J.J. Cooper and John Manuel supplied you with the cure for Rule 5 fever as they reported from the Winter Meetings. Elsewhere, John laments the paucity of intriguing talent in the Rule 5 draft these days.
Don't miss the Minor League Free Agent Tracker, which allows users to filter more than 600 players by 2011 organization, new org, position and signed/unsigned status. We're up to 150 signees and counting.
Signed: LHP Jason Lane, SS Cody Ransom (re-signed)
Note that Arizona signed 34-year-old veteran Jason Lane as a lefthanded pitcher and not an outfielder. A two-way star at Southern California, he picked up the win in the ’98 College World Series finale but didn't log multiple pitching appearances in a season in pro ball until 12 years later. He logged 13 relief innings for the Blue Jays' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate this year, collecting 12 strikeouts and allowing two walks and 18 hits. The Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a comprehensive piece about Lane and his pitching pursuits in August. It's worth your time if you're interested in Lane, the Diamondbacks or conversion players.
Signed: RHP Adam Russell
Signed: RHP Brandon Erbe (re-signed), C Kelvin Mena
Traded: RHP Randy Henry and 2B Greg Miclat to Rangers for C Taylor Teagarden
Traded: LHP Jarret Martin and OF Tyler Henson to Dodgers for LHP Dana Eveland
Removed from 40-man: LHP Pedro Viola (outrighted to Triple-A)
New general manager Dan Duquette parted with minor league depth to acquire a pair of major league contributors in backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and potential No. 3 starter Dana Eveland.
Baltimore native Brandon Erbe has lost huge chunks of the past three seasons to arm injuries, but the ’05 third-round pick has flashed power stuff when healthy.
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Doug Mathis (Samsung (Korea)), LHP Jesse Carlson
Traded: SS Marwin Gonzalez to Astros RHP Marco Duarte
Rule 5 selections: LHP Cesar Cabral (MLB, Royals)
Boston selected Marwin Gonzalez in the major league Rule 5 draft and then traded him to the Astros for Marco Duarte, the first pick in the Triple-A phase of the same draft. They won't need to keep Duarte, who spent the past three seasons in the Mexican League on loan from the Rockies, in the big leagues as they would Gonzalez.
The Royals drafted Cesar Cabral from the Red Sox, then immediately sold him to the Yankees.
Rule 5 selection: 2B Ryan Flaherty (MLB, Orioles), SS Marwin Gonzalez (MLB, Red Sox)
Chicago White Sox
Signed: LHP Eric Stults
Rule 5 selection: RHP Terry Doyle (MLB, Twins)
Signed: RHP Luis Atilano, RHP Sean Gallagher
Removed from 40-man: LHP Jeremy Horst outrighted to Triple-A
Rule 5 selection: 3B Alex Buchholz (AAA, Rangers)
Signed: C Matt Pagnozzi
Rule 5 selection: RHP Marty Popham (AAA, Twins), OF Donnie Webb (AAA, Marlins)
Traded: RHP Dan Turpen to Twins for RHP Kevin Slowey
Rule 5 selection: RHP Marco Duarte (AAA, Astros), C Beau Seabury (AAA, Nationals)
Signed: RHP Chris Bootcheck
Removed from 40-man: 1B Ryan Strieby (outrighted to Triple-A)
Rule 5 selection: SS Gustavo Nunez (MLB, Pirates)
Traded: RHP Marco Duarte to Red Sox for SS Marwin Gonzalez
The Astros selected Marco Duarte with the first pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft and then traded him to the Red Sox for major league Rule 5'er Marwin Gonzalez. Houston will head to spring training with a pair of Rule 5 picks in Gonzalez and righty reliever Rhiner Cruz, the first pick in the major league phase.
Kansas City Royals
Signed: 2B Tony Abreu
Traded: 3B Yamaico Navarro to Pirates for RHP Brooks Pounders and SS Diego Goris
Los Angeles Angels
Rule 5 selection: LHP Barret Browning (AAA, Cardinals), LHP Robert Fish (MLB, Braves), 1B Gabe Jacobo (AAA, Blue Jays), 2B Michael Wing (AAA, Padres), 3B Ricky Alvarez (AAA, Cubs)
Hard-throwing lefty reliever Robert Fish (up to 95 mph) got Rule 5'ed for the second year in a row. If he doesn't stick on the Braves' active roster (or another team that claims him on waivers) then he can opt for free agency because it will be his second outright to the minors.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: LHP Wilfredo Ledezma, 2B C.J. Retherford (Fargo-Moorhead (American Association))
Traded: LHP Dana Eveland to Orioles for LHP Jarret Martin and OF Tyler Henson
Rule 5 selection: LHP Thomas Melgarejo (AAA, Royals)
Signed: RHP J.D. Martin
Signed: RHP Brian Baker, C Mike Rivera (re-signed)
Rule 5 selection: LHP Lucas Luetge (MLB, Mariners)
Traded: RHP Kevin Slowey to Rockies for RHP Dan Turpen
Rule 5 selection: RHP Shooter Hunt (AAA, Cardinals)
The Twins drafted Shooter Hunt 31st overall in ’08, but his time in high Class A has yielded 145 walks and 125 strikeouts in 110 innings for Fort Myers.
New York Mets
Rule 5 selection: RHP Rhiner Cruz (MLB, Astros), RHP Luis Rojas (AAA, Giants), C Hector Alvarez (AAA, Blue Jays)
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Kelvin Perez (re-signed), LHP Mike O'Connor, 3B Jayson Nix
Signed: LHP Erick Threets
Rule 5 selection: LHP Fabian Williamson (AAA, Rangers)
Erick Threets missed the ’11 season after having Tommy John surgery, though he has pitched effectively in the Mexican Pacific League this winter, striking out 33 and walking 17 in 26 innings. He had allowed just nine hits and four runs in 27 appearances.
Fabian Williamson apparently intrigues pro scouts despite a 5.08 ERA in high Class A. He's been In addition to being Rule 5'd, he's also been traded for big leaguers David Aardsma and Eric Patterson.
Signed: RHP Scott Elarton, RHP Brian Sanches, LHP Ryan Feierabend (re-signed), OF Scott Podsednik (re-signed)
Rule 5 selection: RHP Lendy Castillo (MLB, Cubs), LHP Andy Loomis (AAA, Orioles), C Francisco Diaz (AAA, Pirates), 3B Travis Mattair (AAA, Reds)
Traded: RHP Brooks Pounders and SS Diego Goris to Royals for 3B Yamaico Navarro
Rule 5 selection: RHP Brett Lorin (MLB, Diamondbacks)
St. Louis Cardinals
Rule 5 selection: RHP Javier Avendano (AAA, Blue Jays), C Charlie Cutler (AAA, Pirates), SS Domnit Bolivar (AAA, Brewers)
San Diego Padres
Signed: RHP Matt Palmer, RHP Dale Thayer
Rule 5 selection: RHP Matt Buschmann (AA, Nationals), LHP Aaron Poreda (AAA, Pirates)
Rule 5 selection: OF Efrain Nunez (AAA, Rangers)
The Mariners forked over $450,000 to sign Efrain Nunez out of the Dominican in ’07. He batted .291/.367/.507 in 168 plate appearances in the Appalachian League this year.
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: 1B Juan Miranda, 3B Matt Mangini
Rule 5 selection: C Gerardo Olivares (AAA, Red Sox), 1B Matt Sweeney (AA, Orioles)
Traded: C Taylor Teagarden to Orioles to Orioles for RHP Randy Henry and 2B Greg Miclat
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: RHP Robert Coello, RHP Greylor Conde, RHP Clint Everts (re-signed), LHP Willie Collazo (re-signed)
Signed: OF Brett Carroll
Rule 5 selection: RHP Brad Meyers (MLB, Yankees), OF Erik Komatsu (MLB, Cardinals)