Lost in Transactions 3/9-3/15/09: Week of the optioned

Chad Cordero (Icon/SMI)

It was a slow week as the clubs started trimming the excess fat off their spring training rosters while crossing their fingers that their players playing in the World Baseball Classic don’t get hurt. Former setup pitcher Duaner Sanchez and second baseman Esteban German were both released and quickly found new homes. Let’s get Lost in Transactions…


Colorado Rockies optioned RHP Esmil Rogers to Double-A Tulsa.

Kansas City Royals released INF Esteban German, who cleared waivers.

New York Yankees optioned RHP Andrew Brackman to Single-A.

Pittsburgh Pirates optioned RHP Romulo Sanchez to Triple-A Indianapolis.

San Francisco Giants optioned LHP Pat Misch to Triple-A Fresno.

Misch has been up and down for the club the last few years. He showed promise in 2007, pitching 66.2 innings for the team’s Triple-A affiliate and whiffing 74 to go along with 19 walks. That same year, he pitched 40.2 innings for the big league club, posting a 4.24 ERA while shuffling between the bullpen and rotation. His FIP was 3.96 and looked to be a burgeoning option. Alas, 2008 saw him regress significantly as he suddenly lost the ability to whiff batters as evidenced by his 56 in 87 innings for Triple-A. In the majors, he had a 5.68 ERA in 52.1 innings, walking 15, striking out 38 and giving up 11 home runs. The 27-year-old will try to recapture his magic. Given his three walks and zero whiffs in three innings in spring training, he has a ways to go.


Boston Red Sox optioned INF Argenis Diaz to Double-A Portland.

Cincinnati Reds optioned Yonder Alonso to Double-A Carolina.

The first-round pick by the Reds will head to Double-A for his age-22 year. At 21, he saw 19 at-bats in for Single-A+, which isn’t much to really identify how he will perform. It’s definitely a pretty aggressive timetable, but he had a .929 OPS in Hawaii winter ball. He’s advanced as a hitter for his age, but eventually he will have to either move to left field to accommodate Joey Votto or be shipped out of town. Could he be traded for major league pieces should the Reds be in the playoff hunt? I think he could.

Houston Astros optioned RHP Brad James to Triple-A Round Rock.

New York Mets released RHP Duaner Sanchez.

Tampa Bay Rays optioned LHP James Houser to Triple-A Durham.

Washington Nationals optioned LHP Michael O’Connor to Triple-A Syracuse.


Atlanta Braves released RHP Anthony Lerew.

Chicago White Sox optioned RHP Lucas Harrell to Double-A Birmingham.

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Washington Nationals signed RHP Kip Wells to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Really? I know that acting general manager Mike Rizzo wants to bring in competition, but … really? He strung together a couple solid years as a league-average/above-average starter but now he should be looked at as nothing less than filler for a 100-loss team. I suppose that’s what he is here, but if he gets a job out of spring training, that doesn’t say much about the arms the Nationals have in camp.


Seattle Mariners signed RHP Chad Cordero to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp.

Great deal for the Mariners, and Cordero put himself in a good position as well. The Mariners have an opening at closer, which should be handed to Cordero should he continue his rehab well from injury. He might not open the season on the roster, but he won’t be too far behind if that happens. Playing in a pitcher’s park will benefit him as well, and he could turn a solid season as closer for the Mariners into a nice payday. The key to his success will be regaining his diminished velocity; he averaged 89.6 in 2007 and saw that dip to 83.6 before finally being shelved for the season.


Chicago Cubs signed INF Esteban German to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. Optioned OF Richie Robnett to Triple-A Iowa.

Esteban German over Tony Peña doesn’t make baseball sense, but it makes financial sense. The Royals saved about $1 million with the release. Their loss is the Cubs’ gain, as they replace Ronny Cedeño with German and essentially don’t miss a beat in infield depth. With a career .277/.358/.383 line in 1,091 at-bats, I consider him one of the better backups in the league and a luxury for the Cubs.

Florida Marlins Released OF Jay Gibbons. Optioned Jai Miller to Triple-A New Orleans.

New York Mets optioned RHP Eddie Kunz to Triple-A Buffalo.

The Mets are building impressive depth in their bullpen, with Sean Green recently garnering praise from Peter Gammons. Kunz was drafted in 2007 and was considered one of the draft’s closest pitchers to the majors, but albeit without a high ceiling. Kunz, a reliever, should make his major league debut later this year.

Oakland Athletics optioned outfielder Javier Herrera to Triple-A Sacramento.

Washington Nationals signed RHP Julian Tavarez to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Tavarez is a better option than Wells to give the Nationals some innings. He recently converted back to being a starter to help the Red Sox out, but he mysteriously lost any value to the club in September 2007 (still trying to figure out why) and was moved in the early going in 2008. After a stint in Milwaukee, he put up solid innings for the Braves as a reliever. The Nationals could do worse than Tavarez as a swingman. All the major projection systems have him with a mid-4.50s ERA.


Kansas City Royals optioned RHP Carlos Rosa and INF Tug Hulett to Triple-A Omaha. Optioned SS Mario Lisson to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Baltimore Orioles optioned RHP Jim Hoey, LHP Troy Patton to Triple-A.

The Orioles are assembling a nice stead of young pitchers that could have them making noise as soon as next year. Patton, a lefty, was acquired in the Miguel Tejada trade while Hoey needs to figure out how to approach big-league pitching. Twenty-seven innings, 41 whiffs, 10 walks and four earned runs in Triple-A is impressive. 24.2 innings, 18 strikeouts, 18 free passes and 20 earned runs in the majors? Not so impressive.

New York Mets claimed RHP Fernando Nieve off waivers from the Astros.

Just another filler arm.

San Diego Padres signed OF Chris Snelling to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Just another filler bat.


Houston Astros optioned RHP Samuel Gervacio, LHPs Tyler Lumsden and Polin Trinidad, OF Yordany Ramirez and INF Drew Sutton to Triple-A Round Rock.

Cleveland Indians optioned LHP Rich Rundels to Triple-A.

San Diego Padres signed RHP Duaner Sanchez to a minor league contract.

Sanchez, looking to recapture his 2004-6 self that made him one of the better relievers in the game before being out all of 2007, was released by the New York Mets to save money (about $1.4 million). His velocity has dropped so far from 93.3 mph in 2005 to 89.8 in 2008, and in spring training, it’s reportedly 87 mph. Sanchez brushed off concerns, saying he hasn’t reached back and gassed it up yet to make sure he “has it there.” Worth it to lose $1.4 million? Apparently so.

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