2008 December

2ndThe Japanese team of Kobe 9 Cruise sign Eri Yoshida, a 16-year-old girl, as the country’s first female pro baseball player.

3rdThe Astros sign free agent P Mike Hampton to a one-year deal.

The Giants sign free agent P Bob Howry to a one-year deal.

The Cardinals sign free agent P Trever Miller to a one-year deal.

The Mariners sign free agent OF Russell Branyan to a one-year deal.

4thThe White Sox send pitchers Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan to the Braves in exchange for C Tyler Flowers, infielders Jonathan Gilmore and Brent Lillibridge, and P Santos Rodriguez.

The Giants sign free agent SS Edgar Renteria to a two-year contract.

The Brewers sign free agent P Jorge Julio to a one-year deal.

Forced to shed salary and low OBA (.260), the Padres trade SS Khalil Greene to the Cardinals for P Mark Worrell and a player to be named (Luke Gregerson). Greene will play just 77 games for the Birds, which is 77 more than Worrell will appear in for the Pads.

5thThe Braves sign free agent C David Ross to a two-year contract.

8thFormer 2B Joe Gordon is elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. P Allie Reynolds falls one vote short of election.

The Tigers obtain C Gerald Laird from the Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo.

The Tribune Company files for bankruptcy but says it will not affect its plans to sell the Cubs.  They also announce that they have winnowed the pool of buyers down to three: Hersch Klaff, the Ricketts family and Mark Utay. The three bidders have a week to file second offers.

9thTony Kubek is named winner of the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

The Reds send OF Ryan Freel and minor league infielders Justin Turner and Brandon Waring to the Orioles in exchange for C Ramon Hernandez.

The Dodgers agree to terms with free agent IF Mark Loretta on a one-year deal.

10thThe Mets agree to terms with free agent P Francisco Rodriguez on a three-year $37 million contract.

Nick Peters receives the Hall of Fame’s JG Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

The Yankees agree to terms with the prize of the free agent pitchers CC Sabathia on a 7-year contract.

The Phillies and Pirates exchange backup catchers, with Ronny Paulino going to Philadelphia and Jason Jaramillo to Pittsburgh.

The Rays send P Edwin Jackson to the Tigers for OF Matt Joyce.

The Mets obtain closer JJ Putz from the Mariners in a three-team trade. The Mets send pitchers Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas, OF Endy Chavez, and minor leaguers Mike Carp (1B), Maikel Cleto (P), and Ezequiel Carrera (OF) to the Mariners for Putz, OF Jeremy Reed, and P Sean Green. The Indians send OF Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners. Cleveland gets P Joe Smith from the Mets and 2B Luis Valbuena from Seattle.

12thThe Yankees reach agreement with the talented but oft-injured pitcher AJ Burnett on a five-year contract.

The Diamondbacks sign free agent IF Felipe Lopez to a one-year deal for $3.5 million. He’ll replace free agent Orlando Hudson, who was paid $6.25 million in 2008. Lopez was released by the Nationals on July 31 after hitting just .234, but hit .385 in 156 at bats with the Cardinals.

The Mets trade P Scott Schoeneweis to the Diamondbacks for P Connor Robertson.

The Reds sign free agent P Arthur Rhodes to a two-year contract.

13thThe Indians sign brittle free agent closer Kerry Wood to a two-year contract.

The Royals sign the well-traveled free agent closer Kyle Farnsworth to a two-year contract.

The Rockies agree to a one-year deal with free agent P Alan Embree.

15thThe Tigers sign free agent SS Adam Everett to a one-year deal.

The Astros agree on a one-year deal with free agent OF Jason Michaels.

16thThe Orioles agree to a two-year contract with free agent SS Cesar Izturis.

The Phillies sign free agent OF Raul Ibanez to a three-year contract.

The Cubs agree to a one-year deal with free agent OF Joey Gathright. The speedy Gathright hit .254 last year with an OBA of .328 and swiped 21 of 25 bases. He’ll play just 20 games for Chicago before being shipped to Baltimore.

18thThe Tigers agree to a one-year deal with free agent C Matt Treanor.

The Astros agree to a one-year deal with free agent 3B Aaron Boone.  Boone, who hit .249 with the Nationals in 2008, will undergo open-heart surgery in March 2009.

19thAfter he reportedly agreed to a three-year $30 million deal with the Braves, Rafael Furcal signs a three-year $30 million contract to stay with the Dodgers.  His agent Paul Kinzer states that there was not even a verbal agreement with Atlanta but the Braves accuse him of lying and say they will never bid again on any of his free-agent clients.

22ndThe Nationals agree to a one-year contract with free agent P Daniel Cabrera.

23rdThe Yankees, considered a dark horse in the race for Steve Boras’s client Mark Teixeira, agree to an 8-year contact with the free agent first baseman.

24thIn a Christmas Eve oddity in Cuba’s National Series, journeyman righthander Dany Gonzalez records a three-pitch strikeout of Industriales rookie David Remedios that lasts for exactly 85 minutes (as noted by Cuban historian Pete Bjarkman). League rules allow for 27-man rosters but only 26 players are allowed to dress; one player is designated as ineligible for each game. Dany Gonzalez was that player. Industriales manager German Mesa protests the use of Gonzalez before the ineligible hurler throws his first pitch. Opposing manager Castro is faced with a major conundrum. Gonzalez cannot leave the game until he faces at least one batter (he had already been announced as a substitute), but if he does so his team will violate league rules and the game will be eligible for protest. Castro tells his pitcher to delay—for a full 85 minutes. Ultimately Gonzalez is ordered from his own dugout to pitch, striking out Remedios on three deliveries. But the inning itself drags on as the visitors plate 11 total runs. The game ends in a 14-4 seven-inning knockout (Cuba plays with the international 10-run KO rule) and the issue of the forfeit proves moot.

26thThe Giants agree to a one-year deal with free agent P Randy Johnson. The Big Unit will struggle to an 8-6 record, before calling it a career.

27thThe Reds agree to a two-year contract with speedster Willy Taveras.

28thThe Red Sox sign a pair of NL free agents, inking catcher Josh Bard and Brad Penny. Bard had been with the Sox briefly in 2006 and was traded in the deal that brought Doug Mirabelli to Boston. The Sox will release him in spring training and he will sign in March with the Nationals. Penny was 6-9 in an injury plagued year, but won 16 games in each of the two previous seasons with the Dodgers.

30thThe Rays sign free agent P Joe Nelson to a one-year deal.

The Diamondbacks extend catcher Chris Snyder’s contract for another three years at $14.25 million.

31stThe Orioles sign free agent P Mark Hendrickson to a one-year deal.

The Indians acquire IF Mark DeRosa from the Cubs in exchange for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub.

The Cubs sign free agent IF Aaron Miles to a two-year contract. The switch-hitting Miles hit .317 in 134 games for the Cardinals, but will hit just a buck eighty in 2009.

The Angels agree to terms on a two-year contract with free agent P Brian Fuentes. He’ll lead the league in saves in ’09, then get traded at the trade deadline in 2010.