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Exercised the 2005 Option of LHRP Scott Sauerbeck

No monetary amount was disclosed, but I’ll assume it’s below $1M. This looks akin to an NFL “roster bonus,” essentially rewarding Sauerbeck for being healthy.

Re-signed OF Ernie Young to a minor-league contract

Young is a nice player to have around in AAA just in case. At the very least Young will be Buffalo’s cleanup hitter, and help out the Bisons as a quasi-coach.

Signed SS Jose Morban and RHP Steve Watkins to minor-league contracts

Morban was Rule 5ed in 2003 by the Baltimore Orioles, and basically sat on the bench the entire year, accumulating only 71(!) at-bats. Last year Morban presumedly suffered from the lack of playing time upon his return to the minors, where he hit .235 in high-A Frederick and .210 in AA Bowie. With Miguel Tejada locked up for the near future, the Orioles obviously no longer had a need for a shortstop project, so let him walk via minor-league free agency. He’s still 25, but the negatives are obvious; he really wasn’t that good a prospect in the first place, he acquired a year’s worth of rust, and now he’s coming off an awful year in the minors. For every Johan Santana, there’s about 10 Jose Morbans and Luis Uguetos floating around the minors. I’d assume Morban will be plugged in at Kinston or Akron, depending on where there’s a need at shortstop.

As for Watkins, he’s semi-interesting. He put up good numbers both in Mobile and Portland, and got a cup of coffee with the Padres. He’s been used mainly as a starter throughout his professional career, and he could be useful as a swingman at the major-league level. He’s not that old (26), so this move has some upside to it.

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