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March 3, 2017

Transaction Analysis

Major Minors

by Jared Wyllys and Aaron Gleeman


IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
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Signed RHP Yusmeiro Petit to a minor-league contract. [2/8]

Washington declined its $3 million option on Petit in November and three months later he could manage only a minor-league deal that will reportedly pay slightly over $2 million if he makes the Opening Day roster. He’s seemingly a good bet to do so, if only because of his veteran-ness and ability to shift between the rotation and the bullpen as needed.

Petit tops out in the high-80s with his fastball and gives up too many fly balls to be truthworthy, but that’s been the case since his days as a stat-head favorite prospect. His curveball remains a plus offering and he posted a 4.03 DRA in 62 innings for the Nationals last season, which is basically par for the course. Petit isn’t an exciting addition and at age 32 he’s walking a fine line between useful and washed up, but the Angels can use the decent depth. —Aaron Gleeman

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Acquired LHP Vidal Nuno from Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for RHP Ryan Moseley. [2/19]

This makes four trades in three years for Nuno, whom the Dodgers acquired in November for Carlos Ruiz and then signed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal to avoid arbitration. Prior to that he was dealt from the Yankees to the Diamondbacks for Brandon McCarthy in mid-2014 and from the Diamondbacks to the Mariners, along with Mark Trumbo, for four players in mid-2015.

It’s easy to see why he’s well-traveled; Nuno is a left-hander without great raw stuff and is probably best suited for the bullpen. He’s also had decent success along the way, throwing 329 innings with a 4.02 ERA and 4.63 DRA. That includes a 3.15 ERA and 95/20 K/BB ratio in 100 innings as a reliever, although Nuno’s struggles against right-handed power hitters mean he’s just barely usable as more than a situational southpaw.

Baltimore is likely looking at him as staff-filling depth able to step into the back of the rotation or the middle of the bullpen, but because Nuno still has a minor-league option remaining it’s possible he’ll begin his age-29 season at Triple-A. —Aaron Gleeman

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Signed RHP Mat Latos to a minor-league contract. [2/16]

Time waits for no pitcher. It ignores sparkling the DRAs of years past and can turn even the best of them into organization filler on minor-league contracts in the time it takes for a two-term presidency to come and go. Such is Mat Latos. Once of consecutive 200-inning seasons, but now of surrendering a TAv perilously close to .300 and trying to crack the Blue Jays' staff on a non-guaranteed deal.

If he can merit an addition to the 25-man roster he’ll get $1.5 million with another cool half-million due in potential performance bonuses. This will depend on Latos’ health, as he has not avoided the DL very successfully since he was still with the Reds, to say nothing for cracking a talented rotation. There’s some possibility of making it out of the bullpen, but that’s a role he’s been used in only sparingly. In a very small sample, the Nationals used him as a reliever after acquiring him last season and Latos showed bits of promise with a 9.3 K/9, but ultimately still struggled to keep runners off of the bases. —Jared Wyllys

CHICAGO CUBS
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Signed RHP Pedro Strop to a one-year, $5.85 million contract extension. [2/24]

The 2016 Cubs were built on a plethora of strengths and a plethora of things that went right for them. Offensive depth helped absorb Jason Heyward’s season-long slump and the loss of Kyle Schwarber so early in the season. Farm system depth allowed them to acquire Aroldis Chapman in July, who proved especially useful when Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon struggled with late-season injuries and ineffectiveness.

This winter the Cubs have further stockpiled relievers and the most recent step in that process was extending Strop through 2018, plus a $6.25 million team option for 2019. Though he struggled some upon returning from injury in the fall and was sparsely used in the postseason while Joe Maddon leaned on Chapman rather heavily, there is no reason to expect that Strop won’t, or can’t, return to form in 2017.

Strop has a 3.07 DRA in 340 career innings, including a 2.50 DRA and 60/15 K/BB ratio in 47 innings last season. He should continue to thrive as a setup man in the seventh and eighth innings. The Cubs' relievers capable of throwing those innings have made that spot in the bullpen crowded, however. Carl Edwards Jr., Koji Uehara, and Rondon each stand to grab some looks in the late innings, so however the roles shake out the Cubs have built depth to make the latter third of close games especially aggravating to opposing offenses. —Jared Wyllys

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Signed INF-R Gordon Beckham to a minor-league contract. [2/8]

The name probably still makes White Sox fans reflexively shiver because, after just 59 games in the minors in 2009, Beckham earned a call-up and dazzled. After that? It took him just over three full seasons to match his 2.5 WARP total of that rookie year.

Now, after the Giants traded for him very late in the 2016 season, they have retained Beckham as a part of their apparent desire to stockpile aging and struggling middle infielders. Given the presence of Jae-gyun Hwang on the Giants' roster, Beckham is an acquisition that feels like getting an insurance policy for your insurance policy.

He has the potential to be a positive addition defensively, provided that he can post FRAA numbers like he did in 2014, when he spent most of his time at second base. He can also fill in at third and, in a pinch, shortstop, but second is where San Francisco would get the most out of his glove. —Jared Wyllys


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

1 comment has been left for this article.

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