Jul 21, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (22) fields a ground ball off the bat of Atlanta Braves right fielder Justin Upton (not pictured) in the seventh inning at US Cellular Field. Chicago won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-Christmas Waiver Wire Musical Chairs

On December 23, the waiver wire lit up with a game of musical chairs as players who had been designated for assignment were claimed by other teams. We here at Grading on the Curve counted seven players changing teams in a pre-Christmas waiver wire feeding frenzy.

Outfielder Alex Castellanos was the first player to get claimed, getting snapped up by the Texas Rangers after he was placed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox. Castellanos was just traded in October by the Dodgers to the Red Sox. The 27 year old took a step back in 2013 with a good season (.257/.347/.468, 19 HRs) in Albuquerque, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. Castellanos had put up monster numbers in 2011 and 2012, hitting over .320, with OBPs over .385 and SLGs over .570. He had tremendous seasons, making excellent contact and hitting copious amounts of extra-base hits with 66 extra-base hits in 2011 and 49 XBH (in 127 fewer plate appearances) in 2012. Castellanos only has 43 plate appearances in the major leagues and has hit .171/.186/.390 in those opportunities.

28-year-old righty Ryan Reid was claimed by Mets off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. Reid had a very nice showing with a 1.65 ERA in 11 major league innings with the Pirates in 2013 and had a decent 7:3 strikeout to walk ratio. In Triple-A Indianapolis, Reid threw an additional 59 1/3 innings with a 2.73 ERA, 1.20 WHIP to go with 56 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Brett Marshall, 23, heads to his second organization after being claimed on waivers by the Chicago Cubs. Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 6th round of the 2008 draft, Marshall made his major league debut in 2013 by throwing twelve innings with the Yankees over three appearances (one in May and two in September). Marshall was a starter for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and had a 5.13 ERA , 1.53 WHIP, 120 strikeouts and 68 walks in 138 2/3 innings.

Despite only being 24, Liam Hendriks has three seasons of ML experience with the Minnesota Twins. Working mostly as a starter, he’s posted a 6.06 ERA and 1.59 WHIP with 199 strikeouts and 46 walks in 156 big league innings dating back to 2011. Hendriks was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles off of waivers on Monday. His minor league numbers with Rochester have been stronger over the past three years, including a very strong 2.20 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, 82 strikeouts and 28 walks in 106 1/3 Triple-A innings in 2012.

Outfielder Jerry Sands, 25, who was written about here by my colleague Jason Mast, was claimed by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sands was involved in two major trades in the 2012 offseason: the first was the mega-deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox in which Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto went to LA. Sands was flipped a few months later over to Pittsburgh in the Joel Hanrahan deal. After tremendous minor league seasons in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in which he hit 35, 29 and 26 home runs respectively (not all of which was PCL-inflated), Sands had a very bad 2013, hitting .207/.311/.329 for Indianapolis in the International League with just seven home runs in 397 plate appearances.

Eric Surkamp, 26, was claimed by the Chicago White Sox off of waivers from the San Francisco Giants. Surkamp has a total of 29 1/3 major league innings under his belt but most of that came from six starts in 2011. The 6’5″ lefty missed all of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery but had very good numbers in 2013 split between High-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. He finished with a 2.80 ERA in 86 2/3 innings, showing very good command with 23 walks and 71 strikeouts. Interestingly, Surkamp had reverse splits in 2013, pitching to a .758 OPS against lefties and a .629 OPS against righties.

Third baseman Brent Morel, 26, has probably the most major league experience of the group who were claimed off waivers on Monday with 669 major league plate appearances over four seasons with the Chicago White Sox going back to 2010.  The Toronto Blue Jays claimed the right-handed hitter, who has put up some very good minor league seasons although he has never hit a ton of home runs. Morel hit just six homers in 2013 (although he added 30 doubles) in 452 Triple-A plate appearances in 2013.

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

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