Historically, the month of February is devoid of baseball news, but the Blue Jays are proving to be the exception in '06.
* The last two arbitration holdouts, Shea Hillenbrand and Pete Walker, agreed to one-year contracts for the upcoming season.
Hillenbrand's contract has a base salary of $5.8 million and $50,000 worth of performance bonuses ($25,000 each for accruing 615 and 635 plate appearances). Hillendbrand had asked for $6.7 million, while the Blue Jays originally countered with a $5 million offer.
Walker's contract is worth $650,000. It's a compromise between his asking price of $875,000 and the club's original offer of $575,000.
No big news here. It's rare that cases go through the arbitration process, so compromises such as these are the norm.
* After being introduced as the newest member of the Blue Jays, Bengie Molina verbally lashed out at his former team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Here are some excerpts from today's comments:
"I think I built a good relationship with them," he said. "They never let me know. They just threw me like a piece of trash."
"I don't think I did one thing to disrespect them at all for all those years," Molina said. "If anything I went out of my way for them. I even helped them get Bartolo Colon onto that club. I gave him a call. I called a couple of guys for them. And now when I needed a call, they never called me."
I don't know enough about the situation to make a judgement on the veracity of his words, but history has shown us that situations similiar to this have happened before. I expect it's second nature for a GM, especially an experienced one like Bill Stoneman, to attempt to maintain good relations with former players. However, as last season's handling of the Carlos Delgado situation demonstrated, even the most celebrated and loyal of players are susceptible to making unceremonious exits.
* Brian Tallet, who was acquired less than a month ago from Cleveland for minor leaguer Bubbie Buzachero, was designated for assignment yesterday. Due to the acquisition of Molina, the team was forced to remove a player from its 40-man roster.