Here are the day’s minor transactions, updated as we go: The Rays have released outfielder James Harris, MLBTR has learned. Harris was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2011 draft, taken 60th overall by Tampa and signed for a (then under-slot) bonus of $490K. Drafted as something of a toolsy project out of high school, Harris never got comfortable at the plate during his four pro seasons, hitting only .215/.291/.305 over 898 minor league plate appearances. The 21-year-old topped out at the A-ball level in the Rays’ system last year. The Phillies announced that they have acquired minor league shortstop Devin Lohman from the Reds in exchange for future considerations. Lohman, 25, has spent the past two seasons with Cincinnati’s Double-A affiliate in Pensacola, where he’s batted a combined .240/.307/.339. A third-round pick by Cincinnati in 2010, Lohman’s bat has never come around as a pro, but he’s a well-regarded defender. Baseball America ranked him 25th among Reds farmhands two offseasons ago on the strength of his glove and ranked him as the best infield defender in the organization’s minor league system that winter as well
The Yankees announced that they’ve released right-hander Jared Burton from his minor league contract. The former Twins and Reds setup man had been vying for a spot in the club’s bullpen and pitched well, throwing four scoreless innings with just two hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Presumably, the 33-year-old righty will look for an opportunity with a club that has a clearer path to a spot in the bullpen. After enjoying strong seasons in 2012-13 with the Twins (particularly in 2012), Burton’s K/9 rate dipped to 6.5, and his BB/9 rate ticked up to 3.5. Meanwhile, his ground-ball rate (38.5 percent) and fastball velocity deteriorated (92.9 mph in 2012; 91.5 in 2014). However, Burton still possesses an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s termed a “splangeup” in the past) that has been his best pitch in recent years. If he can rediscover some of his fastball effectiveness and/or some of his control, he could again re-emerge as a successful bullpen arm in a big league bullpen.
The Padres have claimed hard-throwing right-hander Jandel Gustave off waivers from the Royals, reports Josh Vernier of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City (Twitter link). Gustave had been with the Royals in camp after being selected from the Astros in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, but Kansas City placed him on waivers earlier in the week. Gustave, 22, is probably a long shot to make the Padres’ roster, considering he’s yet to pitch an inning above Class-A, where he worked to a 5.01 ERA in 79 innings last season. However, he has a fastball that can reach 100 mph and has 199 strikeouts in 196 1/3 Minor League innings, so it isn’t exactly difficult to see why teams are intrigued by his arm. Gustave does also come with command issues; he’s averaged 6.7 walks per nine innings in the Minors. The Padres have a few options if they wish to retain Gustave. As a Rule 5 pick, he’d have to stick on the team’s 25-man roster all season before he could be optioned to the Minor Leagues. That seems unlikely, so the Padres could simply place him on waivers again and hope that he clears.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league. The Orioles have acquired first baseman Mike McDade from the Rangers for future considerations, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Rangers signed McDade to a minor-league deal in January after he hit .242/.298/.349 in 326 plate appearances, most of them spent with Double-A New Hampshire in the Blue Jays system. The 25-year-old Triple-A veteran has been on the 40-man rosters of the Blue Jays, Indians and White Sox, but he will likely provide minor-league depth for the Orioles.
Royals Rule 5 selection Jandel Gustave has been placed on waivers by the team, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. The then-Astros farmhand was chosen sixth overall in this year’s draft by the Red Sox, who dealt his rights to Kansas City. Gustave, a 22-year-old righty, was said at one point in the spring to have a decent chance at breaking camp with the Royals, who would have needed to keep him on the active roster all year to gain control over him in the future. Now, any team can claim him and step into his Rule 5 rights. If he goes unclaimed, Gustave will be offered back to Houston. Like many Rule 5 selections, Gustave’s experience is entirely at the lower levels of the minors.
The Rangers have released lefty Joe Beimel, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. They also reassigned top prospect Joey Gallo to the minor leagues and optioned another top prospect, Jorge Alfaro, to Double-A Frisco. The Rangers signed Beimel to a non-guaranteed $1.5MM MLB deal earlier this month, but he allowed 14 runs in three innings this spring. The reliever had a fine 2014 season with the Mariners, posting a 2.20 ERA with 2.8 BB/9, albeit with an underwhelming 5.0 K/9, in 45 innings. That had been his first year in the big leagues since 2011.
The Nationals have released reliever Heath Bell, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. The Nats signed Bell to a minor-league deal in December.
The Rangers have agreed to sign infielder Tyler Pastornicky to a minor league deal, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter. Pastornicky, 25, was recently released by the Braves.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the game. The Giants have released Adalberto Santos, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Santos, who plays second, third and the outfield, has an impressive .303/.388/.428 line for his minor-league career, but he’s never received an extended opportunity at Triple-A. The 27-year-old began 2014 in the Pirates organization before heading to the Giants in a minor trade in June. The White Sox have released righty Ryan Kussmaul, according to the International League transactions page. Kussmaul, 28, posted a 4.08 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 68 1/3 innings split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2014. He’s never received a shot in the Majors despite a career 10.4 K/9 in the minors.
We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves here: The White Sox have released catcher Luis Sierra, according to the International League transactions page. The 27-year-old Colombian briefly reached the Triple-A level last year but has spent most of his recent time at Double-A. Over 399 plate appearances at that level, he owns a .230/.299/.298 slash line.