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American League

National League

Anaheim Angels Return to Top

Recalled RHP Derrick Turnbow from
Salt Lake. [6/15]

Optioned LHP Dusty Bergman to Salt
Lake. [6/16]

Baltimore Orioles Return to Top

Activated OF-L Jay Gibbons from the
15-day DL; optioned OF-R Tim Raines
Jr.
to Ottawa. [6/14]

Recalled LHP Matt Riley from Ottawa;
optioned RHP Rick Bauer to Ottawa.
[6/16]

As much as it might do to point out that B.J. Surhoff
and Jerry Hairston Jr. have far out-hit anybody’s
expectations for them in Gibbons’ absence, let’s face
it, does anyone really expect that to last? Gibbons is
a legit power source, and someone who should overcome
his slow start and round back into form with playing
time. That said, the Orioles aren’t about to get over
their B.J. fetish. They’ll continue using him at
first, either outfield corner, and DH, while flipping
Gibbons between the outfield and first and Raffy
Palmeiro between first and DH. That’s how Mazzilli
spent his early career, flipping between first base
and the outfield, so it seems appropriate that the
experience pre-conditioned him to make similar demands
of his players.

Although letting Hairston play a lot of outfield has
been nice enough in terms of enhancing his value in
trade, the Orioles still need to re-solve the Hairston
vs. Brian Roberts dilemma. This isn’t really all bad,
in that the Orioles can afford to trade whichever one
fetches the better offer, because offensively, they’re
sort of interchangeable. (For what it’s worth, Mike
Fontenot isn’t part of the equation as long as he’s
struggling to reach a .300 OBP in Triple-A.)

Riley’s return puts him right back into the rotation,
the cost-benefit analysis of having Rodrigo Lopez
start versus relieve having generated the answer that
this team can find another struggling starter easily
enough–though the O’s can’t easily find someone to
pitch in the pen as well as Lopez has. Plus, Riley had
three good starts in Rochester (striking out 17 in 15
IP). Chances are, Riley will simply be rejoining the
other three non-Ponson starters in the Orioles’
early-exit rotation, which means plenty of long relief
work for Lopez.

Boston Red Sox Return to Top

Activated OF-L Trot Nixon from the
15-day DL; optioned RHP Anastacio
Martinez
to Pawtucket. [6/16]

As good as it is to have Nixon back, it’s even more
important considering how really badly both Gabe
Kapler and Brian Daubach have hit. Now, with Nixon
back, Kevin Millar can hang out at first base, David
Ortiz can be bumped back to DH, and Kapler goes into
the platoon role (with Nixon) that he can hopefully
fulfill successfully. Daubach might be consigned to
the depths of Dave Stapleton ‘oops, forgot he was
here’ status.

Cleveland Indians Return to Top

Purchased the contract of OF-R Raul
Gonzalez
from Buffalo; designated C-L
Sandy Martinez for assignment. [6/15]

Having shipped off Alex Escobar, the Indians were
without a fourth outfielder. Now that Victor Martinez
is back in the lineup and starting behind the
plate, the embarrassment of having Sandy Martinez
around can end, and the Indians can fill their
pressing backup outfielder needs with career backup
outfielder Raul Gonzalez. Gonzalez was even having a
nice year at Triple-A (.397/.366/.553), which is
basically what you need to do if you’re a career spare
outfielder trying to keep those credentials up to
snuff. Not everybody gets Kerry Robinson’s load of
good fortune, after all. Besides, neither Coco Crisp
nor Jody Gerut are hitting lefties at all, so Gonzalez
should end up getting a few starts. Meanwhile, Escobar
can try to re-gild his prospect status playing
everyday in Buffalo, and Grady Sizemore can keep
building a resume for a July promotion (and/or trading
off Matt Lawton to a contender).

Kansas City Royals Return to Top

Purchased the contract of RHP Rudy
Seanez
from Omaha; released RHP
Curtis Leskanic. [6/15]

It’s easy to mock Leskanic on the way out, especially
given his announced ambition to follow in Jim Palmer’s
footsteps in doing something besides pitch, but
however badly Leskanic was pitching, how can you blame
the Royals for calling up Seanez? He’s managed to toss
34.1 innings already, and if Rudy Seanez can defy
every expectation for yet another breakdown and
actually pitch that much, it borders on transactional
inevitability. You can’t resist the need to call up
Seanez at that point, you simply have to have him,
because as usually happens when Seanez is healthy in
consecutive months, he’s mowing people down–this time
striking out 41 while allowing only 19 hits. The
problem is the flip-side of Seanez’s manifest destiny,
which is his fragility:


Year Innings Pitched (All Levels)
2003 64.0
2002 37.0
2001 44.2
2000 23.0
1999 53.2
1998 57.0

Some breakdowns are bad fortune, but Seanez is that
guy who has the talent, but not the durability, for
greatness. It’s still added up to a career, but the
expectations when he was first rising through the
Indians’ organization almost 20 years ago were that
he’d be one of the best flamethrowers in the game.

Minnesota Twins Return to Top

Placed OF-L Michael Ryan on the
15-day DL (shoulder); recalled INF-R Alex
Prieto
from Rochester. [6/15]

I’m not big on beating horses in life, not even the
biters, the kickers, or the stompers. It isn’t like
we’re talking Bill O’Reilly here–you can reason with
a mean horse, because it isn’t a nasty, brutish
animal. But when it comes to beating a dead
horse
, sometimes even I tire of the ‘Where in
God’s Name is %$*#*%* Morneau’ issue that nearly
defies rational explanation. It sucks, but barring a
sudden realization that Doug Mientkiewicz is trade
fodder, it’s the way it’s going to be. Hoping that
Morneau gets called up with every single time a roster
move is made is sort of like Homer begging the
microwave to cook faster. Go ahead, hold your breath
until they call up Morneau. Assuming you can take it
all the way to a full faint, he’ll still be in
Rochester when you come to. Letter-writing campaign,
perhaps? If Terry Ryan can’t or won’t read the
numbers, I doubt a literary suggestion will set him to
thinking. If he won’t believe his eyes when Morneau
has been up and hit, debating the finer points of
whether or not Bishop Berkeley had something there
with esse est percipi is sort of besides the
point. I’d suggest calling for a cult deprogrammer,
but odds are, Kenny Williams would run interference
and keep you from getting through.

New York Yankees Return to Top

Sent 3B-L Brian Myrow to the Dodgers
to complete the Tanyon Sturtze deal.
[6/14]

Placed RHP Kevin Brown on the 15-day
DL, retroactive to 6/10 (strained back); recalled OF-L
Bubba Crosby from Columbus. [6/15]

The Yankees are apparently being really cautious with
Mr. Brown, which is understandable considering how
desperate they could be in the rotation if Brown and
Mike Mussina melt down. As is, you’re talking about a
team that has to lean on Sturtze and Jose Contreras, a
team that took Donovan Osborne seriously. If the Red
Sox can’t beat them this time…well, there probably
aren’t enough lampposts in Beantown for Sox fans to
use for self-stringing, so we can probably hold off on
declaring an emergency if it’s September and it ain’t
happening.

Texas Rangers Return to Top

Placed OF-L Laynce Nix on the 15-day
DL (sprained shoulder); purchased the contract of OF-L
Jason Conti from Oklahoma;. [6/14]

Purchased the contract of LHP Nick
Bierbrodt
from Oklahoma; placed RHP
Juan Dominguez on the 15-day DL
(strained rhomboid), retroactive to 6/12. [6/16]

It isn’t often that a player hits the DL for having
busted his parallelogram, but you know how it goes
with these modern injuries. Rhomboids, trapezoids,
sesamoids, do we now have to consult Euclid to tell us
what’s been tweaked? Given the burgeoning terminology
you, me, and everyone else has to master to be ‘in the
know’ these days, it’s a wonder we aren’t all healing
all hurts, and reassuring people we just spent the
night at Holiday Inn Express. But given the mass
dissemination of anatomically correct medspeak
bleeding on the sports page these days, just imagine
if Chris Brown were playing baseball instead of being
shot at in Iraq. Just think of the possibilities he
would have had at his disposal to help cinch his
reputation as the ultimate contemporary ‘Alibi Ike.’
Or, thank our lucky stars for the invention of
medheads.

The Rangers deservedly get credit for a pretty good
player development program, but there are times when
you have the hiccups, and can’t quite spit out what
you need when you need it, especially when you have to
replace a pair of prospects. That’s when you break out
the retreads, and in a situation such as this, that
means a very special episode with former prospects
like Bierbrodt and Conti. As fillers go, you can do
much worse, and both guys can boast of strong arms, if
little else. Conti will never be more than an adequate
fourth outfielder, but you can still hope that
Bierbrodt turns his career around, although how many
pitchers have done that in Texas, despite the regular
casting calls, the auditions, and the cast of
thousands?

Toronto Blue Jays Return to Top

Activated 2B-B Orlando Hudson from
the 15-day DL; placed CF-R Vernon
Wells
on the 15-day DL (strained calf).
[6/16]

It’s a shame when a team ends up playing musical
chairs with its ideal lineup, never finding that
eighth or ninth chair, and having to settle for guys
you invite to have sit on the floor, like Dave Berg.
At this point, the only cool kids at the party who
haven’t had to leave the game are Eric Hinske (perhaps
the gods think he lost enough of last season), Reed
Johnson, and Josh Phelps. Perhaps they’ll be spared
the sproinged joints and strained sinews that seem to
be the lot of everyone else in the lineup.

It’s a relief to get Hudson back, in particular
because of a certain Soviet-style monumental sameness
of the alternatives in the lineup. Hudson can hurt
right-handed pitchers and plays a nifty second base,
whereas Frankie Menechino, Dave Berg, Chris Gomez, and
Chris Woodward are all right-handed hitters who at
their best get on base and hit for a bit of power, but
who are all a step slow in the infield. They’re useful
plodders, certainly, but relying too heavily on all of
them is a reflection of the team’s more fundamental
problem, which is the Jays’ poor fortune with keeping
key personnel healthy. Take the loss of Wells; sure,
it gives Toronto a chance to look at Alexis Rios in
center, but that means Berg plays some outfield as
Frank Catalanotto’s platoon partner, and that’s not
something you find on the main menu, or would want to.

Chicago Cubs Return to Top

Signed 2B/SS-R Ricky Gutierrez to a
minor league contract. [6/14]

I suppose Gutierrez’s real positions are ‘former Cub’
and ‘somebody not named Rey Ordonez,’ because those
are the considerations that have probably given him
this latest last lease on professional life. It’s a
rare ex-Met who can win over the denizens of
Wrigleyville. Roger McDowell could have, and although
much as I had wished that it were so, HoJo and Todd
Hundley could not. So we’re left with the distaste of
watching St. Rey The Still-With-Us flail through his
usual adequacy issues, leading to the inevitable
Dennis Franz voice-over, “What’s a Met?”
(Presumably, Chicago icon Franz hasn’t gone soft on
New York over this NYPD Blue thing.)

Cincinnati Reds Return to Top

Recalled 2B/OF-L Jermaine Clark from
Louisville; optioned RHP Joe
Valentine
to Louisville. [6/14]

Clark was enjoying a nifty season at Louisville,
hitting .272/.403/.467, while flipping between second
base and the outfield. D’Angelo Jimenez has been
struggling with a strained oblique, and seems to have
befouled yet another nest after an initial honeymoon
period, so Clark might be able to stick if he shines
in his starts at second and in the outfield. If
nothing else, he’ll give Dave Miley a second lefty bat
on the bench beyond Jacob Cruz.

Colorado Rockies Return to Top

Purchased the contract of RHP Kevin
Jarvis
from Colorado Springs; optioned RHP
Allan Simpson to Colorado Springs.
[6/17]

Not that I’m a believer, but calling up Jarvis
might make sense if you’re appropriately
worried about having Jeff Fassero in your rotation.
Not that Jarvis is a solution, but he is an
alternative, and since the Rockies had to call him up
or risk letting him walk, here he is. But since
Fassero has done reasonably well in three out of four
starts, what’s the point of having Jarvis here? He
will not do much to propel the club into a run at
fourth place, and that isn’t the sort of ambition that
the Rox should be entertaining in the first place.
Simpson may not be a tremendous prospect, but he does
need to be looked at. And if Jarvis walks, it’s worth
remembering that he is only Kevin Jarvis. Denny Stark
was actually pitching better in Colorado Springs, plus
the Sky Sox also boast Travis Driskill, a similarly
interchangeable fifth starter and mop-up reliever.
Adam Bernero’s rehab work is only a few weeks away
from being completed. Given that range of alternatives
to calling up Jarvis, the Rox would have been better
off letting him make the call and deciding whether or
not to take a hike, because they certainly don’t need
him. Few could.

Florida Marlins Return to Top

Purchased the contract of RHP Josias
Manzanillo
from Albuquerque; optioned LHP
Tommy Phelps to Albuquerque; optioned
RHP Nate Bump to Albuquerque;
transferred Wil Cordero from the 15-
to the 60-day DL. [6/16]
Activated RHP Josh Beckett from the
15-day DL. [6/17]

You know you’re desperate in the bullpen when, not
only do you have to count Toby Borland among your
better options, you call up Josias Manzanillo despite
his giving up eight runs and three home runs in 12 IP.
Phelps and Bump might seem surprising demotions,
considering that both of their ERAs were under five.
But let’s face it, neither were pitching well, and at
this point, Jack McKeon isn’t thinking in terms of
whose flavor of less-than-mediocrity tastes better,
he’s looking for combinations that might provide him
with a functioning pen. Ben Howard is talented and
throws hard, so he stays. Borland can be deceptive and
tough on righties, so he stays. Darren Oliver has been
modestly effective in middle relief, and he’s their
sixth starter, so he stays. Basically, McKeon is
looking at tools and performance, and since
nobody’s performing well, he’s working on finding guys
with something to recommend them.

Houston Astros Return to Top

Optioned RHP Ricky Stone to New
Orleans; recalled 2B/SS-R Eric
Bruntlett
from New Orleans. [6/15]

Acquired RHPs David Weathers and
Jeremy Griffiths from the Mets for
OF-R Richard Hidalgo and $4 million.
[6/17]

This is pretty easy to assess: Will saving around
three million bucks add up to more than the Astros
would make if they get to the playoffs this year?
Because that’s what’s at stake, and Stormy Weathers
does very little to improve Houston’s odds of winning
the division. Admittedly, plugging Jason Lane into the
lineup for Hidalgo is not really a drop-off,
especially if you hold Hidalgo’s slow start this year
against him. So to do a good thing and give Lane an
opportunity, you make a move, but in terms of
reasonable near-term expectations for what Hidalgo vs.
Lane mean for their ability to score runs, it’s
probably a push. And I guess saving money is always
wise and good, too.

But that’s about the extent of the benefits, and
beyond the expense, this is a wasted opportunity.
Having made a decision to deal Hidalgo, does Weathers
really do anything to help the Astros win this year?
Or is everyone supposed to draw inspiration from a
move made to shake up a disappointing team? Usually,
firing the manager gets put on the list of options in
that situation, but Jimy Williams seems to be safe for
now. Especially since he’s the supposed beneficiary of
a deal that seems designed to re-fill his quart of
strawberries before he really goes off the deep end in
his paranoia over his bullpen.

In short, I see this as a waste. If you were
determined to shake up your lineup and move Hidalgo,
you need to get something that makes a difference.
Instead, they found somebody they could pay f$4
million to for the privilege of handing off Hidalgo,
and they got an overpaid standard-issue journeyman
reliever (and an aspiring fifth starter, yee-ha!) for
their troubles. That won’t win them the NL Central.
Consider this a really disappointing misapplication of
resources.

Los Angeles Dodgers Return to Top

Acquired 1B-L Brian Myrow from the
Yankees to complete the Tanyon
Sturtze
deal. [6/14]

Montreal Expos Return to Top

Optioned OF-L Matt Cepicky to
Edmonton; activated OF-B Carl Everett
from the 15-day DL. [6/16]

I suppose I could work myself up into a dudgeon that
Cepicky’s a prospect and should have been allowed to
play more often for as long as he was up, but I have
to take myself seriously from time to time. Besides,
now that Everett is healthy (the Hind Brain Cometh),
the Expos get to wrestle with their more basic
problem, which is whether they’ll play Brad Wilkerson
in center now that both Nick Johnson and Everett are
back. That would resolve their noxious Endy Chavez
problem (that being that they have him), while finally
giving them the set lineup we’d wished they’d had all
along. They can still go with a semi- sort-of platoon
of Terrmel Sledge and Juan Rivera in right field, if
day-to-day tweaks are what Frank Robinson needs to
live with his sentence between now and the end of the
season.

New York Mets Return to Top

Purchased the contract of C-R Tom
Wilson
from Norfolk; placed C-R Vance
Wilson
on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
designated OF-B Esix Snead for
assignment. [6/16]

Acquired OF-R Richard Hidalgo from
the Astros (and $4 million to help pay him with) for
RHPs David Weathers and
Jeremy Griffiths. [6/17]

I’m genuinely impressed. Skip their place in the
standings or their record: The Mets are within
shouting distance, and the other teams in the division
have pretty significant warts. Why wait ’til the
deadline, when a change now could help you make some
noise? The Mets do need a right fielder, and for
somewhere around a couple million bucks this year
(plus two more to buy out Hidalgo’s option after the
season), they got one. They even got to excuse Stormy
for their troubles, and since he is and was an
overpaid middle reliever of modest utility, and thus
the sort of warm body a canny organization replaces
easily, there’s really no downside in terms of the
talent or the expense. The real question is whether
the Mets are really any good, and again, given that
nobody in the NL resembles a powerhouse, why not go
for it? Seasons like 1973 or 2000 might not seem all
that glorious in retrospect, certainly not compared to
1986, but 1969 was a lucky roll, and this isn’t a team
that is long on todays or tomorrows. As promising as
David Wright is, the Mets’ future isn’t assured, and
the present is pretty dodgy. So going for broke now,
and not giving up anything to do it, and getting it
done long before the trading deadline? Would that more
teams were similarly aggressive.

What’s a little more interesting is wondering whether,
with Tom Wilson around, the Mets might cut back on
Mike Piazza’s time at first base, because Wilson is
one of the few catchers who’s worse defensively than
Piazza. Neither do much to deter the running game, and
neither is known for slick glovework or indomitable
plate-blocking skills. If Jason Phillips needs a few
more days off, I’d argue that Piazza should pick up
the slack. Thataways, the Mets would have been better
off scaring up a first baseman who can hit a little,
maybe a lefty bat who could be useful off the bench as
well. No, not Craig Brazell.

Philadelphia Phillies Return to Top

Optioned 2B-L Chase Utleyto
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; activated RHP Brian
Powell
from the 15-day DL. [6/15]

Why send Utley down? Not that I like it much, but look
at the rest of the infield. Jimmy Rollins seems to
have settled into the leadoff role, David Bell
continues to resemble a useful ballplayer, and Placido
Polanco has been hitting well since coming off of the
DL. Utley was doing a lefty-swinging riff on Luis
Aguayo–slugging .500 against right-handed pitching,
but struggling to get his OBP over .300–and he did
little to inspire confidence that his glovework is
going to work out. I still see that as a player who’s
worth 300-400 at-bats against right-handed pitching,
and especially on the days that a pair of
flyball-oriented of lefties like Eric Milton or Randy
Wolf are on the mound.

San Diego Padres Return to Top

Optioned OF-R Xavier Nady to
Portland; placed RHP Antonio Osuna on
the 15-day DL (strained elbow), retroactive to 6/11;
activated OF-L Ryan Klesko from the
15-day DL; recalled RHP Brian Sweeney
from Portland. [6/16]

Neither Nady or Jon Knott got much consideration in
Klesko’s absence; the Padres acquired Terrence
“Bungle” Long (no Traveling All-Stars or
Road Kings need apply) for some sort of reason. Now
that Klesko is back, the Pads should be back to having
a three-cylinder outfield. That would have helped
recently, as they had to play interleague road games,
where they were drubbed with alarming regularity
before enduring the unendurable humiliation of being
swept by the Devil Fishies in front of the home folks.

Over on the pitching side of the proposition, I can’t
really say that the Pads should miss Antonio Osuna
much. Recent tooth-gnashing over bullpen failures
aside, the Pad pen has been among the game’s best this
year.

San Francisco Giants Return to Top

Activated 2B-B Ray Durham from the
15-day DL; optioned OF-B Todd Linden
to Fresno. [6/15]

For all of the keening over Barry Bonds’ walks, it’s
interesting to note that the Giants are among the best
offenses in baseball. In the National League, the only
teams scoring significantly better are the Cardinals
and the Rockies, and neither of them are hitting in
Pac Bell. Checking out park-adjusted Equivalent
Average, the Giants are a nose ahead of the Cardinals
and the equally surprising Dodgers. Given how much
time Ray Durham has missed, you might have wondered if
the Giants could keep it going, but now that Durham’s
back, you’ve got a lineup where Michael Tucker is
having a career year, Pedro Feliz and Marquis Grissom
have been useful, A.J. Pierzynski and Edgardo Alfonzo
are showing signs of life, and even guys like Yorvit
Torrealba and Damon Minor are helping the team score
runs. They could still sort out their morass at
shortstop, and Dustan Mohr isn’t going to become
helpful without some more playing time, but things are
generally turning out well. We can all fidget over
what Bonds would do if pitched to, but his lineup is
doing well, and the Giants are back in the race. What
else matters?