keyboard_arrow_uptop
IN THIS ISSUE

American League

National League

DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Purchased the contract of RHP Bobby Parnell from Triple-A Toledo. [6/1]

Sometimes memory isn’t the best way to remember something. Sure, that sounds like a zen koan, but it’s true–eyewitness testimony isn’t exactly the best way to make a legal case, and our memories of a ballplayer may not exactly reflect the objective truth. Such is the case with me, and my memories of Bobby Parnell. Parnell was the closer-in-waiting for the Mets for years, the closer-in-practice for years after, but despite his great velocity, he never dominated. I recall him being one of the top closers in the game, but I must have been colored by my fandom–the stats just don’t back that up. Even before his disaster of a 2015 comeback from Tommy John surgery, he had only managed 0.8 WARP over his career. That’s not an elite closer, that’s a slightly-better-than-replacement arm.

Of course, after returning to the Mets in 2015, Parnell did his best to hold leads, and did anything but. He pitched to a 6.38 ERA and 7.16 DRA, making him the recipient of a minor-league deal this offseason, and not much more than that. The Tigers are always looking to revitalize their ‘pen, so bringing him in at cost was a low-risk proposition; his velocity and walk rate could climb after the time off. But that hasn’t happened quite yet.

At his best, Parnell could leverage his heat to get nearly a strikeout per inning, all the while keeping the ball on the ground when hitters made contact. When his velocity failed him in 2015, his control went as well, and that’s what made the season a bit of a horror show for him. But what Parnell has failed to show in Toledo is that the grounders and the command have come all the way back to his previous form. His ground-ball rate in 2016 has been 45 percent, which is fine if you’re overpowering, but unimpressive when you’re walking almost five batters per nine innings and not striking out everyone in sight.

Things could still change, as Parnell works his way back from his injuries. But I wouldn’t expect this former closer to be used in high-leverage situations soon, if ever again. Now he’s just a guy, the kind of middle reliever that does a few things all right, but nothing extraordinarily well. If everything breaks right, he’ll wrangle his walks and induce a few grounders, but you should adjust your expectations accordingly. He was never a relief ace, no matter what my memory tells me. The guy from 2013, if he ever existed, certainly isn’t coming back. —Bryan Grosnick

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed RHP Gus Schlosser to a minor-league contract. [6/1]

If you don't recognize Schlosser’s name, that’s okay. I didn’t either. I kind of pride myself on knowing even the most minor of players, in part because that’s a bit of my job here working the Transaction Analysis beat, and in part just because I like that kind of trivia. But Schlosser slipped by me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. This right-handed hurler threw 15 games of hot garbage at the big-league level back in 2014 for the Braves, after spending a short career as a non-prospect in their minor-league system. Perhaps most damning of all, Schlosser has only received one comment in a Baseball Prospectus Annual, which came in the 2015 edition after his icky MLB debut. Here it is:

"There are only so many roles in life for a man named August Schlosser. Big-league pitcher is one of them, Jane Austen character is another and rule-of-threes muse is a third. Schlosser is a sinker-slider side-armer who, despite success in the minors as a starter, could be looking at a smaller platform in The Show as a specialist. Expect him to make more appearances (and tie more tongues) for the Braves in 2015."

(He didn’t.)

Schlosser started 2015 in the minors after being traded to the Rockies in a mostly-forgettable deal, bumped all the way down to Double-A. He was bad enough in those outings that the team released him mid-season, and he found his way to the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League. He stuck with the Patriots to start this most recent season, and things started to click. In 15 innings of work, he struck out 19 and refused to give up an earned run. Perhaps surprisingly, Schlosser has now been picked up on a minor-league deal by the Dodgers, where he’ll report to their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.

In a best-case scenario, he’ll be a poor-man’s Brad Ziegler, delivering pitches from a sidearm slot, inducing grounders, and working as an effective ROOGY. But this transaction is for everyone who loves a good comeback story. The Somerset Patriots are no Sonoma Stompers–just last season they put seven players into affiliated ball, and former Patriot Buddy Boshers has served actual MLB time with the Twins–but this is still a dreamer’s ballplayer. Never a prospect, barely an MLBer, a 17th-round draft pick, he’s Just A Guy. But, he’s also a little like me: he throws sidearm, he went to school in Florida, and he needs the occasional second chance. It is easy to root for the underdog, and though precious few Los Angeles Dodgers fit that bill, here’s one to watch. —Bryan Grosnick

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired UT-B Jimmy Paredes from Blue Jays for cash considerations. [6/1]

Improbably, Paredes continues to find himself in increasingly prominent situations. The Orioles sloughed him off to the Blue Jays following his late-2015 regression to the mean, and in Toronto he found himself playing second base–no really, second base–for a full 10 innings in one game, while mainly serving as a pinch-hitter and last man up off the bench. (The second base thing didn’t work out so well, as one might expect.)

Now it’s Philadelphia’s turn to roll the dice on the switch-hitting “utility” man, and he promptly has found himself batting third and playing right field during Thursday’s tilt. That’s an indictment of the state of the corners in Philly if there ever was one. Anyway, if you’d like a recap of what he can and can’t do, you can either backtrack to his last Transaction Analysis, or partake in the TL;DR version here: he could possibly be an above-average pinch-hitter, but his versatility is overrated due to his defensive issues. The Phillies have been throwing a bunch of stuff at the (outfield) wall to try to catch another unicorn a la Odubel Herrera, and perhaps Paredes profiles better than Tommy Joseph or Tyler Goeddel. He’s nothing to write home about, but as far as switch-hitting, freely-available, replacement-level talent goes, he certainly could be considered the cream of the crop. —Bryan Grosnick

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Released SS-R Ruben Tejada. [6/1]

Just a couple of months ago, I hailed the Cardinals’ acquisition of Tejada as the ultimate match between need and available talent. Then Aledmys Diaz happened, and everything went away from poor Ruben. He dealt with injuries, was ineffective when he played, and eventually lost out to the league’s most improbable breakout star. It might’ve helped if he’d posted something better than a .176/.225/.235 slash line, but he flitted between the disabled list and the 25-man roster and only got his 40 plate appearances spread over 23 games. With Jhonny Peralta on the way back, Aledmys Diaz undeniable in his emergence, and Jedd Gyorko still deserving of a roster spot, there’s no room for Tejada to stake his claim anymore.

Of course he’ll get another chance somewhere. He’s too young, and has too strong of a track record not to find his way to a major-league roster again. Plus, he can hit–we’re talking about a shortstop in his age-26 season who posts somewhere around 2.0 WARP most seasons! But his flaws–indifferent defense, recent ineffectiveness–can be papered over by the thought of his emergence as a regular in his age-20 and age-21 seasons. Players who debut so early as a regular don’t tend to fade away without plenty of second and third chances. He’ll turn back up sooner, not later. —Bryan Grosnick