Signed RHP Erik Hanson to a minor-league contract. [6/25]
An insurance move, since the Angels have gambled and lost on Jack McDowell and
William VanLandingham. Keep in mind it isn’t a good insurance move, since Hanson
may well be done himself. If they’re desperate, calling up Rich Robertson would
be a better idea.
Placed LHP Omar Daal on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring); recalled LHP Efrain
Valdez from Tucson. [6/22]
Acquired LHP Alan Embree from Atlanta for RHP Russ Springer. [6/23]
Recalled RHP Jeff Suppan from Tucson. [6/24]
Placed RHP Felix Rodriguez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/21 (strained hip
flexor); claimed RHP Aaron Small off of waivers from Oakland; designated C Tom
Wilson for assignment. [6/26]
With Daal out of the rotation, the D-backs are handing the spot to Suppan, while
leaving Amaury Telemaco in place as the fifth starter. Picking up Embree is a
potentially outstanding move in which they’ve taken advantage of the Braves’
short-term frustrations with their bullpen by converting a basically useful
piece of bullpen fodder (Springer) into one of the most talented left-handed
relievers currently around. The D-backs are now in the situation where they’ve
gone from having a shortage of lefty relief to having Embree backed up by
Valdez, which is a bit of compensation for four righties in the rotation.
Snagging Small is a bit pointless, unless they’re looking for someone who’s
possibly worse than Felix Rodiguez (or more appropriately, FRod). As is usually
the case, Small has an "in" with Arizona, having worked with Mark Connor at
Knoxville in ’94. For Connor’s sake, he had better hope he’s luckier than the
last guy who thought he could do a lot with Small, ex-Oakland pitching coach Bob
Cluck. Small won’t be activated until Monday, so somebody’s out of luck at that
point, probably Willie Banks.
Traded LHP Alan Embree to Arizona for RHP Russ Springer. [6/23]
A strange overreaction to the bullpen’s problems. Sure, John Rocker is looking
pretty good, and had supplanted Embree as the top lefty in the pen. But is
getting an adequate journeyman like Springer really the best replacement
solution to the struggles of Mike Cather or Kerry Ligtenberg? The Braves did not
get value in the deal, and with John Schuerholz saying "his" scouts like what
they see of Springer, one has to wonder if its the same guys who tipped him on
Terry Pendleton in ’96…
Waived 1B Rod McCall from Iowa. [6/22]
Activated UT Tyler Houston from the DL; optioned 2B/3B Jason Hardtke to Iowa.
Placed OF Brant Brown on the 15-day DL (sprained shoulder); recalled 3B Kevin
Orie from Iowa. [6/26]
Losing Brown is a big deal, since it puts the Cubs into a tight spot as far as
what they want to do with their lineup. In his absence, leading off with Mickey
Morandini and Jeff Blauser would probably make the most sense. Jose Hernandez
will probably get most of the time in center while Brown’s out. In his place at
third, Orie should get most of the playing time after bouncing back at Iowa
(.345/.430/.704 in 21 games). Even if Orie doesn’t struggle, this might be a
good opportunity to work Terrell Lowery into some games in center. Houston’s
return gives Riggleman all three of his crummy catching options. It will be
interesting to see if they turn around and trade for a catcher in the midst of
one of their famed June swoons, but the last deal of any import Ed Lynch made
was to get Scott Servais in the first place, and it didn’t help. The Cubs have
ended their unhappy relationship with Rod McCall, who felt he was misled in camp
as to his opportunities with the club. He’s still quite capable of filling in as
a top-notch pinch-hitter and spare part.
Announced that RHP Marc Kroon cleared waivers; outrighted Kroon to Indianapolis.
Randy Smith was apparently too busy to enter a claim.
Traded OF/DH Geronimo Berroa to Detroit for RHP Tim Worrell and OF Dave Roberts.
At what price honor? Yes, its nice that the Tribe went out of their way to
accomodate Chief’s trade request. But the Indians have taken their concerns
about their pitching to an absurd extreme, as they’re now carrying 13 pitchers.
Yes, Hargrove almost never pinch-hits in-game, which means maybe he can afford
to carry a four man bench of Shawon Dunston, Jeff Branson, Mark Whiten, and Pat
Borders. That won’t last, however, as they’re going to reactivate Brian Giles at
some point, which means one of the pitchers is going to have to go, probably Ron
Villone or Worrell. The smartest move would probably be to trade Jose Mesa to
either the Astros or Cubs, since both are getting more and more desperate for a
right-handed setup man. Of course, getting Mesa wouldn’t really help either
team, but that isn’t the Indians’ problem.
Placed RHP John Thomson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/16 (blistered right
middle finger); recalled RHP Mike Saipe from Colorado Springs. [6/23]
Claimed RHP Fred Rath off waivers from Minnesota, and assigned him to Colorado
Springs; transferred RHP Kevin Ritz from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [6/25]
Losing Thomson takes a big bite into the Rox’ real strength, their starting
pitching. Sure, he’s "only" 5-6 with a 5.02 ERA, but that breaks into 8.01 on
Planet Coors and 3.33 on the road. Thomson’s turning out very well, but because he toils for
Colorado, you’ll never hear much about it. Saipe will take his place in the
rotation, and he’s made significant progress in setting up his sweet breaking
stuff, upping his K-rate to over 8 per inning. In Colorado Springs, he tossed 82
innings while giving up only 91 hits, 25 walks, and 76 Ks. Of course, a note of
caution: the last big breaking stuff prospect the Rox had was Bryan Rekar.
Recalled 3B Gabe Alvarez and RF Trey Beamon from Toledo; designated OF Andy
Tomberlin and UT Bip Roberts for assignment. [6/22]
Traded UT Bip Roberts to Oakland for a PTBNL. [6/23]
Acquired LF/DH Geronimo Berroa from Cleveland for RHP Tim Worrell and OF Dave
Purchased the contract of RHP Matt Anderson from Jacksonville (AA). [6/25]
Placed SS/2B Billy Ripken on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/21 (back strain).
Recalled RHP Brian Powell from Toledo. [6/26]
Randy Smith keeps himself busy. He must almost relish the team’s early
disappointments, since it has consequently given him the freedom of action to
start bringing in players who long-term will actually end up making the Tigers a
better team that last year’s surprising turnaround. Two of the newest Tigers
will step right into the lineup as regulars: Geronimo Berroa at DH, and Gabe
Alvarez at third. Replacing Bip Roberts can’t help but improve the offense, but
it remains to be seen if the Tigers have figured out why it was a bad idea in
the first place. Alvarez is being handed the job at third after a great start at
Toledo (.273/.350/.582, 20 HRs), although his glovework is still highly
questionable (you can take a look at his complete minor league stat line in
our latest Prospect Focus). Alvarez’ callup
and Ripken’s latest injury shove Joe Randa into
the utility infielder role. Beamon is a really bad fielder and little more than
a singles hitter, but Tomberlin didn’t show enough in his limited trial for a
roster spot. Matt Anderson hasn’t gotten the chance to settle down at any level,
having blown through A and AA with his 99-mph heater. He’s being rushed, but
maybe even Smith and Bell tired of running the A.J. Sagers and Tim Worrells out
there. Powell is up for an emergency start in Bryce Florie’s place, but will go
back down immediately. The Tigers haven’t yet chosen someone to take the fall
for his spot start. Prior to this, he’d earned a jump from Jacksonville to
Toledo, having gone 10-2 in the Southern League with a 3.08 ERA, then tossing
seven shutout innings in his Mudhen debut. Still, he lives off of location and
breaking stuff, which leaves him at the mercies of major league umps as to
whether or not they’ll decide he’s throwing "major league" strikes.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Activated OF Rod Myers from the DL, and optioned him to Wichita (AA). [6/22]
Placed RHP Brian Bevil on the 15-day DL (tendinitis); activated LHP Chris Haney
from the DL. [6/24]
Haney will step into the pen to help Matt Whisenant handle lefty duties, since
the Royals are determined to keep up their diabolical experiment of using Hipolito Pichardo as
the fifth starter.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Placed SS Jose Vizcaino on the 15-day DL (sprained ankle); recalled 2B/SS Wilton
Guerrero from Albuquerque. [6/22]
Transferred RHP Ramon Martinez from the 15- to the 60-day DL; optioned INF Alex
Cora to Albuquerque; purchased the contract of 3B Adrian Beltre from San Antonio
With an outfield of Konerko, Mondesi stretching at center, and Sheffield, and
now Guerrero at short, the Dodgers are really beginning to resemble those awful
defensive combos of the Pastaman’s glory days, so maybe Lasorda’s return heralds
a return to the bad old days. Vlad’s little brother is defensively taxed at any
position, and since he’s not an asset on offense, the Dodgers are in the grisly
situation of having to miss Jose Vizcaino. For all of the hoopla and fireworks,
Dodgers fans can take heart in the arrival of the one thing they can look
forward to, Adrian Beltre. Despite various nagging injuries, Beltre hit
.317/.409/.575 in a tough park for hitters in the Texas League at the tender age
of 20. Arguably the best prospect in baseball, there isn’t anything he can’t do:
hit, hit for power, take a ball, field, or run. He could be the best player in
Dodger blue for the next fifteen years, but this is a really ugly situation to
break in a top prospect. If the Dodgers have learned how not to handle a
prospect from what Bill Russell put Paul Konerko through earlier this season,
Beltre will be fine. If they don’t realize there was a problem of more import than
that they didn’t win games when Bill Russell was the manager, there may be
reason for even more despair.
Placed RHP Travis Smith on the 15-day DL (sprained elbow); recalled LF Geoff
Jenkins from Louisville. [6/23]
Claimed RHP David Weathers off waivers from Cincinnati. [6/24]
Smith pitched two shutout innings, ripped up his elbow, and is now being
evaluated for Tommy John surgery. Call me confused, but why would any team
pass up claiming Marc Kroon on waivers, but get David Weathers? What does
Weathers do better? Bag groceries? "Fortunately" for the Brewers, persistent
injury problems dogging both John Jaha and Dave Nilsson have made them reluctant
to add Weathers to the active roster just yet (at Jenkins’ expense), but they
may instead put him on the roster to place Paul Wagner on the DL.
Placed OF Robert Perez on the 15-day DL (sprained wrist). [6/22]
Placed RHP Marc Valdes on the 15-day DL (sprained elbow ligament); recalled
Nepotista Derrick May and LHP Rick DeHart from Ottawa. [6/23]
Placed INF Mike Mordecai on the 15-day DL (thumb); recalled 2B/SS Orlando
Cabrera from Ottawa. [6/24]
Cabrera will not step into a starting role at short and will have to earn the job at second, which–since
he’s got a meagre knockoff of Tony Womack’s offensive game–isn’t a setback for les Expos. May’s return is bad news if it costs either Ryan McGuire
or Darond Stovall a single plate appearance, since he has basically no business
being a major league player at this point.
NEW YORK METS
Recalled LHP Bill Pulsipher from Norfolk; optioned OF Benny Agbayani to Norfolk.
Designated UT Jim Tatum for assignment; recalled C Todd Pratt from Norfolk.
With Al Leiter’s health a concern, Pusipher is up as insurance for the rotation.
Because he’s a "Young Gun," some folks are excited. They’ll point out his
winning record (7-5) and his ERA (3.92). That ignores his ghastly peripherals:
in a pitcher’s park, he’s coughed up over five runs per nine because of the
large number of unearned runs that scored when he pitched. He’s given up 12
taters in 86.1 innings, 91 hits, and 41 walks. He’s still damaged goods, and not
showing much flash of promise. But he’s in New York, and an ex-famous person at
the ripe age of 24, so he’s being lionized for a "comeback" that has barely
NEW YORK YANKEES
Placed RHP Jeff Nelson on the 15-day DL (lower back inflammation); recalled RHP
Mike Buddie from Columbus. [6/26]
Losing Nelson puts pressure on Darren Holmes to do more than participate in the
team handshake at the end of the game. Buddie was continuing to be effective as
a long reliever in Columbus (2.97 ERA), and could pitch his way into the team’s
Acquired UT Bip Roberts from Detroit for a PTBNL; transferred RHP Dave Telgheder
from the 15- to the 60-day DL; designated RHP Aaron Small for assignment;
optioned INF Mark Bellhorn to Edmonton; recalled RHP Jim Dougherty from
Great, the A’s not only add a positionless, punchless miscreant in the Bipster
(the subject of a new Gary Huckabay rant
but dump Bob Cluck’s project pitcher (Small) for Art Howe’s project pitcher
(Dougherty). To cap it, they send down their best internal option to replace
Spiezio, Mark Bellhorn. Bellhorn’s screwed, and his future is in another
organization. Why Dougherty? Why not Witasick or someone who could end up
helping this team?
Waived UT Rex Hudler; purchased the contract of 1B Jon Zuber from
Recalled C Bobby Estalella from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; optioned LHP Darrin
Winston to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [6/26]
The Phillies aren’t afraid of their success, and its nice to see that they’ve
decided to add Zuber, who could wind up being a primo pinch-hitter
(.333/.424/.502, but as always, no HR power) and spot starter at first or left,
and Estalella. Estalella may wind up taking over for Mike Lieberthal; he was
having an outstanding season in AAA, hitting .299/.442/.589 with 15 homers and
49 walks in 249 plate appearances. If they choose to use this kind of moves as a
springboard for their slender wild-card chances, color me impressed for their
willingness to bring in the kids to make the push instead of somebody else like
Signed 3B Pete Rose Jr. to a minor-league contract; released 1B George Canale.
Blech. George Canale is a minor league lifer of little value, but I hate to see
him or anyone like him get dumped to make room for a nepotista.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Acquired RHP Bobby Witt from Texas for a PTBNL. [6/22]
Placed LHP Kent Mercker on the 15-day DL (left knee contusion); transferred RHP
Alan Benes from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [6/23]
The Cardinals rotation is in ruins behind Todd Stottlemyre. Currently, they’re
going with Juan Acevedo, Mark Petkovsek, Manny Aybar, and Kent Bottenfield,
which means that they’ve taken three of their better relievers and slapped them
into the rotation, only to have to trust Rick Croushore and Curtis King with
more prominent roles in the pen. Even in this ugly situation, bringing in Bobby
Witt to eventually enter the rotation is worse news. Chalk this up as another
situation where LaRussa and Duncan bring in the devil they know; apparently Bob
Welch left his answering machine off at the wrong time.
Traded pitcher Bobby Witt to St. Louis for a PTBNL; activated 2B Mark McLemore
from the 15-day DL; optioned LHP Matt Perisho to Oklahoma; transferred RHP Mark
Brandenberg from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [6/22]
Activated LHP Darren Oliver from the DL; optioned RHP Alan Levine to Oklahoma.
I don’t care who the PTBNL is, the Rangers just saved themselves a good amount
of meal money. Party at Bob Melvin’s house! With Oliver’s return from the DL,
the Rangers were in a situation where Todd Van Poppel (7.84 ERA) beat out
Perisho (27.00 ERA) for the fifth slot on the basis of two starts for each.
Nevertheless, I expect TVP to be a significant improvement over Bobby Witt, not
that that will take much.