Teams shop till they drop right up until holiday

33 players reach deals as Christmas draws near

Teams shop till they drop right up until holiday

Baseball clubs apparently are like anybody else as the clock ticks down to Christmas: They scurry around for last-minute bargains, or try to hide presents from prying eyes.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, a flurry of transactions on Wednesday made MLB busier than Santa's workshop.

No fewer than 33 players changed addresses. The majority were Major League veterans signed to Minor League contracts by new teams or plucked off the waiver wire.

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There was also a significant free-agent signing: The Pirates' search for a left-handed bat to pair with Michael Morse at their barren first-base position led them to free agent John Jaso, signed to a two-year, $8 million deal.

The Angels' and the Brewers' elves were busiest, checking the waiver list once, then twice, and ultimately making three selections. The Halos claimed Rob Rasmussen from the Mariners, Rey Navarro from the Orioles and lefty Bobby LaFromboise from the Bucs. The Brewers' haul included the Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Andy Wilkins from Texas, and Josmil Pinto from San Diego.

Losing LaFromboise set off a shuffle of the Pirates' 40-man roster that was typical of the atypical day. The day began with their roster at full capacity, and LaFromboise opened up a spot for Yoervis Medina, whom the Bucs claimed off waivers from the Cubs. Shortly after, the Jaso signing caused Jorge Rondon to be outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Tracking all the activity threatened to jam NORAD trying to keep abreast of Santa Claus' whereabouts. But everyone was accounted for at the end of the day. Check out the late gifts placed under fans' trees:


• Wilkins (Rangers), to Brewers
Jerry Sands (Indians), to White Sox
Danny Reynolds (Dodgers), to Astros
• Rasmussen (Mariners), to Angels
• Pinto (Padres), to Brewers
Edgar Olmos (Orioles), to Cubs
• Nieuwenhuis (Mets), to Brewers
• Navarro (Orioles), to Angels
• Medina (Cubs), to Pirates
• LaFromboise (Pirates), to Angels
Tim Berry (Orioles), to Marlins

Players signed to Minor League contracts, with a chance to compete for jobs with their new teams in Spring Training:

• Outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who clubbed 21 homers for the Cubs in 2013, by the Tigers
• Righty Brandon Gomes, who appeared in 63 games with Tampa Bay in 2015, by the Cubs
• Infielder Alberto Gonzalez, a veteran of 426 big league games with five different teams, also by the Tigers
• Right-hander Logan Kensing, a key setup man for the Marlins in 2006-08, also by the Tigers
• Righty Alexi Ogando, owner of a 31-17 career record in six seasons, by the Braves
• Righty Vinnie Pestano, who in 2011-12 pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 137 relief outings for the Indians, by the Yankees
• Right-hander Tim Stauffer, a nine-game winner as a starter for the 2011 Padres, by the D-backs
• Second baseman Jordany Valdespin, the former Mets and Marlins utilityman, by the Tigers

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.