Baseball America

Minor League Transactions: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

Official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period Oct. 31-Nov. 6.

To distinguish between players who re-signed before or after hitting the free agent market, we’ve given them different designations. Those who re-signed before receive an asterisk (*), while those who signed after being declared free agents are credited as being (re-signed). For more on minor league free agents, see our complete listing of 2013 minor league free agents.

In this installment, we see a few instances of organizations—Braves, Orioles, Twins and Nationals—adding players to 40-man rosters. They’ve taken this step to prevent said players from being declared minor league free agents. That is, those players had no contract renewals remaining and no successor deal in place for 2014.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Signed:
OF Jordan Parraz

Atlanta Braves
Signed:
RHP Race Parmenter (Southern Illinois (Frontier)), LHP Robert Fish*, C Jerol Guzman
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Wirfin Obispo, LHP Ryan Buchter
Removed from 40-man: 2B Phil Gosselin (outrighted to Triple-A)

Not satisfied to merely build a bullpen from waiver-wire discards—see: David Carpenter, Cristhian Martinez, Eric O’Flaherty and Anthony Varvaro—the Braves also use other pro-scouting channels to procure and hoard free-talent relievers. That’s how they acquired Juan Jaime and the two arms they recently added to the 40-man roster: Ryan Buchter and Wirfin Obispo, both of whom spent 2013 at Triple-A Gwinnett and are pitching in winter ball now.

The 29-year-old Obispo, signed last November as a minor league free agent, tops out in the high 90s and posted strong ratios versus Triple-A righties this year, including strikeout and walk rates of 28 and 6 percent. He walks way too many lefties (22 percent), but then he allowed just two extra-base hits in 105 plate appearances.

Acquired in the May 2011 deal that sent Rodrigo Lopez to the Cubs, the 26-year-old Buchter was one of four pure relievers in the minors this season to strike out 100 batters (103). The other three: Padres righty Leonel Campos (106), Diamondbacks righty Seth Simmons (106) and Mets lefty Jack Leathersich (102). A 6-foot-3 southpaw, Buchter had the highest walk rate of the group (18 percent), though the Braves must be excited about his situational potential seeing as he held Triple-A lefties to a 11-for-89 (.124) line with 48 strikeouts and two extra-base hits in 114 plate appearances. Buchter throws a low-90s heater and a slider that lefties struggle to see well.

Baltimore Orioles
Signed:
RHP Tim Alderson (re-signed), 3B Cam Kneeland (Trois-Rivieres (Can-Am))
Elected free agency: 1B Dan Johnson, OF Chris Dickerson
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Chris Jones
Removed from 40-man: 1B Dan Johnson, OF Chris Dickerson (both players outrighted to Triple-A)

Acquired from the Braves for Luis Ayala in April, lefty Chris Jones spent the majority of the season in the Triple-A Norfolk bullpen. The 25-year-old has situational-relief potential, though he’ll have to throw more strikes versus lefties after walking 12 percent of them at Triple-A. On the plus side, same-siders went just 20-for-102 (.196) with zero homers in 117 plate appearances against Jones.

Boston Red Sox
Removed from 40-man:
1B Brandon Snyder, OF Quintin Berry (both players outrighted to Triple-A)

Chicago Cubs
Signed:
RHP Eduardo Figueroa*, RHP Dae-Eun Rhee*

Chicago White Sox
Signed:
RHP Tony Pena Jr.*, RHP Salvador Sanchez*
Removed from 40-man: RHP Simon Castro (outrighted to Triple-A)

Cleveland Indians
Signed:
RHP J.C. Ramirez, 1B Jason Giambi (re-signed)

Houston Astros
Signed:
RHP Jorge De Leon (re-signed)
Released: C Cristian Moronta, OF Mesac Laguna

Kansas City Royals
Signed:
RHP Clayton Mortensen (re-signed), OF Paulo Orlando*

Los Angeles Angels
Signed:
RHP Jarrett Grube*, RHP Chris Volstad

Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed:
RHP Hector Nelo*, RHP Andres Santiago*, C Gorman Erickson*, 1B Chris Jacobs*, SS Ozzie Martinez*
Assigned to Arizona Fall League: RHP Craig Stem

Miami Marlins
Signed:
RHP Nick Grim (Rockford (Frontier))

Milwaukee Brewers
Signed:
C Joey Paciorek*

Minnesota Twins
Signed:
RHP Lester Oliveros*, OF Jermaine Mitchell*
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Edgar Ibarra

Signed out of Venezuela in 2006, Edgar Ibarra rebounded from a dreadful 2012 season (1.53 WHIP, 4.69 ERA in 42 appearances), his first as a pure reliever, to pitch his way onto the Twins’ 40-man roster. The 24-year-old is a sinker/slider specialist who sits 89-91 mph and presents a tough look for lefthanders, who went 13-for-71 (.183) with 22 percent strikeouts and two extra-base hits in 85 plate appearances in Double-A and Triple-A.

Like the other lefty relievers added to 40-man rosters this time—that’s Ryan Buchter (Braves) and Chris Jones (Orioles)—Ibarra allowed a low batting average, minimal power, few hits on balls in play (.231) and too many walks (15 percent) to lefthanders.

Oakland Athletics
Signed:
SS Darwin Perez*

Philadelphia Phillies
Signed:
RHP Luis Paulino*, 3B Tyler Henson*, SS Jonathan Roof*, OF Leandro Castro*

Pittsburgh Pirates
Signed:
LHP Eliecer Navarro*, C Rudy Pena*, 3B Andy Vasquez*, SS Greg Picart*, OF Austin McClune*, OF Anthony Norman (re-signed)
Elected free agency: OF Felix Pie
Removed from 40-man: OF Felix Pie (outrighted to Triple-A)

St. Louis Cardinals
Removed from 40-man:
C Rob Johnson, 1B Brock Peterson, OF Adron Chambers (all players outrighted to Triple-A)

San Diego Padres
Signed:
RHP Luis de la Cruz*, LHP Juan Oramas*
Removed from 40-man: LHP Tommy Layne (outrighted to Triple-A)

Lefty Juan Oramas made a successful return from Tommy John surgery, going 3-2, 3.07 with a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12 starts for Double-A San Antonio. He also pitched 12 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out 12, in the Texas League playoffs, helping push the Missions to their second league title in three years. With a lost injury year in between, Oramas also pitched for the 2011 TL champs. Though they have re-signed him to a minor league deal for now, the Padres will have to add Oramas to the 40-man prior to Nov. 20 to make him ineligible for the Rule 5 draft.

San Francisco Giants
Signed:
3B Mark Minicozzi*
Released: RHP Craig Westcott

Seattle Mariners
Signed:
RHP Jonathan Arias (re-signed), 3B Leury Bonilla (re-signed)

Tampa Bay Rays
Signed:
RHP Victor Mateo (re-signed)

Texas Rangers
Signed:
RHP Ross Wolf (re-signed following outright assignment)
Removed from 40-man: RHP Ross Wolf, LHP Travis Blackley (both players outrighted to Triple-A)
Assigned to Arizona Fall League: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla

Toronto Blue Jays
Signed:
RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx*, RHP Bobby Korecky*, LHP Efrain Nieves*, C Mike Nickeas*
Removed from 40-man: LHP Juan Perez (outrighted to Triple-A)

Did you know that minor league free agent pickup Austin Bibens-Dirkx led all Blue Jays minor leaguers with 155 strikeouts? Well, he did. The 28-year-old also led all the system’s full-season pitchers with a 2.48 ERA while racking up 12 wins at high Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. If not for R.A. Dickey’s 177 whiffs, then Bibens-Dirkx would have led the entire organization in that category.

Washington Nationals
Added to 40-man roster:
OF Steven Souza

Selected as a prep third baseman from Everett, Wash., in the third round of the 2007 draft, Steven Souza, now a right fielder, began tapping into his impressive raw power at two Class A stops in 2012, mashing 23 homers and slugging .572. Improved plate discipline at Double-A in 2013 put the 6-foot-3 righthanded hitter on the 40-man roster.

At 24 years old, Souza is a late bloomer, but despite a high strikeout rate against righthanders (26 percent), he hit them with authority at Harrisburg, batting .298/.402/.576 with 11 homers, a .272 isolated slugging percentage and 13-percent walk rate in 229 plate appearances. He tagged Double-A lefties with an .895 OPS, but his production versus righties will dictate whether he has a chance to start in the big leagues. So far, so good.

Souza continued to excel in the Arizona Fall League, where he had hit .364/.447/.424 through nine games for Mesa, with some of the highest exit velocity off the bat. According to TrackMan data, his Oct. 11 double left the bat at 115 mph, the hardest hit in the AFL though Nov. 10.