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CanadianHorseman



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Might as well start things off with a 6 player trade:

To Seattle - RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and minor league OF Boog Powell

To Tampa Bay - 1B/OF Logan Morrison, RHP Danny Farquhar and INF/OF Brad Miller



from cbssports.com:


Logan Morrison and Brad Miller have been traded to the Rays.



The Rays and Mariners have announced a six-player trade that sends first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison, righty reliever Danny Farquhar and utility man Brad Miller to Tampa Bay in exchange for righty starter Nathan Karns, lefty reliever C.J. Riefenhauser and outfield prospect Boog Powell.

The trade is the first for new Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, who took over last month. He replaced Jack Zduriencik, who was let go during the team's disappointing 2015 season. Dipoto resigned as Angels GM at midseason after losing a power struggle with manager Mike Scioscia. Owner Arte Moreno sided with Scioscia.

Miller, 26, is the key piece for the Rays. He's a career .248/.313/.394 (101 OPS+) hitter who can play shortstop -- a position of need in Tampa -- but also has experience all over the infield and outfield. Expect to hear quite a bit of "the next Ben Zobrist" talk when Miller is discussed, though that is rather optimistic.

Morrison, 28, gives the Rays another option at first base, designated hitter and the corner-outfield spots. James Loney is entrenched at first base, but DH is open and the Rays like to rotate players in the outfield based on platoon matchups. Morrison is a career .246/.326/.416 (106 OPS+) hitter.

The Mariners got two nice years out of Farquhar -- he had a 3.34 ERA (110 ERA+) in 126 2/3 innings -- before he fell apart in 2015, pitching to a 5.12 ERA (74 ERA+) in 51 innings. Seattle originally acquired him from the Yankees in the Ichiro Suzuki trade. Farquhar is a bounce-back bullpen candidate for Tampa.

As for the Mariners, they're clearing up their first base/DH logjam by moving Morrison while also rebuilding some pitching depth. The team can now play Mark Trumbo at first base and Nelson Cruz at DH while letting some better defenders roam the spacious Safeco Field outfield.

Karns, 27, is the main piece heading to the Mariners. He pitched very well this past season, his first full year as a big leaguer, posting a 3.67 ERA (107 ERA+) in 147 innings across 26 starts and one relief appearance. Karns struck out 145 batters. He figures to step right into Seattle's rotation alongside Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker.

Riefenhauser, 25, has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors the last two seasons. He has a 6.30 ERA (64 ERA+) in 20 career big-league innings and a 2.71 ERA in 113 Triple-A innings. Riefenhauser will be in the mix for a bullpen job come spring training.

The Rays acquired Powell, 22, from the Athletics in the Zobrist trade last offseason. He hit .295/.385/.392 with 16 doubles, three home runs and 18 stolen bases in 114 games split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015. MLB.com ranks Powell as the 13th-best prospect in Tampa Bay's system.

The years-of-control aspect is important for this trade. Miller and Farquhar won't become free agents until after the 2019 season while Morrison will be a free agent after next season. Karns is under the Mariners' control through 2020 while Riefenhauser and Powell both have all six years of team control remaining.

The Rays are hoping Miller turns into their long-term shortstop, or, at the very least, becomes a supersub who can capably play multiple positions. They have the pitching depth to spare, which is why they moved Karns. Dipoto, meanwhile, is trying to make his roster a bit more flexible.






lobo316



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CanadianHorseman wrote: Might as well start things off with a 6 player trade:

To Seattle - RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and minor league OF Boog Powell

To Tampa Bay - 1B/OF Logan Morrison, RHP Danny Farquhar and INF/OF Brad Miller











OF Boog Powell is not related to the former Orioles first baseman.

CanadianHorseman



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lobo316 wrote: OF Boog Powell is not related to the former Orioles first baseman.
Unless it's a family name his parents must have named after the Baltimore slugger. 

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made qualifying offers to Zack Greinke, Howie Kendrick, and Brett Anderson, ensuring the team receives draft-pick compensation if it loses those players to free agency.

Each player has one week to mull over the one-year deal, but no player has ever accepted a qualifying offer. If all three players sign elsewhere this winter, the Dodgers will receive three compensatory picks between the first and second rounds of the 2016 draft. Any team that signs a qualified free agent, meanwhile, will forfeit its first unprotected pick in next year's amateur draft.

Greinke, 32, opted out of his six-year contract earlier this week following a sublime 2015 season, enabling the veteran right-hander to either negotiate a new deal with the Dodgers or sign with another team as a free agent. A three-time All-Star, Greinke fashioned a 1.66 ERA - the fourth-lowest single-season mark since the mound was lowered in 1969 - with a 0.84 WHIP over 222 2/3 innings.

Kendrick, who was acquired by the Dodgers in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels last winter, enjoyed a fine season, too, hitting .295/.336/.409 (107 OPS+) with nine home runs and 22 doubles in 117 games.

Anderson's inaugural campaign in Los Angeles went swimmingly, as well, as the oft-injured 27-year-old logged a career-high 180 1/3 innings with the Dodgers, posting a 3.69 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP in 31 starts.

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The Houston Astros have made a qualifying offer to outfielder Colby Rasmus, general manager Jeff Luhnow announced.

Rasmus can either accept the one-year, $15.8-million offer or test the free-agent market.

Houston will receive draft-pick compensation if Rasmus signs elsewhere.

Rasmus, 29, hit .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs and 61 RBIs in 137 regular-season games, but really established himself with the club following a .412/.583/1.176 tear with four homers over six postseason games.

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The Baltimore Orioles extended $15.8-million qualifying offers to Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, and Wei-Yin Chen on Friday, guaranteeing themselves draft-pick compensation should any of those players sign elsewhere as free agents.

Each player has one week to mull over the one-year deal, but no player has ever accepted a qualifying offer. If all three players sign elsewhere this winter, the Orioles will receive three compensatory picks between the first and second rounds of the 2016 draft. Any team that signs a qualified free agent, meanwhile, will forfeit its top unprotected pick in next year's amateur draft.

After stumbling through a rough 2014 campaign, Davis rebounded nicely this season, leading the majors with 47 homers (and a 31 percent strikeout rate) while posting a .923 OPS over 160 games. Since 2013, no player has hit more home runs than Davis, who turns 30 in March.

Wieters, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft, was limited to 75 games this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. The 29-year-old hit .267/.319/.422 (100 OPS+) with eight homers in 2015, but only caught on consecutive days a total of four times.

Chen, finally, enjoyed the finest season of his MLB career in 2015, posting a career-best 3.34 ERA (124 ERA+) with a 3.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 191 1/3 innings, another career-high.

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The Washington Nationals made some interesting decisions prior to Friday's 5 p.m. ET qualifying offer deadline.

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond have been offered one-year, $15.8-million deals by the club, but outfielder Denard Span was not extended an offer.

Zimmermann and Desmond now have seven days to consider their deals, and the club will receive compensatory draft picks should they sign with another club. Span is now a free agent.

Zimmermann, 29, has spent his entire seven-year career with the Nationals, compiling a 70-50 record with a 3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He will likely reject the qualifying offer and command a multiyear deal on the open market.

Desmond, 30, couldn't replicate the awesome offensive production he enjoyed in 2014, but will surely generate tons of interest in free agency from teams looking for help up the middle. He hit .233/.290/.384 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs in 156 games.

Span, 31, hits for a high average and his speed will be highly coveted by suitors this fall. He hit .301/.365/.431 and stole 11 bases during an injury-plagued campaign in which he dealt with back and hip problems.

No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer.

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The Seattle Mariners have issued right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma a qualifying offer, the club announced shortly before the 5 p.m. ET deadline Friday.

Iwakuma can return to the club on a one-year, $15.8-million contract or elect free agency.

The Mariners will receive draft-pick compensation if Iwakuma decides to move on.

Iwakuma, 34, was limited to 20 starts due to lat and finger injuries, but is 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in four seasons with the Mariners.

No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer.

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Though the Blue Jays are expected to lose several members from their 2015 rotation this winter, right-hander Marco Estrada could be back in Toronto next season, as the veteran received a $15.8-million qualifying offer Friday afternoon.

Estrada, who turned 32 in July, has one week to make a decision, though no player has accepted a qualifying offer since this system was introduced in 2012. If he rejects the one-year offer and heads to free agency, he will force the team that acquires him to forfeit their first pick in the 2016 draft, while the Blue Jays will receive a compensatory pick after the first round.

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason, Estrada opened the 2015 campaign in Toronto's bullpen, but was thrust into the rotation in early May. In 28 starts, Estrada fashioned a 3.28 ERA (4.43 FIP) with a 1.06 WHIP, limiting opponents to a .208 batting average, while posting the 17th-highest soft-hit ball rate (20.8 percent) among qualified starters.

Estrada shined in the postseason, too, crafting a 2.33 ERA with a 15:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three starts, while staving off elimination in both Game 3 of the American League Division Series and Game 5 of the league championship series.

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The New York Mets announced Friday they've given second baseman Daniel Murphy a qualifying offer.

Murphy can elect to accept the one-year, $15.8-million contract, or become a free agent. He has seven days to consider the offer.

The Mets will receive draft pick compensation if Murphy signs with another team.

Murphy posted a respectable .281/.322/.449 slash line with 14 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season, but boosted his value with an incredible postseason. The 30-year-old hit .328/.391/.724 with seven home runs and 11 RBIs to power New York's push to the Fall Classic. However, his mind-blowing offensive output was overshadowed by a pair of defensive miscues in the World Series.

No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer.

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Despite stumbling through a brutal 2015 campaign, impending free agent Jeff Samardzija received a $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Chicago White Sox on Friday, guaranteeing the club draft-pick compensation if the right-hander signs elsewhere this winter.

If Samardzija rejects the offer - he has one week to decide - the White Sox will receive a compensatory pick in the 2016 draft, between the first and second rounds, while the team that acquires the 30-year-old will forfeit their first unprotected pick in the draft.

No player has accepted a qualifying offer, however, since this system of compensation was introduced in 2012, though Samardzija may be inclined to take the one-year deal after managing a 4.96 ERA (79 ERA+) with a 1.29 WHIP over 32 starts in 2015.

Samardzija, an All-Star in 2014, also allowed the most hits (228) and home runs (29) in the American League this season, while posting his worst strikeout rate (17.9 percent) since 2010, when he threw 19 1/3 innings for the Chicago Cubs.

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The Chicago Cubs made a qualifying offer to outfielder Dexter Fowler, the team announced.

Fowler can now accept the one-year, $15.8-million deal, or test the free-agent market. He has seven days to make up his mind.

The move ensures the Cubs will receive draft-pick compensation if Fowler signs elsewhere.

Fowler, 29, had a solid first season with the Cubs, hitting .250/.346/.411 with 17 homers and 46 RBIs in 156 games.

No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer.

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Eager to increase Miguel Sano's defensive versatility this offseason, the Minnesota Twins have asked Estrellas Orientales, the youngster's Dominican Winter League club, to give him some reps in left field over the next few weeks.

The 22-year-old didn't log a single inning in the outfield throughout his minor-league career, and received the majority of his playing time with the Twins last season as designated hitter, receiving only the occasional start at third base. Though Sano thrived as the club's primary DH, smashing 18 homers with a .916 OPS (146 OPS+) over 80 games in his rookie season, manager Paul Molitor wants him to play the field more in 2016.

"I don't want Miguel Sano to be a DH next year full time," Molitor told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I've got to look for a way to get him on the field. It might not work out. He’s going to play a little bit this winter. We’re going to expose him to some work down there. I don’t know how many games he’ll play, but I know he’s going to get some work on that."

With Trevor Plouffe entrenched at third base, though, and Joe Mauer set to reprise his role as the club's everyday first baseman, left field seems like the most sensible fit for Sano.

"We'll see," Molitor said. "It might be far-fetched. We've got an opening in the outfield. We've got (Aaron) Hicks and we have (Eddie) Rosario and we have (Byron) Buxton. Who's going to be ready? We've got (Max) Kepler on the way and we've still got (Oswaldo) Arcia in the system. I've got to look for a spot to get (Sano) on the field defensively, and right now I think that's one place I would at least consider."

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lobo316 wrote: The Houston Astros have made a qualifying offer to outfielder Colby Rasmus, general manager Jeff Luhnow announced.

Rasmus can either accept the one-year, $15.8-million offer or test the free-agent market.

Houston will receive draft-pick compensation if Rasmus signs elsewhere.

Rasmus, 29, hit .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs and 61 RBIs in 137 regular-season games, but really established himself with the club following a .412/.583/1.176 tear with four homers over six postseason games.
I think there's half a chance Rasmus takes this, and tries to put in a better 2016 to bump his value up a bit. 

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Famous Mortimer wrote: lobo316 wrote: The Houston Astros have made a qualifying offer to outfielder Colby Rasmus, general manager Jeff Luhnow announced.

Rasmus can either accept the one-year, $15.8-million offer or test the free-agent market.

Houston will receive draft-pick compensation if Rasmus signs elsewhere.

Rasmus, 29, hit .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs and 61 RBIs in 137 regular-season games, but really established himself with the club following a .412/.583/1.176 tear with four homers over six postseason games.
I think there's half a chance Rasmus takes this, and tries to put in a better 2016 to bump his value up a bit. 
Definitely seems like more than he'll get in a multi year, especially given his age and his reputation. He should take it. 

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Former major-league pitcher Tommy Hanson died late Monday after falling into a coma, the Atlanta Braves confirmed.

The 29-year-old was reportedly taken to the hospital Sunday and suffered catastrophic organ failure, according to Zach Klein of WSB.

Several of Hanson's former teammates were near him at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital when he passed, while others took to Twitter to express their condolences.

Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude. :/

— Andrelton Simmons (@Andrelton) November 10, 2015
Thoughts and prayers to the family of Tommy Hanson. Great guy and competitor. RIP

— Josh Reddick (@RealJoshReddick) November 10, 2015
Hanson, who broke into the league with the Braves in 2009 and also pitched for the Los Angeles Angels during his five-year career, hasn't appeared in the majors since 2013 after injuries set him back. He spent last season with Triple-A Sacramento, going 3-5 with a 5.60 ERA across 11 starts.

Selected in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft, the hurler affectionately known as "Big Red" finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 after going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA. He spent four seasons in Atlanta before he was traded to Los Angeles in 2012, and bounced around the minor leagues the last two seasons.

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Yasiel Puig didn't live up to high expectations during an injury-plagued 2015 campaign, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping he shows up to spring training in the best shape of his life.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his team of executives attended the annual GM meetings Monday, and Friedman revealed losing weight may be key for Puig's success moving forward.

"He has continued to get bigger and stronger each year," Friedman said. "It may not be the optimal size for him to play 150 games, 150-plus games."

The outfielder is listed at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, and hit .255 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 79 games last season.

Puig is working with Brandon McDaniel, the team's strength and conditioning coach, this offseason in an attempt to return to his 2014 All-Star form.

Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, and Scott Van Slyke will also vie for playing time in the outfield next year, so Puig could be the odd man out if he can't rebound from his lackluster season.

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Major League Baseball has acted swiftly after reports surfaced Monday that Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested in Hawaii on Halloween for allegedly assaulting his wife.

The league issued the following statement:

As evidenced by our Joint Domestic Violence Policy, Major League Baseball understands the seriousness of the issues surrounding domestic violence, and our Policy explicitly recognizes the harm resulting from such acts. Consistent with the terms of this policy, the Commissioner's Office already has begun its investigation into the facts and circumstances. Any action taken by the Commissioner's Office in this matter will be wholly in according with this Policy.

The Rockies also addressed the situation early Tuesday morning, stating they'll look into the allegations in accordance with MLB's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.


Under MLB's domestic violence policy, players can be suspended with pay while legal charges are pending in "exceptional cases."

Reyes is set to make $22 million next season, and under contract through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.

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Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols finally underwent right foot surgery last week after struggling through the final month of the season.

Pujols isn't expected to resume baseball activities for another four-and-a-half months, putting his projected recovery at some time in late March, and making his availability for the beginning of the 2016 season in jeopardy.

"The surgery, as expected, went very well," general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. "Albert will continue rehabbing in the Kansas City area throughout the winter and is expected to resume full baseball activities in four-and-a-half months."

The 35-year-old is coming off a bounce-back season in which he was an All-Star and hit 40 home runs, but was relegated to designated hitting duties for most of September due to a sore right foot.

Pujols hit just .224/.294/.421 with five home runs and nine strikeouts over his final 28 games, as he underwent multiple injections in order to help alleviate some of the pain.

The Angels have numerous holes in their lineup they'll look to address in the offseason, including in left field, DH, third base, and second base, making the potential of Pujols not being ready to start the season somewhat more worrisome.

Pujols has six years and $165 million remaining on his deal with the Angels, which he signed prior to the 2012 season.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Boston Red Sox want to see less of Hanley Ramirez next season.

New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski met with Ramirez and agent Adam Katz at the site of the general managers' meetings and discussed the team's plan to move Ramirez to first base.

Dombrowski wants Ramirez to drop some pounds.

''He's not overweight 245. He's big and huge 245. We would rather have a more svelte 230 type of weight,'' Dombrowski said Monday.

Ramirez, 31, agreed to an $88 million, four-year contract with Boston last November and shifted from shortstop to left field, where he struggled. He hit .249 with 19 homers and 53 RBIs, his season cut short in late August because of a sore right shoulder.

Dombrowski said the team was ''not giving him a mandatory weight, by any means.'' The Red Sox want Ramirez to be ''more athletic, more focused on hitting doubles, using the whole field, driving in runs than worried about hitting the ball out of the ballpark for 40 home runs.''

''Sometimes I think when you play left field or you play first, you put in your own mind that you have to be a power hitter, and that's not the case at all,'' Dombrowski said. ''He'll hit enough home runs.''

Dombrowski said he asked for the meeting, which took place Sunday and lasted about 45 minutes.

''I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page going into the winter time,'' Dombrowski explained. ''I said we're counting on him for big things next year. We're counting on him to be our first baseman. I asked if he thought he could play first base and he said, `I can play short, second and third base, I can play first base.' He seemed comfortable with it.''

Ramirez's shoulder is pain-free, according to Dombrowski. Dan Dyrek, Boston's director of sports medicine services, met with Ramirez's conditioning consultant, and Ramirez will be working out with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - CC Sabathia is not guaranteed a spot in the New York Yankees' starting rotation. Right now, no pitcher is.

After a third straight subpar season, the 35-year-old left-hander left the team on the final day of the regular season and entered treatment the next day for alcoholism.

Sabathia was part of a rotation this year that included Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. They were joined by Adam Warren early in the season and Ivan Nova when he returned from Tommy John surgery. Later in the year, rookie Luis Severino was added to the rotation and pitched impressively.

As of now, all seven are returning.

''We've got a lot of guys that are going to be vying for those five spots,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday at the annual GMs meetings.

Sabathia was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts. When he returned from the disabled list, he used a new knee brace and went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his final five starts.

''I like what CC did for us down the stretch in September,'' Cashman said. ''Once he got the knee brace perfected, he was a successful pitcher for that short period of time and very effective. So certainly the hope is that he would be a viable member of that rotation. So let's just see how the winter shakes out first. I'm not guaranteeing anybody anything.''

Cashman hopes Sabathia ''found that secret formula that allowed him to get full extension over the rubber to finish off his pitches.''

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St. Louis Cardinals top pitching prospect Alex Reyes has seen his path to the major leagues hit a speed bump.

The 21-year-old was issued a 50-game suspension without pay on Monday following a second positive test for marijuana. The suspension is effective immediately, and prevents Reyes from participating further in the Arizona Fall League.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize for disappointing my family, fans, teammates, and the St. Louis Cardinals organization," Reyes said in a statement, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. "I acknowledge my inappropriate behavior and will accept the consequences. Baseball is my passion, and I will do everything in my power to put this behind me and move forward."

Reyes was pulled from the AFL on Saturday, prior to his scheduled start for the West Divsion in the Fall Stars Game. The right-hander was projected to crack the Cardinals' major-league roster at some point in 2016 after going 5-7 with a 2.49 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings across three minor-league levels last season, topping out in Double-A.

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CLEVELAND - Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley had surgery on his right shoulder and will need up to six months to recover.

The team said Brantley underwent an arthroscopic procedure Monday to repair a small tear in his labrum. Brantley injured his shoulder trying to make a diving catch in Minnesota on Sept. 22. He received a cortisone shot and tried to play down the stretch as the Indians fought for a wild-card berth.

The club's best all-around player, Brantley battled injuries throughout last season. He batted .310 with 15 homers, an AL-leading 45 doubles and 84 RBIs in 137 games - the fewest he's played since 2011.

The 28-year-old had a breakout season in 2014, when he batted .327, made the All-Star team and finished third in MVP voting.

Brantley began last season with a sore back that flared up during spring training.

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BALTIMORE - A collection of memorabilia put up for auction by Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson has earned $1.44 million for charity.

Robinson provided nearly his entire collection - except for his Hall of Fame ring - to Heritage Auctions. The online auction concluded on Saturday.

Robinson's 1964 American League Most Valuable Player Award drew the highest bid, closing at $155,350. His 1966 World Series ring drew $131,450, and his 1970 championship ring garnered $143,400.

His 1970 Gold Glove - one of 16 he collected during his career - went for $54,970.

Other items for sale included Robinson's birth certificate, his 1955 rookie contract with the Baltimore Orioles and his 1957 baseball card.

All the proceeds will go to the Constance & Brooks Robinson Charitable Foundation.

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TOKYO - Nippon Professional Baseball has banned three Yomiuri Giants pitchers indefinitely after they were found to have bet on baseball games.

NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki announced the decision on Tuesday.

Professional players in Japan can be banned for a definite period, indefinitely or permanently. NPB's charter stipulates indefinite bans can be lifted by the commissioner after five years if a player appeals after maintaining good conduct.

Yomiuri pitchers Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto all admitted to betting on games during questioning by police. The three were not involved in any game-fixing or betting on their own team.

The Giants said they have terminated the contracts of the three players. Gambling on sports is illegal in Japan and is a violation of NPB's charter.

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Awards season is now officially underway. Matt Harvey and Prince Fielder were named the Comeback Players of the Year last week, and, on Monday, the 2015 Players Choice Awards were announced.

The Players Choice Awards are voted on by members of the players' union. I'm guessing many players feel being recognized by your peers is a greater honor than being recognized by the BBWAA with the major end-of-season awards. Here's a recap of the 2015 Players Choice Awards winners.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Outstanding Player: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Outstanding Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, Astros
Outstanding Rookie: Carlos Correa, Astros
Comeback Player: Prince Fielder, Rangers

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Outstanding Player: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Outstanding Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Dodgers
Outstanding Rookie: Kris Bryant, Cubs
Comeback Player: Matt Harvey, Mets

OTHER AWARDS

Player of the Year: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Adam Jones, Orioles
Majestic Athletic Always Game Award: Jose Altuve, Astros

Once again, Donaldson beat out Harper for a 2015 Player of the Year Award. He beat him out for the Sporting News award earlier this offseason.

The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award is quite prestigious. It is given annually to the player "whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement." Previous winners include Clayton Kershaw, Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones.

The Players Choice Awards help benefit worthy causes as well. A donation is made to the charity of each winner's choice. A total of $260,000 was donated to various charities this year.

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St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn will miss the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

Lynn, 28, made 31 regular-season starts for the club in 2015, posting a 12-11 record with a 3.03 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

He pitched just one inning of relief for the Cardinals in the postseason, allowing an earned run on one hit while striking out two in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs.

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There could be a supply and demand issue this offseason in regards to moving high-leverage relievers.

Trade winds are beginning to swirl as the GM meetings commence in Boca Raton, Fla., and there seems to be a trend in preliminary trade discussions.

"Everyone's closer is available," a GM told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. "People, especially the young GMs, have no fear of trading their closer."

One closer generating a significant amount of buzz on the market is Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Mark Melancon. According to two rival GMs, the top closer in the National League is "out there for the taking."

Melancon, 30, recorded a league-leading 51 saves, blowing only two chances all season. He worked to a 2.23 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out 62 batters over 76 2/3 innings of work.

Other high-leverage arms being heavily discussed include Texas Rangers righty Shawn Tolleson, Philadelphia Phillies fireballer Ken Giles, and Washington Nationals back-enders Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen.

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NEW YORK - With the New York Yankees locked into players at most positions, manager Joe Girardi says trades are a possibility.

''I think we're always trying to figure out ways to improve the club and sometimes it's not necessarily through the free-agent route,'' he said Tuesday. ''It can be through trade routes, and we had some success in the trades that we made last year.''

On a chilly, rainy morning, Girardi was thinking ahead to spring training and the pursuit of the team's first title since 2009.

''Obviously I like the guys on our club and I love how hard they played last year for us, but the goal is to win and to win a World Series,'' Girardi said. ''I think when you talk about that, you've got to look at every avenue you can to improve your club.''

Even closer Andrew Miller and the bullpen could be discussed in trade talk.

''Yes, that was the strength of our club,'' Girardi said. ''Those guys pitched extremely well and were dominant, and if we had the lead after six innings we won ballgames, but if we feel that it will improve our club I'm sure we'll try to make a deal.''

New York's most obvious place to upgrade is second base, where switch-hitting Ben Zobrist and right-handed-hitting Howie Kendrick are available as free agents. Midsummer acquisition Dustin Ackley and rookies Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela are the top holdovers.

''We're just going to have to see how the roster shakes out,'' Girardi said. ''I thought Ref did a pretty decent job at the end of the year for us, especially when he didn't play for 18 or 19 days which was really pretty amazing, so let's just see how the offseason goes and we'll go from there.''

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Don't expect Daniel Murphy to shift from Citi Field to Yankee Stadium in the near future.

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was asked Monday about potentially upgrading at second base this fall and, more specifically, whether New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy would be a fit for his club.

"We have two offensive-profile players already at that position," Cashman told the New York Post, referring to Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley. "I think if we did any changing there, it would be seeking more balance on both sides of the ball."

Murphy, who's pondering a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Mets, could hit the open market next week. His Herculean effort at the plate powered the Mets' deep playoff run, but he may have soured potential suitors with two critical errors in the World Series.

Related: Murphy on costly error: 'We lost the ballgame because of it'

Murphy hit an incredible .328/.391/.724 with seven homers and 11 RBIs in 14 postseason games, and will likely command a multi-year deal on the open market if he doesn't accept the Mets' qualifying offer.

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The New York Yankees have pulled off a second trade Wednesday, as New York acquired versatile outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy.

Hicks, 26, will fill the Yankees' fourth outfielder void left by Chris Young, who's a free agent. He can play all three outfield positions, and the switch-hitter thrives against left-handed pitching, just like Young. Hicks hit .256/.323/.398 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 97 games for the Twins last season, but his slash line inflates to an impressive .307/.375/.495 when squaring off against southpaws.

Reports surfaced earlier Wednesday of the Yankees discussing a potential deal that would send outfielder Brett Gardner to the Seattle Mariners. Gardner is definitely potential trade bait now with the addition of Hicks. The Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Angels are just a few of the teams seeking outfield upgrades this fall.

Murphy, 24, a second-round pick by the Yankees in 2009, appeared in 65 games behind the plate for New York in a timeshare with heavy-hitting catcher Brian McCann. He'll be blocked by another All-Star backstop in Minnesota, in Kurt Suzuki.

The Yankees traded utility infielder Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Ron Herrera earlier in the day.

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San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller added to an area of weakness with help from the other coast.

The Padres acquired utility infielder Jose Pirela from the New York Yankees on Wednesday in exchange for minor-league pitcher Ron Herrera.

Signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2006, the 25-year-old Pirela hit .230/.247/.311 with one home run and 16 strikeouts in 74 at-bats last season. While he appeared almost exclusively at second base, Pirela appeared at third, shortstop, and all three outfield positions throughout his time in the minors.

The Padres are thin in the infield, with Cory Spangenberg, Jedd Gyorko, Will Middlebrooks, and Yangervis Solarte all internal options for next season at second, third, and shortstop.

Herrera split last season between Single- and Double-A, with the right-hander going 8-7 with a 4.08 ERA and 104 strikeouts across 145 2/3 innings.

It's the second time in as many years the teams made a deal involving an infielder. The Padres traded Chase Headley to the Yankees in July 2014 for Solarte and Rafael De Paula.

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If the 2016 season unfolds the way New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman hopes, first baseman Greg Bird will spend the summer plying his trade in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, roughly 130 miles west of the Bronx.

Though Bird made a strong impression upon joining the Yankees in August, managing an .871 OPS with 11 homers in his first 46 MLB games, Cashman would prefer the 23-year-old get some more work in at Triple-A while incumbent first baseman Mark Teixiera plays out the final year of his contract.

"That's the optimal," Cashman told the New York Post on Tuesday at the GM meetings. "Not for Bird, but optimally period, that would be the best. Currently, (Teixeira) is the better player."

Bird won't contend for at-bats in the designated hitter's spot, either, with veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran the most likely candidate to fill in at DH if incumbent Alex Rodriguez, who blasted 33 homers with an .842 OPS in 2015, lands on the disabled list. Frankly, Cashman added, he can't envision a scenario where Bird, Teixeira, and Rodriguez are all on the 25-man roster concurrently.

"It happens on a yearly basis in the game," Cashman said. "It's something that's not new. It's something where you hope you have that type of depth in every position. Unfortunately, you don't. But it would be nice to have something like that, some high-end guy pushing up in the mix, can't get up at times because somebody who's really high end is blocking him. It creates a good dynamic. It means your system is catching up with your roster."

The auspicious start to his MLB career notwithstanding, Bird barely spent any time in Triple-A before joining the Yankees. Though he made it to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre by early July after opening the season in Double-A, the former fifth-round pick logged just 34 games in the International League before being summoned to New York.

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The Seattle Mariners announced a new addition to their coaching staff on Tuesday.

Former big-league manager Manny Acta will join the club as a third base coach.

"I believe Manny will be a great addition to our staff," Mariners manager Scott Servais told the team's official website. "I've known him for over 25 years, since we were teammates in 1989. His experience as a major league third base coach and manager, paired with his extensive player development background, will be very valuable to me, and to our players, as we move forward."

Acta joins a staff that includes Servais as manager, Tim Bogar as bench coach, Edgar Martinez as hitting coach, and Mel Stottlemyre as pitching coach.

The 46-year-old Acta served as manager of the Washington Nationals from 2007-09 and Cleveland Indians from 2010-12. He also has big-league experience as a third base coach with both the New York Mets and Montreal Expos.

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Scott Boras, the bombastic agent who represents Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, told reporters Wednesday at the GM meetings that his client had a non-cancerous growth removed from his back about one month ago.

Boras stressed that Strasburg is doing well, but said the growth - which was "muscular" in origin - caused discomfort during the 27-year-old's injury-riddled 2015 campaign.

After finishing ninth in National League Cy Young voting in 2014, Strasburg stumbled out of the gate this season, posting a 6.55 ERA over his first 10 starts while failing to complete four innings in all but one of his five May outings. On May 30, he landed on the disabled list with a strained left trapezius muscle, less than 24 hours after he was removed from his start against the Cincinnati Reds after just one inning.

Though he returned from injury with aplomb, throwing five shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves on June 23, Strasburg was sent back to the disabled list less than two weeks later with an oblique strain that sidelined him for another month.

The extended rest yielded impressive results, though, as he crafted a 1.90 ERA with a remarkable 37.4 percent strikeout rate over his final 10 starts, limiting opponents to a .179 batting average over that span.

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Scott Boras never shies away from speaking his mind, and Wednesday was no different.

The super-agent discussed many subjects at the general manager's meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., and the New York Mets' handling of right-hander Matt Harvey was front and center.

Boras praised the Mets' plan of limiting Harvey's innings as best as they could, while also allowing the 26-year-old to pitch in the postseason.

He was also pleased with how the organization treated his client through the enduring process that started when Harvey's innings pitched were in question last September.

Along with Harvey, Boras also discussed the following:

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

Boras dove into a discussion about the revenue distribution in Major League Baseball, which he strongly believes is too beneficial for owners. The agent is in favor of players and teams splitting revenues 50/50, rather than the current 57/43 split in favor of owners.

The profits should be "divvied up in a different fashion," he told reporters, adding that players should claim a 60/40 revenue share like they did "way back when."

Boras also thinks qualifying offers represent something "wrong with baseball," because they impede the rights of free agents, and said amateur spending caps have given teams more incentive to redirect finances toward higher salaries for executives and Cuban free agents.

MORE ON THE METS

Along with the praise for Harvey, the agent also had more compliments for the Mets, who he once said shopped in the "fruits-and-nuts" section of the grocery store when they could be buying "steaks."

Boras didn't have any supermarket jokes for them this time around, though. "They have a pennant at the end of their aisle," he said. "That allows them to go where they want to go."

HIS CLIENTS

Boras had brief discussions about a number of his clients. Most notably, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, Mike Moustakas, and Greg Holland.

He let the media know that Strasburg had a non-cancerous growth removed from his back about one month ago, and is doing well.

He expects Fernandez, who pitched just 64 2/3 innings in 2015 after coming back from Tommy John surgery while also dealing with a biceps strain, to be subjected to an innings program prescribed by doctors next season. He also mentioned that there haven't been any extension talks between Fernandez and the Marlins in 9-10 months.

His client Marcell Ozuna should have never been demoted to the minor leagues, according to Boras, who also believes the Marlins' odd handling of the 24-year-old was to "send a message to everyone" that "there is a calculus going on that is beyond performance."

Ozuna was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans in July after a rough start to the season, but turned it around after being recalled.

Lastly, Boras discussed Moustakas and Holland. The agent said he expected Moustakas to be tendered a contract this winter from the Kansas City Royals, and is confident Holland - a former Royals closer with 145 career saves under his belt - will receive a two-year deal, even after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September.

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Franklin Gutierrez, the oft-injured 32-year-old outfielder, agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon, re-signing with the club after enjoying an impressive bounce-back season with Seattle in 2015. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

After missing the entire 2014 campaign due to a variety of health problems, including ankylosing spondylitis and irritable bowel syndrome, Gutierrez appeared in 59 games this season - his most since 2011 - while posting career highs in both OPS (.974) and batting average (.292). Gutierrez, a Gold Glove award winner in 2010, also clobbered 15 home runs and finished third among Seattle's position players with 2.3 wins above replacement.

Gutierrez, however, has averaged just 58 games per season since 2011 - not including the 2014 campaign he sat out - and compiled an underwhelming .256/.306/.391 line (90 OPS+) over parts of nine seasons prior to 2015.

Still, he'll likely platoon in left field with Seth Smith in 2016, though he could also receive semi-regular playing time in center field following the losses of Austin Jackson and Brad Miller - both of whom were traded away in recent months.

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A.J. Pierzynski is returning to Atlanta.

The 38-year-old catcher has agreed to return to the Atlanta Braves on a one-year deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The deal is pending a physical.

Pierzynski caught 113 games behind the dish for the Braves in 2015, and proved to still be an offensive threat, hitting .300/.339/.430 with nine home runs and 49 RBIs.

The veteran backstop owns a career .282/.321/.424 hitting line with 186 home runs and 886 RBIs.

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ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a former base stealing champion, has had his left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection related to diabetes.

The Cardinals and a longtime friend, Dick Zitzmann, confirmed Wednesday that the 76-year-old Brock had had surgery last month. Brock is undergoing therapy at an area hospital and will be fitted for a prosthetic leg.

Brock was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 15 years ago and had the procedure done Oct. 27, Zitzmann said.

''He's got a long road ahead, but he's a tough guy,'' Zitzmann said. ''He's got a great attitude.''

Brock has been a national spokesman for a diabetes drug manufacturer the last five years or so. Zitzmann said Brock ''watched his diet meticulously.''

Brock stole a National League-record 938 bases, including 118 in 1974, and was known as the Base Burglar. He also had 3,023 hits, becoming a star after a celebrated trade from the Cubs in 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio. Brock batted .391 with four home runs and 10 steals in 21 World Series games.

Zitzmann arranges appearances for Brock and other Cardinals Hall of Famers. He said Brock complained of leg pain on the return flight from a show in Washington, D.C., about a month before the operation.

''The infection got real bad, real quick,'' Zitzmann said. ''It just happened so fast.''

Visits from former Cardinals teammates, including fellow Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson and Whitey Herzog, have helped keep Brock's spirits high.

Brock has been a regular guest instructor at spring training for many years. Zitzmann said Brock promised Schoendienst, who managed him on two World Series teams in the 1960s, that he'd be there on opening day.

The 92-year-old Schoendienst, an assistant to general manager John Mozeliak who often suits up before games, wasn't satisfied, Zitzmann said. He told Brock to aim for spring training.

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Major League Baseball is taking action to protect middle infielders from baserunners attempting to break up double plays.

Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, said he's looking at a rule change requiring baserunners to slide directly into second base.

"We don't want to have anybody carried off the field," Torre said.

The issue of second base collisions came to the forefront during Game 2 of the NLCS after an aggressive takeout slide by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley fractured the fibula of New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

That wasn't the only instance where a serious injury was sustained on a similar play, however. Pittsburgh Pirates rookie shortstop Jung Ho Kang required surgery after Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan took his legs out while breaking up a double play in September.

Torre didn't reveal a timeline for potential rule changes or possible disciplinary measures. The topic will surely be discussed when MLB team owners meet in Dallas next week, and elaborated on at December's winter meetings.

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Despite falling shy of his third straight Gold Glove award less than 24 hours ago, Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was recognized Wednesday for his efforts in the field in 2015 with the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award.

The top defenders at each position across both leagues, as determined by a comprehensive sabermetric assessment, also received accolades, while theArizona Diamondbacks were lauded as the game's top defensive team.

POS  WINNER                DRS
C     Buster Posey            9
1B   Paul Goldschmidt     18
2B   Dee Gordon             13
3B   Nolan Arenado         18
SS   Andrelton Simmons  25
LF    Starling Marte         24
CF    Kevin Pillar             14 
RF    Jason Heyward       22
P      Jacob deGrom          6

Simmons, however, wasn't the only player to be recognized by Wilson after failing to corral a Gold Glove award.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey lost out Tuesday to St. Louis Cardinals veteran Yadier Molina - who earned his eighth consecutive Gold Glove - but was hailed by Wilson as the game's top defender behind the plate. Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was also honored despite watching Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays earn the Gold Glove award, just as New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom - another Defensive Player of the Year honoree - lost out to Zack Greinke for the Gold Glove.

Simmons, interestingly, is the third Braves player in the last four years to be recognized as the game's foremost defender. In 2014, right fielder Jason Heyward - now with the St. Louis Cardinals - earned the honor, while center fielder Michael Bourn received the award in 2012.

Last edited on Thu Nov 12th, 2015 08:05 pm by lobo316

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MIAMI - The Miami Marlins' feud with agent Scott Boras escalated Wednesday, and the team said he'll be left out of any future conversations regarding the workload of Jose Fernandez.

Team president David Samson pledged to exclude Boras after the agent complained about the Marlins' handling of another one of his clients, outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The dispute reduces the already slim likelihood the Marlins will sign Fernandez to a long-term deal.

An exchange of barbs began with Boras criticizing the Marlins for demoting Ozuna to Triple-A last year when he was in a 1-for-36 slump. The comments brought an angry response from Samson.

''My strong suggestion to Mr. Boras is that instead of resting on his 5 percent that he collects from his stable of players, he write a check and buy a team,'' Samson said. ''Then he would have the opportunity to run a team that he claims to be so able to do. Until that time, he is in no position to comment how any Major League Baseball team is operated.''

Boras, speaking at the general managers' meetings in Boca Raton, questioned the Marlins' motivation for sending Ozuna to the minors. The lost service time prevented Ozuna from becoming eligible for salary arbitration this offseason.

''He's a lifetime .265 hitter, and I can find you 30 players in the major leagues that went 1 for 36 some time in their career, and they did not get sent to the minor leagues,'' Boras said. ''When you do those things, it sends a message to players, sends a message to the locker room and sends a message to everyone that looks at the organization that there is a calculus going on that is beyond performance.''

Samson responded: ''Every decision we make is based on the best interests of the team, and always has been.''

Ozuna is believed to be on the trading block this offseason.

Regarding Fernandez, the Marlins have never been optimistic about reaching a long-term deal. The right-hander, who came back this year from Tommy John surgery, rejected a long-term offer before the season, Samson said.

Boras was outspoken this year regarding the Mets' use of pitcher Matt Harvey, another client who was coming back from Tommy John surgery. The Marlins don't plan to consult Boras regarding Fernandez's 2016 workload.

''He will not be involved in any discussion as it relates to Jose Fernandez,'' Samson said. ''We will be in touch with the doctors and Jose as we formulate a plan.''

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The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres have been the most aggressive teams to kick start the offseason, and the pair concluded the general manager's meetings on Thursday with a trade.
The Seattle Mariners acquired reliever Joaquin Benoit from the San Diego Padres for pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is eager to turn the Mariners back into contenders and the addition of Benoit goes a long way in addressing one of the league's worst bullpens from a season ago.
The 38-year-old posted a 2.34 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 65 1/3 innings last season, and owns a 1.98 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over the last three seasons. Benoit has closer experience, having 50 converted saves on the resume and could serve at the back end of the Mariners pen.
San Diego clears the $8-million remaining on Benoit's deal, while acquiring a pair of Single-A prospects. De Los Santos, 19, was 6-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 13 starts last season. Ward, 23, slashed .278/.365.436 with nine home runs, 19 doubles and 13 triples in 122 games, while playing three infield positions.
The trade was the third in as many days for Padres GM A.J. Preller, who anticipates another active winter.
"We'll go out there and look at more trade possibilities and free agents," Preller told reporters. "This gives us additional room."

Last edited on Fri Nov 13th, 2015 12:00 am by lobo316

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Eager to get the Boston Red Sox out of the AL East basement, president Dave Dombrowski acknowledges there are likely some tough personnel decisions on the horizon.

Armed with one of the strongest farm systems and a crop of talented young players that have already reached the major-league level, Dombrowski appears prepared to make a bold deal that involves parting with pieces of the future in order to win now.

"We have a lot of players that people are asking about," Dombrowski told reporters. "We have a lot of major-league and minor-league players they ask about.

"Again, at some point we're going to most likely do something that is painful one way or the other. But if you're trying to get quality talent, you're going to have to do that at some point."

Dombrowski left the general manager meetings Thursday, and while he said no deal is imminent, he stated there was more activity at the event than in years past.

"We've had many more conversations at these meetings then we've ever had, that is unequivocal," Dombrowski said. "As far as what comes from here, you never can tell. A lot of times you think you're close and you're knocking on the door and it doesn't happen right away. There's still a long way to go."

Dombrowski added, "We had some more conversations last night and I'm sure we'll follow up on them."

The Red Sox front office has stated numerous times that acquiring pitching is the primary focus this offseason, and they could look to deal from a surplus of position players if they don't fill their needs through free agency.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Blake Swihart are names on the major-league roster that are expected to generate interest, while Rafael Devers, Manuel Margot, and Andrew Benintendi could also be in play.

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Former Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams has accepted a position as third base coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks offered Williams the gig last week, and made a formal announcement Thursday.

"Matt Williams has been a baseball lifer and brings with him knowledge, intensity, and a passion for the game," senior vice president and general manager Dave Stewart said about the hire. "Those attributes are key for the makeup of our coaching staff and team. He has the reputation of being a teacher and hard worker, and we are happy to have him back with the organization."

Williams played for the organization from 1998-2003, and also served as a first and third base coach for the club from 2010-13.

The 49-year-old was fired following a disappointing season with the Nationals. He earned National League Manager of the Year honors in 2014, his first campaign in Washington as the skipper.

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lobo316 wrote: Eager to get the Boston Red Sox out of the AL East basement, president Dave Dombrowski acknowledges there are likely some tough personnel decisions on the horizon.

Armed with one of the strongest farm systems and a crop of talented young players that have already reached the major-league level, Dombrowski appears prepared to make a bold deal that involves parting with pieces of the future in order to win now.



I want to win another World Series as much as any other Red Sox fan but I'm going to be pissed off if Dombrowski tears apart one of MLB's best minor league systems just for a quick fix. 

srossi

 

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CanadianHorseman wrote: lobo316 wrote: Eager to get the Boston Red Sox out of the AL East basement, president Dave Dombrowski acknowledges there are likely some tough personnel decisions on the horizon.

Armed with one of the strongest farm systems and a crop of talented young players that have already reached the major-league level, Dombrowski appears prepared to make a bold deal that involves parting with pieces of the future in order to win now.



I want to win another World Series as much as any other Red Sox fan but I'm going to be pissed off if Dombrowski tears apart one of MLB's best minor league systems just for a quick fix. 

The Sox have jumped to first from worst several times now, so the pressure is probably on to do it again.  I've always preferred the slow and steady method of letting a young team develop, but sadly that's just not the way it's done anymore, and with so much parity in the league now it almost seems foolish to even try.    

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The Miami Marlins' current method of operating has drawn the ire of several rival front-office executives.

Despite playing in the league's newest stadium and having signed Giancarlo Stanton to the richest contract in history, the Marlins receive the most money from revenue sharing, as a result of generating the smallest revenue.

"They're a joke," one anonymous executive told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

One source says the Marlins receive a annual revenue-sharing check in the range of $50 million, but Heyman also reports that owner Jeffrey Loria has been writing checks out of his own pocket to cover losses.

The Marlins are in the midst of six consecutive losing seasons, but it isn't for a lack of trying. Miami boasted its largest payroll in franchise history in 2012, but failure to convert high salary into wins led to a quick teardown.

The team boasted a modest $69-million payroll in 2015, which is expected to rise this season with the potential of locking up some more key pieces. Though there have been some cost-cutting measures, the Marlins have gone through eight managers since 2010. They'll also be forced to pay out $5.6 million over the next three years to former general manager and manager Dan Jennings after the two sides parted ways in October.

Continued losing seasons have also reduced potential earnings through ticket sales. Marlins Park opened in 2012, and the Marlins have averaged crowds of 22,500 since - one of the lowest attendance marks in the league.

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Apparently the Red Sox are interested in Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.


from baseballessential.com:

With the hot stove finally beginning to sizzle, the Boston Red Sox are unsurprisingly in the thick of it. They are reportedly being “aggressive” on multiple fronts, including beefing up their relief corps. They are reportedly said to be in on All-Star Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, as reported by Ken Rosenthal.

The Red Sox lacked a true flame-throwing reliever in their bullpen last season, as their best reliever was aging veteran Koji Uehara. With Dave Dombrowski at the helm, they are seeking to upgrade their bullpen among many other areas of need. They have more than enough prospects to pull off a deal for the flame-throwing southpaw from Cincinnati. Despite being in the last year of his deal before free agency, there are very few relievers like Chapman on the market who have deadly command and velocity, making him virtually untouchable. Having him in the back-end of the Red Sox bullpen will only make their relief corps a strength for the 2016 season.

The Reds’ closer racked up 33 saves this year through 66.1 innings of relief across 65 appearances and posted a sizzling 1.63 ERA with a whopping 15.7 SO/9 ratio. The Reds are rumored to be undergoing a full rebuild this offseason and Chapman is at the top of their list of available players. Many teams are knocking, not just the Red Sox, but they are one of the few teams with more than enough assets to pull a deal off. Should the Red Sox be able to win the Chapman sweepstakes, they may not stop there and may look for another setup arm for the back-end of the pen.

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from cbssports.com:


Slick-fielding Andrelton Simmons is headed to Anaheim


The Braves have traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, CBSSports MLB Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. Going to Atlanta will be shortstop Erick Aybar, minor-league right-hander Chris Ellis, and minor-league lefty Sean Newcomb. The Braves will also pick up $2.5 million in cash from the Angels.

Simmons, 26, is a two-time Gold Glove winner who's widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Across parts of four big-league seasons, he's batted .256/.304/.362 (85 OPS+). In 2013, Simmons tallied 17 home runs. He's signed to a seven-year, $58 million contract that runs through 2020.

As for Aybar, the 31-year-old shortstop has a career line of .276/.315/.378 in 4,799 plate appearances. This past season, he put up an OPS+ of 81. Aybar's under contract for 2016 at a salary of $8.5 million and eligible for free agency next offseason.

Newcomb, 22, is probably the prize of the deal for the Braves. He was the 15th-overall pick in the 2014 draft and a consensus top-100 prospect coming into 2015. In 2015, Newcomb pitched to 2.38 ERA across three levels, including Double-A. In those 136 innings, he struck out 168, walked 76, and allowed five home runs.

Ellis, a third-rounder also in 2014, has a 4.21 ERA and 2.08 K/BB in 35 appearances, 28 of which have been starts. Like Newcomb, Ellis reached the Double-A level in 2015.

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Good luck with Dombrowski in Boston. He was fortunate to have Ilitch's money to pursue FA and give out generous contract extensions.

Tiger's farm system is empty. Nick Castellanos was our prize callup from Toledo- if that gives you any idea.

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Houston Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus will accept a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the club, becoming the first player in MLB history to do so, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.

No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer since the system was created in 2012, so Rasmus must have thought $15.8 million was enticing enough of a salary to stay with the Astros, especially with a free-agent outfield crop that could contain Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, and Justin Upton.

34 players have received and rejected qualifying offers since the system was put in place.

The deadline for players to accept is Friday at 5 p.m ET.

Rasmus, 29, hit .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs and 61 RBIs in 432 at-bats in 2015, while making $8 million.

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SEATTLE - Former major leaguer Scott Brosius has been hired as the hitting coach for Triple-A Tacoma in the Seattle Mariners organization.

The Mariners announced the hiring of Brosius on Thursday. The 11-year major league veteran with Oakland and the New York Yankees spent the past eight seasons as the manager of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, where Brosius played before embarking on his professional career. Brosius compiled a 270-96 record at Linfield while leading the school to a national championships in 2014 and four regional titles.

Brosius, who was twice named USA Baseball coach of the year, won three World Series titles with the Yankees during his playing career and was the MVP of the 1998 Series.

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After four solid seasons in Baltimore, free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen could spend the next stage of his MLB career with one of the Orioles' division rivals.

The New York Yankees could make a serious run at Chen, a source told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, who also heard the 30-year-old is seeking at least a five-year deal in free agency. Despite Chen's lofty demands, the Taiwanese expatriate is expected to have plenty of suitors this offseason.

"A lot of teams are going to be in on him," the source said. "But the Yankees are going to be one of them."

Though, ostensibly, the Yankees already have their 2016 rotation figured out - Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and CC Sabathia - general manager Brian Cashman insisted earlier this week he's "not guaranteeing" any pitcher a starting job just yet. None of the aforementioned starters, after all, made 30 starts in 2015, while the Yankees' rotation fashioned the sixth-worst ERA (4.25) in the American League.

Chen, meanwhile, fashioned a career-best 3.34 ERA (124 ERA+) with a 1.22 WHIP over 31 starts this season, albeit with his worst fielding independent pitching (4.16) since his 2012 rookie season. Still, Cashman is prepared to vie for Chen's services, even though signing him would force the Yankees to forfeit their top unprotected pick in the 2016 draft.

"You'd like to always keep your draft picks if possible, but depending on the talent, I've given enough draft picks over the years to prove that I'm not afraid to give that one up, either," Cashman said. "We just have to wait and see how the winter shakes out."

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The Houston Astros appear to be preparing for life without free-agent left-handed reliever Tony Sipp.

Houston has talked with the Tampa Bay Rays about the availability of relievers Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

The Astros revamped their bullpen with the signings of Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek last fall, and now they may be tasked with replacing Sipp, who fashioned a 1.99 ERA and 62 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings last season.

McGee, a 29-year-old southpaw, would certainly fill the void in high-leverage situations. He has experience closing games and recorded a 2.41 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while holding left-handed hitters to a .200/.229/.378 slash line.

Boxberger, 27, struggled at times in his first full year as a closer, converting 41 of his 47 save opportunities. He commanded a 3.25 ERA prior to the All-Star break, but managed a 4.33 mark in the second half.

Both relievers are under team control for the foreseeable future: McGee can't elect free agency until 2018, while Boxberger won't be able to test the open market until 2020.

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Ben Zobrist is attracting all kinds of attention as a free agent, including from some of the high-profile markets in the majors.

The St. Louis Cardinals are among the teams interested in signing the versatile player to a multi-year contract, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.

Zobrist is reportedly already being courted by the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and Kansas City Royals, among others.

The 34-year-old is fresh off a World Series championship with the Royals, and even named his daughter after the club, which could indicate his strong interest in returning.

Zobrist, who can play nearly every position on the diamond, boosted his value on the market with an outstanding playoffs at the plate, hitting .303/.365/.515 with two homers and six RBIs in 16 postseason contests.

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Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto's familiarity with the Boston Red Sox could lead to the two sides striking a deal.

Dipoto served as an adviser for the Red Sox in the two months prior to taking over in Seattle, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have interest in trading for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Mariners are eager to improve their outfield this offseason, and a speedy, top defensive outfielder is a priority. It was reported Wednesday that Dipoto and the New York Yankees had discussions involving Brett Gardner.

Bradley appears the most likely of the Red Sox outfield trio to go, as president Dave Dombrowski could look to deal the Gold Glove caliber defender on the heels of a strong season.

The 25-year-old struggled with his transition from Triple-A to the majors, but appeared to turn a corner in the final two months of last season. He hit .272/.349/.571 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, and 47 strikeouts in Boston's 46 games.

Dombrowski noted earlier Thursday that there has been a lot of interest in his players, and he anticipates the team might have to deal away some of its current core of young players.

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15 mil for a .230 hitter. ..
Colby Rasmus must be sucking someone dick in the feont office.

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David Ortiz has some advice for friend and teammate Hanley Ramirez that he thinks will help the 31-year-old turn things around in Boston.

Big Papi thinks Hanley needs to get in better shape.

"When it comes down to losing weight there’s nothing wrong about that. I can tell you from my own experience once I decided to take care of myself better and do things better, losing weight and other stuff, my career got longer," Ortiz told Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. "Hanley is still young. That’s some good advice. That’s the only way I can explain it.

"If you listen to what (the Boston Red Sox) have to say right now, his career is going to do nothing but get better because he’s an amazing player, an unbelievable athlete and you have to be healthy to be a productive player."

Ramirez, who will be working out with Ortiz in the offseason, is listed at 225 pounds on the team's official website, which is a number president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wants to see lowered.

Dombrowski is interested in seeing the Red Sox become more athletic, which Ortiz believes isn't too much for Ramirez to handle.

"Hey look, they know," Ortiz said of the Red Sox. "They can see further than we do as a player. Sometimes we think they’re asking for too much, but at the end of the day they know what they ask for."

After a scorching hot start to the 2015 season, where he hit .293/.341/.659 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in April, Ramirez's season went ice cold amidst concerns about his defensive play in the outfield. He finished the year hitting .249/.291/.426 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs.

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lobo316 wrote: David Ortiz has some advice for friend and teammate Hanley Ramirez that he thinks will help the 31-year-old turn things around in Boston.

Big Papi thinks Hanley needs to get in better shape.

maybe he should talk to Panda about that too.

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Fantasia is running wild!


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Maybe Ortiz should give him the number of his PED pusher instead.

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The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to bring back right-hander Marco Estrada on a two-year deal worth $26 million, reports Sportsnet's Shi Davidi and Mike Wilner.

The 32-year-old received a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, so the deal will end up paying him less annually, but gives him a longer term and more cash overall.

Estrada put together the best season of his career with the Blue Jays last season, posting career bests in wins, ERA, WHIP, games started, and innings pitched.

He also posted sparkling numbers in the 2015 postseason, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.33 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, while holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average.

Estrada earned $3.9 million in 2015.

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Catcher Matt Wieters has accepted the Baltimore Orioles' one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer.

Wieters is the second player to accept a qualifying offer after the Houston Astros announced earlier Friday that Colby Rasmus would return on a one-year deal.

Related: Rasmus becomes 1st player to accept qualifying offer

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that Wieters received multi-year offers from other clubs, but elected to remain in Baltimore with hopes of building his value through a strong 2016 campaign.

"I prayed a lot," Wieters told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli about his decision. "One of the options that kept coming up was going back to Baltimore, where I can be comfortable with the (coaching) staff, with the pitching staff and the locker room, which has such a great feel, and the city. My wife and son, they both love Baltimore ... We decided to take a little bit of a different approach as far as not taking a multi-year deal."

Wieters, a three-time All-Star, was considered the top free-agent catcher on the market. Accepting the offer leaves Geovany Soto, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brayan Pena, Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis, John Jaso, and Dioner Navarro as secondary options for clubs looking to add at the position.

The 29-year-old backstop was limited to 75 games last season as he eased back into action following Tommy John surgery, hitting .267/.319/.422 with eight homers and 25 RBIs.

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Ian Kennedy will reportedly test the free-agent market.

The right-hander has rejected a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the San Diego Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

San Diego will receive draft pick compensation if Kennedy signs with another club.

With the Padres at around $100-million in salary commitments - including arbitration-eligible players - Kennedy may be too pricey for them and could draw interest from teams in need of starting pitching, such as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.

Kennedy earned $9.85 million in 2015, his third season with San Diego.

The former first-round pick pitched to a 4.28 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 30 starts last season, and owns a career 3.98 ERA in 206 big-league appearances, 204 starts.

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Dave Dombrowski, who was named president of baseball operations of the Boston Red Sox in August, pulled off the boldest move of his brief tenure in Beantown on Friday, shipping four prospects to the San Diego Padres for closer Craig Kimbrel.

In exchange for Kimbrel, a four-time All-Star, the Red Sox parted ways with one of their most promising minor-leaguers in outfielder Manuel Margot, as well as shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen.

Tasked with bolstering a roster that fizzled in 2015 following a series of high-profile offseason signings, Dowbrowski hinted earlier this week that he could unload serious prospect capital this winter, telling reporters that he was likely to "do something that is painful one way or the other."

But while Boston's farm system isn't as impressive as it was a few hours ago, their bullpen will now inspire fear throughout the American League - something it failed to do in 2015. Last season, the Red Sox received an appalling -1.4 wins above replacement from their bullpen - the worst mark in the majors - en route to a last-place finish in the AL East.

Kimbrel, meanwhile, endured an uncharacteristically ugly start to the season, his first in San Diego, but still finished the year with a 2.58 ERA, and 1.05 WHIP in 61 appearances. Though his peripherals dipped a bit this summer, Kimbrel still leads all qualified relievers in WAR (12.9), saves (225), and strikeouts (563) since his 2010 debut.

With another $24 million owed to Kimbrel over the next two years, however, Padres general manager A.J. Preller opted to swap his best reliever to further improve his farm system. Kimbrel, in fact, is the second Padres reliever to be traded in the last 36 hours, as veteran right-hander Joaquin Benoit was dealt to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for minor-league right-hander Enyel De Los Santos, and infielder Nelson Ward.

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lobo316 wrote: Dave Dombrowski, who was named president of baseball operations of the Boston Red Sox in August, pulled off the boldest move of his brief tenure in Beantown on Friday, shipping four prospects to the San Diego Padres for closer Craig Kimbrel.

In exchange for Kimbrel, a four-time All-Star, the Red Sox parted ways with one of their most promising minor-leaguers in outfielder Manuel Margot, as well as shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen.


Some stuff about the trade from cbssports:

On Kimbrel

Kimbrel, 27, has posted a 1.70 ERA with a 91 percent save-conversion rate, along with 523 strikeouts in 327 2/3 innings since 2011. He's under contract for at least the next two seasons for a total of $24.5 million, not including a club option for 2018 at $13 million, with a $1 million buyout.

In trading for Kimbrel, the Red Sox might have gotten away more cheaply than if they had dealt for left-hander Aroldis Chapman of the Reds. The Red Sox had been rumored to be interested in Chapman, and the Reds are said to be shopping him, but price -- for Boston --simply might have been too high.

Kimbrel consistently throws a 98-mph four-seam fastball, but if there are any concerns about him, it's that his strikeout percentage -- 36.4 -- was the lowest of his career, and the number has been dropping (albeit from a ridiculous high of 50.2 in 2012). His line-drive percentage has risen every full year he's been in the league, his extra-base hits allowed were up in 2015, as were his home runs allowed. Still, he seems to be adjusting to the league adjusting to him; Kimbrel posted a .426 OPS against in the second half of 2015.



About the Prospects Going to SD

The Red Sox are giving up perhaps three of their top 12 prospects, according to at least one reporter who covers the team, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Guerra, 20, is said to be a top defensive shortstop and the best of the prospects. He spent 2015 with Class A Greenville, hitting .279 with a .329 on-base percentage and .449 slugging percentage with 15 home runs, 68 RBI, 64 runs scored and seven stolen bases in 116 games.

Reporter Corey Brock, who covers the Padres for MLB.com said the team will give Guerra a shot to win the starting shortstop in spring training.

Margot, 21, is seen as a solid center-field prospect after batting a combined .276/.324/.419 with 27 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 50 RBI, 73 runs scored and 39 stolen bases in 110 games between Class A and Double-A.

Allen, 18, is the other higher-end prospect, posting a 1.11 ERA with 26 strikeouts and one walk over 24 1/3 innings between rookie ball and Class A Lowell.

The Red Sox still have other prospects (and better ones, along with young players already on the active roster) available for more trades if they want to go that route. But they might not have to, if they prefer only to sacrifice the prospects traded in the Kimbrel deal and supplement the roster with free agents. Adding someone such as right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, for example, would make sense.

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from cbssports.com:


Jeremy Hellickson has been traded to the Phillies.



The Phillies have acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Diamondbacks, the clubs have announced. In return, Arizona is receiving right-handed minor-league pitcher Sam McWilliams.

Hellickson, 28, was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2011 and won a Gold Glove in 2012 while also having a productive season pitching, but since then has fallen off the rails. Last season, he was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 146 innings. He allowed 22 home runs, and that's been a problem throughout his career. In the four seasons that he's made at least 27 starts, he's allowed at least 21 home runs (21 in 2011, 25 in 2012, 24 in 2013 and 22 last year).

Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies play their home games, was the sixth-most homer-friendly ballpark in the majors last season, with Arizona's Chase Field checking in at 24th. Hellickson was much better at home (4.00 ERA, 10 HRs allowed in 72 innings) than on the road (5.23 ERA, 12 HRs allowed in 74 innings) last season, too. Taking all of this information in totality, it appears that Hellickson won't be a very good fit for the Phillies.

Then again, a rebuilding team often needs a veteran to just eat innings until the kids are ready to take over. Young stud Aaron Nola will be in the rotation to begin next season along with Jerad Eickhoff, but it's possible the likes of Jake Thompson, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin and/or Jesse Biddle aren't up to begin the season in the rotation. That puts Hellickson and probably Matt Harrison in the Aaron Harang/Jerome Williams role of eating those aforementioned innings.

Further evidence that this is set to be Hellickson's role here is that he's a free agent after the 2016 season. So it looks like the Phillies would just like him to bridge the gap to their youth movement in the rotation before letting him walk.

As for Arizona, they've got Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa and Archie Bradley for next year's rotation and also have some money to spend on the deep pool of free agent starters. From Heyman's Inside Baseball comes this nugget:

They have touched base with free agent Yovani Gallardo but are expected to cast a wide net below the top three guys.

So expect Arizona to fill Hellickson's rotation spot via free agency. McWilliams is a lottery ticket. The 20-year-old righty was an eighth-round draft pick out of high school in 2014. He was 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 33 innings in Rookie Ball last season. He's a lanky 6-foot-7, 190 pounds.



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A pair of leather-flashing heavyweights claimed baseball's highest defensive honors.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier were named Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, acknowledging the top defensive players in their respective leagues.

Following an injury-riddled 2014 that limited him to a career-low 110 games, Molina bounced back and claimed his record fourth Platinum Glove in the last five years.

Molina threw out 26 of 63 (41 percent) potential base stealers last season, while accounting for seven defensive runs saved, the third best mark among catchers in the majors. The 33-year-old is just the third catcher in history to win at least eight Glove Gold awards.

Kiermaier won both his first Gold Glove and Platinum Glove this season following a phenomenal defensive showing. The 25-year-old led the majors with 42 defensive runs saved, while finishing fourth with 15 outfield assists.

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Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams doesn't seem too concerned that the list of potential trade destinations for closer Aroldis Chapman shrunk Friday when the Boston Red Sox landed four-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel from San Diego.

"Kimbrel was a bit of a different animal than Chapman, in terms of club control," Williams told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon on Saturday. "We didn't feel like we missed out on a deal with them. There will be other teams that are interested in Chapman."

Chapman, a free agent next offseason, is expected to be moved shortly with the Reds unlikely to compete in 2016 following a 64-98 finish this summer. Walt Jocketty, who was recently named president of baseball operations, recently admitted the upcoming season will be a "transition year," while team owner Bob Castellini said he's "on board" for an aggressive roster overhaul.

Chapman, then, remains one of the club's top trade assets, along with right fielder Jay Bruce. An All-Star in each of the last four seasons, Chapman owns a 1.90 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP since taking over as Cincinnati's closer in 2012, notching 145 saves while leading all relievers with a 45 percent strikeout rate over that span.

"I don't control who is out there or who will be interested. We feel that there are other offers," added Williams. "We feel that he's the best closer out there, so (we) hope good stuff can happen."

Projected to earn $12.9 million in 2016, his final year of arbitration eligibility, Chapman authored a 1.63 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP over 65 appearances this season, notching 116 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings, while limiting opponents to a .181 average.

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After shipping four prospects to the west coast in exchange for four-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski believes most of the trade-related roster moves are done.

"I thought that our acquisition of the relief pitching aspect would more likely come through a trade," Dombrowski told reporters. "We're in a spot that (Kimbrel) is probably our major acquisition for the wintertime as far as the trade market is concerned. You never can tell, but that's what my instincts tell me."

Eager to upgrade a pitching staff that ranked as one of the worst in the majors, Dombrowski will now set his sights on a rich starting pitching free-agent market in hopes of acquiring an ace the likes of David Price, Zack Greinke, or Johnny Cueto.

"My thought process is most likely any acquisition we'd make in the starting pitching would first happen as far as the free agent field is concerned," Dombrowski said. "You never know, but that would be my guess."

Despite packaging top prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra to the San Diego Padres for Kimbrel, the Red Sox still boast a deep farm system, which they could dip into again should they strike out via free agency.

Dombrowski may also have to get creative in finding room in his rotation, as starters Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Joe Kelly are all under contract next season.

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Few teams boast the pitching depth of the Houston Astros, who earned their first postseason berth since 2005 this season, wherein their starting rotation finished second in the American League in wins above replacement.

Still, general manager Jeff Luhnow admitted earlier this week he'd like to add another pitcher from outside the organization to the glut of starters set to compete for a rotation spot this spring.

"We have some depth in terms of pitching options, and then we have younger guys that may not be ready for the beginning of the season but are coming along," Luhnow told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "At the same time, we have expectations to win a lot of ballgames next year, so having a proven veteran pitcher, whether it's a trade or free agent, that can plug into our rotation and upgrade, is something we're going to look at."

Dallas Keuchel, a strong candidate for the 2015 AL Cy Young award, will anchor Houston's rotation next summer, with right-handers Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers likely to slot in behind him. Though, at this point, veterans Mike Fiers and Scott Feldman are poised to round out the starting corps, the two will face competition from Vincent Velasquez, Asher Wojciechowski, Dan Straily, and former No. 1 pick Mark Appel.

And though the Astros have already committed about $89 million to their 2016 payroll after arbitration raises - their highest total since 2010 - Luhnow would still like to add another candidate into the starting mix, whether through trade or free agency.

"We touched base with some of the representatives with some of the free agents," Luhnow said. "It will probably take a little longer to develop. I do have a good feel for what avenues we may able to pursue at this point."

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Seriously hoping the Yankees don't sign Jason Heyward. He is SO overrated!

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Ben Zobrist will have his share of suitors this offseason — including the Mets — but early indications are the Yankees will not be among them.

According to industry sources, the Yankees aren’t willing to spend as much as Zobrist likely will receive on the market, even if he does fill a need in the infield and is a switch hitter.

Instead, it’s the Mets that figure to make a strong push for Zobrist, whose versatility would allow them to use him at second base and in the outfield. They are among the teams that already have formally reached out to Zobrist’s agent, Alan Nero.

With the likely departure of Daniel Murphy — who rejected the Mets’ $15.8 million qualifying offer Friday — the Mets have a hole of their own at second base.

They could attempt to fill the spot internally by moving Wilmer Flores to second and keeping Ruben Tejada at shortstop or give 21-year-old Dilson Herrera a shot. Matt Reynolds is another possibility at short if the Mets choose to move on from Tejada, who suffered a fractured right leg on Chase Utley’s take-out slide in the NLDS.

None of those options, though, would help a lineup that could not only be missing Murphy, but also Yoenis Cespedes, another free agent who is almost certainly headed for richer pastures.

That’s where Zobrist could fit in Queens, rather than in The Bronx. The Yankees plans, especially this early in the offseason, are subject to change, but they stuck to their pledge last year.

That figured to be tested since the Yankees are unsettled at second base. With the ineffectiveness of Stephen Drew a year ago and the questionable readiness of Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley during brief stints in The Bronx, Zobrist would have seemed like a solid fit for the Yankees.

For a second straight offseason, they have at least started out with a plan to not go deep into their pockets and instead continue to improve via the trade market.

They still have high salaries locked up in aging players such as Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. And they have just $12.5 million coming off last season’s payroll with the departures of Drew, Chris Capuano and Chris Young.

Zobrist, who turns 35 in May, could get as much as a four-year deal worth over $60 million. He’s coming off another strong season and remained remarkably consistent since becoming an everyday player with Tampa Bay in 2009.

He split 2015 between Oakland and Kansas City, finishing with 13 homers and an .809 OPS. He then played a significant role in Kansas City’s World Series run. And since he was traded midseason, the team that signs him won’t have to surrender a draft pick.

Both the Yankees and Mets expressed interest in acquiring Zobrist before the trade deadline, but the Mets never got far in their pursuit and the Yankees balked at surrendering both Adam Warren and Refsnyder.

At the World Series last month, Zobrist said he thought there was a chance he would end up in New York during the season.

“I heard rumors and I didn’t know,” Zobrist said. “You don’t want to start thinking too much about it til you actually get a phone call.”

At the time, the idea seemed pretty good to a player on a bad Oakland team.

“When we were in Oakland, struggling to even get to the .500 mark and there was talk about getting traded to a contending team, of course I was interested,” Zobrist said. “But I think I ended up with the Royals for a good reason and fit in really well with this club.”

Now, he’s got a chance to pick a team on his own.

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The San Diego Padres were one of the biggest buyers of last offseason, and could be one of the biggest sellers this offseason.

After trading the back end of their bullpen in Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit for prospects, the Padres are reportedly looking to make more moves.

San Diego's willing to move outfielder Matt Kemp and is also shopping right-hander Tyson Ross, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Padres made a huge splash last offseason, acquiring the 31-year-old Kemp and his monster contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team underperformed, finishing with a 74-88 record.

If they're interested in rebuilding, Kemp and Ross could be the odd men out.

Kemp made $21.25 million in 2015, while hitting .265/.312/.443 with 23 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. He's set to earn $21.75 million over the next four seasons.

Ross posted a 10-12 record with a 3.26 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 33 starts in 2015, while making $5.25 million. He's eligible for arbitration for the second time in 2016 and isn't set to hit free agency until 2018.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a ton of money to spend, but it doesn't mean they want to continue to spend it.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes that Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly believes the club's payroll will be closer to $200 million next season.

"We're looking toward building something long term, and sustainable," Boehly said. "I think sustainable is more like the league average."

With the league average closer to $140 million, the Dodgers may not be able to make that happen, but a $200-million target is more attainable.

The Dodgers' payroll tallied over $314 million to end 2015, according to spotrac, close to $95 million more than the New York Yankees, who owned the second-highest payroll in MLB, and $252 million more than the Miami Marlins, who had the lowest payroll in baseball.

After Brett Anderson accepted a qualifying offer on Friday, the Dodgers currently sit around $189 million for next season if all nine of their arbitration-eligible players are tendered contracts, so the goal is a reasonable one that could help the franchise limit spending, with a look more towards the future of their budding farm system.

"The farm system is looking great, compared to what it was three years ago," Boehly said. "I feel really good about that. I know that has been Stan (Kasten)'s mantra since he showed up. We're starting to see that come to develop."

The Dodgers set a major-league record with a $270-million opening-day payroll in April.

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Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to be aggressive in restructuring his roster less than two months on the job.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Leonys Martin and right-hander Anthony Bass from the Texas Rangers on Monday, in exchange for right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, outfielder James Jones and a player to be named later.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said last week that he had been receiving interest in the 27-year-old Martin after he appeared to fall out of favor with the team for not reporting to Arizona to work out after being left off Texas' ALDS roster.

Limited to 95 games with wrist and hand injuries, Martin hit .219/.264/.313 with five home runs and 14 stolen bases. He's slashed .257/.307/.360 with 20 home runs, 46 doubles and 81 stolen bases in 397 games across the last three years, appearing in all three outfield positions.

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Two of Major League Baseball's legends will be awarded the highest civilian honor handed out by the United States government.

Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Willie Mays will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 24. The award recognizes individual contributions to the national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other significant public or private endeavors.

Berra, who died in September at the age of 90, was an 18-time All-Star and 13-time World Series champion. Berra also served in the Navy during World War II.

"Yogi received this highest of civilian honors in recognition of his military, civil rights, and educational activism," the Yogi Berra Museum said in a statement. "We are proud and honored that his ideals will continue to influence future generations through the educational services and character curriculum of his beloved museum and learning center."

Mays, a 19-time All-Star and two-time NL MVP, spent 22 seasons in the majors before retiring in 1973. He served in the Army after being drafted during the Korean War.

Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks was the last major leaguer to receive the award in 2013.

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Aubrey Huff isn't happy with how his time in baseball ended - with him slinking out of an otherwise joyous clubhouse at Comerica Park - so the 39-year-old will try to author a new epilogue to his career.

Back in 2012, Huff was too consumed by depression and anxiety to partake in the revelry that followed his San Francisco Giants' second World Series championship in a three-year span, but the first baseman has since conquered his mental health issues and is working towards a comeback.

"I'm realistic,'' Huff told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "I'm fully aware people will think this is crazy. That's fine.''

Huff, a fifth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998, hit just .192/.326/.282 (77 OPS+) in his final season with the Giants, but owns an .806 OPS over parts of 13 seasons in the majors. Huff insists his swing hasn't deteriorated, either, in the time he's spent overcoming the mental health issues that plagued him three years ago.

"Everyone else was celebrating, I had a belly full of Xanax, I was miserable, I couldn't care less, I was the first one out of the clubhouse,'' Huff said.

Huff, who posted an .891 OPS with 26 homers as recently as 2010, said he hopes to land an invitation to spring training and would relish an opportunity to play winter ball to prove he can still contribute. And, he added, he can envision himself returning to Tampa Bay, where he played 799 games and hit 128 homers from 2000 to 2006.

"I keep telling my trainer and my wife, for whatever reason I keep seeing myself in a Rays uniform.''

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He had better get the Jeter treatment from all the other MLB teams.


from bleacherreport.com:






Three-time World Series champion and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz is reportedly planning to retire from baseball after the 2016 season.  

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com first reported the news. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe noted the slugger made comments pointing toward that conclusion last season. He also provided some potential background information on why the decision is coming out now:

Pete Abraham@PeteAbe
Ortiz said last spring he did not want a Jeter-like retirement tour but that his agents and sponsors did. Maybe they won out.
10:00 AM - 17 Nov 2015


Ortiz will be entering his 20th season in the major leagues next spring. Originally signed by the Seattle Mariners, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, where he made his debut in 1997 and spent the first six years of his career.

Things really took off for Big Papi once he arrived in Boston as a free agent in 2003. He hit 31 home runs during his first campaign with the Red Sox en route to becoming one of the league's most consistent, dangerous power hitters.

One year later, he helped lead the organization to its first World Series triumph since 1918. The 2004 championship would be followed by titles in 2007 and 2013.

He'll head into 2016 with a .284 average and a .378 on-base percentage for his career. He's also tallied 503 homers, 1,641 runs batted in and 1,340 runs scored. He continued to perform at a high level in 2015 with 37 long balls, his most since 2006.

In 2009, his name was listed as having allegedly failed a drug test in 2003 during a league-wide "suspicionless" drug-testing survey despite a confidentiality agreement being in place. The 39-year-old Dominican Republic native told Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe he hopes that doesn't ruin his chances to make the Hall of Fame: "If one day I'm up for the Hall of Fame and there are guys who don't vote for me because of that, I will call it unfair."

His on-field performance certainly warrants a spot in Cooperstown, even with very limited action in the field as he spent most of his time at designated hitter. He was one of the crucial pieces in Boston's run of success.

One thing's for sure: Ortiz will always hold a special place with Red Sox Nation, regardless of what the Hall of Fame voters eventually decide.
 

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Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson is doubling down on himself in 2016.

The 27-year-old accepted a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer last week, despite acknowledging Monday that he turned down several opportunities with more security.

"There were some multi-year offers, but my situation was a little unique and I just kind of wanted to bet on myself," Anderson told reporters.

Limited to just 32 starts in the previous four seasons due to injuries, Anderson went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA across a career-high 180 1/3 innings in 2015.

While Anderson became just the third player in history to accept the qualifying offer, he said he had discussions with the Dodgers about a multi-year deal and could revisit those talks in the future.

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Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister was voted as the 2015 American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

Banister, 50, became the third Rangers manager in club history to receive the honor, joining Johnny Oates (1996) and Buck Showalter (2004).

The selection of Banister marked the first time the AL award went to someone who was in his first full season as a manager, and just the fifth time overall. Other first-year winners such as Hal Lanier, Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, and Matt Williams came from the NL.

Texas saw a 21-win improvement from 2014 under Banister's guidance - the second-largest increase of any team in baseball, behind only the Chicago Cubs. The Rangers became just the fifth team to make the postseason after having the league's worst record the season prior, and only the second in the AL.

Banister helped lead the Rangers to an AL West title in an 88-74 campaign, taking them to the postseason for the first time since 2012. He became the only manager in franchise history to guide the Rangers to either a first-place finish or a postseason berth in his first year as manager.

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Joe Maddon's auspicious first season with the Chicago Cubs earned the 61-year-old Manager of the Year honors Tuesday for the third time in his career, one shy of the all-time record shared by Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.

Maddon, who previously received the award in 2008 and 2011 during his tenure with Tampa Bay Rays, received 18 of the 30 first-place votes to edge out Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets manager Terry Collins.

Under Maddon’s stewardship, the Cubs went 97-65 record this season, a 24-win improvement over their 73-89 finish in 2014, their first (and only) campaign with manager Rick Renteria.

Maddon, who signed a five-year contract last November, also helped the Cubs earn their first playoff berth since 2008 amid some major contributions from some of the league’s most highly touted youngsters. Though the Cubs ousted the Cardinals from the National League Division Series in four games, Maddon's squad was subsequently swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS, wherein they scored just eight runs in four contests.

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The San Francisco Giants rewarded Brandon Crawford for his breakout 2015 campaign, agreeing to a six-year deal with the All-Star shortstop worth a reported $75 million.

The extension, announced by the club Tuesday, buys out Crawford's final two years of arbitration and first four seasons of free agency. Crawford's deal includes a full no-trade clause, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

At an average annual value of $12.5 million, Crawford's new contract represents a significant raise from the $3.175 million he earned in 2015.

The 28-year-old hit a career-high 21 homers and posted a .782 OPS across 143 games last season, securing a Silver Slugger Award as the top offensive shortstop in the National League.

A reliable glove in the middle of the infield, Crawford's range at the position also landed him a Gold Glove after saving the second-most runs in the league, according to FanGraphs.

Crawford, who grew up in the Bay Area rooting for the Giants, has played at least 143 games in each of his last four seasons after making his major league debut in late May 2011. He also played a key role in the Giants' 2012 and 2014 World Series titles.

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The Los Angeles Angels bolstered their infield depth Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to a two-year deal with veteran utility man Cliff Pennington worth a reported $3.75 million, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Pennington, 31, split the 2015 campaign between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays, stumbling to minus-0.4 wins above replacement while posting a career-worst .578 OPS over 105 games. A first-round pick in the 2005 draft, Pennington spent time at four different positions - shortstop, second base, third base, and left field - while also making an unexpected relief appearance on the mound for Toronto in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Over parts of eight seasons in the majors, Pennington owns a .245/.313/.344 slash line (81 OPS+) with 30 home runs and 18 defensive runs saved across stints with the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Oakland Athletics.

Pennington, a switch-hitter, could split time at third base this season with 25-year-old rookie Kyle Kubitza, while also receiving the occasional start at second in lieu of Johnny Giavotella.

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Rich Hill has signed a 1 year deal with Oakland worth $ 6 million.


from cbssports.com:


Rich Hill will reportedly take the mound for the A's in 2016.


According to multiple reports, the Athletics have agreed to terms with veteran lefty Rich Hill on a one-year contract. According to Jeff Passan, the deal will pay Hill $6 million in 2016.

Hill, 35, spent the bulk of this past season in Triple-A and the independent Atlantic League. The Red Sox summoned him to the majors in time to make four late-season starts, and he excelled over that span: 1.55 ERA, 36 strikeouts, five walks in 29 innings. For his career, Hill has pitched to a 4.54 ERA (100 ERA+) and a 2.10 K/BB ratio across parts of 11 big-league seasons. In Oakland, he's expected to join the rotation.

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For Marco Estrada, comfort is everything.

The Toronto Blue Jays officially announced a two-year deal with the right-hander on Tuesday. While financial terms weren't disclosed, it's reportedly valued at $26 million.

"We feel this is a big step for us in our challenge to defend the AL East title," interim general manager Tony LaCava said. "Marco is a huge part to our success last year."

Following a career season, the Blue Jays extended a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer, though Estrada's wishes were granted when the team followed by offering a multi-year deal.

"You think about the qualifying offer and how much money that is, but I want to be here for a few years and I'm just glad they offered a two-year (deal) with that," Estrada said.

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last November, Estrada emerged as one of the Blue Jays' most reliable starters after starting the year in the bullpen.

The 32-year-old won a career-high 13 games, posting a 3.13 ERA and 131 strikeouts over 182 innings. His 1.04 WHIP was the second-lowest mark among the American League's qualified starters. He followed his strong regular season performance by going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA across three postseason starts.

Estrada, who made $3.9 million in 2015, acknowledged it's possible he could have landed a better deal by letting free agency play out, but wanted to remain in Toronto.

"Could I have gotten more years on the open market? Maybe. But I just wanted to come back here," he said. "It was the number one team I wanted to come (back) with. Once they offered a two-year deal, I wasn't thinking of going to free agency anymore."

Estrada will join R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman, and potentially Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, though LaCava said the team is still looking to acquire starting pitching.

"We're engaged with a number of free agents and we're talking to a lot of teams as well," he said.

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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has made it a priority to address the bullpen this offseason - the team's biggest area of weakness the past half-decade.

The Tigers opened negotiations with former closer Joakim Soria earlier this week and have inquired on several more high-profile closers available via trade, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, though they aren't comfortable with the asking prices for the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.

After building up their weak farm system last season following the trades of David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, Rosenthal notes the Tigers are likely reluctant to deal any of their young pitchers in order to acquire a premium backend piece.

The cost in the closing market isn't cheap, as evidenced by the Boston Red Sox parting with two top prospects - four in total - in order to land Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres last week.

Detroit's bullpen finished 27th in the majors with a 4.38 ERA last season, and hasn't ranked within the top 10 in ERA since 2006.

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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has landed his closer.

The Milwaukee Brewers traded right-hander Francisco Rodriguez to the Tigers on Wednesday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The return is not yet known.

Francisco posted a 2.21 ERA and 62 strikeouts across 57 innings last season, while converting 38 saves. The Tigers are expected to absorb all of the remaining $9.5-million remaining on his deal.

Last edited on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 10:01 pm by lobo316

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Has K-Rod still got some mileage on him?   The Tigers could use the help!

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/tigers-get-francisco-rodriguez-in-trade-with-brewers-to-help-woeful-bullpen-170704874.html

Last edited on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 11:15 pm by chrob61

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NEW YORK - Major League Baseball's minimum salary will remain at $507,500 next year because of a lack of inflation.

The sport's collective bargaining agreement called for a cost-of-living adjustment based on the yearly increase through October of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, rounded to the nearest $500.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Tuesday that measure decreased over 12 months. Baseball's labor contract said the 2016 minimum cannot be lower than the 2015 figure, and MLB and the players' association confirmed the amounts Wednesday.

The minor league minimum for a player signing a second major league contract remains $82,700 and the minor league minimum for a player signing an initial big league contract stays at $41,400.

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Over the course of four weeks in the autumn of 2004, David Ortiz - that portly, affable slugger who came over from Minnesota the season prior - authored his legacy in Boston. Every night throughout that magical postseason, it seemed, Ortiz came to the plate with the game in his hands, and every night, it seemed, he provided Red Sox fans with another moment to tell their grandkids about.

You know what happened next. After nearly a century, the Red Sox reversed the curse. Ortiz, not Manny Ramirez or Pedro Martinez, was the hero. He could've retired right then without forfeiting his spot alongside Larry Bird and Tom Brady in the pantheon of Boston sports icons.

But, iconoclast that he is, Ortiz decided to hang around for another decade (and then some), effortlessly defying the game's aging curve and making his Cooperstown case all the more agonizing with each mammoth home run (and the ostentatious bat flip that ensued).

On Wednesday, Ortiz confirmed the 2016 season will be his last, after which the five-year waiting period separating retirement and Hall of Fame eligibility begins.

Though the spectre of performance-enhancing drug use has turned the voting process into something of a farce, admittance into the Hall of Fame is typically informed by precedent. In the 76 years since the museum opened, a standard of excellence has been established, with statistical thresholds varying across the different positions, that voters have used to evaluate a player's worthiness. In most cases, precedent is instructive. For Ortiz, it isn't.

With the exception of Frank Thomas, no player who logged considerable time as a designated hitter has been inducted into Cooperstown. Even Thomas, a pioneer for defensively inept legends, spent 971 games standing at first base. Frankly, the full-time designated hitter is an exceptionally rare commodity: including Ortiz, only five players have logged more than 1,000 career games with at least 60 percent of their playing time coming in the DH spot. Thomas isn't one of them.

Deferring to precedent doesn't work, then, because Ortiz is the precedent. Hal McRae made tenable the idea of the full-time DH, and Edgar Martinez made it cool, but Ortiz is the first player to warrant serious Hall of Fame consideration without ever playing meaningful defense. Martinez has a compelling case, too, but still spent a quarter of his career at third base, and, despite his brilliance at the plate, didn't reach the gaudy statistical milestones that really pique the voters' interest.



PLAYER     GP    HR  OPS   WRC+
Ortiz       2257 503 .925   138
Martinez 2055  309 .933   147


Ortiz, however, has. Last summer, he smacked his 500th homer and drove in the 1,600th run of his career. Only 20 other players in baseball history have reached both those milestones. Ortiz also earned nine All-Star appearances, six Silver Slugger awards, and, most impressively, was largely immune to the effects of aging.

Had he never played a single postseason game, Ortiz would've presented a wonderful challenge to voters, with a regular-season resume compelling the BBWAA to make him the first unadulterated DH in Cooperstown. Though Martinez outclassed him in several offensive categories - batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and weighted runs created plus, for instance - Ortiz has big, round numbers on his side.

But, as signified by his three garish rings, Ortiz shined brightest in October. In nine trips to the playoffs, Ortiz has posted a .962 OPS with 17 home runs. There aren't many statistical categories where his name doesn't appear on the all-time postseason leaderboard. And, typically, he saved his best performances for the most important games: Ortiz has hit .455/.576/.795 with nine extra-base hits and 14 walks - four of them, intentional - in the World Series.

This summer, Ortiz will get a farewell tour befitting a Hall of Famer because that's what he is. An anomaly, for sure, and maybe even a relic in today's culture of player evaluation, but he lasted 20 years in the majors despite popping his head out of the dugout just four times a night. That was no accident. He's one of the greatest hitters that ever lived.

It's a good thing, then, that Ortiz is adept at making speeches. He'll probably have to make another one six years from now.

Last edited on Thu Nov 19th, 2015 01:17 am by lobo316

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The most accomplished reliever on the open market has reportedly set his price.

Darren O'Day is seeking a four-year deal in the $28-to-$36-million range, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The price for top-tier relief help has been at a premium in recent years, as teams continue to commit more resources into building their bullpens.

Andrew Miller agreed to a four-year, $36-million deal with the New York Yankees last winter, while David Robertson landed a four-year, $46-million deal with the Chicago White Sox. The Boston Red Sox traded a package of four prospects to land Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres earlier this month.

O'Day was an All-Star for the first time in 2014, and the right-hander owns an impressive resume, producing a 1.79 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over the past three seasons, striking out 214 in 196 innings.

The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers appeared to be main suitors for O'Day, though its unknown if they're still in the market after each acquiring a closer.

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Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis will miss four-to-five months after undergoing left shoulder surgery.

The Blue Jays announced that Travis had a "pre-existing acromion bone non-union," also known as Os Acromiale, in his shoulder. The surgery included the insertion of screws into the area to help stabilize an extra bone in his shoulder.

The injury was discovered midseason and eventually required surgery. Though, it was determined at the time that it was not a problem.

The 24-year-old previously underwent surgery on his left shoulder in late September, and had a cyst removed, but no structural damage was found.

Toronto believes that Travis could potentially return to baseball activities in April, with a potential MLB return in June.

Travis missed 100 games last season with the Blue Jays due to the numerous shoulder issues.

He hit .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 217 at-bats in his first MLB campaign in 2015, and was replaced in the lineup by Ryan Goins.

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Cincinnati Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said Wednesday he hopes to broker a deal for closer Aroldis Chapman before the league's top executives head to Nashville for the winter meetings in about three weeks.

Jocketty added, however, that nothing is imminent for Chapman. The four-time All-Star recorded 33 saves with a 1.63 ERA and led all relievers with a 41.7 percent strikeout rate over 65 appearances this season.

"We've been talking to clubs, but I don't think there's anything that's close," Jocketty told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Hopefully we get something done with somebody before the winter meetings. We'd like to get moving on some things."

Chapman, a free agent at season's end, is projected to earn $12.9 million through arbitration in 2016 and has become one of Cincinnati's top trade assets as the club prepares for a "transition year," as Jocketty put it earlier this month. According to reports, the Reds are also willing to trade third baseman Todd Frazier and right fielder Jay Bruce this offseason, as well.

Blessed with unrivaled velocity, Chapman has already cemented his status as one of the most dominant relievers in history. The 27-year-old left-hander owns a 1.90 ERA with 0.96 WHIP since taking over as Cincinnati's closer in 2012, while his career 42.9 percent strikeout rate is the best mark in baseball history.

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The Miami Marlins are having serious issues with their ace's attitude.

Jose Fernandez was exceptional on the mound in his return from Tommy John surgery last season, but reportedly drew the ire of the front office for a perceived arrogance.

"Jose is a different person on and off camera," one source told Andy Slater of WINZ. "Jose talks to management like they are children."

Slater reported that Fernandez approached Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill on at least two occasions asking for a trade, and there were times where some players and coaches would hope the 23-year-old would get shelled in order to humble him.

"(Jose) gets a little selfish at times and isn't the best in the clubhouse," another source said.

Fernandez is under club control through the 2018 season, but rejected a contract extension earlier this year.

"He was offered what we thought was a very fair, tremendous amount of money," Marlins president David Samson said earlier this month, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. "I don't believe he had any interest in having another offer (this winter) but we always will talk."

Fernandez went 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts across 64 2/3 innings in 2015 and owns a 22-9 record and 2.40 ERA over 47 career starts, including a 17-0 record at home.

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Hal Steinbrenner wants to put an end to the New York Yankees' free-spending ways, and restore a balance between youth and experience on the roster moving forward.

"I shouldn't have to have a $200-million payroll to win a world championship," Steinbrenner told reporters Wednesday. "It's been proven over and over again. The last couple years, the money that has come off (the books), we've had to put it back in to fill voids because we haven't had the young players to do it with."

New York has handed out some of the most expensive contracts in baseball over the past decade, and traded away many top prospects in order to bolster its roster for multiple playoff runs.

The Yankees greatly benefited from the promotions of right-hander Luis Severino and first baseman Greg Bird in 2015, perhaps setting a precedent in the club's thinking regarding young players moving forward.

"I've also said we need a good balance," Steinbrenner said. "This is New York; we need marquee players. We know that. But we also need the veterans, and we need the kids. We need the veterans to be mentors. ... Young kids need mentors, especially when you're playing in a big market like New York. You need guys who've been in the limelight and championship games."

The Kansas City Royals captured World Series glory with a payroll of around $125 million in 2015, while the Yankees spent nearly $220 million.

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lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers appeared to be main suitors for O'Day, though its unknown if they're still in the market after each acquiring a closer.
After just picking up Craig Kimbrel in a trade I don't think the Red Sox have any interest in another high priced closer. 

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lobo316 wrote: "The last couple years, the money that has come off (the books), we've had to put it back in to fill voids because we haven't had the young players to do it with."

Well no shit.  Glad someone finally woke up Hal.

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For the second time in as many days, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired an infielder.

Jonathan Villar will make his way from the Houston Astros to Milwaukee in exchange for right-hander Cy Sneed.

The 24-year-old Villar appeared in 53 games last season, hitting .284/.339/.414 with two home runs and seven stolen bases while appearing primarily at shortstop. The switch-hitter also saw time at second, third, left field, and center field.

Brewers general manager David Stearns, who worked as an assistant GM with the Astros before moving to the Brewers in September, landed Javier Betancourt from the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

"Stearns is familiar with Villar, we think Jonathan can help us this year providing depth at shortstop and can move around field," manager Craig Counsell told MLB Network Radio.

Selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, Sneed went 6-11 with a 2.58 ERA and 122 strikeouts across 139 1/3 innings in Class-A in 2015.

The Astros also released left-hander Luis Cruz and outfielder Robbie Grossman.

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Andy Van Slyke - the former All-Star who served as first base coach for the Seattle Mariners for the last two years - unloaded a barrage of criticism Thursday on Robinson Cano, slamming the second baseman's performance in 2015 while accusing him of costing people their jobs.

Van Slyke, fired along with manager Lloyd McClendon after the 2015 campaign, attributed the Mariners' struggles this year largely to Cano, who hit .287/.334/.446 (118 OPS+) with 21 homers in his second season since signing a 10-year, $240-million contract with Seattle.

"Your highest paid, supposedly best player - I mean Robbie’s not a bad guy, let me say that before I say anything bad about how he played," Van Slyke said in a lengthy interview with CBS Sports Radio 920. "But Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place, everyday player I've ever seen - I've ever seen for the first half of a baseball season. He couldn't drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn't get a hit when it mattered."

Though Cano did indeed struggle in the first half of the season, managing just a .660 OPS with six homers in his first 86 games, the six-time All-Star exploded after the All-Star break and finished the year with 2.1 WAR, the 10th-best mark among American League second basemen. His defense regressed a bit, however, as he managed minus-9 defensive runs saved - something Van Slyke was quick to belabor.

"He played the worst defense I've ever seen at second base," he said. "I mean I'm talking about the worst defensive second baseman ever - I've ever seen in 20 years in the big leagues. He couldn't catch the ball. No, I take that back. Any ball that was hit to him was an out. Any ball that he had a chance to turn a double play, he's still maybe the best in the game today. He's got a great arm."

Van Slyke also said Cano was responsible for several Mariners employees losing their jobs, including longtime general manager Jack Zduriencik, who was fired Aug. 28 with the Mariners' chances of qualifying for the postseason at less than one percent.

"Robinson Cano cost the GM his job," said Van Slyke. "The hitting coach got fired because of Cano. And the manager and the coaches got fired because of Cano. That’s how much impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”

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Brett Gardner has become a popular subject on the phone of New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

The GM has fielded plenty of calls about his players of late, with many clubs inquiring about Gardner.

"We're getting a lot of calls on him, but at the same time, that's not new. People have called me on Gardy for a long time, and he is one of our favorites," Cashman said on MLB Network.

Gardner hit .259/.343/.399 with 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 2015.

Along with the 32-year-old outfielder, Cashman entertained talks about several other players on his roster.

"I'm open to listening on the bullpen, whether it's from very top names to some of the lesser names, whether it's setup guys or what have you. And if something does make sense, then we'll try to be aggressive and pursue it. But we do so cautiously," he explained.

"We're just having the conversations, doing the job. It doesn't mean it's going to lead to anywhere. But I'm confirming. I've told everybody I'm open-minded to anything, but that doesn't mean something's going to happen."

The Yankees have already been active in the offseason: They traded catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Aaron Hicks, and shipped utility infielder Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres for minor-league pitcher Ron Herrera.

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The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran catcher Humberto Quintero to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according toSportsnet's Shi Davidi.
Quintero, 36, last played in a big-league game in 2014 with the Seattle Mariners, and most recently suited up in the minors for the Boston Red Sox. He grabbed headlines in May after appearing to intentionally hit a batter in the stomach with a throw while playing for Triple-A Pawtucket.


Quintero is a career .234/.267/.327 hitter over 12 seasons, and will give the Blue Jays organizational depth at the catcher position behind Josh Tholeand Russell Martin.
Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training on Feb. 22.






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Trade rumors have been swirling around Brett Gardner, and talks appear to be intensifying leading up to the winter meetings.

The New York Yankees have discussed trading the outfielder to the Chicago Cubs for middle infielder Starlin Castro, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman revealed Thursday he's been receiving plenty of calls about Gardner's availability, and Feinsand is reporting the All-Star outfielder has been discussed with "many teams" recently.

Castro seems like a potential fit for the Yankees, who would likely deploy a combination of Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder at second base if the season started today. The 26-year-old hit .265/.296/.375 with 11 homers and 69 RBIs last season, and is owed $38 million over the next four years.

Gardner, a first-time All-Star in 2015, hit .259/.343/.399 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs in 151 games. He's under contract through the 2018 season and is owed $37.5 million. The Yankees also hold a $12.5-million team option on him with a $2-million buyout for the 2019 season.

There are several teams looking to upgrade their respective outfields this fall, including the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.

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Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns continued to reshuffle his infield for a third straight day on Friday.

Utility infielder Luis Sardinas was traded to the Seattle Mariners, with outfielder Ramon Flores going back to the Brewers.

The 22-year-old Sardinas slashed .231/.274/.269 with six doubles and five stolen bases in 79 games over two seasons, while appearing at second, third, and shortstop. The move gives the Mariners depth behind 22-year-old shortstop Ketel Marte.

Acquired from the New York Yankees last season, Flores owns a .219/.219/.250 line across 33 big league plate appearances. The 23-year-old hit .308/.401/.454 with nine home runs and 17 doubles in 87 games in Triple-A.

It's the third time in as many days that Stearns has swung a deal involving an infielder. He acquired second baseman Javier Betancourt from the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, and shortstop Jonathan Villar from the Houston Astros on Thursday.

The acquisition also continues a very active two weeks for Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, making the deal his fourth trade of the month.

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I'd trade Ellsbury and eat a ton of the money. He sucks relative to what he signed for.

Gardner?  I'd trade him for a young pitcher (like the Indians seem to have  bunch of) but not for someone like Castro, who is not that great.  I've also seen rumors of Puig. No thanks.

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lobo316 wrote: Andy Van Slyke - the former All-Star who served as first base coach for the Seattle Mariners for the last two years - unloaded a barrage of criticism Thursday on Robinson Cano, slamming the second baseman's performance in 2015 while accusing him of costing people their jobs.



Van Slyke sure has been talking a lot lately.


from cbssports.com:

Former big-leaguer Andy Van Slyke, who's also the father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, on Thursday talked to host Frank Cusumano on CBS Sports Radio 920 in St. Louis. On the subject of his son's Dodger teammate Yasiel Puig, here's what the elder Van Slyke had to say:

"This is just between you and I. When the best player -- the highest paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers -- goes to the GM and ... is asked what are [the needs of the Los Angeles Dodgers], this particular highest-paid player said, 'The first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig.' That's all you need to know."

The highest-paid player on the Dodgers would be Clayton Kershaw, who checks in with a 2015 salary of $32.571 million and a 2016 salary of $34.571 million. Van Slyke wouldn't mention Kershaw by name, but the implication is clear.

As for Puig, he has been exceptionally productive in his young career, with an OPS+ of 141 and a total WAR of 11.3 across parts of three seasons. However, he has been prone to injuries and mental lapses on and off the field. As well, his occasional exuberance may rub some the wrong way.

There's no doubt that Puig is a skilled ballplayer who has been productive when healthy, but it's entirely possible that his demeanor has led some powerful Dodgers to decide he's no longer worth the hassle. Maybe that's a flawed way of thinking, but it's nonetheless quite plausible.

Beyond that, this can probably be characterized as "candor to excess" on Van Slyke's part. After all, "This is just between you and I [sic]" is kind of a pointless declaration when uttered in the course of, you know, a radio interview.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed right-hander Chase Whitley off waivers from the New York Yankees, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Whitley - a 15th-round selection of the Yankees in the 2010 draft - suffered a tear in his elbow ligament in a May start against the Rays, limiting him to only four appearances in 2015.

The 26-year-old has the ability to start, or be used as the long man out of the bullpen, and compiled a 4-3 record with a 5.23 ERA and 1.48 WHIP across 24 appearances in 2014 for New York.

Tampa Bay's starting rotation is already in good shape ahead of the 2016 campaign. Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez, and Matt Moore are projected to round out of the rotation, but Whitley could earn a spot in the bullpen at some point once he's fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.

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The Oakland Athletics have finally cut ties with injury-plagued right-hander A.J. Griffin.

A 14-game winner in 2013, Griffin hasn't pitched in the majors the past two seasons following Tommy John surgery, and was designated for assignment on Friday in order to clear room on the roster for Rich Hill.

"I'll miss being part of the team I got my first shot with, and the fans, they're incredible with their support," Griffin said.

The 27-year-old pitched sparingly last season in Triple-A, allowing six earned runs - five home runs - in 14 1/3 innings. Griffin told reporters that he wasn't shocked by the decision, and is healthy.

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The St. Louis Cardinals struggled to score runs in 2015, and they've got their eye on one of the top sluggers available on the free-agent market to correct the problem.

St. Louis is expressing interest in power-hitting first baseman Chris Davis, according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

Davis' ability to play four positions - first base, third base, right field, and left field - is appealing to the Cardinals, according to Morosi's sources. The 29-year-old slugger led the majors with 47 home runs last season, but also struck out 208 times - the most in the bigs.

The Cardinals scored 647 runs (24th in majors), and hit 137 homers (25th) in 2015, and now have the added challenge of replacing Jason Heyward in the middle of the order, should he choose to sign elsewhere via free agency.

Davis is projected to command a five-year, $109-million deal this fall, and will undoubtedly have multiple suitors vying for his big bat.

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The San Diego Padres added to their catching depth on Friday.

General manager A.J. Preller announced the club has claimed catcher Josmil Pinto off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

Pinto, 26, didn't appear in the bigs in 2015 while dealing with recurring concussion symptoms.

He did make 263 plate appearances for the Twins' Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, hitting .228/.304/.354 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs.

In 78 career major-league games, Pinto owns a .257/.339/.445 hitting line with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs.

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Barely 24 hours after Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella insisted his team is "not tanking", the club parted ways with another member of last year's roster, sending center fielder Cameron Maybin to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Ian Krol and left-handed pitching prospect Gabe Speier on Friday.

Despite Coppolella's comments, the trade marks his second this month in which he's disposed a veteran to infuse his farm system. The newly appointed GM shipped two-time Gold Glove Award winner Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels last week for Erick Aybar and a pair of highly touted pitching prospects, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis.

Maybin, a former top prospect, will reunite with the club that drafted him 10th overall in 2005 after reviving his career in Atlanta last season, wherein he hit .267/.327/.370 with 10 homers and 23 stolen bases in 141 games - his most since 2012. The 28-year-old spent the first two years of his professional career in the Tigers organization before getting traded to the Florida Marlins as part of the blockbuster deal that brought Miguel Cabrerato Detroit in 2007.

Maybin, who was selected one pick ahead of Andrew McCutchen back in 2005, will likely assume the everyday job in center field for the Tigers, withRajai Davis likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent this offseason.

By unloading Maybin, the Braves will save $8 million this season, while adding Speier, a decently promising left-hander, to their increasingly strong stable of prospects. Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 2013 draft, Speier spent the 2015 campaign in the Low-A Midwest League, fashioning a 2.86 ERA over 44 innings in his first professional season pitching exclusively out of the bullpen.

Krol, meanwhile, tentatively becomes the top left-handed option in Atlanta's bullpen despite his struggles with the Tigers in 2015. The 24-year-old fashioned a career-worst 5.79 ERA with a 1.71 WHIP in 33 relief appearances, posting an ugly 13.2 percent walk rate, while surrendering an .884 OPS to left-handed hitters.

Last edited on Sat Nov 21st, 2015 04:25 am by lobo316

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lobo316 wrote: Barely 24 hours after Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella insisted his team is "not tanking", the club parted ways with another member of last year's roster, sending center fielder Cameron Maybin to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Ian Krol and left-handed pitching prospect Gabe Speier on Friday.If they draw 8K/game this year I will be surprised.

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Marcell Ozuna isn't in the good graces of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, and it could send him packing.

Multiple teams have approached the Marlins about the 25-year-old outfielder, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

Crasnick writes that Miami wants a young, big-league ready starter in return for Ozuna.

"I'd be surprised if they keep him," an executive told Crasnick. "Loria clearly can't stand the guy and everybody knows it."

After he was demoted to the minors in 2015, Ozuna's stock dropped, and rumors surfaced that Loria wanted him out after agent Scott Boras claimed his client was demoted for reasons not related to his performance.

President of baseball operations Michael Hill insisted in early-November that the club wasn't interested in trading Ozuna, but he may have just been trying to put out a fire.

Ozuna hit .259/.308/.383 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 2015, one season after posting a .269/.317/.455 hitting line with 23 home runs and 85 RBIs.

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The Texas Rangers have traded right-hander Spencer Patton to the Chicago Cubs.

Texas receives minor-league infielder Frandy Delarosa in the deal.

Patton appeared in 27 games for Texas in 2015, posting a 1-1 record with an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Delarosa hit .273/.315/.367 with 30 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in Single-A ball.

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One trade has been enough for Noah Syndergaard.

The New York Mets landed the hard-throwing right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, and coming off a strong rookie season, Syndergaard couldn't imagine pitching anywhere else.

"I want to be a Met for life," Syndergaard told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "I love it."

The bright lights and big city weren't too much of a distraction for the 23-year-old Texan, who excelled in his first season in the majors. Syndergaard went 9-7 with a 3.24 ERA across 24 starts, finishing fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Following an unsuccessful World Series run, he has taken his time to decompress from a long season, though his growing celebrity has gotten him noticed around town.

"They showed a clip of me pitching and then showed me on the big screen," Syndergaard said of his trip to Madison Square Garden. "That was a moment that I couldn't hear anything, it was pretty cool how they cheered for me. It was a blast."

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Oakland trades pitcher Jesse Chavez to Toronto for pitcher Liam Hendriks

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The Colorado Rockies announced of Friday that they'd designated four players for assignment.

Among them were right-hander John Axford and catcher Wilin Rosario.

Axford, 32, saved 25 games for the Rockies in 2015, and has 141 saves across his seven-year career in the bigs that includes a 3.52 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

He made $2.6 million last season.

Rosario, 26, was once a major offensive force behind the plate for the Rockies, hitting 69 home runs and 204 RBIs between 2012-14.

He appeared in 69 games for Colorado last season, hitting .268/.295/.416 with six home runs and 29 RBIs, which included a demotion to the minors.

The Rockies also designated left-hander Rex Brothers and right-hander Tommy Kahnle for assignment.

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The Tampa Bay Rays announced on Friday they've designated four players for assignment.

Catcher J.P Arencibia, outfielder Daniel Nava, and right-handed pitchers Brandon Gomes and Kirby Yates have been removed from Tampa's 40-man roster.

President of baseball operations Matthew Silverman said the Rays still have interest in potentially bringing back Arencibia, but Gomes isn't a fit for their crowded bullpen.

Arencibia is a former first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays who resurfaced with the Rays in 2015 to hit .310/.315/.606 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 24 games.

Nava, who spent all of his career with the Boston Red Sox before being claimed off waivers by the Rays last season, hit .194/.315/.245 with one home run and 10 RBIs split between the two teams in 60 games.

Gomes made a career-high 63 appearances for Tampa Bay in 2015, posting a 4.27 ERA in 59 innings pitched. He owns a career ERA of 4.20 in 173 big-league appearances.

Yates appeared in 20 games for the Rays last season, with his ERA bloating to the 7.97 mark.

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The Philadelphia Phillies keep finding ways to add pitching depth.

After adding right-hander Jeremy Hellickson via trade, signing left-hander James Russell to a minor-league contract, and claiming right-hander Dan Otero off waivers, the Phillies have added another arm to their roster claiming right-hander A.J. Achter off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

Achter made 11 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen in 2015, posting a 6.75 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.

He also went 4-2 with a 2.62 ERA and 14 saves in 43 games with Triple-A Rochester.

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Benlen wrote: Oakland trades pitcher Jesse Chavez to Toronto for pitcher Liam Hendriks

from tsn.ca:

The Toronto Blue Jays have made a trade to acquire a starting pitcher.

The Jays announced they have acquired RHP Jesse Chavez from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for relief pitcher Liam Hendriks.

The 32-year-old Chavez started 26 games for the A's last year, finishing with a 7-15 record, 4.18 ERA, and 136 strikeouts in 157 innings pitched.

Chavez has only been a full-time starter the past two years. For his career, he has 253 appearances and just 49 starts, compiling a 24-38 receord with a 4.55 ERA and 473 strikeouts in 537.2 innings.

Hendriks pitched 64.2 innings in relief for the Jays last year, finishing with a 5-0 record, 2.92 ERA, and 71 strikeouts. The Australian has 97 career appearances and 34 career starts, compiling a 8-15 record, 5.15 ERA, and 194 strikeouts in 253.1 innings.

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St. Louis Cardinals great and legendary base thief Lou Brock may not move like he once did after having a section of his left leg amputated in October, but he's joyful despite his loss.

"Today is the day you have to make a decision - to keep the foot - or throw it away in the dumpster," Brock joked to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday.

Brock had his left leg amputated several inches below the knee in October due to an infection related to diabetes.

"It was a whirlwind. It just came on and it took us places we never had been before," said his wife Jackie, adding that her husband's life "definitely was in danger."

The 76-year-old Brock will be fitted for a prosthetic and has complete movement and flexibility of his knee, which he hopes will make walking easy.

He still plans to attend the Cardinals' Opening Day ceremonies on April 11.

Brock was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 after hitting .293/.343/.410 with 149 home runs, 900 RBIs, and 938 stolen bases. His stolen base total is the second most in baseball history behind only Rickey Henderson.

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Mark McGwire may land a gig with a different California club in 2016.

The San Diego Padres are talking to the former big-league slugger about becoming the team's bench coach, reports Scott Miller of FOX Sports.

McGwire could fill the role previously occupied by Dave Roberts, who is a final candidate to take over as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and reportedly doesn't plan on returning to the Padres next season.

The 52-year-old McGwire has been hitting coach of the Dodgers since 2012 after a major-league career that featured 583 home runs and 1414 RBIs.

McGwire would join a staff run by rookie manager Andy Green, who was hired by San Diego in late October.

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The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. With an even year ahead, they may be in line for another title and would like to acquire some pitching to help in their pursuit.

San Francisco discussed pitchers Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran with the Atlanta Braves, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Braves asked the Giants for third baseman Matt Duffy or second baseman Joe Panik in return, but Cafardo writes that general manager Bobby Evans and executive vice president Brian Sabean aren't interested in trading either.

Atlanta has shown a willingness to trade so far, shipping shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Detroit Tigers, so the Giants may continue to inquire about the Braves' two promising young starters.

The Giants used nine different starting pitchers in 2015.

Miller was one of baseball's hard-luck losers in 2015, earning a 6-17 record - including a stretch of 24 consecutive starts without a win - despite an ERA of 3.02

Teheran made 33 starts for the second consecutive season, tossing 200 2/3 innings and posting a 4.04 ERA.

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Dee Gordon is on a number of teams' wish lists after a season capped off with a batting title, stolen base title, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove.

The Miami Marlins second baseman is drawing "a ton" of interest, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cafardo reports that Miami has listened, but it would take a huge deal involving front-line, controllable pitching to nab the 27-year-old All-Star.

The Marlins are also reportedly interested in a long-term extension for the speedster, who said in early-November he enjoys playing in Miami, so a deal seems unlikely.

"I love it here - the ballpark, the coaches, the staff," he said.

Gordon, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season, made $2.5 million last season after being traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He hit .333/.359/.418 with four home runs, 46 RBIs, and 58 stolen bases in 2015.

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Dallas Keuchel wants to bring a championship to Houston, and he's campaigning for the Astros to break the bank and sign one of the top pitchers available on the free-agent market this fall to make that goal a reality.

Keuchel, who earned his first Cy Young Award with a brilliant 2015 campaign, would love to team up with the runner-up in voting, David Price.

"The baseball fan in me definitely would like to see an upgrade but that's not in my control," Keuchel told the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. "I know I've made pitches to David Price - it's just the baseball fan in me at the end of the day. I just play ... I think (the bosses) know that we're in a good position."

Price is projected to fetch a seven-year, $191-million contract in free agency, which is likely too steep a price for Houston. The thought of Price forming a two-headed monster with Keuchel at the top of the Astros' rotation, though, is terrifying for AL hitters.

Houston lost southpaw Scott Kazmir to free agency, leaving Keuchel as the only left-handed option in the team's projected rotation, which is rounded out by Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman, and Lance McCullers.

The Chicago Cubs are believed to have the inside track on signing Price because of his longstanding relationship with manager Joe Maddon from their time together with the Tampa Bay Rays. Chicago's front office also expressed its willingness to spend on acquiring pitching at all levels to help boost the club ahead of the 2016 season.

Keuchel, who went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts, received 22 of 30 first-place votes to become the third Astros pitcher to capture Cy Young honors. Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young recipient, captured the other eight first-place votes.

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The Miami Marlins and Jose Fernandez appear headed towards a Matt Harvey-like scenario in 2016.

A little over a week after Marlins team president Dave Samson declared Fernandez's agent, Scott Boras, wouldn't be a part of devising an innings plan for the right-hander next season, Fernandez countered by stating he absolutely intends to have Boras present during meetings.

"We did this last year, with Scott Boras, (president of baseball operations) Mike Hill, (former general manager/manager) Dan Jennings," Fernandez said at a Marlins charity event Friday. "We all talked on the phone, my doctor. (Dr. Lee) Kaplan was aware. We have done this, it's worked perfectly fine. We all agreed. We're all on the same page.

"I do not know what all this is all about, but Scott Boras will be there because he's my agent, and I get to decide who is going to be on my phone calls on my conference. It's that simple."

Samson was previously very clear about Boras' level of involvement in the matter:

"He will not be involved in any discussion as it relates to Jose Fernandez," Samson said. "We will be in touch with the doctors and Jose as we formulate a plan."

Harvey set a precedent this season when he got Boras, who also represents the New York Mets hurler, to engage team brass in discussions surrounding the 180-innings limit doctors suggested following reconstructive elbow surgery. The result was a lessened workload for Harvey in September and in the early rounds of the playoffs. He was then turned loose in late October with a World Series championship at stake.

Fernandez, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2014, has been a major topic of discussion this offseason after reports surfaced he has attitude issues. This has led to speculation the 23-year-old hurler could be traded prior to the 2016 season as his relationship with team management sours.

Fernandez, who is under team control for three more seasons, made 11 starts in 2015 as he eased back into action following surgery, posting a 6-1 record with a 2.92 ERA while striking out 79 batters over 64 2/3 innings of work.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly keen to work out a new deal with Zack Greinke this offseason, but he isn't the only talented right-hander on the open market who's piqued the club's interest.

Jordan Zimmermann, a two-time All-Star who finished among the top seven in National League Cy Young voting twice in the past three years, is one of the Dodgers' top targets this winter, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The 29-year-old is attached to draft-pick compensation, though, after rejecting a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Washington Nationals.

Though the Dodgers fielded one of the league's best rotations this season, their 2016 starting corps remains somewhat unsettled. Greinke's future in Los Angeles remains uncertain and Hyun-jin Ryu's health is still in question, while Brandon McCarthy continues to recover from Tommy John surgery and top prospect Julio Urias is poised to open the season in Triple-A.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, remains one of the top starters available in free agency - along with Greinke, David Price, and Johnny Cueto - despite regressing a bit in 2015. Though Zimmermann still managed a 3.66 ERA (110 ERA+) over 33 starts, his strikeout rate dropped three percent from 2014 and he posted the third-worst strikeout rate in the majors after the All-Star break (1.60 per nine innings).

Still, the former second-round pick ranks sixth among National League starters in WAR (18.6) since 2011, while his park-adjusted ERA (82 ERA-) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.31) are both among the top 12 in the league over that span.

Last edited on Sun Nov 22nd, 2015 09:27 am by lobo316

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The Baltimore Orioles are scouring the open market and making trade calls in search of an outfielder, and the Cincinnati Reds are one of the teams they've contacted.

Baltimore and Cincinnati have engaged in trade talks about outfielder Jay Bruce, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Although there wasn't any momentum as of Friday evening according to Morosi's sources, the conversation's an interesting one, as Cincinnati continues to look for partners for their most tradeable assets.

The 28-year-old Bruce would add offensive punch to an Orioles lineup that could lose slugger Chris Davis to free agency.

Adding Bruce's 26 home runs and 87 RBIs to an outfield mix that features Adam Jones would give the Orioles a dynamic middle-of-the-order pair, and help them improve the offensive production of an outfield that didn't provide much in 2015.

Bruce, a former first-round pick, is owed $12.5 million next season and comes with a $13-million team option in 2017.

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lobo316 wrote:
San Francisco discussed pitchers Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran with the Atlanta Braves, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Braves asked the Giants for third baseman Matt Duffy or second baseman Joe Panik in return, but Cafardo writes that general manager Bobby Evans and executive vice president Brian Sabean aren't interested in trading either.

LOLOLOL
No way the Giants let Duffy and Panik go. Both are paid 500K and are .290-.300 hitters. Best infielder they can get is Kelby Tomlinson or OF  Angel Pagan.

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Dodgers about to name Dave Roberts as their new Manager.


from cbssports.com:


Dave Roberts is reportedly set to become the Dodgers' new skipper. 


According to a report by Bill Shaikin, Dylan Hernandez, and Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers will name Dave Roberts as their new manager. CBSSports MLB insider Jon Heyman confirms the report and adds that Roberts will be announced as manager provided the deal is completed. Roberts had been a finalist for the job along with Dodgers Director of Player Development Gabe Kapler.

Roberts, 43 and a UCLA product, spent parts of the 10 seasons as an outfielder in the major leagues. He spent 2003 and part of 2004 with the Dodgers. Over the course of his career, Roberts established himself as a skilled defender and elite base-runner.

Since retiring as a player, Roberts has worked as an analyst, coach, and front-office exec. In 2014-15, he served as bench coach for the Padres.

Roberts will become the 32nd manager in franchise history and, as Ken Rosenthal notes, the first minority manager in Dodgers history.

After being eliminated in the NLDS round of the 2015 playoffs, the Dodgers, with a new, analytics-driven front office that may not have seen eye to eye with Don Mattingly, parted ways with Mattingly despite his leading the team to five straight winning seasons and three straight NL West titles. Mattingly has since become manager of the Marlins.

Now for some things to know ...

1. Roberts inherits a good team but an uncertain payroll situation.

Roberts will take over a 92-win team and a payroll that's already in excess of $150 million for 2016. However, the Dodgers may be facing the free agent losses of NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Greinke and starting second baseman Howie Kendrick. (There's also trade speculation regarding Yasiel Puig.) As well, the Dodgers brought in the brain-trust of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi in part to get leaner after the bloated contracts of the Ned Colletti years. As such, it's not certain that the Dodgers will be especially active on the free agent market, at least when it comes to the big-ticket guys like Greinke and David Price. Of course they have the resources, but in general the front office is looking to get more efficient on the player payroll front. That could mean a greater reliance on internal solutions and mid-line acquisitions.


2. Roberts needs to lead the Dodgers deep into the postseason.

As mentioned above, there's nothing wrong with Mattingly's regular season resume. However, he never led the Dodgers to the World Series. When you're a revenue colossus like the contemporary Dodgers at the top of the success cycle, it's about the trophies. If Roberts gets them to take that next step -- as, for instance, Terry Francona did after he took over for Grady Little in Boston -- then he'll be rightly viewed as an upgrade. If that doesn't happen, then we'll all be wondering why the front office chased off Mattingly in the first place.


3. Roberts becomes one of the youngest managers in baseball.
He's presently 43 years and 175 days old. Among current big-league managers, just Kevin Cash of the Rays, A.J. Hinch of the Astros, and the newly hired Andy Green of the Padres are younger than Roberts.


4. MLB's been hoping for more minority hires.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, like his predecessor, has publicly expressed his desire to see more diversity among big-league managers and in big-league front offices. Earlier this offseason, Dusty Baker made his way back to the dugout, as the Nationals hired him to helm the likely contender in 2016. Roberts, though, is a young first-timer (save for his one-game interim stint with the Padres this past season), and in MLB's eyes that's likely a very welcome step forward for baseball. Roberts is the son of an African-American father and a Japanese mother.


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The Washington Nationals' offseason overhaul could reportedly include dismantling their high-profile bullpen.

Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Nationals are "likely" to move both All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon and right-hander Drew Storen this offseason in an effort to perhaps clear room for another pair of big-name relievers.

According to Rosenthal, general manager Mike Rizzo remains intent on acquiring Cincinnati Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, whom the Nationals executive tried to sign out of Cuba in 2010, and again attempted to trade for at the non-waiver deadline in July.

Chapman is entering his final year of arbitration after making roughly $8 million in 2015, while Papelbon is on the hook for $11 million this season before he becomes a free agent. Storen also remains under club control for one more season.

The Nationals are also believed to be among the leaders in pursuit of free-agent reliever Darren O'Day, who's reportedly seeking a four-year deal between $28 and $36 million.

Washington's busy offseason has already included firing manager Matt Williams and his coaching staff, and hiring veteran skipper Dusty Baker. Shortstop Ian Desmond, meanwhile, is not expected to return to the club after rejecting the Nationals' $15.8-million qualifying offer earlier this month.

Both Papelbon and Storen found themselves in the middle of controversy at the end of Washington's disappointing season. Papelbon was suspended for grabbing Bryce Harper's throat in the dugout, while Storen missed the final few weeks of the season after slamming his locker and breaking his finger.

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Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski got his feet wet earlier this month when he acquired elite closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in exchange for four prospects, and his focus is now turning to acquiring a starting pitcher.

"There are a lot of quality starting pitchers out there ... any of them are under consideration for us," Dombrowski said Sunday on MLB Network Radio. "I feel comfortable saying that any (starters) out there we have interest in them and hopefully somebody has interest in us."

Dombrowski - who inherits a pitching staff that allowed the sixth-most runs in the majors (753) and finished 25th in team ERA (4.31) - also acknowledged it would probably take up to a seven-year deal in order to land some of the top arms available on the free-agent market.

Dombrowski could also take advantage of having one of the best farm systems in the bigs, and make a trade to acquire a top-end starter. The freewheeling Atlanta Braves are one team the Red Sox could poach a starter from. Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller could be available as Atlanta continues its rebuilding phase. Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray is another player being mentioned, despite team management denying the young righty is on the trade block. Pulling off a potential deal involving any of the aforementioned hurlers would surely require a comprehensive package of high-end prospects in return.

Boston adamantly searched to acquire an ace last offseason after losing Jon Lester to free agency, but Ben Cherington, who was the general manager at the time, opted to trade for a pair of middle-tier hurlers - right-hander Rick Porcello and southpaw Wade Miley - to fill the void. Cherington then inked Porcello, who went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 28 starts, to a four-year contract extension worth $82.5 million before he even started a regular-season game for the Red Sox.

Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Joe Kelly are projected to join Porcello and Miley in next year's rotation, which is again lacking a true ace. Dombrowski envisions Rodriguez as eventually becoming a top-of-the-rotation arm, and isn't giving up on Kelly despite his struggles as a starter in the early portion of the 2015 campaign. Southpaws Henry Owens and Brian Johnson also got a taste of big-league action last season, and are options to start games.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly secured the services of coveted Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz on Sunday, signing the teenage phenom to a $15.5-million deal, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Diaz, 18, has been on the major-league radar for years after thriving against more experienced competition in Cuba's Serie Nacional. According to Sanchez, Diaz slashed .348/.448/.440 with 13 doubles and three triples during his first season with the Havana Industriales last season.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Diaz ranked No. 3 on MLB.com's top international prospects list.

The Dodgers also agreed to a $6-million deal with infielder Omar Estevez, according to Sanchez. Estevez, 17, projects as a solid defender at second base with above-average power.

Both deals are reportedly pending physicals.

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The Toronto Blue Jays added some organizational infield depth Monday, signing first baseman Casey Kotchman, shortstop Jiovanni Mier and second baseman David Adams to minor league deals.

All three players obtained invitations to MLB Spring Training, much like catcher Humberto Quintero, who signed a minor league deal with Toronto last week.

Kotchman has 10 seasons of MLB experience, most recently as a member of the 2013 Marlins. The left-handed hitter has a career batting line of .260/.326/.385 with 157 doubles and 71 home runs at the MLB level. Kotchman, a former first-round draft pick who’s now 32, spent the 2015 season with the Royals’ triple-A team, where he hit 20 doubles with an .800 OPS in 90 games.

He was a useful offensive player as recently as 2011 when he hit 10 homers with an .800 OPS as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Still, at this point Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak and Matt Hague are ahead of Kotchman on Toronto’s first base depth chart.

Mier, a first-round selection in 2009, recently became a minor league free agent. The right-handed hitting 25-year-old spent the 2015 season with the Houston Astros' double-A team, where he batted .258/.350/.372 in 443 plate appearances.

Though Mier has mostly played shortstop as a pro, he has some experience playing second and third at the minor league level. Like Kotchman, he's capable of providing depth in the upper levels of the Blue Jays' minor league system.

Adams appeared in 43 games for the 2013 Yankees, but has not returned to the big leagues since. The 28-year-old spent the 2015 season playing for the Marlins' double-A affiliate, where he batted .294/.399/.391 with 12 doubles in 443 plate appearances.

Adams has a lifetime on-base percentage of .372 in parts of eight minor league seasons. The Yankees originally selected him in the third round of the 2008 draft.



 

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I keep getting these reports on FB that Robinson Cano wants to go back to the Yankees. Not sure how I feel about that.

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nyhack56 wrote: I keep getting these reports on FB that Robinson Cano wants to go back to the Yankees. Not sure how I feel about that.
It's probably more that he just wants out of that hot mess in Seattle. 



 

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CanadianHorseman wrote: nyhack56 wrote: I keep getting these reports on FB that Robinson Cano wants to go back to the Yankees. Not sure how I feel about that.
It's probably more that he just wants out of that hot mess in Seattle. 
 Probably.  I don't know how I'd feel about him.coming back.  Not that I blame him for taking the money, but I wouldn't want the Yanks to take on that contract.  The Mariners would have to pay about 3/4 of it.  Plus, Cano is 33 or so.  How many more years at the top does he have?  We're trying to get younger.

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Lloyd McClendon wasn't out of the coaching game long.

The former Seattle Mariners skipper was hired by the Detroit Tigers organization on Monday to manage their Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.

This will be the second stint for the 56-year-old with the Tigers, having once acted as the team's bullpen coach, followed by an eventual promotion to hitting coach in 2007. A Tigers player won the American League batting title in four of McClendon's seven seasons in the position.

With reported rumors surfacing in September that manager Brad Ausmus was to be fired, Detroit's move to add an experienced manager such as McClendon to the organization appears to make sense.

The Tigers finished last in the AL Central under Ausmus, with a 74-87 record in 2015.

McClendon was dismissed from his role as manager in Seattle on Oct. 9 after the Mariners finished an underwhelming 76-86.

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Mike Hampton is on his way back to the Seattle Mariners organization.

The former big-league pitcher, who was drafted by the Mariners in the sixth round of the 1990 entry draft, has been added to new manager Scott Servais' staff as bullpen coach.

The 43-year-old pitched 16 major-league seasons, split between the Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

He appeared in two All-Star games, and won a Gold Glove, and six Silver Slugger awards, while amassing a 4.06 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 419 career games, 355 of which were starts.

Hampton's best season of his career came in 1999, when he finished second in the 1999 Cy Young Award voting after going 22-4 with a 2.90 ERA, and 1.29 WHIP for the Astros. He was named the NLCS MVP in 2000 with the Mets, and in 2003 with the Braves, became the first pitcher to win a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same season.

Seattle also announced the hiring of Casey Candaele as first-base coach.

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The Texas Rangers are on the hunt for starting pitching going into next season, but the return of a pitcher already on their roster could set them apart in the American League.

Right-hander Yu Darvish is expected to make his return to the Rangers from Tommy John surgery in 2016, and general manager Jon Daniels envisions the 29-year-old pitching most of the season.

"I think we're looking at May," Daniels told T.R Sulllivan of MLB.com. "We kind of circled May on the calendar. That's the best estimate we can give. It could be a little before or a little bit after."

Darvish underwent Tommy John surgery on March 17 of this year, so if his rehab goes well the timeline from Daniels would make sense; recovery from the surgery is typically 12-16 months.

"As far as his rehab, he's had no setbacks to this point," manager Jeff Banister said. "Yu has looked very good, he looks strong, the body looks extremely healthy. This is a special guy. It's not to say that other guys are not. They are.

"But we want to make sure that this guy is as healthy as he can be, go through the complete process, because we want this guy around for as long as we can have him."

Before the surgery, Darvish pitched to a 3.27 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 83 starts in three seasons with Texas, and was the AL's strikeouts leader in 2013.

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MINNEAPOLIS - Hall of Famer slugger Rod Carew is hoping to qualify for a heart transplant after suffering a massive heart attack two months ago.

Carew tells Sports Illustrated that he suffered the heart attack while golfing alone in Corona, California, on Sept. 20.

The 70-year-old Carew tells the magazine he was dead ''and they brought me back to life.'' He underwent six hours of open heart surgery and had a device installed that pumps blood for him. The device typically acts as a bridge until a heart transplant.

Carew played for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels in his 19-year career, and has a statue outside Target Field. He won seven American League batting titles, was the 1967 AL Rookie of the Year and was the 1977 AL MVP.

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Mike Trout is one of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball, and now he's available during the holidays.

The Los Angeles Angels released an exclusive Thanksgiving bobblehead of Trout on Monday, which may be a collector's dream.

Add the @MikeTrout Thanksgiving Bobble to your holiday decor! Grab one at the @AngelsTeamStore (Open 10a-5p today). pic.twitter.com/nvHj2Mmnp1

— Angels (@Angels) November 23, 2015
The 24-year-old slugger completed another stellar year with the Angels, hitting .299/.402/.590 with 41 home runs and 90 RBIs, and finishing second in the American League MVP race.

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lobo316 wrote: The Los Angeles Angels released an exclusive Thanksgiving bobblehead of Trout on Monday, which may be a collector's dream.


srossi

 

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nyhack56 wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: nyhack56 wrote: I keep getting these reports on FB that Robinson Cano wants to go back to the Yankees. Not sure how I feel about that.
It's probably more that he just wants out of that hot mess in Seattle. 
 Probably.  I don't know how I'd feel about him.coming back.  Not that I blame him for taking the money, but I wouldn't want the Yanks to take on that contract.  The Mariners would have to pay about 3/4 of it.  Plus, Cano is 33 or so.  How many more years at the top does he have?  We're trying to get younger.

Another aging, overpaid, malcontent and you don't know how you feel about that?  I want nothing to do with him. There's no rule that says the Yankees have to have EVERY awful contract in the sport. Let Seattle deal with this one. 

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srossi wrote: There's no rule that says the Yankees have to have EVERY awful contract in the sport. . 

I'm pretty sure that there was one when Papa George was still running things. :tongue:

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Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is bringing a familiar face to the Pacific Northwest.

Catcher Chris Iannetta agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners on Monday, reuniting the pair who spent 2012-15 with the Los Angeles Angels.

"This move improves our depth at a critical position," Dipoto said in a statement. "Chris provides us with a solid veteran presence behind the plate, as well as an experienced major-league hitter with strong on-base skills who will lengthen our lineup."

Coming off a career-worst season in which he hit .188/.293/.335 with 10 home runs and 83 strikeouts in 92 games, the 32-year-old Ianetta will likely serve behind Mike Zunino, who also struggled at the plate last season, hitting .174/.230/.300 with 11 home runs in 112 games.

With a decade of experience in the bigs, Iannetta owns a career .231/.351/.405 line to go with 100 home runs over 852 games.

He and the Mariners were said to be closing in on a deal two weeks ago, with the delay caused by Iannetta's reported interest in re-signing with the Angels.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A subpoena was approved Monday compelling former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to appear before a committee probing Rhode Island's $75 million deal with his failed video game company. But the subpoena is not enforceable outside the state and Schilling lives in neighboring Massachusetts, so it's unclear whether he will ever be served with it.

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello signed the subpoena after the House Oversight Committee asked him to issue it.

''We will use the legal tools at our disposal to serve the subpoena, realizing that all processes have their limitations,'' Mattiello said in a statement. ''Mr. Schilling should voluntarily testify because he can provide valuable information that the citizens of Rhode Island deserve.''

Schilling has never publicly answered questions about how the 38 Studios deal went wrong. 38 Studios relocated to Rhode Island from Massachusetts in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million state loan guarantee. The company ran out of money less than two years later, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

Schilling is one of several people being sued over the deal.

The committee previously invited Schilling to come voluntarily, but he declined. His lawyers cited the lawsuit.

The subpoena compels Schilling to appear before the committee on Dec. 15. Attempts to reach Schilling for comment through his lawyers Monday were unsuccessful.

It's next expected to be given to the sheriff. Mattiello spokesman Larry Berman says whenever it's known that Schilling is in Rhode Island, officials will serve it.

Schilling was suspended for a month in September as a baseball analyst for ESPN following an anti-Muslim tweet he made. He was back at work for the sports network as part of its baseball postseason coverage team.

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Free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is hoping the contract of a former division rival sets the parameters for his next deal.

Boston Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello agreed to a four-year, $82.5-million extension prior to last season, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Monday that agent Scott Boras is prepared to make the case to potential suitors that Chen deserves a deal worth more than Porcello's $20.5-million annual average.

Chen is coming off a season in which he posted a career-low 3.34 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, while striking out 153 over 191 2/3 innings with the Baltimore Orioles. The 30-year-old owns a 46-32 record with a 3.72 ERA since entering the majors in 2012.

Though four years older, Chen posted much better numbers than Porcello in the three years prior to seeking his respective deal. Comparing Porcello and Chen's body of work could, however, also prove to be a cautionary tale for teams, as Porcello posted a career-worst 4.92 ERA across 28 starts last season - his first since signing the extension.

It was reported earlier this month that Chen is seeking at least a five-year deal, but it's unlikely there'll be a market if he demands that, and over $20 million per year.

The Orioles extended a $15.8-million qualifying offer to Chen, which he rejected, tying him to draft-pick compensation.

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Jerry Dipoto, who took over as general manager of the Seattle Mariners back in September, brokered four trades, re-signed an outfielder, and added a veteran catcher to his 25-man roster in the last three weeks. Still, the 47-year-old doesn't look like he's about to slow down.

Several rival executives recently told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick they expect Dipoto to trade Mark Trumbo, a former All-Star, this offseason. Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in June, Trumbo is set to earn roughly $9 million through arbitration in 2016 and is eligible for free agency next winter.

Though Trumbo rebounded a bit this season after stumbling at the plate in 2014, he still compiled just 1.1 WAR in 142 games, doing little else besides hitting for power. The 29-year-old finished third on the Mariners with 22 homers, but his 105 wRC+ was tied for sixth among the 11 players to receive at least 200 plate appearances with Seattle in 2015.

Despite smacking more homers than all but 27 hitters since 2012, Trumbo owns a .299 on-base percentage with a 25.6 percent strikeout rate over that span.

He has also been a liability in the outfield in recent seasons and may not fit with Dipoto's vision for the club moving forward. Over the last few weeks, Dipoto made several moves to improve his club's outfield defense, namely re-signing Franklin Gutierrez and trading for Leonys Martin.

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Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski attempted Tuesday to dispel a report suggesting Hanley Ramirez will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic to get some reps at first base.

"(There is) no plan in place for (Hanley) to play winter ball," Dombrowski told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "Presently this is only a rumor."

Though Ramirez hasn't played in the Dominican Winter League since 2012, when he appeared in 21 games for the Licey Tigers, there was speculation he'd log some games with his former club this offseason after the Red Sox decided to move him to a new position in August.

The 31-year-old floundered in left field in 2015, the first season of a four-year, $88-million deal he received last November, but didn't see any game action at first base due to shoulder soreness that ended his season Aug. 26. He did, however, start working out at the position towards the end of the campaign, and Dombrowski expects him to handle first base on a regular basis in 2016.

"I said we're counting on him for big things next year," Dombrowski said, referring to a meeting with Ramirez from earlier this month. "We're counting on him to be our first baseman. I asked if he thought he could play first base and he said, 'I can play short, second, and third base, I can play first base.' He seemed comfortable with it."

Travis Shaw is also expected to compete for playing time at the position, after hitting .270/.327/.487 (115 OPS+) with 13 homers as the club's primary first baseman throughout the second half of the season.

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Miami Marlins fans are in an uproar, and this time it has nothing to do with one of the team's players.

The Marlins and Fox Sports Florida decided to drop popular analyst Tommy Hutton from broadcasts on Monday, which came as a shock to the veteran broadcaster, and fans of the franchise.

"All I got was, 'We've made a decision to go in another direction,'" he told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. "They insisted it wasn't about budget. I was surprised and shocked (at) the way it was handled given the fact it was two months into the offseason and a couple days before Thanksgiving."

The @Marlins letting go of Tommy Hutton is an absolute travesty

— brandon almeida (@brandonalmeidaa) November 24, 2015
@Marlins That's it you've lost me as a fan for good. How can you get rid of Tommy Hutton. He's practically our version of Vince Scully.

— Carmar#27 (@27_carmar) November 24, 2015
Hutton has been the club's television analyst for the past 19 seasons, and doesn't plan on retiring from the game he loves.

"I am thankful to have worked 51 years in this game," he said. "I am thankful to have spent the last 19 doing Marlins baseball.

"I am in no way thinking about retiring. I still love the game, still have passion, still have energy."

Hutton's replacement has yet to be named.

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Joakim Soria's trek through free agency isn't likely to end in a return to the Motor City.

Though Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila wishes to continue improving his bullpen despite the acquisition of closer Francisco Rodriguez, a reunion with Soria is "very doubtful," according to James Schmehl of Michigan Live.

The two sides opened negotiations and discussed a two-year deal during the GM meetings earlier this month, with Schmehl indicating that Soria was presented a formal offer and turned it down.

Soria's one of the top relievers on the free-agent market, and is reportedly seeking a deal within the range of three years and $27 million, making him a cheaper option than Darren O'Day, who's said to want a four-year deal between $28 to $36 million.

The Tigers also checked in on the trade market, with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller both available, but weren't comfortable with the asking price for either pitcher.

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said numerous times this offseason that no pitcher is assured a spot in a crowded rotation, though he could clear room by dealing one of his starters.

Cashman reportedly let teams know that right-hander Ivan Nova is available, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, with the Yankees expecting a solid return.

Signed through next season, Nova's expected to land roughly $4.5 million in his final year of arbitration, and the Yankees could flip him as part of a package for pitching help under more controllable contracts.

Nova was bumped from the rotation in September as the 28-year-old struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.40 WHIP across 94 innings. The Yankees, however, believe he will be highly motivated to improve next season, as he will be pitching for his next deal.

Prior to undergoing surgery, Nova went 40-22 with a 4.20 ERA across 537 2/3 innings, striking out 405. Should he stay in New York, he'll likely head into the spring fighting for a spot at the back end of the rotation.

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Four of the San Francisco Giants' most veteran starters likely won't be back with the club in 2016 - Tim Hudson retired last month, while Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, and Mike Leake are free agents - and the club is casting a wide net in its search for potential replacements.

John Lackey, the fiery 37-year-old who spent the first eight years of his career in Anaheim, has piqued the Giants' interest, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He isn't the only prominent starter linked to San Francisco, though, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported last week that the Giants might be a "formidable threat" to sign Zack Greinke, as well.

Lackey, a one-time All-Star, has enjoyed something of a renaissance with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals since missing the entire 2012 season following Tommy John surgery. Over the last three years, Lackey owns a 3.35 ERA (119 ERA+) with a 3.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 93 starts, accruing more RA9-WAR (12.0) than all but 15 starters.

In 2015, his first full season in St. Louis, Lackey emerged as the Cardinals' most valuable starter after Adam Wainwright suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in April. Lackey, who earned a league-minimum salary due to a unique contractual stipulation, fashioned a career-best 2.77 ERA (143 ERA+) with a 1.21 WHIP over 218 innings, his most since 2007.

Lackey is attached to draft-pick compensation, however, after rejecting the Cardinals' one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer earlier this month.

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lobo316 wrote:
John Lackey, the fiery 37-year-old who spent the first eight years of his career in Anaheim, has piqued the Giants' interest, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He isn't the only prominent starter linked to San Francisco, though, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported last week that the Giants might be a "formidable threat" to sign Zack Greinke, as well.

I can't see the Giants signing Lackey. He's 37 and turned down 15 mil from the Cards? They'll re-sign Leake before they even look at anyone else. They have Bungarner, Cain, Peavy, Heston, to start next year and wanna get younger.

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Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto appears intent to take advantage of a soured relationship in South Florida.

After reportedly falling out with Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, outfielder Marcell Ozuna is on the trade block, and the Mariners are reportedly working on a deal to acquire the 25-year-old, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Miami wants a young starter in return.

The Marlins are fielding a lot of calls about Ozuna, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, who believes Miami could be interested in a deal with Seattle that involves more than just swapping Ozuna for a starting pitcher.

Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill insisted earlier this month that the team wasn't looking to trade Ozuna, who the executive said was still very much a part of the team's core. It was reported a week later, however, that Loria couldn't stand Ozuna, with one rival executive saying he'd be surprised if the team kept him.

Ozuna hit .269/.317/.455 with a career-high 23 home runs in 153 games in 2014. He regressed in 2015, hitting .259/.308/.383 with 10 home runs and 110 strikeouts across 123 games, and was even demoted to Triple-A for 33 games.

Hill said Ozuna arrived at spring training last year heavy and a bit behind, but stressed those issues had been ironed out.

Dipoto has been ultra-aggressive during his first two months in Seattle, pulling off four trades, including bringing in outfielder Leonys Martin.

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Should Jackie Bradley Jr. find himself on the Boston Red Sox to start next season, he'll be patrolling center field.

The defensively gifted 25-year-old split time in all three outfield spots last season, but manager John Farrell confirmed on Tuesday that the plan is to have Bradley Jr. in center, Mookie Betts in right, and Rusney Castillo in left to start next season.

"Jackie is the best defending outfielder that we have, that's clear," Farrell told WEEI. "Whether it's to the naked eye, whether it's to any kind of measurement you want to put to it, Jackie's the best defender we have."

Farrell added that all three players are capable of playing center field, and that Betts will be relied on heavily in right field, especially at Fenway Park. The team attempted transiting Betts from center to right at the tail end of the last season, starting the 23-year-old in 11 games.

After back-to-back seasons of failing to translate his bat to the major leagues, Bradley Jr. inspired confidence in the front office after hitting .400/.457/.853 with seven home runs over a 29-game span late last season. He followed that up by slashing a miserable .147/.244/.279 with 22 strikeouts over his final 21 games, and Farrell said he's going to have to contribute on both sides to keep his name in the lineup.

"The key for Jackie is going to be, hit enough to be an everyday player, then he's our everyday center fielder," Farrell said.

Though Farrell has anointed Bradley Jr. the starting center fielder in November, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll be around in March. President Dave Dombrowski is expected to be aggressive this offseason, and Bradley Jr. has already reportedly drawn interest from the Seattle Mariners.

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Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has plenty to be grateful for this Thanksgiving as he continues to recover from stage 1 Non-Hodgkin's Burkitt lymphoma.

The skipper's cancer is in remission, allowing him to take part in the team's offseason plans, with sights set on landing one of the top free-agent starters.

Improving the rotation is a focal point in Boston, and Farrell is confident the team has the resources to land one of Johnny Cueto, David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, or Zack Greinke.

"We've got an identified need, we have the resources that John (Henry), Tom (Werner), Mike Gordon, and others have committed and made available, and Dave (Dombrowski)'s got a history of being able to secure pitchers of this kind of elite status," Farrell told WEEI.

He was asked how perfect it would be to land both Greinke and Price.

"That would be like having two turkeys at Thanksgiving," Farrell responded.

The Red Sox certainly had no shortage of turkeys in their rotation last year, as their starters ranked 24th in the league in ERA.

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Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler wasted no time replacing Chris Iannetta, agreeing to a one-year, $2.8-million deal with veteran catcher Geovany Soto on Tuesday.

The National League Rookie of the Year in 2008, Soto has bounced around the past four seasons, with the Angels becoming his fifth team in four years.

Soto appeared in 78 games with the Chicago White Sox last season, hitting .219/.301/.406 with nine home runs, eight doubles, and 63 strikeouts in 78 games. The 32-year-old is expected to split time with Carlos Perez.

"It might end up a complete timeshare, it might end up that one guy takes more than the other," Eppler told reporters. "We wanted to have someone with Geo's experience level, competitive makeup; also just his character, how he is with teammates and how he is in the clubhouse. We wanted to get that part of the culture. I think that will be good for Carlos. He and Carlos will be a tandem, and we'll see how the playing time ultimately ends up dividing itself."

Iannetta spent the past four seasons with the Angels and hoped to return in 2016. However, he agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners on Monday, as it was reported Los Angeles wasn't interested in re-signing him.

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After coming up short in a pair of managerial interviews, Bud Black has landed a job with the Los Angeles Angels.

The team announced Tuesday that the 58-year-old will return to the organization as a special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler.

Black, who was the pitching coach for the Angels from 2000-06, spent the last nine seasons with the San Diego Padres, posting a 649-713 record before being fired in June. He was a top candidate for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals managerial vacancies before missing out on each opportunity.

The Dodgers elected to go with Dave Roberts, while the Nationals and Black appeared set to agree on a deal before negotiations between the two sides broke down.

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If money talks, the Boston Red Sox will be the front-runners in the David Price sweepstakes.

There's a "high expectation" among major league executives involved in the bidding for Price that the Red Sox will produce the highest contract offer, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Olney's report comes just hours after Boston manager John Farrell declared the Red Sox as serious suitors to sign an ace this offseason.

Related: Farrell: Adding Greinke, Price like having 2 turkeys at Thanksgiving

"We've got an identified need, we have the resources that John (Henry), Tom (Werner), Mike Gordon, and others have committed and made available, and Dave (Dombrowski)'s got a history of being able to secure pitchers of this kind of elite status," Farrell said Tuesday.

Price, who finished second in American League Cy Young voting last season, is projected to command a seven-year, $191-million deal on the free-agent market, according to FanGraphs.

Dombrowski, Boston's new president of baseball operations, traded for Price in 2014 when he was calling the shots for the Detroit Tigers. He also had no issues signing Price to a one-year, $19.75-million deal in the winter of 2015, setting a record for the largest one-year pact for an arbitration-eligible player prior to free agency.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs - two other clubs with deep pockets - are also expected to make serious runs at Price this fall. The Toronto Blue Jays could be dark horses to retain the southpaw's services.

Price, 30, compiled an 18-5 record with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 225 batters over 32 starts with the Tigers and Blue Jays last season.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-hander Allen Webster from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations.

Webster was designated for assignment on Nov. 20 after pitching to a 1-1 record with a 5.91 ERA across nine appearances, five of which were starts.

The 25-year-old owns a career ERA of 6.13 across three big-league seasons split between Arizona and the Boston Red Sox.

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President Barack Obama awarded Yogi Berra and Willie Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest possible civilian honor in the United States.

"What can be said about Lawrence "Yogi" Berra that he couldn't say better himself?" Obama asked Tuesday, referencing the New York Yankees legend's memorable quotes.

For Mays, the president expressed gratitude.

"It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even run for President."

Berra spent his entire 19-year career in New York, playing 18 seasons with the Yankees before suiting up for the Mets in 1965. A former catcher as well as an outfielder, Berra received the award posthumously after passing away in September.

Mays also retired as a Met but played over 21 seasons with the Giants. He made his debut in 1951 with the New York Giants and followed the team to San Francisco in 1958.

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The Houston Astros have traded infielder Jed Lowrie to the Oakland Athletics, according to multiple sources.

It's unclear what Houston will receive in return for Lowrie, and neither club has confirmed the deal.

The versatile infielder stormed out of the gates in April, slashing .300/.432/.567 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 60 at-bats before tearing a thumb ligament. He returned from the injury in July, but not before the Astros called up super prospect Carlos Correa to fill his roster spot. Correa, of course, went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors, forcing Lowrie to third base for the second half of the season.

Lowrie played two seasons for the Athletics from 2013-14 before being traded to Houston along with reliever Fernando Rodriguez for first baseman Chris Carter, righty Brad Peacock, and catcher Max Stassi.

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The Baltimore Orioles have acquired outfielder L.J. Hoes from the Houston Astros, according to multiple reports.

Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports Hoes has been traded for cash considerations.

The 25-year-old returns to the team that originally drafted him in 2008.

"We are glad to have L.J. Hoes back with (the) Os," general manager Dan Duquette told reporters. "He is a versatile and dependable outfielder with very good on-base capability."

Hoes was designated for assignment on Nov. 20 after appearing in eight games for the Astros in 2015, hitting .267/.313/.267.

He owns a career hitting line of .237/.289/.328 with four home runs and 22 RBIs.

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Alex Avila will spend next season with a team that isn't the Detroit Tigers.

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a one-year, $2.5-million deal with the longtime Tigers catcher.

"Alex gives us a veteran presence behind the plate who provides solid defense and a productive left-handed bat," general manager Rick Hahn told reporters.

Avila, 28, hit .191/.339/.287 with four home runs and 13 RBIs for the Tigers in 2015.

The 2011 All-Star and Silver Slugger owns a career hitting line of .242/.345/.397 with 66 home runs and 282 RBIs in seven big-league seasons.

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lobo316 wrote: Alex Avila will spend next season with a team that isn't the Detroit Tigers.

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a one-year, $2.5-million deal with the longtime Tigers catcher.

"Alex gives us a veteran presence behind the plate who provides solid defense and a productive left-handed bat," general manager Rick Hahn told reporters.

Avila, 28, hit .191/.339/.287 with four home runs and 13 RBIs for the Tigers in 2015.

The 2011 All-Star and Silver Slugger owns a career hitting line of .242/.345/.397 with 66 home runs and 282 RBIs in seven big-league seasons.


For the Tigers, this is addition by subtraction. 

Avila does call a good game from behind the plate, but with almost no offensive skills he was expendable.   Too bad there isn't a designated fielder in the AL.

The hitter friendly park in Chicago will certainly help.

Last edited on Wed Nov 25th, 2015 10:27 pm by chrob61

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The Atlanta Braves continued their offseason overhaul Wednesday afternoon, bolstering their rotation depth by signing veteran right-hander Bud Norris to a one-year deal.

The 30-year-old endured the worst season of his seven-year career in 2015, stumbling to a 6.72 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP across 11 starts and 27 relief appearances between the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres.

Though Norris made just three career relief appearances prior to this season, he lost his starting job with the Orioles in June before being shipped to San Diego ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. Norris was used exclusively in relief for the Padres throughout the final two months of the season, managing a 5.40 ERA over his last 20 appearances, albeit with a 29.2 percent strikeout rate.

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The Colorado Rockies have traded left-hander Rex Brothers to the Chicago Cubs for minor-league pitcher Wander Cabrera, the Rockies announced Wednesday.

Brothers, who was designated for assignment last Friday, has served as a lefty specialist out of the Rockies' bullpen for the past five seasons, compiling a 3.42 ERA and 1.49 WHIP with 61 holds over that span. He held left-handed batters to a .227/.308/.364 slash line last year.

Cabrera, an 18-year-old southpaw, registered a 4-3 record with a 2.34 ERA and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings over 14 appearances this year in the Dominican Summer League.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have traded right-hander Kirby Yates to the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations, the teams announced Wednesday.

Yates was designated for assignment by Tampa last Friday.

The 28-year-old appeared in 20 games for the Rays last season, compiling an ugly 7.97 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. However, he does hold value as a strikeout pitcher, averaging more than one per inning (9.3).

Indians outfielder Michael Choice was designated for assignment to make room for Yates on the 40-man roster.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have named Dave Magadan their new hitting coach, the team announced Wednesday.

Magadan will succeed Turner Ward, who left the club to pursue other opportunities.

The Rangers finished in the top 10 in a number of offensive categories under Magadan's tutelage last season, including third in runs per game (4.64), eighth in OPS (.739), and 10th in team batting average (.257).

He has extensive experience as a hitting coach, previously filling the role for the San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers.

The 53-year-old enjoyed a lengthy 16-year career in the majors as an infielder, boasting a .288/.390/.377 slash line across 1,582 games.

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David Price made it clear he thoroughly enjoyed pitching in Toronto after being acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Detroit Tigers, but a reunion with the Blue Jays may be unlikely.

The Blue Jays aren't expected to be a major factor in Price's free agency, according to sources close to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Several big-market clubs are poised to make a run at the highly coveted southpaw, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Dodgers and Red Sox certainly have the financial resources to land Price, who is projected to command a seven-year, $191-million contract, but Rosenthal believes other factors besides money will come into play.


Price's old manager, Joe Maddon, led a Cubs squad beaming with young talent on a deep playoff run last year. Chicago's front office is prepared to make a sizable financial commitment to improve its pitching depth behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and Price said last July winning the World Series with the Cubs would be the "coolest."

It's an even year, and that means, by rule, the Giants should win the World Series in 2016. San Francisco, guided by mastermind Bruce Bochy, claimed championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014, respectively. And the losses of Tim Lincecum, Mike Leake, and Ryan Vogelsong, paired with the retirement of Tim Hudson, have freed up a considerable amount of cash for a potential big signing.

Rosenthal also believes the Cardinals are now in play. St. Louis is only about a five-hour drive from Price's residence in Nashville, and obviously boasts a proven winning culture any player would be happy to integrate into.

Toronto, which may be considered as a dark horse in the Price sweepstakes, is attempting to capture Price's heart, however. The team's rabid fan base is going to extreme measures this fall in an attempt to convince him to stay, and ownership, albeit reluctantly, does have the resources to satisfy Price's demands.


Price finished second in American League Cy Young voting behind Houston's Dallas Keuchel, recording an 18-5 record with a 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts over 220 1/3 innings.

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The Oakland Athletics are always one of the most active teams in trade talks, and this offseason is no exception.

Infielders Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia are drawing trade interest from American League teams, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reports.

The acquisition of Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros on Wednesday ensures either Lawrie or Valencia will be traded before the first pitch flies in April, Slusser speculates. Lawrie, who can play second and third base, is the more likely of the two to be traded, as he is projected to start at second for the Athletics next season with Marcus Semien assuming the everyday shortstop role.


Lawrie is second-year arbitration eligible and won't become a free agent until 2018. He hit .260/.299/.407 with a career-high 16 homers and 60 RBIs in 149 games for Oakland last season after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with Toronto that sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays.

Valencia hasn't played in a full-time role since 2011, but excels against left-handed pitching. The third baseman slashed .298/.376/.458 in 131 at-bats against southpaws in 2015.

Athletics general manager David Forst has already had a busy fall. He traded right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Blue Jays for Liam Hendriks, signed left-hander Rich Hill to a one-year, $6-million deal, and claimed outfielder Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates to this point.

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lobo316 wrote: Alex Avila will spend next season with a team that isn't the Detroit Tigers.

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a one-year, $2.5-million deal with the longtime Tigers catcher.

"Alex gives us a veteran presence behind the plate who provides solid defense and a productive left-handed bat," general manager Rick Hahn told reporters.

Avila, 28, hit .191/.339/.287 with four home runs and 13 RBIs for the Tigers in 2015.

The 2011 All-Star and Silver Slugger owns a career hitting line of .242/.345/.397 with 66 home runs and 282 RBIs in seven big-league seasons.


Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila knew back in August that taking over the team that also employed his son as its catcher could be uncomfortable at some point.

And after Alex Avila agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, the GM had some mixed feelings about seeing his son leave Detroit.
"It's sad to see him go," the elder Avila told MLive.com's James Schmehl. "But I'm happy for him going to a team that has good plans for him."
An All-Star in 2011, Alex had a disappointing final season with the Tigers, hitting only .191/.339/.287 across 67 games, and will be looking to bounce back with the White Sox in 2016.

His father would have preferred him to find a team that doesn't play the Tigers so frequently, though.
"He's going to a division rival," the Tigers GM said.

Last edited on Thu Nov 26th, 2015 07:22 pm by lobo316

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Brian Cashman is sleeping on the street, and no it's not because he lost his job as general manager of the New York Yankees. He's doing it for charity.

"I am a cranky Yankee," Cashman told Stan Grossfield of the Boston Globe. "I couldn't fall asleep. I've got a knot in my neck. I need a shower. It was a nasty night."

Cashman was recently part of a Covenent House event to raise money and awareness for homeless children, which has become an annual tradition for the executive. Cashman has been a participant for the last five years.

"The first year, I literally got no sleep," Cashman explained. "Zero. I was a zombie for a day-and-a-half recovery time. It was a nightmare."

Cashman and 1,000 other volunteers raised $6 million - $1.5 million in New York alone - through the campaign known as "Sleep Out."

"Half the people don't know who he is, and he doesn't care," New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale, who also volunteered, said. "Brian has an enormously stressful job and very little time. He could just write a check but instead he walks the walk and raises money."

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Sean Doolittle is one the most intimidating players on the baseball field with his thick beard and intense staredown before he delivers a pitch to home plate, but off the field, the Oakland Athletics southpaw is showing a softer side by going above and beyond to help those in need this Thanksgiving.

Doolittle and his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan, hosted 17 Syrian refugee families, now living in Chicago, for a Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday night.

Countries around the world are taking in massive amounts of Syrian refugees as they continue to be displaced due to violence and conflict in their home country.

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The baseball world took a breather for Thanksgiving on Thursday, but now every general manager's focus is turning to signing the top free agents leading up to the winter meetings in early December.

Southpaw David Price is arguably the top pitcher available this fall, and one team appears to be willing to break the bank for the ace.

"Boston will go $30-40 million above anyone else," a National League GM told Peter Gammons.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported Wednesday the Red Sox will generate the highest contract offer to Price, and Boston manager John Farrell also recently hinted the club is extremely interested in signing an "elite" pitcher, and has the financial resources to do so. The expectation is Price could command a seven-year deal worth potentially over $200 million, depending on the bidding war that's sure to commence over the coming weeks.

Related: Red Sox will generate highest offer to Price

Dave Dombrowski, Boston's new president of baseball operations, traded for Price in 2014 when he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. He avoided arbitration with Price by dishing out a record one-year, $19.75-million deal to retain his services, and the executive appears to be willing to overpay again for a potential reunion with the American League Cy Young runner-up in Beantown.

"I just think Dombrowski loves him and he is part of the job Dave took," another GM explained to Gammons.

Boston isn't the only club with deep pockets pursuing Price, however. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals are also in on the Price sweepstakes, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Price, 30, compiled an 18-5 record with a 2.45 ERA, while striking out 225 batters over 32 starts with the Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.

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The Kansas City Royals released Wandy Rodriguez on Thursday, parting ways with the veteran left-hander who didn't throw a single pitch for the eventual World Series champions after signing a minor-league deal in August, reports Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

Rodriguez opened the 2015 campaign with the Rangers' affiliate in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and was promoted to Texas in April, crafting a 4.90 ERA (86 ERA+) with a 1.56 WHIP in 15 starts and two relief appearances before being released in August.

The 36-year-old signed a minor-league deal with the Royals a few weeks later, but never made it to Kansas City, managing just five relief appearances for the Omaha Storm Chasers, the club's Triple-A affiliate.

Hampered by both injury and ineffectiveness in recent years, Rodriguez has logged just 175 1/3 innings in the majors since 2013, crafting a 4.71 ERA (83 ERA+) with a 1.42 WHIP over that span.

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After bringing Cameron Maybin back to the Detroit Tigers last week in a trade with the Atlanta Braves, Tigers general manager Al Avila doesn't envision adding another outfielder to his roster anytime soon.

"Sitting here today, I don't have anything," Avila told James Schmehl of the MLive.com. "So, it's doubtful."

Though Maybin hasn't played corner outfield since 2007, his rookie season, Avila suggested the 28-year-old might see some time in left in 2016, likely allowing Anthony Gose to retain his job as the everyday center fielder.

"I know he's played mostly center, but we feel he can play left if we wanted him to," Avila said. "Really, that's going to be a decision up to (manager) Brad (Ausmus) and his staff once we get going (to see) how he fits best."

Maybin has far more experience in center than Gose, but neither dazzled defensively in 2015, as both finished among the bottom-five center fielders in defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating.

"Some people feel he should be playing center and Gose in left. Some people feel he should be playing left and Gose in center," Avila said. " ... That's the beauty of (Maybin) - we feel good about him either way."

While it remains unclear how Ausmus will deploy the two, newly minted All-Star J.D. Martinez is slated to patrol right field, with 25-year-old Tyler Collins poised to open the season as Detroit's backup outfielder. For now, Avila is content with that configuration.

"I don't have anything now, and I don't foresee anything," Avila said, "but you never know. Between now and the end of spring training, something could still happen. Just like any position, really."

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Yasiel Puig is known for his hot temperament, and he may have lost his cool off the field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was recently involved in a fight with security at a bar in Miami, according to ESPN Deportes' Renato Bermudez.

Puig reportedly started a fight with security from the Blue Martini club in Miami and left after receiving a blow to his face. Bermudez didn't specify exactly when the altercation occurred.

Neither the team nor Puig's representatives have acknowledged the incident yet.

Puig is coming off an injury-plagued campaign with the Dodgers, and has been the subject of trade rumors for some time now due to a logjam in the L.A. outfield and his fiery personality. The 24-year-old has a history of quarrels with teammates, including Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp, leading to speculation his time with the Dodgers may soon be over.

The Cuban outfielder battled multiple hamstring injuries in 2015, which limited him to only 79 games. He hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 282 at-bats, a far cry from the .296/.382/.480 slash line he produced a year earlier.

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The Toronto Blue Jays added a familiar face to their rotation mix on Friday, signing veteran left-hander J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36-million deal roughly one year after trading him to Seattle.


Though Happ, once considered among the National League's more promising left-handers, was hardly dominant during his time in Toronto, the 33-year-old enjoyed a impressive 2015 season split between the Marinersand Pittsburgh Pirates.
A former third-round pick, Happ crafted a 3.61 ERA (106 ERA+) across a career-high 172 innings while navigating a brilliant second half after being acquired by the Pirates ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. In 11 starts for the Pirates, Happ managed a 1.85 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP, posting a 27.7 percent strikeout rate while allowing just three home runs in 63 1/3 innings (0.4 per nine).

Happ, who made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, spent parts of three seasons in Toronto after being acquired as part of a 10-player swap with the Houston Astros in July 2012. Injuries and inconsistency marred his time in Toronto, though, as he managed a 4.39 ERA while logging just 291 innings. Over parts of nine seasons in the majors, Happ owns a 4.13 ERA (96 ERA+) with a 2.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Still, while Happ failed to post even a league-average ERA in the four seasons prior to 2015, his peripheral stats have steadily improved over the last three years, along with a noted increase in ground-ball rate.




With the expected departures of ]David Price and ]Mark Buehrle, the Blue Jays' rotation and starting depth were areas that needed to be addressed this winter. Earlier this month, interim general manager Tony LaCava even raised the possibility of Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez vying for starting jobs in 2016, though Happ's new deal, along with last week's trade for ]Jesse Chavez , could compel the club to keep both youngsters in the bullpen.

Last edited on Sat Nov 28th, 2015 06:51 am by lobo316

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lobo316 wrote: Yasiel Puig is known for his hot temperament, and he may have lost his cool off the field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was recently involved in a fight with security at a bar in Miami, according to ESPN Deportes' Renato Bermudez.

Puig reportedly started a fight with security from the Blue Martini club in Miami and left after receiving a blow to his face. Bermudez didn't specify exactly when the altercation occurred.

Neither the team nor Puig's representatives have acknowledged the incident yet.

Puig is coming off an injury-plagued campaign with the Dodgers, and has been the subject of trade rumors for some time now due to a logjam in the L.A. outfield and his fiery personality. The 24-year-old has a history of quarrels with teammates, including Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp, leading to speculation his time with the Dodgers may soon be over.

The Cuban outfielder battled multiple hamstring injuries in 2015, which limited him to only 79 games. He hit .255/.322/.436 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 282 at-bats, a far cry from the .296/.382/.480 slash line he produced a year earlier.




Yasiel Puig has been a polarizing presence in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse for several years, and his reputation is set to take another blow after he allegedly incited a melee at a Miami nightclub earlier this week.
The divisive 24-year-old will reportedly be investigated by the commissioner's office under the league's new Joint Domestic Violence Policy for his involvement in a nightclub fight on Wednesday at Blue Martini, an upscale bar in Miami, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
Miami police spokesman Major Delrish Moss told the Associated Press that Puig was asked to leave the bar following an argument with his sister. Puig was then involved in an altercation with a bouncer, resulting in a swollen left eye and bruises to his face. The bouncer claimed Puig sucker-punched him according to Moss, while Puig stated the bouncer was too aggressive. No charges were laid.
Puig is coming off an injury-plagued campaign with the Dodgers, and has been the subject of trade rumors for some time now due to a logjam in the L.A. outfield and his fiery personality. He's had a history of quarrels with teammates, including Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp, leading to speculation his time with the Dodgers may soon be over.
The league implemented the domestic violence policy in September and is already investigating Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife.

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Vin Scully believes going out on his own terms is at the utmost importance.

The Hall of Fame broadcaster will step behind the microphone for a 67th and final season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, and after announcing his impending plans to retire last August, the soon-to-be 88-year-old has yet to have a change of heart.

"I really can't see that I would come back," Scully told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. "Sooner or later, you have to be realistic. I've done it for a long, long time. I've done reasonably well at it. But I don't want to stay on any longer than I feel I should.

"Which makes it a very tough decision, but I really do feel it would be time for me to walk away rather than have somebody say, 'Gee, you know, you're not the same. You're not quite this, you're not quite that.' I don't want that. So I think if I can get through next year doing reasonably well, it would be time then to walk away."

Scully underwent a unspecified medical procedure in October that prevented him from calling the Dodgers' postseason series, but said in the weeks following that he's healthy, and looking forward to getting his final season started.

After spending the majority of his life in the broadcast booth, Scully admitted that there is some trepidation that comes with retiring, though he acknowledged a strong support system will be the key to keeping him occupied once he leaves baseball.

"If I stop to think about it - I'll be very honest - I'm somewhat scared to death," Scully said. "When you've run the same motor for all these years and suddenly turn it off, I know there will be a deafening silence. But I'll just have to be fortunate having had a wonderful marriage. I'll spend more time with Sandi, and God willing, with family and smell the roses.

Scully added: "Whether it's Thanksgiving dinner or broadcasting a ballgame, eventually the torch has to be passed."

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For the second time in as many weeks, the Blue Jays added to their rotation with a pitcher who was eager to return to Toronto.

J.A. Happ agreed to a three-year, $36-million deal on Friday, reuniting him with the organization he spent parts of three seasons with before a trade sent him to Seattle last December.

"We were happy there was a lot of interest. We were really happy that Toronto was being aggressive," Happ told Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Saturday. "Watching from afar, seeing what this team did last year, it's fun to watch this team, kind of made me want to come back and be a part of that."

Happ slides into the rotation alongside Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Jesse Chavez, and Marco Estrada, who agreed to a two-year, $26-million deal earlier this month, thanks in large part for his own desire to remain in Toronto.

Though the signing of Happ caught many off guard, interim general manager Tony LaCava said that the left-hander had been on the team's radar for some time.

"We identified J.A. as a priority, we had our planning meeting in early November, our group felt strong that J.A. fit what we were trying to do this offseason," LaCava said. "So, we engaged early with his agent, Dave Rogers. It was a very fair process with good dialogue back and forth, and I think we worked hard to get to the conclusion we got yesterday."

Following the likely losses of both David Price and Mark Buehrle to free agency, the Blue Jays' front office identified starting pitching as a primary concern this offseason. The tandem of LaCava and president Mark Shapiro have wasted little time addressing the area, adding Estrada, Chavez, and Happ all within the last 10 days.

"We haven't lessened our offense, which we think is elite, we haven't given up any draft picks, and we haven't traded any prospects, so we feel like we're off to a good start this offseason in terms of addressing our needs," LaCava said. "We'll continue to look for opportunities."

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Former Miami Marlins analyst Tommy Hutton was at times critical of the team during his 19-year career, and that reportedly cost him his job.

The highly popular broadcaster was surprisingly dropped by FOX Sports Florida earlier this week when he was told that the company had decided to go in a different direction. Though he was not told explicitly the reason behind his removal, one source told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the team believed Hutton was too negative towards the organization when calling games.

Hutton admitted there were times when he may have appeared critical, but believes nothing he said was outside the boundaries of what was expected in his job.

"I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for," Hutton told Jackson. "Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well."

Hutton described three incidents to Jackson in which a Marlins employee suggested they were uncomfortable with something he said, with one involving criticisms of the then-brand new Marlins Park:

That one involved former Marlins catcher John Buck. When Buck flied out to the deepest part of Marlins Park to end a game, Hutton shouted, "In any other park!" - meaning the ball would have been a home run in a stadium with more hitter-friendly dimensions.

He said a Marlins vice president called him after the game and said that owner Jeffrey Loria prefer he not mention the ballpark’s dimensions.

"Did I complain about the park being too big? Yeah," Hutton said, noting the dimensions are being changed this offseason. "But if that was the reason, they knew that the day after the season. I didn't say anything negative the last six weeks."

The Marlins have yet to name a replacement for Hutton, who has stated that he has no plans of retiring.

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The Baltimore Orioles are interested in signing slugger Chris Davis to a long-term contract, but only if the price is right.

Baltimore's front office is hoping Davis will be open to the idea of a hometown discount, and isn't willing to hand out a contract between $150-175 million in order to retain his services, according to The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly.

The Orioles also don't believe they'll be the highest bidder for Davis, who has blasted 159 homers over the past four seasons, more than any player in the majors over that span. Still, Baltimore is expected to table a competitive offer to Davis and fully expects to be in the mix come crunch time.

Rumors surrounding Davis have been relatively quiet to this point in the offseason, but the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the clubs showing early interest in the 29-year-old first baseman. Contract talks will surely heat up with the winter meetings on the horizon in early December.

Davis is represented by Scott Boras, who has a reputation as a fierce negotiator who fetches top dollar for his clients, and he's preaching Davis' versatility as a key selling point to interested clubs.

"Chris Davis grades out as the top free agent because he's the top outfielder, the top first baseman, and the top DH," Boras said earlier this fall. "He's all of those. He's three in one."

Davis is without a doubt the top power bat on the market this fall, but his 208 strikeouts last season were the most in the bigs.

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The Cleveland Indians don't appear to be in the market for a high-profile outfielder, but adding some depth at the position could be on the agenda.

The Indians contacted veteran outfielder Shane Victorino, according to Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes.

Victorino, a two-time All-Star and World Series champion, split last season between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels, hitting .230/.308/.292 in 71 games. Injuries have been a concern for the 34-year-old over the past few seasons, as he's battled hamstring and back issues.

This isn't the first time the Indians have expressed interest in Victorino, according to Hoynes. The club reportedly offered him a four-year, $44-million pact in 2012, but he rejected it and instead accepted a three-year contract worth $39 million from Boston. Cleveland then set its sights on Nick Swisher, signing him for four years and $56 million.

Stud outfielder Michael Brantley is expected to miss the start of next season after undergoing shoulder surgery, leaving Cleveland with a projected starting outfield consisting of Lonnie Chisenhall, Abraham Almonte, and Jerry Sands.

The Indians have been relatively quiet on the free-agent market to this point, only signing catcher Anthony Recker and outfielder Shane Robinson to minor-league deals. They've also acquired right-hander Kirby Yates from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations.

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Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro has been busy this offseason, and three of the four moves he's made since coming over from the Cleveland Indians involve pitchers.

Shapiro acquired his third hurler this fall Friday night, signing southpaw J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36-million deal. He said it's all part of a bigger plan to improve the club's pitching depth.


"We obviously had multiple holes to fill in our pitching staff, and our front-office team felt diversifying the risk among multiple pitchers who could start was important, both due to our need at the (major-league) level and our lack of Triple-A depth starting pitchers," Shapiro told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi on Friday night.

Shapiro also brought back right-hander Marco Estrada on a two-year, $26-million pact, and traded for Oakland Athletics righty Jesse Chavez. Morosi believes the flurry of moves indicates Toronto won't be bringing back David Price, who could command a deal north of $200 million on the free-agent market.

"No one player holds the key to the future of this organization," Shapiro said during his introductory presser.

Toronto's projected starting rotation currently consists of Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Estrada, Happ, and Chavez. Drew Hutchison is also an option to start games, but his ineffectiveness pitching away from Rogers Centre is an issue.

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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila listed pitching as a main priority this offseason, and it appears he's honed in on his target.

The Tigers are reportedly in discussions with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, with multiple people saying talks have become serious.

Zimmermann is one of the top free-agent starters on the market, and is expected to come as a cheaper alternative to David Price, Zack Greinke, and Johnny Cueto.

The 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he went 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA, and 164 strikeouts over 201 2/3 innings. He's thrown at least 196 innings in each of his past four seasons, going 58-32 with a 3.13 ERA over 129 starts.

With the goal of reaching the postseason still alive in Detroit, the Tigers need to address a rotation that is headlined by Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez - both successful veteran pitchers who are coming off sub-par seasons - while the young trio of Daniel Norris, Buck Farmer, and Matt Boyd own a combined 165 career innings.

Avila has already improved one of the league's worst bullpens from a season ago, having acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this month.

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One of the greatest sluggers to ever grace the minor leagues is calling it a career.

Detroit Tigers farmhand Mike Hessman announced his retirement from professional baseball Saturday.

Hessman, a 37-year-old infielder for the Toledo Mud Hens playing in his 19th season, grabbed headlines in August when he slugged his 433rd career home run in the minors, breaking the all-time record set by Buzz Arlett, who played in the ranks from 1918 to 1937.

A 15th-round draft selection of the Atlanta Braves in 1996, Hessman appeared in 109 career major-league games over five seasons in the early 2000s, but never stuck in the bigs. He became a career minor leaguer, playing for 12 different teams while compiling 7,540 at-bats over 2,094 games. His record-breaking 433rd home run was his last in professional baseball.

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For the second time in as many weeks, the Blue Jays added to their rotation with a pitcher who was eager to return to Toronto.

J.A. Happ agreed to a three-year, $36-million deal on Friday, reuniting him with the organization he spent parts of three seasons with before a trade sent him to Seattle last December.

"We were happy there was a lot of interest. We were really happy that Toronto was being aggressive," Happ told Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Saturday. "Watching from afar, seeing what this team did last year, it's fun to watch this team, kind of made me want to come back and be a part of that."

Happ slides into the rotation alongside Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Jesse Chavez, and Marco Estrada, who agreed to a two-year, $26-million deal earlier this month, thanks in large part for his own desire to remain in Toronto.

Though the signing of Happ caught many off guard, interim general manager Tony LaCava said that the left-hander had been on the team's radar for some time.

"We identified J.A. as a priority, we had our planning meeting in early November, our group felt strong that J.A. fit what we were trying to do this offseason," LaCava said. "So, we engaged early with his agent, Dave Rogers. It was a very fair process with good dialogue back and forth, and I think we worked hard to get to the conclusion we got yesterday."

Following the likely losses of both David Price and Mark Buehrle to free agency, the Blue Jays' front office identified starting pitching as a primary concern this offseason. The tandem of LaCava and president Mark Shapiro have wasted little time addressing the area, adding Estrada, Chavez, and Happ all within the last 10 days.

"We haven't lessened our offense, which we think is elite, we haven't given up any draft picks, and we haven't traded any prospects, so we feel like we're off to a good start this offseason in terms of addressing our needs," LaCava said. "We'll continue to look for opportunities."

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Zimmermann signs with Detroit.


from cbssports.com:


Jordan Zimmermann decides to move on from the Nats to Detroit.



The first big free agent is off the board, as the Tigers have reached agreement with star right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, CBSSports.com has learned.

The deal is pending a physical.

FoxSports.com first reported the Tigers were in serious talks with Zimmermann late Saturday night.

Zimmermann becomes the first front-line pitcher to do a deal in a market stocked with excellent starters. He had been expected to get something in the neighborhood of $100 million, though terms are not yet known.

The Tigers have been trying to upgrade their staff and may look for a second starter. They previously enhanced their bullpen by trading for closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch never has been afraid to spend, and this winter is going to be no different. Ilitch has been to the World Series twice but is looking for his first title. Uncharacteristically, the Tigers finished last in 2015.

The Nationals tried to extend Zimmermann a while back, but there's no belief the sides tried lately. The Nationals will receive a draft choice since they made Zimmermann a qualifying offer.

The free-agent starting pitching market is led by Zack Greinke, David Price and Johnny Cueto, with several other excellent starters also available., including Jeff Samardzija, Wei-Yin Chen, Ian Kennedy and many others.

Zimmermann, 29, was 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA last season and has a career 3.32 ERA. He had Tommy John surgery several years ago, which may have limited his market a bit.


EDIT: ESPN is reporting that it is a 5 year deal worth $ 110 million. 

Last edited on Sun Nov 29th, 2015 10:48 pm by CanadianHorseman

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Just one year after signing Hanley Ramirez to a four-year, $88-million deal, the Boston Red Sox have seen enough.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal, according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.

Cafardo identifies the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Angels as potential trade partners.

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette has an existing relationship with Ramirez. Duquette, serving as Boston's GM at the time, signed Ramirez out of the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in 2000. Duquette may have a hole to fill at first base if he can't retain Chris Davis' services, and there's no clear-cut designated hitter on his roster.

Ramirez struggled to make the transition from shortstop to left field in order to accommodate budding star Xander Bogaerts. His defense was laughable at times as he attempted to learn how to play balls off the Green Monster at Fenway Park, and now the Red Sox are contemplating moving him to first base to hide his defense shortfalls.

There's been some major drama over whether or not Ramirez will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic in order to shed some weight and get additional reps in at first base. Dombrowski has stated Ramirez won't play winter ball this year, but Ramirez told ESPN Deportes it was his intention to get some additional work in by playing this winter.


David Ortiz is understandably blocking Ramirez's path to the designated hitter role, but that is likely how Dombrowski will market him to other clubs. Another major obstacle is the slightly more than $68 million the 31-year-old is still owed on his contract. Any potential deal involving Ramirez likely means the Red Sox would need to absorb a sizable amount of his remaining salary.

Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington looked like a genius for signing Ramirez last offseason after the veteran slugger hit .293/.341/.659 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs in April. Ramirez's campaign quickly went south, though, after he smashed into the outfield wall during a May 4 contest, and sustained a shoulder injury that would affect his performance at the plate for the remainder of the season.

Last edited on Tue Dec 1st, 2015 01:34 am by lobo316

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The San Diego Padres have already traded relievers Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel to the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox, respectively, and right-hander Tyson Ross could be the next pitcher to depart, though the cost for teams showing interest will reportedly be steep.

San Diego would consider trading the 28-year-old, but only in exchange for a "monster package," according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The former second-round pick could provide interested parties with an intriguing top-of-the-rotation option if they fail to land one of the biggest free agents on the open market.

The older brother of Washington Nationals right-hander Joe Ross is under club control for two more seasons and is projected to earn $10 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Ross was also impressive away from the friendly pitching confines of Petco Park last season, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.83 ERA in 17 road starts, while his ERA rose to 3.70 at home.

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Alex Anthopoulos no longer works in the Toronto Blue Jays front office, but his successor is adopting many of the philosophies instilled by the former general manager.

"We're going to continue to look for opportunities," interim GM Tony LaCava told Sportsnet 590 The FAN. "Alex taught us that very well. Just keep shaking the tree and you never know what's going to fall out. We'll try to follow suit with that."

Anthopoulos shook Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane's branches hard enough last offseason to land the golden apple, now-reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson spearheads one of the league's most prolific offenses, which returns every core piece. That makes some of the decision-making easier for LaCava, who doesn't intend to try fix what isn't broken.

"It should be able to do the same type of damage it did last year, so ideally we don't want to diminish that," LaCava said of the offense. "That being said if something that makes the whole 25-man roster better, we'd certainly look at that. But we're not going in there with the intention of moving any of our core pieces."

With the rotation seemingly addressed following the acquisitions of J.A.Happ and Jesse Chavez, in addition to the re-signing of Marco Estrada, the Blue Jays front office will turn its attention to the bullpen, as the team is reportedly searching for relievers with closing experience.

Though the combined $59 million spent on Happ and Estrada likely ate up any remaining money that might have been used for free-agent ace David Price, LaCava was noncommittal about the team's stance on whether or not the left-hander remains a viable target.

"Like every other team that's in the market, David Price has to be attractive to them," LaCava said. "Without getting too much further, I would say that he deserves where he's at and it's certainly a heck of a competition to sign him."

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Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said Sunday that right-hander Johnny Cueto rejected a contract offer from the club earlier this month, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral reports.

According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, the offer was worth $120 million over six years, but Stewart didn't confirm specifics.

Stewart wasn't deterred when Cueto turned down his offer, though, as the club reportedly met with his agent, Bryce Dixon, last week, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. And Stewart is content to take his time, too, with David Price and Zack Greinke still available.

"When you've still got the two big guys who haven't done anything yet, Price and Greinke, you kind of want to wait," Stewart said.

"Depending on how he sees his client," Stewart continued, referring to Dixon. "And he probably sees his client above (Jordan) Zimmermann, it puts you in a situation where you want to wait and see what happens."

Though the Diamondbacks remain determined to improve their rotation this offseason, Cueto may command more than Arizona is willing to spend, especially after Zimmermann reportedly landed a five-year, $110-million from the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. According to Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are willing to spend up to $18 million annually on a starting pitcher to headline their rotation, but with Cueto expected to earn more than $20 million annually on a multi-year deal, he may not be a fit. Unless Stewart can make a compelling case to ownership, of course.

"I guess ultimately that decision is going to be made by ownership, if we can go there," Stewart said. "Having a conversation with him gave us an idea of what's going to happen and what he's thinking. We're going to have to wait and see how this thing plays out."

Though Cueto has been one of the most effective right-handers of the last half-decade, the Dominican native struggled after being acquired by the Kansas City Royals ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. In 13 regular-season starts for the Royals, Cueto stumbled to a 4.76 ERA while allowing 101 hits - including 10 homers - in 81 1/3 innings.

Still, Cueto finished the campaign with a 3.44 ERA (117 ERA+) in 32 starts while posting peripheral stats very much in line with his career norms.

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Zack Greinke wants the big bucks, and it could be one of the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants who give the right-hander what he craves.

The 32-year-old Greinke is believed to seeking a deal that will pay him $30 million per year, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Crasnick also reports that the market for 2015's ERA leader is quietly heating up, with the Dodgers and Giants looking for clarity.

If Greinke bolted from L.A. to the Bay Area, he would join a Giants rotation in desperate need of a complement for ace Madison Bumgarner.

The Giants used nine different starting pitchers in 2015.

Greinke opted out of his contract with the Dodgers in early November, leaving a guaranteed $71 million on the table so he could pursue a more lucrative long-term offer on the open market.

The former Cy Young winner, who earned $25 million last season, is one of the top two pitchers available in free agency, along with southpaw David Price, and could command the contract he desires.

Greinke finished second to Jake Arrieta for the National League Cy Young with a 19-3 record, 1.66 ERA, and 0.84 WHIP in 32 starts and 222 2/3 innings of work.

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Dave Dombrowski's first free-agent signing as president of the Boston Red Sox was geared toward adding depth to a talented young outfield.

The Red Sox agreed to a multi-year deal with outfielder Chris Young on Monday, pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

A 32-year-old veteran of 10 major-league seasons, Young spent the last two years with the New York Yankees. He slashed .252/.320/.453 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles, and 73 strikeouts across 140 games in 2015, seeing time at all three outfield positions.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said last week the team intends to deploy Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field next season, with Mookie Betts in right and Rusney Castillo in left. The right-handed hitting Young will likely receive most of his at-bats against left-handed pitching, but he also provides the Red Sox with a veteran capable of playing every day should the oft-injured Castillo go down or Bradley Jr. struggle.

Young has enjoyed solid numbers at Fenway Park, hitting .344/.431/.623 with three home runs and eight doubles in 21 games.

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Johnny Cueto is looking for a big payday, and he's being particular about where he ends up and what his value is.

Clubs believe the 29-year-old right-hander is seeking a contract valued somewhere between $140 and $160 million, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Cueto reportedly turned down a recent offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $120 million over six years, which Crasnick says began as a $110 million offer, so it seems like Cueto's agent Bryce Dixon considers his client's value to be much higher.

A deal in the rage Cueto is reportedly seeking would put him in the territory of left-handers Cole Hamels and Jon Lester. Hamels signed a 6-year, $144-million deal in 2012, while Lester signed a 6-year pact worth $155 million prior to the 2015 season.

Jordan Zimmermann, who fell under the same tier of pitchers available on the open market as Cueto, received a five-year, $110-million deal from the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

Cueto earned $10 million last season, splitting his time between the Cincinnati Reds and the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

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The Philadelphia Phillies have claimed right-hander Michael Mariot from the Kansas City Royals, the team announced Monday.

Mariot, 27, appeared in two big-league games in 2015, allowing one earned run in three innings of work.

He spent the majority of last season with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, posting a 2.32 ERA with eight saves, and striking out 10.5 hitters per nine innings.

Mariot becomes the sixth pitcher Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has acquired this offseason.

Philadelphia has already traded for Jeremy Hellickson, signed James Russell and Frank Herrmann to minor-league contracts, and claimed Dan Otero and A.J. Achter off waivers.

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lobo316 wrote: Dave Dombrowski's first free-agent signing as president of the Boston Red Sox was geared toward adding depth to a talented young outfield.

The Red Sox agreed to a multi-year deal with outfielder Chris Young on Monday, pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


I get a feeling this signing means that Boston might be trading away Jackie Bradley Jr. to get some starting pitching. 

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lobo316 wrote: Zack Greinke wants the big bucks, and it could be one of the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants who give the right-hander what he craves.

The 32-year-old Greinke is believed to seeking a deal that will pay him $30 million per year, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

30 mil.? I hope the Giants jump on that deal. That's what Hudson,Lincecum and Vogelsong made combined and they weren't very effective. Stealing him from the Dodgers would be even better.

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Eager to add a first baseman, the Colorado Rockies have set their sights west.

The Rockies are among teams talking to the Seattle Mariners about Mark Trumbo, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in June, Trumbo is expected to earn roughly $9 million through arbitration next season, and Rosenthal notes the Mariners could tender him a deal and then trade him.

It was reported last week that several rival executives believe Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is looking to deal the 29-year-old, who slashed .262/.310/.449 with 22 home runs in 142 games last season.

Trumbo represents the Mariners' best option internally at first base, so it's likely Dipoto would have to acquire someone else to man the position should he move the former All-Star.

Colorado has been in search for help at first base since declining the $9-million option on Justin Morneau at the end of October.

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The Seattle Mariners have shown interest in free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki, according to The News Tribune's Bob Dutton.

With the acquisition of burner Leonys Martin, the corner jobs would fit nicely for Aoki, who has proven to be a serviceable outfielder and scrappy hitter.

As it stands, the Mariners slot Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith in right and left field, respectively. Cruz played in 80 games in the outfield in 2015, with 72 of his appearances occurring in the designated hitter spot.

Smith, meanwhile, appeared in 110 games in the outfield. Although Cruz's bat is what signs his paychecks, Smith isn't a staple, batting .248/.330/.443 last season with 12 homers.

After a solid start to the 2015 campaign, Aoki was hampered by a concussion issue. It's unclear what his status will be come spring training, but, nevertheless, the San Francisco Giants declined to pick up his $5.5-million option.

"At this point, there appears to be real interest (in Aoki) from the Mariners," one industry source told Dutton. "Whether that leads to a deal is anybody's guess."

Beyond batting a mild .287/.353/.380 in 93 games, he also managed to swipe 14 bags. All in all, he would be an upgrade from Smith in the outfield, giving the Mariners two outfielders who can cover significant ground.

Other outfield options for Seattle include Franklin Gutierrez and Mark Trumbo, though they can also serve as the designated hitter on occasion.

If the Mariners added Aoki, his tools wouldn't make him a surefire staple at a corner outfield job, but he would add some life to a lineup that finished 21st in the majors in stolen bases (69).

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The Kansas City Royals have agreed to terms with left-hander Tim Collins on a one-year deal.

The club avoided arbitration with the 26-year-old, who's set to earn $1.47 million with a $50,000 All-Star Game bonus, according to MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan.

Having made 228 relief appearances with the club since 2011, Collins was forced to miss the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in spring training.

Over his four-year career, Collins owns a 3.54 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 211 innings.

While he's small in stature (5-foot-7, 170 pounds), he's still able to hum the ball in the low 90s, slotting him perfectly into a Kansas City bullpen rife with fireballers.

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Jim Johnson is headed back to The A.

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to bring back the right-handed reliever on a one-year deal, the club announced Monday.

The 32-year-old will reportedly earn $2.5 million for the year, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.

Johnson opened the 2015 campaign with the Braves, but was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade in July. However, he underperformed in California, racking up a 10.13 ERA in 23 games, a 2.04 WHIP, and only one save.

It was a stark contrast for Johnson, who was impressive just previously in Atlanta, where he threw a solid 2.25 ERA over 48 innings pitched and picked up nine saves.

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The St. Louis Cardinals added to their catching depth Monday, agreeing to a two-year deal with Brayan Pena.

Pena is familiar with the National League Central after spending the last two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .263/.313/.339 with five home runs and 35 doubles over 223 games.

The 33-year-old provides the Cardinals with a solid backup behind Gold Glove winner Yadier Molina, who caught 134 games for St. Louis in 2015. Pena also offers a significant offensive improvement over Tony Cruz, who hit .204/.235/.310 over 69 games last season.

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The Philadelphia Phillies have claimed right-hander Michael Mariot from the Kansas City Royals, the team announced Monday.

Mariot, 27, appeared in two big-league games in 2015, allowing one earned run in three innings of work.

He spent the majority of last season with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, posting a 2.32 ERA with eight saves, and striking out 10.5 hitters per nine innings.

Mariot becomes the sixth pitcher Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has acquired this offseason.

Philadelphia has already traded for Jeremy Hellickson, signed James Russell and Frank Herrmann to minor-league contracts, and claimed Dan Otero and A.J. Achter off waivers.

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NEW YORK - A full postseason share for the World Series champion Kansas City Royals was worth $370,069, just under the record $388,606 set by the San Francisco Giants last year.

The New York Mets set a record for a World Series loser at totaled $300,758, the commissioner's office said Monday.

Kansas City split $25.16 million into 58 full shares, 8.37 partial shares and 50 cash awards. The Mets divided $16.77 million into 44 full shares, 11.05 partial shares and 25 cash awards, with the amount of a full share easily topping the previous record of $291,668 for a World Series loser, set by Detroit in 2012, and the Royals' $230,700 last year.

Full shares were worth $141,834 for Toronto, $122,328 for the Chicago Cubs, $36,783 for Houston, $34,224 for St. Louis, $34,169 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, $34,074 for Texas, $15,884 for Pittsburgh and $13,980 for the New York Yankees.

The players' pool totaled a record $69.88 million, breaking the mark of $65.36 million set in 2012. The pool included 50 percent of the gate receipts from the two wild-card games, and 60 percent from the first three games of each division series and the first four games of each league championship series and the World Series.

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Right-handed reliever Joba Chamberlain is making a third stop in the American League Central, agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old made 36 appearances last season, split between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, posting a 4.88 ERA and 23 strikeouts across 27 2/3 innings.

Chamberlain, who was released twice in 2015 before signing with the Royals in August, owns a 4.28 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 153 1/3 innings over the past three seasons.

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Barry Bonds is reportedly under consideration by the Miami Marlins to join their staff as a hitting coach.

The home run king wouldn't supplant current hitting coach Frank Menechino. Instead, the team would employ two hitting coaches, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Bonds would join the staff of six-time All-Star Don Mattingly, who recently became the Marlins' seventh manager since June 2010. Bonds has worked as a guest instructor for the San Francisco Giants in spring training since his playing days ended.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home record of 755 on Aug. 7, 2007, in the last of his 22 big league seasons.

In July, after a pursuit that lasted nearly a decade, federal prosecutors dropped what remained of their criminal case against Bonds. But because of the taint of steroids, he has come up short in Hall of Fame balloting.

The Marlins finished next to last in the majors in runs in 2015, when they went 71-91. They haven't made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003.

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The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

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The Minnesota Twins finalized a deal with Korean slugger Byung-ho Park on Tuesday, a step that helps address the team's mediocre offense from a season ago.

After submitting a successful bid of $12.85 million last month, the two sides agreed to a four-year, $12-million contract that includes a $6.5-million club option for 2020. Including the posting fee, the Twins' total investment in Park totals $24.85 million, provided his option is not exercised.

The 29-year-old led the hitter-friendly KBO with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs, slashing .343/.436/.714 over 140 games. Park, who made his KBO debut in 2005, led the league in home runs four times while also earning the MVP award in 2012 and 2013.

"I will do the best I can, feeling proud of being in the league with the greatest players in the world," Park told reporters last week. "There will be difficulties along the way but I will try to adjust."

Park's role with the Twins remains somewhat unsettled at this point, though. He is expected to see time at first base, in addition to designated hitter. However, Joe Mauer is still slated to be the club's primary first baseman, while Miguel Sano smacked 18 homers with a .916 OPS as Minnesota's go-to DH. Though Sano could see time in left field in 2016, Kennys Vargas is another candidate to see time in the DH role.

"I have no problem being the DH," Park said. "Obviously, I prefer to take the field but I also have to make adjustments in a new environment."

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Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Tuesday that Clayton Kershaw never told him to trade Yasiel Puig, the polarizing outfielder whose name continues to surface in rumors.

Earlier this offseason, Andy Van Slyke - the father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke - said "the highest-paid player on the team" told Friedman "the first thing you need to do is get rid of Puig," when asked about the club's biggest needs.

Van Slyke never mentioned Kershaw's name, but the left-hander's seven-year contract features an average annual value of $30.7 million - the highest ever for a pitcher - and he'll earn nearly $13 million more in 2016 than the club's next-highest paid player, Adrian Gonzalez.

Still, reports of Puig's waning popularity in the clubhouse have festered in recent months, with one Dodgers player telling Yahoo's Jeff Passan back in June that getting rid of the talented Cuban "would be addition by subtraction."

In her account of the Dodgers' 2014 season, author Molly Knight detailed an incident in which Puig argued with pitcher Zack Greinke and nearly came to blows with infielder Justin Turner, after a disagreement over whether a member of Puig's entourage should be allowed on a flight that typically includes wives and girlfriends.

Major League Baseball is currently investigating Puig, too, for his role in a fight at an upscale Miami bar last week, though no charges were filed. Since his 2013 debut with the Dodgers, Puig has been arrested twice for driving violations.

Puig, an All-Star in 2014, battled injury and regression this season, posting career-lows in batting average (.255), on-base percentage (.322), and slugging percentage (.436) while appearing in just 79 games due to hamstring and hand issues.

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Though terms have not yet been finalized, Barry Bonds tentatively plans to accept the Marlins' hitting coach position, wherein he'll work alongside Frank Menechino, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

The club's interest in Bonds was first reported Monday by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who noted that team owner Jeffrey Loria is "said to have built a relationship" with the 51-year-old.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP and the game's all-time home run leader, has been mostly absent from baseball since playing his final game with the San Francisco Giants in 2007, though he served as a roving instructor with his former club for a week of spring training in 2014.

Should Bonds accept the position in Miami, he will be tasked with improving one of the worst offensive teams from 2015, as the Marlins finished second-last in the National League in runs scored (613) and fourth-last in OPS (.694). Though they got impressive seasons from Dee Gordon and Justin Bour, the Marlins were without Giancarlo Stanton for the second half due to a hand injury, while Marcell Ozuna regressed significantly and Christian Yelich stagnated in his development.

Despite Bonds' lack of coaching experience, though, Alex Rodriguez - who worked out with the Giants icon last winter - is confident he'll have a positive impact in Miami.

“You know how much I think of Barry. He has a brilliant baseball mind," Rodriguez told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "I think he'll be good for the team, the hitters."

"I'll be really excited to see what Stanton will do with Barry there to develop (him)," Rodriguez added.

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Los Angeles Dodgers executive and former pitcher Don Newcombe collapsed Tuesday after a news conference to introduce Dave Roberts as the new manager of the club, and was taken to hospital for further evaluation.

Paramedics were called to Dodger Stadium after the 89-year-old got dizzy while sitting in a chair and temporarily passed out. However, he was responsive when he left the scene in a wheelchair.

Newcombe - the 1956 National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner - is a special adviser to the chairman of the Dodgers, and previously served as the team's director of community affairs.

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The Houston Astros hit the second-most home runs in the majors last season, but one of their biggest contributors to that tally could be on the move.

First baseman Chris Carter is being shopped, with the Astros focusing on American League teams as suitors, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

Carter has clubbed a team-leading 90 home runs over the past three seasons, but has also slashed a miserable .218/.312/.459 with 545 strikeouts in 422 games. He hit 24 homers and 17 doubles in 2015, while managing a career-low .199 average over 129 games.

The Astros are also said to be willing to listen on offers for Jake Marisnick, as the 24-year-old finds himself without a starting job after Colby Rasmus accepted a $15.8-million qualifying offer. Marisnick hit .236/.281/.383 with nine home runs and 24 stolen bases in 133 games.

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow has spent the early part of the offseason trimming excess payroll so he can free up cash to improve the pitching staff.

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Baseball's most expensive team just got more expensive.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were slapped with a record $43.7-million penalty for going over Major League Baseball's Competitive Balance Tax, after finishing the season with a $298.3-million payroll, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.

Fifteen Dodgers players were paid at least $5 million last season, with four making at least $21 million. Clayton Kershaw was the top earner, bringing in $32.5 million.

Three other teams were charged for surpassing the $189-million limit. The New York Yankees were taxed $26 million, the Boston Red Sox owe $1.87 million, and the San Francisco Giants will pay $1.33 million.

None of the four teams who were charged for surpassing the luxury tax won a postseason series.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to free agent Chris Davis some time, but signing the 29-year-old first baseman isn't the top priority for general manager John Mozeliak, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Less than two weeks ago, Jon Morosi of CBS Sports reported that the Cardinals had discussions with Davis' agent, Scott Boras, but Crasnick cited a source Monday who said their reported interest in the former All-Star is overblown.

Though it remains unclear which teams are vying for his services, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team will be "competitive" in trying to retain Davis, who rejected the club's $15.8-million qualifying offer. According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, however, Davis could command a deal worth $150 million-$175 million, a figure the Orioles would not be comfortable with.

The Cardinals could use an upgrade at first base, though, after watching their contingent of first basemen hit just .236/.309/.384 while producing 0.1 wins above replacement in 2015. Matt Adams is tentatively poised to be the club's everyday first baseman this season, but the 27-year-old hit just .240/.280/.377 (77 OPS+) in 60 games and missed most of the season with a quadriceps injury.

Davis, meanwhile, led the majors with 47 homers, managing a .923 OPS despite striking out in 31 percent of his plate appearances. Over the last three seasons, no player has hit more home runs than Davis, who has also seen time at third base and right field in recent years.

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Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has no problem writing checks if it gives his team an opportunity to win.

Fresh off a disappointing 87-loss season in which the Tigers finished last in the American League Central for the first time in eight seasons, general manager Al Avila made two majors splashes with the acquisitions of closer Francisco Rodriguez and starter Jordan Zimmermann, adding a combined $119.5 million to the payroll.

"I don't care about the money," Ilitch told reporters Monday. "I want the best players."

The five-year, $110-million deal handed to Zimmermann brings the Tigers payroll to approximately $141 million for next season, a figure that will approach the luxury-tax threshold with All-Stars J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias among five arbitration-eligible players.

"Well, I'm supposed to be a good boy and not go over it, but again, if I'm gonna get certain players that can help us a lot, I'm going to go over it," Ilitch said. "Oops, I shouldn't have said that."

Even after adding a key piece to both the rotation and the bullpen, the Tigers' front office remains focused on adding more arms, though Avila concedes they will have to come much cheaper than Zimmermann.

"Right now, everything is fitting right in line with our plan," Avila said. "We were trying to get a top starter like Jordan, and then obviously a less expensive pitcher at this point.

"But that doesn't mean that we're not looking for a guy that's not good, even though we're going to try to sign a less expensive pitcher. It means it's a guy that we like a lot in that particular role."

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lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

There has been a winner declared in the David Price sweepstakes.
The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with the left-hander, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Price's contract, which has an average annual value of $31 million, tiesMiguel Cabrera for the largest in baseball history. The $217 million is also the most ever handed out to a pitcher and includes an opt-out clause after the first three years of the deal.

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lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

I guess about $ 210 million of that $ 217 million deal is for the regular season version of David Price. 

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lobo316 wrote: lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

There has been a winner declared in the David Price sweepstakes.
The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with the left-hander, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Price's contract, which has an average annual value of $31 million, tiesMiguel Cabrera for the largest in baseball history. The $217 million is also the most ever handed out to a pitcher and includes an opt-out clause after the first three years of the deal.



Price, the runner-up in this year's American League Cy Young voting, was arguably the top pitcher available in free agency along with Zack Greinkeand Johnny Cueto. The 30-year-old is a five-time All-Star and captured Cy Young honors as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays with a dominant 2012 campaign.
Boston desperately needed an ace after trading Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics in July of 2014. Red Sox pitchers compiled a 4.34 ERA (25th in majors) and recorded only 80 quality starts (16th) in 2015. The Red Sox bolstered their bullpen with the addition of Craig Kimbrel earlier this fall, and now Price will headline a veteran rotation in Boston.
Dave Dombrowski, Boston's new president of baseball operations, traded for Price in 2014 when he was calling the shots for the Detroit Tigers. He avoided arbitration with Price by dishing out a record one-year, $19.75-million deal to retain his services.

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San Diego is home to one of the largest Navy bases in America, and thePadres are planning to do even more this year to honor the military.
A few members of the squad showed off the team's new blue camouflage digital Navy jerseys Tuesday on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. They'll be worn for every Sunday home game this season.
The new Padres uniform tops are here. Blue digital design modeled after Navy unis. Will be worn at home on Sundays. pic.twitter.com/LZQ8sAvP4F
— Rachel Crader (@sdutRachel) December 1, 2015
It's a big year for the Padres, who will host the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park.






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lobo316 wrote: lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

There has been a winner declared in the David Price sweepstakes.
The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with the left-hander, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Price's contract, which has an average annual value of $31 million, tiesMiguel Cabrera for the largest in baseball history. The $217 million is also the most ever handed out to a pitcher and includes an opt-out clause after the first three years of the deal.

Who has the opt out clause. The BoSox or Price.

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Mysterious wrote: lobo316 wrote: lobo316 wrote: The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with left-hander David Price, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.

There has been a winner declared in the David Price sweepstakes.
The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with the left-hander, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Price's contract, which has an average annual value of $31 million, tiesMiguel Cabrera for the largest in baseball history. The $217 million is also the most ever handed out to a pitcher and includes an opt-out clause after the first three years of the deal.

Who has the opt out clause. The BoSox or Price.


Price

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Hours after reports surfaced indicating that David Price will sign a megadeal with the Boston Red Sox, a perennial power hitter is also on the move.

The Seattle Mariners have traded first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Baltimore Orioles in a deal that includes catcher/first baseman Steve Clevenger coming back the other way, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

The deal has not been made official and there could be other players or cash involved.

Trumbo is projected to earn $9.1 million in 2016 through arbitration. All 30 major-league clubs are required to offer contracts to all unsigned players on their 40-man roster by Wednesday night's deadline, which pressured both sides to get a deal done quickly.

Baltimore is desperate for corner outfield help to complement Adam Jones, and Trumbo could potentially fill in at first base if the Orioles can't retain the services of slugger Chris Davis.

Trumbo hit .262/.310/.449 with 22 home runs in 142 games split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Mariners. He has averaged 26 homers per season over his five-year career in the majors.

Clevenger is not yet arbitration-eligible and figures to make roughly $520,000 next season. He hit .287/.314/.426 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 30 games in 2015.

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Just hours after reportedly shipping Mark Trumbo to Baltimore, Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto restocked his outfield depth by agreeing to a one-year deal with Nori Aoki, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.

Financial terms are not yet known, but Aoki's deal reportedly includes an option for 2017.

Aoki, who turns 34 next month, became a free agent after the San Francisco Giants opted not to exercise his $5.5-million option for 2016 despite watching the veteran outfielder hit .287/.353/.380 (104 OPS+) with five homers and 14 stolen bases in 93 games last season.

Since making his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012, Aoki has averaged 1.9 wins above replacement per season, managing a 107 wRC+ while demonstrating elite contact skills. Over the last two seasons, however, Aoki has played just 225 games due to a variety of injuries, including a concussion and a fractured right fibula.

Aoki is poised to join an outfield bolstered in recent weeks by the addition of Leonys Martin, who came over in a trade with the Texas Rangers. In early November, the Mariners also re-signed Franklin Gutierrez, a former Gold Glove Award winner who smacked 15 homers with a .974 OPS in 59 games in 2015.

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Ben Zobrist is a jack of all trades, and he expects to be rewarded handsomely for his versatile skill set.

Zobrist is drawing interest from a number of teams including the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and Kansas City Royals, among others. The fierce competition for his services is driving up his asking price to four years and $60 million, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.

The 34-year-old is fresh off a World Series championship with the Royals, and even named his daughter after the club, which could indicate Kansas City is his sentimental favorite. He made $7.5 million in 2015, and should command a significant raise moving forward.

Zobrist - who can play almost every position on the diamond - boosted his free-agent value with an outstanding playoffs at the plate, hitting .303/.365/.515 with two homers and six RBIs in 16 postseason contests.

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David Price was nearly a St. Louis Cardinal, but he couldn't turn down one of the richest contracts in baseball history from the Boston Red Sox.

The Cardinals offered Price a seven-year contract worth at least $30 million less than he reportedly received from the Boston Red Sox, according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale.

It's believed Boston has landed the American League Cy Young runner-up with a seven-year pact worth $217 million, nixing a potential deal with St. Louis, which was willing to dish out the richest contract in franchise history to the southpaw.

Signing in St. Louis would have afforded Price, who resides in Nashville, Tenn., the luxury of a five-hour drive between work and home. The Cardinals are also one of the most successful teams in recent baseball history, claiming the National League Central title in three consecutive seasons, and a World Series championship in 2011.

Though, Price isn't the only free agent St. Louis is targeting. The Cardinals are also reportedly interested in first baseman Chris Davis and Ben Zobrist, among others.

The Chicago Cubs - who were expected to take a serious run at Price because of his close relationship with manager Joe Maddon - never tabled a formal offer, according to Nightengale.

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If Dave Dombrowski's mandate in Boston wasn't painfully obvious when he shipped four prospects to San Diego for a closer, the newly hired president of baseball operations eliminated every last shred of uncertainty Tuesday when he made David Price the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history: The Red Sox aren't messing around anymore.

Hired away from the Detroit Tigers in August as the Red Sox were stumbling towards a second straight last-place finish in the American League East, Dombrowski addressed his most obvious need in the most predictable way imaginable, using his new club's financial might to give the best free agent on the market a seven-year, $217-million deal without forfeiting a draft pick.

Reasonable people can debate how bad the Red Sox actually were last summer - they finished fourth in the majors in runs scored and their rotation had the ninth-best ERA after the All-Star break - but their inability to re-sign Jon Lester, along with a series of bad investments by now-deposed general manager Ben Cherington, amplified the club's foibles. With Tuesday's new addition, though, Dombrowski erased the sour taste that lingered even after Cherington stepped down while positioning the Red Sox as a true threat to the Toronto Blue Jays - Price's former employer - as they contend for a second straight division title in 2016.

With the exception of Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale, Price is the game's preeminent left-handed starter, a bona fide ace who fashioned a career-best 2.45 ERA (60 ERA-) in 2015 while eclipsing 200 innings for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Since 2010, his first full season in the majors, Price ranks third among starters in WAR, boasting plus-plus command that has actually improved in recent years without any regression in his stuff.

More importantly, though, Price's presence in Boston allows everyone to relax a little. Rick Porcello can go back to inducing ground balls instead of trying to pitch like a guy making more than $20 million per season. Eduardo Rodriguez, who turns 23 in April, doesn't have to worry about carrying a rotation populated mostly by mediocre veterans. Henry Owens can keep honing his craft at Triple-A instead of worrying about why he's not getting major-league hitters out. Hanley Ramirez won't have that "highest-paid player on the team" label hanging over him anymore, either.

Now that Price has decided to tag along on David Ortiz's farewell tour, there will be a certain amount of pressure on the Red Sox to be good immediately. But even if 2016 is a bust, better days lie ahead. Only eight players age 24 or younger produced more than four WAR in 2015, and the Red Sox employ two of them. Between Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, and Yoan Moncada, the Red Sox boast an obnoxiously talented stable of youngsters that should keep the club relevant even if veterans like Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval continue to age poorly.

And though the Red Sox have already committed more than $157 million to their 2017 payroll, with another $122 million on the the books for 2018, too, budgetary concerns don't really exist in Boston. The only price that really matters, now, is David.

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The Kansas City Royals added depth behind the plate Wednesday, acquiring catcher Tony Cruz from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor-league shortstop Jose Martinez.

The two sides announced the deal just hours before Wednesday's deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.

Drew Butera, the previous backup to All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, is among the players whom the Royals need to make a decision on before the midnight cutoff.

Cruz posted a .572 OPS over five seasons while backing up Yadier Molina in St. Louis, but effectively lost his job when the Cardinals signed free agent Brayan Pena to a two-year deal earlier this week. The 29-year-old Cruz is expected to make $1 million in his second year of arbitration this winter.

Martinez, 18, slashed .246/.308/.296 over 274 plate appearances in the lower levels of the Royals' minor-league system in 2015.

In a corresponding move, the Royals designated catcher Francisco Pena for assignment to clear space for Cruz on the 40-man roster.

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The Oakland Athletics are reportedly close to acquiring first baseman Yonder Alonso and reliever Marc Rzepczynski from the San Diego Padres in exchange for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and minor-league pitcher Jose Torres, according to ESPN's Keith Law.

Alonso posted a .742 OPS (111 OPS+) in 103 games this season, his fourth in San Diego. The 28-year-old battled persistent injury problems throughout his tenure with the Padres while struggling to hit for the power expected of him when he went seventh overall in the 2008 draft. Though rookie Mark Canha filled in admirably at first base for Oakland in 2015 as Ike Davis battled various injury problems, the Athletics appear to view Alonso, who remains under team control through 2017, as an upgrade.

Pomeranz, another former first-round pick who has mostly failed to justify his draft pedigree, will head to San Diego after vacillating between the rotation and bullpen in Oakland for the last two seasons. Acquired by the Athletics in 2013 in exchange for Brett Anderson, the 27-year-old crafted a 3.08 ERA over 19 starts and 54 relief appearances for Oakland, faring much better out of the bullpen.

Still, with Ian Kennedy expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter, the Padres will likely put Pomeranz in the rotation to begin the season.

Jose Torres, a 22-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, could begin the 2016 campaign in High-A California League after crafting a 2.69 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 44 relief appearances for Oakland's Low-A affiliate this season.

Rzepczynski, meanwhile, will try to rebound in Oakland's bullpen following a brutal 2015 season, wherein he posted a career-worst 5.66 ERA with a 1.54 ERA across 72 appearances between the Padres and Cleveland Indians. Despite his struggles this summer, Rzepczynski fashioned a career-best 26 percent strikeout rate and limited left-handed hitters to a .661 OPS in 108 plate appearances. The Athletics' relief corps was among the league's worst this season, too, stumbling to a 4.63 ERA while compiling more meltdowns (88) than all but four teams.

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lobo316 wrote: The Oakland Athletics are reportedly close to acquiring first baseman Yonder Alonso and reliever Marc Rzepczynski from the San Diego Padres in exchange for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and minor-league pitcher Jose Torres, according to ESPN's Keith Law.

Alonso posted a .742 OPS (111 OPS+) in 103 games this season, his fourth in San Diego. The 28-year-old battled persistent injury problems throughout his tenure with the Padres while struggling to hit for the power expected of him when he went seventh overall in the 2008 draft. Though rookie Mark Canha filled in admirably at first base for Oakland in 2015 as Ike Davis battled various injury problems, the Athletics appear to view Alonso, who remains under team control through 2017, as an upgrade.

Pomeranz, another former first-round pick who has mostly failed to justify his draft pedigree, will head to San Diego after vacillating between the rotation and bullpen in Oakland for the last two seasons. Acquired by the Athletics in 2013 in exchange for Brett Anderson, the 27-year-old crafted a 3.08 ERA over 19 starts and 54 relief appearances for Oakland, faring much better out of the bullpen.

Still, with Ian Kennedy expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter, the Padres will likely put Pomeranz in the rotation to begin the season.

Jose Torres, a 22-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, could begin the 2016 campaign in High-A California League after crafting a 2.69 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 44 relief appearances for Oakland's Low-A affiliate this season.

Rzepczynski, meanwhile, will try to rebound in Oakland's bullpen following a brutal 2015 season, wherein he posted a career-worst 5.66 ERA with a 1.54 ERA across 72 appearances between the Padres and Cleveland Indians. Despite his struggles this summer, Rzepczynski fashioned a career-best 26 percent strikeout rate and limited left-handed hitters to a .661 OPS in 108 plate appearances. The Athletics' relief corps was among the league's worst this season, too, stumbling to a 4.63 ERA while compiling more meltdowns (88) than all but four teams.


Done deal, with the Padres also receiving a PTBNL.

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The Philadelphia Phillies improved their outfield depth Wednesday afternoon, claiming 28-year-old Peter Bourjos off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bourjos appeared in 117 games for St. Louis in 2015, his second season with the club, but was considered a non-tender candidate after hitting just .200/.290/.333 (69 OPS+) while managing minus-0.5 WAR for the division champions. Bourjos, who made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2010, is projected to make $1.8 million this season in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Over parts of six seasons in the majors, Bourjos owns a .682 OPS (91 OPS+) in 590 games, but he's widely considered among the game's top defensive outfielders, compiling more defensive runs saved since 2010 than all but 10 center fielders.

Stuck in the early stages of a rebuild, the Phillies' outfield depth was sorely lacking at the outset of the offseason, with few veteran options to fall back on should rookie Aaron Altherr struggle or sophomore Odubel Herrera regress in 2016.

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The Atlanta Braves have agreed to a one-year, $1.25-million deal with infielder Gordon Beckham, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Beckham hit .209/.275/.332 with six home runs, eight doubles, and 43 strikeouts across 211 at-bats last season, appearing at third, second, and shortstop.

The 29-year-old former first overall pick gives the Braves a utility man off the bench, who also could step in and start over Adonis Garcia or Jace Peterson.

Beckham hit a career-high 16 home runs in 2012, but has only managed 20 in the three seasons since.

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Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wasted no time addressing his offseason wish list.

Hoping to upgrade the team's bullpen, rotation, and outfield depth, Dombrowski checked off all three boxes over the last month, and heads into the winter meetings beaming after landing highly coveted ace David Price.

That haul, however, came at a significant cost: A total of $230 million and four prospects was needed to land Price, outfielder Chris Young, and All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, and Dombrowski admitted that's likely it for this winter's heavy lifting.

"You can always get better. We'll be open-minded going into the winter meetings," Dombrowski told reporters Wednesday. "But I think our major moves are done."

The Red Sox position players appear set, with the only remaining question being whether the team will commit to Hanley Ramirez at first base, or whether Dombrowski will be able to trade him away.

"I feel good about the roster as it is," Dombrowski said. "When you look at the club, we've been able to address from a positional player perspective our biggest need, looking for a fourth outfielder and a guy who can play quite a bit for us in Chris's case with the three young guys we have."

With the addition of Price, Dombrowski now has an excess of starters. Right-hander Joe Kelly appears likely to be moved to the bullpen, and Henry Owens projects to start the year with Triple-A Pawtucket, barring a deal. The bullpen is likely the front office's main area of concern heading into the spring.

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Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is ready to let bygones be bygones for a shot at a World Series title.

Ortiz, the decorated slugger who's set to retire at the end of the season, has had a history of run-ins with new teammate David Price during their careers, but now that the All-Star lefty is signing with Boston, the Red Sox DH is happy to leave those issues in the past.

"That's fine. We need pitching and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years. I hope he will help us," Ortiz told a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, according to ESPN Boston. "It's a marquee pitcher, and that's what we need."

The addition of Price - albeit at a record-setting $217-million cost - bolsters a pitching staff that served as Boston's greatest area of weakness during its second straight last-place season. That reason alone, says Ortiz, is enough to end a rivalry that began when Price criticized the slugger's home run celebration in the 2013 ALDS.

Their feud intensified the next season when Ortiz declared all-out "war" after Price plunked him with a pitch, saying he no longer respected the veteran left-hander. The rivalry then boiled over at this year's All-Star Game after Price suggested Ortiz was no longer the same hitter he once was.

"No problems. All that's in the past. Now he is my partner," Ortiz said. "When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past."

Price, 30, is expected to be introduced by the Red Sox on Friday after reportedly agreeing to a seven-year, $217-million deal, the richest contract ever awarded to a pitcher.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have avoided arbitration with veteran catcher A.J. Ellis by agreeing Wednesday to a $4.5-million deal for the 2016 season, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Ellis, who turns 35 in April, appeared in just 63 games last season - his fewest since 2011 - as Yasmani Grandal supplanted him as Los Angeles' primary catcher. Still, Ellis enjoyed a productive campaign at the plate, posting a .758 OPS (112 OPS+) with seven homers and a 14.7 percent walk rate in 217 plate appearances.

Ellis, though, was only behind the plate for about two-thirds of Clayton Kershaw's starts in 2015 despite catching at least 80 percent of his outings in each of the previous three seasons. At the outset of spring training, the Dodgers indicated Ellis wouldn't serve as Kershaw's personal catcher despite the left-hander saying he "loves to throw to A.J."

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Jerry Dipoto's whirlwind offseason continued Wednesday afternoon, when the Seattle Mariners' new general manager agreed to a one-year, $750,000 deal with right-hander Justin De Fratus, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

In the previous 12 hours, Dipoto also reportedly shipped former All-Star Mark Trumbo to the Baltimore Orioles and signed veteran outfielder Nori Aoki to a one-year deal.

De Fratus, who logged a career-high 61 appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies last season, will join a revamped Mariners bullpen bolstered last month by the addition of 38-year-old veteran Joaquin Benoit. Last season, Seattle's relievers fashioned the fourth-worst ERA (4.15) and third-worst WHIP (1.38) in the American League, and Dipoto stressed at his introductory press conference that "the bullpen needs to have more layers than it presently has."

Despite pitching often last season, though, De Fratus wasn't all that effective. The 28-year-old fashioned a career-worst 5.51 ERA with a 1.55 WHIP in 61 appearances, posting his lowest strikeout rate (18.8 percent) since 2012 while allowing nine homers in 80 innings (1.01 per nine).

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On Tuesday, David Price received a record-breaking contract from the Boston Red Sox, landing a seven-year deal with an annual average value of $31 million, the largest ever for a pitcher.

That might not last long, though.

Zack Greinke, the other ace available in free agency, may end up earning more than Price on a yearly basis, as the Los Angeles Dodgers could offer the 32-year-old right-hander a six-year deal worth $210 million, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

With an annual average value of $35 million, the reported offer would make Greinke the highest-paid player in baseball history, on a per annum basis.

Greinke, the former Cy Young Award winner who fashioned a career-best 1.66 ERA (225 ERA+) in 2015, is reportedly deciding between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, but earlier reports suggested he'll land either a five-year deal worth about $160 million, or a six-year contract for $192 million.

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The Chicago White Sox added depth behind the plate Thursday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Financial terms of the contract are not yet known, and the agreement is pending a physical.

Navarro's reported deal comes on the heels of a reshuffling at catcher by the White Sox, who signed Alex Avila week and chose not to offer Tyler Flowers a contract ahead of Wednesday's non-tender deadline.

"We saw an opportunity to improve the club from an offensive standpoint and at this point while we're not able to get into specifics, know that this move was done as part of a plan," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times after non-tendering Flowers. "We're not in a position to announce what the next move is going to be, but we've talked repeatedly this offseason that we need to improve our run-scoring ability."

Hammered in part by by a hamstring injury that limited him to 54 games, Navarro played sparingly after losing his starting job to new Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin last season, slashing .246/.307/.374 with five homers over 191 plate appearances.

Former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said several times throughout the season that he was open to trading Navarro to a team where he would start. He hit 12 homers and posted a .712 OPS in 2014, the first season of a two-year, $8-million deal with the Blue Jays.

Navarro, 31, is expected to form the right side of a catching platoon with Avila next season in Chicago. The switch-hitting Navarro is especially tough on lefties, owning a .775 career OPS as a right-handed hitter versus southpaws.

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The Houston Astros have traded catcher Hank Conger to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash consideration, the team announced.

A career part-timer, Conger hit .229/.311/.448 in 201 at-bats for the Astros last year. He bashed a career-high 11 long balls and collected 33 RBIs, also a career best. He has a career slash line of .225/.298/.375.

Conger brings an added layer of depth to Tampa at a position the Rays have struggled to solidify for years. Though the Rays likely don't see Conger as a long-term solution, he could figure into a mix behind the plate that currently includes Rene Rivera, Curt Casali, and Luke Maile.

As for the Astros, they get cash considerations for a player they likely would have non-tendered had they not been able to find a trade partner.

Conger, who turns 28 in January, spent the first four-plus years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, before being traded to Houston in November 2014 for a pair of prospects.

Defensively, the Hawaiian posted a minus-6 in Defensive Runs Saved in 2015, per Fangraphs, but has graded out as average behind the plate throughout most of his career.

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Chris Davis is undoubtedly the top first baseman in this year's free-agent class, but suddenly he's got some competition.

Just minutes after the Pittsburgh Pirates non-tendered heavy-hitting Pedro Alvarez, the Houston Astros announced they're parting ways with slugger Chris Carter

Houston's decision not to offer Carter a contract and make him a free agent isn't surprising given the surplus of power hitters already on the roster.

The 28-year-old was projected to earn a hearty $5.6 million for his services through arbitration in 2016, a large sum for a one-dimensional player.

Carter belted 24 homers in 129 games last year, and has averaged 30 round-trippers over the past three campaigns.

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Christmas came early for the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday as they pulled off a deal for a player with huge power potential.

The Orioles officially acquired first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for catcher/first baseman Steve Clevenger.

"This isn't the last move the club is going to make to put our team together for 2016," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Wednesday after the deal was announced. "I can't tell you who we are going to sign in the future, but the addition of a proven major-league hitter like Mark Trumbo today lengthens our lineup and gives us another hitter in the lineup who can hit both left and right-handed pitching. And, in Mark's case, (he) can hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Trumbo is projected to earn $9.1 million in 2016 through arbitration, which was the driving force behind Seattle's willingness to part with him. He hit .262/.310/.449 with 22 home runs in 142 games split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Mariners. However, Trumbo has averaged 26 homers per season over his five-year career and will now likely hit in the middle of Baltimore's lineup with Adam Jones and Manny Machado. A move from cavernous Safeco Field to Camden Yards should also help his home-run stroke.

The Orioles entered the offseason thin at the corner outfield spots, and Trumbo can certainly be used to fill that void, or be used at first base if Baltimore can't retain the services of Chris Davis.

"I've always thought very highly of the way the Orioles compete on both sides of the ball, especially being a hitter I've always admired the at-bats the guys have been able to put together," Trumbo said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

Riefenhauser is 1-0 with a lofty 6.30 ERA in 24 games at the major-league level. He's a former 20th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, and has posted an impressive 2.77 ERA over six campaigns in the minors.

Clevenger is not yet arbitration-eligible and is projected to earn $520,000 next season. He posted a .287/.314/.426 slash line with two homers and 15 RBIs in 30 games last season.

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The Toronto Blue Jays avoided arbitration with first baseman Justin Smoak on Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year, $3.9-million deal.

Claimed off waivers prior to last season, Smoak split time at first with Chris Colabello and Edwin Encarnacion, and will likely resume the platoon role in 2016.

Smoak, who turns 29 on Saturday, slashed .226/.299/.470 with 18 home runs in 132 games, while setting career-highs in RBIs (59) and OPS (.768). He'll receive a significant raise after making $1 million in 2015.

Toronto tendered contracts to all its arbitration eligible players with the exception of Josh Thole.

The backup catcher primarily played in tandem with knuckeballer R.A. Dickey, hitting .204/.250/.245 with two doubles and nine strikeouts in 52 plate appearances.

With the departure of both Thole and Dioner Navarro, the Blue Jays will likely need to add a catcher from outside the organization.

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The San Francisco Giants are giving two players the opportunity to test the free-agent market, as right-hander Yusmeiro Petit and catcher Hector Sanchez were not offered contracts by the club ahead of Wednesday night's tender deadline.

Petit will surely garner interest as a free agent for clubs seeking a depth starter or swing man out of the bullpen. The 31-year-old hurler posted a 3.67 ERA and 1.18 WHIP across 76 innings last season, and made a name for himself after a dominant run in the 2014 postseason.

Sanchez has spent his entire five-year career with the Giants in a backup role behind Buster Posey. The 26-year-old is a career .240/.274/.345 hitter, but has struggled at the plate over the past two seasons.

San Francisco's roster is now at 38 players, leaving two open spots ahead of the winter meetings next week.

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The Los Angeles Angels have traded outfielder Collin Cowgill to the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations, the teams announced Wednesday evening.

Cowgill appeared in 55 games for the Angels last season, hitting .188/.233/.290 in a reserve role.

Prior to the trade, the Indians were projected to start an outfield consisting of Jerry Sands, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall next April. Michael Brantley could miss the entire first month of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

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SAN DIEGO - One-time home run king Mark McGwire has been named bench coach of the San Diego Padres.

McGwire's hiring was announced Wednesday by new manager Andy Green.

McGwire had been hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the last three seasons.

In 2010, McGwire admitted he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998. Even so, McGwire asserted he would have hit home runs even without performance-enhancing drugs.

Also new to the Padres are hitting coach Alan Zinter, first base coach Tarrik Brock, bullpen coach Doug Bochtler and Eddie Rodriguez, who will serve in a variety of roles.

Returning are pitching coach Darren Balsley and third base coach Glenn Hoffman.

Green replaced interim manager Pat Murphy, who in turn replaced Bud Black, who was fired in mid-June.

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The Miami Marlins appear to be very concerned about the shoulder of Henderson Alvarez.

Miami has non-tendered the righty, making him a free agent, the club announced Wednesday evening.

Alvarez - the Marlins' 2015 Opening Day starter - underwent surgery in July to repair a torn labrum, and is expected to resume throwing in early December. He was limited to only four starts due to his ongoing shoulder issues, compiling an 0-4 record with a 6.45 ERA.

The 25-year-old earned an All-Star nod for his breakout 2014 campaign, though, when he went 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 30 outings for the Marlins to establish himself as a front-line starter in the majors.

Alvarez, who was projected to earn $4 million via arbitration, is not expected to fully return to game action until June or July, but could be an interesting gamble for someone next season.

Right-hander Aaron Crow was also not given a contract by the Marlins and will join Alvarez as a free agent.

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Hall of Famer Bobby Cox will continue in his role as a consultant for theAtlanta Braves after agreeing to a two-year extension with the club through the 2017 season.
Cox, 74, was inducted into Cooperstown in 2014 after managing to incredible success over three decades in baseball. Cox, who retired from managing following the 2010 season, will continue to advise and consult in all three areas of baseball operations, the club announced Thursday.
Considered one of the most accomplished managers in major-league history, Cox led the Braves to 14 straight division titles and a World Series championship during his second stint as skipper of the club.
The former third baseman and four-time winner of the Manager of the Year Award owns a 2504-2001 record as manager across 29 seasons with the Braves and Toronto Blue Jays.

Last edited on Fri Dec 4th, 2015 12:54 am by lobo316

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Free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee has reportedly been medically cleared to resume his major-league career after missing the entire 2015 campaign because of a torn tendon in his left elbow.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the left-hander has been throwing in preparation of a potential return to the majors next season, though it remains unclear if he's engaged in andiscussions with teams.

Lee, a four-time All-Star, suffered a tear in his left flexor tendon during the 2014 season that limited him to 13 starts and sidelined him for the final two months of the year. Resolved to return to a big-league mound, the former Cy Young Award winner opted for rest and rehab over surgery.

He experienced renewed discomfort in his elbow last spring, and a follow-up examination by Dr. James Andrews showed little improvement in his torn tendon.

Lee officially became a free agent when the Philadelphia Phillies declined their 2016 club option, valued at $27.5 million, by paying the 37-year-old pitcher a $12.5-million buyout.

During his four seasons in Philadelphia, Lee pitched to a 2.80 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP over 93 starts, leading the National League in strikeout-to-walk ratio twice while finishing among the top six in Cy Young voting in 2011 and 2013.

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Major League Baseball revealed plans Thursday for a "historic goodwill tour" in Cuba in mid-December, marking MLB's first visit to the island since the Baltimore Orioles played the Cuban national team during spring training in 1999.

The tour, which was announced jointly by the league and players association, will be led by a group of current and former players, including MLB's chief baseball officer Joe Torre, and Dave Winfield, MLBPA's special advisor to the executive director.

The Dec. 15-18 trip will consist of charity events, media availability, and work with children's clinics, according to a statement released by the league.

"Baseball represents a pivotal common bond in our cultures, and the impact that Cuban ballplayers have made on our game is undeniable," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "I am hopeful that this tour will represent the beginning of a longstanding relationship."

U.S. teams played spring training games in Cuba before Fidel Castro's revolution, but none appeared there from March 1959 until the Orioles faced Cuba's national team in Havana in March 1999.

President Barack Obama announced last year his intention to restore diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba, and embassies were re-established in July.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to hire Ross Atkins as the club's next general manager, according to multiple reports, reuniting the longtime Cleveland Indians executive with new president and CEO Mark Shapiro in the club's revamped front office.

Atkins, who worked under Shapiro for 15 years in Cleveland, was believed to be one of two finalists for the position previously held by Alex Anthopoulos. The other finalist, interim GM Tony LaCava, is expected to remain as the club's senior vice president and assistant GM after reportedly signing a long-term deal earlier this offseason.

An official announcement on Atkins' hire could come as soon as Friday, reports Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Under his most recent role, Atkins served as the Indians' vice president of player personnel. He's credited with helping develop several of Cleveland's young stable of talented players, including Jason Kipnis, Danny Salazar, and Cody Allen.

Atkins, 41, pitched for five seasons in the Indians' minor-league system after the team selected him in the 38th round of the 1995 draft. Following his career, Atkins served as a pitching coach in the Florida Instructional League before joining Cleveland's front office in 2001 as the assistant director of player development.

Toronto's front-office reshuffling began shortly after the team stormed down the stretch to win the AL East and snap the longest active playoff drought in professional sports.

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The Boston Red Sox were expected to go above and beyond to land David Price, and in the end it wasn't even close.

The St. Louis Cardinals reportedly finished second to Boston after offering the left-hander a seven-year, $180-million deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. That figure fell $37 million short of the record seven-year, $217-million deal Price agreed to.

Price, who is set to be unveiled Friday at Fenway Park, tied Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera for the largest average yearly salary in baseball history, and holds the largest ever as a pitcher.

A five-time All-Star and last season's AL Cy Young runner-up, Price is coming off a year in which he went 18-5 with a career-low 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts over 220 1/3 innings.

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Dellin Betances certainly hears all the noise his neighbors north of the Bronx are making.

The New York Yankees' All-Star reliever believes the division became much tougher following David Price's reported $217-million deal with the Boston Red Sox this week - a challenge he fully accepts.

"If they wanted to make a statement, they definitely did," Betances told Mark Feinsand of the Daily News. "Adding an ace like Price is huge; he's a guy that works extremely hard, and is worth every penny of that deal.

"It definitely adds more spice to one of the biggest rivalries in sports. I can't wait for the 2016 season."


One of baseball's greatest rivalries could definitely use a boost in flavor, as struggles from both clubs, in addition to several players retiring, have taken away some of the punch.

While Price's acquisition will certainly help, another element that might stoke the fire could come with David Ortiz's pending retirement at the end of the season. Ortiz complained last season about the rivalry fizzling out, and would likely love to go out beating his longtime foe.

"Back when I first got here, it was kind of a little wild the way things went. That was a big part of what this rivalry used to be," Ortiz told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal in April. "Because that isn't happening anymore, it seems like the rivalry's not the same.

"We want to beat up each other, but in a professional way. The beast mode is kind of down low."

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Brett Lawrie is keeping cool this offseason. Literally.
The Oakland Athletics third baseman revealed to fans Wednesday his secret to offseason success, posting a photo to Instagram of him submerged in a cryogenic chamber at a well-below-freezing temperature of minus-271 degrees.






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Mike Napoli's return to the Texas Rangers may be short-lived.

Despite showing interest in re-signing Napoli's right-handed bat in October, general manager Jon Daniels recently told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that the 34-year-old free agent may not be in the club's plans for next season, despite the team wanting to keep him. A lack of available positions could be Napoli's biggest hurdle in making a return to the Lone Star State.

Napoli, who has spent the majority of his career split between catcher and first base, finished the 2015 regular season in the Rangers' outfield, but only roamed left field for 11 games, and appeared at the plate just nine times in the postseason.

Texas currently projects to start next season with an outfield of Delino DeShields Jr., Josh Hamilton, and Shin-Soo Choo, with first base and designated hitter locked down by Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder, respectively, so there may not be a fit for Napoli despite him still possessing a potent bat.

Napoli, who earned $16 million last season, hit .295/.396/.513 with five home runs and 10 RBIs for the Rangers after an August trade from the Boston Red Sox, so teams could still be interested in adding the slugger to their lineup.

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The wheels are in motion for Japanese hurler Kenta Maeda to make his move to MLB.

The 27-year-old right hander told the Carp on Nov. 24 he wanted to move to MLB through the posting system. He is not eligible for free agency until 2017.

"I want to go while I'm still young, and I want to win a championship with the Carp. While I've gone back and forth between those two goals, my desire to go has not lessened, and in fact has become even stronger," Maeda told reporters.

MLB teams can earn the right to negotiate with Maeda for 30 days by agreeing to pay Hiroshima a maximum fee of $20 million.

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Scott Boras is on the players' side, and last month at the MLB general manager's meetings, the super agent proved his loyalty once again when he discussed revenue sharing between MLB's owners and players, although his number crunching may have been off.

Boras offered his take, stating the owner's 57 percent of revenue was too much and more should be given to players.

MLB Player Association executive director Tony Clark refuted Boras' revenue sharing numbers Friday, offering a closer look at what the figures may actually be.

"Despite what you may have read or heard at any given time, the quote-unquote ‘player share’ is as close to 50-50 as it has been in a long time," Clark told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "From top to bottom, the industry is indeed doing well, and whether you’re on the players’ side or you’re on management’s side, we’ve been able to collectively move forward in a positive fashion."

MLB, whose revenue is approaching the $10 billion per year mark, doesn't use a salary cap and there's no mandate for the players to receive an assigned amount, so the fact this is happening is good news in the opinion of Clark, who is confident the MLBPA and owners will come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement during spring training.

“There is an opportunity to find common ground that is in everyone’s best interest,” Clark said. “We’ve been able to do that of late. We anticipate being able to do that in 2016.”

The current agreement expires in December 2016.

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Brian Cashman conceded Friday it's unlikely he'll move outfielder Brett Gardner or closer Andrew Miller, two trade chips he dangled earlier in the offseason.

Attempting to cut payroll, while simultaneously hoping to acquire young, controllable pitching, the New York Yankees general manager said last month he was open to all ideas.

Miller was excellent in his first season in the Bronx, posting a 2.04 ERA and 100 strikeouts, while converting 36 saves. The left-hander, however, is owed $27 million over the next three seasons.

Gardner's name picked up traction at the start of November, with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs rumored to be interested. The Mariners went another route, signing Nori Aoki and trading for Leonys Martin, while the Yankees reportedly weren't interested in a potential deal with the Cubs involving Starlin Castro.

The 32-year-old Gardner has spent his entire eight-year career with the Yankees, and is coming off his first All-Star appearance after hitting .259/.343/.399 with 16 home runs and a career-high 66 RBIs. He's owed $39.5 million over the next three seasons.

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So guys - this is where you want to inject yourself with those undetectable HGH needles.


from cbssports.com:





Monday, CBS Sports MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Marlins were considering hiring Barry Bonds as their hitting coach. Friday, the move came to fruition as the Marlins officially announced their new coaching staff under manager Don Mattingly, with Bonds as the hitting coach.

Incumbent hitting coach Frank Menechino was announced as the assistant hitting coach, so he takes a demotion in favor of Bonds.

Bonds, 51, has worked with the Giants in spring training several seasons, but hasn't been hired into a full-time baseball position since retiring following the 2007 season.

Bonds hit .298/.444/.607 with 2,935 hits, 601 doubles and 762 homers in his career, so he certainly has the stats to say he knows enough about hitting to coach, though he has no experience as a hitting coach.

The Marlins ranked 14th in the NL in runs scored last season. They were fourth in batting average but 12th in on-base percentage and 13th in slugging percentage. Thus, they could use some help in drawing walks and hitting for power (obviously Giancarlo Stanton's injury issues didn't help the latter). Bonds was among the best in baseball history at both, but, again, we can't yet be sure if his hitting skills will translate into being a successful coach until he tries it.

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The Chicago Cubs are in "hot" pursuit of free-agent pitcher John Lackey, sources tell Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, with discussions reportedly focused on potential two- and three-year deals for the veteran right-hander.

It's unclear whether the club has engaged Lackey in formal negotiations.

Lackey, 37, was a revelation last season pitching on a major-league minimum salary for the St. Louis Cardinals, fashioning a career-best 2.77 ERA (143 ERA+) with a 1.21 WHIP over 218 innings, his most since 2007.

Though the move would reunite Lackey with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein from their days together in Boston, it would also come at a steep cost. Any team that signs Lackey will be required to surrender a compensatory draft pick after he rejected the Cardinals' one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer last month.

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Before he became the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, Barry Bonds was the best baseball player on the planet, a veritable demi-god whose physical gifts, and eye-popping numbers, may never be matched.

Still, despite slugging more home runs than everyone else in MLB history, Bonds isn't in the Hall of Fame. Despite being named Most Valuable Player seven times, four more than the next-most decorated superstar, Bonds isn't in the Hall of Fame. Despite turning every one of his plate appearances for nearly two decades into must-see entertainment, and a truly unfathomable performance from 2001 to 2004 when he frequented the nightmares of every National League pitcher, Bonds isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Beset by his connections to performance-enhancing drugs, which brought him in front of a grand jury more than a decade ago, Bonds received just 36.2 percent of the vote in 2013, his first year on the ballot, with only a negligible uptick in the two years since.

But Bonds, conspicuously absent from baseball until unexpectedly resurfacing with Miami, won't beg for institutional gratification. In his eyes, he knows he earned a spot in Cooperstown.

"I'm a Hall of Fame baseball player, with no doubt in my mind, no doubt in my heart," Bonds said Friday, when he was introduced as Miami's new hitting coach. "God knows that. That’s all that matters to me."

In July, a federal court of appeals threw out Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction that stemmed from his meandering testimony in 2003, ending an ugly, seemingly interminable clash between the justice department, and the San Francisco Giants icon. While voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America may not be as inclined to change their minds on their Hall of Fame ballots, Bonds - now absolved of any legal wrongdoing - is finally ready to turn his focus to something other than himself.

"Me coming back into the game, I'm in a different capacity," Bonds said. "I'm now a rookie coach. That's all I think about. It's not about me. It's about those guys on the team now. Me coming back to the game is only to help Donnie's (manager Don Mattingly's) staff, and only to help the Marlins baseball team. Outside of that, I don't really think about anything else or what my capacity is."

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Chris Sale, the lanky left-hander with four All-Star nods on his resume, unloaded more than 6,000 pitches over the last two summers. Tyler Flowers called each and every one of them.

So the 26-year-old veteran was a little surprised, to say the least, when the Chicago White Sox opted not to tender his batterymate a contract for the 2016 season earlier this week. So surprised, in fact, he called general manager Rick Hahn for clarification.

"Yeah, it caught me out of nowhere, and that's kind of why I called him - just to see what was going on," Sale told MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "I really liked throwing to Tyler, but things happen. This is baseball. This is sports. You've got to move on."

Sale, who shared a clubhouse and special relationship with Flowers since arriving in Chicago in 2010, was "blindsided" by the club's decision to non-tender the 29-year-old, especially after rhapsodizing about Flowers in a conversation with Hahn several months ago. Still, he acknowledged he isn't owed an explanation for personnel decisions.

"At the end of the day, there's not a team in the world that needs to call somebody on their team to let them know what's going on," Sale said. "I'm not saying you need to run things by me.

"Absolutely, 100 percent not. But it came out of left field. It's something like, 'Oh, man. Whoa.' It kind of catches you off guard a little bit. But yeah, we weren't yelling at each other. We weren't angry. We were just figuring out what was going on."

Beyond a strong rapport with Sale, Flowers didn't give the White Sox many reasons to keep him around. Since becoming the club's primary catcher in 2014, Flowers is tied for 26th among catchers with just 2.2 wins above replacement, hitting .240/.296/.378 with a 32.8 percent strikeout rate over that span.

Amid Flowers' persistent struggles at the plate, Hahn signed Dioner Navarro to a one-year deal Wednesday. And after acquiring Alex Avila from the Detroit Tigers last month, the White Sox didn't have any inclination to keep Flowers around as a backup.

"Like I told (Hahn), I'm going to show up to spring training with the same attitude and, you know, building other relationships as far as pitcher and catcher and try to develop those and work on those," Sale said. "You don't want to dwell on the past. As much as we are going to miss Tyler, we have to now shift gears into, 'OK, let's start from scratch, get this going and make it a good thing.'"

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New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer and will begin chemotherapy immediately, the team announced Friday.

The club offered no further details regarding Alderson's condition, other than to say he'll continue to perform his GM duties during treatment, and will miss baseball's winter meetings next week in Nashville.

"Sandy will be going through about 8-to-12 weeks of chemotherapy beginning this week. This is all that we will disclose about Sandy's health issues and we will not be giving updates," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "I hope you understand and will give Sandy and his family the privacy they have requested and deserve."

The 68-year-old Alderson missed the annual GM meetings in Florida last month to undergo what the club described as an unspecified medical procedure, after collapsing during a news conference at Citi Field the previous week.

The Mets said Friday that doctors confirmed Alderson is suffering from a "very treatable" form of cancer during the procedure in New York.

Anderson was hired as Mets GM after the 2010 season, following a long career inside the front offices of the commissioner, Oakland Athletics, and San Diego Padres.

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The Washington Nationals reportedly added a seasoned left-hander to their bullpen Friday afternoon, agreeing to a two-year, $7-million deal with Oliver Perez, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Perez, who turned 34 in August, split the 2015 campaign between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros, crafting a 4.17 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP in 70 appearances. Despite playing for three teams in the last four seasons, Perez has been one of the league's more dominant left-handers since moving to the bullpen permanently in 2012, posting a 28.5 percent strikeout rate over that span.

The Nationals' bullpen did a fine job neutralizing left-handed hitters in 2015, but its primary left-handed option, Matt Thornton, is eligible to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Perez, who held lefties to a .517 OPS last season, will likely be called upon against tough left-handed hitters, while also serving as a bridge to setup man Drew Storen and closer Jonathan Papelbon.

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After adding top-tier starter Jordan Zimmermann to the rotation, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila added some much needed depth.

The Tigers have agreed to a two-year, $16-million deal with right-hander Mike Pelfrey, according to multiple reports.

Pelfrey is more than familiar with the American League Central, having pitched the last three seasons with the Minnesota Twins. The 31-year-old went 6-11 with a 4.26 ERA over 30 starts last year, striking out 86 and allowing just 11 home runs over 164 2/3 innings.

After signing a two-year, $11-million deal with the Twins prior to the 2014 season, Pelfrey made just five starts before being shut down with groin, elbow, and shoulder injuries.

The 10-year veteran will likely slide into the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation behind Zimmermann, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez.

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The Seattle Mariners have been one of the busier teams this offseason, and general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Seattle has shipped hard-throwing reliever Jose Ramirez to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for a player to be named later and cash, the clubs announced Friday.

Ramirez was acquired by the Mariners midway through the 2015 season in a trade with the New York Yankees for second baseman Dustin Ackley.

The 25-year-old right-hander struggled, however, in five appearances for the Mariners, allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings in September. Ramirez, still considered a highly touted prospect with a 100-mph fastball, owns a 3.72 ERA with 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings over eight minor-league seasons.

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Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro wasn't about to mortgage the future of the organization to pay one player.

With David Price taking his physical in Boston on Friday, Shapiro acknowledged that the team was not very aggressive in its pursuit of the left-hander, who landed a reported record-setting seven-year, $217-million deal with the Red Sox.

"For me with David Price, it's never a question do you want David Price. That's silly. Of course, yes, we want David Price. It's a question of how do you build a championship team within the parameters you're given," Shapiro told reporters.

"It's as simple as that. We have all the resources necessary to build a championship team, but they're not unlimited. It's a business like any other business. We had multiple holes to fill, and putting all those resources in one player really would have created a team with one complete hole in the rotation with nowhere to fill it. It really wasn’t much of a choice."

Despite Price's success in the three months spent in Toronto, the front office opted to spend $62 million on Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, while trading for depth starter Jesse Chavez.

The Blue Jays return their entire starting lineup next season, but 2017 will be much more challenging for Shapiro. Cornerstone players Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista will be free agents, and potentially signing Price could have limited the team from keeping one, or both, down the road.

It was reported earlier this week that former GM Alex Anthopoulos began making plans to offer Price a contract in August, before eventually leaving the organization two months later.

The Red Sox are believed to have outbid the St. Louis Cardinals for Price's services by $37 million.

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lobo316 wrote: The Chicago Cubs are in "hot" pursuit of free-agent pitcher John Lackey, sources tell Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, with discussions reportedly focused on potential two- and three-year deals for the veteran right-hander.


Done deal.


from cbssports.com:


The Cubs have agreed to a two-year deal with John Lackey.


The Cubs and free agent right-hander John Lackey have agreed to a two-year contract worth $32 million, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the news. The team has not yet confirmed the signing.

Lackey, 37, is reportedly close friends with Cubs left-hander Jon Lester, dating back to their time together with the Red Sox. Also, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was Boston's GM when they signed Lackey prior to the 2010 season. There's certainly some familiarity there.

With the Cardinals in 2015, Lackey went 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA (143 ERA+) in 218 innings. He owns a 3.35 ERA (119 ERA+) and has averaged 201 2/3 innings per season since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Lackey will presumably slot in as Chicago's third starter behind 2015 NL Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta and Lester. Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks then slot in as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters.

St. Louis did make Lackey the qualifying offer, so the Cubs will forfeit their first-round pick (28th overall). The Cardinals will gain a supplemental first-round pick.

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Earlier this week the Blue Jays non-tendered Josh Thole rather than give him a raise to around $2 million via arbitration, but now the veteran catcher has re-signed with Toronto for $800,000.

It’s a move that makes sense, because Thole is a good fit for the Blue Jays in a part-time role that involves catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey but he’s also not really worth significantly more than the minimum salary. So they dropped him, picked him back up, and in doing so work around the arbitration-fueled raise that was looming.

Thole figures to back up Russell Martin, which should involve catching 40-50 games now that Dioner Navarro is out of the picture. He’s a career .249 hitter with eight homers and a .634 OPS in 428 games.

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The Boston Red Sox officially have their ace.

Southpaw David Price has signed a seven-year contract that will keep him with the club through the 2022 season, the team announced Friday.

The deal is reportedly worth $217 million, and includes an opt-out clause following the 2018 campaign.

In typical Boston media fashion, Price immediately faced a series of tough questions at his introductory press conference, including concerns over his mediocre playoff numbers to this point in his career.

"I guess I've been saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox," Price, who has a 2-7 record with a lofty 5.12 ERA in 14 career playoff appearances, joked. "I know good things are going to happen to me in October."

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Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.

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srossi wrote: Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a six-year deal with right-handerZack Greinke, according to multiple reports.
Financial terms of the contract are still unknown.
The news comes shortly after FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks were aggressively pursuing Greinke to headline their inexperienced rotation.


The 32-year-old finished second in National League Cy Young voting last season pitching for the ]Los Angeles Dodgers, and boasted a major league-best 1.66 ERA, and 0.84 WHIP. He's a three-time All-Star, and earned American League Cy Young honors with the  Kansas City Royals  in 2009. Widely considered the  modern-day Greg Maddux  for his pinpoint control, Greinke could easily pitch into his 40s.



Rumor - $32 mil a year for Greinke.

Latest rumor - $206 mil = $34.33 mil a year

Last edited on Sat Dec 5th, 2015 07:04 am by lobo316

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The Chicago Cubs were thought to be one of David Price's preferred landing spots this fall because of his existing relationship with manager Joe Maddon, and the team's desire to upgrade their pitching staff.

Price formalized a lucrative seven-year, $217-million deal with the Boston Red Sox on Friday, though, squandering any chance of the southpaw joining a Cubs rotation that already boasts Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.

"We had a lot of interest in David," Chicago's president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "And I think the Cubs are certainly one of the organizations he could have seen himself with. But the Red Sox were aggressive and signed him and they got themselves a great pitcher. I wish him success there."

Epstein, who previously served as general manager of the Red Sox, says the Cubs just couldn't table a high enough offer to compete with Boston.

"Obviously, it was a big contract and they're a little bit more fully developed and fully realized from a payroll standpoint now - and it's a place we hope to be in several years. Right now, we just couldn't compete at that level," he added.

Epstein and co. didn't let losing out on the Price sweepstakes ruin their day, though, reportedly signing veteran righty John Lackey to a two-year contract Friday afternoon. He should slot in as a high-end No. 3 starter behind Arrieta and Lester, and brings a considerable amount of experience to the table, including two World Series titles.

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lobo316 wrote: srossi wrote: Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a six-year deal with right-handerZack Greinke, according to multiple reports.
Financial terms of the contract are still unknown.
The news comes shortly after FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks were aggressively pursuing Greinke to headline their inexperienced rotation.


The 32-year-old finished second in National League Cy Young voting last season pitching for the ]Los Angeles Dodgers, and boasted a major league-best 1.66 ERA, and 0.84 WHIP. He's a three-time All-Star, and earned American League Cy Young honors with the  Kansas City Royals  in 2009. Widely considered the  modern-day Greg Maddux  for his pinpoint control, Greinke could easily pitch into his 40s.



Rumor - $32 mil a year for Greinke.

Latest rumor - $206 mil = $34.33 mil a year

Greinke saves about 17 mil in taxes by leaving California.

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Benlen wrote: lobo316 wrote: srossi wrote: Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a six-year deal with right-handerZack Greinke, according to multiple reports.
Financial terms of the contract are still unknown.
The news comes shortly after FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks were aggressively pursuing Greinke to headline their inexperienced rotation.


The 32-year-old finished second in National League Cy Young voting last season pitching for the ]Los Angeles Dodgers, and boasted a major league-best 1.66 ERA, and 0.84 WHIP. He's a three-time All-Star, and earned American League Cy Young honors with the  Kansas City Royals  in 2009. Widely considered the  modern-day Greg Maddux  for his pinpoint control, Greinke could easily pitch into his 40s.



Rumor - $32 mil a year for Greinke.

Latest rumor - $206 mil = $34.33 mil a year

Greinke saves about 17 mil in taxes by leaving California.

Stay in school and get an education kids or you'll end up being a bum like this guy.

Last edited on Sat Dec 5th, 2015 07:34 am by Mysterious

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srossi wrote: Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.
Ah - you're just pissed that the Yankee$$$$ are still paying CC Sabathia $ 25 million to be their ace. :tongue:

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Giants sign Samardzija to a 5 year deal worth $ 90 million.


from cbssports.com:

Jeff Samardzija has signed with the Giants.


The big news Friday when it came to the NL West was the Diamondbacks swooping in and signing ace Zack Greinke before the Dodgers or Giants could. Saturday, the Giants swiftly moved on, inking free agent starter Jeff Samardzija to a five-year deal worth $90 million, per CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman.

Samardzija, 30, was 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA (79 ERA+), 1.29 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 214 innings for the White Sox last season. He led the majors in hits and earned runs allowed while leading the AL in home runs allowed. Simply, it was a disaster of a contract year. Or so it seemed. The Giants have looked past that and "Shark" has gotten his long-term deal.

Samardzija showed frontline potential in 2014, making the All-Star team and posting a 2.99 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 219 2/3 innings. He's also proven himself durable, posting 213-plus innings in each of the past three seasons. Given that he wasn't a starter until 2012, he's got a real young arm for his age, too, as he's only logged 991 2/3 career innings (by point of comparison, fellow 30-year-old David Price has thrown 1,441 2/3).

Further, the pitch use of Samardzija curiously changed in his time with the White Sox. Most notably, he became much more reliant on his cutter at the expense of his sinker. At least partially as a result, his groundball rate tumbled from 50.2 percent in 2014 to 39 percent last season. With more fly balls, more flew out of the yard.

On the flip side, Samardzija missed a lot fewer bats in 2015, striking out only 17.9 percent of his batters faced, down from around 23-24 percent the previous several years. There was a downtick in velocity, too.

Samardzija slots second in the San Francisco rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, with Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Chris Heston filling it out for the time being.

srossi

 

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CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: Fuck the Red Sox, Arizona just got Greinke.
Ah - you're just pissed that the Yankee$$$$ are still paying CC Sabathia $ 25 million to be their ace. :tongue:

I certainly am, and in 3 years that's going to be you pissed the Sox are still paying Price. But seriously, you'd absolutely rather have Greinke for 6 years than Price for 7. Greinke is slightly older but he's better and I can see Arizona getting 4 great years out of him as opposed to the Sox maybe getting 2-3 out of Price. 

Last edited on Sun Dec 6th, 2015 12:43 am by srossi

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Jeez 18 million a year for Samardzija for a guy who is 14 games under .500 and has a career 4.09 era.

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Principal_Raditch wrote: Jeez 18 million a year for Samardzija for a guy who is 14 games under .500 and has a career 4.09 era. Kinda makes the J.A. Happ signing by the Blue Jays seem like a bargain.

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Mysterious wrote: Principal_Raditch wrote: Jeez 18 million a year for Samardzija for a guy who is 14 games under .500 and has a career 4.09 era. Kinda makes the J.A. Happ signing by the Blue Jays seem like a bargain.

I HATE THE SIGNING. He ended 1-8 in his last 10 starts and era over 9.  29 HRS don't look good either. Hopefully Righetti and Posey fix him and a good defensive infield behind him.
The money they saved on Panda last year they gave to him. He better produce.

Last edited on Sun Dec 6th, 2015 06:12 am by Benlen

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Pitching has long been a strength of the Tampa Bay Rays, and their depth could make them sellers at next week's winter meetings.

The Rays will listen to trade offers for all of their starting pitchers except Chris Archer, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

That means Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez, and Matt Moore are all on the trade block. Moore is the only pitcher not under team control for a considerable amount of time, which means Tampa may shop him more aggressively.

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lobo316 wrote: Pitching has long been a strength of the Tampa Bay Rays, and their depth could make them sellers at next week's winter meetings.

The Rays will listen to trade offers for all of their starting pitchers except Chris Archer, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

That means Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez, and Matt Moore are all on the trade block. Moore is the only pitcher not under team control for a considerable amount of time, which means Tampa may shop him more aggressively.

Please Tigers go get Smyly back!!! 
OT- I figured out the quote reply *patting myself on the back*

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Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly filed a grievance against the Washington Nationals for failing to pay his salary during his team-imposed four-game suspension in the final week of the season.

Multiple sources tell WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that Papelbon is taking issue with the club's decision not to pay him after the club suspended its All-Star closer for his role in a physical confrontation in the dugout with Bryce Harper during a game in late September against the Philadelphia Phillies.

According to Bradford, sources say "the player's stance is that there is no precedent of a player having his salary withdrawn after such a team-issued suspension."

CSN's Mark Zuckerman writes that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is expected to comment on the grievance Monday at the winter meetings and Papelbon has a case for filing the grievance.

Papelbon's case is built upon the question of whether an MLB club is allowed to withhold pay from a player it unilaterally suspended. Players who serve league-imposed suspensions aren't paid, but that process is spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement signed off by the players' union.

Papelbon's second half in Washington was mired by controversy, a tumultuous two-month run that also included a three-game suspension for throwing at Baltimore Orioles superstar Manny Machado.

Papelbon made 22 appearances for the Nationals last season, pitching to a 3.04 ERA with seven saves in nine chances.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers answered the signings of their National League West rivals on Sunday with a free-agent signing of their own, reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

After Zack Greinke departed for a 6-year, $206.5-million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Francisco Giants inked Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90-million pact, the Dodgers added Iwakuma to help strengthen their rotation behind ace Clayton Kershaw.

Even after signing the right-hander, L.A. is still interested in making moves, having made progress on a trade for Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, and could be active at the winter meetings.

Since coming over to the major leagues from Japan in 2012, the 34-year-old has earned a 47-25 record with a 3.17 ERA, and 1.06 WHIP in 111 appearances, 97 of which have been starts for the Seattle Mariners. He also tossed a no-hitter last season.

He earned $7 million in 2015.

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David Price is officially a member of the Boston Red Sox, and there is no turning back now that his $217-million deal is finalized - but perhaps things could have been different. The Toronto Blue Jays stood a good chance of keeping the All-Star lefty, and it appears all they had to do was make an offer.

Price's agent Bo McKinnis told MLB Network Radio on Sunday his client would have gone back to Toronto, and that he was surprised not to have received an offer.

"The Blue Jays were the biggest surprise. David absolutely would have gone back there," he explained. "That was the toughest part of this, and I'm surprised we did not get an offer."

Former general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who acquired Price from the Detroit Tigers in a July trade, was reportedly set to offer the southpaw a contract if he'd stayed in Toronto, but new team president Mark Shapiro admitted this week that the club didn't have the resources to aggressively pursue the American League Cy Young runner-up.

McKinnis went on to say the Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers were all interested in his client, but he ultimately chose Boston after the franchise wowed him.

After coming to Toronto, Price helped guide the Blue Jays to their first postseason appearance in 22 years, posting a 9-1 record with a 2.30 ERA.

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Yoenis Cespedes helped guide the New York Mets to the World Series with a flair for excitement, and some big offensive production, but his stint with the club has likely come to an end.

Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told reporters it's "pretty unlikely" they'll re-sign the 30-year-old Cuban slugger.

"Right now (Cespedes) is looking at a deal north of what we could consider," the executive said.

New York will instead continue to set their sights on Ben Zobrist, who is their number one target in the infield, while Daniel Murphy, and Asdrubal Cabrera also remain options.

Additionally, the Mets and pitchers Bartolo Colon and Jerry Blevins have mutual interest in reunions, with Colon receptive to filling a swingman role, so it seems their efforts are focused on players other than Cespedes.

Cespedes created quite a stir after coming to the Mets from the Detroit Tigers at the July trade deadline, hitting .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games, but is expected to be seeking a large contract in the open market.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly in discussions to land coveted closer Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Rosenthal reports the two sides are making progress on a deal, and that the Reds would receive prospects in return for the hard-throwing left-hander.

Sunday's report comes on the eve of baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, and following a 48-hour frenzy that saw the Dodgers miss out on free-agent pitchers Zack Greinke, and Jeff Samardzija.

Chapman, a free agent at the end of next season, is projected to earn $12.9 million through arbitration in 2016, and has become one of Cincinnati's top trade assets as the club transitions to a rebuilding phase.

Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty acknowledged last month that a deal involving Chapman this offseason was likely.

"We've been talking to clubs, but I don't think there's anything that's close," he said. "Hopefully we get something done with somebody before the winter meetings. We'd like to get moving on some things."

Chapman, a four-time All-Star, recorded 33 saves with a 1.63 ERA in 2015, and led all relievers with a 41.7 percent strikeout rate over 65 appearances.

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The Kansas City Royals are reportedly finalizing a deal with reliever Joakim Soria, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The deal is for three years and worth $25 million, according to Jon Heyman.

The World Series champions acted fast on replacing a bullpen piece in Ryan Madson, who reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Athletics Sunday morning.

Soria, 31, started the season for the Detroit Tigers before being dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30 for infielder JaCoby Jones. His 72 appearances in 2015 set a new career high, and he sported his best ERA (2.53) since the 2010 season.

Soria is no stranger to the Royals after being selected in the 2006 Rule 5 draft from the San Diego Padres. From 2007-11, he recorded 160 saves before sitting out the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery.

The right-hander joins Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, and Tim Collins among others in a bullpen that ranked second in reliever ERA (2.72) to only the Pittsburgh Pirates last year.

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The Detroit Tigers look to have fortified the back end of their bullpen even further on Sunday, as they're close to an agreement with right-hander Mark Lowe on a two-year deal, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Lowe, 32, would slot into the role of set-up man for the Tigers in front of newly-acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Aside from the Oakland Athletics, the Tigers sported the worst bullpen ERA in the American League last season, so the addition of Lowe should be an upgrade over Neftali Feliz and Al Alburquerque, who both hit free agency after not being tendered contracts, and Joe Nathan who had his club option declined after making only one appearance in 2015.

After making just 18 appearances between 2013-14 the hard-throwing Lowe re-established himself with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays last season, earning a 1.96 ERA across 57 appearances, while holding opposing hitters to a .231 average, and striking out 10 batters per nine innings.

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Rumor - Dodgers get Chapman for 2 prospects.

an update

The Los Angeles Dodgers have assembled one of the top bullpen tandems in the majors.
Four-time All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman has reportedly been traded to the Dodgers on Monday, with two prospects going back to Cincinnati Reds, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The prospects have yet to be announced, though it is believed neither Julio Urias, and Corey Seager are involved.
Chapman will take over as closer, moving Kenley Jansen into the set-up role, giving the Dodgers a highly enviable one-two punch.
The Dodgers have been very active since Zack Greinke signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, agreeing to a three-year, $45-million deal with Hisashi Iwakuma over the weekend.

Last edited on Mon Dec 7th, 2015 08:46 pm by lobo316

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Boston and Seattle make a 4 player deal. 


Wade Miley is headed to Seattle.


The Seattle Mariners have acquired starting pitcher Wade Miley from the Boston Red Sox, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The full trade is Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro to Seattle for reliever Carson Smith and pitcher Roenis Elias.

Miley, 29, was 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 147 strikeouts against 64 walks in 193 2/3 innings of work last season, his first in the AL.

After having lost Hisashi Iwakuma to free agency, the Mariners had a need for some rotation depth. We know Felix Hernandez sits at the top, with Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Nathan Karns, Mike Montgomery, Vidal Nuno and now Miley in the mix for the other spots. Given the injury-proneness to a few names on that list, adding another capable big-league arm to the mix was a good move for new Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto.

As for the Red Sox, they still have David Price, Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Joe Kelly and Henry Owens. They were dealing from a position of depth. In return, they get a very nice bullpen upgrade.

Smith, 26, had 22 holds and 13 saves against five blown saves last season with a 2.31 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 70 innings. Teamed with Koji Uehara as setup men for Craig Kimbrel, Smith rounds out a very formidable back-end trio in the Boston bullpen.

Elias, 27, was 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA last season for the Mariners.

Aro, 25, has been a high-strikeout pitcher with several good seasons in the minors. He made his MLB debut last season and had a 6.97 ERA in six outings.

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lobo316 wrote: Rumor - Dodgers get Chapman for 2 prospects.

an update

The Los Angeles Dodgers have assembled one of the top bullpen tandems in the majors.
Four-time All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman has reportedly been traded to the Dodgers on Monday, with two prospects going back to Cincinnati Reds, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The prospects have yet to be announced, though it is believed neither Julio Urias, and Corey Seager are involved.
Chapman will take over as closer, moving Kenley Jansen into the set-up role, giving the Dodgers a highly enviable one-two punch.
The Dodgers have been very active since Zack Greinke signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, agreeing to a three-year, $45-million deal with Hisashi Iwakuma over the weekend.



Looks like the trade isn't official. Chapman is still a Red.





The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly telling teams they haven't agreed to trade All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, fueling speculation in Nashville that the two sides could be working on a multi-team blockbuster instead.

The latest news from ESPN's Jayson Stark comes on the heels of multiple reports suggesting the Reds and Dodgers might be working on a larger deal involving more players and teams.

It was widely reported earlier Monday morning that both sides had agreed to a trade that would send Chapman to the Dodgers in exchange for a pair of prospects, pending the review of medical records.

Arguably the best closer in baseball, Chapman posted a 1.63 ERA and 116 strikeouts across 66 1/3 innings last season, while converting 33 saves. The 27-year-old, whose career 42.9 percent strikeout rate is the best mark in baseball history, owns a 1.90 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over the past four seasons.

He's expected to earn $12.9 million through arbitration in 2016, his final year before hitting free agency.

Last edited on Tue Dec 8th, 2015 02:03 am by lobo316

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Jerry Dipoto's wild offseason overhaul continued on the first day of the winter meetings, when he reportedly acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Boston Red Sox, and it appears the Seattle Mariners' newly hired GM is only getting started.

The Mariners are also trying to acquire first baseman Adam Lind from the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Earlier this offseason, Dipoto traded incumbent first baseman Logan Morrison to Tampa Bay, and his expected replacement, Mark Trumbo, was sent to Baltimore last week in a six-player deal.

After stumbling to a 68-94 record last season, meanwhile, the Brewers are expected to move Lind this offseason, as the 32-year-old will become a free agent after the 2016 campaign. Set to earn $8 million this year, Lind enjoyed an impressive first season in Milwaukee, hitting .277/.360/.460 (122 OPS+) with 20 homers and 32 doubles in 149 games - his most since 2010.

Though Lind has battled injuries and struggled against left-handed pitching throughout his career, the former third-round pick boasts an .842 OPS since the beginning of 2013, posting the 28th-highest wRC+ (129) in the majors over that span (minimum 1,000 plate appearances). Since making his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006, Lind has hit .293/.354/.509 with an 8.6 percent walk rate and just a 16.8 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, too.

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Edwin Encarnacion is reportedly setting a spring training deadline to work out a new contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, sources tell WEEI's Rob Bradford.

According to Bradford, Encarnacion will commit to becoming a free agent after the 2016 season if an extension is not worked out before the end of spring training.

Should Encarnacion hit the free-agent market next winter, the report notes there would be significant mutual interest between the slugger and Boston Red Sox.

Encarnacion, who turns 33 next month, enjoyed another impressive season for the AL East champions, hitting 39 homers and posting a .929 OPS - the second-highest mark of his career - in 146 games. He's entering the option year ($10 million) of a team-friendly extension signed during the 2012 season.

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The Chicago Cubs bolstered their pitching depth with the addition of a familiar face Monday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $4.25-million deal with free-agent right-hander Trevor Cahill.

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN's Buster Olney, is pending the results of a physical.

Cahill, 27, performed solidly down the stretch out of the Cubs' bullpen last season, posting a 2.12 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with 22 strikeouts over 17 innings.

Once a promising starting pitcher with the Oakland Athletics, Cahill struggled mightily in 2014 after experiencing mechanical issues with his delivery in Arizona. He then made minor-league stops with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations before landing with the Cubs.

Cahill earned $12 million in 2015, the final season of a five-year, $30-million extension signed with Oakland in 2011.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the second straight year, a baseball veterans committee has failed to elect to the Hall of Fame any of the 10 candidates up for consideration.

The Pre-Integration Era Committee weighed the merits of players and executives who made their marks on the game through 1946. The committee announced its decision Monday at the winter meetings.

The candidates under consideration were Doc Adams, Sam Breadon, Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Garry Herrmann, Marty Marion, Frank McCormick, Harry Stovey, Chris von der Ahe and Bucky Walters.

Last year, the Golden Era committee failed to elect any of its candidates up for election. The Expansion Era committee (1973 and later) votes again at the 2016 winter meetings in Washington, D.C.

This was the second time the Pre-Integration Committee has met. Former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White were elected in 2012.

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With David Freese liable to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter, the Los Angeles Angels could turn to a division rival to fill their void at third base.

The Angels are reportedly interested in Oakland Athletics infielder Brett Lawrie, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, who notes that the two clubs have had discussions about the 25-year-old. Lawrie's name has surfaced repeatedly in trade rumors since the Athletics acquired Jed Lowrie from Houston last month, though, and the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox are thought to be interested, as well.

Lawrie, who was shipped to Oakland last winter as part of the deal that brought Josh Donaldson to Toronto, had an inconsistent first season with the Athletics, managing just 0.6 WAR despite establishing new career-highs in games played (149) and home runs (16).

Though the former first-round pick hit .282/.318/.417 in the first half of 2015, Lawrie hit just .233/.276/.395 after the All-Star break. His contact skills eroded, too, and he walked in a career-low 4.7 percent of his 602 plate appearances, fueling an unimpressive .299 on-base percentage and 94 wRC+.

Lauded for his defense throughout his tenure with the Blue Jays, Lawrie regressed in the field in 2015, as well, receiving below-average grades from both defensive runs saved (minus-3) and ultimate zone rating (minus-8.7).




Still, the Angels have few appealing internal options to replace Freese, with 25-year-old Kyle Kubitza tentatively expected to take over at third base in 2016 despite just 19 MLB games on his resume.

Last edited on Tue Dec 8th, 2015 03:41 am by lobo316

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At the MLB's winter meetings in Nashville, commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Cal Ripken Jr. has been named senior advisor to the commissioner on youth programs and outreach on Monday.

"That sounds like a much bigger job than I signed up for," Ripken joked after Manfred made the announcement. It is not a surprising appointment for the 55-year-old who has long been involved in youth baseball tournaments, leagues, and camps.

"The Iron Man" was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility after a career that included two American League MVP awards, a World Series title, and 19 All-Star Game appearances.

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So this is what is likely holding up the Aroldis Chapman to LAD deal.


from cbssports.com:


Some troubling allegations may have put the Aroldis Chapman trade on hold.




According to a police report obtained by Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan and Tim Brown, Reds All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman in an October incident fired a gun multiple times in his garage and allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. Passan and Brown write:

No arrests were made after the incident, in which more than a dozen police officers were dispatched to Chapman's home in Davie, Fla., around 11 p.m. on Oct. 30. Chapman's girlfriend exited the house and hid in bushes following the argument that stemmed from something she found on Chapman's cellphone, according to the police report.

CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman adds this:

Jon Heyman@JonHeymanCBS
Chapman attorney Jay reisinger: "I reviewed the facts as they are stated, and I deny the facts on behalf of aroldis."
7:14 PM - 7 Dec 2015

On Monday, the Reds were thought to have initially agreed to trade Chapman, 27, to the Dodgers in exchange for prospects. However, the deal later hit a snag of some sort. According to Passan and Brown, that this police report came to light is indeed what held up the trade. As for as resolving any trade, it could be a while:

C. Trent Rosecrans@ctrent
#Reds Jocketty said any trade of Chapman could take several weeks
7:24 PM - 7 Dec 2015 · Nashville, TN, United States

Passan's and Brown's story contains many additional details of the alleged incident and also includes the police report itself.

In August, MLB and the MLBPA announced that commissioner Rob Manfred would be empowered to discipline players for incidents of domestic abuse.

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The Red Sox were interested in Chapman but changed their minds when they found out about the allegations against Chapman & obtained Kimbrell instead.

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It appears as though Darren O'Day will be returning to Baltimore after all.

The Orioles and the sidewinder have resolved their contractual issues, and have finalized a four-year, $31-million contract, according to multiple reports.

However, O'Day still needs to pass a physical.

Reports surfaced Sunday that O'Day had agreed to terms with the club, but he took to Twitter to refute claims he had a deal in place with the Orioles.

"Contrary to the news, I have not reached an agreement with the O's yet," O'Day tweeted. "I am flattered by all the attention, but reports are premature."

The 33-year-old is considered one of the top relievers on the free-agent market, compiling a 1.52 ERA and 0.93 ERA while boasting an 11.3 K/9 rate over 65 1/3 innings of work last season.

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Two of the National League's most impressive rookies in 2015 - Kris Bryant and Maikel Franco - have filed grievances against their respective teams, alleging they kept the players in the minor leagues unnecessarily to delay their free agency, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Bryant, the eventual NL Rookie of the Year, opened the season in Triple-A despite smashing nine home runs in spring training. His agent, Scott Boras, scolded the Chicago Cubs for manipulating his client's service time. By optioning Bryant to the minors for the first two weeks of the season, the Cubs gained an extra year of control over the 23-year-old third baseman, who now won't hit the open market until after the 2021 campaign.

"You are damaging the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball,'' Boras told USA TODAY Sports. "Kris Bryant has extraordinary skills. Kris Bryant is a superstar. He has distinguished himself from all players at every level he's played."

When Bryant's grievance was broached Monday, however, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the club didn't do anything wrong, adding that they've known about Bryant's grievance since May (he filed in April).

"We feel like we were in the right," Hoyer told reporters.

Franco, meanwhile, spent the final month of the 2014 campaign with the Philadelphia Phillies, but began the 2015 season in the minors, too. Recalled from Triple-A on May 12, Franco finished the campaign with 170 days of total MLB service time, ensuring that he'll remain with the Phillies one year longer than he would've had he begun the season in Philadelphia.

"Sports is a business, and both sides are going to make the decisions they think suit their business aspirations and what they're trying to accomplish," said Ryan Royster, Franco's agent.

It's unclear if either grievance will reach an arbitration panel, however, and even if they do, an imprecise calculus will be used to determine whether the Cubs and/or Phillies operated in good faith.

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Adam LaRoche's first year with the Chicago White Sox was a disaster, and now the team is trying to part ways with the veteran slugger.

The White Sox are shopping LaRoche in hopes of clearing money to sign a big bat, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.

After clubbing 79 home runs in the previous three seasons with the Washington Nationals, LaRoche managed just 12 in 127 games with the White Sox, while slashing a career-low .207/.293/.340.

After signing catchers Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila, Chicago still has plenty of holes to fill. Second and third base, shortstop, as well as the outfield are all areas the White Sox will look to upgrade, but with plenty of quality outfield options, that appears to be their area of focus.

Chicago will likely have to eat some of the remaining $13 million on LaRoche's deal if it can find a home for the first baseman.

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The Chicago Cubs missed out on the David Price sweepstakes, but now their attention may be turning to landing one of the top positional players on the free-agent market.

Chicago is targeting outfielder Jason Heyward, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 26-year-old is expected to command an eight-year deal for around $20 million per season, and the Cubs are OK with that.

"We have some available resources; I think that much is clear," general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday night when asked if he could land a top free-agent outfielder.

Heyward seems most comfortable in right field, which could present a problem for the Cubs. Young slugger Jorge Soler currently occupies the position, but dealing the Cuban sensation is also an option if Chicago did sign Heyward to a long-term pact.

Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes would likely be cheaper alternatives on the open market, but it's unclear if the Cubs have interest in those players at this time.

Heyward hit .293/.359/.439 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs in 154 contests for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, and earned his second consecutive Gold Glove for his outstanding defensive play.

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The San Diego Padres finally parted ways with underachieving middle-infielder Jedd Gyorko, as general manager A.J. Preller continues to shed salary.

Gyorko, and cash were traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jon Jay.

The 27-year-old Gyorko blasted 23 home runs in his rookie season, but has failed to hit for anything other than power in his career. In three seasons, Gyorko, who has four years and $32 million remaining on his deal, owns a .236/.293/.395 slash line, while striking out 330 times over 364 games. He enjoyed a bit of a bounceback season in 2015, hitting .247/.297/.397 with 16 homers.

It's expected Gyrko will be used in a utility role for the Cardinals, seeing time at both second base, and shortstop, while hitting against left-handed pitching.

Jay was limited to 79 games last season following wrist surgery and hit .210/.306/.257 with one home run, and five doubles. The 30-year-old is under contract through next season, and will likely compete with Melvin Upton Jr. as the starting center fielder.

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Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich made a pair of moves to address the league's worst bullpen from a season ago.

The Rockies signed veteran right-handed relievers Jason Motte to a two-year, $10-million deal, and Chad Qualls a two-year, $6-million deal on Tuesday.

Motte posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 48 1/3 innings last season with the Chicago Cubs, while striking out 34. The 33-year-old owns a 4.17 ERA since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013.

Qualls, 37, authored a 4.38 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 49 1/3 innings in 2015, striking out 46. The 12-year veteran owns a 3.38 ERA and 1.16 WHIP across the past three seasons with the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros.

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Cincinnati Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty says a proposed trade to send Aroldis Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers is not being held up because of domestic violence allegations made against the All-Star closer, but admitted the blockbuster deal could take weeks to complete.

The apparent deal was said to be agreed upon earlier Monday but stalled during the afternoon amid reports that the two sides were working on a potential trade involving more teams and players.

Hours later, a police report obtained by Yahoo Sports showed that Chapman admitted to firing eight gunshots in the garage of his Davie, Fla., residence during an incident in October, in which he allegedly "choked" his girlfriend and pushed her up against a wall.

"The trade is still possible," Jocketty told reporters at the winter meetings in Nashville. "We've talked to several clubs. I've notified them all (Monday) that we will step back for a couple of weeks or whatever it takes. They were fine. This actually came up the last 24 hours. That's not what held up the trade. We just weren't able to complete it as fast as we wanted to."

Though Chapman was not charged in the alleged incident, Major League Baseball announced it is investigating the matter under its new domestic violence policy.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported Tuesday that the Dodgers remain undecided on how to proceed with the proposed trade and could walk away from the deal altogether.

The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, reportedly backed out of trade negotiations with the Reds in November, prior to acquiring Craig Kimbrel, when a background check revealed the alleged domestic incident, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.

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Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette appears to be preparing a contingency plan should he be unable to sign first baseman Chris Davis.

The Orioles are among the teams trying to trade for either Adam Lind of the Milwaukee Brewers or Mitch Moreland of the Texas Rangers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Both Lind and Moreland have generated interest around the league during the early stages of the winter meetings. The Seattle Mariners are reportedly trying to land Lind, while the Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates are said to be in talks for a potential deal involving Moreland.

The Orioles are presumed to be one of the top suitors for Davis, and are meeting with his agent Scott Boras on Tuesday. Davis is reportedly seeking a deal close to $200 million, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, though Baltimore is not believed to be willing to pay more than $150 million to retain his services.

Duquette has already made a move to add some depth at first base and in the outfield, by acquiring Mark Trumbo from the Mariners.

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While New York Mets fans may want to forget exactly how the 2015 World Series played out, a photo signed by Noah Syndergaard of, arguably, the young pitcher's most memorable moment in the finale is now available to purchase online.

Steiner Sports selling Noah Syndergaard signed photo with "Meet Me 60 ft, 6 inches away" inscription pic.twitter.com/lAkfAtzqYc

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 8, 2015
It features Syndergaard throwing the first pitch of Game 3 of the Fall Classic, a high and inside fastball to the Kansas City Royals leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar who was known to be aggressive on first pitches. The recognizable quote delivered by the starter in the postgame press conference lays just off-center of the shot in golden script, underneath his autograph.

However, with only a limited 50 units in stock, the photo does not come cheap as prices start at a costly $349.99 ($484.99 with frame included).

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In 2014, when Johan Santana first attempted to come back from the shoulder surgery that derailed his decorated career, a torn Achilles tendon thwarted his efforts to join the Baltimore Orioles. The next year, a toe infection denied him the chance to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Santana, now 36, hasn't thrown a pitch in an MLB game since 2012, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the two-time Cy Young award winner isn't ready to give up just yet. Once considered among the game's top starters, Santana - wielding a "fresh arm," as his agent put it - wants to give it another chance, Heyman notes.

Santana, a four-time All-Star, owns a 3.20 ERA (136 ERA+) over parts of 12 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets, though his tenure in Queens was marred by a pair of surgeries on his left shoulder capsule that sidelined him for all of 2011 and 2013.

Despite his prolonged absence from the game, though, Santana still ranks 15th in wins above replacement since 2000, while his park- and league-adjusted ERA and WHIP are both among the top five in the majors over that span (min. 1,000 IP).

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores broke his left ankle last month when he was hit by a pitch playing winter ball in Venezuela.

Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Tuesday at the winter meetings that Flores does not need surgery and is expected to be ready for spring training.

Flores was injured in his season debut with the Bravos de Margarita in his home country. He took several days off then returned to the lineup for three games before being shut down for the winter.

The Mets originally thought the injury a bruise but learned Tuesday it was a nondisplaced fracture.

Flores hit .263 with 16 homers and 59 RBIs in his first full season in the majors. He became a fan favorite at Citi Field after he was seen crying at his shortstop position when he thought he had been dealt to Milwaukee.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez says he has started baseball activities in preparation for what he hopes will be another good season.

The 40-year-old New York Yankees slugger is coming off a remarkable comeback in 2015 when he hit 33 homers with an .842 OPS after missing all of the previous year because of a season-long MLB suspension.

''A Cinderella-type season,'' Rodriguez said Tuesday. ''In so many ways a dream season. I'm just so fortunate to be back, and be welcomed by, obviously, the Steinbrenners, all my teammates, the fans of New York. I'm look forward to building on that.''

A-Rod was under a different spotlight Tuesday, taking center stage to recite ''The Night Before Christmas'' before 1,500 fourth and fifth graders during the Steinbrenner family's annual Children's Christmas Concert at the Mahaffey Theatre.

Rodriguez also addressed the importance of education.

''I challenge you one day when you're old like me, when you are successful and you're making an impact, to come back on days like this and pay it forward,'' Rodriguez said. ''This is the time now that you get to impact your future, and the No. 1 way of doing that is read and math skills.''

Proud to participate in the 27th Annual Steinbrenner Children's Christmas Concert today. #yankees #tampa pic.twitter.com/m7WzMKIVEV

— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) December 8, 2015
This is the 27th year that the Steinbrenner family, which owns the Yankees, has held concerts for students in the Tampa Bay area.

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Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is throwing his support behind embattled closer Aroldis Chapman on the heels of allegations that the All-Star pitcher "choked" and pushed his girlfriend during a domestic dispute in October.

Baker, who managed the Cincinnati Reds for the first four years of Chapman's career, said Tuesday that he's yet to read the police report detailing the accusations made against the left-hander, but would gladly accept him as a member of his team.

"Oh, he's a heck of a guy. I mean, a heck of a guy. I'll go on record and say I wouldn't mind having Chapman," the Nationals' new manager told reporters at the winter meetings in Nashville. "No, no, he is a tremendous young man with a great family, mom and dad, and what he went through to get here and what his family had to go through to get here ... I was with him through the whole process."

A Davie Police Department report released Tuesday says there was ''insufficient evidence'' to charge Chapman in the Oct. 30 incident because of conflicting stories, no cooperating witnesses, and no physical injuries.

Chapman told investigators he poked his girlfriend on the shoulder and she fell to the ground screaming. He also said he got into his vehicle and punched a window, got his gun from the glove box, and fired several shots inside his garage.

"I heard it from my son," Baker replied when asked if he read the report. "I mean, who's to say the allegations are true, number one. And who's to say what you would have done or what caused the problem."

Baker later appeared on MLB Network Radio to clarify his remarks, saying, "There's no way I would ever condone domestic violence. With the (Chapman) I know, I'm hoping that he's innocent."

Chapman was a two-time All-Star and established himself as one of the best closers in baseball under Baker's watch in Cincinnati, pitching to a 2.00 ERA with a staggering 15.9 K/9 rate over two seasons.

The Reds reportedly agreed to trade Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday before reports emerged of the alleged incident. Joe Torre said the league is investigating the matter under its new domestic violence policy.

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Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil

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Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil
Not sure about the Yankees side. I'm pretty sure more moves are coming, and this would have been a whole lot better if Cashman had been able to ditch Ellsbury off to his old boss, Epstein.  I hate that fucker.



 

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HBF wrote: Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil
Not sure about the Yankees side. I'm pretty sure more moves are coming, and this would have been a whole lot better if Cashman had been able to ditch Ellsbury off to his old boss, Epstein.  I hate that fucker.
Not with that contract.
I like the move. The Yankees are stocking the roster with players in their 20s.  And Castro is under team control for another 4 years.



 

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HBF wrote: Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil
Not sure about the Yankees side. I'm pretty sure more moves are coming, and this would have been a whole lot better if Cashman had been able to ditch Ellsbury off to his old boss, Epstein.  I hate that fucker.
I'm also hoping the next move is for Jose Fernandez.  I'd give up Judge and Refsnyder for him.

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nyhack56 wrote: HBF wrote: Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil
Not sure about the Yankees side. I'm pretty sure more moves are coming, and this would have been a whole lot better if Cashman had been able to ditch Ellsbury off to his old boss, Epstein.  I hate that fucker.
Not with that contract.
I like the move. The Yankees are stocking the roster with players in their 20s.  And Castro is under team control for another 4 years.

One of the better trades Cashman has ever made. I'm excited to see what Castro can do here. He's coming off a bit of a down year but got red hot down the stretch and is a huge offensive improvement in the middle of the field to anything we had last year.  And Warren will be missed but was expendable. 

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Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren


Cubs also pick up 2B Brendon Ryan in the deal.


from cbssports.com:


The Cubs have traded infielder Starlin Castro to the Yankees, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan go to Chicago, per Heyman.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Cubs agreed to sign Ben Zobrist to a four-year contract worth $56 million. That cleared the way for the Castro trade. Chicago still has Javier Baez for middle infield depth, so they're in fine shape.

Castro, 25, hit .265/.296/.375 (83 OPS+) with 11 home runs in 2015. He shifted from shortstop to second base at midseason and hit .339/.358/.583 (161 OPS+) in his final 33 games of the season. Clearly the Yankees are hoping for that Castro going forward.

The 28-year-old Warren had a 3.29 ERA (120 ERA+) in 131 1/3 innings across 17 starts and 26 relief appearances in 2015. He's worked in all sorts of roles over the years -- starter, long relief, setup man -- and is a versatile addition to Chicago's bullpen.

Ryan, 33, hit .229/.275/.333 (68 OPS+) in 47 games for the Yankees this season. The slick-fielding infielder will step into a reserve role with the Cubs.

The Yankees are taking on the entire $38 million owed to Castro through 2019. Warren is three years away from free agency and Ryan is owed $1 million for 2016.

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nyhack56 wrote: HBF wrote: Benlen wrote: Cubs trade Starlin Castro to Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren

Cubs also sign Ben Zobrist 4yrs 56 mil
Not sure about the Yankees side. I'm pretty sure more moves are coming, and this would have been a whole lot better if Cashman had been able to ditch Ellsbury off to his old boss, Epstein.  I hate that fucker.
I'm also hoping the next move is for Jose Fernandez.  I'd give up Judge and Refsnyder for him.
I'd hold on to Judge. I'd deal Mateo and Kaprellian instead.  Fernandez seems injury-prone to me, and Pineda, Tanaka and Eovaldi need to get healthy themselves. Those three have great stuff and are all in their mid-20's along with Severino. We just need our current staff (minus Fat CC who I hope just leaves!) to be 100% healthy.  If we're not in it at the break, I'd consider dealing Pineda who is always going to have injury issues it seems for a young (minors) highly-projected ace like the Braves have been doing.  Shit, I'd try to deal Pineda sometime this year to the Braves for one of their young future starters.  He could be the ace of their staff next season when they open the new ballpark that nobody will want to go to.

Last edited on Wed Dec 9th, 2015 05:48 pm by HBF

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Dave Stewart's wild offseason continued Tuesday evening, when the Arizona Diamondbacks general manager acquired right-hander Shelby Miller as part of a blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Braves.

In exchange for Miller and minor-league left-hander Gabe Speier, the Diamondbacks will send shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson - the first overall pick in the 2015 draft - to Atlanta along with outfielder Ender Inciarte and minor-league right-hander Aaron Blair, the teams confirmed Wednesday morning.

Miller, who turned 25 in October, became a popular trade target this offseason after crafting a career-best 3.02 ERA over 33 starts in 2015. Following an impressive performance in his lone season with the Braves, Miller will join a revamped Diamondbacks rotation headlined by right-hander Zack Greinke, who finalized a six-year, $206.5-million deal with Arizona on Tuesday.

For the Braves' front office, unloading Miller represents the latest salvo in a rebuilding process that compelled general manager John Coppolella to trade shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Cameron Maybin earlier this offseason.

“You've never heard me come out one time and try to sort of make this pretty," president of baseball operations John Hart said earlier this week. "I say, look, this is hard. This is painful. Here's what we're doing. It's the right thing to do. I’ve been there before. I understand it. We've got a lot of good people that are shoulder-to-shoulder on this, and we've got to take the hit. We're taking the hit right now. But we are absolutely wanting us to be the best club that we can have in '16, knowing that, you know, the skies part going into '17."

Painful as it is, Miller commanded a considerable haul that immediately improves a farm system largely devoid of high-ceiling position players.

Swanson, who the Diamondbacks drafted mere moments after his Vanderbilt Commodores clinched a spot in the College World Series, enjoyed an auspicious first season as a professional despite suffering a concussion in July that delayed his debut. In 22 games with Low-A Hillsboro, the 21-year-old hit .289/.394/.482 with 11 extra-base hits and a 14.1 percent walk rate.

Blair, a first-round pick back in 2013, could contend for a spot in Atlanta's rotation this spring after crafting a 2.92 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP over 25 starts and one relief appearance split between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno this past season.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are capping their major additions to the rotation at two.

After signing Zack Greinke to a record-breaking deal and trading three prospects to land Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks are reportedly out on free-agent starter Mike Leake, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

The Diamondbacks were believed to be close to signing Leake earlier this week, but following the acquisition of two starters, the team is either settled with its rotation or targeting a cheaper alternative.

One of the top remaining arms on the market, the 28-year-old Leake is expected to land a deal in the range of five years, $80 million.

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The Philadelphia Phillies continue to build depth in their bullpen, reportedly agreeing to terms on a deal with right-hander David Hernandez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The former starter turned reliever missed the entire 2014 season following Tommy John surgery, but returned to make 40 appearances last year.

Hernandez posted a 4.28 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 33 2/3 innings, striking out 33.

Phillies president Andy MacPhail drafted Hernandez in 2005 while with the Baltimore Orioles.

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The Chicago Cubs added one of the game's most versatile stars to their roster Tuesday evening, agreeing to a four-year deal with two-time All-Star Ben Zobrist that's reportedly worth $56 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Zobrist's deal, pending a physical, also includes a full no-trade provision for the first three years, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 34-year-old will earn $10 million in 2016 (along with a $2-million signing bonus), $16 million in each of the next two seasons, and $12 million in the final year of his contact, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports.

Boasting an impressive stable of infielders, the Cubs weren't expected to pursue Zobrist when the winter meetings began, but jumped into the conversation Tuesday evening amid reports that they were discussing a trade with the New York Yankees involving incumbent second baseman Starlin Castro.

Shortly after agreeing to sign Zobrist, the Cubs shipped Castro to the Yankees for right-hander Adam Warren and a player to be named later.

Zobrist, whose preference is to play second base, was widely expected to end up with either the New York Mets or Washington Nationals, and even received "We want you" text messages from Mets manager Terry Collins on Tuesday. He decided to head to Chicago instead, though, where he'll reunite with manager Joe Maddon, whom he played under for nine years with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Zobrist - a sixth-round pick in the 2004 draft - has quietly assembled one of the most compelling resumes in the majors, logging more WAR since 2010 than all but nine players. Over parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues, Zobrist owns a .786 OPS (117 OPS+) and boasts at least 111 games played at four different positions (second base, right field, shortstop, left field).

Acquired by the Oakland Athletics last offseason, Zobrist appeared in just 14 games this season before undergoing knee surgery that sidelined him for roughly four weeks. Upon returning from the disabled list, however, Zobrist posted an .827 OPS in 53 games with Oakland before getting shipped to the Kansas City Royals ahead of the trade deadline.

Zobrist was just as productive with the Royals, hitting .284/.364/.453 over his final 59 regular-season games before posting an .880 OPS with 10 extra-base hits in 16 playoff games for the eventual World Series champions.

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The Chicago White Sox are engaged in serious discussions with the Oakland Athletics about acquiring Brett Lawrie, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, and a deal involving the two sides appears imminent.

Slusser reports the proposed trade would net the Athletics a pair of minor leaguers in exchange for Lawrie, though the clubs have yet to agree on which prospects to include.

Lawrie is second-year arbitration eligible and won't become a free agent until 2018, giving any potential suitors two seasons of control. He hit .260/.299/.407 with a career-high 16 homers and 60 RBIs in 149 games for Oakland last season after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with Toronto that sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays.

Lawrie, who can play both second and third base, is also rumored to be drawing interest from the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.

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The Seattle Mariners are reportedly on the verge of acquiring left-handed-hitting first baseman Adam Lind in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

It's unclear what the Brewers will receive in exchange for the 32-year-old Lind, who's set to become a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. His $8-million option for next season was exercised last month.

Lind, acquired last offseason in a deal that sent pitcher Marco Estrada to the Toronto Blue Jays, received the bulk of playing time at first base for the Brewers in 2015, hitting .277/.360/.460 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs in 149 games.

Despite a flurry of trades made by new general manager Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners remain in need of a first baseman after moving Mark Trumbo and Logan Morrison in separate deals this offseason.

Dipoto's busy offseason has already included trades for Wade Miley, Leonys Martin, Joaquin Benoit, and Nathan Karns, while signing free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki and catcher Chris Iannetta.

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The Baltimore Orioles have opened the bidding on slugger Chris Davis.

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette met with Davis' agent Scott Boras on Tuesday, and the team has reportedly offered $150 million over seven years, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

The offer appears to be the max the Orioles are willing to spend on Davis, as it's been reported that Baltimore doesn't want to exceed the $150-million threshold for the 29-year-old.

Duquette sounded less than optimistic coming out of Tuesday's meeting, saying no progress had been made, but they intend to keep a dialogue ongoing.

"You can go a certain distance on these things and then you need to look at some other options," Duquette told reporters Wednesday. "We've got some other options in place. We'd like to sign Chris, but if that doesn't work out, there are some other things we can do and we have some other money we can invest."

Losing Davis would represent a significant loss to the Orioles' lineup. The All-Star has hit an MLB-leading 126 homers over the past three seasons.

Baltimore was rumored to be interested in trading for Adam Lind or Mitch Moreland, though they are now out on both, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

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The Atlanta Braves will likely pen a thankful Christmas card to the Arizona Diamondbacks for almost single-handedly restocking their farm system.

Having already pried away the D-Backs' 2014 first-round pick, Touki Toussaint, in June, Atlanta netted an overwhelming haul of prospects from Arizona on Tuesday in exchange for right-hander Shelby Miller.

Braves general manager John Coppolella has taken heat over the last several months for trading away several veteran players, but the package of left-hander Gabe Speier, outfielder Ender Inciarte, and 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson for Miller has those around baseball applauding the return, and ripping the Diamondbacks' front office.

Here are the best reactions from the deal:

"Grand slam for the Braves." - Unidentified executive told Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports.

"That's a helluva return for the Braves. I didn't like idea of trading Miller, but for that? Yeah, tough to argue after they got that package." - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Worst trade I've ever seen." - Unidentified executive told Rosenthal.

"I haven't seen Braves officials this excited about a trade in more than a decade. They view this as a pivot point in the rebuild." - Mark Bowman, MLB.com

"Can't wait to see who the Diamondbacks pick for the Braves in the 2016 draft." - Keith Law, ESPN

"Holy crap for Atlanta." - Unidentified executive told Rosenthal.

"I wonder if Zack Greinke is going to see this trade and ask to void his deal." - David Cameron, Fangraphs

"Rival execs in awe of the package of players Atlanta got from Arizona. But D-Backs got what they want: They're serious contenders in 2016." - Buster Olney, ESPN

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Major League Baseball hopes to push ahead with a rules change to better protect middle infielders from getting hurt by baserunners trying to prevent double-play turns at second base.

Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, said Tuesday at the winter meetings that MLB will work to draft the rule in conjunction with the players' association.

''I'm not saying it's not going to be in place by this season,'' he said. ''It depends on if we can find a common ground.''

Ahead of the 2014 season, MLB banned most home-plate collisions. Injuries at second base gained renewed focus after a hard slide by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley broke the leg of New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the NL Division Series. Torre later suspended Utley for two games, ruling the slide illegal, discipline the players' association has appealed.

At the Arizona Fall League, players have been told for two years to slide directly toward the base.

''There's a way, I believe, you can do it without going out of your way to target the fielder,'' Torre said. ''Doesn't mean we're not going to have collisions or guys landing on their rear ends in second base, but you know, I think we could try or I'd like to see us try to keep guys on the field.''

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lobo316 wrote: The Seattle Mariners are reportedly on the verge of acquiring left-handed-hitting first baseman Adam Lind in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

It's unclear what the Brewers will receive in exchange for the 32-year-old Lind, who's set to become a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. His $8-million option for next season was exercised last month.

Lind, acquired last offseason in a deal that sent pitcher Marco Estrada to the Toronto Blue Jays, received the bulk of playing time at first base for the Brewers in 2015, hitting .277/.360/.460 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs in 149 games.

Despite a flurry of trades made by new general manager Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners remain in need of a first baseman after moving Mark Trumbo and Logan Morrison in separate deals this offseason.

Dipoto's busy offseason has already included trades for Wade Miley, Leonys Martin, Joaquin Benoit, and Nathan Karns, while signing free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki and catcher Chris Iannetta.





Jerry Dipoto continued to revamp the Seattle Mariners' roster Wednesday with his ninth trade of the offseason, acquiring first baseman Adam Lindfrom the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a trio of lower-level prospects.

It's the third deal the Mariners general manager has made since arriving in Nashville for baseball's winter meetings, and gives Seattle the first baseman it's coveted since trading Mark Trumbo and Logan Morrison in separate deals this offseason.

The Brewers will receive minor-league right-handers Carlos Herrera, Daniel Missaki, and Freddy Peralta in return for the 32-year-old Lind, who's set to become a free agent at the end of next season. His $8-million option for 2016 was exercised last month.

"Adam lengthens our lineup as a first baseman who gives us on-base percentage and power," Dipoto said after the trade was announced. "First base was a spot we came here looking to fill, and we feel that Adam is a good fit for us."

Lind, acquired last offseason in a deal that sent pitcher Marco Estrada to theToronto Blue Jays, received the bulk of playing time at first base for the Brewers in 2015, hitting .277/.360/.460 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs in 149 games.

In adding Lind, the Mariners get a left-handed hitter who's posted an .883 OPS against righties over the last three seasons. As a team, the Mariners hit a major league-worst .241 versus right-handers in 2015 while ranking 10th in the American League with a .716 OPS.

Dipoto's busy offseason has already included trades for Wade MileyLeonys MartinJoaquin Benoit, and Nathan Karns, while signing free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki and catcher Chris Iannetta.

Last edited on Thu Dec 10th, 2015 12:04 am by lobo316

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The Oakland Athletics continue to try to improve upon one of the league's worst bullpens from a season ago.

Right-handed reliever John Axford reportedly agreed to a two-year, $10-million deal with the Athletics on Wednesday, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Axford joins Ryan Madson, Marc Rzepczynski, and Liam Hendriks as relievers added by general manager David Forst this offseason.

The 32-year-old Axford posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.58 WHIP across 55 2/3 innings with the Colorado Rockies last season, striking out 62 while converting 25 saves. Oakland represents his fourth organization in the past two years.

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The New York Mets front office wasted no time landing their backup plan after missing out on Ben Zobrist.

The Mets reportedly landed second baseman Neil Walker from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday in exchange for left-handed starter Jon Niese, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Walker, who is projected to make $10.7 million through arbitration this season, slashed .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs, and 32 doubles in 151 games in 2015.

Niese is owed $9 million next season, with a $10-million team option for 2017, and an $11-million team option in 2018. The 29-year-old posted a 4.13 ERA and 1.39 WHIP across 176 2/3 innings last season, striking out 113.

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Dave Stewart might have CTE or something. He's given up every legit prospect the Diamondbacks have to ATL for what amounted to a closer they couldn't use (they were never ahead), a young power hitting OFer (Justin Upton), a literal piece of shit (BJ Upton) and Shelby Miller (who likely will be surpassed by at least one of the pitchers back in the return).  They ended up with the DBacks two top pitching prospects and the number one pick from last year, who they essentially acquired for way overrated Jason Heyward.

The Braves will have the worst team in MLB this year and worse attendance than the 1957 Giants and Dodgers, but they've got a very bright future.

I kind of like what Cashman is doing for the Yankees in dealing relievers (Justin Wilson) for prospects. The Yankees have a ton of young relievers and develop them better than anyone, so they should deal from a position of  strength. I'd pay 50% of the cash left on useless Ellsbury if somebody would take that piece of shit.

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Brett Lawrie traded to White Sox.

from cbssports.com:

This kind of effort by Brett Lawrie will be appreciated by White Sox fans.




The Oakland Athletics traded infield depth Wednesday night, sending Brett Lawrie to the Chicago White Sox for two minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed.

The deal, which was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle and announced by the A's on Wednesday night, is pending physicals. The A's are receiving right-hander J.B. Wendelken and left-hander Zack Erwin, lower-level prospects.

Lawrie apparently became redundant for the A's after they added Jed Lowrie in a trade on Nov. 25, but he improves the White Sox at either third base or second base, positions where they were among the worst in the majors in 2015 on both sides of the ball. Lawrie made nearly $2 million in 2015 and is eligible for arbitration this winter; MLBTR projects him to make $3.9 million next season.

Lawrie, who turns 26 in January, batted .260 with a .299 on-base percentage, .407 slugging percentage and 16 home runs in 602 plate appearances for the Athletics in 2015, splitting time between third base and second. Lawrie rated strongly on defense in his first two seasons, and again in 2014 with the Blue Jays, but he played through back trouble with Oakland in 2015 and the metrics were below average.

Regardless, he's going where he's needed. The White Sox had been planning on using Mike Olt at third and either Micah Johnson and Carlos Sanchez at second. Lawrie figures to play third, but he also made 40 starts at second in '15.

Lawrie came to the A's in late Nov. 2014 in a deal that sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Oakland still has right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin and 19-year-old shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto from the trade.

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Philly trades Ken Giles to Houston.


from cbssports.com:


Ken Giles is the newest member of the Astros bullpen.


The Astros have reportedly landed their closer. Houston has acquired right-hander Ken Giles from the Phillies for righty Vincent Velasquez, lefty Brett Oberholtzer, outfielder Derek Fisher and a fourth player, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The identity of the fourth player is unknown.

Giles, 25, emerged as a top-flight setup man last season and took over as closer when Jonathan Papelbon was traded at the deadline. He had a 1.80 ERA (221 ERA+) with 87 strikeouts in 70 innings in 2015.

The Astros have been looking to add a high-end closer this offseason and Giles fits the bill. He figures to push incumbent closer Luke Gregerson into a setup role. Houston also pursued Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller this winter before getting Giles.

Velasquez, 23, had a 4.37 ERA (93 ERA+) with 58 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings this season, his MLB debut. He's a hard-thrower with some control issues, though there's at least a chance he can start long-term. If not, he could be a Giles-like reliever.

The 26-year-old Oberholtzer had a 4.46 ERA (91 ERA+) in eight starts and 38 1/3 innings this past season. He spent most of the year in Triple-A. Oberholtzer had a 4.39 ERA (88 ERA+) in 24 starts and 143 2/3 innings in 2014. He figures to step right into Philly's rotation.

Fisher, 22, is the Astros' No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com. He hit .275/.364/.483 with 22 home runs in 123 games at two Class A levels in 2015. MLB.com says that "his tools give him the chance to be an impact hitter," though they note he's limited to left field defensively.

Giles is under team control through the 2020 season, so this is a long-term addition. With Giles now off the board, Miller is by far the best available reliever in terms of performance and contract situation.

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Hours after making a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for second baseman Neil Walker, the New York Mets have come to an agreement with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on a two-year deal with an option for a third year, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

The deal is valued at $18.5 million, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, and is pending a physical.

After a heavy pursuit of Ben Zobrist proved unsuccessful, the Mets focused on different avenues, and will feature a new double-play combination for 2016.

Cabrera spent 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting .265/.315/.430 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs. He's a two-time All-Star and one-time Silver Slugger who's slashed .267/.329/.412 across his nine-year career.

The Atlanta Braves were also interested in the 30-year-old veteran, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

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Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila continues to make rebuilding his bullpen a priority this offseason.

The Tigers have acquired left-handed pitcher Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees in exchange for pitching prospects Chad Green and Luis Cessa.

Wilson, a 28-year-old reliever, was an essential part of the Yankees' bullpen a year ago, recording a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while striking out 66 over 61 innings. He's first-year arbitration eligible and under team control through the 2018 campaign.

The Yankees are receiving a pair of right-handers in return.

Green, an 11th-round selection of the Tigers in 2013, spent the entire 2015 season in Double-A, compiling a 5-14 record with a 3.93 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 148 2/3 innings.

Cessa, a 23-year-old hurler from Mexico, went 8-10 with a 4.52 ERA and 1.43 WHIP while pitching at three minor-league levels last year. He finished the season at Triple-A Toledo, and is closer to making his big-league debut than Green.

Avila previously added veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez and righty Mark Lowe to his bullpen prior to the trade.

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The Washington Nationals have agreed to a one-year deal with right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The deal is pending a physical.

Petit is best utilized as the long man out of the bullpen, but can also start games. Washington has the luxury of a deep rotation, which consists of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, and Joe Ross, so it should be feasible for Petit to come out of the 'pen next season.

The Toronto Blue Jays were another club expressing interest in the 31-year-old swingman, who compiled a 3.67 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP over 76 innings last season for the San Francisco Giants.

Washington has also reportedly agreed to deals with relievers Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez.

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lobo316 wrote: The Baltimore Orioles have opened the bidding on slugger Chris Davis.

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette met with Davis' agent Scott Boras on Tuesday, and the team has reportedly offered $150 million over seven years, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

The offer appears to be the max the Orioles are willing to spend on Davis, as it's been reported that Baltimore doesn't want to exceed the $150-million threshold for the 29-year-old.

Duquette sounded less than optimistic coming out of Tuesday's meeting, saying no progress had been made, but they intend to keep a dialogue ongoing.

"You can go a certain distance on these things and then you need to look at some other options," Duquette told reporters Wednesday. "We've got some other options in place. We'd like to sign Chris, but if that doesn't work out, there are some other things we can do and we have some other money we can invest."

Losing Davis would represent a significant loss to the Orioles' lineup. The All-Star has hit an MLB-leading 126 homers over the past three seasons.

Baltimore was rumored to be interested in trading for Adam Lind or Mitch Moreland, though they are now out on both, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.






The Baltimore Orioles aren't going to let Chris Davis slip away easily, but he's reportedly adamant on getting a massive contract.

Baltimore has increased its offer to more than $150 million over seven years in an attempt to retain Davis' services, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, Davis is now believed to be asking for an eight-year pact for around $200 million.

Members of Baltimore's front office met with his agent, Scott Boras, on Tuesday, and executive vice president Dan Duquette hinted he's growing impatient waiting for the slugger to make a decision.

Davis has belted a major league-leading 159 home runs over the past four seasons, and the St. Louis Cardinals are another team showing interest in the perennial power hitter.

Last edited on Thu Dec 10th, 2015 07:47 pm by lobo316

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The Cincinnati Reds will have to find another suitor for closer Aroldis Chapman.

With Major League Baseball investigating an alleged domestic violence incident regarding Chapman, the Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly moved on from trading for the four-time All-Star after a deal appeared to almost be done earlier this week, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The winter meetings opened Monday with the Dodgers prepared to send a pair of prospects to Cincinnati in exchange for the hard-throwing left-hander, though the deal was held up after it was revealed Chapman fired gunshots in the garage of his Miami residence, and allegedly "choked" his girlfriend in October, according to a police report.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty had been adamant that he believed a deal with Dodgers would still be made, though he admitted it could take several weeks.

With Chapman in their rear view, the Dodgers are said to be weighing trading for New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller, among others.

Several of the Reds other prospective trade partners have either backed away following news of the incident or have addressed their bullpen needs in other ways. The Boston Red Sox reportedly turned their attention to Craig Kimbrel after gaining knowledge of the Chapman incident last month, while the Houston Astros acquired Ken Giles from the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

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Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has found a home for infielder Yunel Escobar on the final day of the winter meetings.

After shopping Escobar all week, the Nationals have reportedly traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for right-handed reliever Trevor Gott, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Escobar immediately gives the Angels' depleted infield a boost, as the utility man has experience playing at a number of areas of need for Los Angeles. Though he played exclusively at third base for Washington, Escobar has appeared in more than 1,000 games at shortstop and has experience at second as well.

The Angels were rumoured to be in negotiations with third baseman David Freese earlier in the week and could use Escobar at second base should they reunite with Freese.

The 33-year-old Escobar slashed .314/.375/.415 with nine home runs, 25 doubles, and 56 RBIs across 139 games in 2015. He's owed $7 million next season with a $7-million team option in 2017 that includes a $1-million buyout.

Gott, 23, posted a 3.02 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 27 strikeouts across 47 2/3 innings in his rookie year.

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Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow continues to beef up his bullpen at the winter meetings, acquiring one of the team's key relievers from a season ago.

The Astros reportedly agreed to a three-year, $18-million deal with left-hander Tony Sipp on Thursday, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres prior to the 2014 season, Sipp has revived his career in Houston. The 32-year-old posted a career-best 1.99 ERA across 54 1/3 innings last season, striking out 62, and boasting a 1.03 WHIP. He owns a 2.66 ERA and 0.96 WHIP across the last two seasons with the Astros.

The league's worst bullpen in 2014, the Astros have rebuilt their relief core, and now possess one of the best bullpens in the majors after retaining Sipp, and trading for closer Ken Giles on Wednesday.

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One day after acquiring Jonathan Niese from New York, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to bolster their pitching depth, signing right-hander Juan Nicasio to a one-year deal worth a reported $3 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Nicasio, who turned 29 in August, was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this month after posting a 3.86 ERA (2.83 FIP) with a 1.56 WHIP over 58 1/3 innings in 2015, his first season pitching almost entirely out of the bullpen.

Signed by the Colorado Rockies as an amateur free agent in 2006, Nicasio crafted a 4.14 (110 ERA+) over 13 starts as a rookie in 2011, but struggled over the next three seasons to replicate his early success, eventually getting relegated to the bullpen during the second half of 2014.

Shortly thereafter, Nicasio was traded to Los Angeles, where he made 52 appearances and one start in 2015 while dramatically improving both his strikeout rate and home-run numbers.

Nicasio will remain under Pittsburgh's control for the 2017 campaign, as well, when he is arbitration-eligible for the final time.

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The St. Louis Cardinals decided to bring back Jonathan Broxton after watching the 31-year-old dominate out of their bullpen down the stretch in 2015, agreeing Thursday to a two-year deal with the veteran right-hander.

The deal is reportedly worth $7.5 million and contains a full no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline, Broxton thrived in St. Louis after stumbling to a 5.89 ERA while allowing five home runs in 36 2/3 innings for Milwaukee. The two-time All-Star crafted a 2.66 ERA in 26 regular-season appearances for the Cardinals while also making three outings in the National League Division Series.

Though Broxton has made at least 60 appearances in three of the last four seasons, he's also played for four teams over that span amid inconsistent results. This past summer, Broxton posted his highest ERA since 2011 despite notching a 24.5 percent strikeout rate, his best since 2010.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Royals finalized a three-year, $25 million deal with Joakim Soria on Thursday, reuniting the former All-Star reliever with the club where he spent his first five seasons.

Soria will make $7 million next season, $8 million the following and $9 million in 2018, with up to $4 million in incentives each year. The $10 million option for 2019 has a $1 million buyout.

Soria was one of the game's premier closers during his first stint in Kansas City, but he missed the 2012 season for Tommy John surgery and the Royals decided not to exercise their option on him.

He started the 2015 season with the Detroit Tigers before being dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in July for infielder JaCoby Jones.

His 72 appearances in 2015 set a new career high, and his 2.53 ERA was his best since 2010.

The right-hander was 3-1 with 24 saves for the Tigers and Pirates last season.

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Right-hander Shawn Kelley is the latest free-agent reliever to land a lucrative deal.

The 31-year-old, who reportedly came to an agreement with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, will earn $15 million over three years, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Kelley is reportedly set to earn $4 million in 2016, and $5.5 million in both 2017 and 2018 after posting a career-best 2.45 ERA across 53 appearances for the San Diego Padres last season.

The hard-throwing righty will join a bullpen featuring other new additions Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit.

Relievers Darren O'Day, Ryan Madson, Tony Sipp, Joakim Soria, John Axford, Jonathan Broxton, Jason Motte, Chad Qualls, Mark Lowe, and Perez have all received multi-year deals in free agency.

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lobo316 wrote: Right-hander Shawn Kelley is the latest free-agent reliever to land a lucrative deal.

Good pitcher. Another of the Yankees long line of relievers.

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The San Diego Padres have found their backup catcher for Derek Norris.

San Diego has acquired catcher Christian Bethancourt from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for right-hander Casey Kelly, and catcher Ricardo Rodriguez, the teams announced Thursday night.

Bethancourt was deemed expendable by the Braves after they signed both A.J. Pierzynski and Tyler Flowers to contracts earlier this fall.

San Diego is hoping the 24-year-old backstop can translate his success in the minors to the majors in years to come. Bethancourt slashed .327/.359/.480 in 52 games at the Triple-A level, but struggled against big-league pitching, hitting .200/.225/.290 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 48 games with Atlanta last year.

Kelly, 26, was selected 30th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the 2008 draft, and has seen limited time in the majors. He was rocked for 10 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings with the Padres last year.

Rodriguez, 17, is a long way off from the majors, but posted a .266 batting average with a pair of homers and 15 RBIs between two different rookie levels in the Padres' farm system.

"Casey will compete for a spot on our major-league pitching staff, while Ricardo brings another young catcher to our farm system who has a lot of promise and upside," Braves general manager John Coppolella told The Associated Press.

Atlanta has been arguably the busiest team making roster moves this fall, as it enters full-rebuild mode for the 2016 campaign.

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DALLAS - A rare Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card has sold at auction for more than $500,000.
Dallas-based Heritage Auctions said the pristine card sold Thursday night to a collector who wanted to remain anonymous for $525,800. A Heritage statement said the price set a record for a Mantle rookie card.


The '52 Mantle rookie card has long been the most valuable postwar baseball card, with comparable examples selling for $386,000 to $486,000 over the past 12 months.
The Mantle card was part of a 407-card set Topps distributed in 1952. However, as a rookie card, it was a ''high number'' card that didn't reach the Topps distribution chain before the end of the 1952 season. As a result, only a relative few of the cards were distributed to stores in the northeastern United States and Canada with the rest dumped at sea.



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Jason Heywood is becoming a Cub

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WASHINGTON - Rebuilding their middle relief corps, the Washington Nationals have agreed with right-hander Shawn Kelley on a three-year contract and with left-hander Oliver Perez on a two-year deal.

The team announced both agreements Friday.

Kelley, 31, will earn $15 million over three years, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, after posting a career-best 2.45 ERA across 53 appearances for the San Diego Padres last season. He'll make $4 million in 2016, and $5.5 million in both 2017 and 2018.

Perez, 34, who previously was with the Nationals' Double-A Harrisburg affiliate, was a combined 2-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 70 games with the Diamondbacks and Astros in 2015. His deal with Washington is worth $7 million.

On Thursday, Washington acquired right-handed reliever Trevor Gott in a deal that sent infielder Yunel Escobar to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Nationals ran into problems with their inexperienced middle relief corps last season, one reason a club with World Series aspirations failed to even make the playoffs.

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Benlen wrote: Jason Heywood is becoming a Cub


The Cubs' winning offer is believed to be $184 million over eight years, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

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Lol @ 23 million a year for an OF who has never had more than 82 rbi's, never scored 100 runs, only had more than 18 hr's once and is a .268 career hiter.

Last edited on Sat Dec 12th, 2015 02:18 am by Principal_Raditch

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That Mantle card has been sold for over $1 Million dollars to former pitcher Tom Candiotti. His card was graded a PSA 10 when he purchased it.

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Even the so-called greatest fans in baseball can become unhinged during the worst of times.

Reeling from the reported loss of free-agent outfielder Jason Heyward, one St. Louis Cardinals fan lit his jersey on fire in protest of Heyward's unexpected eight-year, $184-million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

.@JasonHeyward pic.twitter.com/1qRvZ7LNaz

— Austin Martin (@bernbags) December 11, 2015
Heyward is the second Cardinals free agent to jump ship this winter to the division rival Cubs, after pitcher John Lackey signed with Chicago.

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Remember it here first-the Heyward contract will go down as the worst in MLB history.

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New York Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has decided to hang up his cleats and retire from major league baseball.

After the Mets posted his retirement to their transactions page earlier Friday before removing it, ESPN's Adam Rubin reported the 36-year-old is set to retire.

Cuddyer has one year and $12.5 million left on a two-year contract he signed with the club prior to the 2015 season. Rubin also reports that a buyout may be involved, but nothing has been confirmed at the moment by the club.

The news quickly spread over social media, with praise coming Cuddyer's way courtesy of former teammates:

I dislike most people....but I wish @mcuddy23 the best, one of my favorite teammates, ever.

— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson35) December 12, 2015
With Michael Conforto emerging in the outfield, and issues surrounding his wrist and knee, Cuddyer's playing time was limited to 117 games last season, which included just 11 at-bats in the Mets' postseason run to the World Series. He also underwent core muscle surgery on Nov. 6.

Cuddyer hit .259/.309/.391 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs during his lone season in the Big Apple.

The 36-year-old two-time All-Star won a batting title in 2013 as a member of the Colorado Rockies, and spent 11 seasons as a staple in the Minnesota Twins' lineup, hitting a career .272/.343/.451 with the club.

He owns a career slash line of .277/.344/.461 with 197 home runs and 794 RBIs.

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Mets now have no excuse not to sign Cespedes.

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HBF wrote: Remember it here first-the Heyward contract will go down as the worst in MLB history.
 
I'm sure there will be worse.

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HBF wrote: Mets now have no excuse not to sign Cespedes.

Mets fan say they a billion dollar starting rotation. They gotta start saving money now to afford that .

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The Philadelphia Phillies officially traded closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros on Saturday, though the return is different than originally reported.

The Phillies will receive right-handed pitchers Vincent Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman, Harold Arauz, and Mark Appel in addition to left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, with Giles and infielder Jonathan Arauz going to the Astros.

Appel, selected first overall in the 2013 draft by Houston, was not part of the four-player deal originally reported. Outfielder Derek Fisher, who was believed to be traded, is not involved.

The Astros' former top pitching prospect, Appel went 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.39 WHIP across 12 starts with Triple-A Fresno. The 24-year-old struck out 61 over 68 1/3 innings.

"It's definitely bittersweet," Appel told reporters of the trade. "I feel like I've grown a lot in my time with the Astros. I'm incredibly appreciative."

Two of the last three first overall picks have been traded in the last week. Dansby Swanson, who was taken first in the 2015 draft, was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of the Shelby Miller deal.

With the acquisition of Giles, the Astros added the hard-throwing closer they prioritized from the onset of the offseason. The 25-year-old has struck out 151 batters in his 115 2/3 career innings while converting 16 saves.

"Ken Giles is a premium pitcher who will play an important role by getting critical outs for the Astros for years to come," Luhnow said.

Jonathan Arauz slashed .254/.309/.370 with two home runs and 10 doubles in 44 games in the Gulf Coast League, playing shortstop and second base.

Velasquez, a second-round selection of the Astros in 2010, will be a starter for the Phillies. The 23-year-old compiled a 4.37 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 19 appearances in his first big-league season, and boasts an impressive 9.4 K/9 rate.

Oberholtzer dealt with blister issues on his throwing hand for the first part of last season, limiting him to only eight starts. He finished with a 4.48 ERA and 1.59-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38 1/3 innings.

Eshelman, 21, allowed five runs in 10 1/3 innings split between Rookie ball and Single-A. Harold Arauz posted a 6.79 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings in Short-Season A.

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The City of Brotherly Love can be tough on their professional athletes, and Philadelphia Phillies fans were no different when Ken Giles debuted for the club in 2014.

After officially being traded to the Houston Astros on Saturday as part of a seven-player deal, Giles thanked the Phillies for their time and for serenading him with a chorus of boos for not hitting triple digits on the radar gun in his major-league debut:

@Phillies #cityofbrotherlylove pic.twitter.com/YYydd1k0nc

— Ken Giles (@KenGiles53) December 12, 2015
Giles managed to hit 99 mph three times in his first big league appearance, but it wasn't good enough for fans.

Giles averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in 2015, with his max velocity topping out at 101.3.

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When healthy, New York Mets third baseman David Wright has been an everyday player across his 12 years in the show.

The Mets captain plans on making that happen once again in 2016, when he says he'll better prepare his body for the rigors of a 162-game season.

"My mindset is: I want to play as much as possible, as much as I'm continuing to help the team," Wright told reporters Saturday. "If … I think I can benefit from having an off day with my back, then that's something that will be discussed. But my mindset moving forward is, the goal is to play as much as possible. For me, that's being an everyday player and contributing on a daily basis - that's for sure."

Wright only appeared in 38 games in 2015 after recovering from spinal stenosis, a degenerative disorder which can put pressure on your spinal cord, and the nerves that travel through the spine to the arms and legs. The disorder may cause pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.

While manager Terry Collins may need to formulate a plan to give Wright extra rest, the veteran infielder knows that the onus is on him to prioritize his health, especially if he wants more time in the starting lineup.

"It's just an adjustment of trying to balance the preparation for the game with trying to be as fresh as possible," Wright said. "It was new to me, having to put so much time and work on my back on top of trying to prepare baseball-wise for a game. I think there are some things that I can do better this coming year. There are some things that I probably could have done differently preparation-wise.

"It was a learning process, because I had never been through anything like this before. So I think that I have that experience under my belt - what it takes to get ready for a game, what are the necessities, what are things I can kind of do away with? For me, it was about making adjustments on the fly, and now I have a better understanding heading into this year."

During his limited time on the field, Wright still proved effective, earning a .289/.379/.434 slash line with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 174 plate appearances. He struggled across 14 postseason games, however, hitting .185/.313/.278.

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Neil Walker had never worn a uniform other than the gold and black of the Pittsburgh Pirates across his seven-year MLB career, but he knew his time to move on would eventually come.

The second baseman was shipped to the New York Mets on Wednesday, officially ending his tenure in the Steel City; a scenario he envisioned since February, the day of his last salary arbitration hearing.

"That was probably the point when I lost all faith in the organization," he told Rob Biertempfel of TribLive.

"You wouldn't believe how many places I've gone over the past two years and people said to me, ‘How can you not take what they're offering? Why won't you stay?'" he said. "I did want to stay, but there was absolutely no negotiating."

Walker was reportedly offered a three-year, $27-million contract last spring, which he turned down because his "camp didn't like the value of the third year." His side countered with a two-year offer worth $19 million, but negotiations never continued.

"I was looking for the (security) of knowing I'd be here after my arbitration years," Walker said. "I certainly wasn't looking to break the bank. I was looking for what was fair.

"The offer wasn't very realistic. And there was no negotiating in between. It was, ‘Here it is.' When we countered, there was no response, so we went to the hearing."

Walker went on to make $8 million last season after losing in arbitration, which didn't sit well with the infielder.

"I just felt there some kind of justice due me," Walker explained. "I don't want to come off as (having) any kind of huge ego here, but to play 12 years in the same organization, grind out six-plus years (in the majors) and go through arbitration three times ... I really didn't think what I was asking for was very unreasonable."

Walker hit .272/.338/.431 with 93 home runs and 418 RBIs with the Pirates, earning close to $18 million in his career before the trade to New York.

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So the Pirates trade Walker to get basically a #5 starter and then trade another #4-#5 starter for someone I doubt makes the team?
The Pirates traded right-handed starter Charlie Morton to the Philadelphia Phillies this morning, shedding the salary of an inconsistent pitcher but also removing a pitcher from a rotation they had just tried to strengthen.

In return, the Pirates received minor league right-hander David Whitehead.

Morton was in the final year of a three-year, $21 million contract and would have made $8 million in 2016. Between Morton, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker, the Pirates have moved roughly $26 million in salary commitment this offseason, though the addition of Jon Niese in the Walker trade offsets $9 million of that.

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Looks like Johnny Cueto is a Giant pending a physical.
6 yrs 130. Only first 2 years is guareenteed (46 mil)
Third year Cueto can option out of contract. After year 6 if Cueto is still around the Giants have a 7th yr option.

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Benlen wrote: Looks like Johnny Cueto is a Giant pending a physical.
6 yrs 130. Only first 2 years is guareenteed (46 mil)
Third year Cueto can option out of contract. After year 6 if Cueto is still around the Giants have a 7th yr option.


more details

The National League West got even stronger Monday, as one of its clubs landed the top pitcher still available on the free-agent market.
The San Francisco Giants have agreed to a six-year deal with right-handerJohnny Cueto, pending a physical.
The deal is worth $130 million, and Cueto can opt out after the second year,ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports. There's also a club option for a seventh year.
San Francisco now features one of the better starting rotations in baseball, having signed righty Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90-million pact earlier this month.


The Giants needed to address their pitching needs this fall after losing Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong to free agency, and following Tim Hudson's retirement.
Cueto reportedly rejected a six-year, $120-million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this fall, and his agent publicly stated his client also had interest in joining the Boston Red Sox. Arizona countered by signingZack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5-million deal, and Boston landed southpaw David Price with a seven-year, $217-million pact.
Pitching at spacious AT&T Park should benefit Cueto, who has spent the majority of his eight-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, and help lower his numbers with more games against NL foes in the future.
Johnny Cueto last season vs NL: 2.30 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 5.6 K/BB vs AL: 4.42 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 2.8 K/BB
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 14, 2015
The 29-year-old played a crucial role in the Kansas City Royals' magical postseason run last year as a rental player, and boasts a 96-70 record with a 3.30 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 226 career starts.

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good luck to the Phillies



J.P. Arencibia is on the move once again.

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Monday that they have signed the catcher to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Arencibia is joining his fifth organization in the last three years. He debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, and then spent 2014 with the Texas Rangers. Last season he played primarily with the Tampa Bay Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham, N.C., and appeared in 24 games with the big club in September. He spent last year's spring training with the Baltimore Orioles.

The 29-year-old hit .310 with six home runs, and a .921 OPS in a limited 73 big-league plate appearances last year. Arencibia owns a career slash line of .212/.258/.412 to go with 80 home runs over six seasons in the big leagues.

Along with Arencibia, the Phillies also signed right-handed pitchers Greg Burke, Ernesto Frieri, and Gregory Infante, as well as infielder Angelys Nina, to minor-league deals.

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How is it that Cueto gets 22 mil a year and Smardzija gets 18 mil a year from the same team? One guy was a top NL pitcher the last 5 years. The other is not even mediocre...and they're basically getting paid the same.

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Dillon Gee was adamant about relocating in 2016 after being relegated from the starting rotation to a bullpen role with the New York Mets, and the Kansas City Royals are now giving him a shot at redemption.

The Royals inked Gee to a minor-league deal Monday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Gee owned a 0-3 record with a 5.90 ERA before a groin injury put him on the disabled list in May, giving young right-hander Noah Syndergaard a shot at the majors.

Upon his return in June, the Mets inserted Gee into a six-man rotation, but quickly changed their minds after he made one lackluster start against the Atlanta Braves on June 14, coughing up eight runs and 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings.

In 2011, Gee had the best start to a season by a Mets rookie since Jon Matlack, going 7-0 in his first nine starts while producing a 2.86 ERA. His 2013 season remains his statistical best, however, when he went 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA over 199 innings.

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Jerry Blevins showed enough in his small sample size with the New York Mets to earn a new contract.

The left-hander has agreed to a one-year deal with the Mets.

Matt Yallof of MLB Network's "The Rundown" reports Blevins will receive a base salary of $4 million.

Blevins confirmed the deal on Twitter.

Dear @Santa, Thanks for the early Christmas present! I couldn't be happier to return to the @Mets.

— Jerry Blevins (@jerryblevins) December 15, 2015
The 32-year-old southpaw was stellar across seven April appearances, not allowing a hit or run before a line drive fractured his left forearm.
He re-fractured the same arm in August after tripping over a curb.
Blevins owns a 3.53 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across nine big-league seasons.

Last edited on Wed Dec 16th, 2015 04:46 am by lobo316

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Former Colorado Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis is calling it a career after 11 seasons in the big leagues.

The official announcement of the 34-year-old's retirement was posted on the Rockies' team page on Tuesday.

Francis spent the bulk of his career with the Rockies, playing eight seasons at the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, including a run to the World Series in 2007, when he was 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA.

"It was special to be able to be a champion, he told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "I know we didn't win it all, but that was a team that came together, even though I don't know what was expected of us. We did special things in dramatic fashion. We felt unstoppable. It was almost as if the drama was too much to think about. Looking back, I'm sure there was a lot of pressure, but I don't think we felt it. We just rode a wave and took it as far as we could."

The former first-round pick earned a 72-82 record with a 4.97 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 254 games, 217 of which were starts.

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Will Middlebrooks will get a fresh start with a new club in 2016.

The 27-year-old third baseman has signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Middlebrooks was non-tendered by the San Diego Padres on Dec. 2 after hitting .212/.241/.361 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. He joined the west coast team via trade from the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2015 season.

The once-promising fifth-round pick generated quite the buzz in his first two big-league seasons, hitting 32 home runs in just 169 games after taking the reins at the hot corner in Beantown from franchise cornerstone Kevin Youkilis.

Middlebrooks has battled injuries and inconsistent play across his career, never having played more than 100 games in four MLB seasons.

He owns a lifetime .231/.274/.399 slash line with 43 home runs and 151 RBIs.

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Sean Rodriguez is ready to bring his defensive versatility back to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 30-year-old super utility player has agreed to re-sign with the Pirates, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

It's a one-year deal worth $2.5 million plus incentives and is pending a physical, reports Rob Biertempfel of TribLive

Rodriguez played six positions for the club last season, mainly slotting in at first base, while hitting .246/.281/.362 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

The veteran's season ended on a rough note when he was ejected during the National League wild-card game for his role in a benches-clearing incident.
He later took out his frustrations on a water cooler.

Last edited on Wed Dec 16th, 2015 04:49 am by lobo316

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Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn made a major move Wednesday to address his depleted infield.

The Cincinnati Reds traded third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox as part of a three-team deal that includes the Los Angeles Dodgers.

WHITE  SOX        REDS                DODGERS
Todd Frazier     Jose Peraza         Frankie Montas
                      Scott Schebler     Micah Johnson
                      Brandon Dixon    Trayce Thompson


Frazier is the second significant infield piece acquired in the last week for the White Sox, who landed Brett Lawrie from Oakland for a pair of pitching prospects last Wednesday. Lawrie is expected to move over to second base. An All-Star in each of the past two seasons, Frazier immediately addresses a position the White Sox have struggled to fill in recent years. The 29-year-old is coming off a career year in which he hit 35 home runs, 43 doubles, and collected 13 stolen bases, while slashing .255/.309/.498 across 157 games. He has averaged 26 homers, 30 doubles, and 10 stolen bases over the past four seasons, while hitting .258/.322/.465.

"He is a high-character, smart baseball player who will provide an impact bat in the middle of our order," Hahn told reporters of Frazier.

The Dodgers get a trio of talented young players, adding second basemanMicah Johnson, outfielder Trayce Thompson, and top pitching prospectFrankie Montas from the White Sox.

Montas was the second-best pitching prospect in Chicago's system. The 22-year-old pitched primarily in Double-A last season, but did make seven appearances (two starts) with the White Sox. Johnson, 24, hit .230/.306/.270 with four doubles in 36 games with Chicago. He's the team's fifth-ranked prospect. Thompson had a successful first season in the majors, hitting .295/.363/.533 with five home runs, eight doubles, and three triples in 44 games.

The rebuilding Reds landed infielders Jose Peraza and Brandon Dixon, in addition to outfielder Scott Schebler from the Dodgers. Peraza is the key return for Cincinnati. The 21-year-old hit .293/.316/.378 with four home runs, 12 doubles, and 33 stolen bases in 118 games in Triple-A last season. He is the league's 24th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.

Last edited on Thu Dec 17th, 2015 12:31 am by lobo316

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The Cleveland Indians answered their division rivals Wednesday by acquiring a slugger of their own, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent slugger Mike Napoli.

The agreement, which is pending a physical, will pay Napoli $7 million per season and an additional $3 million in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The acquisition comes on the heels of a three-team, seven-player trade that netted the Chicago White Sox two-time All-Star Todd Frazier from Cincinnati. It was Chicago's second significant trade of the offseason after acquiring Brett Lawrie in a deal with Oakland last week.

Napoli, 34, split his time between the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers last season, hitting 18 homers with a .734 OPS in 133 games. Despite posting a career-low .410 slugging, the right-handed hitter remained a force against lefties, posting a .954 OPS with 12 homers in 179 plate appearances.

He's expected to see most of his time at first base, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, indicating the Indians plan to shuffle Napoli and Carlos Santana between first and the designated hitter position next season.

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New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia is a changed man after spending time in rehab battling an addiction to alcohol, an ordeal that caused him to miss the last month of the 2015 season including a one-game playoff loss to the Houston Astros.

"It's in the early stages. I will always be in recovery," Sabathia explained of his addiction to George A. King III of the New York Post. "I have the support of my family and my team. I feel pretty good where I'm at. I have a sponsor, he is a great guy and helps out a lot. From (Brian) Cashman, the Steinbrenners, Joe (Girardi) and my teammates, they have been 100 percent behind me.

"The biggest thing is to get help. People have seen my personality change."

Sabathia last pitched for the Yankees on Oct. 1, checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center Oct. 5 after a bender in Baltimore. He would later say he had no other option than to enter rehab to seek treatment.

''I know it was a bad time of the season, but there was no other option for me but to get help," he said in November. "And I understand where, you know, fans would be upset and people don't understand, but it's a disease.''

The rehab treatments are going well for the 35-year-old former Cy Young winner, who is staying in shape and is expected to fill one of the Yankees' spots in their starting rotation next season.

"I am light years ahead," Sabathia said of his offseason workout program. "I never stop throwing."

Sabathia made 29 starts for the Yankees last season, posting a 4.73 ERA and 1.42 WHIP across 167 1/3 innings of work.

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The New York Mets reportedly finalized their starting rotation Wednesday by agreeing to a one-year, $7.25-million deal with free-agent pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, is pending a physical.

Colon reportedly had better offers from other clubs, but wanted to stay with the Mets because of his love for the fans, teammates, and organization, according to multiple reports.

The 42-year-old hurler appeared in 33 games for the Mets last season, making 31 starts while offering a solid veteran presence to a young New York staff, posting a 14-13 record with a 4.16 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

After the Mets traded left-hander Jon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for second baseman Neil Walker, a spot became vacant in the Mets' rotation, which Colon looks to fill for the time being.

Colon, a former Cy Young winner and three-time All-Star has 18 big-league seasons under his belt, earning 218 wins across nearly 3,000 innings of work. His win total is the third highest in history among Dominican-born pitchers, behind only Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219).

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Rajai Davis has found a new home in the American League Central.

The 35-year-old outfielder has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Indians, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, pending the results of a physical.

The contract is a one-year deal worth $5.25 million plus incentives, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Davis hit .258/.306/.440 with eight home runs, 30 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases while playing all three outfield spots for the Detroit Tigers last season.

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The St. Louis Cardinals could be without catcher Yadier Molina come Opening Day.

Molina underwent his second thumb ligament surgery Tuesday after an initial procedure in mid-October failed to correct the issue. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters he believes Molina will miss the bulk, if not all, of spring training, though the hope is that he'll be ready when the season opens.

"I think by the end of January, the cast should be off and then he'll begin his strengthening exercises throughout the month of February and March," Mozeliak said. "The biggest question will be: When will he swing a bat? They don't feel like any of this should affect how he catches or when he can catch, but to have him ready by Opening Day, (swinging) will really be the test."

The seven-time All-Star underwent the initial surgery on his left thumb once the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason. He missed Game 4 of the NLDS after complaining of immense pain that barely allowed him to grip a bat.

Limited to 110 games in 2014 following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, Molina slashed .270/.310/.350 with four home runs, 23 doubles, and 61 RBIs in 136 games last season.

The Cardinals added veteran catcher Brayan Pena last month, whose presence helps soften any potential loss of Molina, but that doesn't mean Mozeliak won't scour the free-agent market to see what's available.

"We'll sort of exhaust what's out there still," Mozeliak explained. "We just have to be vigilant on how we look at this between now and spring training."

The 33-year-old Molina hit .273/.334/.324 with 17 doubles in 108 games last year.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly backing out of their tentative deal with free-agent right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma after issues arose during the pitcher's physical.

News of a potential snag in the deal was first reported by Japanese media outlet Jiji Press, which claimed that the Dodgers had nixed the agreement because Iwakuma had failed his physical.

However, sources tell Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that it would be "inaccurate" to say the Dodgers have backed out of the deal altogether, and multiple reports indicate talks between two sides are ongoing.

Both Hernandez and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports speculate an issue with Iwakuma's physical could lead to a restructuring of the three-year, $45-million contract reportedly struck during baseball's winter meetings last week.

As of Thursday, it was the only major signing from the meetings in Nashville that had yet to be finalized.

Either way, news of the reported roadblock is yet another blow to the Dodgers' frustrating offseason, which has included a failed trade for embattled Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, and Zack Greinke's defection to the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks.

Since then, the Dodgers have been connected to several free agents who have gone on to sign with National League clubs, including Ben Zobrist, and new San Francisco Giants pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Rosenthal notes that before news of the Iwakuma report broke, the Dodgers had expressed interest in free-agent pitchers Mike Leake and Scott Kazmir.

Iwakuma, 34, has battled injuries the last two seasons while pitching for the Seattle Mariners, including a sprained finger in 2014, and strained lat muscle in 2015. He was an All-Star two years ago, and last year became just the second Japanese-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter.

If the two sides eventually complete the deal, the Dodgers will surrender their first-round pick in next year's draft because Iwakuma rejected the Mariners' $15.8-million qualifying offer.

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman upgraded the team's two weakest areas on the diamond this offseason, though manager Joe Girardi remains unsettled when looking at the depth of the rotation.

"Yeah, I think there's a concern because of health, when you think about (Masahiro) Tanaka coming off an injury, (Nathan) Eovaldi coming off an injury, CC (Sabathia) with a knee he's had to deal with. Michael Pineda, that was the most innings (160.2) he's thrown after a substantial period of time," Girardi told Anthony McCarron of the Daily News.

"There is some concern. We had a lot of concerns last year and the guys did OK for us. You can go into spring training with five starters that are locked in and you can still have concerns. You'd better have depth."

No Yankees starter threw more than 170 innings last season, marking a second straight year a member of the rotation failed to hit the 200-inning plateau.

Following the acquisition of second baseman Starlin Castro at the conclusion of last week's winter meetings, Cashman acknowledged that his attention has switched to upgrading the pitching staff, and that his work was far from over.

While closely monitoring the health of their starters will continue to be a theme throughout the spring and into the season, the Yankees did receive some positive news Wednesday surrounding the health of Sabathia. The 35-year-old lefty checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center in October, but says he feels great and is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

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One of the greatest players in the history of the Atlanta Braves is set to rejoin the organization.

The Braves announced Thursday that Chipper Jones will join the team as a special assistant to baseball operations. The former third baseman will assist the club throughout the year, while providing some additional help to hitters, and may potentially do some scouting.

"I'm honored to be back working with the Braves," Jones said.

Jones retired following the 2012 season, his 19th year in the majors. The eight-time All-Star and former National League MVP ranks second in franchise history in games played, hits, doubles, RBIs, and OPS, and third in home runs. His No. 10 is one of eleven numbers retired by the organization.

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The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs officially completed the trade headlined by second baseman Starlin Castro on Thursday, with Chicago acquiring infielder Brendan Ryan as the player to be named later in the deal.

Chicago also acquired right-hander Adam Warren in the deal which was first agreed upon on Dec. 8.

Ryan, 33, is a light-hitting defensive specialist who saw 47 games of action for the Yankees in 2015.

The former St. Louis Cardinals draft pick slashed .229/.275/.333 with eight RBIs while playing six different positions for New York last season, including two innings as a pitcher.

Ryan, whose spent the majority of his career at shortstop, owns a plus-95 defensive runs saved at the position during his time in the majors.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated right-hander Yoervis Medina for assignment.

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Hisashi Iwakuma isn't leaving Seattle for Los Angeles, after all.

The Mariners announced they've signed Iwakuma to a one-year contract, with vesting options for 2017 and 2018.

Iwakuma's reported three-year, $45-million deal with the Dodgers fell apart after an issue reportedly arose during his physical.

"We said from the start that Kuma was a priority for us," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Obviously, the developments from the last few days allowed us to get back in the game. It's a credit to our ownership; to Howard Lincoln, to Kevin Mather, to our entire group that we were able to get aggressive and find a way to bring Kuma back to the Mariners. We're all thrilled. This is a big move for us. We feel like this really puts a finishing touch on what we think has been a very productive offseason."

Iwakuma will turn 35 on April 12. He's spent his entire four-year MLB career with Seattle, and had a 3.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 20 starts and 129 2/3 innings this past season. He struck out 111 while walking only 21. A strained lat muscle forced him to the disabled list, and he didn't pitch in May or June.

It was reported late Thursday night that the Mariners were trying to re-engage with Iwakuma, and a deal was announced shortly after Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal's report.

Iwakuma's return to Seattle signals another setback for the Dodgers, whose trade for Aroldis Chapman fell apart. Los Angeles also saw Zack Greinke head to the desert to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Francisco Giants welcome Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

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Some of the most lucrative contracts in major-league history have been handed out this fall, but there's a prevailing trend in contract negotiations that isn't sitting well with commissioner Rob Manfred.

"The logic of opt-out clauses for the club escapes me," Manfred told FOX Sports. "You make an eight-year agreement with a player. He plays well, and he opts out after three. You either pay the player again or you lose him. Conversely, if the player performs poorly, he doesn't opt out and gets the benefit of the eight-year agreement. That doesn't strike me as a very good deal. Personally, I don't see the logic of it. But clubs do what they do."

Manfred appears to be talking about Jason Heyward's eight-year, $184-million deal with the Chicago Cubs. The 26-year-old outfielder can opt out at two different times during the deal, making it possible to test the free-agent market again following the 2018 campaign.

Pitchers David Price and Johnny Cueto also have opt-out clauses built into their contracts, and Zack Greinke is one of the most recent players to take advantage of such a perk, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers to sign a mammoth six-year, $206.5-million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The topic of opt-out clauses could be discussed in the next round of collective bargaining next December.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired infielder Jason Rogers from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Keon Broxton and right-hander Trey Supak.

Rogers provides the Pirates with a versatile infielder who can slot in at first and third base, as well as play the outfield.

"This was about acquiring an offensive player that we like and think fits very well on our club," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told MLB.com's Adam Berry. "In return, we gave up an incredibly athletic, quality defensive outfielder in Broxton that has some bat potential.

"We gave up a quality young arm in Supak that's not far removed from being a high draft pick. The challenge in this industry is to get talent, you have to give up talent. We were willing to do that given the player we were acquiring."

Rogers, 27, hit .296/.367/.441 with four home runs and 16 RBIs across 169 plate appearances in 2015 for the Brewers.

Broxton, 25, is a former third-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He appeared in seven big-league games for the Pirates last season, scoring three runs, while only getting to bat twice.

The speedy outfielder stole 39 bases across two levels in the minors while slashing .273/.357/.438 with 10 home runs, 27 doubles, and 68 RBIs.

Supak posted a 1-2 record with a 6.67 ERA across 8 starts in Rookie ball.

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The San Diego Padres are going to give right-hander Brandon Morrow another chance to show what he can do next season, agreeing to bring him back on a minor-league deal, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock.

His deal includes an invite to spring training.

San Diego signed the 31-year-old right-hander to a one-year, $2.5-million deal prior to the 2015 season and he went on to make just five starts for the club as he dealt with shoulder issues for much of the season.

Morrow underwent surgery in August to repair an impingement in his throwing shoulder.

The former first-round pick has made just 21 starts over the last three seasons, but comes with an impressive pitching repertoire when healthy.

He owns a record of 44-43 with an ERA of 4.22 and WHIP of 1.35, while striking out 9.2 hitters per nine innings pitched across his nine-year career.

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Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said that although he would welcome the idea of real grass at the Rogers Centre, it's not among his top priorities heading into his first season with the club.

“My opinion is we don’t need it," Shapiro said Thursday during a media session with local reporters in Toronto.

While the Blue Jays' new executive admitted that a grass field "would be better" than AstroTurf, he did insist the current playing surface doesn't "detract from the game."

Shapiro added that "it's possible" that Rogers Centre could be equipped with a dirt infield as early as next season.

The Blue Jays signed an agreement in February with the University of Guelph to provide research on bringing natural grass to Rogers Centre for the 2018 season, though the transition from the current AstroTurf surface hasn't been smooth so far.

The team installed new turf for the 2015 season, which quickly became the source of some controversy. In April, the Baltimore Orioles reportedly planned to protest a game over Rogers Centre's field conditions after Jimmy Paredes was hit in the face by an errant ground ball in batting practice.

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, is the only other ballpark in baseball that still uses an AstroTurf surface.

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The Toronto Blue Jays have signed pitcher Brad Penny to a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training.

#BLUEJAYS AGREE TO SIGN BRAD PENNY TO MINOR LEAGUE DEAL PER SOURCE, AS @JCRASNICK REPORTED

— BEN NICHOLSON-SMITH (@BNICHOLSONSMITH) DECEMBER 18, 2015
Penny has posted a record of 121-101 with a 4.29 ERA in 349 career games (319 starts).

In 24 starts for the triple-A Charlotte Knights in 2015, Penny went 7-10 with a 4.46 ERA. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the 37-year-old still has solid velocity, reaching 94 miles per hour on the radar gun.

BRAD PENNY, 37, IS 121-101 WITH 4.29 ERA IN BIG LEAGUES. PITCHED FOR #WHITESOX AAA TEAM LAST YEAR. STILL THROWS 94. #BLUEJAYS

— JERRY CRASNICK (@JCRASNICK) DECEMBER 18, 2015
The Blue Jays need rotation depth at triple-A Buffalo after trading lots of upper-level pitching last summer. The move was the team’s second of the day as they added left-hander Wade LeBlanc earlier Thursday.

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lobo316 wrote: Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said that although he would welcome the idea of real grass at the Rogers Centre, it's not among his top priorities heading into his first season with the club.

“My opinion is we don’t need it," Shapiro said Thursday during a media session with local reporters in Toronto.

While the Blue Jays' new executive admitted that a grass field "would be better" than AstroTurf, he did insist the current playing surface doesn't "detract from the game."

Shapiro added that "it's possible" that Rogers Centre could be equipped with a dirt infield as early as next season.

The Blue Jays signed an agreement in February with the University of Guelph to provide research on bringing natural grass to Rogers Centre for the 2018 season, though the transition from the current AstroTurf surface hasn't been smooth so far.

The team installed new turf for the 2015 season, which quickly became the source of some controversy. In April, the Baltimore Orioles reportedly planned to protest a game over Rogers Centre's field conditions after Jimmy Paredes was hit in the face by an errant ground ball in batting practice.

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, is the only other ballpark in baseball that still uses an AstroTurf surface.

There has been plenty of speculation that major upgrades could be happening to the Rogers Centre (Skydome) soon. Talk of replacing all the seats, reducing capacity installing real grass and most important, making it a baseball first venue. Majority of Blue jay fans would rather a new ballpark but finding a location and Rogers paying for it are not gonna happen.

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The Oakland Athletics continued their busy offseason Friday by agreeing to a deal with free-agent starter Henderson Alvarez.

Alvarez confirmed the deal shortly after multiple reports indicated the two sides were closing in on a one-year contract worth around $4 million, plus incentives. The club has yet to confirm the agreement.

"Happy for the opportunity this good team thanks," Alvarez posted to his Instagram account.

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NEW YORK - The Los Angeles Dodgers have been hit with a record luxury tax of nearly $43.6 million for a payroll that fell just shy of $300 million.

For the first time, four teams exceeded the spending threshold and owe tax. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will pay along with the San Francisco Giants, a first-time offender.

Los Angeles finished with a record payroll of $291 million this year, according to final calculations made by Major League Baseball on Friday and obtained by The Associated Press. For purposes of the tax, which uses a different calculation method and includes benefits, the Dodgers' payroll was $297.9 million.

The Dodgers' three-year tax total comes to $81.6 million. The club's top earner, Clayton Kershaw, will make $32 million in 2016.

New York owes $26.1 million, raising the Yankees' total since the tax began in 2003 to $297.9 million. Boston owes $1.8 million for this year and the Giants $1.3 million, a record tax total of $72.8 million for a single year.

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Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is returning to Pittsburgh almost 10 years later.

Vogelsong and the Pittsburgh Pirates reached agreement on a one-year deal, the club announced Friday, reuniting the pitcher with the city he spent six seasons in from 2001 to 2006.

The deal will pay Vogelsong a salary of $2 million in 2016, and includes an additional $3 million in performance bonuses, according to MLB.com's Adam Berry.

Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fifth round in 1998, Vogelsong was traded to Pittsburgh in July 2001 and went 10-20 with a 6.06 ERA in 33 starts and 76 relief appearances. He spent three years pitching in Japan, played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels in 2010, then rejoined the Giants ahead of the 2011 season.

Vogelsong spent five seasons with San Francisco, mostly as a starter, winning World Series titles in 2012 and 2014. He nearly signed with Houston last winter before returning to the Giants on a one-year deal after negotiations with the Astros fell through.

An All-Star in 2011, Vogelsong owns a 3.89 ERA and 7.1 K/9 rate over the last five seasons. He'll provide back-end depth for a rotation that lost starter J.A. Happ to free agency and Charlie Morton in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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The Texas Rangers have agreed to a minor-league contract with Matt Bush, the first overall draft pick in 2004 who recently finished 3 1/2 years in prison after a drunken driving accident in Florida that injured a man.

Bush said Friday that he has been sober since the March 2012 accident after years of alcohol issues. He will report to minor league spring training in Arizona in early February, the same month he turns 30.

General manager Jon Daniels said Bush will be accompanied throughout spring training by his father, who will also stay with him through the season if the right-handed reliever makes a minor league roster.

Bush was drafted No. 1 overall as a shortstop by his hometown San Diego Padres in 2004. He later signed a minor league deal as pitcher with Tampa Bay.

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The Detroit Tigers reached an agreement Friday with free-agent infielder Mike Aviles on a one-year deal, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Aviles, who spent the past three seasons with the Cleveland Indians, hit .231/.282/.317 in 317 plate appearances with five home runs in 2015.

Much of Aviles' value lies in his ability to play multiple positions on the field. He played all three outfield positions for the Indians this past season, as well as stints at third base, shortstop, and second base.

Aviles, 34, has spent parts of eight seasons in the majors with the Indians, Kansas City Royals, and Boston Red Sox.

The addition of Aviles is another move in a busy offseason for the Tigers, who also signed starters Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey, plus reliever Mark Lowe, as well as trading for closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers.

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The Texas Rangers will welcome a familiar face back to the fold in 2016.

The Rangers and right-hander Colby Lewis have agreed to a one-year, $6-million contract, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The deal is pending a physical and a thorough examination of Lewis' surgically repaired left knee.

Lewis quietly put together an impressive 2015 campaign, going 17-9 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 33 starts. Even more impressive, he pitched with a torn meniscus during the second half of the season.

The 36-year-old's expected to be healthy by spring training, and earned $4 million for his services last season.

Lewis has pitched for Texas the past five seasons after a brief stint playing in Japan. He'll fit nicely into the middle of the club's rotation, joining starters Cole Hamels, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, and Nick Martinez. Right-hander Yu Darvish is also expected to return at some point next season from Tommy John surgery.

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Just days after the Chicago White Sox pulled off a blockbuster trade to land third baseman Todd Frazier, the club locked up a key piece of its bullpen to a long-term deal.

The White Sox and reliever Nate Jones agreed to a three-year, $8-million contract extension, the team announced Friday.

The deal includes two club options for 2019 and 2020, and a mutual option for 2021.

Jones returned to the team in August following Tommy John surgery, compiling a 3.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 19 innings.

The 29-year-old will likely be utilized in a setup role behind closer David Robertson next season.

Jones was a fifth-round selection of the White Sox in the 2007 draft and has spent his entire four-year career with the organization.

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The Miami Marlins have agreed to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with catcher Jeff Mathis, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.

Mathis should serve as J.T. Realmuto's backup next season as he enters his fourth year with the Marlins.

The 32-year-old hit a miserable .161/.214/.290 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 32 games last season.

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Jonathan Papelbon's comprehensive no-trade list must be givingWashington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo a headache.

The veteran closer submitted an updated list of clubs he can block a trade to ahead of the 2016 season, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Papelbon can now only be traded to the following 12 clubs without his consent:

TEAM
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Los Angeles Angels
New York Mets
New York Yankees

Philadelphia Phillies
Tampa Bay Rays
St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants

That means Papelbon can block trades to the 17 other big-league clubs, but surprisingly, the Yankees have gone from a blocked team on his 2015 list, to a club he's now open to joining. The Phillies are also a team the righty vetoed from trade protection, but he was booed out of Philadelphia last season, and a reunion is highly unlikely.

Papelbon, who's been the subject of trade rumors all fall, enters the 2016 campaign sitting 11th on the all-time saves list with 349.

Last edited on Sun Dec 20th, 2015 10:04 am by lobo316

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The National League Central rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs is already heating up ahead of the 2016 season, thanks to Jason Heyward.

The outfielder, who inked an eight-year, $184-million deal with the Cubs earlier this month, has angered his former manager in St. Louis, Mike Matheny, with his recent comments regarding the Cardinals' aging core of players.


Heyward spoke about his decision to join a young, up-and-coming Cubs squad over staying in St. Louis at his introductory presser with the Cubs, and questioned how much longer aging veterans Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and others would remain with the Cardinals.

"I don't think it's going to ring too well with our club," Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel. "I told Jason this before. I've got a lot of respect for Jason as a person. He's got to make the decisions he's going to have to live with. If that (core group comparison) is a big deal to him, he's just being honest with people."

Heyward certainly was forthcoming with his feelings about signing a long-term pact with St. Louis, stating he was concerned the club would have a completely different look in three-to-four years.

"I don't think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright. Those are the kinds of guys everybody wants on a club," Matheny said. "I see where he's coming from. I mean, look at what Chicago's done. It's very unique in this game - to have that many impact players at that young age. And he's a young player. But I can't say I'm in any kind of agreement with that (Chicago) core being better than any kind of core we have."

Chicago's young group, led by reigning Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant and stud first baseman Anthony Rizzo, has been reinforced by the addition of the 26-year-old Heyward, who isn't getting any sympathy from Matheny moving forward.

"I don't blame him. But I don't like it. I thought we created a really good atmosphere and he had to weigh what was most important to him," Matheny added. "We made a terrific offer. With all that being said, it comes down to what does a guy want? (Staying in St. Louis) just wasn't what he was looking for."

Heyward was acquired by the Cardinals in a fall 2014 trade with the Atlanta Braves, and earned Gold Glove honors for his spectacular defensive play in right field for St. Louis last season.

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New York Mets hurler Bartolo Colon collected a career-high eight hits last season, and now the club wants him to be the top-hitting pitcher in the National League next season.

Colon's new one-year, $7.25-million deal with the Mets features incentives, including for a Silver Slugger Award, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman

He can earn an extra $50,000 if he's named the NL's best offensive pitcher. He'll also cash in that amount for capturing Cy Young or Gold Glove honors.

Colon, who's more famous for his helmet falling off while swinging than stroking singles, hit .138/.150/.155 in 58 at-bats in 2015 to raise his career slash line to .093/.100/.102.

Colon has some serious competition in the NL for the Silver Slugger. San Francisco Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner hit an incredible .247/.275/.468 with five homers in 77 at-bats last year to easily claim the prize.

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The Oakland Athletics agreed to a one-year, $850,000 deal with right-hander Jarrod Parker and avoided arbitration, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Parker's deal has $425,000 guaranteed, and his $850,000 salary is right on par with his projected amount should he have went to arbitration with the club.

The 27-year-old hasn't pitched since 2013 due to multiple issues with his throwing elbow, but is expected to be completely healthy for spring training.

Parker owns a 25-16 record with a 3.68 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 62 career appearances.

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The Toronto Blue Jays appear ready to install a dirt infield at the Rogers Centre in time for the 2016 season.

Toronto's senior vice-president of business operations Stephen R. Brooks said, fielding the question from a fan on Twitter, the plan was to install a dirt infield prior to the beginning of next season.

Plan to start in Feb. https://t.co/z4N2XVDuE2

— Stephen R Brooks (@sbrooksbaseball) December 19, 2015
The Blue Jays are the only team in MLB without a dirt infield, instead utilizing small patches of dirt around each base and the pitching mound to accompany a full astro turf playing surface.

Along with talk about the dirt infield, there was talk surrounding a switch to natural grass, but team president Mark Shapiro told reporters Thursday that grass is not a top priority.

"My opinion is we don't need (natural grass)," said the executive. "My opinion is clearly it would be better, it's just a question of alternatives and what we're going to have to choose between."

Shapiro is working on a "comprehensive plan" regarding the needs of the building, such as fortifying the dome’s concrete, maintaining the retractable roof, renewing seats, updating the scoreboard, and improving other fan amenities.

Toronto has been playing at the Rogers Centre, formerly the Skydome, since 1989.

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Wade Boggs, the five-time batting champion and eventual Hall of Fame inductee who spent 11 years in the middle of Boston's lineup, will have his No. 26 retired by the Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 26.

"I am so humbled and honored to be among the greatest legends to ever put on a uniform for the amazing city of Boston," said Boggs. "To say that your number will never be worn again is the highest honor an athlete can receive. Thank you."

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the 1976 draft, Boggs made his debut in Boston six years later and immediately established himself as one of the game's premier hitters. In his first eight seasons with the Red Sox, Boggs never hit below .325 or posted an on-base percentage below .406, leading the league in on-base plus slugging in both 1987 and 1988 despite his below-average power.

"Wade Boggs was the best third baseman in Red Sox history and one of the best hitters of his generation," Red Sox principal owner John Henry said in a statement. "Whether it was his legendary hand-eye coordination or the discipline of his highly superstitious routine, his ability to hit line drive after line drive was remarkable. We congratulate our first-ballot Hall of Famer on this recognition."

Boggs, an All-Star a dozen times in his 18-year career, ranks third in Red Sox history in both offensive wins above replacement (63) and on-base percentage (.428). His tenure with the Red Sox ended after the 1992 campaign, when he signed with the New York Yankees, but the popular third baseman notched another 912 hits outside Boston and became the 23rd member of the 3,000-hit club on Aug. 7, 1999, as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Brock Holt, the popular utility man who has worn Boggs' number since arriving in Boston in 2013, will switch to No. 12 this season, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates improved their rotation depth Monday afternoon, acquiring left-hander Kyle Lobstein from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for cash considerations.

Lobstein, who was designated for assignment last Friday, spent parts of the last two seasons with the Tigers, crafting a 5.33 ERA (74 ERA+) over 17 starts and three relief appearances while serving primarily as rotation depth in Triple-A.

Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2008 draft, Lobstein owns a 3.83 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP over parts of seven seasons in the minor leagues, averaging 7.7 strikeouts and 0.7 home runs per nine innings.

The 26-year-old will likely open the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, providing depth behind a reconstituted Pirates rotation bolstered in recent weeks by the additions of Jonathon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong.

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The San Diego Padres agreed to a one-year deal with left-hander Buddy Baumann on Monday.

Selected in the seventh round by the Kansas City Royals in 2009, Baumann has spent his entire seven-year career in the minors.

The 28-year-old made 34 appearances (six starts) with Triple-A Omaha last season, going 3-4 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.17 WHIP across 77 innings, striking out 84.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated catcher Josmil Pinto for assignment. The 26-year-old became expendable following the acquisition of Christian Bethancourt from the Atlanta Braves earlier this month.

Pinto, who was selected off waives from the Minnesota Twins in November, slashed .219/.315/.391 with seven home runs and 50 strikeouts in 57 games last season.

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A.J. Griffin will attempt to revive his career in Texas after agreeing Monday to a minor-league deal with the Rangers following a two-year absence from the majors amid setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Griffin, who turns 28 next month, will receive an invitation to MLB spring training and could compete for the final spot in a rotation that no longer features Yovani Gallardo and will likely be without Yu Darvish until May.

Selected by the Athletics in the 13th round of the 2010 draft, Griffin enjoyed an auspicious start his MLB career, but opened the 2014 campaign on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow. Shortly after, the California native underwent Tommy John surgery, and though he was expected to return in 2015, Griffin was limited to just four minor-league outings last season amid persistent discomfort in his elbow.

Since making his debut with the Athletics in 2013, Griffin owns a 3.60 ERA (108 ERA+) with a 1.13 WHIP over 47 starts in the majors, posting a 3.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing 46 home runs in 282 1/3 innings (1.47 per nine).

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The St. Louis Cardinals addressed their need for a starting pitcher this offseason, agreeing to a five-year, $80-million deal with right-hander Mike Leake, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

The deal reportedly includes a full no-trade clause and a mutual option for a sixth year that could increase the total value to $94 million.

A press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. local time to announce the signing.

Leake will act as a replacement for veteran righty John Lackey - who signed a two-year with the Chicago Cubs - in the Cardinals' starting rotation.

The sinkerballer went 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 30 starts for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants last season.

He also drew interest from the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals this fall.

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Alex Anthopoulos, whose tenure as general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays unexpectedly ended in October when he turned down a five-year contract extension, will likely return to baseball in January following a two-month hiatus.

Anthopoulos, the 38-year-old whose radical roster overhaul in July propelled the Blue Jays to their first playoff berth since 1993, didn't specify exactly what it is he'll be doing, though.

"I'm getting there and come next month, come January, I'll work again," Anthopoulos told the Canadian Press. "Most likely for a team but it's not 100 per cent. There were some media opportunities that came up that were interesting just from a quality of life standpoint. I think I might enjoy that and I had some really interesting discussions with some people just to educate myself. I think it would be challenging and I think it would be fun. Also the ability to have that kind of balance and be around my five-year-old and my three-year-old and be more of a dad. I didn't think I would even consider (a media job) but I kind of did.

"But then the more I thought about it, it's most likely I'll stay in baseball. Just because I've done it so long and I'm still young in my baseball career. I don't think I'm prepared to walk away."

Hired as GM in October 2009 after the Blue Jays parted ways with J.P. Ricciardi, Anthopoulos presided over mostly mediocre teams throughout his tenure in Toronto despite earning a reputation as an aggressive and shrewd roster architect. In 2015, however, Anthopoulos' boldness fueled the club's most memorable season in more than two decades, as the midseason additions of players like David Price and Troy Tulowitzki carried the Blue Jays all the way to the American League Championship Series.

"It was a difficult choice because of how much I cared about the place and how much I enjoyed it," he said. "And again, that won't change. I mean my son still wears his Blue Jays cap to school. That's not going to change. I mean if I'm with a new team, I guess it might. My daughter still has a Blue Jays tag on her backpack. And again, it's still the only team in Canada and that's not going to change."

Despite leaving Toronto on a high note, Anthopoulos understands he may not get the opportunity to run an MLB team again.

"I understand that I may not be a general manager again and I'm OK with that," he said. "Now again, that's what my perspective is today. And obviously deciding not to sign an extension, I had to be prepared for that. I just think that all of the decisions I've made in my life, I never chased the money. You try to do what ultimately you feel is going to satisfy you and fulfill you. As simple as it sounds - and maybe this is naive - but normally success will follow."

And, he noted, the recess from being general manager of a professional sports team had its benefits.

"I get to give my wife a break," he said. "I'd say I'm learning what it's like to live a normal life again, which is kind of nice. You kind of forget what you miss - and I'm not complaining by any stretch. But you know, going into a Halloween party and not having to have my phone glued to my hand. I can leave it there."

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Picking a Christmas present for your best friend can be challenging, unless you're Bruce Bochy.

The San Francisco Giants manager gifted his good friend and former third-base coach Tim Flannery a replica Commissioner's Trophy to immortalize the three championships they won together.

This just arrived. Bruce Bochy bought me a World Series Trophy. 16 years as his coach , 3 in 5 . In tears. Thank you pic.twitter.com/CtSZAofbhG

— Tim Flannery (@TimFlannery2) December 22, 2015
Bochy and Flannery first met in 1983, when they became San Diego Padres teammates, and have been tied at the hip ever since. Their friendship was the focus of a MLB Network special titled "The Odd Couple," which takes an in-depth look at the tight-knit relationship the men share on and off the baseball field.

When Bochy was named manager of the Giants in 2007, he quickly added Flannery to the coaching staff. The duo enjoyed nearly instant success, guiding the franchise to championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Flannery stepped away from the game following the third championship run, but the pair remain close.

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Barry Bonds' desire to honor those before him was as much a part of his decision to become the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins as it was to see what the future holds.

"I kind of want to honor my dad for what he did," Bonds told Barry Bloom of MLB.com. "Honor my godfather (Willie Mays) for what he did."

Arguably the greatest hitter in major-league history, Bonds initially had some reservations about teaching his craft to others, something his father Bobby and Mays did as hitting coaches following their retirement.

Bonds was officially announced as the Marlins' hitting coach earlier this month - the first prominent coaching gig for the major-league's all-time leader in home runs. While he's excited to get started, Bonds admits it wasn't an easy decision.

"I didn't ever think this was something I wanted to do," Bonds told Barry Bloom of MLB.com. "You know me, when (Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria) asked me, it was like I wanted to click on the phone and say, 'Hello? Are you serious?' But Jeffrey Loria was very kind about it. He told me, 'Barry, when you think about it, you have so much to give the game, you have so much to offer to baseball, and you can teach these kids.'"

Bonds said it wasn't until a conversation with his mother convinced him to give coaching a shot. She encouraged him to take a chance, and told him that he wouldn't know how he felt about coaching full time until he took the opportunity.

"I need to try this," he said. "I'll never know if I like it unless I try. Baseball, that's my thing, that's who I am. With everything I've done as a hitter, I'm the best at that. I wouldn't have been able to do it unless the opportunity came up. So I figured, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it the way my dad would have done it. I've got to be in the trenches with them."

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The Seattle Mariners made Major League Baseball history Monday when they announced the hiring of six new area scouts.

Among the new hires is Amanda Hopkins. The daughter of long-time scout Ron Hopkins, Amanda is believed to be the first female hired as a full-time scout since the 1950s, according to the team.

"She's been helping us as an intern, in the office, at workouts, at Safeco, anything on the amateur side," Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara told Greg Jones of MLB.com earlier this month. "I've actually been to a couple games with her where we started talking about players. And I was sitting there thinking, 'man, she has a really good feel and breaks down a player like a veteran scout.' The more I spent time with her, the more I kept saying, 'maybe pushing her into the office isn't a good idea. She really wants to scout.'

"We sent her to scout school and she ranked pretty high in the class. When I called to tell her we'd nominated her for scout school, she was in tears on the phone, literally in tears. It was kind of chilling. It meant a lot to her."

A former softball standout at Central Washington University, Amanda will scout in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

"Whenever she had free time, she was always doing something baseball-related," McNamara said. "She had that passion. This is something she really wants to do. It's in her blood."

Tyrus Bowman, Jackson Laumann, Taylor Terrasas, Stephen Tromblee, and Ross Vecchio were also named scouts for the Mariners.

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The New York Mets' outfield is about to become more crowded, as the club agreed to a one-year deal with Alejandro De Aza, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

The deal is reportedly worth around $4.5 million.

De Aza bounced around between three clubs - the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants - in 2015, hitting .262/.333/.422 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 114 contests.

The 31-year-old will give manager Terry Collins another left-handed bat off the bench, and add depth at the position following the surprise retirement of Michael Cuddyer.

Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, and Curtis Granderson are projected to start in the outfield, with Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis potentially joining De Aza in a reserve role.

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John Smoltz, the Atlanta Braves icon and recent Cooperstown inductee, will reportedly take over as the lead baseball analyst in the FOX broadcast booth this season, replacing the color-commentary tandem of Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

Verducci and Reynolds, both of whom were hired ahead of the 2014 campaign following Tim McCarver's departure, won't accompany veteran play-by-play man Joe Buck in the booth anymore, but will likely have roles in the network's coverage plan moving forward, possibly in the studio or doing other reporting.

Smoltz, an eight-time All-Star who spent two decades with the Braves, first forayed into broadcasting in 2008 when he was still an active player, and has spent the last half-decade in the booth for various networks, including FOX, TBS, and MLB Network.

Pursuant to the league's most recent media rights agreement, all World Series games through 2021 will be broadcast exclusively on FOX.

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David Price was so hot of a commodity in free agency during the offseason that many clubs were interested in securing his services over a long term. If Paul Beeston was still holding his position as president of the Toronto Blue Jays, however, his club may not have been in the running for the southpaw.

The former executive confirmed during a Tuesday interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan that he wouldn't have broken his maximum five-year contract policy in order to bring Price back to Toronto.

"He’s a special guy ... when you start looking at it there’s no reason to think he’s not going to perform all the way through," Beeston said. "It’s a lot longer than I would have paid him myself, because you could say I’m arguing against myself, but once you break that policy - once you break that policy, over five years or six years, take whatever your policy might be - you can go on and just pay and pay and pay.

"I wouldn't have broken the five-year rule."

Price ended up signing a seven-year contract worth $217 million with the Boston Red Sox, making him the game's highest-paid pitcher per year at the time of the deal; his mark was broken soon afterwards by Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks for a higher annual value.

Under Beeston's watch, the Blue Jays had a policy in place limiting contracts to five years. The 70-year-old went on to say that he believed in the five-year limit because it's tough to project a player's productivity over a longer term.

"That's why you don't sign over five-year deals, because it's tough to perform for those five years," he explained.

The longest term of contract in Blue Jays history was a seven-year deal worth $126 million given to Vernon Wells after the 2006 season.

Price pitched to a 9-1 record with a 2.30 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across 11 starts for the Blue Jays last season.

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Jackie Robinson will forever be remembered as the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and he did it as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers, who moved to Los Angeles after Robinson's career ended, will honor his career and legacy with a statue outside Dodger Stadium in 2016.

"The Dodgers have a rich history of breaking barriers, and it all began with Jackie Robinson in 1947," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten told reporters. "Therefore, it is altogether fitting that our first statue at Dodger Stadium be of Jackie. The class that Jackie exhibited, while still performing at the highest level, made everything that has happened since - not only in baseball, but in many respects throughout American society - possible."

Sculptor Branly Cadet has been selected to create the statue, and the project has the full support of Jackie's wife, Rachel Robinson.

"We're thrilled that the Dodgers will honor Jack with the inaugural statue at Dodger Stadium," said Rachel Robinson. "Branly Cadet's excitement for the project is heartening, and I look forward to the unveiling with great enthusiasm."

Cadet is responsible for creating other works of public art, including the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Memorial in New York City, and the William Shakespeare medallion, also in New York.

"I am so honored to have the opportunity to design a sculpture memorial to Jackie Robinson for the Los Angeles Dodgers," said Cadet. "He is an icon of American history being celebrated by a legendary team in a grand city. I'm excited to create a design that is both befitting of this context and pays homage to his legacy as a sports hero and civic leader."

Robinson played 10 seasons in the big leagues, all with the Dodgers, producing a career .311/.409/.474 slash line with 137 home runs, 734 RBIs, and 197 stolen bases. His number 42 was retired by the Dodgers in 1972, and by Major League Baseball in 1997.

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One day after signing Tom Gorzelanny and Joe Thatcher to minor-league deals, the Cleveland Indians added another left-hander to vie for a spot on the 25-man roster, agreeing to a minor-league contract with Ross Detwiler on Tuesday afternoon.

Detwiler, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Washington Nationals before splitting the 2015 campaign between the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves, will earn $1 million if he makes the 25-man roster, with another $1.5 million available in incentives.

Selected sixth overall in the 2007 draft, Detwiler spent the first six years of his MLB career primarily as a starter, but has spent the last two seasons pitching mainly in relief. The 29-year-old has struggled since moving to the bullpen, though, managing a 5.56 ERA with a 1.71 WHIP in 81 relief outings (and seven starts) since 2014.

This past season was particularly brutal for Detwiler, who stumbled to a 7.25 ERA and 2.02 WHIP across 34 relief appearances and seven starts between Texas and Atlanta. He posted a career-worst 12.5 percent walk rate while allowing 10 home runs in 58 1/3 innings (1.54 per nine).

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The Baltimore Orioles officially have a corner outfielder to play alongside Adam Jones next season, finalizing a two-year deal with international free agent slugger Hyun Soo Kim on Wednesday.

Hyun Soo Kim signed his contract and toured Oriole Park today. #Birdland pic.twitter.com/zziP7MHlHr

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) December 23, 2015
The deal is believed to be worth $7 million and Kim couldn't be more excited to fulfill his dream of coming to the majors after 10 years playing in Korea.

"He was a big fan (of MLB) since he was very little and now he thinks that he could cry ... but he will not," Kim said via a translator.

The 27-year-old hit an impressive .326/.438/.541 with 28 homers for the Doosan Bears last year. Orioles general manager Dan Duquette believes his success overseas will translate to the North American game.

"He runs fine, throws fine, and he has good instincts," Duquette noted. "He has a nice disposition."

Another major selling point for Duquette is Kim's durability. He played in 98 percent of his team's games in the Korean Baseball Organization, which just increased its number of regular-season games to 144 from 128 in 2015.

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Following a mostly forgettable season with the Boston Red Sox, veteran right-hander Alexi Ogando will jump over to the National League in 2016 after agreeing Wednesday to minor-league deal with the Atlanta Braves.

Ogando, who turned 32 in October, will receive an invitation to spring training and is expected to compete for a spot in a bullpen that ranked among the worst in the majors in 2015 following the losses of Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden, and David Carpenter.

An All-Star with the Texas Rangers in 2011, Ogando has pitched exclusively in relief for the last two seasons after spending his first four years vacillating between the rotation and the bullpen. Though Ogando has actually fared better as a starter since his 2010 debut, durability issues have consistently prevented him from logging a high volume of innings.

In 2015, after stumbling to a career-worst 6.84 ERA the season prior, Ogando managed a 3.99 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP over 64 appearances despite posting the third-worst home-run rate (1.65 per nine) among qualified relievers.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates beefed up their offense Wednesday afternoon by agreeing to a two-year deal with John Jaso, the former catcher who has quietly established himself as one of the game's more unheralded hitters.

According to multiple reports, Jaso will earn a total of $8 million over the next two seasons and will replace Pedro Alvarez as the left-handed complement to Michael Morse in the club's first-base platoon despite logging just five innings at the position since his 2008 debut.

"John is enthusiastic about playing in Pittsburgh and developing as a first baseman," Pirates general manager Neal Hungtinton said in a statement. "We feel he has the ability to play the position at the Major League level, while adding significantly to our offensive production."

Jaso, who turned 32 in September, has spent the majority of his career behind the plate, but concussion problems forced him to relocate in 2015, wherein he played primarily at designated hitter and in the outfield for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Still, despite battling health problems in recent years, Jaso boasts a career .767 OPS (116 OPS+) over parts of seven seasons in the majors. Though he didn't spend any time behind the plate this past summer, and hasn't caught more than 54 games in a season since 2011, Jaso is tied with Joe Mauer with the fourth-highest wRC+ (120) among catchers over the last six years.

"We feel like it's a very nice addition to our offense and recognize that we are taking a calculated risk on the defense," Huntington added.

Last season, Jaso was limited to just 70 games due to a wrist injury sustained on Opening Day, but the former 12th-round pick still managed a career-best .286 batting average, while posting an .839 OPS (132 OPS+) with a 13 percent walk rate for Tampa Bay.

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After stumbling through a brutal 2015 campaign with the Los Angeles Angels, veteran reliever Vinnie Pestano will reportedly attempt to resuscitate his career in the Bronx, agreeing to a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

Pestano, who turns 31 in February, was once among the American League's more dominant relievers, but has been wildly inconsistent in recent years since fashioning a 2.50 ERA with a 30.1 percent strikeout rate for the Cleveland Indians from 2010-2012.

In 2015, his first full season in Los Angeles, Pestano managed a career-worst 5.40 ERA with a 1.97 WHIP in 19 appearances, allowing three home runs in just 11 2/3 innings. His velocity continued to decline, too, with his four-seam fastball averaging just 90.41 mph.

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Former New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is staying in the NL East, as he has agreed to a three-year contract with the Washington Nationals, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN. The deal is pending a physical.

Murphy, who turns 31 on April 1, spent the first six-plus year of his career with the Mets, where he accumulated a career slash line of .288/.331/.424. Last season, he hit a career high 14 homers and drove in 73 runs.

Throughout his career, Murphy has been known for being an excellent contact-hitter. In 2015, he struck out only 38 times in 499 at-bats.

Murphy had been considered a long-shot to stay in the Big Apple, even before the Mets acquired Neil Walker from the Pirates earlier this winter. Numerous reports during the postseason - during which, Murphy became a cult hero - suggested the Mets didn't value him as much as the open market would.

While Murphy was never known as a power-hitter, his historic postseason stretch saw him hit seven dingers in nine games at one point. He went deep against some of the game's best pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta.

In the NLCS, he posted a .529 batting average and swatted four long balls, en route to being named the series MVP. However, Murphy's weaknesses were exploited in the World Series, as his power cooled off, he struggled to hit the inside pitch, and he made several defensive miscues.

The signing of Murphy means Anthony Rendon can now move back to his natural third base position. Murphy figures to slot in near the top of the Nats' batting order, as they attempt to take back a division currently owned by Murphy's former team - the Mets.

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Yoenis Cespedes' memorable stint in Queens appears to be over, as the New York Mets have reportedly shifted their focus towards adding a "complementary" player in lieu of re-signing the 30-year-old star, sources told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Though the Mets remain interested in adding an outfielder who hits from the right side, the club never seemed serious about working out a new deal with Cespedes, reportedly broaching the possibility of a short-team deal with the talented Cuban expected to land a contract of five or six years.

Acquired from the Detroit Tigers ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline, Cespedes dazzled in his brief tenure with the Mets, hitting .287/.337/.604 (157 OPS+) with 17 homers in 57 games to help New York secure its first division title since 2006.

The addition of Alejandro De Aza, who landed a one-year, $5.75 million deal earlier this week, all but assured Cespedes will play elsewhere next season, while Heyman noted the reigning National League champions are "content" to head into 2016 without a particularly star-studded lineup.

Still, the Mets are eager to add a player who can potentially platoon with first baseman Lucas Duda and outfielders Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson - all three hit left-handed - and Steve Pearce is a player the club has looked at. Chris Denorfia, the 35-year-old veteran, is another free agent that may pique the Mets' interest.

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Carlos Sierra, the 21-year-old right-hander who pitched in Spain's top baseball league this past summer after leaving his native Cuba, has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Houston Astros, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Terms of the deal are not yet known, however, and Sierra - who left the island legally, without having to defect - remains subject to international signing rules.

Sierra spent three years in Cuba's Series Nacional, and crafted a 4.09 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 22 innings as a 19-year-old for Sancti Spiritus in 2013. He boasts a four-pitch repertoire that he showcased for MLB teams back in October, after finishing this season in Spain.

"The dream of the great majority of those who play baseball is to have the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues," Sierra told ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas in Spanish during a September interview. "That is the highest aspiration."

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Dave Henderson passed away from a heart attack Sunday at the age of 57.

The news of the former All-Star's death spread across baseball, with many ballplayers and executives left in shock, including a large number of his former teammates.

Here is how the baseball world reacted to the sudden departing of the gap-toothed man nicknamed "Hendu."


I can't believe he's gone. Rest in peace big brother. You will be missed. Let him tell you the only homeruns he counted are the ones he hit in the playoffs. Well I guess the man upstairs needed a little thump in his lineup.#hendu #saddayforbaseball #42 #mariners #bosoxnation @athletics #henduland
A photo posted by Ken Griffey Jr (@therealkengriffeyjr) on Dec 27, 2015 at 3:11pm PST
Rickey Henderson: "Dave Henderson was 1 of those guys you don't come across enough in life. He energized you, made you laugh. Great teammate

— John Hickey (@JHickey3) December 27, 2015
I'm going to miss you my friend. Thanks for accepting me back and making me feel welcome. Rip hendu.😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/dmx2uWAUdl

— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) December 27, 2015
"It's shocking, because Dave was so full of life and he was so powerfully built," Athletics vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, a former teammate, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "With his size and his personality, he seemed indestructible."

I am saddened hear that Dave Henderson has passed. He was on of the funniest guys ever and a hell of a baseball player.you will be missed

— david wells (@BoomerWells33) December 27, 2015
"Never saw him have a bad day," Mark McGwire told John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune. "He'd strikeout and he'd come back to the dugout flashing that gap-tooth grin.

"He was a true quarterback in that outfield with Rickey (Henderson) and Jose (Canseco). More than that, he was just a beautiful man."

Sad day today as I just found out that my good buddy "Hendu" passed away. Always smiling, always happy. RIP Dave Henderson.

— Joe Carter (@JoeCarter_29) December 27, 2015
"He loved to play the game, smilin' and stylin'," Hall of Famer and former Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley said to Slusser. "He had a flair, he really did."

Dave Stewart on Dave Henderson: "I don't have a lot of friends, but Hendu was my best friend. This is a difficult day." #Athletics

— Ron Kroichick (@ronkroichick) December 27, 2015
"I've had very few guys over the years who had that kind of personality and had just as much intensity once the game starts," Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa explained to Slusser. "It's tough to shift gears, but Hendu had the ability to be personable with a great sense of humor - and then when it came time to play, he had the same intensity as Carney (Lansford). ... It's a big loss. Dave was a true winner."

The baseball world lost a great man with an infectious smile. RIP Hendu!!! #RedSox #RIP #RedSoxFamily https://t.co/sLP89tW61j

— Kevin Youkilis (@KYouk_2036) December 27, 2015
So sad to hear the passing of Dave Henderson. Hendu was a great teammate and friend. I loved hearing him say "Hendu can do". #RIP

— Mark Gubicza (@Markgubicza) December 27, 2015

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The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 

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srossi wrote: The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 
More on the minor leaguers headed to Cincy.

from cbssports.com:

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds sending left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball, to New York for minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Monday. Jack Curry of the YES network first reported the deal, which the Yankees announced on Monday afternoon.

Here's the return to the Reds: Right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-rounder in 2013. He's batted .266/.356/.469 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He reached the Double-A level in 2015. Renda, 24, was Nationals' second-rounder in 2012. He was acquired by the Yankees this past season and has batted .285/.360/.366 with 87 steals in four seasons.

Cotham, 27, reached the majors last season (9 2/3 innings for the Yankees). In six minor-league seasons, Cotham has pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 2.56 K/BB ratio. Since 2014, he's worked exclusively as a reliever. Davis, 22, was a 14-rounder out of high school back in 2011. He's logged a 3.90 ERA and 3.52 K/BB in 352 2/3 innings across four years. Of his 72 games, 63 have been starts.

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CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 
More on the minor leaguers headed to Cincy.

from cbssports.com:

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds sending left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball, to New York for minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Monday. Jack Curry of the YES network first reported the deal, which the Yankees announced on Monday afternoon.

Here's the return to the Reds: Right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-rounder in 2013. He's batted .266/.356/.469 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He reached the Double-A level in 2015. Renda, 24, was Nationals' second-rounder in 2012. He was acquired by the Yankees this past season and has batted .285/.360/.366 with 87 steals in four seasons.

Cotham, 27, reached the majors last season (9 2/3 innings for the Yankees). In six minor-league seasons, Cotham has pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 2.56 K/BB ratio. Since 2014, he's worked exclusively as a reliever. Davis, 22, was a 14-rounder out of high school back in 2011. He's logged a 3.90 ERA and 3.52 K/BB in 352 2/3 innings across four years. Of his 72 games, 63 have been starts.

Gave up nothing. Jagielo wasn't panning out and Cotham was destined to become a career middle reliever. I never even heard of the other 2. 

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srossi wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 
More on the minor leaguers headed to Cincy.

from cbssports.com:

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds sending left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball, to New York for minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Monday. Jack Curry of the YES network first reported the deal, which the Yankees announced on Monday afternoon.

Here's the return to the Reds: Right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-rounder in 2013. He's batted .266/.356/.469 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He reached the Double-A level in 2015. Renda, 24, was Nationals' second-rounder in 2012. He was acquired by the Yankees this past season and has batted .285/.360/.366 with 87 steals in four seasons.

Cotham, 27, reached the majors last season (9 2/3 innings for the Yankees). In six minor-league seasons, Cotham has pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 2.56 K/BB ratio. Since 2014, he's worked exclusively as a reliever. Davis, 22, was a 14-rounder out of high school back in 2011. He's logged a 3.90 ERA and 3.52 K/BB in 352 2/3 innings across four years. Of his 72 games, 63 have been starts.

Gave up nothing. Jagielo wasn't panning out and Cotham was destined to become a career middle reliever. I never even heard of the other 2. 

2 seasons seems pretty quick to give up on a former 1st round pick. Unless Chapman is completely toxic right now then Cincy must see something in one or more of these kids.

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CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 
More on the minor leaguers headed to Cincy.

from cbssports.com:

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds sending left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball, to New York for minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Monday. Jack Curry of the YES network first reported the deal, which the Yankees announced on Monday afternoon.

Here's the return to the Reds: Right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-rounder in 2013. He's batted .266/.356/.469 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He reached the Double-A level in 2015. Renda, 24, was Nationals' second-rounder in 2012. He was acquired by the Yankees this past season and has batted .285/.360/.366 with 87 steals in four seasons.

Cotham, 27, reached the majors last season (9 2/3 innings for the Yankees). In six minor-league seasons, Cotham has pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 2.56 K/BB ratio. Since 2014, he's worked exclusively as a reliever. Davis, 22, was a 14-rounder out of high school back in 2011. He's logged a 3.90 ERA and 3.52 K/BB in 352 2/3 innings across four years. Of his 72 games, 63 have been starts.

Gave up nothing. Jagielo wasn't panning out and Cotham was destined to become a career middle reliever. I never even heard of the other 2. 

2 seasons seems pretty quick to give up on a former 1st round pick. Unless Chapman is completely toxic right now then Cincy must see something in one or more of these kids.

Chapman wore out his welcome even before the domestic battery charges, and they won't be able to afford to re-sign him. He's on the last year of his contract. So it's not a bad deal at all for the Reds. But I still think the Yanks got value even though they improved a strength. 



 

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srossi wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: srossi wrote: The Yankees have acquired Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 4 mediocre minor leaguers.  Very interesting move since they already have Miller and Betances.  Right now they have the best bullpen in baseball.  The starting pitching is a different story. 
More on the minor leaguers headed to Cincy.

from cbssports.com:

The Yankees have completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds sending left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the fastest pitcher in Major League Baseball, to New York for minor leaguers, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Monday. Jack Curry of the YES network first reported the deal, which the Yankees announced on Monday afternoon.

Here's the return to the Reds: Right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, along with infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-rounder in 2013. He's batted .266/.356/.469 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He reached the Double-A level in 2015. Renda, 24, was Nationals' second-rounder in 2012. He was acquired by the Yankees this past season and has batted .285/.360/.366 with 87 steals in four seasons.

Cotham, 27, reached the majors last season (9 2/3 innings for the Yankees). In six minor-league seasons, Cotham has pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 2.56 K/BB ratio. Since 2014, he's worked exclusively as a reliever. Davis, 22, was a 14-rounder out of high school back in 2011. He's logged a 3.90 ERA and 3.52 K/BB in 352 2/3 innings across four years. Of his 72 games, 63 have been starts.

Gave up nothing. Jagielo wasn't panning out and Cotham was destined to become a career middle reliever. I never even heard of the other 2. 

2 seasons seems pretty quick to give up on a former 1st round pick. Unless Chapman is completely toxic right now then Cincy must see something in one or more of these kids.

Chapman wore out his welcome even before the domestic battery charges, and they won't be able to afford to re-sign him. He's on the last year of his contract. So it's not a bad deal at all for the Reds. But I still think the Yanks got value even though they improved a strength. 

This was an absolute steal.  If he has a great year, the most this deal costs is money.

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The New York Yankees took a calculated gamble by dealing for troubled closer Aroldis Chapman on Monday, but general manager Brian Cashman believes the fireballer is well worth the risk.

Chapman, who is under investigation by Major League Baseball for his alleged role in a domestic incident, could face a suspension next season depending on the findings. However, that didn't stop the Yankees from parting with four prospects in order to acquire the lefty.

"Certainly there are some serious issues here that are in play," Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "I think it's certainly reflected in some of the acquisition price. There's risk, and I understand that ... we've done as much due diligence on the subject at hand as we possibly can, and we've completed the transaction based on a lot of that due diligence.

"We felt this was an opportunity for us to add a big arm to our bullpen, even though there are some things that are unresolved and we will respect that process as it plays out."

A potential suspension could work in New York's favor. If Chapman is suspended for a significant period of time, it could delay his service clock long enough for him to remain under team control for the 2017 season, as players do not accrue service time during a suspension for domestic violence.

The southpaw is projected to earn $12.9 million through arbitration this year, but the additional year of control would allow the Yankees to postpone extension talks for another calendar year and save some cash in the short term.

Cashman has already expressed his desire to keep the trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Chapman intact for the 2016 campaign, which should improve an already formidable bullpen from a year ago.

"The intent is to have an exciting bullpen, as we did this past year," Cashman added. "It would be pretty exciting if it was even better than it was last year."

Yankees relievers threw 530 2/3 innings last season, compiling a 25-19 record with a 3.70 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .232 average.

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lobo316 wrote: A potential suspension could work in New York's favor. If Chapman is suspended for a significant period of time, it could delay his service clock long enough for him to remain under team control for the 2017 season, as players do not accrue service time during a suspension for domestic violence.

I did not realize that, which makes this deal even better.  Yay for domestic violence! 

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Less than a week after reportedly landing second baseman Daniel Murphy, the Washington Nationals dipped back into the free-agent market for a shortstop, agreeing Tuesday to a one-year, $3-million contract with Stephen Drew, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The deal allows Drew - who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 when current Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was their scouting director - to earn another $1.25 million through incentives.

Despite battling both injury and inconsistency in recent years, Drew could serve as Washington's primary shortstop in 2016 in lieu of Trea Turner, the 22-year-old rookie who was tentatively poised to handle the position despite hitting just .225/.295/.325 (68 OPS+) in 2015 through his first 27 MLB games.

The Nationals may opt not to anoint an everyday shortstop, however, preferring instead to alternate between Drew, Turner, and Danny Espinosa, depending on the matchup.

Though Drew successfully revived his career with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 following a litany of injuries, the 32-year-old has struggled over the past two seasons spent mostly with the New York Yankees. In 2014, Drew hit just .162/.237/.299 while managing -1 WAR in 85 games before enjoying a modest bounce-back this past season, when he posted a .652 OPS while smacking 17 homers in 131 games for the Yankees.

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The attorney for Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman continues to preach his clients' innocence in the wake of an Al Jazeera report linking the major leaguers to performance-enhancing drugs, and wants the media outlet to retract allegations he claims are inaccurate.

William Burck sent a letter to Al Jazeera on Monday demanding it retract its story, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.


Both Howard and Zimmerman were named by pharmacist Charlie Sly in the documentary "The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers," as players he's supplied with the banned supplement Delta 2. Sly has since gone on to retract his claims, which were caught on hidden camera.

Al Jazeera has stuck by its story, but Burck notes the online report initially claimed Howard and Zimmerman received HGH. The copy was amended to say the substance was Delta 2, and not HGH. Burck believes, however, that Al Jazeera should be held responsible for what he deems careless reporting.

"Al Jazeera tried sneaking out a correction which acknowledges major errors in their story about our clients Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard," Burck told Salisbury.

"The original defamatory 'report' connected our clients to the use of HGH, but Al Jazeera has now admitted this defamatory accusation was wholly false and unsubstantiated. Al Jazeera's acknowledgment confirms their unforgivable sloppiness and the recklessness of its publication of this false story. Al Jazeera must retract the remaining false allegations against our clients immediately."

MLB announced last week its plans to conduct a thorough investigation of the information.

Last edited on Wed Dec 30th, 2015 10:11 pm by lobo316

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srossi wrote: Yay for domestic violence! 
Maybe the Yankee$$$$ should use that as their marketing slogan this season. :tongue:

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The Los Angeles Dodgers addressed their starting pitching needs Wednesday, signing left-hander Scott Kazmir to a three-year contract reportedly worth $48 million.

The deal also includes an opt-out after the first year.

Adding Kazmir to the mix gives Los Angeles five left-handed starting pitchers.


Kazmir, an 11-year MLB veteran, will pitch in the National League for the first time in his career after previously taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and most recently the Houston Astros. He's a three-time All-Star, and led the American League in strikeouts (239) in 2007 as a member of the Rays.

The Dodgers intensified their search for a starting pitcher after losing Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and were also believed to be interested in Japanese starter Kenta Maeda.

It's been a turbulent offseason to this point for Los Angeles, who had a three-year deal fall through with righty Hisashi Iwakuma after issues arose during his physical with the club. The team also reportedly had a trade in place for closer Aroldis Chapman, but talks broke down after Major League Baseball announced it would be investigating the fireballer for his alleged involvement in a domestic case.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers signed starter Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal worth a reported $48 million on Wednesday, adding another left-handed option to a rotation already jam-packed with them.

After the news broke of the Dodgers new addition, members of the team took to social media to poke a little fun at the left-handedness of the rotation:

What a great day to officially be a Dodger! Happy birthday to my lefty idol Sandy Koufax!

— Scott Kazmir (@scottkazmir19) December 30, 2015
Hey @ClaytonKersh22 the entire rotation is going to use your glove as a sign of solidarity.

— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson35) December 30, 2015
@BrettAnderson35 @ClaytonKersh22 I'm excited....no more RH scouting reports....so much more time to steam and graze.

— AJ Ellis (@AJEllis17) December 30, 2015
One band one sound https://t.co/2xy1VH4EW6

— Clayton Kershaw (@ClaytonKersh22) December 30, 2015
.@Dodgers This is blatant handism and I'm filing a hostile workplace grievance

— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) December 30, 2015
The Dodgers project to use an all left-handed rotation consisting of Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Alex Wood, though Brandon McCarthy could win a job out of spring training, giving the rotation a right-handed look.

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Why do the Dodgers want 5 left handed starting pitchers?

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NEW YORK - The New York City council's speaker says the New York Yankees were wrong to trade for a pitcher who was investigated over a domestic-violence accusation.

Democratic Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said earlier this week that the Yankees should reconsider their decision to trade for Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Florida police have said they had insufficient evidence to charge the Cuban left-hander following an October incident between him and his girlfriend.

She said Chapman choked her. He said there was an argument and he was pushed down by her brother.

A deal to trade the All-Star to the Los Angeles Dodgers fell through after news of the incident broke this month. He still faces possible suspension by Major League Baseball.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has acknowledged concerns but defended the move. He notes Chapman's price dropped.

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Though the Chicago White Sox remain interested in both Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon, two of the best outfielders available in free agency, the club doesn't seem prepared to offer either player a contract longer than three years, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Earlier this week, the White Sox were identified (along with the Baltimore Orioles) as one of the favorites to land Cespedes, the 30-year-old who smacked a career-high 35 homers with an .870 OPS (137 OPS+) over 159 games for the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets in 2015. Cespedes, however, is thought to be seeking a contract of five or six years, and the White Sox are only inclined to sign him if he's willing to take a three-year deal or less.

Gordon, a three-time All-Star, has been linked to the White Sox for a while, too, and will likely command a smaller contract than Cespedes, who's younger and not attached to draft-pick compensation. Still, Gordon reportedly received a four-year offer earlier this offseason to stay with the Kansas City Royals, and may not be willing to accept a three-year deal (or less), even if the White Sox meet his reported asking price of roughly $20 million per season.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has reportedly considered other options to improve his outfield, as well, and could still opt for a complementary player in lieu of a marquee free agent, especially with Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton, and Avisail Garcia under contract for 2016.

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Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda is poised to spend most of the next decade in Los Angeles, as his widely-reported agreement with the Dodgers is believed to be an eight-year, $25-million deal that includes significant performance bonuses, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Terms of Maeda's deal first surfaced Friday, almost 24 hours after he reportedly agreed to terms with the Dodgers, who earlier this week signed veteran left-hander Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal.


In addition to committing at least $25 million to Maeda - a two-time Sawamura Award winner in his native Japan - the Dodgers will also pay the Hiroshima Carp a $20-million release fee for the 27-year-old.

Maeda, who authored a 2.39 ERA with a 3.87 strikeout-to-walk ratio over eight seasons with Hiroshima, will join a revamped Dodgers rotation tentatively poised to feature four left-handers when the 2016 campaign begins.

Maeda is the second Japanese expatriate to land a major-league contract with the Dodgers after being posted by his NPB club. In 2002, the Dodgers signed Kazuhisa Ishii away from the Yakult Swallows, giving the right-hander a four-year, $12.3-million deal after making a successful posting bid of $11.26 million. Though Hiroki Kuroda, another Hiroshima star, also received his first MLB contract from the Dodgers back in 2008, he accrued enough service time in Japan to forego the posting system.

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Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols crossed off a significant milestone in his recovery from foot surgery Monday.

The 10-time All-Star was given the green light to remove the walking boot from his right foot, a little less than two months after undergoing the procedure.

"The feedback we're getting is that he's doing great," Angels general manager Billy Eppler told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.

Pujols was relegated to designated-hitting duties for the final month of the season before undergoing surgery in early November. The soon-to-be 36-year-old's initial timetable to return is in late March.

Though Pujols was adamant about returning to first base next season, manager Mike Scioscia said last month that Pujol's playing time defensively will be determined by his health.

"If it comes to where he can swing the bat and isn't able to play first base, so be it," Scioscia said. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

The Angels have failed to add the highly sought-after power bat they hoped to land so far this winter, making Pujols' health even more important heading into the season. Pujols and Mike Trout combined for 81 homers last season, while the rest of the team combined for 95.

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Paul DePodesta is making a drastic career change, leaving his role as vice president of player development and scouting of the New York Mets to become the chief strategy officer of the NFL's Cleveland Browns.

"Paul completely reorganized the Mets scouting and player development functions and had an extraordinary impact in both areas, but he was also very directly involved in our trade and free agent acquisitions," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson explained in a statement. "His commitment to excellence and his passion for innovation will be missed by the Mets and all of baseball. I wish him well with the Browns."

Initial reports claimed DePodesta would become executive vice president of the Browns, while a separate report from ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi claims the job was previously offered to current Toronto Blue Jays and former Cleveland Indians executive Mark Shapiro.

"Working with Sandy, Paul put into process a new approach toward player development throughout our organization," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. "Ownership and all of us at the Mets thanks Paul for his tireless efforts. We look forward to seeing Paul's continued success with the Browns."

DePodesta, who is famously known for his role in "Moneyball," once served as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from February 2004 to October 2005. He was considered a right-hand man and top advisor to Alderson before leaving the baseball team.

The Harvard graduate once played football and baseball for the university, and his first job in baseball was with the Indians.

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The Toronto Blue Jays added another arm to their pitching mix Tuesday, acquiring right-hander Arnold Leon from the Athletics. The Blue Jays will send Oakland cash considerations or a player to be named later to complete the trade.

Leon debuted with Oakland last year, posting a 4.39 ERA in 19 relief appearances, mostly in September. The 27-year-old, whose fastball averages 91.7 mph, pitched 26.2 innings for the Athletics while walking nine and striking out 19.

The native of Culiacan, Mexico spent most of the 2015 season with Oakland’s triple-A affiliate, where he started six games and pitched extensively in relief. He posted a 2.95 ERA with Nashville, striking out 55 in 58 total innings.

The Athletics designated Leon for assignment Dec. 28 when they signed former Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez.

The Blue Jays' bullpen currently consists of at least two sure things in Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil. Aaron Sanchez and Jesse Chavez could also pitch in relief, though both are expected to compete for starting jobs in spring training. Aaron Loup, still viewed as a bounce-back candidate by the Blue Jays, would give manager John Gibbons a second left-hander.

Beyond that core group, the likes of Steve Delabar, Roberto Hernandez, Bo Schultz, Ryan Tepera and Rule 5 pick Joe Biagini will be among those competing for bullpen roles. While the Blue Jays have carried eight relievers at times in recent years, most teams favour seven-man bullpens.

The Blue Jays now have one open spot on their 40-man roster. Leon would earn the MLB minimum salary if he makes the MLB team.

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Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard have reportedly filed a lawsuit against Al Jazeera over alleged defamation, according to Reuters and CSN Philly.

Zimmerman and Howard were linked to using performance-enhancing drugs during an undercover report by the broadcaster late last month. As part of the investigation, pharmacist Charlie Sly said he supplied the two with the hormone supplement Delta 2, which is listed on MLB's banned drug list.

"I worked with him in the offseason," Sly said of Zimmerman. "That's how I get him to change some stuff."

Sly also commented in the documentary on his methods for delivering Delta 2 to Howard and the slugger's understanding of the drug.

"He's somebody that you can not overwhelm with stuff. You just make sure you have everything in bags. He knows to take stuff twice a day. Usually I just have him like teach it back to me."

Sly would later recant his statements prior to the report airing. The Nationals followed by issuing a statement standing behind Zimmerman, saying that they do not find Al Jazeera's report credible. The Phillies issued a statement of their own, claiming Howard vigorously denied the allegations.

William Burck - the attorney for both Zimmerman and Howard - threatened legal action on Dec. 30. Al Jazeera has stood by its story, but Burck notes the online report initially claimed Howard and Zimmerman received Human Growth Hormone. The copy has since been amended to say the substance was Delta 2, and not HGH. Burck believes, however, that Al Jazeera should be held responsible for what he deems is careless reporting.

MLB announced it plans to conduct a thorough investigation of the information.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was the centerpiece of the report from Al Jazeera. Manning has adamantly denied any ties to using PEDs or HGH and has pledged to fully cooperate with the NFL's own investigation.

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Two months following his stunning departure from the Toronto Blue Jays, Alex Anthopoulos has reportedly found employment.

The former Blue Jays general manager has been hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers to work in an unspecified role in their front office, according to ESPN.

Despite the Blue Jays reaching the postseason for the first time since 1993, Anthopoulos turned down a five-year extension in late October, citing that the team was no longer the right fit for him moving forward. Hours following his announcement, he was named the Sporting News' Executive of the Year. Two days later, Mark Shapiro took over as the team's new president.

The 38-year-old said prior to Christmas that he planned to make a return to baseball at some point in January, while conceding it would likely not be in a GM role.

Anthopoulos' reported move to Los Angeles unites him with Dodgers GM and fellow Canadian Farhan Zaidi.

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The Texas Rangers reportedly agreed to a minor-league deal with left-hander Cesar Ramos on Tuesday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram.

Ramos pitched exclusively out of the bullpen last season, but Wilson notes he will be stretched out as a starter this spring.

The 31-year-old posted a 2.75 ERA and 1.34 WHIP across 52 1/3 innings in 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels, striking out 43. Ramos has made 10 career starts in the majors across his seven-year career, going 1-3 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.

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The Miami Marlins have reached an agreement with free-agent pitcher Edwin Jackson, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal with the right-hander is pending a physical, and terms are currently unknown.

Jackson signed a four-year, $52-million contract with the Chicago Cubs in 2013, but was released this past season, with the Cubs eating the final $13 million owed. Whatever the Marlins pay Jackson - likely the league minimum - will be subtracted from the amount Chicago must pay.

Following his release from the Cubs, Jackson signed on for the rest of the 2015 season with the Atlanta Braves and finished with a 3.07 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 47 relief appearances split between Chicago and Atlanta.

The 32-year-old Jackson has mostly been a starter during his major-league career, starting 262 of 340 games since breaking into the league in 2003. He has a career record of 88-107 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.

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NEW YORK - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other tainted stars of the Steroids Era appear likely to get a boost in Hall of Fame balloting, but not enough to enter Cooperstown this year.

Ken Griffey Jr. seems assured of election on the first try Wednesday, possibly with a record vote of close to 100 percent. Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines also were strong candidates to gain the 75 percent needed for baseball's highest honor.

Following the elimination of about 100 retired baseball writers from the electorate, Bonds and Clemens were on track for a 5-10 percentage point increase. After drawing about 37 percent of the ballots last year, they were in the 48 percent range this year according to http://www.bbhoftracker.com, which tabulated public votes adding to more than one-third of the total.

"We have a somewhat different electorate," John Thorn, Major League Baseball's official historian, said Tuesday. "I think possibly the current electorate was not content to keep kicking the PED crowd down into a hole and leaving the Hall of Fame with a crater in its plaque room."

Marc Maturo, a reporter covering New York baseball for Gannett in the 1970s and '80s, was among those who lost voting rights. He said he would have voted for Bonds, Clemens, Griffey and Raines.

"The whole process I think was done too quickly, wasn't given enough thought," he said

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After helping the Royals to a World Series championship in 2015, his ninth season with the club, Alex Gordon decided he couldn't leave Kansas City.

Gordon, who was selected second overall by the Royals in the 2005 draft, agreed Wednesday to a four-year, $72-million contract with his longtime employer, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal is pending a physical.

Born and raised in Nebraska, just a few hours north of Kauffman Stadium, Gordon will retain his status as the Royals' longest-tenured player after opting to remain with Kansas City - something several members of last year's championship roster decided not to do. Earlier this offseason, the Royals watched both Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto sign elsewhere as free agents without receiving any draft-pick compensation (neither player was eligible to receive a qualifying offer).

It seemed unlikely, frankly, that the Royals would be able to re-sign Gordon, either, as the club reportedly had "no chance" to bring him back less than two weeks ago. Gordon, however, refuted that report last week, and shortly thereafter landed a long-term deal with the annual average value - around $20 million - he was reportedly seeking.

Though Gordon appeared in just 104 games last season - his fewest since 2010 - due to a groin injury that sidelined him for much of the second half, he still posted 2.8 WAR with a 122 wRC+ and 13 homers. Since moving to left field permanently in 2011, Gordon has earned three All-Star appearances and four Gold Glove awards while posting the ninth-most WAR in the majors (25.1).

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Despite logging two just starts in the major leagues over the last two seasons, oft-injured right-hander Brandon Beachy landed a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Wednesday, re-signing with Los Angeles for a reported $1.5 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
The deal also allows Beachy to earn up to an additional $2.75 million in incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Since 2012, Beachy has throw just 119 innings at the MLB level, missing much of the last four years after undergoing a pair of Tommy John surgeries. In February, however, he received a minor-league deal from the Dodgers - less than a year after having his ulnar collateral ligament replaced for the second time - and proceeded to fashion a 3.64 ERA over 47 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City after returning from the disabled list in June.
The 29-year-old stumbled in two starts with Los Angeles, managing a 7.88 ERA while allowing 10 hits and six walks in eight innings, but owns a 3.36 ERA (116 ERA+) over parts of five seasons in the majors since debuting with the Atlanta Braves in 2010.
Beachy will provide depth in 2016 for a reconstructed rotation that may or may not feature Kenta Maeda. Though the club reportedly agreed to an eight-year deal with the Japanese right-hander last week, health concerns over Maeda's right elbow have reportedly delayed an official announcement, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

Last edited on Thu Jan 7th, 2016 04:12 am by lobo316

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HOUSTON - Free-agent first baseman Chris Carter has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Carter became a free agent when the Houston Astros declined to offer him a contract in December.

The Brewers were in need of a first baseman after trading Adam Lind to Seattle for prospects last month. The deal includes $500,000 in incentives.

Carter, who hit .199 with 24 homers and 64 RBIs in 2015, made $4,175,000 in 2015 in his first year of arbitration. Houston let him go rather than pay the likely more than $5 million salary he would have commanded in arbitration this year.

The 29-year-old Carter hit 90 homers in three seasons with the Astros, including a career-high 37 in 2014, which tied for second in the majors.

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Giants sign outfielder Denard Span for 3 yrs

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Kenta Maeda is officially coming to North America.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of the Japanese right-hander to an eight-year contract on Thursday.

"Today is an exciting day for the Dodgers organization," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters. "To add a player of Kenta's caliber is something that after we spent a lot of time evaluating him, getting to know him, we are excited to add him to our group not just in 2016 but for the foreseeable future."

The deal, which is full of incentives, could be worth $106.2 million if he stays healthy.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports Maeda is guaranteed $25 million. He'll earn $3 million per season for eight years, with a $1-million signing bonus, and the contract does not include an opt-out or no-trade clause.

On top of the money being given to Maeda, Los Angeles will also pay his former club, the Hiroshima Carp, a $20 million release fee.

After agreeing to a long-term contract with Maeda on New Year's Eve, issues surrounding his throwing elbow reportedly arose during his physical. However, Shakin reports the physical wasn't performed by the Dodgers, but was instead one Maeda took and submitted to teams prior to hitting free agency, which ended up limiting his amount of potential suitors.

Maeda acknowledged during a press conference on Thursday there were indeed issues with his physical, which likely was the reason for a drop in the overall value of the contract.

"During my physical there were some irregularities that surfaced that was factored into the contract that I signed," Maeda said. "Despite the fact that there were some irregularities found in the physical, the Dodgers made the decision to make a long-term commitment to me and that was meaningful to me, so I decided to make a long-term commitment to the organization."

The hurler was widely considered to be the best pitcher available in Japan after going 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts across 206 1/3 innings pitched with the Carp in 2015. He provides the Dodgers with a right-handed option in a starting rotation that's left-handed heavy.

Maeda posted a 97-67 record with a 2.39 ERA across eight seasons in Japan, and won two Sawamura Awards as the country's top pitcher.

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Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Curtis Pride, an outfielder who spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues despite being born deaf, has been named the league's new Ambassador for Inclusion.

"Curtis Pride is an inspiring example of determination and an outstanding role model for kids and all those who overcome challenges," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "He will offer valuable perspective as we continue efforts to foster an inclusive environment for anyone who plays or is a fan of our sport."

Pride, who made his MLB debut with the Montreal Expos in 1993 and spent time with five other clubs before retiring in 2006, will succeed Billy Bean in providing guidance and training designed to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community throughout the league. Pride will also work with MLB and minor-league clubs to encourage equal opportunity, as outlined in the league's code of conduct implemented in 2013.

Bean, an openly gay former MLB outfielder who has held the position since it was first created by then-commissioner Bud Selig in July of 2014, has been promoted to the role of VP, Social Responsibility and Inclusion.

"I also want to congratulate Billy Bean on his expanded duties and commend him for the exemplary work that he has done throughout the game," added Manfred. "Billy has exceeded our greatest expectations since beginning in this new role, and he continues to illustrate that the National Pastime is built on a foundation of inclusion, respect and equal opportunity."

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Major League Baseball appears to be nearing decisions on discipline for Jose Reyes, Yasiel Puig, and Aroldis Chapman - the first three players to be investigated under the new domestic violence policy - with rulings expected to come down before camps open next month, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

If the commissioner's office can't reach a verdict before spring training begins, decisions will be made no later than March 1, the unofficial start of the exhibition schedule. The league's new policy on domestic violence has no stipulations relating specifically to spring training, though, stating only that "there is no minimum or maximum penalty" while authorizing the commissioner to "issue the discipline he believes is appropriate in light of the severity of the conduct."

Earlier this offseason, Reyes - the Colorado Rockies' recently acquired shortstop - became the first player to prompt an MLB investigation under the new policy after being arrested Oct. 31 in Hawaii for allegedly assaulting his wife. Reyes, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of domestic abuse, allegedly grabbed his wife, Katherine, by the throat and shoved her into the sliding glass door of their hotel room, resulting in injuries to her thigh, neck, and wrist, according to Hawaii News Now.

Less than a month later, the league launched another investigation after Puig, the polarizing Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, was involved in a bar fight in Miami in which he allegedly pushed his sister, according to a report from TMZ. Shortly thereafter, however, a spokesman for the Miami Police Department refuted the allegation that Puig got physical with his sister.

"To the best of our knowledge, the only physical altercation was between the bouncer and Puig," he told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Chapman, the most recent player to be investigated, allegedly assaulted his girlfriend in a domestic incident in October wherein he also fired eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami residence. Still, the allegations (and possible suspension) didn't deter the New York Yankees from trading for him last month, acquiring him from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for four minor-leaguers.

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lobo316 wrote: Major League Baseball appears to be nearing decisions on discipline for Jose Reyes, Yasiel Puig, and Aroldis Chapman - the first three players to be investigated under the new domestic violence policy - with rulings expected to come down before camps open next month, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

If the commissioner's office can't reach a verdict before spring training begins, decisions will be made no later than March 1, the unofficial start of the exhibition schedule. The league's new policy on domestic violence has no stipulations relating specifically to spring training, though, stating only that "there is no minimum or maximum penalty" while authorizing the commissioner to "issue the discipline he believes is appropriate in light of the severity of the conduct."

Earlier this offseason, Reyes - the Colorado Rockies' recently acquired shortstop - became the first player to prompt an MLB investigation under the new policy after being arrested Oct. 31 in Hawaii for allegedly assaulting his wife. Reyes, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of domestic abuse, allegedly grabbed his wife, Katherine, by the throat and shoved her into the sliding glass door of their hotel room, resulting in injuries to her thigh, neck, and wrist, according to Hawaii News Now.

Less than a month later, the league launched another investigation after Puig, the polarizing Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, was involved in a bar fight in Miami in which he allegedly pushed his sister, according to a report from TMZ. Shortly thereafter, however, a spokesman for the Miami Police Department refuted the allegation that Puig got physical with his sister.

"To the best of our knowledge, the only physical altercation was between the bouncer and Puig," he told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Chapman, the most recent player to be investigated, allegedly assaulted his girlfriend in a domestic incident in October wherein he also fired eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami residence. Still, the allegations (and possible suspension) didn't deter the New York Yankees from trading for him last month, acquiring him from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for four minor-leaguers.

No one should be punished in any way, shape, or form by a professional sports league for criminal conduct until proven guilty in a court of law.  Period. 

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The New York Yankees acquired right-hander Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations on Friday, three days after the 28-year-old reliever was designated for assignment.

Yates, who was removed from the Indians' 40-man roster to accommodate Mike Napoli, spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, but was traded to Cleveland in November for cash.

Though Yates enjoyed an impressive rookie season with the Rays in 2014, fashioning a 3.75 ERA with a 26.9 percent strikeout rate over 36 innings, he struggled mightily this past summer. Yates stumbled to a 7.97 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP in 20 outings in 2015, allowing a whopping 10 home runs in 20 1/3 innings (4.4 per nine).

Yates has minor-league options remaining and is poised to begin the 2016 season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, providing minor-league depth for an increasingly imposing Yankees bullpen bolstered last month by the addition of Aroldis Chapman.

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Agent Scott Boras is attempting to sell the defensive versatility of his client Chris Davis in addition to the free-agent slugger's strengths at the plate.

Teams have told Buster Olney of ESPN that Boras is pushing Davis' ability to play the corner outfield everyday, as well as his natural position at first base.

The 29-year-old has primarily been a first baseman throughout his eight-year career, but has played 71 games in the outfield. He made a career-high 41 appearances in the corner outfield in 2012, and played right field 30 times last season.

During spring training of last season, Davis boasted about how much he enjoyed his brief time having played right field, with manager Buck Showalter telling reporters that Davis "might be as good a right fielder as we have."

Davis received a seven-year, $154-million deal from the Orioles last month that has since been tabled after he failed to accept the offer. Baltimore is still open to welcoming Davis back, but has reportedly targeted Justin Upton as a fall-back option.

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