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June 3, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Bonder the Next One

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

CLEVELAND INDIANS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of RHP Matt Langwell from Triple-A Columbus. [6/1]

Optioned LHP Scott Barnes to Triple-A Columbus. [6/1]

Barnes appeared in three games following his May 23rd recall, most recently in the soggy Friday night slash Saturday morning Indians-Rays game. He entered after the game resumed to face a number of hitters with poor historical platoon splits. Rather than retiring those batters, Barnes allowed four hits and five runs, and yielded home runs to James Loney and Matt Joyce. Then he packed his bags.

Langwell is the fourth player from Cleveland's 2008 draft class to reach the majors with the club, joining Lonnie Chisenhall, Cord Phelps, and Zach Putnam. Unlike those players, Langwell was not an early-round pick. He went in the 11th round and moved to the bullpen after his first pro season. There's not a ton of upside here. Langwell features a low-90s fastball with a decent slider, but his walk and groundball rates are middling—he's also 27, though age matters less for relievers. Still, it's a win if he can hang on for a few years as a middle reliever.

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Activated 1B-S Mark Teixeira and 3B-R Kevin Youkilis from the 60- and 15-day disabled lists. [5/31]

Optioned RHP Ivan Nova and LHP Vidal Nuno to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre [5/31]

The Yankees get two big names back with one more returning this week. In Teixeira's absence, Lyle Overbay performed about as well as Lyle Overbay can perform. The same cannot be said for the third base alternatives, though David Adams probably won some fans for his efforts. Look for a member of the Yankees' five-man bench to get the heave-ho on Monday in order to make room for Andy Pettitte. Which member, one might ask. It's tough to say. New York could opt to keep Overbay for depth purposes, likewise with Reid Brignac, or they could ditch one of those two and keep Brennan Boesch and the aforementioned Adams around instead.

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of RHP Jeremy Bonderman from Triple-A Tacoma. [6/2]

Placed 1B-S Justin Smoak on the 15-day disabled list [6/2]

Designated 3B-R Vincent Catricala for assignment. [6/2]

Bonderman's return to the majors on Sunday capped his two-plus-years-long comeback efforts. His subsequent performance against the Twins left a lot be desired. That's not a surprise, either, given he averaged 4.7 strikeouts per nine in Triple-A. Bonderman maxed out at 93 mph and kept the ball down in the zone. However, his stuff isn't good enough to miss bats, and he showed no interest in pitching inside against lefties. As a result, left-handed batters were able to eliminate a chunk of the plate and look away, away, away. Sure enough, two batters hit opposite-field home runs in pitcher's counts on balls away from them. It's a nice story but if Sunday is any indication this won't be a prolonged stay.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Outrighted LHP Ricky Romero from the 40-man roster. [6/1]

Selected the contract of RHP Ramon Ortiz from Triple-A Buffalo. [6/1]

Recalled RHP Mickey Storey from Triple-A Buffalo. [6/1]

Optioned RHP Chad Jenkins to Triple-A Buffalo. [6/1]

Placed RHP Brandon Morrow on the 15-day disabled list. [6/1]

Romero pitched four times in the minors after his early-May demotion. In those four appearances he completed 13 innings, allowed 23 hits and 21 runs, walked 20 batters, and fanned three. The physical conflict is apparent: Romero cannot find his release point consistently. The mental side is hidden by flesh and bones and pride. Is success without confidence possible—is it sustainable? This isn't Romero's first tussle with potential confidence issues; here's hoping it is his last. In the interim, the outright assignment means Romero passed through waivers and is no longer on the 40-man roster.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed RHP Brandon McCarthy on the 15-day disabled list. [6/1]

Recalled RHP Randall Delgado from Triple-A Reno. [6/1]

McCarthy heads to the DL with right shoulder inflammation. Don't expect Delgado to take his spot in the rotation, however, as early indications are that Tyler Skaggs will do so. Look for Delgado, who the D'Backs acquired in the Justin Upton trade, to pitch out of the bullpen. Armed with a good fastball-changeup combination, Delgado has the ingredients to succeed in short spurts. Plus he's struggled in Triple-A so getting some big-league success under his belt may help right the ship.

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated RHP Alex Burnett for assignment. [6/1]

Selected the contract of RHP Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa. [6/1]

Placed RHP Rafael Dolis on the 15-day disabled list. [6/1]

These three know all about filling up transaction logs. Burnett is heading for the waiver wire for the fourth time this season. Dolis was on his third recall of the season before straining his forearm. Then there's Parker, a catcher-turned-pitcher with heat and command issues, who continues to leap on and off Chicago's 40-man roster every few months. A guess: these three will pop up a few more times in this column before season's end.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Released RHP Chad Durbin. [5/31]

Recalled LHP Joe Savery from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. [5/31]

As bad as Durbin's numbers are, they don't tell the entire story. He inherited 17 runners this season and allowed nine of them to score. During Durbin's first tour in Philadelphia he allowed 29 of 103 inherited runners to score. There's a realistic chance this is the end of the road for Durbin. If it is, then he finished better than he started in more than one way. He posted a career ERA+ of 83 through his 30th birthday. He then joined the Phillies and moved into the bullpen. From that point forward his ERA+ is an even 100. Success is what you make it. Durbin succeeded by five-plus seasons more than he should have.

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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