Zelous Wheeler Rumors

Yankees Sell Zelous Wheeler’s Contract To Rakuten Golden Eagles

10:25pm: The Yankees received $350K for the rights to Wheeler, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).

6:31pm: The Yankees have sold the contractual rights of infielder Zelous Wheeler to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, thereby freeing a spot on their 40-man roster, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

Wheeler, 28 in January, made his big league debut with the Yankees this season and batted .193/.230/.298 with a pair of homers in 62 trips to the plate. The former Brewers prospect was a 19th-round draft pick in 2007 and has a solid track record in Triple-A, having posted a .277/.352/.434 batting line in 817 plate appearances. The move likely affords Wheeler the opportunity to earn a significantly larger payday in Japan than he would have in the U.S., and the Yankees will receive a small amount of financial compensation, making it an appealing proposition for all parties involved.


Minor Moves: Valaika, Whiteside, Wheeler

We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.  All news is courtesy of the MLB.com transactions page, unless otherwise noted.

  • The Cubs signed infielder Chris Valaika to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). Valaika hit .219/.261/.344 in 70 plate appearances with the Marlins last season.
  • The Cubs signed free agent catcher Eli Whiteside to a minor league contract.  The 34-year-old spent last season with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate and hit just .187/.242/.280 in 67 games.  Whiteside, who last appeared in the majors with San Francisco in 2012, owns a career .215/.273/.335 slash line across parts of five seasons.
  • The Yankees signed third baseman Zelous Wheeler to a minor league contract.  Wheeler split time between the Orioles' Triple-A and Double-A affiliates in 2013, posting a .275/.354/.414 batting line.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Orioles Designate Zelous Wheeler For Assignment

The Orioles have designated infielder Zelous Wheeler for assignment, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).  The O's placed right-hander Matt Lindstrom on the disabled list to make room on the 25-man roster for pitcher Dana Eveland and DFA'd Wheeler to make space on the 40-man.

Wheeler, 25, split time between Double-A and Triple-A this season and hit just .202/.288/.283 in 27 games.  For his minor league career, Wheeler owns a .268/.367/.402 slash line with most of his time coming at the Double-A level.