5th The Yankees sign veteran free agent Phil Niekro to a 2-year contract, giving the club 6 starting pitchers. Dave Righetti will move to the bullpen to ease the logjam and to fill the void that will be left by the departure of Rich Gossage, who says he will not re-sign with New York.
The Cubs sign free agent Richie Hebner, late of the Pirates.
9th Braves Pascual Perez is arrested for cocaine possession in his native Dominican Republic. Under local law he will remain in jail until his trial, forcing him to miss the beginning of the season. Perez maintains that he was given the packet by a woman he did not know and was unaware of what it contained.
10th Luis Aparicio, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Aparicio becomes the only nonpitcher in the Hall of Fame who played his entire big-league career at only one position.
12th Rich Gossage signs with the San Diego Padres.
20th In a move that stuns New York fans, the White Sox draft Tom Seaver as compensation for losing Type A free agent Dennis Lamp to the Blue Jays. The Mets left Seaver off their protected list assuming—wrongly—that no team would want to select the aging star, who finished 1983 with a 9-14 record and a 3.55 ERA.
Free agent Pete Rose signs a one-year contract with the Expos.
30th After failing to trade him, the Mets give veteran slugger Dave Kingman his release. Kingman hit .198 with 13 home runs last year, but will find a new home as Oakland’s designated hitter.