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Sunday 25th Feb 2018

Such strange transaction times in baseball these days, as we are at the final real milestone--Labor Day--that goes hand in hand with roster expansion. But, a cluster of waiver trades added to this week's roster madness, but, I have to start this holiday version of the Hotpage with a nod to the most delicious player name to make the Show since Stubby Clapp.

That would be Arizona catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, the first Tuffy to hit the Majors since Tuffy Rhodes, a fantasy legend of sorts. Not that Gosewisch (whose formal name is James Benjamin Gosewisch) is any kind of a fantasy pick up, at age 30, with a .239-50-301line over nine minor league seasons. Still, baseball has such a great tradition of goofy nicknames, and this latest iteration of Tuffy certainly deserves a nod and chuckle, if nothing else.

Baltimore acquired Mike Morse from Seattle on the first of the waiver moves we can review this time. Morse, as witnessed by his great 2011 of .303-31-95, is certainly capable of major production, but, the 146 games he played that season dwarfs any other consistent playing time over his career. He did manage solid enough numbers of .291-18-62 last season with the Nationals, albeit over 102 games, and came out of the blocks hot this year after signing with Seatle, hitting .245-8-12 over the first month of the season. 

However, he has gone .228-5-14 over 175 Seattle at-bats since, and just prior to the trade to Baltimore, which should be a bit of a boost to the 31-year old. Morse should both benefit from the new surroundings, in both playing for a contender, and within a somewhat more potent lineup than in Seattle.

Similarly, the Dodgers obtaining another Mike, that being Michael Young, makes for an equally nice interleague move. Los Angeles has survived the season with piece-meal parts at the hot corner, starting with the possiblity that Dee Gordon would step his stick up, and leave Hanley Ramirez to play third. That failed in the spring, so Luis Cruz and Nick Punto filled the gap until Juan Uribe returned to form, and though all three combined for decent production (.235-10-68), Young is a professional hitter who brings .276-8-42 2013 totals to his team. 

At 36, Young is clearly past his very good prime but he makes contact (.336 OBP, and .731 OPS) and like Morse should benefit by being both with a contender, and in a much more potent lineup. Meaning Young is a nice play over the final month of the season.

On the flip, there were two intra-league waiver moves that are probably less promising, starting with Jason Kubel moving to the Indians. The left-handed hitting outfielder/DH made a nice mark in 2009 with his .300-28-103 season, even managing a decent follow-up season of .249-21-92, then succumbing to injury and free agency to Arizona in 2012. 

There the now 31-year old did well enough with .253-30-90 numbers, but this season has been beyond disasterous with .220-5-32 numbers over 241at-bats. Though back in the American League, Kubel's role is not so clearly defined as those of Young and Morse, so even though Kubel goes to a contender, I have less faith he will deliver as in the past.

I feel much the same for Kubel's former Minnesota mate, Justin Morneau, who is now a Pirate. 

Morneau's last sort of full season of 2009 (.274-30-100) was in 2009, like Kubel, and since he has struggled with injuries to be sure, and though the first sacker's 2012 promised some hope (.267-19-77) it mostly revealed that Morneau is now decent, but not much more. His 2013 line is nearly the same at .257-17-74, and though the Pirates have made it through well enough with Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez manning first, Morneau is likely a more formidable option. 

Mostly, the addition gives Clint Hurdle some roster flexibility, but the league switch does put Morneau in the National League for the first time as well, usually a tough transition.

The reality is that it is crunch time, so using your FAAB to grab either Morneau or Kubel is certainly a prudent move, but simply don't expect too much from either.

Seattle jumped the gun of September 1 roster expansion by a day, promoting their first round selection of 2010, Taijuan Walker. Just 21, Walker is a premiere prospect who marched into AA in 2012, whet his feet (7-10, 4.69) and then showed his stuff this year with a 4-7, 2.46 line that prompted a promotion to Tacoma where Walker handled himself well with 5-3, 3.61 totals prior to the call-up.

Walker has 400 whiffs over his 371.2 minor league innings, allowing 307 hits to 149 walks (1.227 WHIP) and that means he can indeed be dominant, something Walker did carry onto his first start of five innings with a pair of hits allowed, no earned runs, and a win. If Walker is for some reason available in your league you want him now, but you really want him for the future.

Detroit's Nick Castellanos was also a high school sign from the 2010 draft, in fact he was selected one pick after Walker. Castellanos was a third sacker when signed, but since Detroit is pretty well set at third with that Miguel Cabrera guy, Castellanos is now playing in the outfield. Also 21, he hit well at Toledo this year (.276-18-76) and a solid 54 walks to 100 punchouts (.343 OBP). Like Walker, if available, Castellanos is a player you want to have in your pocket for coming years.

We can finish with one more pick from 2010, the #11 player overall in Oakland's Michael Choice. Choice did opt for college (three years at Texas) instead of signing out of high school, and now 23, has moved up to the point of a strong 2013 of .302-14-89 at Sacramento. Choice also drew a strong 69 walks to 115 strikeouts (.390 OBP) but for the bulk of 2013 will have a tough time cracking the Oakland outfield at least until the point where the team clinches or is out of it. Still, Choice makes an interesting future possibility.

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