The Indians announced a series of moves this afternoon, including a claim of lefty Jack Leathersich from the Pirates. (The @RedSoxStats Twitter feed was first to report the claim earlier today.) A 40-man spot for Leathersich was opened by shipping infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder to the Rays in exchange for cash.
In other news, Cleveland announced that righty Jordan Milbrath — who was taken in the Rule 5 draft in December — was returned by the Pirates after clearing waivers. Finally, veteran infielder Adam Rosales is joining the Indians on a minors deal.
Refsnyder was out of options, and thus the Tribe at least managed to get some money back for him rather than simply losing the utilityman if exposed to waivers. Refsnyder had been battling for a backup infield job in camp, though it appears Erik Gonzalez has won that role. Cleveland looks to be carrying five outfielders, with right-handed hitters Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer (if healthy) balancing out lefty-swingers Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, and Bradley Zimmer, with Michael Brantley eventually joining the mix once he returns from the disabled list.
Once a well-regarded prospect in the Yankees’ system, Refsnyder has yet to produce much over parts of three MLB seasons, with just a .233/.306/.311 slash line over 320 career plate appearances. He can offer a versatile glove capable of playing second base, first base, and both corner outfield slots, so he gives Tampa Bay another multi-position bench option next to Daniel Robertson. The Rays had been looking for a right-handed outfield bat, so Refsnyder fills that need, even if he has yet to display much hitting stroke as a big leaguer.
Rosales was recently released from a minor league deal with the Phillies and it didn’t take him long to catch on elsewhere, as Cleveland will replace Refsnyder with a more experienced utility infielder. Rosales has extensive work at all four infield spots (plus the odd appearance in left field) over his 10 seasons and 638 big league games. This versatility has helped Rosales stick around in the Show despite a lack of hitting (.227/.292/.365 slash line over 1786 PA), though he did burst out for 13 homers and an .814 OPS over 248 PA with the Padres in 2016.
Pittsburgh placed Leathersich on waivers yesterday, as he may have been an expendable piece in a Pirates bullpen that already includes Steven Brault and Josh Smoker tossing from the left side, plus Kevin Siegrist in camp on a minor league deal. Leathersich joined the Bucs via a waiver claim off the Cubs’ roster last September, appearing in six games wearing the black-and-gold. The 27-year-old southpaw has a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 Major League innings, and both his brief MLB stint and his much more expansive sample size of 278 1/3 minor league IP exhibit indicate a penchant for racking up big totals in both the strikeout and walks departments.
Milbrath was also waived along with Leathersich yesterday, and as per the regulations of the Rule 5 Draft, the righty had to first be offered back to his original team (Cleveland) after other teams had passed on claiming the 26-year-old. A 35th-round selection for the Tribe in the 2013 draft, Milbrath has a 4.33 ERA, 7.8 K/9, and 2.02 K/BB rate over 405 1/3 career innings in the minors, cracking the Double-A level in each of the last two seasons.
The claim of Leathersich is a lot like when they claimed Tyler Olson (both young lefty reliever depth types with a little upside), and he won’t work out as well as Olson has but it’s worth a shot. Refsnyder was out of options and was as good as gone anyway. Milbrath is probably just “a guy” but I’m glad he’s coming back to the organization. Rosales is just as positionally flexible as Michael Martinez but not nearly as terrible. I’ll take it.
I read earlier today that Martinez was in a walking boot when he showed up for camp this morning. I don’t wish injury on anyone, but this injury will at least prevent CLE from making the mistake of keeping him on the roster. I know the organization and fans love Martinez, but the guy just can’t hit.
Which fans like Martinez I hate the fact he keeps finding his way in Cleveland
He did the same thing in Philly. He must be a great clubhouse guy, because statistically he’s not a very good player.
194/243/261 career line over a 7-year career. Kudos to the guy for staying in the league as long as he has, but man it was tough to watch him hit.
Mendoza Line 215
He was with the Pirates in 2014 and helped them inasmuch as they realized that they could not win without good bench players.They signed Sean Rodriguez for the next year and he has been Hurdle’s Swiss Army knife almost ever since.
I give credit to Martinez for lasting,though.For someone to have only AAAA ability to last seven years is impressive.
Now Refsnyder needs to go to Boston and Baltimore to get everyone in the AL East.
Tribe must not have watched to much of Pirates spring training baseball. Taking 2 cast offs from that team?
Milbrath was a Rule 5 guy the Pirates took from them and are returning because they don’t want to keep him on their 25 man roster. The other guy is going to the minors…..neither are going to be in Cleveland.
I have no idea why the Indians would rather have Leathersich than Milbrath, but….cool.
He didn’t have a good spring, but it’s clear that Milbrath has good stuff. Hopefully he can work it out in Indianapolis.
I think the article states that Milbrath is back in the Cleveland system
Wishful thinking combined with poor speed reading on my part, evidently.
It happens to the best of us.
Pretty clear that I read that too quickly as it obviously says returned BY the Pirates instead of TO the Pirates. Ooops.
Lame. I wanted to keep Milbrath.
Me too. Might be real close to figuring it all out. Was hoping the Tribe would let him stay in Pittsburgh and he could work on his stuff in Indy.. Oh well……
Milbrath a 26 year old AA player and 4.33 ERA has good stuff?
If the Rays don’t do anything else, they can be counted on to attempt to buy low on middle infielders.
Not just middle infielders…..on everybody.
Look out AL East. Future Hall of Fame player Robert Refsnyder is back to take over.
I still think the Angels should’ve traded Trout for him when they had the chance.
Refsnyder was battling for a backup OF job, not IF. That would be Giovanny Urshela.
Jeff Todd, I don’t know what you mean by “Refsynder has a versatile glove” He eventually butchers most positions. He can’t hit and can’t field at the major league level.
He wouldn’t be longterm on any major league roster with a GM who knows what he is doing.
Versatile doesn’t mean good
I can’t believe all it took was cash for the Rays to get Rob Refsynder. I would have thought it would have taken one of Honeywell or Adames plus a couple other lower level prospects.
*Signed every Yankees fan.
I remember when the Tribe claimed Refsnyder several months ago. Pretty sure they saw him as a depth piece since at the time they were shopping Kipnis. I knew when they couldn’t find a taker for Kip that Refsnyder would be jettisoned before the end of spring. Maybe TB can find the switch that finally makes this guy hit enough to stay in the majors.
As much as baseball keeps saying the pirates are a bad team, they have had 3 of their final cuts claimed by other teams, Seigrest might also get a job elsewhere. what gives?
Mendoza Line 215
I do not think that the Pirates are a bad team.I think that they are within the middle 4 teams in MLB.These four players at the moment are all AAAA players Like many teams,they do not have enough good players so there will be those on the fringe like these guys are.
The Pirates, unfortunately, play in a very good division, which means 18 games per season vs the Cubs, Cards, Brewers, & the Reds, who they can’t seem to beat any year. So they could be over .500 even w/o Cutch & Cole; if their schedule were different, like say the NL East where they were supposed to be except Atlanta cried to finally have a rival in Miami, which is ridiculous.
Well that just sums up the dumb moves of all moves:
Rays GM: Well we just don’t have the money to pay high caliber players.
Kevin Cash: We have a fully loaded bullpen, so many arms that we have to drop a few talented players.
Cubs GM: Hey, Mr. Rays GM would you be willing to send us the Cash you don’t have and in exchange we will send you another bullpen arm you won’t use?
Rays GM: oh twist my arm, it’s a deal.
And the dumb keeps getting more dumb.
Right. I’m surprised that they couldn’t find a taker for Jennings. Sure…he got hit around most appearances but lefty and healthy? Short supply.
Correction: Indians. Autocorrect didn’t understand the abbreviation
Rob Refsnyder over Corey Dickerson?