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September 10, 1999

Transaction Analysis

September 1-7, 1999

by Christina Kahrl


Activated RHP Ken Hill from the DL; recalled RHP Mike Fyhrie from Edmonton; purchased the contract of LHP Juan Alvarez from Edmonton. [9/1]

Announced the resignation of manager Terry Collins; named Joe Maddon interim manager; activated OF Matt Luke from the DL; released RHP Mike James. [9/3]

Recalled RHP Brian Cooper from Edmonton. [9/4]

Recalled Cs Steve Decker and Bret Hemphill from Edmonton; purchased the contracts of OF Jeff DaVanon and RHP Steve Mintz from Edmonton; transferred OF Mike Colangelo from the 15- to 60-day DL; designated RHP Geoff Edsell for assignment. [9/7]

Most of this is your average reshuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic, but one name needs to be remembered in this group of callups and cuts: Brian Cooper. Having made a full recovery from major surgery two years ago, and happily profiting from an affiliation switch that made Midland, Texas a bad memory, he's had an outstanding season between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Edmonton.

Overall, he's 12-6 with a 3.38 ERA in 189 innings; he's yielded 176 hits, but with an outstanding ratio of 175 strikeouts to 39 walks. If there's a cause for concern, it's that those 189 innings are a career high, but he is 25, and you could argue he's coming into his own.

As for the rest of the moves...Jeff DaVanon might end up placing a stranglehold on the fifth outfielder's spot for next year. Almost everyone else is just trying to establish for future employers that they were only following orders during their stint in Bill Bavasi's fun house.


Recalled RHP Erik Sabel from Tucson. [9/1]

Recalled 2B/SS Danny Klassen and CF Dante Powell from Tucson. [9/2]

Klassen's window of opportunity to claim the starting shortstop job with the Snakes is effectively right this minute, and possibly never again. If he doesn't do something right now to make Buck Showalter even grunt in appreciation, the chances are that Joe Garagiola Jr. will simply put "starting shortstop" on the top of this winter's shopping list.

Klassen has struggled through injuries, and there are still persistent problems with his glovework. Andy Fox isn't a long-term solution, though, and even he is temporarily out of the way. The only obstacle is whether Showalter decides to keep using Tony Womack at short. Klassen's future will be out of his control unless he makes some noise, promptly.


Activated PR Otis Nixon from the DL; recalled LHP Derrin Ebert from Richmond; purchased the contract of 3B Howard Battle from Richmond; outrighted RHP Mike Cather to Richmond and RHP Joe Winkelsas to Greenville (Double-A). [9/1]

Signed RHP Sean Bergman; placed 3B Wes Helms on the 60-day DL (separated shoulder). [9/5]

Purchased the contract of RHP Everett Stull from Richmond; designated 2B Marty Malloy for assignment. [9/6]

The Braves don't usually bring up a lot of extra people when rosters expand, but this year they're doing things a bit differently. The problem is that the team has several shortcomings they want to compensate for.

First, the absence of Javy Lopez highlights a weak bench, including the three light-hitting veteran middle infielders. Solution? Howard Battle's coming off of a season at Richmond in which he poked 24 home runs. Along with Randall Simon, that's the best the Braves have to offer as pinch-hitters.

Second, when you consider the assorted owies that Greg Maddux and John Smoltz are trying to pitch through, Tom Glavine's continuing struggles, and losing Rudy Seanez for the year, it isn't hard to see how the Braves might be worried about their pitching depth. So up come Ebert and Stull, and Bergman isn't the worst emergency starter or long reliever to have soak up innings. Stull still has great stuff, and could turn into an outstanding reliever. Considering where he was with the Expos and the Orioles, that would be another salvage operation to the organization's credit.

The disappointing aspect of picking up Bergman is that it probably means the organization's more frustrated with Bruce Chen than they should be. Sure, Chen has had an alarming problem with allowing home runs this year, but he isn't going to learn how to avoid those mistakes by watching somebody like Sean Bergman.


Activated 3B Cal Ripken and RHP Mike Fetters from the DL. [9/1]

Recalled 2B Jerry Hairston from Rochester. [9/4]

Transferred 1B Will Clark from the 15- to the 60-day DL; purchased the contract of LHP Matt Riley from Rochester. [9/6]

What's to know? Riley should claim a rotation spot for keeps, while Hairston will re-stake the claim to the second base job that the Orioles mistakenly tried to fill with Delino DeShields. Between the two of them and hopefully Cal Pickering, you have three potential reasons to care about a game's results if you're an Orioles fan.


Activated UT Jeff Frye from the DL. [9/1]

Activated RHP Ramon Martinez from the DL; recalled OF Jon Nunnally from Pawtucket; transferred RHP Julio Santana from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/2]

Recalled RHP Tomokazu Ohka from Pawtucket. [9/4]

Recalled INF Lou Merloni from Pawtucket. [9/7]

Martinez's arrival had been expected to be the cure for the rotation's ills for several weeks, but he promptly flopped in his first start after what we'll charitably call "mediocre results" in his minor league rehab work. So now the Sox still don't know what they're going to do if Bret Saberhagen isn't ready to go in the final weeks. Sure, Tim Wakefield could suddenly straighten himself out, but overall, the Sox continue to look like a rotation of Pedro and pray, and pray, and hope for an off-day or two, and pray some more.

Anyone else want to compare sidekicks, and what a star's choice in sidekicks might mean for his team? Nomar Garciaparra's choice is Lou Merloni, which might sound pretty bad until you consider that Sammy Sosa's pick is Manny Alexander. I mean, the choice is bad enough in baseball terms, but if this were Pokemon, Sammy's whacked.

At least Lou Merloni plays the same position as Nomar, so Nomar doesn't really have too much interest in seeing his sidekick playing. Since both stars are on a lot of people's short lists for their respective leagues' MVP awards, I like to kick issues like this around from time to time.


Acquired 3B Cole Liniak from the Red Sox to complete the Rod Beck trade. [9/1]

Signed RHP Bobby Ayala; recalled OF Bo Porter from Iowa; transferred RHP Jeremi Gonzalez from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/3]

Recalled LHP Brian McNichol from Iowa. [9/6]

Recalled OF Roosevelt Brown from Iowa. [9/7]

Picking up Liniak in the Beck deal turns a good bit of salary dumping into a better bit of adding talent. At the same age, 22 going on 23, that the infamous Gary Scott was when he was handed the third base job, Liniak has two full years of Triple-A under his belt. He won't be an offensive force (.264/.341/.440 with only 12 home runs at Pawtucket), but unlike alternatives like Tyler Houston or Gary Gaetti, he's young enough to improve. Also unlike either of his predecessors, he can pick it at third. So the Cubs not only get out from under Beck's 2000 salary, they add a starting third baseman.

I don't see signing Ayala as much more than a bandage for a bullpen that requires major surgery. The problem revolves around philosophy: Riggleman and Lynch keep adding known quanitities for situational use, while failing to evaluate who might grow into something better than that. Both Porter and Brown have been up before, but both got to rot on the bench while the 1999 Cubs blazed new trails into irrelevance. Both can be useful contributors and major league regulars, but neither of them can really play center field every day, and with Sammy Sosa and Henry Rodriguez in the corners, the Cubs are already stocked.

That isn't to say that a good manager couldn't find a way to use all of them. With those four, you'd want your fifth outfielder to be someone like Darren Lewis or Damon Buford, someone who can fly in center field or on the bases when he pinch-runs for somebody who can get on base.


Recalled RHP Kip Wells and C Josh Paul from Birmingham (Double-A); purchased the contracts of RHP Aaron Myette and SS Jason Dellaero from Birmingham; designated LHP Todd Rizzo and RHP Dwayne Jacobs for assignment. [9/7]

The callups from Charlotte will have to wait until they finish the playoffs, but the better crowd of prospects was going to be coming up from Birmingham anyway.

Josh Paul isn't an outstanding prospect in terms of his hitting, but the Sox love his on-field Kid Carter antics. With Mark Johnson coming around and Brook Fordyce hitting well, it should take more than histrionics to earn playing time.

Dellaero is supposedly much improved at the plate now that he's loosened his grip on the bat; he's up to see if he can mount a plausible challenge to Mike Caruso in 2000, and the Sox are sufficiently unenthusiastic about Caruso that they're willing to give Dellaero every benefit of the doubt. While Dellaero's throwing arm wins rave reviews, he's simply the latest development in the ongoing battle between Jerry Manuel and Caruso, a petty fight that hasn't reflected well on either of them.

With at least two rotation spots there for the taking, both Wells and Myette should be able to stake claims. On that level, Sox fans shouldn't think of 1999 as a wasted year for their starting pitchers. They've figured out that John Snyder can't fool anyone, that James Baldwin is flaky, and that Jaime Navarro is still bad. On the plus side, Mike Sirotka and Jim Parque look like two starters they can count on in a year or two when they're in a better position to push the Indians.


Activated RHP Steve Parris from the DL; recalled OFs Mark Sweeney and Kerry Robinson from Indianapolis; purchased the contract of SS Travis Dawkins from Chattanooga (Double-A). [9/1]

Parris' return to the rotation bumps Brett Tomko to long relief, even with his start in the doubleheader against the Cubs. That may change if Ron Villone continues to scuffle.

Sweeney will be an outstanding weapon off of the bench for the Reds. Coming off of a wasted great year at Indianapolis (.322/.432/.498), he'll be their best pinch-hitter down the stretch. Of course, he'd have been a better spare part to have around for the whole year over Michael Tucker or Jeffrey Hammonds, but that's another issue.

Meanwhile, Dawkins' call-up can give the Reds a glimpse of issues they're going to have to sort out someday: will he be the team's shortstop of the future? Or is that still Pokey Reese? Where will they move Barry Larkin? Left field? Third base? Getting too caught up in Pokeymania would be a mistake.


Activated CF Kenny Lofton from the DL; purchased the contract of RHP Jim Brower from Buffalo; designated C Jesse Levis for assignment. [9/1]

Activated 3B Travis Fryman from the DL. [9/2]

Activated C Sandy Alomar from the DL; designated LHP Jim Poole for assignment. [9/6]

They're calling in the walking wounded, but unfortunately, it looks like they're all still hurt. Lofton's hamstring is still hurting (and now in a different spot), and neither Fryman nor Alomar is 100%. They're getting impatient, and like the decision to rush Jaret Wright back last month, they're going to get burned with at least one of these guys.


Recalled LHP Jesus Sanchez from Calgary. [9/4]

Activated 3B Kevin Orie from the DL. [9/6]

Activated OF Cliff Floyd from the DL; recalled LHP Brent Billingsley and 1B Derrek Lee from Calgary; purchased contract of DH John Roskos and RHP Reid Cornelius from Calgary; recalled RHP Hector Almonte and LHP Michael Tejera from Portland (Double-A); placed RHPs Alex Fernandez and Joe Fontenot on the 60-day DL. [9/7]

With the blush off of Kevin Millar, the interesting question here is whether the Fish will let Lee or Roskos take their cracks at the first base job. Otherwise, the guy to take note of is Mike Tejera. Besides having the advantage of local Cuban roots, he's coming off of an outstanding year at Portland, and there are probably two rotation spots open during the season's closing weeks (Alex Fernandez's, and on the basis of results, hopefully Brian Meadows' as well).


Activated RF Derek Bell from the DL. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of OF Ryan Thompson from Auburn (A-ball). [9/3]

Just because a man's been activated doesn't mean he'll be all that active, unless you can work up a sweat going between the batter's box and the bench.

Walter Lippmann once said of the president, "Mr. Coolidge has a genius for inactivity. It is far from being an indolent inactivity. It is a grim, determined, alert inactivity." Similarly, Derek Bell's doing an outstanding job of looking like a ballplayer, filling his uniform, and replicating many of the same physical movements you see other major league players doing. He's still a killer B, but without the sting to anything but Drayton McLane's checkbook. And he takes that very seriously.


Recalled C Sal Fasano from Omaha; recalled LF Dermal Brown from Wichita (Double-A); purchased the contracts of 1B Joe Vitiello from Omaha and petty thug Felix Martinez from Wichita. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of INF Mendy Lopez from Omaha; transferred RHP Dan Reichert from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/3]

Recalled LHP Glendon Rusch from Omaha. [9/5]

Not a bad crowd of callups, to be sure, but there's one aspect of these moves I don't quite understand. Omaha's in the playoffs, but Omaha isn't going to have two of its starters, or even the best player from Wichita to replace them. Sure, a PCL trophy doesn't do much to amuse party guests for more than the first five minutes, but wouldn't it be worth pursuing with a bit more vigor when the only thing the Royals are really gunning for is to put the Tigers back in the basement of the AL Central?

Brown's callup brings to light the big issue that the club will have to resolve in the next seven months: is Brown going to be the team's starting left fielder next year, and if so, what do they want to get for Johnny Damon? While it would be a better idea to trade Jermaine Dye, Damon's salary bickering seems to have made him persona non grata. Meanwhile, Fasano should get a shot at winning the starting catcher's job from Chad Kreuter now that he has a good year at Triple-A under his belt: .275/.415/.554, with 21 home runs and an incredible 26 hit-by-pitches.


Purchased the contract of RHP Eric Gagne from San Antonio (Double-A). [9/3]

Recalled RHP Jamie Arnold, SS Juan Castro, and 2B Alex Cora from Albuquerque; purchased the contract of LHP Jeff Williams from Albuquerque; recalled LHP Carlos Perez from Albuquerque, to place him on the 60-day DL. [9/7]

Gagne should have a clean shot at the rotation, coming off of winning the Texas League ERA title (2.63) while having a fine year: 12-4, 122 hits in 167 2/3 innings, with 185 strikeouts and just 64 walks. He's got good movement on his fastball and his breaking stuff.

The real shame for the Dodgers is that even if they wanted to get really frustrated about their middle infield, neither Castro or Cora are viable alternatives. Neither of them can hit a lick, and their defensive skills aren't going to be enough to overcome an offense that's 11th in the league in runs scored.


Purchased the contract of C Robinson Cancel from Louisville. [9/3]

Transferred RHP Chad Fox from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/5]

Transferred both 2B Fernando Vina and C Bobby Hughes from the 15- to the 60-day DL; purchased the contract of RHP Jason Bere and OF Lyle Mouton from Louisville; recalled RHP Carl Dale from Louisville. [9/7]

With the alternatives being a rag-armed Brian Banks and a light-hitting Charlie Greene, you have to like Cancel's shot at some serious playing time down the stretch. Don't get too caught up in his gaudy month in Louisville (.368/.436/.564); his hitting at Huntsville wasn't nearly so sparkly (.251/.328/.372). Even so, with Dave Nilsson and Bobby Hughes out of the way (and Nilsson bound for a free agent departure), Cancel should get a good opportunity to win part of the job for next year.

Don't blink, Jason Bere's back after being ineffective at Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville and some discreet out-of-the-way sandlots. It would be typical of the Brewers to think they'll be credited with intelligence for giving him a shot, after enough people made the same mistake saying exactly that when the Reds gave him another lease on life last fall.


Recalled 2B Cleatus Davidson from New Britain (Double-A). [9/7]


Recalled RHP Javier Vazquez from Vermont (A-ball). [9/3]

Released 3B Shane Andrews. [9/6]

Recalled INF Trace Coquillette and LHP Ted Lilly from Ottawa; purchased the contract of OF Peter Bergeron from Ottawa; activated RHP Carl Pavano and 1B Fernando Seguignol from the DL. [9/7]

It's worth keeping in mind that while the two central players from last summer's heist from the Dodgers are coming up, both Lilly and Bergeron have had summers saddled with shoulder woes. Plus, the organization is convinced that Wilton Guerrero should get first crack at a regular outfield job ahead of Bergeron. While I'd like to be optimistic and hope things work out for the best, Jim Beattie and Felipe Alou seemed determined to build roadblocks to prevent future success.

Here's hoping the Rox come to their senses, realize they're playing in a beer league ballpark, and snag Andrews to play third base while they can. Return Vinny Castilla to shortstop, and faster than you can print up some cheezy sound effects, whammo!, you're scoring more runs. Andrews is coming off of an awful season in which he clearly couldn't adjust to playing part-time after last year's breakthrough, but he's a good glove at third who can add power and a few walks. If there's a place for Russ Davis, there ought to be one for Andrews.


Activated DH Bobby Bonilla from the DL; recalled UT Melvin Mora and OFs Jay Payton and George Toca from Norfolk. [9/1]

Activated LHP John Franco and RHP Rick Reed from the DL. [9/4]

Now that Reed is back, the Mets are once again going with a six-man rotation down the stretch. It didn't really seem to work too well last year, and it's mostly the product of an unwillingness to tell Orel Hershiser that he's the team's worst starting pitcher.

Calling up Toca is more than just bringing him up after giving the Cuban slugger a big bonus last winter; he's hit well at Binghamton (.308/.384/.584) and Norfolk (.335/.357/.500), and the Mets could use some power from one of their pinch-hitters, especially now that Benny Agbayani has turned back into a pumpkin.


Purchased the contract of DH Darryl Strawberry from Columbus; recalled INF Clay Bellinger and RHP Dan Naulty from Columbus. [9/1]

Optioned LHP Ed Yarnall to Columbus. [9/5]

That nice George Steinbrenner, always giving out third or fourth chances. If forgiveness is divine, then it must have been the Boss talking to Moses. Yessireebob.


Recalled LHP Tim Kubinski from Vancouver. [9/1]

Purchased the contract of UT Frank Menechino from Vancouver; transferred OF Tim Raines from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/3]

Recalled RHP Chad Harville from Vancouver. [9/4]

The happy event here is Menechino's callup, after he labored away in the PCL for most of the last three years. The A's have slowly worked him from being just a second baseman into a multi-position utility man, ready to play any infield position or the outfield corners. Like almost everyone in green and gold these days, he's patient (73 walks), but he hit for more power than in years past (.309/.403/.497, with 31 doubles, nine triples and 15 home runs). As utilitymen go, I'd rather have Menechino around to chip in on offense and spot anyone on any day, than mess around with Jorge Velandia or his ilk.


Recalled RHP Mike Grace from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [9/1]

Activated RHP Curt Schilling and C Tom Prince from the DL; purchased the contract of INF Torey Lovullo from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; recalled RHP Cliff Politte from Reading (Double-A). [9/3]

Activated RHP Carlton Loewer from the DL; transferred LHP Yorkis Perez from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/6]

Loewer's only coming back to pitch in relief, but Schilling will resume his ace slot, and none of it will significantly affect the Phillies' standing in the NL East or the future of the franchise.

Lovullo's coming off of a great year at Scranton (.279/.371/.482 with 21 home runs), which is why it seems strange he got promoted rather than allowed to help the Barons in the playoffs.


Activated RHP Todd Ritchie from the DL. [9/5]

Recalled CF Chad Hermansen, 3B Aramis Ramirez, and RHP Jason Boyd from Nashville; purchased the contracts of RHP Mike Garcia and C Tim Laker from Nashville; designated C Chris Tremie for assignment. [9/6]

After participating in a tremendous PCL stretch-drive fold for Nashville, the Bucs of the future get to participate in the quest for .500 in the big leagues. Hermansen and Ramirez need to be in the lineup for the next six or seven years if they Bucs have any interest in being a baseball team instead of someplace for Ed Sprague to renew other people's interest.

It seems unfortunate that the Bucs chose this moment to call up Laker, after already surrendering Jose Guillen just to rent two months of Joe Oliver's less-than-valuable time.


Recalled SS Luis Ordaz from Memphis. [9/2]

Recalled 2B/SS Placido Polanco and RHP Jose Jimenez from Memphis; activated RHP Alan Benes from the DL. [9/7]

Jimenez looked good in Memphis, so perhaps he'll return to the rotation with a renewed sense of purpose.

Benes' much-anticipated return is to the bullpen, where hopefully even Tony LaRussa will use him with a sense of restraint and conscious regret for ill deeds not so distantly done.


Signed 3B/C Phil Nevin to a two-year extension with a team option for 2002. [9/7]

Well, the Pads have a third baseman, and surprisingly enough his name is definitely not George Arias. The interesting aspect of this is whether you want to be silly and start speculating for what this means as far as Sean Burroughs' timetable. I'm willing to guess that Burroughs could be ready by the end of 2001. At that point, maybe Nevin moves to first base, because by that time the California state legislature will have passed a bill forbidding Kevin Towers from giving Wally Joyner any more money.


Recalled RHPs Julian Tavarez and Miguel Del Toro and SS Wilson Delgado from Fresno. [9/1]

Activated OF Armando Rios from the DL. [9/2]

No real surprises, but Rios' return gives the Giants a needed bit of power off the bench to help in their final push to make the Snakes--or the people who crowned them a month ago--remember that there are a few weeks to go.


Purchased the contract of E-5 Mike Blowers from Tacoma; activated UT Charles Gipson from the DL; recalled RHP Dennis Stark from New Haven (Double-A). [9/1]

Activated LHP Butch Henry from the DL; transferred UT John Mabry from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/3]

Recalled RHP Brett Hinchliffe, LHP Steve Sinclair, and OF Shane Monahan from Tacoma. [9/7]

Nothing here will help, although Henry's reactivation serves as a nice reminder of the folly of counting on him in the first place.


Recalled RHP Dan Wheeler from Durham; activated UT Herbert Perry and INF David Lamb from the DL; transferred SS Kevin Stocker from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/1]

Signed 1B Fred McGriff to a two-year contract extension. [9/3]

Recalled CF Randy Winn from Durham. [9/4]

Signed manager Larry Rothschild to a contract extension through 2004. [9/7]

The Devil Rays just want to announce that despite all appearances to the contrary, they have no intention of letting Larry Rothschild challenge Connie Mack's various managerial records. But if he gets close, they will confirm, off the record, that Rothschild's contract includes a clause that his Hall of Fame plaque must include that symbol of baseball greatness, the manta, terror of plankton throughout the South Seas, or an aquarium near you.


Recalled CF Scarborough Green from Oklahoma. [9/1]

Outrighted 1B Shawn Gallagher to Tulsa (Double-A); purchased the contract of INF Scott Sheldon from Oklahoma; recalled LHP Matt Perisho and RHP Danny Patterson from Oklahoma. [9/3]

Activated OF Mike Simms from the DL. [9/7]

Here's a pair of moves I just don't get. Scott Sheldon didn't get to come up when Royce Clayton was hurt and the Rangers needed him. He didn't come up when Mark McLemore was hurt. He got to stew in Oklahoma while Jon Shave got to hand out high fives or make sure there were sunflower seeds near the bench. After another great year (.311/.385/.587, with 28 home runs), with Oklahoma dancing into the postseason, why does he now get called up? I'm sure he's happy, but if I happened to be a baseball fan from Okie, I'd be pretty fed up.

You can run through a similar list of complaints as far as Matt Perisho's callup. He's had an outstanding year as the staff ace: 15-7, a 4.61 ERA, with 150 strikeouts, 78 walks, and 160 hits allowed (only 14 home runs). While he might have been better than Mike Morgan or John Burkett during the summer, the Rangers elected not to find out, and now they want him mopping up blowouts, when their Triple-A affiliate's season matters most?


Activated 1B David Segui from the DL. [9/2]

Like it'll matter.

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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NL West Notebook

1999-09-25 - Transaction Analysis: September 14-22, 1999
1999-09-16 - Transaction Analysis: September 8-13, 1999
1999-09-15 - AL Central Notebook
1999-09-10 - Transaction Analysis: September 1-7, 1999
1999-09-03 - Transaction Analysis: August 28-31, 1999
1999-08-30 - Transaction Analysis: August 24-27
1999-08-25 - Transaction Analysis: August 20-23

1999-10-12 - Transaction Analysis: September 25-October 5...
1999-09-25 - Transaction Analysis: September 14-22, 1999
1999-09-16 - Transaction Analysis: September 8-13, 1999
1999-09-10 - Transaction Analysis: September 1-7, 1999
1999-09-03 - Transaction Analysis: August 28-31, 1999
1999-08-30 - Transaction Analysis: August 24-27
1999-08-25 - Transaction Analysis: August 20-23