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Thursday, January 04, 2007

News around Major League Baseball

By David

Apparently, Astros management read my December 27th article on the availability of second basemen Mark Loretta and signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. His deal could end up being worth $3.5 million if the veteran meets incentives.

Houston is acquiring a versatile and proven player who will make a nice impact both with the bat and glove. Loretta understands that he's been brought in as a utility player, but as he said ''I feel comfortable with the organization.''

Loretta's former team the Boston Red Sox signed 28 year old pitcher Joel Pineiro to a one-year deal. The right-hander has spent all of his seven Major League seasons with the Seattle Mariners, but over the past several seasons he has struggled to get the job done.

Over the past three seasons Pineiro's ERA has been 4.67, 5.62 and 6.36. During the same span he compiled only 21 wins. Conversely, he won a total of 30 games and had a 3.51 ERA during the 2002 and 2003 seasons combined. The Red Sox's are hoping that he will become their closer for the upcoming season. Pineiro has even come out and said ''That starting thing, that's in the past.'' If Boston is to return to the playoffs they will need Joel to be lights out in the bullpen.

The Yankees inked veteran first basemen Doug Mientkiewicz to a one-year, $ 1.5 million contract. The former Gold Glove Award winner with the Twins will primarily be used as a defensive specialists at first. Mientkiewicz comes to the Bronx with postseason experience as he won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004.

Big Unit is headed back to Arizona

By David

The two year marriage between Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees officially ended on Thursday as New York traded the future Hall of Famer to the Diamondbacks. Johnson failed in his attempt to bring a 27th World Championship to the Bronx, and after a less than impressive 2006 campaign where he battled injury and saw his ERA balloon to five , it was time for the eight time All Star to change teams.

Johnson will have the opportunity to pitch closer to home and most importantly, he will be joining the team that he enjoyed the most success with during his illustrious Major League career. During his six years in the desert he compiled a 103 and 49 record to go along with a 2.80 ERA. He won the NL Cy Young award four years in a row[1999-2002] and he helped the D-backs win their first World Championship in 2001. He did so well against the Yankees that he was awarded Co-MVP of the World Series along with former teammate Curt Schilling.

For New York, they acquired Minor League shortstop Alberto Gonzalez, Minor League pitchers Steven Jackson and Ross Ohlendorf, and 8 year veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino. This deal makes perfect sense for the Bronx Bombers because the Big Unit is near the tail end of his career, his enormous salary will not be their full responsibility, and most importantly they continue to add young pitching prospects.

The trading away of veterans Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson have yielded the Yankees five pitching prospects. Through the recent deals Brian Cashman is displaying that the way to win is by having young talent on your team.

He realized that spending ridiculous amounts of money over the past six seasons has only generated New York AL East crowns and not that coveted World Series ring. With the return of the beloved Andy Pettitte and the recent moves to acquire quality pitching prospects, the Yankees are telling the baseball world that they are improving for the long run.

In years to come it will be a crazy site to see the Yankees as a team who still has the money to spend, and at the same time has impressive young players in the Minors who are ready to make a major impact on the Major League level. I don't know about you, but does this remind you of the time period in the early 90's when the Yankees were bringing up players such as Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera from the Minor Leagues? All they went onto to do was bring New York fans six World Series appearances and four World Series wins.

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