Here are some notable minor league deals on a day that produced a high volume of minor transactions…
- The Nationals have signed veteran left-hander Aaron Laffey to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training, tweets MASNsports.com’s Dan Kolko. Because he debuted at 22 years of age, it might be a surprise for some to find that the well-traveled Laffey is still just 30 years old. He spent the 2015 season in the Rockies organization but wound up pitching just 7 1/3 big league innings for Colorado, with the rest of his work coming in the minors. Laffey has spent parts of eight big league seasons in the Major Leagues and, with the exception of the 2014 season, has seen big league action each year dating back to 2007. He sports a career 4.44 ERA with 4.5 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.
- The Twins announced that they’ve signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that Sweeney would receive a $750K base salary upon making the club. Sweeney, also 30, was a significant piece of the Athletics’ roster from 2008-11 but has been limited to a part-time role since that time. Sweeney was out of baseball in 2015 but will look to get back into the Majors in 2016. That he can handle all three outfield positions and has an outstanding defensive reputation in right field would seem to help his cause. Minnesota doesn’t have a clear-cut fourth outfielder at this time.
- Lefty Ryan Buchter is headed to the Padres on a minor league deal with a big league Spring Training invite, MLB.com’s Corey Brock was the first to report (Twitter link). The 28-year-old has just one inning in the Majors — a scoreless frame with the Braves in 2014. However, he had a very strong year at Triple-A with the Cubs and Dodgers in 2015, pitching to a 1.78 ERA with 11.0 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings of relief. Control issues have long plagued Buchter, but his strikeout prowess has helped him overcome that trouble in the minors, resulting in a career 3.26 ERA. Lefties barely stood a chance against him at Triple-A this season, where he yielded just a .187/.237/.225 against same-handed batters. His .211/.344/.257 line against righties was strong as well, though it also exemplifies his control issues.
- Right-hander Jarrett Grube will return to the Indians on a minor league pact with a camp invite, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The 34-year-old has pitched just two-third of an inning in the Majors (2014 with the Angels), and while his overall body of work at Triple-A has resulted in a 5.07 ERA, Grube was outstanding at Triple-A in the Cleveland organization last year, firing 79 2/3 innings of 2.26 ERA ball with 7.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
- The Mariners have announced five minor league signings. In addition the previously reported signing of infielder Ed Lucas, Seattle has invited outfielder Mike Baxter, left-hander Brad Mills, right-hander Casey Coleman and right-hander Blake Parker to Major League Spring Training. Each player has some big league experience, though Baxter and Coleman have the most of the bunch. Baxter split last season with the Cubs and their Triple-A affiliate, logging 66 PAs in the Majors. Coleman saw significant work out of the Cubs’ bullpen and rotation from 2010-12, while Parker has spent a couple of seasons in the Cubs’ bullpen as well. Mills made one start for the A’s last season and has a fair bit of MLB experience but has never spent more than 21 innings in the Majors in a single season despite a strong track record at Triple-A.
- Former No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush has signed with the Rangers on a minor league deal, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Bush has spent the past three years in prison, serving out a 51-month sentence for critically injuring a motorcyclist in a DWI incident back in 2012. GM Jon Daniels explained to Grant that he was skeptical when learning that Bush was interested in getting back into baseball, but the team was impressed with the level of sincerity expressed by Bush as he explained his regret and desire to turn his life around. (In May 2014, the victim, Tony Tufano, told Gabe Kapler — then of FOX Sports — that he has forgiven Bush and even will root for him in his attempt to turn his life around.) Bush won’t receive an invite to Major League camp and will instead be hoping to make one of the Rangers’ minor league affiliates, Grant notes, adding that Bush is enrolled in a 12-step program and will have to adhere to a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drug use with the Rangers.