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August 30, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Kubel to Cleveland

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Recalled RHP Kevin Gausman from Triple-A Norfolk. [8/28]
Optioned LHP Wei-Yin Chen to GCL Orioles. [8/28]

This is one of the more interesting roster tricks you'll see. Chen, who was beat up by the Red Sox the night before his demotion, is heading to the minors for a few days based not on merit, but on pure roster manipulation. As Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explained, Chen's move to the GCL team, whose season ended on Thursday night, allows him to return without missing a start. In the interim, Gausman gave the Orioles bullpen a fresh arm to use if necessary. A nifty piece of maneuvering by Dan Duquette.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-L Jason Kubel from the Diamondbacks for a minor-league player and cash considerations. [8/30]
Released RHP Brett Myers. [8/29]

Kubel's 2013 season has been the inverse of his breakout 2012 campaign. He's missed time with various aches and ills and has posted career-worst numbers in strikeout rate and Isolated Power. Though never great versus same-side pitching, Kubel has been close to an automatic out this year, and his numbers against righties haven't made up for it. Still, the Indians can gain some value by platooning him with Drew Stubbs or whomever they choose. Cleveland seems highly unlikely to exercise his club option (worth $7.5 million), so this next month is an open audition.

Myers, signed in the offseason to a one-year deal, hasn't pitched since April due to a sprained throwing elbow. When he did pitch, things didn't go well, as he allowed 10 home runs in 21 innings, including seven homers in his first two starts. Myers will hit the open market early, and it's possible that some team will decide to throw him back in the bullpen. If,that is, his elbow is willing.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Recalled RHP Jake Odorizzi from Triple-A Durham. [8/29]
Recalled LHP Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham; optioned to Double-A Montgomery. [8/27]
Optioned RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Single-A Charlotte. [8/27]

Hellickson's recent woes continued on Monday against the Royals. This time it wasn't about fastball location, but the quality of his changeup. Kansas City hitters did a good job tracking the pitch and rapping it into the outfield. The Rays, sensing that Hellickson might be fatigued (mentally and/or physically), sent him down to Charlotte in order to get him some rest. He won't pitch for the Stone Crabs; instead, he'll return once their season ends in the coming days. Hellickson's status for the postseason roster is unclear, though the Rays will have some flex spots to use.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHP Victor Black as the player to be named later in the Marlon Byrd trade. [8/29]

Black, a supplemental first-round pick back in 2009, heads to the Mets along with Dilson Herrera. It's a nice get for Sandy Alderson. Black's fastball-slider combination is good enough to envision him pitching in the late innings. Which late inning is a question that will be answered by how his presently iffy command and control develop. Black should see time in the majors in September, and barring an injury or otherwise unforeseen setback, figures to play a big role in next year's bullpen.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Optioned LHP Jeff Locke and C-R Tony Sanchez to Double-A Altoona Curves. [8/28]

Locke, one of the season's biggest first-half surprises, heads to the minors after continuing to disappoint. In truth, there is some roster manipulation here, too. The Pirates needed spots for Marlon Byrd and John Buck, and this takes care of that. Because Altoona's season ends in the next few days, both Locke and Sanchez can rejoin the big-league squad before the 10-day window expires. It's worth noting that, however unlikely it may seem, the Pirates can still put Locke on their postseason roster if they want to; that's because Pittsburgh will have a few flex spots due to injured players.

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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