MLB Free-Agency Tracker: All the Week's Latest Signings, Targets, Rumors
MLB free agency gets increasingly fun the follow as the offseason progresses.
Check back throughout the week as Bleacher Report relays the latest rumors, identifies targets and announces big-name signings.
A handful of impact players have recently come off the market. However, the free-agent pool deepened when an overseas All-Star and a forgotten former first-round draft pick each began drawing interest around the league.
All the newest knowledge comes together here.
Toronto Blue Jays Agree to Sign Melky Cabrera
Cabrera hasn't played since mid-August.
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com had it first—Melky Cabrera is going north of the border.
The Dominican outfielder was a midseason NL MVP candidate. Everything changed in August when Major League Baseball suspended him 50 games for violating their drug policy.
He admitted to the wrongdoing and removed himself from batting title contention.
The Toronto Blue Jays will pay $16 million over two years.
Rebuilding Miami Marlins Choose Veteran Juan Pierre
With Emilio Bonifacio gone, Pierre is Miami's new lead-off man/outfielder.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
A much-needed bounce-back season has earned Juan Pierre a major league deal, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel.
The one-year contract reportedly pays $1.6 million. Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria and Ricky Nolasco are the only current Miami Marlins scheduled to earn more in 2013.
Pierre is the first addition to the Miami Marlins since they agreed to a historic salary dump.
Official Signing: Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers Commit to Two-Year Deal
Hunter is 37 years old, but he batted a career-high .313 last summer.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The mighty just got mightier.
Fresh off winning an American League pennant, the Detroit Tigers have bolstered their lineup and outfield defense by agreeing to terms with Torii Hunter (via Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports). A pending physical stands between him and a two-year, $26 million guarantee.
His former team, the Los Angeles Angels, seemingly had less faith in his remaining abilities. They declined to extend a $13.3 million qualifying offer, so the Tigers won't need to forfeit a future draft pick.
Hunter will slide smoothly into the No. 2 spot between Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera.
Official Signing: Tommy John Survivor Joins Chicago Cubs Rotation
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Chicago Tribune sportswriter Paul Sullivan tweets out the news of this one-year, incentive-laden deal.
Scott Baker is guaranteed $5.5 million, but escalators could increase the total value to $7 million.
He turned 31 in September and has spent his entire professional career with the Minnesota Twins. The right-hander pounds the strike zone, having issued just 224 walks in 958 MLB innings. But Baker underwent Tommy John surgery in April, which almost ensures that he'll begin 2013 on the disabled list.
Earlier this month, I wrote that Chicago Cubs fans would want their team to sign short-term starters to fill out its depleted rotation.
Official Signing: Dioner Navarro Completes the Battery
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Dioner Navarro gets a $1.75 million guarantee in his age-29 season with $250,000 of performance-based incentives (via Carrie Muskat, MLB.com).
The Chicago Cubs are his fourth MLB team in as many years (Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011, Cincinnati Reds in 2012).
Official Signing: Jeremy Affeldt Reaches Three-Year Agreement with World Champs
Affeldt didn't surrender a run in 10.1 IP during the 2012 postseason.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The San Francisco Giants seem intent on keeping their 2012 roster intact. They have agreed to terms with a major contributor, left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt.
It's a three-year, $18 million deal, so Affeldt receives a slight pay raise.
Actually, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, his salary remains an even $5 million through 2015. However, the deal includes a $3 million signing bonus.
Brandon League and the Los Angeles Dodgers set the market for free-agent relievers in late October with a $22.5 million contract. Due to his age and bullpen role, San Francisco's southpaw fell short of matching it.
Official Signing: Red Sox Announce David Ross
Ross had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox in September 2008.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
David Ross finally reported to Boston to take his physical, so on Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox announced his deal via press release (h/t Alex Speier, WEEI.com).
Doubling his salary was the key to wooing him away from the Atlanta Braves. He earned just $1.625 million per season under his previous contract, but a source tells Speier that Ross will get $3.1 million in both 2013 and 2014.
Ross has respectable power—84 home runs in fewer than 2,000 career plate appearances. He maintained a .269/.353/.463 triple-slash line during these past four years in Atlanta.
The 35-year-old signed with the Red Sox in August 2008 and played sparingly before leaving through free agency the following winter.
Official Signing: Gerald Laird Fills Void with Atlanta Braves
Laird achieved career bests in batting average (.282) and OBP (.337) in 2012.
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Gerald Laird and the Atlanta Braves finalized a major league deal.
The Braves will lean heavily on him in April. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in October that starter Brian McCann could miss the 2013 opener while rehabbing from shoulder surgery.
Laird's contract runs through 2014 and O'Brien hears it's worth approximately $3.3 million.
Atlanta Braves Make B.J. Upton Their Top Target
Last season, Upton achieved career highs in home runs and stolen-base percentage.
J. Meric/Getty Images
More rumors about the Atlanta Braves and more insider information courtesy of Mark Bowman, who tweets that they want B.J. Upton to patrol center field.
In fact, the Braves brought him to Turner Field on Thursday "to provide the talented outfielder a better sense of how much they are hoping that he chooses to play in Atlanta next year," Bowman writes. He met manager Fredi Gonzalez and GM Frank Wren.
Though the free agent will demand a multi-year deal, he'll be cheaper than Michael Bourn.
Upton could provide much-needed power for the Braves in the absence of Chipper Jones. On the other hand, he strikes out more frequently than Bourn and isn't capable of the same immaculate defense.
Seattle Mariners Backing Away from Josh Hamilton
Hamilton is the quintessential high-risk, high-reward free agent.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik tells MLB.com's Greg Johns that Josh Hamilton might not fit within the confines of his team's payroll.
The Texas Rangers—Hamilton's former club—won't come close to matching his seven-year, $175 million asking price, either, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. In fact, they are drawing the line at three years. GM Jon Daniels tells Nightengale that he met with agent Michael Moye earlier this week.
Buster Olney tweets that the Philadelphia Phillies are of a similar opinion—OK with a high annual salary, but "they have concerns" with guaranteeing length.
"[The Boston Red Sox] want to do something big," Heyman hears from a general manager. Even after bringing David Ross aboard, they have tens of millions to spend.
Hiroki Kuroda Prefers to Pitch in Southern California
Kuroda was previously expected to re-sign with New York or return to Japan.
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be the favorites for free-agent starter Hiroki Kuroda. Friends of the 37-year-old believe he wants to work in Southern California, where he can be near his daughters, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
He declined a $13.3 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason, but still doesn't mind pitching on a one-year deal.
Los Angeles Dodgers Negotiatiing with South Korea's Ryu Hyun-Jin
Hyun-jin in KBO: 98-52, 2.80 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in 190 G (181 GS).
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Digging into their bottomless pockets, the Los Angeles Dodgers paid more than $25.7 million to negotiate with Ryu Hyun-jin of the Hanwha Eagles. L.A. has 30 days to ink him to a major league deal.
Agent Scott Boras represents the perennial Korea Baseball Organization All-Star and compares him "body-type-wise" and "size-wise" to Mark Buehrle (via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times).
ESPN Insider Keith Law describes his delivery and repertoire:
He is a thick-bodied lefty who has been a starter in Korea, working with a drop-and-drive delivery but with very late elbow pronation, and in the rotation his fastball is just average at 88-91. He does have a plus changeup with good arm speed and a fringy curveball in the upper 70s, which is a better left-on-left option right now than his slider. I don't love the arm action and he had Tommy John surgery when he was in high school, but if he moves to the bullpen he could work in the low 90s with an out pitch in the change, a better option than being a back-end starter with some question about durability.
The handedness and velocity validate Boras' statement, but questionable durability sure doesn't.
Tigers Now Focused on Anibal Sanchez
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Now that they have addressed their top priority (right fielder/No. 2 hitter), the Detroit Tigers hope to re-sign their favorite free-agent pitcher.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports hears that team owner Mike Ilitch would be glad to keep his checkbook open for Anibal Sanchez. The right-hander looked impressive this past September and October, as the Tigers rallied from fringe contender to American League champions.
Interestingly, "multiple Tigers officials say they won't go after any big-name, big-money free-agent pitcher" if Sanchez lands elsewhere.
Shane Victorino Wants Length; Eight Teams Might Give It to Him
Victorino is nearly 32 and coming off a .255/.321/.383 season.
Harry How/Getty Images
Agent John Boggs seems to be doing one heck of a job. Shane Victorino hired him barely six weeks ago and eight teams reportedly have "realistic" interest in the outfielder (via Scott Lauber, The Boston Herald).
The Flyin' Hawaiian has more postseason experience than other big-name members of the 2013 free-agent class. He's a consistently great fielder whose personality would mesh with any 25-man roster.
Six Teams in the Hunt for Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis improved after a midseason trade to Chicago, but he's clearly on the decline.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Kevin Youkilis reigns supreme over a weak crop of free-agent corner infielders. Citing reports from various MLB insiders, Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors names six teams with interest in the 33-year-old.
Youk's suitors include three clubs from each league, all of whom missed the postseason in 2012.
Roster composition suggests that the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners would use him at first base. The other four—the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies—presumably want Youkilis at the hot corner.
New York Yankees Holding 'Preliminary Discussions' with Raul Ibanez
Ibanez's late-inning heroics helped the Yankees advance to the 2012 ALCS.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Dan Martin of the New York Post reports that the New York Yankees and outfielder/designated hitter Raul Ibanez are discussing a potential contract.
The team wants him back in a platoon role, which means it figures to be an inexpensive one-year deal.
Ibanez had a .240/.308/.453 triple-slash line last season and mashed 19 home runs. He earned just 1.1 million and celebrated his 40th birthday in June.
Who Would Settle for Cody Ross?
Ross wasn't the same player away from Fenway Park in 2012.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Talks between Cody Ross and the Boston Red Sox broke down because the team was reluctant to honor his three-year, $25 million request.
Still, he's a bargain compared to Josh Hamilton.
Reports that the Philadelphia Phillies have struck up a conversation—via Buster Olney—make a lot of sense. Large commitments to Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard and other veterans prevent them from acquiring a pricier option without exceeding the luxury tax.
Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Baltimore Orioles will consider Ross.
More recently, a major league source of his identified the Atlanta Braves as a potential landing spot. Ross previously played under manager Fredi Gonzalez, plus the club needs somebody who can beat left-handed pitching.
Jeremy Bonderman Has a Contract Offer
Bonderman's last major league appearance? Oct. 1, 2010 (4.1 IP, 9 ER).
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The right-hander recently spoke to ESPN Insider Buster Olney about a potential comeback, so this news isn't entirely out of the blue. He had tempered expectations: "Just a minor league deal, with a major league (spring training) invite."
Sources inform Jon Paul Morosi that the Detroit Tigers made the offer to Jeremy Bonderman, though we don't yet know the specific terms.
Olney's latest update claims "more than a dozen teams" have had a conversation with him.
The 30-year-old went to great lengths to get back into playing shape after a lengthy hiatus. He trimmed down from 245 to 210 pounds and underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2011.
A.J. Pierzynski Looking for a New Home
Pierzynski set new career highs last season with 27 HR and a .827 OPS.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mike Napoli Being Targeted by AL East Rivals
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
WEEI.com columnist Rob Bradford writes that agreeing to sign catcher David Ross "isn't going to dissuade" the Boston Red Sox from pursuing Mike Napoli.
In the past, the 31-year-old has made it known that he prefers to be behind the plate. But according to Bradford, "one major league official suggested that he hasn't presented positional concerns as a deal-breaker."
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees evidently trust his backstop abilities (via Bob Nightengale, USA Today):
Zack Greinke Suitors
Greinke's initial asking price is six years, $150 million.
David Banks/Getty Images
The Texas Rangers have finally "joined the fray" for Zack Greinke, according to baseball insider Jon Heyman. Their top competition so far includes the Los Angeles Angels and, of course, those filthy rich Los Angeles Dodgers.
Signing Greinke makes perfect sense for the Rangers. The starting rotation is an area of concern as Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery) and Colby Lewis (torn flexor tendon) rehab from major elbow procedures. Plus, Texas will be able to pay him generously (assuming another suitor takes Josh Hamilton).
Other serious bidders could emerge, but the Boston Red Sox won't be among them. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes that Anibal Sanchez is their primary target.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees "Haven't Discussed Anything"
Rivera is accustomed to a $15 million annual salary.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Mariano Rivera threw from a full-size mound for the first time since tearing his ACL* (via Bryan Hoch, MLB.com). The encouraging report gets an asterisk, however, because in reality, Mo was only "tossing some prop baseballs as part of a commercial shoot."
He's regaining strength in his knee and progressing nicely by all accounts, which is more than can be said about his contract talks with the New York Yankees.
The team wants him to accept "a significant pay cut," according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. N.Y. has a lot of leverage because Rivera presumably wouldn't pitch for any other organization.
It's been a staredown, and the two sides reportedly "haven't discussed anything" in regard to 2013.
Nick Swisher Is a Wanted Man
Swisher's enthusiasm is as consistent as his offensive production.
Even before Nick Swisher officially hit the open market, a major league source told Daily News writer Mark Feinsand that the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers sought his services.
Jon Heyman later identified five more suitors with varying levels of interest. He adds that teams would be willing to sign Swisher for an average annual value in the "$11 million to $13 million range."