Xavier Paul Rumors
Let's check out some links as Saturday turns into Sunday..
- Outfielder Xavier Paul has signed with the Reds and will report to Triple-A Louisville, according to his agency Paragon Sports International on Twitter. Paul was granted free agency by the Nationals earlier this week.
- Cody Ross told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that he rejected a multi-year offer from the Braves to sign a one-year deal with the Red Sox this winter. Ross has a .275/.352/.560 slash line in 220 plate appearances this year.
- The Giants signed left-hander Clayton Tanner and assigned him to Triple-A after he was released by the Reds, according to the Fresno Grizzlies' tranactions page. Tanner, 24, spent several years in the Giants organization before being designated for assignment last summer.
- There is concern for the Angels that there could be distractions if Vernon Wells either grumbles about a lack of playing time upon his return or other players grumble about him taking at-bats away from Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Wells is set to earn $21MM in each season through 2014 and moving him would be far from easy.
- Russell Martin's slump this year could cost him a great deal of money, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The catcher is believed to have rejected a three-year, $24MM offer from the Yankees this offseason, instead choosing to bet on himself.
- Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette confirmed to Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that the club won't be signing Korean high school pitcher Seong-Min Kim. The O's signing of Kim this winter got them in hot water with the Korean Baseball Association which led to their $550K agreement being voided.
The Nationals announced that they agreed to sign Chad Tracy, Brett Carroll and Xavier Paul to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. The team also confirmed minor league deals for Jeff Fulchino, Waldis Joaquin, Carlos Maldonado, Andres Blanco, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Jason Michaels. The Nationals will also invite right-hander Rafael Martin, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Corey Brown to Spring Training.
Tracy, 31, owns a .278/.337/.445 line in seven big league seasons, but hasn't produced much at the plate since 2007. The corner infielder spent the 2011 season with the Hiroshima Carp, posting a .235/.293/.336 line in 164 plate appearances. Carroll, 29, has big league experience in each of the past five seasons and can play all three outfield positions. In 322 career plate appearances, he has a .203/.281/.322 line. Paul spent the 2011 season with the Pirates and Dodgers, posting a .255/.292/.346 line in 262 plate appearances.
Today's minor moves...
- The Pirates released outfielder Xavier Paul, who cleared waivers, tweets MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. She adds that he cannot technically re-sign with the Pirates until May 16th. Paul, 26, was designated for assignment earlier this month. He posted a .254/.293/.349 line in 251 plate appearances for the Pirates this year.
The Pirates have announced that outfielder Xavier Paul and catcher Eric Fryer have been designated for assignment. As noted by MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, Paul can't be outrighted to Triple-A, so he'll become a free agent if he clears waivers. In corresponding moves, the Pirates added six players to their 40-man roster today to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft.
Paul was picked up on waivers from the Dodgers in April and posted a .254/.293/.349 line in 251 plate appeaarances for Pittsburgh last season. Fryer, 26, has a career .799 OPS in the minors and he recorded his first 29 Major League at-bats with the Bucs last year.
Free agent addition Kevin Correia makes his sixth start as a Pirate tonight and he carries a 3.48 ERA into Pittsburgh's contest with the Rockies and their high-powered offense. Here's the latest on the Pirates...
- The Pirates expect waiver claim Xavier Paul to play all three outfield positions, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Manager Clint Hurdle told Dunlap that he's confident Paul can cover lots of ground on defense, a skill the Pirates appear to value more than John Bowker's hitting ability at the moment.
- Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Pirates didn't have much use for Bowker. "He was my third left fielder, my third right fielder, my third first baseman," Hurdle said.
- Though newcomer Brandon Wood has started three consecutive games at shortstop, Hurdle told Biertempfel that Ronny Cedeno hasn't necessarily lost his job. Cedeno failed to run out a ground ball this week and has been struggling at the plate.
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates returned Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez to the Indians.
The Pirates claimed outfielder Xavier Paul off waivers from the Dodgers, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Paul had been designated for assignment on April 18th to make room for Jerry Sands. The Pirates announced they transferred Scott Olsen to the 60-day DL to open up a 40-man roster spot for Paul. They'll make a 25-man roster move once Paul reports to Pittsburgh.
Paul, 26, hit .325/.384/.579 in 250 Triple-A plate appearances last year, playing all three outfield positions in his third stint at the level. The success did not carry over to the big leagues. Paul last cracked a Baseball America handbook prior to the 2010 season, at which point he was rated a couple of spots ahead of Sands at 23rd among Dodgers prospects. BA praised Paul's raw talent, but said he doesn't have enough power to compensate for his strikeouts. He's a good defender with plus speed.
Paul is the ninth player Pirates GM Neal Huntington has claimed off waivers since the beginning of 2010, according to MLBTR's Transaction Tracker.
With Manny Ramirez activated today from the disabled list, the Dodgers put backup outfielder Reed Johnson on the DL to create roster space. In the opinion of Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, Johnson's back injury might've been the "slight reprieve" that Garret Anderson needed to stay on the team. With George Sherrill put on waivers, Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers would have Anderson in mind should the club be looking to further clear the roster of under-performing veterans.
Anderson signed a minor-league contract with L.A. in March and made the club with the expectation that he would provide veteran leadership, a backup glove in the outfield and left-handed pinch-hitting help off the bench. While Dilbeck says Anderson is "great in the clubhouse," the outfielder has posted a .470 OPS in 140 plate appearances and his limited time in the field has been shaky (a -8.8 UZR/150).
Dilbeck thinks L.A. has more to gain by cutting Anderson and keeping rookie Xavier Paul as the left-handed outfield reserve. Dilbeck notes that Paul himself hasn't performed overly well (a .649 OPS in 94 PAs) but Paul at least has upside, whereas there's little evidence that Anderson will turn things around in the second half. GM Ned Colletti gave Anderson a vote of confidence in May, but if the problem, as Colletti claimed, was that Anderson hasn't yet adjusted to a backup role, then two more months of struggles would seem to imply that Anderson may never find that comfort zone. Anderson's career 103 OPS+ is a sign that he may have been a poor choice for the "professional hitter" pinch-hitting job in the first place.
In spite of Anderson's problems this season, he would likely get picked up by another team in the hopes that his experience could aid a playoff contender (and that his numbers would pick up with a change of scenery). If Dilbeck's prediction of July 24 as the Dodgers' decision day is correct, Anderson would have lots of time to catch on with another team should he actually be released.
- Since the Dodgers called Xavier Paul up from the minors, he should be getting regular playing time with Manny Ramirez out, reasons Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- Alan Embree told Dan Barbarisi of The Providence Journal that he won't be extending his contract deadline again. He hopes to be called up by the Red Sox by April 30th.
- The AP has details on Ben Zobrist's $18MM extension with the Rays.
- Though the knuckleballer doesn't say it, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says "it's obvious [Tim Wakefield] isn't keen on his new [bullpen] assignment."
- Jim Callis of Baseball America explores what might happen if MLB allows trading draft picks.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders how long Javier Vazquez will be given to get on track.
- With tongue firmly in cheek, Grant of the McCovey Chronicles predicts free agent-to-be Jayson Werth will sign with the Giants next winter.
- ESPN's Keith Law shares his rankings of the top 100 prospects for the June amateur draft. (ESPN Insider subscription required.)
- Speaking of young players, MLB.com's Jane Lee talks to Athletics director of player personnel Keith Leippman about some of the top prospects in Oakland's farm system.
- ESPN.com's Eric Karabell says that if Matt Capps can keep up his strong start, the right-hander will be a good trade chip for Washington over the summer. Karabell also notes that if Capps is dealt, it will likely be to a team looking for set-up help, not a closer.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times says it's a close call between Derek Jeter or Manny Ramirez for the title of "best big contract in baseball history."