The Baseball Revue
Activated 2B Junior Spivey from the 15-day DL; optioned IF Alex Cintron to Triple-A Tucson. (06.26)
Activated RHP Matt Mantei from the 60-day DL; optioned RHP Duaner Sanchez to Tucson. (06.27)
Mantei pitched his high school ball about 40 minutes south of here in Three Oaks, Michigan for River Valley High School, and one of my friends is somehow related to him, so I always root for the guy. But favoritism aside, he's a brittle reliever with an arm that could stop functioning for good on any pitch he throws at this point. His history as a closer may give the Diamondbacks the foolish idea of putting him into that role for the recently-shaky Byung-Hyun Kim, but I'd like to hope they aren't going to make that rash of a decision. He did pick a hell of a time to come back from injury, though. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Spivey has something important to prove after his return from injury. He has to show his first couple months weren't a fluke, which I don't think they are. It's not as if his job is in jeopardy if he starts hitting .280 or anything, but he's been a very important part of Arizona's offense this season, and they'll need him to stay hot.
Spooneybarger stayed in Richmond a lot longer than I thought he would, but mostly because Kevin Millwood, Damian Moss and Jason Marquis have all stayed healthy and useful. Spooneybarger is a better fit for the Atlanta bullpen than Lopez is, but they don't exactly need him. I do think that he'll be a good major league reliever for a decade or so, though.
BOSTON RED SOX
Arrojo had pitched very well since going into the rotation, and he'll likely get his spot back once he's healthy. Sunny Kim could take his spot, but it might be wiser to go with the safer, more consistently mediocre Tim Wakefield for the time being. Kim has great stuff, but he's still very erratic.
Beltran is all of 21 years old and is one of three hard-throwing Dominican players on the Cubs' Of The Future list, with Juan Cruz and Wilton Chavez. He throws gas at around 97 MPH, and will likely get a shot in the bullpen with Cruz moving back into the rotation, a spot that should've been his anyway. It's too bad Bere got hurt and all, but at least the Cubs don't have to keep trotting onto the field to lose every time he starts just because Don Baylor thinks he's a swell guy and he had a shockingly okay 2001.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
I don't like Kohlmeier as a pitcher, but I do feel sorry for him. He got the undeserved tag of Future Closer with the Orioles after saving 13 of 14 games in rocky fashion. He was never a prospect of any sort, just a minor league reliever looking for a break. He got one, but it was unfortunately too big of one for him to handle. It's tough luck and the result of playing in a horrible system, but if he can get righted in Charlotte he could be of use to a major league bullpen.
The more I digest this trade, the more I don't know what to think of it. Phillips will be the successor to Omar Vizquel and could even make Vizquel available to contenders and overspenders (Mets, Astros, White Sox, Diamondbacks). Vizquel's trade value may be at an all-time high given that he's putting together his most productive season ever at the plate and is still a Gold Glover. Adding Lee Stevens troubles me because it either means that they'll trade Thome and put him at first instead of Ben Broussard, or they'll trade Thome and Ellis Burks, and put Broussard at first and Stevens at DH. Or it could just mean that the Expos demanded they take Lee Stevens' salary in exchange for Colon's. The trade gets more talk in the Expos section below.
The Astros have been dancing the bullpen bump all season to little in the way of positive results.
Travis Miller is a completely useful lefty, but with the rotation problems the Twins are having, someone had to go. Rincon is up for a spot of tea if Brad Radke gets back soon, and a spot of tea and crumpets if he doesn't.
You have to admire the win now attitude here, and it never hurts to rid yourself of Lee Stevens. The fact that this team will likely be moved and still exist next season means very little to Omar Minaya, who probably wouldn't stay on as GM and wants to prove himself immediately. In that respect, trading a blue chipper like Phillips is much more easy than it normally would be. Colon is not what I consider an ace, but I'm sort of stingy with the term. I fully appreciate the fact that he can at times be dominating and look like one of the best starters in the league, but how about all the other times he doesn't? That's what's always been troubling about him, and at 29 (maybe), that's probably not going to change, though it wouldn't be unprecedented or anything.
NEW YORK METS
NEW YORK YANKEES
Hahaha, the Yankees have Karim Garcia.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Activated RHP Kevin Jarvis from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Kevin Barker to Portland. (06.27)
Not that there's anything wrong with Shigetoshi Hasegawa, especially this season, but he is not the lights-out guy that Jeff Nelson can be. A fully healthy Mariners team may be simply too good for anyone in the AL West to keep up with over the long haul this season.
Recalled RHP John Lackey from Triple-A Salt Lake; optioned RHP Brendan Donnelly from Salt Lake. (06.24)
Recalled RHP Matt Wise from Salt Lake; optioned Lackey to Salt Lake. (06.25)
Wise is better suited to be up in the long-relief/spot starter role, since Lackey is considered Anaheim's No. 1 pitching prospect and Wise, well, isn't. That's not to say Wise isn't useful, because he is. But that's about all he is.
You know the role Mike Morgan just vacated? That's the one Stottlemyre should take over if the D-Backs insist on letting him pitch at all. For the second straight year, they've chugged along just fine in his absence. He's a neat story, but he's done.
Holy crap. Yorkis Perez? This is the Sean Douglass they wouldn't include in a trade for Scott Rolen? The Sean Douglass that gets demoted in favor of Yorkis freaking Perez? Well I never.
BOSTON RED SOX
Activated OF/DH Manny Ramirez and RHP Rich Garces from the 15-day DL; optioned 1B Juan Diaz and LHPs Casey Fossum and Darren Oliver to Triple-A Pawtucket. (06.25)
It's great for Sox fans to get Manny and El Guapo back, and a greatly encouraging sign that the team was able to stay at the top of the division without their biggest bat and their top righty setup man. It's also nice to see them clear the way for Embree by demoting Darren Oliver, whose early season success was as brief as anyone could have guessed.
As much as I refuse to trust Alan Embree, he has pitched brilliantly this season for the Padres. This is eerily reminiscent of Jay Witasick last season, an average-ish reliever pitching really well for a short amount of time in San Diego, then traded to a contender out east in a far more pressure-filled situation. I don't trust Embree one bit, but it's tough to question acquiring a lefty sporting an ERA under 2.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Harris, as mentioned when he was called up, was merely up to pinch-run and other extra stuff during the NL-park swing, and now that we're back to reality, Ginter is back with the team.
It's really quite distressing what's happened to Junior Griffey over the past two seasons. He looks like a broken-down, finished old ballplayer, when in reality he's just 32 years old and should be a member of the 500-homer club by now. You've got to wonder how much more of this he can take, both physically and mentally. He can barely get a week of games in before he aggravates something old or injures something new. On one hand, it seems like Griffey should be able to overcome this and go on to finish his career as one of the best players in the history of baseball. But, on the other hand, it almost doesn't seem shocking to think that he would retire, and that's sad.
Kearns has to turn around and come back to Cincinnati, moving Juan Encarnacion back to center. Encarnacion has turned into, well, into Juan Encarnacion again, so this is in no way good or easy to shrug off, even if the dumb Cincinnati fans think they're sick of Junior's injury problems or his attitude or whatever. Griffey is one of the two most talented players in baseball, and no one should forget that. Unfortunately, it's becoming very easy to.
Shuey's return is good news for the Indians, but only so far as it's nice to have him back for the rare occasions he gets to hold a lead in the 7th or 8th inning. That's the other Jeff D'Amico, the one that's only famous because his name is Jeff D'Amico. I still don't see why the Indians couldn't find a spot for Bruce Aven, but whatever.
Izquierdo got bombed bad on Monday, so Treut will take his place in the bullpen for now. Nothing more than that really.
Bako will join Robert Machado to form the deadliest catching duo in the majors since the BEGINNING OF TIME.
NEW YORK YANKEES
You know, the most annoying thing about this is that there are a handful of rotations in the league where Mike Thurman would be a No. 4 starter, and the Yankees can shuttle him back to Columbus like it's no big deal. I still think he's better than Sterling Hitchcock, but that's nitpicking, and Hitchcock is left-handed so he gets to stay.
And were the Yankees paying attention to how good Ted Lilly was against the Padres, or did they just dismiss that as another "lucky day" in what has been a season chock full of them for Lilly?
Nickle is an imminently replaceable middle reliever that was once a Closer of the Future, but has instead just become someone that won't kill you and keeps the ball in the park. Bottalico is a valuable part of Philadelphia's bullpen, but with Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen, Travis Lee and Mike Lieberthal all off to subpar starts, there are certainly more pressing issues at hand.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Travis Smith will likely take Darryl Kile's spot in the rotation for the time being.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Lundquist is a 29-year old guy with about average stuff. He's a low-strikeout pitcher, but doesn't have great control in order to make up for it. You can do worse for a brief rental, but don't expect him to stick around too long.
Abbott will be ridiculously unmissed by the Mariners, as much as Lou Piniella would insist otherwise. Abbott is, quite honestly, the sixth best starting pitcher on the team, behind Garcia, Moyer, Pineiro, Halama and Baldwin, and I believe you could even make an argument for him being behind Ryan Franklin, who has been solid in a middle relief/spot starter role this year.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Placed DH/OF Greg Vaughn on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 23; placed RHP Ryan Rupe on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 20; activated RHP Slammin' Jorge Sosa from the 15-day DL; designated C Paul Hoover for assignment; optioned RHPs Jason Jimenez and Victor Zambrano to Triple-A Durham; recalled C Toby Hall and RHPs Jesus Colome and Travis Phelps from Durham. (06.25)
Woo. Hall is back in the bigs and had his best game of the season on Tuesday night, a really good sign that his confidence is okay and he's ready to perform at the level expected of him. Colome is back after being punished in Durham for nearly starting a brawl with the Yankees, and Phelps is back because...I dunno, because the Devil Rays love to swap their mediocre righty relievers back-and-forth, which is why Zambrano and Jimenez were sent down. Hoover sucked as much as expected, and he'll likely clear waivers and head back to Durham because the Devil Rays aren't really in a position to just cut him loose.
Vaughn's trip to the DL seems tremendously overdue given his horrid performance this season, but really he's just sucked, and that's the worst part of it, because his trade value is zero at the moment given his salary and terrible, terrible production. Rupe has been Tampa's second-best starter behind Paul Wilson, not that that means much. And Slammin' Jorge Sosa is just back to be Slammin' Jorge Sosa. Woo.
Placed RHP Francisco Cordero on the 15-day DL; recalled RHP Colby Lewis from Oklahoma. (06.25)
WILL YOU STOP IT? You could GIVE HIM ONE DAY. This is insulting. If you want Myette up then just call him up. This either shows complete dunderheadedness on John Hart's part or an indication that he's high on the pot. Ridiculous. Completely ridiculous.
Cordero lasted a good week in the closer's role. So who's next? Jay Powell? John Rocker's third (fourth? third? tenth?) try? Hideki Irabu Part Two? I don't know. My guess is as good as yours, I suppose. I'll bet on Irabu. I guess.
BOSTON RED SOX
Activated RHP Paxton Crawford and LHP Jeff Wallace from the 15-day DL and optioned both to Triple-A Pawtucket. (06.21)
Crawford is no longer the Future Savior of Beantown. That mantle may have fallen to the tiny and likable Casey Fossum, at least for now. As good as Ugueth Urbina has been, the Sox could really have made use of Tomo Ohka's performance this season. It's not to say they miss him terribly, since Rolando Arrojo or Tim Wakefield are perfectly fine fifth starters, but thinking of "last year's class" of young Sox hurlers (Crawford, Ohka, Fossum and Sunny Kim), Ohka has become by far the best pitcher as of now. Too bad they couldn't have moved Kim or Crawford for Ugy.
Yankees fan Gene White asks,
Well, Gene, not in a million years.
Kearns' line this year: .284/.395/.472, 8 HR, 28 RBI. I suppose someone had to go, but jeez.
It's too bad that it took superstar Todd Dunwoody getting injured to get the Indians to bring Broussard up.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Kile was a very solid pitcher throughout his career except for the two years he spent in Colorado. After getting traded from the Rockies, Kile went 41-24 in two-and-a-half years with St. Louis, and if you take out those seasons with the Rockies, Kile was 112-89 for his career. Overall, he finishes 133-119 with a 4.12 ERA and 1668 strikeouts. To say the Cardinals will miss him as a player is a vast understatement. To say the fans and players will miss him is even more of one. It's one of the few times that something in baseball really stuns everyone in the league and its fans, and it's really a shame that Kile went so young and in the prime of his career and his life.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Placed RHP Bobby J. Jones on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 16; recalled RHP Jeremy Fikac from Double-A Mobile; outrighted OF Trenidad Hubbard to Triple-A Portland; purchased the contract of RHP Jake Peavy from Mobile; optioned RHP J.J. Trujillo from Mobile; recalled RHP Eric Cyr from Mobile. (06.21)
The Padres have struggled, and if now's not the time to get your looks at Peavy and Cyr on the major league level, then there isn't one. Why wait for August? If they pitch well, they could get a half-year of major league baseball under their belts heading into 2003. Of course, Dennis Tankersley went belly-up in his callup earlier this season, but not to worry; if they do poorly, the result is more seasoning at Mobile. It's not like they're too old for it or anything.
Klesko's deal will keep him a Padre through the 2006 season, or his 35th birthday. That'll probably be about the time his decline sets in, because he's a late-bloomer in terms of his peak. His two-and-a-half seasons in San Diego have been the best of his career, once thought to be a disappointment after incredible hype as a Braves prospect in the mid-90s led to a rocky, good-but-not-great career in Atlanta where he had really just two really good seasons in '95 and '96. He's a rare breed of a first baseman that can hit for power, hit for average, take his walks and steal a few bases. His slope downhill will likely not be as steep as Phil Nevin's, but both are fan favorites and the Padres are doing the right thing to keep them around as the organization looks to build new familiar heroes in the absence of Tony Gwynn.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Goodwin is okay to have around as a possible defensive replacement for Marvin Benard in case Shinjo gets hurt, but that's about it. He's gone from being a sketchy slap-hitter with great speed to being just plain bad at anything but running pretty fast and catching fly balls.
Optioned LHP Randy Flores to Triple-A Oklahoma. (06.21)
Named Orel Hershiser pitching coach. (06.22)
Oh boy, where to begin. Either Oscar Acosta is a real hard fella to deal with, or he's getting stuck with the wrong people. Acosta's accomplishments with guys like Jason Bere, Jeff Fassero and Julian Tavarez last year are hard to ignore. He's a fine pitching coach. Don Baylor fired him after the two had several disputes (it's hard to side with Baylor on anything, but...), and now the Rangers have let him go less than a year after that incident.
You can argue that the Rangers' pitchers have been terrible and something needed to be done. How about that something being giving up on horrendous retreads like Burba and Rocker? Hideki Irabu had a nice stretch, then he got bombed. It's far more likely that he'll continue to get bombed than have another nice stretch. The only really quality pitchers on the Rangers staff are Chan Ho Park, Todd Van Poppel, Jay Powell and Jeff Zimmerman, one of which hasn't pitched all year and another that just got back. Park has also had his injury problems, but while no one expected him to be this bad, it also seems as if the Rangers were the only people in the world that didn't know about Park's home/road splits with the Dodgers.
Orel Hershiser was a hell of a pitcher before injuries derailed his career, and even after he was still a generally above-average pitcher. I question his ability to get the most out of this pitching staff, because he's a very calm, easy-going guy that does CBN television talking about how the Lord saved his career. I don't think that's the kind of guy to beat some sense into either the staff or the organization to drive home the point that bad pitchers pitch badly, and just because you paid a mediocre pitcher a lot of money it doesn't mean he's going to be worth it.