Marlins, A's among those tidying their rosters


The mass exodus has yet to begin, but a handful of teams have cleared 40-man roster spots since the regular season ended. Here are the players lopped off so far:
Athletics – LHP Brad Kilby, RHP Ross Wolf, INF Akinori Iwamura
Kilby’s July shoulder surgery must have been anything but routine; he cleared waivers even though he’s allowed just three earned runs and posted a 28/4 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings as a major leaguer. I really liked his chances of turning into a strong lefty setup man before he got hurt, but his velocity was well down this year.
Blue Jays – RHP Dirk Hayhurst, INF Jarrett Hoffpauir
With baseball on the backburner following season-ending shoulder surgery in February, Hayhurst opted to write a book. The guess is that he’ll be re-signed to a minor league contract.
Hoffpauir, who hit .206/.250/.235 in 34 at-bats with the Jays this year, was claimed off waivers by the Padres. He’ll battle for a roster spot as a backup at second and third next spring.

Brewers – RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Alex Periard
The 23-year-old Periard has gotten hurt two years in a row, and he wasn’t exactly a spectacular prospect in the first place. He does have a decent sinker, but no one opted to take a shot.
Marlins – LHP Taylor Tankersley, RHP Ryan Tucker, RHP Tim Wood, C Mike Rivera, INF Hector Luna, OF Brett Carroll
Tankersley, a 2004 first-round pick, had a 2.85 ERA in 49 relief appearances as a 23-year-old rookie in 2006. It’s been downhill ever since. He missed 2009 following elbow surgery, and he gave up four homers in 12 innings as a major leaguer this year.
As previously mentioned, Tucker was picked up by the Rangers, resulting in Rich Harden getting designated for assignment. He is the one in this group with some promise left, but after being diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome this spring, he proved very ineffective in the minors. He had a 6.15 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A New Orleans.
Carroll got some notice a year ago for having incredible UZR defensive numbers in about 40 games worth of playing time in the Marlins’ outfield, and he rated well in very limited action again this year. Unfortunately, he’s 28 and he’s hit just .205/.284/.325 in 319 major league at-bats.

Padres – C Chris Stewart
Making room for Hoffpauir.
Red Sox – RHP Robert Manuel, C Dusty Brown, C Kevin Cash
Manuel is an outstanding Triple-A reliever, and he hardly embarrassed himself in 10 appearances for the Red Sox this year, amassing a 4.26 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. Boston will likely offer him a minor league deal to stick around, and given that no team plucked him off waivers, he could accept it.

Miami Police Department considers Yasiel Puig case closed

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig waits to bat during batting practice prior to a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We have more details about Yasiel Puig‘s reported “brawl” at a bar in Miami. And while it’s a regrettable situation, it appears to be less serious than previously believed.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Major Delrish Moss of the Miami Police Department confirmed that Puig was involved in a fight with a bouncer. However, Moss described it more as a “scuffle” than a “brawl.” The Dodgers outfielder suffered injuries to his face, including a swollen left eye, while the bouncer was left with a “busted lip” among other minor facial injuries.

While the bouncer alleged that he was sucker-punched by Puig, Moss said that neither were interested in pressing charges. As a result, the Miami Police Department considers the case closed.

TMZ reported that the fight with the bouncer took place after Puig got into a physical altercation with his sister. However, Moss said that “no shoving was alleged” and that “to the best of our knowledge, the only physical altercation was between the bouncer and Puig.”

Major League Baseball is still expected to investigate the incident under their new domestic violence policy.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.