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August 25, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Angels Add Post-Post-Post-Post-Post Hype All-Star

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
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Acquired INF-R Gordon Beckham from the White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. [8/21]

A perennial disappointment, Beckham is the perfect sort of reclamation project because he's in no place to quibble over playing time or mechanical adjustments. The thinking on the Angels' side is that the change of scenery and role will spark Beckham to improve. It's notable that Jerry Dipoto cited Beckham's numbers against lefties this season as reason for the acquisition. True, Beckham has hit lefties, but it comes in a small sample and clashes with his historical numbers. The upside here is that if Beckham does turn things around, he's under team control through next season. Maybe it's a false hope—after all, Beckham hasn't performed well in years and doesn't do anything overly well—but the cost makes the effort worthwhile. If nothing else, he gives Grant Green another busted former top prospect to chill with.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
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Acquired C-R Chris Gimenez from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations; placed C-R Yan Gomes on the seven-day disabled list (concussion symptoms). [8/23]

Gimenez rejoins the Indians to help with the catching load until Gomes returns. He's most useful as a third catcher, which usually means spending the season in the minors until September or injury opens a spot. But Cleveland—thanks to Carlos Santana's versatility—is one of a few teams that can employ him without risking overexposure. Gimenez is a a skilled staff-handler and receiver but his poor offense sabotages whatever value he could glean from his own defensive flexibility. So far Terry Francona has turned to Roberto Perez—possibly the league's least identifiable backup—as their primary backstop in Gomes' absence. Gimenez shouldn't interfere with those plans.

DETROIT TIGERS
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Recalled LHPs Kyle Lobstein and Patrick McCoy and RHP George Farmer from Triple-A Toledo; optioned LHPs Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to Triple-A Toledo. [8/23]

What a mess. The Tigers used seven pitchers (plus infielder Andrew Romine) as part of Friday's 20-run implosion against the Twins, leaving Dave Dombrowski to shuffle his roster in preparation for a doubleheader on Saturday.

Farmer served as the 26th man for the twin bill, meaning he was automatically optioned to the minors after the nightcap. His second big-league start went worse than his first, and he exited in the second inning after allowing seven runs. Farmer's struggles are understandable, seeing as how he now has one more start in the majors than Triple-A. The Tigers figure to leave him on the farm for the time being.

A starter by nature, Lobstein made his big-league debut in relief of Farmer. He provided length for Brad Ausmus by tossing five-plus innings. With Anibal Sanchez not expected back in time for Friday's start, and Dombrowski lacking alternatives, Lobstein could get the nod. If so, don't expect too much from him. Lobstein is a finesse southpaw who profiles as a no. 5 starter. Right now, that could be an upgrade.

McCoy's short-term standing is less certain. He was hit around in the same game as Farmer and Lobstein but, unlike with the starters, the Tigers have numerous Triple-A relief arms to choose from. Don't be surprised if Chad Smith, Justin Miller, or Jose Ortega takes McCoy's spot in the coming days.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Acquired C-R Geovany Soto from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. [8/24]

Knee and groin injuries have limited Soto to 38 plate appearances this season, yet the A's are hopeful he can produce in a limited role down the stretch. Although Oakland already has been carrying three catchers on the roster, John Jaso is headed to the DL (for concussion-like symptoms) today and Stephen Vogt is not as good defensively as Soto, and bats left-handed. Soto adds a little right-handed flavor to the mix, and could be used at DH on the days when there's a left-handed pitcher on the mound. He'll be a free agent at season's end, so this is a temporary arrangement no matter how it works out.

CINCINNATI REDS
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Purchased the contract of RHP Pedro Villarreal from Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Daniel Corcino from Double-A Pensacola; optioned LHP David Holmberg and RHPs J.J. Hoover and Carlos Contreras to Triple-A Louisville. [8/21]

Corcino entered last season as one of the top arms in the Reds system based on the strength of his fastball and changeup. He struggled in Triple-A, though, and has since spent all of 2014 in Double-A. The Reds will use Corcino in relief for now, but there's reason to think he'll end up there anyway, as he struggles with location and maintaining a downward plane. The other addition, Villarreal, has bounced from Louisville to Cincinnati and back multiple times over the past few years. He profiles as a middle reliever.

On an unrelated note, Dylan Axelrod is set for another run in the Reds rotation.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
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Recalled INF-S Freddy Galvis from Triple-A Lehigh Valley; designated INF-L Reid Brignac for assignment. [8/23]

The Phillies swap almost-forgotten infielders.

Brignac filled in while Cody Asche was on the disabled list, yet suffered an ankle injury that coincided with Asche's return. By the time Brignac regained his health, he had no playing time to enjoy. His production declined with his role, and he finished his career in Philadelphia with a one-for-15 stretch that saw him record three more strikeouts than balls in play. Brignac turns 29 in January, so he's young enough to have another big-league stint or three as an up-and-down infielder.

Galvis has endured his own injury woes. He missed the start of the season due to a MRSA infection, then broke his clavicle and was sidelined for an additional two months. Since returning to the Lehigh Valley lineup in mid-July, Galvis has performed well while mostly playing shortstop. His past experience at second and third base, as well as in left field should come in handy.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
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Purchased the contract of OF-L Nate Schierholtz from Triple-A Syracuse; optioned OF-R Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse; transferred OF-L Nate McLouth to the 60-day disabled list (labrum surgery). [8/23]

Released earlier in the month by the Cubs, Schierholtz spent four games on the farm before being recalled. While with Chicago, Schierholtz saw his power production and strikeout rate head in the wrong directions; a bigger problem for him than most because of his reluctance to walk. The good new for Schierholtz is he should be able to slide into McLouth's role as a spare outfielder without being tasked with too much responsibility. A strong finish to the season in a reserve role won't have teams lining up with big bids this winter, but could help him avoid a minor-league deal.

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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