MLB Daily Transactions: 3/5/14

Rangers Designate Alex Castellanos for Assignment

Rangers designated OF Alex Castellanos for assignment per John Blake theExecutive Vice President of Communications for the Rangers. The move clears a spot for the Joe Saunders on the active roster. Castellanos has already been with the Dodgers and Red Sox since the end of last season and he could soon be on the move again.

Mariner make first wave of roster cuts
The Seattle Mariners have cut there first 13 player per Greg Johns of MLB.com. They optioned LHP Danny Hultzen to Triple-A Tacoma; optioned LHP Anthony Fernandez and OF Julio Morban to Double-A Jackson; reassigned LHP James Gillheeney, RHPs Jonathan Arias, Andrew Carraway, Stephen Kohlscheen, Mark Rogers and Chance Ruffin, Cs John Hicks and Manny Pina, INF Gabriel Noriega and OF Burt Reynolds to minor league camp. None of them were projected to may the Opening Day Roster Spot.

White Sox make first wave of Roster Cuts
The Chicago White Sox Cut their seven players from the roster per Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago. White Sox reassigned RHPs Brian Omogrosso, Chris Bassitt, Parker Frazier, LHP Mauricio Robles, INF Mike McDade, OF Denis Phipps, and C Kevan Smith to minor league camp. These are the first roster cuts of the spring for the White Sox. Again real no surprises here either.

Brian Sanches Retires
Brian Sanches has announced his retirement from baseball per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Sanches, now 35, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and spent last season with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate. He’ll finish his career with a 3.75 ERA over 195 appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies (2006-2007), Washington Nationals (2008), Florida Marlins (2009-2011),  and Phillies (2012).
Rick Ankiel Retires
Out Fielder and Pitcher Rick Ankiel has retired from baseball per Dan McLaughlin said on the Cardinals’ television broadcast . Ankiel said as recently as February that he was open to playing in 2014 if the right situation came along, but he has apparently given up on the idea of a comeback and is now aiming to join a team’s front office in some capacity. His once-promising career as a pitcher fizzled out due to extreme control problems, but he still made his mark as a hitter for a brief stretch. He finishes his Career with a 3.90 ERA and a .240 Batting Average.

Angels Make Three Cuts
The Los Angelas Angels have cut their first three players from the Active Roster. They reassigned RHP Yeiper Castillo, LHP Hunter Green and OF Zach Borenstein to minor league camp.

These are the first three cuts in Angels’ camp.

Ross Stripling Done For Season
Dodgers pitching prospect Ross Stripling underwent arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his right elbow. It was supposed to be Tommy John surgery, but the 24-year-old right-hander needed some loose bodies cleared out first. He can be ruled out for the entire 2014 season.

Blue Jays Cut Three
Blue Jays reassigned LHP Luis Perez and Catcher Derrick Chung and Jack Murphy to minor league camp. It’s the second round of cuts the Jays have made this spring.
Advertisements

Rick Ankiel retires

Dan McLaughlin broke the news that pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel would retire from baseball on the St. Louis Cardinals broadcast, and would like to join the front office.

Ankiel pitched in the majors from 1999-2004, taking 2002 and 2003 off due to arm injuries.  He attempted to resume his pitching career once more in 2004, but was unsuccessful with recurring injuries.

In 2005, Ankiel returned to the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals as an outfielder, for whom he had played with from 1999-2004.  Ankiel spent his outfield years with the Cardinals, Royals, Braves, Nationals, Astros, and Mets, before finally calling it quits.

Ankiel had made a name for himself with a cannon of an arm from the outfielder, and finished his career with a fielding percentage of 97.9%.

As a pitcher, Ankiel had a career 3.90 ERA in 242 innings.  He had a decent 8.1 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9.

In his 11 year career, Ankiel had a .240/.302/.422 slash line with 76 hom runs in 2115 plate appearances spread out over 653 total games.

Wild card rundown

In November of 2011, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the expansion of an extra team from each league making the playoffs.  This fifth wild card team would play the winner of the leagues wild card in a one game playoff. The winner would advance into the MLB playoffs, playing one of the three divisional winners of their respective leagues.

The wild card has been in existence since 1994, when the MLB expanded from two divisions in each league to three.  This allowed for four teams in the playoffs, rather than one team getting a bye.

Winning your division is already tough enough.  If the MLB is trying to make more money from the two extra playoff games, then why don’t they make it more interesting?

Since 1994, four of the teams who won the wild card game went on to win the World Series (1997 Marlins, 2002 Angels, 2004 Red Sox, 2011 Cardinals).  Five teams have gone on to lose the World Series (2000 Mets, 2002 Giants, 2005 Astros, 2006 Tigers, 2007 Rockies).  The Angels beat the Giants in the 2002 World Series, the only World Series to ever feature both wild card winners.

The additional team to to the playoffs does make the September battles a lot more interesting, but a one-game playoff just isn’t enough. For example, the Cleveland Indians, in 2013, finished their last 50 games with a record of 30 wins and 20 losses, passing the Rangers and the Rays on the way.  The Indians then lost to the Rays, 0-4, and Cleveland’s winning efforts were completely forgotten.  One of the ways the MLB can prevent this, and/or make it better, is by changing the one-game playoff to a best-of-three series. In this case, the higher seed would have home field advantage in games one and game three, necessary a third game.

Be there the addition of this rule, the two teams that win the wild card spots would have to put on a great show, and play their best baseball. The best team will win this series, and that’s what we all want to see.  Some people may think the one-game playoff is fine, but many think there needs to be a change.  As the years pass, maybe the MLB will change something.  Only time will tell.  Vote below on how you feel about the MLB’s wild card game.

Kinsler on Rangers: “I hope they go 0-162”

Recently this offseason, shortstop Ian Kinsler was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for slugger Prince Fielder (click here for Fielders’ side of the trade, and his clubhouse issues).  Kinsler spent his entire eight-year MLB career with the Rangers, making the All-Star team three times and contributing to World Series runs in 2011 and 2013.

In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Ian Kinsler said some pretty nasty stuff about his old team and general manager.

“I hope they go 0-162.  I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass.”

And that’s not all.  He also ripped his former general manager and accused him of running former Rangers’ CEO Nolan Ryan out the door.

“Daniels is a sleazeball.  He got in good with the owners and straight pushed Ryan out. He thought all the things he should get credit for, Ryan got credit for. It’s just ego. Once we went to the World Series, everybody’s ego got huge, except for Nolan’s.”

Kinsler included that he found out he had been traded via a text message from a Dallas radio host.  On the situation, Daniels said:

“I feel bad that’s how he found out.”

Daniels did, however, claim that he was on plane when the trade went down, and said he called Kinsler as soon as his plane landed.  Not surprisingly, Kinsler didn’t take the call.

Kinsler has a promising future ahead of him, taking the spotlight at shortstop for the Tigers with former shortstop Jhonny Peralta being traded to the Cardinals.  We’ll have to see how this change affects him, for better or for worse.

MLB Daily Transactions: 3/4/14

Nationals sign Michael Gonzalez 

i

Nationals signed LHP Mike Gonzalez to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Gonzalez posted a rough 4.68 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 50 innings last season for the Brewers. He’ll Have to make a great impression to get Opening Day roster spot. If he does get a spot he will earn $1.5 Million and 750k in incentives.

Rays sign Sergio Perez

Rays signed RHP Sergio Perez to a minor league contract per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Perez, a former second-round pick of the Astros, spent the majority of the 2013 season in the Mexican League. He’ll be organizational depth.

Orioles sign Johan Santana
i-1

Orioles signed LHP Johan Santana to a minor league contract per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Santana will be on the major league side of camp this spring with the Orioles, though he probably won’t be appearing in any Grapefruit League games. He’s on his way back from another major shoulder surgery and topped out at just 81 mph last week during a showcase for interested teams. The O’s will use him as a starter.

Cubs Hire Ted Lilly

i-2
Ted Lilly has been hired as a special assistant for the Chicago Cubs front office per Kyle Mooney of CSN Chicago. Lilly, 38, announced his retirement last November. He will work with young players in Cubs camp during spring training and then help the organization with scouting for the draft. Lilly pitched 15 years in the major leagues, four of them with the Cubs.
Indians Outright David Cooper to Triple A
i-3
Indians sent 1B David Cooper outright to Triple-A Columbus.
Cooper was designated for assignment by the Indians over the weekend to clear a roster spot for new infielder Justin Sellers. Cooper is back in now back in Indians camp as a non-roster invitee. He’s doubtful to make the club.

The Case for Jon Lester

As many people know, Jon Lester is the #1 starter, and likely the ace, for the Boston Red Sox.  His contract, however, runs out at the end of 2014.  In 2008, Lester signed a $42.75 million contract for six years.  Of course, there have been some extension talks between him and the Sox.

Jon Lester has spent his 8 year career with the Red Sox, and has done them well.  At the age of 22 in his first year, he posted a 7-2 record.  He was a bit off the radar the next year, however, only starting 12 games, going 4-0.  That World Series winning team consisted of Josh Beckett (20-7), Tim Wakefield (17-12), Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-12, when he was good), Curt Schilling (9-8), and Julian Tavarez (7-11).  Lester was not even a primary starter on the roster, and look at how far he has come.  I may have spoke too soon… Lester was one of the 11 pitchers who made the World Series roster.  However, in the 63 innings Lester pitched that year, he recorded the sixth-most wins.  That’s saying something for a team that won the World Series, because they must have been doing something good.

In his tenure with the Red Sox, lester has been named an All-Star twice (2010, 2011) and tied for fourth in Cy Young Award voting (2010).  He also has a career 100 wins, with a 64.1% winning percentage.

In the postseason, Lester has a 2.35 ERA, comparatively lower than his regular season 3.76.  His postseason WHIP– 1.043, is also notably lower than his regular 1.304.

At the age of 29, Lester is still in his prime.  Were he to re-sign, Lester would return to the top of a rotation consisting of John Lackey (Click here to read The Case for John Lackey), Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront.  With Ryan Dempster sitting out the 2014 season, who knows how well he will do after 2014?  John Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery not too long ago, and has frequently been battling health and shoulder issues.  Clay Buchholz missed approximately 39 start last season battling shoulder problems and other ailments.  The veteran Jake Peavy is also only signed through 2014, and may be past his prime in his 12 year career.  Felix Doubront is a bit underrated, seeing as he is the fifth man for Boston.  He has only played in 86 games in his four-year MLB career (also all with Boston), but at the age of 25 he still has plenty of time to work his way up in the rotation.  Doubront is eligible for arbitration in 2015, and is a free agent in 2018, so he could be with Boston for a while.

Going back to extension talks, here is what Lester said at spring training:

“If it’s something we do get done in Spring Training, great.  If it’s not, I think you have to take everything as it comes. If that involves going through the season still talking or getting it done early, you have to play it by ear.” He also made clear that he stands by earlier statements that he hopes to reach a deal to stay in Boston, but did not promise a breezy negotiation. “I’m not going to go back on what I said,” Lester explained. “I said what I said from the heart and I mean it. We’ll see where it goes from there. We’ve still got a long way to go. It’s going to be a tough process.”

In an interview with CBSSports.com, Lester said:

“I don’t like change.  I like being where I’ve been. I like the people. I like the surroundings.  It feels like home.  If it takes the first couple weeks into the season, it takes the first could weeks into the season.”

Obviously, Lester has the desire to stay with the Red Sox, and is intent on it.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in Boston.

MLB Daily Transactions: 3/2/14

Indians Acquire Justin Sellers 

Indians acquired SS Justin Sellers from the Dodgers for cash considerations. Sellers had been designated for assignment in order to clear room for Erisbel Arruebarrena. The 28-year-old has a good glove but is a career .199/.278/.301 hitter over 82 big league games.
Indians Designate David Cooper
Indians designated 1B David Cooper for assignment.
The move clears room on the 40-man roster for the arrival of Justin Sellers. The Indians are hoping that Cooper clears waivers, allowing them to keep him around as a non-roster invitee.
Cardinals Reassign Jordan Swagerty 

Cardinals reassigned RHP Jordan Swagerty to minor league camp per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The move was made so the young he could join rehab camp. He’s missed nearly all of the past two seasons after undergoing Tommy John and bone spur surgeries, and is now has soreness in his elbow.

Blue Jays Reassign Tomo Ohka

Blue Jays reassigned RHP Tomo Ohka to minor league camp per Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. The veteran right-hander is  trying to re-invent himself as a knuckleballer, but reportedly has a long way to go. He’s likely to begin the year at the Double-A level

Blue Jays Reassign Juan Perez 

Blue Jays reassigned LHP Juan Perez to minor league camp. The veteran southpaw was brought to camp as a non-roster invitee after posting a 3.69 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 33/15 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings with the Jays in 2013.