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A Rash Of Minor Transactions

Offseason player movement, up to now reeeealllly slow, started to pick up yesterday with a few minor transactions (and two more that are about to happen).

Transaction: Mike Hampton signs a one-year, $2 million deal with the Astros

Comment: Hampton played for Houston a zillion years ago; he had a great year there in 1999, which helped get him his huge free-agent deal after he spent 2000 with the Mets. Among his teammates his last year in Houston were Paul Bako, Daryle Ward and Ken Caminiti. Hampton's 36 and likely on the decline; it costs the Astros little, and that's probably what they'll get.

Transaction: Russell Branyan signs a one-year deal with the Mariners

Comment: If some team had just installed Branyan at DH 7 or 8 years ago, he might have put up a couple of 50-homer seasons. He has hit a HR about every 15 AB in his career, 133 in 2000 AB. He strikes out a ton, which is why most teams won't touch him. He might do OK in Seattle, especially if they DH him part of the time.

Transaction: Cardinals sign LHP Trever Miller to a one-year deal that could be worth $2 million with incentives

Comment: Yawn. Miller has a career ERA of 4.43 and a career WHIP of 1.499. He'll be 36 in May.

Transaction: Cardinals to acquire Khalil Greene for two minor league pitchers

Comment: This one isn't official yet, but apparently will be today. Double yawn. I know a lot of people here salivated after Greene, but he had a really bad year last year before being shut down after July. He's 29 years old and isn't going to be getting any better.

Transaction: Giants to sign SS Edgar Renteria as a free agent

Comment: Another one that isn't quite done yet, but supposedly will happen. What is with the Giants' fetish with older, declining players? Five years ago, acquiring Renteria might have been a good idea. Now -- why bother?