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April 4, 2013

Transaction Analysis

The DFAs

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated INF-R Mauro Gomez for assignment. [3/31]

Gomez played both corner infield positions last season for the Red Sox. A surprise since Gomez's last start at third base prior to 2012 was 2009. While the pinch of flexibility is an added bonus, Gomez's game revolves around his bat. That looks like a good thing when he's thumping fastballs from left-handed pitchers. But it's a bad thing when right-handers break him down with soft or spinning. Should a team claim Gomez they'll be doing so because of his potential as a bat off the bench.

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated LHP Clay Rapada for assignment. [3/31]

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reported the Yankees "intended to start the season with Rapada on the disabled list." For whatever reason New York changed its mind and released Rapada. So what changed? Did Rapada's shoulder heal, or is he damaged goods? If the Yankees re-sign Rapada he heads to the minors before being placed on the disabled list we could see a service time dispute, similar to the Tony Abreu and Anibal Sanchez cases in the past. Given the information at hand it's tough to see Rapada losing an appeal.

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated OF-R Casper Wells for assignment. [3/31]

Losing a camp battle to Jason Bay at this stage in his career is never a good thing. Wells is an athletic corner outfielder with above-average raw power, extreme platoon splits, and the tendency to take ugly swings. Perfect as a reserve outfielder on a team with a micromanaging skipper. Wells is older than you'd think and he's tweaks his hitting mechanics too many times to count in search of unlocking more upside, which tends to result in streaky play. But he's cheap and useful so someone will take him on.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated C-R Robinson Chirinos and PH-L Stephen Vogt for assignment. [3/31]

Chirinos, who came over in the Matt Garza trade, missed last season due to a concussion. Baseball lacks football's physicality, which limits the potential for traumatic head injuries at most positions. Catcher is unlike most positions. During any given game a backstop may take multiple foul balls off his mask or helmet, only to shake it off and carry on without so much as a visit from the trainer. Chirinos' story makes you wonder: How many catchers suffer concussions that go undiagnosed?

If a team does claim Chirinos off waivers they'll be getting a raw defender with some offensive potential. An over-age prospect to begin with, Chirinos will have to show he can hit at the big-league level to have a chance of becoming more than organizational depth. The same goes for Vogt, another overage prospect without a true defensive home. Vogt went 0-for-25 across multiple big-league stints last season.

CINCINNATI REDS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated INF-R Jason Donald for assignment. [3/31]

Outrighted RHP Jose Arredondo to Triple-A Louisville. [3/31]

Cincinnati acquired Donald in the Shin-Soo Choo trade but it's the other trade to an Ohio-based team that people remember him for. Donald never had the arm for shortstop or the power for third base. Solid offensive numbers in 2010-11 hid his habit of striking out too much for a player with no intention to walk or ability to bop. The Reds opted for Cesar Izturis as their utility infielder instead. 

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated 3B-L Zack Cox, OF-R Gorkys Hernandez, LHP Scott Maine, and RHP Evan Reed for assignment. [3/31]

The Marlins acquired Cox and Hernandez last July in trades for Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez. Cox's stock has dipped since the Cardinals popped him in the first round of the 2010 draft while Hernandez could still make for a handy reserve outfielder thanks to fantastic defensive skills. Maine has bounced around but could be someone's second lefty. Reed is a big, hard-throwing righty who profiles as a middle reliever, though he struggled mightily in his first exposure to Triple-A.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed OF-L Ezequiel Carrera off waivers from the Indians. [4/2]

Designated OF-L Ender Inciarte for assignment. [4/2]

So much for Inciarte beating the odds. The Phillies ditched their Rule 5-pick a day into the season to grab Carrera, who includes many of the same ingredients, albeit in a more mature state. Carrera boasts good speed and can play all three outfield positions. His offensive game is predicated on singles and stolen bases, yet strikeouts have been a problem despite an absence of strength in his swing. If Carrera can tighten up his strike zone a bit he could carve out a career as a reserve outfielder. 

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

9 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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BillJohnson

Zack Cox was drafted in 2010, not 2009, and thereby hangs a bit of a mystery. He was signed originally to a major-league contract, which was one reason why the Cardinals were happy to unload him for an unexceptional reliever (Edward Mujica) and clear roster space. However, since he didn't start playing in 2010 until well after the draft, people I've talked to who know the option rules better than I have opined that he still had an option left, making the DFA and subsequent outrighting unnecessary. Presumably the Marlins front office also knows the option rules (although, being the Marlins, one wonders...), and if they could have optioned him instead, they would have. So what happened here? Why was this step necessary? Did his truncated 2010 season count against his options after all? Why?

Apr 04, 2013 07:58 AM
rating: 1
 
timber

I'm not an expert at all, but everything I know about the option rules dictates that, if a player was on a major league 40-man roster as Cox was and he plays any time that year in the minors, he has used an option. So yes, 2010 would certainly count as an option year. But here's another question: Under these circumstances, isn't he one of the rare players who qualifies for a fourth option year?

(Even if he is, the Marlins are under no obligation to use that option if they prefer to outright him off the roster instead.)

Apr 04, 2013 09:02 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

Yep, this is correct.

Apr 04, 2013 11:41 AM
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

Sorry about the year. That was my mistake.

Regarding your question, here's how it works: If you have fewer than five years of professional experience then you get four option years. That's why a guy like Andrew Miller could be optioned more than three times. So Cox is not out of options and could have been optioned. He's just not that important of a prospect anymore and the Marlins valued the 40-man roster spot more than Cox himself. (I'd note that doesn't seem to be an unpopular opinion among teams since he passed through waivers.)

Apr 04, 2013 11:35 AM
 
BillJohnson

Thanks; this makes sense. It does, however, open another question, although (fortunately) one that we're not going to have to think about for more than another two or three years. If a guy signs (signed, since they can't do it any more) a major-league contract when he's drafted, what obligations does the signing team have as regards keeping him on the major-league roster? Could he have been DFAed as early as 2011, if the Cardinals had decided by then that he was a dud?

Certainly the fact that nobody put in a waiver claim on Cox says all that need be said about his prospect status. It isn't necessarily a slam on the draft pick, though. It's easy to forget that only 3/5 of all 25th choices, as Cox was, make it to the majors at all, and only about half of the ones that do make it then go on to real "careers."

Apr 04, 2013 16:14 PM
rating: 0
 
kcshankd

Sure hope Vogt is able to catch on somewhere and get that 4 for 4 night he has coming.

Apr 04, 2013 08:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

He seems like a nice enough guy. Wouldn't be surprised if he winds up in coaching one day.

Apr 04, 2013 11:40 AM
 
gtliles82

Seems like Wells is exactly what the Tigers are looking for to split LF with Andy Dirks.

Apr 04, 2013 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

I think you're dead-on. Mark Anderson even made a similar comment a few days ago when we were discussing Wells.

Apr 04, 2013 11:37 AM
 
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