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Transaction Report: Fossum DL'd, Shields Called Up

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Transaction Report 5/28/06

[St. Petersburg Times]

The Move-The Rays placed SP Casey Fossum on the 15 Day Disabled List with a strained groin

The Details-Fossum will head to the Disabled List for 15 days, or at least two starts, with a groin strain that he suffered on May 19th against the Florida Marlins

The Analysis-The Rays must have seen something in Fossum's start on Wednesday to indicate to them that said groin strain wasn't completely healed. He threw several bullpen sessions in between starts and the Rays medical staff deemed him fit to start against the Blue Jays, however somewhere Wednesday, something must have set off an alarm in Joe Maddon's head.

Fossum didn't have the hottest of starts on Wednesday, going 5.2 innings and giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits, while walking two, and perhaps that was due to his injury.

Fossum was struggling on the year, he had a 5.46 ERA, walked more than he struck out, and his K/9 was 2.89. Further, his home run rate was 1.77, and he continues to plunk batters at an alarming rate, seven already this year. All of that adds up to a 6.61 FIP, so maybe Fossum should be thankful his ERA is only 5.46. Now, all of that is not the groin strain, but we'll see if Casey can come back and be a new pitcher after his injury.

Anyways, I see nothing to lead me to object to this move. It is better to play it safe with Fossum, and knowing our luck, if he had pitched again, he would have aggravated it further. No two words strike fear into an athlete more than "groin strain", so take 15 days to get yourself healed Casey, and I'll see you in two or three weeks.

Transaction Report 5/28/06

[DRaysBay Photo Archives]

The Move-The Devil Rays called up SP Jamie Shields from Triple A Durham to start in Fossum's place while he is on the DL.

The Details-With Fossum sidelined for two or three weeks, the Rays called up Shields to take his place in the rotation, for now. His future with this team beyond that is questionable.

The Analysis-Anyone who goes to and listens to my endless diatribes knows that I am one of the most conservative people around in terms of callups. I am reluctant to call any prospect up after two months. Spot start callups especially draw my ire. I hate spot starts. In my opinion, they add nothing for pitchers, and can only cause trouble, such as confidence issues, etc, and they lose a start and development time down in the minors. Anyone who needs a look at proof for this needs to go back only a month or so to when Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel were called up to start in Mark Hendrickson's place. Both did poorly and their performance suffered after they went back to the minor leagues.

That said, if this is not a spot start, and the Rays fully intend to stick with Shields on the roster, I reluctantly approve of this move. Again, I am very conservative when it comes to promoting prospects, however the Fossum injury made me look at Shields carefully, and I decided he was ready. Shields put up a 2.73 ERA at Durham, struck out a whopping 60 batters while walking just six, and gave up only three home runs. All of this pitching in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the minor leagues. That, along with the fact that he isn't a top tier prospect convinced me that it was time to pull the trigger and let Shields loose.

However, if this is a spot start, I do not want Shields up. I only want players up when the organization can honestly look at them and say 'yes, this will be the beginning of a long term stint with this club' then by all means, call him up. If not, it isn't worth it. Hopefully this is not a spot start and Shields will remain. When Fossum gets back, I want him to take Doug Waechter's spot in the rotation and bolster our bullpen. That is where he should be.

As for other replacements that could have been called up instead of Shields, only Brian Stokes fit that bill, and his ERA was nearly a run higher. Besides, can you honestly say that he should be in a major league rotation long-term. As for Hammel, Seddon, and Jackson, all are sucking wind and certainly do not belong in the majors at this point, leaving Shields as the only real option.

In Other News...

-The Tampa Tribune reports that the Rays have until Tuesday to sign last year's second round pick, draft and follow candidate Bryan Morris. Morris went 9-1 with a 0.91 ERA in 14 games in a community college league in his native Tennessee this past spring, and also threw a no-hitter. Baseball America had reported Morris had agreed to a deal with the Rays tentatively about five months ago, but no more progress has been made on that front. Morris reportedly wants a deal similar to Wade Townsend's from last years draft; he got a $1.5 million bonus.

Okay, come on. If Wade Townsend is worth $1.5 million, Morris sure as hell is. This isn't the cheap-ass Rays of old, this is the new Rays. If they want to make a major statement that they are committed to scouting and player development, they need to sign him. He is just too good to let back into the draft. Come on, pony up Stu.

[The Tampa Tribune]
[Fan Graphs]