Is it Sunday already? Seems like I just did this a few hours ago. But yeah, it’s Sunday already. Time to catch up on another week of transactions in the tough NL Central. So without further delay:
On Monday 11/19:
- The Brewers added RHP Tim Dillard, IF Alcides Escobar, C Lou Palmisano, and RHP Luis Pena to their 40-man roster
- The Cardinals signed former Reds C Jason LaRue to a one-year contract and inked RHP Dewon Brazelton and RHP John Wasdin to minor league deals.
On Tuesday 11/20:
- The Cardinals purchased the contracts of RHPs Kyle McClellan and Jason Motte from Double-A Springfield; and purchased the contracts of RHPs Mike Parisi and Mark Worrell and IF Jarrett Hoffpauir from Triple-A Memphis. They also released RHPs Andy Cavazos and Brian Falkenborg.
- The Pirates, meanwhile, purchased the contracts of RHPs Olivo Astacio and Ronald Belisario from Double-A Altoona and purchased the contract of IF Brian Bixler from Triple-A Indianapolis. They also claimed RHP Jimmy Barthmaier off waivers from the Houston Astros; and DFA’ed RHP Josh Sharpless, LHP Shane Youman, and 1B Josh Phelps.
- The Brewers traded C Johnny Estrada to the Mets for RHP Guillermo Mota.
- The Astros Signed IF Geoff Blum to a one-year contract; purchased the contracts of RHPs Samuel Gervacio, Brad James and Chad Reineke; and of course, lost Barthmaier to the Pirates on the aforementioned waiver claim.
- The Reds purchased the contracts of RHPs Richie Gardner, Daryl Thompson and Ramon Ramirez, SS Paul Janish and LHP Tyler Pelland from Triple-A Louisville; and purchased the contract of C Craig Tatum from Double-A Chattanooga.
There have been no transactions reported by Major League Baseball since Tuesday. The fact that Thursday was Thanksgiving might have had something to do with that. So let’s look at the two deals in the above that involved major leaguers.
First, the Astros bringing back Blum, who was with the club previously in 2002 and 2003 before being traded to Tampa Bay for Brandon Backe. Blum has also played for the Padres (twice) and White Sox since then, hitting the game-winning homer for the Sox against the Astros in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. The Astros have signed him to a one-year, $1.1 million deal with a clup option for 2009.
Johnny Estrada for Guillermo Mota would appear to be a coup for the Mets, who not only get a talented, switch-hitting, starting catcher, but also rid themselves of an embarassment in Mota, a steroid-tarnished reliever who played a direct role in the Mets’ 2007 late-season collapse.
For the Brew Crew, Estrada became expendable when the club reached a tentative agreement with free agent C Jason Kendall on a one-year contract (with a club option for 2009) on Wednesday. Kendall, 33, finished the 2007 season with the Cubs, where he hit .270 with a .362 OBP after a midseason trade from Oakland. He’s a 12-year major league veteran with a career .297 batting average.
The Brewers also get Mota to help a bullpen that has been rocked with the loss of Scott Linebrink to the White Sox and Francisco Cordero to the Reds. Mota was 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA in 52 appearances with the Mets after returning from a 50-game suspension for steroids. Since 2002, Mota ranks fourth among major league relievers with 444-1/3 innings pitched, and the Brewers like his durability. But how much of that durability was Mota and how much of it was the steroids?
I’d love to wrap up this post with some witty crack about how the answer to that question will be (to paraphrase Bob Dylan) “Blowin’ In The Wind” when Mota pitches at Miller Park, but the facility has a retractable roof, so there’s no guarantee there will actually be any wind other than that being passed by the bratwurst-stoked fans there. Dadgummed technology!