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July 30, 2004

Transaction Analysis

July 28

by Christina Kahrl

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

DETROIT TIGERS Return to Top

Placed RHP Gary Knotts on the 15-day DL (sore shoulder); recalled RHP Robert Novoa from Erie (Double-A). [7/28]

With Knotts breaking down, Wil Ledezma's going to get the shot in the rotation that he earned with his performance down at Erie. Replacing him in the pen is Novoa, part of swag swiped from the Bucs for the immortal Randall Simon. (The other two players picked up were third baseman Kody Kirkland, who's flailing in the Midwest League, but he is only 21; and lefty Adrian Burnside, who just doesn't seem like he's going to turn the corner as long as he can't get his ERA under five as a Mudhen.) Novoa's coming up on his 25th birthday and has only just logged his first season above A-ball, but he throws a hard sinker and has a decent breaking pitch. He was fairly dominating at Double-A: a 2.93 ERA, 52 hits allowed in 67.2 IP, and a 47-15 strikeout-walk ratio. It says something that Novoa is up, mostly about the organization's frustrations with Franklyn German and the doomed Matt Anderson.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS Return to Top

Signed C-R Keith Osik to a minor league contract, and assigned him to Durham. [7/28]

This is one of those moves that just seems like it had to be only a matter of time, right? Sort of like l'Affaire Affleck et J-Lo, it's the sort of punctuation to both parties' careers that you expect from them. At any rate, Keith Osik has only 13 career homeruns and 259 career hits, so he's well short of getting as high up as 20th on the all-time list of homeruns or hits by players whose name begins with the letter "O." I know, you're dying to ask, but the current 20th spots are held by Tip O'Neill (with 52 taters) and Magglio Ordonez (with 1167 hits). Mel Ott tops both lists at 511 and 2876, which would certainly make my O-named forebear, William O'Brien, happy, since Ott was his favorite player.

Anyway, whether you're Osik or the D-Rays, it's important to keep your list of goals realistic. Ray Oyler's 15 career homeruns? With a few breaks, he could take that. And considering that Pete LaForest is off to Greece to play for Team Canada, Osik will get to split time with Robinson Cancel, catching Bulls games and wondering if Brook Fordyce is going to strain something. Something shakes loose, and Oyler's toast!

CHICAGO CUBS Return to Top

Signed RHP Kevin McGlinchy to a minor league contract, and assigned him to Iowa. [7/28]

You know you're spending too much time on the little things when you remind yourself that you've spoken more words about the peregrinations of Kevin McGlinchy than he has innings pitched since the 1999 season, which is 8.3, if you're counting. Would point-three be a half-constructed conjunction? McGlinchy was a hell of a pitcher once upon a time, but he also posted a 6.65 ERA in the Atlantic League last year. This year, he was pitching in Mexico for Monterrey, where he wasn't really doing that well (3.7 runs allowed per nine, but only 40 strikeouts in 75.2 IP). I know, with pitchers youneverknow, but this seems like a reach.

If you're really curious, you'll find that Monterrey does have a pretty good selection of Yanquis. They're pushing Saltillo down the stretch with the Smiths (Bubba and Demond--Demond's leading the league in average), Mario Valdez, and Scott Bullett. Their #3 starter is Rick DeHart. I'm amazed these guys haven't all gotten to be Expos recently. Anyway, it's hard to keep up with Saltillo, because they've got Morgan Burkhart trying to catch up to Izzy Alcantara for the league home run title.

What can I say, I was the only kid on the block who wished Strat would do card sets for the Japanese Leagues.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS Return to Top

Announced that OF-B Chris Magruder cleared waivers, and was outrighted to Indianapolis. [7/28]

Okay, there are some moves that, even for me, do not summon up Rizzuto-like palavers into seemingly random observations triggered by mnemonics too complicated to sort out. Although now that I think of it, the very name 'Magruder' does conjure up the memory of General John Magruder, Traitor States hero and certified McClellan bamboozler during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. That's George B. and not Scott McClellan, for those of you keeping score at home. I guess this is where I could say something catty, like wondering whether or not we're using Pinkerton men to find the weapons of mass destruction, but that would be wrong. Anyway, Magruder (John, not Chris) was the 'loser' of the Second Siege of Yorktown, but true to Karl Marx's observation about history (that it tends to repeat itself; the first time is tragedy, the second, farce), the sequel was a meaningless, phony achievement for McClellan and the Unionistas.

Hmmm, okay, I suspect you all want some baseball in your baseball content, otherwise, why would we all be complaining about ESPN's transmogrification to something halfway between MTV and Oxygen? Anyway, Indianapolis is dead in the water in the Western Division, so I can't see how getting Magruder is going to help the Indians mount a desperate push on the title. In the division, Toledo and Columbus are having at it, and while I doubt it'll resurrect any leftover issues from the Toledo War ("I picked a fight and all I got was the Upper Peninsula?"), I wonder if it shouldn't. Maybe sovereignty over Toledo should be awarded to whoever wins the IL. Okay, that's impractical, not to mention a probable cause for a war if Ottawa ever won. Wait, could we trade Toledo for Vancouver? I'd do that deal without any thought. Which brings us back to the subject of trades, not that we're getting many of those at the moment.

NEW YORK METS Return to Top

Designated RHP Scott Erickson for assignment; recalled LHP Pedro Feliciano from Norfolk. [7/28]

From the non-stunning developments list, we have the designation of the onetime owner of "baseball's best stuff" as someone who's fallen and can't get up. I suppose they could afford to toss the $700,000, but as long as they're throwing around that sort of change on guys barely worth a NRI, it would have been nice if they'd taken the shopping a wee bit more seriously than they did.

Who the Mets will use as their fifth starter is sort of open-ended at the moment, but they don't need one until August 7th. No, it won't be Alay Soler, the Cuban surprise. Down at Norfolk, Aaron Heilman isn't having a great year (5.7 runs allowed per nine, 170 baserunners in 117.1 IP, and 15 homeruns allowed), but he's there. Neal Musser earned a promotion to Triple-A after posting a 3.33 ERA and winning nine games, but he wasn't all that dominating: 92 hits allowed and 38 walks in 97.1 IP, with 62 strikeouts. There aren't that many fifth starter-types available cheap, but who knows, maybe the Mariners will toss them Ron Villone for a danish.

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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