Minor League Transactions

This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between March 1 and 14. Previous transactions available here.

More than half of the spring-training slate has elapsed, meaning that plenty of 40-man roster members have been optioned to minor league camp. Read on to learn the destinations of that first wave. Oh, and the completion of the Super Register should mean a return to a more regularly-scheduled transactions blog.

Arizona Diamondbacks
RHP Osbek Castillo, LHP Craig Pfautz, LHP Mark Romanczuk, C Julio Parra, SS Shea McFeely
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Esmerling Vasquez, 1B Javier Brito, 1B Josh Whitesell

Whitesell, a sixth-round selection by the Expos in 2003 from Loyola Marymount, has been kicking around the minors for five years now, but he gets a new lease on life with his move to Arizona on a waiver claim. He quietly had a fine year in the Double-A Eastern League in 2007, finishing second with 87 walks and a .425 OBP and fourth with a .512 slugging percentage. He’s 26, doesn’t run and doesn’t make a ton of contact, but he might be a cheap on-base source for the D’backs beginning now. He’s also lefthanded, making him a complement to Conor Jackson at first base.

Atlanta Braves
Signed: RHP Vladimir Nunez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Charlie Morton, RHP Zach Schreiber, RHP Phil Stockman
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jairo Cuevas

Baltimore Orioles
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Fredy Deza, RHP Bob McCrory, RHP Hayden Penn

Boston Red Sox
Granted free agency: RHP Lincoln Holdzkom
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Devern Hansack, RHP Edgar Martinez, RHP David Pauley, OF Jonathan Van Every
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Kyle Jackson, SS Argenis Diaz

Chicago Cubs
Released: RHP Miguel Cuevas-Novas, LHP Tim Layden, C Matt Hudgins, 3B Billy Mottram, OF Brian Leclerc, OF Chris Walker
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Juan Mateo, RHP Billy Petrick, C Jake Fox
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Adam Harben, RHP Jeff Samardzija

Chicago White Sox
Signed: OF Jim Rushford, OF Dewayne Wise
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Lance Broadway, RHP Dewon Day, RHP Charlie Haeger, RHP Oneli Perez
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Lucas Harrell

The lone independent Heartland Baseball League survivor in Organized Baseball, Rushford has carved out a solid Triple-A career, batting .288/.349/.405 in six seasons at the level. The HBL folded in 1998.

Cincinnati Reds
Signed: 2B Jerry Hairston, OF Corey Patterson
Removed from 40-man roster: LHP Alexander Smit
Return of Rule 5 selection: RHP Sergio Valenzuela (to Braves)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Richie Gardner, RHP Ramon Ramirez, LHP Tyler Pelland

Because he’s 23 and has spent all of one season above Rookie ball, Valenzuela always was a longshot to stick on the Reds’ 25-man roster for an entire season. He’s back with the Braves, where he may get a refresher with high Class A Myrtle Beach to begin the year.

Cleveland Indians
Signed: LHP Juan Lara, OF Wil Cordero
Released: RHP Julio Bolivar, LHP Bret Carlin
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Adam Miller, LHP Reid Santos, RHP Brian Slocum, LHP Tony Sipp
Optioned to Double-A: LHP Scott Lewis, 1B Michael Aubrey

Colorado Rockies
Signed: LHP Jesse Hall, C Nick Valdez, 1B Fernando Seguignol, OF Ruddy Yan
Released: LHP Sean Thompson
Optioned to Triple-A: SS Jonathan Herrera
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Pedro Strop
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Esmil Rogers

Once a touted prospect with the Expos, the switch-hitting Seguignol hasn’t played in the U.S. since 2003 and spent the past four seasons in Japan. Signed by the Yankees out of Panama in 1993, Seguignol was able to fetch righthander John Wetteland from Montreal in an April 1995 trade. All Wetteland did for the Yankees was save 74 games in two years—preceding another Panamanian, Mariano Rivera, as closer—and win World Series MVP honors in 1996. As for Seguignol, he hit .249/.303/.451 in five big league trials from 1998 to 2003, totaling 366 at-bats. His minor league line of .269/.326/.475 didn’t portend a whole lot more, though he did mash 146 home runs, with a season high of 31. He fared much better in Japan, swatting 145 homers in five seasons there (he also spent 2002 overseas) and batting .274/.362/.525. While it’s easy to write off Triple-A sluggers who thrive in the Far East, not many of them fare so well as Seguignol did. The trouble is, he’s now 33 and will have to fight Joe Koshansky for playing time at first base for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Detroit Tigers
Signed: RHP Armando Galarraga, RHP Blaine Neal, LHP Nick Martin
Released: RHP Matt Mantei
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Armando Galarraga, LHP Macay McBride
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Rick Porcello

Florida Marlins
Released: OF Jorge Piedra
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Daniel Barone, RHP Eulogio de la Cruz, RHP Carlos Martinez, RHP Scott Nestor, RHP Ross Wolf, OF Jai Miller
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jesus Delgado

Houston Astros
Signed: RHP John Pacella, RHP Aaron Rakers, C Reece Creswell
Released: OF Jared Pitts
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Paul Estrada, RHP Fernando Nieve, RHP Chad Reineke, OF Yordany Ramirez
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Samuel Gervacio, RHP Brad James

Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Abraham Ramirez
Released: RHP Justin Barnes. RHP Josh Cribb, LHP Ryan Di Pietro, C Tom Hill, C Luany Sanchez, 2B Ryan Angel, 2B Michael Gaffney, 3B Luis Castillo, SS Jesus Soto, OF Ian Craze
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Tyler Lumsden
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Julio Pimentel, RHP Carlos Rosa

Los Angeles Angels
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jose Arredondo

Los Angeles Dodgers
LHP Scott Rice
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jonathan Meloan, RHP Justin Orenduff, RHP Cory Wade
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Mario Alvarez, RHP James McDonald

Milwaukee Brewers
Signed: RHP John Axford
Optioned to Triple-A: C Lou Palmisano

Minnesota Twins
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Julio Depaula, RHP Bobby Korecky, C Jose Morales, 2B Alexi Casilla, 3B Matt Macri
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Oswaldo Sosa, LHP Jose Mijares

New York Mets
Signed: OF Ambiorix Concepcion
Released: RHP Nathan Hedrick
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Carlos Muniz, LHP Adam Bostick, LHP Willie Collazo

New York Yankees
Signed: C Chad Moeller
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Billy Traber
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Kai Liu, C Zhenwang Zhang
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jeff Marquez, RHP Steven White, LHP Chase Wright, 1B Juan Miranda
Optioned to Double-A: C Francisco Cervelli

Oakland Athletics
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jeff Gray, LHP Dan Meyer, C Landon Powell, 2B Kevin Melillo, OF Javi Herrera, OF Richie Robnett

Philadelphia Phillies
Signed: RHP Charles Vartanian, LHP Jared Locke
Released: RHP Liam Shanahan, RHP Jack Tilghman, C Rich Prall, SS Adam Sorgi
Return of Rule 5 selection: RHP Lincoln Holdzkom (to Red Sox)
Optioned to Double-A: 2B Brad Harman

The Phillies will have to content themselves with one major league Rule 5 pick after sending Holdzkom back to Boston. Lefthander Travis Blackley, taken from the Giants, remains with the team.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Released: C Nick Stillwagon
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Luis Munoz, RHP Romulo Sanchez, LHP Dave Davidson
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP Ronald Belisario, RHP Yoslan Herrera
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Olivo Astacio

St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: 1B Carlos Pupo
Released: SS Willian Sandoval
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Blake Hawksworth, RHP Mark Worrell, 2B Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B Brian Barden, OF Cody Haerther

San Francisco Giants
Signed: RHP Randy Messenger
Released: RHP Ricky Bauer, RHP Ryan McGrath, RHP Alberto Montes, RHP John Odom, RHP Adam Ortiz-Jusino, RHP Ivan Herrera-Rusova, RHP Darren Sack, RHP Scott Williamson,LHP Josue Gomez
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Osiris Matos, RHP Randy Messenger, RHP Kelvin Pichardo, OF John Bowker, OF Clay Timpner

Seattle Mariners
Signed: RHP Denny Stark
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Joe Woerman, 1B Bryan LaHair, 2B Yung Chi Chen

Like a number of other pitchers this spring—among them Mike Lincoln, Brian Anderson, Matt Mantei and Ober Moreno—Stark is attempting a comeback. To do it, he’ll need to shake off two years of rust. And for a guy with a big league strikeout-to-walk mark of 120 to 123, the time away may be too much to overcome.

Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP J.K. Ryu, SS Jeff Bannon
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP J.K. Ryu, RHP Mitch Talbot, LHP James Houser, C John Jaso, OF Fernando Perez, OF Justin Ruggiano
Optioned to high Class A: LHP David Price

Texas Rangers
Signed: RHP Sidney Ponson
Released: LHP Carlos Perez, LHP Yennier Sardinas, C Bret Story
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP A.J. Murray, SS Joaquin Arias, OF Brandon Boggs
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Thomas Diamond, RHP Warner Madrigal, LHP Matt Harrison, C Max Ramirez
Optioned to high Class A: OF Julio Borbon

Toronto Blue Jays
LHP Davis Romero
Released: RHP Ryan Bird, RHP Noah Tritz, LHP John Zinnicker
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jean Machi, RHP Tracy Thorpe, LHP Gustavo Chacin, LHP David Purcey, LHP Davis Romero, C Robinzon Diaz, C Curtis Thigpen, 2B Joe Inglett, SS Russ Adams, SS Sergio Santos, OF Buck Coats, OF Adam Lind

Looks like Chacin and Purcey are out of the running—for now—for the Jays’ rotation. With Casey Janssen out for the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder, righthander Jesse Litsch moves to the top of the No. 5 starter heap. Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum are assured spots in Toronto’s Opening Day rotation if healthy. The release of Zinnicker, Toronto’s 35th-round pick in 2006, halves the number of Bonnies in the pros. The Astros took first baseman Brian Pellegrini from St. Bonaventure (the author’s alma mater) in the 12th round of last year’s draft, making him the highest-drafted player from that Atlantic-10 Conference program.

Washington Nationals
Signed: RHP Daniel Foli, 3B Tony Batista
Released: C Chad Moeller
Recalled: 1B Josh Whitesell
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Garrett Mock, 1B Josh Whitesell
Optioned to Double-A: OF Roger Bernadina, OF Justin Maxwell
Optioned to high Class A: LHP Ross Detwiler

Clippard’s trade from the Yankees to the Nationals figured to enhance his rotation chances, not get him banished to minor league camp during spring training’s first week. Did you realize Batista spent all but April of last season in the big leagues? Well, he’s back for another round. It’s another minor league deal, though.