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Baltimore Orioles want to move P Jim Johnson into rotation
Phils get Wiggy wit it
Specifically, Buck Showalter is pushing for the move. Given that this is a reiteration of the skip's desire to see it happen, there's a good chance that the experiment will come about.
After an injury-plagued 2010, Johnson pitched in 69 games (91 frames) in 2011, posting a 6-5 record, a 2.67 ERA, a 5.74 K/9 and a 2.08 BB/9. The righty began his pro career as a starter and was modestly successful, but the O's have used him in their MLB bullpen exclusively since his one-start debut in 2006.
Johnson's mid-90s heaters (he can get both his four- and two-seamers up there at that pace) and plus changeup give him a solid foundation with which to work. His curveball is at least average. The ground-ball specialist hasn't generated a high rate of K's in the bigs, but he shouldn't lose anything by transitioning. He'd be an intriguing sleeper in deep leagues in 2012.
Pittsburgh Pirates sign SS Clint Barmes to two-year contract
Barmes batted .244 with a .312 OBP and a .386 slugging percentage for the Houston Astros this past campaign. Those marks are about in line with his career rates, and, at 33 next season, he won't be expected to break out. He's simply a cheap choice for Pittsburgh - and a better real rawhide addition than a fantasy baseball one.
Barmes has displayed some pop in seasons past, but his 23-homer 2009 (with the Colorado Rockies) is now clearly an outlier. PNC Park is unkind to players who try to go deep from the right side, so don't count on double-digit round-trippers. Unless he comes at a rock-bottom price, Barmes isn't an exciting pickup in an NL league because he provides just fill-in marks.
Philadelphia Phillies acquire INF Ty Wigginton from Colorado Rockies
In 446 plate appearances with the Rockies this past season, Wigginton, 34, put up a .242/.315/.416 slash line - one that was quite similar to the set of marks he put up with the Baltimore Orioles in the previous season. Although the right-handed batter isn't a plus player, his versatility and borderline ability as a starter made this a low-cost band-aid for the Phils.
Philly brought in Wigginton to fill a prime backup role on a team with plenty of playing time potentially available. He should be a solid, inexpensive NL-only play. He'll have multiple-position eligibility, bat in a decent lineup that has prospects to rebound and, once again, play half of his contests in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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