Acquired LF/1B Gregg Jefferies from the Phillies for a PTBNL;
activated RHP Ken Hill from the DL; optioned RHP Steve Sparks to
Midland (AA); recalled RHP Jeff Schmidt from and placed him on the
15-day DL (shoulder); transferred RHP Mike Freehill from the 15- to
the 60-day DL; selected INF Gar Vallone from Midland and placed him
on the 15-day DL (torn quadricep); transferred Schmidt from the 15-
to the 60-day DL. [8/28]

Optioned outfielder Reggie Williams to Midland (AA). [8/29]

Is this overcompensation? After the Rangers’ multiple deadline
pickups, and with nagging injury problems stalking all three core
offensive players (Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad), Bill
Bavasi must have felt compelled to bring in somebody, and in this case,
anybody. Jefferies has been a pricey, light-hitting defensive
embarassment for years. What’s particularly unfortunate about
getting him is that he isn’t that helpful, even if any of the Angels’
core players go down, because he’s only around to swipe playing time
from better players: Todd Greene, or the fun low-budget platoon of
minor league vets Orlando Palmeiro and Reggie Williams.

The returns of Hill and Jack McDowell underline how ill-considered acquisition
of Jeff Juden was, because to make room for Hill, they
bumped Sparks. Sparks has only been their most reliable starter behind
Chuck Finley, but Bill Bavasi’s stretch-drive pickups have been a bizarre
combination of a temporary but justified faith in Angels’ prospects
(Todd Greene, Troy Glaus) and ill-considered veteran pickups (Juden, Jefferies,
Charlie O’Brien, Mike Fetters).


Placed OF Danny Bautista on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/25
(partially torn mcl – knee); recalled 3B Wes Helms from Richmond. [8/27]

Losing Bautista should mean starts against lefties for Michael Tucker (and to a
lesser extent, Ryan Klesko). Going into the postseason, that isn’t really a bad
thing: Bautista isn’t a very dangerous threat to any pitchers, and opposing
managers will continue to test Bobby Cox’ mettle when it comes to whether or
not he’ll pull his big lefty bats against some left-handed middle reliever.

On that score, Helms may be able to help some. Chipper Jones has improved
against lefties as the season progressed (up to .317/.396/.434 compared to
.316/.413/.604 vs. RHPs), and he has experience playing in the outfield. Helms
was slugging over .500 against lefties at Richmond, although he still needs to
work on his fielding.


Placed 3B Willis Otanez on the 15-day DL (fractured wrist); recalled
OF Danny Clyburn from Rochester. [8/28]

Calling up Clyburn is probably the move they should have made in the
first place, considering they called up Otanez to play in the outfield
to add some right-handed punch, and he promptly broke his wrist playing
out of position. Clyburn has been battling injuries much of the season
after opening some eyes in spring training, but he’s still managed to hit
.286/.358/.488 at Rochester. In terms of Orioles’ history, he could end
up helping in the sort of roles that Gary Roenicke, Dan Ford, or Merv
Rettenmund enjoyed: more than just a right-handed half of a platoon, but
less than a regular.


Placed CF Damon Buford on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 8/27 (rib cage strain);
recalled OF Keith Mitchell from Pawtucket. [8/28]

Losing Buford again isn’t really that critical a blow to the Sox;
with Darrens Lewis and Bragg, they have pretty good outfield defense, and with
the addition of Mike Stanley, their lineup against lefties isn’t quite as
fragile. Keith Mitchell will get a small chance to stake a claim to a
postseason roster spot as a pinch-hitting option, but that’s dependent both on
how well he plays and how quickly Reggie Jefferson and/or Midre Cummings
recover from their injuries.


Acquired RHP Mike Morgan from Minnesota for a PTBNL and cash. [8/25]

Added Morgan to the active roster; placed SS Jeff Blauser on the
15-day DL, retroactive to 8/25 (elbow). [8/27]

Is this really that good of a move? On the con side, Morgan has only
logged a single start in the past month, and was on a 50-pitch limit
in that start. On the pro side, bringing him in will only cost someone
who isn’t supposed to be on the 40-man roster, gets Don Wengert out of
the rotation, and Morgan has considerable experience as a reliever
should the Cubs actually make the postseason. That’s significant: fifth
starters don’t start once the postseason rolls around, and the Cubs’
bullpen problems have become critical.

Jeff Blauser had some pointed observations about the media in relation to
his elbow woes. His elbow hasn’t been right all season, but only recently
became public. Nevertheless, he’s silently endured endless criticism from local
fans and commentators, with the usual complaints being about how he wasn’t
playing well because he had big money. He didn’t complain about his injury, or
the way in which he’s been jerked up and down the lineup, or
the way he’s been criticized. He only noted that folks tend to make value
judgments based on whether or not you’re having a bad year, and that that isn’t
quite right. Even with all these problems, he still put up a good
OBP, and that’s a hell of a lot more valuable than anything Manny Alexander
is ever going to do. The Cubs hope that a bit of rest will have him ready
to play in the final weeks of the season and into the postseason, should they
get that far.


Purchased the contract of RHP Mike Heathcott from Calgary; placed RHP
Keith Foulke on the 15-day DL (impinged and inflamed rotator cuff). [8/28]

Recalled RHP Carlos Castillo from Calgary; optioned RHP Mike Heathcott to
Calgary. [8/29]

Optioned LHP Tom Fordham to Calgary. [8/31]

Basic roster shuffling involving Friday’s doubleheader. Keith Foulke has been
pitching with a shoulder spur all season, but its expected that he’ll be 100%
for next year after surgery. Even so, for the Sox the important product of that
is that there will be questions about his endurance. At least initially, that
should mean a return to the bullpen. Getting Foulke healthy and into the
rotation would be a major piece of a potentially respectable rotation for ’99,
so this is bad news. I’m disappointed that they’ve sent Fordham down so
quickly; its rumored that they’ll be calling
up Jim Abbott, and that does absolutely nothing in terms of improving the team
or sorting through their options for ’99, and it keeps Fordham from getting
more time to work with Nardi Contreras, who’s being credited with the
turnarounds of James Baldwin, Scott Eyre, and Jim Parque.


Transferred RHP Stan Belinda from the 15- to the 60-day DL; activated CF Mike
from the DL, and optioned him to Chattanooga (AA). [8/25]

Extended the contract of manager Jack McKeon through 1999. [8/27]

Some sensible Reds fans are rightfully unhappy about McKeon’s return, and for
good reason. He’s participated in the decisions to cast Jon Nunnally aside, I’m
not impressed with how they’ve handled Konerko so far, and I’m baffled by the
decision to call up Mike Frank at all this season. Perhaps the most troubling
thing is McKeon’s unnecessarily combative/demanding relationship with Brett
Tomko. On the other hand, he kept faith in Gabe White all season, but he’s also
kept faith in Scott Sullivan and Mike Remlinger, so whether his patience is a
virtue or not deserves to be called into question.


Recalled LHP Jim Poole and 2B/SS Enrique Wilson from Buffalo; optioned RHP
Steve Karsay to Buffalo; designated INF Torey Lovullo for assignment. [8/25]

Why call up Lovullo at all? Why insult Enrique Wilson on his way out of town?
The moral to the story is that John Hart’s Indians frustrate the
hell out of me sometimes, whether in things like this, or the Grissom signing,
or the Justice signing, or the Fryman signing, or Omar Vizquel’s contract.
Pleasing me has to be the last thing on the agenda, and the Indians always seem
to find a way to muddle through, but playing Enrique Wilson regularly was the
answer in April and is still the answer to this day. Hargrove’s griping about
his "offensive profile" or whatever, when Wilson would be batting ninth
anyways, is just silly.


Placed SS Edgar Renteria on the 15-day DL (contusion – knee); recalled SS Alex
from Charlotte; purchased the contract of C Randy Knorr from
Charlotte; transferred 2B Craig Counsell from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.

Optioned RHP Andy Larkin to Charlotte; activated RHP Eric Ludwick from the DL.

The Marlins will get to continue to be a team that exists for evaluation
purposes alone, as the injury to Renteria now has them using Charlotte’s
infield combo of wunderkinder Gonzalez and Luis Castillo. I’m not really high
on either of them, Gonzalez for his crippling lack of plate discipline and
Castillo for his almost total inability to get the ball out of the infield. In
Redmond’s absence, one of my personal demons, Randy Knorr,
will get to platoon with Greg Zaun, a combination which may inspire a decision
to look at Ramon Castro as soon as September.

Ludwick is back up after his third dance on the DL, but he’s going to remain in
the bullpen for now. This season has been a long and grisly tale of woe for
him, so here’s hoping he can get something out of this season in its last


Placed OF Pete Incaviglia on the 15-day DL (sprained shoulder); purchased the
contract of 1B/OF J.R. Phillips from New Orleans. [8/25]

Placed LHP Trever Miller on the 15-day DL (tendinitis – knee); recalled C Mitch
from New Orleans. [8/30]

Having Phillips on the roster before the 31st just broadens their options in
making out their postseason roster, should Jack Howell’s wrist not heal in
time. Having Meluskey up is a potential stroke of genius when the time rolls
around to making out the postseason roster. Meluskey was having an MVP-calibre
season for New Orleans, hitting .356/.469/.590 (with 17 HRs and 85 walks) while
showing improved footwork behind the plate. He has a very good opportunity to
force Brad Ausmus into a job-sharing arrangement for next season (similar to
but better than the Girardi/Posada situation for the Yankees).


Activated RHP Brian Bevil from the DL; purchased the contract of LHP Allen
from Omaha; optioned RHP Jose Santiago to Omaha; placed RHP Bart Evans
on the 15-day DL (sprained ankle); transferred OF Shane Mack from the 15- to
the 60-day DL. [8/28]

Placed C Sal Fasano on the 15-day DL (hamstring); purchased the contract of C
Hector Ortiz from Omaha; transferred RHP Hipolito Pichardo from the 15- to the
60-day DL. [8/30]

Fasano has almost certainly earned a place in the majors for years to come
after flashing a good glove and almost enough offense to deserve comparisons to
Scott Servais or Mike Matheny. Jorge Fabregas can eat his dust. Yee-ha! Who
said life at the bottom of the totem pole can’t be fun? At any rate, like their
other "losses," this one lets the Royals finally take an extended look at Mike
Sweeney behind the plate, which is what they should have been spending most of
the year doing in the first place.


Purchased the contract of RHP Kirk Bullinger from Ottawa; optioned RHP Jeremy
to Harrisburg (AA). [8/30]

Powell struggled terribly after a good debut against the Cubs, but with rosters
due to expand, he’ll probably come back up shortly. Bullinger, like his older
brother, doesn’t throw particularly hard, but he has good control, so his
chances to do more for les Expos than Shayne Bennett are pretty good.


Traded RHP Mike Morgan to the Cubs for a PTBNL and cash. [8/25]

Recalled LHP Travis Baptist from Salt Lake City. [8/26]

Dumping Morgan now is sort of a disappointment, in that the idea to sign him in
the first place was to have him as a chit to swap for prospects during somebody
else’s stretch drive. Sure enough, they traded him, but Morgan’s injuries
prevented him from commanding much in return. On the plus side, Frankie
Rodriguez will get to keep his rotation spot, while Dan Serafini’s notably
better performance as a reliever makes him a good bet to slide into Flounder
Swindell’s role in the pen as a lefty long man.


Activated C Tim Spehr from the DL, and outrighted him to Norfolk. [8/27]

Placed C/"LF" Todd Hundley on the 15-day DL (elbow irritation); recalled C Todd
from Norfolk. [8/28]

In the midst of Hundley’s misfortunes, what has me sniggering is Bobby
Valentine’s straight-faced claims that a platoon of Lenny Harris and Jermaine
Allensworth makes for a good leftfielder. If Butch Huskey finally does heal up,
the point will be relatively moot, but in the meantime, using that duo isn’t a
real sign of strength down the stretch.


Optioned RHP Ryan Bradley to Columbus; purchased the contract of RHP Jay
from Columbus; designated 1B Ivan Cruz for assignment. [8/26]

Tessmer’s submariner success has been trumpeted for awhile, which is a nice way
of saying he probably won’t end up like most minor league closers and evaporate
in direct sunlight. In 70 innings between Norwich and Columbus, he’d allowed
only 61 hits and 15 walks and 75 Ks, logging a 1.03 ERA and 35 saves. With
injuries to so many of the Yankees’ right-handed relievers, it still isn’t
going to be very easy for a Tessmer or a Mike Buddie to claim that last roster
spot for the postseason. Either Hideki Irabu or Orlando Hernandez will be in
the pen along with Mariano Rivera, Ramiro Mendoza, Graeme Lloyd, and Mike
Stanton. If the Yankees go with ten pitchers (and they should), that leaves one
spot, and if either Jeff Nelson or Darren Holmes heal up, it’s theirs.


Traded LF/1B Gregg Jefferies to the Angels for a PTBNL; recalled OF Wendell
Magee Jr.
from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [8/28]

The best possible thing about this is that the Phillies save a little more than
a sixth of his salary in the final year of his disastrous contract. Magee will
get the first chance to enter a claim on left for next year. That the Phillies
have to end up giving the last five weeks to him is a disappointment. Hitting
24 homers and 30 doubles may sound pretty good, except that it came on over 550
plate appearances. Yes, he’ll be an improvement over Jefferies, but the shame
here is that Billy McMillon is hitting for more power and showing much better
plate discipline, but he seems to be buried. Well, things could be worse; they
could be goofing off with Midre Cummings or something.


Placed LHP Mark Langston on the 15-day DL (strained rib cage); purchased the
contract of RHP Stan Spencer from Las Vegas. [8/25]

How do playoff teams improve? Throwing veteran carcasses over the side is
usually a good place to start, and Langston has been especially awful this year
(although he’s considered a lock for the postseason roster). What about Matt
Clement? Kevin Towers just preferred to go with the 29-year old rookie.
Spencer’s career is a long story about the kind of fun we can have with
orthopedic surgery. A sandwich pick after the first round in ’90 for the Expos
out of Stanford, Spencer lost that year to a cracked rib, had to have his elbow
rebuilt in ’92, after which the Marlins took a flyer on him, only to see him
miss ’96 with a separated shoulder. The Pads signed him as a minor league free
agent in ’97. In this, his first full season, only nine years after he was
drafted, he’s been amazing for Vegas: 12-6, a 3.93 ERA, allowing only 120 hits
and 42 walks in 137.1 IP, racking up 136 strikeouts. He throws a normal
four-pitch assortment out of a slow delivery, but the kicker is that during his
pre-inning warmups, sometimes he likes to go through his delivery without the
ball. He’s eligible for the postseason roster, so given the choice between him
or Scott Sanders or Brian Boehringer or Mark Langston, I don’t care how much
people might like Langston, he hasn’t earned the consideration.


Recalled LHP David Holdridge and UT Charles Gipson from Tacoma; optioned RHP
Bob Wells to Peoria (R), and RHP Ken Cloude to Everett (A). [8/30]

The Mariners always liked to take advantage of the callup deadline to reshuffle
their roster slightly to look forward to the playoffs, but now that the
postseason is an unreachable goal, it seems somewhat insulting that after
subjecting Cloude to Piniella most of the year, they yank him around just now,
when it won’t do much good.


Activated RHP Eddie Gaillard from the DL, and optioned him to Durham. [8/25]

Activated RHP Albie Lopez from the DL; placed LHP Ramon Tatis on the 15-day DL
(tendinitis – elbow). [8/26]

Placed SS Kevin Stocker on the 60-day DL (fractured hand); recalled INF Dave
from Durham. [8/30]

Albie Lopez has been one of the keys to the team’s bullpen this year, and with
Roberto Hernandez still struggling and Esteban Yan in a tailspin, what relief
the D-Rays can hope for will have to come from Lopez and Jim Mecir. Stocker’s
season is mercifully (if painfully) ended early. It will be interesting to see
if he loses his job in his absence to Aaron Ledesma. As is, one of my old
faves, Dave Silvestri, deserves every opportunity to get Ledesma’s old job as
the utility infielder, but keep in mind I’ve been singing Silvestri’s praises
since the Yankees stole him from Houston in a deal for Orlando Miller.


Claimed LHP Greg Cadaret off waivers from Anaheim. [8/25]

Optioned OF Warren Newson to Oklahoma City. [8/26]

Optioned RHP Al Levine to Savannah (A); purchsaed the contract of LHP Tony
from Oklahoma City. [8/30]

Why bring in both Cadaret and Fossas? Fossas’ junk doesn’t even have enough
wiggle left to frighten even the most timid left-handed batter, and the Rangers
could use either the Deacon (as a pinch-hitter) or Levine (as a mopup man) more
than they need two more lefties in the pen.

Thank you for reading

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