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Kip Wells wants to pitch, draws Mets’ interest

Right-hander Kip Wells wants to pitch again in 2013. A baseball source said the Mets are among three interested teams, logical because of ties the Mets’ braintrust and Wells both have to San Diego.

Wells turns 36 in April and went 2-4 with a 4.58 ERA in a seven-start reprise with the Padres last season. Next year would be his 13th in the big leagues.

Wells has been training all winter but of late has had to give special attention to his 3 1/2 year-old son, who’s set to undergo heart surgery.

– Evan Drellich

Royals sign outfielder Willy Taveras

Out of the Majors since 2010, Willy Taveras has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Royals that includes an invite to Major League camp, a baseball source said Tuesday.

Taveras turns 31 on Christmas Day and has a career .320 on-base percentage with 195 steals.

“It’s hard to wait, cause that’s what I was doing — just waiting and waiting, and I’m still waiting, and it’s hard to,” Taveras said earlier in the offseason. “But at the end of the day, I have a beautiful family, even if baseball doesn’t work, to be able to keep working hard, you keep yourself in good shape. … We’re just keeping positive.”

– Evan Drellich

Reports: Angels chasing Madson

Born in Long Beach, Calif., free agent reliever Ryan Madson is drawing interest from the Angels, according to multiple reports Sunday. CSNPhilly.com first reported the story.

Madson, 32, wants to be a closer but will not be ready to go when the season opens because of Tommy John surgery. Madson took a one-year deal with Cincinnati in 2012 and likely will have to do the same for 2013.

Madson has still thrown a pitch in the Majors for only the Phillies, whom he spent nine seasons with through 2011. He had a 2.55 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 rate in 2010 and a 2.37 ERA with a 9.2 K/9 rate in 2011.

Madson’s high school, Valley View in Moreno Valley, Calif., is about an hour away from Angel Stadium.

— Evan Drellich

 

Report: Castro could be trump card in Stanton bidding

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is drawing interest in a lot of places, as any 23-year-old with 37 home runs should. The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that the Cubs are in on those talks. The Boston Globe mentioned the Cubbies as well as the Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and Yankees.

If the Marlins do ship Stanton out as they rebuild, the Cubs could be a fit because they have a rare commodity in shortstop Starlin Castro, the Tribune reported.

But there are reasons that could make such any deal for Stanton unlikely: the Marlins probably don’t want to take on Castro’s $60 million, they already have a shortstop in Adeiny Hechavarria and they may well intend to keep Stanton after unloading most of their other top talent.

Castro, who’s owed $60 million through 2019 and has a $16 million club option for 2020, does not have no-trade protection. There are few other young, established players with club-friendly contracts out there that other teams could dangle.

Chicago has Junior Lake, and in a couple seasons, Javier Baez to step in at short were Castro to be dealt.

— Evan Drellich

Dice-K wants to be down San Diego way

Daisuke Matsuzaka needs a fresh start after injuries held him back through most of his six years with the Red Sox. Whether coincidentally or not, the 32-year-old righty and free agent wants to go about as far from Boston as possible.

Dice-K told Japanese media that he’s fond of the Padres and Petco Park, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. A Scott Boras client, Dice-K also reportedly said that money is not chief among his priorities.

The Red Sox paid Dice-K $51 million in his time with the Sox, and he reached 200 innings as a Major League rookie in 2007, when the Sox won the World Series. He got past 100 innings just twice after that, and went for Tommy John surgery in 2011. But if healthy, he’s shown ability in a tough division: Matsuzaka is 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA in 117 games, all but one of them starts.

“At his age, he’s in good shape and working hard, so he’s really a candidate for a team that wants a guy to come in that may give you a ceiling that you may not expect,” Boras said this offseason. “For a club that’s going to need an arm with potential, he’s a good fit for a lot of teams.”

– Evan Drellich

Nov. 10 Roundup: Boston backstops

The Red Sox signed David Ross to a two-year, $6.2 million deal on Saturday, putting the futures of Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in question. One of them figures to be kept around to work in tandem with Ross, the other likely could be used as a trade bait. Unless the Sox decided to try Lavarnway at first base, carrying all three into Spring Training seems untenable.

  • CBS Sports reported the Red Sox showed interest in Mike Napoli, who would further crowd their catching scene — although the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweeted Thursday that Napoli and Adam LaRoche are first-base options for the Red Sox.
  • The Dodgers won the bidding for Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin. The signing of Ryu, which has a 30-day window, would allow the Dodgers to make a subsequent trade: most likely of Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano.
  • Free agent Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers did not approach him about a two-year deal. Other reports suggested the Dodgers were aggressively pursuing him. Hunter confirmed to the Times that he wants a multi-year deal as a starting outfielder.
  • Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said this week he hasn’t talked about trading Andre Ethier, and a FOX Sports report on Saturday backed that notion up.
  • Melky Cabrera has drawn interest from five teams, the New York Post reported. The Mets and Yankees reportedly aren’t in that group.
  • FOX Sports and USA Today reported that the Rangers do not want to trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar to go after Arizona’s Justin Upton.

– Evan Drellich

Roundup: Nakajima talks Yanks

Hiroyuki Nakajima, the Japanese shortstop whom the Yankees’ won the rights to negotiate with this week, appeared thrilled that a powerhouse team went after him.

MLB Trade Rumors posted a translation of a quote Nakajima gave to Nikkan Sports, crediting Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker: “I thought ‘Whoa!’ I got a bid from a great team,” Nakajima said.

  • If Manny Ramirez finds a team that wants him, he can find his way back into a Major League game — after serving a 50-game suspension. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Saturday morning that the outfielder has been removed from the voluntary retirement list. Ramirez does not have to serve a 100-game suspension, as originally imposed this April when he violated MLB’s drug program.
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that Darren Oliver has suitors other than the Rangers, like the Red Sox, while Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram wrote that Ian Kinsler and Texas could be working out a new deal.
  • Albert Pujols, introduced in Anaheim alongside C.J. Wilson on Saturday, still has love for St. Louis and Cardinals fans. “I felt it was time to make a decision, and at the end, I know it was a tough one,” Pujols said during the press conference. “Like I said before, I thank our fans back in St. Louis. What they showed me the last 11 years, not just on the field but off the field, supporting me and showing me the love and the kindness, that’s something I learned in my [early] years in my career.”

– Evan Drellich

July 30 roundup: Ubaldo to Cleveland?

Less than a day remain’s until Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, and one of the best arms in baseball is reportedly close to being moved.

The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports the Indians are on the edge of bringing in Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies, for a package including Drew Pomeranz. The Tigers were also in on the conversation, also thought to prominently include the Yankees.

For for the latest developments with Jimenez, keep up with MLB.com’s Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding here, and MLB.com’s Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian here .

Other moves Saturday didn’t have quite the star pull, but were still significant: Detroit did end up with starting pitching, what they coveted most, in Doug Fister, and got some relief help, too, in David Pauley. To the Mariners went Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells and third-base prospect Francisco Martinez, as well as a player to be named.

  • Texas had been keen on Heath Bell, but the Padres will still have plenty of suitors if the Rangers no longer want to make a deal now that they have Koji Uehara.
  • The Nationals are busy, making two trades on Saturday — one dealing Jerry Hairston Jr., the other dealing Jason Marquis — and reportedly were talking with Minnesota about acquiring Denard Span.
Down to the wire we go.
– Evan Drellich

O’s and Rangers agree on Uehara deal

The Orioles traded reliever Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon, completing a deal that will net them first baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.

The deal, which was first reported by the Baltimore Sun and confirmed by a source to MLB.com, comes in between a doubleheader with the Yankees and gives the Rangers one of the best right-handed relievers on the market. Uehara has pitched to a 1.02 ERA in his last 32 games, allowing just four earned runs over a 35 1/3 inning-span.

A first baseman, Davis gives an Orioles system devoid of upper-echelon position players another option given that veteran Derrek Lee is on a one-year deal and is also considered trade bait. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick in the 2006 Draft, Davis is hitting .250 with three homers and six RBIs in 27 games for Texas.

Hunter is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Rangers. He was a 13-game winner as a starter for the Rangers last year but strained his right groin muscle at the end of Spring Training, missed three months and was never able to regain his spot in the rotation. The Rangers have been using him in middle relief since he came off the disabled list.

The right-hander went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 22 starts for the Rangers last season, and will likely be stretched out in Baltimore. The Orioles starting pitching has been inconsistent and they’ve made it no secret that they were looking for a Major League-ready arm in any deal.

The Rangers had been talking to the Padres about Heath Bell but Uehara has better numbers, he has been successful in the American League and he has a vesting option for next season. If he pitches in 12 more games this season, he becomes a signed player for 2012 at $4 million.

– Brittany Ghiroli

July 28 roundup: Hunting for Hunter

After an intense day on the trading block Wednesday, Thursday was more tame. The Indians made noise early, landing Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs and bolstering an outfield that’s been stung by injuries, giving way to rumors surrounding the usual suspects — and setting up a potentially frenzied final three days of the non-waiver trading period.

  • The Astros are inclined to part with Hunter Pence, and at least six teams are in the mix, but the Phillies appear to be leading the pack. With two arbitration years remaining for Pence, any deal involving him would likely qualify as a blockbuster, probably the largest that could come up this deadline, unless …
  • Ubaldo Jimenez is involved. The Yankees appear to be in the best position, The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reported, but the price seems high according to multiple reports.
  • The big game already bagged in Carlos Beltran, Giants general manager Brian Sabean wasn’t giving off the sense that more impact moves are coming down the pipe for his club.
  • The big game already shipped off, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson directly said that more impact moves aren’t coming down the pipe for his club.
  • With Rickie Weeks out for six weeks potentially, the Brewers, of all teams, need a second baseman, and on Friday, they landed Felipe Lopez from the Rays, but he was most recently at Triple-A. Clint Barmes, Adam Kennedy and Omar Infante could be in the mix.
  • The Tigers’ priority is starting pitching, and they’re looking into Jason Marquis, according to FOX Sports. MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that middle relief could also be on the checklist for Detroit.
  • The Dodgers drawing the most interest are Rafael Furcal and Hiroki Kuroda, despite no-trade clauses for both. Jamey Carroll‘s still a circulated name (Brewers?).
– Evan Drellich
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