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May 13, 2010

Transaction Action

Scrubbing Up for the Weekend

by Christina Kahrl

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BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned OF-R Nolan Reimold to Norfolk (Triple-A); purchased the contract of OF-L Corey Patterson from Norfolk; transferred 2B-S Brian Roberts from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/12]

The indignities here are legion, but such is the Orioles' lot of late. The fact that they're giving Reimold Tidewater time down in the muck of Norfolk is one thing—he was only ever a good prospect and not the next Markakis, and he's contributed his fair share towards the lineup's not doing anything so far. They've already tried to shake things up by sitting Garrett Atkins and Luke Scott with a frenetic inconsistency that telegraphs the club's deepening desperation. Add in the fact that Reimold was actually coming off a good week's work, going 6-for-20 with a couple of walks and a homer, and it's more a grand gesture, avenging themselves upon Reimold's awful April, because something must be done! Doing so to create an opportunity for Patterson, or Patterson and Lou Montanez? Galling, to be sure. And having to make space for Patterson with the transactional acknowledgment that Mr. Roberts is going to be away until the middle of June or so? Well, that's just rubbing it in for a club that's being pulverized. There's no upside here, just organizational lurching until Reimold comes back in from the Tides or some other answer washes up. Considering the other outfield regulars in Norfolk include the regularly adrift Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar, you can consider the organization stuck up the Chesapeake without a paddle.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Designated Josh Rupe for assignment; recalled RHP Blake Wood from Omaha (Triple-A). [5/12]

Slowly, the Royals' bullpen beyond the Mexicutioner is beginning to resemble something other than a collection of castoffs and ill-considered or disappointing rentals. Wood isn't a huge prospect, but he throws into the high 90s and spins the occasional quality curve, and having failed to stay healthy for much of the last four years since being a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech, he was off to a good start since converting to full-time relief work at Omaha. That combination—good stuff, durability issues—sounds exactly like the sort of guy you get a career by moving him into the pen, where Rupe's just a frequently discarded garbage-time guy. Now, with Wood and Dusty Hughes, you at least have a pair of home-grown products capable of contributing, plus Robinson Tejeda's bounced back from ugly early-season work. Heck, even Kyle Farnsworth's doing good stuff these days. From the retread pile you still have Brad Thompson and Bruce Chen to own up to, but even there, that's a pair of swing guys who can help bridge games from their young rotation back towards the better relievers.


MINNESOTA TWINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned C-R Wilson Ramos to Rochester (Triple-A). [5/13]

Technically, this was pre-announced yesterday after the game, in anticipation of the activation of Jose Mijares from the DL tomorrow. Nevertheless, yesterday it created the slightly incongruous situation of MLB.com reporting tomorrow's transactions today on its list of roster moves. Of course, it also temporarily reported that Everth Cabrera was activated yesterday, which he was not, although he should be tomorrow. The point being that the massive improvements that MLB.com have made in transaction reportage in recent years don't come without the occasional hiccup.

Not that this spares Ramos, yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Orgiastic responses to his first two ballgames aside, he followed them up with a 1-for-18 walkless stretch more like Drew Butera's contributions than the expectation of what Ramos will eventually be capable of. The Twins sensibly noted he needs to play every day, which won't happen in the major leagues during the Age of Mauer, but he won't be catching every day for Rochester, since it's expected that Jose Morales will be activated and optioned to Triple-A as well. You can anticipate that, whether we see Morales back soon or Ramos back down the stretch, Butera's status as the big-league backup won't last the season. That's as it should be, but considering he's the fourth-best option of these four, sticking him behind Joe Mauer—where he'll get the least playing time—is merely a temporary injustice in terms of talent not being rewarded directly in terms of service time.


NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned 2B-R Kevin Russo to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A); recalled 1B-L Juan Miranda from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [5/13]

With the doubleheader out of the way and another pair of Ramiro Pena starts in the books, the Yankees belatedly armed themselves with a decent choice to start at DH against right-handers instead of a second-string pinch-runner and infield reserve, which is what they'd wound up with using Russo for. Having lost two potent lefty bats in Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson for extended periods of time, and with just Marcus Thames, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli as their choices to spot in while rotating regulars through the DH slot, you can understand how they might decide to get a lefty bat into the mix. Between questions about his age and his modest production for Scranton so far (.260/.371/.438 and a .254 TAv, but .285/.375/.472 in over a 1000 PAs in Triple-A) Miranda's clearly not any team's first choice, but as an alternative to Thames capable of providing some power and some OBP, he's a significantly better use of a roster spot.


SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Placed SS-R Jack Wilson on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring), retroactive to 5/6; recalled INF-R Matt Tuiasosopo from Tacoma (Triple-A). [5/12]

At this point, the Mariners' pre-season plans might seem all shot to hell: Milton Bradley's meltdown, Casey Kotchman's ongoing uselessness as a starting first baseman in the major leagues, and now they have to confront the loss of a major portion of their defense-oriented program as well? Josh Wilson might share a name, a first initial, and an ability to post OBPs around .300 with Jack, but afield, he's a major step down for a club already struggling on so many margins that ever fractional setback exacerbates an already bad situation.

If there's a silver lining, it's that Tuiasasopo had a couple of big days at the plate during his week or so with the Rainiers, while also getting most of his playing time in left. The outfield reps suggest that he might get to a shot at sticking around, because if they're willing to use him there as well as second, third, and short, he'd be in line to claim some of the roster roles that the already-gone Eric Byrnes and the cut-worthy Mike Sweeney were notionally for, drawing starts against lefties but then also spotting for the infield starters. It certainly isn't hard to envision a late-season lineup that has Bradley DHing, Michael Saunders getting most of the starts in left, Tuiasosopo and Ryan Langerhans both getting playing time as key reserves, and the elderly and the formerly famous in street clothes.


TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Placed LHP Matt Harrison on the 15-day DL (biceps tendinitis), retroactive to 5/7; recalled LHP Derek Holland from Oklahoma City (Triple-A). [5/12]

Harrison suffered a dip in velocity in his last turn, but whether that or this injury is related to the 127 pitches he threw the time before would be speculative. You can second-guess a decision to send Harrison out to the mound 98 pitches and five innings into his outing against the Mariners on May 1, but as inefficient as he'd been, you couldn't guarantee he'd take another 29 to get through a scoreless sixth. As Eric Seidman's work from a couple years ago suggested, evaluating in-game fatigue's an inexact science, so worrying about the fact that Harrison threw more than 30 pitches in the third might not even qualify as a smoking gun either. Happily, Harrison's not their best starter, and the fact that they have a fall-back as talented as Holland reflects the sort of depth they got the enjoy spending most of spring training sorting through. With the high-risk decisions to re-import Colby Lewis and convert C.J. Wilson delivering such outstanding results, they've been able to weather inconsistency from Rich Harden and Scott Feldman, and with Tommy Hunter on the way back, they're far from tapped out after having to tap Holland for rotation work.


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned RHP Daniel Stange to Reno (Triple-A); recalled RHP Carlos Rosa from Reno. [5/12]

The man had given up runs in all three games since his big-league debut, and having acquired Rosa in a minor deal with the Royals just 10 days before, you can understand a decision to make a change from Stange, especially with the pen “contributing” a ghastly MLB-low 8.37 FRA. That pen and the selections for who's in it is helping create some in-game pretzel logic. Take last night's action: Edwin Jackson had a quality start in the books heading into the seventh yesterday but was down by a run. With Andre Ethier due up with runners on second and third and two out 114 pitches into Jackson's workday, A.J. Hinch didn't have a situational lefty to call on, let alone one worth relying on, so intentionally walking Ethier to have somebody—Jackson, because the only reliever doing good stuff is Aaron Heilman—face Manny Ramirez with the bases loaded starts to seem to make sense. That's obviously through-the-looking-glass tactics, but just as obviously, roster makeup's a factor. Maybe having a lefty would put Ethier on the spot, although Ethier's hitting them so far this year. It certainly couldn't have hurt, but the organization's options are essentially limited to bringing Jordan Norberto back, what with Clay Zavada struggling to get back into action and Zach Kroenke and Leyson Septimo both simply struggling. Rosa won't fix that problem, but is a potential improvement on a pen that won't stand up as is.


MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned OF-L Bryan Petersen to New Orleans (Triple-A); recalled C-R Brett Hayes from New Orleans. [5/13]
WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Optioned LHP Matt Chico to Syracuse (Triple-A). [5/12]

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

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