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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Thursday, March 01, 2001
Transaction Oracle - 3/1/01
Learn from the wisdom of the Transaction Oracle.
- Signed 1B Desi to a minor-league contract.
Desi Wilson is a former Giants ‘prospect’ who spent last year in Charlotte hitting miserably (MLE of 241/307/310) and will not make the D-Backs 25-man roster.’ Wilson turns 33 in May, so he’s strictly organiational filler at this point.
- Signed pitcher Greg Swindell to a two-year contract extension with a club option for 2004.
- Released OF T.J. Staton.
Staton excited a lot of Pirate fans in 1996 when, as a 21 year-old, he put up a big season with the Carolina Mudcats but he failed in two attempts at AAA with Calgary and Nashville and was quietly let go by the Pirates at the end of the 1998 season.’ He’s spent the last two years in Ottawa as a backup outfielder.
Chicago White Sox
- Signed C Jim Foster to a minor-league contract.
Just there to fill out Charlotte’s roster at this point.
- Signed OF Deion Sanders to a minor-league contract.
Oh lord.’ I’ve always been a fan of Jim Bowden, but like Dan Duquette, he seems to have the occasional fetish for speedy no-hit outfielders like Sanders, Kimera Bartee, or Curtis Goodwin.’ At first glance, you would think that Sanders is unlikely to go north with the Reds but with Bob Boone managing, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for Sanders to end up leading off in leftfield.
- Signed LHP Tim Byrdak to a minor-league contract.
A small part of the ugly Royals bullpen in 2000.’ Byrdak has some serious control issues and that 8.27 ERA at the major league level isn’t going to win him any points.’ The Indians have invited quite a few pitchers to spring training (34 by my count) including other non-roster bullpen lefties’ Scott Radinsky, Eric Gunderson, and Scott Aldred, so Byrdak.’ That, coupled with Byrdak not being very good, makes it unlikely he’ll have any kind of role with the Indians in 2001.
- Signed RHP Willie Blair to a minor-league contract.
Blair, of course, was the recipient of an ill-advised 3-year, $11.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks after a career-best season with the Tigers in 1997.’ Arizona was luckily able to dump him before he even pitched a full season.’ The Tigers have been stuck with him since, but Blair did contribute in 2000, despite his strikeout rate declining further.’ He’s unlikely to win a spot in the Indians rotation unless there are a lot of injuries again, but I think he’ll make the team and mop up some innings.
Kansas City Royals
- Signed RHP Mike Villano to a minor-league contract.
Bad minor league reliever that is still living off of his excellent 1996 season with San Jose.’ Hasn’t had an ERA below 6.00 at AAA since 1997.
- Signed OF Jacob Brumfield to a minor-league contract.
Brumfield keeps promising to retire, but always lets his ‘fans’ down.’ Last notable appearance was with Toronto a few years ago when they decided to punish Jose Cruz Jr. for not being Ken Griffey Jr.’
- Released RHP Steve Rain.
Showed up hours late for a spring workout, so the Royals cut him.’ The Cubs picked him back up, but have expressed dismay at his poor conditioning.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Signed 2B Rod Smith and SS Jeff Reboulet to minor-league contracts.
Reboulet’s only been employed the last few years because of a the 2-year, $1.1 million contract given to him by the Orioles at the end of the 1998 season and he’s unlikely to make the team.’ Rod Smith is a former Yankees 2B prospect who walks a ton, but does it with batting averages in the .230s and very little power.’ Played well for St. Pete in 2000, but what 25-year old wouldn’t play well in A-ball?
- Announced the retirement of pitcher Jim Morris.
Morris is a good story, but after the intial p.r., the Devil Rays didn’t have all that much use for him.’ He had signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers over the winter, but didn’t have much of a shot of making the team.
- Acquired CF Marquis Grissom and a player to be named later for CF Devon White.
It boggles the mind that Malone, upon actually finding someone to take White off of the Dodgers’ hands, happily picked up an equally bad player signed even longer than White.
- Acquired CF Devon White from the Los Angeles Dodgers for CF Marquis Grissom and a player to be named later.
Given that the Brewers were stuck with the silly Grissom contract, this was probably the best they could get for Grissom.’ Ideally, they’d just take White’s 900K buyout option, but this is Milwaukee, so they’ll probably extend him another 3 years and ask him if he knows Chuckie Carr’s phone number.
- Signed 1B Richie Sexson and OF Geoff Jenkins to four-year contracts.
Jenkins has turned out better than I expected he would, especially on defense, so the Brewers were smart to buy out his arbitration years.’ Sexson I’m less sure about; he walked an awful lot after he was traded to Milwaukee, but his pre-trade performance fits a lot better into his career performance.’ Kevin Barker’s window of opportunity, small as it was after he was removed from the 40-man roster, seems officially shut now.
- Signed OF Damon Hollins to a minor-league contract.
Put up a 269/316/354 MLE for Indianapolis in 2000.’ My original theory was that the reason he kept being picked up by teams was that they were confusing him with Dave, but that fails because they shouldn’t be signing Dave, either.
New York Yankees
- Signed LHP Sid Fernandez to a minor-league contract..
Well, he did pitch well for the Phillies in 1996 when he was healthy.’ Considering he’s 39 now, I thought we had seen the last of El Sid.’ He’s a real longshot to ever pitch again in the majors, but if Steve Ontiveros can keep getting jobs and Sid realizes that training means more than just dipping fried chicken in butter instead of lard, he may last a couple more weeks.
- C Clemente Alvarez retired.
202/272/279 lifetime in the minors.’ I had thought that he was Fernando Lunar’s older brother, but someone informed me that the spell and pronounce their last names differently.
San Diego Padres
- Signed RHP Rudy Seanez to a minor-league contract .
Like the pickup of Bobby Jones, another good no-risk pickup by the Padres.’ It’s hard to believe that Seanez will already be 33 years old this year.’ You have to feel for the guy; he had seemed to finally establish himself as a major league reliever and was fairly healthy, pitching 40 innings for only the second time in a decade with the Braves in 1999, only to have his arm pop last year and need Tommy John surgery.
- Signed SS Manny Alexander to a minor-league contract.
What should be very scary for Mariner fans is that Alexander is only an injury or two away from being the de facto Alex Rodriguez replacement.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Released SS Mike Metcalfe.
Very fast utility infielder.’ Won’t make a major-league roster this year.’ Got his cup of coffee when Kevin Elster was injured last year.’ Managed 63 steal attempts in 87 games in the minors in 2000.
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