There was a lot of activity regarding small moves by teams on Monday with several waiver claims executed (come back tomorrow for more on that) as well as five players clearing waivers and getting sent to the minors outright.
Leading the pack was 28-year-old Minnesota Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni who has been a solid fourth outfielder for the past two seasons with the Twins, amassing 259 plate appearances with a .232/.300/.311 slash line with three home runs and 23 stolen bases in the past two seasons. 2013 was rough for Mastroianni who was injured much of the year and only had 73 plate appearances with the Twins and another 86 in the minors.
Right-handed pitcher Michael Olmsted has yet to reach the majors after being drafted in 2007 but played in Triple-A for the first time in his career this past season in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization. Olmsted, 26, struggled with his control, walking 43 batters in 59 2/3 innings but showed some excellent stuff, striking out 60. After two strong seasons with the Mets organization in 2007 and 2008, he was released after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009. Following his recovery, Olmsted signed on with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2010 and pitched in the independent North American League (for the Chico Outlaws) in 2011, getting picked up by the Red Sox in June of that year to get back into affiliated baseball.
At only 23 years old and having pitched in Double-A, Cleveland Indians’ Trey Haley is the youngest member of the five players who cleared waivers on Monday. Haley had a difficult season with the Akron Aeros, throwing 44 innings (all in relief) and putting up a 4.70 ERA and 1.73 WHIP with 39 walks and 46 strikeouts. Haley had been put on the 40-man roster after the 2012 season in order to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft but cleared waivers this winter. This will allow the Cleveland Indians to clear the 40-man roster space as well as avoid using another option on Haley if he doesn’t make the majors in 2014.
The Houston Astros sent right-handed pitcher Rhiner Cruz outright to the minors after spending most of 2012 and part of 2013 in the major leagues. He threw 76 1/3 innings over the two seasons, posting a 5.31 ERA and 1.70 WHIP with 40 walks and 56 strikeouts. His numbers in Triple-A Oklahoma City weren’t all that much better in 2013 with a 4.75 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 32 walks and 38 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. Cruz was selected from the New York Mets with the first pick of the 2011 Rule 5 Draft.
Finally, right-handed pitcher Chance Ruffin cleared waivers and the Seattle Mariners sent him outright to Triple-A Tacoma. Ruffin spent much of his time in Double-A Jackson as a starter, throwing 83 innings with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP with a very good 2.5 BB/9 ratio but a mediocre 6.2 K/9 ratio. In Triple-A Tacoma, Ruffin appeared in 15 games but started only two of them, throwing to a 3.94 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and a better 1.8 BB/9 and 7.6 K/9. In 9 2/3 innings with the Mariners, Ruffin gave up nine earned runs but struck out 15 batters and walked only five. He was particularly hurt by the three home runs he surrendered.