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ANAHEIM ANGELS

Non-tendered INF Andy Sheets, making him a free agent. [12/20]

Sheets went from being a very useful utility infielder for the Padres to
a completely worthless regular for the Angels, with the added upset that
getting him to replace Gary DiSarcina last spring cost the Angels Phil
Nevin. The punchline is that among his other faults, Bill Bavasi didn’t
do a good job of shopping for minor league free agents last winter, and
it ended up costing him talent as well as games. Now Sheets is gone, and
the Angels don’t have a draft pick, a winning season, or Phil Nevin.


ATLANTA BRAVES

Acquired 1B Wally Joyner, 2B Quilvio Veras, and OF Reggie Sanders from
the Padres for 1B/LF Ryan Klesko, 2B Brett Boone, and RHP Jason Shiell.
[12/22]

Another one of John Schuerholz’ bold strokes that end up making more
noise than really big qualitative improvements to the team. Joyner’s
done, but on some level represents experienced insurance if the Big Cat
doesn’t come back from cancer quickly. I’d rather take my chances with
minor league free agents or Randall Simon. We’ve come to a point with
Quilvio Veras where you just have to acknowledge he’s never managed to
top his 1995 season, and his
constant injuries make it unlikely that he ever will. He’ll be an upgrade
at the top of the order, and while he’s clearly more valuable than
Fernando Vina will be to the Cardinals, he’s about to win
big in arbitration. Reggie Sanders is a nice addition, in that he’s
extremely inexpensive for a player as productive as he’s been, and he’s
only under contract for one year. As injury-prone as he consistently is,
he’s a cheap gamble for that one year. The biggest positive of this deal
for the Braves is that Klesko’s expensive contract for 2001 goes away,
making this a future-oriented salary dump. Joyner and Sanders will both
be free agents after this season, giving the Braves the freedom to shop
without budget concerns in the 2000 free agent market. The talent in this
deal is secondary to that, although there is the added bonus that it
helps the Braves’ shot at a decisive win in
the NL East, what with the Mets blowing it so badly this winter.

Bobby
Cox is now in the odd situation where he might worry about having too
many right-handed bats in his lineup now that all three outfielders, Javy
Lopez, and the Big Cat all thump from the right side of the plate, with
only Chipper Jones on the left side capable of hitting the ball over the
infield. That may end up creating a good opportunity for George Lombard
to get a good 300 at-bats off the bench as the team’s fourth outfielder.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Re-signed free agent 1B Jeff Conine to a two-year contract. [12/16]

Signed free agent C Greg Myers to a two-year contract. [12/17]

Signed free agent LHP Buddy Groom to a two-year contract; non-tendered OF
Wady Almonte and LHP Doug Johns, making them free agents. [12/21]

Named Syd Thrift VP of baseball operations. [12/22]

The only serious question here is whether or not de facto GM/fall guy Syd
Thrift wants to take credit for these neato two-year deals for three guys
who will make almost no difference in the senselessly violent fight for
third place in the AL East. Spending good money for Conine on top of Will
Clark and Harold Baines? Why not cut Cal Pickering outright while you’re
at it? Paying top dollar for Buddy Groom, as sturdy a left-handed piece
of waiver fodder as you’re going to find? As an American taxpayer, I’d
like to find a better way to redistribute Peter Angelos’ wealth than this
sort of silly trickle-down economics, where Angelos dollars only end up
supporting valuable service industry sectors that cater to mediocre
ballplayers, like investment planners, trophy wives, or gardeners.
There’s got to be a better way, no?


BOSTON RED SOX

Non-tendered C Shea Hillenbrand, DH Butch Huskey, and RHP Julio Santana,
making them free agents. [12/21]

Signed free agent LHP Jeff Fassero to a one-year contract. [12/22]

Signed LHP Sang-Hoon Lee to a two-year contract. [12/23]

The Duke brings in a pair of lefties, both of whom should swipe rotation
spots. The interesting development here is that Fassero gets reunited
with widely acclaimed pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. If the Duke’s gamble
works, and Fassero really only has mechanical problems that Kerrigan can
iron out, the Red Sox have a nifty left-handed starter capable of more
than Pete Schourek or Kent Mercker, while Fassero gets a shot at a much
more lucrative free agency next winter. Lee was widely considered to be
the best lefty starter in the Korean pro league, and he’s been signed to
walk right into the rotation spots previously occupied by Pat Rapp and/or
Mark Portugal. All in all, a nice pair of gambles.


CHICAGO CUBS

Sent RHP Brian Stephenson to the Dodgers to complete the Valdes/Young
salary dump. [12/16]

Signed RHP Andy Larkin to a minor-league contract; purchased the contract
of OF Brian Ralph from the Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League.
[12/17]

Signed free agent SS Ricky Gutierrez to a two-year contract; agreed to
terms on one-year contracts with RHP Kerry Wood and C Pat Cline;
non-tendered RHP Scott Sanders, making him a free agent. [12/20]

Traded LHP Dan Serafini to the Padres for OF Brandon Pernell. [12/22]

Adding Gutierrez for big money illustrates the same old problem in
Wrigleyville: this winter is "Operation Butt-Cover" Part II,
with Ed Lynch spending money on veteran players as fall guys, so that
when 2000 ends up resembling 1999, he can point to his busy work this
winter as proof that at least he was doing his job. Gutierrez has
a career .335 OBP. On top of the equally anemic additions of Damon Buford
and Joe Girardi, these moves represent a fundamental lack of understanding
of how runs score, or how to improve on an offense that finished 13th in
the league despite playing in a bandbox. Lynch and Baylor are busy
blabbing about how they’re bringing in a winning attitude and will play
agressive, tough, fundamental baseball. Like a presidential campaign that
yammers about law and order, this kind of tough talk reflects the absence
of any real thinking. The players the Cubs think of as their good
offensive players (Eric Young or Mark Grace) aren’t especially good
compared to other leadoff hitters or middle of the order hitters around
the league. The last time the Cubs finished last in the league in scoring
was 1949, but this year’s Cubs isn’t too far from being the league’s
worst offensive team. It’ll be hard to score fewer runs than the Padres
or Marlins, but this squad could have the right stuff.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Signed free agent LHP Chuck Finley to a three-year contract. [12/16]

Non-tendered C/UT Tyler Houston, making him a free agent. [12/21]

Signed DH Ruben Sierra, INF Bill Selby, RHPs Jim Dedrick and Jose Pett
and LHP Joey Eischen to minor-league contracts; invited Sierra and Selby
to spring training. [12/23]

There’s a bone of contention here in the BP camp: is John Hart good at
his job or not? I’m in the minority that thinks Hart’s flushing far too
much talent and money on experienced pitching, vainly overcompensating for
postseason defeats already lost while not even bringing in the kinds of
pitchers who actually do the Indians much good. Spending big
money to sign Cuban mystery Danys Baez, Scott Kamieniecki, international
man of hittability, and now Chuck Finley might add up to a big financial
commitment to the concept of quality pitching, not a guarantee that
they’ll get any.

Signing a 37 year-old pitcher like Finley when it might
mean losing Manny Ramirez after 2000 seems like a really lousy risk. Sure,
Ramirez is likely to get more than he’s worth as a free agent after
already giving the Indians the best years of his career, but if the
Indians have as much trouble winning the AL Central in 2000 as I suspect,
they’ll be stuck with an old Ramirez-less team with major salary
commitments to old and declining players. What’s really pathetic is that
Sierra, the original Bad Bald One, will probably inherit Wil Cordero’s
roster spot, and get touted for a successful comeback for a few ribbies
batting behind good players. He’s still as done as he was five years ago.


COLORADO ROCKIES

Signed free agent C Scott Servais to a minor-league contract. [12/17]

While Dan O’Dowd has done a few smart things as the Rockies’ GM, spending
more than Brian Sabean did to bring in a replacement-level pair of free
agent catchers like Servais and Brent Mayne isn’t among them. Bringing
them in with Ben Petrick just about ready is downright silly. Even
if the goal is to contend in the West right now, which is a realistic
goal, the Rox don’t need Mayne and Servais to do it, but they could use
the money to spend on somebody to play short and hit major league
pitching.


DETROIT TIGERS

Signed LHP Jim Poole, RHPs Bart Evans and Douglas Walls and INFs Giomar
Guevara
, Marty Malloy and Kevin Polcovich to minor-league contracts with
spring training NRIs. [12/20]

A decent collection of guys to bring in: with C.J. Nitkowski likely to
make the rotation, Poole has a very solid shot at winning a job in the
Tigers’ pen, and now that Frank Catalanotto’s been traded and Jason
Wood’s left as a minor league free agent, any one of the infielders could
end up as the Tigers’ utility infielder. Malloy’s got the best chance,
but Phil Garner’s taste will dictate who wins.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Signed OF Danny Bautista to a one-year contract with a club option for
2001. [12/21]

Signed RHP Ricky Bones to a minor-league contract with a spring training
NRI. [12/22]

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something wrong when a 64-win team
decides to hand out job security to its fifth outfielder. The Marlins’
outfield is already set with Preston Wilson in center, Mark Kotsay in
right, and Cliff Floyd in left. God only knows why Brant Brown had to be
dragged in. Bautista’s not a bad player on a team that needs a defensive
replacement,
but the Marlins already have a solid bunch of gloves and a lousy offense,
and Bautista doesn’t help there. The guy most likely to bull his way into
the outfield picture is Julio Ramirez, and he’s a better player than
Bautista. If Dombrowski is doing this just to avoid salary arbitration in
the hope that Bautista’s contract security might interest one of the more
dopey pseudo-contenders, that’s pretty weak. They were better off keeping
Aven, non-tendering Bautista, and sparing themselves from Brant Brown.
That this all comes the year after trading too much to bring in Mike
Lowell doesn’t do much for Dombrowski’s reputation as one of the game’s
better GMs.


HOUSTON ASTROS

Extended the contracts of manager Larry Dierker and GM Gerry Hunsicker
through 2002. [12/16]

Signed free agent INF Tripp Cromer to a minor-league contract. [12/21]
Acquired OF Roger Cedeno, RHP Octavio Dotel and LHP Kyle Kessel from the
Mets for LHP Mike Hampton and RF Derek Bell. [12/23]

Some people, let’s call them Chicago and St. Louis sportswriters, are
crowing that this deal signals that the Astros are ripe for the taking.
Both camps are missing the boat; what this deal signals is how
daring as well as clever Hunsicker, Dierker, and assistant GM Tim Purpura
are.

First off, the Astros get rid of Bell, not merely the game’s most
overrated outfielder, but one of the worst-hitting outfielders in
baseball. This ends up creating more of an opportunity for either
Daryle Ward or Lance Berkman to get some serious playing time in either
outfield corner. Second, the Astros get themselves what should be the
best two or three years of Roger Cedeno’s career. Cedeno should pair up
well with Craig Biggio to form
the NL’s best one-two punch at the top of the order, and it won’t matter
which one Dierker leads off. Cedeno also gives Dierker an alternative to
Ricky Hidalgo in center, making it all the more likely that the Astros
can build a great four-outfielder rotation with the two of them, Moises
Alou, and the winner of the Berkman versus Ward fight in one of the
corner jobs.

They lose one year of Mike Hampton before he becomes a free
agent, which hurts, but the Astros have pitching coming up, the
outstanding combo of Dierker and pitching coach Vern Ruhle to work with
whoever they bring in, and any rotation featuring Dotel and Scott Elarton
has the most promising future of any in baseball. And it isn’t like this
year’s rotation will suck when it starts off with Shane Reynolds and Jose
Lima. In short, while the Astros are taking a risk, it’s one easily worth
taking. They may drop into the high eighty- or low ninety-win range, but
the Cardinals will need everything to break their way to even get that
high, and the Reds won’t match 1999. So not only should the Astros
continue to be the favorites in the NL Central, with a rotation that
should feature Dotel and Elarton for the next four or five years, they
might be the favorites until 2004. At least.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Signed LHP Jose Rosado to a two-year contract. [12/16]

A sensible choice for the Royals at this point, although you have to hope
Rosado sent a thank-you note to Tony Muser for getting him this far
after Muser helped recover a career for him after Bob Boone’s overuse.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Acquired RHP Brian Stephenson from the Cubs to complete the Young/Valdes
salary dump. [12/16]

Signed free agent RHP Orel Hershiser to a one-year contract with a club
option for 2001. [12/17]

Bringing in Hershiser makes for a feel-good story for a team desperately
needing whatever positive spin it can generate for itself. GM Kevin
Malone can take greater satisfaction that nobody else in the division is
significantly upgrading their teams either.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Signed free agent INF Jose Hernandez to a three-year contract; designated
RHP Carl Dale for assignment. [12/16]

Traded 2B Fernando Vina to the Cardinals for RHP Juan Acevedo and two
minor league PTBNL; non-tendered RHPs Carl Dale and Hector Ramirez,
making them free agents. [12/20]

Signed RHP Jimmy Haynes to a one-year contract. [12/21]

Bringing in Hernandez might make sense if the Brewers wanted him to play
a lot of short, or wanted to trade Marquis Grissom so that Jose Valentin
could move to center, but instead its a simple case of plugging him into
third, keeping Mark Loretta in a utility role or Valentin as trade bait.
The too-little, too-late move is Dean Taylor’s dumping Vina a year after
Sal Bando should have done it. Acevedo should get every opportunity to
crack the Brewers’ rotation, which means they’ve got Steve Woodard, Kyle
Peterson, Jamey Wright, Jimmy Haynes, and a dogfight between Acevedo,
Jason Bere, Rocky Coppinger, and possibly rookie Allen Levrault or a
rehabbing Jeff D’Amico for the fifth spot. The bad news? Why did Taylor
hand Bere a guaranteed $800 grand, when he may not be good enough to
pitch in Triple A?


MINNESOTA TWINS

Agreed to terms on one-year contracts with OF Matt Lawton, 1B Mario
Valdez
and LHP Johan Santana. [12/20]

Extended spring training invites to RHPs Rich Batchelor, Gus Gandarillas
and Ricky Greene, LHP Todd Rizzo, Cs Matt LeCroy, Jon Schaeffer and Jeff
Smith
, 2B Dan Cey, 3B Michael Cuddyer, INF Jason Maxwell, 3B Brian
Richardson
and OFs Bobby Kielty, Michael Restovich and Robin Jennings.
[12/21]

No really big news here, except that LeCroy will get every opportunity to
win the starting catcher job now that Steinbach is retired, and Valdez
should get every opportunity to make Doug Mientkiewicz go away. Batchelor
and Greene should both get shots to make the bullpen now that Mike
Trombley’s gone, and either of Maxwell or Cey could get the opportunity
to work their way into a platoon role with Todd Walker at second. Cuddyer
doesn’t have a shot to win the third base job out of camp, but that
doesn’t mean he won’t be up before September.


MONTREAL EXPOS

Signed free agent LHP Graeme Lloyd to a three-year contract; non-tendered
RHP Dan Smith, making him a free agent. [12/20]

Acquired RHP Hideki Irabu from the Yankees for RHP Jake Westbrook and two
PTBNL; signed Irabu to a two-year contract. [12/22]

NTS = New Toy Syndrome. Jeff Loria’s doing this contract and
whiz-bang-zoom thing to the hilt, and it plays well for a Montreal crowd
usually spending this time of year chatting about whether the Bon Homme
de Neige is real or not.

Bringing in Irabu isn’t a bad move, but Lloyd’s
acquisition seems strange unless the Expos deal either of Uggie Urbina or
Steve Kline. A nice bullpen is a good thing to have, but it isn’t going
to compensate for the real problem: why are the Expos making moves to add
pitching? They have guys on the way up, starting with Antonio Armas, and
others poised to break through, like Carl Pavano or Javy Vazquez or even
Scott Strickland. What they don’t have is a good offense, and if they
really want to embarass the Mets and Phillies this year (a very tangible
goal), they need to help their lineup instead of collecting people who
can pitch better than GM Jim Beattie did.


NEW YORK METS

Non-tendered RHP Billy Taylor, making him a free agent. [12/20]

Acquired LHP Mike Hampton and RF Derek Bell from the Astros for RHPs
Octavio Dotel and Kyle Kessel and OF Roger Cedeno. [12/23]

From Griffey to Manny Ramirez to… a year of Mike Hampton and one of the
game’s worst-hitting lead-gloved corner outfield stiffs? Talk about
settling.

The Mets lost John Olerud, and downgraded to Todd Zeile. They
just pitched a good outfielder and their best pitching prospect for a guy
leaving behind great run support and the Astrodome, and an outfielder who
will do plenty to rehabilitate Bobby Bonilla’s Big Apple reputation.
While provincial braggadaccio is saying this move skyrockets the Mets
past the Braves, their offense has taken several hits, their pitching
isn’t appreciably better, and they just fired off one of their last
bullets for in-season improvement to bring in two free agents to be. The
farm is running on empty. It won’t be easy for them to finish second, let
alone have a good shot at the wild card. The most you can say for their
future is that they can use the 2001 draft picks Hampton and Bell will
turn into in eleven months.


NEW YORK YANKEES

Signed C Jim Leyritz to a one-year contract. [12/20]

Acquired RHP Jake Westbrook and two PTBNL from the Expos for RHP Hideki
Irabu
. [12/22]

The interesting thing about trading His Wartiness is that it means
they’re "stuck" with Andy Pettite as their fourth starter and Ed
Yarnall as their fifth starter. Boy, don’t they miss Mike Lowell, eh?

Westbrook’s an interesting prospect: he hasn’t translated talent into
results, but there are still things to like about his stuff, and he could
be one of those pitchers scouts are right about after all. The two PTBNLs
are supposed to be pitchers as well, as if the Yankees even need them.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Non-tendered OF Rich Becker and 2B/3B Scott Spiezio, making them free
agents. [12/20]

Both players ended up being victims of their arbitration eligibility,
since neither of them have great shots at regular playing time. Both have
value, but not as much as an arbitrator is likely to give them. Stranger
yet, both may end up in Chicago. Becker would make a nifty leadoff man
and part-time CF for the Cubs, and Spiezio might be the Illinois guy the
Sox want to take playing time at third until Joe Crede is ready. I’d
rather play Greg Norton for his better range and power, even with his
overstated "hands of stone" reputation.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Signed Cs Tim Laker and Randy Knorr to minor-league contracts. [12/20]

Non-tendered Rule V pick RHP Brian Smith, making him a free agent, and
then signed him to a minor-league deal. [12/21]

Hats off to Cam Bonifay for finding a loophole in the rules that allowed
him to snag a Rule V draftee (Smith), and then find a way to keep him off
of his own 40-man roster without offering him back to his original team.
It will be interesting to see which happens first: either Sandy Alderson
takes the time to close off this loophole, or everyone will be doing this
in December of 2000.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Signed C Mike Matheny to a one-year contract; designated OF Darren Bragg
for assignment. [12/16]

Acquired 2B Fernando Vina from the Brewers for RHP Juan Acevedo and two
minor leaguers to be named later. [12/20]

Non-tendered RHP Ricky Bottalico, making him a free agent. [12/21]

This is end stage of delirium tremens, when a drunk is so far gone, so
incapable of pulling himself back onto the barstool, that he settles for
brake fluid or whatever else he can crawl to. Like picking up Darryl
Kile on the expectation that that one good year he had in the last six is
what they’ll get, the Cardinals are pretending that Fernando Vina is the
guy who had one good year (in 1998) in his entire career. He is not going
to be the great leadoff man they’re pretending he is. He does give them
an outstanding infield defense with Tatis at third and Renteria at short,
arguably the best in the NL, and they’re going to need it. Giving up
Acevedo isn’t the end of the world, if only because he probably wasn’t
going to get turned around by LaRussa/Duncan any more than anybody else
under thirty.

The really bad news is that Walt Jocketty decided to settle
for an even worse alternative (Matheny) to Joe Girardi after Joltless Joe
decided to return to the Cubs. To put this in a divisional context, both
Girardi and Matheny pale in comparison to both Tony Eusebio and Paul
Bako, the Astros’ fallbacks in the unlikely event that Mitch Meluskey
doesn’t hit.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Acquierd 1B/LF Ryan Klesko, 2B Bret Boone, and P Jason Shiell from the
Braves for 1B Wally Joyner, 2B Quilvio Veras, and OF Reggie Sanders;
acquired LHP Dan Serafini from the Cubs for OF Brandon Pernell. [12/22]

Hmmm, nice things to say… hey, Kevin Towers finally cut the cord to
Wally Joyner! Hey, as long as you know you won’t be bidding for the free
agent class of 2000, why not get guys under contract through 2001? As
long as they’re gunning for the top pick in the draft, I say its time to
dump the wannabe Dodgers uniforms and go back to the brown and mustard outfits.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Non-tendered UT F.P. Santangelo, making him a free agent. [12/21]

Signed GM Brian Sabean to a two-year contract extension. [12/23]

I’m probably not alone in thinking that the Giants are going to do
something. Maybe they’ll sign Tony Phillips, maybe an expensive free
agent, but now that his future is secure, Sabean can continue to take a
risk here or there.

The Giants should continue to contend for the
division title and/or the wild card, which is what you ought to expect
from any team with Barry Bonds. What’s more troubling long-term is
whether the Giants are satisfied with the status quo: life with 85 or
more wins and near-contention. Bonds deserves better.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Signed RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Japanese Leagues to a two-year
contract, with a club option for a third year. [12/19]

Signed free agent 2B Mark McLemore and free agent OF Stan Javier to
one-year contracts; outrighted the contract of RHP Aaron Scheffer to
Tacoma. [12/20]

Signed free agent LHP Arthur Rhodes to a four-year contract; non-tendered
SS Rafael Bournigal, 3B Russ Davis and RHP Rafael Carmona, making them
free agents. [12/22]

The Mariners continue to accrue little gains. Pat Gillick has talked
about how both Rhodes and Sasaki will get chances to share the closer’s
role with Jose Mesa, but so would Dave Beard if anyone could find him.
The key for the Mariners’ pen isn’t going to be whether or not Piniella
is supplied with good arms: he’s been given plenty of good relievers to
work with. The question is whether or not he’ll ever stumble into the
same dumb luck that kept him from totally screwing up the 1990 Reds’ pen.
Since he’s managed to bury almost every other pitching staff that’s ever
been handed to him, my money’s on Mt. Piniella and another season of
unnatural disasters.

Replacing Russ Davis and Brian Hunter with McLemore
and Javier is pretty good news, in that it gives the Mariners two guys
whose core strengths are getting on base, and with Griffey, Edgar, and
A-Rod coming up behind them, the Mariners have a shot at an adequate
offense. The ingredients are in place for a contending team, but the wild
card remains Piniella.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Signed free agent OF Gerald Williams to a two-year contract with a club
option for 2002; designated C Mike Figga and INF Herbert Perry for
assignment. [12/20]

Signed C Mike Figga to a minor-league contract with a spring training
NRI. [12/22]

"Gladys, send in Steve and Bubba… Hi Steve, hi Bubba. You know, we
here in the Red Devils organization really appreciate everything you two
have done for us. You’re both swell young guys, and you play hard and
even hit well. That’s really neat. But I figured the honest thing to do
was to let you both know we’ve decided you should both get every
opportunity to set some career milestones in the International League.
It’ll be great, just you wait and see. Now, don’t use that kind of
language in here, we operate on the Lou Holtz principle of mealy-mouthed
BS, not straight talk like that. You see, the organization has decided it
doesn’t want to go in a new direction. We like our players old enough to
share their memories with the season ticket holders. This year’s
promotional campaign is built around Mr. Turner’s brother-in-law and that
nice film… Gilded Lilies or On Golden Showers or something like that.
Anyways, we’re in touch with our fans, and they want bluehairs and
beehives, just like any real Americans would. We’re bringing in this nice
middle-aged man, Chocolate Ice or something like that, and would you
believe he’s got playoff experience! Playing for Mr. Turner, no less! And
I understand he made some records in the 80s. Or played in the NBA. I’m
not really sure. Anyways, I wanted to wish you a lovely pair of careers
in Charlotte, and please pass on my sincere regards to that nice Mr.
McClain when you get there."


TEXAS RANGERS

Signed C B.J. Waszgis and INF Edwin Diaz to minor-league contracts;
outrighted OF Mike Zywica to Oklahoma. [12/20]

I’m shocked, shocked, to see another ex-Oriole like Waszgis end up
playing for Bob Melvin. What is this world coming to? In all seriousness,
not a bad pickup, as if Pudge’s team needed him.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Announced that 1B David Segui has accepted salary arbitration; designated
3B Willis Otanez for assignment. [12/20]

Signed RHP Frank Castillo. [12/21]

There are some players you offer arbitration to. Greg Vaughn, for
instance–you know he’s going to get (and take) the big money
offer somewhere. But David Segui is the classic example of the guy you
never ever offer arbitration to, unless he’s represented by Jody Reed’s
agent. He’s not even one of the twenty best major league first basemen.
Once he leaves, you replace him with an upgrade, like a Kevin Witt-Andy
Thompson platoon, for all of $500 K. He’s only worth draft picks because
the goofballs in Elias think he’s worth something, but you’re a major
league team, and you ought to know better. Instead, by offering him
arbitration, Segui didn’t have to end up being the late, cheap signing he
deserved to be, and now he’s going to win something like $5 million to DH
because Carlos Delgado wants to play first and was given the big contract
he deserves. And Gord Ash’s employers will be the worse for it, all
because Mr. Ash thought he’d get a draft pick for a defensive
replacement. I had thought trading for Fonzie Bichette was probably this
winter’s biggest non-Mets boner, but here we have a roster move to make
even the Mets blush.

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