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July 12, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Ailing Giants Seek the 'Coeur

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Released RHP Shawn Camp. [7/9]

Camp is 37 years old, and while he's likely to find another gig, his career is closer to its end than not. That's good enough reason to reflect on what he accomplished. He broke into the majors in 2004 and threw 66 2/3 solid innings with the Royals, earning himself a leash. He then spent the next few years pulling the leash as thin as he could: From 2005 to 2007 he threw 164 innings and posted a 78 ERA+. Yet Camp kept finding work because of his peripherals and groundball rate. Sure enough, Toronto got a few years of decent production, and the Cubs liked Camp's work in 2012 enough to re-sign him. Now he's on the open market. Batters weren't expanding their zone for Camp as often as they did in the past, which may indicate his tricks are about figured. Of course, nobody would've bet on Camp lasting as long as he did, so who knows. Maybe he's got another few years in him.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Mitchell Boggs from the Cardinals for International Bonus Slot 4. [7/9]

Designated RHP Joe Gardner for assignment. [7/9]

Here's a nice gamble for the Rockies. Prior to this season Boggs looked on his way to becoming one of the top set-up men in the National League. He's battled his mechanics all year, however, and hasn't found success regardless of the level. The Rockies are putting about $200,000 in international spending money on the line in order to get their hands on him, which is more than an outright waiver claim, though not enough to sink their own international efforts. If they can straighten out his mechanical (and possibly confidence) issues, then they have a quality reliever under team control for a few more seasons. If not, it was worth the effort.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated RHP Brandon Lyon for assignment. [7/9]

When the Mets signed Lyon it looked like a prudent move. They were getting a veteran arm with recent success on a cheap one-year deal. Through the early portion of June, Lyon lived up to some of the billing. He entered June 12 with three strikeouts per walk issued and a 3.12 ERA; his strikeout rate underwhelmed but he seemed to be getting along okay. Lyon made eight more appearances for the Mets and allowed 17 hits, walked three more than he struck out, and raised his ERA to 4.98. Is it a bad stretch or the beginning of the end? The Mets weren't interested in finding out. This is a world where Kevin Gregg could go from unemployable to trade deadline asset, though, so expect Lyon to get another chance.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed OF-R Jeff Francoeur to a minor-league deal. [7/9]

This might work. Francoeur, for all his faults, has still managed a .774 OPS against lefties since 2011. Nothing against Kensuke Tanaka, who is the Giants' reserve right-handed outfielder right now, but Francoeur figures to be an improvement there. In order for it to work, Bruce Bochy needs to buy into the idea that Francoeur is a platoon outfielder. And so too must Francoeur. He has to understand his big-league chances are running out. Perhaps spending a few days, weeks, whatever in the minors will help. Right now his ability to hit left-handed pitching is his most marketable attribute, and going forward it could prove vital for him if he wants to hang around the majors beyond short stints here or there.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Released INF-R Ty Wigginton. [7/9]

Recalled C-R Rob Johnson from Triple-A Memphis. [7/9]

Acquired International Bonus Slot 4 from the Rockies for RHP Mitchell Boggs. [7/9]

A rare step by the usually unerring Cardinals. Wigginton signed a two-year deal, worth $5 million, this winter to serve as a bench bat. Although his recent history suggested he'd be okay, Wigginton looked miserable at the plate, and struggled to make contact. Sometimes this happens with players in their mid-30s. Still, look for another team to sign Wigginton to a minor-league deal with the same design as the Cardinals. Just don't expect it to be a multi-year deal worth $5 million.

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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