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February 27, 1998
February 19-26ANAHEIM ANGELS
Signed RHP Jack McDowell to a one-year contract; signed 1B/CF Darin Erstad to a four-year contract. [2/25]
Both the Angels and Black Jack are treating this as the signing that ices the Mickey-Mouse-gloved stranglehold that they claim to have on the '98 division title. It definitely forces Omar Olivares into the sixth starter-long relief role, and it probably sends William VanLandingham to the PCL, which are both good things, but the AL West should be considered wide open, regardless of what Goofy might tell you.
Signed C Jorge Fabregas to a two-year contract. [2/19]
Released OF David Hulse. [2/26]
The mystery of the D-backs' decision to toss aside their arbitration victory against Fabregas and reward him with a two-year contract isn't that mysterious: Jerry Colangelo's outfit is going to make players love to work for him, even if it means saddling season ticket holders with two years of a mediocre catcher. The issue here is one of politics, not talent.
Claimed LHP Kirt Ojala off waivers from Arizona. [2/20]
Ojala had to be put through waivers after last weeks' pickup of Ken Robinson. Ojala may step right into the team's rotation as its #2 starter, and he is quite capable of putting together a nice little career from this point on.
NEW YORK METS
Signed OF Joe Orsulak to a minor league contract with a spring training NRI. [2/22]
Although the Mets already have a pretty nice LH pinch-hitter in Matt Franco, they must want to give Bobby Valentine an option in case they win having to PH for their catchers more than once per game. Even so, Orsulak can't outhit Tim Spehr or Alberto Castillo, let alone Ned Yost these days.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Assigned RHP Joe Borowski outright to Columbus. [2/26]
Released OF Midre Cummings. [2/24]
Cut loose with the indictment that he didn't run or field well, Cummings was the first casualty of Lenny Dykstra's comeback. The Phillies are right in saying he's never going to help as a starting player, but he's still capable of being a useful fifth OF for some teams. Obviously, much more was expected of him when he was one of the major players acquired in the John Smiley deal after the '91 season.
Claimed RHP Maximo de la Rosa on waivers from Cleveland, and designated RHP Edwin Hurtado for assignment. [2/26]
The small joy of having as much junk cluttering up your 40-man roster as the Mariners do is that you can easily snag people on waivers without having to lose anything of value yourself. De la Rosa isn't an outstanding prospect, but he's a converted OF who throws a good fastball, so he may work out as a reliever eventually.
Signed OF Alex Cole to a minor league contract. [2/22]
After spending a good chunk of '97 in the Northern League, the Goggled One is an appropriate addition to a perpetually geriatric Okie City squad that this year should feature Joe Hall, Scott Cooper, Rick Wrona, Jose Guzman...