Zach Kroenke Rumors

Minor Moves: Maxwell, Bantz, Swauger

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Justin Maxwell has cleared outright waivers and accepted his assignment to the Royals‘ Triple-A affiliate, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). Though Maxwell has struggled in limited action this year, he has been a valuable contributor in the past and owns a career .225/.312/.420 triple-slash. He was tendered a contract over the offseason and avoided arbitration with a $1.325MM deal.
  • MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports (via Twitter) that the Nationals have released catcher Brandon Bantz. The 27-year-old Bantz batted .271/.320/.343 this season in 76 PA with Double-A Harrisburg. Bantz received the briefest of Major League callups last season when picked up two PAs with the Mariners.
  • The Phillies have inked outfielder Chris Swauger to a minor league deal, per the team’s transactions page. Swauger, 27, struggled in Triple-A last season with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate but has a solid .284/.331/.435 batting line in 1218 games at the Double-A level.

Minor Moves: Barton, Kroenke, Lerew

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s minor moves here …

  • Athletics first baseman Daric Barton has accepted his assignment to Triple-A rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Barton was recently designated for assignment and then outrighted after the A’s added Kyle Blanks via trade.
  • The Nationals have purchased the contract of lefty Zach Kroenke from the independent Somerset Patriots, the Atlantic League club announced on Twitter. Kroenke, a fifth-round pick of the Yankees back in 2005, appeared in seven games over the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old, who has spent time starting and in relief, worked to a 4.51 ERA in 129 2/3 innings with the Brewers’ top affiliate last year.
  • Righty Anthony Lerew‘s contract has been purchased by the Angels from the York Revolution, the independent league club announced on Twitter (hat tip to Jason Bristol of CBS 21 News Harrisburg). The 31-year-old has seen action in parts of five big league seasons with the Braves and Royals, but hasn’t cracked the majors since 2010. Once considered a top-100 prospect with Atlanta, Lerew has managed just a 7.48 ERA in 61 1/3 MLB frames, though he has compiled a 3.90 mark in 330 1/3 Triple-A innings (most of them as a starter). Lerew saw some action in Japan and Korea over 2011-13 before returning to the United States this year with the Revolution, for whom he had thrown 24 innings of 2.25 ERA ball.
  • As MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows, two players remain in DFA limbo at present, both of whom figure to draw some interest: Jeff Keppinger (White Sox) and Justin Maxwell (Royals).

Minor Moves: Green, Kroenke, Narveson, Lalli

Here are the day's minor moves …

  • The Brewers have re-signed corner infielder Taylor Green to a minor league deal after he was recently outrighted, agent Joshua Kusnick announced via Twitter (hat tip to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Andrew Gruman of FOXSportsWisconsin.com). The contract includes several opt outs and an invitation to big league spring training. Though the 27-year-old missed most of 2013 due to injury, he has a nice .311/.386/.513 line in parts of two seasons at the highest minor league level. His major league career line is less impressive — .207/.266/.343 — but it has come in just 154 plate appearances over two seasons. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has the details
  • The club is also close to reaching a deal to bring back lefty Zach Kroenke, who is also represented by Kusnick, McCalvy reports in the same link. Kroenke has spent much of his time in Triple-A since 2009, splitting time between relieving and starting. Last year, he put up a 4.51 ERA in 129 2/3 innings. His deal does not include an invitation to MLB spring training.
  • Meanwhile, both lefty Chris Narveson and catcher/first baseman Blake Lalli have elected to become minor league free agents, notes McCalvy via Twitter. The news was originally tweeted by the Brewers Player Development account. Narveson, who spent 2010 and 2011 in the Milwaukee rotation but has not seen substantial MLB time since, was outrighted back in June. He posted a 5.14 ERA in 15 Triple-A starts this past season. Lalli, who was designated and then outrighted in September, has never been given a real chance in the bigs, but did put up a .282/.334/.447 line in 311 Triple-A plate appearances last year.
  • The White Sox recently dealt for first baseman Jackson Laumann, sending the Braves cash considerations in return, reports Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Laumann, a 20-year-old righty, has done little to impress in rookie ball but will get a new shot with an organization whose amateur scouting department is headed by his father, Doug Laumann.
  • Alex Castellanos of the Dodgers remains the only player in DFA limbo at present, as reflected in MLBTR's DFA Tracker.


Minor Moves: Igarashi, Brewers, Royals

Here are some minor transactions from both MLB and Japan, with the most recent items at the top of the page…


Minor Moves: 28 Players Elect Free Agency

A total of 28 players — all with big league time under their belts — recently elected free agency after finishing the year in Triple-A. Here is the full list, courtesy of the International League and Pacific Coast League transaction pages…


Odds & Ends: Rule 5, Jones, Hechevarria, Brewers

Links for Easter Sunday…


Kroenke Clears Waivers, Optioned To Triple-A

Lefty reliever Zach Kroenke has cleared waivers and been optioned to Triple-A Reno by the Diamondbacks, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Arizona selected Kroenke from the Yankees with the sixth overall pick in December's Rule 5 Draft.

Since this was Kroenke's second time through the process (the Marlins selected him in last year's Rule 5 Draft), he had the right to declare free agency if someone claimed him. As Jack Magruder of FoxSportsArizona.com explains, New York was told that Kroenke would elect to become a free agent if they wanted to take him back, so they never bothered to put a claim in. ESPN's Keith Law confirmed with Kroenke's agent that the Diamondbacks' chose to keep him on the 40-man roster even though he cleared waivers.

The 26-year-old Kroenke was the Yankees' fifth round pick in the 2005 draft, and posted a 1.99 ERA with a 6.8 K/9 and a 3.7 BB/9 in 72.1 Triple-A innings last year. He has held lefties to a .256 batting average during his minor league career.