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Yunesky Maya Rumors
Right-hander Anthony Swarzak has signed a contract with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, the Bears announced (Twitter link in Korean). The 29-year-old Swarzak, a client of Jet Sports Management, had been pitching with the Indians. Cleveland announced this afternoon that they have sold his contract to Doosan (Twitter link).
Swarzak will bring to the Bears six years of Major League experience, nearly all of which came with the Twins. A former second-round draft pick, Swarzak spent parts of five seasons in Minnesota, working both out of the rotation and out of the bullpen. Formerly ranked by Baseball America as the No. 100 prospect in all of baseball, Swarzak didn’t establish himself as a starter but was arguably the game’s best long man in 2013 when he worked to a 2.91 ERA and led all Major League relievers with 96 innings pitched.
A down season in 2014 led the Twins to non-tender Swarzak, however, and he latched on with the Indians on a minor league deal. After a strong Spring Training, Swarzak made the Indians’ roster and pitched quite well for them in 13 1/3 innings this year, allowing five earned runs with 13 strikeouts against four walks. Despite that showing, he was designted for assignment and outrighted in May.
All told, Swarzak has a career 4.45 ERA with 5.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.7 percent ground-ball rate in 453 Major League innings. He’ll now head overseas to Korea, where he’ll replace former big leaguer Yunesky Maya on the team’s roster. The 33-year-old Maya has an 8.17 ERA this season despite having thrown a no-hitter early in the 2015 season (h/t: Sung Min Kim of River Ave. Blues on Twitter). This is the second time in recent months that the Bears have shown an interest in Swarzak, as the team also reportedly made a run at him this offseason prior to his signing with Cleveland.
In response to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in which it was reported that the Nationals were looking to add shortstop prospects to their system, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post breaks down the reported offers to Ian Desmond and examines his contract situation. Desmond reportedly rejected an offer of $85-98MM over seven years this offseason, but as Kilgore notes, other shortstops with similar (or inferior) production have signed for more. Desmond has already said he feels financially secure — as well he should, having been guaranteed more than $23MM in his career — and he therefore doesn’t need to feel pressured to take a below-market deal, Kilgore writes. He concludes by noting that if Desmond finishes his career elsewhere, it’ll be because the Nationals let him walk, not because Desmond turned his back on the club.
Here’s more on Desmond and the NL East…
- Desmond spoke with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson and flatly said that he expects to be a National in 2016 and beyond. “I can’t picture myself other than this,” said Desmond. “I can’t picture myself in any other uniform, clubhouse and Spring Training complex. I can’t see myself with any other coaching staff or anything like that. This is what I know. This is what’s on my mind. This is home for me.” Asked about the aforementioned Rosenthal report, Desmond declined to comment but added that there’s no ill will between him and the organization, and he has tremendous respect for GM Mike Rizzo’s decision-making skills.
- In a second piece from Kilgore, he looks at the fact that three of the Nationals‘ top 10 picks in this year’s draft — including first-rounder Erick Fedde and second-rounder Andrew Suarez — are unsigned. The Nationals are unlikely to sign ninth-rounder Austin Byler, a source tells Kilgore, meaning the Nats will lose $145,900 from their bonus pool, further complicating their negotiations with Fedde — a Scott Boras client. Rizzo considers it a “cardinal sin” to leave a top pick unsigned, notes Kilgore, who expects both Fedde and Suarez to sign. He feels that negotiations could come down to the wire, however.
- The Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization are working on a buyout of minor league right-hander Yunesky Maya of the Braves, reports Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (on Twitter). The Cuban hurler was originally signed by the Nationals with much fanfare, but he never panned out in the Major Leagues. Maya, now 32, has a 2.63 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 85 2/3 innings this season for Triple-A Gwinnett.
- The Braves don’t have the financial wherewithal to take on Jake Peavy or any other significant salary, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. He notes that in 2011, when the team acquired Michael Bourn from Houston, GM Frank Wren included an additional prospect in the deal to avoid having to pay the remainder of Bourn’s salary.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at Jonathan Papelbon‘s trade stock and a list of teams that will looking for bullpen help. He notes that there are a lot of excellent relievers on the market this year, all of whom make less money than Papelbon. Ultimately, he opines that a package of Papelbon and A.J. Burnett could be beneficial to the Orioles, though he feels the Angels and Tigers are other plausible destinations.
- Antonio Bastardo is the name that Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears the most in trade buzz (Twitter link). Entering play today, the 28-year-old southpaw had a 3.60 ERA with 50 strikeouts against 24 walks in 40 innings. Bastardo is earning $2MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this offseason. He is under team control through 2015.
The Braves have signed right-hander Yunesky Maya to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deports. The 32-year-old Cuban hurler never lived up to expectations with the Nationals, posting just a 4.17 ERA in 464 minor league innings and a 5.80 ERA in 59 frames at the big league level. Elsewhere in the NL East…
- The Nationals have discussed Jerry Blevins with the Athletics, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. However, James Wagner of the Washington Post adds that it was the Nats who reached out to the A's, and Oakland is said to be happy with its bullpen (Twitter link).
- Former manager Davey Johnson rarely utilized infield shifts, but Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com writes that defensive shifts will be a point of emphasis under new manager Matt Williams. Kolko quotes Williams as saying his club will have defensive meetings every day.
- Despite tendering John Mayberry a contract, the Phillies are seeking an upgrade over the soon-to-be 30-year-old as they look to add a right-handed bat with better defense in cente field, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Marlins have checked in on Delmon Young, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, who notes that Rosenthal has previously reported that Young has worked out at first base (Twitter link).
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:
- The Royals announced a series of minor league signings, including for third baseman Brandon Laird, outfielder Paulo Orlando and right-hander Wilking Rodriguez. Laird, 26, is the younger brother of Gerald Laird and joins the Royals from the Astros, where he received major league playing time in 2013. Orlando, 28, is re-upping with the Royals after six seasons in the organization. The 23-year-old Rodriguez will transition to the Royals after seven seasons in the Rays' farm system. He has a career 3.90 ERA, mostly as a starter, but has never reached Double-A.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has updates on a number of clubs' minor league signings. Among those with MLB experience (with links to Twitter): The Rockies will return Bobby Cassevah and Matt McBride, and have added righty Greg Burke. Headed to the Tigers is righty Jhan Marinez, while Gorkys Hernandez and Edinson Rincon will stick with the Royals organization. The Phillies have brought back shortstop Andres Blanco. And the Dodgers inked utility infielder Brendan Harris. Other clubs with new signings include the Orioles, Reds, Marlins, White Sox, and Athletics.
- The Cubs have signed outfielder Casper Wells, according to a tweet from Eddy. The team also added righties Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel, along with shortstop Jeudy Valdez. Wells got 102 plate appearances with three different clubs last year, posting a meager .126/.186/.147 line that is perhaps understandable given his constant movement and scant playing time. In 2012, over 316 plate appearances with the Mariners, Wells was good for a .228/.302/.396 slash.
- In addition to bringing back righty Benino Pruneda and catcher Jose Yepez on minor league deals, the Braves have added former Phillies backstop Steven Lerud, tweets Eddy. Lerud appeared in nine games for the Phils between 2012-13. At Triple-A last year, he had an interesting .217/.353/.311 line over 219 plate appearances, as he drew nearly as many walks (35) as he had hits (39).
- Cutting ties with a major international acquisition, the Nationals have released righty Yunesky Maya, Eddy tweets. Washington saw little return on its $6MM investment in Maya, who had been outrighted off of the club's major league roster early in the 2013 season. After struggling in two brief call-ups in 2011-12, Maya's last stint with the Nats was even more regrettable. In his only MLB appearance of the 2013 season, Maya retired one batter in the bottom of the tenth before surrendering a walk-off home run to Pablo Sandoval.
- The Cubs have released outfielder Dave Sappelt, tweets Eddy. As Eddy notes, Sappelt was one of the pieces — along with lefty Travis Wood and second baseman Ronald Torreyes — picked up by Chicago in the deal that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati. The 26-year-old Sappelt has a .251/.301/.343 slash line in 274 plate appearances spread over the 2011-13 seasons. He has spent most of his time in Triple-A over that time frame, and posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of his two years at Iowa.
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Today's minor moves…
- The Nationals announced Yunesky Maya cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. The 31-year-old had been designated for assignment on Friday to open a roster spot for Jeff Kobernus. Maya had signed out of Cuba for $8MM in 2010, and has totaled 59 big league innings with a 5.80 ERA.
- The Brewers signed reliever Clay Hensley to take Donovan Hand's place at Triple-A, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Hand joined the big league club yesterday. Hensley had been released from the Reds' Triple-A affiliate a week ago, after posting a 4.00 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, and 1.00 HR/9 in 18 innings. Hensley is best known for allowing home run #755 to Barry Bonds in 2007, which tied Hank Aaron's record. Bonds would go on to hit seven additional home runs, the final one coming off Ubaldo Jimenez. Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the government's BALCO investigation that offseason, and his legal issues and reported steroid use led to what his agent called a "conspiracy" among teams not to sign him.
- Six players currently reside in DFA limbo: Francisco Martinez of the Mariners, Michael Bowden of the Cubs, Robert Andino of the Mariners, Billy Buckner of the Angels, and Francisco Rondon and Ben Francisco of the Yankees.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced after tonight's ballgame that the team designated pitcher Yunesky Maya for assignment, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times and others reported (via Twitter). In a corresponding move, the team will call up 24-year-old infielder Jeff Kobernus for his first big league tour.
Maya, a 31-year-old righty who hails from Cuba, has disappointed since the Nats gave him $8MM to sign as an international free agent. In just 59 career big league innings, Maya has struggled to a 5.80 ERA and posted a substandard 4.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. In his only appearance this season, he surrendered a walk-off home run to Pablo Sandoval.
Kobernus, a 2009 second-round pick, was a Rule 5 draftee of the Tigers this past offseason. After challenging for a roster spot with Detroit in the spring, he was returned to the Nationals. Primarily a second baseman for much of his career, Kobernus has seen significant time in the outfield of late, both with the Tigers over the spring and with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate. He earned the promotion by posting a .333/.378/.420 line over his 193 plate appearances this season.
- Nyjer Morgan, who is reportedly being eyed by a few teams, doesn't expect to open the season with the Nationals. "I just think this place isn't for me," the outfielder told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."
- In the same MLB.com piece, Ladson adds that Brian Broderick, a Rule 5 selection from the Cardinals, is expected to earn a spot on the Nats' Opening Day roster. Broderick figures to be used in short and long relief, though he can also start if needed.
- Yunesky Maya was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse today, the team announced. Washington signed the Cuban pitcher to a four-year deal last summer.
Links for Sunday evening as the Dodgers and Giants battle it out in Los Angeles..
- Shin-Soo Choo is reminding his former team, the Mariners, of how talented he is, writes Doug Miller of MLB.com. Seattle sent Choo to Cleveland in a deal for Ben Broussard in 2006.
- Jeff Larish is enjoying his second stint with the A's, writes MLB.com's Alex Espinoza.
- Twins manager Rod Gardenhire told Kelly Thesier of MLB.com that designating Matt Fox for assignment was not an easy decision.
- Yuneski Maya is excited to make his major league debut, writes George Von Benko in piece for MLB.com.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun spoke to Cal Ripken Jr. who has high hopes for Manny Machado.
A few links to check out while we wait to see if Jon Garland can halt the Padres' eight-game losing streak and get his team's season back on track…
- The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wonders out loud (via Twitter) if Paul Konerko could be a fit for the Red Sox in 2011. That speculation, of course, likely depends on Adrian Beltre's future in Boston.
- In a piece for MLB.com, Sarah D. Morris opines that the Dodgers should re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, even though the team's financial situation makes it unlikely.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) draws the parallels between this year's Astros and last year's Padres, pointing out that both clubs traded long-time stars at the deadline for young players and payroll savings, then went on to have strong second halves.
- Olney also notes that given his disappointing season (.255/.314/.315) and recent suspension troubles, Nyjer Morgan is hurting his chances for future employment. FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi also chimed in on the subject.
- The Nationals plan to call up Cuban defector Yunesky Maya following Monday's game according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Washington signed the 28-year-old righthander early last month.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale recently sat down for a chat with Dan Hudson. Among other things, the righty said it's nice to be with a team that wants him. Hudson was traded from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson before this year's deadline.
Sunday night linkage..
- The Nats still expect to see Yunesky Maya pitch for them before the end of the year, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Pirates opened up their books to the media and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the goods.
- Florida held on to Cody Ross until August because they had hoped to reassert themselves in the playoff chase, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- It doesn't sound as though Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (via Twitter) likes the Mets chances of landing Cliff Lee this offseason.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that Ken Williams isn't on the road with the White Sox but he doesn't know if the GM is going after someone on the waiver wire.
- Dodgers skipper Joe Torre thinks that late season callups can create an unfair advantage, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich.