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American League

National League

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Claimed 1B-L Andy Wilkins off waivers from the Dodgers; designated LHP Cesar Cabral for assignment. [9/6]

Is Wilkins popular or what? The O’s are his fourth employer on the season, joining company with the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers. Why all the fuss over a 26-year-old minor-league first baseman? Wilkins comes cheap and possesses big-time raw power. In more than 1,200 Triple-A plate appearances, he’s hit 55 home runs and posted a .218 ISO. So what are the flaws that have made three other teams move on over the past six months? Wilkins’ substandard athleticism and bat speed leave him a below-average defender and unreliable offender; in other words, a Quad-A player. The O’s will probably have their fill and waive him before next spring. But if Chris Davis leaves and Wilkins remains, he could, theoretically, compete with Christian Walker (and others) for the first-base gig.

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Claimed 3B-R Mike Olt off waivers from the Cubs. [9/5]

It’s easy to forget that Olt entered the season as the Cubs’ starting third baseman. The arrangement ended after two weeks, when he fractured his wrist, leading to a prolonged stay on the disabled list that coincided with Kris Bryant‘s ascent. When Olt returned, he was shuttled to Triple-A, where he showed his trademark polarizing combination of strikeouts and power.

Nonetheless, you can understand why the White Sox placed a claim on Olt, and it’s not because they have a thing for busted third-base prospects. Rather, the White Sox are presumably proceeding with the thought that this player type sometimes takes longer to adjust to the majors. Obviously the square root of that thinking is hope—itself never a great strategy—but this case is different; there are legitimate reasons to be more forgiving of Olt’s recent performances than those of, say, Matt Davidson. Olt’s past few seasons have included so many tough-luck breaks that you can accept the premise that he could benefit more from a steady, unconditional commitment than the typical waiver claim.

The White Sox aren’t in position to make noise in the standings, but they are in position to give Olt that commitment during September. If he stinks (and he probably will), he stinks; if he shows any signs of life, he could make sense as a bench player heading into next season. Anything more? It’s not likely, but hey, someone, at some point, has to win the lottery.

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Purchased the contracts of UTL-S Michael Martinez and LHP Giovanni Soto from Triple-A Columbus; transferred LHP T.J. House to the 60-day disabled list (shoulder inflammation); designated OF-L Carlos Moncrief for assignment. [9/4]

Remember the Jhonny Peralta trade? Soto came to Cleveland then as a skinny, projectable teenage starter. He’s since filled out and topped out and moved to the bullpen, where his control has worsened. Even with a few extra walks, there’s enough here—including his four-pitch arsenal, low three-quarters arm slot, and minor-league success—to think he could serve as a second lefty heading forward.

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Claimed 3B-R Matt Dominguez off waivers from the Brewers; designated 1B/OF-R Danny Dorn for assignment. [9/6]

So much for Dominguez getting an opportunity to succeed Aramis Ramirez. His performance in Triple-A continued to disappoint, to the extent that the Brewers moved on without providing him with a big-league look-see. Yet Dominguez has in a sense failed upward, moving from one of the majors’ worst teams to one of its best, just in time for the champagne showers. While he hasn’t officially been recalled, you figure the Jays will use him in the coming weeks, as soon as the games become irrelevant, at which point he can give Josh Donaldson a day or two off to rest in preparation for the postseason.

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Recalled RHP Jarred Cosart from High-A Jupiter. [9/4]

A good sign for an at-times abrasive pitcher. Cosart was placed on the disabled list in May with a case of vertigo. He was activated in June and optioned to the minors soon thereafter, where he’s rehabbed at a slow and low pace, understandable given that he had to sync his eyes and ears. Cosart seems fine now, to the point where he can concentrate on earning a spot in Miami’s 2016 rotation.

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Purchased the contract of RHP Ariel Pena from Triple-A Colorado Springs. [9/4]

If Pena’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was part of the second Zack Greinke trade. He spent most of the Triple-A season in the bullpen, only to rejoin the rotation in August. (Oddly enough, his numbers improved after the move.) Still, Pena’s big-league role is certain to involve relief. Though his wide frame suggests he could start and eat innings, his stiff delivery prohibits him from throwing strikes on a consistent basis. Besides, there’s a non-zero chance he develops into a quality middle reliever on the strength of his fastball-slider pairing. Of course, most 26-year-old right-handed relievers with that profile fail to reach their ceiling. Given that Pena has no options (and has already cleared waivers once), he’ll have to work quick to avoid a similar fate.

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