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11/12 Afternoon Roundup

The second day of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando got off to a quick start, as the Phillies and outfielder Marlon Byrd agreed a two-year, $16-million deal. Byrd, 36, hit .291/.336/.518 last season with the Mets and Pirates.

He was Philadelphia’s 10th-round pick in the 1999 Draft and spent his first 3 1/2 years in the organization.

Outside of the Byrd news, everything else was speculation and rumor. Here’s a glimpse of what’s being said:

  • CBSSports’ Jon Heyman reports that multiple teams are interested in Astros catcher Jason Castro, who hit .276/.350/.485 with 18 home runs last season. Our Brian McTaggart downplays the likelihood of a Castro trade here, however.
  • Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski is garnering much interest. Heyman reports the Twins — who drafted Pierzynski in the third round of the ’94 Draft — are interested in a reunion, while ESPN’s Jason Stark reports (on Twitter) that the Phillies might also be interested if they don’t retain Carlos Ruiz.
  • Speaking of Ruiz, the Rockies offered him a two-year, $15-million contract with a buyout, according to The Denver Post’s Troy Renck. Within that tweet, Renck says the Rockies won’t go up to $20 million for Ruiz, who turns 35 in January.
  • The Yankees’ reported interest in free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran is legit, our Bryan Hoch hears (Twitter).
  • Nick Cafardo tweets that teams are asking the Blue Jays about Jose Bautista.

- Cash Kruth

11/8 Roundup

As Major League Baseball heads into the final weekend before Monday’s General Manager Meetings in Orlando, no big moves have occurred.

Just talk and speculation.

Multiple reports have free-agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo searching for deals around $100 million — also a reported target number of right-hander Ervin Santana.

Among Friday’s top reports, from FoxSports.com and MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal, is the Dodgers listening to offers for outfielders Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Within the same piece, Rosenthal speculates about the much-talked-about fit between the Rockies and Cardinals about shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Here’s a full rundown of Friday’s news and notes:

AL East

  • The Yankees appear to be going all in on Japanese righty Mashairo Tanaka, according to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan.
  • Mike Napoli, who was extended a qualifying offer from the Red Sox, has a multi-year offer in hand from the Red Sox but is expected to test the free-agent market, according to Passan on Twitter.
  • Here’s a breakdown of what the Blue Jays and general manager Alex Anthopoulos are looking to accomplish at the General Manager Meetings. Toronto is the market for starting pitching, a second baseman and possibly a starting catcher.
  • The Yankees will retain all of their coaches for next season.

AL Central

  • New Tigers manager Brad Ausmus won’t be tied to a new- or old-school approach in his first season in the dugout.

AL West

  • Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers are getting some interest from other teams about first baseman Mitch Moreland, while they are waiting to hear back from right-hander Colby Lewis on an offer. Daniels also confirmed reports that the Rangers are willing to listen to their middle infielders.
  • MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that the Angels don’t need a complete overhaul this offseason.
  • New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon’s first order of business is to build a coaching staff. After that, he plans to travel to a handful of players’ homes this offseason to introduce himself.
  • Offseason goal No. 1 for the Rangers: reload offensively.
  • The Rangers and Astros will play a pair of exhibition games at San Antonio’s Alamodome next March.

NL East

  • The New York Daily News’ Andy Martino reports the Mets have shown preliminary interest in Curtis Granderson.

NL Central

  • The Cubs are looking for quality pitching on the free-agent market, a search that also will include looking for a closer.
  • Also: Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with season-ticket holders on Friday.
  • The Reds and catcher Brayan Pena on a two-year deal. That means a trade of Ryan Hanigan might be on the horizon.
  • The Brewers are cautiously optimistic about an agreement between Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the state of Tennessee for a new ballpark for the Nashville Sounds, Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate.

NL West

  • MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince breaks down a key offseason for the Giants.
  • Earlier in this space, our Thomas Harding broke down how Beltran would look in Rockies pinstripes.
  • Here’s an update on a few young Rockies players playing winter ball.

- Cash Kruth

11/1 Roundup

A flurry of moves occurred on Friday, as teams and players exercised or declined options. Among those who will test the free agent market are right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Joe Nathan,  while lefty Wandy Rodriguez will spend another season in Pittsburgh.

Here’s a full roundup of news and notes from today’s happenings:

AL East

  • The Yankees and Derek Jeter agreed to a one-year, $12-million deal.
  • The Red Sox picked up Jon Lester’s $13-million option.
  • Our Bill Chastain runs down a list of players the Rays need to make decisions on, including second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Yunel Escobar and outfielder David DeJesus.

AL Central

  • The Tigers had a busy day. Detroit declined their option on reliever Jose Veras and lost outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo and left-handed reliever Darin Downs to the D-backs and Astros, respectively, via waivers.
  • The White Sox exercised their $4 million club option on reliever Matt Lindstrom.
  • The Indians declined their option on outfielder Jason Kubel, putting him in the free-agent market with Jimenez.

AL West

  • The A’s exercised their options on lefty Brett Anderson and outfielder Coco Crisp, while declining those of Kurt Suzuki and Chris Young.
  • As previously mentioned, Nathan opted to become a free agent.
  • The Mariners declined their options on outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and starter Joe Saunders.
  • In non-roster-move news, our Brian McTaggart has a nice piece on 2013 No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel, who moved back to Houston and began offseason workouts with a handful of other young players.

NL East

NL Central

NL West

  • The D-backs announced changes and promotions to their coaching staff. Dave McKay was named first-base coach, while bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock was promoted to third-base coach, and assistant hitting coach Turner Ward was bumped up to hitting coach. Alan Trammell remains as bench coach.
  • There’s no new news between the Giants and Javier Lopez and Ryan Vogelsong.

- Cash Kruth

July 19 notes: Garza, Rios, A. Ramirez^2

With no trade yet completed, right-hander Matt Garza arrived with the Cubs in Denver on Friday to open the second half. The Rangers remain the favorite to land the righty and, although no  deal has been reported as of late Friday afternoon, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes the Rangers would like to get one done in time for Garza to pitch on Saturday.

One of Texas’ biggest chips is third baseman Mike Olt, MLB.com’s 19th overall prospect.  Here’s part of what he told MLB.com’s Mastesr Tesfatsion on Thursday night about the rumors: 

“Whatever happens, I’m in a good spot. If Texas needs something, they’re going to do whatever they can to win a championship. They’re going to get it. If I’m part of that piece, then the next team I’ll have an opportunity to play there. That’s something that I look forward to if I get an opportunity like that. If not, then I’m in a good spot with Texas. I have to be up there and contribute and help them win.”

The Red Sox, thought by some to also be in the Garza derby, appear out because of their unwillingness to deal prospects, according to WEEI.com.

- The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweeted Friday the Red Sox have, however, scouted White Sox outfielder Alex Rios and Philadelphia infielder Michael Young.

- Cafardo also tweets the Red Sox and Yankees will have scouts watching Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez when he returns from the disabled list Monday.

- Along with the Red Sox, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports the Pirates also are looking at Rios and also could be interested in White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

- Finally, it appears the Tim Lincecum trade rumors can be put to rest. Giants general manager Brian Sabean said on his KNBR-AM radio show: “I expect Timmy to be in a Giant uniform. I find it hard to believe that he’d pitch elsewhere this year.”

- Cash Kruth

July 18 mid-day notes

The last-place Padres, 11 1/2 games back in the National League West, don’t appear to be buyers as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears, general manager Josh Byrnes told UT-San Diego:

“I think the one thing our recent play has done is it doesn’t make sense for us to go for a rental,” Byrnes told the newspaper. “To say that we make a trade to bring in somebody who is on our team now and helping us but we also have beyond this year, we’re certainly knocking on those doors.”

Also, on Wednesday, Jon Heyman reported the Yankees inquired about Padres third baseman Chase Headley, but San Diego told the Yanks there wasn’t a fit.

Heyman also speculates that the Twins will retain manager Ron Gardenhire after his contract runs out this year. Twins general manger Terry Ryan recently told MLB.com Gardy’s job is not in jeopardy:

“There’s no validity to it,” Ryan said of a recent column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune speculating the ending of Gardenhire’s tenure. “He and I are the leadership of this organization, and we take accountability. He is basically in the clubhouse and in the dugout, and I’m in charge of the whole operation, and we both are feeling like we’re letting the people down. It’s as simple as that.”

In International news, one day after MLB.com reported Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could sign with a club as early as next week, the El Nuevo Herald reported 24-year-old pitcher Misael Siverio has defected from Cuba.

“It is not easy leaving behind what is yours, but after a giving it a lot of thought I made this decision for my future and for my family,” Silverio told the paper. “My dream, of course, is to make the Major Leagues, and starting today I will start doing what I need to do to accomplish that.”

- Cash Kruth

Dodgers “close” to landing Nolasco

A source told CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler the Dodgers are “getting close” to acquiring right-hander Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins, a deal first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.

Knobler reports the Dodgers would send three Minor Leaguers to Miami and also absorb the remaining money on Nolasco’s $11.5 salary this season.

Nolasco, 30, has been linked to nearly all National League West teams in the past few weeks. The right-hander is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts this season.

If the deal goes down, Nolasco would fit in behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the Dodgers rotation.

- Cash Kruth

Dodgers eyeing Utley?

CBS Sports.com and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that the Dodgers could be interested in Phillies second baseman Chase Utley — a Pasadena, Calif., native who played collegiately at UCLA.

Heyman notes it’s unclear whether the Dodgers have contacted the Phillies, though Los Angeles is believed to be looking for infield help because of Mark Ellis’ struggles and Juan Uribe’s lackluster play.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti declined to talk with Heyman about any players not in the Dodgers system, while the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro are still hoping to turn around their season.

Utley, who is hitting .284/.348/.517 with 11 home runs, recently told MLB.com he is aware he might be shopped.

“Any time you’re at the end of your contract and your team isn’t doing as well as it could be doing, your name is going to be out there in trade talks,” Utley said. “I get it. Everyone in this clubhouse gets it. We still have a month to play. We can put ourselves back in contention pretty easily. But we’ve got to play good baseball.”

- Cash Kruth

 

Dec. 20 roundup

  • The Cubs added two pitchers Thursday, agreeing to terms with right-handers Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, according to reports.
  • While the Cubs added Thursday, the White Sox lost, as longtime White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
  • In other pitching news, the Tigers have talked to the Mariners and Orioles about right-hander Rick Porcello, according to FoxSport.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
  • The Twins have interest in free agent right-hander Rich Harden, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Our own Rhett Bollinger indicated the Twins are interested in adding another arm on Twitter.
  • In the National League East on Thursday, the Phillies signed reliever Mike Adams, while the Marlins added Placido Polanco.

Dec. 14: Dickey rumors

With Zack Greinke signing with the Dodgers and James Shields already dealt, talk has been heating up Friday regarding Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted “all signs point to Mets trading Dickey.”

Rosenthal mentioned the Rangers as a possible trade partner, but MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweeted that Texas is not involved with talks regarding the National League Cy Young Award winner.

Other teams showing interest are the Blue Jays, according to the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff, while Davidoff’s colleague Mike Puma also lists the Angels and Orioles as possible trade partners.

-Cash Kruth

Cabrera, Blue Jays near two-year deal

The Blue Jays and outfielder Melky Cabrera have agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract, ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas reported Friday afternoon. A source confirmed to MLB.com that the two sides are near a deal.

Cabrera was suspended 50 games in August for violating Major League Baseball’s drug program, testing positive for testosterone. The 28-year-old was leading the National League in hitting at the time, and also had previously been named an All-Star and earned MVP honors at the Midsummer Classic. He finished 2012 hitting .346 with 11 home runs and a .906 OPS for the Giants.

Cabrera, a seven-year veteran, had a breakout season in 2011 for Kansas City, posting 201 hits and a .305/.339/.470 slash line.

Before his then-career year as a Royal, Cabrera failed to live up to his promise with the Yankees (2005-09) and the Braves in 2010.

- Cash Kruth

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