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Report: Brewers are, in fact, on Papelbon’s no-trade list

It was reported early Friday morning that the Brewers were a team showing significant interest in Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has reported that Milwaukee is one of the 17 teams on Papelbon’s no-trade list.

Yahoo!‘s Jeff Passan tweeted early Friday that the two sides were in “serious discussions” but the no-trade clause may slow things down. Rosenthal reported that talks have picked up but a deal is “not close.”

Another team in the mix could be the Blue Jays, whom Rosenthal says have also engaged in conversation with the Brewers. But Toronto is also on Papelbon’s lengthy no-trade list.

– Joey Nowak

Moore on Shields returning to KC: ‘It’s doubtful’

Royals general manager Dayton Moore says the idea of re-signing free agent starting pitcher James Shields has crossed his mind, but “at this point in time, it’s doubtful.”

Moore was on MLB Network Radio’s Power Alley with Mike Ferrin And Jim Duquette, and touched on the issue of the Royals’ starting rotation —- sans Shields —- heading into Spring Training.

“We feel right now that we’re probably who we are going into Spring Training,” Moore said. “You never say never, but right now with the addition of Edinson Volquez and rounding out our rotation and replacing James Shields, we feel that our rotation’s going to be very solid. It’s going to give us guys that compete and utilize our defense.”

Volquez, 31, signed a two-year deal with the Royals on December 29 worth $17 million, and that deal also has a $10 million team option for 2017 and a $3 million buyout.

– Joey Nowak

O’s reportedly agree on deal with Johnson

The Orioles have reportedly come to an agreement for a one-year deal with reliever Steve Johnson, according to a report from MASN’s Roch Kubatko. The Minor League deal comes with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

The 27-year-old Baltimore native appeared in 21 games for the O’s between 2012-13, compiling a 5-1 record and 3.67 ERA. He underwent surgery early this fall to remove a bone spur from his right shoulder and Kubatko reports that Johnson “has been pain-free while playing catch.”

According to the report, the Phillies, Mariners and Blue Jays were among the other teams to express interest in Johnson, whom Kubatko says is expected to begin the season in the bullpen of Baltimore’s Triple-A team in Norfolk. He spent the majority of his 2014 season there, posting a 7.11 ERA over 38 innings (13 appearances) while batting injury.

—  Joey Nowak

Report: Padres likely out on Shields

The list of possible landing places for James Shields is apparently down one, according to a report from FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal tweeted that the Padres are “on [the] periphery of [the] Shields sweepstakes” at this point and are “unlikely to land him.”

That being said, Rosenthal also tweeted that the front-runners for Shields are still largely unknown. It was also reported earlier this week that the Yankees do not appear to be suitors for Shields either.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Willis agrees to Minor League deal with Brewers

Former All-Star Dontrelle Willis is attempting to make a comeback with the Brewers, agreeing to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.

Willis, now 33, has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011 with the Reds. Between 2009 and 2011, he played for the Tigers, D-backs and Reds but has also since been in the Phillies, Orioles, Cubs, Angels and Giants organizations.

An All-Star in 2003 -— when he won the National League Rookie of the Year with the Marlins -— and 2005, Willis owns a 72-69 career record with a 4.17 ERA.

– Joey Nowak

Rangers trade for Corporan

The Rangers have traded for Astros catcher Carlos Corporan, who was designated for assignment this week when Houston signed outfielder Colby Rasmus.

“I was hoping to be part of what Houston is doing right now, but it’s a business,” Corporan told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “That news yesterday, when Luhnow called me, caught me off guard, but it is what it is. It’s a new beginning for me. And I will try to do my best.”

Corporan, 31, was more or less out of a job when the team traded for Hank Conger to be the backup catcher. He said it’s unclear what kind of role he’ll have with the Rangers, but Corporan is ready for anything.

In 55 games last year, Corporan hit .235 with a .678 OPS.

“It was exciting for me because I was part of an organization last year that won 70 games and this year might have a winning record,” Corporan said. “I was hoping to be part of that, but it’s time to close the chapter and it’s a new beginning. I’m excited to play for my new team. And I really like blue.”

— Joey Nowak

Report: M’s still considering bringing back Chavez

Though the Mariners have a plethora of outfielders heading into Spring Training — Nelson Cruz, Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith are all now in the mix, along with incumbents Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson — they are reportedly still interested in reuniting with Endy Chavez.

ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick reported Tuesday that Chavez, 36, would likely have to sign a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training and try to win a spot.

The veteran utility man has spent his last two seasons with Seattle, appearing in 177 games. He also spent time with the Mariners in 2009. Last season, he hit .276 with a .688 OPS and saw action at all three outfield spots.

– Joey Nowak

Reports: Strasburg, Hellickson among those to avoid arbitration

A number of players have reportedly agreed to terms with their clubs, thus avoiding arbitration. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Friday morning that Arizona’s Jeremy Hellickson, San Diego’s Alexi Amarista and San Francisco’s Yusmeiro Petit all agreed to contracts.

The Nationals also tweeted from their team account Friday morning that they’ve reached an agreement with right-hander Stephen Strasburg for the 2015 season, thus avoiding arbitration with one of their most recognizable players. They did not specify terms of the agreement. Strasburg, 26, made $3.975 million in 2014.

Heyman reported that Hellickson, 27, will make $4.275 million in 2015 — his first year with the D-backs. He was 40-36 in his five-year career with the Rays, making $3.625 million last season.

Amarista, Heyman says, agreed to a two-year deal with the Padres worth $2.5 million. Petit will make $2.1 million next season in San Francisco.

– Joey Nowak

Cuban RHP Lopez could earn record bonus

Young Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez is apparently so highly sought-after that he could break the $8 million bonus record for an international prospect, according to MLB.com‘s Jesse Sanchez.

Sanchez tweeted that Lopez is “mulling offers” but could very well break the record that Angels infielder Roberto Baldoquin set in November.

Lopez, 21, held a showcase for scouts in the Dominican Republic on Nov. 8 and has begun private workouts for teams. The Yankees, Dodgers and D-backs are among the teams that have already expressed interest in the 6-foot-4, 190-pound pitcher.

Lopez, who established residency in Haiti and has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, must still be cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury before he can sign with a team.

– Joey Nowak

Report: Giants, Rockies, Padres interested in Gee

A handful of West Coast teams are reportedly interested in trading for Mets starter Dillon Gee, according to FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal.

The Rockies, Giants and Padres are all “looking at” a trade for the right-hander, who is arbitration-eligible this year. Gee, 28, went 7-8 last year with a 4.00 ERA. He has spent his entire five-year career with the Mets.

According to the report, the Rockies are also inquiring about free agent Ryan Vogelsong.

– Joey Nowak

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