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August 7, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Drop, Drop, Drop it Like it's Hawpe

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Released OF/1B-L Brad Hawpe. [8/4]

Hawpe's descent doesn't get enough attention. He entered the 2010 season as a 30-year-old with four seasons in a row with a True Average of .280 or better. Yet Hawpe never checked in as a above-average hitter again. He bounced from place to place—Tampa Bay, San Diego, Texas, Pittsburgh, and Anaheim—and failed to recapture his stroke along the way. He's now 34, four seasons removed from his last good effort, and perhaps knowing that he's played in his final big-league game. Blame it on the injuries, or on Coors Field. Whatever the cause, it turned a very good hitter into an afterthought in a short period of time.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed OF-R Desmond Jennings on the 15-day disabled list (fractured finger). [8/6]

Purchased the contract of OF-R Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Durham. [8/6]

Two broken fingers precipitated Bourgeois' return in the majors: one suffered by Jennings over the weekend, another by Brandon Guyer—the ostensible next man up—a week earlier. In the past, Bourgeois has played for the Brewers, Astros, and Royals. His game remains mostly the same—as does his dinky stature—in that he's contact and speed orientated. He's a slasher and those often work better in the minors—with less-talented defenses and worse playing conditions—than the majors. The Rays are hoping Jennings can return when his allotted DL time is over. Until then expect Joe Maddon to use some combination of Sam Fuld and Bourgeois in center.

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated INF-R Adam Rosales for assignment. [8/5]

Purchased the contract of OF-R Joey Butler from Triple-A Round Rock. [8/5]

Rosales' time in Texas ends without him appearing in a game. There's a possibility he'll head to another big-league city soon as a versatile veteran with some power in his bat and arm. Rosales makes up for a lack of production with high-energy acts, and makes it a point to run the bases hard after home runs. He's not a great talent, nor a player a team bends backward to keep around, but some team may find the enthusiasm and passable utility infielder package worth the roster spot.

The 27-year-old Butler has always been more of an organizational player than a legitimate prospect. Still, Nelson Cruz's suspension has opened the door for a big-league shot. Butler's minor-league numbers are solid, yet it's not a given that his bat will play against better stuff. He doesn't offer a lot of defensive value, either, so he'll need to hit to be more than this week's feel-good story.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated LHP Tony Sipp for assignment; optioned to Triple-A Reno. [8/4]

Last week the Diamondbacks acquired Joe Thatcher, and faced the possibility of employing three left-handed relievers. Not anymore. Sipp came to Arizona, in the three-team trade that sent Trevor Bauer packing, as a veteran southpaw with more funk than stuff. His numbers against lefties this season have been the worst of his career, and his efforts versus righties were not enough to spare him. Arizona still saw him as the low man on the totem pole with Thatcher in place and Matt Reynolds on his way back. Whether Sipp gets another extended shot in Arizona is to be determined. He's a lefty with a heartbeat, however, and he'll have a good chance to pitch in the majors until one of those things is no longer true.

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed OF-R Thomas Neal off waivers from the Yankees. [8/5]

Transferred RHP Rafael Dolis to the 60-day disabled list (forearm strain). [8/5]

Another right-handed outfielder finds asylum in Chicago. Neal is a former well-regarded prospect who, nearing his 26th birthday, is teetering between extra outfielder and career up-and-down player. The Cubs have a full outfield at the moment, with David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz starting against lefties, Junior Lake playing daily, and Cole Gillespie slipping in against lefties. Neal's chances of playing enough to make an impression are unclear, as is his likelihood of making good on an opportunity.

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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<< Previous Article
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