The Baseball Revue
The Angels got by just fine in Percival's absence, helping raise confidence in their injury-prone bullpen. Ben Weber did a good job as the de facto closer with both Percival and Al Levine out of action, but will return to his regular role as a short reliever now.
Richard is not going to be a factor this season and may not ever be a factor the way things are looking. He has several things working against him. He's old (28) for his position in the baseball world, which is that of an up-and-comer. He's in the wrong organization with too many people manning first base for the forseeable future (organizational old men Jeff Conine and David Segui, as well as one of Syd Thrift's two success trophies, Jay Gibbons). And, finally, he's just not that good to wait for. At his best, Richard should hit 20ish homers a year with around a .270 average. That's a replaceable part, and while the rest of those guys are in the same boat, Richard is probably fourth on the Orioles' minds.
BOSTON RED SOX
Designated RHP El Guapo for assignment; activated DH Carlos Baerga from the 15-day DL. (07.26)
Dustin Hermanson, giant flake that he is, proved entirely useless to the Red Sox this season, as the staph infection in his forearm could very well put him on the sidelines for the rest of the campaign. He got the infection washing the dishes, if you haven't heard. This is as good as Jeff Kent and his pretend car-washing. So for all their trouble, the Red Sox got one inning, three hits allowed and two earned runs from Dustin Hermanson. I said at the beginning of the season that I thought he'd fail, as he usually has, but this is too much for anyone to call.
Fossum will get his chance to start a few games and look like a real bonafide starting lefty, so that perhaps the Sox can include him as the Young Pitching Prospect in a deal for someone like Todd Ritchie (ew) or Paul Wilson (eh).
The possible end of Garces' run as a Boston fan favorite is kind of sad, because he'd go out not as a big-money free agent or as part of a blockbuster deal, but as a struggling fatso that can't get anyone out.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Acquired minor league RHP Jon Adkins from the Oakland Athletics for 2B Ray Durham. (07.25)
Recalled 2B/OF Willie Harris from Triple-A Charlotte. (07.26)
You can officially call it The Ray Durham Era for the White Sox at second base, and it should be looked back upon fondly. He was a tremendously consistent and durable second baseman for 7 1/2 years with Chicago, and would have been an All-Star starter a lot of the time had it not been for Robbie Alomar.
The Sox didn't get anything close to a good return for Durham, but acquiring Harris for Chris Singleton in the offseason has turned out to be a real good move (which it was from the very start). Harris will probably play most of the second base until he bombs, and has the ability to make things happen on the basepaths could be valuable for a team that has a powerful middle of the order. This assuming he can get on base, of course. He's not going to be Durham, but he should be serviceable.
Placed LHP Heath Murray on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 22; recalled RHP Dave Elder from Buffalo. (07.24)
Wickman's numbers this year have been rather crappy (4.59 ERA, 1.40 WHIP). He still doesn't walk many people, but he's been hit hard and would have been on the move list if not for this injury. Paronto is the average big lug that isn't really worth a damn but gets looks because he is, after all, a very big lug.
Placed SS Ramon Santiago on the 15-day DL; recalled OF Craig Monroe from Triple-A Toledo; claimed RHP Erik Sabel off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. (07.24)
Acquired IF Hiram Bocachica from the Los Angeles Dodgers for P Tom Farmer and a player to be named; purchased the contract of P Brian Powell from Toledo; optioned RHP Fernando Rodney to Toledo. (07.25)
Optioned OF Craig Monroe to Toledo. (07.26)
I wish Craig Monroe would get a fair shake, and I think it's nice that they claimed Erik Sabel, but other than that this stuff can be covered elsewhere.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Losing Mike Sweeney sucks for the Royals. Duh.
Jackson, at 37, is having his best season since '98, when he was nearly untouchable in Cleveland. His injury had to be expected, and the Twins have overcome much worse blows than this this season to remain comfortably in first place. They're not going to go anywhere in the postseason, but they pretty much have the division wrapped up.
NEW YORK YANKEES
My god, if the Red Sox could get it together, they've been handed about four or five chances to retake the lead in the division thanks to key Yankee injuries, two of them Rivera himself.
Placed LHP Ted Lilly on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 21; recalled Harang from Sacramento. (07.24)
Acquired 2B Ray Durham from the Chicago White Sox for minor league RHP Jon Adkins. (07.25)
Optioned OF Adam Piatt to Triple-A Sacramento. (07.26)
A busy few days for Oakland. First and foremost, Durham gives the A's something they desperately need, which is speed and a real, live leadoff hitter. The idea of moving him to center field is a bit ridiculous, since he's not going to be any better at it than Terrence Long, and Mark Ellis hasn't been so good that he should move Durham from his natural position.
Piatt is 26 now and has yet to stick around with Oakland for any real amount of time. He could still make it as a late-bloomer, or it could be that he simply isn't going to be a successful big-league starting outfielder.
Optioned LHP Brian Fitzgerald to Triple-A Tacoma. (07.25)
If Cordero can impress one of the more retarded GMs out there, the Rangers might be able to con someone into taking him.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Outrighted 2B Joe Lawrence to Syracuse; recalled 2B Orlando Hudson from Syracuse. (07.24)
Announced the retirement of C Darrin Fletcher; recalled OF Pedro Swann from Syracuse. (07.26)
Darrin Fletcher's career numbers: .269-.318-.423, 124 HR, 583 RBI, 1048 hits over 14 seasons with the Dodgers, Phillies, Expos and Blue Jays. He spent the bulk of his career in Canada, with his peak years in '99 and '00 with the Jays, when he hit 38 homers and drove in 138 runs over 237 games played. He was what he was, a good platoon catcher that could hit a home run.
Orlando Hudson gets his first shot in Toronto since saying that JP Ricciardi looks like he was a "pimp back in his day." What day was Ricciardi's is up in the air, since one would assume that this is, in fact, his day, meaning that Orlando Hudson believes JP Ricciardi is currently a pimp.
Durazo hit a homer in his first game back. He should be expected to return to the DL in a two-three weeks.
Interchangeable surprises, hooray.
Moehler means dick-diddly-ick to the Reds' chances of winning the division or the wild card. I don't know why anyone would go out and trade for a guy that just came off of a career-threatening injury and isn't 100%, but the Yankees did it last year with Sterling Hitchcock. I don't get it any better now than I did then, and Hitchcock's crappiness would seem to warn others of this idea. But maybe I'm just thinking too much.
Is Mlicki really likely to be any more effective than Redding?
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Acquired P Tom Farmer from the Detroit Tigers for IF Hiram Bocachica. (07.25)
Houston can "play" third base, first base and might still be able to catch if the situation desperately calls for it, but his upside, which is hitting a little bit, isn't really that valuable to a team that has those positions covered with guys that are doing as well as you'd expect Houston to. Well, except for Adrian Beltre, who sucks. SOMEONE HAD TO SAY IT, HE'S NOT A BLUE CHIP PROSPECT ANYMORE OKAY? HE SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. Okay.
Optioned RHP Nelson Figueroa to Triple-A Indianapolis; purchased the contract of P Jimmy Osting Indianapolis. (07.24)
NEW YORK METS
Signed LHP Al Leiter to a two-year contract with a mutual option for 2005. (07.24)
Recalled Failed Novelty RHP Satoru Komiyama from Triple-A Norfolk; designated LHP Bobby M. Jones for assignment. (07.26)
The Mets locked up Leiter, as they wanted to, and this officially takes him off the trade market. He should be an ace for the duration of his contract.
I watched Myers' debut against the Cubs on WGN, and he was ridiculously impressive. It was more similar to Roy Oswalt's streak of destruction last year than to Kerry Wood's sickeningly overpowering stuff in '98, which is probably good for his elbow and his future luck. Watching a 21-year old Myers lock horns with 21-year old Mark Prior in a hell of a battle, in Myers' MLB debut, is probably something that will be impressive to talk about ten years down the line.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Placed RHP Jay Witasick on the 15-day DL; purchased the contract of RHP Manny Aybar from Fresno; transferred LHP Jason Christiansen from the 15- to 60-day DL. (07.26)
Shinjo stinks and Witasick's claim to fame on the day he dies will be that he pitched for the Yankees and sucked and went off back to obscurity elsewhere. Boy does Shinjo stink.
Ben Weber has actually done an okay job in Troy Percival's absence, which is good because the Angels can ease Levine back into duty without throwing him to the ninth-inning lions.
BOSTON RED SOX
Hermanson is going to work relief, and made a statement by blowing a game against the Yankees right out of the gate. It's hard to blame him for getting rocked by a good team right away, so why was he in a high-leverage situation? Honestly, if I had to pick a starting pitcher to put in relief, Hermanson would be about my 371st choice due to his tendency to get shelled.
Placed 3B Travis Fryman on the 15-day DL; optioned RHPs David Riske and Jason C. Phillips to Triple-A Buffalo; activated RHP Jaret Wright from the 60-day DL and RHP Charles Nagy from the 15-day DL; recalled P Sean DePaula from Buffalo. (07.20)
Acquired minor league P Lance Caraccioli from the Los Angeles Dodgers for UT Jolbert Cabrera. (07.22)
A good move by the Indians, because if you're going to strip it down, 39-year old lefties should be among the first to go. Finley can still strike people out, but he is not even close to the same pitcher he was even three years ago or so. Garcia is a former pitcher with a good swing and good enough patience. He's 23 now, and gives the Indians two 1B/OF guys that are both really first baseman (Ben Broussard the other). It's a pretty good deal for Finley, though.
The double-header on Saturday was obviously Turn Back The Clock Day in Kansas City with Wright and Nagy pulling the starting duties. I give both of them until mid-August before they head back to the DL.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Getting Knoblauch back does nothing for anyone. Some people like to tout his speed, but what's that worth if he's hitting .180? I'm not saying he's THAT bad, but at his best these days, Knoblauch will probably top out at .260/.320, and that's just not worth the hassle of being punchless and a wreck in the field.
The Twins have been without 2/5 of their opening day rotation for most of the year, yet the AL Central race has never been in question this year. Kenny Williams should be ashamed of the staff he build for the White Sox, and Terry Ryan should be giving himself a raise for building the Twins and watching them prosper.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Crawford's call-up is the best news the Devil Rays will have all year, as he'll be given every chance in the world (hopefully) to be the everyday left fielder. Greg Vaughn is finished and Jason Tyner sucks, so they have to pray that Crawford can live up to the billing. If he does, the Rays don't have a terrible outfield with Crawford, Randy Winn and Ben Grieve. Of course, it's still pretty average (thanks to Grieve's horrendous and sudden decline that does not seem to be reversing at all and Winn having a career year), but when you're the Devil Rays, you take mediocrity where you can get it.
To and from Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner!
If Bob Brenly actually starts Jay Bell over anyone useful, including Craig Counsell, I'll eat my hat. Matt Williams deserves a shot at third base, but if he just can't hit anymore (which would be my first guess), then Bell will likely get a shot while Tony Womack keeps the bench warm and Counsell mans short. Quite frankly, anything that keeps Womack out of the leadoff spot is fine with me, but playing Jay Bell as the alternative is sort of like curing a cold with a headache.
Oh boy, here we go again. I will refrain from commenting on what Griffey could mean to the NL Central race until he's played for a month.
Doesn't look like the other Alex Gonzalez is going to see much time, if any, for the rest of the season. Luckily for the hapless Marlins, Andy Fox has been a perfectly fine substitute for a bad team.
Saarloos had his first good major league start on Saturday, going five innings with four hits allowed and seven strikeouts in a 3-2 win over the Cubs, notching his first big league victory and even getting a smile and some ball-return help from Sammy Sosa. If he's ready for the pressure this time, he's up to stay.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Acquired UT Jolbert Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Lance Caraccioli. (07.22)
Pinch-bunter. Both guys are former awful Orioles.
NEW YORK METS
Optioned LHP Mike Bacsik to Triple-A Norfolk; recalled RHP Jae Seo from Norfolk. (07.21)
The nice thing about the possibility of the Mets trading Robbie Alomar is that they got Scutaro for nothing and have the luxury of having a potentially-good immediate solution for what would be a hole at second base. They also have Alfonzo, but moving him back would require finding a third baseman. Scutaro has his defensive limitations, but he can hit and has no problem taking a walk, which the Mets could use at the top of their lineup. If he gets any playing time right now, though, it'd be a surprise.
If the Mets had the balls to admit that this season is lost, they could have stuck with Mike Bacsik and done everything in their power to rid themselves of Shawn Estes or Jeff D'Amico, but just like last season, they're content to pretend that they still have a shot at the playoffs, and though they may pull another overstated stretch run out of their asses, it's not going to be good enough because they still have four offensive holes including an entire outfield, and not enough pitching to get the job done. The Mets are sort of obnoxious in their Yankee Juniorism.
Yeeeeehaw. As long as people can live with him not being a Kerry Wood or Roy Oswalt bat out of hell, he should be fine.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Optioned LHP Bud Smith to Triple-A Memphis. (07.20)
Finley won his first start, and like I said earlier, he can still strike people out. He whiffed eight in six innings, but also allowed four runs (three earned) and gave up seven hits. Is he going to make the Cards instant playoff locks? Absolutely not, but with the way Bud Smith has pitched and the fact that they even gave serious thought to an Andy Benes comeback, you can't fault them for going out and getting a proven lefty to at least shore up the rotation. At the least, he shouldn't be a disaster. Just consistently medicore.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Sent RHP Rodney Myers to Portland; purchased the contract of P Brandon Villafuerte from Portland. (07.21)