Friday, August 3, 2012

Recent DFA and Released Players

It is only a few days after the trade deadline and we’re seeing a huge number of DFA and release candidates being given their walking papers. Among those let walk are Derek Lowe, Brett Tomko, Bobby Abreu, Yorvit Torrealba, Wil Nieves, Dewayne Wise, and Hideki Matsui. Of those listed I’d be surprised to see Abreu, Torrealba, or Nieves out of a job for too long.

As much as I like Matsui (still a Yankees fan here) I don’t know how much he has left in the tank, or if he was just not getting the playing time he needs to be productive. I am somewhat disappointed that, while I called it, Lowe does in fact still suck, people are still clamoring to give him a place on their 25 man roster, which predictably will end in him pitching effectively once (maybe twice) in their uniform, and a handful of terrible outings despite his 60%ish groundball ratio before they have either fallen completely out of contention, or come to the same conclusion that both the Indians and Braves have, Lowe is no longer a good pitcher, and at 39 years old, that’s not shocking, but I digress.

Abreu has no power at this point, he wasn’t exactly a masher before, but the 25-30 home run power he displayed earlier in his career is but a memory now. He is however still a line drive hitter, and he takes walks like a champ. He isn’t a defensive force in right field, but he is serviceable for a spot start in either corner if need be. I could see his veteran presence benefitting a team like the Pirates who could use a bit of effective outfield depth, or a team like the Orioles who have seen roughly no production from left field outside of the small number of games with Nolan Reimold out there. While Detroit has been looking for an “impact bat” for the middle of their lineup, having Abreu bat 3rd and constantly set the table for Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera isn’t necessarily a bad plan either, and it would allow them to bench or completely let go of Delmon Young who they have been less than enthused with. Abreu also would bring a very patient hitter to the fold for a team that has several free swingers. That said I proposed a not totally dissimilar set of options for Vladimir Guerrero after he was released by the Blue Jays, though he was on a minor league contract, so there may be more appeal to Abreu who has proved he can still provide something at the major league level. Of course, Abreu has been DFA’d twice this year, and it could be a red flag that he’s not content to work as a 4th outfielder/bench bat at this point in his career.

Both Torrealba and Nieves have been reasonably productive, if not exactly stellar bats this season, and deserve a look from a contending team with a bit less depth behind the plate than they’re satisfied with. My gut reaction was that the Yankees could get some more value than they have gotten out of Chris Stewart in a platoon with Russell Martin, and while Girardi may be able to eek out some inflated production from Martin when he sees more or less only lefties, Stewart’s hollow batting line has actually been above replacement level for his position, and he’s defensively better than either catcher on the market. That said, I’d be surprised to see neither of them make an appearance on a new major league roster before too long.

Wise may also be a candidate to get picked up in relatively short order. He was given his outright release and can sign anywhere. He may only get a minor league contract but he’s a passable center fielder, and a good left fielder with an acceptable bat for a 4th outfielder. He’s excellent organizational depth for anyone looking if he’s willing to take a minor league deal and that may be the case, Bill Hall did the same with the Yankees due to their traveling circus AAA team this season. No home stadium and none of the luxuries that the majors afford players can be rough, I certainly understand walking away from that.

It would be a mistake for any team to not look at what options they have available to them through waivers, DFAs, released players, and through their own systems. I certainly expect every team in the league to do their due diligence with every player out there. This short list of examples etc isn’t by any means gospel, but these are players that stand out to me as players who will have suitors sooner rather than later.

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