Vin Mazzaro Rumors

Players Who Have Elected Minor League Free Agency

A total of 43 players have elected to become minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy in his latest round-up of minor league transactions.  MLBTR has already reported on some of these moves over the last few days, and here is the rest of the list, with players grouped by their most recent team…


Minor Moves: Worth, Simunic, Mazzaro

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Though the Tigers announced earlier today that infielder Danny Worth has cleared outright waivers, though as Chris Iott of MLive.com reports, Worth has not yet decided whether or not to accept the assignment. Worth, 28, was designated for assignment earlier in the week when Detroit purchased the contract of shortstop prospect Eugenio Suarez.
  • Utility man Andy Simunic has inked a minor league deal with the Braves after being released by the Astros, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (via Twitter). Simunic, a former 17th-round pick, is a career .261/.332/.304 hitter in four seasons at the Triple-A level. The 28-year-old’s entire career has been spent in the Houston organization to this point.
  • Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro, who cleared outright waivers yesterday, has accepted his assignment to Triple-A, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Our own Zach Links initially reported that he was on outright waivers, with Biertempfel reporting last night that he’d cleared.

Minor Moves: Vin Mazzaro

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • Reliever Vin Mazzaro has cleared outright waivers, and the Pirates have sent him to Triple-A Indianapolis, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Mazzaro was a helpful member of the Pirates’ 2013 bullpen, but the Bucs have now outrighted him twice since April. They designated him for assignment late last month after he posted a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings for them this season.


NL Notes: Mazzaro, Pirates, Phillies, Capps

Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro has been placed on outright waivers but has not yet cleared, reports MLBTR’s Zach Links (Twitter links). A source tells Links that a full resolution of Mazzaro’s situation will occur today. Mazzaro was designated for assignment on May 26th, which, as MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows, would have suggested resolution yesterday; Links posits that the extra day could be a result of a delay in processing owing to the Memorial Day holiday.

  • The Pirates have a glaring need for a starter, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Kovacevic says that the team should be able to afford a player like Jeff Samardzija or even David Price, both in terms of prospects and payroll.
  • While it is easy to say that the Phillies should become sellers, the reality is that the club lacks attractive pieces or a young core that can be built around, writes ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required and recommended). Even the players who are performing well — such as Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Marlon Byrd — have middling value because they are owed significant amounts of money beyond the season (or, in the case of Rollins, soon will be; his $11MM option will vest barring injury). While that might be less of a deterrent in the cases of Cliff Lee and Chase Utley, the former has still not yet resumed throwing while the latter may be too intertwined with the franchise’s identity to be dealt. Of course, any hypothetical trade scenarios could be complicated yet further by the fact that many of the team’s veterans have limited or full no-trade protection.
  • In a seemingly rare bit of good news after a pitcher travels to see Dr. James Andrews, Marlins reliever Carter Capps will forego surgery in favor of rest and rehabilitation, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. An extended delay is still in the cards, as Capps will be shut down for at least a month. He was originally placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 26, but has since been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Pirates Designate Vin Mazzaro For Assignment

The Pirates have designated right-hander Vin Mazzaro for assignment, the team announced.  Righty Brandon Cumpton has been called up from Triple-A in a corresponding move.

This is the second time that Mazzaro has been designated for assignment this season, as the reliever was previously DFA’ed at the end of Spring Training.  He cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A rather than become a free agent in April.

All these transactions may have more to do with a roster crunch than a commentary on Mazzaro’s performance, as the righty was a big part of the Pittsburgh bullpen in 2013.  He posted a 2.81 ERA, 2.19 K/BB rate and 5.6 K/9 in 73 2/3 IP last season and was very effective against both right-handed and left-handed hitters.  Mazzaro had a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings for the Bucs this season, plus 10 2/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A Indianapolis.  As a first-time arbitration eligible player last winter, Mazzaro and the Pirates avoided a hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $950K deal for 2014.

Mazzaro joins two other Pirates (Wandy Rodriguez and Phil Irwin) in DFA Limbo according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.  Padres right-handers Blaine Boyer and Billy Buckner are the only two other players currently in limbo.


Minor Moves: Ciriaco, Mazzaro, Bixler, Accardo

The day's minor moves:

  • The Royals have assigned infielder Pedro Ciriaco to Triple-A after he cleared outright waivers, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Ciriaco, 28, will have to wait in the minors for another big league opportunity to open with Kansas City's middle infield. The club just called up Johnny Giavotella to fill in for injured second baseman Omar Infante, who is expected to return to action soon without a DL trip.
  • Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro has accepted an outright assignment from the team to Triple-A, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune (via Twitter). That is a good result for a Pittsburgh club that had expected to lose the 27-year-old righty, who was an effective piece for them last year.
  • Utility man Brian Bixler has been released by the Phillies, according to the International League transactions page. Bixler, 31, had been playing with the Phils' Triple-A affiliate. He last appeared in the bigs in 2012 with the Astros.
  • The independent ball Atlantic League has made two notable additions today, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter links). Right-hander Jeremy Accardo, an eight-year MLB veteran, has inked with the Long Island Ducks. And shortly after being released by the Red Sox, 29-year-old outfielder Scott Cousins has joined the Camden Riversharks.
  • The Dodgers have outrighted Mike Baxter, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. The outfielder was designated for assignment to create 40-man space for another DFA'd player in Colt Hynes. Baxter, 29, struggled at the MLB level last year, but had a strong 2012 campaign (.263/.365/.413 in 211 plate appearances).
  • With this move, only four players are left in DFA limbo: Seth Rosin (Rangers, Rule 5), Pedro Ciriaco (Royals), Hector Noesi (Mariners), and Jeremy Jeffress (Blue Jays). As always, you can track DFA situations past and present using MLBTR's DFA Tracker.

Olney On Mazzaro, Drew, Morales, Huntington, Perkins

ESPN.com's Buster Olney touched on a number of interesting topics today in his Insider blog and podcast. Among them:

  • One reason that Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro may have cleared waivers is simply that he stood to be paid nearly twice the league minimum salary. "Once you go to spring training, you’ve spent almost all the money you’re going to spend," a general manager told Olney. "There aren’t many teams with a lot of extra money lying around." 
  • That same fact has a bearing on the situations of compensation free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. Olney polled executives around the league, finding that none were willing to pay either player at the qualifying offer rate of $14.1MM. The highest figure he heard was $10MM to $12MM AAV for Drew and a $8MM to $10MM rate for Morales on a multi-year deal, with most respondents landing well shy of those amounts. There were many other concerns raised as well, ranging from those players' injury histories to questions about their commitment to a new team (e.g., would they play through a late-season injury?) and worry about "the layoff and need for a modified spring training."
  • Turning to the podcast, Olney spoke with Pirates GM Neal Huntington, who said that the team left its playoff run determined to return with focus. Instead, Huntington said that his concern entering the spring was how to keep positive energy flowing after the front office was criticized for its quiet offseason. Huntington said that the team wanted to do more, but that there "wasn't the right move out there" and he felt the organization needed to continue to "stretch when it's appropriate, stay disciplined when it's appropriate." Looking ahead, the GM said that, "if need be we can go outside because of the depth of our player development system."
  • Huntington also discussed his team's well-publicized use of defensive shifts, saying that it is all about "maximizing our chances to put balls in play and turn them into outs" and indicating that much of the work is in shading out of the standard alignment. The approach for each situation is developed through what he calls a "multi-tiered process" within the organization. 
  • Olney also chatted with newly extended Twins closer Glen Perkins, who is under team control through 2018. Perkins said that he made clear to his agent as far back as his first extension that he was happy to take a deal and stay in town rather than "pric[ing] myself out" of the organization. The lefty says that maximizing money is not the most important thing, and saw value in the possibility of a World Series run with his hometown club while providing for his family's future when he had the chance. He kicked things off by suggesting a new deal to his agent, with a deal coming together quickly thereafter. 
  • Asked for his opinion on the idea of players accepting so-called team-friendly deals, Perkins said that the chances of upside are met (and often exceeded) by the possibility of "blowing your arm out." It becomes somewhat easier to take on risk as a player's earnings rise throughout their career, Perkins noted, but looking for "a little more" is tough when "you're always one pitch away." His ultimate advice to players is hard to disagree with: "get yours while you can."

Vin Mazzaro Clears Outright Waivers

Pirates right-hander Vin Mazzaro has cleared outright waivers and has three days to accept his assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis or reject the assignment in favor of free agency, the team announced (via Twitter).

That the 27-year-old Mazzaro would clear waivers seems highly surprising given his strong 2013 campaign. Mazzaro posted a 2.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 52.2 percent ground-ball rate. His ERA, BB/9 rate and ground-ball rate were all career bests, and he also averaged a career-high 93.1 mph on his fastball in 73 2/3 innings as a key member of a strong Pirates bullpen.

That promising season from Mazzaro came along with just a $950K salary on a one-year deal agreed to this offseason in his first year of arbitration eligibility, meaning any team to acquire or claim him would have had control of Mazzaro for three seasons.


Pirates Designate Vin Mazzaro For Assignment

The PIrates have designated reliever Vin Mazzaro for assignment, reports Travis Sawchik of the PIttsburgh Tribune (via Twitter). A 40-man roster spot was needed for first baseman Travis Ishikawa.

Mazzaro lost out on a spot in a deep Bucs bullpen despite posting a 2.81 ERA in 71 2/3 innings last year. It appears that fellow out-of-options relievers Bryan Morris, Stolmy Pimentel, and Jeanmar Gomez will fill out the back of the Pittsburgh relief corps. 


Pirates Shopping Jose Tabata

With Spring Training's end drawing closer, the Pirates are shopping right fielder Jose Tabata and also willing to listen to offers on out-of-options reliever Vin Mazzaro, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter links).

Tabata, still just 25 years of age, is owed $11.75MM over the next three seasons and has a trio of club options on his deal ranging from $6.5MM to $8.5MM. Tabata will earn $3MM in 2014, $4MM in 2015, $4.5MM in 2016 and has a $250K buyout on his $6.5MM option for 2017.

Coming off a poor 2012 performance, he reversed his fortunes in 2013 by slashing a solid .282/.342/.429, but Tabata already runs far less often than he did in his first two seasons (three steals in 2013 versus 35 in his first two campaigns) and hasn't seen much power develop. Beyond that, he's been injury prone, having spent a combined 77 games on the shelf between his 2011 and 2013 DL stints. Tabata plays a fine left field but is miscast as a center fielder and doesn't have a prototypical right fielder's arm.

Tabata's time as a starter with the organization is likely running out anyhow, a top prospect Gregory Polanco is nearly ready for the bigs. The 22-year-old ranks as baseball's No. 10 prospect according to Baseball America and is ranked 13th and 24th by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, respectively. Though he's already been optioned to Triple-A to open the season, Polanco is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he batted .285/.356/.434 with 12 homers and 38 stolen bases and could be with the Pirates as soon as this summer. Alongside, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, he could help give the Pirates one of the game's most exciting young outfields.

Mazzaro, 27, enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first season with Pittsburgh last year. The former A's hurler was dealt to the Royals in a trade for David DeJesus but entered 2013 with a career 5.22 ERA in 286 innings. The Pirates acquired him cheaply from Kansas City and were rewarded with 73 2/3 innings of a 2.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a career-best 52.2 percent ground-ball rate.

Pittsburgh has a wealth of options in the bullpen, highlighted by All-Star closer Jason Grilli but also featuring Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson and Tony Watson. Biertempfel notes that Mazzaro appears to be the odd man out, and the team is therefore willing to move him, but his phrasing doesn't seem to be as strong regarding Mazzaro as it is in expressing Tabata's availability. Last night, ESPN's Buster Olney speculated that the Pirates, who lost catcher Chris Stewart for an extended period of time, could match up with the Yankees in a trade; New York could use some additional stability in the bullpen, while Pittsburgh could add some depth behind the plate and seek a better defensive backup than Tony Sanchez.