We’ll use this post to track any notable 40-man roster additions that crop up as teams settle upon their Opening Day rosters: Righty Craig Stammen is back in the majors after being selected to the Padres’ 40-man, per a team announcement. The 33-year-old had long been a steady reliever for the Nationals before he required flexor tendon surgery early in the 2015 season. He didn’t earn a return last year after joining the Indians on a minors deal, but did show he was healthy in throwing 27 1/3 innings of 3.62 ERA ball. Stammen turned things up a notch this spring, allowing just a single earned run on nine hits and five walks over 11 2/3 innings, recording a dozen strikeouts along the way.
All week, in an effort to both stoke debate and get stoked for the 2017 season, we’re ranking the top five clubs in a few key categories. We’ve gone over the rotations and lineups, and we’ll continue today with the bullpens.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that they’ve selected the contract of catcher Eric Fryer and placed injured left-hander Zach Duke on the 60-day disabled list to create a spot on the 40-man roster. The 31-year-old Fryer batted .267/.336/.319 in 133 plate appearances as a backup between St. Louis and Pittsburgh last season and returned to the Redbirds on a minors pact this winter. With today’s move, Fryer has officially won a reserve spot with the Cardinals once again.
The Twins are in agreement on a minor league deal with right-hander Paul Clemens, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). The Ballengee client was recently released by the Padres. While the 29-year-old won’t factor into Minnesota’s Opening Day roster plans, he can serve as a depth option for an unstable rotation and as a potential long man in the bullpen as well. [Related: Updated Minnesota Twins depth chart] Clemens split the 2016 campaign between the Marlins and Padres, logging 10 innings for the former and a considerably larger 61 1/3 inning for the latter. Clemens finished the year in the San Diego rotation and posted solid surface-level numbers down the stretch, recording a 3.67 earned run average in 16 appearances (12 of which were starts). A bit of a deeper look suggests that Clemens had some good fortune in posting that solid mark, though; his 6.9 K/9 rate, 3.4 BB/9 rate and 40.3 percent ground-ball rate were all worse than that of a league-average starter in 2016. ERA alternatives like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all pegged Clemens for a mark in the 4.80 to 5.00 range. In parts of three big league seasons, Clemens has a 4.89 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 in 169 1/3 innings between the Astros, Marlins and Padres
With the 2017 season about to begin, consider this our effort to get those of you who slept through the Hot Stove season caught up on all the big things you missed. Here are 20 key plot points from what was a typically wild offseason in MLB.
The Yankees fielded a possible preview of their Opening Day lineup on Tuesday against the Tigers, an order that features Gary Sanchez hitting second, Jacoby Ellsbury fifth, Aaron Hicks in right field and Ronald Torreyes at shortstop.
Yoenis Cespedes flashed both power and leather, while Matt Adams added to his impressive spring resume Tuesday in the Mets’ 3-3 tie with the Cardinals at First Data Field.
The Braves have released lefty Paco Rodriguez, Mark Bowman of MLB.com was among those to report on Twitter. He had been competing with Eric O’Flaherty and Kevin Chapman for a spot in the Opening Day pen. Rodriguez, 25, has been working back from a Tommy John procedure he underwent in October of 2015. He did manage to make it into four spring games, but failed to win the organization’s confidence after agreeing to a $637,500 arbitration salary earlier in the offseason. Atlanta will owe him about a sixth of that sum. The Braves had picked up Rodriguez in the three-team, thirteen-player swap the organization struck back at the 2015 trade deadline. That deal has not turned out well for Atlanta thus far; all they have to show for the loss of lefty Alex Wood and MLB-ready prospect Jose Peraza, at this point, are young lefty Joey Wentz (chosen with the competitive-balance pick acquired in that deal) and minor-league righty Zachary Bird. (And that’s before getting into the money still effectively owed to Hector Olivera, though his contract was sent to the Padres as part of the salary maneuvering in the deal that brought Matt Kemp to the Braves.)
Blue Jays righty Mat Latos has been told he won’t make the team, and Latos must now decide whether to accept a Triple-A assignment from the club or become a free agent, according to Jays radio broadcaster Mike Wilner (Twitter links). In addition, another Jays righty, Bo Schultz, is seeing a physician in New York and is likely to require elbow surgery. The Jays signed Latos to a minor-league deal near the beginning of camp, and he struggled in 14 2/3 innings with the club, allowing eight walks and five home runs. The former Padres and Reds standout is still only 29 but has fallen on hard times in recent seasons, posting a 4.89 ERA and a mediocre 5.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 over 70 innings with the White Sox and Nationals last year, also struggling with his velocity. He seemed highly unlikely to crack the Jays’ rotation (which currently consists of Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano) without an injury or two. The 31-year-old Schultz bounced back and forth between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo last season, posting a 5.51 ERA, 5.5 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 16 1/3 innings at the big-league level. He was competing for a spot in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. He is out of options, although, of course, if he’s facing elbow surgery, both he and the Blue Jays will have greater concerns for his future than his immediate roster status.