The Las Vegas 51s roster has been severely depleted by injuries, promotions, and now trades, so they have announced three moves today, both purely to replenish depth.
Currently, the 51s have three catchers on the 7-day minor league disabled list: Travis d'Arnaud, Luis Hurtado, and Paul Phillips. They have two active catchers in Ryan Eigsti (recently signed from Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League) and Joel Galarraga (recently promoted from AA New Hampshire). Yea, except for d'Arnaud, I'm sure you have never heard of any of them.
To solve the catching situation, the Toronto Blue Jays have sent cash to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Tuffy Gosewisch, a backup catcher for the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Gosewisch, 28, was an 11th round pick in the 2005 Amateur Draft and has been playing in the Phillies organization for his entire minor league career. He has spent the entire season with the IronPigs, hitting .192/.241/.310 with 4 homers, 13 doubles, and 20 RBI in 228 plate appearances. Behind the plate, he has allowed 3 passed balls and have caught 31% of attempted base thieves.
Of course, the true reason why Alex Anthopoulos acquired Gosewisch was because of his tremendous performance in the annual MiLB.com Minors Moniker Madness contest, having just won against the always-tough Michael Goodnight. As was reported here earlier, the Blue Jays organization had four prospects selected for the first round of this contest (Boomer Potts, Nicholas Baligod, Jason Leblebijian, and Adeiny Hechavarria). Unfortunately, only Boomer Potts advanced past the first round, beating out Tyson Van Winkle, but losing against a very tough Caleb Bushyhead.
Gosewisch is currently in the semifinal round, facing Rougned Odor (the one who knocked out Baligod in round one). If he wins and Bushyhead wins against Rock Shoulders, Gosewisch will have a chance to avenge Baligod and Potts' losses. You can help him by voting now, and voting often!
Luke Hughes, 27, was born in Perth, Australia and represented his Commonwealth in the 2005 and 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In the 2007 World Cup, he helped beat Canada by slapping a double in the top of the 9th inning. He was a favourite to be selected as an All-Star second basement for the tournament, but Jayson Nix (USA) was selected instead.
Hughes, who is on Twitter (@lukehughes38), has played 106 games in the Major Leagues, mostly coming in 2011, when he played in 96 games with the Minnesota Twins as their utility infielder. In 348 plate appearances, he has hit .218/.277/.331 with 8 homers and 33 RBI. His North American professional career began at age 18 when he signed as an international free agent with the Twins in 2002. He played in the Twins system until April 22 of this year when the Oakland Athletics acquired him via waivers. With the Athletics, he split time between the Major Leagues, AAA Sacramento, and AA Midland before receiving his release on July 17.
This morning, he signed on to play for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League, but was convinced to head back to affiliated baseball when the 51s came knocking. Hughes will likely fill in around the infield for Las Vegas.
Cuban outfielder Kenen Bailli, 27, was promoted from AA New Hampshire to fill in after the departures of Eric Thames and Moises Sierra. Bailli defected from Cuba last year and signed with the Blue Jays over last summer. He started this season with the Dunedin Blue Jays (A-Adv) , playing 26 games before being promoted to the Fisher Cats, where he played in 36 games. Over those games in AA, he had 134 plate appearances, batting .310/.336/.419 (finally, one of the three who can swing a stick) with a single homer, 7 doubles, and 2 triples.
It is very likely that we will never see Gosewich, Hughes, or Bailli ever suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays, or to even be added to the 40-man roster, but let's still give them a warm welcome to the organization!