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March 6, 2015

Transaction Analysis

All the Reliever News That's Fit to Print

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Released RHP Suk-min Yoon. [3/5]

When the Orioles signed Yoon around this time last year, we wrote: "Yoon is at once like and unlike those players; he has a modest ceiling, with some talent evaluators liking him better as a reliever, yet there is no guarantee he contributes to Baltimore this year or any year." Those comments were inspired by his injury history and declining stuff. Both blemishes showed their faces during Yoon's 23 appearances last season in Norfolk, resulting in a month missed due to arm trouble and an ERA that came close to topping his strikeout rate.

Yet neither caused the split. Instead Yoon was so upset he didn't receive an invite to big-league camp that he forfeited his remaining salary to escape. You can argue he didn't deserve a spot and that's fair, but you have to respect his decision to not become the new Kei Igawa or Kenshin Kawakami—that is, an import who serves a shady, purgatorial Triple-A sentence in order to collect money. The loneliness and pointlessness are worth the green for some, just not for Yoon. Good for him.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Jim Miller to a minor-league deal. [3/4]

You know what they say: life never closes one non-roster invitee's chances of making the roster with a fractured shoulder sustained while exiting a pool without inviting another non-roster invitee to camp. Miller, who'll celebrate his upcoming 33rd birthday in style, has appeared in three big-league games since he posted a 2.59 ERA in 2012. He throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, which sounds interesting until the rest of the package is considered. His slider fails to remove anyone's socks, and his mechanics—he uses a high front side, then brings his back elbow a little too high for comfort before hopping toward the hitter—have resulted in control problems over the years. Perhaps the Rays prefer Miller to their internal options—is anyone interested in another Brandon Gomes stint?—but he figures to spend most of his time in Durham.

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed LHP Phil Coke to a minor-league deal worth $2.25 million if he makes the club. [3/5]

The problem with Coke is he doesn't have a role. He's not good enough to earn his keep as a LOOGY, nor is able to hold down a job as a two-way threat. Someone had to give him a job, however, because he's a lefty with past big-league success and a presently live arm. It turns out the Cubs are that someone. Why not? Coke ought to compete with Zac Rosscup, Drake Britton, and Joseph Ortiz to become the second southpaw in the bullpen. These are exciting, enviable times on the north side.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed RHP Mike Adams to a minor-league deal. [3/1]

The official logo for the Dodgers' pitching staff is a red flag. Adams' two-year deal with the Phillies went about as poorly as a multi-year deal can go for a reliever, though it wasn't entirely his fault. He made three trips to the DL due to shoulder woes, and completed just 43 innings—after previously topping 50 innings in four of his past five seasons. To Adams' credit, he was effective when he took the mound; not to his old degree, when he was arguably the best set-up man in the NL, but whatever. This is probably little more than a courtesy look from the Dodgers; for Adams' sake, here's hoping it escalates.

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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