Yes, you read that right: MLCWSTI. I told you last Sunday that there would be a quiz on this. No, it’s not a date in Roman numerals, or the bottom line on the chart you have to read when you renew your drivers’ license. It’s an acronym I invented specifically for RHM, and it stands for Minor League Contract With Spring Training Invitation. This is what major league teams do with a veteran player they want to sign on the cheap and have him join them in Arizona or Florida so the staff can see if he’s still got enough left in the tank to at least help the AAA team, or for a kid from the minors who they want to have hang around, act like a prospect, and chase down the fly balls that are hit by the real prospects.
Since it’s time for another look back at the NLC player transactions for the past week, I thought I’d just remind you what a MLCWSTI is before getting started. And now, let’s go to the tape…
The Cardinals kicked things off on Monday (2/04/08) by signing RHP Cliff Politte (a former Cardinal, born in old Saint Lou and now back home again after spending several years bouncing around with three other clubs), C Gabe Johnson, C Matt Pagnozzi (nephew of longtime Cardinal Tom Pagnozzi) and OF Juan Gonzalez to MLCWSTIs. Minor leaguers LHP Jaime Garcia, RHP Clayton Mortensen, RHP Adam Ottavino, RHP Chris Perez, RHP P.J. Walters, C Bryan Anderson (not the same Bryan Anderson the Reds had in the minors a few years back), C David Carpenter, C Nick Derba, C Brandon Yarbrough, 3B David Freese, OF Amaury Marti, OF Colby Rasmus and OF Nick Stavinoha were also invited to spring training.
For those of you who are keeping score at home, Leatherpants Vampire signed two more former Reds on Tuesday. Rob Bell was among several players signed to MLCWSTIs by the Nationals, as was former Reds farmhand Charlie Manning. Also on Tuesday:
- The Pirates inked IF Freddy Sanchez to a two-year contract with a club option for the 2010 season that could be worth about $19 million over those three years.
- The Brewers signed RHP Dave Bush to a one-year, $2.55 million contract, avoiding arbitration.
- The Reds signed veteran free agent RHP Mike Lincoln (a former Pirate and Cardinal) to a MLCWSTI.
On Wednesday, the Pirates first outrighted LHP Sean Burnett to Triple-A Indianapolis, and then signed him to a MLCWSTI.
On Thursday, the Astros signed C Joshua Johnson to a MLCWSTI.
On Friday, the Reds signed free agent LHP Kent Mercker to a MLCWSTI, and the Brewers (as previously reported here by my RHM colleague, Zeldink) in all likelihood extended their continuing also-ran status in the division for another year by exercising a club option on manager Ned Yost for the 2009 season.
Finally, the Reds provided the NLC transaction action for the weekend – and incidentally, insured that we could save the best for last this time around – with the signing of OF Craig Wilson (a former Pirate) to a MLCWSTI on Saturday. While some have interpreted this move as an indication that Joey Votto is soon to be gone in a rumored trade involving pitcher Joe Blanton of the Oakland A’s, I’m inclined to agree with what my RHM colleague BubbaFan opined here when first reporting the deal, namely, insurance. In case Votto struggles or gets hurt, Wilson becomes this year’s Jeff Conine, a righthanded hitter to provide power off the bench and platoon with Scott Hatteberg at first base. The only thing concerning this move about which I disagree with BF is that I was expecting this deal – last year!!!