In search of under the radar signingsBy
One of my favorite free features of Baseball America is their minor leagues tractions column. This usually comes out weekly, and contains items such as reassignments, releases, and signings. There are a couple of tidbits in this week’s edition that are worth at least glancing at, especially in this time of baseball news lull.
For starters, the Yanks have but one transaction. They have granted Billy Traber free agency. Whoo-pee. Signing him last winter was a decent idea, but it never worked out. In the end, he took up a roster spot for a bit too long, on account of his throwing with his left arm. Perhaps some other team will give him a shot next spring.
The Rockies released 2B Jayson Nix. After losing Kaz Matsui to the Astros last winter, the Rox had a few candidates to take over at second, among them Nix, whose older brother Laynce is also a free agent. The now 26-year-old’s run didn’t go so well, as he owned an ugly .111/.216/.133 line when he was finally benched on April 25. He returned for a few games in July and picked up just two hits in 10 plate appearances. He did excel in the minors, though, posting a .303/.373/.591 line in AAA in 2008, after a .292/.342/.451 line in 2007. Note, though, that this is the league in which Bubba Crosby hit .361/.414/.635 in 277 at bats in 2003.
The Angels parted ways with reliever Chris Bootcheck, their first round pick in 2000. He’s never excelled at the major league level, though his only prolonged appearances was in 2007, when he posted 77.1 innings to the tune of a 4.77 ERA. Considering he’s 30 and hasn’t had much minor league success, I can’t see him getting anything beyond a minor league deal heading into ’09. With the Yanks bullpen depth, a flier like this doesn’t seem worth it.
The Phillies have pulled the plug on the Chris Snelling experiment. Here’s another story of a guy with potential who just couldn’t stay healthy. Philadelphia was his fourth team in the past three years, and it doesn’t seem like anyone would give him more than a Spring Training invite. I don’t think he’d fit with the Yankees, but he’ll get a chance somewhere.
The Giants surprisingly released 28-year-old Kevin Correia. He had a rough time this year, posting a 6.05 ERA in 110 innings over 19 starts. I know Mike mentioned liking his arm. His problem, as it is with so many pitchers, is with the walks. Just too many, even though he misses a decent number of bats. There is some hope that he’ll rebound a bit in 2009, and can be at the bottom of a team’s rotation, or possibly out of the bullpen. If all it takes is a Spring Training invite, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take a chance.
(On a side note, the Giants also released Scott McClain, who has hit 287 minor league home runs.)
Perhaps the most interesting name on the list is now-former Blue Jay Gustavo Chacin. He was solid in his 203 innings in 2005, but couldn’t stay healthy after that. That wasn’t a massive jump from his 168 innings in 2004, though he did make the leap from 69 innings in 2003 (he had previously topped out at 140 in 2001). He was neither healthy nor effective in 2006 and 2007, and didn’t make the majors in 2008 after shoulder surgery. He posted a 7.88 ERA down in the Florida State League, over 45.2 IP. He hasn’t posed an ERA below 7.45 at any minor league stop since 2004. Yet he throws left-handed, so he’ll surely get at least an audition in 2009.
So crap, crap, and more crap. Is there anyone on the scrap heap worth looking at?