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Activated 3B-S Jimmy Paredes from the 15-day disabled list (strained back); placed 2B-R Jonathan Schoop on the 15-day disabled list (partially torn knee ligament). [4/18]

"We can’t always out-commit people, but we can out-opportunity them," said Buck Showalter. The O's seem to coax a better-than-anticipated performance from fringe players on an annual basis, and quotes like Showalter's make you wonder about the cause to that trend. Is the secret Dan Duquette's evaluation skills? Showalter and his staff's coaching? Or simply the playing time often found in Baltimore? It's akin to the chicken or egg question, in that nobody is quite sure of the answer. Whatever the case, Paredes could be the next benefactor. He has experience at second base, and while he's a defensive downgrade from Schoop, Showalter doesn't have many alternatives to throw out at the keystone. There's no reason to expect Paredes to break out at the plate, except this being Baltimore. . . .

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Purchased the contract of RHP Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham; designated RHP Grant Balfour for assignment. [4/18]

You'll recall that Balfour only rejoined the Rays last spring once his agreement with the Orioles fell through due to medical concerns. At the time, it seemed like a steal for Tampa Bay—Balfour was coming off an all-star season, after all—but now? Perhaps those Baltimore doctors were right about him being crooked.

It's been a rough few months for Balfour, who missed part of spring training to be with his dying father. How much affect his father's death had on his pitching is unclear, but you can't blame him if baseball took on less importance. The Rays, for their part, have proved time and again that this is a business above all, and Balfour wasn't getting the job done with his reduced stuff and poor control. While you should never discount how the mental side can impact the physical, Balfour's days as a big-league pitcher are probably over. Here's hoping he can find peace in his life about what matters.

In turn the Rays chose to promote Gomes, who, at age 30, is the oldest pitcher on the staff. Gomes has produced Kimbrelian numbers during his 100 appearances with Triple-A Durham. His stuff is decidedly not Kimbrelian, however, and he hasn't found big-league success since 2011. If you hear some tell it, Gomes made mechanical adjustments during the offseason that will make all the difference. Alas, that same line has been trotted out about him before, so don't count on it.

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Claimed LHP Matthew Tracy off waivers from the Yankees; optioned Tracy to Triple-A New Orleans; transferred RHP Jose Fernandez to the 6-day disabled list (Tommy John surgery). [4/18]

What a week for Tracy. He debuted last Saturday, following a marathon game between the Yankees and Red Sox that necessitated bullpen reinforcements, was designated for assignment the day after, waited in purgatory for what had to feel like eternity, and then finally got claimed by another team. Tracy is a starter by trade, and he'll probably serve in that role in the minors. You wonder, though, if the Marlins might tinker with him as a long reliever. Tracy doesn't have flashy stuff—he's never appeared in the Annual for a reason—but he's a plunger with a high release point, a history of generating grounders, and enough durability to go multiple innings. Obviously the Marlins had something in mind when they claimed Tracy, so we'll see.

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Claimed RHP Daniel Corcino off waivers from the Reds; designated LHP Ryan Dennick for assignment. [4/17]

Last week, Walt Jocketty designated two pitchers for assignment; Farhan Zaidi claimed both.

Corcino is the more interesting of the two arms, in part because he has an unusual profile for a former top prospect. He's a smallish right-hander whose sinker sits around 90 mph and misses the zone as frequently as a teenage vampire misses homeroom (he hasn't walked fewer than four batters per nine innings since graduating from A-ball in 2011). Corcino's sloppy geography is rooted in his delivery, of course. He throws across his body with effort, while his arm drags and his head jerks. The Dodgers hope Corcino can refine his mechanics to the point where he can become a sinker-slider middle reliever. He'll report to Double-A.

Dennick is a 28-year-old with a low-90s fastball, slider, and high release point. His best-case scenario is landing on a 40-man roster as a second or third lefty.

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Purchased the contract of 2B-S Daniel Muno from Triple-A Las Vegas; optioned RHP Rafael Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas. [4/17]

Originally an eighth-round senior draftee, Muno's most-notable accomplishment before Friday night's big-league debut involved a failed PED test. Muno is a sensible addition to the Mets' bench for two reasons: 1) he has experience at the utility-infield positions, and 2) earlier in the week the Mets were forced to play Anthony Recker at third base. The ceiling here is, as with his skill set, limited. His arm is stretched on the left side, and he won't offer much power or speed. If Muno is to become more than an emergency option, he'll need his walks and singles to translate. He's a slump away from returning to the minors—ask Josh Satin how that works—but hey, at least he's in the majors.

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Recalled LHP Felipe Rivero from Triple-A Syracuse; optioned RHP Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse. [4/16]

With the Nationals' bullpen in disarray, Mike Rizzo dipped into the minors and recalled a promising young arm. Rivero, acquired in last spring's Nate Karns-Jose Lobaton trade, missed most of his first year with the Nationals due to elbow troubles. He's since moved to the bullpen, where his fastball can sit around 95 mph. Rivero's biggest flaws as a starter were inconsistencies with his secondary pitches and command (though his scrawny frame merits mention). Provided he can make some gains on those grounds, he has a future in the late innings. For now, Rivero will do his best to prevent Nationals fans from obsessing over Jerry Blevins.

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What could the Rays have seen in the first 10 games of the season that they couldn't see in Spring Training? Seems odd to have used that roster spot on him, especially since it wasn't correlated with some service time gimmicks
Balfour's spring training was chopped up, with only 5 IP, due to his returning to Australia. It wasn't unreasonable for the Rays to want to give him two more weeks to see if his velocity or control would improve.
Paredes is not a benefactor; he's a beneficiary. Benefactors are people who provide the benefits, not those who receive them.