- Right-hander David Hernandez tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the Diamondbacks organization feels like home, and just a couple of weeks into his second stint with the team, it “kind of feels like [he] never left.” Hernandez discussed his struggles in recent seasons with Piecoro and also credits the addition of a slider to his fastball/curveball repertoire as a key factor in his resurgence. Hernandez acknowledges that he was wary of using the new pitch in Spring Training with the Giants, as he was trying to earn a roster spot and was reluctant to use a pitch that he had only recently adopted. He began mixing it in with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate, though, and the results have been terrific. All three of Hernandez’s offerings carry positive pitch values (per Fangraphs), and he’s posted a 2.01 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 through 40 1/3 innings this year.
Here are some of the latest minor moves from around the game, courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy except where otherwise noted:
- The Mariners outrighted right-hander Christian Bergman to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Bergman, 29, had the right to opt for free agency now or at the end of the season; given that he’s now listed on Tacoma’s roster, it seems he’ll wait and consider the latter option when the time comes. Bergman, 29, has thrown 51 1/3 innings on the year for Seattle, working to a 4.91 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
- Outfielder Daniel Robertson will return to the Indians on a minors deal after being designated for assignment and then released, the club announced. The 31-year-old has appeared in each of the past four MLB campaigns — each time with a different team. This year, he took 88 plate appearances for Cleveland, slashing .225/.287/.338. While it’s not clear whether Robertson will factor at the major league level again this year, the fleet-footed, high-contact 31-year-old could conceivably make for a useful bench piece once rosters expand in September.
- The Diamondbacks have added right-handers Andury Acevedo and Louis Coleman on minors deals. Acevedo, who’ll soon turn 27, was intriguing enough to land a 40-man spot with the Cubs a few years back, but has yet to show any consistency on the mound in the upper minors. As for Coleman, who threw 48 innings of 4.69 ERA ball last year for the Dodgers, he’ll return to Arizona after briefly testing the open market. He has worked to a 2.05 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 over 57 innings this year in stints with the D-Backs’ and Reds’ top affiliates.
- Heading to the Reds on a minors deal is slugging outfielder Adam Walker. He has bounced around via waiver claims and minor-league deals of late, seeing time in three organizations thus far in 2017. All told, he has compiled a tepid .185/.220/.410 batting line — with a dozen home runs but also 88 strikeouts against just ten walks — in his 241 plate appearances in the upper minors.
- The White Sox released infielder Grant Green, who had previously seen brief action in the majors this year with the Nationals. On the season, Green owns an overall .232/.306/.300 slash over 245 plate appearances at the Triple-A level with those two organizations. The 29-year-old was once considered a notable possible contributor with the Athletics and Angels, but has managed only a .248/.283/.336 batting line in his 353 trips to the plate in the majors.
- Six-year MLB veteran Collin Cowgill has been released by the Padres. Cowgill, 31, joined the organization on a minors deal over the winter, but never earned a crack at a return to the majors. He carries a .235/.297/.390 slash through 220 plate appearances
- Finally, the Rangers have released lefty Bobby LaFromboise and righty Jaye Chapman. The former has made 27 MLB appearances and shown some intriguing numbers at times, but struggled last year at Triple-A with the Phillies and was sidelined for much of the current season. The 30-year-old Chapman, meanwhile, is looking to work back toward the majors for the first time since his lone stint back in 2012. But he was hit hard in his 36 2/3 innings at Triple-A Round Rock, with a 6.63 ERA and 6.9 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9.
The White Sox announced that they’ve acquired minor league right-hander Ryan Burr from the Diamondbacks for international signing bonus pool money.
The 23-year-old Burr had been with the Diamondbacks since they used a fifth-round pick on him in 2015. At the time, Baseball America (subscription required and recommended) lauded the ex-Arizona State closer’s “very live fastball,” though it was unimpressed with his offspeed pitches. Since then, Burr hasn’t ascended beyond the Single-A level, nor did he rank among Arizona’s top 30 prospects, per MLB.com. He has generated excellent minor league results, however, including a .72 ERA with 10.44 K/9, 2.16 BB/9 and an absurd 73.1 percent ground-ball rate in 25 High-A innings this season.
In picking up Burr, the White Sox have subtracted from their remaining $4.75MM in international money. However, they’re barred from spending more than $300K on an individual player because of the signing of Luis Robert during the previous international period. The Diamondbacks had $5.75MM to work with as of July 2, tying them with a slew of other teams at the top, and immediately made several signings. Their most expensive acquisition has been $2.5MM outfielder Kristian Robinson, a 16-year-old from the Bahamas.
- The Diamondbacks were in on reliever Joe Smith before the Blue Jays dealt him to the Indians, but David Hernandez “seemed to be” Arizona’s top target, Heyman writes. The D-backs ended up acquiring Hernandez from the Angels, making this his second stint in Arizona. Hernandez has only thrown 2 2/3 innings in his return to the club, but they’ve been spotless (no runs, hits or walks allowed).
- The Diamondbacks received some interest in minor league right-hander Jon Duplantier prior to the trade deadline, Fangraphs’ David Laurila reports. The 23-year-old Duplantier, a third-round pick for Arizona in the 2016 draft, has a 1.53 ERA, 10/1 K/9 and 4.25 K/BB rate over 106 combined innings at the high-A and A-ball levels this season. MLB.com ranks Duplantier as the second-best prospect in Arizona’s system, citing his “power curve,” solid changeup and fastball in the 91-96 mph range, though the righty has also already had some shoulder and elbow issues early in his career. A source with another club tells Laurila that the D’Backs put a high asking price on Duplantier in trade talks.
- The Diamondbacks’ rotation has gone from second worst in the Majors last year to second best this season, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello notes. Petriello credits big improvements in the Snakes’ outfield defense and catching, along with Robbie Ray’s breakout, and Taijuan Walker’s addition. He also notes that Zack Godley moved from relieving to starting for the big club this year, while Archie Bradley did the opposite; both moves had a big impact on the fortunes of Arizona’s starting pitchers.
After struggling to find a job this spring, Hernandez has quietly turned in an excellent 2.23 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate through 36 1/3 innings of work. He’s a free agent at season’s end and is earning an $850K base salary in 2017, so he’s owed an affordable $293K the rest of the way.
Hernandez will deepen the Arizona pen as the club looks to solidify its hold on a Wild Card spot down the stretch. He has provided the team with plenty of good innings in the past, pitching to a 3.54 ERA over 233 2/3 innings from 2011 through 2015.
The 20-year-old Madero has struggled through 49 1/3 innings between Rookie ball and Class-A this season, limping to a 5.69 ERA while working as a starter. He has been hit especially hard since moving up a level. That said, the peripherals look much more promising for the young Venezuelan. He currently carries 8.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 47.8 percent ground-ball rate on the year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Athletics announced that they have traded veteran infielder Adam Rosales to the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league right-hander Jeferson Mejia. The minor move coincides with the D’Backs placing shortstop Chris Owings on the 60-day DL due to yesterday’s fractured finger, according to Nick Piecoro of AZ Central.
Rosales, who has played for the A’s in parts of five seasons, was a candidate to be designated for assignment as Chad Pinder approaches his return from a hamstring injury, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 34-year-old Rosales is hitting .234/.273/.346 in 223 plate appearances for the A’s this year, appearing mainly at shortstop. Arizona’s acquisition was likely influenced by a tragedy, as shortstop Ketel Marte left the team after the loss of his mother in a car accident.
Mejia, a 22-year-old reliever who was recently demoted to short-season ball, has struggled with his control and posted a 5.90 ERA in 21 relief appearances this year. The D’Backs acquired him from the Cubs in 2014 as part of the Miguel Montero deal.
2:32pm: The D-backs could be a landing spot for Hernandez, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
2:27pm: The Angels are getting close to a trade involving Hernandez, reports Feinsand (on Twitter).
12:11pm: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that Petit is also generating interest. The 32-year-old has tossed 60 2/3 innings with a 2.52 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 34.4 percent ground-ball rate this season in a multi-inning role.
11:37am: The Angels are marketing right-handed relievers Bud Norris and David Hernandez, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). Industry expectation is that both will be traded before today’s 4pm ET non-waiver deadline, Olney adds.
Both Norris and Hernandez have had strong rebound seasons in 2017, though Norris’ numbers have taken a hit in the past week due to a pair of grand slams allowed. That said, he’s worked 41 2/3 innings with a career-high 11.2 K/9 rate against 4.5 BB/9 and a 49 percent ground-ball rate (also a career-best). The resulting 3.89 ERA is a near-mirror image of Norris’ 3.87 FIP and is also largely reported by a 3.59 xFIP and 3.55 SIERA. Norris is a free agent at season’s end, and he’s making $1.75MM this year, with about $602K of that sum still owed to him.
Hernandez, meanwhile, has somewhat quietly turned in an excellent 2.23 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate through 36 1/3 innings of work. Like Norris, he has enough big league service time to qualify as a free agent following the season, making him a pure rental piece as well. Terms of his minor league deal with the Angels weren’t reported at the time he signed, but I’ve been told he’s earning an $850K base salary — so there’d be about $293K of that sum remaining.
It’s not clear whether the Halos are shopping any of their other short-term assets, though righty Yusmeiro Petit is having a fine year in the bullpen, while third baseman Yunel Escobar has produced at about a league-average pace at the plate. Outfielder Cameron Maybin may well have been a trade commodity, but his knee injury will keep him out into August. It’s still possible that he could clear trade waivers next month or be moved to a team that places a claim, however.