Tag: Brian Tallet

MLB Hot Stove: St. Louis Cardinals Trade For Ryan Theriot, Sign Brian Tallet

The St. Louis Cardinals made their first move toward upgrading their offense on Tuesday, trading right-hander Blake Hawksworth to the Los Angeles Dodgers for shortstop Ryan Theriot.

Theriot became expendable earlier this week when Los Angeles signed Juan Uribe, who can play multiple infield positions like Theriot, but has a little more pop.

Theriot, who holds a career batting average of .284, represents a significant offensive upgrade for a team that got a combined .244 out of their middle infielders in 2010, and a .221 mark out of their shortstops.

Theriot also has 165 of his 589 starts at second base, where he could spell Skip Schumaker against lefties. Schu holds a .220 career average against left-handers, and a .303 average against righties. Conversely, Theriot holds a .302 average against lefties, and a .277 average against righties.

A former Cub, Ryan also has experience in the National League Central. He holds a .303 average against NL Central pitchers.

At this point, Theriot will likely lead off, although he will need to improve his .323 on-base percentage from last year, a career low. Theriot brings speed to a previously plodding lineup, as he’s stolen at least 20 bases in the past four seasons. Last year, Albert Pujols led the team with 14 steals.

Now that Theriot projects as a starter in the middle infield, either Brendan Ryan or Skip Schumaker may be expendable next week at the Winter Meetings. The Cardinals would still like to improve their offense, and may package one of their middle infielders in a deal.

Then again, they may decide to head into 2011 with a deep middle infield consisting of Ryan, Theriot, and Schumaker, all relatively low-cost options. Theriot is under contract through 2012, and made just $2.6 million in 2010.

The Cardinals will send Blake Hawksworth to L.A. in the deal. Hawksworth experienced some success as a swingman for the Cardinals in 2009 and ’10, but the Cardinals had a surplus of right-handed relief.

In a not entirely unrelated move, the Cardinals may have solved another issue, signing left-handed reliever Brian Tallet to a one-year deal. Tallet was released by the Blue Jays last month, and the Cardinals, who were looking for a left-handed specialist to replace Dennys Reyes, snatched him up.

Tallet had a 6.40 ERA last season, and coughed up 20 homers, but he also held left-handers to a .176 average. The Cardinals plan to employ him as a specialist, so he may have more success in limited action.

Theriot and Tallet were teammates at Louisiana State University, where they won a national title in 2000. The Cardinals are hoping that they can duplicate that success in the majors.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Toronto Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion Claimed By Oakland Athletics

Today, the Toronto Blue Jays lost a member of their elusive 20 home run club from last season, as Edwin Encarnacion was claimed by the Oakland Athletics.

This move was expected, as Encarnacion made around $5.175 million dollars last season and was pretty mediocre at third base. His inability to hit consistently and his erratic defensive game pretty much sealed Edwin’s fate in Toronto.

While being affectionately known was “E5” for his penchant to make errors at third base, to his credit, along with the tutelage of defensive coach Brian Butterfield, he was able to improve his defense as the season progressed.

Last season Encarnacion hit .244 adding 21 home runs and 51 runs batted in, amassing those totals in only 332 at bats. Those numbers stack up pretty nicely when you project them out over 600 at bats, which gives him a totals of roughly 35 homers and 100 runs batted in.

With the Athletics adding Encarnacion, this likely means the end of Kevin Kouzmanoff’s tenure in the Golden State.

Kouzmanoff, who is another non-tender candidate (like Encarnacion), will likely be out a job in Oakland with the likes of David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney, Rajai Davis, Conor Jackson and Jack Cust getting time at third, the outfield and at designated hitter.

Kouzmanoff hit .247 last season hitting 16 home runs and adding 71 RBI in 551 at bats. Right now, according to the numbers, the Athletics upgraded at third, but you can also argue that the Athletics home stadium is one of the worst hitting parks in the majors, so his numbers may be better than originally thought.

Could he be an option at third base for the Blue Jays? That remains to be seen, but he will probably be on the Blue Jays radar nonetheless.

In other related Jays news, reliever Brian Tallet and outfielder DeWayne Wise refused Triple-A assignments this morning and were sent packing, becoming non-tendered free agents.

Tallet compiled one of his worst seasons to date last season, going 2-6 with a 6.40 ERA and Wise was used in a utility role with the Jays last season and gained more playing time when Fred Lewis was lost to bunion surgery in the latter part of the year. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Five Options the Yankees Could Use If Andy Pettitte Stays Injured

Today, Andy Pettitte will pitch a bullpen session in Chicago. There are two possible outcomes for this situation.

Good outcome: Pettitte could return in mid-September and be the horse he was before the injury, when was on his way to a Cy Young-type season. 

Bad outcome: He could feel a “pull” in his groin, and the Yankees could be stuck with the pitchers they have, or get someone off waivers.

Needless to say, the Yankees desperately need Pettitte back. With him at full strength, the Bombers could have a dangerous 1-2 punch with him and C.C. Sabathia.

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Vernon Wells and Edwin Encarnacion Clear Waivers: Encarnacion Moving?

As reported by Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, the Blue Jays put both Vernon Wells and Edwin Encarnacion on waivers earlier in the week. News has come out that both of them have cleared waivers and can now be traded.

Wells comes as no surprise, given his monster contract, but Encarnacion clearing does raise questions on his future with the ball club. 

Wells is averaging .270 with 22 HR and 60 RBI’s on the season. He started off on an absolute tear, but he has slowed down some as he usually does. The 6’1″ 230 pound center fielder could draw attention from some of the heavy spenders such as the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. However, I truly believe a deal is unlikely to say the very least.

Encarnacion on the other hand is a more sought after commodity. Signed to a modest contract that expiries at the end of the year, Encarnacion could be a good piece to have on an AL team to play at 3rd or DH. His defense is pretty pedestrian, but he’s blessed with lots of power and has flexed his muscles since his demotion to the Las Vegas 51’s (AAA).

Encarnacion is batting .244 this year with 12 HR and 34 RBI, but has missed about 46 games this season due to injuries and his demotion. If healthy, he could potentially have 20 home runs this season at least.

There are lots of teams out there in need of a third baseman. The team that stands out is the Atlanta Braves, having lost their franchise cornerstone Chipper Jones to injury for the remainder of the season.

Also put on waivers by the Blue Jays and clearing was long reliever Brian Tallet. The 6’6″ 220 pound lefty is 2-4 this season with a 5.65 ERA in 57.1 innings pitched. 

Tallet could fetch something decent on the open market, but he will not get you something to help the Jays right away.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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