Free Agent Roundup: 12/25

Ian Levin's been following the hot stove action all winter long. Here's the Christmas edition of what's been happening around Major League Baseball.


Anaheim Angels:
  • Exercised option on C Bengie Molina, one-year, $3 million
  • Acquired OF Juan Rivera and SS Maicer Izturis from Washington for OF Jose Guillen
  • Signed OF Steve Finley, two-years, $14 million with a $7 million option
  • Signed P Paul Byrd, one-year, $5 million
  • Signed P Esteban Yan, two-years, $2.25 million

  • Baltimore Orioles:
  • Re-signed 1B Rafael Palmeiro, one-year, $3 million
  • Re-signed OF B.J. Surhoff, one-year, $1.1 million
  • Signed P Steve Kline, two-years, $5.5 million

  • The Levin Line:
    There wasn't much publicity when Steve Kline signed with the Orioles but it was a solid move by the birds. Kline is one of the best left-handed relievers around. He can pitch in a variety of roles and any team would love to have him in their pen. The contract he received is just about right. Good signing.

    Boston Red Sox:
  • Exercised option on 3B Bill Mueller, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Re-signed C Doug Mirabelli, two-years, $3 million
  • Signed P Matt Mantei, one-year, $750,000
  • Signed P John Halama, one-year, $1 million
  • Signed SS Edgar Renteria, four-years, $40 million
  • Signed P David Wells, two-years, $8 million
  • Signed P Matt Clement, three-years, $25.5 million
  • Signed P Wade Miller, one-year, $1.5 million
  • Acquired OF Jay Payton, INF Ramon Vazquez, P David Pauley, and cash from SD for OF Dave Roberts

  • The Levin Line:
    Two of the best signings of the winter came this week for the Sox. Wade Miller was non-tendered by the Astros because of his shoulder injuries but the Sox were quick to pick him up. He has incentives that could get him another $3 million but if he reaches those incentives, he will likely be worth much more. Signing Matt Clement was a positive move as he adds depth to their rotation. He has the ability to strike hitters out which will allow him to keep improving. Considering the market, what he received was a fair amount.

    Chicago White Sox:
  • Player option exercised by OF Carl Everett, one-year, $4 million
  • Re-signed P Jon Garland, one-year, $3.4 million
  • Exercised option on P Shingo Takatsu, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Player option exercised by 1B Frank Thomas, one-year, $8 million
  • Signed OF Jermaine Dye, two-years, $10.15 million
  • Signed Dustin Hermanson, two-years, $5.5 million
  • Acquired OF Scott Podsednik, P Luis Vizcaino, and a PTBNL from Milwaukee for OF Carlos Lee
  • Re-signed C Ben Davis, one-year, $1 million
  • Signed P Orlando Hernandez, two-years, $8 million

  • The Levin Line:
    Apparently, 80 innings over the past two seasons can get you a multi-year deal. Not only is Hernandez guaranteed $4 million per season but he can make another $4 million in incentives. This contract was not necessary and another example of why the White Sox continue to struggle. For Christmas, maybe some southsider can send Sox GM Ken Williams a clue, eh?

    Cleveland Indians:
  • Re-signed P Scott Elarton, one-year, $850,000
  • Re-signed P Bob Wickman, one-year, $2.75 million
  • Exercised option on P Scott Sauerbeck
  • Signed 2B Jose Hernandez, one-year, $1.8 million
  • Acquired P Arthur Rhodes from Pittsburgh for OF Matt Lawton

  • Detroit Tigers:
  • Exercised option on P Ugueth Urbina, one-year, $4 million
  • Signed P Troy Percival, 2 years, $12 million

  • Kansas City Royals:
  • Signed 3B Chris Truby to a one-year deal
  • Acquired OF Terrence Long and P Dennis Tankersley from Padres for P Darrell May and P Ryan Bukvich
  • Acquired OF Eli Marrero from Atlanta for P Jorge Vasquez
  • Acquired P Leo Nunez from Pittsburgh for C Benito Santiago

  • Minnesota Twins:
  • Signed IF Juan Castro, two-years, $2.05 million
  • Signed C Mike Redmond, two-years, $1.8 million
  • Re-signed P Brad Radke, two-years, $18 million

  • New York Yankees:
  • Acquired P Felix Rodriguez from Philadelphia for OF Kenny Lofton and cash
  • Acquired P Mike Stanton from the New York Mets for P Felix Heredia
  • Re-signed C John Flaherty, one-year, $800,000
  • Signed P Jaret Wright, three-years, $21 million
  • Signed 2B Tony Womack, two-years, $4 million
  • Signed P Carl Pavano, four-years, $40 million

  • Oakland Athletics:
  • Acquired C Jason Kendall and cash from Pittsburgh for P Arthur Rhodes and P Mark Redman
  • Acquired 2B Keith Ginter from Milwaukee for P Justin Lehr
  • Acquired P Juan Cruz, OF Charles Thomas, and P Dan Meyer from Atlanta for P Tim Hudson
  • Acquired P Dan Haren, P Kiko Calero, and C Daric Barton from St. Louis for P Mark Mulder

  • The Levin Line:
    The A's weren't done with last week's Tim Hudson deal. They sent the second member of The Big Three to St. Louis this week. In the deal they received a solid young pitcher in Dan Haren, a power reliever in Kiko Calero, and a blue chip catching prospect in Daric Barton. Calero and Haren will make the team in 2005 and Barton could see time in two years. The A's have quietly been building an outstanding group of relievers which could help them stay in the race in 2005. The Big Three is down to the Big One and don't be surprised if it ultimately becomes "The Big None."

    Seattle Mariners:
  • Player option exercised by P Eddie Guardado, one-year, $4.5 million
  • Re-signed C Dan Wilson, one-year, $1.75 million
  • Signed 1B Richie Sexson, four-years, $50 million
  • Signed 3B Adrian Beltre, five-years, $64 million
  • Acquired P Sean Green from Colorado for P Aaron Taylor

  • Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
  • Acquired C Kevin Cash from Toronto for P Chad Gaudin
  • Signed 1B Josh Phelps, one-year, $800,000

  • The Levin Line:
    Phelps had an outstanding rookie season in 2002 with Toronto and was pegged as the heir apparent to Carlos Delgado but never saw the same success as he did in his first season. He still possesses a powerful bat when he makes contact and with a few adjustments, could reach some of his potential. This is a nice low-risk, high-reward signing by GM Chuck Lamar.

    Texas Rangers:
  • Re-signed P Doug Brocail, one year, $1 million
  • Signed C Sandy Alomar Jr., one-year, $550,000
  • Signed OF Richard Hidalgo, one-year, $5 million
  • Signed 1B Greg Colbrunn to a minor-league deal
  • Re-signed OF Dave Dellucci, two-years, $1.8 million

  • Toronto Blue Jays:
  • Acquired P Chad Gaudin from Tampa Bay for C Kevin Cash
  • Signed 3B Corey Koskie, three-years, $17 million


    Arizona Diamondbacks:
  • Signed 3B Troy Glaus, four-years, $45 million
  • Signed P Russ Ortiz, four-years $35 million
  • Signed SS Royce Clayton, one-year, $1.3 million
  • Signed SS Craig Counsell, two-years, $2.7 million

  • Atlanta Braves:
  • Re-signed 1B Julio Franco, one-year, $1 million
  • Acquired P Danny Kolb from Milwaukee for P Jose Capellan
  • Acquired P Tim Hudson from Oakland for P Juan Cruz, OF Charles Thomas, and P Juan Cruz

  • Chicaco Cubs:
  • Re-signed SS Neifi Perez, one-year, $1 million
  • Re-signed P Glendon Rusch, two-years, $4 million
  • Exercised option on P Ryan Demptster, one-year, $2 million
  • Re-signed SS Nomar Garciaparra, one-year, $8 million
  • Re-signed 2B Todd Walker, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Signed C Henry Blanco, two-years, $2.7 million

  • Cincinnati Reds:
  • Re-signed C Jason LaRue, one-year, $3.5 million
  • Re-signed C Javier Valentin, one-year, $450,000
  • Re-signed P Paul Wilson, two-years, $8.2 million
  • Signed P Dave Weathers, one-year, $1.35 million
  • Signed P Ben Weber, one-year, $600,000
  • Signed 3B Joe Randa, one-year, $2.15 million

  • The Levin Line:
    The Austin Kearns at third base era has ended before it started. With Randa on board, Kearns is set to split time with Wily Mo Pena in center field or right field, depending on the Ken Griffey Jr. situation. However, it would be surprising if one of the two is not dealt by the start of the season.

    Colorado Rockies:
  • Re-signed C Todd Greene, one-year, $750,000
  • Re-signed P Jamey Wright, one-year, $550,000
  • Acquired P Aaron Taylor from Seattle for P Sean Green

  • The Levin Line:
    The Rockies were quick to act when the Mariners needed to make a roster-clearing move. They were able to pick up Aaron Taylor, a power reliever with good upside, for non-prospect Sean Green. Taylor is working his way back from shoulder surgery but with his power fastball and slider, could become a good reliever as soon as this season.

    Florida Marlins:
  • Extended contract of 3B Mike Lowell, three-years, $22.5 million
  • Re-signed 2B Damion Easley, one-year, $750,000
  • Signed P Antonio Alfonseca, one-year, $300,000
  • Signed P Todd Jones, one-year, $1.1 million
  • Signed P Al Leiter, one-year, $8 million
  • Signed P John Riedling, one-year, $750,000

  • The Levin Line:
    Riedling is from Florida so this was to be expected. He got off to a fast start last season but ended up with an ERA over 5.00. If he can get back to what he showed to start last year he will be a nice addition to Florida's pen.

    Houston Astros:
  • Exercised option on OF Craig Biggio, one-year, $3 million
  • Re-signed OF Orlando Palmeiro, one-year, $800,000
  • Re-signed SS Jose Vizcaino, one-year, $1.25 million

  • Los Angeles Dodgers:
  • Re-signed P Elmer Dessens, one-year, $1.3 million
  • Signed 2B Jeff Kent, two-years, $17 million
  • Signed OF Ricky Ledee, two-years, $2.5 million
  • Signed SS Jose Valentin, one-year, $3.5 million
  • Signed OF J.D. Drew, five-years, $55 million

  • The Levin Line:
    One can't help but question these moves made by Paul DePodesta. The signing of Jose Valentin to play third base when most of his value comes as excellent and underrated defensive shortstop is questionable. But why he decided to give Drew that contract but would not go a little higher to keep Adrian Beltre is just confusing. Drew is an excellent player when healthy but that's the problem. The first year he was able to play a full season was 2004. Guaranteeing $55 million to a player that has trouble staying on the field is a huge risk to take.

    Milwaukee Brewers:
  • Signed C Damian Miller, three-years, $8.75 million
  • Acquired P Jose Capellan from Atlanta for P Danny Kolb
  • Acquired OF Carlos Lee from Chicago (AL) for OF Scott Podsednik, Luis Vizcaino, and a PTBNL
  • Acquired P Justin Lehr from Oakland for 2B Keith Ginter

  • New York Mets:
  • Re-signed P Kris Benson, three-years, $22.5 million
  • Re-signed P Mike DeJean, one-year, $1.15 million
  • Acquired P Felix Heredia from the New York Yankees for P Mike Stanton
  • Signed P Pedro Martinez, four-years, $53 million

  • Philadelphia Phillies:
  • Exercised option on P Billy Wagner
  • Re-signed P Corey Lidle, two-years, $6.3 million
  • Acquired OF Kenny Lofton and cash from the New York Yankees for P Felix Rodriguez
  • Re-signed P Rheal Cormier, two-years, $5.25 million
  • Re-signed C Todd Pratt, one-year, $750,000
  • Signed P Jon Lieber, three-years, $21 million
  • Re-signed C Todd Pratt, one-year, $750,000
  • Re-signed P Amaury Telemaco, one-year, $600,000

    Pittsburgh Pirates:
  • Re-signed P Jose Mesa, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Re-signed P Salomon Torres, two-years, $2.6 million
  • Acquired Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes from Oakland for Jason Kendall and cash
  • Acquired OF Matt Lawton from Cleveland for P Arthur Rhodes
  • Acquired C Benito Santiago from Kansas City for P Leo Nunez

  • St. Louis Cardinals:
  • Exercised option on P Chris Carpenter, one-year, $2 million
  • Re-signed P Cal Eldred, one-year, $600,000
  • Re-signed P John Mabry, one-year, $725,000
  • Re-signed P Matt Morris, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Signed C Einar Diaz, one-year, $600,000
  • Acquired P Mark Mulder from Oakland for P Dan Haren, P Kiko Calero, and C Daric Barton
  • Signed SS David Eckstein, three-years, $10.25 million
  • Signed P Mike Myers, one-year, $600,000

  • The Levin Line:
    The Cardinals apparently have given up hope that they will add Randy Johnson but that didn't stop them from adding another top lefty. Mark Mulder was acquired from the Oakland A's for Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and prospect Daric Barton. Losing Calero in the deal will hurt their pen and since Mulder was acquired, Haren was expendable. Barton was the key to the deal. The high-upside catching prospect posted a huge year in the Midwest League and could be an All-Star in a few years. Getting Mulder and adding the piece that may have kept them from truly challenging for the World Series last year was worth it.

    San Diego Padres:
  • Acquired P Darrell May and P Ryan Bukvich from Royals for OF Terrence Long and OF Dennis Tankersley
  • Signed P Rudy Seanez, one-year, $550,000
  • Signed P Dennys Reyes, one-year, $550,000
  • Signed P Woody Williams, one-year, $3.5 million
  • Signed OF Eric Young, one-year, $1 million
  • Signed INF Geoff Blum to a one-year deal
  • Acquired OF David Roberts from Boston for OF Jay Payton, INF Ramon Vazquez, P David Pauley, and cash

  • The Levin Line:
    Roberts will likely be the center fielder and leadoff hitter against right-handed pitchers for the Padres. Eric Young may split time with him when a lefty is on the hill. Roberts' claim to fame recently was the stolen base against the Yankees during the ALCS. The Padres are hoping for similar results this season.

    San Francisco Giants:
  • Re-signed SS Deivi Cruz, one-year, $800,000
  • Exercised option on P Marquis Grissom, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Exercised option on P J.T. Snow, one-year, $2 million
  • Exercised option on P Brett Tomko, one-year, $2.5 million
  • Signed SS Omar Vizquel, three-years, $12.25 million
  • Signed P Armando Benitez, three-years, $21.5 million
  • Signed C Mike Matheny, three-years, $10.5 million
  • Signed OF Moises Alou, two-years, $13.25 million

  • The Levin Line:
    An outfield of Barry Bonds, Marquis Grissom, and Moises Alou? An outfield averaging 39-years-old in spacious SBC Park? It appears that Alou will shift to right field and Bonds will stay in left. I hope for the Giants' sake that Alou doubles his numbers from last year or else this addition will hurt more than it will help.

    Washington Nationals:
  • Signed 3B Vinny Castilla, two-years, $6.3 million
  • Signed SS Christian Guzman, four-years, $16.8 million
  • Acquired OF Jose Guillen from the Angels for OF Juan Rivera and SS Maicer Izturis
  • Signed C Gary Bennett, one-year, $750,000
  • Acquired OF JJ Davis from Pittsburgh for OF Antonio Surce

  • Ian Levin is the Assistant Editor at and welcomes any comments, questions or general feedback by email at

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