March 23, 2004
March 16-21, 2004
Optioned RHP Rich Fischer to Salt Lake; reassigned LHP Eric Cyr, C-B Jared Abruzzo, C-R Ryan Budde, SS-B Erick Aybar, 2B-B Albert Callaspo, SS-R Tommy Murphy, and OF-R Nick Gorneault to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Optioned RHP Chris Bootcheck to Salt Lake; reassigned RHP Jason Middlebrook to their minor league camp. [3/17]
Reassigned OF-L Gary Johnson and 3B-L Dallas McPherson to their minor league camp. [3/18]
Optioned RHPs Bobby Jenks, Steve Green and Steve Andrade to Salt Lake; reassigned C-R Jeff Mathis to their minor league camp. [3/19]
None of these moves should surprise anyone. For those convinced that Bobby Jenks is the second coming of something good (and as a long-time Goose Gossage fan, I'm probably doomed to feel that way until Gossage drops off of his PECOTA card comp list), he should hopefully be able to build on his winter ball success. Like the Goose back in the day, Jenks is probably a middling starter prospect at best, since also like Goose, Jenks may only be a one-pitch reliever with a breaking pitch for show. It'll be interesting to see if he picks up a changeup, since if he does, it would give him something to peddle besides the tremendous heat and an occasional strike with his curve.
Otherwise, it was your standard dispatch of prospects--with Mathis and McPherson getting a peek into big league routines--and organizational soldiers. Now that he's pushing 30, hopefully Gary Johnson will have dropped off of prospect lists once and for all. Still makes him a nifty regular for the Cardinals in their outfield these days.
Left standing? Well, Shane Halter's job security borders on federal, so he probably hasn't given the future much thought, beyond asking if they still film Baywatch on location. (Haven't the Germans carted David Hasselhoff to some appropriately exotic location to keep the dream alive? Like Rugen, complete with heavy-boned natives? "Nun mit David Hasselhoff: Blitzfrauen! Jede Mittwoch!") Chone Figgins might get some serious time in center field, what with the madness of Erstad at first and Garret Anderson aching, but there's always the possibility of a flight into reason, like letting Erstad do his thing in center, and making do with Robb Quinlan at first base, or even tweaking the Dodgers by getting a first baseman from the White Sox first. Actually, swapping Erstad to play center on Chicago's South Side...that almost resembles a good idea. Almost. Ozzie would probably love it.
Reassigned C-Rs Craig Ansman and Chris Snyder to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Optioned OF-L Josh Kroeger and RHPs Andrew Good, Brian Bruney and Brandon Medders to Tucson; reassigned OF-R Luis Garcia and RHPs Dustin Nippert and Brady Raggio to their minor league camp. [3/17]
Optioned SS-R Tim Olson to Tucson. [3/18]
If there's a story, it's that Bobby Estalella is locked in as the backup catcher, barring an 11th-hour trade for some John Flaherty-like almost-warm body. (You know, you get him, take his temperature, and figure out how long ago his career ended, like in all those crime dramas.) It's not a bad situation for the Snakes: Estalella can bop when he's healthy, and they need somebody who can play. Rob Hammock's just now working his way back to a full-blown limp, and Brent Mayne is still in the "mostly harmless" bin, career-wise. On the farm, the organization loves Snyder's catching skills, while treating Ansman as a catch as catch can option--Ansman will have to prove he can catch and show that he's not just an older guy mashing in bandboxes.
On the mound, you can pretty much take it for granted that Good and Bruney will be in Phoenix at some point this summer. Medders will have to show something to stay on the 40-man, and Nippert will be asked after if the Snakes start shopping for help should they be in contention in July.
Received Rule 5 pick RHP Alec Zumwalt back from the Devil Rays, and assigned him to Richmond; optioned 2B-R Nick Green and RHP Roman Colon to Richmond; optioned 2B-R Richard Lewis, SS-R Tony Pena Jr., and SS-L Kelly Johnson to Greenville (Double-A); optioned RHP Blaine Boyer, 1B-L Scott Thorman and OF-R Onil Joseph to Myrtle Beach (A-ball). [3/17]
The problem that's coming up is who they're going to wind up moving off of the 40-man roster or out of the way. NRIs like Julio Franco, Russ Branyan, and maybe even C.J. Nitkowski all look like they'll be Opening Day Braves, at which point the 60-day DL or the waiver wire are going to get crowded.
Optioned LHP Adam Loewen to Delmarva (A-ball); optioned RHP Daniel Cabrera and LHP Ryan Hannaman to Frederick (A-ball); optioned SS-R Jose Morban and 1B-L Walter Young to Bowie (Double-A); reassigned C-B Raul Casanova and OF-L Pedro Swann to their minor league camp. [3/18]
Optioned LHP Brian Forystek and RHPs John Stephens and Eddy Rodriguez to Ottawa; optioned RHP Dave Crouthers to Bowie (Double-A). [3/19]
Optioned RHP Denny Bautista to Bowie (Double-A). [3/21]
Claimed LHP Frank Brooks off of waivers from the Athletics. [3/18]
Optioned RHP Edwin Almonte, LHPs Phil Seibel, and 3B-R Kevin Youkilis to Pawtucket; optioned RHP Jerome Gamble to Portland (Double-A); reassigned CF-R Jeremy Owens and C-R Kelly Shoppach to their minor league camp. [3/19]
Kudos to Theo Epstein and company for snagging a decent pair of relief arms. Brooks is a nifty waiver claim for the Red Sox, considering they had some pretty marginal dregs to sift through as alternatives for the second lefty spot (behind Alan Embree) in the pen. Brooks had been crowded out of Oakland's lefty-hefty pen after being nabbed from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft, and he looks more than capable of handling the role. That's assuming you want him to, of course; a quality second lefty can be a roster dilemma as much as a solution if he's somebody you can't risk on waivers now and again. As a contender, the Red Sox may have to worry about that sort of thing at some point, but if Brooks makes a good impression, it won't be a problem worth considering for long.
Equally interesting was getting Matt Duff for nothing. It's probably a DIPS-inspired move: Duff has been doing a great job of fooling people at home plate without making scouts nod sagely over how easy it was to expect him to reach this point. And to get him for an execrable, damaged utility man? Well, sure, no problem, and it won't matter a bit if Mr. Womack winds up being the Cardinals' starting left fielder or second baseman while Duff spends the summer at Pawtucket. Making the Womack menace somebody else's problem is a positive; getting a guy who can pitch a little too is just gravy.
Optioned RHP Gary Majewski and LHPs Arnie Munoz and Enemencio Pacheo to Charlotte; optioned LHP Ryan Meaux and 2B-B Ruddy Yan to Birmingham (Double-A); reassigned RHP Francisco Campos, LHP Josh Stewart, 3B-R Mike Bell, OF-R Mario Valenzuela, and C-Rs Jonathan Acevas and Carlos Maldonado to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Named Harold Baines their new bench coach. [3/20]
There are only two items of real note here. First, by demoting most of the potential competition, it looks like Ozzie settled on Danny Wright as his fifth starter pretty quickly. Whether that's because he has the requisite ironman machismo to impress the Ozzeroo, or that he's just the guy with the most experience, who knows? What matters is that he'll probably get plenty of work early should Guillen stand by his "pitch 'til you drop" credo, and if you're in the sort of league that's large enough to have space for Dan Wright in it, you'll probably want to watch closely for a good point to flip him or dump him.
Second, I'm happy to see Harold Baines back in uniform. He was one of my favorite players from the '80s, and for the Sox of that time, he was probably their only player consistently associated with a certain brand of classy professionalism. Today's White Sox are probably going to need that sort of dugout gravitas, and all kidding about Ozzie's more stupid public pronouncements aside, I take this as a pretty promising decision. Sure, it could be plain old cronyism, but it's worth giving the Sox the benefit of the doubt.
Optioned 2B/3B-R Brendan Harris, RHP John Leicester, and LHP Felix Sanchez to Iowa; optioned RHP Angel Guzman, LHP Renyel Pinto, and SS-R Ronny Cedeno to West Tennessee (Double-A); optioned LHP Carlos Vasquez to Dayton (A-ball); reassigned RHP Scott Chiasson and LHP John Foster to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Scott Chiasson's elbow seems to be OK, so once he pitches his way back into form, he could enter the team's bullpen picture pretty quickly. Juan Cruz and Sergio Mitre both don't seem like the types Dusty is going to lean on too heavily, but Todd Wellemeyer has had a good camp, so the middle-relief picture isn't desperate, not yet.
Re-signed OF-L John Vander Wal to a minor league contract. [3/17]
Having deleted him from the big league roster, this is sort of a generous gesture, since Vander Wal tore up his knee shoveling snow, and there's very little guarantee that he'll be playing anywhere for anybody in 2004. With rehab, he might be able to play by season's end, at which point the Reds will thank their lucky stars that their drive on fourth place will have all of the benefits that having Vander Wal around might provide.
Claimed LHP Matt White off of waivers from the Rockies; placed LHP Billy Traber on the 60-day DL (elbow). [3/17]
Optioned 2B-R Brandon Phillips, SS-R Jhonny Peralta, OF-L Grady Sizemore, and RHP Fernando Cabrera to Buffalo; reassigned RHP Kazuhito Tadano, LHP Tim Young, and C-R Victor Valencia to their minor league camp. [3/19]
Signed LHP Scott Sauerbeck to a minor league contract, with a club option for 2005. [3/20]
Reassigned LHP Mike Porzio to their minor league camp. [3/21]
The Tribe is short of lefty relief help, since it's late March and they were seriously considering Cliff Bartosh. So you can understand why they'd get aggressive and claim Matt White (no, not that Matt White, this is the non-wealthy, non-Devil Ray who throws lefty) and sign up Scott Sauerbeck. White hasn't really managed to stick anywhere, while Sauerbeck's so wild it's hard to count on him in even a situational role, but for the same reason that the Tribe has them both now, they can avoid settling by keeping an eye on whatever other bounty the wire may proffer.
Reassigned RHP Justin Hampson, and C-R Dan Conway to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Waived LHP Matt White; optioned OF-Ls Jorge Piedra and Cory Sullivan to Colorado Springs; optioned OF-R Tony Miller to Tulsa (Double-A); optioned 3B-R Jeff Baker to Visalia (A-ball); reassigned RHPs Jason Gillfilan and Jeff Tam to their minor league camp. [3/17]
If there's a surprise, it's that the Rockies excused both Piedra and Sullivan this quickly. With both Larry Walker--hold the presses!--and Preston Wilson banged up, you'd think they wouldn't be in a rush to get outfielders out of camp. As is, they're going to be relying very heavily on Rene Reyes, which makes about as much sense as researchers actually paying Russians to drink. I'm guessing that both Wendell Magee and Mark Sweeney are both liking their chances of cracking an Opening Day roster at this point. Considering that this team has Pete Rose Jr. in camp, even Garth Brooks has to wish he chose more wisely for his latest time-wasting mockery of the sport.
Optioned RHP Matt Roney and OF-R Cody Ross to Toledo; optioned LHP Wilfredo Ledezma to Erie (Double-A); reassigned C-R Ben Petrick, OF-R Marcus Thames, and 2B-Rs Brent Abernathy and Pablo Ozuna to their minor league camp. [3/21]
The fight for utility jobs on the team hasn't really changed yet, as moving Abernathy and Ozuna out of the way really only means that distractions from the more desperate competition between Danny Klassen, Greg Norton, Warren Morris, Omar Infante, and the three-headed crowd of catching reserves still hasn't been sorted out. Norton hasn't played short with any regularity in quite some time, so while that might make for a cool solution, I suspect that Klassen and Infante will get taken a little more seriously because they can actually play the position. As for Roney and Ledezma, after last year's ignominious association with the 119-loss Tigers as Rule 5 picks, a nice summer spent getting reacquainted with prospectdom down on the farm is entirely for the best for both.
Reassigned C-B Dennis Anderson, and RHPs Aaron Small and David Manning to their minor league camp; optioned RHP Lincoln Holdzkom to Jupiter (A-ball); optioned RHPs Ronald Belisario and Kevin Cave to Carolina (Double-A); optioned RHP Mike Flannery and LHP Frank Gracesqui to Albuquerque. [3/18]
Optioned 2B-R Kevin Hooper and OF-R Chris Aguila to Albuquerque; optioned C-R Josh Willingham to Carolina (Double-A). [3/19]
Among the fallen are the organization's minor league closers (Flannery and Cave), as well as a promising relief arm in Holdzkom; he doesn't close, he just pitches with some sort of combination of effectiveness and promise. I know, I know, it's crazy talk.
Optioned LHP Carlos Hernandez 2B-R Chris Burke, SS/3B-R Tommy Whiteman, C-B Hector Jiminez, and RHPs Taylor Buchholz, Fernando Nieve, Chad Qualls and Ezequiel Astacio to New Orleans; reassigned LHP Nate Bland and RHPs Kirk Bullinger and Miguel Saladin to their minor league camp. [3/18]
Bobby Chouinard? He was traded for Harold Baines before Bill Clinton was inaugurated the first time, and here they both are, turning up in the same TA? What are the odds? Probably pretty good, considering my bad habit of avoiding topics at hand, but it's still sort of uncanny. Of far more important note was that Carlos Hernandez threw in camp, and looks like he'll be good for Opening Day as a Zephyr. If he's healthy, the Astros can hope he'll be able to help should Roy Oswalt keep breaking down or if the Rocket re-retires or something.
Optioned RHP Brad Voyles to Omaha. [3/16]
Optioned 3B-L Jarrod Patterson to Omaha [3/19]
Considering I'm no fan of Ken Harvey, you can probably disregard my surprise that the Royals didn't give Berger a little bit more of a look. Sure, Matt Stairs will need a right-handed-hitting platoon partner, but why settle for a big man who hits singles and plays first badly, when you could have an outfielder? That said, realistically, Berger's upside is probably stuck somewhere in Mark Brouhard territory, while Harvey has the potential to still turn into something useful. And with Rich Thompson crowding the outfield picture, Berger was almost certainly doomed from the start.
Optioned 3B-B Willy Aybar and RHPs Joel Hanrahan, Jason Frasor and Yhency Brazoban to Las Vegas; reassigned 1B-L James Loney, INF-R Ricky Bell, INF-B Nick Theodorou, and C-R Edwin Bellorin to their minor league camp. [3/19]
Eternal optimist that I am, I expect we'll hear good things about Aybar this summer. He only just turned 21, he's got two years of upper-level A-ball already under his belt, he showed improvement, he can pick it at third, and the Dodgers can't wait for Adrian Beltre forever.
Optioned 3B/OF-R Corey Hart to Indianapolis; optioned 2B-R Rickie Weeks to Huntsville (Double-A); reassigned 1B-L Prince Fielder, INF-R Enrique Cruz, and RHP Matt Childers to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Released RHP Mike Crudale. [3/17]
Optioned LHP Jorge De La Rosa and RHPs Mike Adams and Ben Hendrickson to Indianapolis. [3/18]
Optioned RHP Travis Phelps to Indianapolis. [3/20]
Having teased us all with visions of the future Brewcrew, you can forgive Ned Yost for dispensing with the wishcasting and scattering the kids to the camp they belong in, so that he can settle down to the more pragmatic, pedestrian worries involving sorting out whether to carry a 12th pitcher or a fifth outfielder, and the difficulties in picking a rotation.
Optioned C-B Rob Bowen, SS-R Jason Bartlett, 3B-B Terry Tiffee, and RHPs Adam Johnson, Boof Bonser and Mike Nakamura to Rochester; optioned RF-L Jason Kubel, OF-R B.J. Garbe, and RHPs Colby Miller and Brian Wolfe to New Britain (Double-A); reassigned RHP Jeromy Palki, C-R Brandon Marsters, INF-R Jake Mauer and 2B-B Luis Rodriguez to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Optioned RHPs J.D. Durbin and Matt Guerrier to Rochester; reassigned LHP Kevin Tolar, RHP Jesse Crain, and C-R Gabriel Torres to their minor league camp. [3/20]
Ron Gardenhire was talking up Tolar earlier on in camp, which makes sense when some teams are as desperate for lefty relief help as the Red Sox or Indians have been, but he clearly wasn't quite as enthusiastic as he said he was. We can pretty much take it for granted that you'll hear from several of the young pitchers this summer: Adam Johnson has to go somewhere, Bonser is highly touted, and Crain, Nakamura, and perhaps Durbin could all make appearances in the pen, depending on how badly things works out
Optioned RHP Roy Corcoran and OF-Ls Ryan Church and Brandon Watson to Edmonton; optioned SS-L Josh Labandeira to Harrisburg (Double-A); reassigned 1B-L Larry Broadway, 2B-B Josh McKinley and RHPs Christian Parker, Pat Mahomes, and Mike Judd to their minor league camp. [3/19]
Whew, that was close. Ever the wanderers, a Mahomes-less Expos team is that much less likely to be one that drives Keri to further distraction when it's somebody's turn to tack a Bithorn bandbox beating during mop-up work.
Optioned 2B-R Andy Phillips to Columbus; reassigned OF-L John Rodriguez and C-B Dioner Navarro to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Received Rule 5 pick RHP Colter Bean back from the Red Sox. [3/18]
For a brief moment, I was hoping that the Yankees would give some thought to playing Andy Phillips at second, at which point I could remember a couple of things. First, it's Joe Torre, so the odds of his favoring Phillips, especially coming off of a year almost entirely lost to injury, was pretty remote. Second, who wants to see the Yankees make moves that help themselves? The more Miguel Cairo, the better. At least some of the boomers in attendance will get that much closer to their nirvana as self-pitying globs of self-indulgent jello, wallowing in the memories of Horace Clarke. And I say let 'em. It'll help them build character instead of golf courses for a change.
Reassigned LHP Royce Ring and RHPs Jason Roach, P.J. Bevis, and Bob Keppel to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Optioned OF-L Mark Weston, 2B-L Freddy Bynum, 1B-L Dan Johnson, and LHP John Rheinecker to Sacramento; reassigned INF-R Ramon Castro, OF-L Brian Sellier, and RHPs Eric Cammack and Lou Pote to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Re-signed 3B-L Eric Chavez to a six-year, $66 million contract, with a club option for 2011. [3/18]
Optioned 3B/2B-R Adam Morrissey and RHPs Mike Wood and Justin Lehr to Sacramento; reassigned RHP Joe Blanton and C-R Jeremy Brown to their minor league camp. [3/21]
Some things seems sort of self-evident, so wringing your hands on the subject ("Did Billy do something smart? Or will Baseball America use this as another opportunity to say something catty and snide about Moneyball?") is so much wasted motion. Although Beane has compared Chavez to Barry Bonds, particularly if he learns to wait on his pitch just a little more often, I guess I don't see that, while still seeing this as a clearly wise move. If you argue that the A's could only afford an aging Giambi or Miguel Tejada or Chavez, you have to ignore all of those nagging issues of actual timing involved with each decision: When Giambi skedaddled, there was no guarantee that Bobby Crosby was going to make the choice between Tejada and Chavez all that much more easy, for example. The choices weren't interrelated as much as they were contingent, falling as an element of past decisions and a future loaded with options and ranges of choice. Nevertheless, Chavez is the best bet to be healthy and productive over the time to come. It was sensible to expect Giambi to age badly, whether you wanted to fret about his back or the bulk, and he was only a first baseman. (Scott Hatteberg aside, those are findable or, in the case of players like Jason Grabowski or Graham Koonce or Dan Johnson, home-growable.) With the choice notionally down to Tejada last spring and this past fall, keep in mind that Tejada is a player of indeterminate age, and only then was Crosby just about here, all of which certainly makes for a relatively easy choice to make Chavez the wealthy keeper.
Joe Sheehan touched on the platoon issues Chavez has to resolve in today's column, but if you look at Chavez's PECOTA card and flip down to his comparable players (a habit of mine, and one you'll have to indulge me now and again), I think it's fascinating that players like Duke Snider and Harold Baines come up. In their day, Snider and Baines were both highly-regarded defenders, like Chavez is now. Baines and Snider both had long stretches of struggling with left-handed pitchers during their careers, as Chavez has now, although Chavez's problem is made worse and a bit more apparent with the time he gets to face some of the best lefty relievers in baseball with games on the line. Unlike Snider, but like Baines during more nimble, Chicago youth, his home park doesn't do Chavez many favors. I'd initially thought of how Chavez could be compared to Reggie Jackson for these very reasons (remember, Reggie wasn't too shabby out in center at the beginning of his career), but Snider and Baines work. I guess the more troubling thought is that Richie Hebner shows up so highly among Chavez's comparables, since this was around the age that Hebner stalled out, while we're all hoping and believing that Chavez's future will be glorious and exciting. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic.
Reassigned LHP Cole Hamels, RHP Gavin Floyd, 3B-R Juan Richardson, OF-R Mark Smith and OF-L Mark Budzinski to their minor league camp. [3/18]
If you missed it earlier, Hamels had some brilliant moments in camp, lending that much more hope to a team that seems born to inspire doubt and "not 1964 again" suspicions.
Optioned LHP Dave Williams, C-R J.R. House, and OF-R Tony Alvarez to Nashville; optioned RHP Ian Snell to Altoona (Double-A); reassigned RHP Hector Almonte, SS-B Brandon Chaves, INF-B Luis Figueroa, and OF-L Luke Allen to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Optioned RHP Jimmy Journell to Memphis; reassigned C-R Yadier Molina to their minor league camp. [3/15]
Optioned LHP Luis Martinez to Memphis; reassigned C-R Mike Mahoney to their minor league camp. [3/18]
Optioned LHP Chris Narveson, 1B-R John Gall, CF-L Colin Porter, and RHPs Adam Wainwright and Rhett Parrott to Memphis; reassigned 1B/OF-L John Mabry and OF-R Mark Quinn to their minor league camp. [3/20]
If Tony Womack could catch, he'd erase Scott Hemond from Tony La Russa's memory forever. He'd get a chapter in La Russa's memoirs (Turn Leaves Like A Lion, and Then Eat Them), cited for the enormous range of possibilities Womack held, save for that nagging detail of reaching first under his own power. But because he can wear gloves at all sorts of extraordinary places, he'd be that bench weapon that shows up in a manager's arsenal every day. Either that, or the tactical equivalent of the spork. Hey, you can use them to fight crime. At least I read it somewhere.
Anyway, like using the spork as a solution to serious problems, Womack is not the answer to the team's desperately ugly situations in left field or second base, any more than revisiting a fascination with batting the pitcher eighth is much more than a conceit, the notion that overthinking micro-solutions will compensate for underacquiring real ones.
Reassigned 2B-R Josh Barfield, RHP Tim Stauffer, and C-R Nick Trzesniak to their minor league camp; optioned C-R Humberto Quintero, 2B-B Bernie Castro, OF-L Henri Stanley, and RHPs Brian Sweeney and Chris Oxspring to Portland; optioned RHP Justin Germano and OF-B Freddy Guzman to Mobile (Double-A). [3/15]
Signed RHP Andy Ashby to a minor league contract. [3/18]
Like a lot of people, I'm pretty interested in how well several Pad prospects turn out. I'm one of the skeptics when it comes to Josh Barfield, which is not to say that I think he's not a prospect, but that I want to see what he does outside of the California League before I say all those sometimes regrettable happy things I reserve for the prospects I get enthusiastic about. I'm less optimistic about Nady, but with work, he could still become a useful big league regular; how he takes the demotion, and how he treats his time in the minors, could end up meaning a lot in terms of all sorts of things. What sort of future people will guess at, for starters, but also who might be interested in having him, not just in the Padres' front office, but around the game in general.
As for guys like Howard or Tankersley, aspiring Padres past and present, somebody was going to be boxed out by the veteran trio of Jumbo Wells, Sterling Hitchcock and Ismael Valdes, and let's face it, Tankersley and Howard have not earned consideration to be counted among Adam Eaton, Jake Peavy, or Brian Lawrence as the organization's under-touted youth movement.
Released C-R Alberto Castillo. [3/18]
To paraphrase Alice Roosevelt Longworth, if you don't have anything nice to say about Alberto Castillo, odds are you've been sitting next to me for a goodly while. The Giants certainly won't miss him, but I'm sure he does nice things, like leave cookies in the mailbox on Christmas Eve, or donate clothes to Amvets. Anything's possible.
Optioned RHP Clint Nageotte and LHP Matt Thorton to Tacoma. [3/15]
Reassigned LHP Travis Blackley to their minor league camp. [3/16]
Optioned RHP Cha Seung Baek, LHP Bobby Madritsch, and 3B-R Justin Leone to Tacoma; optioned 3B-L Greg Dobbs to San Antonio (Double-A); reassigned C-R Rene Rivera to their minor league camp. [3/18]
Announced that MLB has suspended OF-L Josh Hamilton for the 2004 season for violating baseball's drug policy. [3/19]
Now that Rob Bell has been excused, who's left in the rotation fight? Mark Hendrickson seems to be Lou Piniella's designated lefty rotation regular (because it's just so, and they traded for him and everything), and Doug Waechter seems to be the designated kid with promise locked into another slot, so there really is only the fifth slot left, with Paul Abbott and Damian Moss being the leading contenders. Remember, this is a team that thinks it's going to win 70 games any year now, and with enough blind monkeys flipping coins, who knows, maybe it'll happen. Any year now.
Not that I need to wax too sympathetically about Josh Hamilton all over again, but if there was a bad time to be young and punishable for a drug offense inside the industry, this was it. As for Ken Cloude, he's been here with Lou Piniella before, so he has to be used to it. I suspect his personalized form letter just had "Tacoma" blotted out, with Durham scribbled into the margins, just like in the old days.
Optioned RHPs Rosman Garcia, Edwin Moreno, and Nick Regilio to Oklahoma. [3/15]
Optioned 2B-B Jason Bourgeois to Frisco (Double-A). [3/16]
Optioned OF-R Ramon Nivar and RHP Juan Dominguez to Oklahoma. [3/20]
Optioned 1B-L Adrian Gonzalez to Oklahoma; reassigned OF-B Jason Jones, OF-L Jason Tyner, INF-L David Newhan, LHP Mike Bacsik, and RHPs John Wasdin and Billy Sylvester to their minor league camp. [3/21]
Getting demoted by the Rangers has to hurt, but Wasdin, Bacsik, and Sylvester all have to have to like their chances of being back. After all, this team is weighing the weighty decisions of life, like who between Glendon Rusch, Mickey Callaway, and R.A. Dickey needs to be in the rotation. Decisions like that help distract you from those older decisions, like trying to decide which homecleaning product they were sniffing when they traded for Einar Diaz. When you're serious about opening the year with people like Diaz or Eric Young playing regularly, let alone that rotation, you really haven't hit bottom yet. How excited are people supposed to be about things like Where's Waldo?-style subplots involving Brian Jordan, anyway?
Outrighted RHP Talley Haines to Syracuse; optioned OF-L John-Ford Griffin and RHP Jesse Harper to New Hampshire (Double-A); optioned RHP D.J. Hanson to Dunedin (A-ball). [3/16]
Reassigned RHP Jayson Durocher to their minor league camp; optioned OF-R Alex Rios, OF-L Gabe Gross, 2B/SS-R Jorge Sequea, C-R Guillermo Quiroz, and RHPs Jason Arnold and Dustin McGowan to Dunedin (A-ball). [3/19]
As high as I am on McGowan, I can't say I'm really surprised that he got sent down. The Jays were predisposed to working him in slowly, and after a good month or two at Syracuse, he should be pressing his way onto the staff in some capacity.
On that level, I'm probably biased, but the Jays demoted a ton of talent here, a lot more than you saw from the more highly-regarded Rays or Rangers, by way of contrast. The SkyChiefs should be a ton of fun to watch, with McGowan and Arnold on the mound (among others), and an outfield of Rios, Gross, and Griffin. Quiroz should spend a good chunk of the year in the International League, for example, so that the Jays can see what they really have in Kevin Cash in a job-sharing arrangement with Greg Myers. Then, whether they're in or out of the running, they'll be able to deal Myers or Cash from a position of strength born of direct experience. It would be hard to catch a game in Syracuse and not see a bunch of MLB-bound talent, basically, and while that might not be everyone's objective in watching minor league baseball, it certainly doesn't suck.