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June 14, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Another Year of Chien-Ming Wang in Your LIfe

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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Acquired INF-R John McDonald from the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations. [6/10]

With Asdrubal Cabrera on the DL due to a strained quad, the Indians needed some help filling the shortstop void while maintaining a workable three-man bench. Thus McDonald. Now Mike Aviles can play shortstop and the Indians don't have to worry about what happens if he gets hurt. They can just slot McDonald in. It's not an ideal solution: McDonald isn't much of a hitter anymore, even by his reduced standards. But given the transaction cost it'll work. Plus there's some fun symmetry involved as the Indians were McDonald's first organization, having drafted him in 1996.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Chien-Ming Wang. [6/11]

Designated 3B-R Andy LaRoche for assignment. [6/11]

Wang signed with the Blue Jays in time to make a Tuesday night debut. He threw 7 1/3 innings while allowing five runs and 13 baserunners (including two home runs). The formula for success is obvious: Lots of groundballs, little to no walks, and some good fortune. Unfortunately, for Wang, the Jays have allowed the American League's fourth-highest average on groundballs. Are the struggles on the gloves, the arms, or a little of both? Wang hopes to stick around long enough to find out for himself.

LaRoche, of course, remains one of the bigger prospect busts from recent years. His stay with the Blue Jays ended after he appeared in one game and went 0-for-4. It'd be a surprise if he didn't clear waivers.

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Henry Rodriguez from the Nationals for RHP Ian Dickson. [6/12]

Designated RHP Eduardo Sanchez for assignment. [6/12]

Recalled LHP Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa. [6/12]

Placed RHP Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list. [6/12]

One upside play parts for another as the Cubs continue to gamble on good, flawed arms in a search for some gems. Sanchez appeared in six games at Triple-A but failed to impress, so he's off the 40-man roster in favor of Rodriguez. The 26-year-old has ridiculous arm strength, evidenced by his elite velocity and arm-heavy mechanics, and nearly as ridiculous control problems. He'll need to sharpen the finesse portion of his game in order to rise above middle reliever slash side project. If Rodriguez fails to harness his pitches then the Cubs will dump him in favor of the next upside play.

For the right to tinker with Rodriguez the Cubs gave up Dickson, their 35th-round pick in the 2011 draft. Dickson, who turns 23 in September, has worked out of the bullpen in the Midwest League this season.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated OF-S Eric Young for assignment. [6/12]

Recalled RHP Chris Volstad from Triple-A Colorado Springs. [6/12]

Another member of the Rockies' Opening Day roster bites the dust, joining Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac. Young Jr. is a fast runner and a somewhat versatile defender—having played second base throughout his career. But, save for last season, Young never showed a capable offensive game. His raw numbers are unimpressive, doubly for someone who played their home games at Coors, and he's not young enough to dream about mass improvements. Still, Young might latch onto another team's bench, where his speed and flexibility make him an interesting situational piece.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed CF-R Cameron Maybin on the 15-day disabled list. [6/12]

Recalled OF-L Jaff Decker from Triple-A Tucson. [6/12]

Designated C-L John Baker for assignment. [6/10]

Maybin is the third Padres position player sent to the DL, joining Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko. In Maybin's place is Decker, who used to be a well-thought-of prospect within the system. Then injuries, as well as improved talent around him, lowered his stock. Decker remains an unathletic corner outfielder without a way of producing value beyond his bat. Even then, he hasn't hit for the power you'd like from that profile over the past two seasons.

It's rare to see a big-league catcher with an option remaining hit the waiver wire, but Baker just might. He's struggled offensively in recent seasons, despite looking like a solid platoon option earlier in his career. Baker's not much of a marksman, either, which limits his defensive value. There are worse third-catcher options out there, however, and it wouldn't be a shock to see another team stash him on the farm in case of an injury.

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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