After a long period of general inactivity:
Signed RHP Jason Andrew, OFs Geraldo Cabrera and Pedro Swann, IF Norris Hopper, 3B Alex Palaez and SSs Rich Aurilia and Santiago Perez. Released OF Tiago Campos, RHPs Phillip Ellison, Carlos Herrera and Luis Noriega and LHP Jacobo Meque. Released RHP Luke Prokopec.
I kinda figured about Campos
. He just couldn't hit anywhere but Billings. Ellison
was an indy pickup. Herrera
struggled in rookie ball at 23. Noriega
had control problems. Meque
was young, but had similar issues. (15 WPs and 36 BB in 49 IP at Billings). Prokopec we knew about- injuries.
As for the pickups:
, 25, is a right-handed reliever who was originally picked up as a NDFA by Texas. In three seasons, he never had higher than a 3.51 ERA at any level and cracked AAA for one game at the end of 2004, but can't be too well-respected by scouts. His numbers show lots of hits and few walks. I'm betting he's the mopup guy at Chattanooga this season.
I can't find anyone named "Geraldo Cabrera", although there's a Gerardo Cabrera. Rico suave?
is a very interesting pickup. A 34-year old veteran of fourteen minor-league seasons, Swann was originally drafted by Atlanta in 1991, but went to Detroit as a six-year FA following the 1997 season. He went back to Atlanta in 2000, and finally cracked the majors after hitting .305 at AAA Richmond that year. He struck out in both of his big-league at-bats. Following another year stuck at AAA, Pedro signed with Toronto for 2002 and managed another MLB stint, going 1-for-12. 2003 saw another new organization, Baltimore, and another cup of big-league coffee (3-for-14). He hit .277/.339/.443 for AAA Ottawa in 2004, but did not get the call this time around. Swann plays the corner outfield positions and hits lefthanded. He's got a lifetime batting average of .287, and is usually good for an OPS around 800 or so- walks around 10% of at-bats and 10-15 HRs. The Reds are his fifth organization.
, 26, was picked up as a six-year FA from the Royals organization. Drafted in the 8th round in 1998 as a high school outfielder, the five-foot-nine, 200-pound Hopper has hit .278 in his career but has very little power (two homers in 655 games). Naturally, he makes his living with defense, speed, and contact hitting. I would imagine he's the backup outfielder at Chattanooga this season, replacing Ramon Moreta. He did appear in four games at 2B for AA Wichita in 2004, but I don't know why he's being listed as an infielder.
, 29, was a 42nd-round pick out of San Diego State by the Padres in 1998. With plenty of line drives and few strikeouts but mediocre power, little patience, and short stature (five-foot-nine), Pelaez rose to AAA by 2000, got a cup of coffee in 2002 (two for eight) and departed the SD organization for Anaheim after missing half of 2003 with an undisclosed injury. He appeared in just 92 games in 2004, but hit well for AAA Salt Lake (.317/.349/.456). Alex can play first, second, and third, and has hit .298 in his minor-league career and struck out only 320 times in more than 2,600 at-bats... but walked only 185 times. I'd think he's the new Jim Chamblee at Louisville.
Another utilityman, Perez
, 29, spent most of 2003 in the Reds' organization. Signed as a free agent out of the DR in 1993, the switch-hitting Perez spent five years in the Detroit system and three with Milwaukee before getting the call in 2000 to MLB, hitting .173 in 24 games. San Diego picked him up for 2001 and he spent the entire year that year with the Padres, but injuries limited him to 43 games and a .198/.320/.210 line. He then proceeded to get signed by Texas, but missed most of 2002 with injuries as well. After the aforementioned 2003 with Chattanooga and Louisville (and a stint with Baltimore), Perez had a healthy 2004 in Texas, slaying the Texas League to the tune of .387/.452/.694 in 28 games, then hitting .265/.374/.416 in 89 games at AAA Oklahoma City. Santiago appeared at second, shortstop, third, and the outfield in 2004, but committed a total of 28 errors. He's a high-walk, high-strikeout hitter, but he set his personal best this past year with just fourteen homers. He does have some speed, stealing eighteen bases (career high: 31 in 2000). Meet Jermaine Clark's replacement.