According to this morning's stories, the eight-year veteran will take less than he was reportedly set to earn with Toronto, who offered him a two-year, $5.25 million deal last month to be the starter.
According to the Phillies Web site, the deal is designed to take pressure off Carlos Ruiz and shift Chris Coste into a pinch hitter, backup infielder role. Barajas reportedly chose the Phillies over the Rockies and Rangers.
December minor league transaction update
In addition to the non-roster invitees from last week, the Phillies added a shortstop and first baseman.
Here are the complete signings, as listed in Baseball America: Signed RHP Ryan Cameron; RHP John Ennis; LHP Jim Crowell; C Jason Hill; SS Andrew Beattie. New additions, that weren’t included as non-roster invitees include 1B Juan Tejeda and SS Peter Shier.
Shier was a 9th round draft pick of the Orioles in 1999 and has never made it past Double-A. In seven minor league seasons, he’s a .264/.345/.364 hitter. Tejeda signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tigers in 1999 and saw action at Triple-A Norfolk last season, hitting .217/.271/.289 with two home runs in 152 at bats. Over his career, the right-handed Dominican has shown more power than that, hitting 23 homers for Double-A Erie in 2004. In eight minor league seasons, he’s a .287/.356/.452 hitter.
Shier and Tejeda figure to round out the rosters at the Double-A level or lower.
Roberson picking up the slack in Mexico
After a horrible start, Chris Roberson rode a hitting streak this month to lift his batting average to .275. The switch-hitting backup is hitting about .400 in his last 10 games.
Castro, Simon missing bats with Cibao
Fabio Castro, the pint-sized Rule 5 pick of last season, might be more familiar to Phillies fans, but his fireball Cibao teammate Alfredo Simon, a Rule 5 acquisition of the Phillies this season, has been equally impressive this winter. That’s no small feat. After 29 innings, the live-armed Castro is 1-2 with 30 strikeouts and a 1.86 ERA, having allowed 21 walks. Opponents are batting just .165 against him.
The 25-year-old Simon, who’s being used in a similar role as a short-inning starter, has matched him pitch-for-pitch. After 28 1-3 innings, Simon is holding a 0.86 ERA with 17 strikeouts to just 8 walks, with a .177 BAA.
Ciabo’s roster is filled with farmhands past and present, including Travis Minix, Aquilio Lopez, Martire Franco, Julio de la Cruz, Juan Sosa and others. Sosa, an infielder, is having a monster winter, hitting .321 with a .372 OBP.
Brito not shabby, either
(Update from this a.m.) Left-hander Eude Brito is having his own big winter in the Dominican. Pitching with the Azucareros del Este, Brito has a 0.96 ERA over 18 2-3 innings. Phillies.com also ran their winter update today: [Link]
Following last week's spontaneous discussion, a new and used book section has been added to the right sidebar, compiled with your recommendations.