- The Yankees announced their minor league signing of outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who has received an invitation to Spring Training. The 33-year-old LaMarre is no stranger to the Bronx, having spent last season in the Yankees organization. A strong 60-game showing (.826 OPS) in Triple-A led to a few big league call-ups, in which LaMarre hit two home runs and stole a base across just nine games. The speedy outfielder can cover all three outfield spots in a pinch and should serve as some nice depth behind New York’s top center field options in Aaron Hicks and the recently re-signed Tim Locastro.
- The Angels have signed infielder Kean Wong to a minor league deal with an invite to MLB Spring Training camp. Primarily a second baseman, Wong has also demonstrated the ability to handle third base and both outfield corners. Despite the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, the 26-year-old showed no signs of rust in Triple-A last year. In 46 games the left-handed hitter slashed .339/.384/.476 with 10 steals (13 attempts). He didn’t show as much firepower in 66 big league at-bats last season with just a .427 OPS, but there may be time to build on those numbers with a Halos club that has recently found health and production elusive at second and third base.
We’ve seen dozens of players elect minor league free agency over the past couple weeks, and that has continued to be the case in recent days. We’ll round up a few more players who are hitting the open market here, courtesy of the Triple-A transactions trackers.
Players can qualify for minor league free agency in a few ways. The most notable of these include: players with 3+ years of MLB service time who have been outrighted off their teams’ 40-man rosters this season, players who have been outrighted off a 40-man roster multiple times in their careers, and unsigned players not on a 40-man roster who have spent parts of at least seven seasons on a minor league roster or injured list.
Each of this group of players has hit the market within the past week and not yet been covered at MLBTR:
- Shawn Armstrong (Rays)
- Jorge Bonifacio (Phillies)
- Mike Freeman (Reds)
- Edgar García (Twins)
- Chi Chi González (Rockies)
- Erik González (Pirates)
- Brody Koerner (Yankees)
- Brady Lail (Phillies)
- Ryan LaMarre (Yankees)
- Alex McRae (White Sox)
- Keury Mella (Pirates)
- Keynan Middleton (Mariners)
- Tommy Milone (Reds)
- Bryan Mitchell (Marlins)
- José Mujica (Rockies)
- Renato Núñez (Brewers)
- JT Riddle (Twins)
- Burch Smith (A’s)
- Mike Tauchman (Giants)
- Beau Taylor (Reds)
- Mike Wright (White Sox)
- Jimmy Yacabonis (Mariners)
Last Friday’s trade deadline brought about a slew of DFAs as teams made room for newly acquired big leaguers. With the trades of players who’d been on Major League contracts no longer allowed post-deadline, most of these players will hit outright waivers and be made available to all 29 other clubs. (Others may simply be released.) That’s going to lead to a series of outright assignments for those who ultimately go unclaimed on waivers.
As a reminder, players with at least three but fewer than five years of service time can reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency. However, doing so requires forfeiture of any remaining guaranteed salary. Players with five or more years of MLB service time can reject an outright assignment and retain any guaranteed salary on their deals. Players with fewer than three years of service can also reject outright assignments if they’ve been previously outrighted at any point in their career. We’ll run through the latest crop of outright assignments in this post…
- Outfielder Mike Tauchman went unclaimed on outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants announced Monday night. Tauchman crossed the three-year mark in terms of Major League service time just last week, giving him the option of rejecting the assignment should he choose. The Giants made no indication that Tauchman was rejecting, though players typically have a day or two from the time of the announcement to weigh whether to accept. Tauchman, 30, has batted just .181/.284/.283 in 191 plate appearances this season. He enjoyed a big 2019 season in the Bronx, however, and carries a generally strong track record (.309/.378/.493) in parts of five Triple-A seasons. As an outrighted player with three-plus years of service, Tauchman could become a free agent at season’s end even if he does opt to remain with the organization in Triple-A.
- The Yankees announced late last night that outfielder Ryan LaMarre went unclaimed on waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 32-year-old LaMarre has previously been outrighted, so he’ll have the option to reject the assignment should he choose, although he’s already accepted an outright assignment from the Yankees once this summer. LaMarre went 4-for-21 with a pair of homers with the Yankees’ big league club and has batted .308/.400/.479 in 135 Triple-A plate appearances. He’s a career .232/.286/.350 hitter in the Majors and a .283/.353/.420 hitter in parts of eight Triple-A seasons. LaMarre has experience at all three outfield spots but has been deployed primarily as a left fielder with the Yankees’ Triple-A club in 2021. He can be a free agent at season’s end unless added back to the roster.
- The Brewers announced that right-hander Patrick Weigel went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Nashville. Milwaukee picked Weigel up in the April trade that sent shortstop Orlando Arcia to the Braves. He’s allowed a pair of runs in four MLB frames this year but has struggle mightily in Nashville, where he’s posted a 6.84 ERA and walked a batter per inning (20.8 percent of his total opponents) through 25 frames. Weigel lacks the service time or prior outright assignment necessary to elect free agency, so he’ll remain with the Brewers organization in Triple-A.
After what was arguably the wildest trade deadline in years with dozens of deals around the league, multiple teams made follow-up roster moves. Trades end up squeezing some players off of rosters, or creating holes that need to be filled. This post will itemize the many 40-man roster moves that teams made after a dizzying array of blockbuster deals earlier in the day.
- The Orioles claimed Ryan Hartman off of waivers from the Astros, according to Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com. The 27-year-old lefty was recently designated for assignment when Brooks Raley was reinstated from the COVID-IL.
- The Red Sox designated outfielder Marcus Wilson for assignment. The move was needed to accommodate the acquisition of reliever Hansel Robles from the Twins.
- The Yankees announced that they designated Ryan LaMarre for assignment. The outfielder was recently selected to help the team patch some holes during their COVID outbreak.
- The Rays designated righties Sean Poppen and Jake Reed for assignment, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. This was to create roster space after the acquisition of Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson from earlier today.
- Pablo Sandoval was released by the Indians. This was just hours after he was acquired in the Eddie Rosario trade. Based on his release, it’s clear that he was only included as salary offset.
- The Tigers selected the contract of reliever Ian Krol. The left-hander is back after being designated for assignment earlier in the week.
- The Mariners outrighted Vinny Nittoli to Triple-A. The righty recently had his contract selected, throwing one inning before being designated for assignment.
- The Rangers announced they were selecting the contracts of right-handers Jharel Cotton and Drew Anderson. Both hurlers signed minor league deals over the winter.
- The Marlins selected the contracts of outfielders Bryan De La Cruz and Brian Miller. Both players are now in line to make their major league debuts. Miami designated infielder Deven Marrero and outfielder Corey Bird for assignment to create roster space.
- As expected, the Mets officially reinstated starter Carlos Carrasco from the 60-day injured list. The righty made his team debut this evening against the Reds.
- The Phillies designated reliever Brandon Kintzler for assignment and transferred outfielder Matt Joyce to the 60-day injured list. The moves were necessary to create roster space to accommodate Philadelphia’s three deadline acquisitions.
- The Nationals selected the contracts of Gabe Klobosits and Adrian Sanchez, according to Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. Klobosits, a right-handed pitcher, is a 36th round draft pick from 2017. He has no major league experience. Sanchez had a couple of cups of coffee with Washington from 2017-2019 before being outrighted in 2020 and then re-signing on a minor league deal.
- The Cubs selected the contracts of RHP Michael Rucker and utilityman Andrew Romine, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN. Rucker was picked up by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft in 2019 but returned to the Cubs before the season started and has yet to make his major league debut. As for Romine, the 35-year-old utility man was signed by the Cubs to a minor league deal earlier this year. The Cubs also selected the contract of righty Jake Jewell prior to yesterday’s game.
- The Brewers announced that they designated RHP Patrick Weigel for assignment. Weigel was acquired as part of the Orlando Arcia trade with Atlanta back in April.
- The Diamondbacks claimed outfielder Jake Hager off waivers from the Mariners. This will be Hager’s fourth club on the season, having been previously designated for assignment by the Mets, Brewers and Mariners. Arizona also selected the contracts of infielder Drew Ellis and left-hander Miguel Aguilar.
- The Dodgers announced that they claimed catcher Chad Wallach off waivers from the Marlins. Wallach was recently designated for assignment when Brian Anderson was reinstated from the IL.
The Locastro move isn’t a surprise, as he unfortunately tore his ACL last night, just a few weeks after coming over to the Bronx in a trade with the Diamondbacks. It was hoped that Locastro could shore up an outfield that had already been beset by injuries to Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. Sadly for both Locastro and the team, that will not be the case, as the injury will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
As for LaMarre, this is yet another swing in an up-and-down year with the club. His contract was selected back in May, though he wound up on the IL a few days later with a hamstring strain. In three games at the big league level, he couldn’t muster a hit in eight plate appearances.
After recuperating from the injury, he was then outrighted off the roster in June. At Triple-A this year, he has slashed a healthy .310/.403/.483, good enough for a wRC+ of 140. He will provide some depth behind an already-weakened outfield, competing for playing time with Brett Gardner, Greg Allen, Trey Amburgey, Tyler Wade and Hoy Jun Park.
A corresponding move will not be needed to create room on the 40-man for LaMarre because players on the COVID IL do not take up a roster spot. The Yankees’ recent outbreak of the virus led to six players being placed on the COVID IL, creating ample roster space.
The latest minor moves from around the league:
- The Red Sox announced that right-hander Brandon Brennan has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Worcester. Evidently, he’s accepted the assignment, as Brennan is listed on Worcester’s active roster. Boston designated him for assignment last weekend after he made one MLB appearance, tossing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He has a 2.16 ERA in 8 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level this year, with eleven strikeouts and five walks.
- The Yankees announced they’ve activated outfielder Ryan LaMarre from the injured list and passed him through outright waivers. New York selected LaMarre, whom they signed to a minor league deal over the winter, to the roster when Aaron Hicks went down in mid-May. The 32-year-old LaMarre went down with an injury himself just three days later and went on the IL. He’s been outrighted before in his career, so he has the right to reject a minor league assignment in favor of free agency.
MAY 16: The Yankees officially placed Hicks on the IL, retroactive to May 13, with a left wrist sprain. LaMarre was indeed selected to the roster in a corresponding move. The 32-year-old has a .236/.286/.338 line in 246 MLB plate appearances over parts of five seasons. He signed a minor league deal with New York over the winter and was off to a .273/.333/.303 start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees already had a pair of 40-man roster vacancies, so no additional move was needed to accommodate LaMarre’s selection.
MAY 15: The Yankees will indeed place Hicks on the 10-day IL, according to Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network (Twitter link). Ryan LaMarre will be called up to take Hicks’ spot on the active roster, as per Jack Curry of YES.
MAY 14: Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks has suffered a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, Marly Rivera of ESPN reports. There is no word on how much time Hicks will miss. He could play this weekend, go on the injured list or undergo surgery, per Rivera. He’s on medication for the time being.
This continues a difficult start to the season for Hicks, who hasn’t been able to replicate his strong effort from 2020. The switch-hitting 31-year-old has hit just .194/.294/.333 with four home runs in 126 plate appearances, making it easily his worst production since the Yankees acquired him from the Twins before 2016. Hicks performed well enough in the Bronx from 2017-18 that the team signed him to a seven-year, $70MM extension heading into the 2019 campaign. But Hicks dealt with back and elbow problems that year, limiting him to 54 games, and had to undergo Tommy John surgery after the season.
Although Hicks has had a rough go this year, any extended absence would be a significant blow to New York’s outfield depth. Hicks has played the vast majority of the team’s games this year in center field, starting at the position in 30 of 37 contests. The Yankees’ next option has been Brett Gardner, who has also posted uncharacteristically poor numbers this season, and the club took from its center depth when it traded Mike Tauchman to the Giants for reliever Wandy Peralta in late April.
The Yankees announced their full slate of non-roster invitees to Spring Training on Wednesday, and while the bulk of them have already been reported over the course of the offseason, there are a few new attendees among the bunch. Infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich, right-handers Nick Goody and Luis Garcia, outfielder Ryan LaMarre and southpaw Lucas Luetge are will all be in camp as non-roster players with the Yanks.
Dietrich, 31, has gravitated toward a three-true-outcomes skill set over the past couple of seasons as his power, strikeout rate and walk rate have all spiked. Since being cut loose by the Marlins after the 2018 campaign, he’s spent time with the Reds and Rangers, batting a combined .189/.332/.462 with 24 home runs, a 9.7 percent walk rate and a 25 percent strikeout rate. Dietrich has experience at first base, second base, third base and in left field, and his increasingly powerful left-handed swing would be a good fit at Yankee Stadium if he were to crack the MLB roster at some point.
Goody, 29, was a Rangers teammate of Dietrich’s in 2020 but struggled in his lone season with Texas. The former Indians setup man served up 11 runs in 11 innings last year but had strong showings in Cleveland both in 2019 and in 2017. Yankees fans quite likely recall Goody from his prospect days and his 2015-16 big league debut as a Yankee. His best season came with the 2017 Indians when he tossed 54 2/3 innings of 2.80 ERA ball with a huge 32.6 percent punchout rate and a respectable nine percent strikeout rate, though his ’19 season was also sound: 40 2/3 innings, 3.54 ERA, 28.9 K%, 12.7 BB%. His 2018 season was shortened by elbow troubles, and last year’s struggles came in a season marred by back spasms.
Garcia, 34, makes a trifecta of 2020 Rangers joining the Yankees organization. He’s spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Phillies, but was knocked around for seven runs on 10 hits and nine walks with 11 strikeouts in 8 1/3 frames as a Ranger last year. Garcia was excellent with the 2017 Phillies but hasn’t had much success since — just a 5.26 ERA in 116 1/3 frames. He still averaged 97.2 mph on his four-seamer in 2020, however.
The 2020 season was the first that LaMarre, 32, didn’t log some big league time since 2014. He’s been an up-and-down fourth outfield type with the Reds, Red Sox, A’s, Twins and White Sox since making his MLB debut with Cincinnati in ’15, hitting .236/.286/.338 in 246 plate appearances along the way. LaMarre is a right-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots and who carries a .281/.349/.415 career batting line in parts of seven Triple-A seasons.
Luetge, 34 in March, pitched in the Majors with the Mariners from 2012-15 but hasn’t been in the big leagues since. He’s bounced around the Triple-A clubs of the Orioles, Reds, Angels and D-backs in the meantime and owns a 4.22 ERA and 24 percent strikeout rate at that level. In 89 MLB innings he has a 4.35 ERA with pedestrian K/BB numbers but an above-average 47.7 percent grounder rate.
The Yankees also confirmed previously reported minor league agreements with several former big leaguers, including righties Kyle Barraclough, Jhoulys Chacin, Adam Warren and Asher Wojciechowski; lefties Nestor Cortes Jr. and Tyler Lyons; outfielders Socrates Brito and Jay Bruce; catchers Rob Brantly and Robinson Chirinos; and infielder Andrew Velazquez.
The Cubs announced that they have released outfielders Steven Souza Jr. and Ryan LaMarre and right-hander Juan Gamez. They also outrighted left-hander Matt Dermody, recalled righty Adbert Alzolay, optioned righty Colin Rea and added RHP Joe Wieland to their 60-man player pool.
Souza was a 30-home run hitter with the Rays in 2017, but he dealt with major injury problems as a Diamondback over the next two years. Souza was still able to land a guaranteed $1MM from the Cubs in free agency last offseason, but the move didn’t pay off at all for the club. He took 31 trips to the plate and batted .148/.258/.333 with one homer and 15 strikeouts before the Cubs designated him for assignment Sept. 5.
LaMarre previously garnered MLB experience with a few teams, most recently the Twins, but only owns a .623 OPS at the level. The Cubs signed him to a minor league contract in July, though he saw no action with the team before it released him.
Dermody, whom the Cubs signed to a minors pact Aug. 6, threw 25 1/3 frames with the Blue Jays from 2016-17 and returned to the bigs with a scoreless inning for the Cubs on Sept. 6 in his sole appearance of the season.
The Cubs announced Friday that they’ve signed outfielder Ryan LaMarre to a minor league deal. Chicago also confirmed its previously reported minor league deal with infielder Derek Dietrich and added 2020 draftee Burl Carraway to its 60-man player pool. All three players will head to the team’s alternate training site in South Bend.
LaMarre, 31, has spent time in the Majors in each of the past five seasons, most recently with the Twins in 2018-19. The 2010 second-rounder, who is a career .236/.286/.338 hitter in 246 trips to the plate, had recently opted out of a minor league deal with the Rays. He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions and carries a solid .281/.349/.415 batting line in parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level.
Carraway, selected in the second round out of Dallas Baptist University, is seen as a pure bullpen prospect with a powerful fastball/curve combination. He misses bats with ease but also has struggled with his control. He was widely regarded as a top-100 prospect in this year’s draft and could rise to the Majors quickly — although a 2020 debut would nevertheless register as a surprise.