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ATLANTA BRAVES

Placed Lucky Charm Rafael Belliard on the 60-day DL (torn left quad); purchased
the contract of INF Ray Holbert from Richmond. [4/10]


Is there any potential downside with replacing arguably the worst major league
player with a living, breathing utility infielder? Only in the sense that Cox
may feel less comfortable with his roster, and may not pinch-hit for Walt Weiss
in key situations, or pull a double-switch where Weiss leaves the game and
Holbert enters it, but with Weiss batting leadoff when he’s healthy, that
doesn’t seem like a really necessary gambit.


BOSTON RED SOX

Sent 2B Donnie Sadler to Pawtucket; purchased the contract of 2B Mark Lemke
from Pawtucket. [4/10]

Placed RHP Rich Garces on the 15-day DL (pulled groin), retroactive to April
11; activated LHP Butch Henry from the DL. [4/14]


On one level, the Lemke signing is inexcusable, and another case in point that
Dan Duquette shouldn’t be considered the great ambassador to the game for
analysts or sabermetricians. At this stage of his career, the Polish Lemming
doesn’t help a team any more than most 2B at AA or above, and the chances that
he can be a useful part of this year’s Sox team or any future Sox team are
slight. On another level, Duquette is giving his manager the player he wants,
which is a nice, if unproductive, gesture. Henry’s return to the rotation gives
the Sox their rotation of choice for the time being: Martinez, Wakefield,
Henry, Saberhagen, and Rose. Garces’ injury wound up being very conveniently
timed, since he’s out of options and would have had to gone through waivers,
and since he’s a long-time Duq’ favorite.


CHICAGO CUBS

Placed LHP Bob Patterson on the 15-day DL (strained left calf). [4/10]

Purchased the contract of RHP Kerry Wood. [4/12]


Is it a good idea? I don’t think so, but the timing was right: if you were
going to introduce Wood to the majors against any team, the offensively meek
Expos are the team of choice. Nevertheless, it didn’t work. The Cubbies’
rotation is going to be jumble over the next month or two: Jeremi Gonzalez is
working his way back to Iowa, Kevin Foster is due back eventually, and
Patterson’s eventual return will give the Cubs the two lefties in the pen
Riggleman feels he has to have, meaning Mulholland can go back to starting. Who
will they pick? They’re already reaping the benefits of having Telemaco work
out of the pen, but I don’t think that will lead them to move Wood to middle
relief. I don’t think there’s a right answer that involves having Wood in the
major league rotation right now.


CINCINNATI REDS

Activated SS Barry Larkin from the 15-day DL; optioned INF Damian Jackson to
Indianapolis. [4/7]

Traded RHP Buddy Carlyle to San Diego for RHP Marc Kroon; assigned RHP Todd
Williams
to Indianapolis. [4/8]

Placed LHP Steve Cooke on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 3 (elbow
tendinitis). [4/13]


Sure, it is disappointing to see Jackson lose out to Pokey Reese for a major
league job, but with Bret Boone going strong in the early going, and Larkin
back, there’s more playing time for him in Indianapolis, and letting Pokey rot
on the Reds’ bench may help Jackson more than hurt him when Larkin goes down
again. Sure, getting Marc Kroon is sort of fun, and helps make a strong and
deep pen stronger and deeper. The misfortune is that the Jim Bowden gave up one
of his best prospects in Carlyle; Kroon is useful, but not a rare talent, while
the Reds aren’t exactly bristling with good young pitching prospects, and
nobody should suspect long-term success for the current major league rotation.
Speaking of which, 5th starter Cooke missed a turn, as well as being due to be
skipped, and he isn’t needed until this coming weekend (when he apparently will
be re-activated), so the Reds shuffled roster time by placing him on the DL.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Placed 2B/SS Enrique Wilson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 4 (sprained
left thumb); purchased the contract of INF Jolbert Cabrera
from Buffalo. [4/6]

Placed RHP Paul Shuey on the 15-day DL (groin strain); recalled LHP Tom
Martin
from Buffalo. [4/11]

Signed LHP Huck Flener and RHP Jim Brower to minor-league contracts. [4/13]

Signed OF Brian Giles to a three-year contract extension with a club option for
2002; claimed INF Dave Bell off waivers from the Cardinals; transferred INF
Enrique Wilson from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [4/14]


Bell is joining the major league roster, which will mean that Jolbert Cabrera
is probably going to be returned to Buffalo. Recalling Martin is just
indicative of how deep the Indians are in LH relief, since they’ve still got
Ron Villone cooling his heels in AAA, and now their major league pen has
Martin, Assenmacher, and Alvin Morman. RH relief is more dubious, since they
have Mike Jackson, Jose Mesa, and Eric Plunk at the major league level, plus
Shuey’s bouts with disappointment and injury. It wouldn’t be shocking to see
John Ericks come up at some point, once/if he gets healthy.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Purchased the contract of 1B Kevin Millar from Charlotte; optioned LHP Gabe
Gonzalez
to Charlotte. [4/7]

Placed RHP Eric Ludwick on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 9 (lower back –
stress fracture); recalled RHP Andy Larkin from Charlotte. [4/10]

Activated 3B Bobby Bonilla from the DL; optioned 3B Josh Booty to Charlotte.
[4/12]


Of the kiddie corps rotation, Ludwick was probably their second-best starter,
so losing him is no laughing matter, especially when the alternative is Larkin,
who’s been injury-prone before getting pasted last season in Charlotte’s
bandbox. Saying anything about Booty at this point would be gratuitous.
Recalling Millar gives the Marlins a potential “Ken Phelps All-Star” platoon at
first of Ryan Jackson and Millar, and as nice as that sounds, it doesn’t make a
whole lot of sense when you’ve also got Derrek Lee on the major league roster.
You turn to good, unheralded minor league veteran hitters when your alternative
is somebody like Orlando Merced or Sid Bream, not when you have an outstanding
prospect who should play every day. If you keep the platoon, Lee needs playing
time at Charlotte. Keeping all of them, and committing to none of them, is just
pussyfooting around.


HOUSTON ASTROS

Signed LHP David West to a minor-league contract and assigned him to New
Orleans. [4/6]

Activated OF Ray Montgomery from the 15-day DL, and optioned him to New
Orleans. [4/7]

Placed RHP Jose Cabrera on the 15-day DL; purchased the contract of RHP Bob
Scanlan
from New Orleans. [4/8]


It will be interesting to see if Montgomery’s return to health cuts into the
time devoted to seeing how much Daryle Ward can do in the outfield in New
Orleans, since some Bagwell somebody-or-another is at first in Houston. West
was a forced move, in the sense that the Zephyrs’ only other LH pitcher is
Roberto Rivera, who, like West, is essentially rehabbing. As for Bob Scanlan, he’s
exactly the kind of guy who might turn in a dandy season as a middle reliever
for Larry Dierker: he’s in the cozy Astrodome, and he’ll probably start off in
Cabrera’s role of pitching when the team’s trailing.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Traded C Mike Macfarlane and cash to Oakland for OF Shane Mack and a PTBNL.
[4/8]

Placed DH Joe Vitiello on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 6 (groin strain);
recalled C Sal Fasano from Omaha. [4/9]


Macfarlane was a commodity the team no longer needed: Sweeney needs to play
regularly, and Fasano is a fine backup catch-and-throw type. What may be lost
in all this is that Mack won’t really be more useful than Ryan Long or Chris
Hatcher, but Herk wants to build a competitive Royals lineup for 1988…


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Placed RHP Darren Hall on the 15-day DL. [4/8]

Signed RHP Brad Clontz. [4/9]


Hall’s semi-useful, but so is Clontz. In Chavez Ravine, almost everybody is.
For details, ask the Buffalo, Tom Niedenfuer.


MINNESOTA TWINS

Outrighted RHP Todd Ritchie to Salt Lake City. [4/10]


The ripple effect of signing Carrasco. I’m sure the Twins were pleasantly or
unpleasantly surprised that nobody claimed Ritchie, since he only made the
roster in ’97 because he was out of options, and now it appears there’s less
outside interest in him than, say, Dave Stevens.


MONTREAL EXPOS

Placed RHP Mike Maddux on the 15-day DL (groin strain); recalled LHP
Steve Kline from Ottawa. [4/11]


Not every team can lose a Maddux and not miss him, but Jim Beattie may
draw small comfort from the knowledge that he runs that kind of team.


NEW YORK METS

Signed 2B/SS Robert Eenhoorn to a minor league contract and assigned him to
Norfolk. [4/13]


At this stage, Eenhorn has earned a shot to unseat the Lemkes or Benjamins of
the world for a major league job, but unlike (to make a random choice) Manny
Alexander, he isn’t griping about major league biases against the Dutch. He may
surface on the major league roster should the Mets finally tire of Carlos
Baerga’s long, grisly descent into post-peak squalor, but they’d be just as
well-served to just put him in at short and make Rey Ordonez into Raffy
Belliard II.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Placed RHP Mariano Rivera on the 15-day DL (groin strain); recalled RHP Mike
Buddie
from Columbus. [4/6]

Placed DH Chili Davis on the 15-day DL; recalled OF Shane Spencer from
Columbus. [4/7]


Losing a good pitcher never helps, but the ripple effect is where it may cause
some problems: by reserving Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton for late game use,
that means Darren Holmes and Mike Buddie wind up having to come into
runners-on-base situations in the middle innings, and that may not be very
helpful. The team should still score enough to make the point moot over a
multi-week period. Losing Davis doesn’t even hurt that badly, since it gives
more playing time to the the members of the three-headed LF monster (Raines,
Strawberry, and Curtis), which again isn’t a bad thing. Spencer may get spot
starts for O’Neill against tough lefties, but it won’t be enough to let him
stick around once Davis returns.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Purchased the contract of RHP Jim Dougherty from Edmonton; optioned INF Jason
Wood
to Edmonton, and transferred RHP Willie Adams from the 15- to the 60-day
disabled list. [4/6]

Acquired C Mike Macfarlane and cash from Kansas City for OF Shane Mack and a
PTBNL; recalled INF Jason Wood from Edmonton; selected the contract of UT Jack
Voigt
from Edmonton; designated C Izzy Molina for assignment; placed RHP Mike
Fetters
on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 6th, with a strained left calf.
[4/8]

Activated RHP Brad Rigby from the 15-day DL; optioned INF Jason Wood to
Edmonton. [4/10]

Signed 1B Jason Giambi to a three-year contract. [4/11]

Recalled RHP Ariel Prieto from Edmonton, and optioned RHP Brad Rigby to
Edmonton. [4/14]


What was Herk Robinson up to when the A’s needed to get rid of Ruben Sierra a
few years ago? Will he want Kevin Mitchell in a couple of weeks? Man, what a
pal. Macfarlane will be a handy svengali for A.J. Hinch, but won’t be in line
for much playing time. Rigby’s demotion without a start gives the A’s a
rotation of Candiotti, Kenny Rogers, Jimmy Haynes, Mike Oquist, and your
standard Cuban impersonation of a major league pitcher.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Placed RHP Elmer Dessens on the 15-day DL (groin strain); purchased the
contract of RHP Mike Williams from Nashville. [4/10]

Activated LHP Ricardo Rincon from the 15-day DL; designated RHP Mike Williams
for assignment. [4/14]


Williams is 40-man roster fodder: filling space for short-term emergencies,
infinitely replaceable, and not tempting enough to claim on waivers. If there’s
a team that would claim him, its the Marlins, where he’d be in the rotation.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Activated RHP Jeff Brantley from the DL, and designated INF David Bell for
assignment. [4/9]

Activated RHP Matt Morris from the DL; optioned RHP Braden Looper to Memphis
(AAA). [4/11]

Placed C Tom Pagnozzi on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 4 (sore right
shoulder); activated C Eli Marrero from the 15-day DL. [4/13]


Sure enough, the Cardinals lose Bell on waivers to the Tribe, plus they’re back
to the 12-man pitching staff (which isn’t preventing LaRussa from working Lance
Painter almost nightly), and a bench that has Dave Howard and Brian Hunter. The
more things change, the more things stay the same. On the happier side of
things, here’s wishing Eli Marrero the best of luck.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Acquired RHP Buddy Carlyle from Cincinnati for RHP Marc Kroon; assigned Carlyle
to Mobile (AA). [4/8]

Purchased the contract RHP Carlos Reyes from Las Vegas. [4/10]


Wengert and Carlos Reyes? Well, at least on the Pads they’re mop-up men, as
opposed to in the rotation, like they were with Oakland. Trading Kroon for a
good minor league prospect made sense: Kroon may turn out to be a fine
reliever, but he wasn’t going to be an important contributor to the Padres this
year, whereas Carlyle is a fine prospect who could eventually be in the major
league rotation by ’00, after guys like Mark Langston are long gone.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Activated LHP Jeff Fassero from the 15-day DL; outrighted RHP Jim Bullinger to
Tacoma (AAA). [4/12]

Fired pitching coach Nardi Contreras, and named Stan Williams as his
replacement; placed RF Jay Buhner on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 7
(inflamed left knee); recalled OF Ryan Radmanovich from Tacoma. [4/13]

Activated UT Rich Amaral from the 15-day DL, and optioned UT Charles Gipson to
Tacoma. [4/14]


Its never a surprise when Jim Bullinger winds up being a waste of time, but it
speaks volumes about their farm system or taste in minor league free agents
that the Mariners felt the compunction to go get him. Buhner’s knee had kept
him out for almost a week before the team admitted to a lost cause; it would be
a good thing if Radmanovich got an opportunity in this situation, because he
could work his way into a platoon with Glenallen Hill by the time Buhner
returns, but Lou has taken a quick shine to Robert Perez.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Placed OF Mike Kelly on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 1, with a groin
strain; purchased the contract of OF Jerome Walton from Durham; transferred 1B
Herb Perry from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [4/9]


Kelly hadn’t played since Opening Day, so finally acknowledging that GM Pet Uno
(Bobby Smith has to settle for GMP Due) wasn’t ready to go was something of a
forgone conclusion. Walton should get some limited time against LH pitchers,
but as soon as Kelly shows he’s healthy, Walton will go back down.

When is the last time Herb Perry was healthy? Grade school?


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Recalled RHP Carlos Almanzar from Syracuse, and optioned RHP Robert Person to
Syracuse. [4/10]

Activated RHP Erik Hanson from the DL; optioned UT Mark Dalesandro to Syracuse.
[4/12]


The Jays have said they want Person to get in his work as a starter, and even
with Clemens’ injury, Hanson’s return squeezed him out of the picture for the
time being. Since Guzman and Hentgen are both injury risks, there’s a good
chance that the only Blue Jays starter who won’t miss a turn this year could be
Woody Williams, which probably wasn’t how Gord Ash envisioned things in
February. Almanzar is your prototypical successful major league reliever: a
mediocre starter in the minors with a useful assortment and no heavy workloads.
With Risley and Escobar struggling, and “Bloody” Paul Quantrill capable of the
ocassional atrocity, he should wind up being an asset in middle relief.