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June 27, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Chris Crossed

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Activated RHP Clay Buchholz from the 15-day disabled list (left knee); designated LHP Chris Capuano for assignment. [6/25]

Capuano pitched worse in each month. His April included 14 shutout innings, in which he fanned 13 more batters than he walked. Then came May, when Capuano allowed 22 baserunners and seven runs in 13 innings. June was, as promised, the worst of the bunch: he yielded 14 hits and 10 runs while recording just 12 outs. Capuano was a low-cost vet signing whose strong peripherals made him worth a look. It didn't work out—not after the first month, at least—but that's okay. The Red Sox will slide Felix Doubront into Capuano's role.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated LHP Scott Downs for assignment; recalled LHP Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Charlotte. [6/26]

Here's some symmetry: the 38-year-old Downs appeared 38 times for the White Sox. That was enough, Rick Hahn decided, and so he released Downs before his 2015 option could vest with 55 appearances. Don't expect an investigation or grievance from the union: Downs' overall numbers were a mess. He walked 15 batters and allowed 24 hits in 23 2/3 innings. There are two positives to be found. One, he generated a groundball rate nearing 60 percent. Two, he held lefties to a .224 batting average. Another team—one without $4.25 million on the line—will give Downs a shot to see if he can serve as a useful left-handed specialist.

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of 1B-L Carlos Pena from Triple-A Round Rock; designated 1B-L Brad Snyder for assignment. [6/24]

After losing Mitch Moreland to the disabled list, the Rangers turned to a Snyder-Donnie Murphy platoon at the cold corner. It took Jon Daniels two weeks to tire of the arrangement, which is about a week longer than expected. Because injuries have left the Rangers shorthanded, Daniels had precious other choices than to call upon Pena, who hasn't had an above-average offensive season since 2011. Whereas Pena used to bop and walk his way to respectable numbers, his ISOs the past two years have underwhelmed, leaving him cast as the old guy with the oversized strikeout rate. On the bright side: with Pena around, Rangers writers will have good reason to reminisce about the 1998 draft.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of OF-R Brad Glenn from Triple-A Buffalo; designated UTL-R Jonathan Diaz for assignment. [6/25]

From one org player to another. Glenn is a 27-year-old outfielder-slash-first baseman who has split the season between Double- and Triple-A. The minor-league numbers are solid, as you might suspect, yet there isn't a ton of physical projection here. Glenn does have some power in his bat, but he's also fanned about a quarter of the time in the minors. His current job, a bat off the bench designed to hit lefties, is about as good as it's going to get for him.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of LHP Yohan Flande from Triple-A Colorado Springs; placed RHP Christian Bergman on the 60-day disabled list (fractured hand). [6/25]

If you had never heard of Flande—and rest assured, there's no reason you should have—then you might have been caught by surprise when he started Wednesday's game for the Rockies. Flande, formerly a farmhand with the Phillies and Braves, is a thin southpaw with limited utility. His fastball sits around 90 mph and he has a history of coercing groundballs. The rest of his package is limited, however, leaving him without so much as impressive minor-league numbers. On a related note: Colorado now has five starting pitchers on the disabled list, which explains why Flande is in the majors to begin with.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Outrighted OF-R Jose Tabata to Triple-A Indianapolis. [6/24]

A reminder that not all team-friendly extensions work out. When the Pirates signed Tabata in late 2011, to a six-year deal worth $15 million guaranteed, we warned about his age- and injury-related concerns. Still, we concluded: "Even with the question marks, Tabata does not have to blossom further in order to make this a profitable deal for the Pirates." He did miss some time due to various ailments, but that's not what sunk his value; two bad offensive seasons in three tries did. Factor in that the Pirates have two of the league's more exciting young outfielders, in Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, and perhaps Tabata's removal from the depth chart isn't too surprising after all. The good news for Tabata? He's due at least $8.75 million over the next two seasons, regardless of where he plays.

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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