Travis Ishikawa Rumors

Quick Hits: Zunino, Tigers, Ishikawa, Astros

The Mariners' promotion of Mike Zunino will give the club some 40-man roster issues down the line, writes Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner.  While none of the players on the chopping block for future roster shuffling project to be superstars, "the reality is that if you toss a half dozen fringe prospects overboard, you’re going to end up regretting it," Cameron writes.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Tigers have been looking hard for a closer and will continue to do so, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Jose Valverde had a rough outing today versus the Royals as he surrendered a game-tying two run homer in the bottom of the ninth to Lorenzo Cain.
  • Travis Ishikawa can opt out of his deal with the Orioles soon and Dan Duquette wouldn't be surprised if he lands a big league job, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  Tim Dierkes first learned that the first baseman can opt out of his minor league deal on Saturday.
  • Michael Foltynewicz is evolving into the Astros' best pitching prospect, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.  The No. 19 overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in the club’s farm system, according to Baseball America, and he has only added to his buzz since then.
  • The Angels considered drafting former Florida football star Tim Tebow years ago but he had to be scrubbed from the draft board when he didn't send a completed information card to them, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • It's too early to determine who will and won't be available at the trade deadline this year, opines Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

Ishikawa Nearing Opt-Out Date With Orioles

First baseman Travis Ishikawa is able to opt out of his minor league contract with the Orioles this coming Saturday, MLBTR has learned.

The 29-year-old has torn apart International League pitching this season, posting a batting line of .318/.414/.532 with seven homers and 16 doubles in 203 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk. He enjoyed a partiularly torrid month of May, which was good enough for him to be named the Orioles' minor league player of the month. Originally a 21st-round pick of the Giants in the 2002 draft, Ishikawa a career .264/.328/.405 triple-slash line.

The Orioles are set at first base, with Chris Davis is enjoying a better season than nearly any hitter in baseball, but it seems logical that Ishikawa could be considered for a bench role or get a look at DH. Presently, Orioles' designated hitters are batting just .233/.292/.425, with Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce getting the bulk of the playing time in that role. That, of course, is just speculation on my part.


AL East Notes: Yankees, Orioles, Ishikawa

While the Blue Jays may be the only AL East team currently under .500, the club is 7-3 in their past 10 games, and injured shortstop Jose Reyes may return sooner than expected.  The club was a major mover last offseason, but additions such as Reyes, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Johnson have been unable to provide much of an impact.  Here is a look at today's news out of the ultra-competitive American League East..

  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com notes that the Yankees now have players making a total of $97MM currently on their disabled list. Andy Pettitte became the latest high-priced Yankee to head to the DL, as Vidal Nuno will be promoted in his place.
  • Travis Ishikawa has extended the opt-out in his contract with the Oriolestweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The 29-year-old first baseman is currently batting .304/.383/.504 over 154 PA with Triple-A Norfolk.


Orioles Sign Ishikawa, Schlereth, Braddock

The Orioles announced that they signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa, left-hander Daniel Schlereth and left-hander Zach Braddock to minor league deals. The contracts include invitations to MLB Spring Training.

Ishikawa spent this past season with Milwaukee, posting a .257/.329/.428 batting line in 174 plate appearances. The 29-year-old is a client of agent Jim McDowell. 

Schlereth, 26, was non-tendered by the Tigers last month. The SFX client battled shoulder tendinitis in 2012, appearing in 11 minor league games and six games for Detroit. He posted a 3.49 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in 49 MLB innings back in 2011. Braddock, 25, last appeared at the MLB level in 2011. He's represented by CAA Sports.


Travis Ishikawa Elects Free Agency

Brewers first baseman Travis Ishikawa has elected free agency, according to our own Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).  Ishikawa was outrighted off of Milwaukee’s 40-man roster yesterday.

The 29-year old played in 94 games for the Brewers last season and posted a batting line of .257/.329/.428 with four homers.  In parts of five big league seasons, Ishikawa has hit .264/.328/.405 for the Giants and Brewers.


Outrighted To Triple-A: Ishikawa, Torres, Ford, Nickeas

Tonight’s outright assignments..

  • The Brewers announced via press release that they have outrighted first baseman Travis Ishikawa to Triple-A Nashville.  Ishikawa, 29, hit .257/.329/.428 with four homers in 94 games last season.
  • The Rockies announced (via Twitter) that they have outrighted right-hander Carlos Torres.  In related moves, the club selected the contracts of right-hander Josh Sullivan, reinstated Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, and Christian Friedrich from the 60-day DL.  The right-hander appeared in 31 games for the Rockies this season posting a 5.26 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9.
  • The Orioles announced (via Twitter) that they have outrighted Lew Ford, Zach Phillips and Steven Tolleson to Triple-A Norfolk.  Ford turned in another strong Triple-A batting line in 2012, hitting .331/.390/.550 with 11 homers in 62 games.
  • Mets catcher Mike Nickeas cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Las Vegas, tweets Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger.  Nickeas saw time in 47 big league games for the Mets this season as one of several backstops to pitch in at the position.
  • The Twins announced that right-hander Sam Deduno has been assigned outright to Triple-A Rochester.  The move will help make room for the acquisitions of Thomas Field, Josh Roenicke, and Alexi Casilla off of waivers.
  • The Royals sent catcher Manny Pina to Triple-A Omaha on outright assignment, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  In related moves, left-hander Danny Duffy and right-hander Felipe Paulino have been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.  Pina, 25, hit .260/.389/.397 in 162 Double-A plate appearances last year.

West Links: Abreu, Ishikawa, Trumbo

Here's the latest out of baseball's two West divisions…

  • Bobby Abreu had other offers before choosing to sign with the Dodgers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). He liked the idea of returning to the NL and knows manager Don Mattingly from his time with the Yankees.
  • The Giants offered Travis Ishikawa a minor league contract to return during the offseason, but he signed with the Brewers because they offered a better opportunity to Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle. Mat Gamel's injury opened the door for Ishikawa to play everyday.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports speculates (on Twitter) that Mark Trumbo of the Angels would be a good fit for the Blue Jays. He says it's hard to see Toronto trading a reliever while Sergio Santos is still on the DL, however.

Minor Moves: Yankees, Jeroloman, Carpenter

Today's minor moves…

  • The Yankees outrighted Colin Curtis to Triple-A and announced that Greg Golson is now a free agent, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter).
  • The Twins confirmed the loss of Jim Hoey, adding that they outrighted recently-claimed shortstop Pedro Florimon to bring their 40-man roster count to 38.
  • The Blue Jays also confirmed the claim of Jim Hoey today, also noting they've outrighted catcher Brian Jeroloman and righty Drew Carpenter.  Their 40-man roster is now full.
  • The Brewers announced they've signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal, and also confirmed their signing of Mike Rivera.  Ishikawa was designated for assignment by the Giants in March, and after clearing waivers went on to hit .251/.368/.383 in 211 Triple-A plate appearances.  Ishikawa injured his non-throwing shoulder in June while playing right field and had surgery that month.  His agent Jim McDowell tells MLBTR Ishikawa was cleared for baseball activities two months ago and will be at full strength for 2012.

Giants Notes: Cain, Lincecum, Ishikawa

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has some details about the Giants' quest to lock up Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum to multiyear extensions.  The latest…

  • Cain's representatives spoke with Giants VP Bobby Evans during the Winter Meetings.  Baggarly says "all indications are that the Giants plan to be aggressive in locking up Cain before he reports to spring training."
  • The "benchmark" for a Cain extension seems to be the six-year, $99MM offer from the Marlins that C.J. Wilson reportedly turned down before signing with the Angels.  "Cain is younger and better than Wilson," an industry source tells Baggarly.  "He'd get $150 million on the open market."
  • When Cain signed his three-year, $27.25MM extension in March 2010, a fourth year (worth $16MM) was originally part of the contract but the Giants removed it from the deal due to worries about loose bodies found in a scan of Cain's throwing elbow.  Rick Landrum, one of Cain's representatives, didn't know why the Giants removed the fourth year since Cain's medical information hadn't changed, but said it wouldn't affect the current talks with the club.  For what it's worth, Cain has thrown 445 innings over the last two seasons and appears as durable as ever.
  • Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported earlier this week that Lincecum was seeking an eight-year contract.  Baggarly confirms this item and adds that the eight-year proposal "was believed to include opt-out language."  In another piece, Baggarly hears from Evans that while the Giants don't have a policy against such opt-out clauses, the club is "not inclined (because) it’s not strategically beneficial to us.”
  • "The feeling around the league" is that the Giants will eventually have to part ways with one of the two aces.
  • The team has had discussions about re-signing Travis Ishikawa, who is a minor league free agent.  Shoulder surgery limited Ishikawa to 56 games with Triple-A Fresno last season.

Quick Hits: Buchholz, Ishikawa, Tabata, Rivera

Rounding up Sunday's links, as Andre Ethier celebrates his 29th birthday….