.

Ishikawa signed a minor league deal with Baltimore and, as MLBTR first reported, had an opt out clause in his contract.  The Orioles promoted him rather than let him go elsewhere, but he was DFA'd after just six games in uniform for the major league team.  In 208 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, the 29-year-old slashed .316/.413/.525 with seven homers.



East Notes: Phillies, Young, Red Sox, Ishikawa

To end the day, we'll take another look at baseball's eastern divisions, following today's earlier AL-focused version. First, I recommend a look at an interesting piece from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who passes along some fascinating (and unusually candid) quotes from Stephen Strasburg as his Nationals visit the Mets and fellow phenom Zack Wheeler. "They build you up just to bring you down," says Strasburg. 

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that the club had interest in Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig before he signed on with the Dodgers, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We saw him and we liked him," said Amaro, but "L.A. jumped up astronomically on him. ... It's a huge risk. It's paid off, so far." Likewise, the Phils kicked the tires on fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, and even "had interesting conversations with their people," but ultimately felt uncomfortable with the risk. 
  • The Red Sox have yet to have "a single conversation" with the Phillies regarding third baseman Michael Young, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Nevertheless, Bradford notes, Young could well be a Boston trade target as the trade deadline approaches.
  • Many other players could end up on Boston's radar, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. With the team potentially shopping for both starting and relief pitching as well as infield depth (particularly at third), Britton suggests that the Sox could be in on most of the major names that have been batted around.
  • After designating Travis Ishikawa for assignment earlier today, the Orioles are hoping they can move the first baseman via trade, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Manager Buck Showalter seemed to be resigned to the fact that Ishikawa was likely headed to another organization: "Would love to have Travis back in Norfolk, but there's 10 days, the way I understand it, and a lot of things could happen." Indeed, if Ishikawa is not traded and clears waivers, Kubatko notes, he could elect free agency rather than accepting a minor league assignment by the O's.



Orioles Designate Travis Ishikawa For Assignment

The Orioles have designated Travis Ishikawa for assignment, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  The move will allow Baltimore to welcome Jair Jurrjens back to the active roster.

Ishikawa, 29, saw just six games of action for the O's varsity squad this season.  As MLBTR first reported, the first baseman had an opt out clause in his minor league deal earlier this month.  When he triggered it, Baltimore managed to find room for him on the big league roster.  Ishikawa forced the issue by posting an impressive .316/.413/.525 slash line with seven homers in 208 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk.



Orioles Outright Yamaico Navarro

WEDNESDAY: Navarro has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

MONDAY: Navarro is now on outright waivers, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned.

TUESDAY: The Orioles announced (via Twitter) that they have selected the contract of Travis Ishikawa and designated infielder Yamaico Navarro for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. A 25-man roster space has been opened by placing Miguel Gonzalez on the paternity list.

Navarro, 25, hit .286/.333/.357 in 31 plate appearances for the O's this year, though he's just a career .206/.258/.267 hitter. Despite his youth, he's seen Major League action with four different clubs -- the Red Sox, Pirates, Royals and O's. He's fared significantly better in 190 games at the Triple-A level, batting .268/.354/.440.

Ishikawa exercised the out clause in his minor league contract, giving the Orioles 48 hours to decide whether or not to add him to the roster. General manager Dan Duquette said earlier this morning they were leaning toward selecting the contract. Ishikawa, who was hitting .316/.413/.525 with seven homers in 208 plate appearances at Triple-A, will start at DH for the Orioles tonight and bat eighth.









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