Vinnie Pestano Rumors

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/4/2015

We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

  • The Giants announced today that infielder Joaquin Arias has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A (Twitter link). The versatile 30-year-old hit just .207/.207/.276 in 59 plate appearances in 2015 — the second season of a two-year, $2.6MM contract he signed to avoid arbitration following the 2013 season.
  • Left-hander Aaron Laffey has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A, tweets MLB.com’s Dargan Southard. Lackey will have the option to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. The veteran lefty pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Rockies this season, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

Earlier Updates

  • Red Sox infielder Jemile WeeksAngels righty Vinnie Pestano, and Cubs outfielder Mike Baxter have all accepted their outright assignments rather than electing to test the free agent waters, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (Twitter links). The trio of players were all designated for assignment recently as their clubs looked to free roster space for deadline acquisitions. Weeks, 28, has seen only a smattering of big league action since playing as a full-timer in 2011-12. Pestano has been a solid reliever over several full seasons, but has struggled mightily with his control this year. The 30-year-old Baxter will also head to the upper minors to serve as depth after putting up a .246/.348/.263 slash over 66 plate appearances with Chicago.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/3/2015

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to Triple-A, Ben Nicholson-Smith reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was recently designated for assignment after seeing his role taken by trade acquisition Ben Revere. Over 164 plate appearances for Toronto this season, Carrera owns a solid .279/.327/.374 with three home runs and two stolen bases. That represents his most significant big league action since his rookie campaign.
  • Angels reliever Vinnie Pestano has also cleared waivers and been outrighted, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. The recently-designated, 30-year-old righty has tossed 11 2/3 innings of 5.40 ERA pitching on the year, though he has had more success in the past. Over 202 2/3 career frames, he’s allowed just under three earned per nine. While he’s continued to strike out better than ten batters per nine, control issues (6.2 BB/9) have limited Pestano’s effectiveness this season.

Angels Designate Vinnie Pestano For Assignment

The Angels announced that they’ve designated right-hander Vinnie Pestano for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for newly acquired outfielder David Murphy.

Pestano, who was acquired from the Indians in a minor swap last August, now finds himself designated for assignment to make room for a former teammate. The 30-year-old Pestano appeared in 19 games for the Halos this season and totaled 11 2/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA.

Pestano at one point looked to be emerging as a key piece of the Indians’ bullpen, totaling 132 innings with a 2.45 ERA, 10.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 from 2011-12, but he began to struggle in 2013 and fell out of the team’s plans in 2014. He’s pitched just 30 1/3 innings in the big leagues over the past two seasons.



AL Notes: White Sox, Ramirez, Angels

Ken Williams lost out on a chance to become the Blue Jays’ new president and CEO this offseason, but he’s enjoying his current role with the White Sox, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. “I can’t worry about something that I have no control over,” he says, but he’s clearly thrilled about this year’s team after adding Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and Zach Duke in the offseason. “I hesitate to say, because I don’t want to disrespect any of the other teams we’ve had, but I don’t know if I’ve been this optimistic and excited to see a team play on a day-to-day basis,” he says. Here’s more from the American League.

  • One player worth watching in Mariners camp is pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Ramirez is out of options. The Mariners will likely try to get him through waivers since there’s no space for him on the team (unless the Mariners option both Carson Smith and Dominic Leone), but another team is likely to claim him. (Ramirez posted an underwhelming 5.26 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 2014, but since he’s 24, has big-league experience, and can start or relieve, some team might find him to be an attractive waiver claim.) The M’s could deal Ramirez, but since he could wind up on the waiver wire anyway, there isn’t much incentive for teams to give up much for him.
  • Angels reliever Cory Rasmus has a core injury that will cause him to miss six to eight weeks, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes (Twitter links). That will leave two open spots in the team’s bullpen. One of those will likely go to Vinnie Pestano, and Gonzalez thinks it’s possible that the other will be occupied by Matt Lindstrom, who is an Article XX(B) free agent.
  • Nonetheless, the Angels are impressed with Scott Snodgress, who they see as a potential hard-throwing lefty bullpen option, Gonzalez writes. They signed Snodgress as a minor-league free agent over the winter. Snodgress spent most of last season as a stater with Double-A Birmingham in the White Sox system, posting a 3.89 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9, but the Angels saw him as a reliever. “This is a team that, for the most part, has gone through the last year and a half without a consistent presence on the left-handed side of the bullpen,” says GM Jerry Dipoto. “From Day 1, we’ve talked about bullpen being a role, and I think that intrigued him.”

NL West Rumors: Morse, Rosario, Rockies, Padres

The latest from the NL West..


Angels Avoid Arbitration With Vinnie Pestano

11:34am: Pestano’s deal is worth $1.15MM, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged him for a $1.2MM salary.

11:24am: The Angels announced that they have avoided arbitration with right-hander Vinnie Pestano by agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2015 season.

Pestano, a client of the Legacy Agency’s Greg Genske, was acquired by the Halos in August after the team claimed him from the Indians on revocable trade waivers. The 29-year-old had to be excited by the move, as it allowed him a chance to pitch in his hometown. Pestano, an Anaheim-area native, impressed in a short sample with the Angels, allowing just one run on five hits and four walks in 9 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts. Formerly a wipeout setup man for the Indians, his stock dropped in Cleveland prior to the trade. However, he still owns an excellent 2.83 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 191 big league innings.


AL Central Links: May, Milone, Pestano, Garcia

All signs point to the Twins promoting Trevor May to make Saturday’s start against the A’s, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Phillies in 2012’s Ben Revere trade, and he’s seen his command steadily improve since joining the Twins organization. May’s ERA has dropped accordingly, and he’s currently sporting a 2.93 mark through 95 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. With Vance Worley now in Pittsburgh, May is the lone piece remaining from that deal. Having averaged 10.5 K/9 in his minor league career, May could prove to be a valuable addition for a Twins team that’ has long been starved for power arms.

Here’s more on the Twins and the AL Central…

  • Recently extended catcher Kurt Suzuki influenced the Twins‘ decision to acquire Tommy Milone from the A’s, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Suzuki, who has caught Milone numerous times as a former member of the A’s, made pitch to manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and bench coach Terry Steinbach — all of which were presumably relayed to the front office.
  • Following today’s trade of Vinnie Pestano to the Angels, Indians GM Chris Antonetti offered the following statement to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link): “Vinnie was a very valuable member of the organization who made some great contributions to our bullpen throughout his time with us. As we’ve had [Major League] bullpen opportunities over the course of the last month, we’ve promoted other pitchers from [Triple-A] Columbus, so we thought it made sense to give Vinnie a fresh start with the Angels. In return, we acquired a young pitcher who we think has a chance to help our Major League team in the next few years.” For his part, Pestano is excited about the fresh start, particularly due to the fact that he is a SoCal native. In a classy series of thank you tweets to the Indians organization, Pestano, who was born in Newport Beach, noted that he couldn’t imagine a better destination for a trade.
  • MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes that Avisail Garcia‘s aggressive approach to his rehab from a shoulder injury has impressed the White Sox. Garcia’s injury was thought to be season-ending back in April, but an August return now looks possible. Merkin notes that the move could create an interesting roster decision, though GM Rick Hahn has noted that he will pursue August trades, so a roster spot could be created that way.

Angels Acquire Vinnie Pestano

6:43pm: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that Pestano was acquired after the Angels claimed him on waivers (Twitter link).

5:05pm: The Angels have added yet another reliever to their ranks by acquiring right-hander Vinnie Pestano from the Indians in exchange for minor league righty Michael Clevinger. Both teams have announced the trade.

Vinnie Pestano

The 29-year-old Pestano emerged as a lights-out setup man for the Indians in 2011-12, posting a combined 2.45 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate in 132 innings of work. Pestano’s excellent work was worth 4.4 rWAR and 2.5 fWAR in that time, suggesting that he was one of the game’s more valuable relief options.

Pestano fell on hard times a bit in 2013, however, as his BB/9 rate climbed north of 5.0, and his ERA spiked to 4.08. Things between him and the Indians organization appeared to be tense the following offseason, when Pestano lost an arbitration hearing after Cleveland used comments that Pestano himself made to the press against him in a trial. Pestano had told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer“I’ve been battling all year. As soon as I think I’ve got something figured out, I go out there and the results are the same. It’s getting really frustrating. I’m still the same pitcher in my head, I’m just not throwing the same way I used to.”

Quotes like that one were fired back at Pestano in the arb hearing, which the reliever told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian that he didn’t appreciate: “That was the only thing that I didn’t care for. I definitely think it’ll affect how I see things going forward. I don’t really know if I can be as honest and up-front anymore. I’ve got three more years of arbitration left. I don’t know what they’ll pick to use against me next year or two years from now.”

Pestano has once again been excellent in the minors this season, posting a 1.78 ERA with a strong 37-to-12 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings for Triple-A Columbus. He joins a growing list of relievers acquired by Halos GM Jerry Dipoto this season, as Dipoto has also brought in Jason Grilli, Joe Thatcher and Huston Street. Because Pestano was on the Indians’ 40-man roster, he would either have had to clear waivers or have been claimed by the Angels in order to facilitate a trade. The Angels will be able to control Pestano, who is earning $975K this year, through at least the 2017 season. For the time being, he’ll head to Triple-A Salt Lake.

As for the Indians, they’ll receive Clevinger — a 23-year-old righty selected by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Clevinger tore through Class A this season, notching a 1.88 ERA in five starts before being promoted to Class-A Advanced. He’s struggled at that level, however, posting a 5.37 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings of work. Clevinger ranked 17th among Halos prospects entering the 2014 season, according to Baseball America, and MLB.com had him 10th among Angels farmhands on its midseason Top 20 list (though it should be noted that the Angels’ farm system is poorly regarded).

Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, at a time when it looked as if he could be emerging as Anaheim’s top pitching prospect, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com note in their free report. BA notes that he features a 91-93 mph fastball that he can cut well, in addition to three offerings — a changeup, slider and curveball — that could become average offerings. Effort in his delivery leads some scouts to project him as a reliever, though BA notes that the Angels wanted to give him as long a look in the rotation as possible due to a lack of organizational depth.

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register first reported the trade (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL Central Notes: Indians, Jimenez, Masterson, Royals

After defeating reliever Vinnie Pestano in an arbitration hearing recently, Cleveland still has three more players scheduled to face a panel. One of them — outfielder Michael Brantley – is reportedly close to a long-term deal. Pestano discussed his feelings upon going through the process, as MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. The reliever said he was surprised mostly by the team's use of statements he'd made to the press against him. "You're being honest and accountable and saying the right things and being there," Pestano said, "and then later you find your own words in the paper, and somebody is trying to use your words against you to drive your value down. Whether that played a big role in the decision, I don't know." Though not necessarily expressing ill-will towards the team, Pestano did indicate that the hearing would have a future impact. "I definitely think it'll affect how I see things going forward," said Pestano. "I don't really know if I can be as honest and up-front anymore. I've got three more years of arbitration left. I don't know what they'll pick to use against me next year or two years from now."

Here's more from the Indians and an American League Central competitor:

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Indians haven't been in touch with Ubaldo Jimenez or his agents at Relativity Baseball in "weeks." Cleveland is, however, said to have inquired on fellow righty Ervin Santana, who (like Jimenez) will require the sacrifice of a draft choice if he is signed by a new club.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (via Twitter) that Indians hurler Justin Masterson is willing to discuss an extension in Spring Training and may even consider talking with the team during the season, if necessary. Last we checked in, extension talks had been shelved while the sides focused on avoiding an arbitration hearing that remains scheduled for February 20th. 
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore says that the club's payroll will land around $90MM for the coming season, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. That tab falls beyond the club's "break-even point," says Moore, and thus constitutes a "gamble."

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Vinnie Pestano Loses Arbitration Case

Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano has lost his arbitration case, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Pestano, who was eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player, sought $1.45MM, but he will receive $975K. He is represented by PSI Sports Management.

Pestano posted a 4.08 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 35 1/3 innings for Cleveland in 2013, and those numbers were significantly worse than those of his strong 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Indians blame an elbow injury Pestano suffered while pitching in the WBC in March, which led to changes in his mechanics.