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May 11, 1998

Transaction Analysis

May 8-10

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Placed RHP Mike James on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/5 (torn muscle - forearm); recalled LHP Jarrod Washburn from Vancouver; announced that RHP William Vanlandingham cleared waivers and his contract was optioned to Vancouver. [5/8]

Activated RF Tim Salmon from the DL; optioned LHP Jarrod Washburn to Vancouver. [5/9]

Salmon's return is good news, although he will be initially restricted to DH duty for about a month. However, the difference winds up being between Cecil Fielder and Darin Erstad at first (with Erstad shifting out to LF), which shouldn't cost them much. Talk about your on-paper transactions: Washburn didn't spend 24 hours on the roster, and wound up not even appearing. However, they did manage to "slip" the Copperhead (VanLandingham) through waivers, which shouldn't surprise anyone since he's giving up close to three basrunners per inning.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Activated CF Brady Anderson from the DL; placed LHP Doug Johns on the 15-day DL (insomnia). [5/8]

This gets the Orioles back down to 11 pitchers, but there's a good chance Anderson isn't really healthy, since he did not immediately return to full-time duty.

BOSTON RED SOX

Optioned LHP Brian Shouse to Pawtucket; purchased the contract of 2B Lou Merloni from Pawtucket; transferred LHP Butch Henry from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/10]

With Garciaparra aching and Mark Lemke still stumbling through a case of career-ending ineffectiveness, the Sox needed a spare infielder more than they need a lefty reliever. In part, that's the cost of carrying two platoons in the outfield as well as platooning at DH, but the decision is the correct one. What's more important is what the Sox will choose to do once Garciaparra's back or when they decide to add another reliever. Will Lemke finally be waived? Merloni has been killing the ball in Pawtucket, and Donnie Sadler is still a better player to have around than another washed-up Brave Jimy Williams remembers fondly.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Placed RHP Matt Karchner on the 15-day DL (hernia); designated UT Lou Frazier for assignment; purchased the contract of LHP Larry Casian from Calgary. [5/10]

The callup to replace Karchner was going to be Jim Parque, who would have entered the rotation now that Baldwin has been banished to the pen. However, this weekend he came up with a hernia as well, so Casian gets a couple of weeks because both Todd Rizzo and Mike Bertotti have been awful at Calgary. Both Karchner and Parque are expected to heal up in two weeks. In the meantime, this has probably pushed the Sox into giving Tom Fordham the rotation slot, while Casian gets to be the second lefty behind Tony Castillo. Bill Simas will move into the closer role, which he'll do just fine; unfortunately, that will force Carlos Castillo back into important middle relief situations.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Purchased the contract of LHP Pete Schourek from New Orleans; transferred RHP Ramon Garcia from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/9]

Schourek's been showing good velocity during his rehab outings, and the Astros have been extremely careful with his workload while he rebuilds his arm strength. He could easily wind up being another bargain pickup for Larry Dierker's crew. "Chief" Garcia isn't expected back until the All-Star break at the earliest, and if I had to hazard a guess, he may not be on the roster until August or the September roster expansions.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Placed 1B Hal Morris on the 15-day DL (hamstring); activated RF Jermaine Dye from the DL. [5/8]

Activated C Sal Fasano from the DL; designated C Chris Turner for assignment; acquired RHP Greg Hansell from Oakland to complete an earlier trade, and assigned him to Omaha. [5/9]

Morris has been red hot early on, so clearly the Royals will miss him. However, its an opportunity for them to push off the period where he'll come down from flirting with .400 while sorting out what to do about having Dye, Ernie Young, Shane Mack, and Terry Pendleton all on the roster at the same time. Now that Conine is healthy, the Royals aren't quite so desperate for RH batters to play the outfield corners or DH, so they're going to have to sort out who's going to stick around. As an additional pressure, Joe Vitiello has completed his rehab assignment and is ready to go.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Placed C Jesse Levis on the 15-day DL (shoulder); recalled UT Brian Banks from Louisville. [5/8]

Banks will serve as the emergency catcher, but with Mike Matheny playing like a man possessed, Bobby Hughes will be lucky to start more than once a week. If anything, this sets up a slump from Matheny, who's hitting way over his head.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Placed 1B David Ortiz on the 15-day DL (fractured hamate bone - wrist). [5/10]

A very bad bit of news for the Twins, since Ortiz was one of the only reasons Twins fans may have had to pay attention to the team while waiting for its future to be decided. It's expected that he'll be out for two months. The Twins will recall minor league veteran Jon Shave on Monday to take his place; Shave's a handy utilityman with some plate discipline, but barring a lucky break, he won't play much.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Acquired RF Robert Perez from Seattle for C Raul Chavez. [5/8]

Perez won't join the team until Monday, at which time the Expos will formally option Jose Vidro back to Ottawa. In the games I've seen, Vidro was awful at second, routinely forgetting where to position himself in bunt situations, and since he wasn't contributing offensively either, he won't be missed. Perez will probably move into pinch-hitting duties and a start in left every once in awhile; considering that they're wasting time on Derrick May in a similar role, that has to be a potential improvement for them.

NEW YORK METS

Placed C Todd Pratt on the 15-day DL (nerve condition - right shoulder); recalled OF Jay Payton from Norfolk. [5/8]

Signed OF Phil Plantier and assigned him to extended spring training; signed C Steve Decker and assigned him to Norfolk. [5/10]

You've got me. What can you say about the Mets' luck with injuries so far? Feel free to send in your one-liners or jokes, and I'll be happy to credit them. At this point, they've been phenomenally unlucky, so don't be surprised when we see both Plantier and Decker wearing blue and orange in the next month. In the meantime, Alberto Castillo seems certain to get most of the playing time at catcher, since Jim Tatum's conversion to the position has been sporadically pursued in the past. For the Mets, this just isn't good news, although it would be fun to see Tatum get a shot at being the new John Russell (the outfielder who filled in for Darren Daulton during the mid-80s for the Phillies).

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Optioned CF Ryan Christenson to Edmonton; recalled RHP Blake Stein from Edmonton. [5/10]

McDonald looked fine after his return from the DL, fending off Christenson for now. Since Christenson needs to play every day, this created a handy opportunity to call up Stein for the fifth slot in the rotation; happily for those of us who cringe at his name, this should mean a demotion for Dave Telgheder once Kevin Mitchell has eaten enough Vick's Vapo-Rub or whatever it is he does to get healthy.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Assigned the contract of RHP Tony Fiore to Scranton; announced they will purchase the contract of RHP Ryan Nye from Scranton. [5/8]

Well, after the all the hubbub about Nye's callup for a start pending Mark Portugal's return, the game he was supposed to start gets rained out. This shouldn't really be a problem; nobody was going to snag Fiore on waivers, and Nye may get some use in the pen before Portugal gets activated later this week.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Placed C Brian Johnson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/4 (broken bone - hand); recalled C Doug Mirabelli from Fresno. [5/9]

Johnson's inspired two months with the Giants last season aside, his absence isn't a back-breaker. Brent Mayne has been outstanding in the early going, and Mirabelli has deserved a crack at some major league playing time. As a platoon, Mayne-Mirabelli isn't on the list of big problems the Giants need to resolve this season.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Acquired C Raul Chavez from Montreal Expos for RF Robert Perez; optioned Chavez to Tacoma; recalled OF Ryan Radmanovich from Tacoma. [5/8]

Recalling Radmanovich is a potentially good thing, since he can be mixed into a pair of corner outfield platoons (Radmanovich and Rob Ducey with Rich Amaral and Glenallen Hill). This could wind up being very good for all of them. The Mariners don't really have much to trade to bring in an outfielder who's any good or merely famous (like those nagging Vince Coleman rumors - shudder), any more than they have anything to peddle to straighten out their bullpen situation. But all four of these guys have their uses, expectations are low for all of them. If they parcel out the playing time fairly evenly, I can see all four giving the Mariners some good playing time, similar to what happened in '95 in Griffey's absence.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Activated 3B Wade Boggs from the DL; placed OF Jerome Walton on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/7 (back soreness). [5/8]

Boggs forces Bobby Smith to the bench, but Smith was cooling off anyways, so this isn't really a problem. It may mean that Smith will start getting those spot starts at second and short that Rothschild had been giving to Aaron Ledesma, but so far, the D-Rays' manager has done a good job of using everyone.

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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