Travis Ishikawa Rumors

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 "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 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 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  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.

Travis Ishikawa Exercises Opt Out Clause

TUESDAY: Orioles general manager Dan Duquette tells Roch Kubatko of that the team is "leaning toward" adding Ishikawa to the roster, but nothing has been finalized yet. The team has until midnight to make a decision (Twitter link).

SUNDAY: Travis Ishikawa has filed a written request to exercise his opt-out clause and become a free agent, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).  The Orioles have 48 hours to add Ishikawa to their 25-man Major League roster, or he will be granted his release from the organization.  The Orioles could also trade Ishikawa during this 48-hour period, MLBTR has learned.

As reported by MLBTR last week, Ishikawa had the ability to opt-out of his contract on Saturday.  While he has performed quite well at Triple-A Norfolk, the O's haven't been able to find room for him on the roster.  The 29-year-old has a .316/.413/.525 slash line with seven homers in 208 Triple-A plate appearances.

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  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  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
  • 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 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 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.