1998 December

1st  The Mets trade C Todd Hundley and minor league P Arnold Gooch to the Dodgers for C Charles Johnson and OF Roger Cedeno. They then swap Johnson to the Orioles for P Armando Benitez.

The Braves sign free agent OF Otis Nixon. The peripatetic speedster was a starter for Atlanta in 1991–93.

The Orioles sign slugger–grumbler outfielder Albert Belle to a 5–year contract. A degenerative hip problem will end his play after two years.

The Rangers sign free agent 1B Rafael Palmeiro to a 5–year contract.

2ndThe Cubs sign free agent P Scott Sanders.

The Mets sign free agent 3B Robin Ventura to a 4-year contract.

4th The Mets trade P Willie Blair to the Tigers in exchange for IF Joe Randa.

The Orioles sign free agent second baseman Delino DeShields to a 3-year contract.

5th The Orioles sign free agent 1B Will Clark to a 2-year contract. He’ll replace former Mississippi State teammate Rafael Palmeiro, which he did when the Rangers signed him.

7th The Diamondbacks lure Padres free agent OF Steve Finley with a 4-year contract.

The Cubs sign free agent 3B Gary Gaetti, free agent OF Glenallen Hill, and tomorrow sign free agent C Benito Santiago. Following a car crash last January where he suffered mangled ligaments in his right knee, Santiago played just 15 games in 1998 for the Blue Jays. In his last appearance at Wrigley Field, in 1996, Santiago hit 3 consecutive home runs.

9th The Red Sox sign free agent P Mark Portugal.

The Devil Rays sign free agent OF Jose Canseco.

10th In an emotional press conference, pitcher Dennis Eckersley of the Red Sox announces his retirement.

The Mariners sign free agent C Tom Lampkin to a 2-year contract.

Royals sign free agent IF Rey Sanchez, and acquire IF Joe Randa from the Mets in exchange for OF Juan LeBron.

11th The Reds sign free agent P Steve Avery.

The Athletics sign the much-traveled free agent IF-OF Tony Phillips.

12th The Reds sign free agent IF Mark Lewis.

The Dodgers set the salary bar higher by signing free agent P Kevin Brown to a 7-year, $105 million contract, the largest in the majors.

13th  The Padres trade P Joey Hamilton to the Blue Jays for pitchers Woody Williams and Carlos Almanzar and OF Peter Tucci.

The Mets sign free agent OF Rickey Henderson.

14th The Twins trade OF Alex Ochoa to the Brewers in exchange for a player to be named.

The Mets trade OF Butch Huskey to the Mariners in exchange for minor league P Lesli Brea.

The Cubs trade OF Brant Brown, whose error on September 24th almost cost the Cubs a playoff spot, to the Pirates in exchange for P Jon Lieber.

The Cardinals acquire SS Edgar Renteria from the Marlins in exchange for SS Pablo Ozuna and pitchers Armando Almanza and Braden Looper.

The Tigers sign free agent C Bill Haselman to a 2-year contract.

The Royals sign free agent C Chad Kreuter.

15th The Phillies sign free agent C Tom Prince to a 2-year contract.

The Pirates sign free agent 3B Ed Sprague.

16th The Athletics sign free agent C Mike Macfarlane.

17thOrioles GM Frank Wren signs free agent P Xavier Hernandez to a 2-year $2.5 million contract, only to find out when Hernandez takes a physical that he has a torn rotator cuff. Owner Peter Angelos will void the contract and Hernandez will file a grievance, settling eventually for $1.75 million.

The Pirates sign free agent P Pete Schourek to a 2-year contract.

18th The Angels sign free agent P Tim Belcher to a 2-year contract.

19th The Red Sox sign free agent P Mark Guthrie to a 2-year contract.

28th In a great trade for Arizona, the Diamondbacks swap OF Karim Garcia to the Tigers in exchange for OF Luis Gonzalez. Garcia hit .222 this year for the D’Backs. The D’Backs will extend Gonzo’s contract in 2003 for another 3 years.

The Tigers sign free agent IF-OF Gregg Jefferies to a 2-year contract.