Angels, White Sox swap five relievers

By Jim Callis

July 29, 2003

The Angels and White Sox altered their bullpens of the present and possibly the future Tuesday by exchanging five relievers. Chicago, which is surging into playoff contention, picked up Scott Schoeneweis and Triple-A righthander Doug Nickle. Anaheim, which is fading fast, acquired Gary Glover, Double-A righthander Scott Dunn and high Class A lefty Tim Bittner.

Schoeneweis, 29, gives the White Sox a third bullpen lefty to go with Damaso Marte and Kelly Wunsch. He throws mainly sinkers and fastballs, though Chicago may give him a chance to develop a third pitch and become a starter next spring. He’s highly effective against lefthanders, holding them to a .490 on-base plus slugging percentage this year (compared to a .819 OPS against righties). He has a 1-1, 3.96 record in 39 appearances, with a 29-10 strikeout-walk ratio and .250 opponent average in 39 innings. In his five-year career, he has gone 28-31, 5.10 in 183 games. Schoenweis is making $1.425 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration afterward.

Glover, a 26-year-old righthander, had been buried in the White Sox bullpen after a mediocre season. He was 1-0, 4.54 in 24 outings, making just eight appearances since May. He had a 23-14 K-BB ratio and a .305 opponent average in 36 innings. Like Schoeneweis, Glover has a huge platoon split this year (.697 OPS versus righthanders, 1.078 versus lefties). Glover works mainly with a low-90s fastball and a slider, and his inability to develop a consistent changeup has hampered him as a starter (9-11, 5.72 in 33 career starts). He’s 13-13, 5.00 in 112 appearances over four big league seasons. Glover makes $330,000 this year and could become arbitration-eligible as a two-plus-year player this offseason.

This is the third trade for the 28-year-old Nickle, who previously was included in deals for Gregg Jefferies in August 1998 and Scott Rolen last July. Drafted by the Angels in 1997’s 13th round out of the University of California, Nickle went 1-0, 7.84 in 20 big league games with the Phillies and Padres from 2000-02. Rejoining Anaheim via a minor league contract in the offseason, he has spent 2003 at Triple-A Salt Lake. He was 2-2, 1.48 with four saves in 34 games, including a 23-18 K-BB ratio and .226 opponent average in 49 innings. Nickle’s best pitch is his low-90s fastball, and he also has a knuckle-curve and slider.

Dunn, 25, was traded just three weeks earlier by the Reds when they picked up D’Angelo Jimenez from the White Sox. A Cincinnati 10th-round pick in 1999 from the University of Texas, Dunn hasn’t gotten much attention despite having a low-90s fastball and averaging more than a strikeout per inning as a pro. He also throws a curveball, changeup and occasional knuckleball. In 39 Double-A games this year, Dunn has gone 6-3, 3.35 with nine saves. He continues to overmatch hitters, with a 68-21 K-BB ratio and .212 opponent average in 51 innings.

Bittner, 23, began his college career at Marist as an outfielder before moving to the mound and getting drafted in the 10th round by the White Sox in 2001. He opened this season as a starter at low Class A Kannapolis (4-4, 3.40 in 10 starts) before moving to the bullpen at high Class A Winston-Salem (3-3, 3.60 in 17 outings). In 80 innings between the two stops, he had 68-38 K-BB ratio and held hitters to a .219 average. His best pitch is an average slider that has the potential to be a plus pitch, and he throws his fastball in the high 80s.