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March 20, 1998

Transaction Analysis

March 17-19

by Christina Kahrl

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Placed C Todd Greene, 2B Randy Velarde, and RHP Pep Harris on the 15-day DL; returned LHPs Rich Robertson and Greg Cadaret, C Ben Molina, and 1B Troy Neel to minor-league camp; assigned 1B Chris Pritchett to minor-league camp for work purposes. [3/19]

Greene's and Velarde's injuries have been casting a pall over camp all spring; the Angels are talking bravely about Phil Nevin and Matt Walbeck and Paco Martin and Steve Scarsone and Chip Hale. There are worse alternatives, but there's also the potential for Terry Collins to screw around and not pick a winner. In the past, he's preferred to stick with a set lineup, but expectations for the Angels this year are high.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Assigned SS Danny Kassen, RHPs Jason Boyd, Ben Ford, Bryan Corey, and Reid Cornelius, and Cs Rod Barajas and Mark Osborne to minor-league camp.

No surprising cuts in this group, although the New York lobby is probably shocked, *shocked* that the immortal Ben Ford isn't going to be up.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Assigned 3B Wes Helms, OF Damon Hollins, and LHPs Derrin Ebert and John Rocker to Richmond; LHPs Bruce Chen and Micah Bowie, RHP Dwayne Jacobs, C Pascual Matos, and OF George Lombard to Greenville (AA); C Fernando Lunar and SS Glenn Williams to Danville (A); assigned LHP Odaliz Perez, C Mike Mahoney, INF Mark DeRosa, and 1B Gene Schall to their minor-league camp. [3/19]

No surprises here, although the Braves are rumored to be offering Wes Helms around for a second baseman, which, if I'm Tony Graffanino, I'd find a bit exasperating.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Placed OF Danny Clyburn and RHP Everett Stull on the 15-day DL. [3/19]

I'm not a big Danny Clyburn fan, but in two months, if he's healthy, I hope people start asking why he isn't splitting time on the big league roster instead of some ex-famous person from the Blue Jays.

BOSTON RED SOX

Outrighted 3B Arquimedez Pozo to Pawtucket. [3/17]

Claimed OF Midre Cummings off waivers from Cincinnati. [3/19]

As far as I know, Pozo has not been claimed on waivers... yet. He ought to be, or he ought to refuse the assignment. He can help a team, the Red Sox need infield help, and in this case they're cutting off their nose to spite their face. Midre Cummings? Well, that's one way to give Darren Lewis job security.

CHICAGO CUBS

Assigned RHPs Kennie Steenstra and Dave Swartzbaugh to minor-league camp. [3/19]

As I've argued in the past, Steenstra has been a solid organizational soldier for years, and thus for no other reason, I'd like to see him get a September callup as a nice gesture. He did have a nice camp. Swartzbaugh has had a similar career as the perpetual Iowan, but he has already had his cup of coffee. What this really means is that the organization is giving Dave Stevens and Amaury Telemaco long looks as middle relief help.

CINCINNATI REDS

Signed LHP Joey Eischen to a minor league contract. [3/18]

Assigned RHP Scott Winchester, LHP Jim Crowell, 1B Roberto Petagine, and OF Ozzie Timmons to Indianapolis. [3/19]

Petagine will be a handy addition to the Indianapolis powerhouse that will now have a better starting 1B than at least a half-dozen teams. I can understand why McKeon has wholeheartedly stood by Eduardo Perez, but if he struggles against RH pitching as he has in the past, it won't take a rocket scientist to see what the solution will have to be. Eischen makes a handy spare lefty, and will be part of what always seems like a strong, deep pen for Indy.

DETROIT TIGERS

Assigned LHP Pedro Martinez and RHP Kerry Taylor to minor-league camp. [3/17]

With Sean Runyan having a good camp, and with John Rosengren and Roberto Duran around as well, the Other Pedro Martinez would have had to have been outstanding to crack the Tigers.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Released RHP Bryan Harvey at his request. [3/18]

Sent C Mitch Meluskey to minor-league camp. [3/19]

Interesting that Meluskey lasted as long as he did; take that as a sign that Tony Eusebio's grip on the job as Ausmus' caddy isn't written in stone. As for Harvey's release, it ought to be apparent he's done.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Purchased the contract of CF Ernie Young. [3/17]

Sent LHP Jamie Walker to Omaha. [3/17]

Designated SS Orlando Miller for assignment. [3/18]

The Royals' outfield is a zoo. Johnny Damon's been hurt, Rod Myers just sustained injuries, first to his rotator cuff and then to his self-esteem when Tony Muser talked about how Myers might not make the team anyways. So buying Ernie Young seems like a reasonable bit of insurance; Conine's old and Dye's no budding star, after all. At least the shortstop situation has settled down, as Orlando Miller finally got cut loose, which makes Felix Martinez the starting shortstop of the moment. I think its safe to say he'll make people forget Angel Salazar.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Returned Rule V pick RHP Marc Deschenes to the Cleveland Indians. [3/19]

NEW YORK YANKEES

Returned LHP Mike Mimbs, RHPs Wilson Heredia, Marty Janzen, and Danny Rios, 3Bs Phil Hiatt and Mike Lowell, and OFs Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer to their minor-league camp; passed RHP Jose Alberro through waivers, and assigned him to Columbus. [3/19]

Mike Lowell didn't play well enough in camp to take Scott Brosius' job, so Brosius wins out for the time being. With the crowded OF situation, Ledee wasn't going to get a serious shot; at this point, the organization's priorities on this score may have to be reassessed.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Reassigned RHP Dave Telgheder to minor league camp; sold the contract of CF Ernie Young to Kansas City. [3/17]

Telgheder drops out of the fight for the fifth starter's slot, leaving only Ariel Prieto and Mike Oquist standing with Willie Adams' coming shoulder 'scope. As for Ernie, with Ryan Christenson getting a longer look in camp, and Shane Mack and Jason McDonald still around, he was squeezed out.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Reassigned 1B Jon Zuber and P Tomoyuki Uchiyama to minor league camp. [3/18]

Signed RHP Toby Borland.

Apparently Zuber was shipped off with his ears pinned back, as Terry Francona said he lacked the power you look for out of a first baseman. Sure, the shoe fits, but as my friend Jeff Hildebrand has observed, what does that say about Rico Brogna (let alone Gregg Jefferies)?

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Optioned LHP Ricky Pickett to Fresno; assigned OF Jalal Leech, INF Jeff Ball, C Henry Mercedes, and RHP Jeff Darwin to minor-league camp. [3/18]

Jeff won't get to pitch with his big brother after all. Otherwise, no stories here.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Placed RHP Bryan Rekar and LHP Terrell Wade on the 15-day disabled list. [3/19]

We knew Wade's injury had taken him out of the fifth starter hunt, but now Rekar's out as well. Since they've apparently decided to stick Esteban Yan in the pen, that leaves Rick Gorecki and Dan Carlson, and I'm betting Gorecki wins out.

TEXAS RANGERS

Assigned RHP Jose Guzman to minor-league camp. [3/17]

Optioned OF Mark Little to Oklahoma and INF Rob Sasser to Tulsa (AA); returned OF Warren Newson to minor-league camp. [3/18]

Guest invective from our own Gary Huckabay:

I'm brooding a bit today. What brought this on? Primarily because Warren Newson was sent down by the Texas Rangers. I'm not saying that's a bad move for the Rangers; at this point, Newson may not be a good solution for them. He's aged a bit, and doesn't have the speed he used to have. His batting average hasn't been enough to make him the deluxe fill-in/pinch hitter they perceived him to be over the last year or two. Newson had a few bad phrases attached to him early in his career -- phrases that became heuristics for lazy and myopic management teams then in charge of the San Diego and Chicago front offices. San Diego labeled him 'short', and a 'minor league hitter', and subsequently addled ChiSox management considered him a 'pinch hitter deluxe'. Because of those labels, a potentially outstanding offensive player was allowed to die on the vine, and that's a damn shame.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Placed C Benito Santiago on the 60-day DL; optioned OF Anthony Sanders to Syracuse; RHPs Gary Glover and Tom Davey to Knoxville (AA); returned RHPs Dane Johnson and Roy Halladay and C Alex Delgado to minor-league camp. [3/18]

Optioned INF Tomas Perez, C Julio Mosquera, and RHP Carlos Almanzar to Syracuse; announced OF Phil Plantier declined assignment to Syracuse and is now a free agent. [3/19]

No surprises here. Tomas Perez and Julio Mosquera will probably be starting for Syracuse at short and catcher, which isn't exactly great news. I have to wonder what Phil Plantier's expecting from life at this stage of his career.

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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