The Padres‘ new lineup might not make them the best in the NL West, but GM A.J. Preller’s flurry of activity has made the team relevant again, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes. “I think he went in there very open-minded,” says Preller’s former boss Jon Daniels, who notes that Preller’s background in finding amateur talent with the Rangers might have made rebuilding the more obvious course than the one he ended up following. “To his credit, when he saw they had a strong pitching foundation and such a good environment with the staff, he knew they had an opportunity to build off that and not take it backwards.” Here’s more from the NL West.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league. The Pirates have released pitcher Josh Lindblom, per the MLB.com transactions page. The Bucs claimed Lindblom earlier this month, then designated him days later. He’ll reportedly head to the Lotte Giants in Korea. Lindblom posted a 5.79 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in the rotation of the Athletics’ Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in 2014. The Rangers have released pitcher Ben Rowen after designating him for assignment last week, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 26-year-old Rowen posted a 3.45 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 47 innings of relief for Triple-A Round Rock in 2014, also appearing in eight big-league games. The Nationals have signed 1B/OF Mark Minicozzi to a minor-league deal, tweets CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, noting that Minicozzi announced the news on his Facebook page. The 31-year-old independent league veteran posted an impressive .298/.400/.470 line at Triple-A Fresno in the Giants’ system in 2014, but he’s never played in the Majors.
The Padres — who haven’t advanced to the playoffs since 2006 and haven’t been very relevant since — continued a frenzied and unusually bountiful offseason with a bevy of notable roster moves Friday.
Braves president of baseball operations John Hart made his latest big move on Friday when he sent Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft to the Padres in exchange for left-handed pitcher Max Fried, infielder Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Alex Smith. Hart took time early Friday evening to discuss the Upton deal and the direction he might take.
3:52pm: Both teams announced the deal via press release. The final deal has Justin Upton and right-handed pitcher Aaron Northcraft going to the Padres for left-hander Max Fried, second baseman/shortstop Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson, outfielder Mallex Smith, and international bonus compensation. 9:20am: The Padres’ roster overhaul is not yet finished, as the team has now reportedly struck an agreement to acquire Justin Upton from the Braves. San Diego will send a sizable haul of left-hander Max Fried, second baseman/shortstop Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith to the Braves in exchange for Upton and a low-level minor leaguer. Upton will be the third right-handed corner outfield bat acquired by the Padres in the past couple of days when the trade is finalized, as the team has announced the Matt Kemp deal and is on the verge of announcing the three-team Wil Myers trade as well.
The Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $5MM deal with catcher David Ross, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter.
We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments here.. The Tigers announced that they have outrighted righty Melvin Mercedes to Triple-A Toledo. Mercedes, 24, pitched in one game for the Tigers in 2014, throwing 2.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Signed as an amateur free agent by Detroit in 2008, he posted a 3.15 ERA, 1.51 K/BB rate and 6.0 K/9 over 297 1/3 minor league innings, all of them out of the bullpen. The Indians announced that Bryan Price has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers. The 28-year-old made his major league debut last season, allowing six runs in two and two-third innings. He was considerably better in the minors, where he posted a 2.48 ERA and 10.9 K/9.
2:05pm: The Cubs announced that they have also claimed Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Dodgers. To make room on the 40-man roster for the pair of moves, right-handed pitcher Donn Roach and infielder Logan Watkins were designated for assignment. The 27-year-old Lavarnway .283/.389/.370 in 257 plate appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2014. He has a strong minor league track record as a hitter, with a .375 career minor league on-base percentage, and could potentially help a team in need of a right-handed bat for its bench. His stint with the Dodgers was brief and he has traveled quite a bit in the last month. Lavarnway was DFA’d by the Red Sox just prior to his cup of coffee with Los Angeles.
The Yankees have designated Preston Claiborne for assignment, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand (on Twitter).