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May 15, 1998

Transaction Analysis

May 11-14

by Christina Kahrl


Activated UT Randy Velarde from the 15-day DL; placed INF Carlos Garcia on the 15-day DL (broken bat, er... strained hamstring). [5/13]

Velarde's return has apparently lasted all of two days, since he's already complaining about soreness in his bum elbow. Garcia's bat will take a lifetime to heal up, which leaves Paco Martin, Craig Shipley, and a surprisingly nimble Joe Sheehan...


Recalled RHP Bryan Corey from Tucson; outrighted RHP Barry Manuel to Tucson. [5/12]

Corey was pitching well in Tucson (1.77 ERA, 21 baserunners in 20.1 innings), even if his good fastball hasn't translated into good strikeout rates since he left A-ball. Manuel can probably be written off as another guy who only thrived at the major league level with Felipe Alou managing him.


Activated RHP Scott Kamieniecki from the DL; optioned RHP Nerio Rodriguez to Rochester. [5/12]

Signed RHP Scott Erickson to a five-year contract through 2003. [5/13]

Erickson's five-year deal might be interpreted as a vote of confidence in Ray Miller, given their past experiences as tutor and student at Minnesota and Miller's resuscitation of Erickson's career with the Orioles. If you're actually concerned about the Orioles' future, that may be even worse news than the signing itself, but my two cents is that Miller will deserve a big share of the credit for everything that happens to the Gray Wings in coming years, and what better way to claim your corner of history than to be there? The Orioles' increasingly predatory relationship with Rochester takes a polite turn: the gave back one of the three starters they were keeping around for mopup and middle relief after keeping Rodriguez around for a whopping five innings.


Placed SS Nomar Garciaparra on the 15-day DL; recalled LHP Ron Mahay from Pawtucket. [5/13]

Garciaparra's injury wound up being more severe than initially hoped, which should deepen the club's offensive slump (16 runs in the six games since the injury). With Donnie Sadler and Tim Naehring both hurt, that really restricts the Red Sox to too much of Mike Benjamin, so don't be surprised when they start shopping around.


Optioned CF Pat Watkins to Indianapolis. [5/13]

Recalled RHP Danny Graves from Indianapolis. [5/14]

With Nieves' return and Dmitri Young's shift to the outfield, Jon Nunnally has been shunted off into a role as a defensive replacement, which in turn squeezed Watkins out of that role. The rumor that's kicking around as far as how they plan to resolve this logjam is that they'll trade Reggie Sanders, moving Nunnally back into center. In the meantime, Watkins should get regular playing time with Indy. Graves' addition should be to stay this time around, since he should be out of options at the rate Jim Bowden has jerked him around. This isn't really a problem: Graves has pitched well as Todd Williams' setup man in Indy, and ought to be up to stay. Things will be more complicated when Marc Kroon gets recalled from his rehab assignment, because that may force out Mark Hutton. However, there are persistent rumors that the Reds may peddle Jeff Shaw, so obviously, Bowden's keeping busy.


Signed RHP Chuck Nagy to a four-year contract extension with club option for 2003. [5/13]

I can probably see Scott Erickson pitching to the end of his contract, if not particularly well. I really doubt Nagy will have survived Mike Hargrove's slow hook this far into the future.


Activated INF Jason Bates from the DL; outrighted INF Nelson Liriano to Colorado Springs. [5/14]

Small improvements are improvements nevertheless: Bates is the better hitter and defensive player, and with both Neifi Perez and Mike Lansing exasperating Don Baylor, he may get a bigger workload.


Activated DH/UT Bip Roberts from the DL; optioned CF Kimera Bartee to Toledo. [5/12]

Roberts' return does not immediately lead to his resuming DH duty; Andy Tomberlin and Jeff Manto may continue to get most of the playing time, which is sensible, while the Bipster can be restricted to what he's good for these days: pinch-hitting, pinch-running, and spot duty in the outfield. Of course, that isn't what he was signed for, but it isn't Randy Smith's money in the first place.


Transferred RHP Raffy Medina from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/12]

Placed RHP Antonio Alfonseca on the 15-day DL (groin pull); recalled RHP Manuel Barrios from Charlotte; optioned C/1B John Roskos to Charlotte and purchased the contract of UT John Wehner from Charlotte. [5/14]

Giving Jim Leyland back his John Wehner is sort of like giving Tony LaRussa his surprisingly lifelike Mike Gallego action figure from year to year. It's part of the price you have to pay to have a famous manager: certain perks in the hotel room on the road, a generous interpretation of smoking-in-the workplace legislation, and John Wehner. This isn't always a bad thing: John Wehner is a handy utility man to have around, and not even Leyland has ever been overly tempted to give him a huge chunk of playing time. At this stage, he's probably the only guy in the Marlins' clubhouse who isn't calling the manager "Mr. Leyland," "Senor Smoke," or "Dad." Alfonseca has been gruesomely taterrific of late, which may have contributed to the grisly pitch counts Fish Kids have been racking up of late.


Placed LHP Mike Magnante on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/9 (strained calf); recalled RHP Mike Grzanich from New Orleans; signed DH Pete Incaviglia to a minor league contract and sent him to New Orleans. [5/12]

Placed 1B Jeff Bagwell on the 15-day DL (deep cut - knee); recalled 1B/LF Daryle Ward from New Orleans. [5/13]

There are early concerns that Bagwell's injury may require a skin graft, which would cost him more than two weeks on the DL. There isn't a way in which this doesn't hurt the Astros: hitting, defense, baserunning, you name it, they lost it. Jack Howell is a handily adequate substitute, but it will be interesting to see if Moises Alou gets moved up in the order. Daryle Ward is up to pinch-hit, so he probably won't get more than a dozen PAs if Bagwell comes back in two weeks. Grzanich has been noticeably more agressive in a management-pleasing manner since his move to the pen last summer, and he was hot in New Orleans early on: 16.1 innings, 6 hits, 7 walks, 16 Ks, and a 0.55 ERA. If he outpitches Bob Scanlan for a week or so, he may get to stick for the remainder of the season.


Placed RHP Chad Fox on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/10 (inflammation - shoulder); purchased the contract of RHP Bronswell Patrick from Louisville; transferred RHP Jeff D'Amico from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/12]

Activated 1B/OF Dave Nilsson from the DL; optioned UT Brian Banks to Louisville. [5/13]

Losing Fox would have hurt more two weeks ago. Even though Doug Jones has been struggling of late, Bob Wickman has been solid, Garner has been using Mike Myers to good effect, and Al Reyes is finally starting to settle down. Calling up Patrick is just filling in the back of the roster in as painless a manner as possible: he lives off of control of his breaking stuff, a swingman who's in his fifth year in AAA, and the alternatives (always-wild Johnny Ruffin, or Boom-boom Bobby Chouinard) would probably give Phil Garner ulcers.


Transferred 1B David Ortiz from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/11]

Acquired OF Ken Ramos from Houston and assigned him to Salt Lake; activated LF Marty Cordova from the DL; optioned CF Torii Hunter to New Britain. [5/12]

Cordova may not be 100%, but that's fasciitis. He may heal up, or not, but he isn't likely to get back to where he was in '95-'96 trying to play through it.


Acquired C Rick Wilkins from Seattle for LHP Lindsay Gulin; transferred RHP Paul Wilson from the 15- to the 60-day DL, retroactive to 3/30. [5/12]

Activated LF Bernard Gilkey from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Jay Payton to Norfolk; designated UT Shawn Gilbert for assignment. [5/13]

Snagging Wilkins is handy, although let's not pretend he's the guy who hit 30 HRs one fine Wrigley summer. With Gilkey back, they're doing as good a job of damage control as you could hope for, although the almost-routine rainouts haven't hurt.


Activated RHP Marc Wilkins from the DL; optioned RHP Elmer Dessens to Nashville. [5/11]

Dessens has been a disaster as a righty setup man. Wilkins can expect heavy use and the only experienced righty for middle relief, especially now that Gene Lamont is being more cautious about using Rule V pick Javy Martinez in games.

Acquired 2B Jeff Patzke from Toronto for LHP Mike Halperin, and assigned Patzke to Nashville. [5/13]

This move will be the subject of an essay that'll go up by Sunday.


Recalled RHPs Curtis King and Sean Lowe from Memphis; optioned RHP Cliff Politte and C Eli Marrero to Memphis. [5/14]

LaRussa/Duncan do not pull off a coup with Politte as they did with Matt Morris and Alan Benes in previous seasons, but given that they were both more advanced prospects, that really isn't too shocking. Hopefully, he'll put together what he learned while getting hammered, and regroup for the rest of this season. Lowe will apparently be returned to Memphis today, making way for Rigo Beltran, who should start tonight's game. King may be leading AAA in saves with 11, but that's the result of an organizational goal of singling out minor league pitchers for closer roles, and just like Steve Montgomery before him, he isn't actually a good prospect: he's hittable (18 hits in 12.2 innings), he doesn't fool many batters, and doesn't have a big platoon split that would tell you he's more effective one way or another. He'll be fuel on fires already started by Frascatore, Acevedo, and Busby. With Petkovsek moving into the rotation to stay, the Cardinals will probably have to make a decision about perpetually damaged Donovan Osborne in the near future.


Traded C Rick Wilkins to the Mets for LHP Lindsay Gulin; purchased the contract of 1B/OF David McCarty from Tacoma. [5/12]

With Dan Wilson doing most of the catching, Wilkins was basically a LH pinch-hitter on a team already carrying Rob Ducey, Ryan Radmanovich, and Jeff Huson's sorry carcass. With the trade of Robert Perez, they probably needed an extra RH bat on the bench, and Piniella has made happy sounds in the past about what he thinks he can do with McCarty's swing. At Tacoma, he was hitting well, but with little power: .314/.399/.446, only 1 HR but 13 doubles.


Placed OF Rich Butler on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/10 (fractured bone - hand); recalled CF Randy Winn from Durham. [5/11]

Purchased the contract of 3B Scott McClain from Durham; designated RHP Dan Carlson for assignment. [5/14]

McClain has essentially been called up to cover for Bobby Smith's nagging hamstring injury, which means that Rothschild will continue to start Aaron Ledesma about twice a week at the various infield positions. Calling up Winn in Butler's place? Well, Brooks Kieschnick is hurt, Bubba Trammell bats right-handed and lacks Mike Kelly's or Jerome Walton's favor within the organization, and it would probably be a tad strange to skip Winn and call up Kerry Robinson from AA. He was also playing well at Durham: .285/.362/.382, with ten steals, but he's basically up for the cup of joe. In Butler's place, Mike Kelly should get most of the playing time, what with his being one of Chuck LaMar's favorites and all.


Traded 2B Jeff Patzke to Pittsburgh for LHP Mike Halperin. [5/13]

Trading away Patzke will the subject of a forthcoming essay; Halperin is no catch, but he was one of the players sent to the Pirates in the Merced/Garcia/Plesac deal, so hittable or not, they still like him.

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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