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January 28, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Rays Take Another Luke

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Jair Jurrjens to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. [1/24]

Is Orioles Magic still a thing? If it is then Jurrjens will regain his old velocity and spend nights with the man with thistledown hair. If not he'll settle for becoming a back-end starter. Jurrjens could not miss bats in the International League last season, so there's not a ton of hope for him in the AL East. Changing venues could help refresh him, but he needs some new toys to go with the new mindset and uniform if he wants to stick.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed C-L George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. [1/25]
Designated INF-S Tony Abreu for assignment. [1/25]

You had a hunch Kottaras would land on another team's roster. The Royals are a bit of a surprise, and the cost even more so. Did the A's not find much interest in Kottaras, or were they unwilling to take back a mediocre player on the 40-man roster just to say they got something? Kottaras should make the Royals' roster as their backup backstop. He's not half the defender Salvador Perez is, but if Ned Yost starts him against right-handers once a week he can provide the Royals with walks and cheap lefty power.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed DH-L Luke Scott to a one-year deal. [1/24]

Everything old is new again for the Rays. They've spent this season in uncharacteristic fashion by re-signing a few of their veteran free agents. First Joel Peralta and Kyle Farnsworth and now Scott. Wolverine's doppelganger had a rough first season in St. Petersburg, struggling with injuries and a prolonged slump on his way to a mediocre season. The Rays declined Scott's $6 million option earlier in the winter, opting to pay him the $1 million buyout instead. Now the market has mostly thinned out and Scott and the Rays come back together for 2013 anyway. Tommy Rancel had an interesting piece on why the Rays might be hopeful about Scott's chances of getting back to form. If nothing else, Scott can help the Rays fend off wild hogs at their Port Charlotte complex.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed C-R Yorvit Torrealba to a minor-league deal. [1/24]

From the outside it sure seems the Rockies value intangibles and good character more than most clubs. Perhaps that perception is incorrect, but Torrealba fits the mold as a supposed glue guy. Only one thing doesn't quite add up: Torrealba doesn't have an obvious spot on the roster. The Rockies have Wilin Rosario to develop and Ramon Hernandez around to mentor him, leaving no spot for their old friend Torrealba. Unless, of course, the Rockies hope to trade Hernandez. But would anyone take on Hernandez and his $3.2 million after he failed to hit in Coors Field? We'll find out soon enough. Otherwise, the defensive ace might find himself riding buses in Triple-A and waiting on another team to call in advance of his June 1 opt-out.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Chad Qualls to a minor-league deal. [1/25]

The one saving grace of Qualls' otherwise horrid 2010 season was his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Alas, two years later his strikeout rate is declining quicker than the Marlins' payroll, which has left Qualls ineffective and uninspiring. The culprit behind the decay appears to be a slider without its best bite. Still, Qualls has gotten right-handed batters out enough in recent years to merit consideration as a cheap ROOGY. The Marlins have shown a knack in the past for milking a little more out of random relievers. Qualls doesn't seem like a likely bounceback candidate at first blush, but we'll see. At least he's cost-effective.

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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