Year has arrived. The first step to reaching the 2006 baseball season involves
getting out the new calendars and throwing out those old ones. It's a new year,
and 2005 is officially history. It's a chance for managers, coaches and players
to all start anew. March is now less than two months away, and before we know it
pitchers and catchers will be reporting for Spring Training. The 2006 season is
nearing. Here's what has been going on in the National League during the past
Diamondbacks - The Diamondbacks have
picked up the pace after a slow start this offseason. In a move that probably
benefited their trading partner more than themselves, the Diamondbacks removed
third baseman Troy Glaus from the National League by trading him to
Toronto along with minor league
Sanchez in exchange for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson. Batista returns to his former club, where he was a
reliable third man in the rotation from 2001-2003. He will likely return to the
Diamondback rotation after serving as Toronto's closer last season and
earning 31 saves. With Hudson, Arizona gets a Gold Glove winning
second baseman. The D'Backs also added center fielder Chris
Byrnes to the lineup with a one-year contract. He bounced around
the majors last season, playing with three different teams, and is looking for a
place to call home for 162 games.
Braves - No dealings in
Atlanta for the holidays. The club
is just dealing with the Associated Press story that former star closer
Reardon was arrested for allegedly robbing a jewelry story.
Stories like that really make you wonder what could possibly be going on in a
retired professional ballplayer's life that they might opt to attempting a jewel
Cubs - Manager
Baker got back one of his old favorites, Marquis Grissom, as the Cubs signed the veteran outfielder to a
minor-league contract. He's struggled with injuries in recent years, but could
prove a valuable commodity off the bench for the Cubbies should he make the
roster at some point during the season.
Reds - After a
crazy flurry of activity, the Reds' front office appears to have gone on
vacation for the holidays. That or they are busy restocking paper in the copiers
Rockies - The
Rockies picked up free agent second
baseman Willie Harris. He brings some speed to the
Colorado lineup and should be fun to
watch slapping the ball around in that enormous
Marlins - After
giving up most of their high-priced talent, the Marlins added some
budget-friendly veterans. The club signed free agent and former Cubs closer
Borowski to a one-year contract, as well as infielder
Reese. Both players are big question marks, but are worth
watching in Spring Training to see what roles they take with the dressed-down
squad. The Marlins also added infielder Wes Helms and catcher Miguel Olivo to their roster. Helms is one of those guys you look at
and expect to be able to hit the ball a mile. He put up some decent power
numbers in 2003, but that output seems to be out of place compared to the rest
of his very sub par career.
Astros - The Astros kicked off the
New Year by snatching outfielder Preston Wilson and signing him to a $4.5 million, one-year deal. He will
bring big power numbers and speed to that oddly built ballpark in
Houston and could have a monster
year in 2006.
Dodgers - After
taking a break during the holidays, the Dodgers sealed a deal with the New York
Mets for starting pitcher Jae
Seo and reliever Tim Hamulack. Seo went 8-2 in 14 starts last season, while striking
out 59 in 90.1 innings of work. He has serious potential to be a big surprise in
the National League in 2006.
Brewers - After
Kolb and then having to release him to free agency, the Brewers
re-signed the relief pitcher to a one-year, $2 million dollar contract. Kolb
will serve as Derrick
Turnbow's set-up man this season.
Mets - The Mets signed free agent
relief pitcher Chad Bradford to a one-year contract.
If he can stay healthy, Bradford should prove valuable for the Mets out of the bullpen.
They also picked up relievers Duaner
Sanchez and Steve
Schmoll in the Seo deal with the Dodgers. Most interestingly,
though, the Mets rolled the dice and signed Bret
Boone to a minor-league contract, putting the heat on
Kaz Matsui, who has underachieved so far as a
Phillies - There's been nothing but
silence from the Philadelphia front office as of late.
They might have been too consumed with the hoopla around
Penn State University's trip to the Orange
Pirates - The Phillies' cross-state
neighbors haven't been as quiet. The Bucs added veteran third baseman
and his sweet, controlled swing to their lineup. They also added
Burnitz and his sweet, not-so controlled swing. The Burnitz
signing didn't go through without a little controversy, however. The AP has
reported that the Baltimore Orioles are claiming that Burnitz backed out of a
two-year deal with their club. Nothing seems to be going
Baltimore's way these days, but who
cares? They're in that other league.
Cardinals - All's quiet in
Padres - The AP
reports that the Padres are close to sealing a deal with left-handed starting
pitcher Shawn Estes. He's not a dominant pitcher, and his stats aren't even
that great. He continues to find clubs willing to give him a spot in their
rotation, mainly because he is one of those rare, freakish starting pitchers,
you know, the left-handed kind, who is a dependable change of pave and can win a
chunk games every year.
Giants - The club
signed former Astro utility man Jose Vizcaino to a $1.25-million, one-year contract. Vizcaino served
as the Giants starting shortstop in 1997, but the veteran should be a utility
infielder and pinch hitter in 2006.
Nationals - The
Nationals closed out 2005 by signing three free agent pitchers. Reliever
Mike Stanton, who was traded to the Boston
Red Sox for the final week of the 2005 season against the
York Yankees, was re-signed to a one-year contract. The Nats
also signed starting pitchers Ramon
Ortiz and Tony Armas to the ever-popular one-year contracts. The two veterans
should round out the Nats' starting rotation for
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