Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who pitched for the Angels and Yankees this year, has signed with the Seibu Lions in Japan.
LeBlanc has bounced around a lot, playing parts of seven seasons for five different teams while posting a 4.47 ERA in 447 innings.
The 30-year-old former second-round draft pick was non-tendered by the Angels.
One-time top prospect Jeremy Hermida has agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.
Hermida re-signed with the Brewers on a minor-league contract just last month and looked headed back to Triple-A for another season, but instead they released him so he could pursue this deal for a lot more money.
Hermida was a first-round draft pick in 2002 and while coming up through the Marlins’ farm system he ranked as the No. 4 prospect in MLB according to Baseball America. He hit reasonably well in parts of eight seasons as a big leaguer, batting .257 with a .749 OPS, but for whatever reason it never quite clicked for Hermida as an impact player.
He’s still just 31 years old, so it’s possible he’ll go to Japan, have a big year there, and make a comeback in MLB.
Teams don’t often allow managers to reach the final season of their contract, typically extending their deals (or letting them go, in some cases) to avoid the issues that come along with “lame duck” status.
Padres manager Bud Black is entering the final year of his deal after surviving ownership and front office changes, and he told Barry Bloom of MLB.com that there have been no contract extension talks with new general manager A.J. Preller.
I’m comfortable with this. I’m comfortable managing. I think those of us in this game realize at certain points contracts will be worked out if they’re going to get worked out. I think we’ve seen over the years a lot of managers go into the last year, head coaches go into the last year of a contract and everything is fine. It’s all good. I’m good with it.
Black has been the Padres’ manager since 2007, compiling a 617-680 record for a .476 winning percentage. That includes a winning record in just one of the last seven seasons and 91, 86, 86, and 85 losses in the past four years.
Last week the Astros were linked to free agent shortstop Jed Lowrie and now Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that they’ve met with free agent shortstop Stephen Drew (or at least his agent Scott Boras).
Drew had a miserable 2014 season, sitting out until mid-May after turning down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from Boston and then hitting .162 in 85 games for the Red Sox and Yankees.
However, if you ignore his 2014 and focus on his previous track record Drew has generally been a solid all-around shortstop and at age 31 he’s one of the few viable starting-caliber options on the open market.
Back in 2013, for instance, he played 124 games and hit .253 with 13 homers and a .776 OPS for a World Series winner.
Washington has sent left-hander Ross Detwiler to Texas for a pair of minor leaguers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Detwiler was primarily a starter for the Nationals from 2009-2013, but moved to the bullpen full time this year with underwhelming results. He posted a 4.00 ERA and 39/21 K/BB ratio in 63 innings.
As a starter Detwiler has a 4.02 ERA in 376 career innings through age 29 and the Rangers apparently plan to put him into the rotation full time.