In a move which makes me think there’s more to it than performance, the Marlins have designated 27-year-old, left-handed reliever Renyel Pinto for assignment in order to call up 27-year-old, right-handed reliever Tim Wood. What’s strange about this move is that Pinto has a 2.70 ERA in 20 appearances with a line of 16.2 innings pitched, 16 hits, one home run, nine walks, and 16 strikeouts. It’s hard to understand why the Marlins would dump a player like that, because Pinto appears to be out of options, and someone will almost certainly claim him.
Even the Miami Herald doesn’t understand the move. They suggest that Pinto is being made a scapegoat.
I’ll say this: Even with minimal knowledge of the Marlins, I can guess why Pinto frustrates a lot of people. First, while he’s got great stuff (222 strikeouts in 231 major league innings pitched), he’s also incredibly wild (152 career walks). He’s a left-handed short man, but he doesn’t get left-handed hitters out (.775 OPS lifetime against left-handed hitters, but only .656 OPS against right-handed hitters—one of the larger reverse platoon differentials you’ll see).
Pinto also appears not to take training as seriously as he could—two sources list his current dimensions as 6’4″ and a whopping 280 lbs. Miami is famed for its nightlife, and I’d wager a guess that Pinto enjoys more than his fair share of it.
Still, the guy they called up, Wood, hasn’t impressed many in previous Major League opportunities and, although he's right-handed, he isn’t likely to pitch any better against right-handed hitters than Pinto has in the past.
Now that they’ve called up Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates have designated Akinori Iwamura for assignment. The reports have it that the Pirates are desperate to trade Iwamura and will eat much of his remaining 2010 salary to do it.
I still like Iwamura (pictured above). Despite his struggles adjusting to the National League this year (not every player benefits from the transition from the Junior to the Senior Circuit), Iwamura has a career Major League on-base percentage of .347, excellent for a 2B. At age 31, he’s still worth a shot from an American League team if he can be bought cheaply.
1B/DH Ryan Shealy opted out of his contract with the Rays. He’d spent the year at the Rays' AAA club, the Durham Bulls, where, despite a feeble .238 batting average, his .866 OPS was good for ninth in the International League. I don’t know what Shealy’s plans were, but playing on the same team with Dan Johnson—who’s the same age as him (30 years old), second in the IL with a 1.011 OPS, and has the same skill set—left Shealy with almost no chance of making the Rays’ Major League roster this year.
It’s hard to see Shealy getting an offer from a Japanese team, but another Major League organization may be willing to sign him to add depth at the AAA level.
The A’s have signed RHP Jamie Wright to a minor league deal. Wright is a player who has always amazed me in terms of his ability to maintain a long Major League career in spite of an apparent lack of talent. Over the course of fifteen Major League seasons, Wright has compiled an 83-117 record (that’s an awful .415 winning percentage, boys and girls) and a 5.03 career ERA.
That’s pretty poor. His ratios are equally, or perhaps even more, terrible. Yet Wright is around year after year.
In fairness, he has pitched most of his Major League career in hitters’ parks (for the Rockies, Royals and Rangers). Also, Wright was once a first-round draft pick (28th overall in the 1993 Draft), and he looks like a pitcher (he’s listed as 6’6″ and 230 lbs). I’ve always gotten the impression that, once Wright established himself as a Major Leaguer, he earned the benefit of the doubt, meaning that he got the call when it was him and someone else on the bubble to be sent down.
Also, Wright was a starter for much of his career (obviously not a very effective one)—his team’s fifth starter. Adding to my opinion that Wright’s career largely resulted from a misguided reputation is that fact that his minor league numbers aren’t impressive either—specifically, a 4.08 career minor league ERA.
Sometimes, the impression you create is everything.