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February 20, 1999

Transaction Analysis

February 13-19

by Christina Kahrl


Signed 2B/SS Danny Klassen and RHP Clint Sodowsky to one-year contracts. [2/15]

Signed pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. [2/19]

Anyone else having trouble keeping track of which Kim is which?


Agreed to terms with 2B Ray Durham on a four-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. [2/15]

On a personal level, I'm glad the Sox and Durham worked this out before going into arbitration. Durham is the league's best second baseman right now, and what he does over the next three years will mean everything to the Sox in terms of their successfully unseating the Indians in 2000 or beyond.


Signed RHP Jamey Wright and SS Neifi Perez to one-year contracts. [2/19]


Signed LHP Armando Almanza, RHP Joe Fontenot, 1B Nate Rolison, and C Guillermo Garcia to one-year contracts. [2/17]

Nothing to note here, although Garcia has a chance of winning a platoon role with Jorge Fabregas behind the plate, and Almanza (part of the booty from the Renteria deal with the Cardinals) should be able to win a job in the Fish Pen.


Signed RHPs Tony McKnight, Brian Powell and Brian Sikorski, LHP Derek Root, SS Julio Lugo, 3Bs Chris Truby and Carlos Villalobos, and OF Glen Barker to one-year contracts. [2/19]

With the sole possible exception of Sikorski, nobody here has a real shot at cracking the roster for Opening Day without a number of golf cart accidents. Sikorski's shot at the rotation is heavily dependent on Holt and Elarton both struggling, so even he's a longshot at best.


Signed RHP Jeff Austin, their 1998 first-round pick in the June draft. [2/17]

The last first-rounder signs. One of Herk Robinson's last official acts?


Signed OF Bobby Kielty to a minor-league contract. [2/18]


Signed RHP Armando Benitez to a one-year contract. [2/16]

Just a random thought: much has been made of the number of relievers the Mets have picked up. But is this a case of too much of a good thing? I'm not in a position to guess whether or not Bobby Valentine burns out his relievers by warming them up in the pen early and often, but with several alternatives to choose from, while he may not have to overwork Turk Wendell again, he may not be able to spread the work around. In terms of an under-studied subject, how well managers get their relievers ready, and the pattern of the workload, may be something beyond the realm of quantifying, and yet it's probably one of the most important elements of a manager's job. We all have anecdotes; I can tell you I believe Riggleman is really bad at this, and that Terry Bevington was really bad at it. I can tell you that I have my doubts about Dusty Baker. But we'd have to start counting who gets up and when, and whether or not they get used, and whether or not they're just working out or really warming up.


Acquired RHP Roger Clemens for LHPs David Wells and Graeme Lloyd, and 2B Homer Bush. [2/18]

Perhaps the time has come to shed tears for the state of the game, because something involving the Yankees is making a mockery of the concept of competitive balance. However, that something isn't the financial disparities between different organizations. It's the disparity between the good and the incompetent in major league front offices. Brian Cashman isn't just smarter than many of his peers, he may as well be from the distant future, and competing against trained apes. The Yankees have added Roger Clemens without surrendering a single player who will have anything approaching equal value during or beyond the life of the Rocket's current contract.

The really interesting element to this, in my opinion, is that if Cashman can rob his peers so easily, and thus upset competitive balance in a way not seen since George Weiss built the Stengel Yankees dynasty, that may end up doing more to create a consensus among owners for revenue sharing than any studies, panels, or common sense may dictate.


Signed 1B John Jaha to a minor-league contract with a NRI to spring training. [2/17]

Signed RHPs Brad Rigby and Jay Witasick, LHP Juan Perez, Cs Danny Ardoin and Ramon Hernandez, SS Jorge Velandia, and OF Mario Encarnacion to one-year contracts. [2/19]

I'm not a big fan of bringing in Jaha, but the A's are heavily left-handed, and he'll get every opportunity to win the right-handed DH job. The misfortune is that there's more Kevin Mitchell in this signing than Matt Stairs. Jaha basically can't pass a physical, and some folks are joking that he hurts himself in workouts. They'll have to be really stubborn and ignore all of that to make room for him.


Signed UT Shawon Dunston and 1B/3B Eduardo Perez to one-year contracts; invited C Erik Pappas to come out of retirement for spring training. [2/16]

Ugh. What's the point of bringing in either Dunston or Perez? Do the Cardinals really believe they're helping themselves with a major league bench that will have Willie McGee and Dunston and David Howard? It's bad enough that they've saddled themselves with Carlos Baerga's dessicated remnants. With a supporting crew this moldy, you can rest assured that even more than necessary, the Cardinals will rise or fall on the strength of two things: what the McGwire-Lankford-Drew combo does at the plate, and whether or not LaRussa handles his staff better than he has in the past two seasons.


Signed C Julio Mosquera to a one-year contract. [2/17]

Signed RHP Ben McDonald to a minor-league contract. [2/18]

Signed DH Julio Franco to a minor-league contract. [2/19]

Ben McDonald? Julio Franco? Where's Dave Kingman? This is the Senior's League, isn't it?


Signed LHP Matt Perisho and 3B Rob Sasser to one-year contracts. [2/18]


Announced the retirement of RHP Dave Stieb; signed RHP Eric Ludwick and SS Tomas Perez to one-year contracts. [2/17]

Traded RHP Roger Clemens to the Yankees for LHPs David Wells and Graeme Lloyd, and 2B Homer Bush. [2/18]

Gord Ash is a turnip. A beefy turnip, perhaps, but a turnip nevertheless. Any GM who would take the best right-handed starter in the history of the game (and arguably in the league right now), and turns him into the major's lone gout sufferer, a dime-a-dozen lefty reliever, and a second baseman who isn't significantly better than (and who never will be better than) either Joey Cora or Craig Grebeck, needs to be put out to pasture.

When I initially heard the news of the trade, I heard "Clemens for Wells and two players." My first thought was, okay, the Jays haven't significantly altered competitive balance in the AL, they're still in the running for the wild card, and they just added two prospects to help them two or three years down the line when the Yankees are collapsing under their own high-salaried weight. Then I heard who the two players were. In short, Gord Ash has done something really remarkable: he hurt the Jays' chances to compete this year, while doing nothing to help them win two years from now, or five years from now, or ever. Deals like this, that aren't salary dumps and where a team just gets entirely ripped off, don't come along very often. If I were Ash, I'd start blaming the Belgian brewers, claiming his "hands were tied," or creating some kind of cover story, because if he's happy with this deal, he has no business holding a job in professional baseball.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

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1999-02-26 - Transaction Analysis: February 20-26
1999-02-20 - Transaction Analysis: February 13-19
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1999-03-22 - Transaction Analysis: March 8-21
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1999-02-26 - Transaction Analysis: February 20-26
1999-02-20 - Transaction Analysis: February 13-19
1999-02-14 - Transaction Analysis: February 6-12
1999-02-07 - Transaction Analysis: January 28-February 6
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