4th Padres pitcher Carlton Loewer, recently acquired, suffers a broken leg after falling from a tree while hunting. He’ll not pitch in 2000 and will appear in just 7 more ML games. While pitching for the Phillies last year, Loewer missed almost 4 months due to a stress fracture in his arm, an injury that doctors say could easily have resulted in a situation in which the arm broke while he was throwing a pitch.
5th The Dodgers sign free agent pitcher Gregg Olson to a two-year contract. The reliever will get into 41 games in two ineffective years, and the Dodgers will release him in June 2001.
Gene Budig resigns as American League president and is appointed a senior adviser to baseball commissioner Bud Selig. The American and National leagues will be disbanded as legal entities later this month, with their functions consolidated in the commissioner’s office.
7th The Cardinals sign free agent pitcher Andy Benes to a three-year contract, reuniting him with his brother Alan. Andy will have one good year, two mediocre seasons, and out.
In a solid signing, the Angels ink free agent 2B Scott Spiezio.
The Dodgers sign free agent outfielder F.P. Santangelo to a two-year contract. He’ll hit below .200 in 2000 and earn his release.
8th The Devil Rays sign free agent pitcher Juan Guzman to a two-year contract.
10th The Mariners sign free agent pitcher Aaron Sele to a two-year $15 million contract after Orioles owner Peter Angelos nixes a negotiated four-year $29 million (one report says 3-year $21M) because of questions of Sele’s physical condition. Sele had been offered a 4-year, $28 million deal by the Rangers, but didn’t act on it. “Sele fell out of the sky,” marvels M’s GM Pat Gillick. Sele will win 17, just one of 7 pitchers to win 15 or more games in each of the past 3 seasons (Martinez, Maddux, Johnson, Wells, Burba, Nagy).
11th The baseball writers elect C Carlton Fisk and 1B Tony Perez to the Hall of Fame. Fisk is chosen in his second year on the ballot, while Perez is picked on his ninth try.
12th The Brewers obtain P Jaime Navarro and John Snyder from the White Sox for SS Jose Valentin and P Cal Eldred. Navarro, the Majors loss leader (43) the past 3 seasons, was disgruntled with the Sox. Valentin will compete with Mike Caruso for the SS job.
With Sele signing with the Mariners, the Rangers ink free agent pitcher Darren Oliver to a three-year deal worth $19 million.
13th The Devil Rays sign free agent P Steve Trachsel to a one-year contract. Trachsel (8-18) led the Cubs in innings pitched (206) and was expected to ink a multi-year contract.
14th The Mets stock up in Joneses, acquiring their second Bobby Jones, along with P Lariel Gonzalez, from the Rockies for P Masato Yoshii.
The Brewers trade OF Alex Ochoa to the Reds for OF Mark Sweeney and a player to be named.
The Royals sign free agent P Ricky Bottalico. Bottalico had 34 saves for the Phils in 1996-97, but in the past 2 seasons has not fully recovered from elbow surgery.
17th Free agent C Dave Nilsson signs a contract to play with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese League. This will allow him to play for Australia in the upcoming Olympics in Sydney.
19th Major league baseball owners vote to approve the $320 million sale of the Indians to Larry Dolan and his family trusts. They also vote to give Commissioner Bud Selig power “without limitation” to ensure “there is an appropriate level of long-term competitive balance among the clubs.” He can override all of baseball’s rules, and even attempt to impose a salary cap if he thinks it necessary to reach an agreement with the players following the 2001 season.
20th Baseball owners vote to give all their Internet rights to the commissioner’s office. Selig is expected to parcel out monies in 30 equal amounts.
21st The National Labor Relations Board refuses to overturn the election, which removed Richie Phillips and the Major League Umpires Association from power. A new union will represent the umps.
The Tigers sign free agent P Hideo Nomo to a one-year contract. Nomo’s agent had declined a multi-year contract with the Brewers, expecting more on the open market.
The Mets sign free agent P Rich Rodriguez to a two-year contract and reacquire Bill Pulsipher from the Brewers in exchange for IF Luis Lopez.
24th The Rockies sign free agent closer Billy Taylor.
Yankee prospect D’Angelo Jimenez suffers a broken neck when a car he is driving in the Dominican Republic collides with a bus. Jimenez is not paralyzed but will miss the 2000 season. He figured to be the Yankee reserve infielder, taking over the role that Luis Sojo, now with the Pirates, filled last season.
27th The Indians sign free agent P Scott Sanders after his agent had spurned a multi-year contract with the Brewers.
28th The Orioles sign free agent P Pat Rapp to a contract.
29th The Mets announce that singer Garth Brooks will participate in spring training with the team. The 37-year-old singer worked out last spring with the Padres going 1-for-22.
31stCommissioner Bud Selig suspends Braves reliever John Rocker from baseball until May 1for his racial and ethnic remarks in an article published in Sports Illustratedlast month. He’s also fined an undisclosed amount and ordered to undergo sensitivity training.