Vinnie Chulk Rumors
Baseball America's Matt Eddy recaps this week's minor league transactions, including these notable moves...
- Brewers right-handers Vinnie Chulk and Tim Dillard have elected free agency. After last pitching in the Major Leagues in 2009, Chulk posted a 10.00 ERA in nine relief innings for Milwaukee this season before he was designated for assignment in May. Dillard, 29, was a 34th-round draft pick for Milwaukee in 2002 and has a 4.70 ERA in 73 career games over four seasons with the Brewers. Dillard had a 4.38 ERA, a 10.9 H/9 rate and a 2.07 K/BB ratio in 37 relief innings in 2012.
- The Diamondbacks re-signed outfielder Brent Clevlen to a new contract. Clevlen signed a minor league deal with the D'Backs in April and posted a combined .290/.366/.520 line in 345 plate appearances for the franchise's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Clevlen, 28, has a career .783 OPS over 11 minor league seasons plus 84 PAs in the majors with the Braves and Tigers, though just four of those PAs have come since 2008.
Chulk, 33, allowed 21 baserunners and ten runs in nine innings for Milwaukee this season, his first big league action since 2009. He pitched to a 3.18 ERA in 11 1/3 innings for their Triple-A affiliate before being recalled.
Two years ago today, the Indians traded third baseman Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals for Chris Perez, with Jess Todd also going to Cleveland as the player to be named later. DeRosa injured his wrist shortly after the trade and struggled in his time with the Cards, but they received a consolation prize in righty Seth Blair, chosen in the 2010 draft as compensation when DeRosa signed with the Giants. Perez has racked up 42 saves as the Indians' closer. Todd was designated for assignment in April of this year, claimed by the Yankees, designated again in May, claimed by the Cardinals, and recently outrighted to Triple-A. On to today's links...
- Rangers reliever Darren O'Day may return this week from the 60-day DL, meaning the team will need to open up a 40-man roster spot.
- The Red Sox announced they activated righty Junichi Tazawa from the 60-day DL and optioned him to Double-A; lefty Rich Hill was placed on the 60-day DL to keep the 40-man roster at 40.
- Pirates lefty Paul Maholm reiterated to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he'd like to stay in Pittsburgh, but he's not going to beg or initiate extension talks. In general terms, GM Neal Huntington expressed a strong preference for avoiding in-season negotiations. He has a $9.75MM option on Maholm for 2012. For more on the Maholm situation, click here.
- Athletics reliever Vinnie Chulk can opt out of his contract Friday, notes SI's Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The 32-year-old righty has a 2.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 in 39 1/3 Triple-A innings this year.
- Heyman talked to agents and executives, asking them to predict contracts for Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jose Reyes. Everyone sees Pujols getting at least $27.5MM and at least six years. I have to wonder if he'd prefer a one-year deal if his return is less than stellar. Meanwhile, most of the participants saw Fielder getting $24-25MM a year and at least five years.
- The Cardinals could try to acquire two relievers rather than go after a big fish like Heath Bell, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Let's take a look at today's notable minor league deals, with the most recent updates at the top:
- The Yankees signed Doug Bernier, Buddy Carlyle, Neal Cotts and Gustavo Molina to minor league deals, the team announced. The club officially announced its deals with Andy Sisco and outfielder-turned-pitcher Brian Anderson.
- The Pirates have welcomed back Donald Veal just two weeks after non-tendering him, Eddy tweets. Veal underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
- The Rays picked up right-handed reliever Jonah Bayliss, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (via Twitter). Bayliss turned in a 3.58 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 for Houston's Triple-A club last season.
- The Athletics signed right-handed reliever Vinnie Chulk, tweets Eddy. Chulk appeared in 28 games for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate in 2010 and spent the other half of the year with the Hiroshima Carp. His numbers overseas left much to be desired but the righty carries more than 250 games of big league experience.
- First baseman Andy Tracy has hooked on with the Diamondbacks, tweets Baseball America's Matt Eddy. The left-handed hitter, who turned 37-years-old on Saturday, has spent the last three years with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. In 2010 he hit .275/.373/.492, numbers that are slightly better than his career averages.
- The Nationals signed outfielder Jonathan Van Every, according to Eddy (via Twitter). The 31-year-old boasts a career .471 slugging percentage in Triple-A and can play all three outfield positions. Van Every played in 39 games for Boston's varsity squad across the last three years.
- Washington picked up another versatile, left-handed hitting outfielder in Buck Coats, Eddy tweets. Coats, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Cubs, has a lifetime slash line of .294/.352/.407 at the Triple-A level.
- The Cubs invited first baseman Bryan LaHair and outfielder Brad Snyder to Spring Training, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter).
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports (via Twitter) that the Pirates have sold the rights to right-handers Vinnie Chulk and Hayden Penn to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Chiba Lotte Marines, respectively. The moves have been in the works for a little while now but were just finalized today.
Chulk has pitched for Toronto, San Francisco and Cleveland over his seven years in the big leagues. In 276 1/3 major league innings, all of which came out of the bullpen, the righty posted a 4.33 ERA and a 1.75 K/BB ratio. Chulk signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh last December and had an uneven season at Triple-A Indianapolis; he had a 10.5 K/9 ratio but also a 4.96 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 28 appearances.
Penn, drafted by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2002 amateur draft, was a well-regarded prospect in Baltimore's system, ranked as the 81st-best prospect in the game by Baseball America in their pre-2006 listing. He was never able to translate that promise to the majors, however, as shown by his 9.51 career ERA over 33 games (15 of them starts) with Baltimore, Florida and Pittsburgh.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the highlights from Pirates GM Neal Huntington's weekly media address. Let's take a look:
- Huntington says that the Pirates have moved beyond "prospect gathering" mode. If a "good baseball trade" presents itself, Huntington will make it, but according to the general manager there are several players that he's not motivated to move.
- Huntington says he's trying to move forward with their group of young talent. He cites the Brewers' rise from second-to-last to second place in the middle of the decade thanks to the likes of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Corey Hart (and don't forget Yovani Gallardo) in saying it takes a solid core to turn an organization around.
- The club is pleased with the changes made to its scouting, signing, player development, and evaluation processes, but obviously was hoping for a better record than their 31-59 mark to date.
- On Hayden Penn likely leaving the organization to pitch in Japan, Huntington said part of him wanted to say no and keep him in the Pittsburgh organization, but it was ultimately too hard to stand in Penn's way.
- Vinnie Chulk is another pitcher within the Pirates organization who may be transitioning to Japanese ball.
- Huntington shoots down rumors that manager John Russell's job may be tied to the club's performance on their current 10-game homestand: "When you hide behind imaginary sources that aren't going to go on the record, you can say anything you want," he told Kovacevic.
- Huntington says Russell shouldn't be used as a scapegoat, because ultimately, responsibility for the club's performance falls on his own shoulders.
The Pirates signed righty Vinnie Chulk to a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Chulk, 31 later this month, tossed 12 innings with the Indians and another 21.6 in Triple A. The Indians designated him for assignment in May and he cleared waivers. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch notes that the Pirates also signed Wilfredo Ledezma to a minor league deal recently.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported yesterday that the Indians released Juan Salas and designated Vinnie Chulk for assignment. Reliever Matt Herges was called up, Rafael Perez was demoted and today the Indians added Luis Vizcaino as they revamp their bullpen.
According to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, the Indians have signed righty reliever Vinnie Chulk to a minor league contract.
Chulk, who has experience with the Blue Jays and Giants, has been invited to spring training and will compete for the final spot in the Cleveland 'pen.
Time for some random linkage.
- I'll be on XM Radio today at about 5pm CST - channels 176-189 with Mike Ferrin.
- The Dodgers signed Jerome Williams - remember him?
- Viva El Birdos runs through starting pitchers who might be on the Cardinals' radar.
- Sam Mellinger of the KC Star takes a look at Dayton Moore's trade record. Meanwhile, Joe Posnanski explains why the Royals should sign Barry Bonds.
- Ken Rosenthal doesn't want to let Ed Wade off the hook in the Shawn Chacon dustup.
- Red Reporter thinks the Reds are winning the Edinson Volquez-Josh Hamilton swap.
- Rangers first base prospect Chris Davis is getting the call.
- Russell Branyan has been training his eyes.
- "Unsubstantiated report" - the Phillies might have interest in recently-designated reliever Vinnie Chulk.
- Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker expects the team to shop Ichiro.
- Buster Olney sees the Rays as a sleeper in the C.C. Sabathia derby.
- Omar Minaya defends the Luis Castillo signing.