Seems fitting that as I get ready to go on vacation, the likes of Brandon Inge, Ted Lilly, Dewayne Wise and Boof Bonser were released while Steve Delabar is put on the DL just after striking out the side on nine pitches last Tuesday.
Baseball is such an odd game, with such a fine line between success and failure.
So, with the philosophical aside, let's look at some players who just experienced a change of venue--mostly from the Minors--who could benefit from a change of scene. First on the list is Boston's Rubby De La Rosa, a main cog of the deadline deal last year that sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers. Note that De La Rosa was coming off arm surgery, which increases the gamble Boston took when they made the deal, but the right-hander did go 4-5, 3.71 over 60.2 innings in 2011 before the injury as a 22-year-old. This year at Pawtuckett, De La Rosa was 3-3, 4.23 over 76.2 innings, with 74 punchouts. I like De La Rosa on the Boston team, both for the end of this season and for the future.
The Athletics sort of settled their middle infield issues with the acquisition of Alberto Callaspo, who will get a lot of time at second, though he can also play third and short, giving manager Bob Melvin more flexibility covering the infield, allowing Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie and Eric Sogard time to have a break down the stretch. Callaspo is also a switch-hitter, with gives Melvin, a great manipulator of player skills, and extra chip to play with. Callaspo has a little pop, and a little speed to boot, and could be a nice contributor for the Athletics down the stretch.
One other Oakland name to track is a pitcher I have long followed--and long been disappointed by--in Fernando Nieve. Oakland grabbed the 31-year-old this past week and plugged him into the spot that was opened with the option of Tommy Milone. Nieve was having a great time at Columbus this year, going 5-3, 1.81 over 44.2 innings (55 strikeouts, 12 walks, 34 hits, and a 1.030 WHIP) and has had major league flashes, like with the Mets in 2009 (3-3, 2.95). On a contending team, in a pitchers park, Nieve could do pretty well under said Manager Melvin, although with Brett Anderson due back shortly, the question becomes which puzzle pieces get shifted where. Still. I have always thought Nieve had it, and now would be a good time to prove it to all of us.
The three-way deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston brought the Tigers' Avisail Garcia to the White Sox. Chicago already released Wise, as we have noted, and were shopping Alex Rios, whose contract is out in 2015, as the deadline approached. Still, with Adam Dunn probably not a long-term answer (though he too is signed trhough 2015) Garcia, who hit .319 over 23 games for the Tigers last year, and even played pretty reguarly through the postseason, is a name to look at. He hit .241-2-10 this year over 30 Detroit games, but look for some playing time to open as the season winds down, and similarly watch for him to earn a spot with Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo next year, making the White Sox outfield young and interesting.
OK, the Dodgers signed the Beard--that is Brian Wilson--to a deal and already the hard-throwing right-hander had made claims of staking a place in the Dodger legacy. Maybe, but truth is Wilson was not that well thought of in the Giants' clubhouse, and he will have to be awfully good to make a difference in L.A. I would not hold my breath.
However, if you are looking for late season saves, maybe the Mariners' Danny Farquhar, with a couple of conversions this past week, is the guy to choose. Farquhar is definitely a strikeout machine, as his 336 minor league whiffs over 319.2 innings indicates, and he does have 54 punchouts over 37.1 Major League innings, though with 16 walks. Although Farquhar does have a season ERA of 5.25, over the last month he has a couple of saves over 13 innings (five runs, 3.32 ERA) and is actually unscored upon the last two weeks with 16 strikeouts over ten innings. He may have indeed wrestled the closing gig from Tom Wilhelmsen.
That will be it for this week, and note that I will be on vacation through next Monday's Hotpage.