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March 22, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 17-19, 2003


Christina Kahrl

The Snakes throw excessive money at a good citizen--again. The Orioles use an injury as the latest excuse to screw with John Stephens. The Tigers' pitching staff could be scary bad. And the Jays need health on their side if they're to benefit from the Wells and Hinske signings.

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BALTIMORE ORIOLES Activated 1B/OF-L Chris Richard from the DL; optioned OF-R Luis Matos to Rochester. [7/24] Cancelled Richard's recall/reactivation; announced they would recall 2B-B Brian Roberts from Rochester on Friday. [7/25] Skip the decisiveness, we're back in business as Akbar's House of Waffletastic Indecision. Chris Richard managed to reinjure himself in his last game in Rochester, so Brian Roberts got a reprieve for blowing his previous opportunity to be recalled by not having his passport handy. That brings us back to the same point we were at before Roberts got sent down, which is that the Orioles will flim-flam their way through their second-base situation, wallowing through a non-choice between Roberts and Jerry Hairston Jr. It could be worse, because it has been--they could keep finding ways to get Luis Lopez into the lineup. Assuming that finishing close to .500 or keeping third place are actual (versus worthwhile) goals, this doesn't really help realize either of them.

Activated 1B/OF-L Chris Richard from the DL; optioned OF-R Luis Matos to Rochester. [7/24]

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The ESPN.com version of the wire story has the headline "White Sox send Durham to Athletics for prospect, cash." Um, no. Jon Adkins is 24, and had a career minor-league ERA of 4.13 coming into this season, during which he's been lit up in Sacramento, with an ERA that would fit neatly above the median for the Texas Rangers and peripheral numbers that do not hold much promise. Maybe Adkins will be the one guy in a thousand who breaks the mold and turns into a legitimate quality major leaguer. It's not likely, but you have to root for the guy.

OK, I can understand a GM's perspective when the team's chances for the season are completely shot, and the goals change from "winning the division with our young power arms" to "Please, God, we can't finish behind the Royals!" At that point, it's time to cut costs where you can, and start thinking about next season, or better yet, several seasons down the road. Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell. Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz.

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Is there any general manager who has done less with more than Kenny Williams has done in the last 20 months? He inherited a division winner with a low payroll, a core of good young players and a farm system bursting at the seams with talent. Under his watch, the team has shed talent like my wife's cat Ashley sheds hair, while adding payroll and bad players like an Angelos on speed.

I stumbled in around 3 a.m. last night after the longest Pizza Feed we've ever had and a very late dinner in midtown. As I do no matter when I get home, I fired up the laptop to see what I'd missed while I was away, and saw that Ray Durham had been traded to the A's for a failed Yankees prospect from the late 1980s.

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