It was definitely a busy week in baseball, but while the James Paxton trade really made most of the noise, there were a considerable amount of minor moves that went down without much fanfare. Based on the sheer quantity of moves this time around, I have broken it down in bullet form by team. All signings mentioned are minor league contracts and the numbers in parentheses represent a player ranked in my top minor league free agent rankings. Regarding any projections, all counting stats are over a 162 game projection. Finally, while there were a few trades made, I will talk about potential impact under both teams’ headlines for the respective side.
- Signed infielders Jace Peterson, Christopher Bostick and Zach Vincej and right-handed pitcher Jeffeson Medina
Based on where the Orioles are in their rebuild, all three infielders seem likely to see playing time at one point or another. I would expect Peterson to fill a role similar to the one he filled last year, and would bet on him breaking camp with the Orioles, especially if Tim Beckham is non-tendered. Bostick and Vincej seem likely to be mid-season call-ups. Bostick has been great, offensively, in Triple-A, but his numbers from last year were the product of the PCL and the fact that he carried a high BABip. Vincej brings with him defensive versatility, but the bat doesn’t offer a ton. If called up, he should serve as a late game defensive replacement. Medina is a relief prospect and will probably spend the season in Class A Advanced Frederick or Double-A Bowie, but I wouldn’t expect to see him reach the majors just yet.
Projections: C. Bostick (.209/.280/.337, .617 OPS, eight home runs, 12 stolen bases), J. Peterson (.243/.338/.350, .688 OPS, six home runs, 13 stolen bases)
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Esteban Quiroz.
Brewer is a solid enough mainstay middle reliever who can limit damage while inducing a fair amount of home runs. Barring a lot of significant additions to the Red Sox bullpen, I would imagine earns a call-up within the first month of the season and shuffles between Boston and Pawtucket. He’s obviously valued seeing as how the Sox gave up a solid prospect to get him.
Projection for Colten Brewer: (3.74 ERA, 0.37 HR/9, 3.97 BB/9, 9.59 K/9)
New York (AL)
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Jefry Valdez from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jordan Foley
- Acquired utility player Tim Locastro from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Drew Finley and cash considerations
- Signed right-handed pitcher Dallas Martinez
Foley would have been eligible for the Rule V Draft, so I would imagine this was simply better than getting a little bit of cash for him, especially seeing as how the Yankees have a system deep enough that he could have been on the outside of the minor league reserve list, making him eligible for the minor league portion. Otherwise, Locastro should serve as a call-up bench guy with a bit of upside, as he’s versatile and has strong plate discipline.
- Signed catcher Anthony Bemboom
- Signed right-handed pitcher Denis Diaz
- Signed third basemen Gerson Montilla and Matt Skole
- Lost left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin on waivers to the Chicago Cubs
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Walker Lockett from the San Diego Padres in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ignacio Feliz
- Signed infielder Mike Freeman
Lockett probably begins the season in Triple-A, and doesn’t figure to see a ton of valuable innings based on Cleveland’s rotation depth, but it has been noted that they have engaged in some trade talks surrounding some rather prominent players, meaning he could wind up with a more defined role.
(None to report)
- Acquired infielder Brian Schales from the Miami Marlins in exchange for right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson
- Sold left-handed pitcher Alan Busenitz overseas
Schales looks like a utility infielder with decent enough plate discipline and average power, making his bat viable. Contact wise, he’s nothing special and should begin the season in Double-A.
(None to report)
Los Angeles (AL)
- Signed catcher Dustin Garneau
- Acquired left-handed pitcher Dillon Peters from the Miami Marlins in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyler Stevens
Garneau looks like depth in Triple-A and should serve as the emergency catcher in the event that Kevan Smith or Jose Briceno get hurt. Peters could have sneaky value, as the Angels have been notorious for falling victim to Tommy John surgery. He seems likely to be among the first guys called upon when a pitcher is needed. His versatility as a starter and a reliever along with the fact that he’s a lefty help him a lot here.
Projection for Peters: (4.86 ERA, 0.97 HR/9, 3.81 BB/9, 6.92 K/9)
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Tanner Anderson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations
I would consider Anderson to serve as a taxi-squad guy assuming he sticks around in Oakland.
Grotz is one of my favorite minor leaguers. Personally, I was unsure whether or not he would be signed this offseason based on a mediocre 4.61 ERA with the Mets’ Class A Affiliate. When you look into his peripherals, however, you see exactly what he’s capable of. He posted a 2.83 FIP with a 9.34 K/9, a 1.35 BB/9 and a 0.45 HR/9 while falling victim to bad luck with opposing hitters reaching a .366 BABip. Based on his age, I would imagine he begins the season in Class A Advanced or Double-A and with strong results, could be a part of the 2019 Mariners based on the rebuild.
- Acquired infielder Jack Reinheimer off of waivers from the Chicago Cubs
I would imagine Reinheimer rides the wire through the offseason. He had already gone from Arizona to New York to Chicago since the trade deadline, and Texas is very high up on the waiver priority list. As a major leaguer, I see him as glove-first utility guy.
Projection for Reinheimer: (.235/.308/.329, .638 OPS, six home runs, 22 stolen bases)
- Signed outfielder Ryan LaMarre
While LaMarre was great last season, he rode an unsustainably high BABip to those batting average heights and should be expected to come back to earth this season. At the moment, his only real competition to serve as a fourth outfielder is Rio Ruiz and Charlie Culberson and while I would expect him to begin the season in Triple-A, we could very well see him in Atlanta this season.
Projection: (.206/.263/.319, .582 OPS, seven home runs, 12 stolen bases)
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Julian Fernandez off of waivers from the San Francisco Giants
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for infielder Brian Schales
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Tyler Stevens from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for left-handed pitchers Dillon Peters
- Signed left-handed pitcher Mike Kickham, outfielder Gabriel Guerrero (#18) and catcher Rodrigo Vigil
While there’s a rather significant amount of activity here, it’s pretty straightforward. Fernandez, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery, was a Rule V pick last season and retains his status as a Rule V player seeing as how he missed all of 2018. He has huge stuff, but an utter lack of control and very little experience. While there’s a very high ceiling, I would bet against him remaining on the roster. As for Guerrero, my hopes are rather high for the toolsy young outfielder. He should begin the season playing right field in Triple-A, but based on the fact that the Marlins’ rebuild is in full swing, any sign of life could earn him a call-up, and while he has his flaws, has no-doubt talent and has begun to show signs of maturity. Otherwise, I would consider Anderson to ride the taxi-squad and the other guys to serve as depth.
Projection for Guerrero: (.233/.265/.379, .644 OPS, 15 home runs, four stolen bases)
New York (NL)
- Released right-handed pitcher Jenrry Mejia
(none to report)
- Signed outfielder Wynton Bernard
- Acquired left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Rowan Wick from the San Diego Padres in exchange for third baseman Jason Vosler
- Lost infielder Jack Reinheimer on waivers to the Texas Rangers
I’m a big fan of the acquisition of Ian Clarkin, as I was certainly surprised when he became available. While he’s far from a finished product, he has minor league options remaining and the potential to be a legitimate left-handed mid-rotation starter with six seasons of control. Seeing as how the Cubs have been near the top of the waiver wire nearly every offseason for the past five years, they are able to confidently attempt to slip players through and use them as depth, as they have already tried to do three times this offseason, succeeding twice. Clarkin, however, doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of guys like Jerry Vasto, Johnny Field and Jack Reinheimer. With those guys, it’s essentially, “what you see is what you get”. Clarkin, on the other hand, looks similar to the Randy Rosario claim from last offseason, in that, Clarkin, like Rosario, was still considered to be a “prospect” at the time of the claim. I would imagine that they handle this situation rather similarly, starting him off in Double-A and letting him earn his call-up.
Projection for Clarkin: (4.47 ERA, 0.72 HR/9, 4.34 BB/9, 6.61 K/9, 57.28 GB%)
- Signed right-handed pitcher Taylor Grover
(none to report)
- Sold right-handed pitcher Tanner Anderson to the Oakland Athletics
- Signed first baseman Rangel Ravelo, left-handed pitcher Hunter Cervenka, right-handed pitchers Ramon Santos, Harold Arauz and Mike Hauschild and catcher Jose Godoy
Ravelo has been in the Cardinals’ organization for a few years now, and while his prospect status has certainly fallen since his days in the A’s system, he has been hitting exceptionally well in Triple-A. Seeing as how the Cardinals are currently in a phase where they are tinkering with things, essentially exhausting every possible option available, I would expect to see him get a chance at some point in the 2019 season. While his numbers have benefited from the PCL, his previous prospect status and consistent results may suggest that he could be a decent fit.
Tomlinson can earn $850,000 on the active roster.
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Jordan Foley from the New York Yankees in exchange for Jefry Valdez
- Signed right-handed pitchers David Holman, Scott McGough and Kenny Koplove and infielders Elliot Soto and Peter Mooney (#10)
If you recall, Mooney turned some heads in Spring Training when he almost made the Marlins’ roster. He was signed as a free agent out of Indy Ball and definitely played well since coming over. While his average numbers haven’t necessarily been impressive, his BABip’s never came close to .300 until this past season (a sustainable .319). I think Coors will do him well, as he doesn’t bring a lot of power, but makes a lot of contact. He only strikes out anywhere between 10%-12% of the time, walking about 9% of the time. While many dub Coors as the place for power hitters, it actually helps out the contact first guys such as Mooney, DJ LeMahieu and Juan Pierre a bit more, as their soft line drives that would have ordinarily been easily playable by the second baseman taking a step into the shallow outfield, may carry an extra 5-10 feet dropping in for a single. Mooney also brings with him a plus glove in the middle infield and better plate discipline than either of the previously mentioned contact hitters. Even if he doesn’t break camp with the big league squad, he’s a guy who could surprise some people, and outplay my projection.
Projection for Mooney: (.245/.319/.344, .663 OPS, eight home runs, five stolen bases)
Los Angeles (NL)
- Acquired right-handed pitcher Drew Finely and cash from the New York Yankees in exchange for utility player Tim Locastro
- Acquired infielder Esteban Quiroz from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Colten Brewer
- Acquired third baseman Jason Vosler from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitcher Rowan Wick
- Signed right-handed pitcher Tyler Higgins
- Sold third baseman Christian Villanueva
I love the acquisition of Quiroz so much that I dedicated a whole post to it. Be sure to check it out.
- Signed catcher Jin-De Jang (#14), first baseman Zach Green, second base Levi Michael and right-handed pitcher Kieran Lovegrove
- Lost right-handed pitcher Julian Fernandez on waivers to the Miami Marlins
When you look at his major league projections, you may question why I am so high on Jang. The bottom line is, catchers aren’t typically a position that can offer much in terms of offense, and Jang is a very good contact hitter. While he doesn’t walk a ton, he almost never strikes out either. Furthermore, while catchers with any offensive value are rare and typically cost a pretty penny, whether it be as a prospect or a major leaguer, but Jang was a minor league free agent. I would expect him to start off in Double-A, but shouldn’t stay there for long, as Matt Winn and Ronnie Freeman aren’t necessarily major roadblocks, and could be passed with Jang’s left-handed bat and potential. While his glove may not be good enough for him to be a starter, he could be a legitimate platoon catcher.
Look out for Green as well. While he wasn’t one of my top guys, I’ve watched him for a while in the Phillies’ system and his bat isn’t bad. While I wouldn’t call him a slam dunk guarantee, as there are a few flaws here and there, he’s a guy to keep an eye on.
Projection for Jang: (.253/.295/.339, .635 OPS, six home runs, three stolen bases)