Monday, November 28, 2005

Transaction Wire

  • Nationals trade Vinny Castilla to San Diego for Brian Lawrence. Wait, what? Lawrence is a decent pitcher. Phil Nevin is gone, and patience with Sean Burroughs has worn thin, but is it really worth it to give up Lawrence for Castilla? Especially when you've just signed Geoff Blum?

  • Mariners sign Kenji Johjima, who will become the first Japanese catcher to play in the majors. Seattle's recent moves at catcher haven't worked out, so why not go overseas? Johjima is expected to hit .275 with 21 homers this year, great numbers for a catcher on a bad team.

  • Pirates sign Jason Bay to a four year contract. Now they're only about 23 moves away from a good team. (Sorry, but I'm a huge fan of Jack Wilson's defense.)

  • Indians pick up Ronnie Belliard's club option for 2006... and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. The Indians also resigned Scott Sauerbeck.

  • Blue Jays receive cash for trading John McDonald to the Tigers during the season. A week later, the Tigers trade McDonald back to the Blue Jays for cash. I kid you not.

  • Padres trade 1B/OF Xavier Nady to the Mets for Mike Cameron. Cameron will presumably take over for Brian Giles, likely gone due to to free agency. Nady, a player who may or may not still be a prospect, will likely platoon with Victor Diaz in right. And by "platoon," I mean "actually play competent defense."

  • Mets trade 1B/C Mike Jacobs and two other prospects to Florida for Carlos Delgado. Delgado is good, but wasn't Jacobs the Mets' catcher of the future? What are they going to do there now? Or do I have the wrong guy? Oh wait, there are always free agents Ramon Hernandez and Bengie Molina. Both can survive in the middle of a National League lineup (especially Molina, who managed to bat fourth on an American League playoff team last year).

  • Marlins trade Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox for Ss Hanley Ramirez and pitchers Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia. When I first read this, when Mota wasn't involved, I didn't think much of it. I thought I had read AJ Burnett instead of Josh Beckett. Burnett is a free agent, so that's not big news, and Lowell is basically a salary dump for the Marlins. But Beckett is a top tier pitcher, and Mota is solid in his own right. Do you think the Marlins front office was sitting around when someone realized, "Holy crap, we forgot to have another fire sale after that second World Series win in 2003! We'd better start now!" Ramirez and at least two of those pitchers are top prospects, but the Sox need to win right now. The Lowell move makes much more sense for Boston now that I realize Bill Mueller is gone. Mota will help bolster a weak 2005 bullpen. (Can you bolster anything besides a bullpen?) Meanwhile, with the loss of Lowell, the Marlins can move the slightly discontent Miguel Cabrera back to his original position - third base. The Rangers also contended for Beckett and Lowell, offering Hank Blalock in return. I'm assuming that in that situation, Lowell would have taken Blalock's spot at 3rd in Texas, while Blalock would have taken over at 1st for Carlos Delgado.

  • Pirates name Jeff Manto hitting coach. When you look up "Quadruple A (AAAA) Player" in the stathead dictionary, you see a picture of Manto. A Quadruple A Player is one who excels at the AAA level, but can't seem to handle the Major Leagues. Therefore, he's somewhere between the two levels. Manto hit .275 with 270 HR and 921 RBI while playing 9 positions in his 16 years in the minors. However, he could only muster a .231 average in 269 Major League games. An Indians mainstay (or at least a Colorado Springs/Buffalo mainstay) in the mid 90s, I wish the best for Manto.

  • White Sox trade Aaron Rowand and a pitching prospect the Phillies for Jim Thome. Whosajiggawhat? This move becomes especially perplexing when coupled with the news that the Sox expect to re-sign Paul Konerko at first. But, the move supposedly adds needed power to the Chicago lineup, while clearing up room in the outfield. It looks like Carl Everett is a free agent, so that room was created for Brian Anderson, Joe Borchard, or Timo Perez. Amusing is the point I read somewhere about the Sox' affinity for mid-90s Indians stars: Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar, and Thome now have all joined the South Siders after time with the Tribe. Meanwhile, the Phillies have been looking for a while to complement Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu with a solid center fielder. Rowand is that center fielder.

  • Cubs sign Scott Eyre and Bob Howry. Well, there goes Plan A for the Indians. Cleveland was expected to not re-sign Bob Wickman and instead use Howry, who had a great 2005, as a closer. Now, it looks like Howry may move into that role for the Cubs. At least there's a Plan B...

  • Blue Jays sign BJ Ryan. Crap, there goes Cleveland's Plan B. Five years, $47 million was to rich for the Tribe, and it's probably too rich for the Jays as well. Time will tell.

  • A's sign Esteban Loaiza. Oh, c'mon, there has to be a great prospect somewhere that the A's can fleece a bad GM out of. Somewhere?

  • Mets give cash to Pirates for Tike Redman. The Mets need outfield depth, especially when it comes from legitimate outfielders. Plus, his speed gives New York another good baserunning threat besides Jose Reyes.

  • Mets sign Billy Wagner. Well, the Mets sorely needed a closer. The Notre Dame fans among us would love to see Aaron Heilman given a shot at that role, but unfortunately there's no room for experiments like that in the Northeast. So, the Mets instead will risk paying the 34 year old Wagner just over $10 million a year for the next four seasons.