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Mariners, White Sox Exchange Failed First-Rounders

Jim Callis -

Two ballyhooed former first-round picks changed organizations on Monday. The White Sox sent outfielder Joe Borchard, whose $5.3 million bonus in 2000 stood as a draft record until Justin Upton signed for $6.1 million in January, for lefthander Matt Thornton, the biggest surprise selection in 1998's first round.

Majors | #2006#Trade Central

NL West Organization Reports

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TUCSON—As if Stephen Drew and Justin Upton were not enough. The Diamondbacks further fortified their middle-infield depth with their first trade of the spring, adding second baseman/shortstop Alberto Callaspo for 2001 first-round pick Jason Bulger, each team dealing from a perceived position of strength. Callaspo had been caught in a numbers game with the Angels, who also have elite infield prospects Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick in their system.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

Cruz, Halsey Change Addresses Again

Jim Callis -

Two pitchers accustomed to getting traded had it happen again on Sunday as Juan Cruz went to the Diamondbacks in a deal that sent Brad Halsey to the Athletics. Cruz was traded twice in 2004, first from the Cubs to the Braves for prospects and then to the Athletics for Tim Hudson. Halsey was part of the Randy Johnson trade with the Yankees in January 2005.

Majors | #2006#Trade Central

NL Central Organization Reports

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MESA, Ariz.—There was a time when Randy Wells was hoping to catch guys like Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano at the major league level. But when he arrived at Fitch Park for his first major league camp as a non-roster player this year, he wasn't catching anyone. He was doing his drills with the pitchers.

Majors | #2006#Chicago Cubs#Organization Reports

Cubs Deal Surplus Pitcher To Marlins

Jim Callis -

The Cubs have a surplus of pitchers competing for major league jobs, while the Marlins are looking for arms after their offseason fire sale. That made the two clubs natural trading partners, and they consummated a deal on Tuesday. Chicago sent Todd Wellemeyer to Florida for a pair of pitching prospects, Lincoln Holdzkom and Zach McCormack.

Majors | #2006#Trade Central

Face Of The Franchise

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

It's really quite small; then again, that's the idea. The Mets' 2006 pocket schedule is a handy-dandy pamphlet choked to the margins with every game, every promotion, every squint-inducing seating plan only myopics could love, a bustling galaxy of tiny type selling access to the talk of the last two offseasons. The team that threw its considerable wallet at Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. The team that last winter rushed to sign Billy Wagner, jumped on Carlos Delgado and would have bought Babe Ruth, too, had heaven wanted some prospects.

Majors | #2006#Season Preview

NL East Organization Reports

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ORLANDO—Of all the players who tested positive for banned substances and were suspended last season, no one was more forthcoming than James Jurries. The first baseman did not plead ignorance, question the test's validity or point fingers in other directions. Instead, Jurries showed his character by admitting his mistake and accepting his punishment. That reaction did not go unnoticed by the Braves front office.

Majors | #2006#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports

Spinners Feed Off Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry

Will Lingo -Premium Content

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry continues to burn in the Northeast, and two teams in the New York-Penn League have been unlikely beneficiaries. It all started when the Lowell Spinners, a Red Sox affiliate in Massachusetts, offered to replace the uniforms of any youth team in the state named Yankees if the team would take the Spinners name.

Minors | #2006#Column

Crystal Ball Shows All-L.A. Series In 2009

Jim Callis -Premium Content

We always like to look ahead at Baseball America. Our Major League Preview doesn't just focus on 2006, but also gazes three years into the future. In this space in 2002, I correctly predicted that the Astros would reach the 2005 World Series. Alas, I had them defeating the Mariners, who wound up winning just 63 games. I did forecast that the Braves, Padres and Yankees would capture division titles, though I also projected that the Athletics, Cubs and Twins would join them in the playoffs.

Minors | #2006#Column

AL West Organization Reports

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TEMPE, Ariz.—You won't find too many 19-year-olds with a grand total of two Rookie-level games on their professional resumes in big league camp, but in Nick Adenhart the Angels feel they have a special case. Adenhart, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthander, was projected as a first-round pick in 2004 until an elbow injury ended his senior season at Williamsport (Md.) High that May. Though they knew he would need Tommy John surgery, the Angels chose Adenhart in the 14th round and gave him second-round bonus money: $700,000.

Majors | #2006#Los Angeles Angels#Organization Reports

AL West Organization Reports

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LOS ANGELES—The signing of righthander Jeff Weaver not only rounded out what should be a strong big league rotation for the Angels, but it also reduced any pressure on his younger brother Jered to try to make the big league team out of spring training. General manager Bill Stoneman rated it as an outside chance for Jered to make the big league squad even before the team signed Jeff. Now Jered, the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft, can just relax and soak in the lessons from his first spring training.

Majors | #2006#Los Angeles Angels#Organization Reports

AL West Organization Reports

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LOS ANGELES—If Nick Gorneault's career path were to continue on its current trajectory, the 26-year-old outfielder would hit about .300 with 30 home runs and 120 RBIs for the Angels this season. Of course, the chances of that are as remote as Bengie Molina leading the league in stolen bases. Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson are entrenched at the corner outfield spots in Anaheim, and the Angels made a two-year, $3.275 million commitment to Juan Rivera, a reserve outfielder and the team's primary DH, virtually assuring Gorneault a ticket back to Triple-A Salt Lake this spring.

Majors | #2006#Los Angeles Angels#Organization Reports

AL West Organization Reports

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ANAHEIM—After the Angels won the World Series in 2002, they went shopping for a reserve outfielder. Eric Owens signed up happily, hoping for the chance to participate in the playoffs for the first time. Owens started the year slowly. By the time he started hitting the Angels had long vanished from contention, and they finished 19 games out of first place. The team released Owens after the season, and he never played another game in the major leagues.

Majors | #2006#Los Angeles Angels#Organization Reports

AL West Organization Reports

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ANAHEIM—In the years before Arte Moreno, Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon, Angels general manager Bill Stoneman made a name for himself by assembling quality bullpens on the cheap. The Angels paid longtime closer Troy Percival handsomely, but Stoneman shuddered at seven-figure salaries for set-up men and plugged in an assortment of minor league free agents, waiver claims or promotions from within. Within the past two years, however, the Angels have lost five promising relievers on waivers. Righthanders Bobby Jenks and Derrick Turnbow emerged as closers, Jenks for the White Sox and Turnbow for the Brewers.

Majors | #2006#Los Angeles Angels#Organization Reports

Detour To Stardom

Derrick Goold -

On the day Rick Ankiel solved the riddle that was his star-crossed talent for pitching by borrowing an outfielder's glove, the lefthander was scheduled to start a back-lot game at Cardinals spring training. A persistent storm threatened to rain out the entire day of workouts for the club. Pitchers had to throw, puddles or not, and contingency plans were quickly being penciled in the coaches' office. Having been thinking about it since his last turn on the mound went horribly haywire, Ankiel already decided how he would make up the washed-out innings. He wasn't going to. Not that day. Not any day. Ankiel was done pitching.

Majors | #2006#Season Preview

No Need To Feel Blue

Tony Jackson -

At the end of the 2005 season—the Dodgers' second-worst since they arrived on the West Coast almost four decades ago—anyone who followed the club closely could survey the organizational landscape and see something akin to the surface of the moon. It was barren, with holes everywhere, and offered few reasons for optimism. When Ned Colletti surveyed it, he saw a Picasso—grotesque and disfigured on the surface, but with a hidden beauty waiting to be brought to the surface.

Majors | #2006#Season Preview