Yunesky Maya Rumors
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.
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.
Sunday night linkage..
- The three newest members of the Dodgers are happy to be in Los Angeles, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
- The Rangers were the biggest winners at the deadline, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- Yunesky Maya tells Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Spanish link) that he has been training hard and "in about three weeks" the Nationals can save him a spot on the roster (translation courtesy of Nick Collias). Earlier today the Nats confirmed that they have inked the 28-year-old hurler to a four-year deal.
- Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that a three-way trade was discussed in which Mike Lowell could have landed with the Yankees. In the discussed deal, the Red Sox would have sent Lowell to the Rangers, who would then send the veteran to the Yankees.
- Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal writes that despite his strong first half, Clay Buchholz still couldn't bring himself to relax at the deadline.
- The Giants haven't talked to Carlos Delgado's people since this winter, tweets Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.
- MLB.com's James Hall writes that Indians manager Manny Acta is happy to have July 31st in the rear view mirror. Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns, and Jhonny Peralta were all shipped out in advance of the deadline.
- The future of Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu is clearly in doubt, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos had his eye on center fielder Anthony Gose for quite some time, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Anthopoulos finally got his man in exchange for first baseman Brett Wallace.
AUGUST 1st: The Nationals have confirmed the signing, via a team press release. Maya's major league contract is for four years, though the salary is still unconfirmed. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears the deal is worth $6MM, while El Nuevo Herald's Jorge Ebro tweets a figure of $8MM, so it's safe to say that Maya will earn somewhere in that range.
JULY 20th: The Nationals reached a preliminary agreement with Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya for an undisclosed amount, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (Spanish link). Rojas' source says Maya will undergo a physical next week in Washington. The 28-year-old also drew interest from the Red Sox, Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets, Yankees and others.
Maya had been eligible to sign with big league teams for the last month and he was unblocked two months ago. He has considerable experience as a starter in Cuba. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo did not confirm or deny the signing, but he did rave about the pitcher to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.