January 11, 2010 [LINK / comment]
The budget-concious Cincinnati Reds have had to let some of their biggest stars go over the past few years -- Ken Griffey, Jr., Adam Dunn, and Austin Kearns -- but they may be preparing for a long-term resurgence. They just made a big splash by agreeing to terms with Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman on a five-year, $25 million contract, outbidding several other teams. Details are still pending. It may take a year or two for the 22-year older to get used to the major leagues, but the lightning-fast (100 MPH?) left-handed pitcher could eventually help make the Reds competitive in the NL Central Division once again. Chapman pitched for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic last spring. See MLB.com.
The Texas Rangers reached a one-year agreement with Vladimir Guerrero that includes a mutual option for a one-year extension. The outfielder will play most of his games as a designated hitter this year. Vlad began his career with the Expos in September 1997, but they could not afford to keep him when he became a free agent after the 2003 season, so he signed as with the "LAnaheim" Angels. In 2004, he was chosen as American League MVP. That was just one year before the Expos moved south and became the Washington Nationals... See MLB.com.
Plus, there are rumors that Ryan Church is close to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like the Reds, they need an offensive boost, and Church has proven himself as a reliable batter while playing for the Expos, Nationals, Mets, and Braves.
Gradually getting caught up with changes in the baseball world over the past year, I have updated the Stadium chronology (by decade), Stadium names, and Stadiums in Limbo pages.