Blue Jays sign Kevin Millar (minor league deal)
Can you tell the Jays are budget strapped yet? Millar is coming off of an exceptionally poor season with the Orioles driven by a lackluster .249 batting average on balls in play. Millar has a decent enough shot of breaking camp with the Jays, given their lack of designated hitters and desire to push Lyle Overbay. Of course, Millar hardly fits the bill as a platoon player since he lacks a dominant split and he’s simply not good enough to be a regular. The best case involves Millar being worth a win to the major league team.
The Nunez’ signing can be accredited to at least one dominating performance in the Dominican Winter League. Nunez has spent time in the Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay organizations amongst others and the last time we saw Nunez in the majors he threw absolute heat, registering at 96 miles per hour in 2005. Troubles with free passes usually capsize Nunez’ FIP, but he gets a fair amount of groundballs, which makes him a delightful no-risk signing for the Rockies.
Birkins also spent time with Tampa Bay and could work as a left-handed specialist, he’ll likely compete against Randy Flores.
Mariners claim Luis Pena off waivers
Jack Zduriencik takes another former Brewer. Pena was waived to make room for the addition addressed below and is another layer to the Mariners bullpen casserole. Pena’s strikeout rates are fair and his walk rates decent with the exception of 2006 and 2008. He might not be on the Mariners roster on opening day, but Pena’s a nice arm to have just an injury or implosion away, even if most of his innings come in garbage time. I wonder if the Mariners will claim Juan Salas who was recently designated for assignment?
Brewers claim Nick Green off waivers
No, not the scrappy utility player, instead the former Angels starting pitching prospect. Lately, green has had a mixed bag of results. In 2006 he struggled during an introductory period to Double-A competition, getting stomped to a 5.11 FIP. Upon repeating the course in 2007 Green saw his FIP drop to 3.90. Naturally, 2008 would have him post a 5.21 FIP in Triple-A, but the Brewers saw something they liked here. Perhaps a total disregard for the homerun numbers, given the ballpark.
Yankees sign Brett Tomko (minor league deal)
Sometimes teams make fascinating finds in the minor league free agent findings that cause them to bless MLB’s lack of re-entry waivers. This is not one of those findings, although to be fair he’s not as bad as you would think. Of course, Tomko has combined for just a little over 300 innings since 2006, but ratios are fine minus the homeruns. With Ian Kennedy and Phillip Hughes sitting around it’s hard to see Tomko making any starts, but I have sneaking suspicion he’ll make at least one appearance for the Yankees in 2009.