Right-hander Donn Roach has been claimed off waivers by the Cubs after being designated for assignment by the Padres last week.
Roach was the Angels’ third-round draft pick in 2010 and got traded to the Padres in 2012 along with Alexi Amarista for Ernesto Frieri.
At the time he was considered a decent prospect, but Roach is now 25 years old and has a 3.95 ERA with just 126 strikeouts in 237 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He also posted an ugly 17/15 K/BB ratio in his 30-inning debut for the Padres this season.
Royals manager Ned Yost is entering the final season of his contract and teams tend to avoid having “lame duck” skippers, but general manager Dayton Moore indicated that he’s in no rush to hand out a new deal despite the team’s World Series run.
Moore told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that “right now, we’re focused on other things” and overall the sense seems to be that both sides realize Yost isn’t going anywhere.
Yost, who turned 60 years old in August, has said he’d like to manage for 2-3 more seasons. And here’s s startling fact via McCullough: He’s already the longest-tenured manager in Royals history with five years on the job.
Left-hander Jose De Paula has signed with the Yankees, but instead of the usual minor-league contract for the 26-year-old career minor leaguer he gets a big-league deal with a spot on the 40-man roster.
De Paula spent this season pitching for the Giants at Triple-A, where he had a 4.21 ERA and 41/16 K/BB ratio in 51 innings. He had a similarly unimpressive 3.86 ERA and 57/11 K/BB ratio in 75 innings at Double-A for the Padres in 2013.
Clearly the Yankees think De Paula has a lot more upside than his mediocre numbers would suggest, perhaps believing a full-time move to the bullpen would benefit him.
Danny Espinosa has been a mess for the past two seasons, going from starting second baseman to bench player for the Nationals while hitting just .199 in 158 total games.
And now the Nationals are thinking about asking the 28-year-old to give up switch-hitting, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
For his career Espinosa has hit .271 with an .804 OPS as a right-handed hitter against left-handed pitching, compared to .213 with a .646 OPS as a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching.
Of course, it’s not always as simple as those numbers suggest because switch-hitters get about two-thirds of their playing time versus right-handed pitchers and Espinosa has almost zero experience facing righties as a righty.
With that said, at this point it probably can’t hurt to see if Espinosa can learn how to hit reasonably well from the right side full time. His days as a switch-hitting regular are probably gone for good anyway, at least in Washington.
Andrew Miller is the best reliever on the free agent market and, not surprisingly, after several dominant seasons as a setup man he wants to be a closer.
Here’s what Miller’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:
I think Andrew’s evolution in the bullpen and his numbers this year fortify the belief in baseball that he’s a closer-in-waiting–and maybe the time for waiting is over.
Rodgers made sure not to rule out Miller signing with a team that wants to use him as a setup man, because that would unnecessarily weaken his value on the open market, but the 30-year-old left-hander would clearly prefer to pitch the ninth inning somewhere.
Miller has just one career save, but then again everyone lacks closing experience until some team actually gives them a chance to save games. And in terms of Miller’s performance, there’s zero doubt that he has the raw stuff, bat-missing ability, and overall results to thrive in a ninth-inning role.
This season Miller threw 62 innings with a 2.02 ERA and 103/17 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .153 batting average and .456 OPS. And since shifting to the bullpen full time three seasons ago Miller has thrown 133 innings with a 2.57 ERA and 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings.