Released: OF Cyle Hankerd
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Rafael Rodriguez
A third-rounder from Southern California in ’06, Cyle Hankerd returned to USC as an undergrad assistant coach. Five seasons ago, he came out swinging in his pro debut, hitting .381 with 12 homers in 72 games. But Hankerd spent most of the past three seasons mired in Double-A, batting .254/.325/.361 in 1,206 plate appearances for Mobile. (Thanks to John Manuel for this update.)
Signed: RHP Rodrigo Lopez, C David Convertini (NDFA—Cedarville (Ohio))
Rodrigo Lopez and Elmer Dessens (who recently signed a minor league deal with the Giants) have proven durable into their mid-to-late 30s. They're ready and willing to fill holes at the back of a big league rotation or in the bullpen. All teams have to do is sign them to a minor league deal. In fact, Lopez and Dessens rank No. 2 and 4, respectively, for wins and innings pitched among Mexico-born pitchers in the past decade. Can you name the pitchers first and third place?
Signed: RHP Ryan Drese (Long Island (Atlantic)), RHP David Riske, LHP Mark Hendrickson (re-signed), SS Nick Green, OF Joe Gaetti (Lancaster (Atlantic)), OF Randy Winn
Boston Red Sox
Signed: LHP Tommy Hottovy (re-signed)
Signed: OF T.J. Baxter
Chicago White Sox
Signed: OF Lastings Milledge, OF Brandon Watson
Being non-tendered by the Pirates was a bitter pill to swallow but Lastings Milledge reestablished some of his former stock by playing in the Venezuelan League this winter. He caught Chicago's eye by batting .266/.342/.422 with four homers, 26 RBIs and a 13-to-23 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Twenty-nine-year-old center fielder Brandon Watson has logged just 86 at-bats in the big leagues, but he's hit .302 in parts of six seasons at Triple-A. He appears to have taken a year off before signing with the White Sox. Watson's claim to fame: He authored an International League-record 43-game hitting streak in ’07.
Signed: 3B Joe Crede
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP J.B. MacDonald
Kansas City Royals
Signed: 3B Pedro Feliz
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: LHP Ron Mahay, SS Ivan Ochoa (Tijuana (Golden)), SS Michael Richard
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Roque Mercedes
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Freddy Garcia, RHP Francis Joseph, RHP Pietro Rodriguez, 2B Ronnie Belliard
Traded: RHP Adam Olbrychowski to Nationals for OF Justin Maxwell
The Yankees always seem to be on the lookout for righthanded-hitting outfielders who can defend, so taking a shot on Justin Maxwell is in keeping with that plan. Recent acquisitions along those lines include Jamie Hoffmann (2009 Rule 5 draft), Jordan Parraz (waivers) and Greg Golson (minor trade). The 27-year-old Maxwell served mostly as a part-time player for the Nationals in the past two seasons. He can cover lots of ground in the outfield, but he appears to be a bit too much all-or-nothing to make it as an everyday player. Silver lining: Maxwell has handled lefty pitchers in two of his past three minor league seasons, with the OPS figures to prove it—1.031 in 66 at-bats for Triple-A Syracuse last year and 1.039 in 55 at-bats for Double-A Harrisburg in ’08.
Released: LHP Derrick Gordon
Released: LHP Korey Noles
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: OF Jim Edmonds
San Diego Padres
Signed: RHP Mike Koplove (re-signed), 3B Anthony Contreras (re-signed), OF Bobby Kielty
Released: RHP Jon Berger, LHP Ryan Hinson, OF Bo Davis
Voluntarily retired: LHP Nate Culp
Removed from 40-man roster: OF Oscar Salazar
San Francisco Giants
Released: RHP Audy Santana
Signed: RHP Moises Hernandez, RHP Chris Ray, RHP Jamey Wright (re-signed), 1B Eddy Martinez-Esteve (re-signed), OF Gabe Gross
The Mariners signed Moises Hernandez, older brother of reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix, after he did not throw a pitch in the ’10 regular season. He appeared in 22 games for Lara of the Venezuelan League, notching 13 strikeouts, 26 walks and one home run allowed in 32 2/3 innings. Hernandez, who will be 27 this season, missed all of the ’08 season to injury and has the rare distinction of being traded for a pitching coach. The Orioles shipped him to the Braves in November ’05 as compensation for Leo Mazzone.
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Juan Cruz, 3B Felipe Lopez
That Felipe Lopez signed a minor league deal with the Rays thwarted the Red Sox's plan to net a supplemental first-round draft pick this June. Boston signed Lopez, a pending Type B free agent, at the tail end of last season (after the Cardinals released him) and he appeared in just four games for the club. Had he signed a big league deal with another club, then the Red Sox would have added a draft pick in the sandwich round.
Signed: RHP Dave Bush, 1B Jose Ruiz
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: RHP Mike MacDonald, LHP Rommie Lewis (re-signed), 1B Ryan Shealy, 3B Craig Stansberry, OF Leonard Davis
Released: LHP Michael Kelly
Voluntarily retired: LHP Chuck Huggins
Reinstated from inactive list: 2B Raul Barron
Ryan Shealy launched 15 homers in 80 Triple-A games a year ago, but went 0-for-7 in a cup of coffee with the Red Sox. He'll have a chance to build on his home run totals if he lands with the Jays' Las Vegas affiliate. Craig Stansberry (formerly of the Padres) and Leonard Davis (Nationals) will attempt to rebound from down years in the friendly confines of Vegas' Cashman Field.
Signed: RHP Cla Meredith, OF Laynce Nix
Traded: OF Justin Maxwell to Yankees for RHP Adam Olbrychowski
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Shairon Martis