July 31 Trades
The Nationals trade Cristian Guzman to the Rangers for RHP Ryan Tatsuko and RHP Tanner Roark. Here the Rangers pick up another stretch-run reinforcement for their bench, giving up two marginal prospects in the process.
Ryan Tatsuko, RHP: An 18th round pick in 2007 out of Indiana State University, Tatsuko has a pleasant 2.97 ERA in 100 innings this year for Double-A Frisco. However, his K:BB ratio is less impressive at 58:40; with the low strikeout rate standing out as a flaw. Tatsuko works at 89-93 MPH, and his curveball and changeup can be solid. He gives up few homers and has a shot to be a fifth starter or long relief type. He is 25 years old.
Tanner Roark, RHP: Tatsuko's rotation-mate at Frisco, Roark has a 4.20 ERA with a 75:33 K:BB in 105 innings this year with 113 hits allowed. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2008 from Southern Illinois in the independent Frontier League. Roark's fastball is below average for a right-hander at 85-87 MPH, but his curveball and changeup are decent and he throws strikes. He looks like a back-end bullpen guy in the majors. He is 23.
The Astros trade Lance Berkman to the Yankees for 2B Jimmy Paredes and RHP Mark Melancon: The Astros complete their sweep of the old guard by shipping veteran slugger Berkman off to New York for a couple of interesting, but not star-caliber, players.
Jimmy Paredes, 2B: The Yankees signed the 21-year-old Paredes out of the Dominican Republic in 2006. Athletic and quick, he's swiped 36 bases this year while hitting .280/.312/.409 for Low-A Charleston, but his plate discipline is weak (18:82 BB:K) and he is a below average defender up the middle. He has tools but is still trying to put his skills together.
Marc Melancon, RHP: 25 years old, Melancon was drafted in the ninth round in 2006 from the University of Arizona. He's recovered his stuff after Tommy John surgery and has a lively 92-95 MPH fastball and a good changeup for a reliever, but has problems with his breaking ball at times. Command issues have hampered him this year, with a 3.67 ERA at Triple-A Scranton but with a 58:31 K:BB in 56 innings. The K-rate is good and points to his potential, but the walks are too high. He has the stuff to be a fine reliever if he throws enough strikes.
The Pirates trade D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, and Ryan Church to the Diamondbacks for Chris Snyder and SS Pedro Ciriaco. Arizona continues to turn over their roster, but the only actual prospect in this trade is Ciriaco.
Pedro Ciriaco, SS: 24 years old, Ciriaco was signed out of Dominican Republic back in 2003. He was hitting .259/.278/.392 in 87 games for Triple-A Reno before the trade, with 14 steals. He's very athletic and respected for his defensive prowess and running speed, but he is a weak hitter with poor plate discipline. In the majors he projects as a utility player.
In a three-way deal, the Padres acquired Ryan Ludwick, the Indians acquired RHP Corey Kluber, and the Cardinals acquire Jake Westbrook and LHP Nick Greenwood. This is an interesting trade as two teams in contention reinforce themselves, the Padres adding offense in exchange for a couple of fair pitching prospects, and the Cards adding pitching by sacrificing a starting outfielder.
Nick Greenwood, LHP: The Padres drafted Greenwood in the 14th round in 2009, from the University of Rhode Island. The 22 year old lefty looks a bit slight on the mound at 6-1, 180, but he is extremely athletic and was a great soccer player in high school. His fastball is average at 85-88, but his slider, curveball, and changeup are all fair, and he throws strikes, posting a 65:19 K:BB in 95 innings for Low-A Fort Wayne this year. However, he's given up 109 hits and has a 4.15 ERA. He could be a back-end pen option eventually.
Corey Kluber, RHP: The Padres drafted Kluber in the fourth round in 2007 out of Stetson University. He's having a solid season at age 24 in the Double-A Texas League, with a 3.45 ERA and a 136:40 K:BB in 123 innings for San Antonio. Kluber's stuff is average: 88-92 MPH fastball, average breaking ball, average changeup. His best attribute right now is command, and if he maintains that he could be a fourth or fifth starter for the Indians.
The Cubs trade Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt, RHP Brett Wallach, and RHP Kyle Smit. Here the Dodgers enhance their starting rotation by acquiring Lilly and swapping out DeWitt for Theroit. The prospects involved:
Kyle Smit, RHP: 22 years old, Smit was drafted in the fifth round in 2006 out of high school in Sparks, Nevada. He's had a solid year as a reliever in the California League (2.49 ERA, 46:10 K:BB in 51 innings) and was recently promoted to Double-A, where he'd pitched three scoreless innings. Smit has a 90-93 MPH fastball and a good breaking ball, and his command has been on this year. He could be a fine middle reliever but his stuff is just a bit short of that wanted for a full-time closer.
Brett Wallach, RHP: 21 years old, Wallach was drafted in the third round in 2009, from Orange Coast Junior College. The son of former major league third baseman Tim Wallach, Brett has an 88-92 MPH sinking fastball, a curveball, slider, and changeup, the change being his best current pitch. He performed fairly well this year for Low-A Great Lakes, 3.72 ERA with a 92:43 K:BB in 85 innings, but needs to refine his command. Scouts think he could develop into a number three starter.
The Pirates trade Javier Lopez to the Giants for Joseph Martinez and OF John Bowker. Here the Giants add some bullpen depth in exchange for two players considered surplus to their needs but who could both find a useful spot in Pittsburgh. Martinez is still a technical rookie with 41 major league innings.
Joseph Martinez, RHP: 27 years old, Martinez was a 12th round pick back in 2005 from Boston Colllege. A fixture in the Giants minor league system for some time, he has a 3.32 ERA with a 65:26 K:BB in 81 innings for Triple-A Fresno this year. His fastball is mediocre at 87-90 MPH, but he has a very good changeup and his slider and curve have their moments. His control is good, but his lack of plus velocity limits his upside and he looks like a fifth starter or long reliever.
The Pirates trade Octavio Dotel to the Dodgers for James McDonald and OF Andrew Lambo. Here the Dodgers pick up a veteran bullpen arm for two once-hot prospects who had worn out their welcome in Los Angeles. McDonald is not a technical prospect, but was stuck in roster limbo this year; for the Pirates he could be a useful relief arm or possibly a number four starter.
Andrew Lambo, OF: Lambo shot up prospect lists in 2008, but a mediocre '09 season and a '10 drug abuse suspension soured his stock. He's hitting just .271/.325/.420 for Double-A Chattanooga this year, and while scouts still like his tools, his bat seems to be stagnating. He is too young to give up on at age 21, and hopefully he will take the trade as a wakeup call and clean up his act.
The Royals trade Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth to the Braves for RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Tim Collins, and OF Gregor Blanco. Kansas City commits further to their youth movement by dumping two vets in exchange for some spare parts. Chavez and Blanco aren't rookies, but Blanco especially could be a nice bench player due to his speed, glove, and on-base ability.
Tim Collins, LHP: The Braves got Collins in a trade with the Blue Jays earlier this month. The 20 year old stands just 5-7, but he gets his fastball into the low 90s, has good breaking stuff, and a terrific performance record: 2.29 ERA, 87:19 K:BB in 51 Double-A innings this year. He could help in the Kansas City pen within a year.
The Rangers trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Red Sox for 1B Chris McGuiness and RHP Roman Mendez, plus a player to be named. The disappointing Salty seeks a fresh start in Boston, and the Red Sox didn't have to give up any of their best prospects to get him, although both players the Rangers picked up are intriguing.
Chris McGuiness, 1B: A 13th round pick in 2009 from The Citadel, McGuiness is 22 years old and hitting .298/.416/.504 this year for Low-A Greenville, with an attractive 53:59 BB:K ratio in 282 at-bats. He's a polished hitter with power potential and a good feel for the strike zone, but scouts want to see how he holds up at higher levels, and he was behind other players on the Boston first base depth chart. He is a sleeper prospect who should be watched.
Roman Mendez, RHP: 20 years old, Mendez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He got off to a horrible start this year in the Sally League (11.40 ERA in six starts for Greenville), but has been more effective since moving down to the New York-Penn League, with a 4.36 ERA in eight starts for Lowell. He's fanned 35 there in 33 innings with his 94-98 MPH fastball, but his secondary pitches are raw and his command is still a problem, with 19 walks. His arm strength makes him interesting, but he'll need lots of time.
The Red Sox trade Ramon Ramirez to the Giants for RHP Dan Turpen. Here Boston swaps out a veteran bullpen arm for a younger option with potential, while San Francisco picks up a guy who can help in the pen now.
Dan Turpen, RHP: Turpen was drafted in the eighth round in 2007 from Oregon State. The 23 year old has a 4.09 ERA with a 42:19 K:BB in 51 innings for Double-A Richmond this year, using a 90-93 MPH sinker, a decent slider, and an average changeup. He needs to sharpen his command and his numbers this year aren't great considering the park/league context, but he has some potential as a middle reliever and is five years younger than Ramirez.