Tampa Bay calling up stud pitching prospect Matt Moore is getting all the attention–and rightfully so–but the Rays have also promoted Russ Canzler to the majors after the 25-year-old took home International League MVP honors by hitting .314 with 18 homers, 40 doubles, and a .930 OPS in Durham.
Canzler signed with the Rays as a minor-league free agent this offseason, so he’s far from a top prospect, but he also hit .287 with 21 homers and a .938 OPS at Double-A in the Cubs’ system last year.
As for how much or even where he’ll play for the Rays, that remains unclear. Canzler saw significant action for Durham at third base, first base, right field, and left field, but was primarily a first baseman prior to this season.
Dan Johnson, Steve Cox, Kevin Witt, and Toby Hall previously won the International League MVP award while in the Rays’ farm system and that didn’t exactly lead to future stardom, but Canzler at least has a chance to be an interesting player if given an opportunity.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.