Tsuyoshi Wada Rumors

Minor Moves: Despaigne, Wolf, Stinson, Escalona

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

  • The Padres are set to promote Odrisamer Despaigne, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. They’ll need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster to make space for him. Despaigne, a Cuban pitcher who the Padres signed to a minor league deal in May, had two good starts for Double-A San Antonio before posting a 7.61 ERA in five starts for Triple-A El Paso. He did, however, post 11.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 23 2/3 innings there. Despaigne will start in place of Andrew Cashner on Monday, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman suggests (via Twitter). (The Padres are merely being “conservative” in scratching Cashner, Heyman says, although he does not give an exact reason why Cashner won’t be starting.)
  • The Orioles have signed Randy Wolf to a minor league contract and he will pitch three innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, tweets David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot. The deal is pending a physical, tweets MASNsports.com Roch Kubatko.
  • Right-hander Josh Stinson has accepted his outright assignment by the Orioles to Triple-A Norfolk, tweets Kubatko and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.
  • The Orioles have outrighted right-hander Edgmer Escalona to Triple-A, tweets Hall. In a separate tweet, Hall reports Escalona is still processing the move and will consult his agent as to whether to accept the outright or declare free agency. The 27-year-old has appeared in six games (three starts) for Norfolk this year posting a 6.10 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 20 2/3 innings.
  • The Cubs added left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to their 40-man roster and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa, the club announced.  Wada has been pitching for Iowa all season but, as Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald tweets, the Japanese southpaw had an opt-out clause in his contract, so putting Wada on the 40-man allows the Cubs to keep him.  Signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, Wada has an impressive 2.81 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.61 K/BB rate in 14 Triple-A starts in 2014.
  • The Phillies released outfielder Tyson Gillies, the team announced.  A career .284/.364/.411 hitter over 2060 minor league PA, Gillies struggled at the Triple-A level over the last two seasons.  Gillies joined the Phillies from the Mariners organization in December 2009 as part of the trade package (along with J.C. Ramirez and Phillippe Aumont) that Philadelphia acquired from Seattle in exchange for Cliff Lee.
  • The Tigers shifted right-hander Luke Putkonen from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to create a 40-man roster spot for the newly-recalled Pat McCoy, the team announced.  In another corresponding move, Ian Krol was put on the 15-day DL to make room for McCoy on the 25-man roster.  Putkonen only pitched 2 2/3 innings for Detroit and five total minor league innings this season due to elbow problems, and he is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks after recently undergoing surgery.
  • Per MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker, there are six players in DFA limbo: Kevin Slowey (Marlins), Josh Outman (Indians), Evan Reed (Tigers), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jake Dunning (Giants), and Roger Bernadina (Reds).

Edward Creech and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


NL Central Notes: McCutchen, Brewers, Cards, Wada

Earlier today, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk posted divisional roundups for the NL East and AL Central. Now, let’s take a look at the news and notes from the NL Central:


Minor Moves: Galarraga, Wada, Lim

Here are today's minor moves:

  • The Rangers have released righty Armando Galarraga, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter). The 32-year-old of near-perfect-game fame had a 3.64 ERA in 121 Triple-A innings last year. In spite of the rash of starting pitching injuries in Texas, Galarraga never got a chance to throw in an MLB Spring Training game.
  • Just one day after releasing him, the Cubs have re-signed lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Wada was originally signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, and it appears that club and player merely used the release and re-sign as a procedural mechanism to reach different terms.
  • The Cubs have also released another reliever in Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Lim, 37, had already been re-assigned to Triple-A. Lim's contract was sold to the Samsung Lions of South Korea's KBO, tweets Gonzales. In six MLB games last year, he threw 5 innings and allowed three earned runs, walking seven and striking out five. He was solid in his first run at the Triple-A level after coming over from Japan, throwing 22 1/3 innings of 1.61 ERA ball with 9.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. 


Cubs Sign Tsuyoshi Wada

The Cubs have signed Tsuyoshi Wada to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced. Wada, who is represented by Octagon, is viewed by the Cubs as a starter, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

Wada, 32, posted a 2.76 ERA with a 60-to-22 K/BB ratio over his final 78 1/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in 2013 as he worked his way back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Though he inked a two-year, $8.15MM contract with the O's prior to the 2012 campaign, Wada's injury prevented him from ever pitching in Baltimore.

The Cubs have plenty of starting pitching depth with Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta, Carlos Villanueva, Justin Grimm, Chris Rusin and Arodys Vizcaino all in the system, so Wada will have to be impressive in order to earn a spot.


Cubs Interested In Sanchez, Wada

Though the Cubs have already inked Wesley Wright this offseason, they don't appear to be done looking for left-handed depth. Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs are interested in Jonathan Sanchez as a reliever, and a Sponichi report (Japanese link) indicates that they've already made a minor league offer to fellow left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada.

If the Cubs were to sign Sanchez, it would surely be on a minor-league deal. The 31-year-old opened the 2013 with a miserable five games with the Pirates, ending up with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. There, he pitched 66 2/3 innings, posting a 5.13 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9. He has not had much experience as a reliever, and might have some upside out of the bullpen. Sanchez has held lefties to a .218/.313/.363 batting line in his big league career and limited them to a .215/.276/.418 line in the minors this season.

According to the Sponichi report, many teams are interested in Wada, but the Cubs are "enthusiastically" pursuing him. Within the report, Cubs president Theo Epstein is quoted: "He had a great second half [in 2013]. We think he's a pitcher who can compete in the Majors."

Wada, 32, posted a 2.76 ERA with a 60-to-22 K/BB ratio over his final 78 1/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in 2013 as he worked his way back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Though he inked a two-year, $8.15MM contract with the O's prior to the 2012 campaign, Wada's injury prevented him from ever pitching in Baltimore. Epstein did not confirm to Sponichi that his team had made an offer.

Thanks to MLBTR's Aaron Steen for the Japanese translation. Charlie Wilmoth also contributed to this post.


AL East Notes: Moreland, Cano, Napoli, Sox, Orioles

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Rays have some interest in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, who could be deemed expendable in the wake of Texas' acquisition of Prince Fielder. The Rangers, of course, covet David Price, and including Moreland in a package for him (presumably as a somewhat minor component) could take a potential destination away from the Mets in their shopping of Ike Davis. Here's more out of the AL East…

  • Within that same piece, Martino writes that the Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap may not impact the Robinson Cano market as much as many initially thought. Cano is markedly better than Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, so if he wants to be a Ranger or Tiger and the price isn't crazy, those players shouldn't preclude Texas or Detroit from striking a deal.
  • The Red Sox seem to be letting Mike Napoli's market develop before deciding what their final offer to him will be, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald spoke with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington who told him that the team is "in a position to be a little choosy, a little selective" in its search for a new catcher. Cherington says the Sox are interested in a "small handful of free agents" and has also actively pursued trades at catcher.
  • On Brian McCann's recent five-year contract with the Yankees, Boston catcher and close friend of McCann, David Ross, told Lauber: "He told me, I think it came down to years. When you add an option for six, it puts you at almost $100 (million), that’s a game-changer." Cherington wouldn't indicate to Lauber how far the Red Sox were willing to go in negotiations.
  • Mark Ellis is considered an option for the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, but Baltimore has yet to reach out to the second baseman.
  • Kubatko also reports that the Orioles don't have any immediate interest in first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment by the Pirates yesterday.
  • One more from Kubatko, who reported last week that the Orioles won't look to re-sign left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who never appeared with the O's after signing a two-year deal prior to the 2012 season. Wada fell victim to Tommy John surgery and didn't make it to the big league level in Baltimore. Executive vice president Dan Duquette told Kubatko: "I think that the Wada chapter is over with the Orioles. We're just going in another direction … I'm sorry that it didn't work out, but it's time to move on."

AL East Rumors: Blue Jays, McCann, Kuroda, Orioles

Teams have asked the Blue Jays about Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he hasn't "entertained the idea" of trading either player.  Bautista hit .259/.358/.498 with 28 homers in 2013 and saw his season end early after being shut down due to a hip issue.  Encarnacion had a solid campaign, posting a slash line of .272/.370/.534 with 36 home runs.  Bautista is owed $14MM annually through 2015 with a club option for the same amount in 2016 while Encarnacion will make $19MM through '15 with a $10MM club option for '16.  Here's more out of the AL East…

  • The Yankees are refusing to punt and are living for today with their Brian McCann signing, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  McCann's lefty pull power should provide a huge boost in 2014 (and probably '15 and '16), but beyond that is a mystery.
  • Within the same article, Sherman writes that the Yankees are now more upbeat about the chances of Hiroki Kuroda returning.  There remains a chance that the veteran pitcher decides to play in Japan next season. 
  • The McCann agreement allows the Yankees to take their time developing Gary Sanchez, their top prospect per MLB.com, knowing McCann will eventually move to first base or they can use him as a trade chip, tweets the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand
  • Feinsand, in a second tweet, sees the backup job coming down to Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli with Chris Stewart being non-tendered. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz estimates the arbitration eligible Cervelli and Stewart will each earn $1MM.
  • Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders how McCann's new $85MM deal with the Yankees affects the Orioles' Matt Wieters.  Wieters’ offensive numbers aren’t as good, but he is is two years younger than McCann and Scott Boras will certainly dig up data to show that Wieters is deserving of more money.
  • Meanwhile, Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks at what McCann's deal might mean for Red Sox free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Salty is now the best avaialble free agent catcher and his market should now start to take shape. 
  • A combination of familiarity and affordability led to Jose Molina returning to the Rays, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Financial terms of the yet-to-be-completed deal are not yet known, but Topkin writes that it's unlikely that he received more than the $3.3MM total he made the last two seasons.
  • The Orioles won't re-sign Tsuyoshi Wada, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. The O's declined their club option on Wada earlier this month; but, at the time, the door was said to be open for a minor league deal in Baltimore.
  • The Orioles need to be creative in wringing the most value out of Jim Johnson, writes the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina. Encina dangles the idea of moving Johnson, who MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects to receive $10.8MM in arbitration, into the rotation, but that begs the questions of whether starting is a good fit for the 30-year-old right-hander and who will step in as closer. 

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Tsuyoshi Wada Becomes Free Agent

The Orioles declined their $5MM 2014 option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, making him a free agent, the MLB Players Association announced. Wada signed a two-year, $8.15MM deal with the O's before the 2012 season, but never appeared in a major league game for the club, as he required Tommy John surgery shortly after signing.

Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun tweets that the Orioles are interested in retaining Wada on a minor league deal. In 102 2/3 innings this season for Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate, the 32-year-old posted a 4.03 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.


Quick Hits: Alburquerque, Wada, Francis

Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque has changed agencies from ACES to Beverly Hills Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Major League Baseball investigates ACES' possible ties to the Biogenesis scandal. Alburquerque has pitched 71 innings in his big-league career, posting a 1.90 ERA with 16.3 K/9 and 8.2 BB/9. He has 14 1/3 innings pitched for the Tigers this year. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • MLB's latest PED scandal could impact pennant races and the trading deadline, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider-only). Teams don't know the identities of all the players in the Biogenesis scandal and who might be suspended as a result, Bowden writes, and that could make it difficult for GMs as they head down the stretch. Melky Cabrera's abrupt departure from the Giants last August — after the trading deadline — is the sort of scenario that might be faced by some GMs, who will have a hard time preparing for suspensions they might not be sure are coming. The Giants, of course, won the World Series even without Cabrera, but they didn't have one of their most productive hitters in the final six weeks of the regular season. This year, the Rangers, for example, will have to consider their backup plan in case Nelson Cruz, who has been named in the scandal, is suspended.
  • The list of sellers at this year's trade deadline could be large, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal's list of potential sellers includes three teams that entered the season with lofty aspirations (the Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays), along with the Astros, Marlins, Phillies, Padres, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Royals, Mariners and Mets. That's a very long list, which suggests that it might be a buyer's market at the deadline. Rosenthal says, however, that some of those teams (the Angels, Blue Jays, Phillies and Royals, in particular) might not actually sell, even though some of their records right now might dictate that they would.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada of the Orioles could agree to remain in the minor leagues once his rehab stint is over, reports MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko. Wada has not pitched well for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 5.87 ERA in 23 innings, and after having elbow surgery, he has yet to make his big-league debut despite being in the second year of a two-year, $8.15MM deal. That deal hasn't worked out well, but Kubatko quotes a scout who says it made sense at the time. "[Wada] was worth the gamble. When he came in, (Miguel) Gonzalez wasn't there, (Wei-Yin) Chen wasn't established, (Jason) Hammel wasn't there yet. So he was worth the gamble. And it wasn't a lot of money."
  • Jeff Francis will likely start on Saturday for the Rockies, but his future with the organization is in question, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. "I think I can help this team, and I think I can do a lot of things," says Francis. "But I know that the reality of baseball is that if you don’t do them enough, then your time runs out." Francis had posted a 6.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 before landing on the disabled list with a strained groin. Tyler Chatwood, who Francis will replace on Saturday, will still have his rotation spot when he returns from a sore triceps, and Roy Oswalt, currently at Double-A Tulsa, is slated to join the big-league team shortly.

East Links: Braves, Nolin, Wheeler, Wada

There were plenty of headlines made in both the AL East and NL East last night, with Kevin Gausman making his Major League debut and Chase Utley hitting the 15-day disabled list. More news and rumors from baseball's Eastern divisions…

  • The addition of a second wild card team in each league hurts teams such as the Braves that have early-season needs, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Few teams are ready to pack it in and declare themselves sellers at this stage, but Atlanta could use some left-handed relief help with Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters out for the season. Olney's Insider-only piece runs down some potentially available lefties.
  • The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Sean Nolin from Double-A New Hampshire and transferred J.A. Happ to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster space, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Darren Oliver hit the 15-day DL to clear a 25-man roster spot.
  • The New York Post's Mike Puma cites a "high-ranking club official" as he reports that Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler should join the club in two to three weeks, barring any injury setbacks. Puma's source told him that were it not for a minor shoulder injury that caused Wheeler to miss a start, he might already be with the big league club. Jeremy Hefner is the most likely rotation casualty, Puma adds.
  • The Orioles have about three weeks to make a decision on what to do with rehabbing lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore. The Japanese lefty has yet to throw a pitch for the O's since signing a two-year, $8.15MM contract thanks to Tommy John surgery.