Official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period Jan. 8-14.
Signed: RHP Stu Pomeranz (non-tendered and re-signed), C Chase Weems (re-signed), 1B Steve Pearce (re-signed after outright assignment), 2B Travis Adair (re-signed)
Signed: LHP Gerardo Concepcion (re-signed after outright sssignment)
Chicago White Sox
Signed: RHP Tony Pena Jr., LHP Steven Evans (released by Twins, July 24), 3B Nick Giarraputo (New Jersey (Can-Am))
Draft pick signed: OF Jason Coats (29)
Tony Pena Jr.'s second career as a righthanded pitcher has taken him through the Royals, Giants and Red Sox organizations prior to settling with the White Sox this month. (You may recall that Chicago took a chance on another converted shortstop in ’09 when it signed Sergio Santos.) Pena garnered attention in the Dominican League, where he led the league with 11.4 SO/9 and ranked fifth with a .195 opponent average, while throwing to his brother Francisco, a Mets farmhand. Tony helped pitch Cibao to the playoffs, where he notched an 11-3 SO-BB ratio in 13 2/3 innings.
A Texas Christian senior, Coats was not subject to the signing deadline. His ’12 draft scouting report reads in part: "(Coats) set a school record with 99 hits in 2010 before turning in a strong summer in the Cape Cod League . . . (but) his righthanded swing got longer and his pitch recognition regressed (in 2011), and he dropped to the Orioles in the 12th round . . . Coats could be a slighty above-average hitter with average power . . . He fits best in left field with his fringy speed, arm and defense. He missed the Mountain West Conference tournament with a sprained right knee."
Signed: 3B Nate Samson, SS Cesar Izturis, OF Jonathan Martijn
Signed: RHP Jerry Gil, LHP Scott Kazmir (Sugar Land (Atlantic)), LHP Edward Paredes (Did not play in ’12), C Brian Jeroloman
Traded: RHP Jeanmar Gomez to Pirates for OF Quincy Latimore
Jerry Gil reached the majors in ’04 and ’07 as a light-hitting shortstop, but he hasn't quite gotten over the Triple-A hump in five seasons as a pitcher. With the Estrellas of the Dominican League this winter, he saved eight games in eight tries, picked up two relief wins and posted a fine 20-4 SO-BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings.
A fourth-rounder in ’07, Quincy Latimore will qualify for minor league free agency following the season if he's not on a 40-man roster. He's got solid power, hitting 15 homers in each of the past two seasons with Double-A Altoona, and brings value with with his glove and baserunning skill, but with a career .252 average in the minors, he simply hasn't shown the feel to hit to warrant a closer look.
Signed: RHP Manny Corpas
Signed: LHP Pat Misch, OF Don Kelly (re-signed)
Kansas City Royals
Signed: OF Charles Thomas
This is the same Charles W. Thomas who shined as a Braves rookie in ’04 and got packaged that winter in the trade that brought Tim Hudson to Atlanta. Thomas has not played affiliated or independent ball in five years, not since playing for the Brewers' Triple-A Nashville affiliate in ’07. He's now 34 years old.
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: 3B Jimmy Swift (re-signed)
Released: LHP Yancarlos Santiago, 1B Samir Mendez
Los Angeles Dodgers
Released: RHP Edwin Contreras, 1B Austin Gallagher
Signed: RHP Michael Wuertz (Did not play in ’12), C Craig Tatum, 2B Nick Green (re-signed), OF Austin Kearns (re-signed)
Austin Kearns and Matt Diaz (who signed with the Yankees, below) are Article XX-B major league free agents, not to mention righty-hitting corner-outfield veterans, who signed minor league deals this winter. As such, both receive an automatic June 1 opt-out date and a $100,000 bonus if they open the year in Triple-A.
Signed: RHP Kelvim Escobar (Did not play in 2010-12), RHP Arcenio Leon (re-signed after outright assignment), OF Chuck Caufield (Forth Worth (North American))
Removed from 40-man: RHP Arcenio Leon (outrighted to Triple-A)
Kelvim Escobar turns 37 in April and has exactly one pro appearance in the past five seasons, yet he landed a spring-training invite with Milwaukee after proving his health with Lara of the Venezuelan League. (He knows Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash from their days in the Blue Jays organization.) Escobar struck out right in 11 VL innings, allowing nine hits and nine walks.
Signed: RHP Patrick Arnold (Lake Erie (Frontier))
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Jim Miller (re-signed after outright assignment), C Bobby Wilson (non-tendered by Blue Jays), 2B Reegie Corona (released by Yankees, March 24), 3B Jayson Nix (re-signed after outright assignment), OF Matt Diaz
With the defection of Russell Martin to Pittsburgh, the Yankees will, barring a major acquisition, turn over the catcher position to a cast of thousands that includes unseasoned veterans like Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and (the just signed) Bobby Wilson as well as prospect Austin Romine. Top prospect Gary Sanchez can't develop quickly enough.
Former Yankees prospect Reegie Corona missed the entire ’11 season with an injury and didn't play last year, but he proved his health with Magallanes of the Venezuelan League, batting 6-for-18 with two doubles and a 3-2 BB-SO ratio.
Signed: C Miguel Perez (re-signed)
Traded: OF Quincy Latimore to Indians for RHP Jeanmar Gomez
San Diego Padres
Released: 1B Matt Clark (signed with Chunichi (Japan))
Matt Clark has mashed 73 homers in the high minors since ’10, yet the Padres carry so many first base/left field types on their 40-man roster—Yonder Alonso, Kyle Blanks, James Darnell, Jaff Decker, Jesus Guzman, Carlos Quentin, Edinson Rincon—that he had virtually no shot at playing time in San Diego. [Update: As noted in comments, the Padres granted Clark his release so that he could play in Japan.]
San Francisco Giants
Signed: 2B Kensuke Tanaka (Nippon-Ham (Japan))
Released: RHP Eric Hacker (signed with NC Dinos (Korea))
Second baseman Kensuke Tanaka, 31, finished fifth in the Pacific League batting race last season, hitting .300/.363/.350 with 20 extra-base hits in 457 at-bats for Nippon-Ham. He'll compete for a utility job with the Giants.
Signed: RHP Jeremy Bonderman (Did not play in 2011-12), RHP Jhonny Nunez (released by Rays, July 2)
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Juan Sandoval (Oaxaca (Mexican))
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: RHP Clint Everts (re-signed)
Signed: RHP Casey Upperman (released by D-backs, April 14), OF Delwyn Young (Camden (Atlantic))