Egad! Has it really been 12 days since the last time I updated us on player transactions in the NL Central? I guess time flies when you’re having fun…and NLC general managers have been having fun these past, well, almost two weeks now – so let’s get busy:
Wednesday 1/9/08: The Astros signed RHPs Mike DeJean and Carlos Hines, OF Victor Diaz, C J.R. House and 1B Lance Niekro (Son of Joe and nephew of Hall of Famer Phil) to minor league contracts with the obligatory invitations to spring training, and invited SS Tommy Manzella and LHP Josh Muecke to spring training. Meanwhile, the Brewers avoided arbitration by signing LHP Brian Shouse to a one-year, $2 million contract.
Thursday 1/10: The Brewers invited non-roster C Andy Bouchie to spring training, and the Cardinals signed 1B Josh Phelps (whom you’ll recall the last-place Pirates, earlier this offseason, decided they couldn’t use) to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Saturday 1/11: The Cubs signed former Reds farmhand RHP Chad Fox to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training; the Astros signed RHP Brandon Backe to a one-year, $800,000 contract (plus incentives), thus avoiding arbitration; and the Pirates signed RHP T.J. Beam (no relation to Jim), C Raul Chavez and IF/OF Jose Macias to minor league contracts with the usual invitations to join them for spring festivities.
Monday 1/14: As previously reported here on Red Hot Mama, the Brewers signed OF Mike Cameron to a one-year contract with a club option for 2009. They also invited non-roster OF Matt LaPorta to spring training. But the Cardinals made the biggest deal of the day, obtaining 3B Troy Glaus from the Blue Jays for disgruntled 3B Scott Rolen.
Tuesday 1/15: Eight days after having just signed him to a one-year contract, the Brewers designated OF Drew Anderson for assignment (but keep reading, you haven’t heard the last of him yet). In Chicago, meanwhile, the Cubs decided to sign a whole army of guys and make my life miserable this week: SS Andres Blanco, RHP Mike Smith, OF Andres Torres, C JD Closser, and SS Luis Figueroa, C Koyie Hill, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, LHP Geoff Jones, OF Josh Kroeger and LHP Les Walrond all were inked to minor league deals with invitations to spring training, and they also invited LHP Edward Campusano, C Welington Castillo, RHP Jose Ceda, OF Tyler Colvin, C Josh Donaldson and 3B Casey McGehee to spring training.
Wednesday 1/16: The Cubs signed RHP Jon Lieber to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, and the Brewers signed RHP Claudio Vargas to a one-year, $3.6 million contract, thus avoiding arbitration with Vargas.
Thursday 1/17: The Brew Crew avoided another potential salary arbitration hassle by signing LHP Chris Capuano to a one-year, $3.75 million contract. The Astros signed OF Nick Gorneault and RHP Runelvys Hernandez to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training, and closer to home, the Reds invited RHP Josh Roenicke and 1B Adam Rosales to spring training.
Friday 1/18: The Cardinals signed OF Rick Ankiel to a one-year, $900,000 contract, thus avoiding arbitration with the former pitcher turned slugging outfielder turned HGH poster boy. The Pirates agreed to terms with OF Xavier Nady and LHP John Grabow (no relation to Doc) on one-year contracts (Nady reportedly will make $3.35 million, Grabow $1.13 million; both were eligible for arbitration). The Astros signed IF Ty Wigginton to a one-year, $4.35 million contract, in this post’s last example of “The better to avoid arbitration with you, my dear.”
Meanwhile, back at GABP, the Reds on Friday claimed the aforementioned OF Drew Anderson (I told you that you hadn’t heard the last of him yet) off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. This begs the question of who will be the first to confuse this Drew Anderson with the Reds’ other minor-leaguer also named Drew Anderson. Also on Friday, the Cubs signed RHP Shingo Takatsu to a one-year minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.