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April 28, 1998

Transaction Analysis

April 24-26

by Christina Kahrl

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Placed RHP Scott Kamieniecki on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 25 (groin strain & inflamed elbow); recalled RHP Nerio Rodriguez from Rochester. [4/26]

It's easy to take potshots at the Orioles and say that Billy Gardner is no Davey Johnson or that Doug Johns is a waste of time, but matters aren't helped any when bad possibilities keep becoming real. Kamieniecki has been and always will be an injury risk, but losing the Polish Prince after already losing Mussina clearly isn't helpful for a rotation that's already suffering from the bad decision to bring in Doug Drabek (hold that thought). Rodriguez is a good prospect, and will apparently make his debut against the White Sox on Wednesday, but the Orioles may not have the patience to stick with him in the rotation. Back to Drabek, from the non-news department: anyone else amused by the "Drabek suffering from a streak of four bad starts" comments in the media? Four bad starts during his current stretch of four bad years doesn't seem really out of the ordinary to me...

CINCINNATI REDS

Placed LHP Steve Cooke on the 15-day DL (tendinitis); optioned 3B Aaron Boone to Indianapolis, and recalled RHPs Scott Winchester and Danny Graves from Indianapolis. [4/24]

This is the result that has come out of the mess involving Willie Greene's finger: he's only expected to miss a week without going onto the DL. Boone won't get the playing time at 3B in Greene's absence, meaning that Chris Stynes and Lenny Harris may spend time there, creating playing time for Pat Watkins in the outfield. None of this is bad. Winchester appears to be the default fifth starter for at least one start in Cooke's absence; nobody was impressed by Mark Hutton's disastrous start last week, and Gabe White is still the pen's lone lefty. With Scott Sullivan struggling terribly, Graves may get the opportunity work his way into setting up Jeff Shaw. As for Cooke, there are real concerns that he may be finished.

DETROIT TIGERS

Claimed INF Jeff Manto off waivers from Cleveland; designated RHP Scott Sanders for assignment. [4/24]

I'm ridiculously optimistic about some pitchers, and Scott Sanders is one of those people I could see bouncing back in a situation where back-to-back bad starts don't lead to summary execution. Jeff Manto isn't the answer to any of the Tigers' problems.

FLORIDA MARLINS

Activated RHP Eric Ludwick from the DL; optioned RHP Oscar Henriquez to Charlotte. [4/26]

This resolves the need for a fifth starter, although it also means that the Marlins were obviously so disappointed in Henriquez that they preferred to keep Rob Stanifer around instead. That has to hurt. At any rate, a rotation of Livan Hernandez, Ludwick, Jesus Sanchez, Andy Larkin, and Brian Meadows is probably stronger than what the Fish opened the season with (with Rafael Medina and Felix Heredia).

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Activated CF Roger Cedeno and 1B Eric Karros from the 15-day DL; designated OF Mike Devereaux for assignment; optioned 1B/LF Paul Konerko to Albuquerque. [4/24]

It would be easy to fulminate about how the Dodgers are "giving up" on Konerko at this point, but hitting .197/.275/.197 (yes, no extra base hits) doesn't help anybody, and given the organization's major financial commitment to Karros, there isn't anything surprising about this. It would be surprising if the organization had the courage to say Konerko can play, and to hell with any conclusions you can reach after three weeks. The challenge, such as it is, is when the Dodgers notice that Todd Hollandsworth isn't a useful regular. They seem willing to play Cedeno, and that's good, but they're left with choosing two from Karros, Hollandsworth, and Konerko to man 1B and LF. Konerko had a brief opportunity to make it an easy decision, and he didn't take advantage of it.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Recalled RHP Dan Naulty from Salt Lake. [4/24]

Naulty was the expected callup to take Frankie Rodriguez' place on the roster.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Activated RHP Mike Fetters from the DL; placed UT Jason McDonald on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 19 (groin strain). [4/26]

Fetters will immediately resume the closer's role. The A's bullpen was supposed to be a strength, but T.J. Mathews has been awful in his three months in the AL, Billy Taylor is having his usual ups and downs, Aaron Small has been bad news, and someone needs to pry Jim Dougherty away from Art Howe.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Placed RHP Ricky Bottalico on the 15-day DL; purchased the contract of LHP Yorkis Perez from Scranton Wilkes-Barre. [4/24]

I don't know if this makes the Mariners feel any better, but in the meantime, it appears that the Phillies are initially going to use Mark Leiter as the chairman of a bullpen by committee. That seems particularly sensible if they're hoping to generate interest from other teams in Leiter: closing is high-profile, and teams already know he can start. Even if he pitches as badly as he did last year, he won't really cost the Phillies that many games, while getting credited for having veteran "moxie" or whatever. Look at this way: nowadays, some people value Paul Quantrill, and he isn't really any different than he was two years ago.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Activated RHP Elmer Dessens from the 15-day DL; optioned LHP Jeff Tabaka to Nashville. [4/24]

Placed RHP Marc Wilkins on the 15-day DL (groin strain); recalled LHP Jeff Tabaka from Nashville. [4/26]

Pittsburgh's shuffle leaves them a bit short handed as far as right-handed relief (they're only carrying Dessens, Rich Loiselle, and Javier Martinez), and that may bring the issue of whether Loiselle or Richardo Rincon should close to a head. No team can boast the Pirates' depth in LH relief pitching (Rincon, Jason Christiansen, Chris Peters, and Tabaka), but that's by design to complement their all-righty rotation.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Optioned RHP Russ Ortiz to Fresno; purchased the contract of 1B Jeff Ball from Fresno.

This is being sold as a case of "adding offense," but that isn't really the case. Ball isn't chasing J.T. Snow to the bench, and having him in the locker room isn't going to make Bonds get hot or make Daryl Hamilton a great leadoff hitter or suddenly make the Giants' rotation pitch better. If anything, this is a case of putting Ortiz where he'll get work while the Giants wallow.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Placed LHP Mark Langston on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 15 (strained shoulder); recalled RHP Donne Wall from Las Vegas. [4/24]

To keep the balance in their rotation, the Pads are moving Sterling Hitchcock into the rotation, and adding Wall to their group of long relievers (along with Carlos Reyes, Don Wengert, and Brian Boehringer). I'm inclined to agree with the thinking: its more important to influence the game's outcome with who you put in your rotation than to hope you need a Tony Fossas situation to win the ballgame.

TEXAS RANGERS

Placed RHP Roger Pavlik on the 15-day DL (fractured right index finger); recalled RHP Alan Levine from Oklahoma. [4/24]

This one hurts the Rangers pretty badly, because losing Pavlik on a freak injury takes away the team's margin for error if Darren Oliver or John Burkett is hurt and they need somebody to step into the rotation. Levine's a nice enough guy and all, but I suspect he'll be sent back once Xavier Hernandez shows that he's healthy in his rehab stint.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

Related Content:  Eric Karros,  Paul Konerko,  Rotation

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