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Blanton signs with the Royals

The Royals have signed veteran right-hander Joe Blanton to a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training.

The move gives Kansas City some additional pitching depth heading into camp, though the right-hander has not pitched in the Majors since the 2013 season with the Angels.

That year, he went 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA primarily out of the rotation. He logged 132 2/3 innings that season.

Over a 10-year career, Blanton is 85-89 with a 4.51 ERA and won a career-best 16 games with the A’s in 2006. He has pitched for the Phillies (five years), the A’s (five years), the Dodgers (one year) and the Angels (1 year).

— Joey Nowak

Report: Belt, Giants agree to 1-year deal for 2015

The Giants have agreed to a one-year deal with first baseman Brandon Belt to avoid arbitration for the 2015 season, according to a report from’s Jon Heyman.

Heyman first reported the news Monday morning, saying the agreement was worth $3.6 million.

Belt saw 61 games of action last year, hitting .243 with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs. Over 419 career games (four seasons) with the Giants, he is a .268 hitter with a .791 OPS.

— Joey Nowak

Mets, Duda reportedly avoid arbitration

The Mets have reportedly reached an agreement for a one-year deal with Lucas Duda for the 2015 season, thus avoiding arbitration.’s Jon Heyman reported the deal, which he said is worth $4.2 million.

Duda, 28, appeared in a career-high 153 games last season and turned in the most productive offensive year of his career. He hit .253 with 30 home runs and 92 RBIs while posting an .830 OPS.

The Mets have now settled with all their arbitration-eligible players.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Beachy waiting to sign

While Brandon Beachy is reportedly “getting stronger” coming off his second Tommy John surgery, his agent told‘s Ken Rosenthal that the right-hander intends to wait until closer to Spring Training to make a decision about signing with a club.

“Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time,” Beachy’s agent Rob Martin told Rosenthal. “With each day his arm is getting stronger and he’s feeling even more confident about his progress. Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to spring training.”

Beachy, 28, has not pitched in the Majors since Aug. 20, 2013. Over the course of four seasons with the Braves, he is 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 starts.

— Joey Nowak

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 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‘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’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’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