Sunday, May 14, 2006

Transaction Wire

  • Saints trade Courtney Watson to Miami for LB Eddie Moore. Both Watson and Moore are young linebackers who ended last season on the injured reserve. Watson is still being dogged, in the press at least, by an October drunken driving arrest. Senator Watson may challenge for the spot vacated by Junior Seau's retirement. If not, he will likely back up Zach Thomas at middle linebacker, possibly replacing him when the 32-year-old Thomas retires in a few years.

  • Browns trade Trent Dilfer to San Francisco for QB Ken Dorsey and a 2007 draft pick. Dilfer was becoming quickly disgusted with the situation in Cleveland, especially with Offensive Coordinator Maurice Carthon's playcalling and clock management. He wanted out, and now he will be the veteran backup of top San Francisco pick Alex Smith. Dilfer's replacement, Dorsey, will most be remembered by area fans as the Miami Hurricane quarterback on the losing end of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. The move leaves the Browns in an interesting situation at quarterback. Charlie Frye will definitely be the starting quarterback entering his second season. The second stringer will be Dorsey, who entering his 4th NFL season will be the elder statesman of the Browns passers. The third string position will likely go to Oregon State's Derek Anderson, a 6th round draft pick of Baltimore in 2005. After that, it's Lang Campbell, an undrafted free agent signed last year. Campbell is currently in NFL Europe. After Campbell are two undrafted free agent rookies, Dustin Almond of Southern Miss and Darrel Hackney of UAB.

  • Lions trade Joey Harrington to Miami for an undisclosed draft pick. With the additions of Jon Kitna and Josh McCown, it was obvious Harrington's time in Detroit was over. It became apparent early that Harrington wanted to go to Miami, but the Lions weren't thrilled with the 2007 6th round draft pick the Dolphins were offering in return. On draft day, a rumor surfaced that the Browns were offering a 2006 5th round pick for Harrington, the first indication that Dilfer was on his way out. I'd take Harrington over Dorsey right now, based on experience, but I'd also take Jerome Harrison or DeMario Minter (Cleveland's two 5th round picks this year) over Harrington. Backing up Daunte Culpepper in Miami should do well to take pressure off of the former Lion, and also possibly turn his career around.

  • Indians trade Kaz Tadano to Oakland for OF Ramon Alvarado. The Indians couldn't find a spot for Tadano. He was used as both a starter and reliever in the bigs, and lately had been wasting away in AAA Buffalo. This move was made partially to save money and partially to give Tadano a chance in an organization that needed him. Alvarado is a 20-year-old outfielder who played at the rookie level last year.

  • Indians trade Brandon Phillips to the Reds for a player to be named later or cash. In the trade where Montreal sent Phillips, Clifford Lee, and Grady Sizemore to Cleveland for Bartolo Colon, Phillips was considered the centerpiece. He was named Cleveland's starter at second base in 2003 due to his talent in the field, but his hitting floundered. He was an up and down hitter in AAA, mostly because he tried to be a power hitter (and sometimes got away with it). When Omar Vizquel left before the 2005, Phillips and Jhonny Peralta had an open competition for Vizquel's shortstop spot, a competition Peralta won. That left Phillips without a place in the organization. This trade was to give him a new start, and he's made the most of it so far, hitting .296 with 25 RBI to this point.

  • With the acquisition of Phillips, the Reds sent 2B Matt Kata down to AAA. Kata, once a super-prospect for Arizona, was born in Fairview Park, OH, raised in Avon Lake, and went to St. Ignatius. He's currently hitting .245 for AAA Louisville.

  • Red Sox trade C Josh Bard and P Cla Meredith to the Padres for C Doug Mirabelli. You can read last week's column for my thoughts on catching Tim Wakefield. Mirabelli was sent to San Diego in the first place in return for 2B Mark Loretta. Bard was picked up as part of the Coco Crisp deal, a deal that also included C Kelly Shoppach. Essentially, then, the Sox gave up Shoppach and Meredith for Loretta. Two AAA All Stars for a starting second baseman isn't a bad deal (and much more even than a backup catcher for a starting second baseman, as was the Mirabelli/Loretta deal).

  • Indians designate P Danny Graves for assignment and recall P Fausto Carmona. Two days later, the Indians trade Steve Karsay to Oakland for cash. The Tribe bullpen has been mediocre at best lately, and Graves was a big part of that mediocrity. When it was announced that there would be changes in the pen, everyone assumed Karsay would be coming up. Instead, it was Carmona. That leaves Cleveland in an interesting situation. Carmona and Jeremy Guthrie are prospects who expect to be in the starting rotation one day. Jason Davis was just moved from a starter to a reliever. Because of their status, manager Eric Wedge will not bring any of these three in in the middle of an inning. That leaves only Fernando Cabrera, who is projected to be a future closer but is in his first full season in the bigs; Guillermo Mota, whose are may still be injured and who has been moved from setup to middle relief out of necessity; and the always inconsistent Scott Sauerbeck to set up closer Bob Wickman.

...and a glimpse of Perfection

May 15 is the 25th anniversary of Lenny Barker's perfect game. If you're a fan of 80s baseball, the box score can be found here. As I'm writing this, the new Indians TV network is replaying the game. Here are some interesting tidbits:
  • George Bell was born in the Dominican Republic. In 1981, he was just beginning to "North Americanize" his name from Jorge to George. From what I've gathered, that was a common occurance back then - my dad has several "Bob Clemente" baseball cards.

  • Indians TV announcer Joe Tait, now the radio voice of the Cavs, noted that the Cavaliers were looking at Danny Ainge in the upcoming basketball draft, but probably wouldn't take him before the 3rd or 4th round. Nowadays, the NBA draft only goes 2 rounds.

  • Buck Martinez went on to manage the Blue Jays and later Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He also worked for ESPN.

  • Rick Manning went on to be a color commentator for local Indians broadcasts.

  • Mike Hargrove, known as the "Human Rain Delay" for his drawn out routine between pitches, is now managing the Seattle Mariners, after stints with Cleveland and Baltimore.

  • That is Andre Thornton. Apparently he was called "Andy" back then.

  • Duane Kuiper is a remnant of a lost breed: a good-glove, no-hit second baseman. He was in fact a great fielder, and is famous for hitting only one career home run, off Steve Stone no less. He's currently the play-by-play announcer for the Giants. Yes, that's Kuiper with the now famous "He hits it high! He hits it deep!" on the Barry Bonds home run calls.