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June 17, 2013

Transaction Analysis

The Profar-Free TA

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Activated 2B-R Ian Kinsler from the 15-day disabled list. [6/15]

Optioned INF-S Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock. [6/15]

More important than the names above is the one missing. Jurickson Profar will remain in the majors, even with Kinsler's return. How Ron Washington dispatches Profar, Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus is sure to be a hot topic. Meanwhile, it's amusing to note the difference in playing time between Garcia and Profar. Garcia opened the season on the roster and accumulated 25 games played and 57 plate appearances. Profar came up in the middle of May and has tallied 21 games and 87 plate appearances. It's safe to say Garcia wasn't in Washington's circle of trust.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed C-R Miguel Olivo on the restricted list. [6/15]

Recalled PH-L Jordan Brown from Triple-A New Orleans. [6/15]

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald chronicled the Olivo saga, which, unsurprisingly, arose from playing time. Olivo is unhappy with the Marlins for carrying three catchers, and refusing to release him. Based on this season's production he has a point. Neither Rob Brantly nor Jeff Mathis has outhit Olivo, and Brantly's defense remains a work in progress. But there's more to these decisions than merit. The Marlins are developing Brantly, and must pay Mathis through next season regardless. So what if Olivo is the best hitter of the three? It's not by leaps and bounds, and it's not as though Miami is too concerned about the performance-related margins this season.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Claimed C-L John Baker off waivers from the Padres; optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. [6/15]

Here's what I wrote when Baker was designated for assignment:

It's rare to see a big-league catcher with an option remaining hit the waiver wire, but Baker just might. He's struggled offensively in recent seasons, despite looking like a solid platoon option earlier in his career. Baker's not much of a marksman, either, which limits his defensive value. There are worse third-catcher options out there, however, and it wouldn't be a shock to see another team stash him on the farm in case of an injury.

Sure enough, the Dodgers claimed Baker and then sent him to the minors. Ned Colletti designated his veteran backup, Ramon Hernandez, for assignment a day before, leaving Baker as the Dodgers' third catcher behind A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed OF-R Ryan Braun on the 15-day disabled list. [6/15]

Recalled OF-L Caleb Gindl from Triple-A Nashville. [6/15]

Because the Brewers aren't dealing with enough, Braun heads to the DL with an inflamed nerve in his right hand. Gindl is up in Braun's place, and he could become a pet favorite. He's tiny—listed at 5-foot-9—and fits the classic production-over-tools profile. The key for Gindl is to keep hitting. He doesn't have the ability to man center or the bat to start in a corner. But Gindl could carve out a career as an extra outfielder. Expect him to gain pinch-hitting experience in the short-term.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Purchased the contract of RHP Carlos Torres [6/16]

Optioned RHP Greg Burke to Triple-A Las Vegas. [6/16]

Designated RHP Collin McHugh for assignment. [6/16]

It may seem odd for a rebuilding club to get older, swapping a 25-year-old for a 30-year-old in this case, but the specifics here are too boring to worry about. McHugh resembles a skinny Lance Berkman and throws a bunch of average pitches. He hasn't shown the ability to consistently retire big-league hitters, and it'd be a surprise if he clicked. Torres is a versatile arm who threw 53 innings last season with the Rockies in 31 appearances. He's pitched better in Las Vegas than he had in other Triple-A stints. The Mets want to see if those improvements translate.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated LHP Mike Zagurski for assignment. [6/15]

Selected the contract of RHP Brandon Cumpton from Triple-A Indianapolis. [6/15]

Zagurski is the baseball equivalent of a dog eating an ice cube on a summer day: Pure joy. Alas our giggle box enjoyed his time in the majors a lot less than the batters who opposed him did. Zagurski allowed 10 hits, 10 runs, and eight walks in six innings. Other teams, including the Yankees, were sniffing around Zagurski before the Pirates promoted him, and there's a chance his smile lands him a spot on another roster, where he'll try again to become a serviceable left-handed reliever.

Cumpton is no Gerrit Cole, but his debut on Saturday went okay. His best pitch is a low-90s sinker that he rode heavily. He mixed in a breaking ball, and occasionally a changeup. In addition to a shallow arsenal Cumpton showed no interest in the inside corner against lefties, yet the Dodgers didn't make him pay for his predictability. There's been thought within the industry about Cumpton winding up in the bullpen. For now the Pirates are content to let him reach for his back-of-the-rotation ceiling.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired INF-R Pedro Ciriaco from the Red Sox for a player to be named later. [6/14]

Last season Ciriaco almost hit .300. This season he's on his way to the West Coast after Jose Iglesias' too-good-to-be-true start nudged him from Boston's roster. Ciriaco should find more playing time in San Diego, where the Padres are stretched thin to cover for Cameron Maybin and Jedd Gyorko's injuries. He should see time at various infield positions, and maybe a spot-start in the outfield. Ciriaco is out of options and isn't good enough to demand roster gymnastics, so don't be surprised if he joins a third team in a few weeks.

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

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