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CHICAGO WHITE SOX
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Signed 1B-L Justin Morneau to a one-year, $1 million contract. [6/9]

Almost immediately after adding Justin Morneau to be a mid-season boost to their flagging offense, the White Sox placed him on the 15-day disabled list, which doubles as an obvious necessity and as a sad thematic nod to the nature of the second half of Morneau's career.

The 35-year-old is recovering and rehabbing from surgery on damages tendons in his left elbow, and expected to be ready by mid-July. But his career has been haunted by recurrences of post-concussion syndrome since he took a knee to the head while sliding into second base, ending what had been an MVP-caliber 2010 season up to that point.

After years of struggles, Morneau surprisingly found some of his old form in Colorado, improbably winning the batting title with a .319/.364/.496 line during a healthy 2014, before concussion issues and neck problems kept him out of all but 49 games last year. Morneau did hit .338/.423/.471 in 22 September games after finally coming back, but the mild power production he showed from a first baseman in Coors Field is yet another reason for concern.

The White Sox, unsurprisingly, are not in much of a position to squabble with any limitations Morneau presents. The left-handed options on their bench are spare outfielder J.B. Shuck, a career .260/.310/.329 slap hitter with reverse splits, and catcher Alex Avila, who is ticketed for his second-straight year with a sub-.300 slugging percentage. They were carrying Jerry Sands as a bench bat on their roster until recently, and the closest thing they have to a regular designated hitter is Avisail Garcia. Garcia turns 25 years old this week, but with over 1,275 plate appearances to his name, he has shown little ability to tap into his admirable natural power in anything beyond the occasional burst.

Like many Sox recent acquisitions, the negligibility of the price ($1 million for the season), and the low bar to clear to provide improvement make it hard to give anything besides an approving nod to Morneau, even if two-and-a-half months of the former AL MVP's swan song will struggle to move the needle on their own, and might arrive too late. —James Fegan

Purchased the contract of RHP Tyler Danish from Double-A Birmingham. [6/9]

When doing prep for the 2013 draft, Danish had some of the widest range of opinions; with some believing he was one of the top prep pitchers in the class, and others far more conservative in their evaluation. The White Sox were one of those teams who love a good Danish, and took him with the 55th pick that June.

Danish has lost some fastball velocity over the past couple of years, but the pitch is above average at 90-93 mph because of its heavy sink. He also features an above-average changeup that tumbles late with quality deception from his quick arm. His slider is slurvy and doesn't offer much in terms of tilt or depth, and calling it a 45 offering is probably being generous. In 2015 he struggled to throw strikes, but if he's pitching out of the bullpen, the control won't be as big of a hindrance.

Because of his small stature and the lack of a quality third pitch, Danish's future is likely in the bullpen. With two quality pitches he could be good there, but if you're looking for the next high-leverage slinger, that's not what you're gonna get. He should be a competent middle reliever, however, and he's going to give right-handed hitters fits because of that low arm slot. —Christopher Crawford

NEW YORK YANKEES
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Signed 1B-L Ike Davis to a one-year contract. [6/12]

Things seem to be going from bad to worse at the cold corner in New York. Mets fans are bummed out at the loss of Lucas Duda, but Yankees fans will raise their loss of a productive first baseman with this series of events: Mark Teixiera devolved into one of the worst hitters in the league and got injured, Dustin Ackley injured his shoulder and went down for the season, and Chris Parmelee suffered a tough hamstring injury as well. When you’re bummed about Chris Parmelee going down, things have already gotten dark.

The next man up is Ike Davis–not former Yankee Nick Swisher, who’s toiling away ineffectively in Triple-A Scranton–who had been toiling away ineffectively in Triple-A Round Rock. Once a New York darling, Davis has had a fall from grace since those halcyon days of 2010. The current incarnation of the Arizona native has a minimal hit tool, little mobility on the field and basepaths, and simply not enough game power to make up for his deficiencies. While Davis’ pre-season PECOTA projections flash a league-average .266 mark, his last season was not nearly that good (.248 TAv), and everything else causes him to be a net negative.

The good news is that Davis should benefit from Yankee Stadium’s infamous short right-field porch–as a left-handed pull hitter, he should probably look to take balls out of the park with alacrity. The bad news is that Davis hasn’t really shown much power at all recently.

While it’s certainly possible that Davis’s return to the Big Apple will be a successful one, I wouldn’t exactly start buying up shirseys and rookie cards in order to make money on the secondary market. Despite an auspicious start to his career years ago, he hasn’t been effective enough over his last runs with the Mets, Pirates, Athletics, or Express to think that he’ll change things up in the Bronx. It’s not exactly a Kevin Maas situation but, well, you get the drift. —Bryan Grosnick

TEXAS RANGERS
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Acquired RHP Justin De Fratus from Seattle Mariners as the player to be named later in exchange for Patrick Kivlehan. [6/11]

After being picked up as a free agent this offseason, the Mariners stashed De Fratus at Triple-A as a contingency arm. For De Fratus, 2014 was a strange trip–after spending years as a middling middle reliever with just-okay peripherals, he suddenly had an outlier season with a tiny ERA (2.39) and solid overall performance. Regression came for him hard the following season, and his ERA went the other way entirely; it was 5.51 over 80-plus innings for the Phillies.

But the Mariners took a flyer on this middle reliever during the offseason on a major-league contract after the Phillies non-tendered him. The surprisingly competitive M’s haven’t found a use for him at the big-league level, so De Fratus had been plying his trade at Tacoma, finding a few too many bats for a prospective big-league reliever and posting an uncomfortably low 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings. It appears that he’s fully reverted to his replacement-level ways from the past, so it’s on to Arlington as the player to be named later in a previous trade.

Now the Rangers have De Fratus as a contingency arm! And the Mariners have Kivlehan as a contingency bat! If everything goes according to plan, neither replacement level will be required during each team’s battle for the top of the American League West. Isn’t Triple-A just the best? —Bryan Grosnick

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Acquired C-R Erik Kratz from Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations. [6/12]

Not all who wander are lost; some are third-string catchers. Since the start of 2015, here’s the list of organizations Kratz has been a part of: Royals, Red Sox, Mariners, Phillies, Padres, Astros, Angels, and now Pirates. He’s been acquired–on purpose!–by seven different teams in the past 18 months to fill a void behind the plate. His skill set consists of being able to catch a baseball, not embarrass himself offensively, and play at both the Triple-A and MLB level for a relatively paltry sum. He is both coveted by many and indispensable to no one.

Francisco Cervelli is now out of the picture with a broken hand, meaning Chris Stewart graduates to the starting spot. Meanwhile, the Pirates didn’t even have another catcher on the 40-man roster, so in order to avoid throwing Sean Rodriguez behind the plate in a pinch, they had to acquire someone to fill the gap. (Honestly, I’m surprised that the Pirates went with Kratz, who has never played for the Yankees. Being a former Yankee appears to be a requirement to be a Pittsburgh backstop in recent years.)

At this point, I’m rooting for Kratz to get dealt yet again once Cervelli is ready to come off the disabled list. I’m absolutely certain that the Pirates are rooting for that same outcome. For now, I’m rooting for Kratz–the undisputed Transaction Analysis MVP for the year so far–to find himself in these digital pages again sometime soon. —Bryan Grosnick

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TGT969
6/13
Kratz may not be an ex-Yankee backstop but he is a former Pirate backstop. If all else fails bring someone you know-even if he can't play (if he ever could) anymore.