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Moncada working out for Padres, mixed reports on interest

Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is reportedly working out for the Padres on Monday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

While Passan adds that San Diego “plans to be aggressive” in pursuing Moncada, a source tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock that the Padres might be done with their offseason spending spree after signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million deal on Monday.

As for Moncada, the five-tool infielder is also believed to be receiving serious interest from at least 10 other teams — a list that includes the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, A’s, Giants, Rangers, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies, and Cardinals. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have all been mentioned as potential frontrunners to land Moncada at various times this offseason.

Though naturally a shortstop, the 19-year-old phenom can also play second or third base. Along with bolstering the rotation by signing Shields on Monday, the Padres have already added Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton to their outfield corps this offseason.

While Moncada would just be the latest blockbuster move for the Padres this offseason, it’s unclear at this point whether or not the club is willing to spend big on yet another player after signing Shields.

— Paul Casella

Padres win the Shields sweepstakes

The Padres have reportedly agreed to a four-year deal with James Shields, taking the top remaining free agent off the market. The club is yet to confirm the signing.

Shields, who was believed to originally be seeking a nine-figure contract, instead settled for a deal that is worth between $72 million and $75 million, a source told MLB.com’s Corey Brock. The deal, which is pending a physical, also carries a club option for a fifth year.

It’s unclear who the Padres ultimately beat out to sign Shields, but the Cubs and Marlins were both among the teams still linked to Shields over the past week. Whether or not either of those teams — or another team entirely — extended an actual offer to the 33-year-old righty is unknown at this point.

As for the Padres, an argument can be made that they will enter the upcoming season with the most improved roster — on paper, at least. Along with a revamped offense that includes Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, the Padres now have a rotation that could help them compete in a division that features the defending World Series champion Giants, as well as the reigning division champion Dodgers.

Shields will slot into the top of a rotation that already included Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy. The final spot figures to be filled by one of Brandon Morrow, Robbie Erlin or Odrisamer Despaigne.

— Paul Casella

Brewers still considering K-Rod, negotiating for Papelbon

The Brewers are still talking to the Phillies about potentially acquiring Jonathan Papelbon, though Milwaukee is also considering a contingency plan that would involve re-signing Francisco Rodriguez, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The Brewers have been linked to Papelbon for weeks, but Heyman reports that any potential trade continues to be hung up by the Phillies’ desired return. Philadelphia is apparently unhappy with the Brewers’ current offer for Papelbon, who is due  $13 million this season and also has a vesting option for 2016 worth same amount, assuming he finishes 48 games in 2015.

Papelbon is coming off another strong season in which he racked up a 2.04 ERA while saving 39 games for the Phils. The 34-year-old reliever has posted a sub-3.00 ERA in nine of his 10 big league seasons and has a 2.37 career ERA overall.

As for Rodriguez, who just turned 33 last month, he’s also coming off an impressive 2014 campaign. He notched a 3.04 ERA and 44 saves for the Brewers, while finishing an NL-best 66 games. Rodriguez also posted a 1.09 ERA over 25 appearances with the Brewers in 2013 before being traded to the Orioles and later re-signing with Milwaukee in the offseason.

— Paul Casella

Marlins among the teams still pursuing Shields

Though it’s unclear whether or not they are a frontrunner in the James Shields sweepstakes, the Marlins at least “remain in talks” to potentially sign the free agent right-hander, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

Shields’ market has started to develop rapidly this week, with FOX Sports’ Jon Heyman even reporting that Shields has “multiple offers in hand” and could sign somewhere by the end of the week. It obviously remains unclear which teams exactly have extended those offers, though reports have suggested that neither the Red Sox nor the Royals are among those suitors.

Along with the Marlins, the Padres and Blue Jays have both been mentioned as potential landing spots. There have also been conflicting reports regarding the Yankees’ interest, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post saying they are “not in play” for Shields and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeting that he is hearing the Yanks are “now actively pursuing” him.

It should also be noted that Shields apparently prefers to play on the West Coast near his home in San Diego. That report would obviously suggest that the Padres have an advantage in that regard, but it’s unclear whether or not that will factor into Shields’ final decision.

Though there may not be a frontrunenr as of right now, Shields’ situation should continue to come into focus in the coming days.

— Paul Casella

Moncada hoping to sign somewhere soon

Now that he’s officially been declared a free agent, top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez that he hopes to “sign with a team soon.”

The 19-year-old Moncada has already held private workouts for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers. Other teams could also make a push to sign Moncada now that he’s actually allowed to sign a deal.

“My goal is to sign with a team soon, start training with them, and make it to the Major Leagues as fast as I can with whichever team that might be,” Moncada said in Spanish to MLB.com in his first interview since arriving in the United States in late November. “I know I’m going to do the best I can for as long as I can in this sport.”

Naturally a shortstop, Moncada can also play second or third base. The Yankees and Red Sox have long been mentioned as the potential favorites to sign Moncada, but the Dodgers have also been floated as one of the most likely landing spots.

— Paul Casella

Zito to hold showcase for teams

Former Cy Young winner Barry Zito will throw for “a select group of teams” on Tuesday, as he takes the next step in his comeback attempt, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

Zito, who turns 37 in May, sat out all of last season, but has now decided to try to extend his career. He last pitched in 2013, racking up an unsightly 5.74 ERA over 30 outings (25 starts) for the Giants. As it stands now, Zito has a 4.02 career ERA over 14 big league seasons, including a 4.62 mark and a 1.439 WHIP over his final seven seasons.

He’s reportedly made mechanical adjustments and is prepared to give it one more shot, but it’s unclear at this point which teams will be attending Tuesday’s workout. Regardless, he would likely have to settle for a Minor League deal, at best.

— Paul Casella

A. Jones looking to return to Majors

Ten-time Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones is looking to return to Major League Baseball, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, after spending the past two seasons playing in Japan.

Jones, who will turn 38 in April, is reportedly drawing interest from “at least two teams” that are interested in using the five-time All-Star as either a designated hitter or a right-handed platoon player. He last played in the Majors in 2012 when he struggled to a .197/.294/.408 batting line with the Yankees, though he still racked up 14 homers over 94 games. He would return to the Majors with 434 career home runs over parts of 17 seasons.

Over the last two years in Japan, Jones compiled a .232/.392/.441 line with 50 combined homers.

— Paul Casella

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

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