Tag: Koyie Hill

Geovany Soto

Geovany Soto to begin rehab assignment after knee surgery


Geovany Soto is ready to start a minor-league rehab assignment three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Soto is scheduled to see his first game action today at Triple-A and will likely play 3-5 games there, at which point he could be cleared to rejoin the Cubs.

For his part Soto is optimistic about coming off the DL as soon as this weekend, which could push fill-in starter Steve Clevenger back to Triple-A if the Cubs prefer veteran journeyman Koyie Hill in the little-used understudy role.

Steve Clevenger returns from DL, will be Cubs’ main catcher

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs

Geovany Soto and Welington Castillo are both on the disabled list with knee injuries, so Steve Clevenger will have an opportunity to get most of the playing time behind the plate for the Cubs.

Clevenger has been on the DL himself with a strained oblique muscle, but is now healthy and Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reports that the 26-year-old career minor leaguer will draw starts over recently acquired Koyie Hill.

Clevenger lacks power, but hit above .300 at Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A while totaling nearly as many walks (183) as strikeouts (203). He’ll likely have at least two weeks of regular work until Soto returns.

Running down the rosters: St. Louis Cardinals

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

The World Series champion Cardinals will go it without Albert Pujols, but the additions of Adam Wainwright (back from Tommy John surgery) and Carlos Beltran should sufficiently make up for that. On paper this year’s team looks just as good as the one that won it all. Of course, last year’s winners wouldn’t have sniffed the postseason playing in any division besides the NL Central, so there is room for improvement.

Adam Wainwright – R
Chris Carpenter – R
Jaime Garcia – L
Kyle Lohse – R
Jake Westbrook – R

Jason Motte – R
Fernando Salas – R
Mark Rzepczynski – L
Kyle McClellan – R
Mitchell Boggs – R
J.C. Romero – L
Eduardo Sanchez – R

SP next in line: Lance Lynn (R), McClellan, Shelby Miller (R), Brandon Dickson (R)
RP next in line: Scott Linebrink (R), Lynn, Jess Todd (R), Maikel Cleto (R), Adam Reifer (R), Samuel Freeman (L)

I didn’t leave a spot for Lynn here, even though I project him as the Cardinals’ fourth best starter. He’s quite a luxury for the team at the moment. The Cardinals could try to dump Westbrook’s salary and slide him into the rotation or move McClellan and use him as a long man. The best option, though, is probably to stand pat and see what happens this spring. I doubt Carpenter and Garcia are going to combine to make 66 starts again. The Cards are sure to need at least six starters, and as great as Miller will be someday, they’re not going to want to have to call on him in the first half.

The bullpen should be strong, even if neither Motte nor Salas can quite duplicate their 2.2x ERAs from last season. The closer’s gig is Motte’s to lose after a fine postseason that included five saves.

SS Rafael Furcal – S
RF Carlos Beltran – S
LF Matt Holliday – R
1B Lance Berkman – S
3B David Freese – R
CF Jon Jay – L
C Yadier Molina – R
2B Daniel Descalso – L

C Tony Cruz – R
INF Tyler Greene – R
INF Alex Cora – L
2B/OF Skip Schumaker – L
OF Shane Robinson – R

Disabled list: Allen Craig (R)
Next in line: C Bryan Anderson (L), C Koyie Hill (S), 1B/OF Mark Hamilton (L), 1B Matt Adams (L), 3B Matt Carpenter (L), INF Pete Kozma (R), INF-OF Eugenio Velez (S), OF Adron Chambers (L), OF Erik Komatsu (L)(Rule 5)

The offense doesn’t lack for big names even with Pujols gone, but I do have my concerns. Berkman and Molina are due for at least mild declines, and Berkman, Furcal, Beltran and Freese all rank among the biggest injury risks at their positions. Given those issues, one would think the Cardinals would have invested more in their bench this winter.

Of course, the bench situation would look a lot better if Craig makes a quick return from knee surgery. He’s the team’s third best outfielder, and he’ll be great insurance for Beltran and Berkman if healthy.

As is, the bench spots are largely up for grabs, with only Schumaker completely assured of his place (though Greene is probably safe). Cruz will battle Anderson to become Molina’s backup, with Hill possibly sneaking in if neither youngster impresses. Cora, Hamilton and Carpenter are the candidates for the sixth infield spot. Robinson, Chambers and Komatsu will compete for one gig in the outfield. I don’t have much faith in anyone from that group, but that’ll be Craig’s spot eventually.

My guess is that the Cardinals start strong, but that injuries take a toll as the year goes on. There may be enough pitching depth to get them back to 90 wins anyway, but the NL Central crown could come down to whether Furcal, Beltran and others are close to 100 percent come September.

Cardinals sign catcher Koyie Hill to minor-league contract

Koyie Hill Getty

Koyie Hill was non-tendered by the Cubs in December after batting .194 with two homers and .545 OPS over 153 plate appearances in 2011, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the has latched on with the division-rival Cardinals on a minor-league deal.

Hill, who turns 33 in March, has a .211/.275/.298 batting line over 927 plate appearances in the majors. He has thrown out 28 percent of attempted basestealers.

Gerald Laird returned to the Tigers this offseason on a one-year, $1 million contract, so Hill gives the Cardinals one more option as a potential backup for Yadier Molina. Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson are also expected to be in the mix.

Tracking the non-tenders: Joe Saunders, Luke Scott, Hong-Chih Kuo

Luke Scott

Here’s the official list of players non-tendered prior to the Monday midnight deadline:

American League

Baltimore: OF/DH Luke Scott, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Willie Eyre

Scott went from hitting .284/.368/.535 during an excellent 2010 season to .220/.301/.402 in 209 at-bats during a 2011 season shortened by shoulder surgery. The Orioles could re-sign him for significantly less than the $6 million he was due in arbitration. If not, he’ll enter the crowded free agent market as a lesser version of Jason Kubel.

Boston: LHP Rich Hill

Hill figures to miss at least the first month or two after Tommy John surgery, but since he did show promise as a sidewinding reliever last season, the Red Sox debated tendering him. They’ll make an attempt to re-sign him to a minor league contract.

Chicago: none

Cleveland: none

The Indians said they’ll tender everyone. Their only borderline arbitration-eligible player is third baseman Jack Hannahan, and he shouldn’t come in at much more than $1 million. Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Shin-Soo Choo are due for bigger raises, though Choo’s rough year will cost him.

Detroit: 2B Will Rhymes

Rhymes quickly fell out of favor after opening last season as Detroit’s primary second baseman. He has a nice career line of .283/.341/.370 in 276 major league at-bats, but if anyone had much interest in him, he would have been traded. He’s making the minimum, so that wasn’t an issue.

Kansas City: LHP Aaron Laffey

The Royals claimed Laffey off waivers from the Yankees in October, so it seems they want him around. Still, they weren’t interested in risking arbitration. A sinkerballing lefty, Laffey has a 4.34 ERA in 373 2/3 career innings. He may get a guaranteed deal from some team, but it will be for less than $1 million.

Los Angeles: none

The Angels said they’re tendering all of their arbitration-eligible players, a list that includes Kendrys Morales.

Minnesota: LHP Jose Mijares

Mijares should be a hot name with so little left-handed relief available this winter. He was terrible last season, with a 30/30 K/BB ratio and a 4.59 ERA in 49 innings, but he had an 83/32 K/BB ratio and a 2.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings between 2009-10. Although he has a reputation as a bit of a head case, he’ll get guaranteed money.

New York: none

Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed that he would have no non-tenders tonight.

Oakland: none

Daric Barton, Landon Powell and Adam Rosales all agreed to one-year deals today, and the A’s announced that they’re tendering everyone. Powell and Rosales risked being non-tendered if they didn’t sign today.

Seattle: RHP Dan Cortes, C Chris Gimenez

Cortes’ inclusion is explained by the fact that he underwent a previously unrevealed shoulder surgery in October, leaving his status for the beginning of 2012 in doubt. The hard-throwing-but-wild right-hander could be re-signed to a minor league deal.

Tampa Bay: RHP Andy Sonnanstine

Sonnanstine was expendable regardless, but the trade for Burke Badenhop on Monday made it even more obvious he had no place in the Rays’ plans going forward. He might have a chance of surviving as a swingman in the NL.

Texas: RHP Fabio Castillo

Good arm, bad year in Double-A. The Rangers will probably re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Toronto: none

Jeff Mathis took a paycut and thus avoided being non-tendered. Dustin McGowan is another one who might have been non-tendered had he not agreed to a one-year deal on Monday.

National League

Arizona: LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Micah Owings

Confirmed now. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Saunders would be a non-tender after failing to come to terms with the Diamondbacks on either a one- or two-year contract. He might be able to get a two-year deal from another team, possibly for $7 million-$8 million per year.

Atlanta: RHP Peter Moylan, INF Brooks Conrad

Moylan will miss at least the first month or two after rotator cuff surgery. The Braves will probably re-sign the veteran setup man to a lesser deal.

Chicago: C Koyie Hill

Here’s a move that’s long overdue. Hill is pretty atrocious offensively and isn’t really exceptional on defense either. Welington Castillo should prove to be an immediate upgrade behind Geovany Soto for the Cubs.

Cincinnati: none

John Fay reports that the Reds will tender everyone. Paul Janish and Jose Arredondo were the only arbitration-eligible players somewhat in doubt. The Reds have been looking for a veteran backup shortstop, suggesting that Janish’s place on the team is still far from assured.

Colorado: OF Ryan Spilborghs, OF Cole Garner

Spilborghs spent five years as a really nice part-timer for the Rockies before collapsing last year. He hit just .210/.283/.305 in 200 at-bats for Colorado. At 32, he has a chance to bounce back and serve as a productive bench player elsewhere. The Red Sox have often been mentioned in connection with him when his name has come up in trade rumors.

Florida: RHP Clay Hensley

The Marlins opted to keep Chris Volstad, which qualifies as a minor surprise. Hensley had already been designated for assignment, so this non-tender was a given. He washed out as a starter last season, but he did have a 3.51 ERA in 25 2/3 innings out of the pen. In 2010, he had a 2.16 ERA in 75 innings as a reliever.

Houston: none

The Astros had just two arbitration-eligible players in Humberto Quintero and J.A. Happ, and they’ve already re-signed Quintero.

Los Angeles: LHP Hong-Chih Kuo

Kuo’s case of the yips and likely $3 million salary was viewed as a bad combination by the Dodgers. There will be several teams interested if Los Angeles can’t re-sign him; when Kuo is on, he’s as unhittable as any lefty in the game.

Milwaukee: none

New York: OF Mike Baxter, C Ronny Paulino

Paulino seems to be wearing out his welcome with teams pretty quickly, but he still offers a nice bat versus left-handed pitching. It could get him a backup gig. The Mets are leaning towards going with light-hitting Mike Nickeas as Josh Thole’s backup, though that could change if Jason Varitek or Ivan Rodriguez is willing to sign for $1 million.

Philadelphia: none

Pittsburgh: C Jason Jaramillo, INF Pedro Ciriaco

Those two were already removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster last week. Right-handers Jason Grilli and Chris Resop were the two veterans the Pirates considered non-tendering. Grilli saved his job by agreeing to a one-year deal today.

St. Louis: INF Ryan Theriot

Skip Schumaker took a two-year contract and avoided being non-tendered. Theriot will try to find a starting job at second base somewhere. His poor play at shortstop really limits his value as a utilityman.

San Diego: OF Jeremy Hermida

Hermida had already been designated for assignment. The Padres also re-signed outfielder Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal today. They’ll hold on to right-hander Dustin Moseley, who was considered a possible non-tender after surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

San Francisco: 2B Jeff Keppinger, C Eli Whiteside

Mike Fontenot signed a one-year deal, so he escaped this fate. It helped his case that he’s a better shortstop than Keppinger. Keppinger can hit, though, and might get a look as a starter at second base.

Washington: LHP Doug Slaten

Slaten was limited to 31 appearances by an elbow injury last season, but he was a nice lefty specialist in 2010, when he had a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings. Mark Zuckerman says this will be the Nationals’ only non-tender, meaning Tom Gorzelanny will stick around as the second lefty in the Washington pen along with Sean Burnett. Jesus Flores was also offered a deal.