May 21, 2013
Sipping on 'Gnac
Claimed 3B-R Chris Nelson off waivers from the Yankees. [5/18]
Designated OF-L Scott Cousins for assignment. [5/18]
The Angels are currently rolling with a three-man bench, so versatility is king. Nelson is versatile, and athletic, and he swings a fast bat. Unfortunately those assets are undermined by other aspects of his game. Nelson's plate discipline is poor and his arm is stretched at third base, which is to say there's reason why the Rockies and Yankees dismissed him after quick looks this season. Still, the Angels could—and have—done much worse, given the opportunity and transaction costs involved.
Purchased the contract of RHP Jair Jurrjens from Triple-A Norfolk. [5/18]
Recalled RHP Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Norfolk. [5/18]
Optioned RHP Alex Burnett to Triple-A Norfolk. [5/18]
Placed 2B-S Brian Roberts on the 60-day disabled list. [5/18]
Jurrjens' first start with the O's consisted of some good and bad, as Tommy Rancel explained. Command and sequencing will dictate his success. If he can locate his high-80s fastball down in the zone and on both sides of the plate then he's got a chance to get by without his best velocity. The Orioles are dealing with enough injuries right now that Jurrjens should get a few more opportunities to prove he's worth keeping around.
Meanwhile Arrieta is back—and in the bullpen. You might recall that possibility coming up after his original demotion:
After 62 starts spread over parts of four seasons it's time to ask: When do you move Arrieta to the bullpen? The 27-year-old heads to Norfolk as the big-league leader in walks issued, having granted 16 free passes in 19 innings. Arrieta is a big, physical guy with a pair of good fastballs and the ability to maintain his velocity deep into games. Unfortunately, his command and control leave everyone wanting. There's probably a good reason why the O's have abstained from throwing Arrieta in the bullpen—perhaps he can't warm up quick enough, or they can't bring themselves to give up on his starting days—after all, this is the club that moved Brian Matusz to relief in a hurry. For now it's worth asking the question. Starting just isn't working.
Acquired SS-L Reid Brignac from the Rockies for cash considerations. [5/18]
Designated 2B-R Alberto Gonzalez for assignment. [5/18]
Brian Cashman acquired one former Rockies infielder earlier this month, and now he turns to another. Brignac is a more-than-capable defensive shortstop. His glove makes him a worthwhile bench piece, especially for a team, like the Yankees, without a pure shortstop on the roster. Where Brignac leaves teams wanting is at the plate. His plate discipline is poor and his swing-for-the-fences approach compounds matters. Perhaps Kevin Long can get him to tighten his zone and shorten his swing. If not, the former top prospect is looking at a career on the fringe.
Claimed RHP Thad Weber from the Padres; optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo. [5/19]
Weber joins his third organization in a year's time. Drafted by the Tigers, the 28-year-old right-hander was claimed off waivers last August by the Padres. Now he's off to Buffalo, where he'll bring a low-90s fastball and curveball combination. This move shows the makings of a potential Edgar Gonzalez situation, where the Jays can bring up Weber for a day or two and let him take the excess innings before freeing him back into the waiver-wire pool.
Designated RHP Jon Rauch for assignment. [5/18]
Recalled LHP Duane Below from Triple-A New Orleans. [5/18]
Chalk this one up as a miss. When the Marlins signed Rauch I called it a "likeable deal" and a "worthwhile gamble." I also said that Rauch "seems like the best bet to return a decent piece at the deadline." In actuality Rauch won't even be a Marlin leading into the deadline. The big man might land another job—even Kameron Loe got another shot—though his early-season struggles with command are concerning, and his next gig won't last for long if they continue.
Speaking of command issues, Below met his end in Detroit over sloppy strikes. The Marlins claimed him off waivers near the end of April, and this will be his first big-league stint since. Below doesn't have outstanding raw stuff, so location matters more for him than most. He'll straddle the line between second lefty and up-and-down arm until he gets his geography right.
Placed LHP Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list. [5/18]
Recalled RHP Mitchell Boggs from Triple-A Memphis. [5/18]
Garcia joins Jake Westbrook and Chris Carpenter on the disabled list, pushing the Cardinals to dig deeper into their organizational pitching depth. Tyler Lyons is not the Triple-A starter everyone wanted to see—that would be Michael Wacha—but the command-and-control southpaw comes with a nice changeup and groundball tendencies. The Cardinals will add Lyons to the 25- and 40-man rosters before his Wednesday start. Look for one of St. Louis' eight relievers to head to Memphis.