There were several small moves around Major League Baseball on Monday. Here's a quick rundown:
Orioles claim Cord Phelps
Second baseman Cord Phelps was claimed off of waivers by the Baltimore Orioles, according to MLB Roster Moves. Phelps had previously been a member of the Cleveland Indians, who picked him in the third round of the 2008 draft. Although he posted an 808 OPS in the minor leagues and showed power in Triple-A in the last few years, he was never able to stick in Cleveland; he racked up only 123 plate appearances over parts of three seasons with the team, and batted just .159/.221/.248. Between an injury-filled 2013 and the presence of All-Star Jason Kipnis, there was no room for Phelps at second base in Cleveland. He may have more luck in Baltimore, where the only competition for playing time at the keystone is Ryan Flaherty (career 658 OPS) and Jonathan Schoop (22 years old, 75 career games above Double-A).
Athletics acquire reliever Fernando Abad
The Oakland Athletics made a move to bolster their bullpen by acquiring left-hander Fernando Abad from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league outfielder John Wooten, reports Peter Gammons. With Grant Balfour almost certainly departing through free agency, Sean Doolittle is the favorite to assume closing duties; the addition of Abad gives Oakland another southpaw in the bullpen for days when Doolittle is held out until the ninth inning. Abad, who turns 28 in December, posted a 3.35 ERA last season in 37⅔ innings while accruing a 3.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Wooten hit 20 home runs to go along with a 764 OPS last season as a 22-year-old in Single-A.
Pitcher Chad Durbin retires
Right-handed pitcher Chad Durbin has announced his retirement from baseball, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Crasnick called Durbin "one of MLB's good guys," and reported that the 35-year-old will work as rep for the bat company Marucci. Durbin pitched for 14 seasons in the majors, appearing in 456 games (75 of them starts) and posting a career ERA of 5.03. His best season came in 2008, when he put up a 2.87 ERA in 87⅔ innings for the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. He also pitched for the Royals, Indians, Tigers, Diamondbacks, and Braves.
Pirates DFA Garrett Jones
The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated first baseman and outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment, according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports. Jones was one of the longest-tenured players on the team, having burst onto the scene in 2009 with 21 home runs and a .567 slugging percentage in 82 games. However, his production faded in the ensuing years as his power diminished and he struggled to get on base; in 2013, he batted just .233/.289/.419 with 15 home runs in 440 plate appearances. With the recent addition of high-OBP outfield prospect Jaff Decker, who was acquired in a trade San Diego Padres, the Pirates needed to clear space on their roster and decided that the 32-year-old Jones was no longer needed. Jones could catch on with another team as a left-handed power bat off the bench due to his extreme platoon splits, reports Snyder. Right-handed pitcher Kyle McPherson, 26, was also designated for assignment.
Orioles acquire pitcher Brad Brach
The Baltimore Orioles acquired relief pitcher Brad Brach from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor-league pitcher Devin Jones, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Brach is a 27-year-old right-hander who appeared in 109 games for the Padres over the last three seasons; in that time, he put up a 3.70 ERA while striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings (but also walking 5.1 batters per nine). Jones is a 23-year-old right hander who posted a 5.84 ERA in 24 starts for Double-A Bowie last year.