Rumors

  • 2015 Free Agent Power Rankings

    Less than one month remains in the 2014 regular season, so our 2015 Free Agent Power Rankings are starting to resemble the beginning of the Top 50 Free Agents list, which will come out in early November after teams make … Continue reading
  • Astros Designate Paul Clemens, David Martinez

    The Astros announced that they have designated right-handers Paul Clemens and David Martinez for assignment in order to make room on their 40-man roster for September callups. Righties Jorge De Leon and Nick Tropeano each had their contracts selected, necessitating corresponding 40-man moves. Additionally, catcher Max Stassi, outfielder L.J. Hoes and shortsop Jonathan Villar have been recalled, while lefty Darin Downs has been activated from the DL and waiver claim Sam Deduno has been added to the active roster.

    Clemens, 26, has mopped up 98 innings for the Astros over the past two seasons and posted a 5.51 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 36.9 percent ground-ball rate in the process. Though he posted strong numbers through Double-A in his minor league career, he stumbled at Triple-A and has recorded a combined 5.91 ERA in 182 2/3 innings over parts of four seasons at that level.

    The 27-year-old Martinez has logged 18 1/3 innings with Houston over the past two seasons with a 6.38 ERA and a 12-to-5 K/BB ratio in that time. He, too, has struggled at Triple-A, posting a 6.03 ERA over his two seasons (94 innings) with Oklahoma City.

    Tropeano is the most notable prospect of the bunch, ranking 13th among Astros prospects on the midseason list compiled by Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com. The 2011 fifth-round pick pitched to a 3.03 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 124 2/3 innings as a member of Triple-A Oklahoma City’s rotation this year. Callis and Mayo note that his low-90s fastball and changeup give him two above-average offerings, and his slider has the potential to be above-average as well. With the potential for three above-average offerings, Tropeano would seem to have a shot at being a rotation member in the future.

  • Brewers Designate Caleb Gindl, Release Hiram Burgos

    The Brewers announced that they have designated outfielder Caleb Gindl for assignment and released right-hander Hiram Burgos. These moves have helped clear room for infielders Matt Clark, Hector Gomez and Jason Rogers, who have been added to the roster as September callups.

    Gindl received his second taste of Major League action this year, but he didn’t receive nearly the same playing time that he did last year when Ryan Braun was serving his suspension. Gindl slashed just .158/.304/.158 in 23 plate appearances — a far cry from the very respectable .242/.340/.439 triple-slash he posted last year with the Brewers. However, the 26-year-old’s struggles weren’t confined to the Majors, as he batted just .227/.310/.354 in 408 PA with Triple-A Nashville.

    Burgos, 27, ranked as Milwaukee’s No. 12 prospect heading into the 2013 season (per Baseball America), but as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy points out (on Twitter), a shoulder injury has wrecked the last two seasons. Burgos posted a 6.44 ERA in the Majors last season and a 6.50 ERA at Triple-A this year as he battled through that injury, but prior to that he had totaled a 3.27 ERA in 77 Triple-A innings. Heading into this season, Burgos had a 3.64 ERA and a 427-to-137 K/BB ratio in 497 1/3 career minor league innings.

  • Blue Jays Designate Darin Mastroianni, Matt Hague; Neil Wagner Released

    The Blue Jays announced a flurry of roster moves with rosters expanding for the month of September. Both Darin Mastroianni and Matt Hague have been designated for assignment, while right-hander Neil Wagner, who was designated yesterday, has been released. Additionally, Brett Lawrie has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

    The 40-man moves create space for the selection of top prospect Dalton Pompey‘s contract, the selection of veteran George Kottaras‘ contract and the reinstatement of Brandon Morrow from the 60-day disabled list. Additionally, Toronto has activated Dan Johnson from the DL and recalled Ryan Goins, Anthony Gose, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Daniel Norris from Triple-A.

    Mastroianni, 29, hit .156/.156/.250 in 32 plate appearances with the Blue Jays after they claimed him on waivers from the Twins earlier this season. The Jays had lost Mastroianni to the Twins on waivers two years prior, and the speedster looked to have carved out a spot for himself in Minnesota as a fourth outfielder following a solid .252/.328/.350 batting line in 77 games. However, a series of ankle injuries kept Mastroianni off the field, and he’s yet to again show the respectable bat and plus speed that made him an asset in that 2012 season.

    Hague, also 29, has posted strong Triple-A numbers this season between the Pirates and Blue Jays organizations. He’s totaled a .282/.371/.465 batting line with 15 homers in his fourth season at that level. Hague has never received an extended look in the Majors, though the first baseman does have 76 PA in the bigs. He’s hit just .222/.263/.250 in that limited chance, however.

    Wagner underwent Tommy John surgery in August, which will likely sideline him for the majority of the 2015 season. He was a reasonably effective bullpen piece for the Jays in 2013, posting a 3.79 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 innings. Those numbers aren’t too dissimilar from his career marks at Triple-A, where he’s posted a 3.91 ERA with a superior 10.1 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 rate.

  • Astros Notes: Porter, Luhnow, Managerial Search

    The Astros fired manager Bo Porter yesterday, and owner Jim Crane confirms to Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle that Porter and GM Jeff Luhnow weren’t seeing eye to eye. “[The GM and the manager] have to be closely aligned and singing the same song,” said Crane. “That wasn’t happening.” Crane acknowledged that Porter was put in a difficult situation and said he feels Porter “did a pretty good job with what we gave him” before voicing his support for Luhnow’s vision. Crane says that Nolan Ryan, Reid Ryan and Craig Biggio will all be involved in the search for the next Houston manager, and he wonders if the Astros would benefit from someone with more managerial experience.

    Here’s more on Porter’s firing and the search for the next Astros skipper…

    • There were some within the Astros organization that thought Porter should be dismissed following the 2013 season, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney in his daily Insider-only blog. However, the prevailing opinion wound up being that it was too soon to let go of a manager who had just completed his first season. Olney spoke with team sources that told him some players and club employees are angry over the situation. Some club employees are even looking for jobs elsewhere, according to Olney.
    • With porter out of the picture in Houston, Luhnow could be next on the chopping block if the team does not show significant improvement in 2014, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opines (video link). One specific area of improvement for Luhnow will be showing that he can successfully build a bullpen, Rosenthal points out.
    • Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle spoke with pitching coach Brent Strom regarding his relationship with Porter, and Strom had positive things to say. Strom was hired by Luhnow and has a longstanding relationship with the GM, but says he learned a lot from Porter, whom he met just this past offseason. “I really grew to appreciate his intelligence and his attention to detail,” Strom said. “I actually learned a great deal from him, I really did. Stuff that in all my years of baseball I had not thought about, and I documented all those things and actually had passed it on to our minor league pitching coaches for future years throughout our system.”
    • Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is likely to be a candidate, sources tell ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
    • Some “potential candidates,” according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, include former Astros star (and current adviser) Craig Biggio. Other possibilities include bench coaches Tim Bogar (Rangers) and Dave Martinez (Rays) along with third base coaches Dave Clark (Tigers) and Joe McEwing (White Sox). McTaggart’s colleague, Richard Justice, also tweets that Bogar is a candidate.
    • In addition to the names listed above, Drellich lists some other hypothetical candidates for the skipper’s role. Former big league managers Manny Acta and Trey Hillman, A’s bench coach Chip Hale, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, recent Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch, and interim manager Tom Lawless.

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