Needing room on the 40-man roster, the Astros designated for assignment 29-year-old infielder Gregorio Petit.
Petit played 37 games for Houston this past season, hitting .278 with a .723 OPS while seeing action at shortstop, second base, and third base.
He also hit .297 with 10 homers and a .798 OPS in 85 games at Triple-A, although his track record in the minors is much less impressive.
How far were the Cubs willing to go to sign free agent left-hander Jon Lester?
Team president Theo Epstein told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: “I was ready to soak myself in deer urine, if necessary.”
That quote is probably better without context, but here it is anyway: Lester is an avid hunter and did a lot of his thinking about various contract offers while hunting (presumably while soaked in deer urine at some point).
As for what the Cubs did use to snag Lester … well, $155 million was obviously the main thing. Beyond that Lester was already familiar with Epstein and several other members of the Cubs’ front office from their time together with the Red Sox.
Here’s more on the sales pitch, via Mooney:
The Cubs brought the Lesters into the presentation room inside the team’s Clark Street office building, showing them a scale model of the renovated stadium and pictures of what the new clubhouse will look like. A video board showed his lifetime batting average (.000) as an icebreaker.
Two representatives from community relations gave a presentation on how Lester could leverage Cubs Charities and make an impact in the community. Lester–who had been diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma near the end of his rookie season in 2006–is heavily involved in the Never Quit foundation that helps pediatric cancer patients.
The Cubs unveiled the blueprints for the new family room and outlined all the security measures in place and the personal services offered to players.
Oh, and here’s my favorite part: “The Cubs also highlighted the differences between the Chicago media and the Boston media.”
For my own amusement, I’m going to take that to mean Dan Shaughnessy’s presence in Boston kept Lester from re-signing with the Red Sox.
Veteran first baseman Dan Johnson, who bounces around from Triple-A to the majors every season and occasionally comes up with a big hit on a big stage, has signed a minor-league deal with the Astros.
Johnson played just 15 games in the majors this past season for the Blue Jays and also failed to post his usual great numbers at Triple-A, although he did manage 18 homers and an .815 OPS in 107 games.
He’ll serve as organization depth for Houston, probably beginning the season at Triple-A.
Having failed to re-sign Pablo Sandoval and missed out on signing Chase Headley as his replacement, the Giants are in the market for a new third baseman.
Chris Haft of MLB.com writes that a trade is looking more and more likely because even secondary options like Jed Lowrie are no longer available on the free agent market.
Asdrubal Cabrera might be the best bet among remaining free agents, but according to Haft some trade candidates include Lonnie Chisenhall of the Indians, Casey McGehee of the Marlins, and Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox.
Sandoval left the Giants to sign a five-year, $90 million deal with the Red Sox and Headley re-signed with the Yankees for $52 million over four years.
Having paid the Marlins to take right-hander Dan Haren off their hands the Dodgers have replaced him in the rotation with left-hander Brett Anderson.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com it’s a one-year deal worth $10 million in guaranteed money, plus $4 million in potential incentives. Haren had one year and $10 million remaining on his contract when the Dodgers shipped him and the money to cover his entire salary to Miami.
Anderson was once among the best young left-handers in baseball, but he hasn’t topped 100 innings in a season since 2010 and hasn’t been fully healthy since his rookie year in 2009. He was effective in eight starts for the Rockies this past season, posting a 2.91 ERA, but at age 27 he’s logged a combined 206 innings in the past four seasons.