The Boston Red Sox and other teams scour the transaction wire to see what potential talent may be available. Here are a few selections that have caught my limited attention.
September is the beginning of fall and that is exactly what the trees do as they shed their leaves. In baseball, careers are beginning to fall as teams go through the process of adjusting their rosters.
Players are discarded and that is a hard fact of baseball life. The usual process has DFA, or Designated for Assignment, as the first step to unemployment. The DFA is generally followed by a release and the players are left to wander in hopes of securing another contract elsewhere.
My baseball attention has a tendency to migrate to the transaction wire or one of the numerous baseball sites that will give a brief career summary and the occasional mention of future possibilities.
Now, getting my attention is a relatively easy task as a shiny object or dangling keys will accomplish the same, but where players are concerned, there is the possibility of discovering the occasional nugget that will sometimes blossom – just ask Sandy Leon. I admit to having a fondness to those on the edge of baseball respectability or whose salad days have passed into a memory fog.
DFA is an intriguing concept, for a team will often retain a player when there are no takers. That sets up the possibility of an outright release or accepting an offer which is what Leon had done. What it can also accomplish is setting the foundation for a trade.
The shiny object of my attention is Chien-Ming Wang, who was unceremoniously cut loose by the Kansas City Royals. Wang this season did some reasonable pitching for the Royals by tossing 54.1 innings and posting a respectable 4.22 Earned Run Average.
The figures were certainly well below some of Wang’s career benchmarks when the 36-year-old right-hander was a solid member of the Yankees rotation. Wang won 19 games in 2006 and that led the American League. He followed that with another 19 wins and followed that with several seasons of pitching misery exasperated by injuries.
Wang represents that low price potentially high reward that teams are always searching for. The Red Sox traditionally go through pitchers like George Steinbrenner went through managers, so any arm with even a hint of promise is worth the risk. Simply offer the inevitable minor league invitation with a specific roster date enticement – if it is even needed.
That brings me to the DFA Tracker that is on MLB Trade Rumors. An interesting list that seems to grow exponentially. Are there any others that may offer some assistance to our beloved Red Sox in 2017? The concentration is focused squarely on pitching with zero illusions that any will provide more than the possible roster filler with the exception of both Wang and the following performer.
Bud Norris sits in DFA limbo as he awaits his fate. Norris is a 31-year-old right-hander who at times pitched rather well and at other times became a pitching piñata. The statistical line is 6-10 and a 5.10 ERA. Norris will hook on somewhere but clearly, represents a possibility. Just think a slightly higher version of Sean O’Sullivan.
T.J. House is a 26-year-old lefty who the Indians have cut loose – at least until he is unclaimed or is released or offered a contract. Being left-handed has a certain aura that allows the pitcher to have a bit more leverage as teams are constantly on the prowl for a “situational” lefty. Just think Robby Scott.
House has a 5-7 career record and a 4.44 ERA and in 117.2 career innings, left-handed hitters are whacking House for a .267 average. House spent most of 2016 toiling in Triple-A and finishing with a 3.98 ERA. A Pawtucket possibility.
Bobby Parnell has been around “The Show” for parts of nine seasons – most recently with the Detroit Tigers, who released Parnell in late August. The 32-year-old right-hander has a career tally of 20-28 with a 3.83 ERA. More Pawtucket fodder?
Who can ever forget Roberto Hernandez or his alter ego – Fausto Carmona. The first name is usually altered to “Fatso” by fans with no sense of the weight impaired, as Roberto tips the scales closer to 300 than 200 pounds. At age 35, the eleven-year veteran has been around and is probably close to finished, but an invite is always in the offering. Minor league deals somewhere for Fausto in 2017.
Chris Narveson was a “shiny key” as I remember the lefty from years ago when he pitched for Pawtucket. Narveson has made the baseball journey that even included a stay in Japan.
Narveson posted a few decent years with the Brewers as a spot starter and working out of the bullpen until his rotator cuff went down for the count taking his career with it. The Marlins released Narveson early in the season and at last peek he is still available. At 34-years-old Narveson may concentrate on his nonbaseball life.
That is just a few that caught my attention and the facts are they provide nothing but roster depth at Pawtucket if they can make that cut. The list is substantial and most certainly fall into the category of those already highlighted. Wang and Norris represent the only real possibilities for a long roster shot.