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June 23, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Beachy and Peavy Return

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
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Chicago White Sox
Optioned RHP Lucas Harrell to Triple-A Charlotte. [6/22]
Activated RHP Jake Peavy from the 15-day disabled list. [6/22]

Peavy returned from a groin injury on Wednesday, just in time to face the Cubs, and just in time for the White Sox to return to a six-man rotation—that seems to be the plan through at least the break. It’s an interesting development, and one that allows the White Sox to entertain the thought of perhaps moving one of their starters. Kenny Williams is one of the more creative and unpredictable general managers around, so he could have moved one even if the team did not have confidence in Phil Humber. Since they do, trading a free agent to be like Edwin Jackson might make sense—especially if the White Sox can get something in return to help them make a push for it this season.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Oakland Athletics
Placed OF Josh Willingham-R on the 15-day disabled list. [6/23]
Recalled 1B/OF-R Chris Carter from Triple-A Sacramento. [6/23]

Earlier today, the talented Mr. Ben Lindbergh wrote about the Athletics first base woes now that Daric Barton is in the minors. At the time, Lindbergh wrote this of Carter:

Carter, who led the A’s Top 11 in January, has hit .235/.362/.494 in Triple-A this season, but that line doesn’t capture the story of his season. The hulking slugger got off to a miserable start in April before hitting the DL with thumb soreness—something he also struggled with last season—and missing the entirety of May, but since his return he’s put together a .333/.425/.727 performance, looking much more like the guy who hit 34 homers across two levels last season (and also leaving left field for first base). That’s the kind of power you want from your first baseman. Barton is less than a year older than Carter, but age is just a number, and Barton’s might be up.

Naturally, Willingham hit the disabled list with a strained left Achilles tendon this morning, and Carter will now find himself with the big league club. The Athletics have Mark Ellis starting at first base this afternoon—yes, the same Ellis who has a weak bat for second base—so Carter could find himself playing there after all.

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Atlanta Braves
Claimed LHP Dustin Richardson off waivers from the Marlins. [6/22]
Activated RHP Brandon Beachy from the 15-day disabled list. [6/22]

It is fitting that Richardson leaves the Marlins the same week that Andrew Miller makes his return to the majors with the Red Sox, as the pair were traded for each over last offseason. Richardson will report to Triple-A Gwinnet for the time being, A big lefty, at 6-foot-6, Richardson throws in the low-90s and has more than 25 major league appearances, in which he walked more batters than he walked nearly a batter (15) per inning pitched (16 1/3).  The haywire control displayed with Boston isn’t a fluke either, as Richardson has walked more than five batters per nine innings pitched during his Triple-A career.

The upside for Richardson is turning into a serviceable left-handed specialist, although he as to get the walks under control. There is no risk here for Atlanta besides the transaction cost. For Florida, it has to sting a little, as they either thought highly of Richardson or lowly of Miller (probably a combination), and yet the former is now in a rival organization not even halfway through the season.

The Braves major league staff received a boost with the return of Beachy, who prior to his return on Wednesday, had not started a game since May 13 thanks to a strained oblique. Beachy had pitched well early on, averaging nearly six innings per start, striking out almost four batters for every free pass, and boasting a 3.45 earned run average. It seems Beachy is healthy, as he managed six innings, 11 strikeouts, two walks, one earned run (on a home run) in his return start against the Blue Jays.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Optioned INF-R Josh Harrison to Triple-A Indianapolis. [6/23]

If Rob Biertempfel is to be trusted, then the Pirates are going to be making a frenzy of moves over the next week, with the Harrison demotion serving as the starting gun. Per Biertempfel, the Pirates will be rotating a number of players in within the next week. It starts with d’Arnaud, who will join the team for this weekend, then perhaps go right back down in favor of outfielder Alex Presley for the Pirates series against the Blue Jays. From there, the Pirates will call on Brad Lincoln to start the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Nationals.

The endgame appears to be that the Pirates want Harrison back as soon as possible, which doesn’t make sense on the surface, after all, why send him down now if they want him around? Because sending Harrison down in a few days, when they want Presley on the roster, further pushes back the 10-day window in which Harrison cannot be recalled. Optioning Harrison down today means the window overlaps almost perfectly with the other transactions. It’s not the sexiest of operations, but the Pirates maneuvering here is clever. 


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

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