With the free-agency period underway, Major League Baseball's offseason is officially in full swing.
Most of the league has had more than a month to assess their roster and develop plans for the future. Now, a week after the 2013 World Series, all 30 franchises are in the process of rebuilding and retooling for another run at the title in 2014.
With player movement sure to shake up the league landscape this winter, let's take a look at the latest rumors floating around the majors.
Mets in Contact with Rafael Furcal?
St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal is a free agent this winter, and if the New York Mets have it their way, he'll be starring in the Big Apple next season.
According to sources via The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo, the Mets are looking to go in a different direction at shortstop and have recently contacted Furcal.
Castillo highlights Boston's Stephen Drew and Detroit's Jhonny Peralta as ideal targets for New York at shortstop, but he points out that the price tag would be hefty for either. However, there are cons to signing Furcal as well. The most obvious being the fact the 36-year-old missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Though a move to acquire Furcal would come with risk, it's a risk New York may be willing to take following an underwhelming and disappointing season from 24-year-old Ruben Tejada.
Cubs and Diamondbacks Discussing Jeff Samardzija Trade?
The Arizona Diamonds briefly discussed a potential trade for Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija at the deadline this past summer, and now it appears the two clubs have rekindled talks, per ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney on Twitter:
A veteran right-hander out of Notre Dame, Samardzija went 8-13 as a starter for the Cubs in 2013, striking out 214 batters and finishing the year with a respectable 4.34 ERA.
The Diamondbacks finished second in the NL West pennant race last season, 11 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and know that if they are to contend with the reigning division champions in 2014, they'll need to bolster their starting pitching rotation.
Arizona ranked 16th in the majors in quality starts last season and 17th in team ERA. The Dodgers ranked seventh and second in those categories, respectively.
Rockies Chasing Carlos Ruiz?
According to league sources per The Denver Post's Troy E. Renck, the Rockies have begun pursuing free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz this offseason.
The 34-year-old Panamanian has played the last eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and would offer Colorado an experienced player capable of excelling on the defensive end. Ruiz batted just .268 this past season, but as Renck points out, Wilin Rosario brings the production at the plate that Colorado covets.
The Rockies would be more or less bringing in Ruiz for his play behind the plate. An All-Star in 2012, Ruiz has been a reliable player in the field since making his major league debut in 2006, playing a key role for the Phillies during their World Series title run in 2008.
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