We’ll keep tabs on today’s minor moves right here: The Marlins announced that right-hander Bryan Morris has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. Morris was designated for assignment two days ago after missing the majority of the season due to back surgery. Because of the Major League service time he’s accrued — four-plus year — Morris will be able to elect free agency this winter and hand-pick the best environment and the best offer from interested teams. The 29-year-old (30 next March) has a 2.30 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Fish and a 2.80 career ERA in 215 innings between Pittsburgh and Miami. He’s also sporting one of the league’s best ground-ball rates (58.4 percent) among pitchers with at least 200 innings dating back to the 2013 campaign.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with Cuban third baseman Yanio Perez, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Perez, who rates 13th on Jesse Sanchez’s top 30 international prospect rankings at MLB.com, will receive a $1.1MM signing bonus. The 21-year-old Perez was cleared to sign on May 20 and receives plus grades for his raw power, per Sanchez, though some scouts have questioned his athleticism and ability to stick at third base. He’s said to have a good makeup by scouts, according to Sanchez, and is also an above-average runner.
We’ll keep tabs on today’s minor moves right here: The Royals have released righty Chien-Ming Wang, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports on Twitter. Wang had been designated on Saturday, and with the minor league season in the books, that all but assured that the veteran would end up being released. It’s remarkable, really, that the once-excellent starter was able to last as long as he did in the big leagues this year given all the arm troubles and failed comeback attempts already in his past. Now 36, Wang managed to put up a 4.22 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 to go with a 49.3% groundball rate over his 53 1/3 innings in his first major league action since 2013. This was also his first season as a full-time reliever.
The Pirates have acquired lefty Phil Coke from the Yankees for cash considerations, the teams announced. Pittsburgh will need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate the acquisition. Coke, 34, made three major league appearances earlier in the year for New York, but has spent the bulk of the season at Triple-A. Though he has pitched almost exclusively as a reliever for most of his big league career, Coke made 11 starts during his time at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. On the year, Coke threw to a 2.96 ERA over 70 frames at the highest level of the minors. He compiled 7.8 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9, with 68 hits and just three home runs recorded against him. It’s a bit unclear what Pittsburgh plans to do with Coke, though he will indeed be headed for the major league roster. He could conceivably take a start or two in an effort at a Rich Hill-like metamorphosis, or may just log some frames from the pen. The Pirates are technically still alive in the Wild Card race, but only barely.
The Padres have designated outfielder Patrick Kivlehan and infielder Nick Noonan for assignment, the team announced. Their 40-man roster spots were needed for the team’s wave of prospect call-ups, which were also made official. Though he earned his first MLB promotion, hitting well in just five games of action, Kivlehan will presumably find his way to another club after a year of constant change. (San Diego was his third team in 2016.) Kivlehan spent most of the season at the highest level of the minors, posting a .254/.302/.416 slash with a dozen homers in 397 trips to the dish. Noonan, 27, received only brief major league time this season — his first as a member of an organization other than the division-rival Giants
The Nationals have agreed to a deal with Cuban outfielder Yadiel Hernandez, as Jorge Ebro of el Nuevo Herald reports. He’ll receive a $200K bonus, with Ben Badler of Baseball America adding that it comes on a minor league deal. Hernandez, 29, has been free to sign since April, but failed to hook on with an organization until the minor league season already ended. As a result, he’ll have to wait for his first chance at competitive, regular season action until next year, though presumably he’ll be able to participate in various fall and winter activities and leagues. Hernandez last played in a full-fledged game early last year
With the Triple-A postseason now complete, the Padres announced late Tuesday night that they have promoted top outfield prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot as well as catcher Austin Hedges, second baseman Carlos Asuaje and lefties Buddy Baumann and Jose Torres in a final wave of September call-ups. Of the bunch, Renfroe and Margot rank firmly within the game’s top 100 prospects, while Asuaje ranks as one of the Padres’ best prospects after coming to San Diego alongside Margot in the Craig Kimbrel blockbuster. Hedges, meanwhile, is a former top 100 prospect in his own right that saw his rookie status expire while struggling in the Majors last season but enjoyed a monstrous season in Triple-A this year. Starting with Margot, the 21-year-old center fielder currently ranks 16th, 20th, 27th and 39th on the respective midseason top prospect lists compiled by Baseball Prospectus, ESPN’s Keith Law, MLB.com and Baseball America. Margot was one of the headliners of the Padres’ return for Kimbrel and demonstrated many of the reasons that he’s so well-regarded with a strong 2016 season in which he batted .304/.351/.426 with six homers, 21 doubles, 12 triples and 30 stolen bases in 566 plate appearances at the Triple-A level despite being more than five years younger than the league’s average age. Scouting reports peg Margot as a plus defensive center fielder due to his above-average speed and strong reads, and it should be mentioned that he racked up 18 outfield assists in Triple-A this year. His hit tool draws strong reviews as well, with the only real questions regarding his skill set centering around his power (or potential lack thereof). Even if he’s not a big threat in terms of clearing the fences, though, Margot profiles as a regular that works the count, hits for average, gets on base, steals bases and plays quality defense. Renfroe, meanwhile, ranked 41st on MLB.com’s list, 43rd on BP’s and 66th on BA’s. The 24-year-old was the No.
Here are today’s minor moves from around Major League Baseball… The Brewers announced that they have selected the contract of catcher Josmil Pinto from Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Brewers claimed Pinto off waivers from the Padres this offseason after San Diego claimed him from the Twins organization. The 27-year-old had an electric debut as a September call-up for Minnesota back in 2013, but he failed to hit much in 2014-15 and has long come with defensive question marks. Beyond all that, Pinto dealt with concussion issues for much of the 2015 campaign. After a poor showing in the minors in 2015 (due perhaps to the aforementioned concussion problems), though, Pinto has thrived at the Triple-A level in 2016. While Colorado Springs (and the Pacific Coast League, in general) is considered a hitter-friendly environment, Pinto’s .308/.362/.517 slash is still impressive. He could get some at-bats in the coming days while backup catcher Manny Pina is on the paternity list, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets. Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, which was at 39 players, is now full.
The Dodgers announced today that they have designated right-hander Bud Norris for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for left-hander Alex Wood, who has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list. Norris, 31, signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Braves this offseason and recovered from a brutal month of April to deliver a dominant performance in May and June (2.08 ERA in 47 2/3 innings between the rotation and bullpen). That strong run allowed the Braves to trade Norris, Dian Toscano and a PTBNL (Alec Grosser) to Los Angeles in exchange for minor league pitchers Caleb Dirks (originally drafted by Atlanta and reacquired in this deal) and Phil Pfeifer. Norris started out quite well for the Dodgers and made a handful of very effective starts during his time in L.A., but he also mixed in his fair share of clunkers and was torched in four separate bullpen appearances. Ultimately, his Dodgers tenure will finish with a 6.54 ERA in 42 2/3 innings split between the rotation and the ’pen. While that’s not a terrific stepping stone back into the free-agent market for Norris, his impressive run with the Braves should pique the interest of some clubs looking for a buy-low candidate. Norris, after all, received a Major League deal this past winter on the heels of an even more disappointing 2015 campaign, and free agency will present teams with even fewer rotation options this coming winter.
The Indians have designated lefty T.J. House for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to righty Adam Plutko, whose contract was selected. House has provided useful innings at the major league level when called upon, but hasn’t received a full shot since his promising run in 2014. He dealt with shoulder injuries last year, and hasn’t exactly had a smooth year at Triple-A. Over his 72 1/3 innings at the highest level of the minors in 2016, House carries a 3.98 ERA. That number isn’t concerning in its own right, but he may have been fortunate to limit the damage to the extent he has. House has coughed up 89 hits and 43 walks while retiring only fifty batters via strikeout