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July 18, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Weekend Roundup Edition

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Baltimore Orioles
Placed RHP Alfredo Simon on the restricted list. [6/17]
Purchased the contract of RHP Mark Worrell from Triple-A Norfolk. [6/17]
Recalled 3B-S Josh Bell from Triple-A Norfolk. [6/17]
Optioned RHP Mitch Atkins to Triple-A Norfolk. [6/17]

With Simon heading to the Dominican Republic to attend a hearing over his manslaughter case, the O’s give Worrell a call. Despite only having five major league innings to his name, and being the second-most famous reliever with that last name, Worrell is owner of a lengthy transactions record and one of the funkiest deliveries around. Even if the motion gets results, as he has a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio in nearly 200 Triple-A innings pitched as well as a 3.30 earned run average, it’s still great for entertainment purposes:

Atkins fared well enough against the Rangers in his first start, allowing a run over six innings of work, but in the two thereafter, he lasted a total of 4 2/3 innings pitched, yielding nine runs on 13 hits, five home runs, and three walks. The Orioles managed to win one of those games, backed by strong relief work. With Atkins out of the picture and Simon on temporary leave, the Orioles will start Brad Bergesen on Monday night. After that, it would appear Jeremy Guthrie and Jake Arrieta will fall in line, with further developments dependent on how quickly Simon returns.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
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Cleveland Indians
Placed OF-L Grady Sizemore on the 15-day disabled list. [7/18]
Recalled LHP David Huff from Triple-A Columbus. [7/18]

Sizemore heads to the disabled list with a right knee contusion for the second time this season. The circumstances are different this time around, as Sizemore is no longer on fire and leading the Indians, but rather has slumped since returning—hitting .214/.289/.377 with 56 strikeouts and 13 walks. There will be discussion as to whether Sizemore was ever really healthy to begin with, but if nothing else, some time off could do him well. Plus, if Sizemore was going to keep hitting like that, some time off will do the Indians lineup well too.

Huff appears to be a one-and-done candidate in that he will start the first game of Monday’s doubleheader for the Indians before heading back to Columbus.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Tampa Bay Rays
Placed C-S Jose Lobaton on the 15-day disabled list. [7/18]
Recalled C-R Robinson Chirinos from Triple-A Durham. [7/18]

After joining the team on Friday following John Jaso’s placement on the disabled list, and making his first start with the Rays on Sunday night, Lobaton had to leave the game with a sprained ligament in his left knee. It’s a tough break for a guy who is sort of an afterthought on the organizational depth chart as is. Whether Lobaton can work his way back into the fold after returning from the disabled list might depend more on the performances of the major leaguers than what he has and may continue to accomplish in the minors.  

Acquired in the Matt Garza trade, Chirinos is the third piece of the return to reach the majors for the Rays this season, joining Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer. At first blush, Chirinos’ .265/.341/.378 line appears mediocre, but if you break it down month-by-month he looks better:

April: .176/.253/.191
May: .333/.380/.424
June: .256/.344/.385
July: .324/.419/.622

Besides a horrendous April, a rough translation to the majors will mark an improvement from the position for the Rays. With Alex Cobb on his way to make Monday night’s start, the Rays may decide to keep the battery mates together, as the pitcher recently praised his backstop’s ability to “stick” pitches.

FLORIDA MARLINS
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Florida Marlins
Activated RHP Clay Hensley from the 15-day disabled list. [7/18]
Optioned RHP Chris Hatcher to Double-A Jacksonville. [7/18]

Although Hensley has found success with the Marlins in a relief role, he returns as a starting pitcher. The Marlins will exercise some caution with Hensley, as he last start a big league game in 2008, by placing him on a pitch count around 90. Hensley actually had a solid season as a starting pitcher in 2006, making 26 starts for the Padres and posting a 109 ERA+, you know what they say about PETCO Park and fringe starters though.

Hatcher, meanwhile, is a nice story. He made his big league debut last season as a catcher, but returned this season as a reliever. So far, the results have been surprisingly solid, as the Marlins threw him right into the Double-A fire and he has responded with 35 innings pitched, a 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, more than a strikeout per inning pitched, and only 26 hits allowed. You can’t ask for much more than that out of legit relief prospects—which Hatcher has become in short order.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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San Francisco Giants
Placed OF-R Pat Burrell on the 15-day disabled list. [7/15]
Purchased the contract of C-L Hector Sanchez from Triple-A Fresno. [7/15]
Transferred 3B-R Mark DeRosa from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. [7/15]

Sanchez earned the 20th spot on Kevin Goldstein’s preseason Giants top 11 list, along with the description of being “an intriguing catcher with gap power and a plus arm.” So far, the Giants appear hesitant to use Sanchez too much, as Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart have taken the starts since his promotion, but the 21-year-old has recorded four plate appearances, recording a walk and two strikeouts.

It’s unclear if Sanchez will get an expanded role in the coming weeks or if he’ll find himself back in Triple-A. Frankly, the latter option might be the best route, as he hit .305/.370/.366 in 92 plate appearances for Fresno, but did so after jumping from High-A. Maybe Sanchez can handle the rapid acceleration through the system, but at the same time, a little extra time in the minors wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.


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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On the Beat: Invasion ... (07/15)
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