Signed RHP Ryan Webb to a minor-league deal. [4/13]
Unsatisfied with one record—most games finished without a save—Webb is intent on setting another: the highest single-season rate of transactions-to-appearances; he's bounced from the O's to the Dodgers to the Indians in a week, all without pitching in a game. Anyway, Webb is a no-frills middle reliever who throws strikes and induces grounder with his low-90s sinker and slider. He doesn't strike many out, nor does he have high-octane stuff associated with a late-inning reliever. Nonetheless, Webb deserves a spot in a big-league bullpen, and ought to head to Cleveland sooner than later. Just how soon Webb makes that trip is of interest, since he entered the season with five years and 11 days of service time. If he doesn't get called up soon, his free agency is going to be delayed.
Recalled RHP Dominic Leone from Triple-A Tacoma; placed RHP Tom Wilhelmsen on the 15-day disabled list (hyperextended right elbow). [4/13]
Last season Leone appeared in 57 games and posted a 2.17 ERA as a 22-year-old. In most places, that performance guarantees you a spot in the Opening Day bullpen; not so in Seattle, apparently. Leone is an impressive young arm regardless of his aborted optional assignment. He complements a mid-90s fastball with a cutter and slider, and has a history of throwing strikes and generating grounders. What more could you want? Lloyd McClendon used Leone as a long man in his first game back, so the man of the paragraph is low in the pecking order. Don't sweat it; Leone has a bright future.
Purchased the contract of RHP Sugar Ray Marimon from Triple-A Gwinnett; designated RHP Juan Jaime for assignment. [4/13]
In addition to one of baseball's best names, Marimon has authored a surprising ascent to the majors. He signed with the Braves as a minor-league free-agent during the winter, and pitched in one game for Gwinnett before receiving his call to the Show. (Probably because of the 10-day enforcement on 40-man players.) Marimon is a smallish right-hander with a three-pitch mix—low-90s fastball, change, and curve—that he delivers from a short arm action and high release point. His ceiling is likely in middle relief, but just think of all the pun we'll have with his first name.
Jaime faced eight batters, walking four of them, before the Braves opted for another pitcher. He throws as hard as anyone in baseball, with a fastball sitting in the upper-90s, yet has not improved his control throughout his years with the Braves. The arm strength could compel another team to claim Jaime off waivers; in time the control will force them to place him back on the wire.
Purchased the contract of RHP Josh Smith and C-L Kyle Skipworth from Triple-A Louisville; optioned RHP Raisel Iglesias and 4C-R Chris Dominguez to Triple-A Louisville; designated RHP Daniel Corcino and LHP Ryan Dennick for assignment. [4/13]
With the Reds, as with the Braves, you see how the 10-day mandatory sentence for optioned players affects the bottom of 40-man rosters. Walt Jocketty wanted a spare catcher until he could be sure of Devin Mesoraco's health, and an extra bullpen arm until Homer Bailey returned. The rule shepherded Jocketty away from the obvious candidates, leading him instead to bring up players who are considered organizational filler. Still, you can understand the rule from the union's perspective, even if it costs some (like Tucker Barnhart) an early-season opportunity. Put simply, the rule causes more players to spend time on the 40-man roster, which in turn means better pay—extending beyond their duration on the 40-man. It might stink for the big-league club and the snubbed players, but it's a sweet deal for Smith, Skipworth, and others like them.
Recalled RHPs Jose Urena and Carter Capps, C-R J.T. Realmuto from Triple-A New Orleans; purchased the contract of SS-L Reid Brignac from Triple-A New Orleans; placed RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder inflammation), C-R Jeff Mathis (fractured hand), and UTL-L Don Kelly (fractured finger) on the 15-day disabled list; transferred RHP Aaron Crow to the 60-day disabled list (elbow sprain); placed RHP David Phelps on the paternity list. [4/13]
Phew. That's a lot of movement for a team in one day.
The most intriguing move is obviously Brignac replacing Kelly as the utility-infielder-cum-whipping-boy. No, not really. The big move is Realmuto arriving for his second run in the majors. Depending on your evaluation of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the well-rounded Realmuto is either a months or a season away from becoming the Marlins' starting catcher. For now, he's more likely to serve in a backup role.
Another one of Miami's top prospects, Urena, is the other addition of interest. He could could feature three average or better offerings, including a potentially plus-plus fastball. Alas, Urena is around for a limited time, and will not replace Alvarez in the rotation. That honor is reserved for Phelps, who will return before Saturday's start.