Big Unit retires after 22-year career
Johnson may be last 300-game winner for some time
Randy Johnson, who announced his retirement on Tuesday, finished his 22-year career with 303 wins, 4,785 strikeouts and two no-hitters including a perfect game. He was a 10-time All-Star and a five-time Cy Young Award winner.
"Eventually, you have to say it's time," Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Could I play another year? I believe I could. I realize the last three or four years, my skills obviously were diminishing, and the bar is still set very high for me to do the things I once did.
"I'm at peace with it. I'm very much adamant about my decision. I weighed the pros and cons of coming back or retiring. The pros far outweigh the cons for retiring."
Bay's signing adds power to Mets' lineup: The Mets believe Jason Bay has the power they need in their lineup as well as the right temperament to thrive in New York.
"Jason provides us with a big bat in the middle of our lineup, which will help us score more runs," Mets general manager Omar Minaya told MLB.com. "He has pull power, and that will play well at Citi Field. Jason has excelled in a big-city environment, and we look forward to adding his winning attitude and grit to our clubhouse."
Last season, the club, which was decimated by injuries, hit only 95 home runs, the lowest total in the Majors. Forty-six of those home runs came at Citi Field. Bay nearly matched that total by himself with a career-high 36 home runs, 119 RBIs and 103 runs scored.
"There was a short list of teams that I wanted to go to, and the New York Mets were on that list," Bay said. "To be able to be here on the team and in the place that I wanted to be, you only get a chance to do this once or twice in a career. I'm very grateful and honored to be here."
Glaus to take over at first base for Braves: Recovered from shoulder troubles, slugger Troy Glaus is joining the Braves and planning to shift across the diamond to first base.
"We've been looking for that right-handed presence in the middle of our lineup for a while, and Troy gives us that," general manager Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I have no concerns about being able to go out there and play," said Glaus, who passed two physical exams: one with Braves doctors, the other with renowned Los Angeles orthopedist Lewis Yocum on Dec. 8. "This winter, I've been able to get myself into the quality of shape that I wasn't able to the winter before."
Hendrickson open to returning to Orioles: Free agent Mark Hendrickson remains open to a return to Baltimore.
"I have been a little reluctant to say, in the past, where I wanted to be. But I like Baltimore, I like the direction the team is going in, and I think Andy [MacPhail] did a great job with his signings this offseason to increase our competitive level," Hendrickson, who was 6-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 53 games, including 11 starts, in 2009, told the Baltimore Sun. "But, yeah, there is other interest out there, and that's how the process is. As much as the Orioles may like me -- and I like them -- this is part of the process you have to work through."
Baez bolsters Phillies bullpen: Danys Baez should strengthen the back end of the Phillies bullpen.
"Danys brings both experience and success to our bullpen," general manager Ruben Amaro said in a statement to the Philadelphia Daily News. "He has played a variety of roles throughout his career, and we felt he was an excellent fit for our staff."
Liriano heats up in winter ball: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is pleased with scouting reports on pitcher Francisco Liriano, who is pitching in the Dominican winter league.
"I just got a report that he's throwing the living fire out of the ball down in the Dominican," Gardenhire told MLB.com. "He threw eight innings the other day, and his fastball was 92-94 [mph], and his slider was filthy. That's a really good thing. He could be the bonus if we can get him on track to go with the rest of the guys."
Howry brings durability closer to home: Bob Howry, who pitched in 63 games last season for San Francisco and has averaged 75 appearances over the last five seasons, will be close to his home in Peoria, Ariz., with the Diamondbacks.
"I think he has a long history of being able to manage a lot of innings and pitch with a lot of quality to match that," manager A.J. Hinch told the Arizona Republic. "With the additions of he and [Aaron] Heilman and the return of [closer Chad] Qualls, we have a much more experienced bullpen heading into this season than what we ended with last year."
Saltalamacchia prepared to start offseason program: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had surgery on his right shoulder to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome but left winter league play early due to fatigue in the arm, should be ready for Spring Training.
"The shoulder is good," Saltalamacchia, who has started to lift weights, wrote in a text to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I expect to start my offseason program after the weekend."
Joyce aiming to win roster spot with Rays: Matt Joyce, who joined the Rays organization in the trade that sent Edwin Jackson to Detroit, hopes to make the Major League roster out of Spring Training.
"I don't think I'm gonna go in expecting to have it," Joyce told the St. Petersburg Times. "I'm going in with the mindset I have to go win it."
Olivo brings big bat, leadership to Rockies: Hard-hitting catcher Miguel Olivo has agreed to a deal with the Rockies.
The Rockies believe Olivo, who hit 23 home runs and had 65 RBIs in 114 games with the Royals last season, will complement catcher Chris Iannetta and become a team leader.
"We certainly think so," general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "They both bring a lot of energy to the field."
Banks to get a shot with Astros: Josh Banks has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Astros with an invitation to Spring Training.
The right-hander has appeared in 26 Major League games with Toronto and San Diego. Last season, he was 1-1 with a 7.15 ERA in three starts and three relief appearances with the Padres and went 7-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 26 games (17 starts) at Triple-A Portland.
"He had pretty good numbers last year in Triple-A Portland and is another quality arm we feel we can add to our depth," Astros assistant general manager Ricky Bennett told MLB.com. "He will be in big league camp and will be competing for a spot in the rotation, and we'll try to get him innings out of the bullpen as the long guy. Once we get to camp and he has a couple of innings under his belt, we'll try to stretch him out and see how he fits."
Kearns seeking roster spot with Indians: Austin Kearns will compete for a backup role in the Indians outfield.
"[Kearns is] a plus defender in the outfield," Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro told MLB.com. "... As a right-handed-hitting outfielder, he complements our existing outfielders well on the corners. I'd expect him to be a guy that competes for a spot on the Major League team."
Capps likes combination of winning, closing: Matt Capps, now with the Nats, made it clear that being part of a strong organization was as much of a priority as continuing to be used as a closer.
"First off came the opportunity to win, and I really believe in what they've done there," Capps told the Washington Post. "I think the opportunity to win is going to be sooner than later. Also the opportunity to close. It was a big part of my decision. It wasn't every part, but it was a big part. Another thing: my mother being in Atlanta and my brother, being in the NL East and going to Atlanta more than once a year was enticing as well. A lot of things played into it."
Gutierrez close to four-year deal with Mariners: The Mariners are discussing a long-term agreement with Franklin Gutierrez.
"Right now, we're working on it. Nothing's done yet," agent Will Polidor told The Seattle Times in a phone call from Venezuela. "We'll try to get this done in the next few hours, or the next couple of days, if possible. We're really close.
"This is very good for Franklin and the Mariners organization. He really loves Seattle. He's very happy. He loves the organization, how they treated him last year. He wants to be in Seattle."
Starter or reliever, Hawksworth will be ready: Blake Hawksworth says he's not sure if he will be starting or relieving for the Cardinals in 2010, but either way he will be ready to go.
"I haven't heard from Tony La Russa or Dave Duncan or anyone regarding my role going into next season, so I am going to prepare like I have always prepared for a season," Hawksworth told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "Some people say that they are going to come in ready to start, and I guess I have never really understood that, because it's not that different to me as far as how you prepare. I'm going to be ready to throw one, two innings when I get there and when you get to Spring Training, you still have time to build. The big difference would be that, if I was starting, I would be throwing out of the windup more, and it's really not that big of an adjustment, preparation wise, because I've started my entire life."
Duncan to get a chance with Indians: Shelley Duncan has joined the Indians in search of more opportunity.
"We see him as a guy that has a good track record of hitting left-handed pitching and being productive," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro told MLB.com. "He has defensive versatility that fits well within our needs. He's certainly a guy that could come in and compete for that job."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.