Saturday, December 31, 2005

Brynes, the Diamondbacks' new Center-fielder

Outfielder Eric Byrnes has agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million contract with Arizona and promises to bring energy and enthusiasm to the Diamondbacks.

Byrnes, 29, slumped to a .226 batting average in a nomadic 2005 season that had him playing for Oakland, Colorado and Baltimore. In 2004, Byrnes hit .283 for Oakland with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs.

The Diamondbacks signed Byrnes to play center field, the position he loves most.

"The opportunity to play center field was just huge for me. I've never really gotten a ton of opportunities," Byrnes said in a telephone interview Friday with The Associated Press. "I've always felt that was my best position."

Byrnes, who has a home in nearby Scottsdale, has a career .259 average in four-plus major league seasons. When he became a regular for the A's, he batted either first or second in the order.

His hitting fell off badly in the second half of last season.

"The obvious excuse would be that I bounced around," Byrnes said. "I think that had something to do with it, but at the same time, I think mechanically I was just a bit off."

Byrnes said he was working on the mechanical problems in the offseason.

"He fits the club very well," said Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes, no relation. "He provides a great deal of energy, he can play defense and run the bases and he hits left-handed pitching very well."

Eric Byrnes said he could promise fans two things.

"No. 1 is that I love baseball," he said, "and No. 2 is I'm going to give everything I've got every day I go out there."

Read the whole story here.

Does Arizona have any shot at the NL West pennant? There really isn't any great team in the division, and Arizona has been busy this off-season ( signing Hudson and Brynes) reforming their team.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Yankees Get Some Much Needed Relief

Reliever Octavio Dotel agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the New York Yankees on Thursday after beginning last season with Oakland but not pitching past May because of major elbow surgery.

Dotel, a 32-year-old free agent, joins a Yankee bullpen that was erratic all season. He will earn another $250,000 once he is added to the active major league roster.

The right-hander was 1-2 with a 3.52 earned run average in 15 games for Oakland in 2005 before being placed on the disabled list May 19 and undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

In his 15 appearances, he limited opposing batters to a .185 average and held right-handed hitters to just three hits in 28 at-bats (.107). He has 481 strikeouts in 389 2-3 innings as reliever since the 2001 season, the most in the majors.

Dotel has played parts of seven seasons with the Mets (1999), Astros (2000-04) and Athletics (2004-05).


I thought this deal already happened, but I guess Dotel didn't sign until this morning. If Dotel is healthy, he'll make a great addition to the NY bullpen.

Unfortunately, my only memory of him, is his giving walk-off home-runs to the Red Sox on consecutive nights ( Nixon and Ortiz hit them). So he isn't that great versus Boston...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Will The Bosox sign Tejada?

Dealing Miguel Tejada within the division remains a road the Orioles would rather not go down, but the Red Sox, according to a source with direct knowledge of the team's pursuit of the shortstop, have made a ''pretty good offer" that has positioned them as a legitimate contender for the 2002 American League Most Valuable Player. The Sox recently offered Manny Ramírez and righthander Matt Clement, according to the source. - Boston Globe

Well, the Red Sox could definitely use Tejada's offense as well as his defense. But according to the Boston Globe, the trade might send Ramirez tor Baltimore????????? Ramirez for Tejada???? What????

Tejada's Numbers: 199 hits, 26 home runs, 98 RBIs, .304 batting average, and .515 slugging

Ramirez's Numbers: 162 hits, 45 home runs, 144 RBIs, .292 batting average, and .594 slugging

Is it just me or is this deal not benifiting Boston at all?

Ramon Ortiz to Washington; Randa to Pittsburg

Pitcher Ramon Ortiz agreed to a one-year deal Thursday with the Washington Nationals, who are piecing together a starting rotation.

The free agent was 9-11 with a 5.36 ERA in 30 starts for Cincinnati last season. The right-hander has made at least 30 starts in four of the past five years and is 68-60 with a 4.72 ERA for his career.

His best season was 2002, when he helped the Anaheim Angels win the World Series, going 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA. He went 6-0 over his final nine starts that season.

The 32-year-old Ortiz joins a rotation anchored by Livan Hernandez and John Patterson. The Nationals also have starters Brian Lawrence and Ryan Drese.


Free agent third baseman Joe Randa and the Pittsburgh Pirates were close to agreement Thursday on a $4 million, one-year contract.

The 36-year-old Randa hit .276 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI in 155 games with San Diego and Cincinnati last season.

Several details of the deal remained to be finalized, but they were not seen as an impediment. General manager Dave Littlefield and other team officials refused comment until a formal announcement.

"This is a pretty significant addition," manager Jim Tracy was quoted as saying in Thursday's editions of The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. "This is a very consistent, solid ballplayer, and I'm very happy to be getting him."

Randa, a four-time .300 hitter, has a .285 average with 119 home runs and 711 RBI in 1,433 career games, mostly with Kansas City.

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Baltimore Lands Burnitz

Free agent outfielder Jeromy Burnitz and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed on a two-year contract, pending the results of a physical.

A team source, speaking on the condition of anonymity since the deal has not been finalized, said Wednesday night that the deal will pay the former Chicago Cubs' right fielder between $10 million and $12 million.

The 36-year-old Burnitz hit .258 with 24 homers and 87 RBIs with the Cubs last season. The 13-year veteran would fill the hole in left field left by the departure of Eric Byrnes, who was not offered a contract for 2006....

Burnitz has played for four teams in three years. The left-handed hitter has 299 career home runs, but he's also struck out 1,302 times.

Burnitz played in 160 games last season with the Cubs. In 2004 with Colorado, he had 37 homers and 110 RBIs in 150 games.

He brings to the Orioles some sorely needed power, and can play any outfield position. He has hit at least 30 homers in six of his last seven seasons. Selected by the Mets with the 17th overall pick in the 1990 draft, Burnitz broke into the majors with New York in 1993. He played in the 1999 All-Star game as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Read the whole article here.

Why would anyone CHOOSE to go to Baltimore? Everyone wants to get out. Tejeda is trying desperately to leave. The Orioles are a complete mess. Why would Burnitz waste his talent in Baltimore?

I guess for the money....

Palmeiro still denies positive steriod test

Free-agent first baseman Rafael Palmeiro still isn't sure why he tested positive for steroids, he told The New York Times for a story published Wednesday.

The 41-year-old Palmeiro was suspended in August for 10 days by Major League Baseball. His steroid test in May came up positive — just six weeks after he testified in Congress that he had never taken the performance-enhancing drugs.

"I wish I could pinpoint exactly what happened," Palmeiro told the newspaper. "I would think it was the B-12. I'm not certain of that; I can't prove it."

He has said former Baltimore Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada gave him vitamin B-12 earlier in the season, and suggested it might have been tainted with performance-enhancing drugs.

"I wish I could have turned in the vial for testing," said Palmeiro, a former Mississippi State star. "But when I found out, it was long gone and I couldn't come up with it. If something happened that I'm not aware of, an intentional act by someone else, I don't know. I can't rule out anything."

Palmeiro also told the Times that he blames no one but himself for what happened.
"I'm going to take the responsibility, me being careless and taking something I wasn't knowing if it was clean, having full trust in what I was getting. It was careless, stupid, naive of me to think it was safe."

Palmeiro, one of four players in baseball history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers, told Congress at a March 17 hearing examining performance-enhancing drug use in professional sports, "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never."

About six weeks later, he tested positive for stanozolol, a steroid.

Palmeiro challenged the test results and was suspended by baseball on Aug. 1. He told the Times his tests the previous two seasons were negative, and a test he took three weeks after the positive test was negative.

In November, the House Government Reform Committee determined he did not commit perjury when he earlier testified he had never taken steroids.

"Never in my wildest dreams did it cross my mind that I had something in my body," he told the Times. "That was the furthest thing from my mind. I went in after the game. I wasn't hiding anything. If I had done anything, I would have been scrambling to figure out what to do. I was stunned when they called me and said I had tested positive. I thought someone was playing a sick joke on me."


Why can't Palmeiro just come clean and admit that he took the steroids? All this lying and cover-up makes him look worse and worse.

Now Palmeiro is part of the exclusive 3,000 hits and 500 home-run club, does he deserve to be put in the Hall of Fame? Should baseball dismiss all of his career achievements because he tested positive once, at the end of his baseball life?

Sox re-sign Garland

Jon Garland might have signed a longer contract for more money next year. But that didn't matter to him. The White Sox pitcher agreed to a three-year, $29 million contract Wednesday with the 2005 World Series champions and avoided salary arbitration.

"I love the city," Garland said during a conference call with reporters. "It's where I wanted to play, where I wanted to be. And I'm happy to be there."
The 26-year-old right-hander who was eligible to become a free agent after the 2006 season, will receive $7 million next year, $10 million in 2007 and $12 million in 2008, according to the White Sox.

Before getting on the call, Garland had just completed a throwing session on a Little League field, where he was nearly kicked off by an official.
"Nobody knows who I am," Garland said in jest.

Chicago and its fans certainly do.

He went 18-10 with a 3.50 ERA and led the American League with three shutouts last season with the White Sox. He threw three complete games and struck out 115 in 32 starts.
Garland, who was an AL All-Star representative last season, went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two postseason starts, including a complete-game victory against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Garland is 64-61 with a 4.42 ERA in 181 career games over six seasons, all with the White Sox.

Read the rest of the article here.

Well, the White Sox will obviously be a very good team this coming season, as they were last season. But will the be better or worse than last year?

Bradford to Mets; Cairo to Yanks

Reliever Chad Bradford agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the
New York Mets on Wednesday following a season marked by back surgery and his trade from Oakland to Boston.

The 31-year-old right-hander did not allow a run in 23 of his 31 appearances. He appeared in 21 games for Boston following his midseason trade. Bradford became a free agent when Boston failed to offer a contract by the Dec. 20 deadline.

"Chad is a veteran guy who has had success in the postseason," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "He brings valuable experience to our bullpen."

Bradford, 6-foot-5, was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 21 games with the Red Sox. He had lower back surgery in March and began last season on Oakland's disabled list. He was dealt to Boston for outfielder Jay Payton on July 13.


Infielder Miguel Cairo and the New York Yankees neared agreement Wednesday on a one-year contract worth between $900,000 and $1 million.

Cairo was with the Yankees in 2004, winning the starting job at second base during the second half of the season and winding up with a .292 average and 42 RBIs. He wanted to re-sign but the Yankees balked at his contract request last December and instead signed Tony Womack, who lost his job one month into the season and was dealt to Cincinnati this month.

Cairo landed with the New York Mets as a backup infielder and outfielder, and he batted .251 with 19 RBIs. He would be a reserve infielder with the Yankees, who have Robinson Cano returning at second base.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Former Relief Pitcher Charged with Robbery

Jeff Reardon, one of the top relief pitchers in history, blamed medication for depression after his arrest for a jewelry store robbery.

Police said Tuesday that the 50-year-old Reardon, retired since 1994 and sixth in career saves, walked into Hamilton Jewelers at the Gardens Mall on Monday and handed an employee a note saying he had a gun and the store was being robbed.

Reardon, who starred with the Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox , fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police found him at a nearby restaurant, recovered the stolen money and charged him with armed robbery. Lt. David O'Neill said Reardon did not have a gun and offered no resistance when he was handcuffed.

"He said it was the medication that made him do it and that he was sorry," O'Neill said.
He said Reardon has lived in the city for more than 20 years and has never caused any problems.

Reardon made a brief appearance in court Tuesday and was to be released on $5,000 bail, said his attorney, Mitchell Beers.He said Reardon had a 20-year-old son who died of a drug overdose in February 2004, which "has been very difficult for him and his family," and has been on medication for depression. Reardon, who is married and has two other children, also underwent a heart angioplasty last week and has been taking medication for that."He asked me to apologize to his fans and friends," Beers said. "This bizarre incident is completely uncharacteristic of Jeff Reardon."

He said Reardon, who made more than $11.5 million in his career, according to, was not having financial problems.

Reardon had a save in the Twins' 1987 World Series victory over St. Louis. But five years later, he gave up a decisive two-run homer to Toronto's Ed Sprague in the ninth inning, allowing the Blue Jays to tie Atlanta at one game apiece. Toronto eventually won the 1992 World Series in six games.

The four-time All-Star was 73-77 with 367 saves and a 3.16 ERA in 16 seasons with the
New York Mets, Montreal, Minnesota, Boston, the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees.

Read more about Jeff Reardon here.


How weird is this? Jeff Reardon, one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the sport, robbing a jewelry store. You don't see this every day.

Kevin Millwood to Texas

Free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood reached a preliminary agreement Monday on a $60 million, five-year contract with Texas, giving the Rangers the legitimate No. 1 starter they have been seeking. Details of the deal were disclosed by two people familiar with negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized. Millwood's decision to accept Texas' offer was first reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on its Web site. Millwood was 9-11 with a 2.86 ERA that led the American League this year, his only season for Cleveland. The right-hander, who turned 31 Saturday, rejected a salary arbitration offer from the Indians.Millwood, who also was sought by Boston, will be the No. 1 starter in a revamped Texas rotation, already bolstered by two trades this month. The Rangers got former All-Star right-hander Vicente Padilla from Philadelphia and acquired Adam Eaton from San Diego.


Last year, the Texas Rangers were one of the most offensive team in baseball. They led baseball in home runs. But they had no good pitching. With the signing of Kevin Millwood, Texas has become a very good team which will probably make a run for the American League West title. But in order to be number 1 in their division, the Rangers must beat the Angels and Athletics, two very tough teams.

Pitching Notes

Free agent pitcher Jason Johnson agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Johnson went 8-13 with a 4.55 ERA in a career-high 210 innings last season for Detroit. The 32-year-old right-hander could earn as much as $11.5 million over two years in a deal that includes a mutual option for 2007.


Mike Stanton returned to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract. The 38-year-old left-hander was signed by Washington on July 13, about two weeks after he was let go by the New York Yankees, and went 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 30 games with the Nationals. With four days left in the regular season, he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox for their season-ending series against the Yankees in exchange for minor league right-handers Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.
Stanton was 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA for the Yankees last season and pitched one inning for the Red Sox. Overall, he stranded 34 of 42 inherited runners, sixth among relievers inheriting 40 runners or more, and he held left-handers to a .235 batting average with two extra-base hits, both doubles.

Blue Jays offensive addition

The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks are expected to announce Tuesday they have completed a deal that would send third baseman Troy Glaus and prospect Sergio Santos to Toronto and pitcher Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson to Arizona.

In Glaus, the Blue Jays are getting a powerful bat. The 29-year-old, who signed a four-year, $45 million contract prior to last season, hit 37 homers and drove in 97 runs despite being dogged throughout the year with a strained tendon behind his left knee.

He took three cortisone shots to help alleviate the problem, but Arizona team physician Michael Lee said at the time only 4-6 weeks of rest would help. With the Diamondbacks in the hunt for the top spot in the National League West, Glaus continued to play throughout the season before resting the knee in October. When the Diamondbacks signed Glaus, there was some concern about his right shoulder. A partial tear in his rotator cuff limited his playing time in 2003 and 2004, but did not cause any problems for him in 2005. The 37 homers was the second highest among big league third basemen last year behind only Alex Rodriguez, who hit 48. It marked the fourth time in Glaus' career that he's hit 30 or more homers. Hudson won a Gold Glove last year, leading American League second sackers in range factor (5.84) and fielding percentage (.991). The 28-year-old hit .271 with 25 doubles, five triples, 10 homers and 63 RBIs. He was expendable thanks to the presence of Aaron Hill.


Well, this trade definitely helps the Blue Jays. Last year they were offensively dead. Now with the addition of B.J. Ryan and now Troy Glaus , the Blue Jays have become an immediate threat in the American League East.

The Diamondbacks are a truly terrible team. This trade gives them some much needed pitching and defense. For Orlando Hudson, this is a tough deal. He has to move from chilly Canada to the scorchingly hot Arizona. Plus, his Gold Glove defense will be wasted an such a bad team.

Johnny Damon to Yankees

The New York Yankees held a news conference Friday to introduce centerfielder Johnny Damon, who has signed a four-year contract worth a reported $52 million.

Damon spent the previous four years with the arch-rival Boston Red Sox and had been as well-known for his long hair and beard in addition to his All-Star caliber skills. He donned a Yankee pinstripe jersey in front of the assembled media and showed off his new clean-cut look.

"What do you guys think about this?" Damon asked while rubbing his chin. "I know it was a pretty big story. I am proud to be a New York Yankee and to follow in this long tradition that they do have."

Damon will be the newest in a long line of players to roam the hallowed grounds of center field in Yankee Stadium, following in the footsteps of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and most-recently Bernie Williams....

The 32-year-old Damon, regarded as probably the best free-agent centerfielder and leadoff man on the market, hit .316 with 10 homers, 75 RBI, 117 runs scored and 18 stolen bases last season. He was offered salary arbitration by the Red Sox, but declined Monday night and said it wasn't just money that drove him to New York.

"There was a mystery team that was offering more years and more guaranteed money, but they could not guarantee winning like the New York Yankees can," Damon added. "That's the biggest reason why I'm here because we will win."

The deal came together on Tuesday and Damon intimated that Boston's offer just wasn't good enough.

"I knew I became a free agent after I got the three-year offer from Boston and I valued myself in a much better position, especially in that market," Damon stated. "When you have a [Yankee GM] Brian Cashman come after you...he came after me very positively and he put the Yankees in the forefront and did all the right things and that's why I stand in front of you today as a New York Yankee."

For his career, Damon has compiled a .290 average with 130 homers and 700 RBI, along with 281 steals and a .353 on-base percentage. In addition to his four years in Boston, he also played six years with the Kansas City Royals (1995-2000) and one with Oakland (2001).


Now the Yankees' centerfield woes have come to an end. Johnny Damon is a very offensive centerfielder with average defensive range. Johnny Damon will be a great addition to this already powerful Yankee lineup.

This signing also hurts the Red Sox, who are now left without a lead-off hitter. The Red Sox will now have to chase after other possible centerfielders, possibly Jeremy Reed (SeattleMariners), Magglio Ordonez (Detroit Tigers), or Nook Logan (Detroit Tigers). As for a new lead-off hitter, Damon was one of the best, so the Red Sox will have a lot of trouble replacing him.