Recalled RHP C.C. Lee and 1B-R Jesus Aguilar from Triple-A Columbus; purchased the contract of C-R Adam Moore from Triple-A Columbus; designated OF-R Tyler Holt for assignment. [9/23]
Lee and Aguilar arrive in Cleveland following Columbus' playoff run to put the finishing touches on disappointing seasons.
For Lee, the frustration stems from a lack of opportunity. He produced all season at Columbus, proving again that his sidearm slot and sinker-slider combination are too much for Triple-A batters to handle. Yet Lee's hard work on the farm didn't result in a meaningful big-league look—something that would have allowed him to atone for the troubles he encountered last season. He turns 30 next October and appears to be without options (though it's possible there's an injury exception granted for the time he missed in 2013), which, if so, leaves him two choices come next spring: make the Opening Day roster or get used to life on the waiver wire.
Aguilar's circumstances are almost as dire as Lee's. Known as a power-only first baseman lacking the requisite hit tool to succeed in the majors, his second season in Triple-A failed to change opinions. In addition to posting worst marks in each of the triple-slash categories, he recorded fewer extra-base hits in spite of receiving 71 more plate appearances. Teams always find it difficult to carry inflexible, short-side platoon players for long; Aguilar's season, then, might have put his standing on the 40-man roster in doubt.
Yes, this is that Moore, the one who used to be a top Mariners prospect. Presuming he plays in a game with the Indians, he'll extend his streak of consecutive seasons with at least one big-league appearance to seven. What's remarkable about Moore's run is that he's played in double-digit games only once: back in 2010. Provided he can keep this going for a few more seasons—and you can always count on a team calling up a third catcher come September—he'll someday qualify for Super Two status.
Named Jerry Dipoto their new general manager. [9/28]
Another GM vacancy is filled—this time by someone who has done the job before. Besides that experience, Dipoto possesses an unusual blend of old- and new-school qualities: he's a former big-league player and scout who has a known interest in advanced analytics, to the extent that he dabbles in data on his own time. Add in his sharp-dressing ways, and he seems like the perfect candidate. So why is this executive dreamboat working for his third organization this season?
Dipoto's falling out with the Angels has been blamed on a meddling owner and manager—no word on the involvement of a local group of teenagers and their wise-cracking dog. While that explanation is believable based on the characters involved, the whole mess makes it tough to suss out just what moves should be credited and debited to and from Dipoto's account. Without that information, the top knock on him has hinged on his failure to surround the best player in baseball with enough talent to make a deep postseason run. But as Brian Sabean has proved, that lack of success won't preclude Dipoto from earning a better reputation in time.
Of course the talk in L.A. might have been about Dipoto's unsatisfactory playoff runs, but the good folks of Seattle would settle for any involvement in the postseason, seeing as how the Mariners haven't reached the tournament since losing the 2001 ALCS. Ending that streak in 2016 is likely going to require some creativity, since the Mariners have a barren farm system and much of their payroll is devoted to four players. That means Dipoto will either have to spend more money, find a slew of talented players on the cheap—which, um, tends to involve developing those players—or live with the streak for a few years and rebuild. Odds are, he didn't get the job by promising management he would extend one of the longest playoff droughts in the game by another three-to-five years—not when Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz are in their primes today.
If there is good news for Dipoto, it's that the Mariners feature some of the worst production in baseball at catcher and first base. The former should be easy to fix, since this free-agent class is set to offer a surprisingly solid class of backstops, including Dipoto's old catcher Chris Iannetta. Solving first base is going to be tougher and—as is the case whenever a proverbial BIG BAT is available—you can expect to hear rumors in the coming weeks and months tying Seattle to Chris Davis. The upshot here is that Dipoto doesn't have to nab his Plan A or B to upgrade at those positions; making marginal upgrades is an underrated strategy, and one that, if Dipoto practices it, could help push the M's into contention.
However Dipoto goes about making over the M's roster, his goal in 2016 will be the same as his goal entering 2015: win the AL West.
Claimed OF-R Tyler Holt off waivers from the Indians; transferred UTL-R Kris Negron to the 60-day disabled list (shoulder surgery). [9/27]
Holt moves from one Ohio-based team to the other—something he's accustomed to, given how he spent the last two seasons making trips from Columbus to Cleveland and back. Throughout his minor-league career, he's shown a penchant for walking and singling and stealing bases—leadoff-man stuff. Unfortunately, few believe Holt's power-free bat will allow his average and on-base skills to translate in whole to the majors, meaning he's most likely to become a speed-and-D reserve outfielder. He's cheap and has an option remaining, so don't be surprised if he sticks with the Reds through the offseason.
Purchased the contract of INF-R Kevin Frandsen from Triple-A Sacramento; transferred OF-R Juan Perez to the 60-day disabled list (strained oblique). [9/23]
It's not Barry Zito returning to Oakland or anything of the sort, yet you have to appreciate the Giants giving Frandsen a few days in the big-league sun after a season spent in the minor-league shade. Frandsen began his professional career with San Francisco more than a decade ago, after being selected in the 17th round by way of San Jose State. He never enjoyed much success with the Giants—or anyone else, for that matter, outside of a surprise 2012 with Philadelphia—and it's unlikely he changes that at age 33. Still, while Frandsen isn't going to win the Giants many games, his presence on the majors will earn them points in the clubhouse and throughout the organization. Good for him and them.