April 25, 2014
Recalled RHP Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket; optioned OF-S Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket. [4/23]
More and more these days teams are willing to use the one-and-gone trick with relievers when they have another roster move on deck. In this case, the Red Sox were going to demote Nava and activate Victorino. They chose to do half the move a day early, thus gaining use of a spare arm.
Nava has been horrendous this season, but not much worse than Mike Carp, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Grady Sizemore. The Red Sox like Bradley's glove enough to keep him around despite his offensive shortcomings, which left Carp and Sizemore as Nava's main competition. In the end, it came down to circumstances. Carp is without options and the Red Sox seem unwilling to send Sizemore to the farm. That meant Nava, who should return in due time, will head to the farm. Considering his backstory, this demotion is a minor setback.
Placed LHP Chris Sale on the 15-day disabled list (strained muscle); recalled LHP Charlie Leesman from Triple-A Charlotte. [4/22]
Leesman started for the White Sox on Tuesday. He allowed six runs, nine hits, and a walk before departing the game in the third inning. Now Leesman leaves the 25-man roster in exchange for Beckham, who ought to resume his role as the everyday second baseman. The White Sox will proceed with a shorthanded pitching staff until Sunday, when they'll (presumably) bring up Dylan Axelrod. At that point, Jordan Danks sees like the obvious demotion candidate. Both Adam Eaton and Conor Gillaspie are dealing with minor injuries, though, so a DL stint could be forthcoming.
Claimed CF-R Kenny Wilson off waivers from the Blue Jays. [4/24]
There was a time when Fuld joining the Twins would have elicited wisecracks. Minnesota's roster used to be drowned in these small, slappy types, but not any longer. Fuld has his uses beyond his (often weak) contact, of course. He's a talented baserunner and defender, quick and heady, who excels at taking the extra base and returning the ball to the infield in a hurry. Previously the Twins had designs on using Jason Bartlett as their backup center fielder. Fuld is an upgrade, and a cheap one at that.
Wilson is a former second-round pick whose tools, including his plus-plus speed, are underutilized due to lackluster offensive skills. In fewer words: he can't hit. Wilson, 24, has started his second stint at Double-A in a 13-for-62 slump, complete with 18 strikeouts and zero walks. The speed is enticing, and could land him a Joey Gathright-like pinch-runner role in the future. For now, he'll try to reach Triple-A.
Purchased the contract of OF-R Cole Gillespie from Triple-A Tacoma. [4/24]
At some point you have to ask what Seattle's plans are for Nick Franklin. The Mariners administered a competition during the spring between Franklin and Brad Miller for the starting shortstop job; Franklin lost and was sent to Tacoma after a trade failed to materialize. He split his reps between second base and shortstop and hit well enough to earn a promotion, yet the Mariners used him in a foreign manner. In addition to his middle infield duties, Franklin saw his first in-season experience at third base and in the outfield. Unsurprisingly, his bat disappointed.
Now Franklin returns to the minors—this time for a journeyman outfielder with limited big-league success—and his standing with Seattle has become more obscured. If the Mariners wanted Franklin to ignite the offense, then why move him off his familiar positions—and if the intent was to use him in a super-sub capacity, then why was he not introduced to that role during his time in the minors? There are other questions to ask; like, say, would he receive another crack at shortstop should Miller continue to slump? No matter the resolution here, we're unlikely to feel better about the journey.
Ramirez, meanwhile, heads to the minors after five unimpressive starts. His most recent outing entailed allowing multiple home runs versus the Astros, yet he still posted his second-best Game Score of the season. The good news, or as good as a move demoting a troubled youngster can get, is that Hishashi Iwakuma should be near his return. Look for Ramirez to start one of the games on May 7, when the Mariners play a doubleheader against the Athletics.
Robertson is a nice story with limited upside. Formerly a 33rd-round pick from Oregon State University, the 28-year-old undersized outfielder has been old for his league at nearly every stop. Yet Robertson has continued to hit, including career .295/.371/.394 marks at Triple-A, and he can play each outfield position. The problem with these types is they often find the bat knocked from their hands against big-league velocity. Maybe Robertson is the exception. The Padres seemed to think not.
Claimed OF-R Darin Mastroianni off waivers from the Twins; designated CF-R Kenny Wilson for assignment. [4/22]
Mastroianni returns to the club that drafted him. He left the Blue Jays when he was claimed off waivers by the Twins in 2012, and went on to have an okay season. The New York native provides value with his on-base skills and speed, though he fans too often for someone with such meager power. Mastroianni fractured his ankle last season, which caused him to miss a large chunk of the campaign; he never regained his role with the Twins, and now his best shot at a meaningful big-league season is hoping the Jays grow tired of Moises Sierra. He profiles as an extra outfielder.
Capps was acquired in the Logan Morrison trade. The big right-hander has curious mechanics, including a closed landing and deceptive arm action, to go along with his mid-90s fastball and slider. He's missed bats and the plate with regularity in the majors, and last season he allowed nearly two home runs per nine. If the 23-year-old Capps improves upon his location, then he could take on a high-leverage role. For now, he's likely to pitch in middle relief.
Like the Red Sox, the Pirates leveraged their impending call-up to gain an extra relief arm. Wandy Rodriguez's knee injury necessitated another starter, and the solid, if unspectacular Cumpton gets the call. The Georgia Tech attendee impressed in his debut last season, striking out more than four batters per walk over a 30-inning stint. Realistically, he's not that good. Cumpton employs a low-90s sinker and a few average secondary offerings. He ought to carve out a career as a no. 4 type, albeit one whose raw numbers benefit from PNC Park and the Pirates' defense.