MLB Rumors: Joey Votto, Carl Pavano and the Latest MLB Buzz

Thomas CopainCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2011

MLB Rumors: Joey Votto, Carl Pavano and the Latest MLB Buzz

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    MLB Trade Rumors are still keeping the hot stove hot even as many teams have started to finalize their rosters and started to prepare for next month.

    Yes, it's almost that time again. We're now officially less than a month from February 14, when pitchers and catchers will report to baseball outposts around Florida and Arizona. Of course, that doesn't mean business won't get done between now and then.

    The biggest free-agent remaining is finally off the board as Rafael Soriano decided to go to the Yankees, which doesn't leave many options left except for teams looking for late-January bargains. While some teams are still looking outside, others are looking to lock up their young stars. That includes Joey Votto, who now looks like he'll be staying in Cincinnati.

    Here's the latest on Votto and other free agent buzz.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati

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    Votto was heading to arbitration, but the Reds instead decided to lock him up, with both sides agreeing to a three-year deal worth $38 million, according to MLB.com. Votto was the heart and soul of the Reds this season, leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 1995 and their first division title since 1990, not to mention running away with the National League's MVP.

    MLB.com's Mark Sheldon wrote Monday that while Votto would still reach free agency near his peak, which could make him out of Cincinnati's price range, Votto told MLB.com and reporters that three years was the best option.

Carl Pavano, SP

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    Pavano seemed to be a perfect fit in Minnesota and both sides seem to agree, with Pavano and the Twins close to a new deal to keep him around. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the deal is in a "holding pattern" as the Twins try to deal with their arbitration cases. But it's pretty clear that Pavano's going to be a Minnesota Twin, it's only a matter of when, not if.

Tom Gorzelanny, SP, Washington

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    After the Cubs acquired Matt Garza from Tampa Bay, the reports were that Tom Gorzelanny could be the starter that was available. That turned out to be true, as Monday the Cubs shipped off Gorzelanny to Washington for three prospects, according to ESPNChicago.com. Gorzelanny gives the Nationals another starter after they couldn't sign Carl Pavano, while the Cubs get some salary relief and replenish some of the prospects lost in the Garza deal.

Brian Fuentes, RP

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    Fuentes might be the highest-profile reliever left on the market, but it doesn't sound like he'll be out there much longer. The Star Tribune reported that Fuentes is close to a two-year deal with Oakland that would make him part of a very good and very young bullpen. The report said Fuentes has $10 million guaranteed with an option year for 2013, so it's a good deal for Fuentes.

Andy Pettitte, SP

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    Through the offseason, it seemed like it was a given that Pettitte would eventually sign with the Yankees. It might take some time, but eventually he'd sign. Now it's not so sure. The Yankees have already come out and said they didn't expect to have Pettitte in the first portion of the season, and now they may not have him at all. ESPNNewYork.com has reported that a team source told the site that they are unsure they will have Pettitte at all this season. Quite a change from a couple of weeks ago.

Grady Sizemore, CF, Cleveland

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    Sizemore talked to ESPN's Buster Olney this week, and while the gist of the interview was mostly about Sizemore frustrated with not being able to play because of his rehab, Olney did mention in the story his contract.

    "If Sizemore comes back and is a star again, a whole lot of logical questions will follow," Olney wrote. "Because Sizemore's current contract has a 2012 option for $8.5 million, would it make sense for the Indians to pick up the option? Would it make sense for them to trade him, in their effort to rebuild their pitching?"

    Obviously, nothing can be decided until Sizemore gets on the field again. But the Indians will have decisions to make.

Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis

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    Another interesting sidenote from Olney's blog is the ongoing contract negotiations between the Cardinals and Pujols, which according to Olney are not going as smooth as the Cardinals have hoped. Obviously, the Cards would like to lock him up before next offseason, when he'll be out on the open market. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Pujols held a news conference where he didn't really answer any questions about his status, while the club has set a deadline for talks to "crystallize", as the story put it. It all should make for a very interesting summer.

Manny Ramirez, OF/DH

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    There was a time when Manny Ramirez was one of the best players in the game and teams would have been climbing over themselves to get to him. Now he's just looking for work and a contract. Ramirez still has some teams interested in him, including the Blue Jays and the Angels, who might need to do something soon to salvage the offseason. Where he ends up is still uncertain, but some team will give him a chance because of that bat.

Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH

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    Guerrero won't be heading back to Texas after the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre, but where he will end up is still a question. Early this month, it was reported the Angels, Orioles and Rays were all interested. The latest was that the Rays like him more than Manny Ramirez, but that's no guarantee he'll sign. He could very well return to the Angels, who desperately need a bat.

Marcus Thames, OF

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    Thames was a big part of the Yankees last season, but he's been looking for a new home. Apparently, he's found one in Southern California, as MLB.com reported he's close to a deal with the Dodgers. Nothing has been finalized yet and the report states the Dodgers are denying the deal, but Thames would be a right-handed power bat and a good pinch-hitter for the constantly power-starved Dodgers.