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We’ve recieved some comments about the extensive use of italics in the
Transaction Analysis and how it makes for some difficult reading. Today,
we’re trying typewriter text for Chris’ comments. What do you think?
Better? Worse? Please email me at
bpadmin@baseballprospectus.com
if you’ve got an opinion on the matter. And now, on to the good stuff…


ANAHEIM ANGELS

Activated UT Randy Velarde from the DL; recalled LHP Trevor Wilson from
Vancouver; optioned LHP Mike Holtz and 2B Justin Baughman to Vancouver;
designated RHP Anthony Chavez for assignment. [8/2]

Designated 1B Cecil Fielder for assignment; activated DH Todd Greene from the
DL. [8/5]


Since they didn't pull off the big trade or help their faltering rotation or
the shorthanded bullpen, the Angels are taking some big risks with the talent
they have in hand. You have to respect their willingness to try; conventional
wisdom would have the Angels riding Cecil-san and Dave Hollins into the tank,
or fretting about undermining Baughman's confidence if they sent him down.
Instead, they've gone for broke, plugging Troy Glaus in at third, Velarde at
second, and Todd Greene entering the 1B/OF/DH mix. Dumping Fielder instead of
Hollins is a dubious choice in terms of talent. Although some folks like to say
Hollins would make a nifty DH, he's not really a dangerous enough hitter for
the job: he's hitting .247/.340/.396, and he's never going to get back to where
he was in '92-'93 (his age 26-27 seasons). Fielder's been in a miserable slump,
but he outhit Hollins (.241/.335/.423). The critical factor was that the Angels
made a multiyear commitment to Hollins, whereas they only have to eat two
months of Fielder's contract, so they decided to "save" themselves some money
by keeping Hollins. Which one they kept really only ought to be an expensive,
24th-man sort of question, since Greene will hopefully be handed regular
playing time at first or left (basically wherever they feel they shouldn't play
Darin Erstad). In his month of work at Vancouver, Greene slugged .583, and PCL
or no, that's more important to look at than goofing off trying to figure who's
better between Hollins or Fielder.

Yes, it's that Trevor Wilson, last seen in the Giants' rotation in '95. Have
working left arm, will play for food... he was actually pitching reasonably
well in the Canadians' rotation, putting up a 3.62 ERA while allowing less than
a hit per inning. Since he doesn't have Rich Robertson's control problems, he's
probably a better fit as a lefty middle-man, since it looks like Terry Collins
has pretty well burned out Holtz.

Velarde doesn't know when to quit, does he? I'm reminded of a scene from the
Schwarzenegger movie "Predator," where the sidekick who's just had his chest
crushed by a swinging tree trunk insists "I can make it!" For years, that
phrase was a code phrase for desperation among my buddies, and looking over
Velarde's returns, near-retirements, and re-injuries, it's all I can think of.


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Traded UT Hensley Meulens to the White Sox for a PTBNL. [8/1]

Purchased the contract of RHP Barry Manuel from Tucson. [8/2]

Activated 3B Matt Williams from the DL; optioned OF/1B Brent Brede to Tucson.
[8/3]

Optioned RHP Clint Sodowsky to Tucson; recalled INF Hanley Frias from Tucson.
[8/5]


Sodowsky has been pitching's answer to the Pinto this year, so it's worth the
D-backs' time to see if Manuel or Felix Rodriguez isn't a better setup man for
Gregg(g?) Olson. Williams' return (and subsequent new injury to his hand)
doesn't eliminate the playing time that Andy Fox and Tony Batista have been
getting; indeed, their continued effectiveness bodes ill for Danny Klassen once
Travis Lee returns this weekend.


ATLANTA BRAVES

Signed LHP Norm Charlton and RHP Paul Wagner to minor-league contracts. [8/5]


Rats, I guess Terry Forster and Len Barker weren't available. I mean, they
aren't effective any more either, but they've put in the time, worked hard, and
deserve to be affiliated with a winner, right?


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Activated 2B Roberto Alomar and DH Harold Baines from the DL; optioned 2B P.J.
Forbes
and OF Lyle Mouton to Rochester. [8/4]


This straightens out certain things as far as the lineup: Rich Becker will go
back to the bench for Baines, while Hammonds will effectively be reduced to
platooning with him. Given Harold's aches and pains (and those of Eric Davis),
both of them still ought to get a start or two per week. Too bad none of them
play third.


CHICAGO CUBS

Released LHP Tony Fossas unconditionally; recalled SS Jose Nieves from West
Tennessee (AA). [8/4]

Picked up their options on the contracts of GM Ed Lynch and manager Jim
Riggleman
for 1999. [8/5]


Fossas' release means the Cubs will stick with Don Wengert as their fifth
starter, and keep Terry Mulholland in the pen. As indefensible as that may
sound, keep in mind that with several fortuitous off-days, Wengert may only
start once in the next two weeks, pending whatever they decide (and un-decide)
to do with Kerry Wood's infamous bout with a "tired" arm. Keep an eye on
Nieves: he is the organization's shorstop of the future, although he'll be
hard-pressed to outhit Rey Sanchez. There's already talk of him taking over in
'00, after Blauser's contract is up.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Acquired UT Hensley Meulens from Arizona for a PTBNL. [8/1]

Promoted LHP Jim Abbott from Birmingham to Calgary. [8/5]


The Sox are seriously considering putting Abbott in the rotation, for either
Jaime Navarro (if he agrees to go to the pen) or Jim Parque. I don't disagree
with the sentiment of bumping either, but for Jim Abbott? He isn't getting
people out, but he's "battling," as if that somehow makes him better than
Navarro.


CINCINNATI REDS

Placed INF Pokey Reese on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 7/31 (torn ligaments –
thumb); recalled LHP Dennis Reyes from Indianapolis. [8/1]


Losing Reese finally rids the Reds of Jack McKeon's fascination with playing
him at third, probably for the rest of the season. Because they'd just sent
Konerko down, they'll fiddle with Aaron Boone, or shift Willie Greene back from
the OF, or diddle around with Chris Stynes. One would hope they just bring
Konerko back after letting him get in a week or two at third for Indy and just
plug him at the hot corner for the rest of his professional life with the Reds,
rather than waste him like Nick Esasky, only without Pete Rose around to blame
for it. Reyes steps right into the rotation, which gives the Reds a very
competitive group of Tomko, Reyes, Harnisch, Remlinger, and Steve Parris.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Placed INF Jeff Branson on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring); recalled 2B/SS
Enrique Wilson from Buffalo. [8/2]


This is really going to hurt the Bisons. Wilson should end up sharing the job
at second with David Bell down the stretch, before reclaiming the job he lost
to injuries this April entirely by next spring. That isn't a knock on Bell;
he's been an outstanding waiver-wire pickup and fill-in, and the Tribe will be
in great shape if they have him around as their backup at second and third for
the next few years. That the Indians were willing to take a "chance" on him
rather than continue to futz around with Shawon Dunston was one of the best
in-season talent decisions any of the contending teams made this year.


COLORADO ROCKIES

Optioned RHP Fred Rath to Colorado Springs; recalled OF Derrick White from
Colorado Springs. [8/5]


With Colbrunn traded away, the Rox need a better righty bat off the bench than
Kurt Abbott.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Placed 2B Craig Counsell on the 15-day DL (fractured jaw); recalled 2B Luis
Castillo
from Charlotte. [8/4]


Counsell's tour of duty was a holding pattern for Castillo in the first place,
but noboby likes to see things end up in the grisly fashion that they did.
Hitting .251/.355/.373, Counsell has been a fine representative of low-cost
talent scavengers can nab from the minor leagues to fill in their roster with.
I'm a Castillo skeptic, but he has had an outstanding season as far as playing
to his strengths: getting on base (.403 OBP), and swiping bases (41, against 15
times caught). But he still hasn't shown any hint of power (11 doubles and 3
triples this year - no taters), so he has to be an on-base machine to hold any
value at all. Still, if somebody is willing to play Tony Womack every day, it's
worthwhile to see what you can get from Castillo if you leave him alone for a
couple of years.


HOUSTON ASTROS

Designated PH J.R. Phillips for assignment. [8/2]


Since Dave Clark's contract is guaranteed, and the 'Stros expect Jack Howell
back in September, Phillips lost out in the round of musical chairs following
the Big Unit acquisition.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Optioned RHP Sean Maloney to Albuquerque. [8/1]

Activated 3B/OF Bobby Bonilla from the DL; optioned SS Alex Cora to
Albuquerque. [8/5]


Bonilla's return will put him in left, which means the Boys in Blue will
continue to give Adrian Beltre the playing time at third. The tough question is
what will happen once Jose Vizcaino comes back off of the DL. Someone seriously
suggested that Mark Grudzielanek would move to third, which would be pathetic.
The point isn't that Grudz (.273/.320/.372) isn't outhitting Beltre
(.221/.269/.328), it's that this is as good as it gets for Grudz, while Beltre
is the future of the franchise. I wouldn't bench him if my job depended on it,
but that's easy to say when I'm not the Pastaman.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Recalled LHP Rafael Roque from Louisville; optioned OF Greg Martinez to
Louisville. [8/1]

Added LHP Bill Pulsipher and RHP Joe Hudson to the active roster; optioned LHPs
Rafael Roque and Valerio De Los Santos to Louisville. [8/3]


It's that time of year again, folks: the horrors of Brew crew stretch-drive
pickups. Last year it was Darrin Jackson and Julio Franco. The year before that
it was Ice Williams, Jeromy Burnitz, and Bob Wickman... well, okay, two out of
seven ain't bad. Pulsipher may end up in the rotation, even if the Brewers
don't tire of Jeff Juden's struggles. The alternatives for the fifth spot are
David Weathers and Bronswell Patrick. If Patrick can't dent bread, the loaf
would take Weathers deep, and Pulsipher would hurt himself trying to get it
out. Talk about tasty options.


MINNESOTA TWINS

Signed RHP Rick Aguilera to a one-year contract extension; recalled CF Chris
Latham
and LHP Travis Baptist from Salt Lake City. [8/1]


Latham and Baptist fill in the roster for the departed Merced and Swindell. It
might be nice to see Latham get a two-month crack at the CF job, since Otis
Nixon won't do them much good, but that isn't Tom Kelly's style. We'll just end
up having to wait for an outfield of Jacque Jones, Marty Cordova, and the
unheralded Matt Lawton. Baptist was having another good season at Salt Lake: a
3.08 ERA, 8-4, 113 hits and 37 walks in 122.2 IP, and only 8 homeruns allowed.


MONTREAL EXPOS

Recalled RHP Jeremy Powell from Harrisburg (AA). [8/1]


Powell steps right into Carlos Perez' spot in the rotation, and it won't hurt
the Expos in the least.


NEW YORK METS

Optioned C Vance Wilson and OF Benny Agbayani to Norfolk. [8/1]

Placed DH, er… RF Butch Huskey on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
recalled C Todd Pratt from Norfolk. [8/3]

Signed LHP John Franco to a two-year contract extension; activated RHP Paul
Wilson
from the DL and optioned him to Norfolk. [8/4]


So, lesse, that's five, no... four catchers on the roster, since they've got
both Jorge Fabregas and Pratt on the bench behind Piazza (and arguably
Hundley). Fabregas has no value as a pinch-hitter, but Pratt does, so Jorge
gets to be the defensive replacement while Tony Phillips ends up playing every
day in rightfield while Huskey is out.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Placed RHP Darren Holmes on the 15-day DL (bulging disc – lower back);
purchased the contract of RHP Joe Borowski from Columbus; transferred DH Chili
Davis
from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [8/1]

Optioned RHP Mike Buddie to Columbus; recalled RHP Mike Jerzembeck from
Columbus. [8/4]


Borowski was having an outstanding season for the Clippers, so he may get to
stick around should either Holmes' or Jeff Nelson's injury problems continue.
At Columbus, he put up a 2.93 ERA while tossing 73.2 innings as a reliever. At
this point, people are basically volunteering to be a part of this club: after
cutting Dale Sveum, he promptly retired and put himself at the club's disposal
as a bullpen catcher, batting practice pitcher, and whatever else it might take
to get voted a full playoff share.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Placed OF Mike Neill on the 15-day DL (shoulder). [8/2]

Released DO (designated out) Kevin Mitchell unconditionally; recalled RHP Jay
Witasick
from Edmonton. [8/3]

Activated OF Jason McDonald from the DL; optioned RHP Jay Witasick to Edmonton.
[8/4]


At least the A's have recognized that having Ed Sprague and Mike Blowers and
Kevin Mitchell around was redundant, so they cut the worst of the lot. McDonald
won't get his starting job back, but Ben Grieve will always need a defensive
replacement, and Rickey Henderson can always use two days off each week to rest
his hamstrings, so there's work for McDonald.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Released 1B Brian Hunter unconditionally; recalled SS Luis Ordaz from Memphis.
[8/2]


Okay, so you're going to spend two months looking at Luis Ordaz after trading
Royce Clayton. Those two months may tell you a thing or two on what kind of
timetable your organization will want to have Brent Butler or Pablo Ozuna on.
If those are your priorities, you'd think that getting Ordaz as much playing
time as possible would mean something to you. Unfortunately, your manager is so
convinced of his geniusdom that he has to prove to the world that only he is
clever enough to bat your pitcher eighth, and by some bit of specious logic,
that's somehow important to your first baseman's drive for Roger Maris' homerun
record. So the ripple effect is that you lose perhaps 20 PA for Ordaz, not to
mention a few runs, and you get nothing to show for it but your manager's sense
of self-worth. I'd like to see a cost-benefit analysis of that, thank you very
much.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Recalled LHP David Holdridge from Tacoma; designated 1B Dan Rohrmeier for
assignment. [8/1]


It seems like a million years ago that Holdridge was traded for Lance Parrish,
straight up, but it was actually "only" about ten years ago. Holdridge is now
"only" 29, three years younger than when Tony Fossas was when he made the
majors to stay. Like Fossas did in '89, he's made something of himself as a
reliever: this year, he's put up a 3.00 ERA, allowing only 49 hits and 26 walks
in 63 IP, while striking out 66. If Scotty Bailes can make a comeback, then
Dave Holdridge could still have a good ten-year major league career.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Placed RHP Albie Lopez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/1 (heel – bursitis);
recalled RHP Dennis Springer from Durham. [8/4]


The D-Rays have seen some very good pitching out of their middle relievers:
Lopez has broken through this year, Esteban Yan had a hot start, Jim Mecir has
had a fine season, and Scott Aldred has been semi-useful. But they've also had
to carry a heavy load, and now Yan isn't going well and Lopez is hurt and Mecir
isn't carrying his consecutive scoreless outings streak around. That clues me
in that we ought to take a look at Larry Rothschild's usage patterns closely
for our next book. Springer won't take Bryan Rekar's spot in the rotation, so
he'll be hard-pressed to add to his loss total (unless he really works at it).


TEXAS RANGERS

Optioned RHP Dan Smith and 3B Rob Sasser to Tulsa (AA); placed LHP Scott
Bailes
on the 15-day DL (bursitis – shoulder); recalled RHP Al Levine from
Oklahoma City. [8/1]


Levine is still a serviceable middle reliever, although Bailes' absence may
crimp Johnny Oates' pen use since he's down to just Eric Gunderson for lefty
relief. (Dave Holdridge take note: where were Bailes and Gunderson a couple of
years ago? Retired, or worse, trying to break through with the Mariners. All
right, that's a mixed message. Just keep plugging away, okay?)


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Recalled RHP Kelvim Escobar from Syracuse. [8/1]


Escobar is up to go into the rotation, which may cause anguish to some
rotoheads who need their saves category totals to get better, but it's a good
move for the Jays. He was pitching well in Syracuse's rotation, racking up a
3.77 ERA while striking out 64 in 59.2 IP, allowing 51 hits and giving up a
characteristic 24 walks. Sometimes it's just better to give good heat a
reasonable workload, rather than let it molder in the pen in overly structured
roles.

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