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November 24, 1997

Transaction Analysis

November 14-23

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Signed RHP Ken Hill to a three-year deal with a one-year option. [11/16]

Acquired UT Phil Nevin and C Matt Walbeck from Detroit for RHP Nick Skuse. [11/20]

Trading Perisho for the subsequently drafted Mike Bell doesn't hurt as much now, since Hill came around and re-signed. There are still questions about whether he's suffering through a transitional phase where he's losing a portion of his ability, and how he works through that. Although Skuse is an intriguing prospect, the Angels got a veteran caddy for Todd Greene and a potential starting thirdbaseman if Edmonds gets traded and they wind up moving Dave Hollins to first (sending Erstad to center). The better equation would be sending Garrett Anderson away instead of Edmonds, of course, but that isn't going to happen.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Signed SS Jay Bell to a five-year deal. [11/17]

Traded INF Joe Randa, "3B" Gabe Alvarez, and LHP Matt Drews to Detroit for 3B Travis Fryman. [11/18]

Traded LHP Jesus Martinez to Florida for CF Devon White. [11/18]

Traded LHP Chuck McElroy to Colorado for LF Harvey Pulliam. [11/18]

Signed OF/PH Chris Jones to a one-year contract. [11/19]

Bell, Fryman, White, Pulliam, and Jones, eh? Pulliam and Jones are each good pinch-hitters and spare parts, but why get two right-handed backup OFs? Fryman's 29, Bell's 32, and White is 35. The economic end of it must work out, because from a talent perspective, these aren't the best veterans to build around. Fryman hasn't slugged over .450 or put a .350 OBP in several years (playing in Tiger Stadium), and Bell is going to awfully old by the end of that deal.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Signed SS Walt Weiss to a three-year deal. [11/17]

Traded 1B Fred McGriff to Tampa Bay for a PTBNL. [11/18]

Signed 1B Andres Galarraga to a three-year deal. [11/21]

For all the hue and cry over the Marlins' "dismemberment," there isn't much talk about how John Schuerholz is going out of his way to lower the competitive level in the NL East. Taking two Rox regulars out of Coors might have an element of scientific curiosity to it, and wrestling with how the Braves could justify adding the Big Cat made for fun mental games ("he'll keep LH pitching away from spot starts intended to neutralize Klesko"), but no matter how you slice it, these were critically bad signings.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Re-signed INF Jeff Reboulet to a one-year contract. [11/20]

As always, Reboulet makes for a dandy backup infielder at all four positions. Its always nice to see veteran bench players not get priced out of their jobs.

BOSTON RED SOX

Traded RHP Carl Pavano and a PTBNL to Montreal for RHP Pedro Martinez; signed RHP Bret Saberhagen to a one-year contract. [11/18]

Signed RHP Sun-Woo Kim to a minor-league contract and INF Mike Benjamin to a one-year deal. [11/21]

Dan Duquette goes out of his way to keep his job: he's lost Suppan, Pavano, and Sele, and he has one year of Pedro Martinez' career (and Jim Leyritz. WooHoo! and Damon Buford!) to show for it. Because the AL East is pretty wide open now that Davey Johnson is gone and the Yanks aren't quite sure what they're up to, its a gamble that might win the title in '98. A rotation of Martinez, Saberhagen, Tim Wakefield, Butch Henry, and Robinson Checo (or Steve Avery or Brian Rose) is potentially strong, but also could dissolve in a rash of injuries.

CHICAGO CUBS

Acquired RHP Kurt Miller for a PTBNL. [11/18]

This is being treated contemptuously in the Chicago media as an example of Ed Lynch's idea of a big move. The Cubs obviously need help, Miller has the chance to be a solid reliever.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Designated UT Chad Fonville and RHP Jeff Darwin for assignment. [11/20]

Waived OF Lyle Mouton to grant him his unconditional release and sell his contract to the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese League. [11/21]

Mouton was squeezed out by the arrivals of Ordonez and Abbott, and the expectation that the Sox will re-sign Davey Martinez. Mouton's career is a good indication of what happens to OFs who can't handle center and who don't hit like Tim Salmon: if they're lucky, they wind up in Coors, and if they aren't they have to hope their agent is clever enough to put them on the Brewers or some other power-deprived roster. Fonville's officially out of the race for the Sox' shortstop job, which is a Good Thing [tm].

CINCINNATI REDS

Received 1B Dmitri Young from Tampa Bay and RHP Scott Winchester from Arizona as the PsTBNL for the Mike Kelly and Felix Rodriguez deals. [11/18]

Jim Bowden is baseball's answer to Dr. Science: he's smarter than you are. He managed to escape the Expansion Draft without having to give up anybody among his top thirty players. Hats off to a job well done.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Traded LF Harvey Pulliam to Arizona for LHP Chuck McElroy. [11/18]

Acquired 2B Mike Lansing from Montreal for RHPs Jake Westbrook and John Nicholson and OF Mike Hamlin. [11/18]

Re-signed C Jeff Reed to a two-year contract, and signed INF Jeff Huson to a minor-league contract. [11/18]

Getting McElroy for Pulliam has to be considered a coup, if only because people like Harvey Pulliam or Lyle Mouton can be had for a waiver claim. Lansing should make Eric Young look like a piker offensively. The claims that the Rox gave up too much are overstated: Hamlin's a 24 yo corner OF who hasn't gotten out of A-ball, Westbrook was worked hard, and neither Westbrook or Nicholson were dominating. Re-signing Reed is a necessary expense after the mistake of signing Manwaring to a multi-year deal.

DETROIT TIGERS

Traded 3B Travis Fryman to Arizona for INF Joe Randa, "3B" Gabe Alvarez, and RHP Matt Drews. [11/18]

Signed 1B Tony Clark to a four-year contract extension. [11/18]

Traded RHPs Dan Miceli and Donne Wall and 3B Ryan Balfe to San Diego for RHP Tim Worrell and OF Trey Beamon. [11/19]

Acquired RHP Bryce Florie and a PTBNL from Milwaukee for LHPs Mike Myers and Rick Greene and SS Santiago Perez; designated LF Jimmy Hurst and SS Orlando Miller for assignment. [11/20]

Traded UT Phil Nevin and C Matt Walbeck to Anaheim for RHP Nick Skuse. [11/20]

See Randy Smith get busy. Busy, Randy, busy busy. You might not think that Randy has scouted every prospect known to man, what with his repetitive pickups of people he knows from his previous employers. The signature glory in these shuffles was that it creates an opportunity for Frank Catalanotto at third in the spring, probably in a platoon with Randa. There are some interesting talent decisions here: getting huge Nick Skuse for Nevin and Walbeck was a good bit of clearing roster spots, and Worrell and Florie are both capable pitchers who can help as starters or in relief. If there's a dubious move here, its the decision to reward Clark with a multiyear contract after he faded so badly during the last four months of the season. Memories of Mike Davis' April '86 and how that screwed up people's expectations of what he could do come to mind...

FLORIDA MARLINS

Traded CF Devon White to Arizona for LHP Jesus Martinez. [11/18]

Traded RHP Kurt Miller to the Cubs for a PTBNL. [11/18]

Traded RHP Robb Nen to San Francisco for RHPs Joe Fontenot, Mike Villano, and Mick Pageler. [11/18]

Traded LHP Ed Vosberg to San Diego for RHP Chris Clark. [11/20]

Traded 1B/LF Jeff Conine to Kansas City for RHP Blaine Mull. [11/20]

Released C Bob Natal and UT John Wehner. [11/20]

Eeek. Well, not really. Dave Dombrowski has done an outstanding job of clearing away upper level veteran talent to make way for the team he was aiming to win with in the first place, before Wayne Huizenga went crazy. Devo was clearly dumped, and getting Mull and Clark for the overpriced Vosberg and Conine isn't bad either. The Nen deal is classic: in exchange for Chris Carpenter and four years of Robb Nen, they've received three prospects and more salary space.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Traded RHP Blaine Mull to Florida for 1B/LF Jeff Conine, and signed Conine to a two-year contract. [11/20]

The Royals have already made it clear they want Conine to play left for them, and that they're interested in re-signing Chili Davis. This, on top of carrying Jeff King. To call the Royals adrift would be giving them credit for heading wherever the tides take them. This is more like juggling live hand grenades in a submarine, out of boredom.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Re-signed RHP Doug Jones to a one-year contract with a club option for '99. [11/18]

Signed CF Darrin Jackson to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training. [11/19]

Acquired LHP Mike Myers, RHP Rick Greene, and SS Santiago Perez from Detroit for RHP Bryce Florie and a PTBNL. [11/20]

Jones has enjoyed a funky pattern of struggling if he ever stays in one place for too long, but the Brewers swapped leagues. Garner loves his willingness to take the ball in non-save situations, and in the NL that can be more important. Re-upping Jackson is sort of misguided, but it does close the door on bringing Matt Mieske back. As for the trade with the Tigers, Bando had to undo some of the damage of the expansion draft, which hit the Brewers extremely hard.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Traded RHP Pedro Martinez to Boston for RHP Carl Pavano and a PTBNL. [11/18]

Traded 2B Mike Lansing to Colorado for RHPs Jake Westbrook and John Nicholson and OF Mike Hamlin. [11/18]

Jim Beattie has gotten alot of credit for what he's gotten out of Tom Vu clones who keep dropping him messages about what to do with his "distressed property." Certainly picking up Pavano is a good move, but Westbrook and Nicholson aren't outstanding, and neither move adresses the Expos big offensive problems.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Acquired 3B Scott Brosius from Oakland as the PTBNL in the Kenny Rogers deal. [11/18]

Brosius is simply keeping the third base job warm for Mike Lowell, but he'll also be a handy utilityman.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Traded SS Kevin Stocker to Tampa Bay for LF Bob Abreu. [11/18]

Although this was generally a good move for the Phillies (Relaford is a suitable replacement for Stocker), keep in mind that this is the Phillies. Just because they have McMillon and Abreu doesn't mean either will play: the team still has its commitments to Jefferies and Brogna, which leaves one regular job in RF for them to fight for.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Traded C John Flaherty to Tampa Bay for RHP Brian Boehringer and INF Andy Sheets. [11/18]

Traded RHP Tim Worrell and OF Trey Beamon to Detroit for RHPs Dan Miceli and Donne Wall and 3B Ryan Balfe. [11/19]

Traded RHP Chris Clark to Florida for LHP Ed Vosberg, and signed Vosberg to a two-year contract. [11/20]

The Pads have stressed that they're very interested in fixing their pitching problems, and adding Boehringer, Miceli, and Vosberg to the pen will help. After a month as a hot potato that saw him jump from Houston to Cincy to Detroit to San Diego, Wall may end up fighting for the fifth slot in the rotation. The really good move here was removing Flaherty: the Pads will make do with Carlos Hernandez and Mandy Romero until Ben Davis arrives to stay by '99.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Traded RHPs Joe Fontenot, Mike Viano, and Mick Pageler to Florida for RHP Robb Nen. [11/18]

Signed 3B Bill Mueller to a three-year contract. [11/19]

Signed C Brent Mayne to a two-year contract. [11/21]

Should the Giants even bother fielding six minor league affiliates? In all seriousness, in the wake of the trades with the White Sox and Marlins, and given their dearth of talent, six affiliates is beginning to look like a waste of their resources. Mayne joins a Giants team where Dusty loves to carry three catchers, so Brian Johnson and Mayne will split platoon duties while the Giants find some switch-hitter to ride the pine (paging Damon Berryhill...).

SEATTLE MARINERS

Re-signed 2B Joey Cora to a one-year contract with a club option for '99. [11/18]

Joey Cora's turnaround is the fantasy of two dozen minor league secondbasemen who could have (or could have had) careers: (in no particular order) Ralph Milliard, Ron Belliard, Dave Hajek, Brian Raabe, Jeff Berblinger, Dave Doster, Frank Menechino, Todd Haney, Fausto Cruz, Felipe Crespo, Jason Hardtke, Eric Owens, Aaron Ledesma, and many, many more. Basically, a big-money commitment to a player like Cora isn't fair, but neither is life, and Joey's a lucky guy.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Traded LF Bob Abreu to Philadelphia for SS Kevin Stocker. [11/18]

Traded RHP Brian Boehringer and INF Andy Sheets to San Diego for C John Flaherty. [11/18]

Acquired 1B Fred McGriff from Atlanta for a PTBNL. [11/18]

Signed RHP Roberto Hernandez to a four-year contract with a club option for '02. [11/18]

For me, I guess its hard to harsh the McGriff acquisition in light of the Galarraga signing. That doesn't make getting him a good thing, but it isn't the worst decision made in the last week. The pickup of Flaherty to go with Mike Difelice is a pretty good clue that the D-Rays don't evaluate catchers the way most people do, and spend alot of time talking about how they need guys who can handle pitchers. Difelice can't hit, neither can Flaherty, and Flaherty was the man who caught the worst Pad pitching staff in franchise history. Its unfortunate that they chose not to keep Abreu, because Stocker isn't really a unique talent. If you're a cynic, then signing Hernandez is a great investment for what he'll potentially yield in trade to a contender in a year or two.

TEXAS RANGERS

Signed RHPs Barry Johnson and Mark Small and SS Scott Sheldon to minor-league contracts, and invited Small and Sheldon to spring training. [11/20]

Sheldon wouldn't be the worst alternative in the world if Benji Gil continues to struggle. Johnson and Small will be handy relievers for Okie City, and can help out as middlemen if the Rangers don't bring anybody else in.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

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