The offseason is rolling on and that means there are fewer options in the free agent pool, especially for starting pitching. The Tigers, though, agreed to a deal with veteran Brad Penny on Tuesday, highlighting a trend of interest in talented pitchers coming off injury years.
The biggest example in this category, Brandon Webb, signed with the Rangers just after the holidays, but there’s still a group of players who have battled injury and are looking to prove they are finally healthy.
One such player, Justin Duchscherer, is drawing attention from the Yankees
, ESPN.com reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed baseball source. Duchscherer missed several months in 2010 following a left-hip operation, after missing all of 2009 while rehabbing from right elbow surgery.
Free agents Chris Young, who is reportedly drawing interest from the Mets is in a similar boat, having missed a large chunk of 2010 with right shoulder issues.
Outside of the continual hunt for starting pitching, here’s a look at Tuesday’s happenings from around the league:
– All-Time saves leader Trevor Hoffman told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom that he is calling it a career
after 18 seasons in the big leagues. Hoffman, who became a free agent again earlier this offseason, will return to the Padres to serve in an unnamed free agent role, according to Bloom.
– The Rays are still working to complete their roster for next season. They are looking for help in the bullpen and at designated hitter, SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted on Tuesday. Heyman highlighted Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch as possibilities for the closer role, while naming Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and possibly Manny Ramirez as possibilities for the designated hitter slot.
– Monday’s reports that the Rangers were trying to lure Thome to Texas gained more steam Tuesday as Heyman tweeted that outside executives see Texas as a real possibility for the veteran. CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler confirmed on Twitter that the Rangers want Thome, but suggested the team is concerned he’d rather return to the Twins.
– The Mets have their eye on free agent pitcher Dave Bush, ESPN.com reported on Tuesday. The right-hander went 8-13 last season with the Brewers, but did complete 18 quality starts on the year.
The organization also reached agreement on a deal with left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley, according to Dave Gershman of the MLBlog SPANdemonium and confirmed by MLB.com. The Mets have been seeking left-handed bullpen helps since losing Hisanori Takahashi and Pedro Feliciano in free agency. Tankersley, who will turn 28 in March, missed all of the 2009 Major League season with an elbow injury. After seeing limited action as a lefty specialist in 2010, he rejected a Minor League assignment and was granted free agency in October.
– In addition to making Carlos Gonzalez’s seven-year, $80 million deal official on Tuesday
, the Rockies also agreed to terms with right-hander Claudio Vargas
on Tuesday, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Vargas will likely compete for a job in the Rockies’ bullpen.
— Bailey Stephens