M's Minor League Transactions Update: 7/31

As usual, the busy month of July filled up the transactions file and InsideThePark.com's Joseph A. Yencich is on top of it - as usual.

TACOMA

July 21
RHP Chris Buglovsky Reinstated from DL


A bruised heel kept Bugs off the mound for a while, but thirteen days later he was back in action against Tucson and went six innings, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out two. He got another start after that, but it seems as if he's been shifted back to relief with the Tacoma pitching staff taking shape again after losing a number of players to injuries.

July 23
LHP George Sherrill Promoted from Peoria


Four innings in the Arizona League without a runner reaching seemed to tell all anyone needed to know about Sherrill's health. Now he's back in Tacoma, and up to his old tricks. He's practically untouchable, and the few hits opponents logged against him have been mostly bloopers, bleeders, and misplayed balls. Don't expect that to be as much of a problem in Seattle, where he should be headed shortly.

July 26
OF Chris Snelling Optioned to Tacoma


His promotion was eagerly anticipated, and a long stretch of good health seemed to be the only requirement to seal the transaction, but when the time finally came, they could only find nine at-bats for Snelling over the course of 23 days. Considering his .366/.446/.546 line in Tacoma, at the fact that he only has eight more strikeouts than walks, that's a waste. Still, the Mariners insisted that he was learning while seeming to do little more than gather splinters, and in time, we shall see.

July 27
RHP Jorge Campillo Promoted from Peoria


Missing from action in Tacoma for a month and a half with a sore elbow, Campillo returned to the Rainiers rotation in grand fashion on Wednesday night, giving up a two hits and two walks while striking out five through six innings of work. As badly as the Rainiers needed him, the Mariners may soon need him more, and come calling as the team is forced to reinvent itself once again. He should stay for longer than an inning this time around.

July 28
SS Yuniesky Betancourt Recalled to Seattle
2B Jose Lopez optioned to Tacoma


One can't usually make too much out of a major-league debut. Though there is the occasional star-in-the-making who will give the water cooler sports aficionados something to chat about in his first game, there are just as many who do not deliver immediately. Still, if there are two things you can take out of Betancourt's play, consider these: the triple, his tenth overall of the season, and his defense, which is really more suited for shortstop, and reaches gold glove levels even there. The rest of his tenure in the majors may require some patience at times, as his bat is prone to extremes of temperature, but those two are legit.

Patience might also be required in evaluating the performance of Jose Lopez. Though his line in Tacoma earns him respect from the opposing pitchers at .279/.313/.557, his .228/.241/.304 performance in 79 at-bats at the major league level didn't exactly leave anyone quaking in their cleats. Lopez could very well be the second half to the double play combo of the future, but the Mariners have to be willing to put up with the occasional scuffling rookies (and even veterans) are prone to. The hot bats of Mike Morse and Willie Bloomquist couldn't have helped his chances, though.

SAN ANTONIO July 16
RHP Phil Wilson Released


In the world of prospecting, potential and the concept of a "late-bloomer" will only take a player so far before those in player development begin insisting on results. For Wilson, this is not the organization where he will "turn it around" and return to top prospect status, but another stop on the journey of a minor league baseball player still trying to find his way. The results haven't shown up yet, but there's always the hope that another team out there will take the risk.

July 18
RHP Michael Bumstead sent from Tacoma


With the rotation in San Antonio in flux and questions surrounding its future setup, the Missions needed a guy who had experience both starting and in relief. Enter Bumstead. Out of roughly 200 career appearances in the minors, Bumstead has made forty-five starts, and has proven himself to be a capable, though inconsistent swingman. At 28, it's hard to say that he'll get much better in that regard, but he's a nice player to have around in case of emergencies.

July 21
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith Placed on the Disabled List


Rowland-Smith's injury was hardly blip on the radar; nothing more than a sore knee that held him out of a single start. The injury came shortly after a June 20th start against Frisco, when he dueled on of the Rangers' top pitching prospects in Edison Volquez and came out on top after giving up a couple of runs, one earned, on four hits and a wild pitch through five innings. Seven days later, he was back in the saddle and pitching in relief, though he could move back to the rotation shortly.

July 23
LHP Cesar Jimenez Sent from Tacoma


Make no mistake, Jimenez is one of the more talented young relievers in the system, but he just wasn't quite ready for the jump to Triple-A, as evidenced by the 9.39 ERA in 7.2 innings. Cesar possesses some of the best instincts for changing speeds in the organization, and a fine change-up to go with it, but hitters at higher levels can recognize those things more easily. He's still quite young, and won't even hit drinking age until after the season, and if he polishes up his breaking ball, he could be valuable in a couple of years. Unfortunately, for the immediate future, he's on the bench with a sore bicep.

July 28
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith Reinstated from the DL
LHP Cesar Jimenez Placed on the DL


INLAND EMPIRE

July 13
C Chris Collins Released


The writing was on the wall for this one for a while, even if Collins hadn't been hitting .257/.328/.323 for the year. It wasn't like Collins was a bad option at backstop, but when he was sent down to Wisconsin to start 2004 after spending the previous year in Inland, that seemed to signal that he was deemed as purely an organizational guy. With Jeff Clement's signing on the horizon and other catchers healthy and faring well in the low minors, there wasn't a place for Collins anymore.

July 22
RHP Oliver Arias Promoted from Everett
RHP Greg Wear Placed on the Disabled List


Arias is a fairly experienced pitcher, coming into the system as a non-drafted college player, but he got his promotion there due to a crackdown on a rather obscure Northwest League rule. The league states that there are limits on how many players above a certain age can be in uniform for any of the teams. The Vancouver Canadians were busted recently, and the Aquasox had to rush to clear the roster of older players like Arias and Adam Brandt while bringing in a few younger guys, such as Roman Martinez in the exchange.

The Sixers have been rather hushed about what landed Wear on the DL, but he certainly went out with a bang. His final appearance before landing on the bench, he blew a save against the San Jose Giants, scoring two of the runners he inherited from Jeff Mault and two more of his own after he had two hits, two hit batters, and two walks in an inning and a third. There's no telling when he'll be back, as there have been a number of injuries that have plagued him in the recent years of his career.

July 26
RF B.J. Garbe Released
OF Sam Bradford Sent from Tacoma


Garbe had been doing rather well in the California League prior to his release, hitting .275/.335/.426 in 80 games, and his bat had been coming around lately after a terrible start to the season. The timing does seem odd, but the draft and the wave of players coming of injuries tends to force a few releases around this part of the season, and Garbe was a veteran of over six minor league seasons and just started proving himself at a lower level.

It's a bit of a stretch to be sending Bradford to Inland Empire after he spent only a little over half a month in Wisconsin last year. But the sudden release of Garbe left the Sixers outfield a man short, and Bradford had a little bit of an experience edge over some of the other guys available. The Sixers have four other guys splitting outfield and DH duties though, so it's not as if the situation is sink-or-swim.

WISCONSIN

July 17
LHP Adam Brandt Promoted from Everett


With a stellar season in Arizona last year, Brandt probably could've been in the Midwest League from the get-go, but better late than never. On second thought, he might've needed a bit more time to get things straightened out. Through 5.1 innings split between Tacoma, Wisconsin, and Everett, he's given up twelve runs on thirteen hits (four of them home runs) and four walks. Oddly enough, he fared the best in Tacoma, where he didn't allow a runner to reach in one inning of work. But the recent struggles are not indicative of Brandt as a pitcher; he's a lot better than the numbers indicate.

EVERETT

July 11
C Chao Kuan Wu Placed on the Disabled List


After two years stuck in the Arizona desert, it looks like Wu will be headed back to Peoria, though the circumstances are even worse than a demotion. In a game against Boise on July 7, a runner collided with Wu at forst base and injured his left elbow. It'll be another month and a half before the 21-year-old will be able to do anything baseball-related.

July 17
RHP Roman Martinez Sent from Wisconsin


Though he was named the pitching MVP for Peoria last season, Martinez struggled a little in the jump to Wisconsin this year. The soon-to-be 21-year-old was mostly a long reliever for the Timber Rattlers and posted a 3.66 ERA in 39.1 innings. While he kept the hits down to a reasonable clip, his tendency to walk a batter about once every two innings on average was a bit concerning. He can probably polish some of that up against the Northwest League competition.

July 29
RHP Stephen Kahn Promoted from Peoria


All it took was one inning in Peoria. One inning, one hit, one walk, one strikeout, and Kahn was on his way up to the Northwest League. Granted, it took him a while to get that far. Considering he was believed to be a premium talent in the draft, with stuff comparable to that of prospect Clint Nageotte, he held out for a deal which he believed would reflect that better. But now that he is signed, the M's may have gotten a steal.

PEORIA

July 15 RHP Marwin Vega Sent from Everett


At the season's beginning, the Everett roster is usually filled with various inexperienced prospects who act as placeholders until more college players are signed from the draft. Vega is just the latest casualty of this practice, but the reality is that the 18-year-old Columbian struggled after getting the starting nod on opening day, and left the Northwest League with an earned-run average north of nine in limited time. He has some solid talent, but he's probably better suited for Arizona, where the competition isn't so stiff.

July 21
OF Kuo-hui Lo Signed to a Minor League Contract


The latest find by the Mariners' Pacific Rim scouts is nineteen-year-old Taiwanese outfielder Kuo-hui Lo. Unlike many of the other finds from the region, Lo doesn't have speed as one of his best tools, though he's not a bad runner on the whole. Instead, Lo will be making a name for himself from the right-hand side of the plate, as his power seems to be his strongest suit. He hit .363 and slugged .625 in Taiwan's senior league this past season, so it seems as if he could provide the M's with a power corner outfield prospect to keep their eyes on in the future.

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