Tolleson, released by the Orioles earlier this week, is a veteran of four big league seasons and 12 minor league seasons. He most recently logged 234 Major League plate appearances with the Blue Jays between the 2014 and 2015 campaigns, hitting a combined .256/.313/.384 with three homers and five steals while seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop and in the outfield corners. Tolleson is a career .245/.299/.372 hitter in 363 PAs at the MLB level and owns a lifetime .281/.365/.401 batting line in an even 2100 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. He’ll give Kansas City some infield depth in the wake of yesterday’s devastating news that Mike Moustakas will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Angels announced tonight that right-handers A.J. Achter and Al Alburquerque, each of whom was designated for assignment recently, have cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Salt Lake. Achter was an offseason waiver claim from the Twins, whereas Alburquerque inked a one-year deal as a free agent. The 27-year-old Achter has allowed six runs on 15 hits and three walks in 11 1/3 innings while striking out just four. Alburquerque, 29, hasn’t appeared in a big league game for the Halos this season, though he was recently brought up from Triple-A. He posted a 2.40 ERA with Salt Lake and fanned 15 batters in 15 innings, though he also walked nine in that time and threw three wild pitches. Control has long been an issue for Alburquerque.
- The Orioles announced that they’ve selected the contract of lefty Ashur Tolliver from Double-A Bowie today. The 28-year-old has seen his career slowed by injuries but has enjoyed a very strong season at Double-A thus far, recording a 2.42 ERA with a 25-to-8 K/BB ratio in 26 innings of work. Tolliver will step into the lefty relief role on the Orioles’ roster that was vacated by yesterday’s trade of Brian Matusz to the Braves.
- First baseman/outfielder Travis Ishikawa is on the market again after being released by the White Sox Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. He scuffled to a .201/.277/.344 batting line in 175 plate appearances at Triple-A Charlotte. The eight-year MLB veteran, now 32 years of age, owns a lifetime .255/.321/.391 batting line in 1,050 trips to the plate at the major league level.
- The Phillies have announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Osmel Aguila to a minor league deal, the club announced. The 27-year-old hasn’t played in the Serie Nacional since 2014. Overall, he owns a .280/.384/.447 batting line over 1,310 in the top Cuban domestic league.
- Angels righty Danny Reynolds has been assigned to Triple-A after clearing outright waivers, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That ends the DFA carousel for the 24-year-old, at least for the time being. He’ll need to show improved command to earn a shot in the L.A. pen.
- The Orioles released infielder Steve Tolleson, David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot tweets. The 32-year-old has spent time with the O’s and Jays in recent years, and owns a .245/.299/.372 slash in his 363 career plate appearances at the major league level. He has dealt with injuries early in 2016 and has only appeared in eight games to date.
- First baseman Cody Decker was released by the Rockies, per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, who rounded up several transactions of note that have yet to appear here at MLBTR. Decker had solid power numbers, as usual, at Triple-A but he also received only 78 plate appearances and struck out in thirty of them.
- The Tigers have cut ties with several minor league veterans, including catcher Humberto Quintero, via Eddy. Now 36, Quintero failed to crack the bigs last year after a dozen consecutive years in which he spet at least some time in the show. He was hitting .250/.297/.333 at Triple-A over 65 pate appearances.
- The Brewers released righty Jim Miller, the Baseball America report provides. He was off to a 7.41 ERA in 17 innings at Triple-A, with 19 punch-outs but also 11 walks. Miller, 34, had a solid campaign for the A’s back in 2012 but hasn’t done much at the major league level before or since.
- Yankees release outfielder Jared Mitchell, Eddy adds. The 27-year-old, a former first-round pick, was off to a .250/.337/.361 start in 83 plate appearances at Double-A. He’s never managed to develop any consistency at the plate in a seven-year minor league career.
- The Phillies released outfielder Alfredo Marte, Eddy reports. Hes seen minimal action in parts of three MLB seasons, and was acquired by the Phils as the team sought to build out its outfield depth. But Marte has recorded just five hits and a single walk over 37 plate appearances on the year at the highest level of the minors.
Here are the day’s minor signings from around the league…
- Infielder Steve Tolleson is headed to the Orioles on a minor league deal, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter. Tolleson will receive an invitation to major league camp. The 32-year-old owns a .245/.299/.372 slash in 363 career plate appearances in the bigs.
- Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee is joining the Giants on a minor league deal, Matt Eddy reported as part of a slew of signings. (See his Twitter feed for these and more.) Formerly a top prospect with the Rays, the 25-year-old suffered a serious knee injury and has not hit much since at the Triple-A level. Among other deals, San Francisco also brought back lefty Ricky Romero, per Eddy.
- The Diamondbacks have added righty Kyle Drabek on a minors deal, according to Eddy. He joins outfielder Kyle Jensen and third baseman Carlos Rivero as Arizona minor league free agent signees. Once one of the game’s best-regarded pitching prospects with the Blue Jays, the 27-year-old Drabek did not live up to his promise in Toronto. But he did toss a solid 137 1/3 innings last year at Triple-A for the White Sox, working to a 3.47 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.
- The White Sox have signed righty Phillippe Aumont to a minor league pact, Josh Norris of Baseball America tweets. The former Phillies prospect lost his 40-man roster spot last year. He did put up a 3.14 ERA after moving back into the rotation at Triple-A, but continued to demonstrate serious control problems with 6.8 BB/9.
- The Blue Jays have signed first baseman Casey Kotchman, second baseman David Adams and shortstop Jiovanni Mier to minor league contract with invitations to Major League Spring Training, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. The 32-year-old Kotchman comes with far and away the most big league experience, having served as an everyday first baseman (or close to it) with the Angels, Braves, Red Sox, Mariners, Rays and Indians from 2007-12. However, Kotchman hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2013 and hasn’t experienced much in the way of success since his career year with the 2011 Rays. He’s a lifetime .260/.326/.385 hitter in the Majors. Adams, meanwhile, was once a promising second base prospect with the Yankees but never received a consistent chance in the Majors (in part, due to injuries). The now-28-year-old did receive 152 PAs in New York in 2013 but batted just .193/.252/.286 in that short stint. Mier, meanwhile, is a former first-round pick and top 100 prospect, but his bat has never really come around. He’s now 25 years of age and is a career .239/.333/.340 hitter in the minors.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski says that righty Clay Buchholz is done for the year, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweets. The new top Boston baseball decisionmaker added that he sees it as an easy call to exercise a $12MM option to keep Buchholz — if he is healthy. That’s an important proviso, of course, though the Sox should have time to assess his recovery before making a final decision.
- Dombrowski spoke with the press today as he accompanied the Red Sox on the road for the first time, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. While the offseason is still a ways away, he’s still short on time. “There’s going to be some shortcomings that are just going to fall through the cracks,” he explained. “I can’t see the minor-league clubs; I just don’t have enough time to be able to do that.” Before deciding on any additions or subtractions to his front office group, Dombrowski says, he’s working to get to know his current staff. “You just have to really do your homework to get to know people and to get to know whose opinions you can feel you really trust,” said the incoming executive. “… The people here will know the players better than I will.”
- While the Red Sox front office composition remains to be seen, one prominent member is already on his way out. Pro scouting director Jared Porter is heading to the Cubs, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. It’s important to note that, as Britton explains, Dombrowski indicated that at least one front office member was departing (quite possibly Porter) in a move that had already been in the works before his arrival.
- Dombrowski also touched upon the Red Sox’ pending move of Hanley Ramirez to first base, as Britton further reports. “It just seemed to make sense” to try the veteran out at the position, he explained. “Not that you have to rush it, but it gives us some time to get him out there. I wouldn’t want to say, ’Let’s wait until spring training and let’s see if he can do it.’ What happens if he can’t do it? You really need to know that more so now.”
- If the Blue Jays are going to land Indians president Mark Shapiro to fill that role in Toronto, they may well do so in the coming days, according to Joe Vardon of the Plain Dealer. A source says that “closure” on Shapiro’s status is expected in short order. We learned earlier today that Cleveland has authorized him to meet with the Jays.
- There’s something of an unusual situation brewing between the Blue Jays and infielder Steve Tolleson, who is on the temporarily inactive list at Triple-A, as John Lott of the National Post writes. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said that Tolleson “just decided he didn’t want to play anymore,” while Tolleson says he’s injured. The question is whether Tolleson was injured when he was designated for assignment by the club, the argument being that he should (if that was the case) be earning a major league salary from the MLB disabled list.
Today’s roundup of minor transactions from around the league…
- Outfielder Xavier Avery exercised a July 1 opt out clause and was granted his release by the Tigers, reports James Schmehl of MLive.com (via Twitter). Formerly one of the Orioles’ top prospects, the fleet-footed Avery has enjoyed a very nice season with Triple-A Toledo to this point, hitting .305/.371/.393, although his typically strong success rate is stolen bases is down this year. The 25-year-old has swiped 14 bases but been caught 10 times. A former second-round pick, Avery has eclipsed the 30-steal mark four times throughout his minor league career.
- Also via Schmehl, it seems that Avery’s spot will be filled by another once-promising outfield prospect, as he reports that Trayvon Robinson has signed a minor league pact with Detroit and is headed to Toledo. Once a well-regarded prospect in the Dodgers’ system, Robinson’s career has stalled a bit in recent seasons. He’s spent the early portion of the season with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate, batting .276/.357/.448. He’s a career .258/.332/.423 hitter in parts of five Triple-A seasons. Robinson reached the Majors in 2011-12 with the Mariners but posted a .602 OPS in 319 total plate appearances.
- First baseman Daric Barton has been released from the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate, tweets Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Barton, a longtime member of the Athletics, batted just .196/.282/.299 this season at Triple-A Buffalo. Still 29 years of age, Barton served as Oakland’s everyday first baseman in the 2010 season and led the American League with 110 walks that year. He’s slashed .216/.323/.284 in 600 big league plate appearances since that time, however.
- The Blue Jays announced yesterday that the recently designated Steven Tolleson has cleared outright waivers and been outrighted to Buffalo. The 31-year-old utility man was designated on July 1 after his rehab assignment ended in the minors and Toronto had to make a call on his roster status. He’s been outrighted in the past and will therefore have the option to refuse the assignment in favor of free agency.
The Blue Jays have activated infielder Steve Tolleson from the DL and designated him for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. With Tolleson’s rehab assignment done, the club was forced to make a decision on his roster status.
With Devon Travis and Jose Reyes both healthy and set to play regularly, and Ryan Goins and Danny Valencia set to take the club’s reserve infield slots, Tolleson simply didn’t fit on the 25-man. But he has been useful this year in limited action, hitting a solid .268/.333/.439 over 45 plate appearances.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether the 31-year-old will remain in the Toronto organization. If he clears waivers, he’ll have a choice whether to elect free agency, as is his right given that he’s previously been outrighted.
Reports from earlier this season suggested that Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle is contemplating retirement following the season, but the highly durable workhorse tells Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link) that such talk is “kind of ridiculous,” adding that he has yet to make any kind of decision on his future. The 36-year-old Buehrle has struggled in the early stages of the 2015 season as he aims to complete his 15th consecutive 200-inning season.
A few more notes on Major League Baseball’s lone Canadian team…
- As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes, the Blue Jays and infielder Steven Tolleson have circumvented the rule that requires outrighted players to remain in the Minors for 10 days before returning to the big league club. While initial reports stated that Tolleson accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, Davidi reports that he instead opted for free agency (as all players that have been previously outrighted are allowed to do) and re-signed on a Minor League deal. Because of that, he will be eligible to rejoin the club whenever the Blue Jays decide they need an additional infielder, which could even be this weekend, according to Davidi.
- Outfielder/first baseman Chris Colabello is healthy this season after quietly suffering through nerve damage in his right thumb following his hot start last season with Minnesota, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. However, Colabello was battling for playing time after having clawed his way to the Majors from independent ball and didn’t feel a stint on the DL was something he could afford. Medical tests after the season revealed that there was no tear, and a hand specialist told Colabello that some rest would allow the issue to heal, which the 31-year-old said is indeed the case. Colabello has six hits in eight at-bats and has a window for some playing time as both Michael Saunders and Jose Bautista are less than 100 percent, Chisholm notes.
- Colabello spoke with the Toronto Star’s Mark Zwolinski about his unorthodox path to Major League Baseball and the decision to turn down a $1MM offer to play in Korea because he was unwilling to let his dream of making it to the Majors die. He tells Zwolinski that his time with the Twins has taught him that he can’t worry about the future, because doing so ultimately hurt him. Now, says Colabello, he’s simply living in the moment and soaking up another opportunity to be in the Majors: “Every day on a baseball field is the best day for me.”
The day’s minor moves will be tracked right here:
- The Dodgers have outrighted Scott Baker to Triple-A Oklahoma City following his DFA, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group. The 33-year-old Baker was designated on Sunday following a pair of starts in which he allowed seven runs in 11 innings of work with an 8-to-3 K/BB ratio. The former Twin has yet to establish himself as a credible mid-rotation starter, as he was in Minnesota from 2007-11, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
- Left-hander Joseph Ortiz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa after being designated for assignment by the Cubs over the weekend, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Ortiz enjoyed a solid season with the Rangers in 2013 at just 22 years of age, working to a 4.23 ERA with 27 strikeouts against eight unintentional walks in 44 2/3 innings. Ortiz was involved in a freak accident prior to the 2014 season when was struck by a motorcyclist while walking down the street in his native Venezuela. The resulting fractures in his left foot cost him much of the 2014 season. Ortiz was claimed off waivers by the Cubs this winter and has a 3.38 ERA in 10 2/3 Triple-A innings, though he’s struck out just one hitter despite a career K/9 of 8.6 in the Minors.
- Steven Tolleson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Blue Jays, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The infielder could find himself back on the active roster in short order, per Davidi, as the club is currently lacking a reserve middle infielder after today’s roster moves.
- The Padres have purchased the rights to catcher Yenier Bello from the independent league’s Joplin Blasters, according to Mark Schremmer of the Joplin Globe (via Twitter). Bello, 30, was released by the Braves just one year after signing out of Cuba. It seems rather likely that he will be looked upon as an organizational depth piece by the San Diego organization.
- The Indians announced that outfielder Jerry Sands has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A. Sands could have declined the assignment and shopped his early-season .348/.400/.435 batting line on the open market, but apparently felt his best opportunity remained with the Cleveland organization.
The Blue Jays have designated infielder Steve Tolleson, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. With the move, the club has cleared roster space for the activation of outfielder Michael Saunders.
The 31-year-old Tolleson saw just 12 plate appearances this year for Toronto, picking up three hits and a walk. He saw his most extensive MLB action last year with Toronto, slashing .253/.308/.371 in 189 plate appearances. Tolleson has seen limited action in two other seasons.
The Blue Jays announced, via press release, that they’ve designated outfielder Moises Sierra for assignment in order to clear a 40-man and 25-man roster spot for infielder Steven Tolleson. Toronto also announced that Jonathan Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, with outfielder Anthony Gose being recalled to take his place.
The 25-year-old Sierra struggled greatly in his time with the Jays this season, collecting just two hits and a walk against nine strikeouts in 35 plate appearances. Despite his lack of production in 2013, however, Sierra was a well-above-average bat in 2013, slashing .290/.369/.458 in 122 plate appearances at the Major League level. Sierra has posted an identical .782 OPS in his career at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
Tolleson, 30, has a bit of Major League experience with the A’s and Orioles, having batted .225/.273/.350 with three homers in 129 plate appearances. He’s been highly versatile throughout his career, playing second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions. At the Triple-A level, Tolleson is a .285/.368/.409 hitter in 2040 plate appearances.