PURCHASED: Controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds, by MARGE SCHOTT, 56, a Cincinnati auto dealer and minority owner, for an undisclosed amount, from James and William Williams, who have owned the Reds since 1981. The club lost about $4 million in 1984.
SIGNED: By the New York Yankees, free-agent pitcher ED WHITSON, 29, 14-8 for the San Diego Padres in '84, to a five-year, $4.4 million contract; by the Texas Rangers, free-agent pitcher DAVE ROZEMA, 28, 7-6 for the Detroit Tigers in '84, to a two-year contract reportedly worth $650,000.
To a lifetime contract as coach of the Minnesota Vikings, BUD GRANT, 57, who had retired in 1983 after 17 seasons and a 151-87-5 record with the Vikings.
DIED: DEBS GARMS, 76, the National League batting champion in 1940, with a .355 average for the Pittsburgh Pirates, of pneumonia in Glen Rose, Texas. Garms played 12 years in the majors as an outfielder/third baseman for four teams.