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Transaction Analysis: October 8-19 | Baseball Prospectus - Baseball Prospectus keyboard_arrow_uptop
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BOSTON RED SOX
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Released OF-R Adam Hyzdu; outrighted LHP Mike
Stanton
and RHPs Chad Harville and Jeremi
Gonzalez
to Pawtucket; purchased the contract of RHP Edgar
Martinez
from Portland (Double-A). [10/17]

Ideally, the Red Sox will dig up better than this lot. Generally speaking,
it would be fair to label Gonzalez as a symptom of the problems the Sox had
in finding second-rank talent with the ability to adequately fill in for the
injuries to Curt Schilling, Wade Miller,
and Keith Foulke. You can add Stanton and Harville,
John Halama and Mike Remlinger,
Matt Mantei and Blaine Neal. All together,
you can take them as examples of the failure to fix the pitching staff
during the course of the season. They failed to adequately break in or
commit to solid in-house talent like Lenny Dinardo,
Manny Delcarmen, or Abe Alvarez, goofed
around with Cla Meredith long before he was ready, and
basically made a hash of finding any adequate temporary help until they
grudgingly gave Jon Papelbon a second chance. Now, to be
fair, the pressures to contend in-season were tremendous, and they
worried too much about today in the face of an all-attentive and
all-consuming media and fanbase. And as Moltke the Elder
stressed, no plan survives contact with the enemy. That doesn’t obviate the
need for better contingency planning, however, or excuse poor crisis
management. Sometimes, it pays to pay attention to the little stuff, and not
in a way that puts a Remlinger on your roster for a couple of weeks.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
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Outrighted LHP Ryan Wing to Winston-Salem (A-ball), and LHP
David Sanders to Charlotte. [10/8]

CLEVELAND INDIANS
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Claimed RHP Sean Douglass off of waivers from the Tigers.
[10/9]

An interesting claim, and one I’m a little skeptical about as far as whether
or not it will stick. Douglass has never had a problem striking people out,
mixing decent velocity and a good change well enough. The problem is where,
and Douglass seems to be trapped in that Quadruple-A zone, a guy who pitches
well enough to succeed in the International League over the last five years,
but faltered in the majors:


Level  IP  R/9  BB/9 K/9
AAA  542.2 4.4  3.6  8.2
MLB  207.2 6.5  4.9  6.7

Now, he does have decent velocity, and major league experience in those
sorts of dribs and drabs, mostly pitching for some bad ballclubs, probably
isn’t a fair read. He’s no doubt a toolsy sort to some people’s way of
thinking, in that he’s six and a half feet tall, and that’s enough to make
most scouts swoon on the spot. He’s a nifty addition for Buffalo, and he’s
the sort of guy you do try to take a flyer on. Maybe the Indians saw
something they think they can correct, and maybe they just felt good about
his strikeout rates. I’m just not sure he’ll make it on the 40-man roster
before the Indians have to set it for the Rule 5 draft, at which point he
may be doomed and damned to be a Royal or something.

DETROIT TIGERS
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Outrighted 2B/SS-R Kevin Hooper, LHPs Vic
Darensbourg
and Doug Creek, and RHPs Jason
Karnuth
and Matt Ginter to Toledo; released RHP
Gary Knotts. [10/9]

MINNESOTA TWINS
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Purchased the contract of RHP Willie Eyre from Rochester.
[10/11]

Re-signed OF-L Jason Tyner to a minor league contract;
activated RHP Grant Balfour and OF-L Jason
Kubel
from the 60-day DL. [10/14]

If you’re a Twins fan and worry about the impending apocalypse, the rising
star of Tyner is the ultimate bad sign. Happily, there is the reminder of
the hope that Kubel will be fully healed and ready to take on DH duties and
perhaps eventually an outfield corner. Along with Eyre and Balfour, the
Twins have plenty of reasons to hope that they’ll get it right, work in a
few more kids, and remain competitive, which will get them to… what, 85
wins? Sadly, that seems more and more like the formula that will also
condemn them to also-ran status. Until the organization gets serious about
fixing baseball’s worst offense by addressing the mediocrity of some of its
core players, the Twins are going to continue to contribute to the glory
days of the White Sox, the renascent Indians, and perhaps even the Tigers.

NEW YORK YANKEES
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Outrighted 2B/3B-B Mark Bellhorn to Columbus; announced
that Bellhorn rejected the assignment and opted for free agency. [10/19]

As noted above with the consideration of former Yankee D’Angelo Jimenez’s
lot in life, Bellhorn’s similarly burdened with a scattered appreciation of
his virtues (he’ll take a walk, and hit for some power), and more
generally-held opinion about his glovework. Considering that this winter’s
freedom holds with his pattern of having a nifty even-numbered year,
followed by a year which sees him moved to an employer to be named later,
you might be getting fired up for how Bellhorn might be the Saberhagen of
second base. But I’d quickly curb that enthusiasm: Bellhorn turned 31 in
August, and if there’s a question as to whether or not he’ll hit enough to
win a job at second base, he’s basically screwed, because not many managers
want or know how to employ a reserve who’s good for a pinch-hit walk. I
think we’re better off taking his ’02 and ’04 campaigns of proof that he was
worth relying upon for a while, but not counting on him to give us more of
the same in ’06.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Re-signed manager Ken Macha to a three-year contract. [10/14]

Declined their $1.5 million option on Keiichi Yabu for
2006; exercised their $4 million option on OF-R Jay Payton
for 2006. [10/17]

I’m not wildly enthusiastic about the happy ending to the courtship of Ken
Macha, but let’s face it, as courtships go,
this was never Elizabeth and Darcy, it was the far more pragmatic alliance
between Charles Bingley and Jane, satisfactory as these things go, in no
small part because of an easy familiarity. I’m sure that, after
Moneyball and obvious mutual disappointments between the front office
and Art Howe, we all expect Billy Beane to wind up with a field manager in
his own image, a dynamic partner in the strategic kaffeeklatsch we
all like to believe exists in Oakland. But to be fair to Macha, although he
won’t be mistaken for Whitey Herzog or Casey Stengel or Earl Weaver, he has
been a relatively effective manager of the pitching staff, he has been more
than happy to avoid little ball, and as frustrating as it might be to have
Jason Kendall batting second, it wasn’t his decision to go
out and get Kendall in the first place. (Indeed, there are some who seem to
feel Kendall did what they wanted this year, which I’d suggest is an
unfortunate bit of post hoc rationalized, lowered expectations.)

Anyway, my point is this: the front office seems comfortable, and Macha
didn’t lose some segment of his career to an unfortunate misread of the
market by an agent who might have gone down in history alongside names like
Jody Reed or Mickey Morandini. And some people are probably just
happier when they’re unhappy.

Which brings me to a source of my unhappiness: Jay Payton, at that
price? Hayzoos Maria, that’s an insane bit of overpayment for a fourth
outfielder. Maybe there’s a hope that somebody else, like whoever doesn’t
get Johnny Damon will deal for Payton, but without that
other shoe dropping, this is an absurd expense for a guy who, yes, bopped a
dozen homeruns in his first forty games in green and gold, but who seems
very unlikely to do that ever again.

SEATTLE MARINERS
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Outrighted OF-L Jaime Bubela to Tacoma. [10/9]

Outrighted 3B-R Justin Leone to Tacoma. [10/11]

Outrighted RHP Jorge Campillo to Tacoma. [10/13]

Campillo’s going to spend the year on the DL, recovering from surgery, so
his move was a no-brainer. Initially, I was a little more surprised by the
decision to cut Leone loose, but when you consider that he’ll be 29 before
Opening Day, and has never adequately dismissed questions about his defense,
all it takes is one little Adrian Beltre, and the already
limited horizons of an organizational soldier just moved several time zones
beyond his grasp. He’ll need to shop wisely for his NRI deal this winter to
be able to get back to the major leagues in any capacity.

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
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Outrighted 1B/3B-L Eric Munson to Durham. [10/8]

Claimed C-B Mike Rose off of waivers from the Dodgers.
[10/14]

I’m probably alone in caring where Munson winds up, but I’m still stubborn
on that particular subject. He isn’t as bad a third baseman as he’s been
made out to be, and in a platoon role, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be
something better than the new Mike Lamb. Or maybe he’s the
old, alternative universe Mike Lamb. These things get a bit sneaky, which is
why I should warn parents everywhere to keep their children from watching
too much Star Trek at an impressionable age. If the worst thing happens, and
they get hooked, you’re going to have to achieve that impossible parenting
task of trying to reconcile Star
Trek: Enterprise
with the rest of the Trekkie universe, and in that
way lies madness.

As for nifty little snags, I like the Rays claiming Rose. Beyond the odd
similarity (both rays and roses are prickly, donchaknow), perhaps this time
the Rays will have a backup catcher worth keeping around for the year he
shows that he’s worth having around. Like Javier Valentin
before him, Rose is a switch-hitting catcher who can field his position and
help you score a few runs, and that ought to make for a nice alternative to
Toby Hall. They do already sort of have that in
Pete Laforest, but as long as the D-Rays pick between those
two instead of digging up the next John Flaherty or
Brook Fordyce, they’ll be better off.

TEXAS RANGERS
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Outrighted LHP Justin Thompson to Oklahoma; announced that
Thompson rejected his assignment and opted for free agency. [10/10]

Outrighted RHPs Carlos Almanzar and Ryan
Bukvich
to Oklahoma. [10/14]

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Outrighted RHP Jason Arnold, INF-R Raul
Tablado
, and C-R Ken Huckaby to Syracuse;
announced that Huckaby refused his assignment and opted for free agency;
declined their $775,000 club option for INF-R Frank
Menechino
for 2006, and outrighted him to Syracuse; purchased the
contracts of RHP Ryan Houston and 3B-R Rob
Cosby
from New Hampshire (Double-A). [10/13]

Disappointments abound in this group. Arnold might be a handy enough poster
boy for TINSTAAPP after he fell well short of what was expected of him by
scouts and statheads alike, although to be fair, I think it was always more
the latter than the former who were all that worked up about Arnold. After a
tremendous 2004 season that got him onto the 40-man roster, Tablado did just
about everything you could do to get himself back off of it, getting
suspended for banned substance transgressions at the start of a season where
he hit .201/.253/.284. As for Frankie Menechino, the Jays want him back at
their price, and ideally as a non-roster invitee, and he is a
paesan’, so that’s all understandable Moneythink in the ol’ hot stove
league.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
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Outrighted C-R Kelly Stinnett and OF-B Quinton
McCracken
to Tucson; announced that McCracken refused his
assignment and opted for free agency. [10/14]

Because you never know who might want another dose of QMcC. What’s he going
to do, go back to Seattle? Reserve outfielders with no offensive skills and
even less ability to handle center really should be at the end of their
tethers, but Arizona’s been happy to do things differently than most.
Hopefully, this means there’s to be a changing of the guard in more ways
than one. Which sort of brings me to my curiosity about what Stinnett’s
situation means for the Snakes’ backstop plans. Will they be players in
the Piazza sweepstakes, or have they concocted a plan with Stinnett that
he’ll get a chance to claim a goodly chunk of the playing time from either
Koyie Hill or Chris Snyder? If the Snakes
sign a veteran catcher, I guess I could see Hill and Stinnett duking it out
for the backup slot, with Snyder returning to Tucson to be a Sidesnakeling.
If Hill doesn’t stick as a backup, he’s better off being flipped at first
opportunity, because he’s already an ex-prospect.

CINCINNATI REDS
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Announced that RHPs Chris Booker and Ben
Weber

rejected their outright assignments to Louisville and elected for free
agency; announced that 2B-B D’Angelo Jimenez had also
elected for free agency. [10/9]

You’ll see Booker and Weber in somebody’s camp next spring, if only because
both have had velocity in the past. Weber lost most of the season to a neck
injury, but with his experience in-season and from the playoffs, he probably
won’t have to settle for a NRI deal. Booker spent most of the year closing
for Louisville, but spandex superperson suit aside, guys who strike out 91
hitters in 65 IP are going to get looks.

The interesting guy is Jimenez. Several teams need help at second, but
Jimenez has been tarred by veteran “leaders” in a relatively
juvenile Reds clubhouse, and given that he’s skedaddled out of several
cities in the course of his relatively brief career, it will be something to
watch, to see whether anyone in particular feels that they can rehabilitate
his reputation and get a useful player for their troubles. Given that he’s
on the market at the same time as the fellow keystone hobo Mark Bellhorn, it
should be a buyer’s market for any team that wants a quick source of OBP
instead of overpaying for Ron Belliard.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Claimed C-R Miguel Ojeda off of waivers from the Mariners.
[10/11]

Obviously, this is a great thing for Ojeda, but keep in mind that although
he only recently arrived in the majors, he’s a Mexican League veteran who
will turn 31 in January. He’s not really the answer to the Rockies’
perennial catching problems, but he does make an interesting challenger for
Danny Ardoin‘s job after bopping 13 homeruns in ~450 career
big league plate appearances.

FLORIDA MARLINS
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Named Joe Girardi manager, and signed him to a three-year
contract. [10/19]

Creeping Yankee imperialism takes a friendlier form, as a former
minority-stake Yankees owner hires a former Yankee player and coach to be
his current plaything’s field manager. That all isn’t Girardi’s fault, since
he’s always been given credit for being personable and fan-friendly. Indeed,
both as management representative in the clubhouse as well as the man who
will get the most camera time in Miami, the Lorians probably couldn’t help
wanting someone less scaly than
themselves
. But will Joltless Joe be any good as a manager? That’s the
question we don’t really know the answer to. He was never as good a catcher
as some people liked to pretend, and he was burdened with a little man’s
offensive gifts. If like likes like, that could mean bad things for the
Fish, but I think it’s better to wait and watch. A more interesting tell
will be who he selects as his bench coach.

HOUSTON ASTROS
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Outrighted RHPs Travis Driskill, Brandon
Duckworth
, and Scott Strickland to Round Rock.
[10/9]

Outrighted LHP Carlos Hernandez to Round Rock; Hernandez
rejected his assignment and opted for free agency. [10/16]

It’ll be interesting to see if there’s much interest in Duckworth. He’ll be
30 next year, so he’s well beyond the age at which you could still consider
him a prospect. But he still has pretty good velocity, and while he has his
problems keeping balls in play in the park, venues like L.A., D.C., San
Diego, Seattle, or San Francicso might provide the sorts of stadia within
which even a Duckworth special might stay in play. Hernandez is coming off
of an awful season at Round Rock, and with the concerns about his velocity
since the shoulder injury that cost him 2003 and derailed his career, he
might have to be resurrected as a reliever at the relatively tender age of
26 next year.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
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Designated LHPs Ryan Ketchner and Derek
Thompson
for assignment. [10/15]

Announced that LHP Kelly Wunsch and RHP Giovanni
Carrara
declined their outright assignments and opted for free
agency. [10/17]

As unceremonious as it might seem to have let Carrara go after a summer’s
hard work, he’s sort of used to it by now, having been similarly dumped by
both leagues (and Japan) and several teams (including the Dodgers and Reds
twice apiece) since he first came up as a nondescript organizational soldier
in the Jays’ chain ten years ago. For all that, however rubber-armed he’s
proven to be, he’s a 37 year old junkballer, and the most he can expect
these days is a spring training NRI. Who knows, maybe he’ll even have one
with the Dodgers.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
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Outrighted LHP Luis Pena, UT-R Trent
Durrington
, OF-B Chris Magruder, and RHPs
Victor Santos and Julio Santana to
Nashville. [10/8]

Announced that RHPs Victor Santos and Julio
Santana
, UT-R Trent Durrington, and OF-B
Chris Magruder have all opted for free agency. [10/14]

Not much to say about this lot, although I am impressed that the Brewers had
the gumption to discard Santos after almost two years of near-adequacy at
the tail end of their rotation. I suppose the danger is that he’ll be
snapped up by Jim Bowden, since he’s a better pitcher than Ryan
Drese
, and what other standard matters? Wherever he winds up, he’s
just a place-holder for your rotation, and ideally no higher than in the
fifth slot. Anyway, Magruder might make it as someone’s fifth or sixth
outfielder, Santana’s convincingly proven he’s back amongst the living after
logging 49 strikeouts in 41 IP, and Durrington has to be everyone’s favorite
25th man/backup backup catcher/pinch-runner now that Josh
Paul
is a name that will live in infamy.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
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Fired General Manger Ed Wade. [10/9]

Outrighted C-R A.J. Hinch and RHPs Keith
Bucktrot
, Francisco Butto and Edwin
Moreno
to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [10/12]

Well, if you had Chuck LaMar in your baseball fantasy dead pool instead of
Ed Wade, you won, but only just barely. I guess I’m a little skeptical about
this move, not because Wade hadn’t long since earned his walking papers, but
because the Phillies are perhaps the game’s greatest tribute to cronyism in
a game that celebrates cronyism. I can’t say I’m optimistic when his firing
of Larry Bowa is held against him, instead of being
appreciated as one of the few moments of clarity in an otherwise muddled,
needy, and expensive reliever-ridden tenure. Although the two assistant GMs,
Mike Arbuckle and Ruben Amaro Jr. both have their virtues, I think a craven
surrender to sports radio is in the cards. While I doubt it would take the
shape of a Dallas Green comeback, I wouldn’t hold out much hope that it will
be significantly better than the worst choice available.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Hired Jim Tracy as their manager. [10/10]

I sort of touched on this in my
chat
, but in brief, I like this move. I’ll like it even better if
Tracy’s comfortable working with the hand he’s going to be dealt, instead of
clamoring for veteran help, but perhaps retaining former interim manager
Pete Mackanin in a coaching capacity would be helpful, given his extensive
experience with the organization’s farmhands. But I am comfortable with the
idea that Tracy can handle a group of young pitchers, and given his
experiences with the Dodgers, I’m reasonably confident he’ll construct usage
patterns that keep Craig Wilson (if he isn’t dealt),
Ryan Doumit, and Rob Mackowiak in the
lineup often enough to remain sharp. Add in the potential virtues of a
lineup that gets full seasons of Brad Eldred, Jose
Castillo
, and Chris Duffy, and the Pirates should
score plenty of runs for one of the game’s most promising young staffs. I’d
consider this a credit to Tracy’s intelligence that he had the good taste to
gun for this assignment. When the Pirates rise in the seasons to come, it’ll
help burnish Tracy’s reputation, and perhaps bury the reasons for which he
earned his release from the Dodgers.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Released INF-R Manny Alexander; outrighted UT-R
Damian Jackson to Portland. [10/14]

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Designated OF-R Julio Ramirez, OF-L Doug
Clark
, C-R Yamid Haad, and RHPs Brian
Cooper
and Matt Kinney for assignment; announced
that Cooper rejected his assignment and opted for free agency. [10/17]

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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Released RHP Evan Rust; purchased the contract of OF-L
Rick Ankiel from Springfield (Double-A). [10/14]

As interesting as it is to see Ankiel make it back onto a 40-man roster as
an outfielder, keep in mind, it doesn’t hurt that he did it as a seedling in
a Cardinals’ farm system that’s always a bit short when it comes to
cranking out crops. Nevertheless, a .255 Isolated Power rate
between low A-ball and Double-A is interesting, and there is the question
about whether or not he has future growth potential given that this was his
first full season as a professional hitter. Naturally, if he makes it,
everyone will be calling him the new Roy Hobbs, and I
guess that’s true on some level, although the notion does make me wonder if
that makes Tony LaRussa Barbara
Hershey
?


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