- The Indians have signed right-handed pitcher Travis Banwart to a minor league deal. At this time it is unknown if he will receive a non-roster invite to Major League spring training, and while he is not the type of signing that would merit such an opportunity, the fact he has been signed early in the minor league signing game suggests he will probably get an invite. The Indians signed him three years ago to a minor league deal and he pitched for Triple-A Columbus in 2014 (16 GS, 5-2, 3.14 ERA, 89.0 IP, 73 H, 33 BB, 78 K) before being released from his contract midseason to sign with a team in Korea and is where he has pitched the last two and a half seasons. He should serve as minor league pitching depth at Triple-A this season
- The Indians have lost free agent minor league catcher Alex Monsalve to the Blue Jays as they have signed him to a minor league deal. Jays GM Ross Atkins is very familiar with Monsalve from his time as the Farm Director in Cleveland from 2007-2014 and should provide him an opportunity to be a depth catching option in the upper levels of the Jays system.
Other News and Notes:
- The Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers swapped catchers as the Brewers acquired catcher Jett Bandy from the Angels and sent back catcher Martin Maldonado and minor league righty Drew Gagnon per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Bandy hit .234/.281/.392 and belted eight home runs for the Angels in 2016 but did not grade out well defensively. He clearly is valued more for his bat than his defense. It’s the opposite for Maldonado as he hit only .202/.332/.351 with eight long balls of his own for the Brewers last season but excelled defensively behind the plate, something he has done throughout his whole career and is widely regarded as an excellent pitch framer.
- Anthony French of the Detroit Free Press reported that Tigers GM Alex Avila has no intention of trading closer Francisco Rodriguez this offseason but if the Tigers are out of the hunt near the trade deadline next season he would be a “logical choice” to be moved.
- The Orioles have signed righty Logan Ondrusek to a one-year $625K deal.
- The Tigers have signed former big league catcher Gerald Laird to be the manager for their Single-A Connecticut affiliate.
- According to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, the Royals looked into the possibility of acquiring Jorge Soler several months ago.
- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes that with Kenley Jansen now in the fold that the Dodgers do not plan to sign any free agent relievers to anything longer than a one year deal.
- Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Orioles and Rangers have expressed interest in free agent slugger Chris Carter.
- Morosi reported that the Tigers and Astros have had talks about a trade that would send reliever Justin Wilson to the Astros.