Tag: Eric Surkamp

Eric Surkamp Getty

A bunch of players were claimed off waivers today


Today we saw an unusual amount of players claimed off waivers. They can probably best be described as 40-man roster stocking stuffers. Here’s a quick look at the busy day of transactions:

The Blue Jays claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the White Sox

Morel hit 10 homers in 126 games with the White Sox in 2011, but he has only appeared in 47 games at the major league level since. The 26-year-old hit .266/.349/.403 with six home runs and 54 RBI over 106 games with Triple-A Charlotte this past year.

The White Sox claimed left-hander Eric Surkamp off waivers from the Giants

Surkamp was hit hard in his lone start with the Giants this season, but he had a 2.80 ERA and 71/23 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings over 16 starts between High-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. This was his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He’s not a hard-thrower, usually sitting in the 85-89 mph range, but has averaged 10.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors.

The Rays claimed first baseman Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates

Acquired from the Red Sox last winter in the Joel Hanrahan deal, Sands really struggled at the Triple-A level this year, hitting just .207/.311/.329 with seven home runs and 34 RBI over 106 games. A right-handed batter, the 26-year-old struck out in 24 percent of his plate appearances with the Dodgers from 2011-2012.

The Orioles claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs

Hendriks was just claimed off waivers from the Twins last week, but he’s on the move again. The 24-year-old Aussie has enjoyed great success in the minors thanks to his pinpoint control, but he owns an ugly 6.06 ERA over 28 starts and two relief appearances at the major league level.

The Cubs claimed right-hander Brett Marshall off waivers from the Yankees

Marshall posted a 5.13 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 120/68 K/BB ratio in 25 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013 and didn’t make much of an impression in two brief stints with the big club. Still, he doesn’t turn 24 until March and isn’t too far removed from being one of the Yankees’ better pitching prospects.

The Mets claimed right-hander Ryan Reid off waivers from the Pirates

Reid allowed two earned runs in 11 innings during his first taste of the big leagues this past season and owns a 3.87 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over parts of eight seasons in the minors, almost exclusively as a reliever. He turns 29 in April.

The Rangers claimed outfielder Alex Castellanos off waivers from the Red Sox

Castellanos was acquired from the Dodgers in October in exchange for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, but he was designated for assignment earlier this month to clear a spot for Mike Napoli on the 40-man roster. While the 27-year-old owns an impressive .288/.362/.502 batting line with 85 homers and 109 stolen bases over 615 minor league games, he has only appeared in 24 games at the major league level.

Giants lefty Eric Surkamp undergoes Tommy John surgery

Eric Surkamp
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Out since spring training with an elbow injury, Giants left-hander Eric Surkamp will now be sidelined through at least the middle of next season following Tommy John surgery.

Prior to the injury Surkamp was in the mix to potentially supplant Barry Zito as the Giants’ fifth starter, but instead he hasn’t thrown a pitch and Zito has had a solid year with a 3.75 ERA in 113 innings.

Surkamp posted excellent numbers in the minors last season, leading the Double-A Eastern League in both ERA and strikeouts, but the 2008 sixth-round pick struggled in a half-dozen starts for the Giants down the stretch.

Barry Zito ditches the new delivery

Barry Zito

It’s starting to feel like a rite of spring: Barry Zito shows up with a new delivery he was working on in the offseason, only to ditch it on the advice of Giants coaches.

Zito arrived this year with a new crouched over stance on the mound. I’ll let Andrew Baggarly take it from here:

Zito, who is still owed $46 million, attempted to mimic Tim Lincecum’s delivery during an offseason working with noted pitching guru Tom House. But observers both inside and outside the Giants organization tell me that Zito doesn’t have the arm speed or athleticism to pull off that delivery. Zito’s arm drags behind his body as he plants his front foot, leading to hittable pitches at the belt.

The end results bared that out: Zito had a 7.91 ERA in five spring starts. He allowed 32 hits, including five homers, in 19 1/3 innings.

The plan is for Zito to use his old delivery in a minor league start Wednesday. He’s still slated to be the Giants’ fifth starter this season, though if he has a rough April, the team could turn to youngster Eric Surkamp. After a solid 2010 season, Zito went 3-4 with a 5.87 ERA during an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.

Running down the rosters: San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey

Coming off a disappointing 86-76 finish in 2011, the Giants’ big moves this winter were a pair of underwhelming trades: Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera and Andres Torres plus Ramon Ramirez for Angel Pagan. To say the least, they didn’t make the kind of splash their fans were hoping for (but have come not to expect).

Tim Lincecum – R
Matt Cain – R
Madison Bumgarner – L
Ryan Vogelsong – R
Barry Zito – L

Brian Wilson – R
Sergio Romo – R
Santiago Casilla – R
Jeremy Affeldt – L
Javier Lopez – L
Guillermo Mota – R
Clay Hensley – R

SP next in line:  Eric Surkamp (L), Dan Runzler (L), Brian Burres (L), Ramon Ortiz (R)
RP next in line: Runzler, Danny Otero (R), Steve Edlefsen (R), Jean Machi (R)

The staff remains one of the game’s very best, with three of the NL’s top 10 starting pitchers leading the way. I doubt Vogelsong will come close to matching his All-Star 2011 season, but as a fourth starter, he shouldn’t be a liability.

The bullpen is also exceptional, though Wilson is a bit of a question mark after last year’s elbow problems. Fortunately, the Giants can cover any absence from Wilson. Romo, Casilla, Affeldt and Lopez are probably the game’s best setup crew, and Hensley should do well in replacing Ramirez’s innings.

Rotation depth is a big issue here. Surkamp didn’t appear ready in his six starts last season, and while I like Runzler as a reliever, I’m not sure he has any future in the rotation. Any injury to one of the big three starters — or even to one of the lesser lights — is going to take a heavy toll.

CF Angel Pagan – S
2B Freddy Sanchez – R
3B Pablo Sandoval – R
C Buster Posey – R
LF Melky Cabrera – S
1B Aubrey Huff – L
RF Nate Schierholtz – L
SS Brandon Crawford – L

C Eli Whiteside – R
1B-OF Brandon Belt – L
INF Mike Fontenot – L
INF Ryan Theriot – R
OF Justin Christian – R

Next in line: C Hector Sanchez (S), C Chris Stewart (R), 1B Brett Pill (R), INF Emmanuel Burriss (S), 3B Conor Gillaspie (L), INF Joaquin Arias (R), OF Gregor Blanco (L), OF Gary Brown (R), OF Roger Kieschnick (L), OF Tyler Graham (R)

The Giants needed a star — Jose Reyes, in particular, would have been an outstanding fit — but they settled for a pair of switch-hitting outfielders. For what it’s worth, Cabrera did play like a minor star last year, and he’s just 27 years old. If he can do it again, then the middle of the order has the potential to be very good.

I don’t see either Cabrera or Pagan lighting it up, though, and the Giants might be better off sacrificing some outfield defense in order to get Belt in the lineup regularly. That could mean playing the hot hand between Pagan and Schierholtz.

The bench appears set except for the last spot, which could go to Christian, Pill, Burriss or Blanco. I’m going with Christian, even though he was bumped from the 40-man roster last week. Pill would only make sense if the Giants decided to commit to Huff in the outfield and turn first base over to Belt.

As for the lineup itself, the Giants will likely experiment this spring so that they don’t end up with the three lefties in a row at the bottom of the order (making it a bigger problem is that their two best pinch-hitting options are also left-handers). I think they’d prefer having Melky bat fifth, but using him at the top of the order and sticking either Pagan or Sanchez in the seventh spot would solve the issue.

The Giants finished second in the NL in ERA last year, but dead last in runs scored. A healthy Posey can help there, but there is just so much ground to make up. The Phillies had the worst offense among last year’s NL playoff teams, scoring 713 runs. The Giants were all of the way down at 570. They’ll probably have to up that total to at least 630-640 to have a shot.