Welcome to Red Hot Mama. Or if you’ve been here before, welcome back. For the past few weeks we’ve been taking an opportunity on Sunday to summarize the player transactions that have taken place in the NL Central during the previous week. There’s something here for everybody this week, so regardless of which NLC team you’re rooting for, crack a beer or grab a coffee and relax while RHM’s Crack Hard Facts Staff fills you in on how your team’s GM earned (or squandered, depending on your point of view) his salary this week.
To keep this post from growing into an encyclopedia, I’ve linked the first use of a player’s name to his page on Baseball-Reference.com so you can easily look up their stats yourself. Just point and click. Same as using a Smith & Wesson, but with much less mess as a result: The stats pages will open in a new window.
On 11/27, the Astros signedÂ RHP Doug Brocail in a move previously reported here on RHM. (Side note: ex-Reds C Chad Moeller and IF William Bergolla were among the free agents signed by Washington on this date as current Nationals (and former Reds) GM Jim Bowden continued his obsession with former Reds players.
- The Reds finalized their previously reported deal with closer Francisco “I’m Not Chad” Cordero.
- The Astros signed OF Jose Cruz Jr., IFs Kevin Hooper and Tomas Perez and LHP Stephen Randolph to minor league deals with invitations to spring training.
- The Brewers inked C Jason Kendall (son of Fred Kendall, who the Reds drafted in 1967) to a one-year contract that guarantees him $4.25 million this year. The lawyers must have had a field day with this one. Kendall can earn $1 million in performance bonuses next year: $100,000 for 110 games, $150,000 each for 120 and 130 games, $150,000 for 100 starts, $200,000 for 115 starts and $250,000 for 130 starts. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2009 that would become guaranteed at $4.25 million if Kendall starts 110 games next year, $4.35 million if he starts 120 games, and $4.6 million if he starts 130 games. In addition, any 2008 performance bonuses that Kendall earns based on games (but not starts) would be added to his 2009 base salary.
- The Pirates lost LHP Shane Youman, who was claimed off waivers by the Phillies. They also outrighted RHP Josh Sharpless to Class AAA Indianapolis and released 1B Josh Phelps.
On 11/30, the Cardinals DFA’ed OF John Rodriguez. (not the same John Rodriguez who kicked around the Padres’ farm system for a few years back in the late 1990’s). They also signed IF Cesar Izturis to a one-year, $2.85 million contract to replace David Eckstein as their regular shortstop. In addition to his base salary, Izturis can earn $650,000 in performance bonuses: $100,000 each for 400 and 450 plate appearances, and $150,000 each for 500, 550 and 600 plate appearances.
This move raises the question of who is going to be the Redbirds’ leadoff hitter next year. It’s probably not going to be Izturis. OF Rick Ankiel and 2B Adam Kennedy are two possinbilities that come to mind, but compare their OBPs to Eckstein’s. Not surprisingly, fans in the Cardinals’ newsgroup on Usenet are not happy with this move. One fan posted, “I hate to jump on the Fire Mozeliak bandwagon so soon, but…”
Anyway, that’s it, you’re now up to date on the wheelings and dealings in the NLC for the past week!