Johnny Monell C NYM 2 days ago
Monell signed a contract with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.
The 30-year-old backstop has bounced around the minor leagues in his career, although he's never been able to stick at the major league level. Monell will look to boost his stock with some time in the hitter-friendly KBO for the next season, likely with the hopes of creating some intrigue for next year's offseason.
Matt den Dekker CF WSH 2 days ago
Den Dekker agreed to a minor league contract with the Marlins on Thursday that includes an invitation to spring training, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
The 29-year-old spent last season in the Nationals organization, splitting time between the majors and Triple-A. Although his batting average sat around the Mendoza Line at both levels, his ability to play all three outfield positions could come in handy as he tries to land a spot on the major league roster.
Joe Nathan RP SF 2 days ago
Nathan is interested in returning to the majors for the 2017 season, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
The 42-year-old sat out all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, recovering in 2016 to throw a combined 6.1 scoreless innings with the Cubs and Giants. His last full season came in 2014 with the Tigers, where he posted a 4.81 ERA across 58 innings while converting 35 of his 42 save opportunities. With his age and injury history, it is difficult what to make of Nathan's desire to return. If he is miraculously able to repeat his 2013 numbers (1.39 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 3.1 W/9 and 43 saves), Nathan will find himself a home quickly. However, it is more likely we will see numbers closer to his 2014 totals (4.81 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 4.5 W/9 and 35 saves), which will make it difficult for the righty to find much value in fantasy. At this point, he's more of a "wait and see" option.
Koji Uehara RP BOS 2 days ago
Uehara signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cubs on Thursday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Uehara ran into some troubles with the long ball in his final season in Boston, yielding 1.5 home runs per nine innings on the way to a 3.45 ERA, his worst season mark since his rookie year in 2009. Now 41 years old, Uehara has seen his velocity decline over the last few years and could be at the end of his tenure as an effective late-innings arm. He enters a deep Cubs bullpen with a clear closer in Wade Davis, so it's unlikely he gets a shot at a save anytime soon.
Bryan Morris RP MIA 2 days ago
Morris signed a minor league deal with the Giants as a non-roster invite Tuesday, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.
Morris pitched 17.2 innings across 24 games for the Marlins last season, holding a 3.06 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. If you look beyond the ERA, however, he had some problems. He posted a strikeout rate of just 6.62 K/9 to go along with high walk (5.09 BB/9) and home-run (2.0 HR/9) rates. He's never relied on strikeouts, so that was no surprise, but his walk and home-run rates were concerning, though the sample size was small. He'll fight for a spot in the Giants' bullpen this spring.
OUTKirk Nieuwenhuis CF/RF MIL 2 days ago
Nieuwenhuis underwent nerve release surgery following the 2016 season, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Nerve release surgery is an alternative to sports hernia surgery with a faster recovery time. The 29-year-old amassed 392 plate appearances across 125 games last season, though he batted just .209. His solid defense and veteran presence were enough to convince the Brewers to tender him a contract for 2017, however. He appears to be on track for the start of spring training, though the team has not officially provided a timetable for his return.
Williams Jerez RP BOS 2 days ago
Jerez was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Thursday.
In an effort to make room on their roster for the newly-signed Mitch Moreland, Boston opted to designate Jerez for assignment. Jerez spent all of 2016 at Double-A Portland, where he threw for a 4.71 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over 40 games (65 innings).
Luke Maile C TB 2 days ago
Maile is expected to platoon with Curt Casali at catcher until the newly acquired Wilson Ramos (knee) is healthy.
The 25-year-old backstop slashed .227/.252/.361 with three homers and 15 RBI over 126 plate appearances at the big league level in 2016. Those numbers represented a notable improvement over his 2015 cup of coffee, which consisted of a scant 35 plate appearances and saw Maile generate a .171/.171/.257 line. With Ramos not expected back until late May at the earliest, Maile is likely to see a decent amount of playing time while platooning with Casali to open the season, with his exact role after Ramos' return likely to be largely predicated on how he acquits himself during that period.
Curt Casali C TB 2 days ago
Casali is expected to platoon with Luke Maile at catcher until the newly acquired Wilson Ramos (knee) is healthy.
Despite slashing .186/.273/.336 over 256 plate appearances last season at the big league level, Casali displayed a knack for making it count when he did make contact, rapping out 18 extra-base hits (10 homers) and tallying 25 RBI. His bloated 32 percent strikeout rate certainly needs improvement, but Casali's solid work behind the plate and occasional pop is likely to keep him involved even after Ramos is healthy enough to play, which is likely to be in late May or early June. In the interim, he figures to platoon with Luke Maile to begin the 2017 campaign.
Aaron Sanchez SP TOR 2 days ago
Sanchez has been working alongside the Jays' high performance team to build lower body strength, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports.
Sanchez has been putting in the extra work at the Jays' Dunedin complex. Through the workouts, the 24-year-old has reportedly improved his vertical jump, range of motion and power. Sanchez put in similar efforts last offseason, and that was rewarded with a career year in 2016 that ended with a seventh-place finish in the AL Cy Young voting.