The final day of the calendar year doesn't normally produce much hot stove news, but there have been plenty of moves made on this date throughout the years. Let's look back at some of the more notable ones, including a free agent signing with historic significance...
- One year ago today the Phillies thought they were solidifying their bullpen by signing Danys Baez to a two-year contract worth $5.25MM. They instead received a 5.48 ERA with nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (28) in 47 2/3 innings in the first year of the deal.
- Two years ago the Angels signed Brian Fuentes to a two-year, $17.5MM contract. He pitched to a 3.76 ERA in 93 1/3 innings with the Halos before being traded to the Twins last August. The 35-year-old southpaw is said to be seeking a deal on par with the three-year, $15MM contract the Angels gave Scott Downs.
- That same day, the Indians traded minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub to the Cubs for Mark DeRosa. DeRosa hit .270/.342/.457 in 71 games with Cleveland before they traded him to the Cardinals for Chris Perez and Jess Todd.
- The Dodgers signed Fred McGriff to a one-year contract worth $3.75MM back in 2002. The then 39-year-old slugger hit .249/.322/428 with 13 homers in 329 plate appearances that season.
- Former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza signed with the rival Red Sox on the same day McGriff agreed to his deal. Mendoza didn't perform as well in Boston as he did in New York, pitching to a 5.73 ERA in 97 1/3 innings for the Sox.
- One of the most significant contracts in baseball history was signed on New Year's Eve. On this date way back in 1974, Catfish Hunter signed a five-year contract worth $3.75MM with the Yankees, becoming the first star player to change teams via free agency. The deal also made him the highest paid player in baseball history at the time. Hunter posted a 3.58 ERA in 993 innings during his five years with the Yanks.
- Other players involved in transactions on this date include Mark Hendrickson, Aaron Miles, Neifi Perez, Ray Fosse, Sandy Alomar, and Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews.