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Snider headed to O’s in trade with Pirates

Outfielder Travis Snider is headed to Baltimore in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley. The Pirates will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.

To make room on their 40-man roster, Baltimore designated catcher Michael Ohlman for assignment.

The two clubs reportedly discussed a deal involving Snider and Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz last month, but those talks apparently never gained enough traction. Instead, it’s Tarpley, who spent last season with low Class A Aberdeen, heading to Pittsburgh in the trade.

Snider, who turns 27 next week, had a breakout season of sorts last year, particularly after the All-Star break. He posted a .288/.356/.524 batting line with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in just 60 games during the season’s second half.

“Snider is a solid, dependable, power-hitting outfielder and is an excellent fit for Camden Yards,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told MLB.com via text. “[He] should be a good addition to the club, at bat and in [the] field.”

Despite Snider’s potential, there was a logjam blocking him from consistent playing time in Pittsburgh. The Pirates currently have Starling Marte and highly-touted prospect Gregory Polanco slated to man the corner outfield spots alongside perennial MVP threat Andrew McCutchen in center.

Meanwhile, acquring Snider helps Baltimore fill the void left by the departures this offseason of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. The O’s have been tied to a number of outfielders this offseason, both via free agency and potential trades, but hadn’t yet reeled in a replacement.

The 21-year-old Tarpley, who was a third-round pick in the 2013 Draft out of Scottsdale Community College, had a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances last season (12 starts). He posted a 1.41 WHIP, while fanning 60 hitters in 66 innings.

– Paul Casella

Rockies not planning to move Tulo, Gonzalez

Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich reportedly told FOX Sports’ Jon Heyman on Tuesday that it is “highly, highly unlikely” that either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez will be traded prior to Opening Day.

Both players have been mentioned frequently as potential trade pieces this offseason, but nothing has come of it thus far. Tulowitzki, in particular, was tied to a number of teams earlier in the offseason, including both New York clubs, but those talks never gained much traction.

The Yankees instead acquired Didi Gregorius from the D-backs and the Mets insisted they are content on entering the season with Wilmer Flores as their starting shortstop. There have been virtually no other rumors involving Tulowitzki over the past month.

Though the Rockies were said to at least be listening to potential offers for the duo, it’s unlikely that they’ve heard the type of substantial offer they’re looking for. Not only are both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez coming off injury-plagued seasons, but Tulowitzki — who’s had a number of injury concerns throughout his career — is owed $114 million over the next six seasons and Gonzalez is due $53 million over the next three years.

Whether it’s because the Rockies truly want to keep both players or they simply couldn’t find a suitable trade partner, it appears for the time being that both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez will begin the season in Colorado.

– Paul Casella

Astros trying to shore up rotation, looking at Correia

The Astros are “among the teams” that are showing interest in right-hander Kevin Correia, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

After missing out on free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong, who ultimately elected to return to the Giants last week, the Astros are now turning their focus toward other back-end starters to fill out their rotation. Houston had also been linked to free-agent right-hander Kyle Kendrick prior to missing out on Vogelsong, so he could be another option.

Correia racked up a 5.44 ERA over 32 appearances between the Dodgers and Twins last year, while Kendrick posted a 4.61 ERA over 32 starts with the Phillies.

As of right now, the Astros’ rotation consists of Scott Feldman, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Brett Oberholtzer and recently-acquired Dan Straily. Straily is currently slated into the fifth starting spot after being acquired from the Cubs last week as part of the Dexter Fowler trade, but the Astros could add some depth and create competition before Spring Training. Brad Peacock could also join the mix at some point, though he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing offseason hip surgery.

– Paul Casella

Brewers could be interested in K-Rod reunion

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has reportedly had talks with Francisco Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, about a potential return to Milwaukee, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This report comes a day after Attanasio said he would be “very surprised” if the Brewers did not make another signing before Spring Training. The Brewers had been mentioned in potential trade talks involving the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon, but those talks seem to have died down in recent days.

As it stands now, the Brewers are limited to Jonathan Broxton when it comes to potential closer options. Rodriguez, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 2014 campaign in which he locked down 44 saves, while racking up a respectable 3.04 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over 69 appearances.

The market for Rodriguez has been rather quiet this offseason, so a return to the Brewers could end up being the best option for both sides.

– Paul Casella

Royals monitoring Shields’ situation, unlikely to sign him

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he is “still monitoring” the market for James Shields, but added that the club is unlikely to sign him, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

Though Shields’ price tag is likely to drop a bit in the near future, if it hasn’t already, the right-hander will likely remain out of the Royals’ price range. Along with the financial limitations, the Royals already have six pitchers set to compete for the five rotation spots in Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Edinson Volquez, Kris Medlen and Danny Duffy.

The market for Shields is still largely unclear at this point, but the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Padres and Blue Jays are all among the teams that have been linked to him, one way or another, in recent days.

– Paul Casella

Marlins still considering making push for Shields

The Marlins are “still discussing” the possibility of pursuing free agent right-hander James Shields, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The market for Shields remains mostly unclear at this point, with numerous teams being linked — and then unlinked — to him this offseason. The Marlins are certainly one of those teams, as the club has been mentioned as a potential landing spot at times this winter, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier this week that the chances Miami will sign him are currently “zero.”

That, of course, could change rapidly, especially if Shields’ price tag begins to drop. The 33-year-old is said to be seeking a five-year, $125 million deal, while some reports have suggested that teams are leaning more towards offering him a four-year pact in the neighborhood of $80 million.

While the market portion of things will shake out in the coming days, the Marlins could certainly use Shields in their rotation. Shields could provide the team with an ace-caliber pitcher until Jose Fernandez is ready to return from Tommy John surgery, at which point the Marlins would figure to have one of the stronger starting pitcher duos in the National League.

It would also bolster the postseason chances for a team that is clearly looking to make a push into October after a busy offseason. Those postseason hopes also get a lift in the short-term by the fact that the Marlins play in the NL East, a division that currently features three teams that are in various stages of rebuilding in the Braves, Mets and Phillies. All signs point toward trying to build an immediate contender in Miami and adding a pitcher of Shields’ caliber could make a significant impact.

– Paul Casella

Marlins reportedly sign Ichiro to one-year deal

The Marlins have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio.

The 10-time All-Star will provide the Marlins with added depth as a fourth outfielder behind starters Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Suzuki, whp turned 41 in October, still hit a respectable .284/.324/.340 over 143 games for the Yankees last season, while also stealing 15 bases.

Though he has played primarily right field since 2009, Suzuki did make brief appearances in both left and center field with the Yanks last season and could make appearances at either spot for the Marlins, if needed.

Most notably, Suzuki is just 156 hits shy of 3,000 for his Major League career. While it’s unlikely that he’d rack up that many hits this season, given his limited role, another solid campaign could position him for another one-year deal and a shot at 3,000 in 2016.

– Paul Casella

Vogelsong reportedly agrees to deal with Giants

Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong has agreed to return to the Giants on a one-year deal, pending a physical, according to multiple reports.

The 37-year-old Vogelsong had been linked closely to numerous clubs in recent weeks, including reportedly visiting Houston to meet with the Astros earlier this week. Instead, Vogelsong will return to San Francisco, providing the Giants with some depth to their starting rotation.

Vogelsong, who went 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA last season, rejoins a pitching staff that already includes five other starters in Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum.  That said, Cain (right elbow and right ankle surgery) and Hudson (right ankle surgery) each have injury concerns, though both are expected to be ready by Opening Day.

Lincecum, meanwhile, has struggled for the majority of the past three seasons and finished last year in the bullpen. Peavy also has his share of question marks after struggling with the Red Sox to begin last season then racking up a 6.19 ERA in four postseason starts with the Giants.

Though it’s unclear at this point exactly how the Giants’ starting rotation will shake out come Opening Day, Vogelsong’s presence certainly provides some much-needed insurance.

– Paul Casella

Red Sox sign Eveland to Minor League deal

The Red Sox added some left-handed depth to their pitching staff on Wednesday, signing veteran southpaw Dana Eveland to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

Eveland, 31, spent last season in a relief role with the Mets, racking up a respectable 2.63 ERA over 27 1/3 innings in 30 appearances. Eveland has pitched for eight teams during his nine-year Major League career, often bouncing back-and-forth between the rotation the the bullpen.

If Eveland indeed makes the club out of Spring Training, he has the potential to land a middle relief role with the Red Sox, while also providing some added insurance for the rotation.

– Paul Casella

Willis attempting comeback, signs Minor League deal

Former two-time All-Star Dontrelle Willis is making another comeback attempt, signing a Minor League deal with the Brewers with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

The 33-year-old has spent the past three seasons pitching in the Orioles, Angels and Giants organizations, though his 2014 campaign ended after just four outings due to a left elbow injury that he suffered in April while pitching for Triple-A Fresno. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2011, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA over 13 starts with the Reds.

Willis began his career by compiling a 58-39 record to go along with a 3.44 ERA over his first four Major League seasons with the Marlins from 2003-06, all while winning the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year Award and making two All-Star appearances. Though Willis made 127 starts during those four seasons, injuries limited the left-hander to just 78 appearances over the next five years, during which he racked up a 14-30 record and an unsightly 5.65 ERA.

– Paul Casella

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