September 16, 2011
Transaction Analysis Blog
Ward, Cameron Released
Boston Red Sox
Not long ago, Tazawa forwent a professional career in Japan to sign with the Red Sox as an amateur. He made his major league debut in 2009 then missed 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Now Tazawa could find himself on the postseason roster, as Marc Normandin recently pointed out, if he can outpitch the competition over the season’s final days.
After 14 relief appearances in the minors, Tazawa should be acclimated to the pen environment, and his component measures (a strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A over six) spell that out. He did have issues with gopheritis (allowing nearly 1.5 per nine innings pitched over his minor league season), and there were concerns about the consistency of his secondary stuff. As for the pros, Tazawa’s delivery is deceptive and he has a deep arsenal, which should give him the advantage in virginal matchups.
Gathright joins the Red Sox for the second time in three seasons, as he even appeared with the club in the postseason back in 2009 (stealing a base and scoring a run during their Divisional Series loss to the Angels). Speed is Gathright’s best asset, although his stolen base success rate borders on unacceptable (73 percent) and his defensive ability is not what you would expect from someone so fast. No reference about Gathright is complete without proving that he can jump cars:
As an added bonus, Ken Rosenthal wrote in-depth about how Boston identified and signed Gathright.
Nostalgia can be a powerful device when deployed properly, and the Diamondbacks are throwing it all around this season. Consider some of the names who have appeared on their active roster throughout the season, names like Melvin Mora, Sean Burroughs, Henry Blanco, Wily Mo Pena, Cody Ransom, Geoff Blum, Robby Hammock, and Yhency Brazoban. Arizona, more or less, is the baseball version of finding a chest full of old toys, so of course Ward would have a home at their Double-A affiliate down in Mobile.
Ward last appeared in the majors in 2008 with the Cubs, however he did play well in the 28 games he spent with Mobile by hitting .318/.445/.471 with a pair of home runs. With the minor league season over, Ward served little purpose for the Diamondbacks, so in effect they gave him a head start on finding another gig. Ostensibly, Ward has major league aspirations and while you can never say never (just look at the names above), it seems unlikely that a team is going to have a place on their roster for a defensively inept first baseman without much offensive prowess.
After being designated for assignment earlier in the season by Boston due to performance, Cameron finds himself released by the Marlins for conduct detrimental to the club. To be precise, Cameron allegedly got into a spat with a flight attendant. Rumors were already circulating about Cameron hanging his cleats up at season’s end and this may expedite that process. If this is the end for Cameron, then take a moment to appreciate his career, which spanned 17 major league seasons and nearly 8,000 plate appearances. He hit .249/.338/.444 and struck out too much for people’s tastes, but he also brought the leather—oh, how he brought the leather—and stole bases at nearly an 80 percent clip.
Should Cameron retire, There will be plenty of time to discuss the merits of his Hall of Fame candidacy; however, Jay Jaffe took a glance at Hall of Fame center fielders earlier this season and Cameron falls shy of the baselines presented.