Daily Archives: January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008

This Week’s NLC Transactions

It is Sunday again, and thus, time again for the weekly summary of player transactions conducted during the past week by teams in the National League’s Central division. At least I’m actually getting it done on Sunday this time instead of being in mid-week and a couple of days late.

On Monday, the Cardinals inked catcher Yadier “Brother of Bengie and Jose” Molina to a $15.5 million, four-year contract extension with a club option for a fifth season. The deal avoided arbitration and locked up one of the game’s best young catchers – and card-carrying member of The Flying Molina Brothers – throughout his arbitration eligibility “season.”

Meanwhile, the Cubs signed righthander Michael Wuertz to a one-year contract worth $860,000, avoiding their last arbitration-eligible case this year by more than doubling the reliever’s salary of last year.

On Tuesday, the Astros avoided arbitration by signing RHP Dave Borkowski to a one-year contract worth $800,000 plus incentives. This leaves infielder Mark Loretta and closer Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde as the Astros’ only remaining arbitration-eligible players.

On Wednesday, the Reds finalized their previously reported deal with reliever Jeremy Affeldt, designating OF Jeff Fiorentino for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Affeldt (Fiorentino subsequently was picked up by Oakland off waivers on Friday). Also on Wednesday, the Brewers signed IF Abraham Nunez (a former Pirate and Cardinal) to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

On Thursday, the Pirates signed RHP Hector Carrasco (a former Red), LHP Casey Fossum, and RHP Jaret Wright to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Finally, although this has nothing to do with the NLC, Toronto on Thursday DFA’ed former Reds infielder and longtime RHM favorite Ray Olmedo. Yes, the Blue Jays let go Little Ray Ray, who now may be coming soon to a baseball team near you.

I guess getting Scott Rolen must have gone to their heads. Either that, or the knowledge that they’re doomed to rot forever in third place in the AL East, regardless of who their third baseman is. Either way, if you’ll excuse me, I’m now going to go program the new radio I bought yesterday. That is, of course, after I first RTFM!

January 27, 2008

Reds Caravan, 2008

Brandon Phillips - Reds CaravanThe Reds Caravan stop at Stoops Automotive in Muncie, Indiana yesterday was a much more streamlined, organized, and comfortable event than last year. The room was large enough for everyone without any people crowding into hallways or lining up outside the door in subfreezing temperatures. Visitors were given color-coded tickets on their way in the door so that they could join the autograph line in smallish groups rather than everyone standing in an interminable snaking queue. There were even reasonably priced snacks and drinks that benefited charity. It was like a professional organization was putting on the event or something.

When we arrived, all of the chairs that had been set out were full and a hundred more people were standing in line to enter to win opening day tickets. We headed to the merchandise table where we considered the hair scrunchy, shot glasses, and license plate frames and eventually settled on a baseball-shaped pennant for my son to have autographed later.

Gapper’s Card
In the concession area, we got a cup of water and soon the caravaners were there, mingling among the fans and waiting to go on. Tom Browning, Wayne Krivsky, Brandon Phillips, and Marty Brennaman were chatting and posing for photos with whomever was around. The Gapper was already out and about in the crowd, charming the children and getting borderline inappropriate with the women. He had to get his time with the public in early because he appeared to be scheduled to sit on the autograph panel.

After a little bit of gushing by the guy from AM1340 ESPN Radio, the crowd got the opportunity to ask some questions. They talked a little bit about Joe Nuxhall, which was nice. Someone asked how much time Brandon Phillips spends practicing every day. Someone else asked about Erik Bedard. No one asked if Kriv-dawg was excited to have Walt Jocketty on staff. It was positive PR fun for everyone and we may feature some small bits of it on the podcast, so be on the lookout for that.

Brandon Phillips and Tom Browning - Reds CaravanAfter the Q&A, they started lining people up to receive autographs. When our turn finally came (we were in the D group; they had tickets through J and beyond) our boy went down the line getting his autographs. He even got a quick photo with Marty and I got to introduce myself (again) to Tom Browning, identifying myself as the person whose podcast he was on after he released his book, which I was sort of surprised that he genuinely seemed to remember. I wanted to ask Phillips to confirm first-hand his parental status, but he was being interviewed by the ESPN Radio guy when we got to his end of the table.

All-in-all, a very fun time with a lot of kids and optimism. Ah, January.