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Report: Royals, Infante agree to deal

The Royals and free-agent second baseman Omar Infante have agreed to a four-year contract worth about $30 million, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Kansas City has not confirmed the deal.

Infante played 118 games for the Tigers last season and hit .318 with 10 home runs, 51 RBIs and a career-high .795 OPS. The 31-year-old also has spent time at shortstop, third base and the outfield over 12 big league seasons, hitting .279 with a .721 OPS.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Loney close to returning to Rays

Free-agent first baseman James Loney is “on the verge” of signing a multi-year contract with the Rays, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Loney will make $21 million over three years, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network, although the club has not confirmed a deal.

The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay as a free agent last winter and had a bounceback season, hitting .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs and 75 RBIs.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Pirates sign Volquez

The Pirates have reached a one-year, $5 million agreement with free-agent right-hander Edinson Volquez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network, who adds that the deal is pending a physical.

Volquez split last season between the Padres and Dodgers, going 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA over 33 games, including 32 starts. The 30-year-old struggled with his control, walking 4.1 batters per nine innings, a rate below his career mark of 4.8.

In nine seasons with the Rangers, Reds, Padres and Dodgers, Volquez is 53-52 with a 4.75 ERA and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

– Andrew Simon

Mariners sign Corey Hart, acquire Logan Morrison

The Mariners reached a deal with free agent first baseman-outfielder Corey Hart on Wednesday, our Greg Johns reports. The deal, which the team has not confirmed, won’t be official until Hart completes a physical on Friday.

The deal is for one year, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network.

Hart missed all of last season while recovering from knee surgery, but the 31-year-old, a nine-year veteran, had an .857 OPS for the Brewers from 2010-12, averaging 29 home runs and 83 RBIs.

Seattle also pulled off a trade for first baseman Logan Morrison, sending right-handed reliever Carter Capps to the Marlins.

Morrison also has battled injuries, playing a total of 178 games over the past two years. The 26-year-old left-handed batter hit .242/.333/.375 with six home runs in 333 plate appearances for Miami last season.

Capps, 23, had a 5.49 ERA in 53 appearances with the Mariners in 2013, striking out 66 in 59 innings.

– Andrew Simon

Nationals acquire Blevins from A’s

The Nationals filled their need for a left-handed relief pitcher on Wednesday, acquiring Jerry Blevins from the A’s for Minor League outfielder Billy Butler.

Blevins made 67 appearances for the A’s last season, going 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA. The 30-year-old struck out 52 and walked 17 over 60 innings and actually was tougher on right-handed batters, who hit .190 against him, with a .581 OPS.  However, Blevins has been effective against lefties over his career, holding them to a .224 average and .636 OPS.

Burns was the Nationals’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2013, when he split time between Class A Advanced Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, hitting .315/.425/.383 with no home runs but 74 stolen bases.

– Andrew Simon

12/11 Afternoon Roundup

No transactions went down on Wednesday morning, as the third day of the Winter Meetings got underway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. But there are plenty of rumors and buzz going around. Here is a look at the latest:

  • The agent for Rays left-hander David Price told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network that his client wouldn’t consider an extension with the Mariners if traded to Seattle but might do so with other, unspecified teams. Price has two seasons remaining before he hits free agency. Our Greg Johns calls Price and the Mariners “an extremely remote match.”
  • Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo could command a seven-year, $140 million deal, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The Mariners and Rangers are in the lead for his services, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
  • The Rangers are staying patient as they wait for asking prices to come down on the likes of Choo and Nelson Cruz, writes our T.R. Sullivan.
  • The D-backs are in the market for a starting pitcher, Rosenthal tweets. ESPN’s Jayson Stark mentions free-agent right-hander Matt Garza as a possibility.
  • The Nationals’ quest for a left-handed reliever could end soon, according to Rosenthal.
  • Rosenthal also describes Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips as “in play” for trade talks.
  • Our Carrie Muskat updates the Jeff Samardzija situation, as the Cubs explore a contract extension with the right-hander, who also has been involved in plenty of trade rumors this offseason.
  • The Astros are one of the teams interested in often-injured former All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore.
  • The Marlins are listening to offers for outfielder Justin Ruggiano, writes our Joe Frisaro. They also have interest in outfielder Delmon Young, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
  • The Orioles have talked with free-agent reliever John Axford, tweets Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.

– Andrew Simon

A’s swap Anderson for Rockies’ Pomeranz

The A’s and Rockies exchanged left-handed pitchers on Tuesday, with Oakland trading Brett Anderson and cash to Colorado for Drew Pomeranz, as well as Minor League righty Chris Jensen.

Injuries have limited Anderson to 24 starts over the past three seasons. The 25-year-old went 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA last year, when he made five starts and 11 relief appearances. He owns a 3.81 ERA over 450 2/3 career innings.

Pomeranz, also 25, has split time between the Minors and Majors over the past three seasons. In 34 games for the Rockies, including 30 starts, he went 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA. The Rockies acquired Pomeranz from the Indians in a 2011 trade for Ubaldo Jimenez.

Jensen, a former sixth-round pick, went 5-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 28 starts for Class A Advanced Modesto this season, striking out 136 in 152 1/3 innings.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Choo talks reaching ‘critical stage’

Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps the top outfielder remaining on the free-agent market, might not be available much longer. On the first night of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network tweeted that talks involving Choo “appear to be reaching [a] critical stage.”

Although several clubs could be bidding, Rosenthal identifies the Rangers and D-backs as two that are heavily involved. Texas has been rumored to be interested in Choo throughout the offseason, while Arizona has been more under the radar.

However, our Anthony Castrovince tweets that the D-backs are “a strong suitor,” partly because the 31-year-old has a home in Buckeye, Ari., just outside of Phoenix.

– Andrew Simon

12/7 Roundup

With Friday’s flurry of big moves in the rearview mirror and the baseball world gearing up for the start of the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Hot Stove took a bit of a break on Saturday.

Here is a look at the latest news from around the league:

  • The Yankees reached official agreements with two free agents, announcing their seven-year contract with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as re-signing starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
  • After reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran on Friday, the Yankees could be open to dealing from their outfield depth and are “receiving significant interest” in Brett Gardner, according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger.

  • Elsewhere in the American League East, the Red Sox announced their two-year deal with reliever Edward Mujica. Boston general manager Ben Cherington said that while he will continue to look for upgrades, the Sox likely are finished with their “heavy lifting.” On the other hand, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is “in play” for the Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed that he is open to trading an outfielder, since the club has Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.

  • Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who could be in line for a contract extension this offseason, played a little joke via social media.

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network lists the Dodgers, D-backs, Rangers and Mariners as the teams in the best position to make a trade for Rays ace left-hander David Price at the Winter Meetings. Among the other players Rosenthal believes could be moved this week in Orlando, Fla., are A’s starting pitcher Brett Anderson, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.

  • The Astros bolstered their bullpen by bringing in right-hander Chad Qualls on a two-year deal.

  • During a question-and-answer session with fans at the second day of Redsfest, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said it will be “very difficult” to re-sign free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and also downplayed trade rumors about second baseman Brandon Phillips.

  • With Beltran heading to the Yankees, the Royals will have to look elsewhere to add an impact bat this offseason. Another club that lost out on Beltran, the D-backs, could target the Angels’ Mark Trumbo instead, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

  • The Marlins could be looking to looking to trade for Rays utility man Sean Rodriguez as they aim to find a solution at third base. Our Joe Frisaro also explains why the Marlins are likely to trade first baseman-outfielder Logan Morrison.

  • The Orioles added an outfielder, signing Francisco Peguero, who had been designated for assignment and then non-tendered by the Giants. Peguero had been MLB.com’s No. 98 overall prospect going into last season.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Dodgers, Wilson complete deal

The Dodgers and free-agent reliever Brian Wilson reached an agreement Thursday on a one-year contract, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

The deal will pay Wilson $10 million and includes a player option for a second year, sources told Brown, with the value of that second year ranging from $9-10 million based on his number of appearances in 2014.

MLB.com had reported on Tuesday that the two sides were making progress toward Wilson’s return. The right-hander came back from his second Tommy John surgery to pitch in 18 games for Los Angeles last season, posting a 0.66 ERA and striking out 13 in 13 2/3 innings.

– Andrew Simon

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