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February 20, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Snakes Get Legs

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed DH-L Jack Cust to a minor-league deal. [2/17]

The Rays have given a few veterans their last ride in recent years. Hideki Matsui bowed out after disappointing in 2012 just like Hank Blalock in 2010. Cust deigned himself last season by spending the year in the minors. No big-league team is willing to endure massive strikeout rates when not accompanied by great power or speed and defense. Cust is no athlete, so he needs to make thunder to stick around. He's apt at commanding the strike zone but not at making contact within the zone. As a result you have to look at his Triple-A numbers with caution. You can envision Cust working himself into fastball counts in the minors before obliterating sub-par heaters. It's not so easy in the majors. At any rate, Cust will serve as a backup plan to Luke Scott

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-L Tony Campana from the Cubs for RHPs Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo. [2/18]

Campana is a fast runner and efficient basestealer. Unfortunately, he can't hit and doesn't field as well as his speed portends; the prototypical fifth outfielder, in a sense. But Campana isn't likely to make Arizona's Opening Day roster, and he might not be ahead of A.J. Pollock on the depth chart. He could just be a piece of organizational depth with a specialized skill set. That kind of player can come in handy on a roster with two sluggish pinch-hitting options like Eric Chavez and Eric Hinske. Campana might not be around all year to serve as their legs, but when he is he could provide the D'Backs with some utility. 

What of those arms, you ask. Mark Anderson informs me that Castillo is "athletic and projectable, reaching 90-91 at times." Anderson says of Leal that he "has a nice frame and decent arm action, but sits in the 86-88 range" all while throwing "a really promising curveball." Exciting times in Chicago.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed 1B-L Casey Kotchman to a minor-league deal. [2/15]

Kotchman is a mediocre athlete with great fundamentals. He keeps the ball in front of him on defense while boasting a strong arm and soft hands. His swing is compact for someone 6-foot-3 and he makes a ton of contact. Much of it is poor contact, however—especially when considering his well below average speed. Kotchman will celebrate his 30th birthday in the coming days. He's nearing the point in his career where he's either going to ride a lot of buses or take a front office job and follow in his dad's footsteps. For now he'll serve as Plan B in case Logan Morrison falters.

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

Related Content:  Jack Cust,  Casey Kotchman,  Tony Campana

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