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Rounding up a few moves from the past week that I missed due to the holiday:

-    Marlins sign Jose Castillo
-    Phillies sign Chad Durbin, Geoff Jenkins (2 years, 13 mil with 7.5 vested option based on PA) , and So Taguchi (1 year, 1 mil, with option)
-    White Sox sign Alexei Ramirez (4 years, 8 million with 4 million of that in incentives)
-    Royals sign Miguel Olivo
-    Astros sign Chad Paronto and Jack Cassel
-    Mets sign Matt Wise
-    Braves sign Javy Lopez to minor league deal

Yes, a ton of minor moves, so let's get to work:

Castillo will be 27 on opening day, but that hasn't stopped the Marlins from apparently penciling him in as their starting third baseman despite coming off of a season in which he hit .244/.270/.335 and a career line of .256/.297/.380. He's better suited to play second base where his range should make up for a bit of his offensive ineptitude much like Dan Uggla's offense makes up for his poor defense. An infield of Castillo, Hanley Ramirez, Uggla, and Mike Jacobs figures to give the Marlins poor defense as it is, but at least another option like Jorge Cantu could've given them the possibility of an offensive breakout, Castillo seems worthless to the Fish. The worst part about this move is that Castillo made 1.9 million last year to avoid super two arbitration - he was asking for 2.2 million, the Pirates offered 1.8 and they met in the middle rather than Castillo losing that extra hundred thousand, but since he'll be heading back to arbitration he can't make much less than he did last year, meaning the Marlins very well could be paying Jose Castillo two million next year, making him their highest paid player.  To sum it up: a player with a career 75 OPS+ with no presumable upside other than the potential to hit 15+ homeruns will be the highest paid player on a team by making two million dollars and starting at third base. Perhaps I was in abnegation about how bad the Marlins situation was, but Jeffrey Loria needs to sell that team, those fans don't deserve this.

The Marlins National League East competition also made a few moves: the Phillies started the party by signing three. Durbin has made his fair share of rounds over his career - remember when he began with the Royals in 1999? Me neither, from there he'd jump to the Indians in 2003, Arizona in 2004, and Detroit for the past two years. He's a hard thrower and has issues with the longball, but last year was the best of his career, whether or not he was lucky like he was in 2001 doesn't matter since he's always going to give up a ton of baserunners and homeruns, it's about forcing those homeruns to be solo shots. I imagine Durbin will be a pen arm for the Phils and also be the first called upon when one of their rotation mates suffer an injury - Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, Jamie Moyer, and Adam Eaton; needless to say I think we can count on Eaton getting hurt - perhaps on a road trip to Florida a kraken will eat him. Jenkins and Taguchi figure to join the outfield with Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth, with Jenkins likely starting in right field and Taguchi being the first reserve in center - Werth meanwhile had a great season last year, and although his BABIP was out of the roof his line drive rate supported it. Jenkins is easily the more valuable of the two outfield additions, but I can't believe someone is actually paying Taguchi  a million to come to the ballpark, I always figured his last payday would be to stay away.

Taking a break from the NL East show for a while let's focus on the AL Central where the White Sox signed Cuban import Alexei Ramirez. All along he'd been marketed as a shortstop who could play second and centerfield if need be. Frankly I don't know where he'll fit in, perhaps taking Danny Richar's spot at second or Jerry Owens spot in center. I don't know a ton about Ramirez but I believe it was Clay Davenport at Baseball Prospectus who essentially compared Cuban ball to low-A ball - that doesn't seem to suggest Ramirez will be too successful, at least not until he gets over the learning curve.

Olivo is a journeyman catcher for the 21st century, since 2002 he's played with the White Sox, Mariners, Padres, Marlins, and now Royals. All the while a career 76 OPS+ hasn't stopped Olivo from getting more than 300 at-bats all but twice in his six season career, and one of those times was a brief stint in 2002. He's not particularly good at anything, but he hits homeruns so naturally he's valuable to a team that gave Jason LaRue and Paul Phillips nearly 200 at-bats last year.

Ed Wade loves him some relievers, think of this off-season alone, he's added Jose Valverde, Doug Brocail, Geoff Geary, Oscar Villarreal, and now Paronto and Cassel. Paronto isn't a big signing, he's 31 heading on 32 in July, but he's had two straight seasons of an ERA+ over 100 and while his WHIP rose last season from 1.271 to 1.636 his strikeout rate also went underground. Cassel was lucky last year in terms of his ERA, but he's only 27 and has enough minor league success to warrant more than 20 innings of look-see at the big league level - particularly when he's coming from the organization that is the best at making the most of relievers.

Back to the NL East to wrap our moves up, the Mets added Matt Wise, who hasn't had a bad run since 2001, but however he got hit around a bit more than usual, and some suggest that he hasn't been the same since hitting a player in the helmet, which frankly can't be good for either the pitcher or the hitter's mental health.  The Mets have a ton of guys vying for a few relief spots: aside from the locks the likes of Carlos Muniz, Jorge Sosa, and Joe Smith figure to battle with Wise for a spot, oh and I can't go without mentioning Willam Collazo who went to Florida International University, why? Simply because he's left handed and frankly I like the name Collazo - otherwise I doubt he'll find a spot in the Mets pen.

Finally we arrive at the Braves and Javy Lopez re-uniting, it seems like just yesterday Lopez hit 43 homeruns on his way to fifth in MVP voting before bolting to Baltimore. He was never close to his 2003 numbers again and it ended last spring when the Rockies essentially allowed him to retire - that after an embarrassing stint with Boston in 2006. Javy was never the most consistent player, here's a look at his OBPs over his career beginning in 1994:
.299
.344
.322
.361
.328
.375
.337
.322
.299
.378
.370
.322
.297

Who knows what - if anything - he'll do this year, but simply put unless Javy is back to his 2003 form he shouldn't get a job over Clint Sammons. Hopefully Frank Wren and crew don't get all nostalgic with Tom Glavine and Lopez running around, otherwise Eddie Perez and Jorge Fabregas will be knocking on their doors next spring.