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June 21, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Cheery Os

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Recalled LHP Joe Ortiz, C-R Robinson Chirinos from Triple-A Round Rock. [6/18]

Optioned 1B-L Chris McGuiness to Triple-A Round Rock. [6/18]

Placed UTL-R Jeff Baker on the 15-day disabled list. [6/18]

Rangers fans will remember Ortiz and Chirinos from big-league stints earlier this season. Ortiz is a small southpaw who showed a three-pitch mix—including a low-90s fastball—and worked two-plus innings in seven of his first 21 outings. Chirinos is an interesting case as well. He's an infielder-turned-catcher who has played some first and third base since joining Texas. If Chirinos sticks on a bench—and his versatility improves his chances—it'll be because of his bat. Look for the Rangers to make another roster move to add Mitch Moreland on Friday. Until then they'll operate with a three-man bench.

McGuiness, whom the Indians picked in last winter's Rule 5 draft before returning him in the spring, is known for his numbers more than his tools. His best attributes are his approach and strike-zone management, and he also offers some pop. However, there are questions about his hit tool, especially against good pitching. Those concerns popped up during his 34 big-league plate appearances, as he struggled to make contact. McGuiness' best-case scenario is becoming a bench bat.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Purchased the contract of RHP Roy Oswalt from Double-A Tulsa. [6/20]

Designated RHP Chris Volstad for assignment. [6/20]

Optioned LHP Jeff Francis to Triple-A Colorado Springs. [6/20]

Acquired RHP Collin McHugh from the Mets for OF-S Eric Young Jr.; optioned him to Double-A Tulsa. [6/19]

The Rockies swap Francis for Oswalt, as expected. Can the 35-year-old still succeed in the majors? It's a good question. He didn't do well last year with the Rangers, though he did manage good strikeout and walk rates. At the same time he's pitched well in the minors this season—of course it would be more notable if a big-league veteran of more than 2,200 innings couldn't get minor-league hitters out. Either way, Francis set the bar low, so Oswalt figures to get a few times through the rotation to prove his worth.

Two players designated for assignment earlier in the week swap spots. Young is the winner because he gets to stay in the majors. McHugh, on the other hand, is back in Double-A. The exact reason why Colorado skipped him by Triple-A is unclear, though it could be to protect him from the PCL, or simply to replace Oswalt. Whatever the cause, McHugh remains a control-and-command right-hander with a deep, if thin, arsenal and some wits. He's perfect organizational depth.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-S Eric Young Jr. from the Rockies for RHP Collin McHugh. [6/19]

Designated OF-R Collin Cowgill for assignment. [6/19]

Young led off and played center in his first game with the Mets, much like Cowgill did. The Mets hope the similarities end there, as Cowgill entered a massive slump after a solid Opening Day performance. He now finds himself on the outs with his third organization. Perhaps another team will take a flyer on Cowgill; if not he'll be in the PCL again. Meanwhile, Young is fast and versatile. He makes more sense coming off the bench than starting every day, but you can forgive the rebuilding Mets for giving him a look.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
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Optioned 2B-S Danny Espinosa to Triple-A Syracuse. [6/19]

So continues a rough season for Espinosa, who's dealt with shoulder and wrist issues throughout the year. Predictably, his numbers were poor. The Nationals sent him to the minors in order for him to get his swing right. Despite what you might think, Espinosa is embracing the trip, citing the freedom allowed by the minors' development-over-winning mindset. Once Espinosa is ready to return the Nationals will have an interesting decision to make. Espinosa is more talented than the typical bench player, yet it seems unlikely that Washington would demote Anthony Rendon if he continues to prove he belongs. If the Nationals make Espinosa available in trade expect other teams to line up for his services.

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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