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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, July 30, 2007

Devil Rays - Acquired a Bunch (not Melvin) of Relievers

Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Acquired P Grant Balfour from the Milwaukee Brewers for P Seth McClung.

Acquired P Calvin Medlock and P Brian Shackleford from the Cincinnati Reds for 1B Jorge Cantu and OF Shawn Cumberland

Acquired P Danny Wheeler from the Houston Astros for IF Ty Wigginton.

The Devil Rays shed off a bunch of organizational depth in order to grab a bunch of bullpen arms.  At least they’ve identified the problem - a 6.78 ERA from their bullpen has to be a performance of historical significance.  I haven’t looked it up, but trust me.  Would I ever steer you wrong and suggest something like Alfonso Soriano being a disappointment for the Nationals?  Of course not!

I think McClung would have been useful for the Rays now that they’ve given up on making him a pitcher and let him stay in relief and just chuck lots of fastballs, but I can understand not wanting your fanbase, that remembers McClung quite vividly, to ever see that name on the scoreboard for the home team again.  Balfour’s had success and has bounced back from essentially a complete reconstruction of his pitching arm, though he doesn’t have the eye-popping stuff.

With the exception of Billy Wagner and Todd Jones, pretty much every Astros closer has seen their career go by the wayside, with Wheeler being the latest example.  Perhaps he got out of Houston in time before he started to really “Go Sambito.”

Ty Wigginton goes to Houston to replace the DFAed Ensberg (actually, Wiggy was acquired first, but you get the picture).  Wigginton will hit better than Ensberg has this year, but won’t hit anywhere near as well as Ensberg has hit in the past and while Ensberg was a really solid fielder at 3rd, his replacement is solid only in the sense that he’s characterized by resistance to deformation and changes of volume.  I don’t remember my physics very well, but I think the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation states that if the Astros want Wigginton to carry the offense on his back, Tim Purpura’s a doofus.  I’m being a bit hard on the guy, but I get really worried when players like him are a year or two and they play a position that the Orioles would like to sign someone for.

The Reds are belatedly realizing that if they dump Adam Dunn for pennies on the dollar, they need to acquire some actual outfielders.  That belated realization has not extended to outfielders that can actually hit, so Norris Hopper is still in the outfield mix in a post-Dunn Cincinnati, which is a Kafkaesque situation.

2007 ZiPS Projection -  Dan Wheeler
Period         W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
Actual 2007*    1   4 45   0   49.2 46   28   8 13 56 5.07
Rest of 2007     1   1 24   0   25.0 25   12   3   7 25 4.32
2007 Total     2   5 69   0   74.2 71   40 11 20 81 4.82
2008         4   3 72   0   73.0 68   30   9 20 74 3.70
* - Includes minor league translation, if applicable.
Top Comp - Stan Belinda


2007 In-Season ZiPS Projection - Ty Wigginton
Period       AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
Actual 2007*  383 48 106 21 0 16 49 28 75   1 .277 .329 .457
Rest of 2007 176 23   48 10 0   9 25 14 35   1 .273 .331 .483
2007 Total   559 71 154 31 0 25 74 41 110   2 .275 .332 .465
2008       486 59 127 25 0 22 64 39 109   2 .262 .321 .449
* - Includes minor league translation, if applicable.
Top Comp - Ken McMullen


Dan Szymborski Posted: July 30, 2007 at 01:18 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 30, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2461688)
I just saw McClung and Cantu in Durham last week. McClung was throwing hard; Cantu looked like he had an all or nothing swing.
O's AAA vs. Ray's AAA. Yuck, lots of names that I had heard of inlcluding 37yo Alberto Castillo, JR House, Jorge Velandia, Chris Richard, lots, lots more. Oh yeah, leading off, "Tike Redman". And the ever-(s)crappy Bo Hart.
   2. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: July 30, 2007 at 06:13 PM (#2461707)
...a 6.78 ERA from their bullpen has to be a performance of historical significance.

It's 25% worse than last year's Kansas City bullpen which certainly seemed at the time to be testing the practical limits of relief-based ineptitude.
   3. JPWF13 Posted: July 30, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2461772)
TB's relievers are getting lit up to the tune of .309/.396/.500

   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 30, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2461780)
I think Cantu is kind of a poor man's Dave Kingman.

J.R. House should really have a spot on somebody's ML roster right now.
   5. JPWF13 Posted: July 30, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2461798)
Tb has scored 458 runs and given up 658
Their relievers have given up 253 runs in 317 IP. The average team's relievers have given up 155 runs in 307 ip.

with a league average Bullpen the Rays would have given up 93 less runs or 565 runs...

Over the course of a 162 games their Pen is on pace to be 12 games worse than an average pen.

Their Pen has given up 253 runs, the next worse team is the tigers at 190 runs (Well the next worse is actually chicago- but be dramatically limiting their pen's IP they've given up "only" 181 runs.

Their pen's era is virtually a full run worse than the next worse (6.79 to 5.85) and the next worse is as a full run worse than the team after that 4.82.

Detroit has the 12th best team relief ERA- and they are closer to the #1 team than they are to TB at 14th.
Their starters are next to last too- even though their two pitchers weth the most IP- Kazmir and Shields have ERA+s over 100.
Just a mesmerizingly awful pitching staff. The Rangers of recent years have had some bad staffs, but only in 2001 were they almost as bad as the 2007 Rays
   6. S. Ransom Posted: July 31, 2007 at 08:29 AM (#2462644)
Nice analysis, JPWF13. I have actually subjected myself to a number of Devil Rays' games this year - a league-average bullpen would have given this team a chance to play .500 ball, at least before their 11-game losing streak. As the losses mounted, the young players starting having the wheels fall off, and that was it. The most maddening thing was that the losses were almost always the most demoralizing kind possible - Shields gives 7 innings of shutout ball, and the bullpen gives up 4 runs to lose the game before the start of the 9th. A starter pitches well and leaves with a lead, but and Camp or Stokes gives up a three-run homer to the next batter. Eventually, learned helplessness sets in.
   7. JoeHova Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:39 PM (#2462792)
What do McClung's ZiPS look like for 2008? I can't see him being called up this year, but maybe he'll be in the bullpen mix next season.
   8. FredUD Posted: August 01, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2465726)
One of the biggest upgrades that Houston sees in Wiggington is consistancy. Take a look at his month by month numbers. He's a guy you can count on to not go through huge slumps. That has been a BIG problem in Houston. Lane, Ensberg, Scott and to an extent Berkman have all been very streaky.

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