This time: March 31-April 3
Previous installment: March 21-30
Opening Day has arrived, meaning that we’re nearly through the end-of-spring training roster purge—but not before 222 more players were shown the door. By my count, which is officially unofficial, the total of released minor league players this March totals 559. And that figure should creep up a little next week, with the addition of final spring training cuts.
On the Rule 5 front, five more picks were returned to their organizations. The survivors who made Opening Day rosters: RHP Terrell Young (Nationals’ 15-day DL), SS Everth Cabrera (Padres), LHP Donald Veal (Pirates), RHP David Patton (Cubs), OF Ben Copeland (Athletics’ 15-day DL), RHP Darren O’Day (Mets) and RHP Miguel Gonzalez (Red Sox’ 15-day DL). Jim Callis has full details at Ask BA.
Signed: RHP Bobby Korecky, LHP Travis Blackley
Released: RHP Adam Howard, RHP A.J. Shappi, LHP Eddie Romero, C Richard Mercado, C Bill Musselman, 3B Steve Mena, 3B Cesar Nicolas, OF Frank Curreri, OF Jimmy Principe
Traded: RHP Brooks Brown to Tigers as compensation for retaining Rule 5 selection C James Skelton
Acquired: 3B Ruben Gotay from Pirates for future considerations
Voluntarily retired: 1B Mike Mee
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Bobby Korecky, RHP Leo Rosales
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: LHP Travis Blackley
Outrighthed to Double-A and removed from 40-man: C James Skelton
Released: RHP Casey Beck, RHP Michael Nix, RHP Zach Schreiber, RHP Ferdin Tejeda
Traded: OF Josh Anderson to Tigers for RHP Rudy Darrow
Signed: RHP David Pauley, LHP Jake Stevens, OF Lou Montanez
Released: RHP Josh Faiola, RHP Tony Kirbis, LHP John Parrish, C Justin Johnson, C Preston Pehrson, 1B Craig Brazell, 1B Ryan Finan, 1B Anthony Martinez, 3B Todd Davison, 3B Chris Gomez, 3B Jeff Nettles, OF Sebastian Boucher, OF Mike Rodriguez, OF Brandon Tripp, OF Paul Winterling
Recalled: RHP Jim Hoey
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Radhames Liz, OF Lou Montanez
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: RHP David Pauley
Outrighthed to Double-A and removed from 40-man: RHP Jim Hoey
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Justin Hedrick
Released: RHP Alex Hale, RHP Michael James, RHP Cody McAllister, RHP Felix Rodriguez, C Rafael Gil, C Pete Gilardo, 1B Carlos Fernandez, OF Jay Johnson, OF Bryan Pritz
Voluntarily retired: RHP Brian Steinocher
Hedrick, 26, latched on quickly with the Red Sox after the Giants last week set him free. Though he hasn’t pitched above Double-A (and the Giants used him as more of a multi-inning reliever than a closer), Hedrick compiled a 1.77 ERA in his two seasons with Connecticut, striking out 146 (9.6 per nine), walking 58 (3.8) and giving up just eight home runs (0.5) in 137 innings.
Released: RHP Ken Kadokura, RHP Tommy Mejia, LHP Matt Smith, LHP Mike Stanton, C Danny Fatheree, C Shawn McGill, 3B Esteban German
Traded: RHP Rocky Roquet to Athletics for future considerations
McGill was a Baseball America Independent Leagues Top 10 Prospect last season.
Chicago White Sox
Released: C Danny Jordan, OF Tim Raines Jr.
Placed on restricted list: LHP Eric Stephenson, C Francisco Hernandez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Lance Broadway, RHP Jack Egbert, RHP Jeff Marquez
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: OF Jerry Owens
So much for Raines Jr. making an impact in Triple-A and possibly forcing his way into Chicago’s center-field picture. He signed with the independent Newark Bears, where he’ll play for his father Tim Raines, manager of the Atlantic League club.
Released: RHP Derrick Conatser, RHP Enrique Garcia, RHP Justin James, RHP Luis Pardo, LHP Ron Flores, LHP David Torcise, C Eddy Rodriguez, OF Adam Greenberg, OF Jacque Jones
Recalled: OF Norris Hopper
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Daryl Thompson, OF Norris Hopper
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: OF Norris Hopper
Signed: LHP Juan Lara
Released: RHP Juan Diaz, RHP Jose Jimenez, RHP Greg Jones, RHP Joanniel Montero, RHP Jacob Reust, RHP Mauro Zarate, LHP Todd Moser, LHP Jose Rodriguez, 2B Brandon Pinckney, 3B Jeff Hehr, 3B Jansy Infante, OF Cirilo Cumberbatch, OF Matt Esquivel
Traded: LHP Shawn Nottingham to Pirates for future considerations
Recalled: OF Trevor Crowe
Lara, 28, survived a horrific car accident in his native Dominican Republic that occurred after a winter league game in November 2007. He missed the entire 2008 season while recovering from severe brain trauma, a fractured spine, two broken ribs, a broken arm and a punctured lung. Crowe, a 2005 first-round pick, makes the big leagues for the first time.
Released: RHP Jeff Fischer, LHP Brandon Miller, C Brian Aguailar, 2B Tomas Perez, OF Bret Berglund, OF Justin Nelson, OF Scott Podsednik
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Greg Smith, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Murton
A 10th-round pick from Eastern Michigan in ’07, Fischer improved dramatically in his repeat of the Rookie-level Pioneer League last year, going 4-7, 4.86 with 85 strikeouts in 83 innings. But it wasn’t enough to spare him from the chopping block. Interestingly, the Rockies will begin the year without three of their offseason trade acquisitions—Gonzalez, Murton and Smith—on their big league roster. In the case of Smith, who was competing for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, he came suffered from the flu and a dead arm during camp. The results bear this out: 9 2/3 IP, 14 R, 16 H, 2 HR, 7 BB, 2 SO.
Signed: LHP Clay Rapada, OF Ryan Raburn
Released: RHP Mark Brackman, RHP Gabriel Herrera, RHP Paul Nardozzi, RHP Jordan Tata, LHP Darwin De Leon, LHP Dan DeLucia, LHP Aaron Fuhrman, C Charlie Lisk, C Tyler Weber, 3B Yurendell De Caster, SS Adam Frost, OF Alexis Gomez, OF Beau Torbert, OF D’Andrea Vaughn
Acquired: RHP Brooks Brown from Diamondbacks as compensation for their retaining Rule 5 selection C James Skelton
Traded: RHP Rudy Darrow to Braves for OF Josh Anderson
Returned Rule 5 pick: LHP Kyle Bloom (to Pirates)
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Clay Rapada, OF Ryan Raburn, OF Clete Thomas
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: 3B Mike Hessman, OF Brent Clevlen
Tata cracked a few Tigers top prospects lists in his day, last appearing at No. 11 in 2008, but the 27-year-old struggled last year with injuries and with his control—in more ways than one. He incurred a broken knuckle on his right hand after punching a door during 2008 spring training and it appeared to affect his release point. Tata walked 44 in 56 innings last season, while not getting out of high Class A. He didn’t appear in a game during big league spring training this season, but with a modest track record at Triple-A, including a 3.52 ERA in 205 innings, he’ll probably find work elsewhere if healthy.
Hessman, 31, earned a long look during spring training but hit just .204/.250/.347 (10-for-49), thus bringing his time on the 40-man roster to an end. A sharp defender at third base, he’ll continue crushing home runs for Toledo after going unclaimed on waivers. He’s hit 28, 24, 31 and 34 homers for the Mud Hens going back four seasons. Clevlen, too, fell short during spring training, batting .260/.351/.360 (13-for-50), and will have to earn his way back on to the 40-man. The Tigers’ abundance of righthanded-hitting options, including Ryan Raburn (who has options remaining), worked against the 25-year-old Clevlen.
Released: 1B Matt Hawke, SS Guillermo Martinez, OF Josh LeBlanc, OF Daron Roberts
Recalled: C Mike Rabelo
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Burke Badenhop, 1B Gaby Sanchez
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: C Mike Rabelo
Sanchez, the Southern League’s MVP last season, tanked in spring training, which leaves him out of Florida’s first base picture for now. Not only did the Marlins trade for veteran Ross Gload, a lefthanded hitter, but they also have righthanded-hitting options in Jorge Cantu and Wes Helms.
Signed: RHP Alberto Arias, LHP Polin Trinidad, 2B Chris Minaker, OF Yordany Ramirez
Released: C Julian Henson
Returned Rule 5 pick: LHP Gilbert de la Vara (to Royals)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Alberto Arias, RHP Jeff Fulchino, SS Edwin Maysonet
Option transferred: RHP Brad James, LHP Polin Trinidad (both Triple-A to Double-A)
Kansas City Royals
Signed: 3B Mario Lisson
Released: RHP Tyler Chambliss, RHP Franquelis Osoria, RHP Michael Penn, C Brandon Fowler, C Kiel Thibault, 1B Josh Vittek
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Brian Bannister, RHP Luke Hochevar
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: 1B Ryan Shealy
Hochevar did well to prevent runs in spring training, giving up seven in 16 1/3 innings (3.86 ERA), but his peripheral numbers were not overwhelming—eight strikeouts and four walks. Still, it’s more than a little shocking that the promising young starter was farmed out in deference to Brian Bannister, Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez.
With the trade of Ross Gload and the outrighting of Shealy, first base has suddenly become a lot less crowded in Kansas City. Mike Jacobs figures to see most of the time, but if he struggles then Billy Butler and Kila Ka’aihue could benefit.
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Mike MacDonald, RHP Jailen Peguero, RHP Rich Thompson
Released: RHP Brian Chambers, RHP Matt Hammons, RHP Josh Keller, RHP Baron Short, LHP Doug Brandt, 2B Jerry Gonzalez-Lopez, 3B Larry Infante, OF Donato Giovanatto, OF Tyler Johnson, OF Drew Toussaint
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Rich Thompson
Short, a seventh-round pick from Southern in ’07, spent two seasons in Rookie ball, posting a 5.97 ERA in 75 innings while striking out 63 and walking 39.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: LHP Eric Milton, LHP Will Ohman, C Scott Thomas
Released: LHP Eric Milton
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: C Danny Ardoin
After accepting a minor league assignment, Milton, 32, has the unenviable task of attempting to resuscitate his career at Albuquerque. He missed the 2008 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Signed: RHP Jim Henderson, C Sean McCraw, 2B Hernan Iribarren, SS Erick Almonte, OF Jason Tyner
Released: RHP Adam Arnold, RHP Joe Bateman, RHP Steve Bray, RHP Reed Dickert, RHP Richie Gardner, RHP Bobby McEwen, RHP Brian Reith, LHP Curtis Pasma, C Andy Bouchie, 1B Stephen Chapman, 1B Pedro Ramos, 1B Cameron Robulack, 2B Johnny Ash, 2B Miguel Vasquez, OF Brent Krause, OF Jose Rangel
Optioned to Triple-A: 1B Joe Koshansky, 2B Hernan Iribarren, SS Alcides Escobar
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: OF Tony Gwynn Jr.
Koshansky joins the organization on a waiver claim from the Rangers, who in turn claimed the burly first baseman on waivers from the Rockies. Milwaukee made room not only for Koshansky but also three other minor league players who were cut at the end of spring training: McCraw (Mets), Almonte (Cubs) and Tyner (Astros).
Bouchie was released on the heels of a trying season with high Class A Brevard County. The ’06 seventh-rounder from Oral Roberts batted just .197/.271/.272 in 239 at-bats.
Signed: OF Jason Pridie
Released: RHP Kris Honel, RHP Danny Santiesteban, LHP Kyle Aselton, C Rodolfo Palacios, C Gregory Yersich, 1B Andres Diaz, 1B Johnny Woodard, 2B Jeanfred Brito, 2B Javier Brown, 3B Garrett Olson, OF Edward Ovalle
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Jose Mijares, C Drew Butera, OF Jason Pridie
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: RHP Jason Jones
Drafted as an outfielder in ’04 (and signed the following spring), Santiesteban tried his and at pitching at the end of last season. He struck out six in 10 innings for high Class A Fort Myers, but also allowed seven hits, seven walks and a home run.
A fourth-round pick from Franklin Pierce (N.H.) in ’06, Olson didn’t hit above Rookie ball, something he couldn’t afford to do as a so-so defensive infielder. He batted .210/.249/.258 for Fort Myers in half a season there in ’08.
New York Mets
Signed: RHP Fernando Nieve, LHP Ken Takahashi, SS Ramon Martinez, OF Cory Sullivan
Released: RHP Tony Armas Jr., RHP Joe Hietpas, RHP Sendy Vasquez, LHP Eddie Camacho, C Jason Jacobs, C Sean McCraw, 2B Junior Spivey, 2B Jose Valentin, OF Joe Holden
Outrighthed to Double-A and removed from 40-man: RHP Fernando Nieve
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Dan Giese
Released: RHP Nick Asselin, RHP Israel Batista, RHP Jacinto Gonell, C Ben Blumenthal, OF Isaiah Howes, OF Andres Perez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Alfredo Aceves, RHP Dan Giese, RHP David Robertson
Released: RHP Jason Windsor, LHP Brad Hertzler, C Jed Morris, C Gustavo Rosendo, 3B Myron Leslie, OF Adam Klein, OF Michael Massaro, OF Keyter Rodriguez, OF Raymond Rodriguez, OF Jareck West
Acquired: RHP Rocky Roquet from Cubs for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Chris Schroder, SS Gregorio Petit, OF Aaron Cunningham
Cal State Fullerton alum Windsor, the 2004 College World Series Most Outstanding Pitcher, did make it to the majors for one start in 2006, but that’s proven to be the highlight of his pro career.
Released: 2B Marcus Giles
Acquired: RHP Manny Ayala from Padres for future considerations
Returned Rule 5 pick: RHP Bobby Mosebach (to Angels)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Carrasco, OF John Mayberry Jr.
Signed: RHP R.J. Rodriguez, C Joel Collins, C Robinzon Diaz
Released: RHP Pat Bresnehan, RHP Jake Cuffman, RHP Sean Giblin, RHP Emilis Guerrero, RHP Serguey Linares, RHP Francisco Ortiz, RHP Kevin Roberts, RHP Adam Simon, LHP Charles Benoit, LHP Daniel Haigwood, LHP Carlos Teller, C Mark Carver, 1B Zach Booker, 1B Ryan Mulhern, 2B Chad Rice, 3B Victor Alvarez, OF Yohan Silva, OF Keanon Simon
Acquired: LHP Shawn Nottingham from Indians for future considerations
Traded: 3B Ruben Gotay to Diamondbacks for future considerations
Added to 40-man roster: OF Craig Monroe
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Evan Meek, RHP Virgil Vasquez, SS Brian Bixler
Designated for assignment: RHP Romulo Sanchez
Loaned to Mexican League: RHP Rodolfo Aguirre
The Pirates continue to purge players this spring, among them Bresnehan, a fifth-rounder from Arizona State in ’06. Working as a reliever for Double-A Altoona last year, he posted a respectable 3.58 ERA and .234 opponent average, but look a little closer and one can see trouble brewing in the form of 47 walks in 50 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Chris Perez, OF Joe Mather
Loaned to Mexican League: OF Amaury Cazana Marti
Marti, a Cuban defector who became the Cardinals’ 2006 18th-round pick, hit well in his first exposure to affiliated ball, but eventually the Cardinals figured out that he was born in 1974. Since then, he’s been on semi-permanent loan to the Mexican League.
San Diego Padres
Released: RHP Omar Gutierrez, RHP Kyle Heyne, RHP Oneli Perez, LHP Philip Barzilla, SS Keisy Marte
Traded: RHP Manny Ayala to Phillies for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: OF Drew Macias
Loaned to Mexican League: LHP Juan Oramas
San Francisco Giants
Released: LHP Ryan Paul, 3B Andrew Davis
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Osiris Matos, 1B John Bowker, 2B Kevin Frandsen
Signed: OF Mike Morse
Released: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Garrett Olson, C Jeff Clement
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: OF Mike Morse
Returned Rule 5 picks: LHP Jose Lugo (to Twins), 2B Reegie Corona (to Yankees)
With Corona in tow, the Yankees welcomed home three of their four big league Rule 5 picks. Righthander Ivan Nova returned from Padres camp, and lefty Zach Kroenke spent the offseason with the Marlins. The fourth, righthander Jason Jones, was traded to the Twins.
Tampa Bay Rays
Released: RHP Jeff Kamrath, RHP Chris Kelly, RHP Travis Risser, LHP Jonathan Barratt, LHP Chuck Tiffany, 2B Josh Asanovich, 2B Jake Gautreau, 2B Michael Ross, 3B Patrick Cottrell, 3B Morgan Ensberg, OF Sergio Pedroza
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Jason Isringhausen
Released: RHP Kendy Batista, RHP Casey Daigle, RHP Brendan Donnelly, RHP Josh Giles, RHP Alfredo Gonzalez, LHP Jimmy Gobble, 1B Dennis Guinn, OF Grant Gerrard, OF K.C. Herren
Recalled: LHP Kason Gabbard, 1B Joe Koshansky
Optioned to Triple-A: 3B Travis Metcalf, SS Joaquin Arias, OF Brandon Boggs
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Tommy Hunter
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: LHP Kason Gabbard
Gerrard, 24, has yet to develop prototypical power for a corner outfielder, topping out at 11 home runs in the California League last year. And if he does develop more power it will be with another team, following his release by the Rangers, who took the Southern Illinois product in the seventh round of the ’06 draft.
Toronto Blue Jays
Released: RHP Matt Bush, RHP Jimmy Dougher, 2B Kevin Melillo, 3B Andrew Pinckney, OF Eric Nielsen, OF Ryan Patterson
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jeremy Accardo, 2B Joe Inglett
Ah, how I remember coming under fire in a chat for my ranking of Patterson ahead of Curtis Thigpen in the ’07 Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects. Now both players are ex-Blue Jays, Thigpen having been passed by several other catchers and then traded to the A’s. Things could have been different for Patterson, I believe, if he hadn’t had his forearm shattered by a stray Edgar Martinez fastball during spring training ’07. He came back early from that injury, missing only about a month, but hasn’t hit consistently since. A fourth-round pick in ’05 from Louisiana State, Patterson began his pro career in fine style, leading both the New York-Penn (.595) and then Florida State (.520) leagues in slugging during his first two season. The 25-year-old still can handle himself versus lefthanded pitchers (despite an underwhelming .257/.296/.441 showing in Double-A thus far), so he might fit on some team’s Triple-A squad, with a ceiling as a platoon corner outfielder in the big leagues.
Released: RHP Edulin Abreu, RHP Steve Schmoll, LHP Miguel Aracena, LHP Gustavo Chacin, 3B Jose Castillo, OF Mark Gildea
Recalled: LHP Mike O’Connor
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: LHP Mike O’Connor
Gildea, an ’07 ninth-round pick from Florida State, endured a miserable season with low Class A Hagerstown last year. The switch-hitter batted .171/.296/.253 with 102 strikeouts—but with 49 walks—in 293 at-bats.
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