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American League

National League

NEW YORK YANKEES
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Signed LHP Chris Capuano; placed LHP CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list (knee inflammation). [8/24]

If there’s a good thing about employing a 37-year-old pitcher with an ERA higher than his $5 million salary, it’s that he can be passed through waivers on a whim. Hence the odd paper trail amassing behind Capuano. He’s been designated for assignment three times since late July, clearing waivers and remaining with the organization on each occasion (either by accepting an outright assignment or by signing with the Yankees following his release). The last two times Capuano has been designated for assignment, he’s returned to the majors within a week. Obviously this isn’t the ideal scenario—the Yankees would prefer a productive Capuano—but this is, at minimum, a more creative (and amusing) way to handle deadweight contracts than we’re accustomed to seeing.

SEATTLE MARINERS
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Designated RHP Fernando Rodney for assignment; optioned RHP Danny Farquhar to Triple-A Tacoma; recalled LHP Roenis Elias and purchased the contract of RHP Logan Kensing from Triple-A Tacoma. [8/23]

The majors’ reigning saves leader gets booted a week before rosters expand. Ouch. Of course the oddest part of the Mariners’ timing is that they waited this long to move on. Rodney had received ample opportunity to prove he could return to form, to the extent that he’ll finish this season with just 15 fewer appearances than he did last. That steady work didn’t help him overcome his combination of poor command (a career-long fixture) or wavering stuff (a new wrinkle), which resulted in a cratered strikeout rate and as many home runs allowed as he had yielded in the previous three seasons combined (eight). Now 38, Rodney could well retire to run the game’s best Twitter account, or he could resurface as an NRI in someone’s camp come spring, intent on ending his 13-year career on a better arrow. The latter scenario seems more likely.

TEXAS RANGERS
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Signed OF-R Drew Stubbs to a minor-league deal. [8/24]

How’s this for a telling stat about Stubbs’ disappointing year: He recorded 16 hits (seven for extra bases) in 58 plate appearances following a July call-up … and his seasonal True Average still failed to top .240. Blame it on his horrendous start—the same one that got him demoted in May—but the truth is that even his recent surge came with its share of red flags. Most notably, Stubbs struck out in roughly a third of his plate appearances, running his season total to 50 Ks in 114 plate appearances; unsurprisingly, his contact rate (61 percent) is the worst among hitters who have seen at least 400 pitches.

With all of that acknowledged, you can nonetheless understand why the Rangers are bringing Stubbs in for September. His speed and defense have always made him an interesting bench candidate, and his historical platoon splits suggest he could have value in a time-share. The catch here is, obviously enough, that Stubbs’ past numbers probably overstate his offensive talent: Extreme swing-and-miss tendencies like his don’t pop up for no reason, after all. Even if that is the case, at least he comes cheap.

CHICAGO CUBS
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Signed PR-L Quentin Berry to a minor-league deal. [8/24]
Placed RHP Jason Motte (strained shoulder) and OF-R Jorge Soler (strained oblique) on the 15-day disabled list; recalled LHP Zac Rosscup and 2B-L Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Iowa. [8/24]

Coinciding with Soler’s injury, Berry’s addition appears to be a reaction. It’s not. Berry is almost assuredly around to serve as a designated basestealer and nothing more. He’s played this role before, in Baltimore and Boston, but also stole enough bags while playing regularly with Detroit to accumulate a perfect 25-for-25 record in the majors. Berry’s minor-league numbers are nearly as impressive, as he’s stolen 90 bases over the past three seasons at an 85 percent success rate. Add in how experienced (and comfortable) he is with the role and this is a nifty addition for September and perhaps beyond.

La Stella is the other notable addition. He’s barely played since coming over from Atlanta in an offseason trade, having missed time with oblique and rib issues. The book on La Stella is straightforward: He has to get on base to make it. He’s not going to dazzle with the glove or hit for much power, so his success is almost entirely dependent on his ability to walk and single against big-league pitchers. With his 27th birthday arriving in four months’ time, La Stella needs to make the most of this chance.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Designated RHP Rafael Betancourt for assignment. [8/23]

It’s easy to look at Betancourt’s unsightly ERA and write him off as a feel-good story and little more, but there’s reason to think that’s not the case. True, he inspires the warm and fuzzies because he worked his way back from 2013 Tommy John surgery—an operation that, at the time, seemed likely to end his career—to make the Rockies’ Opening Day bullpen. Yet parts of Betancourt’s performance also inspire optimism about his future prospects; namely his well-above-average control and ability to miss bats. Factor in the difficulty of pitching in Coors Field (especially in front of a bad defense), and you might wonder just how he would fare in any other environment. Here’s hoping, for Betancourt and curiosity’s sake, he lands elsewhere for September and provides an answer.

NEW YORK METS
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Acquired PR-S Eric Young Jr. from the Braves in exchange for cash considerations. [8/22]

You can pardon Mets fans who are unexcited about this reunion after watching Young bounce out to second base approximately 350 times the previous two seasons. Still, “designated fast guy” is the role he was meant to play. Not only is Young speedy, but he’s shown he can swipe volume with efficiency, taking 79 bases since 2013 at an 81 percent success rate. Ostensibly, the Mets will bring Young to the majors in a week’s time and—should all go well—sneak him onto their postseason roster. Provided Terry Collins doesn’t fall into old habits—like, say, starting Young all the time—this should be a smart, savvy addition for a team that has made a lot of them over the past month.