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.
The Orioles will likely assign right-hander Oliver Drake to Triple-A after he cleared outright waivers, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com (via Twitter). Drake entered the spring out of options, meaning he had to make the active roster to keep his 40-man spot. Drake, 30, has shown some swing-and-miss ability in 33 2/3 MLB innings over the past two seasons, and has been quite productive in the upper minors. Indeed, he has compiled a 13.5% swinging-strike rate in the majors with his intriguing forkball. While it seemed Drake had a reasonable shot at cracking the O’s pen, he struggled quite a bit this spring. He allowed 13 earned runs on 23 hits over 13 1/3 innings, though he did record 13 strikeouts to go with just three walks.
Here are the most recent minor moves of note from around the game: Righty Jair Jurrjens has agreed to a minor-league pact with the Dodgers, as Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America reports on Twitter. The 31-year-old, who once seemed like a budding ace, last threw in the bigs in 2014 and did not pitch last year after a rough Triple-A stint the season prior. But Jurrjens reappeared in the World Baseball Classic, throwing 11 1/3 innings of 2.38 ERA ball for the Netherlands, and earned another shot at a comeback. Speaking of former Braves standouts, the Rays have brought back lefty Jonny Venters on a minors deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The 32-year-old finally threw his first competitive pitches last year in the Tampa Bay organization, but again stalled out in his attempt to return from three Tommy John surgeries. The once-excellent southpaw hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012.
MARCH 30: The deal is official, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. The option year is valued at $13.5MM, with a $3MM buyout. MARCH 25: The Rangers are “increasingly optimistic” of finalizing a contract extension with second baseman Rougned Odor before Spring Training is over, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. The deal “may only be lacking formalities” at this point. Grant reports the deal is six years in length, while FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Odor will earn $49.5MM and the contract also contains a club option year. Odor is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
The Tigers have placed lefty Daniel Stumpf on waivers, the pitcher himself told reporters including Evan Woodberry of MLive.com (via Twitter). He was taken in the Rule 5 draft last winter from the Royals. Because Stumpf was previously taken in the Rule 5 draft and returned to K.C. — last summer, he was shipped back from the Phillies — he’s in something of a unique situation, as Woodberry notes. If he clears waivers, Stumpf would have the right to reject an assignment with the Royals and instead take free agency.
MARCH 30: An announcement is planned today to formalize the deal, Heyman tweets. MARCH 25: The Rangers are “increasingly optimistic” of finalizing a contract extension with second baseman Rougned Odor before Spring Training is over, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. The deal “may only be lacking formalities” at this point. Grant reports the deal is six years in length, while FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Odor will earn $49.5MM and the contract also contains a club option year. Odor is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council. The two sides have discussed a long-term deal at various points over the last year, and Odor may have helped his case delivering a 33-homer season in 2016, albeit with a unimpressive on-base percentage (Odor hit .271/.296/.502 over 632 PA). Odor’s defense at second base has also drawn consistently below-average grades. While some deficiencies exist, however, Odor did generate 4.4 fWAR over the last two seasons and he just celebrated his 23rd birthday last month. Odor is already slated to earn $563, 180 this season in his final year as a pre-arbitration player. Assuming the extension overwrites that salary, then the six-year agreement will cover 2017, Odor’s three arbitration-eligible seasons and his first two free agent years.
The Tigers have released veteran righty Mike Pelfrey, per a club announcement. Detroit will remain obligated for the $8MM owed to him for the coming season. Pelfrey, 33, has struggled since inking a two-year pact with the team last winter. In 2016, he worked to an unsightly 5.07 ERA with just 4.2 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 over 119 frames. And he was torched for 15 earned runs on 24 hits in his 17 innings this spring. The Tigers were said to be looking for a taker for the righty, even offering to pick up some or all of his remaining salary, but it seems no other organization was interested in adding Pelfrey to its 40-man roster. Still, he seems an easy bet to land a minor-league deal from a club looking to bolster its depth.
Right-hander Dillon Gee has utilized the opt-out provision in his minor league deal with the Rangers, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Texas will have 48 hours to add Gee to its 40-man roster. If the Rangers decide against adding Gee to the roster, he’ll become a free agent that can sign with any club. Gee, 30, reeled off six shutout innings against his former Royals teammates today, yielding just two hits and racking up nine strikeouts to put an exclamation point on a solid Spring Training with the Rangers. In 19 2/3 innings during Major League camp, Gee logged a 3.20 ERA with a stellar 18-to-3 K/BB ratio. While he’s been tagged for 25 hits, only one of those has left the yard for a home run. The Rangers signed Gee to a minor league deal this offseason as the right-hander sought to work his way back from surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, which he underwent last October
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 Orioles have placed outfielder Aneury Tavarez, one of their two picks in last year’s Rule 5 Draft, on outright waivers, reports Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. If no team claims Tavarez, the 24-year-old will be offered back to the Red Sox organization, from which he was selected in December. Any club that claims Tavarez would need to follow the same Rule 5 restrictions facing the Orioles; in other words, Tavarez must be carried on a team’s 25-man roster or else be placed on waivers and, upon clearing, offered back to Boston. Tavarez’s waiver period ends on Friday, according to Meoli. [Related: Baltimore Orioles Depth Chart] Tavarez faced an uphill battle to crack a crowded Orioles outfield picture this spring, though he performed reasonably well in the chances he was given, hitting .292/.382/.396 with a homer and eight steals in 48 at-bats. However, the O’s have Hyun Soo Kim, Adam Jones, Seth Smith, Mark Trumbo and Joey Rickard as likely outfield options this coming season. Beyond that, non-roster invitee Craig Gentry has reportedly caught the eye of manager Buck Showalter.