Saints Make Flurry Of Moves At Deadline, Trade For Veteran Outfielder Espinosa, Ink Infielder Cavan, Pitcher CraveyST. PAUL, MN August 29, 2015
SAINTS MAKE FLURRY OF MOVES AT DEADLINE TRADE FOR VETERAN OUTFIELDER ESPINOSA, INK INFIELDER CAVAN, PITCHER CRAVEY
ST. PAUL, MN (August 29, 2015) – It was a busy day and night for St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis. With the trade deadline commencing at 11:00 p.m. central time on August 28. Tsamis worked the phones feverishly and wheeled and dealed to help strengthen his roster for the playoffs. The Saints made numerous moves prior to the deadline. They pulled off a trade with the Wichita Wingnuts that sent veteran infielder/outfielder David Espinosa to the Saints in exchange for reliever Alex Sogard and a player to be named later. The Saints signed two free agents, infielder Ryan Cavan and pitcher Kevin Cravey. The Saints also signed infielder Ronnie Bourquin and released pitcher Danny Gutierrez. In a final deal they received the the reversionary rights to infielder C.J. Retherford in exchange for a player to be named later with the Faego-Moorhead RedHawks.
The 33-year-old switch hitting Espinosa was hitting .292 with four homers and 38 RBI in 89 games for the Wingnuts this season. In 325 at bats he scored 60 runs, had 15 doubles, four triples, 10 stolen bases, a .435 on base percentage and a .400 slugging percentage. He is currently second in the league in walks (77) and third in on base percentage.
He is currently in the 15th season of a very successful professional baseball career. Espinosa was a first round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2000 out Gulliver Prep High School in Coral Gables, Florida. The 23rd overall pick spent two years at the single-A level for the Reds before joining the Detroit farm system in 2003. He quickly climbed the ladder to Triple-A, reaching the highest level in the minors by 2005. Espinosa hit .232 with 14 home runs and 78 RBI over a three year span before being granted his release.
Since his release from the Tigers, the 33-year old has played the entirety of the past seven seasons at the independent level, aside from a 60-game stop in the Seattle Mariners farm system in 2009. His stops include Camden, Southern Maryland, and York in the Atlantic League and American Association cities such as Grand Prairie, Lincoln, and Kansas City before arriving in Wichita. At these locations he has combined to rack up a .309 batting average, .420 on-base percentage, 54 home runs, 342 RBI, 133 doubles, 48 triples, 110 stolen bases, and 479 walks.
Espinosa began the 2014 season in Kansas City, where he hit a solid .290 with 29 runs driven in over 64 contests. He represented the South team in the American Association All-Star Game shortly after arriving in Wichita in a trade that sent relief pitcher Patrick Mincey to the T-Bones. He was almost unstoppable at the plate down the stretch. In 34 games with the Wingnuts, Espinosa batted .338 with five doubles, five triples, six home runs and 22 RBI. He paced the league in triples at the end of the regular season, while also finishing third in walks and eighth in runs scored. With a championship in sight, he ramped up his efforts even more. In seven post-season games, Espinosa managed to drive in eight runs on eight hits.
Cavan signs on with St. Paul after beginning the season in the American Association with Kansas City where the 28-year old switch hitting second baseman hit .351 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 58 games with the T-Bones. In 222 at bats he scored 52 runs, roped 18 doubles, had a .447 on base percentage and a .486 slugging percentage. He is currently second in the league in on base percentage and third in hitting.
Originally a 16th round pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, Cavan was an All-Big West Conference Honorable Mention at third base in his junior season at the University of California-Santa Barbara after hitting .341 with four homers and 36 RBI in his junior season.
Cavan began his professional career in Low-A Salem-Kaizer after signing with the Giants in 2009 and won a Northwest League championship with the Volcanoes. He hit .277 with 33 RBI while hitting five triples that was tied for 2nd in the league and slugging nine home runs that ranked 5th.
After being promoted to Single-A Augusta for the 2010 campaign, Cavan followed up his productive debut by hitting .283 while playing the second most games in the South Atlantic League (133). His 244 total bases with the GreenJackets were the second most in the league while his 153 hits ranked fourth.
Cavan continued to climb the ladder in the Giants organization with a return to the West Coast after a promotion to High-A San Jose in 2011. In the Cal League, he compiled a .270 batting average in 130 games to go along with 12 home runs and 90 RBI while smacking 38 doubles, good for the fourth most in the league.
After three consistent seasons at various levels of Single-A, Cavan was promoted to Double-A Richmond for the 2012 season and struggled to make what is considered the toughest jump in affiliated baseball. With the Flying Squirrels, he hit .228 while adding 10 home runs and driving in 40 in 120 games.
Cavan was reassigned to San Jose to start the 2013 season where he got off to a blistering .313 start at the plate in his first 44 games before being sidelined for over a month with a neck strain. Cavan’s hot start included a career high 19-game hitting streak from April 19-May 11 before injuries placed him on the disabled list from May 22 to July 5. Cavan was named a California League All-Star but did not participate in the event. After a brief rehab assignment in rookie ball, Cavan finished the season in San Jose batting .283 with 16 doubles, three homers, and 38 RBI in 75 games in High-A.
After being released by the Giants in Spring Training in March, Cavan joined the independent ranks with Southern Illinois in the Frontier League in 2014. With the Miners, Cavan hit .309 while reaching base at a .420 clip and smacked 16 doubles and five home runs. He was named a Frontier League all-star at shortstop before signing with Kansas City for the 2015 season.
The 28-year-old Cravey last pitched in 2013 at High-A Jupiter, but missed all of last season with injuries. In 2013 he was 3-4 with a 4.66 ERA in 40 games (one start). In 58.0 innings pitched he walked 28 and struck out 52, but held opponents to just a .234 average.
An undrafted free agent out Texas A&M University, Cravey got his professional start after signing as a free agent with the Florida Marlins in 2010. In his brief collegiate career with the Aggies, Cravey posted a 1-0 record with a 3.00 ERA in 11 appearances over 12.0 innings in College Station.
Cravey posted stellar numbers in his first professional season, allowing 12 runs, but just three of them earned, in 11 appearances including six starts with GCL Marlins in rookie ball. In 35.1 innings pitched, the Texas native posted a 3-2 record with a 0.76 ERA, the fourth lowest in the Gulf Coast League, and walked just four batters while striking out 35. Cravey impressed enough to earn a promotion to the Low-A New York-Penn League where he did not allow a run in three relief appearances with the Jamestown Jammers to finish the season.
After returning to Greensboro in 2012, after making just nine appearances due to a right shoulder strain the year prior, Cravey was a crucial piece in helping the Grasshoppers to their first South Atlantic League Championship in 29 years. He went a perfect 10-0 with a league best 1.01 ERA in 33 relief appearances while recording five saves. On April 24, Cravey worked the ninth inning to pick up the save and ensure a combined team no-hitter with two other pitchers, the first no-hit performance of any kind in eight years for Greensboro. On the season, he struck out 42 and walked 12 across 53.1 innings. Despite missing most of June with right bicep tendinitis, Cravey’s 10 wins were the eighth most in the league and the most by any reliever.
The 30-year-old Bourquin played three games for the Saints this year, signing when the Saints were going through injuries. He was 1-12. Bourquin last played a full season in 2014 with the RedHawks hitting .240 with 13 homers and 52 RBI in 97 games. In 331 at bats he scored 62 runs, smashed 19 doubles, a .370 on base percentage and a .423 slugging percentage.
Bourquin had one of the best overall seasons in his career in 2011 with the Saints. He hit .300 with 12 homers and 51 RBI in 90 games. In 333 at bats he scored 59 runs, clubbed 26 doubles, one triple, was 6-9 in stolen bases, had an on base percentage of .394 and a slugging percentage of .492. He had two lengthy hitting streaks, hitting safely in 12 straight from May 29-June 10 and then set a career high by hitting safely in 13 straight from June 25-July 9. On top of that he reached base safely in 22 straight from June 16-July 11. Perhaps the most incredible streak of the season was scoring a run in a career high 13 straight games from June 25-July 9.
In the first round of the American Association Playoffs, Bourquin came up huge with two three hit games as the Saints went on to defeat the Winnipeg Goldeyes three games to two. In the pivotal game five Bourquin went 3-4 with two doubles, a homer and two runs scored.
He returned for a second season with the Saints in 2012 and hit .284 with 11 homers and 53 RBI.
Bourquin was a 2nd round pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 June Amateur Draft and showed great discipline by finishing second in the New York-Penn League that season with 46 walks. In 2007 he finished seventh in the New York-Penn League with a .325 average and finished fifth in walks in the Midwest League in 2008 with 66.
The Saints have the reversionary rights to Retherford, who is currently in Mexico and will need to work out an agreement for the 30-year-old to join the team.
The Saints roster now stands at the league maximum 23 players, eight pitchers and 15 position players. The Saints currently have one pitcher on the disabled list, Dustin Crenshaw and two players on the inactive list, pitcher Pedro Hernandez and outfielder Mike Kvasnicka. Crenshaw is eligible to come off the disabled list at any time, having already been on their for the minimum seven days. The two players on the inactive list are eligible for the playoff roster, which is 23 players. The only roster moves that can be made from now until the end of the season are claiming a player off waivers on Saturday, August 29, adding a rookie catcher if there is an injury or if a player has their contract purchased by an affiliated organization teams have 72 hours to sign a player of any classification.