Here are the day’s minor moves: The Giants have released veteran pitcher Dontrelle Willis, according to the International League transactions page. Willis, 32, has not seen MLB time since 2011, but had several outstanding seasons early in his career with the Marlins. He had thrown just 2/3 of an inning in two appearances for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, though he uncorked three wild pitches in that span. More importantly, Willis reportedly suffered what appeared to be a serious arm injury during his outing Sunday. As reflected on the MLBTR DFA Tracker, two fairly interesting players — Lucas Harrell (Astros) and Sam Fuld (Athletics) — remain in DFA limbo.
WEDNESDAY: McCutchen has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. As McCutchen has been outrighted previously, he will have the option of electing free agency. MONDAY: The Rangers have designated right-hander Daniel McCutchen for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for fellow righty Colby Lewis, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake announced (on Twitter). The 31-year-old McCutchen tossed 2 1/3 innings for the Rangers, allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits (one homer) and a pair of walks without a strikeout. McCutchen, who is of no relation to last year’s National League MVP, has a career 4.81 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 191 Major League innings between the Pirates and Rangers. The former 13th round pick has a sound minor league track record, with a 3.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 441 frames. Lewis, 34, will be on the hill tonight for the Rangers after a lengthy rehab process from multiple injuries. The longtime Ranger underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon in July 2012 and looked to be on the mend in 2013 before a hip injury led to surgery and sidelined him for the entirety of that season
The Athletics have claimed righty Marcus Walden off waivers from the Blue Jays and optioned him to Triple-A, the club announced. Walden was designated yesterday, and presumably hit the waiver wire immediately. Walden, 25, has worked mostly as a starter in the minors, but had been throwing in relief at Triple-A to start the 2014 campaign. At Double-A last year, he worked to a 3.71 ERA in 162 1/3 innings, with 4.9 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. Toronto paid the cost of losing Walden’s rights after some odd roster maneuvering. The club opened the year with Jeremy Jeffress on the active roster and then designated him with the intention of calling up Chad Jenkins to take his place. Jenkins was initially announced as being recalled, but that was not possible because he had not yet been on optional assignment for ten days. Walden took Jenkins’s place, but that meant that he had to be exposed to waivers when a 40-man spot was needed.
The Mets have outrighted left-hander John Lannan to Triple-A Las Vegas and purchased the contract of right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. Lannan will have the option to reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency. ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets that Matsuzaka will work out of the bullpen for now. Lannan, 29, appeared in five games for the Mets this season, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in four innings of work. Of those seven hits, three cleared the fence for a home run. The veteran has never pitched outside of the NL East, but he’s donned the uniform of three teams in that division: the Mets, the Phillies and the Nationals. After posting a 4.01 ERA in 783 2/3 innings with the Nationals from 2007-12, Lannan has struggled
The Astros will designate pitcher Lucas Harrell for assignment to create 40-man roster space for the promotion of prospect George Springer, reports Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). It has been quite a fall from grace for the 28-year-old righty, who this time last year was being named as a solid trade target for contenders. Indeed, in 2012, he threw to a 3.76 ERA in 193 2/3 innings, with a 57.2% ground ball rate and 6.5 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. But last year was a struggle, as Harrell managed only a 5.86 ERA in 153 2/3 innings, and both struck out and walked 5.2 batters per nine. He has had a rough start to the current season as well. With less than three years of service on his clock, Harrell will come with future control
TUESDAY: Blanton has been released by the Athletics, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. SUNDAY, 9:57pm: Fletcher now clarifies that Blanton has left the Athletics’ Triple-A team, but it’s unclear whether he’s actually retiring. 8:56pm: Longtime starting pitcher Joe Blanton has retired, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. Fletcher notes that the Angels are still on the hook for the remainder of Blanton’s $7.5MM salary for 2014, plus a $1MM buyout for 2015, even though Blanton has started two games for the Athletics’ Triple-A team in Sacramento this year. The Angels released Blanton in March. The Athletics drafted Blanton out of the University of Kentucky with the 24th pick in the first round in 2002, making him the second selection in their “Moneyball” draft class, after Nick Swisher. Blanton made his big-league debut in 2004, then became a regular in the A’s rotation in 2005. After several years eating innings in Oakland, Blanton headed to Philadelphia for Josh Outman and two other prospects in 2008. Blanton pitched in the World Series for the Phillies in both 2008 and 2009, and the Phils signed Blanton to a three-year extension prior to the 2010 season. He stuck with the Phillies until 2012 before they traded him to the Dodgers for the stretch run that year
The Blue Jays have issued a press release to announce a series of roster moves: Right-hander Marcus Walden has been designated for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Munenori Kawasaki, who has been promoted to the Majors to take the 25-man roster spot of Maicer Izturis. Izturis, who is most likely out four to six months with a torn LCL, has been placed on the 15-day DL. Additionally, the club announced that right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who was designated for assignment last week, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo. Walden, who turned 25 near the end of the 2013 season, began the year at Buffalo but pitched just four innings prior to today’s news. The former ninth-round pick allowed six runs in those four frames but posted a strong 3.71 ERA in 162 1/3 innings at Double-A New Hampshire in 2013. Walden misses few bats but has solid command, as evidenced by career ratios of 5.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in his minor league career. The 32-year-old Kawasaki appeared in 96 games for the Blue Jays last season, quickly winning over fans and teammates with his quirky personality and his sense of humor. On the field, he batted .229/.326/.308 with a homer and seven stolen bases while appearing at both middle infield positions
The White Sox have signed right-hander Frank Francisco and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, according to the Knights’ official Twitter account. Francisco is a client of Praver/Shapiro. The 34-year-old Francisco spent the past two seasons with the Mets after signing a two-year, $12MM contract that proved to be a regrettable move for New York. Over the life of the deal, Francisco pitched just 48 2/3 innings of 5.36 ERA ball, averaging 9.8 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. He missed nearly all of the 2013 season with elbow issues. The White Sox will hope that Francisco can get back to the form he showed with the Rangers and Blue Jays from 2009-11 when he posted a 3.71 ERA 10.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 36 percent ground-ball rate that led to a 3.41 FIP and 3.32 xFIP. During that time, opponents batted just .236/.299/.382 against Francisco, who racked up 44 saves between the two teams. Chicago manager Robin Ventura named Matt Lindstrom his closer to open the season, much to the surprise of many pundits that had pegged Nate Jones as Addison Reed’s replacement
The Padres have locked up one of their infielders for years to come, but it isn’t the one whose extension status has grabbed the most headlines over the past couple of years; San Diego announced today a six-year extension for second baseman Jedd Gyorko that will keep the ACES client in San Diego through the 2019 season and contains a club option for the 2020 season. Gyorko’s deal appears to be a six-year extension in name only, as the reported breakdown of his contract doesn’t include a change to his previously agreed upon 2014 salary. He will earn $2MM in 2015, $4MM in 2016, $6MM in 2017, $9MM in 2018 and $13MM in 2019 before the Padres have the option of retaining him for $13MM for 2020 or paying him a $1MM buyout. Gyorko’s deal also reportedly contains escalators that pertain to the option year, meaning the value of that option could rise over the course of the deal. “We are happy to sign Jedd and secure the rights to two free agent years,” said general manager Josh Byrnes in the press release issued to announce the deal. “Jedd is a homegrown player in his fifth season with the Padres organization and has been a consistent performer every step of the way. He has shown us a real commitment to this organization and to the city of San Diego.” Gyorko, 25, had a solid rookie season in which he batted .249/.301/.444 with 23 homers in 525 plate appearances.
The Rangers have designated right-hander Daniel McCutchen for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for fellow righty Colby Lewis, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake announced (on Twitter). The 31-year-old McCutchen tossed 2 1/3 innings for the Rangers, allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits (one homer) and a pair of walks without a strikeout. McCutchen, who is of no relation to last year’s National League MVP, has a career 4.81 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 191 Major League innings between the Pirates and Rangers. The former 13th round pick has a sound minor league track record, with a 3.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 441 frames. Lewis, 34, will be on the hill tonight for the Rangers after a lengthy rehab process from multiple injuries. The longtime Ranger underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon in July 2012 and looked to be on the mend in 2013 before a hip injury led to surgery and sidelined him for the entirety of that season. He last appeared on a Major League mound in 2012 and had pitched to a solid 3.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 506 1/3 innings with the Rangers since returning to the big leagues from Japan in 2010