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Minor and Mid-Major Holiday Moves

Did you miss us?

With all apologies for any breaking news you haven't seen up here in recent days, we're happy to report fully re-charged batteries and optimism for the rest of the offseason ... especially now that the excitement/headache that was Mark Teixeira has resolved itself.

So what happened while we were gone and/or sleeping? Here are some of the high and low lights:

-- The Red Sox made their first moves since missing out on Teixeira, signing starting pitcher Brad Penny from the Dodgers and catcher Josh Bard. The Penny signing is openly the latest stab at Theo Epstein's "Bartolo Colon-Wade Miller" rehabilitation program, signing a onetime ace coming off a relatively down year to a decent deal that's way below what he would have hoped for two years earlier. As for Bard, Boston is already making noise that the acquisition won't keep it from re-signing captain Jason Varitek. They're known to have talked to Scott Boras, Varitek's agent, about contract parameters in recent days, and there still aren't any other public suitors out there for the backstopper.

-- The Giants' starting rotation now has three Cy Young winners, after San Francisco signed Randy Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal with incentives (based both on appearances and performance) that could push the pact up to $13 million. The Cy Young winner you're scratching your head trying to think of? Barry Zito. Yes, he's the one making all that money in the Bay Area. The biggest question raised by the acquisition is whether it will make the Giants willing to trade budding star Jonathan Sanchez for a bat.

-- The defending AL champion Rays finally made a move, signing a one-year deal worth $1.3 million with Joe Nelson to have come out of the Tampa Bay bullpen. The 34-year-old, right-handed reliever had interest from nearly a dozen teams after he was non-tendered by the Marlins before he signed his deal with the Rays.

-- The Reds went out and got the outfielder they wanted, signing speedy center fielder Wily Taveras to a two-year deal. Clearly, Cincinnati is hoping that he can produce at his 2007 rate, rather than replicate his relatively dismal 2008 season.

-- The Blue Jays made two moves, signing former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett to a minor-league deal and inking former Tigers starter Mike Maroth to a similar deal.

-- The Diamondbacks locked down catcher Chris Snyder, signing him to a three-year, $14.25 million deal with a fourth-year club option. That, of course, raises this question: Will they now be more willing to part with Miguel Montero, who the Red Sox (among others) have inquired about this offseason.

-- Finally, just in time for the holidays, two Cuban stars defected en route to the Dominican Republic, where they would try to jump ship to major league baseball. Yadel Marti was Cuba's star starting pitcher in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and outfielder Yasser Gomez was his teammate on both the national team and the popular Havana squad Industriales de la Habana. According to ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas, both players were recently kicked off the Industriales squad for attempting to board a boat headed out of Cuba and, equally important, both are legitimate major league prospects.

By Cameron Smith  |  December 30, 2008; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Blue Jays , Diamondbacks , Giants , Rays , Red Sox , Reds  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Derek Lowe Close to Deal With Mets
Next: No Manny for Nats; Bradley, Hudson Possible


S-l-o-w-l-y we turn, step-by-step, inch-by-inch, toward Spring Training 2009. Hopefully, by mid-January the FA market will shake out & give the baseball fans an initial feel of what teams will look like in the upcoming season. Cameron, Dave, & everyone else who contributes here - Thanks for all the fish, and have a happy & safe 2009!

Posted by: BinM | December 30, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

With the O's moving on Mark Hendrickson, the question to ponder is whether you could construct a basketball team from among MLB players who could give the Wizards bench a decent game. Hendrickson and Chris Young would be two forwards/ centers, probably Kenny Lofton the aging point guard, etc . . .

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 31, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Posties, and I second the thanks for your contributions.

It will be interesting to see what other moves unfold before ST starts.

Last but not least, could that be a Stooges' reference, BinM? Nice.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 31, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, Happy New Year to all!

(and I take back the possessive form for the Stooges)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 31, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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