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September 18, 2013

Transaction Analysis

McDonald's Grimace

by Mark Anderson and R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated INF-S Wilson Betemit for assignment. [9/16]

Betemit, who needed 342 plate appearances for his $3.2 million option to vest, instead finished with 10 thanks to a knee injury and a short leash. A nominal switch-hitter, Betemit's positive offensive value stems from his work against right-handed pitchers, as he's hit .297/.355/.492 against them since 2011. Lefties find him harmless, which should prompt his next manager to micromanage his usage. Likewise, Betemit is more limited defensively than his experience at the infield corners suggest. Even so, don't be surprised if a team brings him in as a platoon DH or pinch-hitter. Betemit can add value to a team, just not as much as his profile suggests. - R.J. Anderson

HOUSTON ASTROS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP David Paulino from the Tigers to complete the Jose Veras trade. [9/13]

Paulino is an intriguing Dominican arm that would be even more interesting if he hadn't just gone under the knife for Tommy John surgery this summer. Prior to his injury, Paulino was making noise in the GCL by consistently pumping fastballs in the 92-94 mph range and touching 96 regularly. Both his curveball and changeup are works in progress, but scouts noted the potential of the breaking ball to settle in the plus range down the line. Much like his cousin, Tigers prospect Brenny Paulino, David has plenty of projection in his 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame. If he comes back clean from surgery, Paulino could be an intriguing name to watch in the Astros system. - Mark Anderson

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed RHP Jose De La Torre off waivers from the Red Sox. [9/13]

In recent years, the Brewers have unearthed useful relievers from various lands, including a pair of independent league finds in Jim Henderson and Brandon Kintzler. De La Torre, though not as sneaky, could be the next productive addition. The small right-hander works with a four-pitch mix: two low-90s fastballs, a slider, and a changeup; pitches good enough to miss bats within the zone and cause batters to fish outside the zone. Hamstringing De La Torre are consistent location problems, evidenced by unsightly walk rates throughout his career. If the Brewers can help the native Puerto Rican harness his stuff then he might improve from an up-and-down type to a useful middle reliever. - R.J. Anderson

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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RHP James McDonald elected free agency. [9/14]

The Pirates activated McDonald from the disabled list (strained shoulder) then designated him for assignment. Because the right-hander has three-plus years of service time, he was able to refuse an outright assignment and become a free agent instead. How the market values McDonald should be interesting. On one hand, he's flashed middle-of-the-rotation ability in the past. On the other, he's coming off a miserable season and has dealt with durability concerns the past three years. Perhaps a team signs McDonald and puts him and his big breaking ball in the bullpen. - R.J. Anderson

Mark Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mark's other articles. You can contact Mark by clicking here
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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