Tsuyoshi Wada Rumors

NL Central Notes: K-Rod, Brewers, Badenhop, Cubs

Francisco Rodriguez still has to pass a physical with the Brewers before he can have his deal officially announced, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. However, Rodriguez is still getting his visa sorted out and is therefore experiencing a delay in the process. The Brewers, of course, re-signed Rodriguez to a two-year, $13MM deal to serve as their closer once again.

Here’s more from the National League Central…

  • Luis Jimenez, who is out of options, is competing with Luis Sardinas and Hector Gomez for a utility infield role with the Brewers, writes Haudricourt. Jimenez and Gomez may have the upper hand, but if Sardinas hits and proves himself to be capable at third base, Jimenez could be squeezed out of a roster spot. The Brewers have two bench spots to be filled by these three players, writes Haudricourt, but going with Sardinas would of course lead to the risk of losing Jimenez on waivers at the end of Spring Training.
  • Reds reliever Burke Badenhop tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that he found the free agent process “nerve-racking” despite being pleased with the results. “I continued to fall back on the point that we knew what was out there,” said Badenhop, kind of where I fit in the market. It’s kind of a funky spot, not really crystal clear. Nobody that was ahead of me was getting worse deals than I thought I should have got and nobody behind me was getting better deals.”
  • The role of Cubs‘ fifth starter is “for all practical purposes” Travis Wood‘s to lose, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers wrote yesterday. The Cubs have Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks in the front four slots, with Wood, Edwin Jackson and Tsuyoshi Wada competing for the fifth slot. Rogers does note that Jackson or Wada could force their way into the role, but it seems likely that at least one of the three candidates for the final spot will be traded this spring, in Rogers’ estimation. I have a difficult time seeing any club agreeing to take on Jackson’s remaining $22MM; a release may be the more likely outcome, though that’s a large chunk of money for any team to swallow. For those wondering, Wood will earn just under $5.7MM in 2015 and is controllable through the 2016 season via arbitration, while Wada is earning $4MM this season on a one-year deal.

Cubs Sign Tsuyoshi Wada

The Cubs have signed left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a one-year, Major League contract, the team announced.  The deal is worth $4MM, and another $2MM available in incentives, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports (Twitter link).  The new contract overrides a $5MM team option the Cubs held on Wada’s services for the 2015 season.  Wada is represented by the Octagon Agency.

Wada, 33, finally got his first taste of Major League action last season, posting an impressive 3.25 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 3.00 K/BB rate over 69 1/3 IP (13 starts) with the Cubs.  Following a distinguished nine-year career in Japan, Wada signed a two-year, $8.15MM deal with the Orioles in December 2011, though he never threw as much as a pitch for the O’s thanks to Tommy John surgery.

After signing a minor league deal with the Cubs last offseason, Wada successfully rebuilt his value and has now worked himself into Chicago’s rotation plans for 2015.  The Cubs have been widely rumored to be interested in signing a top free agent pitcher (possibly Jon Lester) to add to Wada, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson, plus options like Jacob Turner and Felix Doubront are also in the rotation mix.


Central Notes: Polanco, Wada, Twins, Sox, Rodon

The Pirates will send top prospect Gregory Polanco back to the minor leagues today, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, Polanco’s demotion is likely to be relatively short-lived, as the 22-year-old could rejoin the team as soon as next Monday, when rosters expand. Polanco got off to a blazing start to his MLB career, but he’s cooled significantly since that time. He’s hitting .241/.308/.349 on the season as a whole, but he batted just .219/.276/.337 from July 1 through present day. Rosenthal tweets that Jose Tabata is expected to get the call to replace Polanco for the time being.

Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…

  • Though the Cubs have been making headlines by stockpiling high-upside young talent, the success of 33-year-old left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is making the organization consider him as an option beyond the 2014 season, writes the Chicago Tribune’s Fred Mitchell“He is pitching very, very well. There are decisions that have to be made. He certainly has put himself in a good position,” manager Rick Renteria tells Mitchell. Wada, who signed a minor league deal this offseason, pitched to a 2.77 ERA in 113 2/3 Triple-A innings this season, and he’s continued his success in the Majors. Since being promoted, Wada has turned in an outstanding 2.56 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 37.8 percent ground-ball rate in 45 2/3 innings. Sabermetric ERA estimators FIP (3.55), xFIP (3.61) and SIERA (3.50) all feel that while he’s been a bit fortunate, he’s still been highly effective.
  • Speaking with Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twins GM Terry Ryan clarified a comment that he made last week in which he suggested that manager Ron Gardenhire would return in 2015. Ryan explained that his comment was made off the cuff, without any consultation, and that no one’s job — including his own — was guaranteed in 2015. Twins owner Jim Pohlad did state last fall that Ryan’s job as GM was his for as long as he wanted to remain GM, but “everybody’s got a breaking point,” Ryan said to Miller. “I would never hold Jim Pohlad to that statement, because it wouldn’t be fair to him. We’re losing way too many games here for anybody to put that kind of faith in anyone.”
  • White Sox general manager Rick Hahn appeared on the Mully and Hanley show last Friday and said that his staff is pleased with the results of the 2013-14 offseason, and he expects to be active in free agency this offseason. Hahn also sang the praises of top pick Carlos Rodon, saying that he’s even more advanced than the team had anticipated, and his transition to pro ball has been nearly seamless. Hahn did downplay, to an extent, the rumors surrounding a potential September callup for Rodon: “…ultimately the decision to bring him up or not bring him up is going to be about what’s best for his long-term development. We’re going to have to be real cautious before we decide just to bring him up and run him out there in big league games this year.”


Quick Hits: Bailey, Wada, Astros

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says reliever Andrew Bailey has had “setbacks” after his 2013 labrum injury and will not return this season, NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty tweets. The former Athletics closer and Red Sox reliever has not appeared in the big leagues since the middle of that 2013 season, and hasn’t pitched competitively for the Yankees since they signed him to a minor league deal in February. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Tsuyoshi Wada could be emerging as an option for the Cubs‘ 2015 rotation, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com writes. The 34-year-old has spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, but he’s performed well in six starts with the Cubs, with a 3.15 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 so far. After signing him to a minor league deal in the offseason, the Cubs released Wada in March and then signed him to another minor league deal that includes a 2015 option. The Cubs do have a variety of interesting rotation options for 2015 (particularly since adding Dan Straily and Jacob Turner), however, and they appear likely to hunt for a starter this offseason, so much remains to be determined.
  • Astros owner Jim Crane is happy that there’s a new plan to remove Comcast SportsNet Houston from bankruptcy, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Under the plan, the name of the channel would change to ROOT Sports Houston, and Comcast’s partnership with the Astros and Rockets would convert into a new entity owned by DirecTV Sports Networks and AT&T. The new deal will help the Astros financially, and will also enable their games to be broadcast. “[O]ur fans will get to see the games and we can move on with our lives,” says Crane. The new company could be in place by as soon as early October.

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."