Joe Torre started out as a catcher for the Milwaukee Braves in 1961. By the time he retired, Torre had started more games at both first and third than behind the plate. In 1971, playing third, Torre led the league in hitting and won the NL MVP Award. As it turns out, Torre is just one example of the many players started out as catchers before having success at other positions. And it’s a trend that has only picked up momentum.
Though trades completed after the expiration of the non-waiver period generally lack the marquee appeal of their predecessors, August swaps can have wide-ranging impact — as the blockbuster of 2012 amply illustrates. This year, most of the heavy lifting was done during July, but that doesn’t mean that the more recent set of trades (and straight waiver claims) will go without meaning. So, MLBTR readers: which of the following dozen players will, in your opinion, be the most impactful addition for their new club? (Players listed in alphabetical order by last name, randomized in poll; links go to the relevant transaction.) Gordon Beckham, INF, Angels — Beckham has not hit well this year — or, really, for much of his career — but is just 27 and can play around the diamond. Jonathan Broxton, RP, Brewers — One of the game’s most effective set-up men this year, Broxton will be Milwaukee’s for 2015 as well, at a $9MM price tag. Kevin Correia, SP, Dodgers – Injury flare-ups created a need for innings, but Los Angeles decided to add at the back of the rotation rather than giving up top youngsters. Alejandro De Aza, OF, Orioles – Though he has had a down year, De Aza appears to be a solid reserve piece and comes with control for next year (though he is a possible non-tender).
Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the most recent moves at the top of the post… Lefty Rich Hill has been outrighted to Triple-A by the Yankees, according to the International League transactions page. Hill was designated to make room for fellow southpaw Josh Outman. Though he has seen little time at the MLB level this year and posted an unsightly 6.28 ERA last year, the 34-year-old has historically been quite tough on same-handed hitters and could make sense as an extra lefty specialist on an expanded roster. Having previously been outrighted, Hill will have the right to elect free agency. The Phillies announce that they have selected the contract of outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr
The Blue Jays have designated reliever Neil Wagner for assignment, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Wagner had Tommy John surgery in August. He pitched ten innings for the Blue Jays this year, all of them in April and May. The 30-year-old Wagner was a late-round draft pick by the Indians in 2005, and he made his way to the Athletics in a minor trade in 2010. He briefly appeared in the big leagues with the A’s in 2011, then briefly pitched in the Padres organization before signing with the Jays in 2012. He had his only significant stint in the big leagues in 2013, when he pitched reasonably well, posting a 3.79 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 innings.
The Athletics have designated Joe Savery for assignment, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker and veterans Justin Smoak and Corey Hart were among seven players added from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday as Seattle’s 25-man roster was supplemented by September callups.
Billy Beane has always been open-ended in searching for solutions to help his roster. He traded his top prospect — Addison Russell — to get Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in early July, going all-in to try not just to make the playoffs, but to have a roster capable of winning the World Series. So why not add Adam Dunn? This move could be the one that makes the others pay off.
The balance of power in the AL West has swung heavily in the Angels’ direction after the Halos completed a four-game sweep of the Athletics on Sunday. Los Angeles now own both baseball’s best record (83-63) and a five-game lead over the struggling A’s, who are looking for answers after an 12-17 August. Oakland is still on track to reach the postseason, as they hold a four-game lead in the AL wild card race. Here’s the latest from around the AL West… The A’s will cover $1MM of the roughly $2.3MM remaining on Adam Dunn‘s 2014 salary, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Oakland’s willingness to take on this much of Dunn’s salary was part of the reason why the A’s were able to acquire the slugger. The Giants, Dodgers and at least one other team were also reportedly talking to the White Sox about a Dunn trade.
Alex Wood can smile extra wide at having Braves starting catcher Evan Gattis supply the lone run via the long ball in his scoreless effort.
The Dustin Ackley hit parade continued on Sunday, as the Mariners avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals at Safeco Field.