Yesterday the Dodgers signed journeyman outfielder Jordan Schafer to a minor-league contract and now Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they did so with plans to convert him to a pitcher.
Schafer was the Twins’ starting center fielder on Opening Day last year and has played parts of six seasons in the majors as a speedy outfielder, but he’s hit just .228 with a .615 OPS in 463 games.
He was considered a good pitching prospect coming out of a high school, so at age 29 he’ll take the mound again and see how it goes. He can always resume being a backup-caliber outfielder if things go poorly.
Journeyman outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has signed with the Tigers on a minor-league deal, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. He’ll get an invitation to spring training.
Mayberry’s days of being a top prospect are long gone, but he’s generally been useful as a part-time corner outfielder capable of knocking around left-handed pitching.
Last season he wasn’t much good against anyone, batting .164 in 59 games for the Mets, but for his career Mayberry has hit .260 with an .833 OPS versus lefties.
Free agent right-hander Carlos Villanueva has agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Padres, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Villanueva has bounced back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen throughout his 10-year career, but he was strictly a reliever for the Cardinals last season and thrived with a 2.95 ERA and 55/21 K/BB ratio in 61 innings.
As a fly-ball pitcher Petco Park is a particularly good fit for Villanueva, who has a 4.18 ERA in 925 total innings as a big leaguer for the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, and Blue Jays. He figures to begin the season in a middle or long relief role, but could get another chance to start if the Padres trade away anyone from the current rotation.
Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, whom the Rangers acquired from the Mariners in November, has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.1 million contract.
Wilhelmsen made $1.4 million last season while logging 62 innings with a 3.19 ERA and 60/29 K/BB ratio, saving 13 games. He spent the first five seasons of his career in Seattle, posting a combined 2.97 ERA in 312 innings while moving in and out of the closer role several times.
Wilhelmsen is under team control through 2017 and figures to fill a setup role for the Rangers.
Wilson Ramos and the Nationals have avoided arbitration, as the catcher agreed to a one-year $5.35 million deal. Ramos was paid $3.55 million last year.
After years of being derailed by injuries Ramos played a career-high 128 games in 2015, but he hit just .229 with 15 homers and a career-worst .616 OPS. He was especially unproductive after the All-Star break, batting .197.
Ramos has a strong arm and his power is impressive for a catcher, but he’s never learned to control the strike zone and drew just 19 non-intentional walks in 504 plate appearances last year. He’s eligible for free agency after the season, so this is a huge year for Ramos’ career at age 28.