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Hot Stove: 12/31

We lost one of the members of the 1954 Giants World Series team and a longtime Oriole retired after 13 seasons in the major leagues.

Record of the Day

Youngest player to appear in a 2011 game: Julio Teheran, born 1/27/1991.

On May 7th, Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves made his major league debut at just 20 years, 99 days old in Philadelphia, tossing 4 2/3 innings of three-run ball. In five games (three starts) across 2011, Teheran would finish 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA. A professional since age 17, the skinny Colombian right-hander was 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA at AAA Gwinnett in 2011.

Free Agent Signings

Blue Jays agreed to terms with Darren Oliver (5-5, 2.29 ERA, .236 BAA, 2 saves, 2012 age: 41) on a one year deal.

Yankees agreed to terms to bring back Andruw Jones (13 HR, 33 RBI, .247 AVG, 0 SB, 2012 age: 35) on a one-year, $2 million deal (plus up to $1.4 million in incentives). 

Phillies signed Hector Luna (missed 2011 season, 13 career HR, .266 AVG, 2012 age: 32) to a minor league deal.

Phillies also signed Lou Montanez (1 HR, 9 RBI, .222 AVG, 0 SB, 2012 age: 30) to a minor league deal.

Pirates signed Anderson Hernandez (missed 2011 season, four career HR, .241 AVG, 2012 age: 29) to a minor league deal.

Oliver joins the Blue Jays bullpen as a solid left-handed reliever on his ninth major league team. After missing much of 2005 to injury and never pitching in the major leagues that year, Oliver was converted to a full-time reliever and has thrived in the role. His best year as a starter was in 1997, when the 26-year-old was 13-12 with a 4.20 ERA in 32 starts for the Rangers. When the Mets converted him in 2006, he showed much better numbers, posting a 3.44 ERA in 45 games as New York's long reliever. He broke out as a reliever in 2008 with the Angels, going 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 54 games, again as a long reliever. He dropped his ERA to 2.71 in 2009, but when he became a regular one inning reliever in Texas in 2010, he thrived. In 64 appearances at the ripe age of 39, Oliver posted a 2.48 ERA and recorded his first save in 16 years, his first two coming in 1994. He had his best year last year, posting a career best 2.29 ERA and .236 BAA (.227 against lefties) in 61 games. Over his 19-year career, Oliver is 112-90 with a 4.60 ERA and .278 BAA in 654 games (229 starts). 

Other News

Don Mueller, who played from 1948-1959 with the Giants and White Sox, passed away at 84 years old.

Melvin Mora retired at the age of 39 after 13 years in the major leagues.

Don Mueller was one of the keys to the New York Giants' success in the '50's, playing on two All Star teams and helping the Giants to the 1954 World Series championship. The St. Louis native first debuted with New York in 1948 at the age of 21, homering once and batting .358 in 36 games. After an unsuccessful, 51-game 1949 where he batted .232, Mueller broke out with a strong first full season in 1950. In 132 games, he hit seven home runs and batted .291 with a stolen base. His power emerged in 1951, as he set a career high with 16 home runs and batted .277 in 122 games. After a well-rounded 1952 where he hit 12 home runs and batted .281, Mueller's power decreased considerably in 1953, but his ability to hit for average skyrocketed. Hitting just six home runs, he finished fifth in the National League with a .333 average to establish himself as one of the league's top contact hitters. In Giants' famous 1954, he hit four home runs and batted .342 to make his first All Star team and play a key role in the Giants' World Series championship. His 212 hits led the major leagues by eleven and his .342 average placed him third, behind only Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Ted Williams, who both hit .345. He made his second All Star team in 1955 while hitting eight home runs and batting .306 in 147 games. He began to slow down in 1956, hitting five home runs and batting just .269 in 138 games. Hitting the final six home runs of his career in 1957, he batted .258 with his final two stolen bases. He signed with the White Sox in 1958 and batted .253 in 70 games before playing his final four games in 1959. The 32-year-old made four pinch-hitting appearances and went 2-4 to finish off his career. Over his 12-year career, he hit 65 home runs and batted .296 with 11 stolen bases in 1,245 games. His .296 average places him 265th all time, tied with Lance Berkman Jeff Cirillo, and Keith Hernandez. His 1,292 hits tie him with Roy Johnson for 812th all time.  

Melvin Mora retires as one of the great Orioles of all time. A two-time All Star and 2004 Silver Slugger winner, Mora hit more home runs (158) than any Oriole in the 20th century (Jay Gibbons hit 121). After finally clawing his way into the major leagues at age 27 in 1999 with the Mets, the Venezuela native had a solid rookie season in 2000. Splitting the season between the Mets and Orioles, the 28-year-old hit eight home runs and batted .275 with 12 stolen bases 132 games, though he was caught stealing 11 times. After a mediocre 2001, Mora broke out in 2002 with 19 home runs despite his average dropping to .233. He also stole a career high 16 bases. Limited to 96 games in 2003, Mora put together a huge first half where he hit 13 home runs and batted .349 in 75 games. An injury kept him out of action until September, and he finished with just 15 home runs and a .317 average. All of this preluded a huge 2004 in which he hit 27 home runs, knocked in 104, and batted .340 with 11 stolen bases in 140 games. The performance netted the 32-year-old the AL Silver Slugger for third base. He hit 27 home runs again in 2005 and batted .283 in 149 games. He played in a career high 155 games in 2006 but hit only 16 home runs and batted .274. It was obvious Mora was on the decline when he hit 14 home runs in 2007 while again batting .274. He saw one final solid season in 2008, hitting 23 home runs, knocking in 104, and batting .285 in 135 games. In his 10th and final season with the Orioles in 2009, he hit eight home runs and batted .260 in 125 games. Signing with the Rockies in 2010, Mora hit seven home runs and batted .285 in 113 games in his return to the National League. The Diamondbacks inked him for 2011, and he batted .228 in 42 games before his release in June.  Over his 13-year career, he hit 171 home runs, knocked in 754, and batted .277 with 93 stolen bases in 1,556 games. His 171 home runs tie him with Richard Hidalgo and Dmitri Young for 367th all time, while his 754 RBI tie him with Gary Maddox for 507th. His 283 doubles tie him with Rocky Colavito for 475th.  

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Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves

If your team is not included, please leave a comment.

HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. BAA: batting average against. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage

Zack Silverman

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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