Seager agrees to 7-year, $100M deal with Mariners

Former Clinton LumberKings infielder Kyle Seager reportedly has agreed to a seven-year, $100 million contract extension with the Seattle Mariners. The deal, which reportedly includes a club option for an eighth season (2022), buys out the third baseman’s three arbitration years and his first four years of eligibility to be a free agent (five if the option is exercised).

The 27-year-old batted .268 with 25 HR and 96 RBI in 159 games this year. He won his first Gold Glove award and was an MLB All-Star for the first time.

Seager made his major-league debut with the Mariners in 2011, two years after he batted .275 with 1 HR and 22 RBI in 41 games with the 2009 LumberKings.

Both of Seager’s brothers also played in the Midwest League. Corey Seager batted .309 with 12 HR and 57 RBI in 74 games with the 2013 Great Lakes Loons. Justin Seager batted .240 with 3 HR and 37 RBI in 110 games with the 2014 LumberKings.

Current Seattle Mariners 3B Kyle Seager played for the Clinton LumberKings in 2009. (Photo by Paul Gierhart/MiLB.com)

Current Seattle Mariners 3B Kyle Seager played for the Clinton LumberKings in 2009. (Photo by Paul Gierhart/MiLB.com)

Recent trades involving ex-MWLers

Several trades this past week involved former Midwest League players.

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Charles Brewer to the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. He went 4-5 with a 1.83 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 69 IP for the 2010 South Bend Silver Hawks.

The Diamondbacks also traded RHP Mike Bolsinger, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations. He went 6-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 101.2 IP for the 2011 Silver Hawks.

The Dodgers added another former Midwest League pitcher via trade, getting RHP Joel Peralta (along with LHP Adam Liberatore) from the Tampa Bay Rays. In 82 relief appearances for the 2001-02 Cedar Rapids Kernels, Peralta went 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA, 44 saves and 106 strikeouts in 89.2 IP.

In return for Peralta and Liberatore, the Rays received a pair of former Great Lakes Loons, right-handed pitchers Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris. Dominguez went 4-3 with a 5.25 ERA, four saves and 78 strikeouts in 72 IP for the 2012 Loons. Harris, son of former major-league pitcher Greg A. Harris, went 7-6 with a 4.45 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 87 IP for the 2014 Loons.

The St. Louis Cardinals traded RHP Sam Gaviglio to the Mariners for prospect Ty Kelly. Gaviglio went 9-9 with a 3.92 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 133 IP for the 2012 Quad Cities River Bandits.

The Los Angeles Angels acquired OF Daniel Robertson from the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash. He batted .296 with 5 HR, 65 RBI and 20 SB in 121 games with the 2009 Fort Wayne TinCaps. (He is not Oakland Athletics prospect Daniel Robertson, who batted .277 with 9 HR and 46 RBI in 101 games with the 2013 Beloit Snappers.)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Gold Glove Awards, Great Lakes Loons, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Shoemaker shines in MLB All-Stars win

Los Angeles Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker pitches for the MLB All-Stars at Japan's Sapporo Dome on Tuesday. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker pitches for the MLB All-Stars at Japan’s Sapporo Dome on Tuesday. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings to lead the MLB All-Stars to a 3-1 win over Samurai Japan in the finale of their five-game series.

Shoemaker took the loss in Game 1 of the series after giving up two runs on six hits in five innings.

After making his MLB debut in 2013, Shoemaker excelled in his rookie season this year. He went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA, 124 strikeouts and 24 walks in 136 IP, and was the American League Rookie of the Year runner-up to winner Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox. Abreu batted .317 with 36 HR and 107 RBI in 145 games.

Shoemaker pitched in the Midwest League in 2009, when he went 4-1 with a 3.39 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 63.2 IP for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Three ex-Midwest Leaguers involved in Heyward trade

The Atlanta Braves traded OF Jason Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins on Monday.

While Heyward is the biggest name involved in the trade, the other three players are of more concern here because they are former Midwest Leaguers.

Miller started 24 games for the 2010 Quad Cities River Bandits, going 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA, 140 strikeouts and 33 walks in 104.1 IP. He also made two starts for the River Bandits in 2009.

Shelby Miller delivers a pitch for the 2010 Quad Cities River Bandits. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/MiLB.com)

Shelby Miller delivers a pitch for the 2010 Quad Cities River Bandits. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/MiLB.com)

Jenkins, the only minor-leaguer involved in the trade, made 19 starts for the 2012 River Bandits and 10 starts for the 2013 Peoria Chiefs. He went 4-4 with a 5.14 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 36 walks in 82.1 IP for the River Bandits. He went 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 24 walks in 49.1 IP for the Chiefs.

Tyrell Jenkins warms up in the Peoria Chiefs bullpen before a game in April 2013. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Walden started 18 games for the 2008 Cedar Rapids Kernels, going 4-6 with a 2.18 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 32 walks in 107.1 IP.

Jordan Walden (Photo from The Sprouting News)

Jordan Walden (Photo from The Sprouting News)

Posted in Cedar Rapids Kernels, Midwest League, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

Morneau leads MLB All-Stars to Game 4 win in Japan

Justin Morneau rounds third base after hitting a three-run homer for the MLB All-Stars at the Tokyo Dome on Sunday. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Justin Morneau rounds third base after hitting a three-run homer for the MLB All-Stars at the Tokyo Dome on Sunday. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Colorado Rockies 1B Justin Morneau went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a three-run homer to lead the MLB All-Stars to a 6-1 win over Samurai Japan on Sunday.

The win was the MLB team’s first of the five-game series and came one day after they were victims of a combined no-hitter by SP Takahiro Norimoto and three other Japan pitchers. Samurai Japan has already clinched the series win by defeating the MLB team in each of the first three games.

The final game of the series will be played Tuesday.

With the exception of Game 4, the MLB All-Stars have struggled in the series. They have driven in only 10 runs total, with Morneau responsible for six of them (including his four RBI in Game 4).

Morneau, the reigning National League batting champion, played in the Midwest League in 2001. He batted .356 with 12 HR and 53 RBI in 64 games with the Quad City River Bandits.

Jason Bay of the Clinton LumberKings won the MWL batting title that year with a .362 average in 87 games. Adrian Gonzalez of the Kane County Cougars was the MWL Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year.

Posted in Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits | Leave a comment

Rays trade Hellickson for two 2014 Silver Hawks

Andrew Velazquez was one of two former Silver Hawks traded to the Rays on Friday. (Photo by Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune)

Andrew Velazquez was one of two former Silver Hawks traded to the Rays on Friday. (Photo by Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune)

The Tampa Bay Rays traded RHP Jeremy Hellickson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two prospects who played with the South Bend Silver Hawks this year.

Hellickson, the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year, has a career record of 40-36 with a 3.78 ERA in 115 games (108 starts). He was traded for INF Andrew Velazquez and OF Justin Williams.

Velazquez made headlines this year when he reached base in 74 consecutive games, setting a new Minor League Baseball record. He batted .290 with 9 HR, 56 RBI and 50 SB in 134 games with the Silver Hawks in 2014, earning him the Midwest League Prospect of the Year award.

He also played with the Silver Hawks in 2013, batting .260 with 16 RBI in 65 games.

Williams split the 2014 season between the Midwest League and the rookie-level Pioneer League. He batted .284 with 2 HR and 23 RBI in 28 games with the Silver Hawks. More impressively, he won the Pioneer League batting title with a .386 average for the Missoula Osprey.

Burnett returns to Pirates

Former Kane County Cougars RHP A.J. Burnett agreed to terms on a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he pitched in 2012 and 2013.

Burnett pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies this year, going 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA, 190 strikeouts and 96 walks in 213.2 IP. He became a free agent last week when he declined a player option in his Phillies contract.

Burnett pitched for the Cougars in 1998, going 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 119 IP.

A.J. Burnett struck out 186 for the 1998 Kane County Cougars, a franchise record. (Photo from The Cougars Den)

A.J. Burnett set a single-season record for Kane County when he struck out 186 batters in 1998. (Photo from The Cougars Den)

Posted in Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Missoula Osprey, Pioneer League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Tigers trade Travis to Blue Jays for Gose

Devon Travis bats for the Erie SeaWolves earlier this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Devon Travis bats for the Erie SeaWolves earlier this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

The Detroit Tigers traded former West Michigan Whitecaps 2B Devon Travis to the Toronto Blue Jays for OF Anthony Gose late Wednesday night.

Earlier that day, Baseball America named Travis the top prospect in the Tigers organization. Presumably that honor now belongs to OF Steven Moya (2011-12 West Michigan Whitecaps), who was ranked No. 2 on the list.

Travis spent the entire 2014 season with the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. He batted .298 with 10 HR, 52 RBI and 16 SB in 100 games. He spent the first three months of the 2013 season with the Whitecaps, batting .352 with 6 HR, 42 RBI and 14 SB in 77 games.

In the 2013 MWL All-Star Game, Travis went 2-for-2 with a three-run triple to earn the Star of Stars award (All-Star Game MVP). The winning run was driven in by then-Lansing Lugnuts OF Dalton Pompey, who is projected to be Toronto’s Opening Day centerfielder now that Gose is gone.

Gose split the 2014 season between the Blue Jays and the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

Devon Travis played second base in all but five of his 100 games with the Erie SeaWolves this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Devon Travis played second base in all but five of his 100 games with the Erie SeaWolves this year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in 2013 All-Star Game, Buffalo Bisons, Eastern League, Erie SeaWolves, International League, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Kluber edges out Hernandez for AL Cy Young Award

Cleveland Indians RHP Corey Kluber narrowly edged out Seattle Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez to win his first Cy Young Award on Wednesday.

The 30 first-place votes were split between the two American League hurlers — 17 for Kluber and 13 for King Felix. Kluber netted 169 overall points, 10 more than Hernandez. Chicago White Sox LHP Chris Sale finished third with 78 points.

Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.095 WHIP, 268 strikeouts and 51 walks in 235.2 IP. He pitched for the Midwest League’s Fort Wayne Wizards in 2008, going 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 56 IP. He was a San Diego Padres farmhand at that time.

Hernandez went 15-6 with a 2.14 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, 248 strikeouts and 46 walks in 236 IP. He briefly pitched in the Midwest League, starting two games for the 2003 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He struck out 18 batters in 14 IP.

Sale went 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 0.966 WHIP, 208 strikeouts and 39 walks in 174 IP.

Posted in Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | Leave a comment