Purchased the contract of RHP Eddie Gamboa from Triple-A Norfolk; placed LHP Wesley Wright on the 15-day disabled list (shoulder). [4/12]
Knuckleballer alert. After spending the past two seasons training with the pitch, Gamboa was brought up to provide length in the bullpen. These guys are almost impossible to project for obvious reasons—even at the minor-league level his results have been hit-or-miss—but Gamboa can change speeds on his knuckleball and can touch the 90s with his fastball. At minimum, it's neat to see his gamble rewarded. Here's hoping he gets into a game or two before heading back to Norfolk.
Purchased the contract of OF/1B-R Jerry Sands from Triple-A Columbus; optioned RHP Austin Adams to Triple-A Columbus. [4/10]
Let's see. Pittsburgh, check; Tampa Bay, check; Cleveland, check; Sands is an Oakland waiver claim away from having played for every savvy small-market team. Of course he appeals to those clubs for the same reasons: he's mashed in the minors and comes cheap due to his big-league struggles.
The problem with Sands is he hasn't hit for power during his various big-league stints. That's important because he doesn't do anything else well. Sands' swing isn't conductive to hitting for average, and his walk rate has failed to translate to the point where he's taken one free pass in his last 46 plate appearances. He's not a good baserunner or defender either, meaning he's limited to first base or left field. The Indians think Sands can help them against the various left-handed starters on their upcoming schedule, and so far they've been correct. Just don't be surprised when they grow tired of his limitations.
Recalled LHP Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo; placed RHP Joe Nathan on the 15-day disabled list (flexor strain). [4/10]
One of these seasons, Hardy will make an Opening Day roster. After narrowly missing last spring, Hardy was again bumped to the minors this year by Detroit's other lefties,Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Krol. Though fairly unheralded before his big-league debut, he throws a nice curveball, generated more than 50 percent groundballs, and shut down lefties during his 38-game stint in the majors. Ideally Hardy profiles as a second lefty, but in this bullpen he could serve as a pseudo mop-up man as well.
Recalled OF-R Mikie Mahtook from Triple-A Durham; place DH/OF-L John Jaso on the 15-day disabled list (wrist contusion). [4/10]
Another day, another rookie joins the Rays. Drafted in 2011 from LSU, Mahtook has moved through the system at a slower pace than anticipated. Yet time hasn't changed his most-probable outcomes: fourth outfielder or second-division starter. Mahtook doesn't have a plus tool, but his game is well rounded and he's athletic enough to man center when necessary. If his bat takes to the majors—read: if he can find the appropriate equipoise between contact and power—he could give the Rays another starting outfield option. Tampa Bay has plenty of those, so it's unclear how Mahtook (26 later this year) fits into the long-term plans. For now, he'll serve as additional depth off the bench.
Claimed RHP Stolmy Pimentel off waivers from the Pirates; recalled RHP Jon Edwards from Triple-A Round Rock; purchased the contract of OF-L Carlos Peguero from Triple-A Round Rock; placed LHP Derek Holland on the 60-day disabled list (shoulder stiffness) and OF-R Ryan Rua on the 15-day disabled list (sprained ankle). [4/11]
The beat-up Rangers add two players with considerable upside and equally high odds of disappointing.
Pimentel fits right in with the Rangers' bullpen. He's intriguing, yet largely unproven. That's okay for a 22-year-old kid fresh from Triple-A, but Pimentel bears the unfortunate burden of having no options remaining. On his good days, he's throwing his mid-90s fastball and splitter and convincing everyone watching that he's a future late-inning arm. Alas, those days weren't enough for the Pirates to keep him around. Pimentel has a better shot to stick in Texas than he did in Pittsburgh, but his command woes mean he's closer to hitting the waiver wire again than not.
Speaking of wavier-wire bait, Peguero has been there and done that. He's a large human being with big-time raw power undercut by his swing-first, swing-later tendencies. Peguero received a lot of credit in spring training for his adjustments at the plate. In all likelihood, that talk will prove to be fluff. But, on the odd chance it's legitimate, the Rangers could reflect on Rua's injury as a blessing.
Acquired RHP Ryan Webb, C-R Brian Ward, and competitive balance pick no. 74 in exchange for RHP Ben Rowen and C-S Christopher O'Brien. [4/9]
Webb joins his third team in three seasons. He's a groundball-orientated pitcher with control and dinner-table etiquette, so why is he on the move again? In part due to his low ceiling. Webb doesn't throw as hard as he used to, and his big-league strikeout rate has never topped seven per nine innings. He's fine at middle relief and that's about it, which makes him expendable for teams like the Orioles, who have bullpen depth, and desirable for teams like the Dodgers, who could use a little help.
In addition to Webb, the Dodgers netted a cheap third catcher in Ward and the 74th pick in a weak draft. O'Brien, meanwhile, has a chance to be a backup, while Rowen profiles as a ROOGY.
Recalled RHP Brandon Mauer from Triple-A El Paso; purchased the contract of LHP Chris Rearick from Triple-A El Paso; optioned RHP Nick Vincent to Triple-A El Paso; placed RHP Ian Kennedy on the 15-day disabled list (hamstring); transferred LHP Cory Luebke to the 60-day disabled list (Tommy John surgery). [4/10]
Between Kennedy's injury and Vincent's struggles, Bud Black needed some fresh arms. A.J. Preller didn't wait long to give him two.
Maurer was optioned to the minors just before Opening Day, though the coinciding injury negates his need to spend 10 days on the farm. The return on Seth Smith, Maurer is a former starter who lacked the durability or changeup to stick in the rotation. His performance last season out of the bullpen was impressive—he struck out 38 batters, walked five, and allowed one home run in 37 innings—and, provided he stays on the mound, his power arsenal should soon guide him to a set-up role.
Rearick also joined the Padres via trade, albeit only for Vince Belnome. There are no late-inning aspirations here. Rather Rearick—complete with a long arm action that sees his back elbow get high—profiles as a second lefty due to his fastball-slider combination and pitchability. Considering Belnome's status as a non-roster minor-leaguer, the Padres will take it.