Friday, November 18, 2005
Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition
Hershiser Booted Upstairs In TexasOrel Hershiser resigned as the Rangers' pitching coach and assumed the title of executive director, thus apparently ending any hopes the Dodgers might have had of picking him up for a Front Office Job To Be Named Later.
Angels Move Seven Prospects To 40-Man RosterAnd I thought the five the Dodgers pulled up was a lot! The Angels placed seven players on the 40-man roster, and there were a few surprises among them. Oh, sure, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, and Nick Gorneault made the cut, as did Mike Napoli, but the surprises were Tommy Murphy, Reggie Willits, and Jose Arredondo.
To make room, the Angels requested release waivers on Matt Hensley, who had shoulder surgery this year and was never consistently effective. The Angels also outrighted Dustin Moseley to Salt Lake. Moseley's K/9 collapsed this year (4.15) but it had never been very impressive.
I'm going to speculate a bit here and suggest that the addition of Gorneault, Murphy, and Willits means two things: first, Curtis Pride has played his last game as an Angel, and second, that Jeff DaVanon may have to work to keep his fourth outfielder job next year. Granted, it's far from clear that any of the outfielders just promoted would be as skillful at the plate, but DaVanon's inability to hit has hurt his cause seriously this year. Willits looks to me like he could be another Orlando Palmiero type, with inconsistent offense but still a useful bat off the bench nonetheless. Gorneault is more interesting; he's had the charge of owning an inconsistent and hard-to-repeat swing, yet he's hit for decent power, hitter's league or no. Still, he strikes out a ton, but that's common to all three.
Brewers Sign Rick Helling, Claim SorensenThe Brewers may have just made one of the steals of the offseason by locking up Rick Helling for the paltry sum of $850,000 on a one-year contract. Helling, whose previous stints with Florida and Texas were not terribly successful (prior to this year, his career low full-season ERA was 4.31), managed a 2-1 record in seven starts with a 2.18 ERA. Sure, he's going to be 35 next year, and it's almost certain that his 2005 represents a fluke year, but if, as has been reported, he's scrapped one or more ineffective pitches and he's fixed his cutter (see comment 6), this could work out well for the Brewers. Even the Brewers can afford to release him on a one-year contract for less than a mil.
The Brewers also acquired SS Zach Sorensen from the Angels off waivers. With owner Mark Attanasio promising an incrementally higher payroll next year, the Brewers are becoming more and more interesting.
Mariners Add Six To 40-ManThe M's added six players to their 40-man roster: RHP Renee Cortz, RHP Emiliano Fruto, LHP Cesar Jimenez, LHP Bobby Livingston, INF Oswaldo Navarro and OF T.J. Bohn. Jimenez (18th), Navarro (24th), Livingston (22nd) were listed as top prospects in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2005. More commentary at U.S.S. Mariner.
Olympic Qualifiers: USA 9, Panama 3Team USA clinched a slot in the August Olympic qualifier on Thursday, but they didn't play like they already had things wrapped up, pounding Panama hard. Howie Kendrick went 2-5, Brandon Wood 0-3 with three strikeouts (ouch), with Jarrod Saltalamacchia going 3-3 and driving in a pair. Ryan Shealy drove in three, going 4-4 with a homer and two doubles.
More On Complex Leagues ChangesOkay, so there won't be any changes to the complex leagues in 2006, but it could still happen in 2007, says Alan Schwartz in his latest chat with MLB executive vice president Jimmy Lee Solomon.
(In case you forgot: the complex leagues -- the Gulf Coast League and the Arizona League -- are being slated for termination or at the very least conversion to "co-op" status, nearly the same thing. This is probably not a good thing for either the Dodgers or Angels, both of whom tend to take flyers on risky players who can be weeded out at lower levels like these. You can read a summary of the proposed changes here.)