2000 December

4thThe Rockies sign free agent P Denny Neagle (15-9 Atlanta) to a five-year contract.  Neagle will go 19-23 in three seasons, earning his release.

The Mariners sign free agent P Jeff Nelson to a three-year contract.

6thThe Dodgers sign free agent P Andy Ashby to a three-year contract.

7thThe Red Sox sign free agent P Frank Castillo to a two-year contract.

8thThe Diamondbacks sign free agent 1B Mark Grace to a two-year contract. Grace was with the Cubs for 13 years and had more hits in the 1990s than any other player.

Cubs sign free agent P Jeff Fassero to a two-year contract.

The Pirates sign free agent P Terry Mulholland to a two-year contract.

The Giants sign free agent vet IF Shawon Dunston to a contract.

The Rangers sign free agent 1B Andres Galarraga to a contract.

9thThe Rockies sign free agent P Mike Hampton to an 8-year contract worth $121 million. Hampton will go 21-28 in two seasons before being traded. Batwise, Hampton will hit .291 and .344 in his two seasons in Denver, so maybe he should’ve played the outfield. As compensation for losing Hampton to the Rockies, the Mets receive the #38 draft pick in 2001. They’ll use it to pick David Wright.

10thThe Pirates sign free agent OF Derek Bell to a two-year contract.

The Rockies sign free agent OF Ron Gant to a contract.

The Rangers sign free agent P Mark Petkovsek to a two-year contract, and free agent 3B Ken Caminiti to a contract.

The Marlins obtain OF Jeff Abbott from the White Sox in exchange for OF Julio Ramirez.

11th  The Rangers sign free agent SS Alex Rodriguez to a record $252 million, 10-year contract, $2 million more than Tom Hicks paid for the team in 1998. It is the richest contract in the history of professional sports. A-Rod will later say that he regretted signing this contract and that he would have been happier signing with the Mets for less money but that his agent Scott Boras had talked him into it.  Echoing the sentiments, Ranger owner Tom Hicks will later say (October 2010), “I’ve done some smart things. I’ve done some dumb things. That [signing Rodriguez] was one of the dumb things.”

The Royals sign free agent P Doug Henry to a two-year contract.

The Dodgers retain free agent P Darren Dreifort, signing him to a five year, $55 million contract.  He’ll win just 9 games during those years.

The Angels sign free agent P Pat Rapp.

The Blue Jays sign free agent 2B Jeff Frye to a contract.

The Mets sign free agent P Kevin Appier to a four-year $42 million contract, and free agent P Steve Trachsel to a two-year contract. Appier, who led the AL in walks, was signed after the Mets were unable to ink Mike Hampton. They also trade OF Bubba Trammell to the Padres for P Donne Wall.

The Tigers obtain P Chris Holt, OF Roger Cedeno, and C Mitch Meluskey from the Astros for C Brad Ausmus, and pitchers Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz. Houston catchers threw out 22 % of base stealers in 2000, while Ausmus gunned down 42%.

The Expos swap minor leaguers with the Orioles sending pitcher Jorge Julio to Baltimore for 3b Ryan Minor.

13thThe Braves sign 1B Rico Brogna to a contract.

The Padres sign IF Alex Arias to a two-year contract.

The Red Sox sign free agent OF Manny Ramirez to an 8-year contract worth $160 million

.     The Cubs sign free agent C Todd Hundley to a four-year contract, and free agent pitchers Tom Gordon and Jason Bere to contracts.

14thThe White Sox obtain SS Royce Clayton from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Aaron Myette and Brian Schmack. Clayton became expendable with the signing of A-Rod.

The Expos obtain 3B Fernando Tatis and P Britt Reames from the Cardinals for pitchers Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline. The Cards, snubbed by Mike Hampton, pick up a starter in Hermanson.  Tatis missed 54 games after an April 29 groin injury.

The Astros sign free agent P Mike Jackson to a contract.

15thThe Diamondbacks sign free agent OF Midre Cummings to a contract.

The Red Sox sign free agent P Hideo Nomo to a contract.

The Phillies sign free agent P Ricky Bottalico to a contract.

The Tigers acquired P Matt Perisho from the Rangers for pitchers Kevin Mobley and Brandon Villafuerte.

18thIn related signings, the White Sox ink free agent C Sandy Alomar to a two-year contract, while the Marlins sign free agent C Charles Johnson to a five-year contract. Johnson was the Sox catcher last season.

19thWhat youth movement? The Orioles sign free agent P Pat Hentgen to a two-year contract and tomorrow SS Mike Bordick will come back to the O’s inking a two-year contract. The day after they will sign another vet, 1B David Segui to a four-year contract worth $28 million. Not a good deal: Segui will bat just 674 times in 193 games.

23rdThe Brewers sign free agent OF Jeffrey Hammonds to a three-year contract.  The Giants sign OF Eric Davis, and the Cardinals sign free agent OF Quinton McCracken to a contract.