November 25, 2007

NLC Transactions 11/19-11/25

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!


6 comments to “NLC Transactions 11/19-11/25”

  1. KC2HMZ says:

    Oh, almost forgot – the Pirates dumping Josh Phelps involved a major leaguer too, didn’t it?

    Somewhat of a surprise move. I mean, all he did was put up .351/.463/.649 for them last year after they claimed him off waivers from the Yankees. This dude can hit (career .273/.344/.476/112 BA/OBP/SLG/OPS+, last year in August he put up .516/.579/1.065/1.643), plays a decent enough 1B (career .985 fielding pct.) and is a servicable emergency catcher besides.

    His salary last year was only $600,000 according to Baseball Reference, so the Pirates can’t even excuse DFA’ing the guy with the best OPS+ on the team last year as a salary dump.

    I guess the Pirates will do whatever is necessary to maintain their stranglehold on the NLC basement.

  2. BubbaFan says:

    I think the reason there have been no transactions reported since Nov. 20 is that Nov. 20 was D-Day. The deadline for setting up your roster for the Rule 5 draft. Minor leaguers cannot be added to the roster now until the Rule 5 draft.

    While they could add free agents, I would guess most teams won’t. They’ll wait to make the official announcement (including Cordero) until after the Rule 5 draft, so they don’t have to make any more roster moves.

    I was kind of surprised the Bucs cut Josh Phelps loose, too, but not too surprised. They have a lot of first basemen. And Phelps’ glove is terrible. That’s why the Yanks dumped him. If an AL team can’t carry him, it would be a real burden for an NL team.

  3. Zeldink says:

    Still, the Pirates had such a terrible offense last year. No matter how bad the glove, I would think they’d be reluctant to shed themselves of one of the few offensive bright spots.

    But there’s a reason they’re the Pirates.

  4. KC2HMZ says:

    The Reds finalized the deal on Cordero today, and DFA’ed Buck Coats to make room for him on the roster.

  5. BubbaFan says:

    Maybe the Nats will pick up Buck Coats and add him to their collection. They just signed Chad Moeller to minor league contract.

  6. KC2HMZ says:

    Yep, and Bill Bergolla too. Leatherpants Vampire strikes again, twice in one day.

    I’m with Zeldink on the Pirates. It’s not like I hate the Pirates and enjoy dumping on them like I do the Cubs or anything. I actually liked the Pirates once back when they were the parent club of the Buffalo Bisons and had guys like Bobby Bonilla playing here. But…

    They have a ballpark that favors left-handed hitters, have a heavily right-handed lineup, yet they couldn’t find a spot for a cheap yet useful left-handed bat (Phelps) on their bench.

    They may non-tender Xavier Nady if they can’t trade him. That’s pathetic, what else are they going to spend money on? Nady put up .278/.330/.476, made $2.1 million last year and figures to score maybe $3.5 million in arbitration. He’s their only player who is due a significant raise, and they’re not pursuing any free agents. Oh, wait…they’re negotiating with free agent Chris Gomez.

    Here’s the difference between a legitimate playoff team and a perennial cellar-dweller, people: The Indians got Gomez off waivers from the Orioles in August. The Pirates are negotiating with him in free agency in December.

    At least they’ve announced one good thing for their fans, they’re not going to raise ticket prices in 2008. Since that would be adding insult to injury, it may be the smartest move they’re going to make this offseason.