This installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 17 to 23. The previous installment is available here.
Signed: C Alvin Colina
Traded: RHP Randor Bierd to Red Sox for RHP David Pauley
Traded: RHP Henry Williamson and LHP Garrett Olson to Cubs for OF Felix Pie
Boston Red Sox
Traded: RHP David Pauley to Orioles for RHP Randor Bierd
Traded: RHP David Aardsma to Mariners for LHP Fabian Williamson
Casualties of Boston’s active winter, Aardsma and Pauley both were designated for assignment last week to make room for free agent imports John Smoltz and Takashi Saito. If you’re looking for thumbnail scouting reports on the talents of Bierd, an Orioles’ big league Rule 5 pick last season, and Williamson, here’s what BA had previously published about them:
"Another sleeper, and one of my favorite names ever, is Erie RHP Randor Bierd, sinker-slider guy, good size, pretty strong middle relief profile." (—John Manuel, Eastern League Top 20 Prospects chat, Oct. 5, 2007)
"A 22nd rounder in ’06 who signed too late to play that year, Williamson had a great season with Pulaski this year, striking out 67 in 53 innings, but he succeeded more with pitchability than stuff. That’s not a bad thing—it just means he has more to prove as he moves up. Reports from the Appy League indicated an 87-91 mph fastball and a nice curveball, which he already throws for strikes. Williamson also made improvements to his changeup." (—Matt Eddy, Mariners Top 10 Prospects chat, Dec. 5, 2008)
Signed: 2B Bobby Scales
Traded: OF Felix Pie to Orioles for RHP Henry Williamson and LHP Garrett Olson
Signed: OF Jonny Gomes
Released: RHP Jon Adkins
Three years have passed since Gomes’ third-place finish in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and in the interim he batted just .221/.317/.434 in 887 at-bats for the Rays. Now 28 and a recent nontender by Tampa Bay, he’ll try to crack a Reds 40-man roster that lists its only non-Jay Bruce outfielders as Chris Dickerson, Norris Hopper and Willy Taveras. And given Gomes’ steady production versus lefthanders (.266/.369/.510 in 489 career plate appearances), he just might make it.
Signed: RHP Vinnie Chulk, RHP Kirk Saarloos
Signed: 1B/OF Dan Ortmeier, 2B Mike McCoy, SS Rex Rundgren, OF Ruddy Yan
Released: RHP Ronny Lopez, RHP David Parker, LHP Drew Coffey, 2B James Guerrero, SS Angel Cabrera, OF Brian Lapin
A good organizational player at the very least, the 27-year-old Ortmeier represents a good gamble for the Rockies to take because he could develop into an extra outfielder candidate. Though he’s a switch-hitter with some speed and plus range in the outfield, Ortmeier just hasn’t hit at the Triple-A level, batting a composite .247/.305/.392 in his three trials with Fresno since 2006. The Giants made him a 2002 third-round pick from Texas-Arlington, which boasts a fairly impressive alumni list: Hunter Pence, Mark Lowe, Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore and Mets control-freak righthander Dillon Gee.
Signed: RHP Jason Standridge
Standridge, 30, returns to the States after two years spent pitching in Japan, for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka club. He did well in 2007, posting a 3.00 ERA in a swingman role, while striking out 35 and walking 23 in 54 innings. Limited to 13 innings last year, Standridge, the 31st overall pick in 1997, struggled to a 7.62 ERA.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Jose Brito, 3B Jeifrich Garcia
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Dan Denham, RHP Jeremy Hill
Released: RHP Kasey Olenberger
Olenberger, 30, ranked third in the minors in innings pitched in 2007, racking up 180 for Triple-A Salt Lake. Of course, he gave up 205 hits (10.3 per nine innings) and 35 home runs (1.8 per nine) in the tough pitching conditions of the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Conference. Undrafted out of Long Beach State, Olenberger spent his first five seasons as a professional pitching in the independent Western League (2000, 2002) and then one season (2004) in the Italian major league. He’s now quite free to pitch free to pitch for Italy in the World Baseball Classic; he was on the ’06 team as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP Jose Diaz, RHP Charlie Haeger, C Mike Rose, OF Jon Zeringue
A 25-year-old knuckleballer who’s proven his durability by averaging 166 innings per year in four seasons since 2005, Haeger signed with the Dodgers despite a possible—even likely—assignment to Albuquerque, the toughest environment for Triple-A hurlers. But on the other hand, Dodger Stadium has been home to two of the most prominent non-Tim Wakefield knuckleballers of the past 35 years—Charlie Hough (1970-80) and Tom Candiotti (1992-97). Haeger spent most of September with the Padres, working in four games as a reliever, after coming over as a waiver claim from the White Sox. Apparently not a fan of his 16.62 ERA or 3.00 WHIP, San Diego nontendered Haeger in December.
Released: OF Ryan Jensen
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Ryan Jensen
New York Mets
Signed: RHP Tim McNab
Released: RHP Jason Lavorgna, 2B Michael Parker, OF Darren Clark
Signed: LHP Bob Cramer
Signed: C Kevin Nelson, 2B Pablo Ozuna, SS Jorge Velandia, OF Damon Hollins
The Phillies have been remarkably active on the minor league free agent market this winter, bringing aboard at least 25 new players—or one more player than upper-level minor league teams carry. Of course, poor showings in 2008 by Triple-A Lehigh Valley (55-89 and dead last in the International League) and Double-A Reading (53-89 and dead last in the Eastern League) probably have a lot to do with this development.
Signed: RHP Jason Davis, RHP Ty Taubenheim, C Hector Gimenez
Traded: LHP Fabian Williamson to Red Sox for RHP David Aardsma
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Rayner Oliveros
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Dewon Day
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: LHP Rommie Lewis, SS Brandon Fahey, OF Todd Donovan
Not a team afraid to take chances on discarded shortstops—think Royce Clayton, Pedro Lopez, Hector Luna, Ray Olmedo, Danny Sandoval, Jason Smith and Jorge Velandia just from the past two seasons—the Blue Jays now have signed Fahey, part of the ’08 Orioles’ five-headed monster at shortstop. The other four: Freddie Bynum, Juan Castro, Alex Cintron and Luis Hernandez. (Just think about that the next time you pity your favorite team’s assembled depth at a particular position.) Now for the kicker: Fahey, 28 and a 2002 12th-round pick form Texas, batted .226/.252/.349 in his 106 at-bats last season, which was the second-best showing of the five players. Cintron managed to hit with a bit more authority, but he’s also the least efficient defender.
Signed: RHP Gary Glover
Reinstated from inactive list: C John Poppert
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