Minor League Transactions

This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between March 15 and 22. Last week’s transactions available here.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Released: RHP Danny Rosen, OF Shane Byrne
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Emiliano Fruto, C Wilkin Castillo, 2B Emilio Bonifacio

Atlanta Braves
Released: RHP James Curtis, RHP Rich Scalamandre, RHP Jared Shaffer, LHP Adam Stanley
Loaned to Mexican League: RHP Sergio Valenzuela

Returned by the Reds as a Rule 5 pick last week, Valenzuela, the 23-year-old who hasn’t pitched above high Class A, got his Opening Day assignment: Monclova of the Mexican League.

Baltimore Orioles
Released: RHP Brian Finch, RHP Zach Jevne, RHP Nick McCurdy, RHP Blake Owen, C Morgan Clendenin
Acquired: 2B Mike McCoy from Cardinals for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Radhames Liz, LHP Garrett Olson

Boston Red Sox
Released: RHP Ismael Casillas, RHP Barry Hertzler, 2B Mike Chambers, 2B Victor Serrano, 2B Junior Spivey, OF Paul Smyth, OF Luis Soto
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Craig Hansen, RHP Lincoln Holdzkom, C George Kottaras, 1B Chris Carter

Soto at one time paired with Hanley Ramirez to give the Red Sox two potential shortstops of the future. Soto, who signed for $500,000 in 2004, outgrew shortstop and Ramirez got traded. Holdzkom is back in the organization after being returned as a major league Rule 5 pick by the Phillies, but not before he opted for free agency, as was his right, rather than accept a second outright assignment to the minors. Boston re-signed him to a big league deal and added him to the 40-man, using the spot vacated by Curt Schilling’s placement on the 60-day disabled list.

Chicago Cubs
Released: RHP Yuri Higgins, RHP Simon Lee, RHP Andrew McCormick, RHP Chris Rivera, LHP Taylor Parker, C Matt Canepa
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jose Ascanio, RHP Sean Gallagher, LHP Neal Cotts

Chicago White Sox
Released: RHP Joey Doan, RHP Vince Perkins, RHP Frank Viola, RHP John Wesley, RHP Alberto Zazueta, LHP Luke Hagerty, LHP Brian Logan, LHP Carlos Perez, LHP Ronald Ramirez, LHP Adam Tollefson, LHP Alex Woodson, C Duarte Yapor, 1B Chris Kelly, 2B John Anderson, 3B Brent Metheny, OF Steve Boggs, OF Josh Morgan, OF Steven Turner
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Andy Sisco, C Donny Lucy

A few notables among the discarded . . . Canadian righthander Perkins throws (or perhaps threw) a heavy fastball that was murder on righthanded batters in his Blue Jays days. But Toronto couldn’t sneak him through waivers at the outset of 2006 and the Brewers nabbed him. He missed 2006 with an elbow injury and hasn’t found success since. Viola is the son of former big league lefty Frank Viola, to this day the last Met to win 20. Frank the younger did not advance past the Rookie-level Appy League with the Sox. The 32nd overall pick from Ball State in 2002 (and teammate of No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington), Hagerty’s career was derailed by injuries, and he spent last year giving up five runs in an inning and a third for Rockford of the independent Frontier League. And then there’s Anderson, he of the distinguished nine-year indy league career, who signed with Chicago last June and was assigned to low Class A Kannapolis at age 30. He hit .281/.335/.337 there—but that can’t obscure his .300 average in more than 600 indy league games, most of the in the Frontier and Northern leagues.

Cincinnati Reds
Released: RHP Anthony Romero, LHP Dan Donaldson, LHP Dave Gassner, LHP Jacob Ociesa
Traded: RHP Brad Salmon to Royals for player to be named or cash
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Marcus McBeth, OF Drew Anderson

Cleveland Indians
Released: RHP Cody Bunkelman, LHP James Brettl
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Edward Mujica, C Wyatt Toregas, OF Brad Snyder

Colorado Rockies
Signed: C Humberto Cota
Released: RHP David Arnold, RHP Matthew Trent, RHP Mike Vicaro, LHP Ricardo Morales, 2B Gary Cates
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Juan Morillo

Detroit Tigers
Released: SS Mark Haske, OF Ryan Seawell
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Virgil Vasquez, OF Brent Clevlen

Florida Marlins
Released: RHP Andrew Alsup, RHP Derek Blacksher, RHP Jordan Davis, RHP Anthony Snow, LHP Kevin Hammons, LHP Travis Talbott, C Trent D’Antonio, 1B Josh Pressley, SS Lucas Waters, OF Jose Campusano, OF Josh Short, OF Elvin Vargas
Optioned to Triple-A: OF Brett Carroll

Houston Astros
Released: RHP Ken Chenard, RHP Rory Shortell, SS Angel Reyes
Outrighted off 40-man roster: LHP Mark McLemore

Kansas City Royals
Released: RHP Daniel Best, RHP Brian Gausman, RHP John Leonard, RHP Angelo Morales, RHP Ben Norton, RHP Eric Van Slyke, LHP Matt Campbell, LHP Pat Cassa, LHP Ted Gjeldum, LHP Justin Phillips, LHP Jason Roach, LHP Josh Santerre, C Brady Everett, 1B Brett Amyx, 1B Jase Turner, 2B Mike Bionde, 3B Michael Thompson
Acquired: RHP Brad Salmon from Reds for player to be named or cash
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ryan Braun

Campbell, the 29th overall pick in 2004, the same year Kansas City nabbed Billy Butler, gave the Royals 138 innings in four seasons, none above high Class A. The Royals believe he threw too many curveballs in pitching South Carolina to three consecutive College World Series appearances, and his arm simply never recovered. The 2004 draft wasn’t all bad, though, and might have been a sign of things to come. They got future star Butler, of course, but also three players who they’d eventually flip for pieces of their 2008 team: lefty J.P. Howell (31st overall, traded for Joey Gathright) and righthanders Billy Buckner (second round, traded for Alberto Callaspo) and Erik Cordier (second round, traded for Tony Pena Jr.).

Los Angeles Angels
Released: RHP Mitchell Arnold, OF Chad Hermansen, OF Josh LeBlanc, OF DeAndre Miller, OF Pat Reilly, OF Stantrel Smith
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Nick Green, RHP Jeff Kennard, 3B Matt Brown, SS Sean Rodriguez

Los Angeles Dodgers
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Eric Hull, LHP Greg Miller, LHP Eric Stults, C Lucas May, OF Xavier Paul

Milwaukee Brewers
Released: RHP Yeison Cruz, RHP Franklin Nunez, RHP Chris Spurling, 2B Eric Newton, 3B Bryan Crosby, 3B Zach McAngus, SS Ryan Barba, SS Scott McKnight, OF Jovanny Felix
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Tim Dillard, LHP Mitch Stetter, C Vinny Rottino

Minnesota Twins
Released: RHP Adam Hawes, RHP Landon Jacobsen, RHP Dan Leatherman, RHP Caleb Moore, LHP Kevin Fox, LHP Sean Land, C David Hernandez, OF Kevin Harrington
Outrighted off 40-man roster: LHP Carmen Cali, OF Garrett Jones

New York Mets
Released: RHP Andy Cavazos, RHP Michael Devaney, RHP Matt Durkin, RHP Travis Foley, RHP David Koons, RHP Jeremy Mizell, RHP Greg Mullens, RHP Nelson Portillo, RHP Ricky Sparks, LHP Saydel Beltran, LHP Ryan Cullen, LHP Grady Hinchman, 2B Micah Schilling, OF Jesus Gamero, OF Donald Green
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ruddy Lugo

Ah, the lure of arm strength and the power of top-notch representation. Durkin secured an $800,000 bonus from the Mets, negotiated by Scott Boras, as their second-round pick in 2004. Trouble was, he was coming off a 4.49 ERA season for San Jose State and he lacked command and tended to rely too much on his 92-94 mph fastball. The Mets got their first extended look at Durkin in 2007, as the watched him go 4-8, 4.00 with 71-56 K-BB in 115 innings for low Class A Savannah, the worst full-season club in the minors. This is not the type of cautionary tale Mets fans are in the mood for after Mike Pelfrey give up eight runs in four spring-training innings Sunday.

Oakland Athletics
Released: RHP Scot Drucker, RHP John Herrera, RHP Eric Sheridan, LHP Brad Davis, LHP Brad Halsey, C John Brummett, C Matt LeCroy, 2B Isaac Omura
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Joey Devine, RHP Henry Rodriguez, LHP Jerry Blevins

The Mark Mulder trade is still paying dividends for the A’s. General manager Billy Beane masterfully traded the ace lefty to the Cardinals prior to the 2005 season, netting Oakland their first baseman for ’08 (Daric Barton) and righthander Dan Haren, who Beane then turned into a cavalcade of young talent headlined by Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson. If only they had gotten half that value for Tim Hudson, who has proven to be a much better value for Atlanta than Mulder has been for St. Louis. In that deal, consummated in the same offseason, the A’s received since-traded outfielder Charles Thomas; lefty Dan Meyer, who helped Triple-A Sacramento to the Pacific Coast League title last year, but who has no big league success; and diminutive righty Juan Cruz, whom Oakland flipped for lefty Brad Halsey, who had one decent year in the bullpen and one shoulder surgery before his release last week.

Philadelphia Phillies
Released: RHP Jonathan Forest, RHP Nolan Mulligan, RHP Eric Smolin, LHP Nate Jeanes, LHP Charles Merricks, LHP Cory Willey
Optioned to Double-A: LHP Fabio Castro

Pittsburgh Pirates
Released: RHP Matt McCullen, RHP Mauricio Mendez, RHP Derrik Moeves, RHP Nicolas Suero, LHP Enmanuel Marte, C Matt Clarkson, C Francis Poni, 3B Nathan Phillips, OF Michael Mayer
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Bryan Bullington, RHP Ty Taubenheim, RHP John Van Benschoten, 1B Steve Pearce, SS Brian Bixler

The Pirates won’t be able to keep Pearce in the minors for long if he hits like he did last year—an aggregate .333/.394/.622 in the minors with 31 homers and just 70 whiffs in 134 games. Lefty Sean Burnett, the club’s top pick in 2000, is pitching well enough this spring to receive strong consideration for a bullpen spot. But it’s back to Indianapolis for the first-round pitchers selected in the two drafts following Burnett. Van Benschoten (79-51 K-BB in 109 innings for Indy last year) and Bullington (89-59 K-BB in 151 innings) could figure into the Bucs’ bullpen plans later in the year.

St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: LHP Joe Rogers
Released: RHP Jason Cairns, RHP Michael Cooper, RHP Dennis Dove, RHP Steve Hill, RHP Ray Silva, LHP Eric Haberer, LHP Marcus Markray, C Chris Grossman, C Henry Guerrero, C Gerard Haran, C Christian Reyes, C Robert Sanzillo, C Scott Thomas, 1B Mike Ferris, 2B Will Groff, 3B Jared Schweitzer, OF Ian Church, OF Jose Ramirez
Traded: 2B Mike McCoy to Orioles for future considerations
Recalled: 3B Brian Barden
Outrighted off 40-man roster: 3B Brian Barden
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jason Motte, RHP Mike Parisi, OF Joe Mather

Dove made his big league debut last season and has arm strength, but still not much else. Ferris was a second-rounder in 2004 but hit just .218/.316/.355 as a pro. The Cardinals had a Steve Hill to spare, seeing as they drafted two of them in 2007. The righthander, whom they released, was a 34th-round pick from Southeastern (Fla.), while the first baseman, taken in the 13th round, hails from Stephen F. Austin State. Church signed with Lincoln of the independent Northern League in 2003 upon his departure from Stetson. Three years later he would be named our Independent Leagues Player of the Year, and on April 4, 2007, the Cardinals signed him to his first contract in affiliated ball. Unfortunately, Church batted just .244/.271/.422 for high Class A Palm Beach last season to earn his release.

San Diego Padres
Signed: RHP Luis Mendez
Loaned to Mexican League: LHP Juan Robles
Returned Rule 5 selection: RHP Michael Gardner (to Yankees)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Mauro Zarate, C Colt Morton
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Ernesto Frieri
Optioned to high Class A: RHP Wilton Lopez

Lopez is the that rare member of the 40-man roster to open in high Class A (2007 draft picks excluded). But then Lopez’s situation is not typical. Signed by the Yankees at age 18 out of Nicaragua in 2002, Lopez did not play in that season or in ’03. He did play in 2004, making it to high Class A Tampa, but he retired from the game in March 2005. New York released him two years later and the Padres signed him, ultimately adding him to the 40-man this past offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The club sees him as legitimate relief prospect, as someone who can touch 95 mph with this fastball and 86 with his slider.

San Francisco Giants
Released: RHP Yosandy Ibanez, RHP Lars Knepper, C Henry Gutierrez, 1B Chad Rothford, 1B Will Thompson, 1B Tyler Von Schell, 2B Pat Dobson, 2B Marcus Sanders, 3B Juan Jean, OF Emmanuel Cividanes, OF Joey Dyche, OF Santiago Lara, OF Matt Weston
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Billy Sadler, LHP Patrick Misch, C Guillermo Rodriguez, 1B Travis Ishikawa, 2B Travis Denker, OF Nate Schierholtz

Sanders’ story is one of talent squandered by the organization, which drafted him knowing that Sanders had a shoulder injury that dated to his high school career. Nonetheless, the Giants put him at shortstop in his breakout 2005 season, when he ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the South Atlantic League. His shoulder started giving him problems that summer, leading other SAL managers to question why the Giants were allowing him to play the field when he couldn’t do it physically. Sanders had significant offseason shoulder surgery that year, had a thumb injury that set him back in ’06 and never regained the power in his swing even after the shoulder surgery. He hit five homers in the first half of the ’05 season (prior to the injury) but never homered again as a pro. (John Manuel)

Seattle Mariners
Released: LHP Will Brown, LHP Paul Fagan
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jon Huber, RHP Sean White, LHP Cesar Jimenez, C Jeff Clement

A University of Washington product who came to the Mariners as a major league Rule 5 pick from the Braves in 2006 (by way of the Pirates), White will get the minor league time he needs now that he’s not glued to the 25-man roster. The 26-year-old went 1-1, 5.60 with 16-20 K-BB in 35 relief innings for Seattle last year.

Tampa Bay Rays
Released: RHP Kevin Brophy, RHP Derek Feldkamp, RHP Brett Wayne, LHP Mark Suchowiecki
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Calvin Medlock

Texas Rangers
Released: RHP Jon Hollis, RHP Ivan Izquierdo, RHP Mike Wagner, RHP Jim Wladyka, RHP Brett Zamzow, LHP Dan Hoben, C Kevin Gossage, C Joe Hulet, 1B Jason Sowers, OF Ronnie Anderson, OF Luke Salas

Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: OF Chad Mottola
Released: RHP Gary Lee, RHP Adam Rogers, RHP Russ Savickas, RHP Aaron Tressler, RHP Orlando Trias, LHP Ryan Ketchner, LHP Chris Reddout, 2B Carlo Cota, OF Ben Zeskind
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Bill Murphy

A waiver claim last week from the Diamondbacks, Murphy now gets to experience life in the International League after three years in the Pacific Coast League. Minor league vet Mottola, the fifth overall pick in 1992, returns for a fifth tour of duty with the Blue Jays—and his third in the last three years.

Washington Nationals
Released: RHP Rob Bell, RHP Andre Enriquez, RHP Desmond Jones, RHP Don Levinski, RHP Alberto Tavarez, RHP David Trahan, C Humberto Cota, 3B Robert Sandora, SS Angel De Castro
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Ray King, LHP Odalis Perez
Returned Rule 5 selection: 3B Matt Whitney (to Indians)
Optioned to Triple-A: 3B Kory Casto