The Blue Jays placed catcher Josh Thole on irrevocable waivers following Sunday’s game, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports. The newly-acquired Dioner Navarro will be activated on Monday to take Thole’s spot on the 25-man roster. Thole will become property of any team that claims him within the 48-hour waiver period, and if he goes unclaimed, he will be released. It should be noted that is different from the standard August waiver process, as those waivers are revocable; Griffin reports that Thole cleared those waivers earlier this month. Griffin suspects the Jays have a verbal agreement in place with Thole to re-sign the veteran backstop once rosters expand on September 1, and in time for Thole to be behind the plate for R.A. Dickey’s next start.
The Angels have outrighted second baseman Johnny Giavotella to Triple-A, the club announced. Giavotella cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week. After being acquired from Kansas City in a December 2014 trade, Giavotella has spent much of the last two seasons as the Angels’ starter at the keystone. He didn’t provide much offensively (.267/.305/.375 over 869 plate appearances) or defensively (the UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics indicate below-average glovework over the last two years) and Giavotella had recently lost playing time to Gregorio Petit and Cliff Pennington. Second base certainly appears to be one of many areas of need for the Halos this winter as they look to recover from a thoroughly disappointing 2016 campaign. As Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times tweets, the Angels will use Giavotella as a utilityman at Triple-A. Giavotella has some experience at third base and left field in the minors, though he has only appeared at a position other than second once at the Major League level (a single game at shortstop).
Sunday’s minor moves from around baseball: The Blue Jays have released right-hander Chris Leroux from their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, per a club announcement. Toronto acquired Leroux from the Phillies for cash considerations in early April, but he never took the mound for the Jays. Leroux, whose latest major league action came in two innings with the Yankees in 2014, posted a 4.28 ERA, 6.04 K/9 and 2.86 BB/9 in 138 2/3 frames with Buffalo this year. In 71 2/3 career big league innings, the 32-year-old has put up a 6.03 ERA, 8.29 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.
The Orioles have designated left-hander T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment, per a club announcement. They’ve also confirmed the signing of right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter and recalled fellow righty Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk. McFarland still has minor league options remaining, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets, but that didn’t stop the Orioles from designating him. The 27-year-old has endured a season to forget, having logged a 6.93 ERA, 2.55 K/9 and 3.65 BB/9 in 24 2/3 innings despite a 60.2 percent ground-ball rate. From 2013-15, McFarland amassed 105 appearances and compiled a 3.89 ERA, 6.12 K/9, 3.06 BB/9 and 60.8 percent grounder rate across 173 2/3 frames. Borbon, 30, has spent most of the year with Double-A Bowie and has racked up just 15 major league plate appearances as a result. Those were the first trips to the plate in the majors since 2013 for Borbon, who has mostly been at the Triple-A level over the past couple years. Borbon has hit .273/.318/.347 with eight home runs and 47 steals in 878 major league PAs.
The Orioles have signed free agent reliever Tommy Hunter, as Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic tweets that the right-hander now has a locker in their clubhouse. This will be the second stint in Baltimore for the 30-year-old Hunter, whom the Orioles first acquired from the Rangers in the Chris Davis/Koji Uehara deal in 2011 and then traded to the Cubs last summer for Junior Lake. Hunter signed a one-year, $2MM contract with the Indians during the offseason, but they released him Thursday. A non-displaced fracture in Hunter’s back, which he suffered in a fall at his home over the All-Star break, has kept him out since early July. Hunter had embarked on a minor league rehab assignment with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in Columbus prior to earning his release, though, and the fact that he’s now on the Orioles seems to signal that he has recovered. Hunter, who recorded a 3.74 ERA, 7.06 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 and 52.3 percent ground-ball rate in 21 2/3 innings with the Indians, could now provide a useful arm to the Orioles’ bullpen. Since making a full-time transition to a relief role in 2013, Hunter has tossed 229 frames and compiled a 3.30 ERA, 6.96 K/9, 1.77 BB/9 and 45 percent grounder rate.
SATURDAY: Tampa Bay has officially released Jennings, according to Bill Chastain of MLB.com. FRIDAY: The Rays will release veteran outfielder Desmond Jennings tomorrow, the club has announced. He had been on the 15-day DL with a knee injury. This isn’t the first time that Jennings has succumbed to leg problems. The 29-year-old was shelved earlier this year with a hamstring strain and underwent surgery last year on his left knee. Injuries have coincided with a rather notable decline in performance of late, and Jennings no longer profiles as the quality everyday player he once was. Between 2011 and 2014, he contributed nearly 2,000 plate appearances of .249/.327/.402 hitting while swatting 47 home runs and stealing 86 bases. In the two seasons since, Jennings owns a .222/.295/.347 batting line with eight long balls and seven swiped bags in only 333 turns at the plate.
The Padres have claimed Oswaldo Arcia from the Marlins, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Arcia will start in the Padres’ outfield tonight. The team has optioned outfielder Patrick Kivlehan to make room for Arcia on its active roster. The last two months have been something of a whirlwind for Arcia. The Twins designated him for assignment in mid-June, then traded him to the Rays. After 61 plate appearances, the Rays designated him, and the Marlins claimed him this week before designating him for assignment Thursday. It’s not hard to see why many teams find Arcia somewhat appealing, just as it’s easy to see the flaws that have prevented him from sticking with a team this season. He’s just 25 and has obvious power, with 42 home runs in 1,030 career big-league plate appearances. Unfortunately, he’s also struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances and doesn’t walk much, leading to low batting averages and on-base percentages
The Tigers have announced that they’ve activated shortstop Jose Iglesias from the 15-day disabled list. To clear roster space for him, they’ve designated outfielder Alex Presley for assignment. Iglesias had missed two weeks with a hamstring strain. The 26-year-old is hitting just .249/.297/.328 in 399 plate appearances this season, although he remains one of the game’s finer defensive players, with UZR pegging him as 10.4 runs above average at short this year. The Tigers signed Presley to a minor league deal in July after he opted for free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment from the Brewers. The Tigers called him up last week, and he collected just five plate appearances for them. The 31-year-old has hit just .198/.269/.289 in 134 plate appearances so far this season, although he’s hit fairly well at the Triple-A level.
The Blue Jays have designated lefty Aaron Loup for assignment, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. The move clears space on the Jays’ active roster for righty Bo Schultz. Loup was once a fixture in the Jays’ bullpen, with a series of mostly successful seasons from 2012 through 2015, but he struggled with an elbow injury to start the 2016 season and hasn’t really made his way back, pitching just 9 2/3 innings in the big leagues this year and allowing eight runs while throwing markedly slower than he had in the past — his average fastball came in at 93.2 MPH last season, and this year it’s down all the way to 90.7 MPH. (He struck out 11 and walked only two in those 9 2/3 innings, however, and pitched very well for Triple-A Buffalo.) Loup was due to be eligible for arbitration after the season after making $1.05MM this year, and the Jays might have figured that if they didn’t plan to tender him, there would be little risk in designating him for assignment now.
The Blue Jays have acquired catcher Dioner Navarro from the White Sox, both teams have announced. Lefty Colton Turner is headed back to Chicago in the deal. Navarro, 32, will return to Toronto, where he had played over 2014-15 before joining the South Siders this winter on a one-year, $4MM deal. He’ll presumably function as both a reserve catcher and bench bat for the Jays, who utilize Russell Martin as their starter behind the dish and also have Josh Thole on hand as a receiver. [RELATED: Updated White Sox & Blue Jays Depth Charts] It’s not yet clear how the playing time will shake out, but the switch-hitting Navarro could nudge the left-handed-hitting Thole out of his role as the primary backup — if not off of the roster entirely. Thole owns a meager .151/.246/.198 slash line over his 124 plate appearances on the season. But he is also the personal catcher for knuckler R.A. Dickey, and with the Jays also in need of another bat off of the bench, it’s possible to imagine both players co-existing on Toronto’s 25-man. While Navarro has been a solid hitter at times in the past — he put up a composite 107 OPS+ over 2013-15 — this hasn’t been his finest season. He is carrying only a .210/.267/.339 batting line with six home runs in his 298 plate appearances on the year for the White Sox.