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September 25, 2000

Transaction Analysis

September 20-23, 2000

by Christina Kahrl

ATLANTA BRAVES

Outrighted RHP Ismael Villegas to Richmond. [9/22]

This, on top of last week's release of Skippy Belinda at his own request, cuts the Braves' 40-man roster down at a strange time to be making space on it. Now sure, it's unlikely that a team would suddenly lose a half-dozen players, but what if the Braves did lose a bunch of relievers at once? They'd have to use somebody from their 40-man roster, barring something improbable (as in, not going to happen) like a John Smoltz comeback for the postseason.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Recalled LHP David Moraga from Colorado Springs. [9/20]

With Masato Yoshii and Pedro Astacio done for the season, the Rox are short of people who might start a game or two in the final ten days. They've already pressed John Wasdin into the rotation, and might have to call on Kevin Jarvis or Giovanni Carrara at some point.

David Moraga was up (briefly) with the Expos earlier this year, after which they tried to slip him through waivers. He had been drafted out of Sacramento Community College in the 32nd round back in 1993, and how can you root against a guy like that? In keeping with a Rockies' organizational motif these days, he owns a nifty changeup, which he needs since he doesn't throw his fastball all that hard. He's currently crediting SkySox pitching coach Jim Wright for teaching him how to properly throw a slider, which is great for him, but not exactly great news for Expos fans if they're wondering about the quality of instruction in their own organization. After this assignment, the Rox are planning on sending Moraga to the Arizona Fall League to keep working on the slider.

DETROIT TIGERS

Claimed LHP Eric DuBose off of waivers from the Indians; transferred 1B-B Tony Clark from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/22]

Well, I thought it was a good idea for the Tribe to claim Eric DuBose off of waivers a week ago, and I think it's a good idea for the Tigers as well. Because I'm not sold on Sean Runyan's chances of ever getting back to where he was in his rookie season, DuBose could have a reasonable shot at becoming the Tigers' second left-hander in the pen behind C. J. Nitkowski. Like Nitkowski, DuBose has good stuff and a career with more than its share of detours along the way. Love him or hate him, Randy Smith always likes to gamble on pure talent, so this is the kind of gamble you knew he'd be willing to take, and one that isn't hard to envision working out well.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Recalled LHPs Horacio Estrada and Rafael Roque, RHP Allen Levrault, SS-B Santiago Perez and OF-R Lyle Mouton from Indianapolis. [9/23]

And now, here are some of the key players from your Triple-A World Series champions, the Indianapolis Indians. This year's matchup of the Indians and the Cardinals' Memphis affiliate didn't get prospect mavens as excited as last year's matchup between the White Sox's Charlotte squad and Oakland's Vancouver affiliate. Both the Indians and the Redbirds had lineups and pitching staffs featuring a lot of organizational soldiers and men with plenty of Triple-A and even major-league experience. That is not to put these guys down: prospect mavens can get all excited about the Arizona Fall League in a couple of weeks, while guys like Lyle Mouton or Stubby Clapp or Raffy Roque or Larry Sutton have something to feel good about for a season spent in Triple-A.

Among the Brewers' call-ups, several guys stick out. Horacio Estrada won the title-clinching game, and when he's on, he has fine command of four pitches that he mixes well at different speeds. He went 14-4 with a 3.33 ERA, allowing 149 hits and 45 walks in 159 innings and striking out 103 batters. His shot at taking the fifth slot in the Brewers' rotation away from John Snyder next season is entirely dependent on how quickly Ben Sheets comes along.

Series MVP Santiago Perez is another semi-respectable shortstop prospect with decent power and speed and enough inconsistency in the field to make people wonder. If your organization's alternative was an Alex Gonzalez to be named later, Perez would be worth considering, but with Mark Loretta and Ron Belliard up the middle, the most Perez can hope for is for one of them to be moved to third base should Jose Hernandez somehow miraculously get dealt over the winter.

After a 1999 season when he was the Organization's Pitcher of the Year, Allen Levrault should get consideration for the long-relief job next spring after posting a decent 4.24 ERA and striking out 6.5 batters per nine innings as a starter. Finally, Lyle Mouton should have been on the big-league club all along, considering it was one of the worst offensive teams in the league.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Outrighted C-B George Williams to Las Vegas. [9/21]

As much as I've always rooted for him, George Williams's Ken Phelps All-Star Team days are behind him. Some people rooted for the Balb! (Steve Balboni, for the uninitiated), some for The Deer (Master of the Three True Outcomes), some for Hector Villanueva and some for legendary Little League World Series godling Lloyd McClendon. I rooted for all of them, and George Williams to boot, and not just because I had the pleasure of meeting his brother, nephew and niece one cold day in Comiskey in 1996 during another sloppy Ariel Prieto game.

By happy circumstance, George's brother ran into the only other guy hoping to see him play that day, as well as the only other guy wearing an A's cap in the invariably empty seats along the first-base line. The family had driven down from Wisconsin to see the game, and we spent the day cheering and chatting about George's frequent knee problems and the hopes that things would work out. Because there aren't a whole lot of overseas opportunities for catchers (I can't even remember the last U.S. catcher to play in Japan), George isn't going to get a lot of opportunities to make money anywhere besides Triple-A. That makes me a little sad, and I hope he's one of those guys we see resurrected as a coach or manager.

Chris Kahrl can be reached at ckahrl@baseballprospectus.com.

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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