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ANAHEIM ANGELS

Purchased the contract of INF Dave Silvestri from Edmonton; optioned
LHP
Mike Holtz to Edmonton; transferred 2B Justin Baughman from
the 15- to the
60-day DL. [5/8]

You have to hand it to the Angels: they’ve begun to notice that something’s
amiss in the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than
reshuffling the lesser dwarves. Much as I’ve pulled for Dave Silvestri
throughout his
pro career, benching Andy Sheets because he’s error-prone doesn’t solve any
of the Angels’ major problems: Matt Walbeck, bad outfield defense and a
bad rotation. Silvestri isn’t even an outstanding glove man, so although
he’ll probably get on base at a slightly better clip than Sheets, he won’t
make a major impact.


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Activated RHP Amaury Telemaco from the DL; optioned LHP Brian
Anderson
to
Tucson. [5/8]

What we have here is a failure to properly distribute resources. Let’s call
this scenario "a free agent too far." Anderson already made his
bones last year, demonstrating he was a solid rotation starter. But the
decisions to sign Todd Stottlemyre, Randy Johnson and Armando Reynoso
shunted Anderson out of the rotation. After seeing Anderson struggle as
a mop-up man and middle reliever, the D-Backs really ought to either admit
they made a mistake by bringing in Reynoso, or start thinking about peddling
Anderson or Reynoso for something they can use, like a real leadoff
hitter, a right fielder or a top-notch catching prospect. If they want to
win now, they can peddle Anderson for the leadoff hitter. If they want to
win now and into the future, they’ll trade Reynoso, whose value shouldn’t
be as high as Anderson’s.


ATLANTA BRAVES

Recalled C Pascual Matos from Richmond; optioned 1B Randall
Simon
to
Richmond. [5/8]

The real misfortune here is Javy Lopez’s, who lost his mother and will be in
Puerto Rico attending her funeral. Matos will caddy for Eddie Perez in
Lopez’ absence.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Activated RHP Scott Kamieniecki from the DL; optioned RHP Rocky
Coppinger

to Rochester. [5/8]

The Polish Prince takes back his spot in the rotation for as long as his
bad back, arm and legs can keep him there. This may be one of Ray Miller’s
last happy days, as he gets the thrill of sending away his bete noire,
Rocky.


BOSTON RED SOX

Placed RHP Bret Saberhagen on the 15-day DL (strained shoulder);
recalled
RHP Juan Pena from Pawtucket; activated C Scott Hatteberg from
the DL;
optioned C Creighton Gubanich to Pawtucket; outrighted the contract
of RHP
Tim Harikkala to Pawtucket. [5/7]
Optioned 2B/SS Donnie Sadler to Pawtucket. [5/9]

All gambles have risks, and here the Duke gets to reap the other side of
Bret Saberhagen’s career: his perennial fragility. There’s no reason to
blame Jimy Williams or the Duke or anyone in the organization: Sabes is
damaged goods, and if you get as much out of him as the Sox did last year,
you deserve tobe proud of yourself and your organization. Fortunately for
the Sox, there are a couple of worthwhile alternatives to explore. Pena’s
no minor-league flamethrower. He’s pretty polished, throwing four pitches
for strikes. As long as the Red Sox are keeping around the oft-injured
Saberhagen and Mark Portugal, and the oft-ineffective Pat Rapp, the
opportunity is there for a Pena or a Jin Ho Cho to claim a rotation spot.

Hatteberg’s return is a good thing, since Varitek wasn’t too special as
a regular, while Gubanich got a chance to remind the front office he can
hit. If the Sox are looking to peddle a catcher, their best-case scenario
would be to move Varitek, instead of Hatteberg as rumored. Sadler’s demotion
was caused by Flash Gordon’s return on Monday, and merited by his .226 OBP.


CHICAGO CUBS

Activated RHPs Terry Adams and Jon Lieber from the DL;
optioned RHP Richard
Barker
to Iowa; outrighted LHP Brad Woodall to Iowa. [5/7]
Placed DH Glenallen Hill on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
purchased
the contract of OF Bo Porter from Iowa. [5/9]

There’s still no joy in Wrigleyville. Adams was activated several days
earlier than they told him he was going to be activated; as recently as
Friday, the Cubs were telling him he’d fly to Los Angeles to join the team
on
Monday. Lieber looked fine in his first start back, which leaves the Cubs
with a rotation of Trachsel, Tapani, Lieber, and two of Farnsworth,
Mulholland and Scott Sanders. I’d bump Sanders for as long as they want
to keep Farnsworth up, but the danger is that Riggleman will want to
"solve" his bullpen problem by ridding himself of Mulholland’s
adequacy as a starter. With the Cubs’ offense continuing to be among the
league’s worst, I’ll stick with the argument that they need Mulholland in
the rotation.

Losing Hill is something that’s been expected for awhile, with the excuses
being offered like "he’s too muscular," while moaning and groaning
about how the Cubs would be great if only they weren’t hurt. That sort of
misses
the point: the Cubs are an old, old team, almost the oldest team in NL
history
(they’re about even with the famed ’83 Phillies), and old teams get hurt.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Released SS Gabby Martinez from Charlotte. [5/6]
Recalled 3B/LF Carlos Lee from Charlotte; optioned OF Jeff
Abbott
to
Charlotte. [5/7]

The Sox can afford the luxury of playing people on merit. This is one of
those situations where Abbott is being sent down for his 2-for-25 start, not
for what he’s done since (a still-meager 7-for-32). Lee has been red-hot,
and
it looks like he’ll be a big part of the team’s future. The big winner here
is Greg Norton. He played well enough in the early going to help the Sox
decide to move Lee to the outfield, which means Norton probably won’t have
to worry about his job security again until sometime in August, when the
Sox will be kicking around whether or not to call up Joe Crede. As for
Gabby Martinez, let’s just hope Mike Caruso draws the appropriate
conclusions
from Manuel’s silly suggestions that Martinez could have won the job in
camp.


COLORADO ROCKIES

Purchased the contract of RHP David Wainhouse from Colorado Springs;
optioned OF Edgard Clemente to Colorado Springs. [5/7]

With everyone not named Jerry DiPoto looking awful in the Rox pen, and with
the bench being used sparingly at best, it seems to make sense to bring in
a twelfth pitcher.


DETROIT TIGERS

Activated RHP Bryce Florie from the DL; designated RHP Mel
Rojas
for
assignment. [5/6]
Placed LHP Sean Runyan on the DL (strained shoulder); recalled INF
Jose
Macias
from Toledo. [5/7]

An interesting development for los Tigres: Florie’s return covers for
Moehler’s suspension, but what will happen when that’s up? Willie Blair
has been awful (8.21 ERA), so do they bump him to the pen to keep the
fragile Florie in the rotation? As for losing Runyan, he was used in far
too many games by Buddy Bell last year, and despite being shoe-horned into
the role, he has yet to be an effective lefty-getter. The Tigers aren’t
going to be a factor in any race this year, so here’s hoping they let him
heal.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Recalled RHP Ryan Dempster from Calgary; optioned LHP Kirt
Ojala
to
Calgary. [5/7]

Dempster’s up, and will be in the rotation during Alex Fernandez’ absence.
Ojala effectively blew his shot at claiming a rotation spot by pitching as
badly as he has in mop-up duty. At 30, he’s got to be one of the oldest
players with options to burn.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Activated 1B Jeff King from the DL; optioned RHP Don Wengert
to Omaha. [5/8]

Just when the team was playing well, something like this has to happen to
them. Not that losing Don Wengert’s going to hurt–far from it. It’s just
that with Beltran and Febles going strong at the top of the order, with
Johnny Damon just heating up and with Mike Sweeney finally getting a chance,
the last thing the Royals need is a weak offensive player batting in the
heart
of the order because he’s an "experienced" out-maker.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Purchased the contract of RHP Mike Maddux from San Bernardino
(A-ball);
placed (and lost) OF Jacob Brumfield on waivers. [5/7]

Maybe this is the method to the madness of keeping people like Jacob
Brumfield on a major league roster: you can always use the roster spot for
something else if the need arises, because losing Brumfield is no loss.
Short-term, the Dodgers are papering over Carlos Perez’ physical problems
and ineffectiveness. Long-term, the Dodgers are still going to have to come
up with a second useful bench player after Dave Hansen.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Recalled RHP Hideo Nomo from Louisville; optioned LHP Horacio
Estrada
to
Louisville. [5/9]

… and there’s still no joy in Wrigleyville. As if Kerrygate and the
mealymouthed half-truths Lynch and Riggleman publicly offer about their
pitching weren’t enough, to see Nomo pitch a good game for the Brewers on
Sunday had to a particularly bitter pill. Nomo inherits Jim Abbott’s slot,
which is an improvement, but Cal Eldred and Scott Karl still need to get
straightened out or put down. But as long as this team is on the fringes of
contention, they should be grateful for their good fortune.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Optioned OF Ricky Ledee to Columbus; recalled OF Shane Spencer
from
Columbus. [5/9]

Frankly, I hate this. No, I don’t have Ricky Ledee in some fantasy league
or something, but jerking around is only going to make things worse.
Yes, Spencer looked good at Columbus during his brief demotion. Does that
mean that if Ledee looks good during his, he gets to come back in two
weeks? The Yankees need to pick a left fielder and stick with him. Ledee
has a big league future, and Spencer can be a useful spare part. As long as
they’ve already got another useful spare part (Chad Curtis) under contract
as the fourth outfielder, I know who I’d be using in left field, regardless
of whether he’s hot or cold in his last 50 plate appearances.


NEW YORK METS

Placed LF Rickey Henderson on the 15-day DL (sprained knee); recalled
LHP
Rigo Beltran from Norfolk. [5/7]

The good news: the Mets can afford to lose Rickey, because as expected,
Roger Cedeno is looking like a major steal. He’ll be more than adequate
subbing for Henderson, and they still have Jermaine Allensworth lying
around. The problem remains the same: how to turn Bobby Bonilla into a
turnip, while mailing his checks to charity and his playing time to someone
who belongs. The real fun with the Mets is to think about what they could
do if they wanted to be the go-go Mets of ’99, and play the whippets all at
once: Henderson, Cedeno and Allensworth, getting on base and terrorizing
the base paths. Add that to the power core of Piazza, Olerud, Ventura and
Alfonzo. Well, it looks good on paper… As far as calling up Beltran,
with Masato Yoshii, Orel Hershiser and Rick Reed all struggling to get
through the fifth inning, and with Bobby Jones being his normal six-inning
self, the Mets may actually have to carry a spare long reliever.


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Acquired RHP Robert Person from the Blue Jays for LHP Paul
Spoljaric/
;
purchased the contract of RHP Joel Bennett from
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre;
optioned RHP Steve Montgomery to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [5/5]

The only improvement here is that Bennett should be a solid #5 starter
which Spoljaric was never going to be. Acquiring Person is something of a
waste; he’s your run-of-the-mill straight fastball guy who works high in
the strike zone and routinely gets pasted. But folks fixate on the speed
gun, and Person keeps getting opportunities based on that and a brief
fling with prospectdom based on a nice month or two with the Mets. He’ll
flirt with the closer’s job, and play hot potato with the opportunity.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Placed RHP Rich Loiselle on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/8
(sprained
elbow); purchased the contract of RHP Brad Clontz from Nashville.
[5/9]

Loiselle had already lost the closer’s job, and wasn’t doing much to help
the team. If he does heal in the next four weeks, he can still
contribute as a setup man; he can be very tough on right-handed batters.
Clontz will get another spin as a sidearming setup man on a team that
needs anyone to pitch effectively in the seventh and eighth innings.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Placed LHP Donovan Osborne on the 15-day DL (shoulder inflammation);
recalled RHP Rick Croushore from Memphis. [5/7]

Gosh, what a shocking development. This is sort of like reporting
earthquakes in California, back before the evening news became a parade of
babies, clowns, puppy dogs and rainy days. But I digress. Osborne’s bum
wing simply reinforces the conviction that Cardinals were right not to
trade Manny Aybar for Fernando Vina, since Aybar’s now in the rotation.
Unfortunately, that means that Kent Mercker is also still in the rotation,
which isn’t going to help. Given their starting pitching woes, and that
Ricky Bottalico is going good so far, the Cardinals may decide to move
Juan Acevedo back into the rotation. The critical factor will be whether
or not Jose Jimenez and Mercker get their acts together. Will Osborne come
back? Sure, he always seems to try. Will it be for more than a start or two?
I wouldn’t bet on it.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Activated 3B George Arias from the DL; optioned LHP Roberto Rivera to
Las
Vegas. [5/7]

Arias’ return should move Dave Magadan back to spot starterdom and
pinch-hitting, which is sort of a shame, since he was playing third base
better than he had in years. On the other hand, the Pads have been having
horrible problems with power, so they need Arias in the lineup in what is
a rebuilding year anyways.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Placed RHP Julian Tavarez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/1
(pneumonia);
recalled SS Wilson Delgado from Fresno. [5/7]
Acvtivated RHP Mark Gardner from the DL; optioned 3B Edwards
Guzman
to
Fresno. [5/9]

Gardner’s return pushes Joe Nathan to middle relief, which is a swell place
for a young starter, not to mention he’ll be an improvement on Tavarez in
the job. As for why the Giants are carrying three shortstops now that
they’ve got Delgado up, there’s no good explanation. As is, Dusty probably
isn’t using F.P. Santagelo as much as he should, and not having any real
alternative to Charlie Hayes in Bill Mueller’s absence isn’t helping the
Giants put any distance between themselves and the Dodgers and D-Backs.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Placed 3B Wade Boggs on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring). [5/5]
Purchased the contract of 1B/3B Herb Perry from Durham; transferred
RHP
Rick Gorecki from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/6]

3,000 hits is looking further and further away. As it stood, Gwynn was
going to get there first anyways, but Boggs is not doing much to justify
playing. At least there’s some satisfaction in that he isn’t writing his
own name on the lineup card. As for Herb Perry, it would be unreasonable to
expect him to play third base all that well after three major operations on
his knee, but it is nice to see that he made it back. He can still hack and
line the ball around the park, but I wouldn’t go putting him down for 300
at-bats or anything.


TEXAS RANGERS

Activated RHP John Burkett from the DL; placed LHP Eric
Gunderson
on the
15-day DL, retroactive to 5/8 (shoulder). [5/9]

The Rangers return to a five-man rotation. What’s interesting about their
situation is that between Burkett and Mike Morgan, they’ve got two guys who
probably have to come out after five innings, but with a deep and somewhat
talented pen and a solid offense, they can probably live with that. The
Rangers’ fortunes won’t be handicapped by fourth and fifth starters who
can’t get beyond the sixth nearly as much as you have to wonder how well
they’ll match up in the postseason with a front three of Rick Helling,
Aaron Sele and Mark Clark. The team is being built to win the AL West and
to compete in divisional play, but that rotation isn’t going to shut down
the Indians or the Yankees. So the issue for the summer is probably going
to be whether or not the Rangers go out of their way to pick up a great
starting pitcher, or whether they settle for being a first-round wipeout
again. They don’t have much to trade down on the farm, as Ruben Mateo ought
to be unavailable. Are Rangers fans happy with "we made the playoffs,
and have very little chance of doing much more than that!" fever?


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Traded RHP Robert Person to the Phillies for LHP Paul
Spoljaric
; purchased
the contract of RHP Billy Koch from Syracuse; optioned LHP Steve
Sinclair

to Syracuse. [5/5]
Transferred RHP Bill Risley from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/6]
Claimed OF Jacob Brumfield on waivers from the Dodgers; transferred
RHP
Paul Quantrill from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/7]
Optioned CF Anthony Sanders to Syracuse. [5/8]

Sometimes Gord Ash does something right, but then promptly hands it
back. I’m not a Person person, so getting Spoljaric back seems like a
good idea. Both Dan Plesac and Graeme Lloyd are lefty-getters, while
Spoljaric can be an effective long reliever. Koch’s callup may or may not
be temporary. Once Joey Hamilton reclaims his rotation spot, the Jays are
thinking about moving Kelvim Escobar into the pen to be their right-handed
closer, which means somebody will have to go. That could be Koch, or it
could
be Peter Munro or Tom Davey. The Jays will be in a happy situation–they
can let results dictate their choice.

But why claim Jacob Brumfield at all? He doesn’t do anything better than
Anthony
Sanders, let alone almost any other Triple-A veteran outfielder. This team
can
use a defensive sub in the outfield, and Sanders is the organization’s best
defensive outfielder. Brumfield isn’t going to outhit anyone on the roster
save
Mike Matheny, and finding pinch-hitters for Matheny isn’t hard.

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