The latest noteworthy roster decisions across Major League Baseball as Opening Day draws ever closer…
- The Brewers announced that they’ve selected the contract of Ji-Man Choi, who’ll make their Opening Day roster. (Sung Min Kim of Fangraphs and River Ave. Blues first tweeted that Choi had made the roster.) That means both Choi and the out-of-options Jesus Aguilar will make a roster which also includes first base options Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. However, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out (via Twitter), the composition is likely to change quickly — possibly as soon as Friday. Choi has an option remaining, Haudricourt notes. More interestingly, Haudricourt adds that the Brew Crew is pursuing an external pitching addition, and if said move goes through, then Choi could quickly be optioned to Colorado Springs to clear a 25-man roster spot. Also of particular note for the Brewers is that Wade Miley was reassigned to minor league camp and won’t be making the club.
Earlier Decisions & Moves
- The White Sox have selected the contract of left-hander Hector Santiago, giving them a full 40-man roster, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times was among those to report on Twitter. In other moves, the club sent southpaw Carlos Rodon (left shoulder rehabilitation) and catcher Kevan Smith (left ankle sprain) to the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26. Santiago will now officially begin his second major league stint as a member of the White Sox, with whom he started his career in 2011 and stayed with through 2013. Santiago was successful during that span, but his career has trended downward lately – particularly last season as a Twin – which prevented him from landing a major league contract over the winter. The minors deal the 30-year-old signed with Chicago includes a $2MM salary in the bigs, which he’s now in position to earn. Santiago’s a longtime starter, but he’ll open 2018 in the Sox’s bullpen.
- The Dodgers have optioned outfielder Andrew Toles, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Toles’ demotion means Joc Pederson is likely to be the Dodgers’ Opening Day left fielder, DiGiovanna notes. Toles had been part of a crowded corner outfield battle during spring action alongside Pederson, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez, Alex Verdugo and the just-jettisoned Trayce Thompson. The fact that Toles had options remaining – unlike the expensive, apparently immovable Kemp – probably didn’t do him any favors in his bid to make the Dodgers. The 25-year-old Toles has been successful in Los Angeles since debuting in 2016, having batted .294/.341/.483 with 2.1 fWAR n 217 plate appearances. He missed all but 31 games last season, though, after suffering a torn ACL in May.
- Outfielders Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez will open the season with the Giants, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants signed Blanco, 34, to a minors pact back in January. Per that deal, he’ll earn a $1MM salary in the majors and have a chance at $500K in incentives in San Francisco, with which he previously played from 2012-16 and won a pair of World Series. Hernandez is out of options, so he was also in a do-or-die position this spring. The 30-year-old rose to the challenge, though he’ll surely need to improve on last season’s showing (.255/.327/.326 line with no home runs in 348 PAs) to keep his roster spot for all of 2018.
- Outfielder Matt Szczur and righty Jordan Lyles will be part of the Padres’ Opening Day roster, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com tweets. The out-of-options Szczur, 28, will continue to provide outfield depth in San Diego after coming over in a trade with the Cubs last summer. Lyles, meanwhile, spent a bit of time with the Padres in 2017 and then re-signed on a major league contract in the offseason. The deal also features a club option for 2019 for Lyles, who’ll begin the year in the Friars’ bullpen. Having pitched to a 5.43 ERA/4.55 FIP across 681 combined innings (182 appearances, 107 starts) with the Astros, Rockies and Padres, Lyles hasn’t lived up to the billing he had as a prospect. He’s still just 27, however.
- Catchers A.J. Ellis and Raffy Lopez will also be on the Padres’ roster, the team announced. Those two and starter Austin Hedges will give the Padres three backstops on their 25-man roster. Ellis, an established veteran backup, is now set to make $1.25MM after signing a minor league deal in the offseason. The 30-year-old Lopez, who brings just 83 PAs of MLB experience, also signed a minors pact over the winter.
- The Marlins will add catcher Bryan Holaday to their 40- and 25-man rosters, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Holaday, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Marlins in the offseason. He’ll be one of three catchers on their season-opening roster, joining Tomas Telis (out of options) and Chad Wallach, son of bench coach Tim Wallach. It’s not an ideal setup for Miami, which won’t have standout starter J.T. Realmuto at the outset of the season. Realmuto is on the DL with a bone bruise.
- The Twins will roster outfielder Ryan LaMarre to open the year, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune tweets. LaMarre, an offseason minor league signee of the Twins, spent last year with the Triple-A affiliates of the Angels and Athletics, combining for a meager .628 OPS. He’s a lifetime .268/.335/.388 hitter at the Triple-A level (954 PAs) who has seen very brief MLB action with the Reds, Red Sox and A’s.
- The Tigers announced that they’ve selected infielder Niko Goodrum’s contract, which puts their 40-man roster at capacity. Goodrum, who signed a minors deal with Detroit in November, spent 2010-17 with the Minnesota organization and batted .250/.333/.379 in 2,796 minor league PAs. He saw minimal big league action with the club (18 PAs, all of which came last season).
- The Mariners made the DL placements of Erasmo Ramirez, Ben Gamel and David Phelps official, and they also announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Casey Lawrence, who will return to the team after spending parts of the 2017 campaign on Seattle’s big league roster. The M’s also optioned infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter to Triple-A Tacoma.