August 14, 1998
Optioned RHP Jason Dickson to Vancouver; added RHP Mike Fetters to the active 25-man roster. [8/11]
Temporarily, Dickson's demotion means the Angels have a rotation of Chuck Finley, Steve Sparks, Omar Olivares, Jeff Juden, and Allen Watson. That means that Juden and Olivares (and Watson, on what's hopefully only a theoretical level) are basically duking it out for the last rotation slot down the stretch, since Ken Hill and Jack McDowell should take their spots in the rotation. That means the Angels will have done the same thing as the Rangers did with their trades for Todd Stottlemyre and Esteban Loiaza (but with less fanfare): they got rid of everyone with an ERA over six. Is that enough to stay with the Rangers? That may end up depending on how long Darin Erstad is gone. In the meantime, Fetters isn't an improvement on Shiggy Hasegawa, Rich DeLucia, or Pep Harris.
Purchased the contract of LHP Norm Charlton from Richmond; optioned RHP Mark Wohlers to Richmond. [8/11]
I'm guessing that the Braves couldn't resist some bulk-discount offer from a medical supply outlet on bullpen walkers for Normy and El Presidente. That and a home traction kit for Rudy Seanez, and whammo! They're back in business! I still say that as long as they refuse to take the last five spots on their roster seriously, they ought to get someone who really deserves a postseason invite, like "Double Duty" Radcliffe or Minnie Minoso.
Returned RHP Stan Belinda to the 15-day DL (inflamed spinal cord); optioned C Guillermo Garcia to Indianapolis; activated C Brook Fordyce from the 15-day DL; purchased the contracts of 1B Roberto Petagine and RHP Jason Bere from Indianapolis; transferred INF Pokey Reese from the 15- to 60-day DL. [8/11]
The Reds are still fussing about whether or not Belinda has MS. 31 year-old men make up an excruciatingly tiny portion of people who contract the disease, so here's hoping that the odds that are so heavily in Skippy's favor for it not to be MS come through for him.
Why is Petagine up? Well, okay, the Indians are fading badly in the International League, so he isn't really needed at Indy after pasting the IL to the tune of .331/.436/.617, with 109 RBI and 24 homeruns in 102 games. But what's he up to do? Pinch-hit for a Boone to be named later? Sitting down Sean Casey doesn't make any sense, although we can be certain that Petagine would out-hit him right now. That's besides the point, because Casey is part of the Reds' future, and Petagine probably shouldn't be. Not that I'm begrudging him the chance to play. I'm certain he's ecstatic to be up, but its simply criminal that he isn't up and playing every day somewhere ahead of people like Fred McGriff, Eric Karros, or Rico Brogna.
So, Bere is now a Red, and may get a shot at the rotation in about a week or so, probably replacing Steve Parris. I wouldn't call that an improvement. In the Reds' organization, he isn't even the best ex-White Sock pseudo-prospect. That "title" goes to Rod Bolton, who's actually having a fine season in Indy; at this stage, I'm extremely doubtful if Bere can outpitch another ex-Sock current Indy Indian, Brian Keyser.
Signed 1B Cecil Fielder to a contract for the remainder of the season. [8/13]
Ick. Why? Richie Sexson has loyally served the organization, went to left field without a word of public complaint this year, has a fine track record as a hitter and as a power hitter, and you drag in this flabby old man to cash a postseason check or two? Fielder has been talked up alot lately as one of the game's "great players" by people like Terry Collins, but that hasn't been true since '93, and at this point, you're talking about a DH without a lot of power. It doesn't even really help the Indians once Thome returns: Sexson can play left or first, while Cecil is a light-hitting DH, and how many of those do you want on the bench? The Tribe could have invested about 100-120 PAs in Sexson while strutting into the playoffs, and they blew it.
Optioned RHP Ryan Dempster to Charlotte; activated RHP Brian Meadows from the DL. [8/12]
Well, after noting that the Rangers and Angels have done a fine job of getting people with ERAs over six out of their rotations, with Dempster's demotion, Jim Leyland's down to only one starter with an ERA over seven (Andy Larkin). Once Joe Fontenot heals up, he can blot out Larkin. Of course as we all know, there's a good chance that we'll be seeing a lot of Dempster or Larkin again, since the chances that Jesus Sanchez or Livan Hernandez will be healthy into the '99 season are getting more and more remote.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Recalled OF Jermaine Dye from Omaha. [8/11]
Okay, so he did have a nice seven weeks, hitting .299/.374/.567 (and coincidentally, not outhitting Ernie Young). Is this what the Royals need? Any Sega wunderkinds want to help design a game, let's call it "Grave Robber," where your mission is to stop Herk Robinson from resurrecting the dead and paying them oodles of cash to terrorize some nameless Plains state city? Of course, it remains to be seen why they got Jermaine Allensworth in the first place, or why they play Hal Morris in left, or why they thought it would be kind of neat to get Jeff Conine after the good part of his career was over. After canning his director of player personnel (Larry Doughty), you might infer signs of intelligent life in the Royals front office, but I suspect that's just good old-fashioned scapegoating.
Recalled LHP Valerio de los Santos from Louisville; optioned RHP Joe Hudson to Louisville. [8/13]
Sal Bando has not come clean on why he thought getting Hudson and demoting de los Santos last week was a good idea in the first place. As is, Louisville can't be happy about this, since they're actually contending.
NEW YORK METS
Optioned C Todd Pratt to Norfolk. [8/11]
Pratt literally loses his roster spot to Jermaine Allensworth, but figuratively loses it to Jorge Fabregas, which is as bad as it sounds. Now the Mets are kvetching about how they don't know how they'll make room when they have to re-activate Butch Huskey next week. The obvious answer would be to go with 11 pitchers instead of 12, but that can't really be considered until the Mets knock off back-to-back double-headers against the Cardinals next week, especially since they don't have any off-days. Don't be surprised when Lenny Harris or Matt Franco claims he's hurt in the next couple of days.
Placed 3B Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/10 (hyperextended shoulder); placed OF Turner Ward on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/5 (strained hamstring); recalled 3B Freddy Garcia and CF Adrian Brown from Nashville. [8/11]
Ramirez' shoulder won't cost him his Opening Day start in '99, and it will give the Bucs the opportunity to spruce up the credentials of Freddy Garcia. In his three-plus months back at Nashville this year, Garcia did what's come to be expected of him: 22 homers in 88 games, while still showing limited command of the strike zone (.270/.327/.571). He doesn't have a future in the organization, but that isn't to say that the Pirates can't turn him into a trade bait with a good showing in the next couple of weeks. The platoon in center of Ward and Manny Martinez hasn't been a big step down from Jermaine Allensworth (offensively, at least), and the Pirates will spend the next couple of weeks taking another look at Adrian Brown. Brown's still a speed-and-defense type with limited punch at the plate, and looking forward to '99, he'll have a hard time fighting off Emil Brown for the CF job next year.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Placed RF Tony Gwynn on the 15-day DL (inflamed achilles tendon). [8/13]
Better that he be rested and ready come October. The Giants are bleeding from so many self-inflicted wounds that the Pads can take their time and use Gwynn's playing time to evaluate Ruben Rivera and to get Mark Sweeney sharp for postseason pinch-hitting and (hopefully) DHing.