Optioned INF Nelson Castro to Erie (AA); assigned Ps Mark Harriger and
Ramon Ortiz and C Bret Hemphill to extended spring training; assigned Ps
Mike Bovee, Mike Butcher, Brian Cooper, Seth Etherton,
Lou Pote and Keith Troutman, and C Fausto Tejero to their minor-league
camp. [3/10]

Optioned CF Norm Hutchins and P Geoff Edsell to Edmonton. [3/15]

No real surprises among these cuts. Hutchins could end up making Garret
Anderson look like a good hitter. Both Ramon Ortiz and Bret Hemphill are
apparently healthier than they’ve been in years, so each will probably get
called up at some point this season, especially with the recent injuries to
Jason Dickson and Matt Walbeck.


Waived OF Yamil Benitez. [3/17]

Under the right circumstances, Benitez could be a semi-useful fourth or
fifth outfielder. He has some sock, but his value would have to come on a
team that has plenty of people getting on-base to maximize the value of his
power. The Diamondbacks aren’t that team.


Optioned Ps Darin Blood and Chris Fussell, 3B Ryan Minor,
and 1B Calvin Pickering to Rochester. [3/18]

Hope springs eternal, except for the Orioles when they have Will Clark
under contract, and Harold Baines under contract, and Chris Hoiles under
contract, and Cal Pickering is more important to the future of the
franchsise than any of these DH/1B options. If you have to define hope for
O’s fans, it’s that Pickering doesn’t get dealt for some other old,
expensive bat or an even older, more expensive pitcher.


Signed RHP Ramon Martinez. [3/11]

Assigned Ps Robert Ramsay, Bob Wolcott, Rich Garces, Jack Cressend, and
Brian Rose to their minor-league camp. [3/12]

Released 1B Bob Hamelin; outrighted LHP Joel Adamson to Pawtucket; optioned
RHP Marino Santana and CF Michael Coleman to Pawtucket; optioned Cs Steve
and Shea Hillenbrand to Trenton (AA); assigned Ps Ryan Karp and
Kirk Bullinger to their minor-league camp. [3/17]

Optioned P Juan Pena to Pawtucket. [3/19]

Martinez’ deal could end up being for three years and $24 million, even if
it isn’t likely that he’ll pitch much before September. Over the last
several years, he’s been wild and pretty ineffective after you remind
yourself that he was pitching in Chavez Ravine, so moving to the DH league
and Fenway aren’t going to help long-term. In terms of having to put up
with signing superstar’s siblings, the Red Sox aren’t nearly as well-off as
the Expos. Sure, Wil Guerrero isn’t a great ballplayer, but he also isn’t
as expensive as Ramon, and playing second, he doesn’t seriously handicap
his team relative to the other second basemen in the league. I guess that
the way I look at it is that to justify Ramon, Pedro is going to have to do
much more for his team than Vlad Guerrero will have to do for his in
exchange for keeping Wil around. Having already signed Pat Rapp and Mark
Portugal, the Red Sox seem to be setting themselves up for some expensive

Other interesting tidbits: the Hammer wasn’t the answer, but that means
that, to their credit, the Sox are still looking at Brian Daubach for some
playing time at first base and DH. Michael Coleman is still out of favor,
but once Darren Lewis comes crashing down from last year’s high, the Duke
may decide to overlook some things. Meanwhile, some solidly adequate
pitchers go down, but this is the Red Sox, so I expect we’ll see every
single one of them back up at some point.


Assigned LHP Brian McNichol, and RHPs Kyle Farnsworth, Elvin Hernandez, and
Jason Ryan, and C Pat Cline to their minor-league camp. [3/17]

Optioned OF Roosevelt Brown and 2B Chad Meyers to West Tennessee (AA). [3/18]

Optioned 2B/SS Jason Maxwell and LHP Phil Norton to Iowa; assigned LHP
Scott Watkins to their minor-league camp. [3/19]

Sad to see Maxwell go down, since he was the best choice for the utility
infield job available. Unfortunately, Manny Alexander seems to be Sammy
Sosa’s best friend on the team. If that meant just keeping Manny, it
wouldn’t be quite so horrible, but if it means another wasted 200 at-bats,
in terms of outs, errors, baserunning blunders, and blown double-plays,
that’s a pretty expensive friendship. Brown may end up coming back
relatively soon, especially if Robin Jennings blows his shot at the fifth
outfielder job. As for demoting all of the young starting pitchers, that’s
a pretty clear sign that the Cubs will either live with Scott Sanders or
Kurt Miller as their fifth starter. It also probably means Andrew Lorraine
is going to get the last spot on the staff, as the token second lefty in
the pen.


Optioned P Lorenzo Barcelo to Birmingham (AA), and P Dwayne Jacobs to
Winston-Salem (A); assigned OF Aaron Rowand to their minor-league camp.

Reassigned Ps Luis Andujar, Aaron Myette, Tanyon Sturtze, Kip Wells and
Curtis Whitley, SSs Jason Dellaero and Ricky Magdaleno, OF Dwayne Hosey,
and C David Toth to their minor-league camp. [3/17]

No real news here, although it’s mildly disappointing to see Andujar and
Hosey get sent down so quickly, since both could be useful to a major
league team. Man, talk about a straight line… let’s just let that one go.
Don’t be surprised to see Myette and Wells in the rotation by the August or
roster expansion. Rowand will get every opportunity to shoot through the
organization; I’m pretty optimistic about his chances. Barcelo is
effectively out for the year, so sending him down isn’t really a surprise,
since he’ll be recuperating from major surgery. Yep, it’s already that kind
of year for the Sox, talking about what’s going to happen in time for next


Optioned LHP Jim Crowell and RHP Keith Glauber to Indianapolis; assigned 1B
Rod McCall and 2B/3B Jason Hardtke to their minor-league camp; released UT
Pat Listach and LHP Joey Eischen. [3/11]

Optioned C Jason LaRue and RHP Rob Bell to Indianapolis. [3/12]

Waived RHP Todd Williams. [3/15]

If Hardtke goes postal over losing out this time around to Mark Lewis and
Pokey Reese, I can’t say I’d blame him. Interesting to see that the Reds
tried to move Todd Williams through waivers; early on, they were bragging
about his improved velocity. He can definitely help a major league team.


Optioned OF Scott Morgan and 3B Russell Branyan to Buffalo; optioned Ps
Willie Martinez and Richard Negrette to Akron (AA); assigned Ps Jim Brower,
John Burke and Travis Driskill, Cs Angelo Encarnacion and Steve Soliz, and
OF Dave Roberts to their minor-league camp. [3/14]

Optioned Ps J.D. Brammer and Jimmy Hamilton to Akron (AA); assigned Ps
Jamie Brown, Dave Telgheder and Mike Walker to their minor-league camp.

Assigned RHP Paul Wagner to their minor-league camp. [3/21]

No real surprises among these cuts, although that Buffalo team is beginning
to look like it could take the Pirates pretty easily.


Optioned RHPs Lariel Gonzalez and Steve Shoemaker, INF Juan Sosa, and RF
Edgard Clemente to Colorado Springs; assigned C Mark Strittmatter, INF
Christ Sexton, and OF Jeff Barry to their minor-league camp. [3/21]

No surprising cuts here, as Clemente wasn’t really ever in the race for the
14th slot for position players.


Assigned Ps Dave Borkowski, Mike Drumright, Willis Roberts,
Francisco Cordero, Apostol Garcia, Eric Hiljus and Nick
, OFs Ben Candelaria and Pedro Swann, and INF Jason
to their minor-league camp. [3/14]

Optioned P Matt Drews to Toledo; reassigned P Bryan Corey to their
minor-league camp. [3/19]

Signed 1B Bob Hamelin to a minor-league contract; optioned P Will Brunson
and 3B Gabe Alvarez to Toledo; assigned Ps Jeff Weaver and Brian Looney, C
Javier Cardona, and OF Ricky Cradle to their minor-league camp. [3/21]

Let me see if I can sort out the logic. The Hammer was good enough to DH
for the Tigers until they added Bip Roberts. Bip Roberts wasn’t good enough
to hold off Geronimo Berroa, who was let go because the Tigers needed to
sign Gregg Jefferies, who in turn isn’t really good enough to hold off…
Bob Hamelin. Well, if I’m a pizza baron and I let someone else spend my money, I
don’t know if I’d be entirely happy. Unlike a certain pizza baron, Kimera
Bartee isn’t my favorite player, so maybe I should just cut Randy Smith
some slack, bad taste in ballplayers aside. Playing everyday, Hamelin will
be an adequate DH, a step up from Jefferies. Just letting Gabe Kapler play
is apparently much too easy and sensible.


Assigned Ps Hector Almonte, Bobby Rodgers and Nelson Lara, Cs Chris Norton,
Ryan Robertson and Ramon Castro, INFs Amaury Garcia and Nate Rolison, and
OFs Fletcher Bates, DaRond Stovall, Jaime Jones and Julio Ramirez to their
minor-league camp. [3/14]

I’m not too busted up by the demotion of Castro. Sure, Jorge Fabregas is an
awful player, but catcher of the future or not, Castro needs to demonstrate
a more consistent ability to hit above A-ball before he deserves a serious
crack at the job.


Assigned Ps Tony McKnight, Wade Miller, Derek Root and Brian Sikorski, Cs
Pedro Lopez and Marc Ronan, SS Julio Lugo, 3Bs Chris Truby and Carlos
, and OF Brent Bowers to their minor-league camp. [3/15]

Assigned RHPs Jose Cabrera, Jeff McCurry, Brian Powell, and Bob Scanlan, UT
Casey Candaele, and 2B/SS Carlos Hernandez to their minor-league camp.

No shockers here, although Lugo is the man who will eventually turn Ricky
Gutierrez into a Royal or something. What’s really interesting about this
list of cuts is that it’s looking like the infield at New Orleans is
already stacked, so if Russ Johnson doesn’t end up making the cut, one of
Villalobos, Truby, or Hernandez is going to lose out. Wade Miller could
come be the guy who comes up in a hurry if (or should I say once?)
something goes wrong with Sean Bergman and/or Chris Holt. Last year’s hand
injury isn’t the sort of injury that should greatly affect his development,
and he’s arguably the best pitching prospect in the organization after


Released LHPs Allen McDill, John Cummings, and Jamie Walker, and RHP Brian
. [3/14]

Optioned OF Mark Quinn to Omaha; optioned LHP Scott Mullen to Wichita (AA);
optioned CF Dermal Brown to Wilmington (A); reassigned Cs Jeremy Hill and
Paul Phillips to minor-league camp. [3/16]

Released OF Tony Tarasco; optioned RHP Dario Veras to Omaha; assigned 1B
Joe Vitiello, 3B Rico Rossy, OF Steve Gibralter, LHP Rick Krivda, and RHPs
Joe Roa, Kennie Steenstra and and Dave Swartzbaugh to their minor league
camp. [3/18]

Assigned Ps Bart Evans, Orber Moreno and Ken Ray, and 2B Jed Hansen to
Omaha. [3/21]

I always think it’s somewhat entertaining to see which talented players get
cut by bad ballclubs. In this instance, the Royals are being amusing in
their own way. Jermaine Dye doesn’t really have anything over Quinn or
Tarasco, but then the organization didn’t make a high-profile trade for
either of them. I’m very surprised to see the pitchers who got cut. Several
of them (Krivda, Veras, Roa, Steenstra, Evans, and Swartzbaugh) are
veterans with several years of experience in the high minors, all of whom
have had some limited success in one form or another. The Royals are
desperate for pitching, but they’re still looking at Erik Hanson and Pete
Smith and Don Wengert, all of whom may be too bad for Omaha, but good enough
for the Royals.


Optioned Ps Arnold Gooch, Mike Judd, Steve Montgomery and Ricky Stone, and
OF Hiram Bocachica to Albuquerque; optioned Ps Eric Gagne and Luke Prokopec
to San Antonio (AA); optioned P Randy Galvez to San Bernadino (A);
reassigned Ps Dan Hubbs, Matt Heges, Matt Jarvis and Gavin Osteen, 3B Pete
Rose Jr.
, 1B Jason Thompson, and C Hector Ortiz to their minor-league camp.

The "Hit Prince" doesn’t make it, again.


Assigned Ps Hector Ramirez, Ryan Henderson and Tim VanEgmond to their
minor-league camp. [3/15]

Assigned RHPs Reggie Harris, Jim Converse, and Rod Henderson, LHPs Brian
and Horacio Estrada, C Jeff Alfano, 1B Kevin Barker, SS Santiago
, CFs Anthony Iapoce and Chad Green, and OF Scott Krause to their
minor-league camp. [3/17]

Assigned C Alex Andreopoulos, DH Brandon Cromer, and INF Luis Ortiz to
their minor-league camp. [3/21]

There are a few moves here that are a crying shame. Scott Krause deserved a
better shot at a job, but the Brewers are spinning their wheels with Alex
Ochoa. Ochoa may end up being one of those great generational mysteries, in
that it will end up being essentially impossible to explain existence to
future generations. "Dad, why did Alex Ochoa get to play?" "You
weren’t there, son, I can’t explain it to you. It just seemed like a good
idea at the time." Meanwhile, none of these moves are that surprising
in themselves. Barker will almost certainly be up by July if he doesn’t
struggle in Louisville, while Santiago Perez’s chances depend on the
Brewers trading Jose Valentin.


Optioned P Mark Redman to Salt Lake City; optioned Ps Matt Kinney and Danny
, C Chad Moeller, 2B Cleatus Davidson, and OF Anthony Felson to New
Britain (AA); reassigned Ps Ryan Mills, Gary Rath and Steve Wojciechowski,
3B Michael Cuddyer, and 1B Chad Rupp to their minor-league camp. [3/16]

Optioned OF Brian Buchanan and P Brent Stentz to Salt Lake City; reassigned
Ps Jose Espinal and Kevin Ohme and C Matt LeCroy to minor-league camp.

Sold OF Mel Nieves to the Daiei Hawks of the Japanese Leagues. [3/21]

It isn’t going to surprise anyone to hear that you’ll see some of these
guys come back this summer. I won’t be surprised at all if Buchanan gets a
crack at the LF job at some point. Kinney, Rath, and Redman will all get
opportunities with the Twins if they don’t do too badly or hurt themselves
in the meantime. Cuddyer and LeCroy are both in a position to come up
quickly. The sale of Nieves is somewhat surprising, since I was thinking he
had a reasonable shot of breaking camp with the team. But with Doug
Mientkiewicz looking like a lock at first, and with Corey Koskie taking
over at third, they’re already scratching to find playing time for Ron
Coomer, and Nieves’ best position is DH.


Optioned LHP Ted Lilly, RHP Guillermo Mota, 1B/LF Fernando Seguignol, INFs
Jose Fernandez and Geoff Blum, OF Chris Stowers, and C John Pachot to
Ottawa, and CF Peter Bergeron to Harrisburg (AA). [3/20]

The Expos’ demotions are even more depressing than the Pirates’, because
Lilly and Bergeron could end up making significant impacts. I guess I’m not
that busted up about this. Lilly is probably going to be up after a dozen
starts, while Bergeron is only one easily accomplished bad stretch from
Orlando Merced away from getting a job.


Assigned Ps Octavio Dotel, Dan Murray, Paul Wilson and Jason Isringhausen,
and OFs Scott Hunter and Terrence Long to Norfolk; assigned RHP Grant
and INF Mo Bruce to Binghamton (AA); assigned OF Juan LeBron to St.
Lucie (A); sent C Yohanny Valera, OFs Jerry Brooks and Jason Tyner, and INF
Jorge Toca to their minor-league camp. [3/16]

Released RHP Oscar Henriquez. [3/17]

Since I’m not really sold on the claims that Mets are past their
kinderslagging ways in the minors, I’m moderately worried about seeing
Dotel handed back to the Mets’ minor league staff, let alone the walking
wounded like Izzy and Wilson and Roberts.


Named Don Zimmer interim manager. [3/15]

Assigned RHPs Dave Pavlas and Chris Nichting, UT Tim McIntosh, and 3B Mike
to their minor-league camp; optioned RHP Luis DeLossantos to
Norwich (AA). [3/17]

Talk about cruel ironies, with the Gerbil now managing the evil pinstriped
crew. Some uncharitable, unforgiving, and perpetually unhappy Beantowners
would argue he’s been on Steinbrenner’s payroll all along.


Re-assigned Cs Cody McKay and Willie Morales and LHP Sean Lawrence to their
minor-league camp. [3/12]

Optioned RHP Blake Stein and INF Mark Bellhorn to Vancouver; optioned RHP
Jeff D’Amico to Midland (AA); assigned LHP Mark Mulder and OF Chris Sheff
to their minor-league camp. [3/13]

Optioned LHP Juan Perez and C Danny Ardoin to Vancouver; optioned RHP Luis
to Midland (AA); assigned RHP Tony Chavez, 1B Jeff Ball, 1B/LF
Brian Lesher, and OF Mike Neill to their minor-league camp. [3/20]

I guess I’m resigning myself that what these moves really mean is that
Marc Holzemer is going to be on the Opening Day roster as the second lefty.
Subtracting Stein from the rotation race leaves only Jay Witasick, Brad
Rigby, Gil Heredia, and (at least notionally) Mike Oquist battling for the
fourth and fifth spots. Ardoin’s demotion probably guarantees that Mike
Macfarlane isn’t going to be one of the veteran catchers the White Sox end
up trading for in the next 48 hours.


Assigned LHP Randy Wolf to their minor-league camp. [3/11]

Assigned Cs Andy Dominique and Kirk Pierce, 1Bs Pat Burrell and Steve
, INF Carlos Duncan, 3B Lou Lucca, and OF Reggie Taylor to their
minor-league camp. [3/14]

Assigned RHPs Ron Blazier, Joel Bennett, Cliff Politte and Mike Welch, C
Adam Millan, INF Jose Flores, OF Wendell Magee Jr., and PR Lou Frazier to
their minor-league training camp. [3/21]

The only real news here is that Burrell will be back, Duncan will get
touted, and Wolf and Politte will almost certainly start a game for the
Phillies this year. This is the farm system with the least talent of any
organization, so I think we just covered almost all of the news worth
mentioning about their up-and-comers for the next three months.


Optioned LHP Jimmy Anderson, SS Abraham Nunez, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Ron
, CF Emil Brown, and LF Chad Hermansen to Nashville; optioned OF Alex
to Altoona (AA); reassigned Ps Jim Baron and Johan Lopez, C Mel
, and 2B Jeff Patzke to minor-league camp. [3/17]

Black Wednesday for the Bucs, as they demoted every good young player ready
to play in the majors that they had, with the long exception of Warren
Morris. We all knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier to


Optioned 3B Chris Haas and Ps Rick Heiserman and Garrett Stephenson to
Memphis; optioned Ps Matt DeWitt and Chad Hutchinson, SS Jason Woolf, and
OF Luis Saturria to Arkansas (AA); assigned LHP Rick Ankiel, SS Brent
, SS/2B Adam Kenndey, 3B Jose Leon, and OF David Hulse to their
minor-league camp. [3/15]

Gave 2B Carlos Baerga his outright release. [3/17]

Releasing Baerga cost the Cardinals $200,000 that almost anyone could have
told them to save. Now they’re hot and heavy in the business of trying to
get Fernando Vina from the Brewers, which makes plenty of sense for both
teams. The Cardinals are trying to win this year, and Vina’s career
prospects aren’t great for the long-term, but are certainly much better
than playing David Howard or Pat Kelly or Placido Polanco. A Renteria-Vina
combo on the deuce would almost certainly be the best in baseball, and that
would be a tremendous asset for what’s shaping up to be another
bailing-wire and duct-tape rotation. Add in the defensive improvement of
getting a full year from Fernando Tatis, Eli Marrero, and J.D. Drew, and
the Cardinals could really end up surprising some people with their
defensive play.


Signed RHP Trevor Hoffman to a four-year contract. [3/9]

Optioned RHPs Will Cunnane and Bryan Wolff to Las Vegas; assigned RHPs Jeff
, Mike Harkey, and Jose Mercedes, and LHP Shane Dennis to their minor
league camp. [3/21]

The only real surprise here is mine, in that Mike Harkey was in somebody’s
camp somewhere.


Released LHP Trevor Wilson. [3/15]

Optioned RHP Tim Crabtree and C Yorvit Torrealba to Fresno; assigned RHPs
Jason Grilli and Pedro Feliz, LHP Aaron Fultz, OF Dan McKinley and 2B Jay
to their minor-league camp. [3/21]

Okay, releasing Trevor Wilson also surprised me, if only for the amount of
coverage it got. I’ve been consistently mystified by the number of people
saying Wilson had a shot at a rotation spot, since I believed that the
Giants have more sense than that. Of course, I’m also surprised by how much
people are talking about Allen Watson starting for the Mets, but that’s
probably just one of those dopey New York things. Don’t be surprised if
Grilli’s back up and in the Giants’ rotation by May.


Optioned Ps Damaso Marte, Aaron Scheffer and Cam Smith, and OF Kerry
to Tacoma; optioned Ps Brian Fuentes and Dennis Stark to New Haven
(AA); assigned Ps Marc Kroon and Marcus Moore to their minor-legue camp.

Outrighted RHP Maximo de la Rosa to Tacoma; optioned LHP Jordan Zimmerman
to New Haven. [3/19]


Optioned LHP Ramon Tatis to Durham; assigned Ps Larry Casian, Steve Cooke,
Travis Harper, Santos Hernandez, Mark Hutton, John LeRoy, Bobby Munoz,
Steve Ontiveros, Bobby Seay and Mark Sievert, Cs Toby Hall, Paul Hoover and
Tom Wilson, SS Aaron Holbert, INF Chris Martin, LF Brooks Kieschnick, and
CF Luke Wilcox to their minor-league camp. [3/12]

Released LHP Tim Davis. [3/17]

Optioned RHP Bryan Rekar and LHP Mike Duvall to Durham; assigned RHP Roger
, LHP Erik Plantenberg, C Cesar Devarez, INF Dave Silvestri, and CF
Terrell Lowery to their minor-league camp. [3/21]

If there’s something to think about here, it’s just counting up the number
of guys with major league experience to their credit. Rekar, Tatis, Casian,
Cooke, Hutton, Munoz, Onto… and they haven’t even had to cut Bobby Witt
yet. At any rate, I think it’s interesting, in that all of these guys
aren’t going to get a major league job coming out of camp this year, and
yet here we are, a year after expansion, with 22 more jobs available, and
none of them are going to these guys, any of whom might make a dandy
posterchild for that bad old "expansion pitching" chestnut we’ll
hear about as soon as somebody like Benito Santiago hits three homeruns in
a week in April.


Assigned Ps Derrick Cook, Doug Davis, Ryan Glynn, Brandon Knight and Eric
, and C Cesar King to their minor-league camp. [3/15]

Assigned LHP Corey Lee to the minor-league camp. [3/17]


Assigned 2B Brent Abernathy, Ps John Bale, Leoncio Estrella, Ben VanRyn and
Clayton Andrews, SSs Joe Lawrence and Felipe Lopez, and OFs Mike Peeples
and Vernon Wells to their minor-league camp. [3/10]

Announced the retirement of 2B Joey Cora. [3/11]

Assigned Ps Mike Gordon and Luis Arroyo to their minor-league camp. [3/13]

Fired manager Tim Johnson; named Jim Fregosi manager. [3/17]

Assigned RHP Vicente Palacios to their minor-league camp, and optioned 3B
Casey Blake to Syracuse. [3/21]

I’m genuinely glad for the Blue Jays. Whatever the ethical or clubhouse
considerations of Tim Johnson’s slippery grasp on the truth, the real
potential bonus is that Jim Fregosi has a pretty good track record as a
manager, and will be hard-pressed to be nearly as brutal with his starting
pitchers in terms of the workloads he imposes on them. This might be just
what the doctor would have ordered for Joey Hamilton or Kelvim Escobar or
Chris Carpenter.

In other news, put me at the front of the line among people not sad to see
Joey Cora go, again. Cora’s attempt to blackmail his way onto a postseason
roster by holding his own professional self-esteem hostage was lame, and
the Indians’ decision to hurt themselves with their sympathy for his
nonexistent plight (Cora had gotten to the playoffs before, after all) was
one last years’ strangest roster moves. It’s sort of sad, in that he’s
losing out to a non-prospect like Homer Bush, instead of somebody like
Ronnie Belliard, but it’s also about time. Cora had his moments, and was
fun to watch, but he had already gotten his second and third chances (with
the White Sox and the Mariners), and wasn’t exactly entitled to a fourth
once he couldn’t cut it in the field.

Thank you for reading

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