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May 14, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Vlad to Be There

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-L Scott Podsednik from the Phillies for cash considerations. [5/11]

You have to hand it to Podsednik for hanging on. Podsednik has been in the minors since his most recent major-league stint in 2010. Despite playing neither often or well, Podsednik continues to grind on. The minor-league lifestyle is unkind; yet here is a 36-year-old with plenty of big-league experience and big-league paydays, and he continues to ride the buses. Why? The cynic would say Podsednik needs money. That could be true, but is it too much to assume that Podsednik just loves the game? Podsednik will report to Pawtucket for now.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of INF-R Jose Lopez from Triple-A Columbus. [5/12]
Optioned INF-R Jason Donald to Triple-A Columbus. [5/12]
Recalled RHP Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus. [5/12]
Placed RHP Josh Tomlin on the 15-day disabled list. [5/12]
Designated OF-L Nick Weglarz for assignment. [5/12]

Tomlin continues to be frugal with walks, but the more interesting story this season is his strikeout totals. With three seven-strikeout games, Tomlin has already tripled his tally from last season. Tomlin’s efforts to widen the gap are on pause for the next two weeks due to a sore wrist. McAllister, a future back-end starter, will take Tomlin’s vacated rotation spot.

No one would have been suspicious if Weglarz had walked onto the Moneyball set, donned an Oakland uniform and played his usual brand of ball. A corner outfielder by the loosest of definitions, Weglarz has to hit to have a chance. He did hit in the lower minors behind good raw power and a mature plate approach. Since reaching Double-A, Weglarz is hitting .226/.366/.411. That line can work in the majors, but the inability to hit for a decent average in the minors is a bad portent. Weglarz will likely hit the waiver wire. Who knows, maybe he winds up in an A’s jersey after all.

MINNESOTA TWINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated LHP Matt Maloney for assignment. [5/9]
Optioned 3B-R Danny Valencia to Triple-A Rochester. [5/9]
Recalled RHP P.J. Walters and OF-R Darin Mastroianni from Triple-A Rochester. [5/9]

Rumor had the Twins shopping Valencia before demoting him. Meaning that either Minnesota chose against selling low, or teams chose against buying low. Quality precipitates demand and Valencia has not been quality since his rookie season. Perceived to be younger than he is (27), Valencia doesn’t offer power, contact, on-base skills, speed, or defense, beyond a strong arm and success against southpaws. Valencia’s future likely includes a lot of bench duty.

Minnesota’s other big move is relegating Francisco Liriano to the bullpen. Operating without playoff hopes or a long-term commitment to Liriano, the Twins can do as they please. The worst possible outcome is that Liriano loses trade value; but then, how much trade value could Liriano have? Known as an inconsistent starter, Liriano will become a free agent at season’s end. Add in his 4.95 ERA over the past four seasons and any return is likely to underwhelm.

From one dud to another, Walters is a large right-hander with a high-80s fastball, a good changeup, and assorted breaking stuff. His arsenal plays better in Triple-A and even his career results there are unimpressive.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed OF-R Yoenis Cespedes on the 15-day disabled list. [5/12]
Recalled 3B-R Josh Donaldson from Triple-A Sacramento. [5/12]

The A’s announced Michael Taylor as Cespedes’ replacement before quickly altering their plans. No, the A’s didn’t sour on Taylor within an hour. Rather, they realized recalling Taylor would violate a rule. Jason Wojciechowski explained:

 You know how you can't recall a player if you've optiond them within the last 10 days? But how you can bring them back up if they're replacing a player who went on the DL? Well, it turns out that you either can't backdate that DL'd player, or you can't backdate them to a date before you sent down the player who you're recalling. This is an entirely sensible rule that I'd never come across before.

So Taylor went down just yesterday, but the A's want to backdate Cespedes's DL trip to May 7th, so they can't bring Taylor back.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed DH-R Vladimir Guerrero to a minor-league deal. [5/10]

If injuries pile up, and Travis Snider proves unworthy of a roster spot, the Jays will turn to Guerrero. Running is a painful act for Guerrero to perform and for the spectator to observe. His athleticism is no more; however, he can still put a charge into a ball on occasion. These small moments are too sporadic to form a productive big-league season, yet they do cause an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Speaking of nostalgia, expect to read plenty about Guerrero’s return to Canada. Toronto is in Canada, but Toronto is not Montreal. Besides, Guerrero’s primary home stadium will likely reside in Nevada.

CINCINNATI REDS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed 3B-R Scott Rolen on the 15-day disabled list. [5/12]

Recalled INF-L Mike Costanzo from Triple-A Louisville. [5/12]

Rolen and Costanzo have lots in common: both are third basemen, once drafted by the Phillies in the second round, and neither is likely to hit well this season. A decent prospect with power potential back in the day, Costanzo went to Houston in the Brad Lidge trade and then to Baltimore in the Miguel Tejada deal. The time since hasn’t been kind, with Costanzo managing a .712 career Triple-A OPS. Rolen’s slow start (.174/.238/.304 in 101 plate appearances) sets the bar low, but Todd Frazier, not Costanzo, should be the replacement.

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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