Transaction Report (5/09/10-5/16/10)

Time for another review on the week of transactions, as we saw the first MLB manager to be fired this week. As we get closer to June, many teams are determining if they are buyers or sellers, and will start setting their strategies heading up to the July 31st trading deadline. But, with that being said lets take a look at some of the moves that are already being made, as we look at the happenings that took place last week.

Kansas City Royals Fire Manager Trey Hillman

If you had Trey Hillman as the first manager to be fired on this season, then hit it right on the nose.  The Kansas City Royals fired their manager this week after another disappointing start to the season. Former Brewers Manager, Ned Yost, will replace Hillman, presumably for the rest of the season.

For More information on the Hillman firing, here is an excerpt from our Royals Blog, written by Michael Engel…

I’m not going to get too deep into analysis, but I agree that Hillman needed to go.
In the 2008 edition of Baseball Prospectus, they deemed Hillman “an excellent choice” suggesting that his success in Japan and flexibility with different styles of teams would allow him to transition to major league baseball. Following a 75-87 season in 2008, they applauded his “pragmatism” in creating solid roles for the bullpen and an avoidance of the intentional walk.

Unfortunately, a 65-97 record in 2009 made him a lame duck coming into 2010 – did anybody really think Hillman would be around to see Eric Hosmer, Michael Montgomery, or Mike Moustakas? Doubtful.

No it’s not his fault entirely. Hillman may wear the uniform, but he doesn’t step up to bat or toe the rubber. But he’s also made enough odd decisions that worked to the detriment of the team and their chances to win ballgames – the defensive merry-go-round that saw Mitch Maier at first base, the Alex Gordon pinch-running head scratcher against Boston, the occasional disappearance of Joakim Soria, the employment of Dave Owen – that he had to go. His damaging use of Gil Meche is another mark against him.

To hear Dayton Moore and the players talk about him, Trey Hillman seems to be a good man, and I’m sure that’s true. But he’s not a good manager, and his 207 losses in barely over two years at the helm attest to that. KINGS OF KAUFFMAN

With Hillman being the first manager to be fired, many now wonder how many other managers could possibly get the same fate as Tillman, if their teams continue to struggle. And with that being said, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire takes a look at five managers that could be fired. Among the Five he names are Dave Trembly of the Baltimore Orioles, John Russell of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Fredi Gonzalez of the Florida Marlins, Jerry Manuel of the New York Mets, and Ken Macha of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Washington Nationals Designate Matt Chico, and Willy Taveras for Assignment

The Washington Nationals have designated starter Matt Chico, and outfielder Willy Taveras for assignment.

It was kind of surprising that Nationals designated Chico, after only one start int he majors in which he pitched 5  innings giving up 2 runs. From all accounts it is not based on performance, it was just necessary in order for the Nationals to make room for pitcher Doug Slaten. However, Chico will shortly be placed back on the Nationals 40 man roster. Here is what Nationals GM Jim Rizzo had to say about the move…

“It’s a paper move, a paper move only,” Rizzo said. “We have no risk of losing him. We’re not designating him for release. We’re designating him for optional assignment. Because he’s a three-plus major-league service guy, and was in Double-A, and was only in the major leagues for one service day, you have to obtain optional waivers on him. Because he wasn’t in the major leagues, we couldn’t obtain optional waivers on him. We brought him up, we designate him and tomorrow, we’ll put him on optional waivers. He’ll clear optional waivers, and we’ll option him to Double-A. It’s a paper move. It’s a procedural move. We have no intention of moving the player or getting rid of the player, and we have no risk of losing the player.” MASN SPORTS

As for Willy Taveras, most suggest that the move was inevitable as his line of hitting was .200/.243/.257 for the Nationals in 27 games. For one reason or another, Taveras has not been the same after he hit a career high of .320/.367/.382 with the Colorado Rockies in 2007.  At 28, Taveras’ playing future is already uncertain. He could possibly be a fourth or fifth outfielder on a team looking for outfielder depth, but all he is capable of providing is speed, and defense.

Eric Byrnes officially Retires

Nearly a week after he was released by the Seattle Mariners, the Califronia Kid known as Eric Byrnes decided to hang up his cleats and call it a career.

And now, Byrnes is just having fun with life, take a look at what he is doing now that he is done with baseball…

… Surf. (I’m told the waves have been good lately.)
… Play 18 holes.

… Pull on the uniform of the Dutch Goose and represent the venerable Menlo Park burger-and-beer joint in a slowpitch softball league.

… Read his daughter a bedtime story.

When Byrnes says that he’s “really excited for life after baseball,” this is what he means.

“I was never afraid for it to be over,” he said. And it sure sounds like he means it.

Good for him. If you had a nice house in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and more money than you could spend, your Wednesday would sound a lot like that, too. FOX SPORTS

Throughout his exciting 10 year career, Byrnes has spent time with the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Seattle Mariners.

For his career, Byrnes has hit .258/.320/.439 while hitting 108 home runs and driving in 396 runs.

Byrnes has always been a fun and exciting player to watch. Sure, he may not have the numbers of a good player, but he always played the game at 110%. And he simply had fun with the game. And, that is what baseball is about, having fun with the game. Something, Byrnes obviously took by heart.

Mets Designate  Catalanotto for Assignment, an Release Riggans

In order to make room for Chris Carter, the New York Mets DFA’d Frank Catalanotto for assignment. Catalanotto, hit only .160/.192/.200 with the Mets this year in 26 plate appearances. The selling point in support for Catalanotto to is the fact that he is hitting .296/.360/.456 against righties. However, at age 36, Catalanotto is leaning towards retiring.

The Mets also have released catcher Shawn Riggans, who was in their minor league system. Riggans, who has been a member of the Rays up till this year, has never really amounted to much in the major leagues as in 209 plate appearance he has a career line of .202/.266/.356.

Sent Packing…

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated reliever Brian Bass for assignment. Brass was off to an awful start for the 2010 season, as in only 6.1 innings he had already consummated a 12.79 ERA. For his career, he has 182 innings under his belt with a 5.14 ERA.
  • The Cincinnati Reds have released outfielder Josh Anderson. Anderson has had major league success as he is has a line of .270/.313/.352 in 519 career plate appearances. And given that he is only 27, I’m sure he will find a team willing to give him another shot.
  • The Kansas City Royals have designated reliever Josh Rupe for assignment. Rupe and his 5.59 ERA have been out-righted to AAA-Omaha.
  • The Florida Marlins have released, recently signed, Doug Mientkiewicz. The 35 year old first basemen never made it to the Marlins big league club, which is why the release occurred. At this point in his career, Mientkiewicz may just decide to retire.
  • The Cleveland Indians have released pitcher Scott Lewis. Lewis has only pitched in 28.1 major league innings, and that has been good enough for a career ERA of 3.49. At the age of 26, it is likely that Lewis will be able to sign with another team.

Welcome Aboard…

  • The Chicago White Sox have signed reliever Alan Embree to a minor league contract. However, considering Embree requested his release with the Red Sox, it is fair to say that Embree won’t be in the minors for long. Embree who has a career ERA of 4.58, will likely try to bring some calm to the White Sox erratic bullpen.
  • The New York Yankees have signed pitcher Tim Redding, who was recently released by the Washington Nationals. Redding has yet to pitch this season, but will give the Yankees some pitching depth in case someone on their staff suffers an injury. For his career Redding has a record of 37-57 with a 4.95 ERA.
  • The Oakland Athletics have acquired third basemen Neil Walker from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations. Walker has only 40 career plate appearances and has registered a line of .196/.275/.222.

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Topics: Alan Embree, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Brian Bass, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Dave Trembly, Doug Mientkiewicz, Doug Slaten, Eric Byrnes, Florida Marlins, Frank Catalanotto, Fredi Gonzalez, Jerry Manuel, John Russell, Josh Anderson, Kansas City Royal, Ken Macha, Matt Chico, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, Scott Lewis, Seattle Mariners, Shawn Riggans, Trey Hillman, Washington Nationals, Willy Taveras

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