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June 11, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Going Down 'hill

by 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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Purchased the contract of RHP Josh Stinson from Triple-A Norfolk; optioned RHP Brad Brach to Triple-A Norfolk; transferred LHP Johan Santana to the 60-day disabled list. [6/9]

A torn Achilles tendon ends Santana's season. It's another setback for a pitcher who has grown accustomed to them. The 35-year-old southpaw has now gone without throwing a big-league pitch in three of the past four seasons. There's no word on whether Santana will try another comeback attempt in 2015, but you'd like to think he will, even if the odds of a success are growing slimmer by the day. His career deserves to finish on a happier note.

Stinson rejoins the O's 40-man roster, just a month after being outrighted from it. The right-hander has bounced around the league a bit, from New York to Milwaukee to Oakland to Baltimore, all without proving he can avoid the long ball enough to be an effective middle reliever. Expect to see Stinson, who is only around to help an overworked bullpen, sent back to the minors in short order.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
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Recalled LHP Donnie Joseph from Triple-A Omaha; optioned RHP Wilking Rodriguez to Triple-A Omaha. [6/9]

Joseph's promotion leaves the Royals with as many lefty relievers as bench players (three). Ned Yost's explanation for the move centered on Kansas City's two-game set against the Indians, and the need to match up with Cleveland's talented left-handed hitters. Fair enough. Joseph, who was acquired in the forgotten Jonathan Broxton trade, has enough swing-and-miss stuff from the left side to profile as a specialist. Alas, he misses the zone with enough regularity to keep him from that upside. The Royals have tinkered with his mechanics in the past without seeing much improvement, which means third lefty describes Joseph in more than one way.

Rodriguez, once a well-regarded starting pitching prospect for the Rays, made his big-league debut last week in relief. Injuries derailed his hopes of making it as a starter, yet the Royals signed him during the winter and shifted him to the bullpen. He showed a mid-90s fastball (albeit of the straight variety) and two inconsistent secondary offerings during his pair of appearances. Rodriguez's location is worse than his minor-league numbers suggest, as he's loose within the zone, and his durability remains under investigation. Still, for a minor-league signing, the Royals could have done worse.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
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Recalled RHP Will Harris from Triple-A Reno; activated RHP J.J. Putz from the 15-day disabled list (forearm tightness); placed 3B-L Eric Chavez on the 15-day disabled list (sprained knee); designated RHP Trevor Cahill for assignment. [6/9]

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Cahill will pass through waivers untouched. He is owed more than $12 million over the next few seasons, through salary and buyouts, and that's without including what's left of his 2014 payments. Once he does, the onetime Athletic will head to the minors and work on returning to the rotation. And why not? Shy of outright releasing Cahill, the D-Backs have few other real options. Why shouldn't they try everything underneath the sun and the moons to get him into shape? At worst he remains a sunk cost, at best he turns into a usable pitcher again.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Purchased the contract of RHP Christian Bergman from Triple-A Colorado Springs; recalled RHP Chad Bettis from Triple-A Colorado Springs; placed RHP Eddie Butler (rotator cuff inflammation) and RF-R Michael Cuddyer (shoulder strain) on the 15-day disabled list; designated RHP Wilton Lopez for assignment. [6/9]

Bergman, a former 24th-round pick, made his first big-league start on Monday night in place of the injured Jordan Lyles. He threw six innings of two-run ball against the Braves. The Cal Irvine product profiles as a back-end type thanks to a varied arsenal, headed by a low-90s fastball, and quality control. Without generalizing too much, Bergman looks exactly like what you would expect from a California kid living in Colorado:

While Bergman enjoys the zenith of his career, Lopez endures the low point of his. The erstwhile Astro has spent of the season in the minors, where he continued to show excellent control. Unfortunately his stuff, never overpowering, is no longer good enough to miss bats. Some team in need of bullpen help could claim Lopez with the idea that getting him away from Colorado's thin air will help. It might work; it probably won't.

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

Related Content:  Trevor Cahill

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Pebble Hunting: Throwi... (06/11)
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