Brad Eldred takes his big bat to Japan

Leave a comment

Even though Brad Eldred was tied for the minor league lead in home runs, he was released by the Tigers on Tuesday. Of course, it wasn’t because of anything he did wrong; he’s going to Japan to play with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

The 31-year-old Eldred was hitting .305/.374/.695 in 236 at-bats for Triple-A Toledo this season. He was tied with Royals prospect Wil Myers for the minor league lead with 24 homers. He probably would have had a couple more, but he spent eight days in the majors with Detroit earlier this season, going 3-for-16 with a triple and a double.

The Tigers declined to give Eldred a longer look even though they’ve gotten a pathetic .228/.257/.346 line and just three homers in 237 at-bats from their designated hitters this season. They’re looking for a right-handed bat to help out in the middle of their order and Eldred is a right-handed hitter, yet they clearly didn’t think he could do the job.

And maybe they’re right. Eldred got 276 at-bats as a major leaguer and hit .203/.258/.417 with 15 homers. Two-thirds of those came in 2005, and he hadn’t received a real opportunity since. He didn’t seem all that deserving of one until this year, though. While he racked up strong power numbers in previous seasons in Triple-A, it came with modest batting averages and OBPs, 3/1 K/BB ratios and OPSs in the 800s.

Eldred heads east having hit 251 minor league homers in 3,610 at-bats over 11 seasons.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

Getty Images
2 Comments

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.