Cubs Designate James Russell, Rafael Soriano

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Cubs have designated left-hander James Russell for assignment and also activated right-hander Rafael Soriano from the disabled list and designated him for assignment as well, the team announced.

Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Cubs have designated left-hander James Russell for assignment and also activated right-hander Rafael Soriano from the disabled list and designated him for assignment as well, the team announced. These two moves make 40-man roster space for the contracts of Trevor Cahill and Quintin Berry, each of which was selected from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs also recalled Javier Baez and Tsuyoshi Wada. Russell, 29, returned to the Cubs on a minor league deal this year after being traded to the Braves last summer and subsequently released in Spring Training. Russell was extremely sharp in Triple-A prior to his promotion to rejoin the Cubs, firing 9 2/3 scoreless innings and allowing just four hits and zero walks against 12 strikeouts. He’s struggled in the Majors, however, totaling a dismal 5.29 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 34 innings. A fluky low 57.7 strand rate has played a large role in his bloated ERA, leading stats such as FIP (3.89), xFIP (4.36) and SIERA (4.32) to project better results. Those numbers, of course, are hardly dominant projections in their own right, and the .338/.368/.606 batting line Russell has yielded to right-handed hitters is its own troublesome issue. The Cubs signed the veteran Soriano to a minor league deal with a $4.1MM base salary back in June, but the former Nationals/Yankees/Rays closer appeared in just six games with Chicago before landing on the DL due to right shoulder inflammation. Soriano didn’t sign as a free agent over the winter, holding out for a significant deal that never came.

Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Cubs have designated left-hander James Russell for assignment and also activated right-hander Rafael Soriano from the disabled list and designated him for assignment as well, the team announced. These two moves make 40-man roster space for the contracts of Trevor Cahill and Quintin Berry, each of which was selected from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs also recalled Javier Baez and Tsuyoshi Wada. Russell, 29, returned to the Cubs on a minor league deal this year after being traded to the Braves last summer and subsequently released in Spring Training. Russell was extremely sharp in Triple-A prior to his promotion to rejoin the Cubs, firing 9 2/3 scoreless innings and allowing just four hits and zero walks against 12 strikeouts. He’s struggled in the Majors, however, totaling a dismal 5.29 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 34 innings. A fluky low 57.7 strand rate has played a large role in his bloated ERA, leading stats such as FIP (3.89), xFIP (4.36) and SIERA (4.32) to project better results. Those numbers, of course, are hardly dominant projections in their own right, and the .338/.368/.606 batting line Russell has yielded to right-handed hitters is its own troublesome issue. The Cubs signed the veteran Soriano to a minor league deal with a $4.1MM base salary back in June, but the former Nationals/Yankees/Rays closer appeared in just six games with Chicago before landing on the DL due to right shoulder inflammation. Soriano didn’t sign as a free agent over the winter, holding out for a significant deal that never came.

Padres bolster ‘pen with Mateo, Vincent

Padres bolster ‘pen with Mateo, Vincent

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Padres made a few moves to help strengthen their bullpen Tuesday, the day that rosters expanded. Right-hander Marcos Mateo was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and the team recalled right-hander Nick Vincent from Triple-A El Paso. The team also announced Wil Myers will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore on Tuesday night.

Drury’s audition gives D-backs a good problem

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

How the final four weeks of the regular season play out could go a long way toward determining how the D-backs’ infield looks heading into 2016. The first wave of September callups began on Tuesday with right-handers Matt Stites and Enrique Burgos being recalled to bolster the bullpen. The team also brought up infielder Brandon Drury, who made his Major League debut in the opener of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Coors Field and has the most to gain from the audition.

Astros Designate Jake Buchanan

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Astros have designated righty Jake Buchanan for assignment, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. He lost his spot to clear space for the team’s call-up of lefty Joe Thatcher. Buchanan, 25, has thrown 44 1/3 MLB innings over the last two years, with most of that experience coming in 2014. He has a 4.06 ERA in that span with 5.1 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Prior to 2014, Buchanan had worked primarily from the rotation. But he’s thrown mostly in relief since. This season, over 80 1/3 Triple-A innings, he owns a 4.37 ERA while strike out 5.0 and walking 2.4 batters per nine.

Braves Promote Hector Olivera

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Braves have promoted infielder Hector Olivera for his first major league stint, according to a team announcement. The move had been expected, as reporters have indicated over recent days that Olivera was being prepared for a September call-up. (Among them, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted yesterday that a move was still expected and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com added today on Twitter that it was forthcoming.) Nothing about the 30-year-old’s nascent professional career has been straightforward thus far. While it’s hard to know quite what to expect, it will certainly be interesting to see him in action at the big league level. Olivera is expected to see regular time at third base, as O’Brien tweets. Hotly pursued as a free agent out of Cuba, Olivera signed with the Dodgers over the winter for six years and $62.5MM after making a last-minute switch of agents. But he was ultimately traded to the Braves over the summer in an inordinately complicated three-team arrangement. With $28MM of that commitment accounted for in a signing bonus, he’ll only cost Atlanta about $30MM from 2016 to 2020

West Notes: Zduriencik, Profar, Morneau, Angels

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

Over at Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan takes a look at the just-ended tenure of former Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. Seattle changed course in the middle of his tenure, says Sullivan, with the organization moving from a focus on finding value and prioritizing defense to a grab for power bats. The club also failed to develop its best-regarded talent to its full potential, Sullivan notes, even if it’s hard ultimately to pin down a cause for that failure. All said, whatever the reason, Zduriencik was never able to turn the club into a regular contender. Here are a few more notes from out west: Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar could join the big league club in September, GM Jon Daniels acknowledged yesterday, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. While the former top prospect still is not ready to play the field — he’s recovering from a series of significant shoulder problems — he could hit and run. Texas is considering an Arizona Fall League placement, if Profar seems ready to begin making full-speed throws. First baseman Justin Morneau could still suit up for the Rockies this year, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Manager Walt Weiss said that the situation was different than most injuries, given Morneau’s somewhat tricky neck and concussion issues.

Blue Jays Designate Colt Hynes

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Blue Jays have designated lefty Colt Hynes for assignment, the club announced. He loses his 40-man spot to help clear space for the team’s September call-ups, which include the previously non-rostered Jeff Francis. Hynes, 30, earned a brief call-up with Toronto for his second taste of big league action, but threw only three innings. He has enjoyed a solid season at Triple-A, though, throwing 44 2/3 innings of 3.22 ERA ball with 7.3 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9.

Yankees Designate Tyler Austin And Cole Figueroa, Call Up Andrew Bailey

Sep 1, 2015 | No Comments

The Yankees have designated outfielder Tyler Austin and infielder Cole Figueroa for assignment, the club announced. Those moves were made as part of a flurry of roster activity to clear 40-man space for September call-ups, including former All-Star closer Andrew Bailey. Austin, 23, was once considered a top-100 prospect league-wide, but he’s fallen back with marginal results in the upper minors. Though he hit well at Double-A this year, earning a promotion, Austin slashed just .235/.309/.311 in 299 plate appearances in his first attempt at Triple-A. Meanwhile, Figueroa is a 28-year-old utilityman who has played in just 25 big league games. He does, however, have a very steady track record of high-average, good-OBP, low-power offensive output in the upper minors. It’s been a long road back to the big league mound for Bailey, 31, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. He’s had good results at Triple-A since joining New York on a minor league deal over the winter, throwing 35 innings of 1.80 ERA ball while putting up 10.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9.