Mark DeRosa had managed to convince himself that, despite all of the talk, he'd be staying with the Cubs after this offseason. But during a golf outing, he found out that he had indeed been sent to Cleveland.
01/05/2009 10:47 AM ET
DeRosa gets trade call on golf course
Versatile player will bring his diverse skills to Indians
"It just goes to show you how much your life can change with one phone call," DeRosa told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
And receiving that news while on the links was not ideal for the newest member of the Indians.
"It ruined my game," said DeRosa with a laugh. "But I've heard nothing but good things about the Indians and manager Eric Wedge. I'm looking forward to playing there. Two years ago they went to Game 7 of the ALCS. Last year they got bit by the injury bug."
Rowland-Smith hoping for chance to play in WBC: Ryan Rowland-Smith made an impact in September for the Mariners. Now he wants to pitch for Australia in the World Baseball Classic. But his first priority is to make the Mariners' starting rotation in Spring Training.
"I am still unsure whether or not I will be playing," Rowland-Smith told MLB.com. "I want to wait and talk with my new pitching coach and manager to see what they think."
"[The schedule] looks accommodating enough that I might be able to miss about three days of camp, fly to Mexico City and pitch, and fly back [to Peoria, Ariz.]," Rowland-Smith said. "Coach [Jon] Deeble understands my situation and is happy with me to pitch and then fly back to Peoria."
Snell brings clean slate to 2009 season: Ian Snell is ready for the 2009 season -- and ready to do his part in helping the Pirates reach the next level.
"I'll be ready," Snell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'm really focused on doing well. I've changed my diet. I've changed my workouts. I'm not doing anything with my right arm other than throwing. And my head is clear, too. I had all kinds of things on my mind, and those are all sorted out. I feel great right now, seriously."
Barrett, Maroth latest additions in Toronto: Michael Barrett and Mike Maroth signed Minor League contracts with the Toronto Blue Jays and will be invited to Spring Training, the Toronto Sun reported.
Barrett played in only 30 games in 2008 after fouling a ball off his own bat into his face, fracturing three bones. Maroth will battle for a spot in the starting rotation. He is recovering from shoulder surgery last June but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
General manager J.P. Ricciardi said Barrett and Maroth may be the last additions of well-established players this offseason.
"I don't really see us doing much," Ricciardi said. "I think our payroll is what it is, I think our team is what it is -- we'd love to be able to do some other things but we just don't have the resources at this point."
Haren not expected to play in WBC: Don't expect Dan Haren to pitch in the World Baseball Classic this year. Haren, who is of Mexican decent, was contact by Team Mexico about pitching for the club, but decided against it for the time being.
"I wouldn't want to jeopardize anything for the season," Haren told the Arizona Republic. "My No. 1 priority is the Diamondbacks."
Haren, who is from California but whose mother is Mexican, said it would be intriguing to pitch for Mexico, however.
"If I were to play, I don't know who I would play for," he said. "Mexico would be kind of intriguing. It would be an interesting plane flight and bus ride, seeing as how I don't speak Spanish. Right now, I don't think I'm going to play. I told them that, if something changes, I'll give them a call back. But I don't really plan on giving them a call back."
Correia to battle for spot in rotation: Looking to add to their starting rotation, the San Diego Padres signed former Giants pitcher Kevin Correia to a Minor League contract. He is expected to compete for the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation.
"I view him as having a solid shot at the back end of our rotation," general manager Kevin Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Correia, a resident of San Diego, had a 3.45 ERA for San Francisco over 101 2/3 innings in 2007. Last year, he went 3-8 with a 6.05 ERA. In his career, he is 14-22 with a 4.59 ERA in 170 appearances, including 46 starts.
Joe Nelson latest addition to Rays bullpen: The Tampa Bay Rays plugged a hole in their bullpen by signing Joe Nelson to a one-year deal.
"Our bullpen was a large part of our success in 2008, and our quest is to have one of the top bullpens in the American League on an annual basis," executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the St. Petersburg Times in a statement. "Adding Joe certainly helps on that front."
Nelson was 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA last season with one save in a career-high 59 games for Florida.
Hensley to get a shot with Astros: The Houston Astros inked Clay Hensley to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, Astros.com reported.
A native of nearby Tomball, Hensley will compete for a spot in the starting rotation but can also be used in relief, something that attracted him to the Astros. In four seasons with San Diego, he appeared in 106 games, 40 of which were starts.
"He'll come to camp and will compete as a starter and maybe as a bullpen guy," assistant general manager Ricky Bennett said. "We like his versatility. He's started and relieved in the past and had success in both roles."
Hensley was 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 32 games last season. For his career, he has a 15-18 record with a 4.09 ERA.
Leaving St. Louis a tough decision for Miles: Aaron Miles, who recently signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, says that, while he's excited about moving forward with the Cubs, it was difficult to talk to his now-former manager Tony La Russa about his decision.
"I beat myself up for a good day or two [before calling La Russa], and I didn't really feel good about signing elsewhere until even then," Miles told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Understanding that, in the end, it was more money and it seems like the same opportunity -- a chance to start at second base, be a good utility guy -- [as to] what I did in St. Louis -- spot starter, quasi-starter, coming off the bench. I'll be doing the same job, playing as much and maybe even playing more.
"But it was still the toughest decision I've had to make, because St. Louis was the greatest experience I've ever had in baseball," Miles concluded. "Being with the Cardinals made my career happen. I started in Colorado, but I made a name for myself in St. Louis."
Hendrickson brings depth to Orioles staff: The Orioles last week signed Mark Hendrickson to work out of their bullpen with the possibility of him at some point moving into the rotation.
"Our scouts really like him; we feel there is some hidden value there," Orioles club president Andy MacPhail told the Baltimore Sun. "He's been effective against lefties, and we see him as a versatile piece. We'll start him out in the bullpen, but if we need someone to start, he can do that as well."
Lidge claims inaugural award in Philly: Brad Lidge, who did not blow a save all season in the Phillies' World Championship campaign, has been named the Philadelphia Daily News' first-ever Sportsperson of the Year by the paper's sports staff and other experts.
"It really is a big deal and very cool for me," Lidge told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I mean, our team is full of MVP-caliber players. And to be considered in terms of this vote to be at the top of that -- it's quite an honor, for sure."
Rookie Sanchez gets early slot at first for Marlins: The Marlins created an opening at first base when they traded last year's starter, Mike Jacobs, to the Kansas City Royals for reliever Leo Nunez. The team heads into Spring Training with plans for rookie Gaby Sanchez to get the first shot to win the job. Florida also has the option of moving Jorge Cantu from third base to first.
"Sanchez is going to play first base, or we'll give him an opportunity to play first base," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Palm Beach Post. "If that doesn't work out, we can always move Jorge from third to first, and he was pretty good at first base."
Sanchez was the Southern League Most Valuable Player in 2008 after hitting .314 with 17 home runs, 42 doubles and 92 RBI for Class AA Carolina. He made his Major League debut last year and had three hits in eight at-bats.
Randy Johnson signs one-year deal with Giants: The Giants bolstered their rotation by signing Randy Johnson to a one-year contract.
"He started 30 games last year with an ERA under 4.00 and pitched a complete game the last game of the season," general manager Bob Melvin told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's unbelievable what he did. He's got a lot left."
Jesus Guzman brings hot bat to Giants: While the Giants have added a bunch of veterans this season, like Randy Johnson, Edgar Renteria and Bobby Howry, one youngster they picked up may get a chance to make an impact at the Major League level. The Giants signed Jesus Guzman to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Last year Guzman won the batting title in the Double-A Texas League by batting .364 for Midland. He also added 14 home runs and 76 RBIs in 80 games. This year in winter action, he's batting .363 with 63 RBIs in 57 games for Caracas in the Venezuelan League.
"He had an exceptional year in the Cal League in '07. He got our attention even then," Giants director of player personnel Bobby Evans told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Even though reports would say he has some work to do defensively, just the opportunity to bring in a guy who has shown so much promise with the bat at the Minor League level, and is still young ... it's a good opportunity to evaluate him first hand."
Fuentes signed as closer for Angels: The Angels finally replaced Francisco Rodriguez in the back of the bullpen by signing Brian Fuentes to be the team's new closer. The former Colorado closer agreed to a two-year deal.
"Brian strengthens our bullpen in a significant way," Angels general manager Tony Reagins, who tried to acquire Fuentes before the July 31 trading deadline last season, told the Los Angeles Times. "He gives us some depth and really solidifies the back of the bullpen."
"I knew with Frankie on the free-agent market I had a chance to get to Anaheim," Fuentes said. "Being from California, it's always nice to stay here and have that comfort zone. The Angels are a class organization -- they're in the playoffs just about every year, and I hear [Mike] Scioscia is a players' manager."
Snyder signs three-year contract extension: Chris Snyder and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a three-year contract extension. The agreement covers the final two years of Snyder's arbitration-eligible seasons and also includes a club option for 2012, according to the Arizona Republic.
Snyder had a .452 slugging percentage last year and a .348 on-base percentage in addition to hitting 16 home runs and driving in 64 runs.
-- Red Line Editorial