This installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 13 to 16. The previous installment is available here.
Removed from 40-man roster: LHP Francisley Bueno
A native of Cuba who signed with Atlanta in 2006, Bueno was excised from Atlanta’s 40-man roster to make room for free agent acquisition Derek Lowe, who signed a four-year, $60 million deal.
Signed: RHP Blair Johnson, LHP Bobby Livingston, 1B Craig Brazell, SS Chris Gomez
Brazell, if you’ll remember, led the minors with 39 home runs and 326 total bases in 2007. (Pop quiz: Can you name the minor league home run champ for ’08? How about for ’05 or ’06? Answers to follow.) A member of the Royals organization in ’07, Brazell, then 27, also ranked third among minor leaguers in slugging (.601), hits (171) and extra-base hits (77). His exploits earned him a coveted gig with Japan’s Seibu Lions for the ’08 season. There, the lefthanded slugger batted .234/.294/.446 with 27 homers and 87 RBIs, but he also racked up 139 strikeouts in 130 games.
Answer: You were correct if you guessed Brandon Wood (43 in ’05), Kevin Witt (36 in ’06) and Dallas McPherson (42 in ’08).
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Charlie Zink
Traded: OF Mickey Hall to Indians as player to be named in trade for RHP Paul Byrd
Perhaps things would have worked out differently for the knuckleballing Zink had he not given up eight runs in 4 1/3 innings of his big league debut. His career record remains untarnished, however, because the Red Sox rallied to defeat the Rangers 19-17 in that game. The signing of Rocco Baldelli pushed Zink off the 40-man, and he re-signed with the organization.
Signed: RHP Ken Kadokura, LHP Matt Smith, 3B Erick Almonte, SS Joseph Colon, OF So Taguchi
The Cubs certainly won’t be lacking in Japanese veteran presence in spring training. Taguchi, 39, has emerged as something of a household name (in ways that Tsuyoshi Shinjo never did in this country) for his presence on three World Series teams, with the ’06 Cardinals and ’08 Phillies emerging as winners. And if you want to make a Mets fan wince, remind him of the ninth-inning home run Taguchi hit off Billy Wagner in Game Two of the ’06 NLCS. But back to our regularly scheduled program . . . Kadokura, a 35-year-old reliever who was released by the Yomiuri Giants, logged just 12 2/3 innings in the Central League in 2008, posting a 3.55 ERA and a 16-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Signed: RHP Federico Baez, C Brian Peterson
Loaned to Mexican League: SS Francisco Lizarraga
Acquired: OF Mickey Hall from Red Sox as player to be named in trade of RHP Paul Byrd
A 23-year-old lefthanded batter and a 2003 second-round pick, Hall never has hit higher than .246 in any full-season stop outside of the notorious hitter’s haven in high Class A Lancaster. But he did manage to slug 13 home runs and compile a .224 isolated power figure in a half season with Double-A Portland last year, so at least that’s something.
Signed: RHP Josh Hall
Released: C Neil Wilson
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Scott Beerer, C Neil Wilson
Signed: RHP Travis Phelps, LHP Jason Miller, SS Don Kelly, OF Alexis Gomez
Once a touted prospect with the Royals, Gomez racked up his only significant big league time with the 2006 Tigers, as he provided the club with a lefty option in a sea of righthanded bats. He played in that year’s World Series and even went 4-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs in Detroit’s ALCS win against the A’s.
Signed: RHP Jose Capellan, RHP Chad Paronto, OF Jason Tyner
That’s the same Jose Capellan who was once one of the Braves’ top prospects. He pitched in the Royals and Rockies organizations in 2008 and is working as a starter for Azucareros in the Dominican Winter League.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Brandon Duckworth, RHP Yasuhiko Yabuta
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Matt Palmer
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP Ronald Belisario, LHP Shawn Estes
Signed: RHP Mike Burns, RHP Kris Dabrowiecki, RHP Matt Ginter, RHP Sandy Nin, OF Adam Stern
Toronto native Dabrowiecki, a senior last season at Northeastern who leaves the program its all-time leader in innings, signed with Milwaukee after a successful tryout. The Brewers previously drafted him out of high school, in 2004′s 34th round, but did not sign him.
New York Mets
Signed: LHP Casey Fossum, LHP Tom Martin, C Salvador Paniagua, 2B Argenis Reyes, OF Jason Cooper
The Mets’ trade of Scott Schoeneweis left the club with only one proven lefthanded reliever option (Pedro Feliciano), so it’s not coincidence that Fossum and Martin happen to throw with their left hands. Of course, Martin, 38, was released by the Dodgers during spring training last year and for the year logged just 5 1/3 innings in the independent Atlantic League. On the other hand, at 31, Fossum may be just entering the lefty specialist portion of his career. The 48th overall pick in the 1999 draft—and a key part of the trade that brought Curt Schilling to Boston priohe’s been given ample opportunity to prove himself as a starter with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Rays, but the results have been uniformly terrible: 29-47, 5.65 in 120 starts, with 3.6 walks and 1.4 home runs per nine innings. With the Tigers last season, Fossum worked exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career, and while he posted a 5.66 ERA with 28-18 K-BB in 31 games, he did limit lefties to a line of .243/.309/.365.
And this is just a neat minor league story . . . Cooper, the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons’ "modern era" record holder with 410 games played, had a good idea which organization he would sign with as a first-time minor league free agent this offseason. The Indians’ third-round pick in 2002 after a standout career at Stanford, Cooper signed with the Mets largely because of their new affiliation with Buffalo, where he remains a fan favorite. The native of Richland, Wash., who has batted .244/.331/.439 in 1,359 Triple-A at-bats, last season won his third straight Buffalo community service award for his efforts with the team’s youth baseball department
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Jason Johnson, 1B Shelley Duncan, SS Angel Berroa
Removed from 40-man roster: 1B Shelley Duncan
Not only did Mark Teixeira’s signing remove Duncan almost completely from the ’09 team’s plans, it also cost him his place on the 40-man roster.
Removed from 40-man roster: 3B Joe Dillon
Dillon cleared waivers and was removed from the Athletics’ 40-man roster. Milwaukee previously lost Dillon to the A’s on an Oct. 31 waiver claim, but this time the 33-year-old veteran made it through waivers. The Brewers were trying to outright him to the minors so that they could make room for waiver claim Casey McGehee, whom they plucked from the Cubs.
Signed: LHP Paul Mildren, C Erik Kratz
San Diego Padres
Released: 3B Edgar Garzon
Released: RHP Phil Hann
Signed: RHP Aaron Thompson, C Adam Melhuse, 1B Royce Huffman
Released: OF Victor Barrios
A standout at Texas Christian like his younger brother Chad, a prospect with the Padres, Royce Huffman returns to the Lone Star State on a minor league deal with the Rangers. The 32-year-old righthanded batter spent his first eight pro seasons with the Astros, who made him a 12th-round pick in 1999.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: SS Angel Sanchez, OF Howie Clark
Released: LHP Wilfreddy Aguirre, 3B Lee Soto
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Wilfreddy Aguirre
The short, unhappy career of Soto, who received $600,000 to sign out of the Dominican in 2005, can best be summed up by his performance record, which includes a batting line of .201/.248/.293 with strikeouts in 38 percent of his at-bats. To make matters worse, the 23-year-old never advanced past short-season ball and compiled a woeful .847 fielding percentage 143 games at third base.
Signed: RHP Chris Rivera
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