According to Baseball America’s Transactions page, the Reds have re-signed minor-league pitchers Lance Caraccioli
and Tom Shearn
, as well as utilityman Aaron Holbert.
Caraccioli was picked up mid-season out of the Mets organization, and despite a 5.36 ERA in middle relief with them, he put up a 3.00 mark in 39 Chattanooga innings, despite 29 walks. Originally a Dodger draftee, Caraccioli looked like a good bet to make the bigs a couple of years ago after going from Los Angeles to Cleveland in the Jolbert Cabrera trade, but he faded in the Indians organization in 2003 and was demoted to AA when picked up by New York before the ‘04 season. He’s 27 for 2005, and may move back to AAA to start the year.
Shearn, out of Columbus Briggs High School and a draft-and-follow signing by the Houston Astros in 1996 (bingo! Dan O’Brien connection!), also looked at one time like an excellent bet to make the majors after he put up a 2.92 ERA in 2002 at AAA New Orleans. But what I presume were arm injuries sidelined him for all of 2003, and he was assigned to Chattanooga when the Reds signed him before last year. He started off very slowly in middle relief, but turned it on in the second half of the season and earned a promotion back to AAA for the final month of the regular season. Shearn didn’t disappoint, posting a 2.55 ERA in 11 Louisville appearances. He’ll be 27 for 2005 as well.
I like both of these signings. Both pitchers are darkhorses to make the majors at some point if they get to the right place at the right time. The Reds’ pitching staff has a solid chance of being that right place.
Holbert is a former #1 draft pick of the Cardinals wayyyyy back in 1990. He batted .271/.349/.361 for Louisville in 2004, playing a whole bunch of positions, and has solid versatility, speed, and plate discipline, albeit very little power. He did once reach the major leagues, in 1996 with St. Louis, but is 0-for-3 lifetime.
This signing doesn't really excite me, given the wealth of six-year talent out there. What about a guy like Bryant Nelson (see List of 22)?