Lou Gehrig, who played in his last major league game on June 30 this season, is elected to the Hall of Fame. The five-year waiting rule is waived because of the Yankees first baseman's diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
At the urging of Senator owner Clark Griffith, the other American League owners enact a rule prohibiting the league's pennant winner from buying, selling or trading players during the following season. The winter meeting decision appears to have the desired effect as the Yankees finish in third place.
Tony Kubek (.297, 3, 39) is selected over Boston's infielder Frank Malzone (.292, 15, 103) by the BBWAA as the American League Rookie of the Year. Much to the dismay of the 27-year old Red Sox Gold Glove All-Star third baseman, he becomes ineligible when the writers, during the season, change the minimum number of career at-bats to determine rookie status.
Tom Tresh, the Yankees shortstop and left fielder is selected as the American League’s Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA. The 24-year old son of former major league catcher Mike Tresh gets 13 of the 20 votes cast by the writers, with Bob Rodgers (4), Dean Chance (1), Dick Radatz (1) and Bernie Allen (1) also receiving consideration.
Dick Ellsworth is traded by the Cubs to the Phillies for right-hander Ray Culp and cash. During his eight-year tenure in Chicago, the southpaw, who had both a 22-win (1963) and 22-loss (1966) season for the club, compiled 84 victories, the most by a North-side hurler during the decade.
The Giants sell Juan Marichal to the Red Sox where the high leg-kicking right-handed Dominican will post a 5-1 record. During his 14 seasons with San Francisco, the future Hall of Famer compiled a 238-140 (.630) record.
The Royals deal outfielder Lou Piniella and pitcher Ken Wright to the Yankees for veteran pitcher Lindy McDaniel. The controversial trade draws the Kansas City fans' ire, and rightfully so, when the 38-year old right-hander wins a total of only six games during his two years with the club with the 29-year old outfielder enjoying 11 solid seasons in the Bronx batting .295 and playing a major role in New York's four appearances in the World Series.
The Mets send right-handed starter Walt Terrell to the Tigers in exchange for infielder Howard Johnson. New York's new third baseman will spend nine years with the club and will return to the organization to become a minor league manager and big league coach.
The Mets deal Wally Backman along with prospect Mike Santiago to the Twins for minor leaguers Jeff Bumgarner, Steve Gasser and Toby Nivens. The trade leaves second base open for Gregg Jefferies, but the highly touted rookie infielder will falter, hitting a meager .258 next season.
Nolan Ryan becomes the first major leaguer to play for all four original expansion teams when he signs as a free agent with the Rangers, who played their first 11 seasons as the new Senators in Washington, D.C. The right-hander broke in with the Mets (1966, 1968-71) and was traded to the Angels (1972-79), before signing with the Astros (1980-1988), a team once known as the Colt .45s.
The Reds sign free-agent outfielder Roberto Kelly to a three-year deal. The 28-year old All-star outfielder will play solid baseball for his new team, compiling a .313 batting average in 125 games in Cincinnati, before being traded to Atlanta during the season in 1994 for Deion Sanders.
In addition to being traded from the Mariners to the Yankees along with relief pitcher Jeff Nelson and a minor leaguer for pitcher Sterling Hitchcock and infielder Russell Davis, first baseman Tino Martinez's wife gives birth, and he signs a $20.25 million contract to play for the Bronx Bombers.
The Mariners sign Mets' free-agent first baseman John Olerud to a $20-million, three-year deal. The former Washington State University All-American will garner a Gold Glove in each of his three seasons in Seattle, and he will play a pivotal role in the team's historic 116-46 campaign in 2001 compiling a .401 on-base percentage.
In a rare deal between the cross-town rivals, the Yankees trade outfielder/DH David Justice (.241, 18, 51) to the Mets for third baseman Robin Ventura (.237, 21, 61) . The teams have exchanged players only six times in forty years with the last time being in 1992 when the Mets dealt Frank Tanana for Kenny Greer, a minor league pitcher.
The Executive Board of the Players' Association authorizes union head Donald Fehr and their lawyers to work on a new agreement which will better address the steroid problem in major league baseball. The 40 players attending the meeting appeared to agree with the owners that more frequent and tougher testing is needed in light of the BALCO scandal.
After refusing a $60 million, four-year extension from the Red Sox last winter, Nomar Garciaparra signs a one-year deal with the Cubs, the team he was traded to in July, for $8 million. The all-star shortstop, who is coming off an injury-plagued season, can increase the value of the contract with bonus incentives based on performance and playing time to $11 million.
The Rangers trade Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge, and minor league pitching prospect Armando Galarraga. By dumping the All-Star second baseman’s salary, Texas frees up funds to seek much needed pitching.
The Diamondbacks acquire All-Star catcher Johnny Estrada (.261, 4, 39) from the Braves for a pair of right-handed relievers, Lance Cormier (7-3, 5.11) and Oscar Villarreal (2-0, 5.27). The deal, which is the first for Arizona’s new general manager Josh Byrnes, fills the D-Backs' need for a starting backstop and provides Atlanta to give emerging rookie Brian McCann more playing time.
Near the end of the Winter Meetings, the Royals sign Gil Meche to a five-year deal valued $55 million, which matches Mike Sweeney's contract as the largest in franchise history. During his five years in the major leagues, all with the Mariners, the 28-year old right-hander has compiled a 55-44 career record with an earned-run average of 4.65 in 147 games.
Adam Everett and the Tigers agree to a $1.55 million, one-year deal keeping the infielder in Detroit. The slick fielding shortstop batted .238 with three homers and 44 RBIs for the second-place club last season.
Carl Pavano accepts the Twins' salary arbitration offer, keeping the right-hander with Minnesota next season. The Southington, CT native posted a 5-4 record with a 4.64 ERA in a dozen starts for the team after being obtained from Cleveland in August.
The Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox short-season affiliate, well-known for their unique promotional events, publicly extend an invitation to Michaele and Tareq Salahi to attend the team's Eighth Annual Alumni Dinner to be held later this month at the city's Memorial Auditorium. The infamous couple have become recently newsworthy for their appearance at a White House State Dinner without being included on the guest list.
At the Winter Meetings, Jose Reyes is introduced as the Marlins' new shortstop. The 28-year old switch-hitting infielder, the NL's batting champ, signed a six-year, $106 million contract to play with Miami after the cash-strapped Mets showed little interest in retaining their home grown All-star.
Tim McCarver wins the Ford C. Frick Award, becoming only the second television analyst, along with Tony Kubek, to be honored with the award which is given for broadcasting excellence. The former catcher and longtime broadcaster has provided local analysis for the Mets, Yankees and Phillies as well as appearing on the national stage doing the Game of the Week and postseason telecasts for NBC, CBS and FOX.
The Marlins continue to sign prime free agents when they reach a deal with 32 year-old southpaw Mark Buehrle (13-9, 3.59) for $58 million over four years. Miami has also come to terms with shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell and are pursuing super-star Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.
In separate deals with free-agents, the Pirates sign left-handed starter Erik Bedard and outfielder Nate McLouth, who played with the franchise from 2005 to 2009. The Bucs' new southpaw compiled a 5-9 record last season with Seattle and Boston, and the 30-year old Gold Glove flycatcher returns to the Steel City three years after being traded to Atlanta where he hit .229 in 250 games.
The Astros hire Jeff Luhnow as the team's general manager to replace Ed Wade, who was fired last month in the first major moves made by new owner Jim Crane. The 45-year-old new GM, a vice president with St. Louis since 2003, will try to improve upon Houston's 56-106 finish last season, the worst record in franchise history.
The Nationals bolster an already solid rotation when the team signs veteran Dan Haren to a one-year deal for $13 million. The 32 year-old right-hander joins a rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler.
Jacoby Ellsbury agrees to a seven-year deal, valued around $153 million, to patrol center field for the Yankees, joining Brian McCann as the team’s second major free-agent signing this week. The outfielder, who played a major role in the Red Sox’s World Championship last season, also received offers from his former team, the Tigers and Mariners.