Loudest Trade Buzz, Free Agency Updates for Every MLB Team in Spring Training
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The start of MLB spring training camps marks the end of the offseason, but more player movement via trades and free agency is inevitable.
For instance, super-agent Scott Boras still hasn't secured new contracts for several of his veterans, Though Michael Bourn is taken care of, Johnny Damon, Kyle Lohse and Jose Valverde ought to be upset with him. Meanwhile, other useful individuals like Reid Brignac and Tony Campana have been designated for assignment, leaving their teams with the power to either trade or release them.
With 2013 regular season approaching and so much still unresolved, here are the latest news and rumors for all 30 MLB teams.
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Rod Barajas signs with an invite to spring training.
Seventeen years after joining the Arizona Diamondbacks as an amateur free agent, the hefty catcher is back in the desert. He and Wil Nieves will compete for the backup role behind Miguel Montero.
Barajas disappointed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. He finished with a .206/.282/.343 slash line and threw out just six percent of would-be base-stealers.
At age 37, he still provides above-average power, though.
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Chipper Jones will stay retired.
Major League Baseball is back, but the future Hall of Famer doesn't feel "the itch" to return.
MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes that Jones will arrive in Atlanta Braves camp on Feb. 15 to "catch up with his teammates, play some golf and experience Spring Training in a different light." He plans to leave five days later.
In his place, Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson will handle the third baseman role.
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Jair Jurrjens signing likely to become official this week.
The right-hander agreed to a one-year deal with the Orioles in January, but hasn't completed a physical yet. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweeted on Feb. 9 that the team is concerned about Jurrjen's knee.
The 27-year-old will compete for a spot in the starting rotation coming off a miserable season. He posted a 6.89 ERA in 11 major league appearances for the Atlanta Braves in 2012.
However, Jurrjens was an NL All-Star in the previous year.
O's claim Todd Redmond off waivers.
In case the aforementioned contract falls apart, Baltimore will have plenty of internal options available to fill out the rotation.
After more than 1,000 minor league innings, the 27-year-old made his MLB debut last season. He was then sent back down the Triple-A.
Redmond has excellent control and a decent strikeout rate in the high minors.
Boston Red Sox
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It "doesn't appear" that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be traded.
The Boston Red Sox will only carry two catchers on the active roster this season. That has led to rumors of them possibly moving Saltalamacchia and promoting Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe put such speculation to rest in his latest column.
Saltalamacchia will share playing time with David Ross this season before reaching free agency for the first time.
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Scott Hairston deal becomes official.
Several weeks after agreeing to terms on a two-year contract, the Chicago Cubs cleared a spot for Hairston on the 40-man roster. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweeted on Feb. 10 that outfielder Tony Campana had been designated for assignment.
Coming off a productive year, Hairston can expect to start whenever the Cubs face a left-hander. He might even become an everyday player if David DeJesus and/or Alfonso Soriano gets traded.
Chicago White Sox
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Forget about adding "significant lefty bat."
Seven of the nine members of the projected Chicago White Sox starting lineup bat right-handed, which is a fact that has many fans hoping for more balance.
Alas, according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, the team seems to be "done with significant roster moves."
Jason Kubel of the Arizona Diamondbacks was a possible fit at one point. But standing in the way of a trade for him is Chicago's reluctance to part with a top prospect or established pitcher like Gavin Floyd.
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Minor league deal lures Armando Galarraga.
The Cincinnati Reds decided to invite the right-hander to major league camp after Todd Redmond was claimed off waivers by Baltimore.
Galarraga won 13 games during his 2008 rookie campaign, but has only matched that total in the interim. Last season, for example, he wasn't even competent enough to stick in the Houston Astros' rotation.
Cincinnati will be the fifth franchise that he has pitched for since 2011.
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Cleveland Indians emerge as "mystery team" and add Michael Bourn.
The four-year, $48 million contract includes a $12 million option for 2017 that vests with 550 plate appearances in 2016 (via Jon Heyman, CBS Sports). It's structurally very similar to the agreement Cleveland reached with Nick Swisher in December.
Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jason Giambi get minor league opportunities.
According to Jon Heyman, the Tribe has inked the Japanese right-hander to a minor league deal.
Matsuzaka spent six seasons with the Boston Red Sox, so he is very familiar with skipper Terry Francona. He struggled after coming back from Tommy John surgery, however, posting a 8.28 ERA and winning just one decision in 11 starts in 2012.
The 32-year-old could earn as much as $4 million in 2013. Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer tweets that he gets $1.5 million of that simply for passing his physical and making it to the majors.
Giambi's deal includes a $750,000 base salary if he makes the roster, according to Hoynes.
The former AL MVP was a serious candidate for the Colorado Rockies managerial job earlier this offseason, and he also turned down an offer to be the team's hitting instructor.
Giambi will primarily serve as a designated hitter in Cleveland, but he could fill in at first base if necessary.
Derek Lowe not ready to settle for minor league deal.
According to Troy Renck of The Denver Post, the Colorado Rockies reportedly offered Lowe a non-guaranteed contract, but he decided that he will wait for a better opportunity before accepting it.
Because of his past durability, Lowe believes there should be competition for his services.
In 2012, he made 38 appearances (21 starts) with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
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Detroit Tigers will probably keep Jhonny Peralta in 2013.
GM Dave Dombrowski seriously considered changing shortstops this offseason. Specifically, his front office discussed Stephen Drew, J.J. Hardy and others with more defensive range than Jhonny Peralta.
Tony Paul of The Detroit News writes that Dombrowski is now grateful to have him:
"Peralta will be the guy for at least one more season, and—because nobody is knocking on the door in the minor leagues—perhaps beyond. And Dombrowski is plenty fine with that, especially if Peralta, offensively, can find a middle ground between his career-best 2011 and his career-worst 2012."
The Tigers value his sure-handedness and believe that his recent weight loss will make him agile in the field.
The team has total confidence in Bruce Rondon as closer.
Lynn Henning of The Detroit News reports that although the fire-baller was somewhat shaky in winter league action, the team still says he's the "leading candidate" to close games this season.
Detroit has refrained from signing veteran relief and doesn't intend to make another major league deal.
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Houston Astros might move Bud Norris.
Because they recently traded Jed Lowrie, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe expects the Astros to consider selling any remaining major league talent.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old is the only pitcher to spend two-straight full seasons in Houston's starting rotation. He has struck out nearly one batter per inning since arriving in the big leagues.
Norris, however, is reliant on fly balls and very vulnerable to allowing home runs.
Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star confirms that he is being shopped.
Kansas City Royals
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GM Dayton Moore doesn't plan on big moves "anytime soon."
The Kansas City Royals revamped their starting rotation this offseason and inked several veteran position players to minor league deals.
Bob Dutton writes that the sizable transactions have all been completed.
Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza will battle for the fifth starter's job, and Moore's comments suggest that even the two losers won't be dealt.
Los Angeles Angels
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Chad Cordero inks minor league deal.
After retiring from baseball in June 2011, the former closer announced via Twitter that he has an opportunity to play for his hometown team.
The Los Angeles Angels made bullpen depth a priority after struggling to hold leads last summer. Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson signed major league contracts in recent months.
Cordero is not invited to big league camp, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
All potential suitors are steering clear of Vernon Wells.
The three-time All-Star is miscast as a reserve player, but he hasn't shown any potential to rebound since joining the Angels in 2011.
Earlier in the offseason, Wells drew interest from the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, but both clubs have since found outfield depth elsewhere.
The 34-year-old posted a .230/.279/.403 batting line last summer and was equally ineffective against right-handers and southpaws. He will seldom leave the bench this season behind Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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Los Angeles Dodgers add relievers Kevin Gregg and Mark Lowe.
Lowe missed more than six weeks with a strained intercostal and fared poorly in September. Otherwise, he would have been in line for a multi-year deal.
Instead, L.A. snagged him for $1.5 million minor league contract.
Meanwhile, Gregg is coming off an embarrassing stint with the Baltimore Orioles. It began in 2011 with him in the closer's role and ended this past September in his outright release.
Control issues forced the 34-year-old to take a minor league contract this offseason.
Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang haven't requested trades.
December signings of Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu shoved these veteran starters further down the depth chart.
That doesn't mean they're discouraged.
Capuano tells Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he has "never minded competition" and doesn't necessarily want to leave town. "I just have to get ready for the season like I normally do," Harang adds.
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Chone Figgins signs minor league deal.
Last week, Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post tweeted that the 35-year-old utility man has an invitation to big league camp.
The Miami Marlins traded top base-stealers Emilio Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes in 2012, so they could certainly use Figgins' speed.
The Seattle Mariners released him in November, as he struggled to hit balls out of the infield. Such a move leaves them on the hook for nearly all of his $8 million salary, though Miami will pay the league minimum if he gets back to the majors.
Figgins is expected to see action at nearly every defensive position.
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Available first basemen could replace Corey Hart.
So far, the Milwaukee Brewers have identified Mat Gamel and even Alex Gonzalez as fill-ins while Hart recovers from knee surgery.
But ESPN.com's Jason Catania thinks that they could go outside the organization and trade for a young bat.
Coming off relatively weak seasons, Logan Morrison and Justin Smoak ought to be reasonably priced. Both players are pre-arbitration eligible.
Moreover, because Hart is an impending free agent, it makes sense to acquire somebody who's more controllable.
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Minnesota Twins content with middle infielders.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports that the team did not return a phone call regarding Reid Brignac. The Tampa Bay Rays designated the 27-year-old infielder for assignment and must trade or release him later this week.
In a tweet, Wolfson added that Freddy Sanchez doesn't appeal to the Twins. He missed all of 2012 with back problems.
Minnesota's double-play combination will include Jamey Carroll and either Brian Dozier or Pedro Florimon.
The team says that they "haven't completely ruled out" Scott Podsednik.
The Twins were linked to the outfielder earlier this winter and it's still possible that he'll be signed at some point.
However, Podsednik probably won't find work until after spring training begins.
New York Mets
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Brandon Lyon deal is official.
Lyon has closing experience, so he'll get opportunities to pitch in the later innings. He posted an uncharacteristically great strikeout rate in 2012 as a member of the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays.
Prior to this signing, the New York Mets had already added Scott Atchison, Pedro Feliciano and Latroy Hawkins to the bullpen mix.
The incentive-laden contract guarantees less than $1 million.
Mets never made firm offer to Michael Bourn.
As Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains, "the team was not signing the player without the Mets knowing for sure that an arbitrator was going to rule in the Mets’ favor and protect their 11th overall pick in the draft if they signed Bourn."
New York hoped that Major League Baseball would permit an exception to the brand new collective bargaining agreement. And with more patience from agent Scott Boras, perhaps this could have been a match.
Ultimately, the Mets avoided spending big bucks on a one-dimensional outfielder.
New York Yankees
New York Yankees trade for Shawn Kelley.
The newest member of the bullpen should expect usage in low-leverage situations.
Kelley wasn't trustworthy away from Safeco Field in 2012 and throughout his career, the right-hander has relied on fly balls. That could prove problematic in the hitter-friendly AL East.
In his age-29 season, the right-hander will cost $935,000.
Ryan Divish of The News Tribune tweets that minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte is bound for the Seattle Mariners.
Team is eager to extend Robinson Cano.
The superb second baseman is the top-ranked player in the 2014 free-agent class, so any buzz about his future ought to be discussed.
"In a possible reversal of club policy," Bryan Koch of MLB.com reports that team owner Hal Steinbrenner "opened the topic" of a lifetime contract extension. Usually, the Yankees sign their stars to new deals once their previous ones expire.
New York doesn't have any promising prospects at the position, and every other elite middle infielder in baseball is signed/controlled through at least 2014. The club apparently wants to avoid a bidding war next winter that would probably involve the free-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Oakland Athletics to sign Hideki Okajima.
Okajima appeared in 261 games with the Boston Red Sox before pitching in Japan last summer. The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks released him in January so that he could pursue opportunities the U.S.
A source tells Ken Rosenthal that the minor league deal includes an invitation to major league camp.
If Okajima gets on the active roster, he'll be the second-oldest A's player (behind only Bartolo Colon).
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Contract details for recently-signed free agents.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com shares all the specific incentives and opt-out clauses included in contracts for the newest Philadelphia Phillies.
Outfielder Delmon Young, for example, is guaranteed just $750,000 in 2013. However, he can earn so much more depending on plate appearances and days on the active roster. Individual awards and conditioning thresholds can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Minor league deals for Yuniesky Betancourt, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz have similar language built in.
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Pittsburgh Pirates invite Brandon Inge.
The 35-year-old is somewhat of an impatient power hitter. He's a reliable defender, particularly at third base.
Of course, with Pedro Alvarez coming off a strong campaign, Inge should only hope for a bench role.
Francisco Liriano finalizes contract.
An injury to the left-hander's non-throwing arm stalled negotiations for weeks.
Though he could still earn $12.75 million over the next couple seasons, just $1 million of that is guaranteed.
Liriano has been a major disappointment in recent years. His 5.23 ERA since 2011 is the second-worst among MLB starters (minimum. 250 IP).
Pittsburgh hopes that, in the National League, he'll be able to overwhelm the opposition with his mid-90s fastball and devastating slider.
San Diego Padres
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San Diego Padres might add another starting pitcher.
GM Josh Byrnes tells MLB.com's Corey Brock that the Padres might fill out their rotation internally.
However, if "someone with upside or a long-term guy" is available at a reasonable price, the club will serious consider getting him.
Brock writes that Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez have already secured spots. The other candidates, after battling injuries, poor performance or a combination of both in 2012, must prove their worth in the coming weeks.
San Francisco Giants
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San Francisco Giants haven't ruled out Brian Wilson.
Despite drawing ample interest earlier this winter, the rehabbing closer is still jobless.
Now, the only major league team Wilson has ever known could wind up re-signing him. However, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle,GM Brian Sabean and the bearded free agent "aren't on the same page."
Manager Bruce Bochy told Chris Haft of MLB.com that he's unsure about how the situation will unfold:
"I can't say that [Wilson] will be back." But, Bochy added, "I can't say the door's closed on Brian Wilson. ... I don't think that's completely shut."
The biggest disagreement reportedly concerns guaranteed money. The Giants insist that he is far from full strength and they expect him to accept a modest salary.
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Joe Saunders passes physical, deal official.
Though several teams reportedly had serious interest, Saunders gets only the first season of his contract guaranteed (mutual option for 2014). The base salary will be $6.5 million with up to $1 million available in performance bonuses.
The Seattle Mariners finally have a left-hander in their rotation.
Jon Garland added as starting pitching depth.
Garland used to have a very durable reputation before undergoing shoulder surgery in July 2011.
He was supposed to join the Cleveland Indians last spring, but never took the mandatory physical.
The 33-year-old relies on pitching to contact. He's very difficult to run against and is a trustworthy source for quality starts.
St. Louis Cardinals
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There is "negligible" interest in Kyle Lohse despite Chris Carpenter injury.
The St. Louis Cardinals received tear-jerking news from the leader of their pitching staff. Numbness in his shoulder and neck as well as discoloration in his pitching hand will likely prevent him from taking the mound in 2013. In fact, his career could be over.
Such a tragic discovery surely opens the door for Kyle Lohse to re-sign with his former team, right?
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that the Cards have all but ruled out a pursuit, even though it would not cost them a draft pick.
Rather, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal will get long looks during spring training.
Tampa Bay Rays
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Reid Brignac drawing trade interest.
Both the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres recently cut ties with infielders. As a result, the Padres wouldn't mind bringing in Brignac from Tampa Bay to contend for their starting shortstop job this spring, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
The Tampa Bay Rays no longer needed him on the 40-man roster after completing a deal with Kelly Johnson.
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Fifth starter spot to be decided among internal candidates.
The list of remaining 2013 MLB free agents includes Kyle Lohse, Chris Young and other longtime starting pitchers.
But the Texas Rangers will choose someone from within to join Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando in the rotation.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com describes Robbie Ross and Martin Perez as a couple strong candidates. Non-roster invitees like Kyle McClellan and Randy Wells should get opportunities, as could 24-year-old prospect Justin Grimm.
In any case, Texas is going to retain valuable trade chip Jurickson Profar and refrain from signing an arm to a multi-year deal.
Toronto Blue Jays
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No more moves coming from Toronto Blue Jays.
Manager John Gibbons spoke very definitively about his 2013 team at the annual State of the Franchise event, according to MLB.com's Chris Toman.
He named R.A. Dickey as his rotation leader and announced that Casey Janssen "deserves" the closer's role. The Blue Jays might have too many qualified candidates at second base and behind the plate, but they intend to let those battles play out in spring training (rather than make trades).
After a very busy offseason, don't expect Toronto to make any last-minute acquisitions.
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Washington Nationals sign Will Ohman.
Don't be fooled by last season's 1.05 WHIP—he really struggled for the Chicago White Sox.
Ohman held his own against left-handed batters, but surrendered six home runs overall in just 32 appearances. He was released by Chicago in July and signed by the Cincinnati Reds soon after, with whom he still pitched poorly.
The minor league deal will be well worth it if the Nationals use Ohman as a specialist.
Nats continue to monitor Javier Vazquez.
When the right-hander was excelling in Puerto Rican winter ball in January, GM Mike Rizzo paid him a personal visit. Without extending a contract offer or even gauging Vazquez's interest in returning to the majors, Rizzo hinted that Washington wanted him.
The team hasn't moved on, writes Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
The 36-year-old should be fully recovered from knee surgery later this month.
A link between Gio Gonzalez and PED provider Anthony Bosch worries the Nationals. Whether or not a suspension is forthcoming, though, they would prefer to add rotation depth.