There were a few signings of note yesterday, as the Twins replaced Jacque Jones, the Dodgers signed another back of the rotation starter, and Mark Bellhorn replaces Mark Loretta, who technically replaces him in Boston. Matt Lawton, who will be suspended the first 10 days of the 2006 season, signed with the Seattle Mariners as well.
Enough was written about what Jones is or is not capable in this space recently, so we'll focus on what Rondell White brings to the table instead.
White can easily be described as a pretty useful player who tends to play less than 130 games in a season. If the Twins can get 130 games at DH out of Rondell White (splitting the rest of the time on Mauer to rest his knees or Morneau because he can't play defense) then the Twins made out like bandits replacing Jones bat with White. If he ends up playing in the outfield, we'll see a defensive downgrade. Whereas Jones was well above average defensively in the corners for the most part, White is essentially league average. He will be paid $3.25 million in 2005, which certainly is not a large chunk of change. I would sign Matthew LeCroy to help out off of the bench simply because I don't trust White to stay healthy. Plus, shouldn't everyone love an inexpensive lefty masher? I'm sure Gardenhire is pleased to have another veteran to pencil into the lineup by the way.
I like Brett Tomko more than most, because he has his uses. He should be an inexpensive option at the back of the bullpen that you can depend on for 190-200 innings of league average pitching. He doesn't strike out a ton of guys, his groundball to flyball ratio is iffy, and I guess we could say he walks too many guys as compared to his strikeout rate as well. Moving along to Chavez Ravine, which actually makes hitting homeruns easier while reducing the effects of other types of hits, won't make Brett Tomko look any better. For $3.6 million in 2006 and $4.1 million in 2007 it is hard to complain though, especially with the market going as crazy as it has. I've heard from a certain Giants fan who writes at this website that they would rather have Tomko than Matt Morris based on statistics, and with the differences in payroll, I can't help but agree.
By the way, I am fully aware that these images are not loading at the moment. Images seem to be down all over SB Nation this morning, but I'm uploading them solely so they appear when the problem is fixed.
Mark Bellhorn signed with the Padres after a rough 2005 season. If healthy, and following his pattern of useful-->not useful-->useful, Bellhorn should help out a Padres team who at the moment can choose between Josh Barfield and Bobby Hill at second base. Barfield had a very good 2005 in AAA, especially for a 22 year old, but it is hard to tell exactly when some guys are ready for the big leagues, so we will just have to wait and see with him. I'm sure Richard Wade will give me his take via comment.
If Bellhorn's problem in 2005 was tied to his injury after a slump, the Padres got themselves a deal, just like the Red Sox did in 2004. If he fills in admirably for half a season before Barfield takes over, he was worth every penny.
Matt Lawton signed with the Mariners. To be honest, I'm not sure what the anti-Lawton mentality is all about as far as his talent goes. He is a pretty useful player, and with the steroid issue behind him, he should continue to be a useful player. Now he'll be useful for roughly the league minimum in Seattle. I wonder if this deal is for outfield depth incase Jeremy Reed is dealt for pitching...