This installment: March 14-20
Previous installment: March 8-13
The blog post Spring Cleaning contains details on many of the young players who have been sent down to minor league camp. But elsewhere, the Diamondbacks, Giants and Rangers began trimming their organizational rosters, releasing 14 total players between them.
Released: RHP Jason Durst, RHP Matt Green, RHP Jailen Peguero, RHP Kyle Wright, LHP Forrest Cory
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cesar Valdez, RHP Esmerling Vasquez, LHP Jon Coutlangus
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jose Marte, RHP Kyler Newby, LHP Clay Zavada, SS Pedro Ciriaco
Optioned to high Class A: LHP Leyson Septimo
A second-round pick from Louisiana-Monroe in 2005, Green got hit around last summer (3-2, 5.77 with 59 hits and nine home runs in 48 Double-A innings) and then didn’t pitch in big league camp this spring.
Signed: RHP Luis Valdez
Placed on restricted list: SS Derrick Arnold
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Stephen Marek, RHP James Parr, RHP Todd Redmond, RHP Luis Valdez
Signed: LHP Brian Matusz
Released: C Guillermo Quiroz
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP David Hernandez
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jim Hoey, LHP Troy Patton
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Chorye Spoone, LHP Brian Matusz
The fourth overall pick last June and recipient of a big league deal, Matusz threw just 4 2/3 innings in big league camp, giving up two hits and a walk. The 22-year-old, who debuted in the Arizona Fall League last October (31 SO, 7 BB, 6 HR, 4.73 ERA, 26 2/3 IP), draws an opening assignment in the Carolina League, where Daniel Moskos (Pirates, fourth overall) and Ross Detwiler (Nationals, sixth), two of the top college lefties from the 2007 draft, began their first full seasons last April.
Boston Red Sox
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Hunter Jones
Optioned to Double-A: C Mark Wagner
Optioned to high Class A: LHP Felix Doubront
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Mitch Atkins, RHP Justin Berg, RHP Jeff Stevens
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Marcos Mateo
The Cubs’ bullpen figures to be crowded, but Stevens, a part of last December’s Mark DeRosa trade, didn’t do himself any favors with his spring performance: 6 2/3 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 2 HR, 6 BB, 6 SO. The 25-year-old reliever, who pitched for Team USA in the Beijing Olympics, has strikeout stuff (12.5 per nine last season at Double-A and Triple-A), but his control sometimes deserts him (4.2 walks per nine).
Chicago White Sox
Released: 1B Freddie Thon
Traded: 2B Sergio Miranda to Brewers for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Kelvin Jimenez, RHP Jon Link, C Cole Armstrong, 3B Dayan Viciedo
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jhonny Nunez, RHP Clevelan Santeliz, 1B Brandon Allen
Cuban import Viciedo, 20, impressed observers in big league camp, including manager Ozzie Guillen, by batting .231/.286/.500 with two homers and a double in 26 at-bats. Each of the other players bound for Triple-A Charlotte was acquired by Chicago at low cost: Jimenez on a November waiver claim; Link in a 2007 deadline trade for Rob Mackowiak; and Armstrong as a minor league Rule 5 pick from the Braves in 2005. That’s great value, especially seeing as Link, 25, topped the Double-A Southern League in saves last season (35), while ranking among the leaders in more important categories like opponent average (.223), strikeouts per nine innings (10.48) and fewest baserunners per nine (12.23).
Released: C Humberto Cota
Placed on restricted list: RHP Randall Linebaugh, RHP Brandon Rice, LHP Tyler Pelland, C Ryan Jorgensen, OF B.J. Szymanski
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Fisher, RHP Sam LeCure, RHP Robert Manuel, LHP Matt Maloney, C Craig Tatum
Optioned to Double-A: 3B Juan Francisco
The lefthanded-hitting Francisco, 21, heads to Double-A with a monster winter ball campaign in his back pocket. He batted .360/.419/.665 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs in 40 Dominican League games, all while showing a level of selectivity (12 walks, 34 strikeouts) that seemed absolutely foreign. (He walked just 19 times in 127 regular-season games.) Playing in power-suppressing leagues really makes Francisco’s resume sing—he topped the Midwest League with 25 home runs in 2007 and followed that up by leading the Florida State League with 62 extra-base hits last year.
Signed: LHP Rich Rundles
Released: OF Todd Martin
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP John Meloan, RHP Adam Miller, RHP Juan Salas, LHP Rich Rundles, LHP Tony Sipp, 2B Luis Valbuena
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Hector Rondon, C Carlos Santana
Unable to pitch in big league camp because of soreness and swelling in his right middle finger (the same digit that was operated on last May), Miller, 25, headed back to minor league camp where he received even worse news: He’ll need potentially career-threatening surgery on the afflicted finger unless he can find a way to compensate for the stiffness by altering his throwing mechanics.
Signed: RHP Franklin Nunez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jason Hirsh, RHP Ryan Mattheus, RHP Steven Register, 2B Eric Young Jr.
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Samuel Deduno, RHP Shane Lindsay, SS Chris Nelson
Optioned to high Class A: SS Hector Gomez
A premium defender, Gomez missed essentially the entire 2008 season (three at-bats) as he incurred a stress fracture in his left shin and then injured his right elbow while rehabbing, sending him to the operating table for Tommy John surgery.
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Chris Lambert, C Dusty Ryan, 2B Michael Hollimon, OF Casper Wells
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Alfredo Figaro, RHP Zach Simons
Outrighted to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: LHP Macay McBride
With catchers Gerald Laird and Matt Treanor in camp, Ryan got hardly a look, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts.
Released: OF Dante Brinkley
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Dallas Trahern
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Chris Leroux
Rule 5 pick returned: LHP Zach Kroenke (to Yankees)
Signed: LHP Polin Trinidad, OF Yordany Ramirez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Samuel Gervacio, RHP Felipe Paulino, LHP Tyler Lumsden, LHP Polin Trinidad, 2B Drew Sutton, SS Tommy Manzella, OF Brian Bogusevic, OF Yordany Ramirez
A converted lefthander and 2005 first-rounder, Bogusevic, 25, has all of 124 at-bats above A-ball, but oh, has he hit since making the switch. He batted .371/.447/.556 in 42 games for Double-A Corpus Christi last season, before cooling to .338/.414/.459 in the Arizona Fall League. Rick Ankiel, in 2005, hit just .243/.295/.515 in his first 136 Texas League at-bats in Year One of his conversion. With 10 home runs, though, he had the raw power that Bogusevic has not yet shown.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Anthony Lerew, RHP Sidney Ponson, RHP Carlos Rosa, LHP John Foster, 3B Mario Lisson
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Rosa, 2B Tug Hulett
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Enrique Barrera, RHP Julio Pimentel, 3B Mario Lisson
Ex-Brave Lerew, 26, didn’t last long on the open market, landing a minor league deal with a spring training invite with ex-Atlanta executive Dayton Moore’s Royals. Ponson, 32, took two turns for the Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, going 1-1, 4.00 with seven hits (two homers), four walks and four strikeouts in nine innings. Last week, Kansas City signed lefty Bruce Chen, who headed Panama’s WBC rotation.
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Rafael Rodriguez
Released: C Chad Miller
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Rafael Rodriguez
Optioned to Double-A: 1B Mark Trumbo
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP J.D. Durbin
Released: RHP Yhency Brazoban
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jesus Castillo, RHP Travis Schlichting, LHP Victor Garate, LHP Brent Leach, C Lucas May, 2B Tony Abreu, OF Jaime Hoffmann
Outrighted to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: RHP Justin Orenduff
Signed: LHP R.J. Swindle
Released: 2B Michael Bell
Acquired: 2B Sergio Miranda from White Sox for future considerations
Voluntarily retired: OF Brandon Drespling
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Tim Dillard, RHP Nick Green, LHP R.J. Swindle, LHP Chase Wright
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Omar Aguilar, RHP Alex Periard
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Mark Rogers
Optioned to low Class A: RHP Cody Scarpetta
Rule 5 pick returned: RHP Eduardo Morlan (to Rays)
If it seems odd that 20-year-old Rookie-ball righthander Scarpetta, an 11th-round draft-and-follow in 2006 who hails from Guilford High in Rockford, Ill., already is on the 40-man roster, thus requiring that an option be expended to send him to the minors, well, that’s because it is. A pre-draft tendon tear at the base of his middle finger dropped Scarpetta out of top-three rounds consideration, but the Brewers liked him enough to take him with pick No. 341. They signed him right before the August deadline, but later learned that the righthander had re-injured the tendon. This prompted Milwaukee to void the contract (and sign him to a reduced deal), thus ceding their signing organization’s right to renew his contract for six years. Because Scarpetta’s second contract was essentially a one-year deal, he needed to be added to the Brewers’ 40-man to keep him from minor league free agency and, failing that, Rule 5 eligibility.
Morlan, 23, seemed like a mortal lock to stick in the Brewers’ overhauled pen, but the club voted no-confidence when it claimed Wes Littleton on waivers from the Red Sox last week. Morlan posted a 6.43 ERA in spring training, going seven innings and giving up 10 hits (two homers), five runs and three walks while striking out six.
Signed: LHP Carmen Pignatiello, LHP Reid Santos
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Armando Gabino, RHP Anthony Swarzak, 2B Steve Tolleson, SS Trevor Plouffe
Optioned to Double-A: C Wilson Ramos
Optioned to high Class A: 3B Deibinson Romero
New York Mets
Signed: 2B Junior Spivey
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Connor Robertson, LHP Jonathon Niese, C Robinson Cancel
Robertson and Niese probably will figure into the Mets’ 2009 plans, but for now the club wants to give longer looks to veterans in camp, particularly with regard to the Livan Hernandez vs. Freddy Garcia fight for the fifth rotation spot and the bullpen battle being waged by Brian Stokes, Nelson Figueroa, Ron Villone, rookie Bobby Parnell and Rule 5 pick Darren O’Day.
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Eric Hacker, LHP Wilkins de la Rossa
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ian Kennedy
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Christian Garcia, RHP Eric Hacker, LHP Michael Dunn
Optioned to high Class A: LHP Wilkins de la Rossa
Voluntarily retired C Jacob Smith
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ryan Webb, 2B Eric Patterson, 3B Jeff Baisley, OF Javier Herrera
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Drew Carpenter, RHP Scott Nestor, LHP Sergio Escalona
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Drew Naylor, C Joel Naughton
Both signed out of Australia and both 22 years old, Naylor and Naughton head to high Class A together. A lefty-hitting catcher, Naughton (signed August 2003) batted .275/.336/.359 in 276 at-bats for low Class A Lakewood last season. Naylor (signed March 2004) went 8-10, 3.86 in 27 starts, striking out 156 and walking 52 in 165 innings spread between two levels of A-ball.
Signed: 3B Pedro Alvarez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, LHP Dave Davidson, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, 3B Neil Walker
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jeff Sues, C Steven Lerud, OF Jose Tabata
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Ronald Uviedo, 3B Pedro Alvarez
Alvarez, the second overall pick last June, erased questions about his level of commitment by crushing the ball in big league camp, batting .444/.500/.778 with a homer, three doubles, two walks and three strikeouts in 18 at-bats. His assignment to high Class A Lynchburg was a no-brainer, and he could have success similar to that enjoyed by Matt Wieters in last year’s Carolina League.
St. Louis Cardinals
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Mitchell Boggs, RHP Matt Scherer, LHP Charlie Manning, 2B Jarrett Hoffpauir, OF Brian Barton, OF Nick Stavinoha
San Diego Padres
Signed: RHP Duaner Sanchez, 1B Michael Collins, OF Chris Snelling
Released: RHP Pablo Menchaca
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cesar Carrillo, RHP Mike Ekstrom, LHP Wade LeBlanc, 2B Travis Denker
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Jackson Quezada, OF Luis Durango
San Francisco Giants
Released: RHP Joseph Edens, RHP Keiichi Yabu, LHP Jason Neitz, 3B Olmo Rosario, SS Gabe Suarez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Henry Sosa, LHP Jesse English, 3B Conor Gillaspie
Those Triple-A assignments all seem a tad aggressive, so expect one or more re-assignments in the coming weeks.
Released: RHP Tracy Thorpe
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Gaby Hernandez, RHP Luis Pena, LHP Justin Thomas, 1B Mike Carp, OF Bryan LaHair
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Stephen Kahn, RHP Marwin Vega, OF Greg Halman
Say what you will about Halman, but he’s clearly not Mr. March. His flailing in the World Baseball Classic resulted in a .091/.091/.182 line that included one hit (a double) and nine strikeouts in 11 at-bats. Back in Mariners’ camp, he went 2-for-8 with four more strikeouts before being farmed out to Double-A West Tenn.
Tampa Bay Rays
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Wade Davis, RHP Mitch Talbot, RHP Dale Thayer, LHP Jake McGee
McGee had Tommy John surgery last season, which he spent in Double-A, so this Triple-A assignment is probably temporary.
Signed: LHP Kason Gabbard
Released: RHP Jordan Stewart, LHP Eric Evans, LHP David Wagner, OF J.T. Restko
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Thomas Diamond, LHP Kason Gabbard, 2B German Duran, OF Julio Borbon, OF Greg Golson
Optioned to Double-A: RHP John Bannister, RHP Guillermo Moscoso, RHP Omar Poveda, 2B Jose Vallejo
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: RHP T.J. Beam, RHP Leon Boyd, LHP Bill Murphy, LHP Davis Romero, OF Buck Coats
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Matt Bush, RHP Robert Ray, LHP Bill Murphy, LHP Davis Romero
Optioned to high Class A: LHP Luis Perez
The Blue Jays signed the Vancouver-born Boyd, 25, after his stint as closer for Team Netherlands (his mother is Dutch) in the World Baseball Classic. He struck out four in four WBC innings, earning a win and a save while giving up four hits, two runs and three walks. After finishing his college career at Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.) in 2005, Boyd pitched in Europe for three years, the first in Belgium and the other two in the Netherlands.
Signed: RHP Julian Tavarez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada, C Luke Montz, OF Roger Bernadina, OF Leonard Davis, OF Justin Maxwell
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Luis Atilano, SS Ian Desmond
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