After a weekend of work and play, it’s time to see what all happened while we went Christmas and Hanukkah shopping…
Rafael Soriano was signed to a $7 million contract – and then traded by the Braves to Tampa for reliever Jesse Chavez. Soriano immediately upgrades the closer role in Tampa, a problem all of 2009. [FanHouse/SI]
Houston inked reliever Brandon Lyon to a three year, $15 million deal. Lyon isn’t bad – he’s dependable, but is he really better than Grant Balfour? $3 million better for the next three years? (See his deal below.) [SI]
The new third baseman in Houston is former Phillie Pedro Feliz – one year, $4.5 million. [SI]
Scott Olsen got an incentive-filled deal with the Nationals – coming off a disappointing season and shoulder surgery. [ESPN]
Jason Kendall – who looked like he aged four years at the plate last year – signed a two year deal with the Royals. (See John Buck, below.) By the way – Miguel Olivo might not return. The Royals confuse me. [SI]
Meanwhile, the Royals signed Brian Bannister and Kyle Davies to one-year deals. [SI]
The Royals non-tendered catcher John Buck, but he signed with Toronto for $2 million pending a physical. [ESPN]
Two years ago, he was a closer – now, J.J. Putz is an eighth inning guy in Chicago for one year at $3 million. There are a lot of incentives, too. [SI]
Kevin Correia will stay in San Diego, signing a one-year, $3.6 million deal. [ESPN]
Arizona signed Augie Ojeda and Blaine Boyer to one-year deals. [SI]
The Braves signed outfielder Matt Diaz for one year at $2.55 million. [ESPN]
Grant Balfour signed with Tampa – one year, $2.05 million. [SI]
Milwaukee gets one more year with Craig Counsell – who remains a valuable utility player at 39. [MLB]
Esteban German remains in Texas for 2010. [MLB]
The Cubs tendered offers to eight players, (Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill, Ryan Theriot, Tom Gorzelanny, Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall) with Neil Cotts likely heading to arbitration. [MLB]
The Dodgers tendered offers to nine players (go read the article), including Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin. Everybody gets a raise in LA!!! [MLB]
Who Got Let Go…
The Braves non-tendered outfielder Ryan Church and second baseman Kelly Johnson. [MLB]
The Mets non-tendered four players, including pitchers Tim Redding and Lance Broadway, as well as outfielders Cory Sullivan and Jeremy Reed. [ESPN]
Despite hitting 20 homers in little more than a half season, Johnny Gomes was non-tendered by the Reds. He might still sign somewhere, but let’s face it – he’s a DH. [ESPN]
Chien-Ming Wang is a free agent, and apparently disappointed that the Yankees didn’t stay with him… Since injuring his ankle running the bases, Wang has REALLY struggled. [ESPN]
Matt Capps, closer for Pittsburgh, was caught off guard – he was non-tendered by the Pirates. [MLB]
Jose Arredondo, about to have surgery, will not have an Angels contract for 2010. [MLB]
Here’s a good summary of who is now available… [SI]
For a complete list of transactions, you can always go here… [MLB]
What’s the Hold Up?
Jason Bay may not return to Boston – the hold up appears to be the duration of the contract. Bay wants five years; Boston is offering four. [ESPN]
Mike Lowell’s injured thumb is stalling an agreement between Texas and Boston. Boston would (a) get catcher Max Ramirez – a good prospect and (b) pretty much pay for Lowell to play in Texas where he would play first, DH, and backup Michael Young at third base. [ESPN]
The Cards made a pitch to Matt Holliday and hope to have an answer this week. [FoxSports]
One of the more famous names in baseball history, Bill Buckner, turns 60. Billy Buck was a hustler – played through injuries, used to complain about every called strike or close play at first base. He was unfortunately humbled by that error in the 1986 World Series and his career degenerated quickly after that – though he was showing signs of age at the time. He had a lot of hits – 2715 of them – and used to be fast. Something tells me that he’s probably mellowed a lot over the last 20 years… I’d love to buy him lunch. Happy Birthday, Billy.
Others celebrating with cake, cards, or remembrances include: Honest John Anderson (1872), Maurice “The Comet” Archdeacon (1897), Toothpick Sam Jones (1925), Ken Hunt (1938), Ken Hill and future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (1965) – I loved Biggio who was an amazingly versatile athlete, Dave Nilsson and Scott Hatteberg (1969), Angel Guzman (1981), and Josh Fields (1982).
Peter Gammons thanks everyone for the memories at ESPN.