The end of spring training heralds a new baseball season, sure, but it also brings with it bad news for many players who now find themselves out of work. Teams cut ties with 621 players, by my unofficial count, from mid-February through major league Opening Day. That's enough bodies to populate nearly 26 minor league rosters.
Expect to see a few more releases trickle in once all precincts have reported. The Athletics (four), Angels (12), Orioles (12) and Yankees (14) appear to have abnormally low tallies up to this point. Contrast those totals with the Phillies (38), Mariners (36), Pirates (28) and Mets (27). Every organization seeks to clear roster space on their four full-season affiliates to accommodate last year's short-season ball players.
Pure shortstops make up just three percent (18 players) of the pool of the dismissed. Righthanded pitchers, of course, account for 44 percent (273 players) of the released. Outfielder check in at 15 percent, and lefthanded pitchers are next at 14 percent.
Since the theme of this installment is released players, let's try something different. I'll pair two recently released players together and you tell me what they have in common. Leave your answers in the comments section at the end of this post.
First, a hanging curveball: Jeremy Beckham and Justin Parker—what do these third basemen have in common? How about lefties Kyle Bloom and Gilbert de la Vara? And finally: catcher James Skelton and righthander Jason Jones? And keep in mind, this is the transactions blog.
As was the case last time, the asterisks (*) here denote instances of 40-man roster players who have agreed to terms on the minor league portion of their split major league/minor league contracts. These players are entitled to salary minimums dictated by baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement. See our feature on minor league salaries for more.
Signed: LHP Clay Zavada*
Released: RHP Chase Christianson, RHP Cody Evans, RHP Sean Morgan, RHP Jorge Perez, RHP Ricardo Taveras, C James Skelton, 3B Justin Parker, OF Joey Side
Recalled: RHP Jose Marte
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Rodrigo Lopez
Outrighted to Triple-A, removed from 40-man: RHP Jose Marte
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Billy Buckner, RHP Kevin Mulvey, LHP Zach Kroenke, LHP Clay Zavada, C John Hester, 1B Brandon Allen, 2B Ryan Roberts, OF Cole Gillespie
The Diamondbacks retained Kroenke, their major league Rule 5 selection from the Yankees, for no compensation. He remains on the club's 40-man roster, however, in contrast to the other Rule 5 picks who have seen their rights transferred to the drafting club—that's Chuck Lofgren (to the Brewers), Edgar Osuna (Royals), Mike Parisi (Cubs) and Ben Snyder (Rangers). But then Kroenke's situation was unique from the get-go. A Rule 5 pick by the Marlins in ’08, he already had been exposed to the waiver process once before. Last year, he cleared waivers and was returned to New York. He cleared waivers again this spring, with a little help from a warning that if the Yankees claimed him, then he would opt for free agency. This according to Diamondbacks correspondent Jack Magruder. So rather than lose Kroenke as a free agent—his right as a player who has twice cleared waivers—Arizona compromised and kept him on the 40-man.
Marte lost his 40-man spot so that Arizona could make room for veteran righty Rodrigo Lopez.
Signed: OF Alex Romero
Released: RHP Patrick Currin, RHP Rudy Darrow, RHP Mike Mehlich, LHP Kevin Gunderson, C J.R. House, 1B Greg Creek, 2B Michael Fisher, OF C.J. Lee, OF Antoan Richardson, OF Stephen Shults
Placed on restricted list: RHP Luis Valdez
Recalled: RHP Juan Abreu, RHP Manny Acosta
Added to 40-man roster: OF Jason Heyward
Outrighted to high Class A, removed from 40-man: RHP Juan Abreu
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Jonny Venters, C Clint Sammons
Valdez did not report to Braves camp because he had trouble getting a visa that would allow him to travel from the Dominican Republic. This forced Atlanta to place him on the restricted list.
The Braves signed Abreu, a minor league free agent, to a big league contract last November. But after the 24-year-old righthander's challenging spring, they decided to remove him from the 40-man and start him with high Class A Myrtle Beach, where his arm strength could serve him well as closer.
Signed: LHP Alberto Castillo*, OF Joey Gathright, OF Lou Montanez*
Released: RHP Colin Allen, RHP Andrew Barb, RHP Joe Esposito, LHP Chris Salberg, LHP Brian Sisk, C Chad Moeller, C Brendan Monaghan, 1B Elvin Polanco, 3B Mike Costanzo, OF David Cash, OF Richard D'Oleo, OF Joe Nowicki
Acquired: C Steve Lerud from Royals for future considerations
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Will Ohman
Designated for assignment: 1B Michael Aubrey
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Kam Mickolio, RHP Chris Tillman, LHP Alberto Castillo, 2B Justin Turner, OF Lou Montanez
Boston Red Sox
Released: RHP Scott Patterson, RHP Chad Povich, RHP Chad Rhoades, RHP Jorge Sosa, C Ty Weeden, 1B Brett Harper, 1B Michael Jones, 2B Jeff Natale, 3B Christian Colonel, OF Kade Keowen
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Scott Schoeneweis
Optioned to Triple-A: C Dusty Brown, 2B Kevin Frandsen, 2B Tug Hulett, OF Josh Reddick
Signed: 1B Micah Hoffpauir*
Released: RHP Todd Blackford, RHP Dan McDaniel, RHP Arismendy Mota, RHP Julio Pena, RHP Jake Schmidt, 1B Kevin Millar, 3B Derek Helenihi
Added to 40-man roster: LHP James Russell, 1B Chad Tracy
Optioned to Triple-A: 1B Micah Hoffpauir, OF Sam Fuld
Option transferred: RHP Rafael Dolis and RHP David Patton (Double-A to high Class A); RHP Marcos Mateo (Triple-A to Double-A)
Of all the additions to 40-man rosters in the run-up to Opening Day, perhaps none caught me by surprise as much as that of big lefty James Russell. He enjoyed a terrific spring training, working 13 innings over 11 games, while allowing just nine hits (zero home runs) and sporting an 11-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 24-year-old Russell pitched with similar effectiveness in the Arizona Fall League last year. A 14th-round selection from Texas in ’07, he features a high-80s—touch a 91 mph—cut fastball and the full array of offspeed pitches to avoid living life in a match-up millieu. Our ’08 Prospect Handbook notes that Russell "worked with independent pitching coach Tom House [after the Longhorns' ’07 campaign] to shape up his curveball before heading to the Texas Collegiate League."
The Cubs signed Helenihi in December as a nondrafted free agent from Louisiana State, where he played alongside Cubs' second-rounder D.J. Lemahieu.
Chicago acquired Arismendy Mota in the rare trade for a minor league Rule 5 pick. For more on the righthander, as well as a refresher on the minor league Rule 5 draft, click here.
Chicago White Sox
Signed: OF Alejandro De Aza*
Released: RHP Ryan Strauss, LHP Wander Perez
Added to 40-man roster: C Donny Lucy
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Dan Hudson, SS Brent Lillibridge, OF Alejandro De Aza
Option transferred: RHP Jhonny Nunez (Triple-A to Double-A)
Voluntarily retired: RHP Levi Maxwell, OF Harold Baines Jr.
Released: RHP Arshwin Asjes, RHP Josh Beal, RHP Forest Cannon, RHP Ramon Geronimo, RHP Adian Kummet, RHP Luis Montano, RHP Zach Ward, RHP Kip Wells, RHP Jake Wiley, C Jason Bour, 1B Dave Stewart, 2B Yen-Wen Kuo, OF Tony Brown, OF Albert Laboy, OF Kevin West
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jared Burton, RHP Carlos Fisher, LHP Aroldis Chapman, LHP Matt Maloney, LHP Travis Wood, 2B Drew Sutton
Option transferred: 1B Yonder Alonso (Triple-A to Double-A)
The Reds intend to have Todd Frazier and Alonso play left field in Triple-A Louisville and Double-A Carolina, respectively.
Released: RHP Dallas Cawiezell, RHP Guido Fonseca, RHP Tom Mastny, RHP Mike Pontius, C Rolando Petit, 1B Chris Nash, 2B Lurvin Basabe, 2B Matt Willard, SS Mark Thompson, OF Matt Brown, OF Stephen Head, OF Adam White
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Jamey Wright, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, OF Austin Kearns
Designated for assignment: C Wyatt Toregas
Outrighted to Triple-A, removed from 40-man: LHP Jeremy Sowers
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Carrasco, C Wyatt Toregas, OF Trevor Crowe
The Indians selected Thompson in the eighth round of the ’07 draft, seven rounds after taking his Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) teammate Beau Mills in the first. Thompson held down shortstop last season, made it to high Class A and hit a cumulative .260/.354/.414 in 338 at-bats.
Released: RHP Rick Bauer, RHP Austin Chambliss, RHP Chris Gissell, RHP Carlos Guevara, RHP Carlos Luna, RHP Justin Speier, LHP Tommy Baumgardner, LHP Adam Bright, LHP Xavier Cedeno, LHP Josh Muecke, 1B Josh Phelps, 1B Chris Vasami, OF Daniel Carte, OF Kevin Clark, OF Jay Cox, OF Alex Escobar, OF Robert Perry
Recalled: RHP Esmil Rogers
Optioned to Triple-A: 2B Eric Young Jr.
A Rockies second-round pick in ’05, Carte earned second-team All-America honors that season for his play at Winthrop. But the 25-year-old stalled in Double-A, hitting .251/.303/.358 in 674 at-bats over two seasons with Tulsa. His walk-to-strikeout ratio (39-to-181) tells the story, but he's not alone among college outfielder disappointments. The ’05 team can boast of a first team featuring Jacoby Ellsbury, Trevor Crowe and Shane Robinson, all of whom currently reside on 40-man rosters. But with the exception of third-teamer Brett Gardner, the other two teams yielded little in the way of pro prospects—Eli Iorg, Brian Pettway, Carte, Ryan Patterson and Sergio Pedroza.
Signed: OF Wilkin Ramirez*
Released: RHP Jose Diaz, RHP Drew Graham, RHP Mike LaLuna, RHP Matt Rusch, LHP Chad Linder, LHP Michael Manus, LHP Macay McBride, LHP Sam Narron, LHP Jose Siso, C Joe Bowen, C Keith Hernandez, C Jordan Newton, 1B Ryan Roberson, 1B Devin Thomas, 3B Kory Casto, OF Eddie Rush
Traded: LHP Nate Robertson to Marlins for LHP Jay Voss
Optioned to Triple-A: SS Brent Dlugach, OF Clete Thomas
Option transferred: OF Wilkin Ramirez (Triple-A to Double-A)
Signed: RHP Rick VandenHurk*, RHP Tim Wood*
Released: RHP Seth McClung, RHP Jarrett Santos, C Torre Langley, C Jameson Smith, 1B Ricky Orton, OF Nate Simon
Traded: LHP Jay Voss to Tigers for LHP Nate Robertson
Recalled: RHP Tim Wood
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Clay Hensley, RHP Jose Veras, 3B Brian Barden, 3B Mike Lamb
Designated for assignment: RHP Cristhian Martinez, OF Jai Miller
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Rick VandenHurk, RHP Tim Wood
Before you write off the players the Marlins decided to keep on their active roster—Hensley, Veras, Barden and Lamb all signed as minor league free agents—just consider the organization’s track record for finding treasure among other teams’ trash. Last year, Florida added Kiko Calero and Brian Sanches under similar circumstances; the year before it was Jorge Cantu. Also picked up off the scrap heap by the Fish: John Baker (minor league trade for Jason Stokes), Wes Helms (cash transaction), Dan Meyer (waivers) and Cody Ross (cash transaction). And we haven’t yet gotten to Rule 5 pick Dan Uggla, the only second baseman in history to club 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons. (Chase Utley has a chance to join him this season, but neither Jeff Kent nor Ryne Sandberg pulled it off.) That’s a fine supporting cast, born entirely from the diligence of Marlins’ pro scouts.
For other potential minor league free agent treasures, you scan the notes section of our Opening Day surprises feature.
The Marlins tabbed high school catchers with third-round picks in consecutive drafts, taking Torre Langley in ’06 and Jameson Smith in ’07. Langley made it no higher than low Class A Greensboro, where he played only part time, and batted .222/.250/.337 in four pro seasons. Jameson peaked at high Class A Jupiter, but was similarly ineffective as a hitter, batting .233/.331/.297 in three seasons. For the superstitious, this could be interpreted as a bad omen for Kyle Skipworth, the prep catcher taken sixth overall in ’08. In two seasons, he's managed to hit a mere .208/.263/.345.
Signed: RHP Wilton Lopez*, 2B Edwin Maysonet*
Released: RHP Matt Ginter, RHP Scott Migl, RHP Philip Rummel, RHP Jack Tilghman, LHP Mike Hacker, LHP Chris Salamida, LHP Jon Switzer, C Reinaldo Pestana, 1B Phil Disher, 1B Matt Weston, SS Chris Jackson, OF Steve Brown, OF Russell Dixon
Added to 40-man roster: OF Cory Sullivan
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Wilton Lopez, 2B Edwin Maysonet
With the release of Dixon, a seventh-round pick, the Astros have only one player left to show for the top 10 rounds of their notoriously poor ’07 draft. That would be fifth-round outfielder Collin Delome, who for all his faults, at least cracked 20 homers and slugged .465 in the Double-A Texas League last year. Curiously enough, 10th-rounder Matt Cusick and 11th-rounder Robert Bono have been leveraged in trades (for LaTroy Hawkins and Matt Lindstrom, of course), while 12th-rounder Brian Pellegrini cracked 34 home runs last season, good for a third place finish in the minors. He's also the highest-drafted player ever from St. Bonaventure. Just so you know.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Brian Anderson*, 1B Kila Ka'aihue*
Released: RHP Jason Godin, RHP Matt Kniginyzky, RHP Ryan Morgan, RHP Zach Peterson, RHP Brett Richardson, RHP Francisco Rosario, LHP Gilbert de la Vara, LHP Nelson Payano, C Vance Wilson, OF Eric Shortell
Traded: C Steve Lerud to Orioles for future considerations
Added to 40-man roster: LHP John Parrish
Outrighted to Double-A, removed from 40-man: LHP Edgar Osuna
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Blake Wood, 1B Kila Ka'aihue
Optioned to Rookie ball: RHP Brian Anderson
The Royals placed Osuna on waivers with the intention of returning him to the Braves. But Atlanta opted not to pay the $25,000 fee to reacquire the Mexican lefty.
An erstwhile center fielder, Anderson will stay behind in extended spring training to try his hand at pitching. For Royals fans, it’s Tony Pena Jr. all over again. Take an excellent defensive player who can’t hit a lick (in Anderson’s case: .227/.290/.370 in 355 games) and see if some value can be derived from the mound.
Los Angeles Angels
Released: RHP Travis Chick, C Flint Wipke, 2B Phil Bando, 2B Hector Estrella, 3B Wilberto Ortiz, OF Coby Smith
Added to 40-man roster: 1B Robb Quinlan
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Sean O'Sullivan, 3B Freddy Sandoval, OF Peter Bourjos
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP James McDonald*, RHP Travis Schlichting*, C Lucas May*
Released: LHP Sean Thompson, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, 2B Adolfo Gonzalez, 2B Argenis Reyes, SS Nick Green, OF Jovanny Rosario
Loaned to Mexican League: RHP Francisco Felix, LHP Thomas Melgarejo
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Ramon Ortiz, RHP Jeff Weaver, OF Garret Anderson
Optioned to Triple-A: C A.J. Ellis, SS Chin-lung Hu, OF Xavier Paul
Option transferred: C Lucas May (Triple-A to Double-A)
Ever wonder what players from the ’02 Angels are up to these days? Troy Glaus, John Lackey, Fernando Rodriguez, Bengie Molina and Chone Figgins are still going strong. But seemingly all the leftovers washed up on the Dodgers' Opening Day roster. Garret Anderson and Ramon Ortiz played well enough for Anaheim's World Series winner in ’02, which coincidentally was Jeff Weaver’s last big season (3.52 ERA over 200 innings). Weaver pitched for the Angels for half the ’06 season, and of course his younger brother Jered now pitches for Anaheim.
Released: RHP Mike Burns, RHP Wes Etheridge, RHP Brandon Rapoza, RHP Juan Sandoval, LHP Rafael Lluberes, C Derrick Alfonso, C J.R. Hopf, 2B Shane Justis, OF Tike Redman
Option transferred: OF Lorenzo Cain (Triple-A to Double-A)
Released: RHP Dan Berlind, RHP Blair Erickson, RHP Jason Jones, LHP Kyle Carr, LHP Mark McLemore, C Jeff Lanning, 1B Paul-Michael Klingsberg, 1B Rene Leveret, 1B Jon Waltenbury, 3B Dominic de la Osa, OF Nick Freitas, OF Charlton Jimerson, OF Adan Severino
Recalled: RHP Alex Burnett
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Glen Perkins, C Wilson Ramos
Scan the ranks of Elizabethton prospects who have made the Appalachian League top prospects list and you’ll find newly-minted big leaguer Alex Burnett in ’06. Of course, you’ll find him down at No. 15. That year's list featured Travis Snider, Tommy Hanson, Desmond Jennings and Zach Britton, so in retrospect that was a very deep Appy League class. But among those to rank ahead of Burnett four years ago, two have been subsequently released: Chase Fontaine and Tyler Herron.
One name you won’t find among the Appy prospects is Ontario-born first baseman Jon Waltenbury—not even after his loud ’08 campaign. He seemed like a shoo-in, having batted .319/.382/.540 with 10 homers and 22 doubles in a short-season league. But league observers just were not convinced he had the bat speed or the ability to pull the ball for power.
New York Mets
Signed: RHP Clint Everts*, LHP Pat Misch (re-signed), OF Jason Pridie*
Released: RHP Will Morgan, RHP Phillips Orta, RHP Henry Owens, LHP Neal Musser, 3B Nick Giarraputo, SS Jake Eigsti, OF Evan LeBlanc
Loaned to Mexican League: LHP Arturo Lopez
Outrighted to Triple-A, removed from 40-man: LHP Pat Misch
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Manny Acosta, RHP Bobby Parnell, OF Chris Carter, OF Fernando Martinez
Misch cleared waivers and decided to stay with the Mets on a minor league deal rather than risk the choppy free agency waters. It’s the wrong time of year to be looking for work with a new organization.
The Mets claimed Acosta, an arm strength, fastball/changeup reliever, on waivers after the Braves tried to sneak him right on through to Triple-A Gwinnett.
New York Yankees
Released: RHP Jonathan Hovis, RHP Luke Prihoda, RHP Ryan Zink, C Mike Rivera, OF James Cooper
Added to 40-man roster: OF Marcus Thames
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Boone Logan
Signed: RHP Josh Lansford
Released: RHP Jason Fernandez, RHP Steve Sharpe, RHP Juston Street, LHP Nick Walters
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Tyson Ross
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Henry Rodriguez, LHP Brad Kilby, C Landon Powell, 2B Steven Tolleson
It’s a family affair in Oakland. The organization simultaneously parted ways with Juston Street, Huston's little brother and fellow Texas alum, and brought aboard Josh Lansford, older brother to 23-year-old relief prospect Jared, who finished last season with Triple-A Sacramento. Their father is Carney Lansford, who finished his career with 10 seasons in Athletics' green and gold.
Signed: RHP Josh Fogg, RHP Scott Mathieson*, RHP Ty Taubenheim, C Jeff Lanning, C James Skelton
Released: RHP Freddy Ballestas, RHP Ryan Bergh, RHP Joe Bisenius, RHP Darren Byrd, RHP Rick Guttormson, RHP Santos Hernandez, RHP Eryk McConnell, RHP Jordan Meaker, RHP Pat Overholt, RHP Todd Van Steensel, RHP Jessie Zuber, LHP Spencer Arroyo, LHP Sean Grieve, LHP Jason Mackintosh, LHP Jason Salers, LHP Jared Simon, C Jorge Guerra, C John Purdom, 1B Jeremy Hamilton, 3B Eric Campbell, 3B Zak Farkes, 3B Yonderman Rodriguez, OF Freddy Guzman, OF Gus Milner, OF Arlon Quiroz, OF Brad Wilkerson
Recalled: RHP Drew Carpenter
Option transferred: RHP J.C. Ramirez (Double-A to high Class A) and OF Quintin Berry (Triple-A to Double-A)
The Phillies made a couple last-minute additions to their organizational stable by scooping up recently released catchers Lanning (Twins) and Skelton (Diamondbacks).
Jeremy Hamilton carried a reputation as a pure hitter into the ’08 draft. The Phillies bought in and made the Wright State first baseman a fifth-round pick, but in his first taste of low Class A last year, he batted just .255/.344/.357 in 294 at-bats for Lakewood.
Released: RHP Harrison Bishop, RHP Chris Cullen, RHP Rafael de los Santos, RHP Wilson Ortiz, RHP Moises Robles, RHP R.J. Rodriguez, LHP Kyle Bloom, LHP Corey Hamman, LHP Nelson Pereira, C Billy Killian, C Craig Parry, 1B Chris Garcia, 2B Daniel Bomback, 3B Henry Henry, OF Edward Garcia
Traded: RHP Virgil Vasquez to Rays for a player to be named
Added to 40-man roster: RHP D.J. Carrasco, LHP Jack Taschner
Optioned to Triple-A: 1B Steve Pearce
St. Louis Cardinals
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP P.J. Walters
Option transferred: RHP Francisco Samuel and OF Daryl Jones (Triple-A to Double-A)
San Diego Padres
Released: RHP David Erickson, RHP Brett Holland, RHP Eduardo Perez, RHP Robert Woodard, LHP Derrick Loop, 2B Anthony Contreras, OF Cameron Monger
Recalled: LHP Cesar Ramos
Added to 40-man roster: OF Matt Stairs
Designated for assignment: OF Chad Huffman
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Adam Russell, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Nowhere can the Padres’ new emphasis on speed and defense be seen better than in their decision to remove Huffman from the 40-man roster. You'll have to ignore for a moment that they made the move to make room for 42-year-old Matt Stairs, who has played a grand total of 34 games in the field during the past two seasons. He does make for a powerful pinch-hitter, however. As to Huffman, he went an abysmal 1-for-23 in spring training before being sent out. The Yankees claimed him on waivers; he could be a key piece in another run to the International League playoffs for Scranton.
San Francisco Giants
Released: C Joel Collins, 1B C.J. Ziegler
Acquired: LHP Edwin Escobar from Rangers as compensation for loss of Rule 5 pick LHP Ben Snyder
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Guillermo Mota, RHP Todd Wellemeyer
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Kevin Pucetas, RHP Henry Sosa, LHP Alex Hinshaw, C Buster Posey, 2B Matt Downs, 3B Ryan Rohlinger
Released: RHP Brian Cloud, RHP Jason Franzblau, RHP Nelson Germocen, RHP Billy Kitchen, RHP Brooks Mohr, RHP Philip Roy, RHP Christian Staehely, RHP Kenta Suda, LHP Eddy Hernandez, LHP Brandon Pullen, LHP Jose Rios, C Travis Howell, C John Parham, 1B Kris Sanchez, OF Mark Angelo, OF Corey Patterson, OF Greg Waddell
Added to 40-man roster: 1B Mike Sweeney
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Luke French, LHP Garrett Olson
Olson qualifies for a fourth option year, which the Mariners are taking advantage of to send him to Tacoma, because he already has been optioned three times in his young career. The rule states that a team can exercise four option years on a player who has not yet accumulated five full pro seasons.
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Dale Thayer*, 1B Dan Johnson (re-signed)
Released: RHP Joey Callender, RHP Neal Frontz, RHP Austin Hinkle, C Tyler Hauschild, 3B Jeremy Beckham, OF Jason Corder
Acquired: RHP Virgil Vasquez from Pirates for a player to be named
Outrighted to Triple-A, removed from 40-man: 2B Elliot Johnson
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Dale Thayer
Dan Johnson batted .215/.30/.462 with 24 home runs and 52 walks in just 325 at-bats last year while playing for Yokohama. The 30-year-old’s power outburst in Japan prompted the Rays to sign him to a major league deal and guarantee him a place on the 40-man roster. Johnson fared poorly in spring training (.231/.333/.385) and the organization rethought its plan and sent him outright to the minors. He accepted an assignment with Triple-A Durham, where he spent the ’08 season. Tampa Bay wound up carrying Willy Abyar and Pat Burrell as well as 12 pitchers and two backup middle infielders in Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez, leaving no room for a part-time first base/DH type like Johnson.
Signed: RHP Willlie Eyre, C Max Ramirez*, 3B Esteban German
Released: RHP Kelvin Arendell, RHP Reinier Bermudez, RHP Keith Campbell, RHP Jose Rafael Diaz, RHP Clayton Hamilton, RHP Jared Hyatt, RHP Chris Matlock, RHP Jorge Quintero, RHP J.K. Ryu, RHP Jared Schrom, RHP John Slusarz, RHP Robert Wilkins, LHP Winston Marquez, LHP Glenn Swanson, C Billy O'Conner, C John Otness, 2B Michael Hollander, SS Denny Duron, OF Santo DeJesus, OF Kyle Rhoad, OF Tim Rodriguez
Traded: LHP Edwin Escobar to Giants as compensation for Rule 5 pick LHP Ben Snyder
Outrighted to Double-A, removed from 40-man: LHP Ben Snyder
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Guillermo Moscoso, C Max Ramirez
Option transferred: RHP Omar Beltre and LHP Michael Kirkman (Double-A to Triple-A)
The Rangers shed Eyre and German from their 40-man roster last December. Each player accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma, only now coming to terms on a minor league contract for ’10.
The Twins lost two pitchers in the minor league Rule 5 draft last winter. Philadelphia cut righthaner Angelo Sanchez on March 22, while Texas parted ways with lefty Winston Marquez about a week later.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: LHP Jesse Carlson*
Released: RHP Jonah Bayliss, RHP Chris Holguin, RHP Lance Loftin, RHP Yorman Mayora, RHP Sean Stidfole, LHP Evan Teague, SS Luis Fernandez, OF Nick Zaleski
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Jesse Carlson, LHP Brett Cecil, LHP David Purcey
Signed: RHP Luis Atilano*, RHP J.D. Martin*, 3B Josh R. Johnson
Released: RHP Ryan Speier, C Josh N. Johnson, C Scott Thomas, 2B Greg Veloz, 3B Angel Gonzalez, 3B Yeurys Tejeda, SS Dani Arias, OF Carl Loadenthal, OF Pedro Powell, OF Jay Sferra, OF Sean Smith
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Miguel Batista, OF Willy Taveras
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Luis Atilano, RHP J.D. Martin, LHP Scott Olsen, OF Roger Bernadina
Option transferred: LHP Matt Chico (Triple-A to Double-A)
Double-A Harrisbug’s rotation will feature lefty Matt Chico, who took 31 turns for the Nationals in ’07 and fared modestly, all things considered. Too bad the Senators won’t have any other prospects of note.
For a fleeting moment, Washington had two Josh Johnsons under contract, shifting the balance of power in the NL East away from the Marlins and their ace of the same name. But the Nats released Josh Nels Johnson, a catcher who played in the Atlantic League last year, at the tail end of spring training.
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