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May 5, 1998

Transaction Analysis

May 1-4

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Placed RF Tim Salmon on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/23 (foot); purchased the contract of LHP Greg Cadaret from Vancouver. [5/1]

Recalled RHP Pep Harris from Vancouver; optioned LHP Rich Robertson to Vancouver. [5/4]

As long as Omar Olivares in the rotation, and as long as Terry Collins is pretending that nothing is wrong with Jason Dickson, the result of these moves is that the Angels now have two long relievers (Harris and Shigetoshi Hasegawa) to cover for Dickson's explosion every five days, plus any unscheduled bad days from the other four starting pitchers. Cadaret makes a better second lefty in the pen behind Mike Holtz than Robertson, so in the absence of the Angels coming to their senses about Dickson, this is as good as it gets for their pitching staff. Losing Salmon clearly hurts, no matter how well Damon Mashore does in the meantime. His injury hints a potentially ugly May for the team, but by month's end, the Angels should have him, C Todd Greene, and 2B Randy Velarde all back, and there's still the chance that 3B Troy Glaus could come up sometime this year.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Placed RHP Mark Wohlers on 15-day DL (torn oblique muscle); recalled LHP John Rocker from Richmond. [5/3]

There are no guarantees that Wohlers' injury will heal in two weeks, but I definitely like the response. Rocker was a struggling starter who's been outstanding as a reliever since converting after last year. This year, he put up a 1.42 ERA for Richmond in April, striking out 22 in 19 IP. Adding him to lefty relief work potentially lets the Braves expand Alan Embree's role beyond situational work (a very good thing). In the meantime, it appears that Kerry Ligtenberg will close, which should have about as much of an effect on the Braves' chances of winning the division as the Mets' loss of Tim Spehr.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Recalled C Charlie Greene from Rochester; released SS Ozzie Guillen unconditionally; signed RHP Jim Converse to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Rochester. [5/1]

Activated RHP Mike Mussina from the DL; placed RHP Terry Mathews on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/30 (inflamed right wrist). [5/2]

Getting Mussina back quickly is clearly a good thing, because Scott Erickson has been struggling, and Doug Drabek has been himself. Now only the fifth rotation spot is a sort of open question, with Ray Miller getting to pick between Doug Johns, Sidney Ponson, and Nerio Rodriguez. Worrying about how to sort that out is significantly less important than getting Erickson going or getting Drabek on another roster.

As for the unlamented Ozzie Guillen, shed no tears for him. Instead, lets take the opportunity to see what we've learned from him. Clearly, if you're the concerned parent of a shortstop, by all means take the time to change his name to Osvaldo. Its not only lucrative, its legal. If you really want to help, encourage the boy to take up recreational flyswatting to learn plate discipline, but no fair waiting for the flies to land. Remind your prodigy that calling off others on popups is bad drama, and enjoy hours of fun when you teach him that faking the hidden ball trick on every baserunner at second base is one of the only ways you can avoid prosecution for groping strangers.

CHICAGO CUBS

Placed CF Lance Johnson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/28 (inflamed hand); recalled OF Matt Mieske from Iowa. [5/1]

For now, the Cubs are wondering about Johnson's hand (diagnosis of whether or not its broken has been unusually difficult), but the way his season is going, he may get his shin splints back. Having griped last week that Mieske should never have been sent down, in this circumstance, I'd have to say he's the wrong guy to call up. In Johnson's absence, the team needs someone who can actually play center, like Terrell Lowery. It may be interesting to fart around with Brant Brown, but he can't really play the position. Even if the Cubs remain determined to carry 12 pitchers, why keep three catchers instead of one centerfielder?

CINCINNATI REDS

Recalled RHP Todd Williams from Indianapolis. [5/1]

Williams has been outstanding in Indy (11.1 scoreless IP, 1 start, 6 saves), but with both 1B Sean Casey and OF Mel Nieves due back from rehab stints relatively soon, he's on the bubble (even if, as rumored, Reggie Sanders finally winds up on the DL).

CLEVELAND INDIANS

Placed LHP Tom Martin on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/30 (tendinitis); recalled LHP Ron Villone from Buffalo. [5/2]

Villone was simply awesome in Buffalo (19 K in 9.2 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks), while Martin could have been placed on the DL for just plain badness (11.42 ERA). As always, you have to hope Villone will be pegged for middle relief, since he has yet to adapt to situational roles. Since that's increasingly how Alvin Morman was being used prior to his recent injury, the hope is that Villone will be used in a similar fashion.

DETROIT TIGERS

Recalled CF Kimera Bartee from Toledo. [5/1]

Bartee was recalled after Billy Ripken's injury (Ripken will be out for 6-8 weeks). Since Bob Higginson, Luis Gonzalez, and Brian Hunter are playing nearly every inning of every game, Bartee won't be able to do much more than pinch-run or come in as a defensive replacement. Those are his skills in the first place, so he won't be a serious drain on the Tigers.

FLORIDA MARLINS

Placed RHP Eric Ludwick on the 15-day DL (fractured right forearm); recalled RHP Manny Barrios from Charlotte. [5/3]

Ludwick is about as tough-luck as they come, as he returns to the DL for two or three months. Barrios will hopefully be more successful than Oscar Henriquez was, but he is not the answer to the difficult question of who's going into the rotation in Ludwick's place. Charlotte's rotation is even more messed up than the Marlins' has been, so the answer won't come for several more days. I've been guessing that Kirt Ojala will move into the rotation for five weeks, so I won't stop now.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Activated RHP Mike Maddux from the DL; optioned LHP Rick DeHart to Ottawa. [5/1]

Some witticism about deck chairs and the Titanic would be appropriate, except that I can't help but root for the iceberg. Why doesn't anyone make a film about Lord Kitchener's tragic death at sea? Well, because nobody would watch it... which is one way to bring us back to the Expos.

NEW YORK METS

Placed 3B Edgardo Alfonzo on the 15-day DL (strained rotator cuff); purchased the contract of UT Shawn Gilbert from Norfolk; transferred RHP Armando Reynoso from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/4]

If I were John Olerud, I'd feel like a marked man, because by all appearances the Norfolk boys have got some serious voodoo working for them. In Alfonzo's absence, Craig Paquette will probably get most of the playing time at third, while Jim Tatum and Matt Franco get all sorts of playing time all over the place.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Placed LHP Graeme Lloyd on the 15-day DL (throwing shoulder inflammation); recalled RHP Mike Buddie from Columbus. [5/1]

Buddie will get to lose a few hands of hearts to Willie Banks, practice his high five skills after a three-hour day at the office, and may snarf a win or two in middle relief that Joe Torre decides not to hand to Darren Holmes or Banks. If it was later in the season, you'd see the Yankees go shopping for a lefty reliever, but they'll probably hold off on that until the All-Star break.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Activated OF Jason McDonald from DL; placed DH Kevin Mitchell on the 15-day DL (elbow strain). [5/4]

Mitchell strained his elbow throwing home in that ill-fated adventure called "playing the field." Since its dubious that he really has more to offer than Jack Voigt at this point, his absence won't be sorely missed. However, McDonald's return from the DL does create some pressure to return Ryan Christenson to the minors. Since Rickey Henderson's hamstring is always a sore subject, it might make sense to keep both of them around, but since McDonald's fulltime conversion to the outfield is relatively recent, I'd also give thought to turning McDonald into the new Lance Blankenship.

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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