We're all familiar with Hamilton's story of overcoming drug and alcohol addiction to reach the Majors. It's too bad, then, that he fell off the horse, thereby violating the terms of the treatment program he agreed to in 2006 when he returned from a two-year suspension. Let's all hope he can restore the balance he had and be the best player he possibly can be.
The next Cuban phenom has found a new home in the U.S. Moncada and the Red Sox reached a signing agreement worth $30 million, which also means the Sox will have to pay a luxury tax, bringing the total expenditure to $60 million. Moncada won't be able to make an immediate impact; he'll require at least one year in the minors before seeing any major-league pitching.
Santana hasn't pitched since 2012, but the Jays are taking a flyer on the 35-year-old lefty. He'll receive $2.5 million if he makes the 25-man roster plus incentives for days active and starts.
Gregg Zaun, who now broadcasts for the Blue Jays, spent 16 years as a catcher with nine different teams in the Majors, the first 90 games with Baltimore from 1995-96. During that time, he says, Ripken and other teammates hazed him to keep his ego in check; Zaun even claims Ripken tackled him on a plane. Despite this treatment, Zaun says it was beneficial to him and even encourages it today. He cites Brett Lawrie as an example of one who could benefit from this. Meanwhile, Ripken denied ever hazing Zaun, who backtracked a bit on his statement afterwards saying it was only "horseplay".
Ramirez will be 37 years old in June and with balky legs found playing defense difficult, although he still managed to hit .285 with 15 homers last year. Braves fans certainly won't miss his .377 avg. against them, his highest against any NL opponent. His 369 home runs are currently tied for 76th all-time with Ralph Kiner and Todd Helton. He is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Brewers.
During his 14-year career with six different teams, Pierre was a consistent stolen base threat, stealing as many as 68 bases in 2010 with the White Sox. Pierre's 614 steals rank 18th in MLB history; the closest active player is Ichiro with 487. He led the league in steals three times, but also led the league in getting caught six times. He retires with 2,217 hits and a .295 avg.