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BOSTON RED SOX

Acquired LHP Jesus Pena from the White Sox for a PTBNL. [9/20]

I like this move, I really do. The Red Sox have been in need for an
effective second left-hander in the pen for most of the last decade, and
Jesus Pena is just goofy enough to either outgoof Carl Everett or at least
provide a distraction for a Beantown media already overstuffed on a diet of
increasingly irrelevant but nonetheless turgid drama.

The problem is when you wonder why the Duke didn’t do something about the
problem in April? If 40-man roster pressures were the problem, why wait
until the end of September instead of the beginning? Why call up Sang-Hoon
Lee at all, if as an organization you have to accept Jimy Williams’s
inflexible determination to avoid using him in any important game
situations? Like the attempts to cobble an offense by trying to collect
almost all of MLB’s most overrated hitters, this is another too-little,
too-late, boy-we-ought-to-have-done-this-a-year-ago move.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Purchased the contract of LHP Chris Haney from Buffalo; designated
LHP Eric DuBose for assignment. [9/20]

Chris Haney’s comeback from his latest collection of injuries is something
to have sympathy for. He’s coming off of a fine half-season at Buffalo,
going 8-3 in 13 starts with a 2.44 ERA. He allowed only 87 hits and 17 walks
in 92 1/3 innings, but interestingly enough, led the Bisons in hit batters
with eight. He is what he was, a decent alternative as a fifth starter.
Considering the problems Charlie Manuel can expect while trying to pick a
fourth starter for his playoff rotation between Jason Bere and Steve
Woodard, and considering the problems that potential playoff opponents like
the Athletics, Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox have with left-handed
pitching, it’s sort of a shame that Haney is ineligible for the postseason.

The interesting thing will be to see if the Athletics end up snagging DuBose
back on waivers, having lost him that way at the start of the month. He
still has his believers in the organization.


DETROIT TIGERS

Placed 1B-B Tony Clark on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 9/17
(strained spine). [9/19]

If you’re inclined to rally to the defense of Randy Smith’s plan to contend
this year, then Tony Clark’s injury can be one of your bigger points, behind
Gonzo, of course. Starting off with the premise that the Tribe wasn’t a lock
this season (a bold expectation that proved to be true), and your premise is
that as long as you’re slightly better than .500, you’re in it, then all you
need is for the White Sox not to exist, Juan Gonzalez to hit on a team that
didn’t have a leadoff man on Opening Day, and for Tony Clark to hit as well
as he did in the 60 games that he did play over the course of an entire
season.

OK, that all sounds like a house of cards to me, too, but Smith got part of
the equation right, because this was the beginning of the end for the
Indians’ reign in the AL Central. I’m one of the people who, when pressed,
expected the Tribe to still finish ahead of the White Sox one last time, but
for Chicago to finish well inside of ten games. It wouldn’t be too
charitable to say Smith’s partially correct thesis was better than mine,
except that I’m feeling good about what happened, and I doubt even the
perpetually sunny Smith does.

Anyways, to stick to the matter at hand, Clark did not have any problems
hitting in Comerica in his limited exposure to it, and if Los Tigres had
managed to get a full season of Clark’s hitting .274/.349/.529 with a .289
Equivalent Average,
they might have been a game or two above .500 instead of
a game or two below it. It still wouldn’t be worth much more than added
"evidence" that things are turning around in Detroit, but flirting
with .500 is going to be hailed as a major turnaround, anyway.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Outrighted RHP Paul Stewart to Mudville (A-ball). [9/20]

Paul Stewart was touted by the organization last winter as one of its better
pitching prospects, but he ended up struggling horribly in Huntsville (6.13
ERA, more than two baserunners per inning pitched) and had to return to the
California League. Because he’ll be just 22 next season, he’s still young
enough to have a career, but he doesn’t deserve to get mentioned with guys
like Allen Levrault, let alone Ben Sheets or the amazing Nick Neugebauer.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Activated 1B/3B-R Olmedo Saenz from the DL. [9/19]

A sorely missed bit player, Olmedo Saenz’s hamstring isn’t going to be 100%
for the remainder of the season, so it remains to be seen if he’ll have much
value as anything more than an occasional pinch-hitter. In the meantime, the
A’s will have to continue to stump along with Mike Stanley.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Activated RF-R Raul Mondesi from the DL. [9/20]

This is good news for the Blue Jays’ gloriously improbable and entertaining
late-season push. I don’t care how well Dave Martinez has hit for Toronto,
because the rest of the season counts too and his overall numbers are pretty
feeble for an outfielder who can’t play center regularly: .284/.357/.385,
with a .251 EqA. If he had hit any worse, he would have been on Dan
Duquette’s shopping list. Raul Mondesi gives the Jays some needed
right-handed punch, and I’m sort of glad to see that his determined effort
to make it back at all this season has helped to tarnish the malingerer
label the Dodgers and their sympathizers were so ready and willing to stick
him with.

I’m just wondering if we can now expect to be regaled with as many
"those no-good fans suck" stories out of Toronto as we get out of
Oakland or Chicago’s South Side, because the attendance rates of all three
contenders are very similar. I know I’m getting tired of complaints aimed at
the fans, because the relationship between attendance jumps and contention
has pretty consistently been a year-after effect. I think we can expect
improved attendance in all three cities next year, barring major price hikes
for seats.

Chris Kahrl can be reached at ckahrl@baseballprospectus.com.

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