June 17, 2014
Vance Like There's Nobody Watching
One tried-and-true method rebuilding general managers employ is acquiring former top prospects. The thought is these players still have potential, and might have seen their stock decline for reasons beyond their control. Rick Hahn has netted a few former top prospects in the past, but Taylor is a different cup of tea. He is a 28-year-old with just 81 big-league plate appearances to his name, and almost no success of which to brag about. The A's, a savvy group who have pulled the aforementioned stunt to great results before, snubbed Taylor at every turn in favor of external options. No organization is infallible, so perhaps he'll go on to have a better career than Oakland imagined. If that is to happen, expect Taylor to do it in a bench role. For the time being, he'll report to Triple-A.
Sanchez, by the way, is a 24-year-old former undrafted free agent who hasn't reached Double-A.
Signed RHP Jose Veras to a minor-league deal. [6/15]
When Veras signed with Chicago last December, Sam Miller wrote: "The Cubs didn’t find a trade match for lame duck closer Kevin Gregg last summer, but Veras has the potential to be a bit more than that." Or a bit less, as it turned out.
Veras appeared in 12 games with the Cubs, in which he allowed 12 hits, yielded 12 runs, and walked 11 batters; he also struck out 13, adding to the near-symmetry. Now, following his release from the Cubs, Veras returns to the Astros, with whom he had a good deal of success in 2013. First he'll head to the complex, where he'll be poked and prodded by the club's instructors, then off to some minor-league level for a little in-game work. After that, expect to see Veras become the latest discarded veteran to join the Astros bullpen.
Claimed RHP Angel Sanchez off waivers from the Marlins. [6/13]
Andrew Friedman doesn't often have a high waiver priority, but over the weekend he took advantage of the unusual circumstances by grabbing a live arm. Sanchez, last seen in these parts about a year ago, when he was included in the Ricky Nolasco trade, has a chance to become a no. 4 starter. The standout in his arsenal is a low-90s fastball that can touch the mid-90s, though both his secondary pitches could settle as average offerings. Whether Sanchez remains in the rotation could hinge on his command and his team's belief in his smallish stature handling a big-league workload. Should starting fail, he ought to find a home in middle relief. Sanchez will report to Tampa Bay's Double-A affiliate.
You had a feeling Taylor might be the player to be named later in the Davis trade. Taylor, the Pirates' second-round pick in the 2013 draft, is a projectable southpaw who in time could develop into a middle-of-the-rotation starter. That description, the last part at least, is what the Mets were after all along: they wanted an arm—preferably a southpaw—who could potentially mature into an above-average starter. Sandy Alderson got just that, albeit in a younger package, so you have to tip your cap; the prolonged, tiresome Ike Davis saga just might be worth it for the Mets in the end.
The Vanimal returns. There was a time not too long ago when Worley looked like a worthwhile no. 4 type. He was then traded to Minnesota, where he was miscast as the club's opening day starter. Worley struggled during his time with the Twins, causing Terry Ryan to shun him from the 40-man roster during the spring. The Pirates grabbed Worley and stored him in the minors. With Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano on the mend, Worley finds himself back in the majors. His first start in black and gold came against the Marlins, and he pitched well: seven innings, five hits, no runs, no walks, and five strikeouts against the Marlins. It's too early to say he's fixed or back to respectability, but if that comes to pass, he'll be a cost efficient back-end option for the Pirates heading forward.