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July 10, 2015

Transaction Analysis

Down Goes Frasor! Down Goes Frasor!

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed 1B-L Marc Krauss off waivers from the Rays; designated INF-R Josh Wilson for assignment. [7/6]

With Miguel Cabrera out for the next six weeks, the Tigers are settling on a platoon between Jefry Marte and Krauss—you know, as a way of making fans better appreciate Cabrera. Krauss is fresh from a forgettable stint in St. Pete, where he reached base once and struck out seven times in 10 plate appearances. He's a strong-bodied feller with a patient approach. Unfortunately, he's a bat-only player whose bat hasn't shown much life against big-league pitching. Expect to see Krauss start against right-handed pitchers until the Tigers find an upgrade.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Recalled OF-R Paulo Orlando and 3B-R Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha; placed 3B-L Mike Moustakas on the bereavement list; designated RHP Jason Frasor for assignment. [7/6]

In addition to great names, Orlando and Cuthbert have a chance to contribute off the bench in the near future. Orlando is a speed-and-D outfielder. whose super-aggressive approach and below-average power limits his offensive output. He profiles as a reserve outfielder. Once a top prospect, Cuthbert's pop never developed. His defense at third remains substandard, leading the Royals to play him on the right side of the infield as a way of adding to his versatility and perhaps finding him a better positional fit. He'll need his bat-to-ball skills to translate to the majors if he wants a career as a bench player.

Frasor receives the pink slip before his appearance-related bonuses kick in—and boy could he have used them, since he's under contract for a little over the league minimum the remainder of this season, as well as either a $0.55 million buyout or a $2 million club option for 2016. Though it's jarring to see a contender designate a reliever with a 1.54 ERA, Frasor does have an ugly walk rate and some dismal component measures. Dig deeper and there are some reasons for encouragement for his next team, such as higher first-pitch and overall strike rates than he posted last season with Kansas City

Those stats don't mean Frasor should have been kept around—the Royals have impressive bullpen depth—but it does mean a team with a strict budget and need for a righty-on-righty arm could take a look without relying on faith alone.

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Selected the contract of RHP David Carpenter from Triple-A Gwinnett; recalled RHP Arodys Vizcaino from Triple-A Gwinnett; released LHP Dana Eveland and RHP Nick Masset. [7/6]

The Braves recall two familiar names to help the NL's worst bullpen—the catch being, obviously, that this isn't that David Carpenter. Rather this Carpenter throws high-80s sinkers and sliders from a low-three-quarters arm slot. He's made exactly one appearance in each of the past two seasons, and while he's likely to top that, he'll need to impress early and often to shake the Quad-A reliever label.

All Vizcaino needs to do to shake the injury-prone label is pitch, pitch, and pitch some more. Thus far he hasn't done a good job of it, tallying all of nine innings in the minors. Vizcaino still throws hard and teases at a high-leverage future when he's on the mound; he's just not on the mound often enough to feel comfortable pegging him as a reliable option in the late innings or otherwise.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed RHP Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Cubs; optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. [7/7]

Is this guy popular or what? Since last December, Germen has appeared in six big-league games while changing teams four times. His mid-90s fastball and changeup are appealing qualities, though his poor command sabotages his chances of living up to his full potential. Nonetheless, every team believes it can turn Flo Rida into Nelly—or in this case a stuff-over-stats pitcher into a late-inning weapon. Give the Rockies points for trying, but Germen will add another team or three to his credit for December.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
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Recalled RHP Severino Gonzalez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley; designated RHP Kevin Correia for assignment. [7/7]

Remember when Correia threw 5 2/3 shutout innings in his Phillies debut? He followed up that performance by yielding 32 hits, 23 runs, and four homers in his ensuing 17 2/3 innings. Oof. Gonzalez is 12 years younger than Correia with less big-league failure to his name. While that doesn't make him special—his arsenal is largely fringe—it does make his poor outings more tolerable.

The real reason anyone cares about this swap is because another one is coming soon. Aaron Nola, Prospectus' no. 7 prospect, is expected to debut sometime during the next few weeks. Phillies fans haven't had much to cheer about this season, but going from Correia to Gonzalez to Nola within a month's time qualifies as a reason for applause.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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Purchased the contract of 1B-L Dan Johnson from Triple-A Memphis; optioned RHP Marcus Hatley and LHP Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis; designated INF-R Aledmys Diaz for assignment. [7/8]

Immortalized for his role in 2011 season's finale, Johnson has managed another impressive feat. Despite being known as a Quad-A player, he's appeared in the majors in five consecutive seasons. What's more is his streak would likely sit at 10 seasons in a row if in 2009 he had chosen the States over Japan. Oh well. Johnson is around to serve as Xavier Scruggs' hackysack partner until Kolten Wong gets healthy and the Cardinals can return to normal. Expect a patient approach, lots of walks, a low batting average, and maybe a well-timed home run or two.


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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