Washington Nationals Rumors


Nationals Release Chris Snyder

The Nationals have released catcher Chris Snyder, the club announced via Twitter. As Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com notes on Twitter, Snyder could have opted out of his contract on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old signed with the Nationals after seeing just nine MLB games last year. In 2012 with the Astros, he put up a .176/.295/.308 line in 258 plate appearances. Snyder did, however, post an OPS over .800 last year in his time at Triple-A with the Orioles and Angels. He spent part of the spring with the Nationals last year, but requested his release when he failed to make the big league roster. 

Snyder had a strong spring line in limited action, putting up a .294/.381/.529 triple-slash with one long ball in 21 plate appearances. He becomes the latest veteran backstop to hit the open market. 



White Sox To Add Rule 5 Pick Nieto To Opening Day Roster

The White Sox have informed Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto, who was plucked from the Nationals organization, that he will make the Opening Day roster, his agent Joshua Kusnick tweeted. Nieto beat out Josh Phegley (who was optioned on Wednesday) and Hector Gimenez for the right to back up incumbent Tyler Flowers

The 24-year-old Cuban native has never played above the High-A level. Last year, he put up a .282/.371/.446 line with 11 home runs in 448 plate appearances as a 23-year-old. Checking in as the Nats' 30th overall prospect entering the season (per Baseball America), Nieto is said to be a work-in-progress behind the dish who could become an average defensive backstop. His calling card is his bat, with BA saying that the switch-hitter could become an offense-first MLB catching option.

Of course, Chicago will need to keep Nieto on its 25-man roster for the duration of the season to keep his rights going forward.



Quick Hits: Tigers, Pirates, Hill, Young

Fans shouldn't be angry over players' multimillion-dollar salaries, CBS Sports' Dayn Perry writes. That Albert Pujols is paid hundreds of millions of dollars to hit a baseball might seem frivolous, but exorbitant salaries for ballplayers and entertainers have been part of our culture for some time. "You might as well lament the tides of the ocean," Perry writes. Also, ticket prices aren't caused by high player salaries, but by demand. Fans are willing to pay high ticket prices (as they do even to college sporting events, where players are unpaid), so teams charge high ticket prices.  Here's more from around the big leagues.

  • Given the tone of the Tigers' press release on the Max Scherzer negotiations, it might not be a good time for Scott Boras to bring up Stephen Drew with the Tigers, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The Tigers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for the free agent shortstop but the club's unusual step of issuing a press release on the end of talks with their star pitcher might indicate some soured relations between them and the top agent.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says his offer for Scherzer was the most he has ever offered a player that has been turned down, tweets Tom Gage of the Detroit News.  For his part, Scherzer says he wants to stay in Detroit long term (link).
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) notes that one of the big talking points on the Prince Fielder trade was that it freed up money for the Tigers to sign Scherzer.  With a new deal for Scherzer currently off the table, Passan wonders if Detroit might shift their attention to Miguel Cabrera.
  • After winning 94 games and advancing to the NL Division Series last season, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wonders if the Pirates are candidates for regression this season.  Despite losing free agents A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau, the Pirates didn't make any splasy moves to replace them this winter. 
  • Left-hander Rich Hill can opt out of his deal with the Red Sox on May 15th, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.  
  • Agent Jon Fetterolf has left Williams & Connolly and is now running sports practice for the Zuckerman Spaeder firm, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  
  • Right-hander Chris Young, ostensibly in the competition for the Nationals’ fifth starter spot, can opt out of his minor league contract if the Nationals do not add him to the 25-man roster by Thursday, a person familiar with the contract told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.



NL East Notes: Detwiler, Mayberry, Young, Treinen

The Nationals announced earlier this week that lefty Ross Detwiler would begin this season in the bullpen, though many had pegged him to be the favorite for the final rotation spot. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Detwiler was initially angry with the move, but has now become accepting of his role. Rosenthal spoke with a scout who thinks that Detwiler can become a dominant left-handed reliever in the mold of Jeremy Affeldt. (Twitter links.) Here's more from the NL East ...

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that the Phillies have made John Mayberry Jr. available in trades (Twitter link). Reports in January indicated that Mayberry could be shopping Spring Training, and more recent reports have suggested that the Astros are interested in Mayberry as a potential first base option.
  • Two other important developments occurred today with respect to the Phillies' bench. The club announced that utility man Freddy Galvis has been diagnosed with a MRSA infection while first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf has a grade 1-2 oblique strain. As MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports (here and here), Galvis has been hospitalized and has no timeframe given the nature of the affliction, while Ruf is expected to be out for four to six weeks. With the club's projected Opening Day DL growing, there are clear roster implications, Zolecki writes. Needless to say, a Mayberry trade may be tough to cover.
  • MLB.com's Bill Ladson profiles Nationals right-hander Chris Young and his comeback from injury after thinking his career was finished in 2013. Ladson writes that right shoulder pain had plagued Young so much over the past four years that he was unable to sleep on the right side of his bed. However, Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih and the Syracuse medical staff believed that the problem was not in Young's shoulder, recommending that he see a specialist in St. Louis. Young learned that he actually had thoracic outlet syndrome, and after undergoing surgery to alleviate the ailment, he is throwing free and easy. Nats pitching coach said Young's fastball is back up to 87 mph -- close to the 88.7 mph he averaged in 2007 when he posted a 3.12 ERA.
  • Meanwhile, young righty Blake Treinen has made a late push for a rotation slot with the Nationals, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. One of the young arms received in the Michael Morse deal (along with A.J. Cole and the since-dealt Ian Krol), Treinen would require the team to clear a 40-man spot to break camp.
  • One possible route to opening a slot on the roster would be to deal the versatile Jeff Kobernus, writes Kilgore. The speedy 25-year-old would draw trade interest, a scout says. Kobernus played in center today, which Kilgore says could have been intended to showcase him for other clubs.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.



Minor Moves: Hensley, Weathers, Scioscia, Gretzky

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

  • MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that the Nationals have released minor leaguers Clay Hensley, Kyle Attl, Taylor Wrenn, Drew Rossi, Casey Selsor, Greg Holt and Martires Arias. Of the group, only Hensley has big league experience. The 34-year-old explained to MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko last month that a weighted-ball program had allowed him to rediscover his velocity, prompting his comeback attempt. Hensley fired 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Nationals camp but walked four batters in that time. He has an even 4.00 ERA in 517 career innings with the Padres, Marlins and Giants. Hensley's last Major League action came in 2012.
  • The Giants have released right-hander Casey Weathers, per the club's official transactions page. The 27-year-old was drafted eighth overall by the Rockies in the 2007 draft, but underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2008 season and never regained his form. Weathers had a solid ERA and gaudy strikeout numbers in that 2008 season but struggled with his command and has seen his control issues worsen since surgery. His last minor league action came in the 2012 season with the Cubs when he walked an alarming 53 batters in 34 innings of work.
  • The Angels have traded 1B Matthew Scioscia (Mike's son) to the Cubs for OF Trevor Gretzky (Wayne's son), Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Scioscia, 25, hit .194/.248/.224 in three minor-league levels last year. The 21-year-old Gretzky, a seventh-round pick in 2011, hit .274/.300/.333 in the low minors in 2013.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.



Nationals Release Luis Ayala

11:19pm: The Orioles and another team have already offered Ayala contracts, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).  Ayala is weighing the two offers and will likely make his choice on Thursday.

12:49pm: The Nationals have granted right-hander Luis Ayala his unconditional release, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington. The veteran reliever will head home to Arizona with the hope of signing on with another club quickly, he adds.

The 36-year-old Ayala struggled in camp with the Nationals, allowing nine runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts in six innings of work. However, he's coming off a strong performance with the Braves in 2013, in which he pitched to a 2.90 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 59.6 percent ground-ball rate in 31 innings of work. He did miss a chunk of the season on the disabled list as he dealt with anxiety disorder, but a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings following that DL stint seems to indicate that he was able to work through the issue.

Ayala drew interest from a number of clubs this offseason, including the Mariners, Tigers and Indians, so he could land another shot to prove himself with a different club despite the early struggles in Spring Training.



NL East Notes: Syndergaard, Medlen, Hamels, Rollins

Though they're in the market for a shortstop, the Mets have zero intention of parting with Noah Syndergaard in able to make a trade happen, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. New York has been connected to both Nick Franklin and the Diamondbacks' shortstop surplus (Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings). One scout that Heyman spoke with said Syndergaard is better than Zack Wheeler. Here are some more NL East items...

  • The Braves announced today that Kris Medlen underwent successful Tommy John surgery yesterday, with Dr. James Andrews performing the operation. The Braves will be without Medlen for the season, but the signing of Ervin Santana will help to offset that loss to a degree. Atlanta is currently waiting to learn Brandon Beachy's fate, but Tommy John looks like the probable outcome there as well.
  • Cole Hamels threw a 40- to 45-pitch bullpen session this morning and reported that he felt great afterward, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Hamels said he feels that his strength is up to 90 percent. He'll face hitters in live batting practice on Saturday and do so once more before getting into game action. At that point, writes Salisbury, he'll need roughly a month to be ready for the season, meaning the loose target for his return is still May 1.
  • MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes that Jimmy Rollins wasn't shaken by a report from ESPN's Buster Olney yesterday which stated that some in the Phillies organization feel he needs to be traded as soon as possible. Said Rollins: "It doesn’t matter. I don’t care which way it is tried to be twisted or said, or if it is exactly how it was said, or even if it was said, I can’t be traded." GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called the report "absolute silliness," repeatedly stating that no one in the organization has a problem with Rollins.
  • Manny Delcarmen spoke with the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore about his comeback from an elbow injury that has kept him out of the Majors since 2010. Delcarmen said that following the 2010 season, three doctors told him he needed a second Tommy John surgery before Dr. James Andrews said otherwise. Andrews offered Delcarmen a platelet-rich plasma injection and recommended months of rest, cautioning that his velocity was unlikely to return for quite some time. Delcarmen's velocity has slowly returned from sitting at 88 mph when he began pitching again all the way up to 93-95 mph in Spring Training with the Nats. He's likely to open the season in the minors but could see time with the big league club in the event of an injury after an impressive spring, says Kilgore.



Astros Inquiring On First Basemen

While the Pirates have been linked to nearly every first baseman on the market, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports (via Twitter) that the Astros are also calling clubs about potentially available first basemen. Stark says Houston has placed calls on Mike Carp, John Mayberry and Tyler Moore, though he classifies each of the three as an "unlikely fit."

That the Astros are seeking a first baseman is a bit curious, given top prospect Jonathan Singleton's presence at Triple-A. He figures to be their long-term solution at the position, though none of the three listed by Stark is exactly the type of player who would block Singleton once he's ready for the Majors. This isn't the first we've heard of the Astros looking for first basemen this winter, however, as James Loney said that Houston made him a similar offer to the one he accepted from the Rays.

Carp was a key part of Boston's roster with a strong 2013 in which he slashed .296/.362/.523 with nine homers in a platoon capacity (he has long struggled against left-handed pitching). The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo recently pegged him as a trade candidate, however, given a possible roster crunch. Mayberry and Moore seem like the types that would be more available in a trade, as neither has a clearly defined role on his respective team. In late January, it was reported that Mayberry could be moved in Spring Training. Going further back, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported in December that the Astros could be interested in Moore as a first base option.

For the time being, some combination of Jesus Guzman and Chris Carter figures to hold down the first base job in Houston while Singleton develops. The club also has Japhet Amador in camp as a non-roster invitee. 



NL East Notes: Rollins, Syndergaard, Braves, Carroll

A fair amount of ink has already been dedicated to the friction between Jimmy Rollins and new manager Ryne Sandberg this spring, and ESPN's Buster Olney now reports that there's a strong sentiment within the Phillies organization that the team would be better off trading its longtime shortstop as soon as possible (Twitter link). However, as Olney notes, Rollins has 10-and-5 rights (10 years of Major League service and five consecutive with the same team), meaning he has the right to void any trade. Rollins told CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury as recently as yesterday that he has no plans to waive his 10-and-5 rights anytime in the near future: "If we’re in absolutely last place with nowhere to go and change is obviously on the horizon, then at that point I’d think about it. But anything short of a complete disaster, I’m wearing red and white pinstripes." Rollins has already said as much this spring, indicating that he'd like to become the Phillies' all-time hits leader and set some other records with the club (he's currently 60 hits shy).

More Rollins- and NL-East-related items for your Tuesday morning...

  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News spoke with team sources from the Mets and Yankees regarding potential interest in Rollins (both could use some infield help). He was told that the Yankees think it would be too awkward to bring in a name that big in Derek Jeter's final season, and the Mets source simply replied, "Don't see it."
  • Also from Martino's piece, Mets top prospect Noah Syndergaard was reassigned to the minor leagues today, and while he's likely to make his Major League debut in 2014, he probably won't pitch a full season until 2016. Martino reports that Syndergaard is capped around 150 innings this season, and because the team tries to limit starting pitcher increases to 30 innings per season, he'll likely be capped around 180 in 2015.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Bowman, that the team plans to revisit the rehab process of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in an attempt to figure out why each player appears headed for a second Tommy John surgery. Said Wren: "I think we're always evaluating and looking at how we do things and why we do them and do we need to make changes? ... I don't think we'll ever stop researching and analyzing. But I can't tell you today that we feel there is a common link [between Medlen and Beachy] other than that they're wearing the same uniform."
  • Jamey Carroll's focus is currently on making the Nationals roster, but he tells Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com that he's intrigued with the possibility of becoming a manager somewhere down the line. Carroll has been suggested as a future manager by many of his former coaches and teammates. He calls the fact that young players have been seeking him out for advice in camp with the Nats "humbling," though he hints that when his playing career is done, he may first take some time with his family before getting back into the game.



NL Notes: Wieland, Stewart, Detwiler, Mets, Stanton

With all the bad news on pitching injuries in recent days, it was refreshing to hear at least some positive reports. Earlier today, we learned that Jon Niese of the Mets is not in need of surgery. And later this evening, Padres GM Josh Byrnes said that an MRI on Joe Wieland's right elbow did not reveal UCL damage, as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Wieland will still be monitored and assessed closely over the coming days, particularly as he is still working back from Tommy John surgery, but will hopefully remain on track to re-start his career and give the club some depth over the coming season. 

  • One injury situation that seems headed in the wrong direction is that of Pirates backup catcher Chris Stewart, who suffered a knee injury. Surgery is "probable," the club said today, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Stewart is set to visit Dr. James Andrews before deciding on a course of action.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney weighed in on the possible opening in Pittsburgh (Twitter links), noting that the team probably prefers to give Tony Sanchez another year of seasoning in Triple-A before promoting him. That could, Olney suggests, leave the club interested in adding a player like Miguel Olivo or one of the Yankees' surplus backstops. (As Olney notes, the Pirates' own surplus of relief arms might make for a good match with New York.)
  • The Nationals will start the year with lefty Ross Detwiler working from the pen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. While Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, and Chris Young battle it out for the fifth and final rotation slot, Detwiler will slide in alongside Jerry Blevins as a southpaw relief option. "He provides something special out of the bullpen," said manager Matt Williams"... We just feel we are a better team with him coming out of our bullpen. He is a power lefty, mid-90s lefty. It doesn't mean he won't start in the future ... ."
  • For the Mets, several starting positions still appear to be in flux. At first base, the long-anticipated showdown between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis has not gone anywhere with both still not cleared to run or play defense, writes Anthony Rieber of Newsday. If neither is ready, Josh Satin could take the Opening Day gig by default. Elsewhere, Wilmer Flores is surely a longshot to start at shortstop, but nevertheless he'll get another look there tomorrow, reports ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. While the move comes as Ruben Tejada continues to struggle at the plate and in the field, manager Terry Collins said that the decision is unrelated.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton says he is pleased with how things are going in Miami, but nevertheless "need[s] a season" to assess his long-term future with the club, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com"There's a good vibe here," said Stanton, "and I'd say so if it wasn't."









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