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June 9, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

The Catch-Up Edition

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Oakland Athletics
Placed SP Brett Anders on the 15-day disabled list. [6/7]
Placed 2B Mark Ellis on the 15-day disabled list. [6/7]
Purchased the contract of 2B Jemile Weeks from Triple-A Sacramento. [6/7]
Recalled SP Bobby Cramer from Triple-A Sacramento. [6/7]

Anderson is now the fourth A’s starter on the disabled list, meaning three-fifths of their opening day rotation is inactive due to injury. Simply put: it’s a hard time in Oakland right now. The A’s have lost nine straight games (with eight-plus runs allowed in three of those games), and the offseason additions of Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus have not worked out as planned. Still, Weeks’ arrival should spark some excitement about the team.

A former first round pick and the younger brother of Rickie, Jemile’s issue throughout his minor league career has been health-related (just what the A’s need, right?). When Weeks has played, his bat speed has been fantastic, his foot speed above average, and his plate approach good enough to warrant time at the leadoff spot. Kevin Goldstein is no fool, and he ranked Weeks as the team’s sixth-best prospect entering the season.

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Seattle Mariners
Promoted OF Mike Carp from Triple-A Tacoma. [6/7]
Optioned OF Mike Wilson to Triple-A Tacoma. [6/7]

The Mariners netted Carp in the same deal that landed them Franklin Gutierrez, Maikel Cleto (who turned into Brendan Ryan), and Jason Vargas. A first baseman prospect upon arrival, Carp couldn’t beat out Russell Branyan or Casey Kotchman for playing time, and found himself in prospect purgatory with the acquisition of Justin Smoak—a better prospect who also played first base. The organization had asked Carp to play the corner outfield before, but more aggressively this season.

That new-found flexibility and Carp’s added power production lands him in the majors with a chance to see legitimate time in left field, as the Mariners are running through just about every in-house option they can before looking outside of the organization for alternatives. When Carp gets a start for the M’s in left, he will become the seventh player to do so this season, joining Milton Bradley, Carlos Peguero, Greg Halman, Wilson, Michael Saunders, and Ryan Langerhans.

PECOTA forecasts a .248/.321/.412 line for Carp, but that would be an upgrade over the Mariners left field production this season (.208/.277/.355), assuming he can play manageable defense.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Colorado Rockies
Released 3B Jose Lopez. [6/7]
Placed OF Dexter Fowler on the 15-day disabled list. [6/7]
Purchased the contract of OF Charles Blackmon from Triple-A Colorado Springs. [6/7]
Optioned SP Greg Reynolds to Triple-A Colorado Springs. [6/8]
Activated SP Aaron Cook from the 15-day disabled list. [6/8]

The last three years have provided quite the downfall for Lopez. In 2009, at the age of 25, Lopez hit for a career-best OPS and looked to be a completely serviceable second baseman. Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Lopez stated his desire to draw 50 walks to prove his plate discipline could improve. Since then, Lopez has taken 26 free passes in 751 plate appearances while hitting .234/.264/.330 between Seattle and Colorado. Lopez has some flexibility, in that he can play third or second in a pinch (and even had some time at first base back in the day), but not being able to hit in Colorado tends to lead to a minor league deal.

Fowler has been in the news recently for reasons other than his adnominal strain. There is debate as to whether Fowler should drop switch-hitting and take up batting fulltime from the right side, his strong side—at least, that is what his career statistics spell out. Without Fowler around, the Rockies will turn to Blackmon, who ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the Rockies system by Kevin Goldstein. Blackmon is a tweener, without the power production associated with a corner slot and without the defensive acumen to man center field.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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San Diego Padres
Activated C Nick Hundley from the 15-day disabled list. [6/8]
Optioned OF Blake Tekotte from Double-A San Antonio. [6/8]

The Padres are here not so that the Hundley/Tekotte swap can be discussed, but because of their next move. Rumor has it that Anthony Rizzo will be promoted later today and one of the three catchers on the Pads roster is likely to lose a spot for him (probably Kyle Phillips or Rob Johnson).

It’s hard to believe that Rizzo, only 21, will reach the majors in his first year with the organization, but he forced his way onto the roster by obliterating Triple-A pitching. Through 232 plate appearances, Rizzo is hitting .365/.444/.715 with 16 home runs and even five stolen bases (on seven tries). The Padres are offense starved and the Super Two date is sooner rather than later (if it hasn’t already passed), so why not see if Rizzo can manage in the majors now?

The one catch for San Diego is that by maximizing their offensive potential, they will be maximizing their unintentional comedy on defense too, as Brad Hawpe will have to play some outfield. Hawpe is one of the worst defensive outfielders around, but the Padres will take it if he can continue to hit like it’s May (.303/.367/.506) or, at least, like it’s not April (.149/.194/.194).


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:  Colorado Rockies,  Mike Carp

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