CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (06/27)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (07/07)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/02)

July 2, 2014

Transaction Analysis

A Closer Swap with Thee

by R.J. Anderson

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired RHP Jason Grilli from the Pirates in exchange for RHP Ernesto Frieri. [6/27]

We have ourselves a challenge trade.

Through some eyes, Jerry Dipoto committed a few cardinal sins with this swap. He traded young for old, years of control for months of control, and cheap for a little more expensive. Yet, if you watched Grilli's first few appearances with L.A.A., then you understand why Dipoto made the deal. Grilli's stuff remains quality: his fastball touches the mid-90s and has arm-side boogie, and his confidence in his slider enables him to throw the pitch whenever against whomever. If you didn't know any better, you'd think he could be a useful late-inning reliever right now.

And maybe Grilli can be. Granted there are numbers of both the rate—he's throwing fewer strikes and missing fewer bats—and counting variety—his home run, earned run, and walk totals from this season nearly match last year's in less than half as many innings—working against him. But the Angels aren't betting on Grilli returning to form. What they're betting on is that he's more likely to do so than Frieri over the course of the season. Is it myopic to do so? Maybe. Though given the volatility of non-elite relievers, as well as the amount of talented young bullpen arms in the system, it's not a deal that Dipoto is likely to regret.

HOUSTON ASTROS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Designated RHP Jerome Williams for assignment; optioned INF-S Jonathan Villar to Triple-A Oklahoma City. [6/30]

Williams becomes the third pitcher to work the ninth inning in a save situation days before he was designated for assignment, at least according to an unofficial count. In Williams' defense, he never belonged in that situation. He did, as the Astros wanted, throw strikes and coerce groundballs. What he did not—or could not—do was keep runs off the board. Williams hadn't pitched back-to-back clean outings since mid-April. His improved strikeout rate aside, there's no reason to fancy him as more than a low-leverage reliever on a team that is unconcerned about wins and losses.

By comparison, the Villar demotion is surprising. The Astros will presumably turn to Marwin Gonzalez as their everyday shortstop. Enrique Hernandez, who is expected to be called up on Tuesday, could fill in there, too—though he lacks the required arm strength and profiles as more of a super-sub type. In addition to Hernandez, the Astros will bring outfield Domingo Santana and pitcher Kevin Chapman to the majors. Santana is a surprise addition, in part because Jeff Luhnow dismissed the possibility a few days ago. He's going to strike out, a lot, but adds more pop to the Astros lineup.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed DH-L Raul Ibanez; designated INF-R Pedro Ciriaco and OF-R Justin Maxwell for assignment; recalled INF-R Christian Colon from Triple-A Omaha. [6/30]

Dayton Moore alters his bench. There's no reason to think Ibanez—released by the Angels last week after an unsatisfying run as their DH—or Colon—a former fourth-overall pick—will give Kansas City a huge boost. Still, look at who they're replacing. For as bad as Ibanez was in L.A., his numbers trump what Maxwell did this year in Kansas City. Colon is a disappointment relative to where he was drafted, yet it's hard to envision him being worse than Ciriaco has been over the past two years. Yes, this is faint praise. Doesn't matter; marginal upgrades are worth making.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Placed SS-R Chris Owings on the 15-day disabled list (strained shoulder); purchased the contract of SS-R Nick Ahmed from Triple-A Reno; transferred 3B-L Eric Chavez to the 60-day disabled list; acquired INF-R Ronny Cedeno from the Phillies in exchange for C-S Raywilly Gomez; optioned Cedeno to Triple-A Reno. [6/29]

Ahmed, 24, was acquired in the Justin Upton trade. While his bat hasn't developed like the Braves hoped it would, back when they drafted him in the second round a few years ago, he should have a big-league future in a utility role. Ahmed possesses a strong arm and enough speed to play on the left side of the infield. His bat isn't as well-regarded, as neither his hit nor power grade out as average tools, and his grinder mentality isn't considered enough to overcome those shortcomings. Expect Ahmed to get some playing time in Owings' absence, with an eye on claiming a reserve role in the future.

The Cedeno trade serves two purposes: 1) to add a layer of organizational depth, in case of another injury, and 2) to alert the world that there's a player named Raywilly.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired RHP Ernesto Frieri from the Angels in exchange for RHP Jason Grilli [6/27].

The comparison to make here, which some, including Travis Sawchick, have already made in a convincing manner, is to the Joel Hanrahan-Mark Melancon trade of two winters ago. The Pirates were getting a younger, less-established pitcher for an older, seemingly safer veteran type. That deal was considered fair at the time: the Pirates were losing in the short run to gain over time. Flash forward to the present and it looks like a rip-off. Nothing is in this sport is for certain.

That written, the odds of a sequel seem limited. While the statistical indicators suggest Frieri should improve, there's something to be said about the flaws in his game. The Pirates have become synonymous with sinkers, and you wonder if pitching coach Ray Searage will help his newest project add some wiggle to his relatively straight heater. As is, Frieri relies more on deception, velocity, and location than movement. Unsurprisingly he has struggled with the home-run ball, having allowed more than two per nine innings this season. Even the seeming positive in his peripherals—an improved walk rate—is a byproduct of getting hit around more so than him increasing his rate of strikes.

None of this necessarily precludes Frieri from becoming a useful reliever. It just means there's a little work to be done before he's as good as new. If Searage and the Pirates can tune Frieri just right, they could have a cheap, valuable arm through the 2016 season. To think it would've only cost them a rental.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Claimed UTL-S Irving Falu off waivers from the Brewers; optioned INF-L Jace Peterson to Triple-A El Paso. [6/29]

Falu had an eventful June: he celebrated his 31st birthday, mourned the sudden death of his mother, changed organizations, and returned to the majors. Despite the turbulence, his game remains the same. Falu is a competent singles hitter who rarely walks or strikes out. Such a limited profile restricts his offensive ceiling; the good news then, is that Peterson set a low roof by hitting .100 through 50 at-bats. When Falu's defensive versatility is factored in—he has experience across the infield and in the outfield—the overall package makes sense as a spare infielder on a non-competitive team.

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

5 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (06/27)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (07/07)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/02)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Rounders: Alligator Blood
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 30, 2015
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Cardinals Gather Moss
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Oh, the Price You Pay
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Load Up the Station Wa...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Rangers Go HAMels
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Houston is Hip to Gome...

MORE FROM JULY 2, 2014
Premium Article The Call-Up: Domingo Santana
Premium Article What You Need to Know: The A's Get Rick-Roll...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, July 2
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, July ...
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: Futures Team Meet and Gree...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Minor League Draft Pick V...
Daily League Strategy: A Bargain First Basem...

MORE BY R.J. ANDERSON
2014-07-10 - Premium Article Painting the Black: Book Review: The Art of ...
2014-07-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Good Old New York
2014-07-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Billy Beane Buys What ...
2014-07-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: A Closer Swap with The...
2014-06-30 - Painting the Black: The Trade Deadline Previ...
2014-06-27 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Chris Crossed
2014-06-25 - Premium Article Painting the Black: Red Sox Playing Badly, P...
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
2014-07-11 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: A Pierz to be Missing
2014-07-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Good Old New York
2014-07-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Billy Beane Buys What ...
2014-07-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: A Closer Swap with The...
2014-06-27 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Chris Crossed
2014-06-23 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Exception to the R...
2014-06-17 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Vance Like There's Nob...
More...