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June 29, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Release Your Veterans Day

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

National League

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Arizona Diamondbacks
Released 3B-R Melvin Mora [6/29]

The Diamondbacks signed the 39-year-old to help man third base alongside Ryan Roberts. Roberts’ hot April (.313/.413/.594) won him the job outright, and Mora could have helped Arizona by sliding into a role similar to the one he held in 2010 with the Rockies—playing multiple positions while hitting .285/.358/.421—but instead, he hit .230/.246/.278, and nearly had as many strikeouts (23) as hits (29). It’s impossible to tell when a player is done, but at Mora’s age, you have to think he may have taken his final major league swing.

Meanwhile, Nick Piecoro has heard that Sean Burroughs could be the man in line to take Mora’s roster spot, but a decision might not be made until tomorrow.

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Chicago Cubs
Released LHP Doug Davis. [6/29]
Activated 2B-R Darwin Barney from the 15-day disabled list. [6/29]

Davis made 17 starts over the last two seasons, all within the National League Central—eight with the Brewers, nine with the Cubs—and has 84 innings, a 6.96 earned run average, a 1.49 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 114 hits allowed to show for it. Win-loss record has the tendency to lie about the value of pitchers, but Davis’ 2-11 mark over that stretch (a 15.4 winning percentage) just about sums it up, as he managed only three quality starts.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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St. Louis Cardinals
Released RHP Ryan Franklin. [6/29]

When folks look back on Franklin’s St. Louis tenure, the beginning of the end will be Cameron Maybin’s Opening Day home run, albeit more so for symbolism than some drastic change in talent level. In Franklin’s previous four seasons with the Cardinals, he had given up no more than 10 home runs during a single season (the 10 coming in 78 2/3 innings pitched in 2008). Yet, Franklin already had allowed nine home runs in 27 2/3 innings pitched this season, and matched the amount of home runs he gave up during the 2009 and 2010 seasons combined.

If this is the end of Franklin’s major league career, it lasted a lot longer than anyone would have expected a few seasons ago. Franklin, a 23rd round pick of the Mariners in 1992, did not debut until the 1999 season as a 26-year-old. He would not cross the 100-inning threshold in his career until the 2002 season, at the age of 29. Franklin spent the 2003-2005 seasons in the Mariners rotation, and showed off durability and a breadth of pitches, but not much else.

Franklin received a 10-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs late in the 2005 season, and left Seattle after the season’s conclusion. With Franklin’s career as a starter effectively over, the Phillies signed him and threw him into the bullpen only to get disastrous results (a 4.58 earned run average and 1.47 strikeout-to-walk ratio). An even briefer stint with the Reds (following a midseason trade) yielded worse results. The baggage and failure did not daunt the Cardinals from giving him one more opportunity to provide value entering the 2007 season, and he did.  By the end of the 2009 season, not only had Franklin had not only recorded a 38-save season in the majors, but also made an All-Star team.

Let Franklin’s career be an inspiration to those pitchers who throw many pitches, but have few described as quality or plus. Sometimes, just throwing strikes can lead to riches.


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:  Ryan Franklin

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