Pirates sign outfielder Matt Joyce

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This time last year Matt Joyce was the Angels’ starting left fielder after being acquired from the Rays for reliever Kevin Jepsen. He flopped, hitting .174 in 93 games, and now the 31-year-old has had to settle for a minor-league deal with the Pirates.

Joyce was a consistently above-average hitter for the Rays from 2010-2014, posting a .778 OPS and making the All-Star team in 2011. He’s best suited to be a platoon player starting versus right-handed pitching, but with Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco locked in as Pittsburgh’s starting outfield Joyce will probably be competing for a bench role.

Pittsburgh is already planning to platoon John Jaso and Michael Morse at first base, so in addition to managing only a minor-league contract Joyce also landed in a situation where a roster spot may be tough to secure.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.