Lost in Transactions 1/19-1/25/09: Garden variety signingsby Evan Brunell
January 26, 2009
The Baltimore Orioles got their starting catcher (at least until uberprospect Matt Wieters hits the bigs) and there were several other small moves that comprised this past week of baseball transactions. The minor league and one-year contracts are starting to trickle in, but they are of the garden variety. More interesting to me is which (and when) of the bigger names in free agency will cave and take a one-year deal at low dollars just to make sure he has a job for the season. Maybe we'll cover that player next week?
|Jeff Kent (Icon/SMI)|
NOTE: Unless significant, I will not be posting contract/arbitration decisions as they are already bound to the team for the 2009 season.
Baltimore Orioles acquired RHP David Pauley from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for RHP Randor Bierd.
I like this acquisition for the Orioles. Pauley has a fringe-average fastball but was able to post a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts for Pawtucket. He gave up 147 hits in 147 innings, walked 41 and whiffed 103. With his sinker, he could make a solid back of the rotation starter. He's prone to the home run ball, so the probably Orioles aren't a perfect match for his skill set (as opposed to, say, the San Diego Padres).
Detroit Tigers agreed to terms with pitcher Juan Rincon on a minor league contract.
He used to be pretty good with the Minnesota Twins. He's not anymore. Still, worth a flyer.
Baltimore Orioles signed RF Nick Markakis to a six-year contract.
As I wrote last week when the O's acquired Felix Pie, the club now has one of the more dynamic outfields in baseball. Markakis is the most accomplished of all three and is fast becoming the face of Orioles baseball.
Entering his age-25 season, the possibility exists that Markakis will eventually hit 30 taters, but for now he will have to settle for being in the low 20s. His walk rate spiked last year to 14.3 (8.1 in 2006, 8.7 in 2007) so he's adjusting more and more to major league pitching. His isolated power held steady at .185, same as 2007, so he still has room for growth there.
An encouraging sign in his progression is the increase of his line drive percentage, which rose to 21.1 percent a year after checking in at 17.7. Line drives are the balls hit with the most authority, so any trend upwards is considered a good thing. He also drastically improved his defense, posting a 3.6 UZR a year after going -0.7. All told, he was worth $24.3 million in true value last year. He has yet to make an All Star Game, but expect that to change, if not in 2009.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed C Brad Ausmus to a one-year contract.
Los Angeles Angels signed P Matt Palmer and 2B Luis Figueroa to minor league contracts.
Boston Red Sox acquired pitcher Fabian Williamson from the Seattle Mariners for pitcher David Aardsma.
R.J. Anderson covered this acquisition over at Fangraphs and brings up some examples that Aardsma could be following, most notably the ascension of Grant Balfour and Matt Thornton to above-average relief pitchers. Aardsma's issue has always been command but was able to harness most of it and be a valuable piece out of the Red Sox bullpen before going down midseason with an injury after trying to pitch through it. His statistics after the injury were not pretty. Still, check out this K/9 correlation: