This installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Dec. 24, 2008, and Jan. 12, 2009. The previous installment is available here.
Signed: 2B Guillermo Reyes
Signed: C Robby Hammock, C Guillermo Quiroz, 3B Jolbert Cabrera, OF Justin Christian
Released: RHP Aubrey Miller, RHP Marcus Moore, RHP Robert Neigebauer, RHP Kyle Touchatt, LHP Aaron Odom, C Zachary Dillon, C Justin Martin, C Michael Pierce, C Josh Tarnow, SS Jason Altenhof, SS Malcolm Crowley, OF Danny Heller, OF Francisco Mejia, OF Nick Ray
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Andrew Barb
The Orioles still don’t have a catcher on the 40-man roster, with Minor League Player of the Year Matt Wieters looming as the team’s 2009 starter. Hammock (479 at-bats) and Quiroz (234) have big league experience, with Quiroz serving as the O’s backup last year, but neither should stand in Wieters’ way. (John Manuel)
Boston Red Sox
Signed: 2B Nick Green, SS Angel Chavez
Released: RHP Kyle Foster, RHP Jimmy James, RHP Scott Lonergan, LHP Daniel Buller, LHP Michael Tomoleoni, C Matt Cooney
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Charlie Zink
Signed: LHP Bill White, 2B Robinson Chirinos
Traded: 2B Mark De Rosa to Indians for RHPs Chris Archer and Jeff Stevens and LHP John Gaub
Chicago White Sox
Signed: RHP Ryan Braun, 2B Jose Fulgencio
Released: RHP Cody Allen, RHP Frank Rosario, RHP Justin Stires, LHP Noe Rodriguez, OF Anderson Gomes
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Justin Stires
The other Ryan Braun, 28, missed the 2008 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Royals’ sixth-round pick from Nevada-Las Vegas in 2003, he sports a career 6.66 ERA in the big leagues, but if you can get past that, you’ll find a steady minor league performance record. For example, Braun, in 2006, fanned 80 batters, while walking 29 and allowing just two homers, in 66 minor league innings.
Signed: C Korey Feiner, OF Ryan Doran
Signed: RHP Jack Cassel
Released: OF Ryan Goleski
Traded: RHPs Chris Archer and Jeff Stevens and LHP John Gaub to Cubs for 2B Mark De Rosa
Removed from 40-man roster: 1B Michael Aubrey
A 24th-round pick in 2003 from Eastern Michigan, Goleski smashed 28 home runs in low Class A during the 2004 season. Sure, he was 22 that season, but on the flip side, it was his first full pro season. Two years later, in a year spent mostly in Double-A, the righthanded slugger hit 27 longballs—but even that wasn’t enough to earn a spot on the Indians’ 40-man roster. Intrigued, the Devil Rays selected Goleski with the first pick in that winter’s major league Rule 5 draft and then traded him to the Athletics. Unbeknownst to Oakland, Goleski had wrist surgery during the ’06 offseason, but that didn’t stop the A’s from attempting to work out a trade during spring training ’07 to keep the outfielder. Cleveland refused the overture and paid $25,000—or half the Rule 5 fee—to bring Goleski back to the organization. Two tough years in Double-A later, during which his slugging percentage peaked at .429, Goleski, now 26, is free to sign with any team.
Signed: LHP Cedrick Bowers, C Dayton Buller
Signed: LHP John Koronka, LHP Kelly Shearer, OF Geraldo Valentin
The Rockies released Koronka, 28, last June so that he could pursue a career in Japan, with Orix of the Pacific League. Given just three starts, the lefty went 0-1, 6.75 with 11 strikeouts and eight walks in 12 innings.
Signed: RHP Danny Graves, RHP Clay Hensley, RHP Jeremy Johnson, 3B Jason Smith, 3B Chad Spann, SS Chris Barnwell
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Roman Colon, C Vance Wilson, OF Brian Buchanan
Released: C Nestor Jacobs, C Yenssi Reyes
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Tim Dorn
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP Yhency Brazoban, RHP Edgar Martinez, LHP Stephen Randolph, SS Juan Castro, OF Val Pascucci
By signing with Los Angeles, Pascucci, 30, has a chance to reprise his terrific 2007 campaign in Albuquerque, which was then a Marlins farm club but is once again the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. You remember two summers ago, when Pascucci, with the aid of offense-inflating Isotopes Park, hit 34 home runs to rank third in the minor leagues. That year, he batted .322/.426/.639 in 227 at-bats at home. To be fair, Pascucci did hit half of his dingers on the road (though Colorado Springs, Las Vegas and Salt Lake are also very nice places to hit) and he followed that up by hitting 28 bombs in ’08, playing his home games in stifling Zephyr Field in New Orleans.
Signed: RHP R.A. Dickey, LHP Mike Gosling, 3B Tommy Watkins
The Twins try again with Dickey, whom they signed last offseason to a minor league deal, only to have the Mariners add Dickey in the Rule 5 draft. The 34-year-old knuckleballer went 5-8, 5.28 for Seattle last season.
New York Mets
Signed: C Omir Santos
New York Yankees
Signed: C Kevin Cash, OF John Rodriguez
Signed: RHP Jason Anderson, RHP Dave Borkowski, RHP Santos Hernandez, RHP William Jackel, RHP Gary Majewski, RHP Steven Shepard, LHP Jake Woods, 2B Marcus Giles, OF Jason Ellison
Anderson, Borkowski, Majewski, Woods, Giles and Ellison all have varying degrees of big league experience, but for our purposes, perhaps the most interesting name here is Santos Hernandez. Signed by the Rockies in 2000 and released three years later, the Dominican-born righthander has spent the past five seasons bouncing around the independent circuit (after landing briefly in the Mexican League in ’05). He’s still just 25 and he’s coming off a solid year for the United League’s Laredo franchise: 8-6, 3.55 with 132 strikeouts and 37 walks in 112 innings which earned him a spot on our Independent Leagues Top Prospects list. Hernandez did little, performance-wise, to bolster his case this winter in the Puerto Rican League, however, as he walked seven and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings. Most of the damage came in his lone start.
Signed: RHP Jeremy Powell, 1B Josh Bonifay, SS Pedro Lopez, SS Anderson Machado
You might remember Powell as a nondescript righthander with the late-90s Expos. But given that he played his last game in this country in June 2001, you’d be forgiven if he had been expunged from memory. Montreal’s fourth-round pick in 1994, Powell peaked with the ’99 Expos, compiling the sixth-most innings on the squad (behind Dustin Hermanson, Mike Thurman, Javier Vazquez, Miguel Batista and Carl Pavano and finishing just ahead of Anthony Telford) and going 4-8, 4.73 in 17 starts. He joined the Padres organization as a free agent in 2001, a decision that proved to be career altering. The then-25 Powell pitched well for Triple-A Portland (63-14 K-BB and 1.58 ERA in 74 innings as a starter), sure, but that success was nothing compared with the eight-year run in Japan that he embarked upon that summer. Unlike many players, who struggle to adjust to both Japanese baseball and culture, Powell was a success almost from the get-go. His first season with Kinetsu was shaky, but from 2002 through 2006, he went 63-52, 3.73 while averaging 150 strikeouts, 49 walks and 194 innings per season. His ’07 and ’08 campaigns featured ERAs of 5.80 and 5.29, however, so the 32-year-old Powell now will try to latch on with the Pirates.
St. Louis Cardinals
Released: 1B Carlos Pupo, 2B Ross Oeder, OF Cristofher Dumont, OF Nick Peoples
San Diego Padres
Released: C Wary Polanco
Loaned to Mexican League: RHP Luis Mendez, RHP David Reyes, RHP Hector Sanchez, LHP Juan Robles, LHP Misael Valenzuela
San Francisco Giants
Removed from 40-man roster: SS Ivan Ochoa
Signed: C Jamie Burke
Released: LHP Kervin Montbrum
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Julio DePaula, LHP Randy Choate, LHP Jason Cromer, C Michel Hernandez, SS Jason Bowers
Signed: C Brandon Harrigan, OF Nathan Haynes
Released: RHP Keisuke Ueno, LHP Ryan Turner, OF Lejuan Hill, OF Kyle Murphy
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: LHP Mike Maroth, C Michael Barrett, 3B Randy Schwartz
A native of Kleinburg, Ontario, Schwartz signed with Toronto after a standout four-year college career at High Point. He batted .335/.400/.553 as a senior in 2008.
Signed: RHP Josh Towers, LHP Wil Ledezma, C Gustavo Molina
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