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May 24, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

A Pair of Relievers are Designated For Assignment

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Oakland Athletics
Designated RP Jerry Blevins for assignment. [5/23]
Recalled SP Josh Outman from Triple-A Sacramento. [5/23]

Blevins is a good example of why teams should never invest too heavily in left-handed relievers. The Cubs drafted him in 2004 during the 17th round and the Athletics acquired him in July 2007 along with Rob Bowen for Jason Kendall and cash. Nearly four years and 140 big league appearances later, Blevins has a career line against lefties of .237/.289/.438, but also finds himself either on the way off the A’s 40-man roster or onto another team.

Blevins peripherals this season are poor (true anytime you walk 12 batters unintentionally in 14 1/3 innings), but the A’s could stand to be more patient if it was just a sudden spike in free passes. PITCHf/x data has Blevins tossing his fastball almost two miles per hour slower than his career norm, which adds to the eyebrow raising surrounding his control problems. Speculating about a player’s health is never a good game to play, but the marriage of wildness and downed velocity is one typically found within the confines of a hurt throwing arm.

If any team knows Blevins health, it’s going to be the A’s. Of course, if Blevins lands elsewhere and pitches fine, then you have to wonder what the A’s were thinking about, at least until one of their other left-handed relievers (and they have a small army of them available) makes everyone forget all about Blevins.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Colorado Rockies
Designated RP Felipe Paulino for assignment. [5/21]. 
Recalled SP Greg Reynolds from Triple-A Colorado Springs. [5/21]

The Rockies needed another starter because of a doubleheader, so enters Reynolds, the former second overall draft pick; and so exits Paulino.

Paulino’s arm is almost too good to give up on. He can run his fastball well into the mid-to-upper 90s and his secondary stuff isn’t half bad either, but he has issues locating the ball. Not just around the plate (otherwise called control) but also within the zone (command). Those issues that are why someone with Paulino’s stuff and strikeout rate (eight batters fanned per nine innings pitched for his career) still gives up more than a home run per nine innings pitched and allows hits on almost 36 percent of the balls he allows into play.

It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if Colorado finds a taker for Paulino given his perceived upside. Dan O’Dowd acquired him for Clint Barmes over the offseason and that was a risk well worth taking. Some other team will see it that way as well, even if it’s just a waiver claim.


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

Related Content:  Jerry Blevins

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Prospectus Hit and Run... (05/23)
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