2003 January

2ndThe Orioles sign free agent P Omar Daal to a two-year contract. He will go 4-11 in his one year in Baltimore.

The Cubs sign free agent IF Ramon Martinez to a contract.

3rdThe Cubs sign free agent P Dave Veres.

The Mariners sign free agent IF Glenn Colbrunn to a two-year contract.

The Rangers sign free agent P John Thomson to a contract.

6thThe Braves sign free agent OF/1B/C Robert Fick to a contract.

The Cardinals sign free agent pitchers Joey Hamilton and Al Levine.

7thEddie Murray and Gary Carter are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers. Murray is the sixth switch-hitting position player in Cooperstown, joining Mantle, Frisch, Carey, Schoendienst and Bancroft.

The Rockies sign free agent 3B Chris Stynes to a contract.

The Royals sign free agent P Albie Lopez to a contract.

8thThe Red Sox agree on a two-year contract with free agent 3B Bill Mueller.

9thThe Indians sign free agent OF Shane Spencer to a contract. He will have a solid half-year in Cleveland and get traded in July to Texas.

The Marlins sign free agent OF Todd Hollandsworth to a contract.

10thThe Royals sign free agent IF Desi Relaford to a two-year contract.

The Marlins sign free agent OF Gerald Williams to a contract.

The Brewers sign free agent P Dave Mlicki to a contract.

11thThe Marlins obtain P Mark Redman from the Tigers in a deal involving 4 other pitchers. The Marlins also get Jason Fuell while Detroit picks up Gary Knotts, Nate Robertson, and Rob Henkel.

12thThe Mets sign free agent OF Tsuyoshi Shinjo to a contract.

The Reds sign free agent P Paul Wilson to a two-year contract.

13thThe Braves sign free agent P Mike Venafro to a contract.

14thThe Brewers sign free agent P Todd Ritchie to a contract.

The Yankees sign and officially introduce Hideki Matsui, a three-time MVP of Japan’s Central League for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. The power-hitting outfielder agreed last month to a $21 million, three-year contract. Today’s news conference is called the biggest in the Yankees 100-year history. Duly impressed, ML Baseball asks the Yanks tomorrow to consider opening the season in Japan.

15thIn a 3-team deal, the White Sox obtain 20-game winner Bartolo Colon from the Expos. The Yankees send P Orlando Hernandez and $2 million to Chicago for pitchers Antonio Osuna and Delvis Lantigua. The Sox then send Hernandez, P Rocky Biddle, OF Jeff Liefer, and cash to Montreal for Colon and minor league IF Jorge Nunez. The durable Colon will become the last Expo active in the majors.

The Rangers sign free agent P Ismael Valdes to a contract.

The White Sox sign free agent OF Armando Rios to a contract.

16thThe Orioles sign free agent P Kerry Ligtenberg to a contract.

The Phillies sign free agent IF Tyler Houston.

The Cubs sign free agent P Mark Guthrie to a contract.

The Mariners sign free agent OF/1B John Mabry to a contract.

Alex Rodriguez is announced as the winner of the first annual Ted Williams Award for being the best hitter in the majors in 2002.

The Mariners announce they will open the 2003 season with a 2-game series against the A’s in Tokyo, Japan.

17thThe A’s sign free agent P John Halama to a contract.

In an effort to make the All-Star Game more meaningful, baseball owners decide unanimously to give the winner of the game the home field advantage in the World Series. The players, who are against the idea, must still agree to the plan.

19thThe Rockies agree to contract terms with free agent IF Jose Hernandez and P Steve Reed.

20thThe White Sox sign free agent P Tom Gordon to a contract.

The Cardinals sign free agent P Dustin Hermanson to a contract.

22ndThe Marlins sign free agent C Ivan Rodriguez to a contract.

The Red Sox sign free agent 1B David Ortiz, who had been released by the Twins last month, to a contract. Minnesota thought they would lose in arbitration and, after six years of solid but not spectacular play from the slugger, they released him. Welcome to Fenway.

The San Diego Padres’ new ballpark will be called PETCO Park after the pet supply company agreed to a naming rights deal worth more than $60 million over 22 years. PETCO was founded in San Diego in 1965. The ballpark is scheduled to be completed by opening day 2004. PETA, an animal rights group, protests the name.

23rdThe Yankees sign free agent P Jon Lieber to a two-year contract. Recovering from arm surgery, Lieber is not expected to pitch till 2004.

The Braves sign free agent P Roberto Hernandez to a contract.

25thThe Dodgers obtain OF Daryle Ward from the Astros in exchange for minor league P Ruddy Lugo.

28thA federal judge tosses out a lawsuit by baseball umpires, ruling that disciplining union head John Hirschbeck is not subject to arbitration. Hirschbeck was sent a warning letter last May 10 by the commissioner’s office, saying that during an April 28 game in Cincinnati he told plate umpire Mark Carlson not to issue a warning to Cincinnati’s Gabe White after a pitch sailed over the head of San Francisco’s Barry Bonds. In addition, baseball said its computerized umpire evaluation system showed “a high percentage of missed calls of balls and strikes” by Hirschbeck in a game on May 4. A union lawyer said last summer that the dispute wasn’t over discipline of Hirschbeck, but was about management’s reliance on the Questec computerized evaluation system, which the union claims is inaccurate.

The Giants sign free agent OF Jose Cruz Jr. to a contract.

31stThe Chicago White Sox announce that Comiskey Park will now be known as U.S. Cellular Field under a 23-year deal with the wireless service provider that will pay the White Sox $68 million over 20 years. The Sox say a major difference from most stadium sponsorship deals is that the revenue from the naming rights will be used for changes within the ballpark they say will enhance the enjoyment of the game for the fan.

Umpire Bruce Froemming is handed a 10-day suspension without pay and will miss a trip to work the major league opener in Tokyo for using an anti-Semitic slur. Baseball’s most senior crew chief made the remark about umpiring administrator Cathy Davis after talking to officials regarding his travel arrangements to Japan. Thinking the phone was disconnected. He referred to her as a “stupid Jew bitch.” “I’m sincerely sorry,” Froemming said. “I made a stupid remark and I accept my punishment. I’ve apologized to Ms. Davis. There was no anti-Semitism whatsoever on my part.”