Troy Patton Rumors

Minor Moves: Patton, Monell, Sands, Elmore

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Free agent lefty Troy Patton has received an 80-game suspension for a positive amphetamine test, the league announced today. The 29-year-old lefty only threw 14 MLB innings this year after two full seasons with the Orioles, but had been solid in eight appearances with the Padres after a mid-season trade and surely would have found at least a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite.
  • Backstop Johnny Monell is headed to the Mets, he announced on Twitter. He’ll get a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp in the spring, per a tweet from Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 28-year-old has only nine big league plate appearances, but has a combined .261/.343/.450 slash line over 724 Triple-A plate appearances.
  • Previously designated for assignment, outfielder Jerry Sands has been outrighted by the Rays, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 27-year-old has seen only a smattering of MLB time since a partial-season stint with the Dodgers back in 2011. At Triple-A this year, he slashed .268/.352/.474 with nine long balls over 219 plate appearances.
  • The Reds have re-signed infielder Jake Elmore, with the news also coming via MLB.com. He had been outrighted after being acquired by Cincinnati in the middle of the 2014 season.

Minor Moves: Free Agents, Blue Jays

Here are the latest minor moves from around the game.


Minor Moves: Almonte, Patton, Martinez, Clemens

Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball, with the newest transactions at the top of the page…

  • The Yankees have outrighted outfielder Zoilo Almonte, according to the International League transactions page. Almonte, 25, has collected just 36 plate appearances in the big leagues this season, spending most of the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he’s hit .261/.311/.437 in 454 plate appearances. The Yankees designated him for assignment earlier this week.
  • The Padres outrighted left-hander Troy Patton to Triple-A El Paso, the team reports.  Patton was designated for assignment on Tuesday.  He posted a 5.14 ERA in 14 combined innings with the Orioles and Padres this season, but since coming to San Diego in May in exchange for Todd Hundley, Patton has a 2.45 ERA, eight strikeouts and just one walk over 7 1/3 relief innings.
  • The Astros outrighted right-handers Paul Clemens and David Martinez off their 40-man roster, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports (Twitter link).  The two were designated for assignment on Tuesday.  Clemens has a 5.84 ERA in 24 2/3 relief innings for Houston this season, while Martinez allowed four in seven innings of work for the Astros.
  • The Phillies have purchased the contract of right-hander Sean O’Sullivan, the team announced.  Lefty Mario Hollands was moved to the 60-day DL in a corresponding roster move.  O’Sullivan signed a minor league deal with Philadelphia last winter and has twice been outrighted off the club’s roster this season, while posting a 6.94 ERA over 11 2/3 IP in two starts with the Phillies.


Padres Designate Troy Patton, Chris Nelson

The Padres have designated lefty Troy Patton and infielder Chris Nelson for assignment, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports on Twitter. Like many of the day’s other DFAs, these moves are related to the team’s September call-up plans.

Patton, 28, was picked up from the Orioles in the deal that sent Nick Hundley to Baltimore. He had been a reasonably effective reliever before struggling out of the gate this year for the O’s. Over 7 1/3 frames in San Diego, Patton actually showed quite well, allowing just two earned runs and striking out eight and walking only one. Over his career, Patton has limited lefties to a .633 OPS while also managing right-handed batters reasonably well (.718 OPS-against).

Nelson, also 28, has bounced around quite a bit in recent years. This season, he spent time at Triple-A with both the Reds and Pads, posting a combined .279/.355/.389 slash over 363 plate appearances. He failed to hit the .300 mark in any of those categories in his 81 trips to the MLB dish this year for San Diego.


Showalter On The Troy Patton / Nick Hundley Deal

Earlier today, the Orioles sent lefty reliever Troy Patton to the Padres for catcher Nick Hundley and cash. Orioles manager Buck Showalter says Matt Wieters‘ health was the driving force behind the deal, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. The team is still waiting to determine whether Wieters will need season-ending elbow surgery.

We still hope Matt doesn’t need anything,” Showalter says, but adds that the team needs brace itself for the worst. “You’ve always got to prepare for what-if.”

With Wieters on the disabled list, the Orioles had been using Steve Clevenger and 27-year-old rookie Caleb Joseph behind the plate. “We think Caleb and Steve have done a capable job. We like Brian Ward down below. He’s having a good year. And [prospect Michael] Ohlman is learning his trade,” Showalter says. “But [the Padres] had a surplus there.”

The Padres had three catchers in Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera and Hundley, plus a catching prospect at Double-A in Austin Hedges, so they had plenty of depth from which to deal. Patton gives them another bullpen lefty to pair with Alex Torres.

Showalter says he’s sad to see Patton go. “Troy did a lot of good things for us here. It’s kind of tough parting with someone you’ve been around that long. A good teammate, good friend to a lot of guys, but there’s a need that, him being wanted somewhere, could potentially serve.”


Padres, Orioles Swap Troy Patton, Nick Hundley

The Orioles have announced the trade of lefty reliever Troy Patton to the Padres for catcher Nick Hundley and cash considerations. (MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets that the Orioles will receive under $2MM.) The Orioles also promoted Steve Lombardozzi from Triple-A Norfolk.

With Matt Wieters on the disabled list, the O’s were playing Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph behind the dish. They had been rumored to be shopping Patton for another option at catcher.

Patton, 28, has struggled in nine outings so far this season and has already served a 25-game suspension for Adderall use, but he was a reliable contributor for the Orioles from 2011 through 2013, and he has a 3.28 career ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. He is making $1.28MM this season in his second year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player.

Hundley, 30, hit .271/.271/.373 in 59 plate appearances for the Padres this season. In his absence, the Padres will go with Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera at catcher. Hundley got 408 plate appearances in 2013, hitting .233/.290/.389. He is in the last year of a three-year, $9MM deal that pays him $4MM in 2014, which likely partially explains why the Orioles are receiving cash in the trade. Hundley’s contract also contains a $5MM option for 2015, with no buyout.


Orioles Looking For Catcher, Could Deal Troy Patton

The Orioles are trying hard to find a backup catcher, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Matt Wieters currently has an elbow injury that limits him to DH duty, leaving the Orioles with Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph behind the dish. Joseph, a minor-league veteran, had been hitting just .261/.284/.402 at Triple-A Norfolk, although he hit .299/.346/.494 for Double-A Bowie in 2013.

The O’s are considering offers for pitcher Troy Patton, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets, connecting that information to their backup catcher search. Patton has made three appearances out of the Orioles’ bullpen this season after serving a 25-game suspension for a positive amphetamine test. He posted a 3.70 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 for the Orioles in 2013.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).

(more…)


Troy Patton Suspended 25 Games

Major League Baseball has announced that Orioles left-hander Troy Patton will be suspended for 25 games after testing positive for amphetamines.

The loss of Patton for a month only adds to bullpen uncertainties for the Orioles. Having traded closer Jim Johnson to the Athletics, Baltimore looked to have found his replacement in the form of Grant Balfour. Problems with Balfour's physical now have his two-year, $15MM pact with the O's in jeopardy, however. The Orioles are reportedly turning their focus to Fernando Rodney as a result of that situation.

Patton, 28, pitched to a 3.70 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 45.3 percent ground-ball rate in 56 innings last season. Though his numbers against lefties took a step back in 2013, he was a force against left-handed hitters in 2012, holding them to a .212/.262/.292 batting line.


Orioles Facing Roster Decisions On Wada, Jurrjens

The Orioles will soon face roster decisions on left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and right-hander Jair Jurrjens, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports. If all goes well in Wada's extended Spring Training game today, the Orioles can send him on a minor league rehab assignment for as many as 30 days. Wada's contract — a two-year, $8.15MM pact — stipulates that he cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent.

Wada has yet to appear in a game for the Orioles since signing that contract prior to the 2012 season. He made just one appearance for the O's at Triple-A before being diagnosed with a torn UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to the signing, Wada was coming off a two-year stretch in which he posted a 2.29 ERA in 354 innings in Japan.

The Orioles could consider a relief role for Wada, but the team already has three left-handers in Troy Patton, Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland. Patton has drawn trade interest, according to Kubatko, but there's no indication that the Orioles would move him — especially before ascertaining that McFarland can succeed over the course of a full season. McFarland, a Rule 5 pick, has allowed a .318/.348/.545 batting line to opposing lefties thus far.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Jurrjens has a June 15 opt-out clause in his minor league contract. Jurrjens has posted a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate thus far.

The O's are currently deploying a rotation that consists of Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Steve Johnson and Freddy Garcia. Johnson will make his first start Saturday due to the fact that Miguel Gonzalez hit the disabled list with a blister on his thumb. Obviously, that ailment won't keep Gonzalez out for a significant period of time. Garcia seems to be the odd man out, but Kubatko notes that he's pitched well in both of his starts for Baltimore aside from a one-inning hiccup in each.

Beyond all the names listed by Kubatko, the Orioles also have intriguing arms in Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton currently pitching at Triple-A. Each former top prospect has looked sharp at Norfolk, but neither has a clear-cut rotation spot at the Major League level.

It's a bit early in the season to be working out significant trades — and this is just my speculation — but the Phillies have made it known that they are considering outside candidates to replace Roy Halladay in their rotation. Perhaps the two sides could line up as trade partners sometime in the next month.