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February 6, 1998

Transaction Analysis

January 30-February 5

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Signed OF Patrick Lennon to a minor league contract with a spring training NRI. [1/30]

Outrighted RHP Mike Freehill to Vancouver (AAA). [2/3]

After snagging Gary Thurman and Damon Mashore, you would have figured that the Angels were set as far as setting themselves up with good RH-hitting fifth outfielders. Lennon can be added to the list of people who should be playing ahead of Cecil Fielder as the regular DH.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Signed RHP Gregg Olson to a minor-league contract. [1/31]

Signed RHP Andy Benes to a three-year contract. [2/3]

Adding Benes significantly alters the shape of the D-backs' rotation, in that he'll chew up innings and move Willie Blair, Brian Anderson, and Jeff Suppan down a notch. Olson's big bender isn't doing much besides getting lined into the gaps, and he still hasn't regained much control of the stuff he has left since his injuries. Even so, he may make the team.

BOSTON RED SOX

Signed 2B Jeff Frye to a three-year contract. [2/3]

The phenomenon of giving roster fill multi-year deals is now sitting at three years, as opposed to the expectation of merely two that was the rule of the day as recently as December. He's one of two dozen guys who can play second and are routinely available as minor league free agents. Frye isn't a bad player to have around. What separates him from them is that he's been willing to play wherever asked, and sits if he must without griping about it. The Jose Hernandezes or Mark Bellhorns of the world should take note, bide their time in whatever part-time rolls their managers fashion for them, and let arbitration make up the difference.

CHICAGO CUBS

Signed LHP Terry Mulholland to a minor league contract with a spring training NRI. [2/2]

Ed Lynch caught some flak for not getting anything for Mulholland when he tried to pass him through waivers last August, but second-guessing aside, Mulholland's value is obviously considered to be pretty low. He's still an asset on the back end of a rotation, although there are early rumbles that Mulholland will be in the pen as the second lefty behind Bob Patterson. Instead, having him will make trading either Kevin Foster or Steve Trachsel (after his coming arbitration win) more likely, putting Mulholland in the rotation for a few months, pending the arrival of Kerry Wood. This will also make room for Rule V pick Alan Mahaffey as the second lefty in the pen, which in effect means Mahaffey's inevitable case of Rule V tendinitis for a month-long rehab/teaching session may wind up being intimately related to Wood's progress in Iowa.

CINCINNATI REDS

Signed LHP David West and RHP Mike Walker to minor-league contracts, and invited West to spring training. [2/2]

Traded SS Yuri Sanchez to the Mets for 1B Roberto Petagine. [2/5]

West is coming off a rough year in Japan, where the nicest thing you can say is that he was healthy enough to toss 92 innings, while minor league veteran Walker was a successful long reliever on last year's Indianapolis squad. Enough of that kind of roster scrapie, though: Jim Bowden has pulled off a coup in landing Petagine. Roberto should step right in at 1B and quickly dispel any whining about the dearly departed Hal Morris. In this context, recent comments that Dmitri Young is being moved to the OF make more sense, and certainly insure the Reds' lineup against Reggie Sanders' annual health woes.

FLORIDA MARLINS

1B Darren Daulton announced his retirement. [1/30]

Acquired RHP Hector Ramirez from Baltimore for a PTBNL or cash. [2/4]

The Orioles had been trying to slip Ramirez through waivers, only to have the Yankees enter a claim, so they turned around and made him Florida's problem. At this point, he's getting close to Tim Pugh status in the waiver wire wars. Meanwhile, hats off for Dutch Daulton, one of the miracles of modern arthroscopy, and a ton of fun to watch over the years.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Signed SS Luis Rivera to a minor-league contract. [2/5]

Yes, Hubie Brooks' old caddy will still be terrorizing fans in the Big Easy.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Signed RHPs Shawn Boskie and Mike Campbell and CF Chuck Carr to minor-league contracts with spring training NRIs, and invited RHP Antonio Armas to spring training. [2/3]

Boskie can be fun if you like dodging his frequent mistakes in the bleachers, and Campbell is coming off of arm woes in a failed Japanese excursion. Neither are representative of the Expos' old habit of resurrecting struggling veterans, because people like Pascual Perez or Dennis Martinez or even Jeff Juden had some track records of success, whereas Campbell and Boskie have failed to achieve consistent mediocrity. Chuck Carr's agent deserves a commendation for putting his man in the right place: with luck, he could wind up as remarkably fortunate as Otis Nixon.

NEW YORK METS

Traded 1B Roberto Petagine to Cincinnati for SS Yuri Sanchez. [2/5]

Sanchez has an interesting mix of skills for a shortstop, being a lefty with some pop, but he's only two years younger than Petagine, and hasn't escaped A-ball.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Announced the resignation of GM Bob Watson; named Brian Cashman general manager. [2/3]

I'm willing to sign on to the "mean old George treats his people badly" argument to a point, but Bob Watson's sainthood was being constructed almost from the moment he stepped off the plane, to the extent that his gratuitous mistakes were ignored or absolved: the Girardi or Kenny Rogers signings, the trade for Graeme Lloyd and Pat Listach, let alone coveting people like Mark Whiten, Charlie Hayes, or David Weathers. If Watson ever stays in one place long enough, he may finally garner some of the criticism he's earned for his work in New York and in Houston, but nailing Steinbrenner is the only game in town. To put it another way, compared to what Al Rosen had to put up with twenty years ago, Bob Watson deserved the second-guessing.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Purchased the contract of RHP Chris Brock from Fresno (AAA). [1/30]

[splutter mode on] Fresno... as a native Sacramentan, I still find it a bit odious that ... F-f-f-resno ... has a AAA team. Criminy, next thing you know, Lodi or Yuba City will be in the California League.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Signed RHP Bobby Ayala to a two-year contract. [2/5]

TEXAS RANGERS

Signed RHP Jose Guzman to a minor league contract with a spring training NRI. [1/30]

Guzman's dogged comeback saga continues, and in an organization that is happy to have Tanyon Sturtze and Terry Clark, he's in the right place to keep on trying.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Signed SS Alex Gonzalez to a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration; signed DH Jose Canseco to a one-year contract. [2/4]

I like watching Jose Canseco hit, but if I were a paying Jays fan, I'd be pretty concerned. Tim Johnson is talking tough about how Shannon Stewart is going to left and Jose Cruz Jr. will be in center, which means that when Carlos Delgado comes back in June, Mike Stanley won't have to play first, which means between Stanley at DH, and a choice of Canseco or Stewart or Shawn Green in the OF corners, Stewart or Green may be screwed. Rebuilding the '95 Red Sox, with a worse supporting cast and no Mo, seems like a bad idea to me.

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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