Placed 2B Andy Stankiewicz on the 15-day DL (knee). [6/27]
Activated C Jorge Fabregas from the DL; optioned OF Mike Robertson to Tucson. [6/30]
Uncanny. The D-backs replace one utterly useless player for another. Both Kelly
Stinnett and Damian Miller are better players, but Fabregas has his defensive
reputation, and he’s blessed to bat lefty, so he’ll play more than he should.
Released CF Gary Thurman from Vancouver. [6/27]
Thurman lost out to Damon Mashore in camp for the OF reserve role, and didn’t
help himself any with a bad couple of months in Vancouver. At 33, he’s probably
done, without ever having really gotten a clean shot to play. That’s a shame,
if you remember when he came up with the Royals, because he was a solid
prospect. But the Royals couldn’t get Willie Wilson out of their system fast
enough, so that by the time Thurman might have had a real opportunity (in ’91),
Brian McRae was the apple of his daddy’s eye, and Thurman was labeled a
fill-in. Roger Cedeno, be warned.
Placed OF Curtis Pride on the 15-day DL (finger); recalled 1B Randall Simon
from Richmond. [6/27]
Signed OF Andy Tomberlin to a minor-league contract. [6/30]
Now that Keith Lockhart is platooning with Tony Graffanino at second, the
Braves can hold an open casting call for pinch-hitters. Pride hasn’t been as
much of an asset as you might have hoped, but his injury shouldn’t keep him out
long. That means that Simon has a very brief window of opportunity to show off.
He was scuffling at Richmond (.254/.281/.415), but he does that one thing that
some managers look for in pinch hitters: he puts pitches in play with a
line-drive stroke. Tomberlin would be a more polished alternative.
Designated RHP Terry Mathews for assignment; activated RHP Nerio Rodriguez from
the DL. [6/30]
Mathews has been treated like a goat since last season, and six homeruns in
20.1 IP this year didn’t help take the spotlight off of him. Like Tony Tarasco
or Rick Krivda before him, he’s a player who Davey Johnson could use, but an
easy target for an errant Angelos hatchling to snipe at. Rodriguez will go into
the pen, and will probably get used in the fitful closer-to-long relief role
that Sid Ponson had before getting dropped into the rotation.
BOSTON RED SOX
Placed 2B Lou Merloni on the 15-day DL (tendinitis – left knee); recalled 2B
Donnie Sadler from Pawtucket. [6/30]
Merloni had earned a place on the team with his solid hitting (.292/.357/.393),
even while contending with Mike Benjamin’s hot start and defensive reputation.
Sadler will get to bring his rich man’s Pokey Reese impersonation to town for a
couple of weeks, although his usually meagre offensive contributions
(.221/.348/.321) have been further weakened by nagging injuries for most of the
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Recalled RHP John Snyder from Calgary; optioned LHP Tom Fordham to Calgary.
How badly off is Sox pitching? Snyder is going to start on the 4th of July. He
isn’t much of a prospect, but its expected that he can’t disappoint more than
Fordham (or Bere, or Eyre, or … ). Part of the booty from the trade that sent
Jim Abbott to the Angels, Snyder’s being called a control pitcher because he’s
walked 34 men in 97.1 IP at Calgary. He’s been hittable his entire career, but
the Sox don’t really have a great set of alternatives unless they decide to
call up Kevin Beirne or wait until Lorenzo Barcelo has finished up his
rehabbing. Calgary’s other starters are junkballer Nelson Cruz, Rich Pratt
(laughably compared to Jimmy Key by one overeager Reinsdorf minion), and
inconsistent Russ Herbert. I’m disappointed that they’ve dumped Fordham after
only two starts, but after 32 walks in 33 innings, you can’t blame them for
seeing the second coming of Scott Ruffcorn.
Recalled 1B/LF Richie Sexson from Buffalo; optioned LHP Ron Villone to Buffalo.
After getting Tim Worrell from the Tigers, the Tribe could hardly stand pat and
keep 13 pitchers. Villone was pitching infrequently, which helps exaggerated
his already exaggerated wildness, so he can use regular work in Buffalo. Sexson
has made an adequate transformation into a left-fielder this season, and has
also become a significantly more patient hitter this year (.307/.383/.554, 35
BBs in 329 PA against 27 all of last year). He hasn’t needed platooning in the
past, and once Brian Giles comes back, he’ll probably end up being sent back
down. A happier alternative that would improve the lineup would be to return
Thome to third to get Sexson at first and Giles in left, but that isn’t going
to happen. In the meantime, Giles’ potential return creates a further incentive
for the Tribe to get around to settling the Jose Mesa situation. He’s been a
flop as a middle reliever, and they claim they want Worrell as a long reliever,
although Chad Ogea may also fit into that role. The easy way out will be to
send Sexson back down, but with Justice’s nagging knees and a catching
situation you need to PH for, will they be able to continue to afford to carry
Placed RHP Bryce Florie on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/23 (back strain).
Florie’s injury woes will end up handing Brian Powell more than one start, as
it turns out. That gives the Tigers a rotation of Justin Thompson, Brian
Moehler, Seth Greisinger, Powell, and Frank Castillo, until something new or in
an ex-Padre flavor comes around to tickle Randy Smith’s fancy.
Released RHP Lee Smith from New Orleans. [6/30]
Are Lee Smith’s final years even more pathetic than Steve Carlton’s? How about
Jeff Reardon’s? Will Dennis Eckersley take note?
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Acquired CF Jermaine Allensworth from Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Manuel Bernal.
Optioned RF Jermaine Dye to Omaha. [6/28]
As is usually the case with Herk Robinson, you have to ask “why?” What does
Allensworth do for the Royals? If Johnny Damon isn’t playing center, he isn’t
doing enough to justify playing every day. Allensworth isn’t an improvement
offensively, and is his glovework enough to justify carrying Damon in an OF
corner? No. Sure, there’s a bit of guilty pleasure in knowing that Herk must
realize how badly the Tucker-Dye swap has worked out, but why bring Allensworth
into an outfield/DH situation where you’re already having trouble sorting out
playing time for Larry Sutton, Jeff Conine, Hal Morris, and Shane Mack, and
when Jeremy Giambi is doing everything in the world to make you call him up?
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Optioned RHP Will Brunson to Albuquerque; recalled RHP Manuel Barrios from
Are the Dodgers just trying to show off as much of what they got for Piazza as
possible? Although you’d like to think that Antonio Osuna should be handed the
closer’s job, anyone may get to be closer for a week while the soap opera
Signed RHP Bob Wickman to a three-year contract extension. [6/30]
Now that Wickman has effectively won the closer’s job, I could be completely
unfair and point out that the Brewers could have saved themselves a bunch of
money if they thought of this over the winter. However, no one should weep for
Bud Selig’s bottom line.
Placed RHP Mike Morgan on the 15-day DL (ribcage muscle strain); recalled UT
Jon Shave from Salt Lake. [6/27]
Losing Morgan only really hurts if you think about whether it could affect his
potential value to other teams by the end of July, since the Twins’ season
isn’t really serving any other useful purpose. Dan Serafini will probably step
into the rotation in his absence, and if Eric Milton continues to scuffle, a
tough decision may have to be made, where the best possible result would be
waiving goodbye to Brent Gates (.214/.291/.283). Since Ron Coomer’s injury
keeps him from playing third, Shave (a PCL-inflated .350/.426/.469) will get
the lion’s share of the playing time until either Coomer heals or Corey Koskie
breaks through against AAA pitching. That isn’t the worst option, whereas Gates
NEW YORK METS
Placed LHP Al Leiter on the 15-day DL (partially torn tendon – knee);
recalled RHP Jeff Tam from Norfolk. [6/27]
Sold the contract of LHP Mark Mimbs to the Orix Blue Wave (Japanese
Pacific League). [6/30]
Leiter is expected to miss four to six weeks, which badly damages the Mets’
pretensions for the NL wildcard race with the Giants, Brewers, and Cubs. In his
absence, Brian Bohanon will fill in as the fifth starter, but with Bobby Jones
scuffling and Hideo Nomo still puzzling people, the Mets are in bad shape given
their feeble offense (14th in the NL in runs). Tam is a solid reliever; after being
injured for two years and wasting part of last season trying to start, he’s settled into
being a solid long reliever with outstanding control. At Norfolk, he’s allowed only 31
hits and 4 walks in 49.1 IP, posting a 1.82 ERA. Given the Mets’ RH relief woes,
he could quickly end up assuming the role Corey Lidle held last season.
Recalled RHP Steve Connelly from Edmonton;
designated C Izzy Molina for assignment. [6/27]
Those of you who know me know I’m your basically rabid A’s fan.
However, I know nothing about Steve Connelly
that anybody couldn’t dig up from his past stats. That said, he could easily be the
second-best pitcher in their bullpen. That’s pretty damn pathetic, but I’m still
twitchy about picking up B… Bi… Bipppbltpt… sorry, I can’t say it.
Traded CF Jermaine Allensworth to Kansas City for RHP Manuel Bernal. [6/27]
Purchased the contract of UT Steve Bieser from Nashville. [6/30]
Bully for the Bucs. I’m guessing that this means they know that there are three
position players on the entire team worth keeping around: Jason Kendall, Aramis
Ramirez, and Jose Guillen. Everyone else is expendable, no matter how much
they’re identified with last season’s Cinderella story. If things go well, they’ll handle
Tony Womack in a similar fashion. The organization’s Mexican connection is one
of its strengths, so if they see something from Bernal now that he’s pitching
regularly in Mexico City, then taking a chance on that is more important than the
rest of Allensworth’s major league career. In the meantime, before they get around
to bringing up Emil Brown to handle center, they’ll spend a couple of weeks or
months with Turner Ward and Manny Martinez, and it won’t make a bit of
difference from what Allensworth was to them.
Activated OF/1B Raul Ibanez from the DL, and optioned him to Tacoma; designated
OF/1B Dave McCarty for assignment. [6/30]
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Activated C Kevin Brown off the DL; designated RHP Luis Andujar for assignment.
With Brown back (.343/.385/.457 vs. LHPs) to platoon with Fletcher
(.322/.384/.513), the Jays have a situation that makes that old Ernie
Whitt-Buck Martinez platoon pale by comparison. Andujar may get claimed,
considering how well he was pitching in relief for Syracuse before his