Felipe Rivero Changes Agents

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero has changed his representation, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Rivero has hired the Boras Corporation, per the report. Rivero, who will turn 26 this summer, can’t qualify for free agency until 2022. But he entered the season with 1.162 days of service, so he’s nearly certain to qualify for arbitration at year’s end as a Super Two player. The Bucs will end up paying Rivero at a healthy rate, as he’s currently carrying an outstanding 0.73 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 24 2/3 innings. That payday could increase qutie a bit more if Rivero ends up ascending to the team’s closer role — as has been speculated as a strong possibility if the team deals incumbent ninth-inning man Tony Watson at the deadline. Pittsburgh has to like what it has seen thus far. The club acquired him when it shopped closer Mark Melancon last summer, making a calculated gamble that the young southpaw would continue to progress and make good on his obvious talent. Taking a major-league reliever also meant foregoing the possibility of a prospect-driven return for the veteran Melancon, but that seems a wise choice at this juncture.

Dodgers Claim Mike Freeman, Chris Heston

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

The Dodgers have claimed two players off waivers from the Mariners, the teams announced today. Infielder Mike Freeman and righty Chris Heston are now headed to the Los Angeles organization. Both players have been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to open their tenures with the new club. To create roster space, outfielder Andrew Toles and southpaw Scott Kazmir were shifted to the 60-day DL. Freeman, 29, is a left-handed hitter with experience all over the field — the bulk of it coming at second base. He has struggled in two brief cracks at the majors in the past two seasons, but has shown quite a bit more in the upper minors. Indeed, through 1,245 Triple-A plate appearances over parts of four seasons, Freeman owns a .316/.378/.427 batting line with 113 walks against just 180 strikeouts. He also has hit only nine home runs in that span, so clearly it would be unwise to expect much in the power department. As for Heston, it’s interesting to see him land with the Dodgers, who saw him emerge with the rival San Francisco Giants back in 2015. He ended that year with a no-hitter and 177 2/3 innings of 3.95 ERA pitching on his ledger, but has only thrown ten MLB frames since. 

Minor MLB Transactions: 5/26/17

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

Here are the day’s minors moves from around baseball… The Giants have released first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks, tweets Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. The 30-year-old Blanks missed the 2016 campaign with foot injuries and inked a minor league pact with San Francisco this winter. Through 34 games and 92 plate appearances, Blanks has yet to deliver much in the way of offense despite the hitter-friendly nature of the Pacific Coast League. He’s hitting .232/.315/.390 with three homers and four doubles. The former Padres prospect does, however, have an excellent track record in Triple-A, having slashed .291/.390/.546 with 40 homers in 770 total plate appearances at that level.

International Notes: July 2 Prospects, Garcia, Robert

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

Ben Badler of Baseball America has provided three separate looks at the 2017-18 international free agency period over the past week or so, running down 20 well-regarded prospects as well as their likely destinations once the signing period kicks off on July 2. Badler’s scouting efforts do require a subscription, though I’d highly recommend it for those who are interested in the international market (as well as the upcoming amateur draft, which BA obviously covers extensively as well). Financial details on all of the names within aren’t available, though Badler does report that 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Wander Franco (not to be confused with the Royals prospect of the same name) is expected to sign with the Rays for a bonus just shy of $4MM. Franco also ranked No. 1 on the International Top 30 of MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez — another invaluable resource for those wishing to brush up on the top international prospects on the market in the weeks leading up to the new signing period.  Those seeking a refresher on the new international spending limitations from the most recent collective bargaining agreement can refer back to Badler’s recap from this past December, as well (no subscription required on that one)

Arrieta returns to site of no-hitter on MLB.TV

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium in the regular season, on August 30, 2015, he carved his way through the Dodgers’ lineup in a near-perfect performance. Arrieta’s no-hitter that night served as the highlight of his superhuman second half, and all but cemented his status as the eventual National League Cy Young Award winner.

Pedroia has knee pain, out early as precaution

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia exited Thursday’s game against the Rangers in the top of the sixth inning with pain in his left knee.

Reds race to win vs. Tribe with 2-out rally in 9th

May 25, 2017 | No Comments

Indians closer Cody Allen had been perfect in save situations dating back to August of last season. That changed on Wednesday night, when a clutch hit from Zack Cozart and a furious sprint from Billy Hamilton fueled a two-run ninth that gave the Reds a 4-3 comeback win over Cleveland at Progressive Field.

Giants Notes: Shaw, Cueto, Tomlinson, Hwang

May 25, 2017 | No Comments

The Giants have promoted 2015 first-round pick Chris Shaw from Double-A to Triple-A, and as Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area writes, the former first baseman will continue his work in left field following the latest promotion. Giants GM Bobby Evans spoke to reporters about Shaw’s impressive run in Double-A (.301/.390/.511, six homers, 10 doubles) and stated that Shaw was simply “ready for the next challenge.” Pavlovic notes that although Shaw is the more highly regarded prospect, fellow minor league outfielder Austin Slater is probably ahead of him in the pecking order when it comes to a potential MLB promotion. Shaw doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster this year in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, but Slater, who is hitting .313/.376/.435 in 40 Triple-A games, does. As for Shaw’s ability to handle the outfield despite his considerable 6’4″, 235-pound frame, Evans noted that Shaw played nearly 100 games in the outfield in college and added that the team wants to see if he can get comfortable in left field. That, of course, is perhaps the Giants’ greatest position of need at the Major League level, and Shaw is blocked at first base by Brandon Belt. More on the Giants… Right-hander Johnny Cueto was hit hard again in yesterday’s start, and he revealed after the game that he’s been pitching through a pair of blisters on his right hand, writes MLB.com’s Chris Haft. Cueto has one blister on his index finger and another on his middle finger, though he wouldn’t point to that issue as the source of his 2017 struggles. “I’m getting hit,” Cueto said bluntly, noting that the blisters are “not an excuse.” To this point there’s been no talk of a quick stint on the 10-day DL for Cueto to allow his fingers to heal up, though other pitchers around the league (e.g. Rich Hill, Aaron Sanchez) have required multiple absences due to blister troubles. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the Giants are giving Kelby Tomlinson continued work in center field with their Triple-A affiliate as hope that he can emerge as a center field alternative on the big league roster.

Chris Marrero To Sign With Japan’s Orix Buffaloes

May 24, 2017 | No Comments

First baseman/left fielder Chris Marrero has agreed to a deal with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News was the first to report that Marrero, who was recently designated for assignment and outrighted by the Giants, was close to joining the Buffaloes (Twitter link). The Giants will receive some level of cash compensation for selling Marrero’s contract to the Buffaloes, and Marrero himself will presumably be paid more than he’d have earned if he stuck with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, thus making it a winning scenario for all parties involved. Marrero is represented by MSM Sports. Marrero, 28, was a first-round pick by the Nationals (15th overall) back in 2006 and made his big league debut with the Nats as a 22-year-old in 2011. However, he’s never solidified himself in the Majors and would only see action in parts of two big league seasons with the Nationals before being cut loose in 2013. Since that time, Marrero has bounced around the minor league circuit, logging seasons with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates for the Orioles, White Sox and Red Sox before signing a minors pact with the Giants this past winter.

Statcast of the Day: Schwarber’s 470-foot HR

May 24, 2017 | No Comments

Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber launched a home run onto Sheffield Avenue behind the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field with one out in the first inning Tuesday off the Giants’ Johnny Cueto to spark a 4-1 victory. The home run was the longest of Schwarber’s career at 470 feet and the longest by a Cubs player this season.