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October 14, 1997
October 6-13ANAHEIM ANGELS
Announced that INF Craig Grebeck and LHP Greg Cadaret cleared waivers and declared free agency; activated RHP Mark Gubicza and INF Randy Velarde from the 60-day DL and placed them on the 40-man roster. [10/9]
C Chris Turner cleared waivers and declared free agency. [10/10]
Damn that Craig Crebeck for outplaying DiSarcina as he had previously outplayed Ozzie Guillen. Although he's now long past the days when he would prominently get mentioned on prospective Ken Phelps All-Star team lists, in a world where Manny Alexander is taken seriously, "Grebey" continues to deserve a spot on a major league team. Cadaret will be a fine fringe LH for some organization. Gubicza is eligible for free agency, and he probably won't be back, so his retention on the 40-man roster is basically a space saver until after the free agency declaration phase after the world series, prior to the Rule V or expansion drafts.
Outrighted 3B Pete Rose Jr. to Indianapolis; claimed RHP Donne Wall on waivers from Houston; announced that LHP Pedro A. Martinez had refused assignment and become a free agent; and added RHP Todd Williams to the 40-man roster. [10/7]
Announced the team will not exercise its 1998 options on the contracts of 1B Hal Morris, LHP Kent Mercker, and RHP Mike Morgan. [10/8]
Released LHP Pete Schourek and added LHP Joey Eischen to the 40-man roster. [10/10]
The Reds managed to clear off over $10M in salary with these decisions. Letting Morris walk gives the Reds the freedom of action to consider a large number of 1B alternatives in what will be a buyer's market this offseason. The team has already mentioned its willingness to talk to both Schourek and Mercker in the future, and although Mike Morgan may still be a semi-effective five-inning fifth starter, the team can use that slot on someone who can conceivably help the team beyond '98. The interesting wrinkle in all of this is Todd Williams, who could wind up being a sleeper. After some injuries that wore away his prospect status in the Dodgers' chain, he was relegated to relief for Chattanooga, and racked up 31 saves before moving up to Indianapolis.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Announced that RHP Mike Harkey refused a minor league assignment and declared free agency; claimed RHP Jim Bruske on waivers from San Diego. [10/6]
Announced that SS Greg Gagne has refused a minor league assignment and declared free agency. [10/10]
Letting Gagne walk makes almost too much sense for Fred Claire, since Greg really isn't much better than alot of the freely available minor league talent. Gagne has announced his intention to sign with a team closer to his home in New England, which means he could staring a Jody Reed-sized FA disaster if he doesn't take note that none of the teams in the region need his help. Overall, a fine cost-cutting move by the Dodgers.
Outrighted RHPs Mike Misuraca, Tim VanEgmond, and Peter Benny to Louisville. [10/7]
Named Larry Hisle the organization's minor league hitting coordinator. [10/8]
Misuraca had little business being on the 40-man roster in the first place, VanEgmond sank his shot at the Brewers' rotation this year, and Benny apparently lost much of the year to injury after a pretty good seaon at Beloit in '96. On the political front, Hisle's signing up to join the Brewers' organization has minor league personnel director Cecil Cooper's fingerprints all over it, as part of his stated intention to make the organization recognizable to its fans as well as local in its traditions.
Exercised the team's 1998 option on the contract of RHP Bob Tewksbury. [10/6]
Acquired RHPs Joe Mays and Jeremy Palki as the PsTBNL from Seattle in the Roberto Kelly trade. [10/9]
Tewksbury will now have to be protected or be dangled in the expansion draft, similar to the situation the team has with Greg Swindell. I don't know if Terry Ryan intends to protect them, but either pitcher would be enticing bait in the draft for either expansion team to keep or swap to an established team. The benefits of the Kelly deal are outstanding, if only because Mays and Palki are both satisfactory A-ball prospects, while Kelly was a waste of time for both the Twins and the Mariners. Mays is a starter who dominated the Midwest League before being promoted to Lancaster, while Palki was a solid reliever with Wisconsin all year.
Announced that OF Joe Orsulak, 3B/OF Hensley Meulens, and RHP Jim Bullinger have refused minor league assignment and have become free agents. [10/6]
Announced that OF Sherman Obando had refused a minor league assignment and has become a free agent. [10/8]
The Expos begin to clear the roster of its unnecessary veterans. With the exception of Orsulak, all should contribute to major league teams at the back end of a roster next year.
NEW YORK METS
Assigned the contracts of LHP Yorkis Perez, RHP Ricky Trlicek, OF Andy Tomberlin, and UT Shawn Gilbert to Norfolk. [10/8]
NEW YORK YANKEES
Announced that the team would not pick up their 1998 option on LF Tim Raines' contract, making him a free agent. [10/9]
Announced that OF Scott Pose has refused assignment and declared free agency. [10/13]
With the decision to let Raines walk, the Yankees are probably going to pick up the option on Chad Curtis and stick with him in LF to start off next year. That could work out well since he is not a high profile/high expense player that some people would expect to keep Ricky Ledee out of work forever. As for Raines, he may be in the same boat as Rickey Henderson and Tony Phillips, settling for a smaller contract than you might expect from a guy who's on-base 40% of the time.
Announced that DH Danny Tartabull, LHP Billy Brewer, RHPs Scott Ruffcorn and Reggie Harris, and OFs Rob Butler, Ruben Amaro, and Rickey Otero have refused minor league assignments and have become free agents. [10/10]
Its a very good question as to whether anyone should even consider giving Tartabull a contract at this point. I expect Reggie Harris' unemployment will have Gary singing his praises, and his stuff is wicked enough to get the obligatory NRI to spring training somewhere. The saga of Scott Ruffcorn continues, and even I'm finally getting to the point of saying maybe its time to give up.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Announced that OF Chris Jones has refused a minor league assignment and has become a free agent; outrighted RHP Brad Kaufman and LHP Joey Long to Las Vegas. [10/6]
I'm willing to bet Kaufman is almost certain to get snagged in the Rule V or expansion drafts: despite being awful this year, he throws gas, so at the least I'd expect Kevin Towers' old buddy Randy Smith to take a flyer on him.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Announced that RHP Luis Andujar and OF Jacob Brumfield have refused outright assignment and have become free agents. [10/6]
Warning to whoever employs Cito Gaston: he may bring Jake Brumfield with him. Andujar should be an intriguing project for whichever team takes a chance on him: he's still putting himself back together again after injuries wiped out most of '96, and nobody's forgotten his great season in '95. However, the minors are littered with the could-have-beens, and Andujar is in a situation where if he doesn't pitch well in '98, he'll be forgotten faster than you can say "Kevin McGehee."