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November 1, 2000

Transaction Analysis

October 17-23, 2000

by Christina Kahrl

COLORADO ROCKIES

Outrighted PH-B Adam Melhuse to Colorado Springs. [10/13]

Okay, this transaction falls outside of the period in question, but there's an amusing story here.

Dan O'Dowd has a problem. He likes having Adam Melhuse around, so much so that the 28 year old minor-league vet got one of the Rockies' slots in the Arizona Fall League, a plum that usually drops in the lap of an organization's top prospects. Unfortunately for the Rockies, the time has come to make space on the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft in December. O'Dowd wants to keep Melhuse, so much so that he does not want Melhuse showing off in front of everybody else's player-development people in Arizona now that Melhuse can look forward to being a minor-league free agent. So shortly after getting taken off the roster, O'Dowd also had Melhuse leave the AFL.

If I'm Melhuse, I don't know if I'd be flattered or upset, but he should be happy about what this should mean for his shot at a major-league job next spring.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Announced they will not pick up their 2001 option for 3B-B Ken Caminiti and will pick up their 2001 option for IF-L Bill Spiers. [10/18]

Frankly, I have absolutely no idea what's going on with Ken Caminiti's off-field problems, but clearly they're significant enough for the Astros to dodge some payroll issues and stick with the organization's useful collection of internal options. The Bill Spiers/Chris Truby platoon is an adequate fallback position at third base, and Morgan Ensberg is looking like a useful player as well.

As for Caminiti, if he's able to take the field you can count on his getting the opportunity. Normally, I would expect Randy Smith to try to profit on this situation and bring Caminiti in to DH for the Tigers, except that he probably can't do that unless he and Juan Gonzalez file a divorce/professional suicide pact, and/or unless he finds a taker for Tony Clark.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Re-signed PH-L Dave Hansen to a one-year contract with an option for a second. [10/19]

Dave Hansen is the best there is when it comes to pinch-hitting, even though he's miscast in the role. He shouldn't have had to go to Japan, he shouldn't be sitting on anybody's bench and he should be making top dollar as somebody's starting third baseman. Somebody who doesn't already have Adrian Beltre, obviously.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Re-signed RHP Darryl Kile to a three-year contract extension, with an option for a fourth. [10/19]

While I hate to put Darryl Kile down by making this comparison, I certainly hope this turns out better for the Cardinals than their last decision to give a pitcher from a division-winning team a big multi-year deal. Donovan Osborne was younger and much more fragile than Kile when he got his three-year (plus an option) contract in 1996.

By comparison, Kile is about as durable as starters come these days, and as long as the Cardinals maintain a commitment to upgrading their offense, Kile shouldn't be a disappointment.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Agreed with Manager Dusty Baker on a two-year contract. [10/19]

Dodgers fans can let out a sigh of relief, maybe. With Kevin Malone, you may yet have to settle for Kevin Kennedy or worse, but at least the Dodgers won't have to cater to Dusty Baker's easily-hurt feelings.

Perhaps no spectacle was more pathetic than Baker's whining for some respect after his team was humiliated in the postseason. It was a humiliation he conspicuously contributed to between his sudden love affair with the bunt and his "inspired" decision to start Mark Gardner in the playoffs.

For all that Baker does to inspire loyalty and respect for his oft-praised leadership skills, if he's unwilling to accept blame for his mistakes, what kind of leadership is that? With the readiness of an adoring press to sing his praises and phone in his Manager of the Year awards, you'd think Baker would remember that if anything, he's been the beneficiary of a large surplus of respect that any other manager would be happy to have.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Signed 1B-L Carlos Delgado to a four-year contract. [10/20]

Carlos Delgado will only briefly be the best-compensated player in baseball, because everyone expects Alex Rodriguez to have everything from the keys to a space shuttle to naming rights for his favorite non-North America continent thrown at him.

What I think is especially interesting about this move is its potential impact on the signing of Manny Ramirez and on Sammy Sosa's desire for a contract extension. But with Delgado's payday coming at the age of 28, it places Sosa (31) and Ramirez (28) in interesting contrast. Ramirez can and should expect similar money, and if he's really smart, he'll get the Rockies to pay him, with some non-park-adjusted incentive clauses thrown in.

By comparison, Sosa is older, and those three years matter in terms of what we can expect from here on out. As much as he has been the featured player on a signature piece of WGN programming, the Cubs would be wise to tell Sosa that they're only interested in his finishing up the current contract, and they'll get back to him about anything more than that. Because Sammy isn't going to get to go to Coors Field, there aren't too many other venues that will guarantee his productivity the way Wrigley would into his mid-30s, and not every team will turn a blind eye to his growing limitations on defense.

It's a happy day for the Blue Jays, make no bones about it. But does the Delgado signing mean Toronto is a big market again? Or does that take 90 wins and a per-game attendance of 30,000? Writers keep changing the definition, so forgive me if I've forgotten what a "big market" is this week.

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

Related Content:  Ken Caminiti

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