Zach Jackson Rumors

Minor Moves: Valdez, Graham, Iribarren, Morales, Jackson, Hensley

We'll keep track of today's minor moves here (information courtesy of MLB.com transactions page):

  • Righty Jose Valdez has inked a minor league contract with the Red Sox. The 30-year-old has seen 24 big league games with the Astros, but worked last year at Triple-A, putting up a 5.72 ERA in 39 1/3 innings. Valdez has shown the ability to miss bats (career 8.7 K/9), but also tends to miss spots (5.2 BB/9).
  • Tyler Graham, a 29-year-old outfielder, has signed a minor league deal with the Giants. Graham spent all of 2006-11 with the San Francisco organization, then split 2012 between the Giants and Diamondbacks. He got a cup of coffee with the D-Backs (two plate appearances), but ended up out of the MLB structure thereafter. Last year, he bounced between four Independent and Mexican League clubs. In his last full Triple-A season, 2011, Graham posted a .273/.337/.338 line with 60 stolen bases.
  • The Reds have signed a minor league deal with second baseman Hernan Iribarren. The 29-year-old Venezuelan received 29 plate appearances over 2008-09 but has yet to return. Last year, with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate, Iribarren slashed .312/.367/.407 in 286 plate appearances.
  • Outfielder Angel Morales has reached agreement on a minor league contract with the Marlins. The 2007 third-round pick had spent his entire career with the Twins organization, reaching the Double-A level last year at age 23. Morales earned the promotion with a .297/.364/.525 start to the year in 234 High-A plate appearances, but failed to follow up in the penultimate level of the minors (.169/.230/.307 in 184 plate appearances).
  • The Nationals have signed southpaw Zach Jackson to a minor league deal. Now 30, Jackson saw 105 1/3 innings over the 2006-09 period after being drafted in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft. Jackson has bounced around the league, failing to stick as a starter. Last year, after converting full-time to relief for the Royals, he pitched to a 1.32 ERA in 41 innings at Double-A and Triple-A. Jackson managed a sturdy 2.57 K:BB ratio in 2013, but did so on the back of just 4.0 K/9 (against a career-low 1.5 BB/9).
  • Washington also signed righty Clay Hensley to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports on Twitter. The 34-year-old last saw MLB time in 2012 with the Giants, when he had a 4.62 ERA over 50 2/3 innings of relief. Over his career, Hensley has started 49 big league games and appeared in over 200 others out of the pen. He threw to a 2.57 ERA in 35 Triple-A innings last year with Reds and Brewers affiliates, registering 9.8 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9 in the process.
  • One player appears in MLBTR's DFA Tracker with an unresolved case: Carlos Peguero of the Mariners.

Minor Moves: Rangers, Lindsay, Texeira, James

Here's where we'll track today's minor moves, most of which were reported by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus on Twitter…


Minor League Transactions: Rangers, Twins, Nats

Here are some minor transactions from the past week, courtesy of Baseball America's Matt Eddy

  • The Rangers signed two former first-round draft picks in left-hander Zach Jackson and utility infielder Omar Quintanilla.  Jackson, picked 32nd overall by the Blue Jays in the 2004 draft, has a 5.81 ERA in 22 career major league games (17 of them starts) with the Brewers and Indians since 2006.  Jackson spent 2010 pitching for Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.  Quintanilla was taken with the 33rd pick of the 2003 draft by Oakland, and then dealt to the Rockies in 2005 as part of the Eric Byrnes trade.  Quintanilla posted a .567 OPS in 559 plate appearances with Colorado between 2005 and 2009. 
  • The Twins signed catchers Steve Holm and Rene Rivera to minor league contracts.  A 17th-round pick of the Giants in the 2001 draft, Holm has spent his entire 10-year pro career with in the San Francisco system, racking up 107 major league plate appearances in 2008 and 2009.  Rivera last played in the majors as a member of the Mariners in 2006, and has since played in the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees' systems.
  • The Nationals signed right-hander Harvey Garcia and catcher Carlos Maldonado.  Garcia had an eight-game cup of coffee with Florida in 2007 and has since pitched in the Pirates and Dodgers' systems.  Eddy says Garcia may have earned a contract due to his solid work this year in the Venezuelan League.  Maldonado, 31, was designated for assignment by Washington in September and then granted free agency after the season.  Maldonado has been in pro ball since 1996 and has 4226 career minor league plate appearances (a .687 OPS) but only 62 PAs in the bigs.


Blue Jays Acquire Zach Jackson

The Indians have traded lefthander Zach Jackson to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later, according to a team press release. He's been assigned to their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. 

Jackson, 26, has a 5.81 ERA in 105.1 big league innings, striking out just 5.4 batters per nine innings. His minor league track record isn't much better (4.83 ERA, 6.2 K/9), however he's always been stingy with walks. Toronto originally drafted Jackson in the first round back in 2004, but sent him to Milwaukee in the Lyle Overbay trade after the 2005 season. He joined the Indians in 2008 as part of the C.C. Sabathia deal.


Indians Sign Luis Vizcaino

THURSDAY: 10:45am: Waiting For Next Year writes that the Indians will have to make another move before next Saturday, when Sowers was scheduled to start. Pitchers David Huff and Zach Jackson are the leading candidates for a call-up. "When this decision is made," writes WFNY, "expect the Masa Kobayashi experience to come to an end."

9:38am: According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians announced the signing of Vizcaino to a Major League deal today.  Instead of releasing Masahide Kobayashi, the club demoted Jeremy Sowers.

WEDNESDAY: Waiting with bated breath to see what happens with free agent reliever Luis Vizcaino?  You'll have to wait a little longer.  Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Vizcaino threw for the Indians a third time yesterday, but the team says they have not signed him.  Vizcaino, however, insists he'll be on the club when they leave for Tampa Bay today (MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince agrees).


Sabathia To Brewers Trade Official

Let’s round up today’s C.C. Sabathia links in a fresh post.

  • The Brewers’ trade for ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia is official.  As a reminder, the Indians will receive Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, and maybe Taylor GreenPaul Hoynes says Michael Brantley could end up the player to be named later instead of Green.  Ken Rosenthal suggests Lorenzo Cain may also still be possible.  MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo analyzes the prospects received by the Indians.
  • Here’s an interesting link.  This is apparently the blog of agent Joshua Kusnick of Double Diamond Sports Management.  Among others, Kusnick represents Cain, Brantley, and Green.  He says Green hasn’t been informed of anything but seems more likely to be included than Brantley.
  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan calls the package of players an "OK haul."
  • ESPN’s Keith Law agrees, suggesting that Mark Shapiro should’ve held out for a higher probability return.  He sees Bryson as the key to the deal.  The 20 year-old is a projectable live arm.
  • Joel Sherman says the Brewers aren’t done – they want to add a late-inning reliever as well.
  • Indians owner Paul Dolan explains the Sabathia trade in a letter to fans.
  • Rosenthal has details of other teams’ attempts to acquire Sabathia.  He says the Dodgers wanted the Indians to package Sabathia with Casey Blake.  Surprisingly, the Yankees were "very heavily involved."  They did not want to give up Phil Hughes, however.
  • Most articles seem to assume that the Brewers have no chance of signing Sabathia.  I agree that it’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out.  We’ve read repeatedly that Sabathia does not intend to chase every last dollar.  What if he loves Milwaukee and he leads the team deep into the playoffs?  The Brewers could let Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne leave and put that money toward a competitive five-year Sabathia offer.  It’s not out of the question.

Brewers Close To Acquiring C.C. Sabathia

10:11pm: Haudricourt has names.  He says the Indians are getting LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson, and maybe Taylor Green.  Green could end up in the deal as a player to be named later.

Also, Rosenthal has commentary on the deal, explaining that "in baseball’s new-world order, prospects are power."  The ability to draft brilliantly could trump payroll as a competitive advantage.

7:59pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney chimes in, citing sources that say the teams have agreed in principle to a deal.  Sabathia himself sent a text message to ESPN’s Amy Nelson implying the same.  All signs point to Sabathia making his Brewers debut on Tuesday, with an official trade announcement tomorrow.

By the way, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has sources saying LaPorta and Green are in the deal.

6:29pm: MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince talked to Indians GM Mark Shapiro, who said "it is definitely not a done deal."  We don’t know whether that comment refers to the standard physical, or something more.  Meanwhile, Scott Miller says the deal is all but done.

6:05pm: Haudricourt says the Indians and Brewers have reached an agreement on a Sabathia trade.  The Brewers will send LaPorta and two lower level minor leaguers to Cleveland for the southpaw ace.

5:53pm: Haudricourt checks back in, stating that a deal is nearly complete. The Brewers will send LaPorta and two other minor leaguers in exchange for Sabathia. One of them could likely be Class A third baseman Taylor Green, but the other will not be Lorenzo Cain, Mat Gamel, or Alcides Escobar. Cain has been promoted to Class AA Huntsville, likely to take LaPorta’s place on the roster.

The Brewers are insisting that the deal be closed tonight, in order to allow Sabathia to arrive in Milwaukee in time to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday.

5:41pm: LaPorta is absent from tonight’s game in AA Huntsville; Alcides Escobar is not. Definitely a sign that LaPorta could be on the move and a deal is getting closer to completion.

4:50pm: Tom Haudricourt tells us that the Brewers and Indians are still in "heavy negotiations." Haudricourt notes that with the Indians having a day off tomorrow, it makes an ideal time for a press conference to announce a big move. Additionally, he reiterates that the Brewers should try to get the deal done in time to have Sabathia make his next scheduled start in a Brewers uniform.

3:54pm: Jon Heyman weighs in on the impending Sabathia deal, stating that the Indians have been trying to pry top shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar away from the Brewers as well. Heyman re-affirms that the Brewers would like a deal complete as soon as possible, in order to get two starts from Sabathia – one Tuesday and one Sunday – before the All-Star Break.

No mention of the unconfirmed report of the deal being completed from Heyman just yet.

3:15pm: Anthony Castrovince from MLB.com takes Rosenthal’s rumor one step further, citing a "Major League source," that says a trade with the Brewers and Indians for C.C. Sabathia has been "completed." If correct, the trade is indeed centered around Double-A outfielder Matt LaPorta, though the other two prospects are not yet named.

Further updates as soon as they are available.

1:58pm: Ken Rosenthal writes that the Dodgers are officially out of the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes, meaning that the Brewers could be extremely close to securing a deal to bring the 2007 American League Cy Young Award winner to Milwaukee.

Rosenthal says that the Rays and Phillies are still in the race, but are also likely unable to top the Brewers’ offer, centered around Class AA outfielder Matt LaPorta. Rosenthal points out the Indians’ strong need for power in the future and LaPorta’s 20 HR and 66 RBI in AA Huntsville. According to Rosenthal, Cleveland will also receive two more prospects from Milwaukee in the current offer. Taylor Green and Lorenzo Cain were mentioned previously on MLBTR.


Failed Trades

Let’s take a look at some deals that almost happened yesterday.

Kyle Farnsworth for Bob Wickman.  This would’ve been fun, reunions with former teams for both players.  However, the Braves wanted the Yankees to pick up all of Farnsworth’s salary, apparently.  Brian Cashman didn’t want to make him go away that badly, and Wickman would probably be a nonfactor back in the AL.

Mariners acquire Mark Loretta.  Eh.  Let’s not overstate the abilities of Loretta.  It sounds like Tim Purpura wanted some kind of legitimate prospect for him.

Rockies send Jeff Baker and others to Tampa Bay for Dan Wheeler.  We can’t really evaluate this one without knowing who else would’ve been involved.  And the Rays don’t really have a place to play Baker; they’re already squeezed finding playing time for Jonny Gomes.  If Rocco Baldelli ever gets healthy they’ll really have a pickle.  I mentioned in a recent interview at D-Rays Bay – Wheeler would probably be one of the ten best relievers available if he was a free agent after the season.  The Rays can pump up his value and get a promising young pitcher next year, as the Royals did with Octavio Dotel.    

Brewers send Tony Gwynn Jr., Zach Jackson, and another minor league for Eric Gagne.  This could’ve been the difference-maker that Scott Linebrink ain’t in a tight NL Central race.  But it doesn’t seem like Doug Melvin got a chance to counter the Red Sox offer, so you can’t really fault him.

Red Sox send Wily Mo Pena and Craig Hansen to White Sox for Jermaine Dye.  Well, there has to be some statistical way to evaluate whether this pair beats two draft picks.  You’d have to know the attrition rates of first/second rounders, and get some scouts on Pena and Hansen to see if they can ever reach their potential.  If I was the Kenny Williams I probably would’ve made the deal.  I think Pena gets docked in value from where he was two years ago, but still has pretty much the same upside if you manage him right.  Who knows, maybe Williams will go after Pena again this winter.