Minor League Transactions

This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 12 and Jan. 22. Last week’s transactions available here.

Atlanta Braves
RHP Joey Devine and RHP Jamie Richmond to Athletics for OF Mark Kotsay
Traded: 3B Willy Aybar and SS Chase Fontaine to Rays for LHP Jeff Ridgway

With these two trades, the Braves tied the Tigers for most offseason trades. In all, Atlanta has netted two center field candidates (Kotsay, Josh Anderson), two lefty reliever candidates (Ridgway, Will Ohman), a possible utility infielder (Omar Infante), a potential righthanded starter (Jair Jurrjens) and a blue-chip outfield prospect (Gorkys Hernandez).

Baltimore Orioles
RHP Lance Cormier, RHP Julio Manon, RHP Robert Neigebauer, OF Mike Rodriguez

Boston Red Sox
RHP David Thorne, C Dennis Blackmon, 2B Junior Spivey, OF Daniel Nava, OF Rich Thompson

Nava, the top-rated independent leagues prospect last season, actually signed in October. He led the Golden League in batting (.371) and took home MVP honors. Blackmon also comes straight from the indy leagues, and he brings solid to above-average defensive tools at catcher.

Chicago Cubs
Reinstated from inactive list:
2B Nelson Pierre, SS Carlos Morales

Chicago White Sox
C Ryan Smith
Released: OF Francisco Aybar
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Francisco Aybar

Cincinnati Reds
OF Jeremiah Piepkorn

Cleveland Indians
SS Brandon Chaves

Colorado Rockies
RHP Matt Hirsh, LHP Cedrick Bowers, LHP Luis Gonzalez, C Dave Parrish
Released: RHP Jose Campos, RHP Leonel Lopez, RHP Jonathan Molina, RHP Luis Noboa, RHP James Zink, OF Maruis Loupadiere

Hirsh, brother of Rockies starter Jason, signed with Colorado after pitching in the independent Atlantic and Can-Am leagues last season. Matt signed with the Astros in 2005 after being drafted in the 30th round from California Lutheran, the same school from where Jason joined pro ball (Astros, second round, 2003).

Detroit Tigers
RHP Jeremy Johnson, SS Henry Mateo

Florida Marlins
RHP Colby Miller
Released: RHP Carlos Faria, RHP Felix Zabala
Placed on voluntarily retired list: C Brett Lawler

Houston Astros
RHP Ken Chenard, RHP Scott Chiasson, RHP Harold Eckert, RHP Runelvys Hernandez, 2B Mike Just

Kansas City Royals
RHP Willian Avinazar, LHP Tim Hamulack, 3B Juan Richardson, SS Angel Berroa
Released: SS Valentino Arce

Los Angeles Dodgers
OF George Lombard

Milwaukee Brewers
RHP Thomas Atlee, RHP Reed Dickert, RHP Nick Ungs

New York Mets
RHP Joe Hietpas
Released: RHP Joe D’Alessandro, RHP Blake Eager, RHP Mike Swindell, RHP Tim Worthington, LHP Shane Hawk, 2B Sam Deluca

New York Yankees
OF Jason Lane
Released: 3B Nathan Phillips
Reinstated from inactive list: 3B Nathan Phillips

Lane hit .267/.316/.499 in regular play with the 2005 Astros, but it’s been downhill since. In two seasons since, he’s hit .201 and .175 but has managed 23 homers in 459 at-bats. Part of that is Minute Maid Park, but the 31-year-old Lane might be serviceable if the Yankees need righthanded power—a role Andy Phillips never was able to secure.

Oakland Athletics
RHP Jose Garcia, RHP Kirk Saarloos
Traded: OF Mark Kotsay to Braves for RHP Joey Devine and RHP Jamie Richmond
Outrighted off 40-man roster: OF Danny Putnam

Putnam saw action in 11 big league games last season, but that about represents the pinnacle of his A’s career. The 36th overall pick from Stanford in 2004, Putnam has hit .274/.364/.443 for his minor league career, mostly in the hitter-friendly California and Texas leagues.

Philadelphia Phillies
LHP Angulo Jimenez

Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP Jaret Wright, LHP Josh Shortslef, C Steven Suarez, SS Melvin Dorta, OF Vic Buttler, OF Anthony Webster
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Jeff Cook

Wright is a long way from his fine 2004, after which he cashed in with the Yankees for three years and $21 million. He gave New York (and then Baltimore in 2007) an ERA of 5.08 in 214 1/3 total innings over the life of that deal.

St. Louis Cardinals
1B Josh Phelps

Phelps, 29, quietly had a productive year as a part-time first baseman for the Yankees and Pirates, hitting .306/.399/.503 in 157 at-bats. He might find a role with the big league Cardinals, seeing as their main righthanded power sources figure to be regulars Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus, and part-timer Ryan Ludwick.

San Diego Padres
RHP Mauricio Tabachnik, LHP Glendon Rusch

With Shawn Estes already in tow, the Padres inked 32-year-old Rusch, who missed the 2007 while recovering from blood clots in his lungs. Rusch last pitched for the Cubs in 2006, when he went 3-8, 7.46 in nine starts. Estes is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

San Francisco Giants
Reinstated from inactive list:
RHP Alberto Montes, RHP Juan Serrato

Seattle Mariners
RHP Jeroen de Haas, OF Bronson Sardinha

Sardinha had a brutal season on the Yankees farm in 2007, getting sent back to Double-A and hitting just .222/.306/.387 in his Triple-A time. He got a big league callup in September, though, before being non-tendered after the season. He might make a good reserve outfielder down the road, as he offers natural hitting ability and athleticism.

Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Richard de los Santos, RHP Scott Munter
Traded: LHP Jeff Ridgway to Braves for 3B Willy Aybar and SS Chase Fontaine

Texas Rangers
RHP Jamey Wright, C Jose Felix, C Adam Melhuse

Washington Nationals
LHP Mike O’Connor