Wilkin Ramirez Rumors
The Twins announced yesterday that they will hand the reins in center field over to top prospect Aaron Hicks. The 2008 first-rounder ranked 72nd on Baseball America's Top 100 list and 98th on MLB.com's Top 100. Here's some more on the Twinkies as we draw closer to the end of Spring Training...
- General manager Terry Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that Hicks won the Opening Day job because he doesn't believe in holding players back for service time reasons: "'Can you imagine if we sent somebody out who did what the kid did?' Ryan said. 'And I had to look at [Josh] Willingham, [Justin] Morneau, [Glen] Perkins, [Joe] Mauer and those guys who are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that.'"
- Other teams are interested in catcher Drew Butera, who the Twins optioned to Triple-A yesterday, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). However the Twins prefer to keep Butera, who they signed to a $700K contract in order to avoid arbitration this winter. The 29-year-old is just a .183/.232/.265 career hitter but is regarded as a terrific defensive catcher.
- The Twins contacted Chris Young this offseason and had interest in him at one point according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but an official tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the team no longer considers him a fit (Twitter link). Young is set to opt out of his contract with the Nationals.
- The Twins were approached by representatives for both Yuniesky Betancourt and Freddy Garcia, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, but the team passed on both players (Twitter links).
- Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins, has all but guaranteed himself a spot on the Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. A corresponding 40-man roster move will need to be made in the coming days.
The latest minor moves from around MLB...
- The Mets announced that they agreed to sign left-hander Scott Rice to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Rice, 31, has a 4.08 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 14 minor league seasons.
- The Mets also signed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann to a minor league contract, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. The 28-year-old spent this past season with the Orioles' Triple-A team.
- The Cardinals agreed to a minor league contract with first baseman/right fielder Jamie Romak, MLBTR has learned. The Cardinals acquired the 27-year-old from the Royals midway through the 2012 season. In 442 total plate appearances in the upper minors, Romak posted a .260/.336/.406 batting line and hit 10 home runs and 21 doubles this past season.
- The Blue Jays signed infielder Jim Negrych to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports (on Twitter).
- The Twins announced that they signed 12 players to minor league contracts that include invitations to MLB Spring Training: right-handers Samuel Deduno, Shairon Martis, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez and P.J. Walters; outfielders Brian Dinkleman and Wilkin Ramirez; infielders James Beresford and Deibinson Romero and catcher Eric Fryer. Right-hander Tom Boleska and infielder Jason Christian also signed minor league deals with the Twins.
Moves listed here without specific attribution come from MLB.com's transactions page...
- The Rockies have signed infielder Brandon Wood, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Wood will make $100K over the league minimum if he makes the big league roster, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Wood, of course, was once a blue-chip prospect with the Angels.
- The Twins have signed right-handers Brendan Wise, Jared Burton, Samuel Deduno and Luis Perdomo, and outfielders Matt Carson and Wilkin Ramirez to Minor League deals, tweets Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.
- The Padres released second baseman Alberto Gonzalez. San Diego appears to be clearing 40-man roster space in anticipation of next month's Rule 5 draft.
- Right-hander Taylor Buchholz elected free agency. The Mets removed Buchholz from their 40-man roster earlier in the week. He would have earned roughly $1.2MM in 2012 had the Mets retained him through arbitration. Earlier in the week GM Sandy Alderson was unsure if anxiety and depression would prevent Buchholz from pitching in 2012.
- The Angels released right-hander Anthony Ortega.
The latest players to be outrighted off 40-man rosters:
- The Indians outrighted Trevor Crowe off of their 40-man roster, according to the team. Crowe, who appeared in 15 games for the Indians in 2011, cannot elect free agency
- The Rangers outrighted pitchers Omar Beltre, Merkin Valdez and Eric Hurley and infielders Andres Blanco and Esteban German off of the 40-man roster, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Blanco, who would have been arbitration eligible, projected to earn $500K through arbitration. He posted a .605 OPS in 82 plate appearances as a utility player and was the only one of the outrighted players to pick up significant playing time in 2011.
- The Mariners outrighted infielder Luis Rodriguez, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. I named Rodriguez and David Aardsma as the Mariners' primary non-tender candidates back in September, and now both are off the 40-man roster, which stands at 36. Rodriguez has elected free agency, reports MLB.com's Greg Johns.
- The Braves outrighted catcher J.C. Boscan, reliever Stephen Marek, outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, and outfielder Antoan Richardson to Triple-A Gwinnett, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Meanwhile, starter Todd Redmond's contract was selected. Marek had Tommy John surgery in May; he was obtained from the Angels with Casey Kotchman for Mark Teixeira at the '08 trade deadline. I thought at the time that the Braves' return topped the value of a couple of draft picks. That hasn't been true if you look at who the Angels took with their two Teixeira picks: top prospect Mike Trout and lefty Tyler Skaggs, a main component in the Dan Haren trade.
Links on an intensely busy Monday for the Rockies...
- Mike Hampton's agent Mark Rodgers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic he's had "extremely productive conversations" about a 2011 contract with the Diamondbacks. Hampton made 14 relief appearances at Triple-A and in the Majors this year after signing with Arizona in August.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he hasn't yet decided whether to trade Prince Fielder or hold onto him. At this point, the Brewers intend to keep their options open with the Scott Boras client.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells MLB.com's Matthew Leach that he'll be hesitant to sign Type A free agents who turned down offers of arbitration. Keep track of all arbitration decisions right here.
- Lance Berkman will meet with the A's tomorrow, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). They're one of his many suitors, though they'd have to convince him to DH regularly.
- There's mutual interest between the Tigers and Zach Miner, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (on Twitter). The Tigers designated Miner for assignment earlier today.
- The Indians announced that they re-signed catcher Luke Carlin to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. The 29-year-old has played for the Padres, D'Backs and Indians since 2008.
- The Braves also signed a catcher to a minor league deal, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Longtime minor leaguer J.C. Boscan signed with the Braves, who also added Brent Clevlen and Wilkin Ramirez.
The Braves have removed Wilkin Ramirez from the 40-man roster, allowing him to qualify for minor league free agency in November, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The Braves acquired Ramirez from the Tigers on July 31st.
In 24 games for Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate, Ramirez hit .253/.351/.458 with four homers. Heading into this season, Baseball America rated the outfielder as the eighth best prospect in Detroit's system. The publication said that while he was unpolished, he still possessed "tantalizing five-tool ability".
The trade deadline deal calls for the Braves to send the Tigers a player to be named later or cash considerations by November 20th.
The Braves acquired outfielder Wilkin Ramirez from the Tigers for a player to be named later or cash considerations by November 20th, according to the team. The Tigers had designated Ramirez for assignment on Wednesday to clear a spot for Jhonny Peralta.
Ramirez, 24, has a .230/.295/.458 line between Double and Triple A this year. Heading into the season Baseball America ranked Ramirez eighth among Tigers prospects, but obviously his stock has dropped since then. Still, they did praise his "tantalizing five-tool ability."