Signed: OF Ryan Patterson (Wichita (American Association))
Traded: RHP Kevin Eichhorn and LHP Ryan Robowski to Tigers for RHP Armando Galarraga
Arizona appears set at the top of its rotation with Joe Saunders, Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy, but general manager Kevin Towers has searched high and low to bring in reinforcements for the last two spots. He's had particular luck swapping out prospect depth for veteran starters who had been designated for assignment by their previous clubs. Earlier in the offseason, Towers dealt 26-year-old Cesar Valdez to the Pirates for lefty Zach Duke, who went 8-15, 5.72 in 29 starts for Pittsburgh. What's more, he narrowly missed finishing with the worst ERA in the National League—but he fell short of qualifying by three innings.
For his most recent DFA trade target, Towers set his sights on the Tigers' Armando Galarraga, he of the almost-perfect game last June. He's coming off a 4-9, 4.49 campaign with Detroit that included a pedestrian 74-to-51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Interestingly, the 29-year-old Galarraga has twice been DFA'd (previously by Rangers in February ’08), despite having (essentially) thrown a perfect game and also finishing fourth in American League rookie of the year balloting in ’08. (For more on the prospects surrendered by the Diamondbacks, see the Tigers below.)
Placed on restricted list: RHP Julio Surinach
Signed: LHP Michael Ballard
Released: RHP Jose Barajas, RHP Luiyi Batista, RHP Andy Deain, RHP Mick Mattaliano, RHP Brian Parker, LHP Justin Anderson, LHP Cory Ast, C Janensis Guerrero, C Xavier Lopez, C Greyson Schram, 3B Tyler Stampone
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Matt Fox (re-signed)
Traded: LHP Tom Gorzelanny to Nationals for RHP A.J. Morris, LHP Graham Hicks and OF Michael Burgess
The Cubs dealt surplus starting pitching (Tom Gorzelanny) while also replenishing prospect depth after the Matt Garza trade.
Signed: RHP Jim Miller, RHP Claudio Vargas, LHP Kaimi Mead (Maui (Golden)), C Chad Moeller, 1B Jason Giambi, 1B Kala Ka'aihue (Newark (Atlantic))
Traded: RHP Ethan Hollingsworth to Athletics for RHP Clayton Mortensen
Signed: RHP Josh Rainwater (re-signed)
Traded: RHP Armando Galarraga to Diamondbacks for RHP Kevin Eichhorn and LHP Ryan Robowski
Some readers might remember Kevin Eichhorn's name from the most-recent Pioneer League top prospects list. Either that or the fact that he was Arizona's third-round pick in ’08 and is the son of reliever Mark Eichhorn, who spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues. Kevin has better stuff than his 4.94 ERA for Missoula indicates. A conventional pitcher, and not a side-armer like his father, he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation arm because of his simple delivery and fine fastball command. Eichhorn sits in the high 80s and touches 92 mph, mixing in an at-times hammer curveball. He'll be 21 this season and has no full-season ball experience yet, largely because he signed late in ’08 and then had ulnar nerve transposition surgery in his right elbow in March ’09.
Hailing from the same Ohio Dominican program that produced the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez, Ryan Robowski is a strikeout-oriented lefty who can run his fastball up to 89-90 mph. A 14th-round pick in ’09, he spent all of last season in the high Class A California League, relieving in 35 games for Visalia and logging good ratios (8.5 strikeouts, 2.7 walks, 0.8 homers) over 54 innings. Righthanded batters hit the 23-year-old Robowski hard (.314/.382/.540), which could be a fluke or signal a future shift to situational relief.
Signed: OF Chris Aguila (re-signed)
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Virgil Vasquez
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: 3B Wilberto Ortiz, OF Gabe Kapler
Signed: OF Jeremy Reed
New York Mets
Signed: OF Willie Harris
New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Warner Madrigal
Warner Madrigal began his professional career as an outfielder in the Angels system, and while he hit well enough early on, he batted just .235/.273/.348 as a 22-year-old in low Class A in ’06. That prompted the Angels to convert Madrigal to relief pitcher, where he's notched a career rate of 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors (8.6 in Triple-A) and earned callups to the big leagues in ’08 and ’09. Big league batters have had an easier time handling his low- to mid-90s heat. Madrigal has run up a 6.10 ERA in 48 2/3 innings for the Rangers, with 27 strikeouts and 26 walks.
But check out the list of former hot-shot prospects looking for a second chance the Yankees have signed this offseason. You've got Madrigal, Brian Anderson (the ex-White Sox center fielder), Neal Cotts, Steve Evarts, Mark Prior and Andy Sisco. (Could that be your Triple-A bullpen?) New York also signed Buddy Carlyle out of Japan and brought 36-year-old Luis Vizcaino back to affiliated ball—and they'll bring two Rule 5 relievers to camp, too, in righty Dan Turpen and lefty Robert Fish.
Signed: 3B Andy LaRoche
Traded: RHP Clayton Mortensen to Rockies for RHP Ethan Hollingsworth
A Rockies' fourth-round pick in ’08, Ethan Hollingsworth could pitch his way into a low-leverage bullpen role in Oakland eventually. He throws strikes with an 89-90 mph sinker and above-average changeup, while mixing in fringy breaking stuff to keep batters off balance. The 23-year-old righty reached Double-A briefly last season, but spent most of the season with high Class A Modesto, going 12-8, 3.31 in 25 starts, with 8.6 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings. The A's had designated Clayton Mortensen for assignment.
Released: RHP Mauricio Romero, 1B Mike Durant
Signed: RHP Jose Veras
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: RHP Miguel Batista
San Diego Padres
Released: RHP Josh Cephas
San Francisco Giants
Signed: RHP Guillermo Mota
Released: RHP Jason Jarvis, C Jesse Shriner, 1B Carlos Quintana, 3B Josh Lopez, 3B Kyle Mach, OF Jose Medina, OF Nickolas Nordgren
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: RHP Dirk Hayhurst
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Shawn Smith
Signed: C Robinzon Diaz
Robinzon Diaz is just entering his prime at age 27, but his performance in Triple-A has backed up in successive seasons. He's coming off .657 and .620 OPS years for Indianapolis and Toledo. He's got a pretty good arm and crazy hand-eye coordination, so he's a good depth signing for the Rangers, who enter ’11 with Mike Napoli, Matt Treanor, Yorvit Torrealba and Taylor Teagarden in the big league picture. But at this point in his career, Diaz's claim to fame probably is the fact that he was once traded straight-up for Jose Bautista.
Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: C Tim Mahler (NDFA—Mid-America Christian (Okla.)), OF Joey Hage, OF Jason Lane (re-signed)
Tim Mahler appears to have played for NAIA Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City.
Signed: 2B Alex Cora
Traded: RHP A.J. Morris, LHP Graham Hicks and OF Michael Burgess to Cubs for LHP Tom Gorzelanny