Indians sign Carl Pavano (1/1.5)
About a month ago, I covered Pavano and his prospects moving forward. The story remains the same, if healthy, Pavano can be a decent pitcher, but health has been an outlier for Pavano in the past few seasons. This is a relatively low risk move since the Indians are paying for 0.2 wins, something that Pavano should easily surpass unless he misses the entire season. If it works out, the move can help to cement the Indians “rebound” status in 2009, and helps to continue their off-season makeover.
Mariners sign Tyler Walker (1/?)
Seattle added Eric Hull to the bullpen fray last week, and now Walker. Walker missed most of 2006 and 2007 thanks to injuries, but worked through more than 50 innings last season as a Giant. Using a 92 MPH fastball and 83 MPH slider heavily, Walker racked up the strikeouts last season in one of his better seasons. Homerun tendencies are a bit alarming given his groundball/flyball rates, which are seemingly close during any given season.
Since 2005 Walker has worked primarily in higher-leverage situations, with a two-year stint as closer thrown in. Jack Zduriencik’s crew will have to figure out if Aaron Heilman or Brandon Morrow is their closer, but it’s safe to assume Walker will be one of the primary set-up men in Seattle’s bullpen next season. Assuming the money is reasonable, it’s hard to find fault here.
Last off-season Choate signed a major league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers and promptly got comfortable with his Nashville apartment. This season things could be a bit different – the apartment might be in Durham, woo! In all seriousness though, with the Rays signing of Pat Burrell and apparent desire to move some bullpen payroll, Choate has the opportunity to make the roster as a low-cost LOOGY. Choate possesses an unconventional delivery and has groundball inducing stuff and will likely wind up with the major league club eventually in 2009.
DePaula, not to be confused with Jorge, saw his first majors action last season with Minnesota. As mentioned, the Rays are looking to move some payroll and groundball extraordinaire Chad Bradford could be the one to go. DePaula induces grounders and could profile as a low-leverage reliever. The more likely route involves hanging out in Choate’s Durham apartment while Choate relieves in St. Petersburg.