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August 25, 2000

Transaction Analysis

August 22-23, 2000

by Keith Law


Acquired LHP Scott Karl and cash from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named. [8/22]

I'm sure the Angels think getting Scott Karl out of Denver will help, and while it can't hurt, it won't reverse years of decline. Karl's road stats this year are still ugly: a 5.68 ERA, a 16-to-18 K/BB ratio, 44 hits allowed in 38 innings and a homer allowed nearly every 4 1/2 innings.

Ridding the team of Ken Hill only to acquire Karl doesn't make sense, especially when the team's four youngsters in the rotation are showing good growth. The Angels would be better served by letting the four kids start in turn for the remainder of the season, with Mark Petkovsek or Mike Fyhrie coming out of the bullpen if a spot start is needed.


Activated RHP Kerry Wood from the 15-day disabled list; optioned IF-R Jose Nieves to Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [8/22]

The Cubs are now 14 games out of first place, 15 games below .500 and nearly 20 games out of the wild card. Their star pitcher is coming back from an oblique muscle injury, an injury that doesn't go away quickly and in some instances (Steve Avery) seems to have caused lingering mechanical problems for years. Perhaps Kerry Wood is fine, but is there really a reason to rush him back before September 1, when the roster expands and the Cubs can add pitching depth to accommodate, say, a 90-pitch limit for Wood?

At this stage of the season, teams that are clearly out of the postseason hunt need to alter their decision-making to consider 2001 over 2000, and the Cubs still have not shown any signs that they're aware of the need to make that change.


Activated RHP Sean Lowe from the 15-day disabled list; placed RHP Jon Garland on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 19, with a contusion below his right elbow. [8/23]

There's no need to hyperventilate. Jon Garland's injury is the result of a poorly-placed line drive. He'll miss a couple of starts and be back once rosters expand; he's still a candidate for the postseason rotation. In his absence, Sean Lowe got a start Wednesday; the injury also created a spot for the Sox to put their first really bad decision this year, Ken Hill.


Activated LHP Ricardo Rincon from the 60-day disabled list; optioned LHP Tom Martin to Buffalo of the International League (AAA). [8/23]

Cleveland has larger problems than its lack of any effective left-handers in the bullpen, but at least that need is addressed with Ricardo Rincon's return from surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow. Rincon had been off to a good start after an injury-plagued 1999, and could easily handle the role he had in 1998 as a short reliever beyond the lefty specialist role. Plus this allows John Hart to claim the Brian Giles Charity Giveaway wasn't a total loss. Riiight.


Placed OF-L Jeremy Giambi on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle; recalled OF-R Eric Byrnes from Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [8/22]

The A's arguably come out ahead in this deal. Jeremy Giambi wasn't hitting much, while 1998 eighth-rounder Eric Byrnes was hitting .346/.413/.584 with 10 steals at Triple-A Sacramento, leading the RiverCats in slugging percentage. Giambi bats left-handed, like 80% of the A's roster, two-thirds of the front office and 95% of the peanut vendors at Al Davis Stadium; Byrnes bats right-handed. Giambi isn't much with the leather in the outfield, while Byrnes is more than adequate in either corner.

We like Giambi, but for what the A's need now, Byrnes is a better option on the bench, a better late-inning replacement than Ryan Christenson and a good platoon-mate for Matt Stairs.


Placed SS-R Kevin Elster on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring; recalled RHP Mike Judd from Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); signed first-round pick RHP Ben Diggins. [8/23]

The injury to Kevin Elster makes it easier for the Dodgers to play Alex Cora every day. Cora has been a surprise with the bat and everything advertised with the glove, one of the few positives in a disappointing Dodger season.


Activated RHP David Weathers from the 15-day disabled list; optioned LHP Rafael Roque to Indianapolis of the International League (AAA). [8/23]

David Weathers steps right into the setup role for Curt Leskanic, giving the Brewers an effective end-of-game threesome now that Juan Acevedo is finally starting to show flashes of his 1998 form. And we can all be reminded that the lead singer of 3 Doors Down is Weathers's long-lost twin.


Claimed pitcher Pat Daneker off waivers from the Chicago White Sox; recalled pitcher Matt DeWitt from Syracuse of the International League (AAA) and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with a broken right arm. [8/23]

Keith Law can be reached at klaw@baseballprospectus.com.

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