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September 5, 1998

Transaction Analysis

August 31-September 3

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Activated C Charlie O'Brien from the DL; recalled 2B Justin Baughman, RHP Jason Dickson, LHP Mike Holtz, and 1B Chris Pritchett from Vancouver; recalled RHP Steve Sparks and OF Reggie Williams from Midland (AA). [9/1]

Almost everyone here has contributed to the Angels in one way or another during the course of the season, and other than O'Brien, they're all ineligible for the postseason roster. That's especially bad news for them concerning Sparks, who promptly won his first game "back" from his paper-only demotion to Midland.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Recalled OF George Lombard from Greenville (AA); recalled LHP Bruce Chen, and purchased the contract of LHP Odalis Perez from Richmond. [9/1]

Recalled SS Mark DeRosa from Greenville (AA). [9/2]

Chen, Perez, and Lombard are the Braves' three best prospects above A-ball, and all three have outstanding skills. In his first year in AA, Lombard has continued to show outstanding power and speed while proving that last year's improved plate discipline was no fluke. Although he may not get that much playing time, if he does anything here and in the AFL this winter, Ryan Klesko will probably be on the block. Both Chen and Perez will be auditioning for next year's team, most likely in relief roles. It isn't inconceivable that Chen could push past Kevin Millwood and into the rotation next year, but both Perez and Chen have struggled with injuries in the past, and would probably be better off in the pen.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Activated RHP Doug Drabek from the DL; recalled OFs Lyle Mouton and Eugene Kingsale, and C Charlie Greene from Rochester. [9/1]

Nothing here to help the Orioles avoid the dragging tides of decrepitude. Kingsale will be used sparingly, as a defensive sub and pinch-runner, while Mouton will get some DH and RF at-bats. Greene will be used as a defensive replacement, and Drabek will get to be a losing pitcher about once a week.

BOSTON RED SOX

Acquired INF Chris Snopek from the White Sox for OF Corey Jenkins; transferred 2B Lou Merloni from the 15- to the 60-day DL; released 1B/OF Orlando Merced. [8/31]

Purchased the contract of LHP David West and recalled C Mandy Romero from Pawtucket. [9/1]

Recalled RHP Dario Veras from Pawtucket; activated RHP Rich Garces from the DL. [9/3]

Who thinks having Chris Snopek available for your postseason roster is a good idea? Jenkins is looking like a washout, but Snopek? The only player on either the active roster or the DL that you might have been able to concoct a working argument for him to be ahead of for a postseason roster spot was Merced, and you see how useful trading for him turned out to be.

CHICAGO CUBS

Placed LF Henry Rodriguez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/24 (sprained ankle); recalled RHP Terry Adams from Iowa. [8/31]

Recalled OF Pedro Valdes and 2B/SS Jason Maxwell from Iowa. [9/1]

The Cubs almost grudgingly brought Adams back in time to be on the postseason roster. There's been no mention that he made an adjustment or worked on his mechanics to keep from flying open so quickly, but he had a nice week in Iowa. Maxwell is a signficantly better player than Manny Alexander, but will get little time down the stretch.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Traded INF Chris Snopek to Boston for OF Corey Jenkins; purchased the contract of INF Craig Wilson from Calgary. [8/31]

Purchased the contract of LHP Jim Abbott from Calgary. [9/2]

Jenkins isn't coming around as a prospect, having struggled badly in the Florida State League, so it isn't as if the Sox have gotten something of obvious value for Snopek. That's about right. The Jim Abbott saga is already being played up as a wonderful story about a competitive guy, etc. I'm not going to say its impossible, because I don't know for certain, but it does not look like a good idea. Sure, Abbott may have gotten arm strength back after taking a year off. He may finally have gotten away from the cut fastball some people think ruined him in the first place. But he was allowing scads of baserunners in the minors, and I don't see his comeback as being potentially any more successful than Jason Bere's was. To be blunt, this is a waste of time. The Sox should be looking hard at Scott Eyre or Tom Fordham or Kevin Beirne, not trying to pull people's heart strings.

CINCINNATI REDS

Activated RHP Keith Glauber from the DL. [9/1]

Snagged via Rule V from the Cardinals, the Reds will now finally see if he was worth the $50,000.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

Traded 2B/3B David Bell to Seattle for 2B Joey Cora. [8/31]

Placed LHP Tom Martin on the 15-day DL (groin strain); purchased the contract of C Einar Diaz from Buffalo; transferred LHP John Smiley from the 15- to the 60-day DL; purchased the contract of INF Ricky Gutierrez from Akron (AA) and placed him on the 60-day DL. [8/31]

Activated RHP Chad Ogea, LHP Ron Villone, and INF Jeff Branson from the DL; assigned the contract of INF Tony Lovullo to Buffalo. [9/1]

What "offensive profile" does Joey Cora fulfill? Gloveless, slap-hitting veteran, a la Bip Roberts '97? A mystifying move in terms of talent because it doesn't bring much to the Tribe, but a genuinely nice gesture as far as getting Cora to the postseason before he has to follow up on his threat to retire after this season.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Agreed to terms with OF Dante Bichette on a three-year contract extension. [8/31]

Traded PH John VanderWal to the Padres for a PTBNL or two; recalled INF Jason Bates from Colorado Springs. [8/31]

Recalled INF Jason Bates and C Mark Strittmatter from Colorado Springs. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of RHP David Wainhouse from Colorado Springs. [9/2]

Bob Gebhard has already said he hopes to re-sign VanderWal in the offseason, which makes this a nice gesture (to let him get to the playoffs). Bichette was smart not to try to follow up on Andres Galarraga's success outside of Coors Field. Although terms were not discussed, the Rockies should have had him in a unique negotiation position: he's worth considerably less to anyone other than the Rox, so for their sake you hope they didn't overpay.

DETROIT TIGERS

Fired manager Buddy Bell; named Larry Parrish interim manager; recalled CF Kimera Bartee from Toledo. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of RHP Marino Santana from Toledo; named Jeff Jones bullpen coach. [9/3]

Bell didn't deserve the axe, but he put Randy Smith and the pizza baron on the spot, and got whacked for his troubles. But who deserved to get fired? Who believes in Todd Jones or Brian Hunter? Whose idea of good guys to spend money on are players like Luis Gonzalez or Bip Roberts or Frank Castillo? Randy Smith has confidently talked about how he deserves credit for what's happening in San Diego today, probably hoping to deflect attention from what he's doing in Detroi today while slighting Kevin Towers. As long as Mike Ilitch has the pizza cutter out, he may as well go two-for-one ...

FLORIDA MARLINS

Recalled OF Preston Wilson from Charlotte. [9/1]

Wilson has hit for considerable power at Charlotte, not a hard thing to do, while showing only slightly better command of the strike zone than Josh Booty. Still looking like Nigel Wilson with a nepotista twist.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Recalled LHP C.J. Nitkowski from New Orleans. [9/1]

Unfortunately ineligible for the postseason roster, the good work he did for the 'Stros this year seemingly forgotten in the wake of the consecutive-hit-batters incident that ended Craig Counsell's season.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Purchased the contract of C Tim Spehr from the Mets. [8/31]

Activated 1B Jeff King and RHP Kevin Appier from the DL; transferred RHP Bart Evans from the 15- to the 60-day DL; placed RF Jermaine Dye on the 60-day DL (torn cartilage - knee); purchased the contracts of C Tim Spehr and OF Jeremy Giambi from Omaha; designated RHP Danny Rios for assignment. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of RHP Jeff Suppan from Arizona; designated SS Luis Rivera for assignment. [9/3]

Rany's feeling like September 1st was the first good day for the organization all year, now that both Giambi and Appier are both up.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Activated RHP Ismael Valdes and INF Tripp Cromer from the DL; recalled C Paul LoDuca, LHP Gary Rath, RHP Eric Weaver, and SS Alex Cora from Albuquerque; purchased the contract of LHP Jeff Kubenka from Albuquerque; designated RHP Will Brunson for assignment. [9/1]

A fairly straightforward bunch of callups for the Dodgers, although the guy to really watch in my opinion is Kubenka, and outstanding reliever with great control of an especially wicked scroogie. Rath could be in a few major league rotations, but he's probably too low-profile for Fox.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Activated 1B John Jaha from the DL. [9/1]

He'll get one last month in a Brewers uniform, but he will not get much playing time to shop his wares before hitting the free agent market. The Brewers consistently took him on a year-to-year basis, and he finally reached the point where he's no longer worth the investment. Its a notable contrast from turkey contracts like Pete O'Brien's with the Mariners or Keith Hernandez' with the Indians or J.T. Snow's right now, one of those nice little bits of anecdotal information which might show that professional baseball management is making progress.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Signed RF Vladimir Guerrero to a five-year contract through 2003. [9/1]

Recalled LHP Rick DeHart, C Mike Hubbard, UT Fernando Seguignol, and 3B Jose Vidro from Ottawa; purchased the contracts of LHP Tim Young from Ottawa C/3B Michael Barrett from Harrisurg (AA). [9/3]

Here's the big score in exchange for dealing away problems like Carlos Perez and Grudz to get Wil Guerrero and some outstanding prospects: it gave the Expos an advantage as far as coaxing Vlad into a multi-year deal. They can even keep Wil around, and even play him plenty, considering they don't really have many useful options within the organization anyways. It may not make for a good team, but it will give Expos fans five more years of Vlad Guerrero and no complaints, and that might just be enough to want to care about what's left of this organization until the prospects they've gotten from the Rockies, the Dodgers, and the Red Sox over past year start working their way into major league uniforms.

NEW YORK METS

Sold the contract of C Tim Spehr to Kansas City for cash. [8/31]

Activated RF Butch Huskey from the DL; recalled LHP Rigo Beltran, RHPs Brad Clontz and Jeff Tam, 2B Ralph Milliard, and LF Jay Payton from Norfolk; signed LHP Carlos Pulido and assigned him to Norfolk. [9/1]

Received cash instead of a player from Arizona to complete the Gilkey/Figueroa for Blair trade; announced that they sent cash instead of a player to the Royals to complete the Allensworth trade. [9/3]

Huskey's return should spell the end of the platoon of Lenny Harris and Jermaine Allensworth in left, while helping the defense by shifting Tony Phillips from right. But the callups of Milliard and Payton have me wondering why either of them weren't up sooner. That isn't entirely fair: Payton has had his usual problems staying healthy, but Milliard has had an outstanding season for Norfolk this year, hitting for power, drawing walks, and playing a good second base, while Carlos Baerga hasn't done much to change his status as the biggest mistake pickup since Juan Samuel.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Recalled OF Shane Spencer from Columbus; optioned RHP Mike Buddie to Columbus. [9/1]

Recalled RHP Jim Bruske from Columbus. [9/2]

The only matters of import here are that Buddie's shot at the postseason roster is still alive, but obviously less substantial than Jay Tessmer's. They're competing with Dale Sveum (still hanging around to hit fungoes, toss bp, and anything else) for the cheesiest way to get a playoff share by riding a great team's coattails.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Extended the contract of GM Cam Bonifay through 2003. [9/1]

Recalled SS Abraham Nunez and RHP Elmer Dessens from Nashville; recalled CF Emil Brown from Carolina (AA). [9/1]

Nunez is going to get most of September to show the Bucs that they can stop fooling around with Lou Collier. Its equally important that they do the same thing with the Browns, Emil and Adrian. They have known qualities in Turner Ward and Manny Martinez. Jose Guillen is going to be handed rightfield as long as he shows progress, and Al Martin is under contract. But that group has produced very little power for a major league outfield, and it isn't like we're talking about a group of fielders that's going to make anyone forget the '80-'81 A's. They have to give the last twenty games or so to the Browns, to get a sense of what they have going into '99.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Purchased the contract of OF Joe McEwing from Memphis. [9/1]

An organizational soldier having a career year, McEwing has been rewarded. If continues spraying the ball to all fields, he may even end up chasing Willie McGee out of town, if not into retirement.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Acquired PH John VanderWal from Colorado for a PTBNL or two. [8/31]

Activated RF Tony Gwynn from the DL. [9/1]

A backup left-handed pinch-hitter behind Mark Sweeney? Well, that's what worrying about the postseason will do to you.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Recalled C Doug Mirabelli, 2B Ramon Martinez, and OF Armando Rios from Fresno; purchased the contract of RHP Cory Bailey and OF Chris Jones from Fresno; activated LHP Alvin Morman from the DL. [9/1]

No earth-shattering additions here. The Giants will have to win with the gang they already have.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Acquired 2B/3B David Bell from Cleveland for 2B Joey Cora. [8/31]

A nifty move by Woody Woodward. Cora claims he's retiring, so basically the Mariners got something for nothing. The Mariners are clearly unhappy with Russ Davis' glovework, so if Carlos Guillen comes up and claims second base, they can move Bell over to third. On the other hand, they can let Bell play second until they're convinced Guillen is ready, and given how slowly Lou Piniella has been when it came to working Alex Rodriguez into the lineup, that seems more likely.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Recalled OF Rich Butler from Durham. [9/1]

He will not receive much playing time now that Randy Winn and Bubba Trammell have established themselves.

TEXAS RANGERS

Activated LHP Scott Bailes and 1B Lee Stevens from the DL; recalled RHP Al Levine from Savannah (A). [9/1]

The Rangers are now at full strength, so if they're ever going to push the Angels aside, it has to be now, and it has to be without any excuses.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Recalled RHP Robert Person from Syracuse; activated C Benito Santiago from the DL. [9/2]

In the goofy switcheroo department, Person has now been groomed to be the team's closer, while last year's groomed closer (Kelvim Escobar) is this month's fifth starter.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

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