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March 11, 2015

Transaction Analysis

Young at Heart

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
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Signed RHP Chris Young to a one-year deal worth $675,000 with up to $5.325 million in incentives. [3/7]

The Royals are taking this eight-man bullpen idea seriously.

Young sort of breaks the conventional scouting scale. His main pitches—a mid-80s fastball and a slider without depth—are substandard offerings that he doesn't keep down in the zone. Yet he's been able to succeed due to how well he leverages his height; the effect is a deeper release point, which causes the pitches to play better than they otherwise should. "Sort of" because the extension doesn't make him a secret stud. He's very much a no. 5 starter or, perhaps in this case, a swingman.

There's no sense fretting over the incentives. Young is unlikely to spend enough time in the rotation to accrue all the bonuses, and heck, he may not spend all that much time on the active roster. Keep in mind that Young went six years between 150-plus inning seasons due to numerous shoulder and arm woes. Limited use as part of an oversized bullpen could help keep him well, and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what the Royals and their fans should hope for.

SEATTLE MARINERS
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Signed RHP Kevin Correia to a minor-league deal. [3/9]

Jack Zduriencik continues to safeguard against potential injury, adding Correia to his collection a few weeks after signing Joe Saunders.

Consistency and durability are Correia's best assets. He's tossed at least 150 innings in each of the past four seasons, and has posted the same set of peripherals over and over again. His walk rate has finished between 2.2 and 2.4 and his home-run rate between 1.1 and 1.4 in each of the four seasons, while his strikeout-to-walk rate landed outside of the 1.93-1.98 window just once. Ain't that something? What's not something is his stuff. Correia isn't going to win any prizes at the county fair with his upper-80s cutter and otherwise yawn-worthy arsenal, nor is he going to miss bats or create groundball havoc.

So why sign Correia? Because he's a 12-year vet with more than 1,400 big-league innings and a working body. There aren't many with the same credentials willing to ride buses and eat bad food. At maximum, he can impart knowledge to his younger Triple-A teammates. At minimum, he'll serve as a band-aid: able to fill a leaky void, then discarded; he'll even cause hair loss if he sticks around too long.

TEXAS RANGERS
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Signed LHP Joe Beimel to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. [3/6]

Beimel, who turns 38 in a month, would probably like nothing more for his birthday than to make the Rangers' roster, in part because his contract is not guaranteed.

Following a two-year hiatus from the majors, Beimel stormed back into our lives last season with the Mariners. He pitched better than he had any right to, posting a 2.20 ERA, 1.79 strikeout-to-walk rate, and a .205 True Average versus lefties (whom he faced nearly half the time) in 56 appearances. Is he that good? No, not really. Beimel looks like a left-handed Brian Wilson—what with long hair, fluffy beard, and an arm scarred from a tragic squid-related accident—but his stuff isn't up to snuff; his fastball sits in the mid-to-upper-80s and he doesn't have a ton of fun beyond it.

It's a blah package, and he would serve as little more than a second lefty in an ideal world. The Rangers aren't based in Utopia, however, so despite having a few other options in camp—including Alex Claudio, the only other lefty reliever on the 40-man roster—there's a legitimate chance Beimel enters the season as the Jeff Banister's primary southpaw. Not promising, not at all.


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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