Angels land Weaver
Jeff Weaver signed a one-year deal with the Angels reportedly worth more than $8 million. His presence will bump Hector Carrasco to the bullpen and all but guarantee that little brother Jered Weaver will spend most of the year in the minors.
After posting a 5.70 ERA in the first two months with the Dodgers last season, Weaver settled down to post a 3.60 ERA the rest of the way. Considering Bartolo Colon won 21 games with the Angels while sporting a 3.48 ERA, Weaver could easily top 15 wins for the first time in his career.
Sosa turns down the Nationals
Cross Sammy Sosa off your draft board -- and shame on you for having him there in the first place! Sosa's agent indicated that his client will most likely retire after failing to garner any guaranteed offers this winter.
Mackowiak's looking like the favorite in Chicago
White Sox GM Kenny Williams indicated that prospect Jerry Owens is not yet ready to compete for the big league job in center field. With fellow prospect Brian Anderson still battling with scar tissue resulting from November wrist surgery, the versatile Rob Mackowiak is looking like the favorite to open the year starting in center field.
Anderson is a solid prospect, but even when completely healthy he doesn't do any one thing extraordinarily well. He hit .295-16-57 with four steals over 448 at-bats with Triple-A Charlotte last year. You have to figure he won't match the average or the power in his first year, and if that's the case, fantasy owners are better off with Mackowiak getting more time. Offensively, they're similar players right now, but Mackowiak played at least 20 games at second and third base last year, making his eligible there in most fantasy leagues.
Kubel ready to go in Minnesota
When asked how his surgically-repaired knee is holding up, Jason Kubel told the Star-Tribune "I'm good to go... I can do everything." Kubel blew out his knee in November 2004 and has spent more than a year recovering. He's battling with Michael Cuddyer and Lew Ford for the starting job in right field.
Just to remind you how high this kid's ceiling is, here's his numbers from 2004:
.377 AVG (.453/.667), 14 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR and 29 RBI over 138 at-bats with Double-A New Britain;
.343 AVG (.398/.560), 28 2B, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 16-of-19 SB over 350 at-bats with Triple-A Rochester;
.300 (.358/.433), 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI over 60 at-bats in the majors.
Closers pulling out of the WBC
Both Eric Gagne and Armando Benitez have pulled out of the World Baseball Classic, both saying they'd rather focus on getting ready for the start of the MLB season. Gagne missed most of last season with an elbow injury while Benitez missed most of last season with a bum hamstring, though both pitchers were able to end the season healthy. There's a good chance they'll be able to put their respective injuries behind them in 2006 and could turn out to be relative bargains if owners in your league are still scared about last year's ailments.