This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Feb. 23 and 29. Previous transactions available here.
Signed: OF Trot Nixon
Though he’s coming off consecutive down years in which his power has all but dried up, Nixon, 33, has at least proven he can still get on base. And with Arizona’s projected righties-only outfield of Eric Byrnes, Chris Young and Justin Upton, Nixon could make sense as a corner outfielder option. His OBP marks versus righties the past two seasons: .352 and .385.
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Miguel Asencio, RHP Bartolo Colon
Still just 27, Asencio once was highly-touted for his lively low-90s fastball and plus change, but he’s struggled to put together even a mediocre season, even when pitching in relief. You may remember him as the Royals’ major league Rule 5 pick in 2002 (from the Phillies), an apprenticeship that seems to have hurt his development. The same goes for the year he missed (2004) to Tommy John surgery. Though Asencio didn’t reach the big leagues with the Astros in 2007, they thought enough him to acquire him in their trade for Jason Jennings before the season. Now the Red Sox become the sixth team to give Asencio a spin. The 34-year-old Colon battled shoulder woes in 2007 and went just 6-8, 6.34 for the Angels in the process. He probably could have signed earlier than on the eve of spring training had he shown health or a dedication to conditioning while in the Dominican League this winter. On a minor league deal, though, he’s a sensible sign.
Chicago White Sox
Signed: RHP Matt Anderson
Anderson walked 11 and gave up 19 hits (three of them homers) in 10 innings for the 2005 Rockies, the last time he pitched in the majors. He tossed 34 innings for Triple-A Fresno in 2006, but posted a 9.26 ERA and 2.26 WHIP . . . not exactly big league material. He did not pitch in 2007. The first overall pick in 1997 (by the Tigers from Rice), Anderson attained prominence by regularly hitting triple digits on the radar gun—and had a strikeout rate to match in first four big league seasons. However, things unraveled for Anderson when he injured his shoulder in 2003, costing him nearly 10 miles-per-hour off his fastball and giving batters a lot less to worry about.
Signed: OF Juan Duran
At $2 million, Duran signed the most lucrative international deal in Reds club history and the richest one by any team since the Giants inked Angel Villalona in 2006. Ben Badler has all the details.
Released: RHP Agustin Arias, RHP Riquy Pena
Signed: RHP Orber Moreno
Like Matt Anderson, Moreno is a once highly-touted relief prospect who never really established himself in the majors, in his case largely because of injuries. Also like Anderson, he did not pitch in 2007. Fans caught a fading glimpse of what Moreno could do in the majors in 2004, when he posted a 3.38 ERA and a 29-11 K-BB mark for the Mets in 35 innings . . . before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: SS Daniel Mateo
Signed: RHP Curt Miaso, RHP Francisco Rivero, OF Laynce Nix
Placed on voluntarily retired list: RHP Jason Karnuth
New York Mets
Signed: 3B Enrique Cruz
Signed: LHP Jared Locke
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: RHP Kris Honel
The White Sox finally gave up on Honel, their first-round pick in 2001, when they released him in December. Elbow trouble has limited him to a scant 160 innings in the past four seasons combined, and cost him all of 2006. Prior to that, Honel had reached Double-A in 2003 at age 21, posting a strong 135-48 K-BB ratio along the way.
Signed: 3B Mike Kinkade
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: 3B Burt Reynolds
Released: RHP Aneudi Cuevas
No word on whether or not the Rays plan to sign Norm MacDonald. This Reynolds was a 30th-round pick of the Nationals in 2006 out of a New Jersey high school, didn’t sign and went to Okaloosa-Walton JC for two seasons. (John Manuel)
Loaned to Mexican League: RHP Francisco Cordova, 3B Jaime Trejo
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: OF Shannon Stewart
Stewart, 33, enjoyed his best seasons with Toronto in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but shoulder and foot injuries suffered since 2004 have robbed him of his power. Toronto has Vernon Wells and Alex Rios entrenched in center and right, so Stewart will battle Reed Johnson, Matt Stairs and Adam Lind for playing time in left. But because Stewart possesses many of the same qualities Johnson does, he may have to begin in the minors or latch on elsewhere.
Released: SS Jean Alvarez