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Transaction Analysis: M's Lose Faith in Jesus

Ryan Arbour

Arbour writes the weekly Transactions article for RotoWire. He also enjoys creating his own projections and statistical analysis each winter for the upcoming season. In his spare time, Arbour roots for the Blue Jays from north of the border.

Here's a look at some of the top transactions in major league baseball this week:



Mark Ellis, 2B -
activated from the 15-day DL
Tim Federowicz, C - optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque

Impact: Ellis missed a little more than three weeks with a strained right quad and resumes his duties as the Dodgers' primary second baseman. He was off to a great start with the bat before the injury and returns to a .342 average through 20 games. He had a career average of just .265 entering the season, so fantasy owners should temper expectations somewhat. Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto shared second-base duty while Ellis was sidelined, and both likely will see reduced playing time. Federowicz went 3-for-17 over the course of a few brief stints with the Dodgers.


Red Sox

Andrew Bailey, RHP -
activated from the 15-day DL
Jose De La Torre, RHP - optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket

Impact: Fantasy owners should have activated Bailey immediately, as Boston's new closer returned from the DL on Monday. Bailey was expected to serve as a setup man to newly acquired Joel Hanrahan this year, but inherited the ninth-inning role after Hanrahan struggled out of the gate. Hanrahan is now out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, so the job is once again Bailey's to lose. He returns to a 1.46 ERA and has saved five games in six chances. De La Torre appeared in a couple of games and gave up two earned runs in two innings of relief.


Johnny Cueto, RHP -
activated from the 15-day DL
Neftali Soto, 1B - optioned to Triple-A Louisville

Impact: Cueto missed more than a month recovering from a strained right lat, and returned on Monday night to start against the Mets. The Dominican right-hander has become one of the more dominant starting pitchers in baseball, as he has gone a combined 28-14 with a 2.58 ERA the last two seasons. Fantasy owners should activate him immediately. Tony Cingrani was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday to make room in the rotation for Cueto after going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in six starts. Soto was 0-for-1 in two games with the Reds.



Matt Garza, RHP -
activated from the 15-day DL
Michael Bowden, RHP - designated for assignment

Impact: Garza's 2013 season finally got under way Tuesday as he was activated to start against the Pirates. The 29-year-old righty has put together six consecutive seasons with an ERA below 4.00, but all he has to show for it is a record of 54-55 over that span. He fared very well during four rehab starts in the minors this year, so there's a good chance he could perform pretty close to his career norms. Bowden actually didn't do too badly with the Cubbies this year, leaving behind a 3.78 ERA over 14 appearances.


Ryan Vogelsong, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right hand)
Brett Pill, 1B - recalled from Triple-A Fresno

Impact: Vogelsong has had a horrific start to the 2013 season after going a combined 27-16 with a 3.05 ERA the last two years. He faces an extended absence (about six to eight weeks) as he recovers from a fractured right pinkie finger. He leaves behind a 2-4 record and a 7.19 ERA, so hopefully the time off will do him some good. Chad Gaudin and Michael Kickham have both been mentioned as possible replacements in the rotation, though neither is likely to be worth taking a chance on in most leagues. Pill will provide the Giants with some bench depth.


Miguel Gonzalez, RHP -
activated from the 15-day DL
Jair Jurrjens, RHP - optioned to Triple-A Norfolk

Impact: Gonzalez returned Tuesday to face the Yankees after missing more than two weeks with a blister on his right thumb. In his first season in the major leagues last year, the 28-year-old from Mexico was impressive, going 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA. Through six starts before the injury this year, he was 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA. He could be worth a chance in deeper league formats. Jurrjens made just one start for Baltimore, giving up four earned runs in five innings against the Rays last Saturday and not factoring into the decision.


Carlos Ruiz, C -
placed on the 15-day DL (right hamstring)
Tyler Cloyd, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley

Impact: Ruiz will miss three to four weeks with a strained right hamstring, leaving behind a .235 average with no home runs and two RBI in 16 games. The veteran backstop began the year serving a 25-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy for amphetamine use and didn't see his first game action until April 28. Erik Kratz will once again take over the regular catching duties in Philadelphia, though his potential for helping a fantasy team would appear minimal. After Cloyd's start Tuesday, he owns a 1-0 record and a 2.70 ERA through two starts. He could have some NL-only value, but he's probably a risky option in mixed leagues.


A.J. Pierzynski, C -
activated from the 15-day DL
Robinson Chirinos, C - optioned to Triple-A Round Rock

Impact: Pierzynski needed only a couple of weeks to recover from his strained oblique muscle. The veteran backstop returns to a .263 average, four home runs and 11 RBI in 26 games after a career year last year. He should be safe to activate in just about any league format. Chirinos went 3-for-12 (.250) with a couple of doubles in 12 at-bats while serving as the No. 2 catcher behind Geovany Soto. Soto will return to his backup role and is unlikely to be of any use in most leagues.



Trevor Plouffe, 3B -
placed on the 7-day DL (concussion)
Chris Colabello, 1B - contract purchased from Triple-A Rochester

Impact: Minnesota's third baseman was hit in the head by Dan Uggla's shin during Tuesday's game, forcing him to miss at least a week with a concussion. Plouffe swung a powerful stick last year with the Twins, clubbing 24 homers, though he had just four bombs in 37 games this year before his injury. Eduardo Escobar and Jamey Carroll should share playing time at third base until Plouffe is ready to return, but neither player is likely to be worth owning in anything but the deepest of leagues. Colabello could see time at first base and in the outfield, but probably won't play enough to help a fantasy team at this point.



Jesus Montero, C -
optioned to Triple-A Tacoma
Jesus Sucre, C - contract purchased from Triple-A Tacoma

Impact: Montero was expected to be a key part of the Mariners offense this season, but has floundered to the tune of a .208 average, three home runs and nine RBI in 29 games. His defense was also a major disappointment, so the organization finally gave up on him as a catcher. He'll shift to designated hitter/first base. Kelly Shoppach is the M's primary option behind the dish, with Jesus Sucre called up to serve as the No. 2 catcher. Shoppach hasn't posted a batting average higher than .233 since 2008 and has seen his power numbers drop in recent years. He's likely only worth a look in deeper AL-only leagues, while Sucre can safely be avoided in just about all league formats.