Tag: Neil Wagner

Neil Wagner

Rays sign Neil Wagner to an uncommon two-year minor league deal

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Minor league deals, particularly those signed by injured veteran pitchers in their 30’s, are almost always one-year deals, but the Rays agreed to a two-year deal with Neil Wagner, Ben Nicholson-Smith of The Score reports. Wagner underwent Tommy John surgery on August 19 and will need all of 2015 to recover, so the Rays are ensuring they’ll have him the following season. The deal includes an invitation to 2016 spring training.

Wagner has unimpressive results through 53 innings in the major leagues, 38 of them coming last year with the Jays and another 10 this season in Toronto. He has a career 4.92 ERA with a 43/20 K/BB ratio. However, he flashes a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s. That always looks good on the resume.

Josh Reddick has hit three home runs through six innings

Athletics' Reddick swings at a pitch against the Blue Jays during the third inning of their MLB American League game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland

Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick hitless in 22 plate appearances dating back to July 29. Blue Jays pitching must have been just what the doctor ordered because Reddick has exploded in a big way tonight.

In the top of the third, Reddick smoked a solo home run to left off of Jays starter Esmil Rogers. He hit another solo shot in the top of the fifth against reliever Neil Wagner. The third came in the top of the sixth, a three-run shot off of reliever Juan Perez. As of this writing, the A’s lead the Jays 12-3 entering the seventh.

After hitting 32 long balls last year, Reddick entered tonight with just five in 315 trips to the plate. He will have at least one more opportunity to go for his fourth homer of the night, a feat accomplished by just 16 players in baseball history. Josh Hamilton, now with the Angels, did it last year as a member of the Rangers on May 8 against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Update: Reddick grounded out to second in the eighth. Unless the Athletics put together a heck of an offensive rally in the ninth, he won’t get another shot to go for #4. Nevertheless, Reddick has had a great night.

Running down the rosters: Oakland Athletics

Kurt Suzuki, Brandon McCarthy

At least to the outside eye, it seems like the A’s have lacked a plan since they shipped off Matt Holliday after 93 games in 2009. It finally appeared that they were going for a full rebuild this winter, but after trading Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez, they re-signed Coco Crisp for $14 million, added Bartolo Colon, Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes and flirted with over-the-hill designated hitters like Manny Ramirez and Magglio Ordonez. The drive for 75 wins appears on.

Brandon McCarthy – R
Bartolo Colon – R
Tom Milone – L
Tyson Ross – R
Graham Godfrey – R

Grant Balfour – R
Brian Fuentes – L
Fautino De Los Santos – R
Joey Devine – R
Jerry Blevins – L
Ryan Cook – R
Jordan Norberto – L

Disabled list: Brett Anderson (L), Dallas Braden (L)
SP next in line: Jarrod Parker (R), Brad Peacock (R), Sonny Gray (R)
RP next in line: Neil Wagner (R), Andrew Carignan (R), Travis Schlichting (L), Edgar Gonzalez (R), Evan Scribner (R)

Not only did the A’s shed Cahill and Gonzalez, but they traded two more guys who would have fit into their projected rotation for a platoon outfielder in Smith. It wasn’t necessarily a bad move — I like Josh Outman, but I doubt Guillermo Moscoso would have remained an asset as a starter — but it’s left the A’s without any experienced depth here.

I penciled in Ross and Godfrey at the bottom of the rotation, but Parker and Peacock should have opportunities to win jobs. The A’s might be better off with Ross in the bullpen anyway.

The A’s figure to add a reliever or two prior to Opening Day. There isn’t much left in free agency now, but there should be some intriguing out-of-options arms available before the end of March.

2B Jemile Weeks – S
CF Coco Crisp – S
LF Seth Smith – L
C Kurt Suzuki – R
RF Josh Reddick – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
DH Brandon Allen – L
1B Daric Barton – L
SS Cliff Pennington – S

C Landon Powell – R
INF Adam Rosales – R
OF Jonny Gomes – R
OF Collin Cowgill – R

Next in line: C Josh Donaldson (R), C Anthony Recker (R), 1B Kila Ka’aihue (L), 1B Chris Carter (R), INF Eric Sogard (L), OF Jermaine Mitchell (L), OF Michael Taylor (R), OF Jason Pridie (L)

I think it’s probably best for the A’s to stick with what they have now and try to figure out if Barton and Allen belong in their long-term plans. Still, it’s not hard to see why they’d want to have a Manny Ramirez in there. Putting a strong right-handed hitter in the cleanup spot would make the whole lineup look better. Suzuki could then hit sixth, with Sizemore in the eighth spot.

The only position battle in the starting lineup should be at DH, though a bad spring from Barton could open up first base. Barring an addition, Allen will compete with Gomes, Ka’aihue and Carter at DH. Gomes will certainly play against lefties, and that should be good enough for him. Gowgill should also start against lefties in place of Smith or Reddick.

The backup catcher gig is up for grabs, with Donaldson and Recker challenging Powell, who was bumped off the 40-man roster earlier this winter.

I’d like to see Sogard get a chance to overtake Rosales for the utility infield spot, but I’m not sure that will happen on day one.