Activated RHP Mark Petkovsek from the DL; optioned RHP Eric
Weaver to Edmonton. [6/12]
This roster exchange illustrates how even tried and true stats like ERA
don’t really mean much in certain situations. Both Eric Weaver (6.75) and
Mark Petkovsek (7.13) have lousy ERAs, but in each case that doesn’t tell
you much because neither has pitched that many innings. With only a few
innings pitched, one bad outing can tank a cumulative stat like ERA.
Of course, that isn’t the case with Weaver: he’s pitched as badly as his
ERA says he has, and he’s been the worst Angels reliever aside from one-man
wrecking crew Shigetoshi Hasegawa. As Michael Wolverton’s
Relief Evaluation Tools
tell us, Petkovsek has actually been a pretty handy middle man when
healthy, and his return should help shore up a beleaguered bullpen.
Placed SS Rafael Furcal on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
recalled SS Mark DeRosa from Richmond. [6/13]
Placed RHP Rudy Seanez on the 15-day DL (torn medial collateral
ligament – elbow); recalled LHP John Rocker from Richmond. [6/14]
The big news is in the bullpen, where Rudy Seanez is done for the year, and
strangely enough, it isn’t his chronically bad back. Losing him, and having
to resort to recalling John Rocker, exposes the Braves’ lack of depth in
the pen. As shrill as the media cries for some sort of veteran reliever
have been in years past, you can be sure those cries will be even more so
now that the Braves have lost three right-handed relievers (Seanez, Kevin
McGlinchy and the comparatively replaceable Greg McMichael).
But do the Braves need to make a move? Luis Rivera is also injured, but
he’s expected to be available again around the All-Star break. McGlinchy
should return from the DL before the trading deadline. Kerry Ligtenberg is
finally back on track and Jason Marquis is a perfect example of the kind of
solution a smart organization can find within its own ranks. Marquis is
young and throws hard, and his arm could probably use a break from starting
in the minors. Like McGlinchy before him (or the currently coolest example,
Pedro Martinez), putting Marquis into a major-league bullpen is a
relatively simple lesson: talent matters more than "moxie," and
the Braves know it.
The larger issue is more troubling. Sure, having the best record in
baseball is swell, but can any team afford to run two struggling starters
out there? Kevin Millwood is starting to look badly used, and John Burkett
like the mistake he was all along. Bruce Chen has been a major asset as a
long reliever, but only the injuries in the pen should keep him there.
Dave Pease already tackled issues surrounding
Rafael Furcal’s run-in with the law
and what his real age might be. Maybe it’s just me, but I think
he’s better off trying to maintain the fiction of being 19 and a
drunk minor than he would be if he has to cop to forging several federal
documents. In his absence, the Braves can continue to enjoy their relative
roster depth. Walt Weiss (.257
could start for any other team in the division.
Acquired RF Karim Garcia from the Tigers in exchange for future
Released Nepotista Derrick May and RHP Rafael Pina; traded
RHP Al Reyes to the Dodgers for RHP Alan Mills and cash. [6/13]
The Orioles’ pen has been the worst in the American League, so finding
somebody resembling a major-league reliever was a bit of a priority. While
Alan Mills has pitched better than everyone on the Orioles not named Buddy
Groom, he’s still coming out of Chavez Ravine after giving up 47
baserunners in 25 1/3 innings, and moving over to the DH league and cozy
Camden Yards. If the Dodgers managed to stick Boss Angelos with the balance
of Mills’s paycheck, chalk this up as another bad old addition to a bad old
Rochester isn’t really in its divisional race in the International League,
but for whatever reason, the College of GMs decided to give them a big
boost by dumping Derrick May and replacing him with Karim Garcia. With
Toledo, Garcia was slugging in the high .600s. He doesn’t play center
field, so he doesn’t do the Orioles any more good than a Ken Gerhart
BOSTON RED SOX
Activated RHP Rod Beck off the 15-day DL; optioned RHP Rob
Stanifer to Pawtucket. [6/13]
For entertainment value, you can’t do much better than watching the Shooter
lean in for the sign, sweat gushing from his mustachio, before he tries to
whip his body around his Buddhesque center of gravity. The results are
usually spotty, but he’ll add nothing if not drama.
Rod Beck’s rehab outings with the PawSox were tasty: no runs allowed in six
innings, with four hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. That’s as good a
run as he’ll enjoy all year, but as I said, he’ll at least bring an air of
gutsy, gutty fun.
Placed LHP Tom Martin on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis);
recalled RHP Willie Martinez from Buffalo. [6/13]
The record is now six and six. The statistic? How many pitchers from the
Opening Day roster are left versus how many are ex-Buffalo Bisons or
ex-Akron Aeros. The breakdown is even between the rotation and the pen:
three survivors are starters and three are relievers.
Nobody’s really a prospect among the reinforcements. At Buffalo, Willie
Martinez put up a 6.11 ERA, and hardly seems like somebody meant to stick
around for mop-up duty for very long. He and Paul Rigdon are products of
the system, but Martinez was hardly bringing the organization any credit.
Now that Tom Martin is gone, the Tribe is without a left-handed reliever.
That leaves a pen with few situational specialists and only four pitchers
that Charlie Manuel can be reasonably comfortable using. You have to expect
a callup of either Andrew Lorraine or Alan Newman to fill a role as at
least a token left-hander.
Activated 1B Tony Clark from the DL; optioned C Javier
Cardona to Toledo; traded RF Karim Garcia to the Baltimore
Orioles for future considerations. [6/12]
Tony Clark’s return chases Rob Fick back to the bench, as he resumes his
job as Brad Ausmus’s caddy. Fick had a shot to claim a larger role for
himself, but having hit just .252/.341/.318, he did little to earn more
Choosing between Fick and Clark isn’t one of life’s lovelier choices; both
are in the primes of their careers and aren’t hitting for squat. Neither
one has any significant value in trade, and the only way they ever will is
by getting regular playing time. The Tigers would be better off short- and
long-term by playing both of them and benching Juan Encarnacion, because we
know he can’t hit.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Recalled RHP Orel Hershiser from San Bernardino (A-ball); optioned
RHP Eric Gagne to Albuquerque; acquired RHP Al Reyes from the
Orioles in exchange for RHP Alan Mills and cash. [6/13]
The pressure of trying to keep everybody was beginning to wear thin, so the
Sheriff finally did something about it. Al Reyes throws hard and could turn
into a handy reliever. More importantly, the Dodgers can probably induce
him to accept an assignment to Albuquerque instead of declaring himself a
That very issue is why Eric Gagne went down. Having an option is the
primary reason he’s off to Albuquerque. Overall, he hasn’t pitched well,
despite a superficially adequate 4.47 ERA. Giving up 49 hits and 31 walks
in only 50 1/3 innings, topped off with ten taters, is hardly good work
pitching in Dodger Stadium. But as mediocre as his performance has been,
it’s still been slightly better than how either Carlos Perez or Darren
Dreifort have pitched. But with wheezing Gee Whiz Kid Orel Hershiser
demanding a swan song–because he’s got that entitlement to chase Don
Drysdale’s career wins total going for him–the Dodgers are what some
people would call "conflicted," and others, more technically,
Acquired RHP Matt Parker and C Eliezer Alfonzo from the
Cardinals to complete an earlier trade. [6/13]
Optioned 3B Trace Coquillette to Ottawa; recalled 3B Michael
Barrett from Ottawa. [6/14]
Apparently 24 games was a long enough punitive assignment for Michael
Barrett. The real punishment needs to be meted out to those responsible for
making him a third baseman, but with the Expos currently celebrating a
sturdily mediocre performance from Chris Widger, they’re not
second-guessing the decision to keep Widger instead of trading him for a
third baseman. Barrett played well at Ottawa, hitting .352/.427/.484; in
his absence, nobody among Trace Coquilette or Andy Tracy or Geoff Blum did
enough to stake claims of their own.
Barrett’s return to the hot corner gives the Expos defensive problems at
both infield corners. He is still all thumbs at third base, and Lee Stevens
is a pillar of Garveyesque immobility at first base. At least the middle
infield is less of a problem: Jose Vidro seems to have improved and there’s
less jabbering about Orlando Cabrera’s sad attempts to match Rey Ordonez
highlight for highlight.
NEW YORK METS
Optioned RHP Bobby J. Jones to Norfolk; recalled LHP Bobby M.
Jones from Norfolk. [6/12]
Swapping Joneses isn’t going to make a whit of difference over the long
term, and because the Mets have a sprinkling of off-days coming up, they
won’t have to use the Bad Bobby Jones as a starter until next weekend
against the Pirates, if they elect to start him even then. At least he’ll
be facing one of the league’s weakest offensive teams.
The "good" Bobby Jones is looking damaged, and the Mets’ attempts
to make him pitch aren’t doing anybody any good. His absence has been more
than made up by a good two month’s work by Glendon Rusch and Mike Hampton’s
bounce back to adequacy. As long as Bobby Valentine can continue to treat
both Rick Reed and Al Leiter with kid gloves, the Mets might be able to
stay in the running for the wild-card slot. That’s considerably less than
what was advertised, but it would be a remarkable achievement with this
Announced that Sacramento River Cats 1B Paul Sorrento has decided to
Now that his career is done, it’s worth remembering the good times. Like
when he was finally liberated from the Twins after failing to get into Tom
Kelly’s good graces and slip past the immortal Gene Larkin in the drive for
the equally immortal Randy Bush’s roster spot.
For a few years with the Indians, Paul Sorrento was a good example of the
kind of talent you could find cheap and pay even less if you weren’t in the
market for a big-ticket first baseman. Then came the big paydays, and it
was forgotten that he was already 26 by the time he’d gotten his first real
shot at a major-league job. Professionally middle-aged and armed with old
players’ skills, he had his last good season at 31, just in time to sign
with the Devil Rays in one of the first displays of Chuck LaMar’s uncanny
sense of bad timing in inking free agents.
Sorrento managed to put together a good little career sprinkled with a few
appearances in postseason play and a ring with the Twins in 1991. For a
very average first baseman in a world laced with Mo Vaughns and Carlos
Delgados, that’s not too shabby.
Placed RHP Jason Schmidt on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 6/10
(shoulder inflammation); recalled RHP Bronson Arroyo from Nashville.
Placed CF Adrian Brown on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
recalled CF Emil Brown from Nashville. [6/13]
For a long time, I didn’t really want to believe. After all, Jason Schmidt
had "only" made 33 starts each of the last two years and had
never topped 215 innings pitched or 950 batters faced. He’d only tossed two
complete games in a season, nothing at all like Mark Fidrych’s 24 in 1976
or Doc Gooden’s 16 in 1985 or Kid Correa’s four in 1986. How abusive could
Pretty abused, as it turns out, and hats off to Rany Jazayerli for picking
this one right through
Pitcher Abuse Points.
The Bucs are putting the
nicest spin they can on this, saying that Schmidt just needs six to eight
weeks of rest, and that his rotator cuff is merely swollen, not torn. But
this is his second stint on the DL, and we’re talking about somebody who is
giving up more than six runs a game and walking almost six men per nine
innings. How many warning signs did Cam Bonifay need? I’d be willing to bet
Schmidt doesn’t come back at all this season, and since the most that would
be at stake would be third place in the NL Central, it would be just as well
that he not pitch.
The more important issue, now that I’m done crying over the spilt milk, is
whether or not the Pirates learn from this and apply the lesson to how they
handle Kris Benson’s career.
In Schmidt’s place in the rotation will be Bronson Arroyo. Just 23, he was
nevertheless entering his third season above A ball this year. Arroyo was
pitching par for his career at Nashville: another glossy record (7-2),
another decent ERA (3.86) and OK peripherals: 77 hits and 23 walks in 81
2/3 innings, with 50 strikeouts. He has decent velocity and gets a number
of outs with a sinker that left-handed hitters usually pound into the
infield grass. I’m going against the grain in that I like him better than
Jimmy Anderson. He’ll struggle now, and probably for a couple of years, but
if the Bucs avoid hurting him he could eventually grow into a useful
Losing Adrian Brown and replacing him with Emil Brown simply replaces one
good-fielding and good-running center fielder with a bit of patience with
another. As long as the Pirates keep running Brian Giles into center field,
they’ll need one of the Browns around for late-game defensive shifting.
If you’re curious about Chad Hermansen, and why he didn’t get the call,
he’s only hitting .282/.354/.408 at Nashville.
Placed RHP Brett Tomko on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis);
activated RHP Gil Meche from the DL. [6/12]
Placed C Dan Wilson on the 15-day DL (pulled oblique); recalled C
Joe Oliver from Tacoma. [6/14]
Both of these moves sort of underscore the kind of luck that the Mariners
have enjoyed all season. Losing a worn-out Wilson isn’t really a loss at
this point. While Joe Oliver won’t hit a lick, Tom Lampkin is an offensive
improvement. Plus, if the playing time lets Lampkin claim a platoon role or
encourages Lou Piniella to rest Wilson more often when he returns, this
could end up working out very well for the Mariners down the stretch.
As for the ongoing rotation shuffle, it looks like the Mariners have
stumbled onto the solution to Piniella’s heavy hand with his pitching
staffs. Whether it was by intention or good luck is irrelevant for the time
being. As long as they continue to keep all seven of their starting
pitchers, and keep plunking them onto the DL at the first sign of trouble,
Pat Gillick may have found a way to keep fielding a rotation down the stretch.
Consider that among the seven starters the Mariners have used regularly so
far, four have gotten hurt: Jamie Moyer, Brett Tomko, Gil Meche and Freddy
Garcia. Only Aaron Sele and John Halama have been fine all season, while
Paul Abbott was pressed into the rotation because of the injuries.
But none of the injuries have taken anyone away for the season. Garcia is
due back soon and Tomko apparently isn’t too seriously hurt. So despite
losing four starting pitchers, the Mariners have yet to really be
short-handed as far as starters. The bullpen, as always, is another story,
but there hasn’t been a bullpen built that Piniella couldn’t find a way to
slag. For the time being, the Mariners can take some satisfaction that
they’ve managed to field a good rotation all along, and it isn’t as if
they’re using Mark Clark or Omar Olivares or Ken Hill.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Placed 3B Vinny Castilla on the 15-day DL (back inflammation);
recalled IF Bobby Smith from Durham. [6/14]
Fred McGriff is getting mossy and Jose Canseco and Vinny Castilla are both
hurt, and still the Devil Rays find ways to keep Steve Cox and Bubba
Trammell from playing. If there’s a franchise whose plug needs pulling,
it’s this one. They have an outstanding opportunity to cast aside the team
that engendered ludicrous predictions of a wild-card bid, and put a good,
relatively young righty/lefty power combo into the middle of their order.
Playing Bobby Smith after his tremendous performance at Durham
(.293/.357/.607, plus 15/2 SB/CS) would only reinforce that. Add in Russ
Johnson playing second base or shortstop, and you’ve got a great gaggle of
guys who might rival the Rangers’ bench as a Ken Phelps All-Star Team.
But are the D-Rays going to do that? No, not when they can keep playing
Randy Winn and do neat things like using Mike DiFelice as a pinch-runner.
Not that any of the "culling-teams" proposals are ever going to
get off the ground, but if they ever could, this organization is the one
just begging for extinction.
Transferred RHP Danny Kolb from the 15- to the 60-day DL; assigned
OF Jason McDonald to Oklahoma; claimed RHP Scott Randall off
of waivers from the Twins and assigned him to Oklahoma. [6/14]
Scott Randall is a nifty snag off of the waiver wire. Despite pitching in
Salt Lake, he managed a 5.47 ERA. He put up good ratios, over 2-to-1 for
both groundballs to flyballs and strikeouts to walks, plus he can step
right into Oklahoma’s rotation in the spot just vacated by Chuck Smith.
While he’s seen a lot of work coming up through the Rockies’ chain, it’s a
mystery as to why the Twins would place him on waivers after acquiring him
in exchange for the forgettable Chris Latham. A good piece of shopping by
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Optioned LHP Clayton Andrews to Syracuse; recalled RHP Matt
DeWitt from Syracuse. [6/14]
The usual inveterate shuffling. While Matt DeWitt had pitched his way out
of Syracuse’s rotation, and has lousy overall numbers (5.86 ERA, 90
baserunners and 40 runs in 50 2/3 innings), keep in mind that the Jays
don’t have much in the way of good right-handed relievers. Jim Fregosi has
relied heavily on the bad-news twins of Bloody Paul Quantrill and John
Frascatore, and their pitching has helped give the Jays the second-worst
pen in the AL, ahead of only the Orioles. While DeWitt is just another arm,
he’s part of the swag in the Hentgen deal that has both teams scratching
their heads and wondering why they thought the deal was such a good idea
for either of them. At 22, he’s young enough to improve, and the best place
for him to do it will be in the bullpen.
Chris Kahrl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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