Signed 1B Mike Napoli to a one-year, $7.0M contract
This signing took three weeks to become official (as in adding him to the 40-man roster), having been confirmed on December 16th. A poor physical once denied Napoli a long-term contract, but he's played three full seasons since the hip condition surfaced, and there isn't a whole lot of risk involved in a one-year deal.
Napoli broke into the majors as a catcher, but hit well enough to stick around as a first baseman, and he's become a very good defender at the position, and will likely mean that Carlos Santana will spend a good part of the 2016 season as a DH. However, because Napoli has struggled against right-handed pitchers (.603 OPS in 290 PA in 2015), Santana should see more overall playing time than Napoli.
Designated RHP Kirby Yates for Assignment
Traded RHP Kirby Yates to the New York Yankees for Cash
The Indians acquired Yates earlier in the winter during their waiver claim spree, and couldn't sneak him through waivers. He'll end up staying the division, having ended the 2015 season with Tampa Bay and will start 2016 in the New York organization. Tony Wolters has outlasted another one, and barring a last-minute signing (Juan Uribe?) might actually stay on the 40-man roster another winter.
Selected MLB Transactions (December 28-January 10)
Not exactly a great return for one of baseball's best relievers, but some organizations might have stayed away from the flame-throwing closer because of a recent domestic incident. Davis is the best prospect of the bunch, a starting pitcher who ended 2015 in AA. The rest of the players don't look very exciting to me.
Chapman makes an already formidable Yankee bullpen even better, and although he's just a year away from free agency, the Yankees didn't have to give up much for him, and have the resources to keep him long-term if that's what they want to do. There's a possibility that MLB suspends Chapman for the off-season incident, but again, the Yankees have the bullpen depth to survive even a lengthy Chapman suspension.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed LHP Scott Kazmir to a 3-year, $48M contract
After losing out on Zack Greinke, the Dodgers turned to LGFT Kazmir, who continues to benefit from his 2013 season with the Indians.
I suppose this means the Nationals are stuck with Jonathan Papelbon, and so they needed to trade their other top reliever. Revere is two years from free agency, and Storen is one year away, so I'd say the Nationals got the better end of the deal, especially if the PTBNL turns out to be a real prospect. The Jays may now move Aaron Sanchez back into the rotation, which will help shore up the hole left by the departed David Price.
Latest 40-man roster
I've moved Carlos Santana to the DH spot, but as mentioned above, I think he'll see some time at first base this year. Collin Cowgill for now gets demoted to the minors, but with Michael Brantley starting the season on the DL, Cowgill has a decent shot at starting the season in the majors.
I still have six starting pitchers listed, and next week I'll swap Cody Anderson for a reliever. With the Indians acquiring offensive help via free agency, there's no longer any need to trade a starting pitcher, and because Cody Anderson has an option, he'll be headed to the minors if everyone else is healthy.
I've also included Zach McCallister's 2016 salary ($1.3M), which was much higher than my estimate ($800,000). I'm starting to think that my estimates for Jeff Manship, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen are also low.