Here are the day’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Pirates have placed John Holdzkom on release waivers, a week after the righty was designated for assignment. Holdzkom went from independent baseball to a key role in the Bucs’ bullpen in 2014, recording a 2.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts in nine relief innings (his first and, to date, only taste of MLB action) to help Pittsburgh reach the postseason. Holdzkom battled injuries, a loss of velocity and control issues in 2015, however, and he pitched only 24 1/3 innings of minor league ball.
- The Angels selected the contract of left-hander Greg Mahle and optioned A.J. Achter to Triple-A in a corresponding move, the club announced. (The Angels already had a 40-man roster spot open, so no further transactions were necessary to add Mahle.) A 15th-round draft pick in 2014, Mahle has a 2.97 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 4.00 K/BB rate over 97 career minor league relief innings. The 2016 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked him as the 13th-best prospect within the Halos’ thin farm system, noting that Mahle delivers his pitches from three different arm angles, including a sinking fastball that ranges from 85-94mph depending on from where Mahle is throwing it. He also has a plus changeup.
- The Diamondbacks outrighted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A after the righty went unclaimed, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports (via Twitter). Drabek signed a minor league deal with the D’Backs during the offseason and pitched in one game for the club before being designated for assignment last Friday. The 18th overall pick of the 2006 draft, Drabek has struggled at the big league level and also battled injuries, most notably two Tommy John surgeries. Drabek has only thrown 12 2/3 innings over the last four seasons.
- The Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League have signed left-hander Phil Coke and right-hander Ryan Kelly, Jason Bristol tweets. Coke threw 12 2/3 innings with the Cubs and Blue Jays last season, and has also since signed minor league deals with the A’s and Braves. The veteran southpaw was released by Atlanta during Spring Training. Kelly was also released by the Braves during the offseason, ending a three-year stint in the organization. Kelly made his Major League debut last season, posting a 7.02 ERA over 16 2/3 innings out of Atlanta’s bullpen.
- The White Sox signed left-hander David Holmberg to a minor league contract, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Holmberg was released by the Braves late in Spring Training. The signing represents a homecoming of sorts for Holmberg, who returns to the organization that selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft. Holmberg rated as one of the Sox’ most promising arms when he was traded to the D-backs alongside Daniel Hudson in exchange for Edwin Jackson back in 2011. Holmberg was flipped again in another fairly notable trade: the three-team Heath Bell deal in December 2013. Holmberg has tallied 62 innings in the Majors but logged an unsightly 6.24 ERA with more walks (35) than strikeouts (33). He’s posted strong numbers at the Double-A level in his career though and also has a 4.48 ERA in 213 Triple-A innings, making him a reasonable depth piece for the Sox.
- Also from Eddy, the White Sox also released right-hander Josh Wall, whom they had picked up on a minor league deal. Wall was one of three arms sent from the Dodgers to the Marlins in the 2013 Ricky Nolasco deal, and he bounced around the waiver wire the following offseason. The 29-year-old has allowed 23 runs in 13 2/3 big league innings despite solid Triple-A numbers. Last year, Wall recorded a 2.45 ERA in 36 2/3 innings with the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate, averaging 9.1 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings. He had a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League as well.
- The Rangers released outfielder Jordan Danks and lefty Donnie Veal, Matt Eddy reports. Both went to Spring Training with Texas on minor league deals after brief stints in the Majors last season (Danks with the Phillies and Veal with the Braves). Danks, the younger brother of left-hander John Danks, is a .224/.300/.322 hitter in 390 Major League plate appearances. The 29-year-old is capable of handling all three outfield positions. Veal, meanwhile, has a 5.48 ERA in 69 big league innings to go along with a 79-to-43 K/BB ratio.
- Catcher Rafael Lopez has signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old had been in camp with the Tigers on a minor league contract. Lopez is a career .278/.366/.390 hitter in the minors and got a brief call-up to the Majors with the 2014 Cubs. Chicago sent him to the Angels last season in exchange for an international bonus slot. Additionally, the Bluefish announced this weekend that they signed veteran minor league outfielder Jiwan James. The former Phillies top prospect spent last season with the Tigers’ Florida State League affiliate and batted .249/.299/.348 with seven homers and 22 steals.
Holmberg throws 87 mph.
87 not necessarily bad. If he has some deception and good movement and can put the ball where he wants, then it works. Looking at his BB to K ratio, looks like he has some issues with the control. If he can find the control, could be help to someone.
Happy 27th birthday, Jiwan James!