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May 14, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Barton Parcel

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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Purchased the contract of RHP Jose De La Torre from Triple-A Pawtucket. [5/9]

Transferred RHP Joel Hanrahan to the 60-day disabled list. [5/9]

Boston swapped Brent Lillibridge for De La Torre last July in a minor trade. Lillibridge is in someone else's system now while De La Torre is enjoying his first days in the majors. The small right-hander throws in the low 90s with a good slider and a changeup. His groundball rates are pleasant, which hints at the quality of his command, and he seems to hide the ball well throughout his delivery. These types don't always succeed in the majors, but if De La Torre does it'll come in middle relief. 

HOUSTON ASTROS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Released OF-L Rick Ankiel. [5/8]

Big-league baseball is about production. Those who produce keep their jobs, those who don't don't. Ankiel did not produce this season, and so he's without a job. Nonetheless it'll be a shame if this is the lasting memory of Ankiel. To reach the majors as a pitcher or a hitter requires a lot of talent and work ethic; to reach the majors as both requires even more. You can understand why his teammates are sad to see him go. (Ankiel signed with the Mets on Monday.)

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of 1B-L Daric Barton from Triple-A Sacramento. [5/8]

Placed OF-L Josh Reddick on the 15-day disabled list. [5/8]

Released LHP Jordan Norberto. [5/8]

The base-on-balls machine returns. Barton is a one-dimensional hitter with a religious devotion to drawing free passes. From 2010-2012 he walked in 15.5 percent of his plate appearances while recording a hit in an additional 20.4 percent. The success of walk-only batters often feels fleeting. Pitchers have no reason to avoid the strike zone when the batter can't burn them with thunder or lightning. Barton's continually high walk rates are a testament to his eye and patience. He has a nice glove, too, though a first baseman with more glove than bat is likely to be as solvent as a dentist with more molars than patients.

Norberto, a moderately sized piece from last year's bullpen, gets the heave-ho after three minor-league appearances. A sprained left elbow is the reason. While the injury will not require surgery, it will sideline Norberto for a few more weeks at the minimum. Perhaps the A's will bring him back afterward. Or maybe some other team will let Norberto heal on their dime in exchange for his future services. 

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed C-L A.J. Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list. [5/9]

Recalled C-R Robinson Chirinos from Triple-A Round Rock. [5/10]

An oblique strain sends Pierzynski to the DL and Chirinos to the majors. Texas acquired the 28-year-old infielder-turned-catcher in early April for cash considerations. Though he missed all of last season, due to a concussion, there have been no ill effects at the plate. In the field Chirinos remains rough behind the plate, yet he's expanded his defensive responsibilities to include the corner-infield positions. The new-age Tyler Houston? Only if he hits.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed RHP J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list. [5/8]

Recalled RHP Will Harris from Triple-A Reno. [5/8]

The timetable for Putz's return is vague but it appears he'll avoid surgery. Putz underwent elbow surgery in 2009, and made one other trip to the DL with an elbow-related malady in 2011. Otherwise he's held up better than expected. Were Putz to return and accumulate 38 more innings it would mark the fourth-consecutive season he's topped 50, matching a career-best. In the interim look for Heath Bell and David Hernandez to split the ninth-inning duties. This is the classic young-versus-old, future-versus-past scenario. Still, give Bell some credit: he's pitched fairly well this season save for his Opening Day meltdown. 

Harris makes his first trek to the majors this season. Diehards may remember him as the guy who was designated for assignment twice during the first week of the season, once by Colorado then again by Oakland. Kevin Towers is the master of building cheap bullpens, and he seems to like Harris' low-90s fastball and good curveball combination. If all goes well Harris could blossom in middle relief.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of INF-L Derek Dietrich from Double-A Jacksonville. [5/8]

Placed INF-R Chris Valaika on the 15-day disabled list. [5/8]

Transferred 1B-L Casey Kotchman to the 60-day disabled list. [5/8]

Dietrich came to Miami by way of the Yunel Escobar trade. The Georgia Tech product has some questions to answer about his overall profile. He generates some power from the left side, but his approach is raw and he's going to strike out a considerable amount—not to mention he's unproven against same-handed pitching. Defensively Dietrich owns a good arm, yet his range leaves a lot to be desired, meaning he's going to wind up at second or third base. Fans of Dietrich, who comes complete with a gamer reputation, see a potential second-division starter. Others see a platoon or reserve player.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Activated LHP Francisco Liriano from the 15-day disabled list. [5/11]

Optioned RHP Duke Welker to Triple-A Indianapolis. [5/11]

Released LHP Jonathan Sanchez. [5/8]

Liriano made a strong Pittsburgh debut on Saturday, and he'd be hard-pressed to perform worse than Sanchez. The statistics impart how poorly Sanchez pitched over the past two seasons. He made 20-big league appearances, 19 of them starts, and completed 78 1/3 innings—or fewer than four per appearance. He allowed 107 hits and 78 runs, of which 76 were earned, good for a 8.73 ERA. He walked 61 batters—two intentionally—and hit seven others while striking out 60, giving him a 0.98 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He allowed 18 home runs and recorded just 16 one-two-three innings. The basic stats lie a lot; not here. Sanchez earned his 1-12 record and 48 ERA+. It's hard to fathom he'll get another shot anytime soon. 

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:  Joel Hanrahan,  Daric Barton,  Rick Ankiel,  JJ Putz

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