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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Chicago White Sox/Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox: Recalled 3B Joe Crede and C Josh Paul from Charlotte (AAA).
Baltimore Orioles: Placed P Jason Johnson on the 15-day DL; recalled P John Stephens from Rochester (AAA).
I put these two transactions together because of their similarities to each other. Both Crede and Stephens are good prospects that have done everything that was asked them and have waited longer than should have been required to get real opportunities on teams that are clearly out of the running this season.
No matter how it impacted the jobs of veterans on their respective teams such as Jose Valentin and Scott Erickson, the All-Star Break should have been the latest to get these two into the game. Both teams dropped the ball and kept them in AAA to essentially pass time at levels they’ve already mastered.
Joe Crede is a player who I have begged the White Sox to call up repeatedly and who I believe, has suffered in the way Tim Raines will on the HOF ballot; he’s very good at all aspects of the game without one characteristic to make him stand out. Crede’s a very good defensive player, but not Scott Rolen or Jeff Cirillo. A good offensive player, but not Albert Pujols. Robin Ventura was a bit like that during his Sox years and I hope Crede’s given the extended shot he clearly deserves.
John Stephens is one of my absolute favorite pitching prospects around. A former fastball guy, his arm blew up 3 or 4 years ago and he had to start completely over, which he did, to phenomenal results. Now with a fastball that doesn’t hit 90 even on a good day, he compensated by developing a whole smorgasbord of breaking pitches, all of them nasty and placed impeccably thanks to his constantly improving control.
Stephen’s a pitcher, not a thrower and lack of fastball aside, they don’t come out of the minors much more polished than this. I would be very disappointed and very suprised if, given a fair shot over the rest of the season, Stephens doesn’t make a very loud noise. His only weakness is the occasional gopher ball and since he’s not going to Coors or Minut…err…Houston, I wouldn’t worry too much.
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