Apr 032014
 

Catching Up On Transactions
Rather than clutter tomorrow’s News & Notes with this many moves, here are the transactions that have come to our attention (yes, the daily games notes are coming in to the inbox again)…

SYRACUSE
• RHP Brad Meyers, C Brian Jeroloman, UT Josh Johnson placed on the 7-Day DL

HARRISBURG
• C Brandon Bantz assigned from Washington
• RHP Paul Demny, Rafael Martin reassigned from Potomac, placed on the 7-Day DL
• LHP Sammy Solis, placed on the 7-Day DL

POTOMAC
• 1B Shawn Pleffner reassigned from Hagerstown, placed on 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
• LHP Kylin Turnbull, RHPs Wirkin Estevez, Cody Davis, OF Narciso Mesa placed on 7-Day DL

Apr 022014
 

After Sandy Leon was a no-show for the Mayflies Senators media day yesterday, it was no mystery as to which catcher on the Washington 40-man roster would get the call today. This afternoon, the Nationals officially placed C Wilson Ramos on the 15-Day DL and recalled Sandy Leon from Harrisburg.

In a related story, veteran minor-league catcher Brandon Bantz was signed to a minor-league deal today as well. Bantz spent 2013 with the Mariners organization, splitting time between AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma, with a one-game sojourn to Seattle last June 8th, which was his MLB debut. Combined, Bantz hit .219/.282/.307 in 59 minor-league games, but was released at the end of spring training this year.

Rotoworld.com is reporting that Bantz has been assigned to Syracuse, which is in line with previous catcher shuffles. If this turns out to be the case, journeyman Jeff Howell will be reassigned from the Chiefs to the Senators to take Leon’s place on the Harrisburg roster.

As always, if/when the corresponding moves are announced, this space will be updated.

Mar 302014
 

Transactions for NPP
While we patiently await the finalization of the four full-season rosters, here are few more transactions to pass along (H/T to Springfield Fan):

  • OF Wander Ramos released (Hagerstown)
  • UT Francisco Soriano released (Potomac)
  • LHP Christian Meza released (Hagerstown)

Obviously, the jettison of “Help Me” is a bit of a shock (though it could just be yet another misjudgement of a DR guy) but it’s hard to say the same of Soriano, who’d stalled at High-A, and Meza, who hit the wall at High-A.

I’m expecting another transaction post from BA today, so if there are any other notable moves this space will be updated.

UPDATE #1
Late Saturday afternoon, the Nationals signed lefty Aaron Laffey to a minor-league deal after the Cumberland, MD native was released by the Orioles. Late this afternoon, the Nationals acquired righty Omar Poveda from the White Sox for “cash considerations.”

Laffey, who turns 29 next month, has bounced around several organizations since being traded away from Cleveland to Seattle in the spring of 2011 and has surpassed 100 innings at the MLB level just twice (2009, 2012). He spent most of 2013 at the AAA level, pitching 110⅔ innings for the AAA affiliates of the Dodgers and Brewers, after getting released by the Mets after four lackluster appearances last April and the Blue Jays after one.

Poveda signed with Texas as a 17-y.o. in 2005 and rose to AAA by age 21 in 2009 before developing Nationals elbow and undergoing UCL replacement in 2010. He pitched for Florida’s AA affiliate in 2011, split time between Jacksonville (AA) and New Oleans (AAA) for the Marlins in 2012, and spent all of 2013 (164IP) pitching for Atlanta’s AAA farm club in Gwinnett. He turns 27 in September.

Both pitchers are candidates to pitch for the Syracuse Chiefs in 2014, the rosters for which are expected to be released Monday or Tuesday.

UPDATE #2
BA posted its latest transactions post, “End of Spring Avalanche,” which included the following releases that were previously unreported:

  • RHP Kelvin Perez (offseason pickup)
  • IF Mike Fontenot (offseason pickup)
  • IF Drew Rossi (offseason pickup)
  • OF Joe Dunigan (offseason pickup)
  • C Chris Snyder (offseason re-sign)
Mar 212014
 

So Long
As noted in the comments, the Nationals have released the following minor-leaguers:

• RHP Clay Hensley (offseason pickup)

• 2B Kyle Attl (GCL, Auburn)

• 2B Taylor Wrenn (offseason pickup)

• LHP Casey Selsor (Auburn)

• RHP Greg Holt (Potomac)

• RHP Martires Arias (Rule 5 Draftee, AAA Phase)

As was the case a year ago, there aren’t any real surprises here. Except that I believe there may be more coming because this is the earliest I’ve written this post the past three springs. Baseball America has already done a Transactions post for this week, which covered the week of March 6-12. Most of these releases were dated yesterday.

If not, the standard caveat applies… this is likely the end of the line for most of these guys, so remember that before commenting.

UPDATE: This afternoon Baseball America did indeed have more names in its weekly post, which were as follows:

• RHP Kelvin Rodriguez (GCL)

• C Kevin Flynn (GCL)

• LHP Joel Barrientos (Auburn)

• LHP Elliott Waterman (Auburn)

• OF Jordan Poole (Auburn)

• RHP Silvio Medina (Auburn)

• C Thor Meeks (Hagerstown)

• IF Wes Schill (Hagerstown)

• RHP Cameron Selik (Potomac)

• RHP Rob Wort (Potomac)

Kelvin Rodriguez becomes this year’s GCL surprise — a pitcher that put up decent numbers, which should remind us of the perils of scouting by boxscore. Most of the others, particularly the large contingent from Auburn, which was a major disappointment last summer, should not be considered a shock.

Mar 172014
 

Rained-Out-2014The Nats got an extra day off (well, kind of) just before the one official off day in spring training with a rainout of the Nationals-Tigers game in Lakeland.

In a related story, the Nationals announced that Ross Detwiler has been dropped from the battle for the 5th starter’s spot and will being the season in the bullpen. As noted on Twitter, the logical deduction is that Sammy Solis will remain a starter.

Sure enough, within an hour or so, the Nats announced that Eury Perez and Steve Souza were optioned to Syracuse, Solis was optioned to Harrisburg, while Brian Goodwin, Mike Fontenot, and Koyie Hill were reassigned to minor-league camp.

While searching for the appropriate bulldog pic this post was being written, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reported that Hill was subsequently traded to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Two days ago, the Nationals made a similar deal with the Royals for journeyman IF Brandon Laird.

While there may or may not be a relationship between those two trades, one could also infer that Chicago may be edging towards making a decision on Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto. Yesterday, Tyler Flowers was named the starting catcher for the White Sox, thus, the battle for who will back him up has been whittled down by one and there are rumors that Chicago is interested in Yankee backup Francisco Cervelli. Therefore, the trade of Hill may be a signal that Nieto is returning to the organization, which is not a particularly clairvoyant observation as Rule 5 position players are far less likely to “stick” than Rule 5 pitchers.

Feb 232014
 

Transactions for NPP
The Lobaton trade aside, it’s been a pretty quite month for minor-league transactions, but let’s get caught up anyway. Since the end of January, the Nats have signed the following players to minor-league contracts:

  • C Koyie Hill
  • RHP Luis Ayala
  • RHP Josh Roenicke
  • 2B Drew Rossi

Hill spent part of 2012 with Syracuse, batting .163 in 31 games before getting released in early August. The almost-35-y.o. was also invited to Spring Training and remains in camp as one of several catchers perhaps now vying for the backup spot with the Chiefs or Senators.

Ayala returns to Washington after pitching for the Mets, Twins, Marlins, Orioles and Braves from 2009 to 2013, spending all of 2010 in the minors. He was also invited to Spring Training and reportedly has the delusion impression he’ll make the club.

Roenicke has twice been waived in the past three seasons by Toronto and Colorado, spending all of 2013 with Minnesota where he went 3-1 with a save and line of 4.35/4.64/1.60 in 63 appearances. The 31-y.o. Maryland native is married to Nikki Desmond, sister of Ian, and is also in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Rossi is a non-drafted free agent with one season of professional experience, batting an even .300 over 20 games in 2011 as a 22-y.o. with Washington (PA) in the Frontier League. The now-25-y.o., who twice cut from Can-Am League teams in 2012 and 2013, is the son of veteran scout Phil Rossi.

Feb 132014
 

So Long
RHP Nathan Karns was dealt away today to the Tampa Bay Rays for backup catcher Jose Lobaton, LHP Felipe Rivero, and OF Drew Vettleson. The move is expected to put an end to one of the few position battles this spring and clouding the future for a pair of longtime backstops, Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon, who both have one option left.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Erik Davis was placed on the 60-man DL with what Washington officials are calling an elbow sprain.

Karns (2012) also becomes the sixth minors’ player or pitcher of the year to be traded since GM Mike Rizzo assumed the helm in 2009, following Derek Norris (2009), Tommy Milone (2010), Brad Peacock and Steve Lombrdozzi (2011), and Billy Burns (2013). (Perhaps the award should be nicknamed Kemmerich’s Cleats?)

Rivero was signed as an IFA in 2008 out of Venezuela and was ranked as Tampa Bay’s #17 prospect overall in the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. He was 9-7 in 23 starts with pitcher’s line of 3.40/3.88/1.37 for High-A Charlotte (FL) in the (usually) pitcher-friendly Florida State League.

He works off a 91-94 FB and features a sharp 12-6 curve and changeup. Both BA and this guy have noted that he has trouble maintaining his speed, which could signal a move to the bullpen. BA was projecting him to pitch for AA Montgomery, so the logical extension is a ticket to Harrisburg this summer.

Vettleson is a 2010 HS pick (1st Rd., supplemental) out of Silverdale, WA and has moved up steadily in his first three years, progressing from advanced rookie Princeton in 2011 to Low-A Bowling Green in 2012 to High-A Charlotte in 2013. He suffered a bit of a power outage in FSL, which both BA and Sickels attributed to issues with plate discipline.

Defensively, Vettleson’s arm is considered above-average but his footwork is considered substandard. Like Rivero, Vettleson was considered on track to play at AA Montgomery, which could force either Caleb Ramsey or Randolph Oduber to repeat Potomac.

Feb 012014
 

Transactions for NPP 2

February has finally arrived… and so has the latest transaction post from Baseball America (and with any luck, my copy of the handbook is in the mail truck I can hear going by; yes, I’m that pathetic).

The Nats have recently signed the following players:

  • LHP Zach Jackson
  • RHP Juan Bermudez
  • RHP Warner Madrigal
  • OF Luis Perdomo

Jackson, who turns 31 in May, is among the plethora of LHPs that the Nats are stockpiling this season. He was originally drafted by Toronto in 2004 and has spent the majority of his career as a starter, making a total of 17 starts for Cleveland and Milwaukee in 2006, 2008, and 2009. He pitched exclusively as a reliever in 2013, making 33 appearances in AA and two in AAA in the Kansas City organization for a total mark of 2-1 with a 1.32 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98.

Bermudez appears to be an IFA, given his surname and the lack of an entry on any of the major baseball stats sites.

Madrigal, 30 next month, is returning to the U.S. after having been sold to the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League by the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer. He made 31 appearances and had a 2-0 record with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP He was originally signed by the Angels in 2001 as an outfielder and converted to pitching in 2006.

Presuming that BA did not misidentify the 29-y.o. RHP Luis M. Perdomo who pitched in AAA for Minnesota last season or the 20-y.o. RHP Luis D. Perdomo of the St. Louis Organization, then this one would also appear to be an IFA.

Jan 182014
 

Transactions for NPP
With a second transaction post this week from Baseball America (H/T to Ben Meyers for alerting me via Twitter), we have a few more moves to pass along:

SIGNED
• LHP Tyler Robertson
• IF Jamey Carroll
• IF Mike Fontenot
• OF-1B Joe Dunigan

RELEASED
• RHP Ben Grisz
• 2B Matt Foat

As noted in the comments, Robertson is a re-sign, having been waived to make room for Rule 5 additions in November. He was picked up on waivers from Minnesota as part of the Nationals’ spaghetti-on-the-wall attempts to find a LHRP last summer.

Carroll and Fontenot are veterans who will compete for bench roles as backup infielders. Both will be non-roster invitees to spring training, according.

Dunigan is a longtime Seattle farmhand who finally made it to AAA in 2013, only to lose nearly three months of the season to a broken jaw. He will most likely compete for a 1B-DH-LF role on the Chiefs.

Grisz and Foat were NDFAs signed in 2011 and 2012 out of Duke and USC, respectively. Grisz missed all of 2012 after developing Nationals elbow and made five scoreless appearances for Auburn in 2013. After an impressive 2012 in the GCL, Foat split time between Low-A Hagerstown and Auburn, compiling a combined line of .215/.295/.283 in 64 games.

Jan 092014
 

Catching Up On Transactions
It’s been nearly silent on the transaction front for the past 2-3 weeks. With yesterday’s post from BA, along with some tweets from the estimable Bill Ladson, we have a few moves to pass along:

  • Signed C Chris Snyder
  • Signed IF Taylor Wrenn
  • Re-signed IF Will Rhymes
  • Re-signed RHP Ryan Tatusko
  • Released RHP Michael Boyden
  • Released RHP Mike Mudron

Snyder is a former Arizona farmhand who spent 2013 catching for Los Angeles (AL) and Baltimore (MD) at the AAA, save for a nine-game stint for the Orioles last May. He also received an invitation to spring training.

Wrenn is the son of Diamondbacks scout Luke Wrenn and was drafted in 2011 by Cincinnati out of the Univ. of Tampa (yes, he was a teammate of Shawn Pleffner) but did not play until 2012. The Reds released him after that season despite a combined line of .285/.362/.350 in 35 games for Billings (Rookie) and three for Dayton (Low-A) at the age of 22. He played 59 games last summer for the Traverse City Beach Bums of the independent Frontier League and was picked up by the Rangers, who played him for six games in Low-A Hickory and 11 games in the Arizona League. He was granted free agency in November.

Rhymes and Tatusko were teammates for the Syracuse Chiefs in 2013 and will likely resume their roles as utility infielder and swingman, respectively.

Boyden and Mudron were the Nats’ 31st and 32nd Round picks in 2012 out of the Univ. of Maryland and Cal State San Berandino, respectively.