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ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Acquired 2B Tony Womack from the Pirates for a PTBNL and OF Paul Weichard.
[2/26]

The D-backs are claiming they’re going to move Womack to the outfield,
where his value isn’t merely negligible, it’s Omar Moreno territory. What’s
especially goofy is that acquiring Womack cuts into the playing time of a
player who’s about as good as he is but gets on base more frequently – supersub Andy Fox. Both of them are
barely adequate afield, and both of them might be better than Jay Bell this
year. In terms of giving themselves a leadoff hitter, the D-backs haven’t
improved themselves, and gave up a good-looking 19 year old in Weichard,
and a PTBNL. Moreover, the D-backs have gummed themselves up with non-power
hitters at a power-hitting position, right field, on a team that
desperately needs power. Maybe Jerry Colangelo can afford expensive
mediocrity, but if Arizona really wants to reap the benefit that their big
money rotation is supposed to bring to them, they need to add something
better than barely adequate veterans like Luis Gonzalez or Tony Womack.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Signed RHP Orel Hershiser to a minor-league contract with a spring training
NRI. [2/20]

Signed C Pat Borders to a minor-league contract with a spring training NRI.
[2/26]

Hershiser isn’t guaranteed a space on the roster or in the rotation, but he
claims he wants wins, contention, and a shot at the Hall of Fame. If he’s
interested in all of those goals, he’d have been better off signing with a
team that needed him that could also score some runs, like the Mariners,
because Orel wasn’t very effective last season.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Signed OF Curtis Pride to a minor-league contract. [2/24]

Pride isn’t a bad little player to bring in, but it seems odd when the team
already doesn’t know what to do with Jeff Conine or Larry Sutton or
Jermaine Dye. It’s more likely that Pride will have to settle for getting
most of his playing time at Omaha.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Signed manager Joe Torre to a two-year contract extension. [2/24]

Two more years, and more opportunities to win some ballgames and build a
respectable set of credentials as a manager to add to his playing days for
a Hall of Fame ticket that the Veteran’s Committee will undoubtedly
scramble to punch. And since everybody in contact with the man respects and
likes Joe Torre, more power to him.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Signed SS Pat Meares to a one-year contract. [2/20]

Acquired OF Paul Weichard and a PTBNL from the Diamondbacks for 2B
Tony Womack. [2/26]

The amusing dimension to this is that the Pirates traded their best middle
infielder with major league experience (Womack), leaving them temporarily
with the worst infield in baseball: Mike Benjamin at second, Pat Meares at
short, and Ed Sprague at third. The hope is that this group won’t make it
to Opening Day, as the Bucs already have (and had, before they signed any
of these guys) a better internal alternative: Warren Morris at second, Abe
Nunez at short, and Aramis Ramirez at third. Right now, the chances that
Morris will win the second base job outright by Opening Day seem pretty
good, but only bitter disappointments with Sprague and Meares will get the
Pirates’ best possible combination onto the field this year. Also interesting is the
question of who will bat leadoff for the Pirates now that Womack is gone:
if Morris wins the job, I’m guessing he bats leadoff, because the only other
alternative may be CF Brant Brown.